Relationships and Marriage

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Husband and Stepdad Viewing Child Pornography

How would you advise a woman who has just discovered that her husband is viewing child pornography? I'm very sorry to say that this is my personal situation. I have a young daughter from a previous marriage who lives with us. I love my husband and want our marriage to survive, but at the same time I need to protect my daughter and make sure she remains safe. What should I do?

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Husband Looks At Other Women

Do I have reason to feel hurt and upset when I see my husband turn his head and look at other women? He has always been faithful to and affirming of me. I trust him, and he's the last guy I'd characterize as a womanizer. Still, it bothers me to see him react this way when he's out in public. Am I too sensitive about this?

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Husband Refuses to Work

Is there anything I can do about a husband who simply refuses to get a job and work? We've been married for twelve years and for the last ten he's stayed home and done nothing all day while I've gone off to work. He contributes nothing to our home and family. It's all "take" and no "give" with him. One of our kids was recently diagnosed with a medical condition that will be costly to treat and my job will no longer cover our expenses. Yet he still plans to maintain the status quo. Do you have any advice for me?

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Opposite-Sex Friendships in Marriage

Is it wrong for a married person to have a friend of the opposite sex? While my spouse was away on a week-long missions trip, I enlisted a male friend from work to come over and help me care for our eighteen-month-old daughter. In the process, we ended up watching movies together or working on office-related projects after my daughter went to bed. When my husband came home, he was very unhappy about this and expressed fear that I might be involved in an affair. He seems to think it's impossible for two adults of the opposite sex to have a non-sexual relationship. He's even asked that I never spend time with this co-worker again. I'm cooperating with his request, but I can't help feeling resentful of his unfounded suspicions. What do you think?

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Guidelines for Online Dating

What's your opinion of online dating? I'm in my mid-twenties and have developed a friendship with a young woman I met on the Internet. She lives in another state and we've talked quite a bit on the phone since then. We've both expressed an interest in exploring this relationship further, but so far we've never met in person. Do you have any advice as to how we should proceed?

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Husband-to-Be Has Been Sexually Active Before Marriage

As a bride-to-be, how can I get past the struggle and disappointment I'm experiencing due to the fact that the man I'm marrying isn't a virgin? I don't hold this against him. In fact, I almost feel guilty for having these feelings because he is a devoted Christian, gentle and kind, and a man of deep character. At the same time, I can't help but worry that this may have some kind of effect on our marriage and how we interact with one another as husband and wife. I have been lying awake at night wondering if this struggle will ever go away. Can you help me?

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Christian Romantically Involved With a Non-Christian

Is it okay to be romantically involved with a guy who doesn't share my Christian faith? He asked me out on a date six months ago, and though at the time I didn't think it was a good idea, I went ahead and accepted. Now he's captured my heart and I don't know what to do. I'm in pretty deep, but unless he makes a commitment to follow Jesus I don't think I can marry him. At the same time, if there's a chance that he may accept Christ, I don't want to break things off and throw away the most wonderful relationship I've ever experienced. What should I do?

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Cohabiting Boyfriend Has Been Unfaithful

What should I do about my boyfriend who recently cheated on me? We've been living together for the past couple of years, but I recently found out that he's been sexting a "friend" of mine. When I confronted him, he said it's my fault. Then he left me and our baby and is now staying with his dad. I guess that makes me a single mother. I feel so alone, hurt, and betrayed. What should I do?

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Denominationally Mismatched Romance

Should I pursue a serious relationship with someone of another denomination whose theological framework is radically different from my own? While serving on a short-term mission this summer, I met a young lady for whom I have developed deep feelings and great respect. We've been corresponding since we returned to the States, and our friendship has reached a point where a "next step" is being prayerfully considered. While we share the same biblical values and passionate commitment to Christ, we come from different (some might even suggest conflicting) doctrinal backgrounds. She firmly adheres to the fundamental tenets of the faith (i.e., the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds), but there are some people in my church who I'm certain would consider the beliefs and doctrines of her denomination heretical. What should I do?

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Emotional Affairs and Ongoing Friendships

Should my husband and I discontinue our friendship with another couple simply because the man and I became involved in an emotional affair? It's over now, and my spouse and the man's wife have taken a firm but conciliatory attitude towards the whole thing. For obvious reasons, we've also suspended our normal get-togethers for the time being. Quite frankly, this has been one of the hardest aspects of the entire situation. It's a huge loss for all of us. Now that the affair is in the past, do you think it would be okay to go back to "life as usual"? Or should this special friendship be permanently ended?

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Recovery and Reconciliation: Emotional and Sexual Affairs Compared

Is the recovery and reconciliation process as difficult for an emotional affair as compared to infidelity involving sexual activity? What are the differences? My husband has twice become emotionally involved with a woman at our church. At the moment he's still struggling and has asked for forgiveness, but I'm not sure what to do or where we should go from here.

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Emotional Affairs and Grounds for Divorce

Are repeated emotional affairs biblical grounds for divorce? On several occasions my husband has become emotionally involved with other women in ways that have been seriously destructive to our marriage. The most recent incident involved a lady with whom he'd been emotionally intimate in the past. I'm tired of his betrayals, and though we've been in counseling together for some time, I see nothing in him to indicate that there's any hope of change in the future. What should I do?

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Engaged Couple Wants to Know Why Premarital Sex Isn't Okay

Now that we are committed to be married, why should we wait to have sexual intercourse? How can there be anything wrong with our love-making when we've already promised to spend our lives together?

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Infidelity: Distinguishing the Difference Between Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Is there a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation in a case of marital infidelity? Over a year ago, I discovered that my husband had resumed an emotional affair with a good friend of mine. Altogether, the two episodes covered a span of nearly ten years. After I confronted him for the second time, he wept and said he was very sorry. He has assured me – and I think he is sincere – that the relationship has ended. I honestly believe in my heart that I have forgiven my husband, but in spite of this I have had a hard time trusting him or feeling any affection for him. This upsets him. He says that it should be enough for me to know that the affair is over and that he has promised never to be unfaithful again. Even our counselor – who has never talked with us about what went on during the affair or the pain it has caused me – has said that my feelings are evidence that I haven't forgiven my husband. I'm hurt and confused. Can you help me?

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Infertility Testing During Engagement

Would it be okay for me to ask my bride-to-be to get tested for infertility before we're married? I can't understand the current trend toward "intentional childlessness" or the apparent devaluation of children in our culture in fact, I've wanted kids for as long as I can remember! I also believe that marriage, sex, and children are all part of the same package (I'm sure your ministry agrees). Instead of choosing childlessness, I'm determined to be intentional about having kids. If I can't do this with my betrothed, I'm not sure I want to pursue marrying her. What do you think?

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How to Confess an Affair to Your Spouse

How do I go about telling my wife that I've been unfaithful to her? I recently ended a longtime affair with another woman. After wrestling with my guilt for a long time and confessing my sin before God, I've come to the conclusion that it's best to disclose this information and share the whole story with my spouse. How can I do this in a way that will inflict the least amount of damage?

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Information and Referral to Focus on the Family Marriage Ministries

Does Focus on the Family offer marriage retreats and conferences for couples?

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Liberating Marital Sex From Disturbing Memories of the Past

Is it possible for a married couple to have a healthy sexual relationship in the present even if they've had troubling experiences with sex in the past? I was sexually abused as a child and my spouse was promiscuous during adolescence. Now these issues have come back to haunt us and are major roadblocks to intimacy in our marriage. What can we do to get past these barriers?

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Pastor Husband Is Compromising His Integrity

What should a pastor's wife do if she becomes aware that her spouse is "embellishing" his sermons with half-truths or outright lies? My husband will often tell stories about himself in the pulpit that I know to be either greatly exaggerated or borrowed from some other source. I've never directly confronted him, but on the few occasions when I've gently questioned him about this, he has become extremely defensive and attempted to justify the practice. I keep hoping the Holy Spirit will convict him, but at the same time I'm worried about the impact his behavior is likely to have on our kids. I'm also aware that it's my biblical duty to honor my husband. Is this something I should just learn to live with?

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Parents Estranged From Son and Daughter-in-Law

How can we keep up a relationship with our son when his wife has forbidden him to have any contact with us? This has been our situation for years, and we're heartbroken because of it. We have asked them many times to please tell us how we've wronged them so we can make amends, but there has been no response. They've made their wishes clear, and we want to respect that. But we also want to assure our son and daughter-in-law of our love and that our hearts remain open to a relationship with them. What should we do?

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Parents Blocking Grandparents' Relationship With Grandchildren

We really want to develop a meaningful relationship with our grandchildren, but over time our daughter and son-in-law have pushed us away to the point where it seems they don't want much to do with us. As a result, we have very little interaction with the grandkids. When their parents do allow it, the time is very limited. What is the best way to approach this situation?

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Should my boyfriend and I live together before getting married in order to save money?

Should my boyfriend and I live together to save money for our wedding? As we've discussed the matter, it has occurred to us that sharing an apartment before the wedding-just as a temporary measure-might be a practical step for us financially. The plan is for my boyfriend to have his own room while I share the other bedroom with my six-year-old daughter (who, by the way, loves my boyfriend dearly). What do you think?

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Cohabiting Senior Couples: Financial and Moral Considerations

Is it wrong for seniors to live together for financial reasons? My elderly father recently moved in with a woman he's been dating for several months. When I objected, he told me that they had discussed marriage many times but ultimately rejected the idea for financial reasons. According to my dad, it's a matter of protecting their individual assets and preserving each partner's Social Security benefits. He says they would actually lose a sizable portion of their monthly income if they were to get married. Now he's talking about having a "commitment ceremony" at church as an alternative to legal marriage. What's your take on this? Does the Bible have anything to say about a couple being married in the eyes of the church but not according to the laws of the state?

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Cohabitation and Its Implications for Marriage

Is living together before marriage a good test of marital compatibility? My boyfriend and I both come from broken homes. We've been talking about spending our lives together, but we're afraid of ending up divorced like our parents. How do you suggest we handle this?

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