Relationships and Marriage

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Showing Respect to a Disagreeable Elder

Can you tell me what it means to "honor" (Exodus 20:12) a parent who has become increasingly cranky, feisty, disagreeable, and demanding as a result of Alzheimer's disease and the aging process? My mom was once a sweet, caring, and soft-spoken woman, but all that has changed dramatically over the past few years. I can hardly stand to be around her anymore! How does one "honor" a person like that?

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Helping an Unemployed Spouse

What can I do to support my husband now that he's lost his job? He's been unemployed for three months, and though he's searched long and hard he still can't find a new position. Meanwhile, he's becoming bored and depressed, and I can tell that he's beginning to feel worthless. How do I come alongside him at a time like this?

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Stay-at-Home Mom Wants to Make Life Easier for Husband

How can I support my husband and keep our marriage a priority when it takes everything I've got just to keep the household running? Being a stay-at-home mom of small children isn't easy, but my spouse works hard, too, and I don't want to neglect his needs. What can I do to come alongside him?

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Spouse Is Insensitive, Wants To "Fix" Everything

Is there a way to stop my spouse from trying to "fix" my problems and actually start listening to me? I'm the kind of person who needs to "vent" from time to time, but whenever I start sharing my emotions, he just cuts me off and gives me a list of things I should do to "fix" things. But I'm not looking for "answers" – just a listening ear. I'm frustrated.

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Developing Teamwork in Marriage

How can my spouse and I make major decisions together with the least amount of conflict and misunderstanding? As a young couple just starting out, we want to practice good communication skills that will help us build a successful lifelong marriage. Where do we begin?

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Trouble Communicating in Marriage

How can my spouse and I learn to understand each other and make ourselves understood? Whenever I try to talk to him on a deeper, more meaningful level, nothing I say seems to connect. Sometimes my words even backfire on me. Am I doing something wrong?

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STD Testing for Unfaithful Spouse

Should a spouse who has had an affair be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and infections? My husband recently ended an affair, and we are working toward reconciliation. It's a touchy process and I don't want to do anything that might suggest a lack of trust or indicate that I haven't forgiven him. At the same time, I don't think my concerns are unreasonable. What should I do?

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Spouse Misrepresents Husband / Wife

What should I do when my spouse frequently makes inaccurate or embarrassing statements about me in the company of family or friends? I don't think it's intentional, but these comments often cast me in a bad light or seriously misrepresent my character. This has been going on for several years now. At first, out of respect for my spouse, I would wait until we were alone to set the record straight. More recently this has become such a regular occurrence that I'm beginning to feel the need to defend my reputation in public. What would you recommend?

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The Impact of Gender Distinctions on Marriage

How do gender distinctions-psychological and emotional as well as physical and sexual-impact male-female relationships and the business of everyday life within the context of marriage? What do husbands and wives need to know about this subject, and how will such knowledge help them build a stronger marital bond?

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Age Differences in Romantic Relationships

Is it wrong for me to be dating a woman who is much younger than I am? I'm forty-one and she's twenty-five. We've been together about six months and have a great relationship. We also share a strong faith and have many goals and interests in common. The subject of marriage has come up, but I'm hesitant to move ahead. I can't help wondering what friends and family will say. What do you think?

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Boyfriend Is a New Christian

Should I slow things down with my boyfriend just because he is a new Christian? I recently began dating a young man whom I like very much and who seems to be a person of strong character. He accepted Christ about five months ago, and had been attending church and Bible study before we met. Although we both have expressed our affection for each other, a friend of mine has suggested that it might be a good idea to avoid diving in head-first until I'm sure that he's serious about his Christian commitment and that it's not just a passing thing. What do you think?

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Pursuing a Relationship with Victim of Dating Break-Up

How long should I wait before pursuing a young lady who has recently gone through a difficult break-up with a boyfriend? I realize that she's in a place where she needs time to deal with the hurt and loss. At the same time, I don't want to wait around too long and possibly lose out on any chance I might have with her. Any advice?

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Sex Toys

What is your opinion of married couples using sex toys or other "marital aids" for sexual enjoyment with one another? My husband has suggested it, and while I'm open to the idea, it feels a bit "taboo" to me for some reason. Can you help me sort this out?

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Sharing Marital Frustrations with Family

Should I share my marital frustrations and problems with my parents and siblings? We've always been a very tight-knit family, and there are few people I trust more. Our marriage isn't in crisis, but there are times when I need some support or simply want to vent. Is that okay?

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Sexual Intimacy and Sexual Trauma in Marriage

If sex is an indispensable part of a healthy marital relationship - and most of the material I've read says that it is - what does this imply for a marriage in which the act of sex has become traumatic for the wife? That's my situation. There are a couple of reasons for this, and neither of them has anything to do with past abuse or a history of negative sexual experiences. It's partly a question of pain and discomfort due to physical issues, but the bigger problem is my emotional revulsion to the perverse sexual practices in which my husband wants me to engage. He's been addicted to pornography for at least a decade and half (only recently discovered), and he's constantly asking me to help him act out the disgusting images he sees in magazines and on the Internet. As a dutiful wife, I've tried to maintain a "healthy Christian marriage" by accommodating his requests. Unfortunately, it's only made things worse. This leads me to wonder: can sex actually become a barrier to a healthy marriage when it can't be expressed in the way God intended? Is there no place for a man to "love His wife as Christ loved the church" by laying down his "rights" to sex - especially when it's his behavior that has made sex traumatic for her on every level?

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Revealing An Affair to Spouse of the Other Party Who's Still "In The Dark"

What's the best way to handle the revelation of an affair when one guilty spouse has come clean or been exposed, but the husband or wife of the other unfaithful party is still in the dark? My wife and a man from our church were involved with one another for over four years until I discovered their relationship three months ago. My wife has since cut off the relationship and we've moved to another church. We're working through the painful aftermath, but most people are unaware of what's been going on. That includes the other man's wife. Is there any good reason to bring all this to light and share the situation with her? My understanding is that this is not her husband's first affair, and it's possible that exposing this latest round of unfaithfulness could spell doom for their marriage. I'm also wondering how this added dynamic might affect our own attempts to reconcile. What do you suggest?

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Nothing To Hide Booklet

How can I get a copy of the booklet "Nothing To Hide"?

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Unsure about Whether to Confess an Affair to Spouse

Should I tell my husband that I've been unfaithful to him? I recently ended a relationship with another man, but I have serious doubts about the wisdom of revealing this to my spouse. As things stand, he has no idea that anything of this kind has been going on. I've confessed my sin before God, but why hurt him and risk destroying our marriage by bringing it up? Would it be better just to sweep the whole thing under the rug?

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Wondering If Spouse Is Truly Repentant Over Affair

How can I be sure that my spouse is really repentant for the pain he has caused me? A year ago, I discovered he'd been involved in an emotional affair with another woman for nearly a decade. He also has a history of explosive anger which has often led to verbal abuse. On a number of occasions he has actually thrown things at me. Though he's ended the extramarital relationship, softened his demeanor somewhat, and even says that he's eager to go to counseling and work on our marriage, I can't help feeling confused. Once he said to me, "I know I've messed up in the past, but you have a pretty good thing going with me." Several times when I've mentioned his violent behavior, he has responded with, "Yes, I threw things at you, but I missed." He also maintains that he only concealed the affair from me for ten years because he "didn't want to hurt me." I don't feel we can move forward until this is resolved in my mind. What do you think?

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Young Man Attracted to His Girlfriend's Sister

What should I do if I find myself increasingly drawn to my girlfriend's sister? I've been dating a very good, kind, and godly young lady for about three months now, and in the process I've spent a lot of time getting to know her entire family. I didn't anticipate that I would end up feeling a greater affinity for and a stronger attraction to her sister, but that's exactly what has happened. Bottom line: I'd like to pursue a deeper relationship with the sister, but I don't want to be responsible for causing dissension within the family. I've sought the counsel of several wise friends, but they all tell me something different. I feel lost and stuck. Any advice?

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Woman Wants Fiance's Relationship With Female Friend to End

How should I respond when my fiancée insists that I break off all ties with a lifelong female friend? This friend and I have been close since childhood. We grew up next door to each other. Our relationship, which has always been purely platonic, remains strong in spite of the fact that she's been married for the past five years (she and her husband actually introduced me to my bride-to-be). Now, with the wedding just a month away, my fiancée tells me that this friendship has to end. I realize that my relationship with my female friend must change in some important ways (it already has), but given our history, I can't help feeling that this is an unreasonable request. What do you think?

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Woman Wants Her Lover to Leave His Wife

How can I motivate my lover to stop dragging his feet and leave his wife? I'm eager to start a new life with him, but as long as he's tied to her I'm relegated to playing second fiddle. I know this isn't an easy step for him to take, even though she has treated him like dirt the whole time they've been married. But it's been frustrating and disappointing waiting for him to break free so that we can pursue our own happy lives together. What should I do?

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When and How to Tell Family About Marital Crisis

When should I tell the members of my immediate family - my parents and siblings - that my marriage is on the rocks? My wife and I have been struggling for a long time, and we've recently begun to talk about a possible separation. We're seeing a counselor and we both want the relationship to work, but so far things aren't getting any better. I've purposely kept our difficulties from the rest of the family, feeling that this would be in the best interest of our marriage. But the direction things are moving, I don't know how long I can or should continue to do so.

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Still Can't Sleep in Same Bed with Formerly Unfaithful Spouse

Does the fact that I'm not ready to sleep in the same bed with my husband since learning of his affair mean that I haven't forgiven him? Several months ago I discovered that he had been involved with another woman for more than four years. He's sorry about it now and has cut off the relationship, but for some reason I'm still not at a place where I feel comfortable getting close to him or being intimate with him. He's frustrated by this and says that I obviously haven't forgiven him. He has also suggested that it might be best if he sleeps at a friend's house (of the same sex) until I'm ready to come back to bed with him. What should I do?

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