Imitation and Influence

Chris Grace, Tim Muehlhoff - January 17, 2018

Have you ever seen a child imitate their parent? Or their friends? After looking at some research studies, Dr. Chris Grace and Dr. Tim Muehlhoff explain that we never really grow out of that. Are you aware of the things that influence you and how they impact your behavior? Are you aware of who is imitating you? Tune in to this discussion and hear to learn how much you might be influenced by what is happening around you!


Transcript

Chris Grace: Welcome to the Art of Relationships. I'm Chris Grace.

Tim Muehlhoff: And I'm Tim Muehlhoff.

Chris Grace: We get to join you again here from beautiful Biola University where both Tim and I are professors. Tim in communication and I'm in psychology. We've been talking, Tim, about all things relationships of course and we've been talking about influence and its impact. Some of the positive and negative ways other people influence us.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: We can expand that out now. It's not just occurring in individual, personal relationships, but broad culturally and in social groups, and then in modeling, and even in relationships in which we're only watching the behavior ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Right

Chris Grace: ...of people.

Tim Muehlhoff: Right.

Chris Grace: I think about the impact of my actions, and especially after becoming a parent, I realize my children imitate everything I do.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: They watch the way I walk, they see things, they're very sensitive, and so I'm having this huge impact on them just simply by my actions and behavior. When we influence other people, we have to realize that we walk in this world both as a testimony, ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: ... right, as a way and as a witness. This is God's use of us in order to bring other people to him is primarily by, as John said in 13:35, right, he said, "You are to love one another, by all this, this new commandment I give you, love one another, even as I have loved you. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples and they will know, not because I'm telling them necessarily, but by my actions." So, let's talk a little bit about the impact of influence, both the positive and negative going on.

Tim Muehlhoff: A funny story about impact. So, when I was young, I had this gap between my teeth and I begged my parents not to get me braces. Why? So I could spit between my two teeth. I used to love doing it, did it all the time. Noreen said to me one time, she said, "Honey, be careful how much you spit. The kids are going to." I'm like, "Now, Honey, trust me they're not going to." The kids were finally cutting the grass. They're old enough to do it. Noreen and I are sitting in a room looking out the window and there's my middle son stopping turning, right through his front teeth, just kept going. Noreen just looked at me and I was like, "Okay, duly noted." The kids are watching ...

Chris Grace: They are watching.

Tim Muehlhoff: ... what we're doing and we watch culture, ...

Chris Grace: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Muehlhoff: ... we watch people at church, we watch neighbors, we watch family members, and what we see, we internalize in deep ways.

Chris Grace: We do. I was in the car one time with my son and we were driving. This car felt like I maybe cut him off and I didn't feel like I did, but ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Right.

Chris Grace: ... I could tell by his non-verbal behavior, by looking in my rear-view mirror he wasn't happy and there's usually a universal sign for anger that we show each other. This man is driving right next to my car, and he is going ... That's actually a woman now that I think about it. So, there's a woman who drove, and she's pulling up right next to me, and she gives me the finger.

Tim Muehlhoff: No way.

Chris Grace: Now, my son is there watching, and he goes, "Daddy," and so I realize in the time like that, that A, I didn't do anything wrong.

Tim Muehlhoff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Grace: She just, well, I think was being inappropriate and so I realized my son could imitate this, so I did the only thing I thought of at the moment and I just stuck my tongue out at her instead. No. My son didn't really see that, but he said, "Daddy, why is that lady looking so angry at you right now?"

Tim Muehlhoff: Did you really stick your tongue out?

Chris Grace: Oh, I did. I did and it was awesome because she didn't know how to react. The woman was very angry with the fact, but here's the interesting thing. I knew in my head that my son will watch and see ...

Tim Muehlhoff: That's right, that's right.

Chris Grace: ... the way that I behave ...

Tim Muehlhoff: That's right.

Chris Grace: ... especially when I'm not even familiar or ready for that. What are those influences then that we need to be careful of in relationships and who do we surround ourselves with? Who do we have as friends, right? In Hebrews, the writer says of course, 12:1, "We're surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses that we are to lay aside every weight and sin, which cling so closely," right? "Then run with endurance the race that is set before us."

Tim Muehlhoff: That's good, yeah.

Chris Grace: The idea of Proverbs in 27:17, iron sharpens iron.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's right.

Chris Grace: We do that.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yep.

Chris Grace: We are going to need to know that our behavior, our actions, are being picked up by others.

Tim Muehlhoff: And that we're picking up other people's actions. There's a fascinating study done by the University of London looking at what impact do romantic comedies have on Americans and how they view love, sex, dating, and marriage. They took a look at, you know, this was a little bit a while ago, but they took a look at movies, like Tom Hanks movies, You've Got Mail, Julia Roberts' movies, Jennifer Lopez, and they concluded by saying this, "We imitate what they do. We imitate how they do romance. We imitate their commitment to each other. All of these things impress themselves," and she said at the very end, the lead researcher said, "I think American romantic comedies are ruining people's perception of what love really is." So, we imitate what we see on the silver screen and so that's a good, I guess, warning. Man, be kind of careful what we're allowing. Plato said this, "You can't observe anything and not in a certain way be influenced by it."

Chris Grace: Yeah, the study, Tim, that stands out to me was similar. When it was done looking at drug use of teenagers and the beginning, for example, they were looking at even smoking. They were finding that you could predict the likelihood of somebody smoking simply by knowing the number of their friends that did.

Tim Muehlhoff: Wow. Wow.

Chris Grace: There's a strong correlation between the number of friends that you have that perform a certain behavior, in this case it was, it was, you know, an anti-smoking type of study, but in the other hand they were just simply looking at influence and it was all based upon, at least the biggest factor was, do you have friends that do this, you are more likely to do that. Now, studies like that could be sobering.

Tim Muehlhoff: There's another one, Chris, I don't know if you saw this study, but there was a study done. Remember when Avatar came out and ...

Chris Grace: Mm-hmm.

Tim Muehlhoff: ... Sigourney Weaver was one of the main, lead characters in this movie. She was a chain smoker in Avatar. Well, they did a study and Avatar won major awards, it was incredibly one of the highest grossing movies in American history, cinema history, they did a study on how much did that influence young girls smoking. They saw a correlation that cigarette sales went up.

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: A lot of people really appealed to Hollywood, man, you've got to be careful when you have these cigarette smoking main characters because there's a direct correlation on how it affects young people and their smoking tendencies.

Chris Grace: Mm-hmm.

Tim Muehlhoff: That being said, we notice what happens on the silver screen, we notice what happens on television, and we tend to mirror that, so that that's just a reason to be, man, be discerning in what we're taking a look at because we know we're going to model it to a certain degree.

Chris Grace: You know this, it's interesting because a lot of this is picked up by people. It's not taught, right?

Tim Muehlhoff: Mm-hmm.

Chris Grace: A lot of this is being caught, it's not something I'm out there preaching or teaching or doing something, but my behavior is leaking out who I am instead of my character and values, and people read that. Right? It's interesting, Tim, it's a slight aside, but I think people read authenticity in us. In fact, it's one of the ways that psychologists and those that look at and examine lying behavior, they look at the difference between what a person is saying and their facial expressions, what their emotions are, what their non-verbal's are. When there's a disconnect between that, we're more likely to think that person is not being authentic and that is they're not being truthful or honest.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: Humans are extremely good at reading and will read the non-verbal over the verbal.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: Especially if they compete with each other. If someone says, "I'm not angry," and they look angry and act angry with their body language, we're going to believe that because we feel like it's more in our control to change our words, as if that is something I can control, but that body language or our behaviors really are not as much into our control.

Tim Muehlhoff: To lay a little Aristotle on you, baby, Aristotle would say your credibility is leaned to what he called virtue, which is do you live out what you say in public?

Chris Grace: That's right.

Tim Muehlhoff: By the way, this is an interesting moment for you and I because we're both public speakers. We speak on marriage conferences. There's a guy, Eugene Peterson, in a book called Subversive Spirituality has an interesting quote. I teach communication classes, so in my Intro to Communication Theory class, I write this quote on the board. Here's the quote: "The most damaging thing to a person's soul is ..." and then I just draw a blank. Then, I have my students respond to it. Well, what do you think Eugene Peterson says? What's the most damaging thing to your soul? They'll say things like pornography, premarital sex, gluttony, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Well, I write in and there's an audible gasp. Do you know what he says? Public speaking.

Chris Grace: Mmm.

Tim Muehlhoff: I say to my students, "Why would he say public speaking," and I think it's what you just said, Chris. So, Noreen sit and listens to me up front talk about God's perspective of marriage, not to hold a grudge, to be quick to forgive, put people's interests above yourself. She hears that, but lives with me. Virtue or credibility is do you live out what you say in front of your spouse? Man, it's so easy, Chris, right? It's so easy to say, well, of course marriage is the most important thing and Jesus died for the church and I'm supposed to love my spouse as Christ loved the church. Noreen hears all of that and it's like, but do you do it?

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: Right? That's hard, but that's a huge part of whether you're going to have influence in a person's life.

Chris Grace: Yep, that's right. Is there an authenticity ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: ... between and the connection between your virtue that which you, and then what you say and do? You're right, man, it becomes so hard. Early on, Alisa and I really had to spend a lot of time talking about we're going to go talk about this and we don't do it well at this time. We have to really be honest about this ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: ... because I can't get up there and fake this and we have to ... It becomes one of those places and opportunities for us where God can kind of use this in our own lives and our own worlds to point out some areas and especially some blind spots.

Tim Muehlhoff: The single, funniest thing Noreen has ever said to me is, Chris, we were at a marriage conference and I was passionately talking about marriage up there, right? Afterwards, we're heading to the airport and we're in the car and I just said to Noreen in the taxi, I said, "Noreen, I'm so sorry I do like half of everything I said up there," and Noreen said, "Half?" You give each other grace, right.

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: I mean, you give each other grace, and with the kids, man, they're looking at you saying, "You say I'm a priority, but am I a priority?" And that kind of stuff. Man, we do judge each other's credibility all the time and if we're going to have influence, we got to walk the walk.

Chris Grace: We do.

Tim Muehlhoff: Walk the talk.

Chris Grace: We're really ... That's right because we're good at that. One last little point on this about the science of this that has always impressed me. It comes at a very early age with infants who are playing with a toy. If you cover up their hands as they're playing with the toy in front of you, if the adult comes in and just puts their hands right above the infant's hands, that infant doesn't pull their hands away, doesn't push ... They do one thing first above anything else, they look up at the eyes of the person who's covering up their hands to see are you playing with me? Are you having fun with me or are you mean? They read the non-verbal.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, yep.

Chris Grace: Most of the time adults who do that kind of give that little smile, and that kid goes okay, you're fun. You're just having fun with me.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: We look to the person and we read oftentimes what we see in them. That's part of this influence that we have, right, in just an interpersonal way and then as we've been talking a little bit, even at a broader, social level way.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, and that influence isn't just a facade. I mean, the Bible takes it so much deeper. Hey, I don't want you to talk like a good husband, I want you to be a good husband. I don't want you to talk about honesty and truthfulness, I want you to be an honest, truthful person. Plato, man, Aristotle and Plato in one podcast, but Plato would say, here's how I will judge your credibility. I'm going to give you a ring that when you put the ring on you're invisible. Now, you will never get caught. Right? See, a lot of us are good because we're afraid to be bad.

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: Plato would say, okay, give you a ring, now no one will ever catch you. So, I remember one time my kids, we love to watch the Super Bowl, just like everybody else, so I never forget when the Lions won their very first Super Bowl. It was just ...

Chris Grace: Wow [crosstalk 00:13:04].

Tim Muehlhoff: [crosstalk 00:13:06] they never have. Okay, but we were watching the Super Bowl and remember this commercial came on. I forget who it was, but in a just a really short, red dress. I turned it, right? I had the remote control. I believe that's biblical, Chris. I believe ... It's not implicitly stated in the Bible, but I think it's there if you dig enough. Especially in the new living translation, but, so ... Which, I actually love a lot, but I turned it and my kids were like, "Dad, why can't we watch that commercial?" I said, "Listen, Dad doesn't need to be seeing anybody in a short, red dress like that, okay, so we just don't need to do that." Couple of days later, Noreen is doing the dishes, I had the TV muted because I'm grading some papers and I look up and there's that exact, same commercial. The kids aren't in the room, it's muted, Noreen will never know. That's what Plato's talking about.

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: In that moment, when you know you're not going to get caught, what's your character like in that moment? I think that's what God's getting at.

Chris Grace: I think he is, too. I think that's what first John 3:18 is, you know, when he says, "Dear children, let us not love in with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth."

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, that's good. Yeah.

Chris Grace: What that means is, okay, my actions, my word and tongue are important, but it's that deed and in truth he talks about in..

Tim Muehlhoff: Let's talk about this, Chris. Whenever we talk about this issue at marriage conferences, a lot of people come up to us, men and women, who will say this, man, I wish I would have heard this talk 10 years ago because I blew it. I shredded my credibility with my wife. I shredded my credibility with my kids. You can just feel the shame and this feeling like it's too late to get it back. I do think, not to over-spiritualize this, but I do think that Satan's greatest tactic is to say it's too late. It's too late to save your marriage, it's too late to get the credibility back with the kids. What would we say to a person who walks up and says, "Man, I wish I would have heard this podcast a long time ago because I blew it. I looked at that commercial and I looked at things far worse." What do we say to a person? How do you regain your credibility with your kids or your wife or your husband if you feel like I shredded my credibility? How do we regain it?

Chris Grace: Tim, it starts obviously with this notion of accepting the fact that we have messed up, we have someone ... I mean, the whole notion of what forgiveness is is pretty powerful. There's a difference between trust and forgiveness ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Mm-hmm.

Chris Grace: ... and some people have to navigate that, right?

Tim Muehlhoff: That's good.

Chris Grace: I will extend forgiveness, but I have to be able to not only grant, but I have to seek forgiveness. When I do that in a way and then my behavior starts to come around and there's trust that starts to get built up ...

Tim Muehlhoff: You build a track record.

Chris Grace: You do.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yep.

Chris Grace: It's not right away sometimes. I think I would encourage a person to say, "Listen ..." We know a biblical passage about forgiveness that is our favorite. If we confess our sins for ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: Here's one of my favorites, "He is faithful and just to forgive us and then to purify us." Well, purification takes a long time and to earn that trust and develop that trust in somebody that you shredded, it can happen.

Tim Muehlhoff: Don't be impatient.

Chris Grace: Yes.

Tim Muehlhoff: Don't say ...

Chris Grace: Let it wait, that's right.

Tim Muehlhoff: ... well, now you should trust me because it's been a month, it's been ... Something happened, Chris. One of my kids, I have great kids, one of them just told a lie. Flat out lie and got caught. Just so happened when I confronted him, we had had a birthday party the day before so there were some balloons laying around, I said to him, "Hey, grab that balloon, blow it up, but don't tie the end of it." So, he blows up this balloon. I say to him, "That's my trust in you, right there. That's it, right there. Now, let go of it." He let go of it, it was like, and lands. I said, "That's where we're at with trust right now. Hey, good news, you can blow the balloon back up. You can regain your trust, but right now there's no sleepovers," there's no using this, there's no using any of that. So, guess what? In about five, six months, it was great when he came up and said, "Hey, can I do a sleepover?" I said, "Sure, we trust you." Then, I looked at him and said, "Hey, be careful with that trust."

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: Chris, sometimes I feel like people I deal with, they're so impatient to get the trust back.

Chris Grace: Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: Well, it's been a couple weeks, my spouse doesn't ... Right? No, that takes time to re-earn. Now, that can be punitive, right? A spouse can be punitive towards another spouse and say, you'll never, or I'm going to make you jump through every single hoop I can think of before I grant you trust. That's a power dynamic that has to be addressed.

Chris Grace: Yeah, that can be emotionally damaging as well ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: ... where that's held over the head of somebody.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yep.

Chris Grace: That takes as much courage and effort to grant forgiveness as it did for that person to seek, so to grant means you put that aside, you don't really bring it back up, you know, you're able to, in a way that allows that person that room and that opportunity to grow. Even though we don't forget it, it still has that process and power to it.

Tim Muehlhoff: That's a good distinction, Chris, is we don't forget it. I mean, depending on what the mistrust was, we don't forget it, but I choose not to use it against you. Remember Clara Barton? She was the head of the Red Cross, the founder? She was very publicly betrayed by a friend and the newspapers went with the story. While some years went by and she was being interviewed publicly and somebody said, "I'm just curious about this woman who betrayed you." She goes, "I'm sorry. I don't know what you're talking about." The reporter's like, "Oh, come on, of course you do." She goes, "No, no. I clearly remember when I forgot that."

Chris Grace: Mm-hmm.

Tim Muehlhoff: I thought, that was so good ...

Chris Grace: That is.

Tim Muehlhoff: ... because I remember, but I don't bring it up against you. Hey, let's talk ... So, we've talked about culture.

Chris Grace: Yeah, and it's influence and it's impact ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: ... and how we are influence other people or influenced by, so sometimes our friend groups we've ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, yeah.

Chris Grace: ... been talking about influence us.

Tim Muehlhoff: We came across an interesting thing at the center. It's called Divorce Clustering. I was not aware of this before I came across it, but there was a study done by the University of California at San Diego and they asked a question, could your marriage be put at risk by a friend's divorce? Shockingly, the answer was yeah, to a great degree. They said this, "If your friend's marriage falls apart and they in fact divorce, your chance of divorcing increases by 75%." This is how it gets even more bizarre. "Even the breakup of a friend of a friend's marriage boosts your chances of divorce by a third." Social scientists call this Divorce Clustering and the lead researcher said this. He said, "When a person's going through a divorce, they talk about it with their friend and they do talk about the pluses and the minuses." The friend listening, his research, they only took away the positives of divorce.

He said it's kind of like a virus that goes among friend groups. Right? The flu, you pass it on to each other, so when you see this momentum happening, it picks up momentum and people start to get divorced in clusters. We saw this on my son's soccer team where in the space of one year, three couples got a divorce who had been lifelong friends and because one guy, they did it and it shocked everybody, then that gave permission to the second group to do it. Now, the third couple did it, so this clustering thing is interesting, Chris.

Chris Grace: Yeah, I think what is surprising, I think, for some is the fact that we can actually be impacted in ways that really ... It's not somebody sitting there preaching to us or teaching us about the benefits and the joys of divorce and trying to convince us. Really, what they're doing, what we're doing, is we're now able for the ... We start to entertain or hear or process some things.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: You know, we empathize with the person and realize, gosh, if I was in that situation I might do the same thing. We're oftentimes hearing one side and our friend.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: I think what ends up happening is we begin to slightly ... I think what will shock listeners a little bit is, well, I'm not sure that will happen to me or I think I could resist this a little bit, but I think you have to be very cautious and very careful ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah.

Chris Grace: ... that which we let in. That which we take in is going to have a huge impact. We talk about emotional [contagions 00:21:23] ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, yeah. Yep.

Chris Grace: ... well, we begin to now take in those emotions of another person. It's pretty powerful dynamic when that occurs, but the same thing is occurring with ideas or concepts, ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Mm.

Chris Grace: ... as viruses that come in. I think the only inoculation, Tim, well, there's a couple. It's knowing and walking and understanding the way in which we're going to be impacted. Right? How do we avoid being influenced negatively by a lot of things? Well, first of all, we need to be pretty much aware of this. We need to be cognizant of the fact that if we go fight or argue or whatever it is, I need to understand and to see what am I doing in this? What role and then what impact is this having on me, especially as I watch and listen to others struggling in this area? What am I taking on? What am I and then how is that influencing or impacting my own views of this?

Tim Muehlhoff: That's right. Chris, don't you think the inverse is true? If there's divorce clustering, couldn't there be commitment clustering?

Chris Grace: Oh yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: You and I belong to a marriage group.

Chris Grace: Right.

Tim Muehlhoff: We meet probably twice a month and by the way, we don't always talk about marriage. We kind of call it a marriage group, but we talk about a ton of different things.

Chris Grace: Yeah, with eight different couples.

Tim Muehlhoff: With eight different couples who are all committed to each other ...

Chris Grace: Mm-hmm.

Tim Muehlhoff: ... and all talk about struggles, but hey, we're in this for life. I think commitment clustering can happen where like, hey, we're part of a group and we are absolutely committed. I suppose if one of those couples got a divorce, the divorce clustering would happen where you'd say, okay, if that couple can get a divorce, then it is possible that somebody else in the group could get a divorce, but the commitment thing, right, it could gain momentum.

Chris Grace: Oh, not only it can, I think it's the reason why we tend to want to and need to have community. Right?

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, huge.

Chris Grace: Community with others is an opportunity to keep each other not only in places where we can be safe and vulnerable and share with, but it also provides something. Community provides just that. It's this clustering like, they're doing this, they've navigated this well, they're doing this well, and it can be an encouragement and a hope for other couples. I think Tim is exactly right. In fact, it is most likely going to be that that positive influence is going to have an impact on us. Right? I see this in our marriage group. We can watch, I don't necessarily listen to everything a person says about how they treat their spouse or something, you just watch it ...

Tim Muehlhoff: Oh, you watch it. Yeah.

Chris Grace: ... and you see.

Tim Muehlhoff: Yep.

Chris Grace: What you're doing is going, they're doing that well. I can see this in them, the love or the commitment and then I want to do the same thing. That's where I think this clustering can have its positive impact.

Tim Muehlhoff: You don't shun couples who are struggling, we're not saying that at all, but when you are part of a community that values what the scriptures say about marriage, that we are one flesh. That we're doing this whole thing for life. Again, to hear people's struggles, but we're not quitting is the commitment clustering that I think can really happen. We encourage listeners to be part of a church, to be part of a group, and guess what? If your church doesn't have a group, man, start one.

Chris Grace: Yep.

Tim Muehlhoff: Find a book on marriage or something and say hey, let's read it together as a group. We'll alternate who leads discussion or something like that.

Chris Grace: I think that's right. I think a lot of churches have landed on the fact that when people just show up, for example, on a Sunday, it's awesome, they're in community, but really where life happens, where this clustering occurs if we're going to use that phrase, it's in these moments outside. It's in these life groups or whatever the church calls it. Yeah, I think, Tim, that's a great encouragement. If you want to have an impact, if you want to influence other people and you want to do this positively, surround yourself with people, not perfect people, not perfect couples, but people that in general you can do life with, that you can share and be vulnerable with and you know that you're committed to hanging out, seeing, and walking with each other. What a great way of modeling and mentoring.

Tim Muehlhoff: And, go to a marriage retreat. Go to a marriage conference. Right? It can be what we offer at Biola University. We call them Going Deeper Conferences or you can do a family-like marriage conference, but find something because to sit in a room with hundreds of people and have this commitment is really important. Let me mention my very fun study from a communication professor who can't talk.

Here's the study, a community was broken into two groups, the purpose of it was we want you to cut down on usage of your air conditioner. Now, one group, all the family did was get together independently and say, hey, we want to cut down usage by 20%-30%. The other group, you got together and said we're going to cut down by 20%-30%, but then you got up in front of everybody and you said hey, the Muehlhoff family pledges that we're going to cut down by 30% in the upcoming year. Well, researchers were fascinated. Did it make any difference that you said it publicly? Guess what, it made a huge difference of how that those groups that got up and said, "We're committed and we're going to declare this publicly," that's a really good thing to be in a ballroom of people who are declaring, hey, we're in this for life. We're not perfect, but we're in it for life and we want to fulfill God's vision for marriage. Man, that's huge.

Chris Grace: Yeah, what a great argument for going to, like you said, to invest in your marriage, being involved in a group, a life group. Going to a marriage conference you can see there's 20, 30, 50 other couples in this room who are doing the same thing. They are making these commitments, they're listening to this. What a great testimony and a great way to have community and to accept that kind of modeling and influence and impact that can be some amazing changes in people.

Tim Muehlhoff: I'm going to pledge to listeners right now that the Muehlhoff family is going to lower our air conditioning usage by 1% this ...

Chris Grace: Okay. Yeah.

Tim Muehlhoff: Now that I said it publicly, we're going to shoot for it.

Chris Grace: What a vow, what a commitment. Don't go too far or too extreme, but go...

Tim Muehlhoff: My carbon footprint.

Chris Grace: Well, listen, if you want some [inaudible 00:27:30] other examples of ways in which you can do this, we have a lot of events that we advertise on our CMR.Biola.edu, but just go find something and go find a group. Go find some of these places to go and get some .

Tim Muehlhoff: Check out our resources. We have a ton of them.

Chris Grace: There's a lot there. Well, it's good to talk with you all and Tim, it's been enjoyable.

Tim Muehlhoff: [Bye 00:27:48], it's been great.

Chris Grace: Alright. Take care, you all.

 

 


Chris Grace

Christopher Grace serves as the director of the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships and teaches psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology. He and his wife, Alisa, speak regularly to married couples, churches, singles and college students on the topic of relationships, dating and marriage. Grace earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Colorado State University.

Tim Muehlhoff

Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University and author of several books, including I Beg to Differ and Marriage Forecasting. For the past 18 years, he and his wife, Noreen, have been frequent speakers at FamilyLife marriage conferences. Muehlhoff regularly writes and speaks for the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships. Follow Dr. Muehlhoff on Twitter.


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