When a child is brought into the family, it can sometimes cause a shift in the parental identity. A woman can begin to see herself as a parent first and a lover and wife second. A man can sometimes see himself as lover and husband first and parent second. When this happens, there is a risk of a loss of intimacy within the marriage.
Intimacy in marriage after children is very important. Children feel safest in the home of a happy and stable marriage. They learn how to treat people by watching how their parents treat each other. Non-sexual affection is a positive sign for the children and can help them adapt socially.
Married couples can keep intimacy alive after children, but it will take work. They need to continue to communicate, shift, and be open to change. They can take those moments when the children are asleep or distracted or away at friends to have some time to be intimate. Parents should make it a priority to be intentional about their intimacy so that the marriage and in turn the family dynamic remain healthy.
Money can be one of the biggest tension points in marriage. Two people of different money profiles come together to live one life. Both have pre-established concepts of money and spending habits. When children are added to the mix, the tension can rise even further. A married couple should work to keep the lines of communication open regarding money in order to help ease said tension.
One thing that can help is to understand each other’s money makeup. There are different types of money personalities that include savers, spenders, security seekers, flyers, debtors and risk takers. We are all a mix of two of these; when we know what our spouse is, we can better navigate the conversations we will need to have about money.
Another thing is to not be too tight-fisted on our own opinions. Sometimes we just need to let our spouses have their way with the money—within a reasonable spending amount—so that there is no unnecessary arguing. We should always remember that neither we nor our spouse is ever totally right or totally wrong. We can learn to be flexible with our money for the sake of our marriage.
In the end, money is just a tool we use to make life happen. God is our ultimate provider and all the money in the world belongs to Him. We can stress about money, but why? God will always supply our needs. So spend wisely and communicate often.
As a pastor I watch people move from church to church for many different reasons. Some moves are worthwhile, such as relocations for career advancement. However, many moves are because of disappointment or bitterness toward the church. We all face these times of disappointment, and we do not want to instill these messages of bitterness or disillusionment into our children. Many parents would say that they want to raise children that love God and His church, but by moving from church to church they send a message to their children that church commitment really isn’t a priority. Their love becomes conditional and intolerant. They simply forget that the church is truly God’s people – His ecclesia – His called out ones who are not perfect, but human and flawed just like everyone else.
A leader is only a leader in the company of others. People all bring their strengths and weaknesses to a group. The leader, as Paul writes in Romans 15:1, needs a special kind of strength. Paul states, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak.” A leader is strong so that he or she can help those who are following and are on the team.
Sometimes, a leader runs ahead of the team, so to speak. He or she is casting vision for the future and showing strength by being the first to race toward that vision. The leader runs ahead but is never out of sight. He or she leads the team into the vision by showing them the way.
Anger is often times immediately written off as a bad thing—to the point that we feel guilty over being angry over things that we have every right to be angry over. Our parents say something hurtful in jest and we get angry; our spouse is late for our date night and we get angry; our kids are misbehaving regardless of how many times we counted to three. Anger is a reaction that is connected to deeper emotions; many times, that emotion is love!
We are often angry the most with those we love. Our spouse is late; we feel underappreciated and unloved because they seemingly did not take this date night seriously. Hurtful words from family members cut deep because we love them. We love our children so much and get frustrated when our investment in them does not payout. In Mark 3:5, Jesus confronted a group of Pharisees and looked at them “with anger” for their unbelief. He loved them and was angered by their hard hearts, but He did not react out of anger when He confronted them.
Psalm 4:4 tells us not to sin in our anger. This verse shows that, while anger has a place in our lives, we need to be careful how we use it. Jesus knew how to use anger and how not to let it use Him. Anger can be a tool for change in our lives or it can damage our lives; it can create a moment of self-examination and healing or an outlet to cause pain. Ask God to help you understand the things that make you angry and why. He will bring healing where healing is needed and show you how to use this powerful emotion wisely.