Relationships and Marriage

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Future Stepchildren Oppose Remarriage

Should I go through with my plans to remarry even though my intended spouse's children are against the marriage? As a matter of fact, they seem to hate me.

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Tips for Developing Relationship With Stepchild

What's the best way for a stepparent to form strong bonds with his or her stepchildren? I recently got re-married to a wonderful man who is planning to adopt my three children. Unfortunately, my middle child, a preschool-age boy, has had a hard time warming up to him. What can we do to encourage their relationship?

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Dealing With a Chronically Late Spouse

How do I deal with a chronically late spouse? He's late for everything except work. I know I'm not responsible for this behavior, but it makes me late too when we're going somewhere together, and that reflects poorly on my reputation. More importantly, this constant tardiness inconveniences and is disrespectful to the people we invariably keep waiting. A friend has advised me to overlook the problem in order to promote peaceful co-existence, but I think marriage should be an "iron sharpens iron" relationship where spouses hold each other accountable. What's your perspective?

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Relatives Undermining Parents' Attempts at Tough Love

What's the best way to deal with "enabling" relatives? Our adult child has made some very poor choices, and as a result he's struggling to make it on his own. He's become extremely manipulative, and we've had to establish firm boundaries with him. Unfortunately, members of our extended family aren't helping – in fact, some of them have actually undermined our efforts by rushing to our son's rescue on several occasions. What should we do about this?

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Caring for Aging Loved Ones After a Dysfunctional Childhood

Am I obligated to take care of my parents even though they hurt me in many ways during my growing-up years? Our family was really dysfunctional. Now they're old, feeble and increasingly unable to look after themselves, and I'm not sure how I feel about getting involved in caring for them given our past. What do you think I should do?

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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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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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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 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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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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