Love & Marriage

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The resources section of the Dads4Kids website is a forum for Dads to be able to express themselves and encourage other dads. Mothers contribute resources as well. The opinions of the various writers in this section are not necessarily the opinion of Dads4Kids. Read More

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  • respect

Sexual Differences – Respect and Cherishment

When we understand our sexual differences, we are empowered to use them constructively to build great relationships.  We’ve always maintained that our differences are something to celebrate; that they allow us to more deeply appreciate the unique contribution we each make to our shared life. We can be different, with differing abilities in various areas, without that detracting from our dignity ...

  • choosing

Choosing to Love

If there is one thing that makes motherhood so worth celebrating, it’s a mother’s capacity for love for her children. Whether it’s her willingness to give over her body to nourish a newborn, her patience with the endless ‘but why’ questions of a toddler, or the testing rebellion of a teenager, mothers seem to have a special empathy for the ...

  • landmine

Trigger Warning: There’s a Landmine Below

Over the previous columns, we have been exploring how our formation from our family of origin can continue to impact us and our marriage negatively. In this article, we want to unpack the third and final way our formation experiences play out – through emotional injuries. Some years ago, Francine purchased a new espresso machine. It came with two espresso ...

  • programmed

Programmed for Love or for Trouble?

We were recently hosted overnight in the country home of friends. It was a beautiful experience in every way. Our hosts greeted us with warmth, housed us in a tastefully appointed bedroom and nourished us with a delightful meal. Their home was a beauty to behold; magnificent views overlooking the valley, landscaped gardens and an immaculately clean interior. Dust is ...

  • prayer

Prayer for Couples in Times of Trouble

We had a request recently from someone looking for a prayer for a couple going through tough times in their marriage. While we were very happy to oblige, it struck us that for many couples in this situation, prayer is often far from their thoughts, and yet, it is one of the most effective interventions for a troubled marriage. Dr ...

  • mid

Mid-Life Madness and other Stressors

As mid-lifers in the midst of working through some of our ‘issues’, we are acutely aware of how easy it would be to let our individual stuff derail our marriage. It’s normal for a person in midlife to be irritable and volatile. Some react with depressive symptoms, others get angry and aggressive, and others withdraw or self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, ...

  • forgiveness

Forgiveness is the Life Blood of Marriage

“Forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:24). These words of Jesus as he was being crucified were meant not just for his executioners, but for all of us. His love transcends all our limitations and failures and calls us into life. We all have someone to forgive; someone who has disappointed, betrayed, abandoned or hurt us ...

  • Discipline

Dads Asking Questions

Some time ago I was busy working in my own office when I heard my wife talking in the next office to a stranger. Being the inquisitive type, I opened my door to shake hands with Bill, who was inspecting the services in our office on behalf of the landlord. Bill, realising he was in the offices of Dads4Kids, started ...

  • Argument

Myths about Arguments

When it comes to marriage, relationships and arguments, there are a lot of myths out there. Here are five of the most common. Myth 1: Good Couples Don’t Argue The presence or absence of arguments is not a good indicator of the health of a marriage. Some couples who don’t argue are living detached, parallel lives. They’ve essentially checked out ...

  • Unbusy

On Trend with Unbusy

We recently enjoyed a week in New Zealand – about five days with some of our children and then two blessed days on our own. It was like a tonic for our soul and our marriage. Long walks with relaxed afternoons soaking up beautiful vistas and abundant wildlife. One such cheeky local was a Fantail – a small native bird that sashayed ...

  • romantic couple

That Romantic Atmosphere

On Friday afternoon, we went on a bushwalk with Byron’s work colleagues. Although we were with other people, we so enjoyed the time together. Walking is remarkably therapeutic for us… perhaps it’s the natural environment, or maybe it’s simply the absence of the constant phone, email and text distraction. Whatever it is, is not the point. It just feels strangely ...

  • marriage

The Day After the Big Day

Yesterday we celebrated our daughter’s wedding to a wonderful man and family. Our daughter Kiara looked absolutely radiant with an interior joy; her now-husband Doug, was magnificent -- strong, steady and adoring. Their evident love for each other lit up the church and the celebration that followed. As parents of the bride, we were afforded the opportunity to address the ...

  • investment

Investment in Marriage

Anything worth having is never free. As Francine and I raced around on a typical Saturday afternoon, we found ourselves at the local shopping village together. Never one to waste the opportunity to gain a ‘good husband’ brownie point, I declared we should have a ‘coffee date’. Naturally, Francine obliged -- she practically never says no to a ‘date’, no ...

  • parent

Like Parent, Like Child

The most powerful influence on a couple is their family of origin. Good or bad, our experiences in our childhood prepared us for marriage. The young couple sitting opposite us had been married only a few years. They were experiencing some health challenges, but this is not what brought them to us; they were locked in a perpetual low-grade argument ...

  • sex

The Commitment Challenge #3: Sex and Committed Relationships

In a recent discussion at a youth conference, it was put to us by some of the participants that premarital sex was acceptable as long as it was a ‘committed’ relationship. Casual sex was seen to be inappropriate and perhaps dangerous, but if the couple were in a committed dating situation, then sex was okay. It sounds very reasonable and ...

  • Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day — Learn from Shrek and Seize the Moment

“A lot of men feel pressured by Valentine’s Day. They don’t like being expected to do something romantic for their wife or girlfriend on an arbitrary date on the calendar. They flinch when their mate drops hints in early February about what flowers or candy she prefers.” These are the words of Professor William Doherty, one of the world's most ...

  • commitment challenge

The Commitment Challenge #2

What Are the Signs and What Do They Mean? In today’s dating scene, there is a great deal of confusion about commitment and what it means. Scott Stanley*, one of the foremost thinkers on commitment, suggests that the old ‘commitment phobia’ explanation doesn’t fully explain the dilemma in which dating couples find themselves. One reason for this is the confusion ...

  • commitment

The Commitment Challenge #1

Commitment Phobia We’ve heard the phrase bandied around for years, but is it really as simple as someone being afraid of, or threatened by, making a commitment to his or her dating partner? Usually the ‘Commitment Phobia’ accusation is levelled towards the man in the relationship, with the related belief that it comes down to something genetically programmed on the ...

  • communication

Delusions of Superior Communication

Here’s a question for you: How would you rate yourself as a driver -- below average, average, or above average? How about your IQ (intelligence)? And finally, how about as a tennis player? Research by psychologists tells us that most people overestimate their driving ability and intelligence compared to others, while they will be much more accurate about their tennis ...

  • fun

Making Fun is Serious Business

Counsellors and educators often talk about the importance of fun in a marriage. For those of us raising families, couple fun is one of the first casualties in the busy family schedule. Enter the Couple Project! –  a great way to put fun back on the agenda with these multiple benefits: Time together. This is so important, many marriage counsellors ...

  • partnership

Marriage is Not a Partnership

Housework: It’s often a topic of debate among couples, and truth be told, we’ve had our own dramas in this area over the years. We have very different values and expressions when it comes to housework. Byron is particular about floors and will often be found with a broom, mop or vacuum cleaner in hand. Francine is more motivated around ...

  • forgiveness

Forgiveness – A New Year Resolution You Can Keep

Too many New Year resolutions falter because they fail to address what really needs changing: the internal disposition that compels us into unwanted habits. A few years ago, we received a letter from an irate reader. We were tempted to point out his clear misinterpretation that led him to conclude almost the direct opposite of our intent. But we recognised ...

  • gratitude

Gratitude: The Heartbeat of Love

New research validates age-old wisdom: the simple habit of gratitude can transform a jaded marriage into a joyous encounter. By Marilyn Rodrigues A University of North Carolina study highlighted the association of gratitude with a happy marriage. Cameron Gordon, the study’s lead author, said that the goodwill generated by grateful spouses creates a “reciprocal feedback loop” of marital harmony, helping ...

  • hope

Defiant Hope

Advent is a season of anticipation. The birth of any child, not least the Messiah, gives us cause for hope. Earlier this week, we heard the testimony of Chris and Natalie Stefanick, a couple who had journeyed through dark seasons in their marriage. Having survived sexual abuse as a child, Natalie found she needed many years of therapy and healing. ...

  • growth

The Growth Mindset

At our daughter’s recent award assembly, the school principal addressed the topic of ‘Growth Mindset’. She noted how education was more than merely preparing students for exams and aiming for maximum marks on their university entrance ranking. In a country where we have national examinations of all school children every two years from the age of seven, this is a ...

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