Promise Keepers: Men and Marriage in 2021 (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Welcome everyone to Family Talk. It's a ministry of the James Dobson Family Institute supported by listeners, just like you. I'm Dr. James Dobson, and I'm thrilled that you've joined us.

Roger Marsh: Hello, everyone. This is Roger Marsh for Family Talk. Now, before we get to today's broadcast, some of the content discussed on the program is really intended for more mature audiences. So if you have little ones listening in right now, parental discretion is advised. Either occupy them with something else or come back to this presentation at a later time at Thanks so much for joining us for this edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

Dr. Clinton: Hi everyone, I'm Dr. Tim Clinton, and this is Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk, a radio production of the James Dobson Family Institute. I'm your host, also serve as executive director of JDFI. I appreciate your listening and for supporting the growth of our ministry. You know men are absolutely essential to the future of America. I don't want to downplay the role of women, because we all know that they're just as critical, probably more important, but we're going to talk about men today. God honoring men need and must begin by leading at home. It's all about starting right there and building our culture for better and guiding our families toward Jesus. Unfortunately, a lot of men have abandoned their posts in this area. Not only that, the very idea of masculinity in some circles is being considered toxic. I'm talking about biblical manhood, toxic. Something's got to be done to fix these problems.

Dr. Clinton: Our guest today is Ken Harrison. He's chairman of Promise Keepers. You've heard of that organization. They've rebooted that famed evangelical men's movement. It's now a digital peer to peer community and event ministry. Yes, building up godly men. Ken is also the CEO of Waterstone Foundation. That's a Christian financial company providing advice and assistance to non-profit organizations. He's an author, speaker, and by the way, a very outspoken advocate for the resurgence of Christ centered manhood. Most importantly, he loves the Lord. He's a loving husband. He's the father of three amazing kids, and Ken, it's great to have you here today to talk about Promise Keepers and some exciting things coming up early in 2021. Thanks for joining us.

Ken Harrison: Thanks to you, man. Always good to be with you, man.

Dr. Clinton: Ken, it's fun to be with you. Ken, as we get started, I want to talk about, we're going to talk about a dynamic marriage event that is happening in just a few days here in late January. I think it's going to run from January 23rd to the 13th that I think everyone listening, they're going to want to be a part of it. They're going to want to get everybody they love involved in this. I think it's something that God's going to use in a big way to encourage and strengthen couples and families, marriages.

Dr. Clinton: But first, Ken, I want to talk about men. Men have had a beat down in our world. I think most men I talk to, Ken, they're sick and tired of being called buffoons, distant, disengaged dads, pathetic husband, porn addicts, lazy out of touch. Ken, what are you seeing in the hearts of men? I think they want encouragement, is what they're looking for.

Ken Harrison: There was a time back in the history of Israel when the Lord called all the men to come together in Israel three times a year. He said, "I will supernaturally guard all of your towns when you come together, but you need to come together to be reminded of who you are in God. You are the sons of the Lord, that you're the chosen people of God." Because men, they get so immersed in the stuff of the day of helping their family, protecting their family, that they forget who they are. They forget who God is. There's a lack of a fear of the Lord because well, I got to solve all the problems myself. I see that as one of the missions of Promise Keepers is to get men together and go, "Hey fellas, remember who you are in the Lord."

Dr. Clinton: Yeah. Ken, I think there's a stirring among men. Most of the men I talked to, they want to be better dads. They may struggle talking about it. They love their families. They may struggle connecting, but they do. They want to be better followers of Christ. They may struggle on how to do that, but I'm telling you, and it reminds me kind of that scene in that movie, Saving Private Ryan. At the end of it, when I can see that, you remember that gray graveyard scene and that older man is walking through the graveyard, and he says this, "Just tell me that I'm a good man. Tell me that I was a good man."

Ken Harrison: The thing of it is, is we know even from the scripture that women want to be loved and cherished, and men want to be respected. Man, where it keeps swallowing this garbage from the world, that we're all the same. Gender is fluid. No, it's not. Men want to be respected and women want to be loved and cherished, and that's why it tells men, "Love your wives, wives, respect your husbands," because God knew, because he created us to be that way, that that's who we are.

Dr. Clinton: Ken, why is there such a beat down on men? Why this conversation about masculinity as toxic and the whole bit? We understand behavior that yes, there is bad behavior, bad decisions. We get all that. But masculinity, being a man, isn't toxic.

Ken Harrison: Well, we got to remember that we have an enemy. Satan hates God, but he can't touch God. So he touches God's people. His whole goal is to divide us from God and divide us from each other. The entire focus of civilization is marriage. It is how God created us to come together to be married, and then as we come together in marriage, we have offspring. So we attacked offspring. Roe vs. Wade. We've been murdering babies in the womb now for 50 years in this country, and now he's attacking marriage, and then in order to really get to marriage, you attack masculinity. If you can get one half of marriages off track, then you can destroy the very foundations of the church, the world, culture, and America.

Dr. Clinton: Yeah. Ken, Promise Keepers stepping into this world, by the way, that's very complicated. Throw in the COVID pandemic and everything. But how are you reaching out to men? How do you speaking into their lives? I think it's important for us because I think our listeners, every woman listening, they want their men encouraged. They want to strengthen them. They love their sons. They love their dads. They love their husbands. They love the men in their life. They don't want them beat up and destroyed. They love them. How's PK with this whole new digital world and everything that's going on stepping into the lives of men?

Ken Harrison: Yeah, it's interesting. Coach McCartney and I are very close friends, and we talk about these kinds of things and where Promised Keepers is going. We know that part of the problem is we're still trying to figure out as a culture for the first time in the history of mankind, we don't have a society in which fathers are training their sons. Especially in America, one of the reasons America is so powerful is we were an agricultural society. Fathers worked beside their sons their whole lives, constantly pouring into them about how to be a man. Tim, you know I used to be a policeman in South Central Los Angeles in the ghetto. So I saw what happens with the epidemic of fatherlessness and boys who don't understand who they are ended up running after their flesh. They ended up being dictated by violence and sex. That is the basic foundational sin, and the twist of nature in men is that absent proper training, proper identity, proper value, you end up going after violence and sex. That's what we see in the ghettos of America. Murder and unwanted babies, and the absolute abuse of women.

Ken Harrison: What the world is offering us today as a solution is more of the same, and it's going to decimate us. So having had that experience, at Promise Keepers, I realized and Coach McCartney, and I talked about this. We need to give men practical teaching about how to be a man. The great stadium events, when we can have them, are going to be great. But we need to have teaching because men right now are going, "Yeah, I want to be a better man. But how, what does that mean? Where do I go? How do I be a man?"

Ken Harrison: That's why we're, I guess, transitioned to the marriage conference. That's where we're going to have practical teaching on marriage. It's a two hour live event on the 23rd and then a three week challenge and follow up. But that two hour event isn't going to be like anything you've ever seen the church. We're going to talk about sex. Straight up talking about sex because when it comes to marriage, that's what men want to know, and that's where there are a lot of them are failing. Talking about sexual purity. Talk about how to communicate, how to handle confrontation. Hard-hitting issues that the church either can't or won't talk about that men need to hear, and that women are going, "Man. I wish my husband knew this or that." We're going to talk about that.

Dr. Clinton: The event is called the Men's Marriage Summit. Ken, again, you're kicking this off. I think January 23rd. That's a lively event that day on Facebook, YouTube, probably in more. Then you're going to have a follow-up that goes all the way right up to Valentine's Day, February 13th.

Dr. Clinton: Ken, let's talk about marriage real quick, because this is an issue when it comes to men. We don't necessarily do all that well in our marriage. Not everybody, but this connection is really important. Emotional closeness is an issue. Ecclesiastes 9:9 says "Live joyfully with the one you love all the days of your life". That's a tough thing to do, Ken, when it seems like everything is coming against you in your marriage, and then throw on top of it, 2020, and what we experienced with the COVID pandemic. You know there's an increase of mental health issues, depression. How about marital tension? Because we're looking and staring at each other every day. The stress and anxiety piece going up, people losing jobs, losing loved ones. They're saying there's an uptick in domestic violence and more. Ken, it's like everything is coming against our love and marriage. Do you see that? Huh?

Ken Harrison: Oh, man, yeah. Then you add the fact that so many men have a mentor, what the tools are. So we said a minute ago that we're going to talk about sex, and that's going to be the talk that I give. It's going to be entitled, what you wish your dad would have told you about sex. I don't talk it a lot of our stuff, but this is the one where I feel like I have a lot to offer having raised three kids who have maintained their sexual purity into adulthood. One of the basic things, there was a big lead up, but I think this will help to resonate with some people. You talk about the difference by how we would treat sex, for instance, and for everybody listening who's getting nervous. Don't worry. I'll keep this PG.

Ken Harrison: But when a man has sex, there are zero consequences for him in the natural. None. A man has sex, and he's gone. In the natural, for a woman, every sexual encounter is a potential life altering event called pregnancy. Again, in the natural, women died in pregnancy for many thousands of years. So every time a woman has sex, there's an instinctive thing in her that says, "If I get pregnant, if I have a life altering event, is this man worth that? Is this episode worth? Am I protected? Am I provided for? Is he the kind of guy who's going to cherish me, or see the guy's going to take off?"

Ken Harrison: So therefore, just that basic understanding of how a man would treat sex very casually. Of course, there's no consequences. And how a woman would treat sex much differently. You start to understand then as a man, the importance of making your wife feels extremely cherished and protected. You start understanding that the events that lead up to that moment, they started in the morning, not at night when you go to bed. They start with how you've treated her, how you've talked to her, how you've handled the family finances. These are the kinds of things that guys just don't think about unless their dads told them, and too many guys today, their dads never told them this stuff.

Dr. Clinton: Ken, add on top of that, a lot of men associate love with sex. That if we're having conflict, we're fighting, we're not doing well together, he'll want to have intimacy with his spouse, with his wife to quote, "be affirmed in love." She, on the other hand, doesn't necessarily see it the same way, Ken. As a result, it gets confusing, especially when couples are going through a hard time. Ken, throw on top of it the issue of love. To love and be loved is the essence of life. If you look at Genesis 2, God created us not to be alone, and it's not good that man or woman be alone.

Dr. Clinton: I've often said this. Nothing more beautiful in all the world than to be in a relationship with someone who's supposed to love you, and they actually love you. There's nothing more painful than to be in a relationship with someone who's supposed to love you, Ken, and they don't love you. There's a lot of brokenness out there. There's a lot of empty relationships behind closed doors. There's a lot of profound sorrow, Ken, and we need to speak to that. I mean, we've got to break through these barriers or we're not going to get anywhere.

Ken Harrison: Yeah, that's right, Tim, and the problem is, is that we end up in a circular destructive conversation. I mean just pretty obvious when you go back to the sex thing. A man doesn't understand this, and so his wife isn't in the mood at night because he doesn't realize things that went on during that day or what affected it, it wasn't him necessarily. It was just different things that he needs to have learned to be empathetic about.

Ken Harrison: So then when he feels rejected, what does he do? He turns to pornography. Then the more the woman senses that he's in pornography, the less she's in the mood, and the less she's in the mood, the more he's into pornography. I cannot tell you. Man, you're in this world, you know. The massive amount of Christian marriages that are absolutely on the rocks because a man feels rejected and continues to go to pornography, and the more she does, the more the wife feels rejected and not wanted, and doesn't want to have sex with her husband because she feels like she's being used.

Ken Harrison: We got to stop the nonsense. So some people who are in happy marriages may be going, "Man, you're talking a lot about sex right now." Well, because with men, when it comes to marriage, that's the number one thing on their minds is it's the sex, the health of the sexual relationship. For a lot of women don't understand how incredibly important it is to men. So we just got to start talking about this in an honest way and stop sweeping it under the rug and start to acknowledge, hey, some of you guys feel rejected. Some of you guys feel rejected and it's your own fault. You don't even realize it.

Ken Harrison: So let's unpack this as older men teaching the younger men, hey, this is how you have a happy marriage. This is how you make your wife feel cherished. This is how you communicate. This is how you resolve conflict. Your relationship's going to have those. What does it mean to be a leader? I find a lot of these guys will tell me, I get mail constantly, "You need to tell these wives, women to submit." No, I don't. My message is not to women, it's to men. Right?

Dr. Clinton: I'm with you.

Ken Harrison: Yeah. I'm not unpacking that suitcase. But I will talk to men about how you're an empathetic, humble leader to your family.

Dr. Clinton: Yeah. Ken, let's talk about pornography for a moment. You mentioned it. I think a lot of couples see porn as a modern day aphrodisiac. If their relationship's in trouble, they spin in that direction or he pushes her in that direction because he's messed up or caught up in it. Ken, and what it does is that Proverbs 5 thing. Hey, the lips of a strange woman, even an imaginary lover, drippeths the honeycomb. But you got to finish the verse. It may get a little spicy upfront, but it's going to get dicey in a moment because her end is what? Wormwood or hell itself, literally, is what happens. It destroys the very thing that you want: closeness, connection, intimacy. The thing you think that's bringing some life to your relationship is absolutely decimating it. Ken, and porn's a big issue. It's a big issue inside the church.

Ken Harrison: Yeah, and I don't think a lot of us have acknowledged that, that there are sexual trauma that happened to men. There are bad habits where they run to that sort of thing when they're in stress, when things aren't right. It soothes them. Again, and we see it growing in women too, by the way. Not to be scary, but to pick up on what you just said, Jesus said, "If your eye causes you to lust, cut it out of your head, it's better to go into heaven with one eye than it hell with two eyes." I can't think of a more lustful thing than looking up porn. The thing of it is, is so many men live their lives in defeat as if they can't help it. God created them that way. What are they going to do?

Ken Harrison: No, it's your sinful nature. God created you to have an intense longing for the one with whom you are one, your wife. Any longing that you would have for your wife for any other woman is part of your sinful nature. Now we know we all have sinful natures, so I'm not saying this to be condemning. But what I am saying is that as a man becomes holy, and for all the men out there listening, as I can tell you, as you become holy and sanctified in the Lord, you literally stop lusting. You don't have that. You have an intense longing for the wife that God gave you. So I would encourage, guys, you don't have to live in defeat. Satan wants to tell you that you're going to live in defeat. He wants to tell you, you failed before you're going to fail again. No.

Ken Harrison: As you're filled with the Holy spirit, you claim victory, porn becomes something that mortifies you. It becomes, as I say, to guys about porn all the time, that woman who's making that movie, she's not doing it because it's a good time. She's doing it because she's been exploited, trafficked, abused by other men, and the people who are making that movie aren't doing it because they're your friend. They're doing it because every time you click on them mouse, they make more money to exploit more women. A man of God, should see porn, his only reaction should be to want to go and throw a blanket around that girl and say, "You don't have to do this anymore." Tell her about the grace and love of Jesus.

Dr. Clinton: It's God's daughter.

Ken Harrison: That is not your reaction.

Dr. Clinton: Someone's daughter, God's daughter, too. Ken, what's scary to me is we have the pandemic. I was interviewing a friend of mine, Jim Kresse, and he said, "Tim, there's a porn-demic that's happening too at the same time. PornHub, all that stuff is exploding as a result of what's happened here. Ken, what's really mortifying is the number one consumer of internet porn are basically young men. What? 11 to 17 years old, and Ken, they're getting programming. They're seeing stuff that grown men can't handle. How in the world can 11 to 17 year old kid?

Ken Harrison: The world in his foolishness offers us its nonsensical solutions, and it's shock. So we see a growing up epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses, and we wonder why. Well, we've had boys looking at porn from the time they were 10 years old. Porn never says no. So what their fed is a bunch of women who are like men, that all the emotion and love and connection has been taken out. They're just these sexual craze creatures. Then this poor 17 year old or 18 year old kid who may not have had a father at home goes to college, and a girl says, "No." Well, that's not how his brain's been programmed. Then we're shocked when he grabs her, and the world says, "Oh, goodness gracious. What are we going to do now?" The answer is Jesus Christ. The answer is if we repent of our sins, He is just, and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Yeah, that's the answer.

Dr. Clinton: Yeah. Ken, spiritual intimacy is also a big issue between couples. It's hard to know God together. I don't know what it is. I don't know if it's fear. I don't know if it's anger. I don't know if it's a lack of knowledge. You could throw in all those issues. But at the end of the day, we know this, that God's desire is for the two of us to become one and accept the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it. Ken, what do you think about spiritual intimacy? Are we going to be focused on that in the Men's Marriage Summit? And how important is it in your mind that we connect with God together?

Ken Harrison: Yeah, one of the talks we're going to have, and by the way, the whole thing is free, and it will only be two hours long. It'll be a lot of speakers, eight to 10 minutes, very intense. But one of the guys will be John Bevere talking about the fear of the Lord. When you have fear of the Lord, then you'll treat your wife with great respect.

Ken Harrison: I would just say, as it comes to leadership men, leading their families, one of the greatest things that you can do as a husband and as a father is to regularly pray with your wife. For a lot of men, they don't know how. They feel intimidated. A great part of this is to just be honest and say, "Hey, baby, I really don't know how to do this, but I really want us to have a spiritual connection. I would love it if we could just hold hands." It's funny, when you look at how Jesus prays to the father in the gospels, it's always like this just basic simple conversation. It's not holy. It's not eloquent. It's just raw and honest.

Dr. Clinton: Yeah. Ken, the Men's Marriage Summit, a gathering of legacy. I think you're going to have quite a lineup and a lot of topics to cover, to encourage men to strengthen their marriages and families. Ken, give us the basics. How do we find out more information? How do we get enrolled? How do we get loved ones, our churches, and more in as a part of this event?

Ken Harrison: Yeah. Go to and register. It'll take you 10 seconds. It's your name and email and everything is free. We want guys to get together. So we're going to have lots of churches all over America getting together to watch this, the ones that can, to watch this together. It'll also be on Facebook Live, all the different social media outlets.

Ken Harrison: We had 1.2 million men watch our live event on July 31st. In 84 countries, by the way. We're expecting a huge turnout across the world on this. So on January 23rd, it will be live. All the details around Then after that, there will be a three-week challenge with really in depth connection, making friends with guys, how do I walk this road?

Ken Harrison: Then at the end of the three weeks, we're going to show a little bit altered event that you can sit down and watch with your wife. It's designed to watch with your wife, and there will be a few women's speakers in there. Not preaching, but talking more about marriage experiences, so that I know what's going to happen. After this event, you're going to have a lot of guys go to their wives and apologize or have all the stuff, excitement, all these tools they've gotten. We don't want to just leave them there. We want to have a real three week solid plan to go through it, and then at the end, they watch another event with their wife at the end of that three weeks.

Dr. Clinton: Beautiful. Ken, again, the start date is January 23rd. So don't mess around here. Get your church, get everybody loved involved. Get every man you know dialed into the PK event here. Again, it's called the Men's Marriage Summit,, right, Ken? .Org.

Ken Harrison: That is right.

Dr. Clinton: Well, I know Ken, you and your style. You're going to have this one loaded up for bear. You can learn more information about the Men's Marriage Summit by going up on our broadcast page at That's

Dr. Clinton: Hey, we're going to be sharing this event up on our Facebook page. You want to watch for it there. This is going to be an exciting event. Ken, we appreciate you putting together, love your heart for men. We can't wait to see what God's going to do. Thank you for joining us.

Ken Harrison: Thanks, brother.

Roger Marsh: You've been listening to a special edition of Family Talk hosted today by Dr. Tim Clinton. I'm Roger Marsh, and if you're a Christian man who would like to start a new chapter in 2021 as a more God honoring husband and father, this is the perfect time to start. For more information about Ken Harrison, the president of Promise Keepers and the upcoming online Men's marriage Summit, which is Saturday, January 23rd, starting at 11:00 AM Eastern, visit our broadcast page at, and then click on the broadcast tab.

Roger Marsh: The men's marriage summit will feature 19 speakers, including Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of the book, The Five Love Languages; pastor and author Crawford Loritts; John Bevere; Gary Rosberg; Reverend Samuel Rodriguez; comedian Brad Stein; and Senators Tim Scott and James Lankford. For more information on the Men's Marriage Summit on Saturday, January 23rd, click onto our broadcast page at

Roger Marsh: If you feel the Lord prompting you to support us financially right now as we start the new year encouraging and equipping Christian men, remember you can make a donation over the phone when you call (877) 732-6825. That's (877) 732-6825. Or if you prefer, you can write to us at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. PO box 39000, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80949. Again, that mailing address is the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, PO box 39000, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80949. Thanks so much for your prayers and your faithful financial support, and be sure to join us again next time for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. Thanks for listening.

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