By Dr. James Dobson
Simply reading and understanding God’s will for us isn’t enough. We must also choose in obedience to follow it—and that’s the difficult part. So often, we are too headstrong to submit.
Do you think happily married husbands and wives should be able to live together without fighting?
Something changes the moment one of the two romantic partners begins to fear that the other may be slipping away. He complains about who she was with last night and whines about not being given enough attention. He parks his car near her house at night and spies on who's coming and going. He blows up frequently and makes impossible demands. These signs of desperation quickly snuff out a romantic spark before it can grow into a flame of love. The key issue to understand here is the importance of respect in romantic affairs. It is the fuel that feeds the fire.
In addition to physiological differences, the sexes are blessed with a vast array of unique emotional characteristics. It is a wise and dedicated husband who desires to understand his wife's psychological needs and then sets out to meet them.
Inevitably, these differing assumptions collide head-on during the early years of marriage. Young John is out there competing like crazy in the marketplace, thinking his successes are automatically appreciated by the lady at home. To his shock, she not only fails to notice, but even seems to resent the work that takes him from her. "I'm doing it for you, babe!" he says. Diane isn't convinced.
I will never forget the first Valentine’s Day of my marriage, six months after Shirley and I walked down the aisle. It was something of a disaster. I had gone to the USC library that morning and spent eight or ten hours poring over dusty books and journals. It slipped my mind completely that it was February 14.
Some men will never be able to meet the needs of their wives. They don't understand how women think and have never been required to "give" to anyone. Those who are married to these unromantic and noncommunicative men must decide what is reasonable to expect and how they can forge a meaningful life together.
Suppose that one partner, the husband, begins to show signs of disinterest in his wife. Let's say that their sex life has been rather dull lately, and the sense of emotional togetherness is more of a memory than a reality. (The decline of a marriage is rarely brought by a blowout; it's usually a slow leak.) Then the relationship reaches a low point and the husband consistently treats his wife rudely and disrespectfully in public, pulling behind a wall of silence when they are home. These are symptoms of a condition which I call "the trapped syndrome".
We come now to the final task assigned to mothers and fathers, that of releasing grown children and launching them into the world of adulthood. It is also one of the most difficult. Several years ago, we explored this topic by conducting another informal poll of the Focus on the Family radio listeners. I asked them to react to this question: "What are the greatest problems you face in dealing with your parents or in-laws, and how will you relate differently to your grown children than your parents have to you?" An avalanche of mail flooded my offices in the next few days, eventually totaling more than 2,600 detailed replies.
How can you talk to someone who won't talk — someone whose language consists of seven phrases: I dunno. I don't care. Leave me alone. I need money. Can I have the car? My friends think you're unfair. And, I didn't do it.
That "no rights" philosophy would be unbeatable if both partners were totally mature, unselfish and loving. Unfortunately, we are all riddled with imperfection and self-serving desires.
All that is needed to grow the most vigorous weeds is a small crack in the sidewalk.
Q: Would you identify some of the major "marriage killers" that are most responsible for the high divorce rate that plagues today's families?
A: It would take perhaps 50 volumes to describe them all, and even then we would only scratch the surface. Any one of the following "dragons" can rip a relationship to shreds if given an opportunity to do so:
The excitement of love is like nothing else in human experience. A couple enters into a kind of ecstasy that is almost indescribable. "This is it!" They've found the perfect human being. They want to be together twenty-four hours a day--to take walks in the rain and sit by the fire and kiss and cuddle. Hooray for love! What too few couples know, unfortunately, is that this exhilarating feeling NEVER lasts very long.
Whether a few days, weeks, or months after the wedding, something begins to happen to “that lovin’ feeling.” A man and woman just seem to lose the wind in their romantic sails. It does not always occur, but too often it does.
By Dr. Eric Scalise
Marriages and families today are facing an epidemic of addiction related issues and problems. Some addictions involve the use of chemicals and substances and other addictions are more behavioral. Nevertheless, the statistics are staggering and they are sobering
When married persons find themselves hurtling relentlessly toward a divorce, they sometimes turn to marriage counselors, ministers, psychologists and psychiatrists to stem the tide...but it may be inadequate to save a dying marriage. Why? Because the counsel is directed at surface issues.
Demographers and attorneys tell us that something dramatic is happening to the baby-boomer generation, which is now averaging nearly sixty years of age. They will soon inherit more than $10.4 trillion as their parents pass from the scene. It will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world. The question is, how will they handle this sudden affluence?
By Dr. Tim Clinton
A friend once told about these experiences in a yearly family newsletter: That year, her father died. Two friends died of cancer and she knew of seven others who received a cancer diagnosis. She and her husband were in a head-on car crash. Her husband had kidney stone surgery. Two friends went to prison. Her brother was alcoholic and suicidal, but entered an AA program. Her brother-in-law left his wife and family due to cocaine abuse. To top it all, one day she was having lunch with a friend at a nearby ocean pier when, right in front of them, an elderly man in a wheelchair pitched himself over the rail into the ocean in an attempted suicide. You’re probably thinking, “How could anyone survive all that?” But she is surviving her year-long series of crises—with God’s help.
We exercise trust in virtually every interaction in our lives. We trust cars and airplanes with our lives; we trust banks with our money; we trust the restaurant with our health. We trust others as we share our secrets. We trust a spouse with our marriage. We trust God, even though we cannot see Him. When Trust Is Violated Like a hammer shattering a porcelain vase, a relationship of trust can be shattered by physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
By Rebecca Hagelin
It used to be that Sunday was a day where the family got together and hung out. Maybe going to grandma's for a nice Sunday dinner. But, today is a lot different. Families rarely spend time together. Why is that? Find out more...
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Connect With Dr. James Dobson
Dr. James Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program, “Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.” He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family, including The New Dare to Discipline; Love for a Lifetime; Life on the Edge; Love Must Be Tough; The New Strong-Willed Child; When God Doesn’t Make Sense; Bringing Up Boys; Marriage Under Fire; Bringing Up Girls; and, most recently, Head Over Heels.
Dr. Dobson served as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years and on the attending staff of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for 17 years. He has been active in governmental affairs and has advised three U.S. presidents on family matters. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1967) in the field of child development. He holds 17 honorary doctoral degrees, and was inducted in 2008 into The National Radio Hall of Fame. Dr. Dobson recently received the “Great American Award” from The Awakening.
Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and they have two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and two grandchildren. The Dobsons reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
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