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It’s a Crazy Time of Year

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Working together as a couple to conquer back-to-school stress.

Recently my wife, Erin, and I were in a kindergarten orientation meeting for parents. This was our fourth such orientation, but it also represented our last — which was especially hard for Erin. The principal asked if anyone had an example of how he or she reads with the kids at home. I said, “I read with my kids all the time — I turn on the closed captioning when we’re watching TV.”

You could hear crickets chirping. The awkwardness finally ended as Erin gave me that half-smile that meant I was in big trouble.

The stress and anxiety of preparing kids to go back to school can create unique challenges for couples. Increased conflict is common during this time of transition. The best way to de-escalate some of this tension is to recognize what is going on for you emotionally. Talk to your spouse and try putting into words how you’re feeling — “I’m overwhelmed trying to gather all of the back-to-school supplies,” or “I’m worried that our daughter won’t make any friends at her new school.” When you express how you’re feeling, it can calm you down.

Another challenge for couples is deciding how to divide responsibilities. Although one spouse may not have time to participate in all the back-to-school activities, it doesn’t mean that he or she cannot be a part of this changing season in family life. If all the preparation falls solely on one spouse’s shoulders, the other spouse can offer support in other practical ways.

It’s best to discuss these responsibilities as teammates. Make a list of all the tasks needed to get your kids back in school. Then discuss how to divide them. If some of the chores start to create a tug-of-war, make it your goal to out-serve your spouse. I made the decision to get up an hour earlier so I can unload the dishwasher and cook breakfast for the kids. I may hate unloading the dishes, but I know that Erin likes to leave the house with a clean sink and an empty dishwasher. This is one way I can serve my wife.

It’s possible for your marriage to thrive during the back-to-school season when you take time to care for each other and pursue unity.

Dr. Greg Smalley is vice president of Family Ministries at Focus on the Family.

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Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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