Scenic view of trees at camp

Dutch and Dutchess’s Advice

by Lizzie Klein


Do you have a saying that your family lives by? In season 2 of the Pine Cove Podcast, we sat down with Craig “Dutch” Langmeier and Carrie “Dutchess” Langmeier to talk about some of the household phrases that have guided their parenting, marriage, and life relationships throughout the years. Just like their marriage check-in, this interview offers some great, practical advice for all of us—even those without kids. Check out some of Craig and Carrie’s wisdom below, then listen to the podcast episodes at the link below! 

Run to the problem, not from the problem.

Very few problems go away on their own—in fact, most get bigger over time. That’s why it is so important to face conflict head on instead of putting it away and pretending it isn’t there. The truth is you will face disagreements, whether that be with your children, spouse, coworkers, or friends. But the quicker you confront them, the quicker you will be able to walk in the freedom that comes with true reconciliation.

So how do you do that?

  • Be up front about what you want to talk about as you jump into the conversation. It’s too easy to try to avoid being clear about what the problem actually is. 
  • It’s hard to have a conversation when you’re rushing from thing to thing. Create margin in your life so that you have time to talk about problems.
  • Wait for the Lord’s green light to initiate conversations.
  • Look inside yourself first. Crazily enough, you might be the problem!
  • Take the first step toward the problem. This might be the hardest thing to do.

Listen Here

Fight for intimacy over harmony.

Would you call yourself a “peacemaker”? Or a “peace-faker”? Sometimes we get the wrong idea about peace and think that avoiding conflict is the way to unity. However, the Lord calls us to engage in the uncomfortable. If being known is the goal, that involves really being honest with one another. The reality is that if you don’t deal with it now, you will probably hold bitterness. And the best way to keep a little thing from becoming a big thing is to compassionately walk into hard conversations with the people you love.

So how do you do that?

  • Learn to identify how you are feeling and how it happened. You will need to be able to help someone else understand you better, which starts by understanding yourself.
  • Love someone enough to say something. True love doesn’t allow someone else to not be told when they are behaving in a way that is disrupting intimacy.
  • Don’t bring up things in the heat of an emotional moment. Be wise about the timing of your conversation.
  • Remember that this is worth doing poorly. It’s better to have a bad conversation that moves you closer in intimacy than to not have a conversation at all. 

Listen Here

Consumption without contribution leads to entitlement.

Work hard, play hard. This saying is often thrown around without much thought, but the truth behind it is so valuable! We want to be contributors, not just consumers of the world around us. When we learn the value of hard work, we not only gain a stronger work ethic, but we also gain self-confidence and gratitude that will transform our view of our household, job, and community. Teaching your kids to find meaning in even the little things will produce in them a sense of responsibility that will serve them for years to come.

So how do you do that?

  • Start young. Look for ways your little kids can contribute around the house.
  • Provide opportunities to contribute. It’s always easier to do it all yourself, but kids will learn by doing. 
  • Use the phrase, “Join me in this important work.” This helps children see the meaning behind their contribution and see the value of their work.
  • Play hard together. Don’t forget to celebrate and have fun when the work is done!

Listen Here

You produce what you praise.

Positive reinforcement might make you think of dog training or even a science class that you took in middle school, but did you know that it actually works with people? When we reward people for their behavior, it really does encourage them to continue doing it. Finding ways to uplift your coworkers, spouse, or children when they care for you well will not only make them feel good, but will keep them coming back for more!

So how do you do that?

  • Praise character, not just competence. Make sure you’re looking for ways to encourage the inner traits that resulted in good behavior, not just the behavior itself.
  • Give private AND public praise. You need both for healthy encouragement.
  • Apply this to all relationships, not just your children. Everyone needs to hear they are doing a good job!

Listen Here

Prepare your heart.

Have you ever had someone unexpectedly pull you aside to tell you something hard? Were you left feeling overwhelmed and underprepared because you just didn’t see it coming? That is the whole idea behind giving someone time to prepare their heart. Some conversations are just plain hard, and if delivered at the wrong time they can create even bigger problems in the future. A great way to avoid a defensive, emotional, or hurtful reaction is to give someone time to prepare their heart for what you need to say.

So how do you do that?

  • Show others honor by asking if it’s a good time to talk. 
  • If not, say, “Tell me when you’re ready.” And be willing to wait until they’re ready.
  • Make sure they know that you are on their team. It’s important to remind them of that as you head into potentially difficult conversations.
  • Give the Holy Spirit time to work. It might take some time before someone is ready to talk about something difficult. Be prayerful and patient.

Listen Here

Posted Oct 19, 2022

Lizzie Klein

Former Forge Student

Read More Posts

Click here to sign up for our Inside the Cove newsletter!