Relationships and Marriage

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Becoming a Successful Blended Family

As a recently remarried stepparent, what can I do to make the transition to blended family life as smooth as possible for my children, my spouse's kids, and everyone else concerned?

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Wife Critical of Husband's Children in Blended Family

My current wife is biased against my children from my first marriage. We have four kids altogether – two from my first marriage and two from this one – but she clearly favors her own. At first she seemed to accept the older kids, but lately her attitude towards them has become unfairly critical and overbearing. Does this kind of thing happen often in blended families? What can I do about it?

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Husband Can't Forgive Wife

How can I get beyond my spouse's critical attitude and forget about the many cruel things she's said to me in the past? After several years of marriage, I've come to point where I just can't take it anymore. I don't believe in divorce, so we're sleeping in separate rooms and living separate lives under the same roof. Now she wants me to forgive her so that we can move forward in our marriage, but from my perspective it's not quite that easy. Her cutting words still burn in my memory, and I'm not ready to become vulnerable again. What should I do?

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Critical Wife Seeking Husband's Forgiveness

How can I get my husband to forgive me for being so harsh with him in the past? I know I've been overly critical of him, and as a result we're now sleeping in separate rooms and living separate lives under the same roof. Can you help us turn this situation around and move forward in our marriage?

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Couple at Odds About Having Kids

How can my spouse and I resolve our disagreement about starting a family? I'm anxious to be a mother, but he says he isn't ready to have children yet. My biological clock is ticking away, and the tension between us is growing. What should I do?

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Sharing Marital Concerns With an Opposite-Sex Friend on Social Media

Do you think it's okay for me to talk about problems in my marriage with a Facebook friend of the opposite sex? The spark has gone out of my relationship with my spouse, and we always seem to be facing some kind of challenge. Sometimes I discuss this with my online friend, and he's always very helpful, sensitive, and understanding in the way he responds. Is this a problem?

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How the Devil Undermines the Home

How exactly does Satan destroy families? I've heard it said many times that he is out to wreck marriages and families. I'm not denying this – I realize that the unseen spiritual battles that surround us are very real – but I don't have any clear idea of precisely how the devil might try to undermine my family. Can you help me? What kinds of things should I watch for?

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Mother Wants to Approve Grown Daughter's Boyfriends

Is it appropriate for my parents to insist that I – a thirty-something single mom – allow them to "vet" the men in my life? My mom in particular insists that this is going to happen. She claims that it's her prerogative and responsibility as a Christian parent. I have a potential suitor who is coming from out of town to visit, and my mother says that she needs at least two hours alone with him so that she can "check him over" and "tell him about me." I'll admit that my first choice of a mate was a poor one – sadly, we were divorced after seven years. But I'm not convinced that this is healthy or that it's a legitimate part of my mom's role as a parent. What do you think?

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Grown Woman's Mother Is Jealous and Possessive

Do you have any advice on how to deal with a relationally jealous and possessive mother? Though I'm a grown woman with young children of my own, my mom is still trying to control my life. I'd love to have a close, healthy relationship with her, but she demands more. In fact, she insists that we need to be "best friends." She even turns ugly and nasty if I try to nurture relationships with my dad (her husband) or other family members. For instance, if my aunt and uncle, whom I respect and whose company I enjoy, ask me and my husband over for dinner, we have to take precautions to make sure Mom doesn't find out. Otherwise, we all experience her wrath. Just once, my dad and I would like to do something together, with only the two of us (like my mom and I do), but we can't without there being a heavy price to pay. What can I do?

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Adult Fears That Negative Relationship With Parents Will Impact Children

How can I overcome the bitterness I have about the way my parents treated me growing up? I don't want these memories to affect my relationship with my own kids. After all these years, I continue to struggle with negative feelings about my mother and father. When I think of them, I remember only their harsh criticism, dysfunctional parenting, and unloving attitude. How do I break this pattern?

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Wife Wonders If Husband Should Become "Mr. Mom"

Is there anything wrong with men being stay-at-home dads? My husband is currently out of work, and since I earn a good salary we decided that he should simply take care of the kids for a while. It seemed like a good idea in the beginning, but lately I've been having some doubts.

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Husband Wonders if He Should Become "Mr. Mom"

Is there anything wrong with men being stay-at-home dads? I'm currently out of work, and since my wife earns a good salary we decided that it might be best if I simply stay home and take care of the kids for a while. It seemed like a good idea in the beginning, but lately I've been having some doubts about it.

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Masculine and Feminine Roles in Marriage

What's your perspective on the ideal division of labor and the proper distinction between male and female tasks and roles in marriage? Lately my spouse and I have had disagreements about our respective chores and responsibilities at home.

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Biblical Perspectives on Polygamy and Polyamory

Why can't I have a biblically based family with multiple partners? Most of the great men of the Bible – Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon – had many wives. Given your ministry's strong commitment to the Scriptures, I can't see why you're against things like polygamy and polyamory. I consider myself a polyamorous Christian. I love several different women, and there's no reason we can't build a strong family together on a foundation of consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy. When did the "change" occur that established marriage as a covenant relationship between one woman and one man?

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Preparing for the Empty Nest

What can we do to get ready for the departure of our youngest child? He'll be going off to college after the end of this year, and my spouse and I will be left "on our own" as empty nesters. I've heard that many couples in our position face serious adjustments and are at risk for marital problems and even divorce. How can we prepare for this transition and avoid the potential pitfalls?

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Making Time for His Friends and Her Friends in Marriage

Do you think it's a good idea for husbands and wives to have regular activities apart from each other with their friends of the same sex? My husband feels a deep need to get together with his guy friends a couple of times each month, but I'd rather spend most of my time with him. I get out with some girlfriends a couple times a year, and this seems to be more than sufficient for me. What are your thoughts?

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Joint or Separate Checking Accounts in Marriage

Can you help my betrothed and me resolve a financial disagreement? We're soon to be married for the first time, and we've just run into a conflict concerning money matters. Should we have joint or separate checking accounts after we're married? What are your thoughts?

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Financial Perspective for Newlyweds

Can you help me and my new spouse set some reasonable financial goals for our life together? We haven't been married very long, and my husband is already talking about buying a house and setting up retirement funds. Meanwhile, I'm concerned about paying rent and buying groceries. Is he being realistic? Am I worrying unnecessarily? Is there a way to balance these two perspectives?

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Husband and Wife Disagree About Finances

How can married couples get on the same page when it comes to money matters? This is becoming a huge problem in our marriage. I think my spouse spends too much. Meanwhile, I've been accused of being "stingy" and "unrealistic." How can we resolve these conflicts?

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Workaholic Husband

What can I do about my husband's tendency to put business ahead of family life and everything else? I don't usually care for labels, but I think it would be fair to call him a "workaholic." He works constantly and spends very little time with me and our sons. When I approach him about it, he simply says, "Things will be better soon." Do you have any suggestions?

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Blended Family Etiquette

How do we decide what people should call one another in our newly blended family? It's a second marriage for my husband and me, and each of us had a three-year-old child when we married. Those kids are now six and seven years old. Recently, my step-daughter started calling me "Mom." When my husband's ex-wife heard about this she became extremely upset. We explained that we were as shocked as she was, especially since this little girl had been struggling with the new family arrangement. My husband's ex wants her daughter to call me by my first name only, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with this. What should we do?

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Stepparent Relationship Problems

What should I do about conflicts between my child and my new spouse? I was remarried last summer, and though my 10-year-old daughter was warm and friendly towards my husband during the three years we were dating, her attitude has changed drastically since the wedding. Now they fight constantly and I'm always caught in the middle. Despite my constant reassurances, my daughter fears that I love my husband more than I love her. She also misses sleeping in my bed. Do you have any advice or encouragement for me?

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Stepdad-Stepson Conflict

How do I mediate problems between my son and his stepfather? I remarried about four years ago and everything seemed to be going well until recently. The trouble seems to have begun about the time my son reached puberty and became interested in girls. Since then, the conflict has developed into open hostility. There have even been a few shouting matches. I don't know what to do at this point. How do I choose between these two men in my life?

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Child Repeats Negative Comments Made by Ex-Spouse

How should I respond when my child tells me that my ex-spouse has been making some very critical and unkind statements about me? What's the wisest way to handle this situation?

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