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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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