Marriage & Family

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Posted 5/19/16 at 9:57 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Do We Know What it Means to Serve our Husbands?

Have you ever really studied your husband?

I mean really studied him? Do you know what makes him tick? Do you know what makes him discouraged, and what makes him feel like he can take on the world? Do you know what his biggest fear is, and what his biggest success is? Do you know his dreams, his goals, his worries?

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage, and today I want to issue a big challenge to us wives: Can we become students of our husbands? I don’t mean students in terms of him teaching us something (though that’s likely a part of it); I mean students more in the way that Thomas Edison was a student of science. He ate science, breathed science, lived science, and was always trying to figure it out.

I believe that kind of focused study is what God is calling us to.

Let me explain.

In Ephesians 5:21-22, we read this:

(21) Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (22) Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. FULL POST

Posted 5/11/16 at 11:20 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Should I Tell My Husband I Fantasize/Fake It?

If you’re faking orgasm or fantasizing while you make love, should you confess to your husband?

Wow. That’s a tough one! Every Monday I like to take a reader question and answer it, and this is one I’ve had a few people ask. One woman gets right to the point:

Should I tell my husband if I fantasize about other guys alone and while with him sometimes? Or will I just hurt him?

Another woman says:

Sex has never felt that great for me, and my husband used to get really upset about that and wonder what was wrong with me. So I started faking orgasm. And I’m tired of faking, but I don’t want to deal with all the fights if I tell him what’s been happening. What should I do?

I thought I’d try to tackle both of these on the same day since they both have to do with honesty about sex. I’m going to ask my husband to chime in on one of these, too! So let’s get started. FULL POST

Posted 5/5/16 at 10:45 AM | Karen Kramer

Amazing is spelled M-O-M

It has been said that our society cannot depend on what happens at the White House; our nation’s success depends on what happens in our house. Success at home has a lot to do with Mom.

Here’s why:

A mom knows that the clock is unforgiving. It doesn’t make allowances for sick kids at 2 AM or for the boss expecting a report on his desk by 8:30 the same morning. That’s life.

On school days, moms can simultaneously make breakfast, pack lunches, find the youngest’s missing shoe, feed the dog, and help the oldest with the science experiment in the garage, all before backing out of the driveway with enough time to drop everyone off and get to work on time.

While driving through traffic to get home before soccer practice for one kid, and piano for the other, a mom constructs the evening meal in her head, knowing what’s in the cupboard and refrigerator. She commandeers pots and pans, feeds the crew, cleans up, and heads out with the kids for a couple more hours. Tomorrow brings different activities, same response. FULL POST

Posted 4/28/16 at 9:01 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Don’t Use Your Kids As Your Emotional Outlet!

Susie’s mom was depressed again. Her dad’s bosses were upset at him, but he wouldn’t smooth things over. He was standing on principle, he said. But meanwhile, where was the paycheck going to come from?

As soon as Susie came home from school she could sense that her mom was itching to unload on her. So she took the lunchboxes away from her sisters and said to them, “let’s play dressup! Why don’t you both run and find all of my fun dresses and shoes and some of Mommy’s old makeup, and we’ll have a fashion show?” Her little sisters ran off, and she hoped they’d be gone for enough time that she could calm her mother down.

As her mom prepared the after-school snack she started moaning about her dad. And little Susan listened, like she always did, hoping that spilling everything to Susie would stop her mom from worrying her little sisters.

Susie grew up. She got used to running interference for her siblings. She got used to judging her mother’s moods and trying to manage her mother’s emotions. And she started to really dislike her father, who was always so irresponsible and got her mother so upset in the first place. FULL POST

Posted 4/14/16 at 1:36 PM | Brian Wallace

Saving Your Marriage From Your Career

Believe it or not, your choice of profession can help or hurt your marriage. Learn more from this infographic!

Posted 4/11/16 at 7:08 PM | Trace Embry

Sacrifices You Make to Provide a Secure Environment

Parents need to make sacrifices in order to provide a secure environment for their teen.

Discipline is Key

Picture Provided by PROPablo Fernández

Unfortunately, many parents fail to properly discipline their children for selfish reasons.
They often fear breaking fellowship with their children. Believe it or not, our children sense this and play it to their carnal advantage.

We need to understand that any break of fellowship because of discipline is only temporary.

As parents, it may be necessary to be willing to sacrifice fellowship in the short-term. In the long-term, this will ultimately bring joy and peace to the whole family.

Establish Boundaries that Seem Odd

Many parenting experts hale the virtues of allowing our kids certain liberties in order to acquaint them with life’s temptations. FULL POST

Posted 4/7/16 at 11:58 AM | Audra Jennings

Help Teens Understand What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Part 2 of an interview with Tom Gilson,

Author of Critical Conversations:

A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens

Critical Conversations by Tom Gilson
Kregel

Christian parents need to be prepared to answer the myriad challenges teens might hear in today's increasingly pro homosexual culture. Why shouldn't gays get married? Who says gay sex is wrong? Does the Bible actually say there's anything wrong with homosexuality? Don't you care that kids are being bullied just for being themselves?

To start the discussion in Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents' Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens (Kregel/February 27, 2016), Tom Gilson provides a brief history of the issues beginning with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. He explains how and why cultural attitudes have reversed on this subject in such a short timespan, leaving Christians scrambling for answers.

This is perhaps the most complicated and contentious issue Christians face in today's culture. Most churches are poorly equipped to handle it; parents are even less prepared. The good news is that parents need not have pat answers ready before they dive into conversations with their teens and preteens on this difficult topic. Learning together—parents struggling through these issues alongside their kids and leading them to biblical answers—has relational benefits.

Answers are important, though, so manageable, nontechnical answers to common questions surrounding this issue are provided, as well as a guide to further resources.

Q: Christians are often painted as being prejudiced and out of touch for their beliefs. Is there a way to speak truth about homosexuality without being perceived as hateful or homophobic?

There are actually a couple of questions that come before that one. Can we speak out about it without actually being hateful or homophobic? The answer to that is yes, certainly. We disagree with LGBT advocates, sure. But that isn’t automatically hateful or phobic. If it were, then they would also be automatically hateful and phobic for disagreeing with us. I don’t think they think that’s true of ourselves, and I don’t think that’s usually true of them, either.

The second question is whether we can speak out without being perceived as hateful or homophobic. I think in personal friendships we can often do this. In larger contexts, we’ll probably be perceived in all kinds of bad ways, and the best thing we can do about it is to make sure we’re living in Christian integrity no matter what people say about us. We can also make our case for our position respectfully, knowledgeably and with conviction. This book helps with that.

Back to the original question. Some Christians have unfortunately acted in hateful and homophobic ways. (I don’t usually like to use that term, but it does fit sometimes.) That’s a matter for increased knowledge and for repentance.

Q: Why is it such a popular belief that Christians hate homosexuals simply because they disagree with their lifestyle?

There has been an intentional, concerted campaign by homosexual activists to paint Christianity that way. This is not paranoia or conspiracy theorizing. It’s documented in their own strategy documents, which they have followed quite effectively. (I detail this in the book.)

Q: What are some ways parents can prepare their children for the possibility they could be bullied for their beliefs?

Kids need to be confident in their beliefs, and they need to see their parents living in confidence too. That’s the main thing.

It’s great if they can be part of a group of friends who share that confidence; it’s the best protection possible for them at school, and of course there’s a biblical principle of mutual support and encouragement involved there.

Q: How should parents coach teens on being wise in manner and timing when making a stand for their convictions? For example, when and where is the appropriate time and place?

It’s hard to advise on this from a distance. The more important thing, in my view, is for teens to have a solid, almost easy sort of confidence in what they know to be true. Then they can speak their convictions authentically when the pressure is off — in everyday conversation with friends, for example — or when the pressure is on, and their faith is being challenged. It’s a whole lot easier for any of us to assess a situation and respond to it appropriately if we’re confident in our ability to respond when the time comes.

Q: If you had to simplify your argument in support of biblical marriage into a few sentences, what would they be? 

God gave us plenty of good reasons in both the Old and New Testament to know that he designed sex to be for a married couple, and that he designed marriage to be for a man and a woman. It’s in Leviticus, in Jesus’ teaching on marriage and all over the Pauline epistles.

Marriage between a man and a woman is good. It’s a comprehensive human good that supports the nurturance of children and the growth of strong communities. Because children come out of marriages (normally), marital love is an outward-looking form of love, in contrast to the inward-looking and comparatively self-focused “just you and me, babe,” form of relationship found in non-marital sexual relationships, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Children thrive in homes with a mom and a dad.

So there are both biblical and non-biblical (common experience) reasons working together to make the point.

Tom Gilson, author of Critical Conversations
Tom Gilson

Q: Describe the “Bible brush-off” and how parents can avoid it during discussions with their teens.

“The Bible says it. Believe it.” That’s the Bible brush-off. That’s not much help: You can’t command belief. (You can’t make a person believe by telling them to.) Parents need to help their teens understand how to know the Bible is true and how to know the Bible’s teaching is good too.

Q: What are the eternal and cultural implications for helping Christian young people understand this issue?

Let’s not be fooled here: The big question isn’t whether homosexual behavior or same-sex marriage is moral. The big question is whether Christianity is credible. Gay activists have tried to tear down Christianity’s believability. The more they succeed, the harder it will be for anyone to put their faith in Jesus Christ.

Q: What should parents do if their child has questions about his or her own sexuality or gender identity?

The first thing is, keep on loving unconditionally, no matter what – which is what “unconditionally” means. If that is at all challenging for you, find the support you need so you can do it – support that’s steeped in biblical grace and truth.

Don’t think you can go it alone! Don’t even assume your pastor is fully equipped to help with this issue. Rely on your pastor, yes, but find a Christian counselor with specific expertise in this area. Parents should spend time with that counselor, learning how to handle their relationship with their teen. If the teen will see that counselor (or a different one, equally qualified), that’s great.

Even before that’s set up, though, parents should gently seek to find out whether their teens have friends who are encouraging them to “explore” their sexuality. If so, it would be wise to set a firm and loving boundary between the teens and those persons.

If there’s been abuse (which is a factor in some, though certainly not all, such sexual questioning), then get the law involved — and again, a qualified counselor.

Learn more about more about Critical Conversations and Tom Gilson at www.criticalconversationsbook.com or on Twitter (@ThnkngChristian).

Posted 4/5/16 at 7:37 PM | Trace Embry

Why Now is the Time to Create a Safe Environment

The 21st century has produced opportunities for kids to be entertained around the clock.

Christian parents need to set firm boundaries to create a safe environment.

Science is confirming that much of our kids’ behavioral problems could actually stem from a glut of digital stimuli. Many unsuspecting parents are grateful that Junior isn’t out causing trouble.
Yet, these same parents are missing the brain damage taking place.

Monitoring and limiting digital technology is a must. However, in today’s culture this may be more of a sacrifice on your part.

How to be Confident After you Create Safe Environment
To create a safe environment you will need to set boundaries to prevent media from causing harm to your family.

This means you need to make decisions that most of today’s culture won’t understand. FULL POST

Posted 3/31/16 at 11:43 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Is Marriage Really That Hard?

Marriage is hard.

Many people have difficult marriages. But is marriage itself necessarily difficult?

My husband and I were recently debating that question, because honestly, to us, marriage isn’t hard right now. It’s rather lovely and encouraging.

That doesn’t mean marriage has always been easy. But we can link each difficult time to one simple factor: both of us, or one of us, was being self-focused, looking only at our own pain.Once we broke through that and learned to be generous again, marriage changed.

If two people genuinely love and care for each other and want the best for each other (which is hopefully why you married in the first place!), then putting several small habits in place can set your marriage up for major success. Like I talked about last week, talk for twenty minutes a day. That’s not that hard! Speak the positive about your spouse far more than you speak the negative–scan for things to praise, and say them out loud. Ask directly for what you wantand need. Be generous sexually. Be affectionate. Study your spouse, learn what makes them feel loved, and then do little things each day to show your husband love. FULL POST

Posted 3/29/16 at 8:06 PM | Trace Embry

2 Ways to Proactively Address Media Addictions in Your Home

Parents should proactively address media addictions within their home.

We must be alert and discerning to recognize idolatrous behavior in regards to media. But where do we start?

Picture Provided by Evan

Monitor Use
Media addictions are not derived only by the content, but by how often we allow them to be entertained.

Long before the digital age – A.W. Tozer said “I believe that entertainment and amusements are the work of the enemy to keep dying men from knowing they’re dying and to keep enemies of God from remembering they’re enemies.”

Constant amusement can simply numb us through life.
You can proactively address media addictions, as well as keep your teen aware and alert, by putting appropriate time limits on media interactions.

Examine Your Media Habits
There is nothing more frustrating than confronting a teenager with all the facts, evidence and logic to prove your case; only to have it debunked with illogic, emotion, and relativism. FULL POST

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