7 Tips for Raising Children and Growing Your Marriage

For many obvious reasons, the first years of marriage can be quite challenging. In the best of circumstances, each spouse must make adjustments. No amount of premarital counseling can fully prepare a couple for all the changes each spouse will have to make. This is especially true when children come along. The best-made plans are often replaced by frequent surprises. Children and marriage certainly go together, but having children requires a great deal of hard work and maturity from both parents in order to meet the needs of each child while ensuring a healthy marriage.

Here are 7 tips to help couples learn how to balance children and marriage and maintain the foundation of a strong partnership:

  1. Vocalize and listen to each other’s concerns. First-time parenting is a frightening prospect, but remember that you have each other to depend upon.
  2. Lean on the expertise of family and friends to coach you on the “secrets” from their own parenting experiences. All married couples face similar stresses and issues when having children and many have learned from their mistakes. You will do well to seek their counsel. Just choose the sources of your counsel wisely.
  3. Be open and honest with each other if you should harbor doubts. Get your feelings out into the open or you’ll find the stresses of parenting and those locked-up emotions playing seesaw with your relationship.
  4. Discuss and compare views on structure and discipline with the goal of finding a compromise position on how to raise your child.
  5. Don’t let parenting consume your relationship to the point that you have no intimate time for each other.
  6. Never forget that you were a couple before you were parents … a lesson worth carrying throughout the ups and downs of raising children.
  7. Consider parenting and career objectives. While both parents working might provide more financial stability, consider how it could affect your child’s development? Be certain to count all the costs, both tangible and intangible, before making the decision for both of you to work.

It is important to understand that relationship challenges are a normal part of balancing children and marriage. Though you and your spouse may carefully and prayerfully plan for children and talk at length about how to handle situations that may arise, be prepared for surprises. And no matter what, never forget that the love and support needed to nurture your marriage is just as important as winning the parent-of-the-year award. Strongly consider sitting down with a counselor and discussing being parents, or consider taking a class to continue growing in your marriage with the idea that you may gain insightful and objective advice on how to successfully tackle marriage and parenting.

– Family Dynamics Institute

 

Family Dynamics Institute collaborates with Churches, Companies, and Community Organizations to help them provide a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry to help married and engaged couples grow stronger at all ages and stages of marriage.

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Happy National Single Parents Day!

Before they are eighteen, about half of our Nation’s children will have lived part of their lives with a single parent who strives to fill the role of both mother and father.

Many single parents in America are making valiant efforts on behalf of their children under trying circumstances. Whether it is a deserted spouse forced to work and care for children simultaneously, or a spouse who is not receiving child support that has been awarded by a court, or an unwed mother who has bravely foregone the all-too-available option of abortion, or a widow or widower, single parents deserve our recognition and appreciation for their demonstrated dedication to their young.

At the same time, we should also recognize the vital and ongoing role a large percentage of non-custodial parents play in the nurturing process of their offspring. Their sacrifices, devotion, and concern reflect the bonds of caring for those they have brought into this world.

Single parents can and do provide children with the financial, physical, emotional, and social support they need to take their places as productive and mature citizens. With the active interest and support of friends, relatives, and local communities, they can do even more to raise their children in the best possible environment.

The Congress, by H.J. Res. 200, has designated March 21, 1984, as “National Single Parent Day” and has requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of that day.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 21, 1984, as National Single Parent Day. I call on the people of the United States to recognize the contributions single parents are making, sometimes under great hardships, to the lives of their children, and I ask that they volunteer their help, privately or through community organizations, to single parents who seek it to meet their aspirations for their children.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth. -Proclamation 5166

 

Posted by Matt Haviland of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry

www.afatherswalk.org

Precious and Loved: From the heart of Dr. Dan

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This post is dedicated to the loving memory of Dr. Dan Erickson, who went home to the Lord earlier this week. Words will never describe the impact he made on countless lives– selfless acts of love that reaped eternal rewards. Dr. Dan will be missed, but we are so grateful to God for sharing him with us during this life.

I was encouraged the other day by these words out of Isaiah 43.2-3: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flames shall not consume you, for I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel your God.

Why? Because you are precious in my eyes and honored and I love you! (v.4)

I remember when all seven of my grandkids were born but the first one stands out the most in my mind. Gabby was born with little fanfare since there was no father in the picture. I became her substitute daddy for a few years. I remember holding her for the very first time and my eyes begin to leak. I fell in love with her that day. I still am!

When I think about that day it leads me to ask the question, “Why did I love her so much? All she did was pup, pee and puke?” It is a simple but profound answer, “Because she was mine.” She wasn’t born with a large inheritance; no test could tell me she was going to be a super athlete, actress or scholar. I love her so much because she was mine. And since she was mine I would protect and cherish her with my life. Nothing could separate me from the love I had for her. Her conduct, attitude or her acceptance or rejection of me would not change my love for her.

Why does God declare to us that we are honored and loved by Him when we are continually messing up, breaking his commandments and going our own way? When we reject Him, we find ourselves in deep waters and fire surround all around us yet He loves us so much He sent His only Son to rescue us when we did not deserve it.

Why? Because we are His!

If the God could become man and rescue us, He can do anything no matter your situation or circumstance. This kind of love God and His Son has for us bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. (I Cor. 13:7)

Crawl into your Heavenly Father’s arms, allow Him to rescue you and protect you from the waters and the fires in your life. It is never too late. Allow Him to say to you what He said to his Son so many years ago, This is my son whom I love and in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:17). What He said about His Son He says about you. What had His Son done—except simply been His, imagine the possibilities!

5 Keys to Successfully Raising Porn-Free Teens

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No father wants to imagine his child is looking at pornography, but it is happening every day. Researchers have stated that the average age of exposure to pornography is as young as eight to eleven years old.

Love on Your Kids

Stay engaged in your teen’s life. Keep listening and talking. Tim Block, a youth pastor, said, “Communication is critical in helping teens realize that this is a winnable war as we depend on God’s indwelling Holy Spirit to enable and strengthen us.”

It is a good idea to spend time with each of your children individually. It will give you both an opportunity to get to know each other, and it makes children feel very special. Think hard before accepting opportunities such a promotion that takes you out of town a lot. I learned this from hearing the stories of many men with father wounds. Their fathers were just not there during these critical years.

Teach Them to Love God

Encourage Bible memorization. Make it a fun game. There is great power in memorizing verses. I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 (ESV) Have Bible studies in your home and encourage the teens to be involved in the teen church group. Go to church as a family on Sunday. Show the teens that your faith is very important to you. Memorize these verses with your teens: Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 4:7-8.

Why is reading the Bible so important for your teens? It’s important because no matter how young in the faith they are, the Holy Spirit is at work when they read. The Holy Spirit will cause conviction—conviction leads to obedience to the Word. When a teen commits to obey the conviction, they are moving towards surrender. Surrender is the willingness to do anything for God. Surrender is giving up our rights and following what God has laid on our hearts. Talk to your teens about their faith. Ask your teens about their personal testimony; not how they became saved but their lifestyles. What areas need changing to make them better witnesses?

Have them come up with their own “I” statements about what areas need changing. This gives something you can discuss as an accountability item. When you review these together you are reviewing directions that they gave to themselves.

 I recommend reading this book to help you: Protecting Your Teen From Disturbing Behavior by Lee Vuckich and Steve Vandegriff 2007 Living Ink Books.

Be Open and Honest About Your Failings

There is a transition that needs to happen from raising little children to raising teens. It is sad that we have to make this transition at such an early age, even as young as eight; but since these young people are facing such harsh realities, we need to be real with them. As the parent you can be a stumbling block to a young person’s development into a young adulthood. We need to admit when we are wrong. We have to be vulnerable. That way, when your teens have issues, they will know they can talk to you because you are not perfect either. You’ve made it safe to talk. They need to know you have had to work through your own struggles with cigarettes, alcohol, and sexual matters.

Expect the Best from Your Teens

You should expect the best from your teens. In order to help them do their best, you need to have boundaries. Boundaries make children feel secure. Tim Block emphasized that “establishing boundaries that are consistent with God’s Word are paramount.” Create an environment in which they can succeed.

Monitor Your Teens

You will only know if your teens are staying within the boundaries by monitoring their behavior. Accountability is important. Travis Armstrong, Pastor of Junior High School Students at Grace Church, reports that teens are embracing the seriousness of the battle going on for their souls. “Teens are having accountability with each and using texting as the means of helping each other.” You have many options for monitoring your teen’s behavior.

 

Dave Howe co-founded a men’s purity group at Grace Church in Eden Prairie MN in 2006. His 90 day devotional book for men healing from sexual addiction will be released by Tristan Publishing this fall. Follow his blog at: Davehowe.org and on Twitter: @DaveJ_Howe