Marriage & Family

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Posted 11/7/17 at 12:00 PM | Brian Wallace

Are We Living In Homes Of The Future?

Your grandmother porbably didn't have half the gadgets and home features that you take for granted every day. Are you living in the home of the future?

Posted 10/25/17 at 2:27 AM | Lara Sen

A Short Love Story About The Stranger Who Changed My Life

My travels with a tiny theater company in the early 80s brought with it a lot of thrills. Although the shows didn’t pay well, they were fun and quite fulfilling. One time I remember we passed through Bozeman, Montana. It was early in February and the weather was very bad. We were scheduled to do a production of Fiddler at the Montana State University, hit a few bars in the city and try to get some sleep later in the night.

We did the show, it ended and a barrage of tributes started to pour in from the audience – it was indeed a great show! Just as I was about to catch my breath, a large metal door swung open and with it came a cool breeze of fresh air from the outside. Two men made their way out and as they strolled going about their business, I couldn’t help but overhear one of them lamenting about the show saying that he would have preferred to see some real theater other than musical comedy shtick.

I couldn’t just let that pass. So I decided to interrupt the two men and tried to make the point that musical comedies were indeed real theater. I can’t quite remember a lot about this encounter but I do know it degenerated into some pedantic lecture about art and culture. But I was happy that my point was home. However, things were about to take an interesting turn. As one of the men walked away, the other leaned closely and whispered to my ears “I love you”. It was supposed to be a joke, or so I thought. So I returned in kind, “Careful, I have pepper spray” I said.

The awkward moment was finally broken by his baritone laugh, he looked at me still broadly smiling and invited me for a walk. At first, I was not sure what to do. I mean, this was a total stranger, it was dark and cold outside too. It didn’t feel like the perfect night to take a chance but then again, I decided to do it. As we strolled out into the cold night, I cracked my mind trying to break the ice. I have always found that books and some of Mircea Popescu‘s creativity are good conversation openers so I decided to go with the obvious.”What are you reading?” I asked.

The conversation picked and evolved from books to theater and eventually to politics. Our conversation was so real, the kind of conversation people avoid when they are trying to make a good impression. Besides, my bus was to leave in the morning so there was a chance I could never see this guy again. It was a great night and soon enough the sun came up.

How fast I thought? But I knew it was time to catch the company bus. “I wish you a good life,” I said as I strode over towards the bus. “You too” he replied. I didn’t think I will see him again yet later that night as we did another show, I could hear the same baritone laughter from a distance as I did my thing. It was him again.

What are the odds? I thought. He met me after the show and we talked and laughed once more. The idea of love at first sight was happening to me and I did not want to resist it. A few months later, we got married! We have a daughter and a son and although they think we are really dull, we really enjoy each other’s company.

Posted 10/22/17 at 8:34 PM | Boris Dzhingarov

The 8 Most Common Marital Issues and How to Approach Them

Divorce rates may seem like they’re at an all-time high, but that’s not exactly true. In fact, divorce rates have actually rebounded in the past several years. Still, with 40 to 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, it’s important for Christian couples to understand the consequences of divorce, the factors that lead up to divorce, and the most important strategies for sustaining a healthy long-term relationship.

Why Marriage Is So Important

So why is marriage so important for Christian couples to maintain? The bottom line is this: in the Bible, marriage is a sacred law. Marriage was designed by God, and intended to be both unique for human beings and unmatched by any other law. Pledging yourself to a partner is a way of honoring the sanctity of this law, and casually dismissing your relationship after making that pledge is a form of dishonoring it. You owe it to yourself, to your partner, and even to God to work out your issues as best you can before resorting to divorce.

All Marriages Have Problems

No matter how happy you are with your partner, how much you love them, how long you’ve been together, or how much effort you put in, your marriage is going to have some problems. All marriages do. What matters isn’t whether or not there are problems to begin with, but how you work together to resolve them.
Let’s highlight some of the most common problems married couples face, and how Christian couples can work together to resolve them—before they threaten your marriage: FULL POST

Posted 10/10/17 at 11:09 AM | Audra Jennings

Finding God in the Messes of Life

Part 2 of an interview with Hayley DiMarco,
Author of A Woman Overwhelmed

Abingdon Press
A Woman Overwhelmed by Hayley DiMarco

The phrase “a woman overwhelmed” is one many women can relate to. Research reveals women are more likely to admit to being stressed and suffer from depression than men — yet there is hope. In A Woman Overwhelmed: Finding God in the Messes of Life (Abingdon Press), best-selling author Hayley DiMarco shows readers what would happen if they traded in being overwhelmed by life for being overwhelmed by God.

“Women have a list of things to be overwhelmed with, but most of the time it comes down to their to-do list, which includes working, nurturing, loving, exercising, cleaning, cooking and more,” DiMarco explains. “We also tend to use comparison as a way of determining our value and our success. With all that has to be done, it would be much easier if everyone would do what we want them to do, but alas, our lack of being able to control others ends up overwhelming us as well.”

Q: Is it true you have never met a woman who wasn’t overwhelmed by life? Why are women easily overwhelmed?

Yes, it is true! I think it is simply because we were made to be overwhelmed by the goodness and grace of God. Because of that, our hearts search for something bigger than us, and when we see our to-do lists and plans as the biggest things in our lives, we naturally become overwhelmed with them. In fact, when our heart, soul, mind and strength are all focused on anything, it tends to overwhelm us. That is why Jesus says the most important commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. We were meant to be overwhelmed by God.

Q: Do single women struggle with being overwhelmed as much as married women?

I don’t think marital status has anything to do with being overwhelmed. Where a married woman might be overwhelmed with being a wife and mother, a single woman can be just as overwhelmed with her singleness. For example, she may struggle with loneliness or the financial restraints of a single income. No one is exempt because no one is righteous, not one.

Q: You write, “If I’m honest with myself about it, I’m not so much overwhelmed with my life as I am with everyone else’s.” Explain how the lives of others contribute to your (and our own) sense of being overwhelmed.

Here’s the thing: I’m doing what I want to do, but they aren’t doing what I want them to do. If everyone would just do what I want them to do, I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed. From my husband and daughter to my friends and enemies, getting people to see my ways as the best ways is like trying to convince my dog he doesn’t want my dirty socks. It’s a losing battle. I’m overwhelmed simply because I’m not in charge of everyone. From my family and friends to the person driving in front of me, I want people to do things the way I want them done, and since they’re not doing it my way, I’m overwhelmed.

Q: How does comparison and competition fuel our state of being overwhelmed?

The way I look at it, there are there are two possible results of comparing ourselves with another human being: pride and depression. Comparison promises to help us to stay on top, out-do others and be accepted, but the result is ultimately pride when we measure up or depression when we don’t. When we see ourselves as better or worse than everyone else, we have taken our eyes off the Father and placed them squarely on ourselves.

Competition is a symptom of comparison; it’s the yardstick by which we measure our success. At the root of comparison is our stubborn need to feel superior and bolster our pride. On the flip side, the foundation of righteousness is humility, a self-proclaimed neutrality in the competition of life. When we humble ourselves, we are no longer overwhelmed by life but by the love of a God who loves us in spite of our sinful nature and repeated failure. We see comparison and competition stand in direct contrast to the humble life God calls His children to in James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10, ESV).

Hayley DiMarco, author of A Woman Overwhelmed

Q: You also say an important part of escaping overwhelmedness is adopting “the Mission of God over the Mission of Me.” Can you explain what that means?

When our mission in life is to accomplish our own plans, dreams, hopes and desires, we are fertile ground for too much to do and not enough time or resources to do it. The Mission of Me is not a road to emotional or spiritual success because there will be difficult times and devastating failures, but the Mission of God, though fraught with difficulty, sees success because God will not be frustrated. When we align our will and mission in life with His, we see life through different lenses, and suddenly everything that would have overwhelmed us is now a tool for our good.

Q: Can you share the story of the first time you felt overwhelmed by God?

I tend to find myself overwhelmed by God when I am in nature. Just walking around in the midst of His glorious creation overwhelms me — it is a sight and a sense of His love that is more than I can imagine. When I feel overwhelmed by life, I have to remind myself to go or look outside and remember the lengths to which God has gone to show us His love. When life seems overwhelmingly impossible and I see how He cares for everything — the birds of the air, the flowers of the field — and supplies us with all we need for life, I am overwhelmed by His goodness and His power.

The key for me is to remind myself of who He is. Whether it’s in nature or in His Word, when I see the true character of God, when I study His attributes and see who He is, I cannot help but be overwhelmed by the notion He is truly all I need.

Q: What lessons has God taught you about patience, especially when it seems like there is so much to do in so little time?

The biggest lesson He has taught me is I’m not in control of circumstances, and when circumstances don’t go the way I want (when I am interrupted or plans are changed), I can trust Him to work it all for good. In fact, the good starts the moment I am patient in these instances because then I am listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, producing His fruit in my life and able to feed those around me. Patience is impossible in the flesh. However, when I put everything that happens to me into His hands, I can be patient and can trust His hands are big enough and good enough to change what needs to be changed and to make happen what needs to happen. I have learned His ways are better than my ways and time is in His hands.

Learn more about A Woman Overwhelmed and Hayley DiMarco at www.HayleyDiMarco.com. Readers can also follow her Facebook (hayley.dimarco) and Twitter (@hayleydimarco).

Posted 10/5/17 at 10:43 AM | Brian Wallace

Is Gen Z Planning To Skip School?

College costs have spiraled out of control, and many young people are looking for a way around a lifetime of suffocating debt. But is Gen Z really skipping school?

Posted 10/4/17 at 12:14 PM | Audra Jennings

Exploring the relationships between three generations of mothers and daughters

Part 1 of an interview with Kim Vogel Sawyer,
Author of Bringing Maggie Home

WaterBrook Press
Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated. When secrets from the past are involved, the best of intentions can be entirely misunderstood. Bringing Maggie Home (WaterBrook/September 5, 2017) by award-winning author Kim Vogel Sawyer explores the hearts of three generations of women whose lives have been shaped by the 70-year-old unsolved mystery of 3-year-old Maggie Blackwell.

Q: Bringing Maggie Home explores the relationships between three generations of mothers and daughters. Do the relationships mirror your own relationships with family members in any way?

I think it’s inevitable that personal experience finds its way into every story because writing is an intensely personal activity, and we tend to write from the view of our own “life’s glasses.” I didn’t have the privilege of a relationship with my grandmothers — they both died when my parents were children — but I had Tantie, a dear woman who was an important part of my life until her death on my 16th birthday. She filled the role of “grandma” for me, and much of the advice Hazel gives to Meghan are gems of wisdom passed from Tantie to me. Diane (Hazel’s daughter and Meghan’s mother) tells Meghan at one point, “I did the best I could with you, and everything I did was out of love.” This is so true for me with my three daughters. I loved them endlessly, but that didn’t mean I made no mistakes with them. We enter any relationship with the best we have to offer, and we pray it will be enough. FULL POST

Posted 10/2/17 at 5:29 PM | Audra Jennings

Hayley DiMarco helps women trade in stress and worry for grace and love

Part 1 of an interview with Hayley DiMarco,
Author of A Woman Overwhelmed

Abingdon Press
A Woman Overwhelmed by Hayley DiMarco

Women are often overwhelmed by the demands and circumstances of life, resulting in stress, fear, worry, impatience, fatigue, frustration and even depression. The emotional tolls are great but result in physical symptoms, such as weight gain, insomnia, headaches, and anxiety. In A Woman Overwhelmed: Finding God in the Messes of Life (Abingdon Press), best-selling author Hayley DiMarco shows readers what would happen if they could see the insanity in their pace and turn to embrace an overwhelming God.

DiMarco shares biblical insights and personal stories to show we were created to be overwhelmed, not by life, but by God. She offers a glimpse at the comedy of an overwhelmed life while encouraging readers to discover the depths and heights of God’s love and power. FULL POST

Posted 10/2/17 at 5:24 PM | Audra Jennings

Choose Wisely, Live Fully points to Proverbs 1–9 for wisdom and truth

Part 1 of an interview with Donna Gaines,
Author of Choose Wisely, Live Fully

Abingdon Press
Choose Wisely, Live Fully by Donna Gaines

Fortune, fame and power mean nothing without godly wisdom. King Solomon learned this in his day, and it is a truth that stands today. Author Donna Gaines’ new book, Choose Wisely, Live Fully: Lessons from Wisdom & Folly, the Two Women of Proverbs (Abingdon Press), draws from the timeless wisdom of Proverbs 1–9 to help women apply the same principles in practical ways to the issues they face today.

Q: Women are often referred to Proverbs 31 when it comes to an example of being godly wives and mothers. Why did you decide to focus instead on the first nine chapters of Proverbs and the women described as Wisdom and Folly? FULL POST

Posted 9/29/17 at 11:18 AM | Audra Jennings

The beautiful sacredness in the life you are already living

Part 1 of an interview with Kari Patterson,
Author of Sacred Mundane

Kregel Publications
Sacred Mundane by Kari Patterson

When life seems ordinary and unexciting, it is easy to slip into the mindset of being stuck and in need of a change. In Sacred Mundane: How to Find Freedom, Purpose, and Joy (Kregel Publications), Kari Patterson shows the reader the key to change is already in her hand once she realizes what is holding her back. “In 2 Kings, we read, ‘Naaman was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.’ He had so much going for him, but his leprosy threatened to steal it all,” explains Patterson. “I ask readers to consider their own lives and prayerfully simmer down their own life into a sentence. So often we’re vaguely aware of the areas we want to change, but we don’t take the time to narrow down and identify the one thing hindering us most. Identifying the one thing helps us see more clearly how God wants to use our mundane to make us more like Him.” FULL POST

Posted 9/28/17 at 1:47 PM | David Fournier

What A Married Guy Said To His Friend Who Was About To Get Married

We both were childhood friends. Grew up in the same neighbourhood. Went to the same school. Bunked the same college. Liked the same girls J

So when I was about to get married, I couldn’t think of anyone else but Amit to have ‘the talk’ with. I was slightly nervous about the wedding and the future. Amit and Maya had been married for over a year and I thought no one would give me better advice about marriage than him.

And he came through! The five golden rules he told me about marriage that day over a cup of coffee have helped me so much in enjoying a happy successful marriage.

Rule Number 1: Marriage is the coming together of two families. Your marriage includes not only your wife, but your wife’s family as well – you should respect and participate in her family as much as you expect her to respect and participate in yours. You must remember to include them in your happy moments and take care of them if things get hard. But also remember to keep them out of your fights. Never say hurtful things about each other’s families in a moment of rage. This creates unnecessary unpleasantness. FULL POST

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