When it comes to building family relationships that last, you can do it yourself: model compassion, love, and forgiveness. Every day.

Meet the Author!

Dr. Shannon Warden is currently a professor of counseling at Piedmont International University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She has worked as an assistant professor at two other universities and as a licensed professional counselor for over 20 years. Shannon and Dr. Gary Chapman have partnered in ministry and have co-written another book together called Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents.

Doing It Ourselves: Starting Out

When I married my husband and moved to Hawaii, I knew we wouldn’t have a budget for things like furniture sets. We expected to start off small, live on what we already had, or gifts from the wedding.

We made things stretch, and were just happy to be together. Until we were faced with home-improvement opportunities – the battle of the wills had begun.

One of the first fights we ever had was over a couch on the street. It was free, it was there, and I wanted it.

 My new husband, being the savvy space and energy-saving man he was, insisted that we wait before shoving another piece of furniture into our already-cramped cottage.

I cried, then he got mad and left. I was hurt, he was confused, and we still had no couch.

Do It Yourself: Forgiveness

When there is strife in a family, it’s often the small things built up over time, that go unaddressed and unresolved. These big piles of little things can cause more tension when all involved refuse to make a move and clear away that emotional clutter.

In this episode, Shannon talks about how to draw up the plans and choose forgiveness by changing our attitudes. Change can be scary when resentment has been living for a long time! 

Do It Yourself: Repurpose and Improve the Old

Two moves after that first cottage, we had a cute little house on the corner. I was inspired to choose theme colors for the front room that brought the whole feel of the home together to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Instead of spending money on furniture, my husband helped me to find pieces that we needed like bookshelves and entry tables. I refurbished a few pieces that are still in our home almost four years later.

Our relationships can become old and stagnant, and we feel thrown on top of the trash pile. But God is so good. He pick us up out of the miry clay, and sets our feet upon the Rock (Psalm 40:2). The solid foundation of His love is the only place where our lives are redeemed and find purpose. 

Do It Yourself: Make Your Move

Shannon talks about doing the right thing ourselves, not waiting for others to make the first move.

Our relationship comes closer together when we find our inner value in the Lord and not each other. When we communicate that to our family and see them as a gift from God, we will be less-likely to find offense.

Do It Yourself: Know When to Call a Contractor

In our interview, Shannon talks about the times when it is wiser to bring in an expert. Yes, we can know and love Jesus, but when there are deep-seeded hurts that a professional counselor needs to help you get though, do not attempt to DIY.

Shannon mentions times when women invalidate themselves either because of a strict Christian upbringing or a misunderstanding about submission. We need to be given a new identity in the wisdom of God through the help of counselors equipped to rebuild our brokenness.

Believe you’re worthy
Pray for your spouse
Express your need

Do It Yourself: Model Love and Compassion

Our kids need to see what forgiveness and heathy compromise looks like. As you work on the culture and relationship of your home, don’t be afraid to show them your struggles and re-dos. They need that hope to believe that struggle is okay, and starting over is necessary.

Click play on the episode above to listen in on my interview with Dr. Shannon Warden and take these simple steps to DIY your family relationships.


8:53 The DIY metaphor for family

9:48 Repurposed Life Ministries

11:33 How to decrease disrespect and increase gratitude

13:35 How Jenn’s attitude affects her kids

16:45 When we try to DIY our marriage and what works instead

20:43 When we have different project goals / homeschool moms

25:24 Maintaining the home & what we can do daily

30:20 Being on guard against things that come in from the outside

Shannon Warden Do It Yourself

Click the image to get The DIY Guide to Building A Family That Lasts!

The most exciting part of any home improvement show is the big reveal—that moment when a drab, run-down house becomes a breathtaking new home. What if you could have that with your home life? That’s what the DIY Guide is all about. Whether you need a touch-up or a total relational makeover, experienced counselors Gary Chapman and Shannon Warden will help you rehab your home environment. They’ll give you the tools to make the changes you need. Each chapter takes a simple idea, explains it using a home improvement metaphor, and shows you how to apply it in your home. You can’t hire a contractor for this work, but if you’re willing to put in the sweat equity (hard work), you’ll see results fast. Don’t wait any longer. Get started today and give your home life the renovations it deserves.

Shannon Warden Do It Yourself
Shannon Warden Do It Yourself

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