June 19, 2014
Well, this is the last day to get your income taxes filed. Hopefully, most of you have already completed this annual task. If so, then today you can celebrate life with your spouse and family. Celebrate the fact that you made enough money to file. Or, if you did not, then thank God that you are still alive and ask Him to guide your efforts to take care of your family. Family is the central unit in any society. In the midst of hard times, we must remember that what really counts in life is our relationship with God and family. It doesn’t cost anything to have a relationship with God. He has already paid for it. All you have to do is accept his mercy and grace. Nor do we have to be wealthy to have good family relationships. Give every member of your family a hug today and things will get better.
December 31, 2013
As we come to the new year, many people are suffering from the pain of debt. Others are troubled with the upheavals of 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 not found in money, but rather in loving relationships with God, our spouses, our children, our friends. Most of us could live with less money, and many of us have to do so. If less money helps us focus on relationships, then we still come out winners. Why not have a family soup day; eat only soup and crackers, thanking God that you are alive and together.
December 26, 2013
In our culture, Christmas is a time when families come together. That’s really what Christmas was all about: God bringing us together. We had fellowship with God, but we left home; we walked away from God, and yet he came to find us as a babe. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, and paid our penalty so that we could return home without a penalty. Have you responded to the love of God and the death of Christ, accepted the gift of forgiveness? I hope that you have God as a Father, and know that he is not ashamed to call you his son or daughter. If not, his arms are always open.
December 5, 2013
What is the loving thing to do when your adult child moves back home? Let me give you three suggestions:
1. Establish a time limit for their stay. Everyone will feel more relaxed if you have some idea of how long this return stay is going to last.
2. Formulate a financial agreement. In the rare event that your child cannot make any financial contribution, then assign tasks such as cleaning, yard work, or repairs. They will feel better if they are making a contribution.
3. Respect the need for privacy. This involves not only living space, but the use of phone, possessions, and noise level. Make life as pleasant as possible. Try to avoid becoming a war zone.
December 3, 2013
When Psychiatrist Ross Campbell and I teamed up and wrote our book: How to Really Love Your Adult Child, we discovered that most parents are greatly frustrated when their children move back home. In reality, it gives the parents another opportunity to parent their children. Some adults are simply not ready for the real world. They have tried and failed. Now, they may be more open to your wisdom than when they were teenagers. Call a family conference. Find out what your adult child is thinking. Do they have plans? Or, do they just want to ‘hang out’? Hanging out may be okay for a week or two, but you and your child need plans on how to move toward some obtainable goal. Even a small goal is better than no goal.
November 28, 2013
Have you seen the T-Shirt that says, “It’s not an empty nest until they get their stuff out of the attic.” For you, that may not seem even remotely funny. You aren’t thinking about emptying the attic, but about what you are going to do now that your adult child has moved back into your house. They are called the boomerang generation. They leave, but they come back. Certainly you love them, but you had not anticipated this. It has thrown your life and perhaps your marriage into a tail spin. The most common problem is that you and your spouse disagree over how to treat the boomerang child. Let me challenge you to make a fundamental decision. Reach out for help: a book, a pastor, a friend are all good resources. Take advantage of what others have learned.
November 18, 2013
Q: My spouse’s family told me directly that they don’t think I’m “good enough” for their daughter. How can I handle this constructively?
Gary Chapman: From my perspective it is unfortunate that they’ve expressed their opinion. As parents of married children we need to stay out of the equation unless they ask us to come into the equation. Obviously, it’s very discouraging when your in-laws express such opinions. Don’t take it personally though; that is, don’t focus on this. Focus on being the person you believe your wife needs you to be: love her, care for you, protect her, be the husband she wants. In a few years, perhaps your in-laws will change their mind. Ultimately however, it is far more important what your wife thinks about you than it is what her parents think about you.
September 26, 2013
Adolescence is the age of reason. Teenagers are beginning to think logically. We say, they are argumentative. Many parents have said through the years, “I think my teenager is going to be an attorney, he is so good at arguments.” In reality, the teen is developing his mental skills. If parents don’t realize this, they can create an adversarial relationship where the teen does not feel free to flex his intellectual muscles. How do we create a positive atmosphere where we can have meaningful dialogue with our budding philosopher? In one word – love. When the teen feels loved, he still may not agree with parents, but he will respect them; and be influenced by their opinions.