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Marriage & parenting Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies www.bibleandscience.com By Dr. Stephen Meyers
Marriage & Parenting Keys to Marriage Keys to Parenting Quiz Resources
Opposites Attract My wife and I are complete and total opposites. We did not realize this until after we were married. Opposite personalities tend to gravitate together. If the husband and wife are both very dominate, then the marriage will probably not last long unless they can resolve their conflicts. Outgoing personalities fit well with introverts. We look for traits in a partner that will compliment or balance us out.
Opposites Attack! The very things that attracted me to my wife became the very things that caused conflict in the marriage. The conflicts can be used to polish off the rough spots in our personalities. I’m cold, she is hot. She wants the window opened. I want it closed. She wants the fan on, I want it off.
Background Differences The more your background is different from your spouse the more problems there are to adjust too. There are differences between rich, poor, educated, uneducated, rural, city, black, white, and North, South. Age differences can cause problems. The divorce rate is higher for those who have a five year or more age difference. The way I was raised was very different than the way my wife was raised. I come from a strict fundamentalist Baptist background. We did not go to the movies for they supported wicked Hollywood movies.
Men are from Mars! Another big factor is that there are major biological and psychological differences between men and women. There is an excellent book entitled, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray, Ph.D. (published by HarperCollins, 1992). This book points out the differences and shows how to improve your relationship.
The Little things I remember going on a trip overseas. I thought I would not have any problems adjusting, but I did. It was not the big things, but the little unexpected things. The same it true in marriage. She squeezes the toothpaste from the middle, I squeeze it from the end. She puts it right side up, and I put it upside down.
High Expectations! My wife and I both had unrealistic expectations. She expected lots of cards and flowers, and I expected lots of sex. Since we were both Christians, we thought we would have no problems. My wife thought our children would be perfect angels.
Finding my Father or Mother! Your family background is so influential that subconsciously, the girl will look for a husband that is like her father, and the boy will look for a wife that is like his mother.
Myth of the Perfect Soul Mate! There is a wide spread myth that there is just one Mr. Right for my life. After the honeymoon is over, you wake up and realized I married Mr. Wrong. The truth is that there is no perfect soul mate. As soon as you marry him, you find out that he was not so perfect after all. Should I marry someone else? The grass always looks greener on the other side. The other side usually turns out much worse. Let's suppose you do divorce to find Mr. Right or someone better. It is highly likely you will marry the same personality type again because opposites do attract. The time that you must and should separate or divorce is if there is spousal abuse.
Changing my man After marriage women want to change their man, while men want their women to stay the same! Trying to improve your man will be very difficult if not impossible. The only thing you can change for sure is yourself. There is an interesting book entitled, What You Can Change & What You Can't by Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D. (published by Knopf, 1993). Most of the time we end up trying to change the things we really can not change.
Communication is key Communication is the key to keeping your marriage great. Women assume the guy knows what they are thinking and feeling, but in really men don’t have a clue. We a very stupid when it comes to understanding what women want. Men are like a dog who needs to be trained. Women must tell them what they want, or they will end up harboring resentment inside which will eventually boil over. There is cognitive communication and emotional communication. Women want more communication of feelings.
Fighting fare Couples are going to have disagreements and fights. When you do fight it must be fare. Airing a complaint can be healthy for a marriage. Working out your differences is key to a good marriage. Negativity is a killer. Criticism vs. factual complaint Contempt (insults, mockery) Defensiveness (denial, excuses) Stonewalling (silent, withdrawn) 4 keys in fighting fare Calm down, take deep breaths. Speak non-defensively, not screaming at each other Validation: Listen, let her know you understand Overlearning: Try again
Always or never Avoid “always or never” You always come home late. You never take out the garbage. Have fair fights. Work out your problems. There is no perfect marriage.
forgiveness Most couples know the hot buttons to push to get their partner upset. Many will bring up the past. Forgiveness is key.
Encouragement We all need encouragement. He who pulls himself up by putting others down, has a very poor foundation.
What men want? What men need is sex, sex, sex. In the distance is their stomach and sports. Sex is how men feel and show love. Why? Testosterone! Men’s bodies, especially during the teen years are producing a lot of testosterone that makes them act the way they do. The first girl to come by in a miniskirt and they are in love.
What women want Women need love (not sex) and appreciation. For my wife, the home is the extension of herself. If the house is a mess, then she feels a mess. She wants things fixed around the house. This will show that you care about her.
commitment Commitment is the key to marriage. If your marriage is until love do us part, then love will not last long. The feeling of being in love does not last very long after the honeymoon. Reality sets in and you wonder what you got yourself into. True love is a commitment to each other. Our feelings of love will go up and down like a roller coaster. It is commitment that will make the marriage last.
What is your Emotional Intelligence? What is your Emotional Intelligence? There is an excellent book entitled, Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman (published by Bantam, 1995). One may be smart intellectually, but inept at handling their emotions. This book gives helpful insights.
money Money is an area of struggles and fights. In today’s world many husbands and wives both must work to pay all the bills. Having and raising children is very expensive. College is very expensive. This puts a lot of pressure on the family. Management of money is key. There are struggles over what to spend money on, or not enough money to pay all the bills. Beware of running up credit card bills. Managing Your Money all-in-one for Dummies book is a good resource.
Perfect children? Parenting The myth of the perfect children. My wife thought that since we were both Christians and in Christian ministry, we would have perfect children. The first baby who came out screamed for several months, dashed these dreams.
Differences Each Child is Different Each child has his unique personality. Therefore you can not rise them exactly the same way. 3 Types of Children The easy child The slow to warm up child The difficult child
The way kids think The Way Kids Think There is a very interesting book entitled, Kid Think by Dr. William Lee Carter (published by Word, 1991). It deals with the six most common behavioral problems with children. Another good book is Why Children Misbehave : A Guide to Positive Parenting by Bruce Narramore (Zonderzan, 1980). The oppositional child The sensitive child The anxious child The depressed child The self-centered teenage The deceitful child
balance Balance is the key. Not too strict and not too lenient.
Unconditional Love If I was going to err, it would be giving them too much love. If you were not loved as a child, then it is going to be hard for you to show love to others. Unconditional love is the foundation for the child’s relationships for the rest of his life. If there is no love-bond relationship with the child, the child will have problems later on in life. The most important relationship in the family is the marital relationship.
Family systems Systems Theory is a good way to understand the dynamics of the family, the way each member interacts with each other. A good book is Systems Theory in Action.
The generational cycle Many times the sins of the fathers (and mothers) are repeated in their children. Children will do what you do, not what you say. If you say don’t smoke or drink and you smoke and drink then your children will probably smoke and drink. It seems that children pick up our bad habits. The Family by John Bradshaw has some interesting insights.
Worry As parents we always seem to worry about our children. We think it will get better when they grow up, but when they are teens there is more to worry about. Don’t worry about things you can’t change. Commit it to God. If you raised them up well, then they have a good foundation for life. As teenagers they will not realize this until much later in life.
Teenagers For teenage girls, age 14 is the peak year of rebellion. It is when they may experiment with drugs, sex and want a tattoo. The harder you tighten the rope the more they will want loose. If you have not already instilled good habits, it is most likely too late to make big changes now. If only one parent is raising the child, things are much more difficult. A missing or absent father or mother for a child may result in wayward teens. A teenage girl is more likely to be promiscuous, if her father is absent.
Codependency Sometimes the mother may try to live her live out through her daughter. The mother may enable the alcoholic father. Codependency Traits Driven by compulsion(s) Bound by the way things are done in the dysfunctional family Self-esteem is very low Happiness hinges on others Inordinately responsible for others Relationship with spouse hurt Denial & Repression Worries about things they can’t change. Life of extremes Looking for something that is missing in their life. More information in the book Love is a Choice by hemfelt, Minirth, & Meier.
Abuse Those who abuse their children were most likely abused by their parents. A very young girl who is physically and sexually abused may develop a multi-personality disorder. This is her way of coping with the abuse. In some Christian homes beatings are seen not as abuse, but God’s way of discipline. Leaving marks on a child is abuse.
Sense or nonsense I am concerned about Christian leaders who go around speaking a conferences claiming to be experts on how to raise your children. One has never been married and has no children, yet he has all the answers. For example, if your daughter plays with a cabbage patch doll or a Barbee doll, she will have psychological problems when she grows up. There is no scientific evidence for this. Another says start discipline of your baby by putting them on a strict feeding program. Even if the baby cries do not feed them. Many babies have become mal-nourished. This is abuse. Another is not going to the hospital to have the baby, but have it at home. This can be dangerous is something goes wrong. Another is controversy is not vaccinating your children. The overwhelming scientific evidence supports vaccination of children.
Faith Tabernacle Congregation in Philadelphia does not believe in giving medicine to children or adults. A number of children died when they got sick and medicine was refused.
The Empty nest Let your child go. For some that is not soon even. After all the children leave the house, there is an empty nest. There may be loneliness. Many couples divorce because they just stayed together for the children. Spend time together. Go out on a date. Plan special trips. Enjoy the later years of your life together.
On death & dying 5 stages of Grief Denial: Denial that the person is gone. Anger: Angry at God for taking the person away. Bargaining: Bargaining with God. I will do this, if you do that. Depression: Depressed over the loss. Acceptance: Acceptance of the loss. See the book, On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
resources Key Christian Textbook Marriage and the Family: A Christian Perspective by Stephen Grunlan