back to news articles
Ask Anne Answers Your Questions
Jun 01, 2010
Q: I am a new father and want to know what my son will need to hear from me in the coming years.
A: Whether you have a son, daughter, niece, nephew, or other children in your life the way you relate with them will shape them for years to come. Certainly we are all called to care for children in our churches. Dr. John Trent* has taken the blessing that Isaac gave to Jacob in Genesis 27 and broken it into five categories:
- Appropriate and meaningful touch.
- A spoken message. Many families believe that showing love to one another is enough. However, it is important to communicate and verbalize your love and hopes to your children.
- Adults should attach a high value to the child’s life and communicate the child’s worth in God’s eyes and also in the eyes of the parent/relative.
- Adults should communicate the fact that the child has a special future. (Jer. 29:11)
- Adults in the child’s life should maintain a genuine commitment to the child. The relationship should be consistent whether it is daily contact, conversations over the phone, or visits with loved ones. Family members can be creative in how they demonstrate their commitment and unconditional love to their child/teen.
Children have many needs. Certainly their physical needs are a vital part of what caregivers spend their time meeting on a daily basis. In addition, there are many emotional and spiritual needs that children have. Read Genesis 27 when you have a moment to remind yourself of the call on your life to speak these truths into the lives of children.
*Information taken from Dr. John Trent’s “The Blessing”.
Q: My husband and I are having marital difficulties. He doesn’t see any benefit to getting help with our marriage because he views that as having other people in our business.
A: Counselors often hear that one spouse is more open to accepting help from an outside party than the other. Rest assured that if one spouse from the marriage is willing to seek to strengthen the relationship, it can be beneficial to that individual as well as the marriage.
Some advantages to seeking help alone include the fact that you have the ability to receive affirmation concerning the feelings and trials you are currently experiencing.
There can be great benefit to a friend or counselor normalizing the fact that marriage can be very difficult and takes a great deal of work. In addition, by seeking counsel you can gain a wealth of tools to utilize as you work on your marriage. Such tools include: learning how to truly listen and hear your partner; using “I” messages rather than pointing fingers at the other person; and conflict resolution skills. Finally, if you seek Christian guidance you can examine the Biblical model for marriage with your counselor.
In “Divorce Busting” by Michele Weiner-Davis, she discusses the value of being the one to take an active step for your marriage. Even if the changes feel small, it can be significant if you are willing to change your marriage by changing yourself. Another key component of strengthening any relationship, according to the book, is noticing that unhealthy patterns of verbal exchanges create difficulties in the marriage. Many times we want to blame one another rather than the relationship dynamics. Couples should identify the communication patterns that work and avoid the unhealthy patterns.
In conclusion, seeking help alone for your marriage may feel hopeless. However, benefits include gaining tools to build on the foundation of your marriage, looking at a Biblical model for marriage, and identifying destructive patterns that must be eradicated.
It is never beneficial to blame your spouse, but it is helpful to work on the patterns that are deteriorating your marriage.
*This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.