By Dr. James Dobson
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.
In the blink of an eye, you will be hugging your children goodbye and sending them off to college, to a first job, or even to start a family of their own. They’ll bring along a few reminders of home on their new adventure—perhaps a favorite pillow or teddy bear. Will they also take a firm understanding of how faith has made a difference in your life?
If I had one evening I could spend with any person, no one in the world would outrank my wife. We have grown in mutual understanding so that it is rarely necessary to quarrel and argue. Nevertheless, Shirley and I once had a dandy fight and three distinct concepts emerged which may assist you in your marriage.
Anyone who has tried to diet or stop smoking or maintain an exercise program for more than two weeks knows just how difficult it is to eliminate well-entrenched patterns of behavior. We can fight our persistent old habits tooth and nail, but they're always lurking out there somewhere, threatening to return and subject us again to their servitude.
By Dr. James C. Dobson
It’s not the quantity of time that you spend with your children, it's the quality that counts. Or is it?
From the time I was 10 years of age and read my first book about the stars and planets, I have had a fascination with the subject of astronomy. What captured my imagination was the relative size of those twinkling little lights above us. The earth, I discovered, was a mere peanut compared to the larger bodies in our neighborhood. I am still awestruck by the unbelievable dimensions of God's creation. How does one grasp the meaning of a visible universe that is at least 30 billion light years across and composed of perhaps 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars?
We have discussed the importance of being intentional about investing time in your spouse. Of equal importance is attitude. An attitude of service and sacrifice—the “I’m Third” philosophy—is an indisputable marriage builder.
Few human emotions are as distressing and painful as feelings of guilt and personal disapproval. When at a peak of intensity, self-condemnation gnaws on the conscious mind by day and invades the dreams by night. Since the voice of the conscience speaks from inside the human mind, we cannot escape its unrelenting abuse for our mistakes, failures and sins.
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.
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.
What can family members do to help themselves and their addicted loved ones? First, it is virtually impossible to resolve this problem without outside help. In a very real sense, the entire family shares the sickness of the alcoholic... As Jerry Butler said, "If the alcoholic does manage to recover, he is almost certain to regress unless his family has been treated, too."
Husband, we’re speaking especially to you. Just as selfishness is a sure marriage killer, an attitude of service and sacrifice—the “I’m Third” philosophy—is an indisputable marriage builder. We urge you to study your wife. What is it that speaks to her heart?
In an effort to draw on the experiences of those who have lived together successfully as husbands and wives, we asked married couples to participate in an informal study. More than six hundred people agreed to speak candidly about the concepts and methods that have worked in their homes. The advice is not new, but it's a great place to begin.
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.
How can we keep cracks from developing in the sidewalks of our marriages? The surest way to avoid an affair is to flee temptation as soon as it confronts you. Author Jerry Jenkins has referred to this determination to preserve moral purity as “building hedges” around marriage so that temptation is never given a foothold. You take steps to protect yourself and enhance the level of trust in your marriage at the same time.
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.
There is often an irrationality associated with adolescence that can be terribly frustrating to parents. It is difficult at that time to reason your way out of conflict. Let me offer an illustration that may explain the problem.
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.
In my work with Christian families in crisis, I find them struggling in many of the same ways as the disciples. As they trudge along in deep thought, there is no evidence that Jesus is in their part of the universe.
Research has shown that parents can, indeed, increase the intellectual capability of their children. This conclusion was first reached through the renowned Harvard University Preschool Project.
Justice In The Home
Never Give Up
"Above All Else"
The Influence of Friends
From Mourning to Morning
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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.
How to Raise a Brat
A Message To Husbands and Wives
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