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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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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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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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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Nothing To Hide Booklet

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Woman Wants Husband-to-Be's Relationship With Female Friend to End

How should I respond when my bride-to-be 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 betrothed). Now, with the wedding just a month away, my bride-to-be 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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