Relationships and Marriage

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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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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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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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Opposite-Sex Friendships in Marriage

Is it wrong for a married person to have a friend of the opposite gender? 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 gender 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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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