Brant and Sherri’s Deal Breaker Question

Deal Breaker Question for the ladies: Let’s say you’re single and a FANTASTIC guy wants to marry you. He’s incredibly attractive. Smart, handsome, a provider and protector. Spiritually mature kinda guy. Loves kids and “gets” you. ONE little quirk: He wears big floppy clown shoes. Yes, they squeak when he walks. He will them for the rest of his life. That’s just how he rolls. That’s his only quirk. Otherwise, he’s AWESOME. Do you marry him?

deal breaker

Deal Breaker?

DEAL-BREAKER from the show today, for the ladies: Let’s say you’re single, and you meet the best guy. He’s intelligent, a great provider, loyal, incredibly funny and fun, great-looking, and a spiritual leader. Everything you ever wanted. Only quirk is…

He keeps a dozen mice. And they get to roam freely through the house. If you marry him, it’s just part of the deal. You will be living with a dozen free-running mice the rest of your life. (When one dies, another replaces it.) IS THIS A DEAL-BREAKER?

I certainly hope not. I would certainly hope a dozen mice would not come between you and your dreams. Sherri says, without hesitation, “Yes. Deal-breaker.” So strange.

We’re About to Move Across the Country—How Can We Ease the Transition for Our Kids?


Dear Dr. Bill,

Due to a job transfer, we are moving to a different region of the country.  How can we soften the blow” for our kids?



Dear Suzanne,

Each year, over nine million children and over two million teenagers move to a new home.  Moving isn’t easy for kids.

According to Parents magazine “toddlers will mourn the loss of their room and the house they’ve always lived in.  School-age children will mourn the loss of their friends and the loss of their school.  Teenagers, along with mourning all of the above, are likely to feel anger at their parents for a major life change that is beyond their control.”

In her book “After the Boxes are Unpacked,” author Susan Miller suggests several ideas to help your kids make the transition more smoothly:

  • Don’t play down the importance of the changes your children are going through. (telling them “everything will work out” isn’t necessarily the best approach).
  • Encourage them to express their fears and concerns.  If they are too young to verbalize their feelings, help them.
  • Don’t feel that you have to justify or defend the move to your kids, shoulder the blame, or solve all their problems.
  • Don’t deny your children’s feelings; that will just increase their sense of isolation.

Also, help your kids get plugged into a church group, sports league, or community youth organization as soon as possible.

Thanks for writing, Suzanne.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Does Depression In Men Look Different Than It Does In Women?

Could a man you know be depressed and not even know it?

The number of men in our society who experience symptoms of depression may be similar to the number of women with depression–at least when doctors look for “non-traditional” symptoms.

Fox News is reporting on a new study done by the University of Michigan.  It found that a full 1/3 of men and women met the criteria for depression when traditional and so called “alternative” symptoms were taken into account.

Currently, about 16 percent of Americans meet the criteria for depression.  Previous research has found women are about twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with the condition.

Other studies, however, have suggested that men don’t exhibit the same symptoms of as women. Or, they may not be as willing to divulge their symptoms to a doctor.

For example, previous studies found that depressed men are more likely to show signs of anger, self-destruction, self-distractions and irritability rather than outward sadness.

In the new study, Dr. Lisa Martin and her colleagues used a scale that was designed to assess depression symptoms common among men.  When they did, they found 26 percent of men and 22 percent of women met the criteria for depression.

When they used a scale that included both traditional and alternative symptoms, there was little difference between the two groups: about 1/3 of both men and women met criteria for depression.

In addition to decreasing quality of life, the US Centers for Disease Control has found that depression is linked to smoking, alcohol use, inactivity and trouble sleeping.

If you think you or your spouse might be depressed, visit the American Psychological Association’s website at

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

“Help! My Husband Is Sabotaging My Efforts To Get My 3-Year-Old To Go To Sleep On His Own!”

Dear Dr. Bill,

My husband and I have a 3-year-old son named Garrett.  Until recently, I had established a consistent bedtime routine that worked for him. But now my husband has started going into his room to comfort him.  He’ll often lay down with him until he falls asleep.  As a result, Garrett now calls loudly for “Daddy” if he wakes up in the middle of the night.

This make Garrett’s bedtime much more complicated than it should be.  And I feel like my husband is interfering with my natural role of nurturing my child.  What should I do?


Dear Terri,

Your husband may mean well, but he is sabotaging your son’s ability to go to sleep on his own.  By responding to his cries, he is reinforcing your son’s behavior…teaching him that if he protests long enough or load enough, eventually daddy will give in and come to his room.

Children need to learn to go to sleep on their own, and the process should start before their first birthday.  Since your son is now three, it’s going to be a lot harder to train him to fall asleep by himself.

The only solution is to let him cry himself out.  This could take several nights, and the crying could go on for hours.

From what you’ve told me, I don’t think your husband will be able to pull it off.  The crying will tug at his heartstrings and he’ll give in to your son’s protests.  Since it sounds like you have the backbone to stand your ground, it’s going to be up to you to train your son to fall asleep on his own.

Now before I receive hundreds of e-mails from parents who accuse me of being a heartless ogre, let me stress that parents should always respond to their child’s cry if they are ill, scared, or have had a nightmare.

By the way, a great book on this topic is “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by pediatrician and sleep expert Marc Weissbluth

Thanks for writing Terri.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Shine Family Expert

New Research On Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—Can It Be Prevented?

There is some encouraging new research out on PTSD, and it could help the US military.

It’s currently estimated that up to 20% of U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, a condition that can be stubbornly difficult to treat.  Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and learning and memory problems.

But what if PTSD could have been prevented in the first place?

Reporter Alan Zarembo of the Los Angeles Times says scientists have done precisely that with traumatized mice.

In an experiment that wasn’t exactly kind to the mice, researchers taped them to wooden boards for two hours, causing them to undergo extreme stress.

Days after this harrowing experience, they were given a drug that triggers a brain receptor thought to be involved in how we respond to fear.  The drug prevented the mice from experiencing the symptoms of PTSD.

Emory University neuroscientist Raul Gali was the lead author of the study.

He says that similar drugs could one day be given to people after combat, car accidents or other types of trauma.

But Rachel Yehuda, a PTSD expert at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, questions whether it made sense to block the brain’s natural responses to stressful situations.

Dr. Yehuda says “Some of these responses are there to protect the body and mind.”

“I am not sure that I would want a soldier in the field to go to combat without his fear response, because this might actually kill him.”

For more on this story, go to and enter “PTSD” in the search engine.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Shine Family Expert

Problems With The In-Laws

Dear Dr. Bill,

My husband and I have been married for 10 years, and we’ve come to a breaking point over his family.  He’s still very much “attached” to his parents and will do anything to not “rock the boat” or upset them.  As a result, his mother and sister have no regard for my feelings and mistreat me constantly.  My husband doesn’t correct them and carries on as if nothing is wrong.  I’ve almost given up hope for our marriage.  Despite the fact that we need professional counseling, my husband is too proud to consider it.  What should I do?


Dear Susan,

God provides us with a model for successful marriage relationships in the Bible.  In Genesis 2 He tells us that a man shall leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife.  Jesus repeats that command in the book of Matthew.

The word “cleave” means to be united as one flesh and to establish a new family unit, separate from the family of origin.  In order for a marriage to be successful, that new family unit needs to take priority over the husband’s family and the wife’s family.

You mention that your husband is too proud to see a therapist.  If that’s the case, I suggest that you inform him that you have decided to see a counselor with or without him.  Find a good Christian therapist who has experience with marital issues and make an appointment.

Tell your husband that you’re hoping he will attend with you, but that if he doesn’t you’ll be going on your own.  If you stick with it, eventually he may be willing to accompany you.

Even if your husband refuses to go to counseling, your therapist can teach you ways to develop the emotional strength to stand up to your husband and his critical family.  This won’t be easy, but you’ll have a caring ally who will guide you through the process of developing healthy boundaries that will improve your life and the life of your children.

Thanks for writing Susan.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Shine Family Expert


Advice For Husband’s Workaholic Tendencies

Dear Dr. Bill,

For the past several years, my husband has been going to school full-time and working full-time in a start-up ministry.  As a result, he hasn’t had much time to spend with our two sons, ages 5 and 8.

Now my husband wants to get his Master’s degree and I’m concerned that he’ll have even less time for our family.  Our sons have started complaining about their Dad’s schedule — he’s always too busy, and the only interaction he has with them is church or disciplining them.  What should I do?


Dear Tina,

Many men find their sense of purpose through their work.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless it begins to interfere with their relationship with their family.

People who are involved in church work sometimes confuse their ministry with their relationship with God.  They “spiritualize” things and justify shortchanging their families because they are doing “the Lord’s work.”  But family commitments should always take precedence over ministry involvement.

Your sons are at a critical time in their development and they need both quality AND quantity time with their dad.

Your husband’s desire to earn his master’s degree is commendable.  But graduate degrees can be completed part-time, taking one or two classes per semester.  It may take a while to finish, but no degree or job is worth sacrificing your children for.

Your husband needs to be held accountable by an older, more experienced mentor or a group of Christian men who can help him keep his priorities straight.  If you discuss this issue with him and he is inflexible or defensive, then family counseling may be the next step.

Thanks for writing Tina.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” tab on the Family Expert page.

Click here for the audio version of this article.

Shine Family Expert

Can Where You Live Impact Your Level Of Stress?

If you want to take a relaxing vacation this summer, go to Hawaii. But stay away from West Virginia! According to a new Gallup poll, those two states ranked as the least and most stressful places to live. writer Erica Ho reports on the  annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey.  That report tracks the stress levels of Americans living in all 50 states.

Over 350,000 people were interviewed over the course of a year and were asked to answer the question: “Did you feel stressed during a lot of the day yesterday?”

West Virginians felt the most stressed, with 47.1% answering “yes”.

Rhode Island, Kentucky, Utah and Massachusetts didn’t fare much better, coming in right behind. Interestingly, West Virginia, Kentucky and Utah have ranked in the top five consistently for the past five years, though it is unclear why.

According to the survey, stress levels overall did not change much in 2012 compared with 2011. The Northeast and Midwest consistently reported the highest levels of stress than other regions of the United States, with a few exceptions.

Less-stressed states tended to report more ‘enjoyment’ in comparison to the most-stressed states.

The states rated “least stressful” were  Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa, and Wyoming.

By the way, if you’re planning a vacation this summer, make this little note to self.  Changing travel plans is getting more expensive on US Airways and United.  US Airways has increased the fee for changing a flight from 150-dollars to 200-dollars for domestic flights.  That matches the fee hike United put in place a couple weeks ago.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Click here for the audio version of this article.