Category: Family

A Thankful Home is a Happy Home

Bigger is better, right?

Doesn’t that often seem like the motto in America? We are always thinking about the next bigger or better thing we “need” to buy.

When I find myself always wanting more in any aspect of life, I stop enjoying the blessings that currently surround me. My heart turns from a thankful heart to a never satisfied heart.

Continue reading article by Rachel Bohanan >>

Q+A: Keeping Love Alive When Focus is Elsewhere

Q: Gary, our kids are taking more and more time and my husband and I seem tired ALL of the time. How can we keep our love alive when all focus is going elsewhere?

Gary: Well if all focus is going elsewhere, you can’t keep love alive. there has to be time to stimulate love in a marriage relationship. It’s a matter of priorities. Listen, children are important, but marriage is the most fundamental relationship in a family. If the two of you grow apart, what is that going to do for your children?

I think you need to look again at your schedule. Make time. Put it on the schedule. “We’re going to have dinner on these nights this month,” “We’re going to do this,” etc. Make plans, spend time with each other. Get a babysitter! There are people who would be happy to watch your children while you go out together. You have to make time to have a loving marriage.

A Man’s Life does not Consist in the Abundance of His Posessions

In today’s world, many people are suffering from the pain of debt. Others are troubled with the upheavals of the financial markets. Let me remind you of the words of Jesus: “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” If you understand that truth it will change your life forever. Real satisfaction is found not in money, but in loving relationships with God, our spouse, children and friends. Loving relationships are our greatest assets. Most of us could live with less money, and may of necessity have to do so. But, if that helps us focus on relationships, then we still come out winners. Why not have a family ‘soup’ night – eat only soup and crackers and thank God that you are alive and together.

Are You a Doormat or a Lover?

Are you a doormat or a lover? A doormat is an inanimate object. You can wipe your feet on it, step on it, kick it around, or whatever you like. It has no will of its own. It can be your slave, but not your lover. When we treat our spouses as objects, we preclude the possibility of love. No person should ever be a doormat.

We are called to be servants. Jesus said about himself, “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” That should be our attitude. “What can I do to help you?” reveals a loving attitude. “You do this or you will regret it.” is the language of slavery. There is a vast difference between being a servant and being a slave. The servant acts out of love. The slave lives in response to fear.

When Your Calling Pulls You From Your Marriage

I’m not convinced God calls anyone but Jesus to save the world.

Sure, there are world leaders who can influence the world greatly, and if we all believed our lives had an effect on the world maybe we would see a little more Kingdom Come here on earth. But no one is capable of saving the world except God Himself.

So when I look at front-line leaders who believe they are forced every day to put their vocation before their marriage and family, I wonder what they think they are going to accomplish. No one is indispensable. God can raise up another to do what they are doing. Don’t get me wrong; I admire their courage, success, and endurance, but I can’t help but wonder if there is a misunderstanding of their calling.

Continue reading article by Lindsay Hall >>

53 Hours a Week

Is technology bringing your family closer together, or is it driving your family apart? The average American child spends 53 hours a week with media and technology. It is easy for parents to use the screen to entertain their children and keep them happy (which normally means quiet).

Screen time that is not purposeful tends to be a waste of time and a negative influence. Children are like wet cement, and many children are being imprinted by screens not by parents. In my book: Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen Driven World, Arlene Pellicane and I seek to give parents practical help with screen management.

Q&A: Boundaries for an Ex Spouse

Q: What should be the boundaries for an ex-spouse who is still in the family picture?

Gary: This is one of the difficult things about second marriages. Whenever divorce takes place, that person isn’t dead, they’re still there. Chances are they’ll be at the wedding of the children and they may be there when the children are sick. And just a lot of other interactions that you cannot avoid. We have to accept that as reality, they’re going to be in the picture, they are part of the family even though the divorce is final. They are still the parent of your children and they’re still your ex spouse. As long as it is not destructive behavior when you are together, you need to make the most of it, you need to accept each other where you are, and you need to ask God to help both of you.

Q&A: My Husband Is Spending Way Too Much Time with His Parents

Q: My husband spends a lot of time with his parents and not with me. What can I do about it?

Gary: This is a question that many young couples can identify with if you live in the same town as your parents. The scriptures say that we are to leave our parents and to be joined to each other. What that looks like may differ with each couple, but the principle is clear. It appears to me that you think he’s spending too much time with his parents, and that may be true. What I’d like to know is what is he doing when he goes to see his parents? What motivates him to go there? Is his mother demanding that he come to see them? That’s unhealthy. Or is he helping his father with a work project? That’s different. Is he sharing his marital problems with his parents? That’s not good. Find out the motivation, and then seek a pattern that demonstrates that the marriage is priority.

Ways to Help Your Child with a Drug Problem

Alcohol and drug-related problems have become the downfall of many adolescents and young adults. Parents are frustrated and often do not know what to do. Here are three specific ways you can help if you suspect that your child has a drug problem. First, pray and ask God for wisdom. He can and will guide you in finding the help you need. Second, seek counsel from a qualified person on what steps you should take. Don’t try to solve the problem on your own. Third, practice “tough love”. Tough love means letting your child suffer the consequences of their drug and alcohol abuse. This is the fastest way for your child to become willing to go for treatment. Be kind, but firm in refusing to bail them out.

Q&A: The Choice to Have Children

Q:  Are married people obligated to have children?

Gary: God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” In the Bible, children are viewed as a gift from God. However, I don’t think this means that every Christian couple is obligated to have children. If a couple decides not to have children, their reason for such a choice should clearly be understood and should not be rooted in selfishness. Some good reasons for not having children might include: physical and mental disabilities, poor relational skills, or ministry for Christ. Selfish reasons might be: the desire to travel, not willing to accept responsibility, or wanting to be free to follow personal interests. Make sure that your choice is based on a genuine desire to follow God’s plan for your life.

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