042: A Better Approach for Dating and Marriage

Podcast Guest: Dr. John Van Epp
042: A Better Approach for Dating and Marriage

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In this Episode

On today’s episode, Dr. Dave and Dr. Liz talk with Dr. John Van Epp who brings to light some of the most important things we can do when selecting a life partner as well as how to strengthen those relationships over time. We learn some of the predictors of how long-term relationships will turn out as well as some principles to help navigate both red and green flags within our relationships.

0:00 – Introduction: Who is John Van Epp?
2:42 – Life-partner selection process
11:58 – Predictors of getting to “know” and getting to “no”
13:33 – Media love vs True love 16:10 – Let heart and head work together
20:00 – Discerning our partner is a process
26:16 – 5 ways to notice green flags and red flags
31:30 – With definition comes implementation
34:02 – Attraction alone is not enough
35:04 – Key areas to address stressors and struggles in dating
40:43 – Being equally yoked strengthens connection
42:32 – Have a game plan for managing your relationship
44:26 – John’s relationship resources
47:10 – John’s takeaway: heart and head are meant to work together
48:38 – Liz’s takeaway: Partner selection process is key
49:04 – Dave’s takeaway: Trust and commitment grow over time, RAM is a great resource

About John Van Epp

John Van Epp, PhD, President and Founder of Love Thinks, LLC is the author of How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk (or Jerkette)-top choice for singles by Christianity Today; Becoming Better Together: the RAM plan for growing together when life is pulling you apart; and Endgame: The Church’s Strategic Move to Save Faith and Family in America.

He has previous experience as

  • a founding church pastor
  • an adjunct seminary professor in marriage and family with extensive research in premarital, marital, and family relations
  • a clinical counselor for 25 years in his private counseling practice
  • for over 20 years, he has trained military personnel and contracted with the military as a subject matter expert (SME) in relationship health, psychology, religion, suicide, and resilience.
For the past 25 years, he has developed relationship programs that have been taught by over 35,000 certified instructors to over one million participants.
He was awarded the Smart Marriage and the NARME Impact Awards, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Psychology Today, O Magazine; he has appeared on the CBS Early Show, Good Morning America, Fox News, and Focus on the Family.

John Van Epp Links:

- https://www.mylovethinks.com/
- Dr. Morgan Cutlip Instagram
- https://ramseries.com/
-Healthy Relationships Utah

Insights and Invites


John: With definition comes implementation. Your heart and your head are meant to work together in making decisions.
Dave: Trust and commitment grow over time.
Liz: There is very little you can do to compensate after marriage for choosing poorly before marriage.


  • After your next date, self-reflect and ask yourself: “Was there something I could have said or done to make my partner feel more seen?”
  • Take a dating class to better help discern what kind of person you are dating and if they are someone you want to be with long-term.
  • When getting to know someone, ask about or observe one of these 5 subjects: family, conscience (belief system), compatibility potential (what kinds of things do you agree on?), track record (dating/relationship history), and/or their skill level of relationships.

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