Archive for January, 2008

January 30, 2008

I don’t want my parents smoking in my home….

by Rod Smith

“My parents are heavy smokers and I don’t want them smoking in my home. I am Biblically constrained to obey my parents and therefore feel I cannot ask them not to smoke when they visit me. Please help.” (Letter shortened)

You are an adult and therefore you are not “Biblically constrained to obey” your parents. Children are commanded in Scripture to “obey” their parents – and you are no longer a child. You, an adult, are to honor your parents and I’d suggest you could honor your parents while also requesting your mother and father to not smoke in your home.

Go ahead: speak up! It is your home and you are the one who must live with the lingering odors. An adult son or daughter who can engage in adult-to-adult conversations with his or her parents is indeed behaving in an honorable manner!

I am “constrained” declare that the Bible certainly does not expect any child to be blindly obedient to a toxic parent, and therefore be submitted to danger or abuse or unacceptable behavior of any kind. Integral to honoring anyone, is the ability to stand up to that person and refuse to be manipulated or intimidated, especially in the name of love or obedience.

January 29, 2008

You get what you want…..

by Rod Smith

Did you hear about the mother who complained her children were always in her hair? Now that her son and daughter are adults she can’t get them to return her phone calls. They are out of much more than her hair.

What about the dad who buried himself in his work just to find some peace and quiet? Now that he’s retired and his adult children are living such busy lives he never sees them. The peace he craved is driving him crazy. He had no idea quietness could be so loud and unsettling.

Then there’s the one about the mother who complained the children slowed her down in the mornings making her late for everything. Now, with nowhere to go, she’s never late for anything. Her daughter texts her saying, “Can’t talk. Will phone next week.” Her son ignores her voicemails altogether.

And while these scenarios are birthed in my mind, the situations are very real. Go to any retirement home and you’ll hear tales of abandonment and woe. But here’s the really scary part: in so many ways we get what we want, and then discover we didn’t want it that much in the first place.

January 28, 2008

Will our grandchildren have issues….?

by Rod Smith

“Our daughter is seeing a man and with a bad track record. She has already been married once before. The problem we have is the impact her life has upon her children. The children (9 and 7) are torn between their mother, father, and the new man. They want to be loyal to all the adults in their lives but it seems no one stays for very long. The children get let down constantly. As grandparents we try to be as consistent as possible without interfering in our daughter’s affairs. Our only issue is the amount it affects the lives of our grandchildren and we often talk about how this will impact their relationships one day.”

Like each adult must, you grandchildren will face their individual histories and have to decide to make the best of what they have been offered.

Few people, without considerable work, can break the orbit a parent provides and so, yes, it is likely (although by no means inescapable) that your grandchildren will face some relational issues in their futures.

Continue to provide the sound platform you do provide, and trust the children to gain progressive and helpful insight into their lives.

Your job is to continually expose them to what is possible in a healthy relationship.

January 26, 2008

Alone and hurting….

by Rod Smith

“I am in an affair with a married man. Although it is a year it seems like a lifetime. I was married when we began our relationship. My husband moved away and I thought he was going to make the break with his wife. One day he tells me not to give up on him. The next day he tells me he never said such a thing. He talks about ‘boundaries’ and how he ‘chooses not to leave’ his wife. I’m miserable. I go to bed alone every night. Every day I help him with his work while mine falls further behind. I would love some pearls of wisdom. I need to end this: but how?” (Edited)

The pearl of wisdom – “I need to end this” – is in your letter. Until you sever this destructive alliance (it’s not a “relationship”) you will have no joy. Until you have extended time alone (without a man in your life) you will not re-establish your integrity.

How do you end it? There is no easy way out! Resign. Disappear. Move to a new city. Change your phone numbers. You owe him no “closure” or explanation. Of course this is tough but the sooner you act, the sooner you will find relief from your misery.

January 21, 2008

Because I am your friend I will…

by Rod Smith

1. Be aware of the unique, honored position I have in your life, and regard it with the respect it deserves.
2. Hear you, even if you are telling me things I’d rather you not say.
3. Be willing to disagree with you, when, in my estimation, you are wrong, off target, or unfair in your actions or thinking.
4. Forgive you when you hurt me, even though I will sometimes make it very clear to you how the hurt occurred.
5. Expect the very best of you and applaud your use of all of your skills and talents.
6. Tell you the truth as I see it, as kindly, efficiently, and succinctly as possible.
7. Live my life as purposefully as possible in my daily journey toward fulfilling the deepest, most powerful yearnings of my head and heart.
8. Be generous to you (without giving you money) and be kind to you (without trying to solve your problems).
9. Not inflict my anxiety upon you.
10. Stand on my own two feet without pushing you over.
11. Engage you in necessary conflict that I may love you more powerfully.
12. Speak well of you in every circumstance.

January 20, 2008

Reader comments on blending finances in second marriages…

by Rod Smith

“I just read your recommendations on blending finances when two people with children from different marriages decide to re-marry. Transparency makes ethical sense—it would be wrong for either party to enter a marriage without disclosing any serious debt he or she had. However, I totally disagree with the necessity to blend finances, and your advice to walk away if one party disagrees with blending I think is overkill—could even be injurious to a couple planning an otherwise honest, equitable arrangement. Stats show that second marriages are less likely to survive than first ones, and the inequity that could result after a second divorce could be extremely unfair to the person with the most money before marriage, or even the one that makes more during the second marriage, especially if their natural child or children are young. After a first marriage ends, I would advise hiring a financial advisor and attorney to evaluate one’s finances and find out the potential consequences of a second marriage, and divorce, on one’s finances and the financial future of one’s natural children. I have lived long enough to observe some real financial tragedies resulting from divorce and second and third marriages.”

Susan was responding to the following column:

January 16, 2008

Here I stand: help for those estranged in a family…

by Rod Smith

Are you estranged from a family member? Here, modified according to your needs* and circumstances, and expressed in your own words and style, is the gist of offering a “Here I Stand” challenge:

“Here I stand, my son, despite our painful history, desiring to be a loving parent and grandparent to you and to your children. Given the opportunity of inclusion, I will work hard at correcting my past ills. If you choose to see me I will not:

  1. Speak ill of anyone, not immediate or distant family, not of people from past relationships, or anyone newly incorporated into your life.
  2. Be shaming, demanding, or accusatory.
  3. Make unreasonable requests of you, or want anything from you that you are not willing to offer.
  4. Be impatient with you, but will rather seek to be affirming, kind, and light-hearted. I will regard a relationship with you and your children as a treasured gift.

“My continued desire to be included in your life and family is not an attempt to manipulate you, but rather to minimize future regret. You, an adult, get to choose the level of my involvement with you, and, while I am powerless over your decisions, I hope you will decide in favor of gradual, and then complete, reconciliation with me.”

* This letter is geared for a parent estranged from an adult son and grandchildren

January 14, 2008

A woman writes, after ending her affair…..

by Rod Smith

“Wow! I happened to fall upon this site and I am so amazed at all the responses on this matter. I am not proud of what I am about to say but I fell in love with a married man. It started out as a professional relationship, but he flirted and pursued me and eventually I relented.

I believed him when he said, “nothing would change between us professionally.”

I believed him when he said “I have never done this before”….but little clues led me to believe different.

The fact that when his wife called him on his cell and he answered (while I was present) he would look me straight in the eye and not act nervously at all. Another time (I tested this) by hugging him while he was conversing with her, and he did not wince, or push me away at all!

So, either, he really hated her, or he is very used to this situation.

I wised up and left this relationship. She caught on, and I could tell that she had dealt with this before. She wasn’t even angry, it was more like: “Here we go again.”

I feel sorry for her. He is (so-called) “high profile.”

He makes a good living and they have several young kids. It hurt to leave, because I did love him. I probably still do,…but bottom line is it was so wrong!

One doesn’t intentionally try to get into these situations….at least I didn’t….it just happened, and like a fool I fell for his charm.

Don’t be stupid like I was…..realize…that if he really loved you. He would leave her for you….but then…..”buyer beware”….you just might get what you wished for! Hmmmm………? No Thanks. I don’t want to spend MY marriage looking over my shoulder and babysitting my husband…..just like it has been stated previously….if he did it to her? What is to stop him from doing it to you? What makes you better? You are NOT the mother of his children, you do NOT own property together, you do NOT have a history together….so why wouldn’t he cheat on you too?? Just an FYI….take it from someone who knows….

Here’s an update: AFTER I broke it off with him I ran into a girl at a nightclub and she told he that he had sex with one of her co-workers! Now who would have thought?”

This comment was left on the article found here:

January 12, 2008

Adult son will not accept my new wife….

by Rod Smith

“I would like to reconcile with my son (30). He has children of whom I am very fond. Some years ago his mother and I were divorced after many years and my relationship with my son immediately thereafter seemed fine. A year after the divorce I met a woman and we married a year later. It appears that he does not want to be disloyal to his mother and does not accept my wife as my “primary relative.” He withholds the pleasure of my grandchildren from me. I have tried to reconcile. Are there some basic guidelines I can follow? (Letter shortened)

Your son apparently fails to see that loyalty to a father and accepting a father’s new wife does not necessitate disloyalty to his mother. He would, were he planning for the healthiest long-term outcomes for his children, regard embracing you, your new wife, and his mother, as absolutely essential.

His confusion expressed toward you, I’d suggest lies embedded in unresolved issues with his mother. If he can’t appropriately define himself with her, relating to your “new” family will cause him much discomfort. Issue your son a “here I stand” challenge. I will write more about this tomorrow.

January 8, 2008

Best things you can do if your husband says he doesn’t love you…. a woman (Ann) writes…!

by Rod Smith

I thank Ann for this comment...

I thank Ann for this comment...

“Hi Ladies, just a bit of advice, if your husband says he doesn’t want to be married or doesn’t love you anymore, as much as it hurts, the best thing you can do is nothing. Go about your business, act happy, be nice, don’t beg, don’t plead, don’t cry and make him try to feel sorry for you. Listen to me, as hard as this sounds, it works. Work on yourself, be your own person, let him always see you are happy. Men don’t want to pull away from happy women! They want to pull away from a woman who is yelling, and nagging. I am not saying this is your fault by any means.

“Starting today, start taking care of yourself, pamper yourself, love yourself the way you want to be loved, throw your energy into your kids and yourself. Any contact with your husband or boyfriend be nothing but pleasant and nice: no fighting, no blaming. If he brings up divorce, breaking up tell him you don’t want that but YOU’LL SUPPORT HIM IN HIS DECISION. And leave it at that.

“Get your hair done, nails done (if you can afford to do so) give yourself facials, make yourself feel good about yourself and it will shine through.

“Remember, no yelling, no begging him, no freaking out on him, that will only push him further away.

“And don’t keep bringing up the past of hurtful things he has said and did, that just creates more drama.”