My husband and I have been discussing what we should/should not do to assist our teenage son in regards to financial responsibility. Both of our kids get a weekly allowance if they have completed their chores for the week; their allowance is also prorated based on what is or is not completed by the end of the week. My husband does not think we should be giving our son an allowance since he is working and I admit I have been completing most of his chores because he is working. Secondly, both kids have always had to put a certain amount of their money in a savings account monthly. Since our son is working he has more that could be put in his savings account. I think we should encourage our son to add additional money to his savings but I also feel that he should be able to decide what to do “within reason” with what happens with the money he earns. My son now has a debit card tied to his checking account, again my husband wants to restrict the amount of money he has available on his checking account. The other day my son bought something he really wanted that was not very pricey but my husband was upset that he bought it because it was unnecessary. I agreed that it would not have been at the top of my list of things to buy but our son bought something he wanted with his money. I have also noticed that our son seems to want to hold on to the money he makes more so than he has in the past with his allowance. So what do you think? Where is the happy median?
The bible lets us know that children are gifts from God. No matter how they are conceived, they are still God-given gifts of life. When children are born we see them as one of the most beautiful sites ever. Just to hold them in your arms is such an unexplainable feeling. We know that as long as they are in our arms, they are protected and secure. Protecting them becomes our number one goal. We want to protect them from everything, which by the way is impossible. Although it may be impossible to protect them from everything, we can protect them from some things. One of the best ways to protect our children is through communication. Yes, you guessed it, talk to them. Talk to them about what? Everything! This includes sex! Most parents will talk about everything else but sex. With the growing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, this should be the most talked about subject at home. Some will agree and others will disagree. As for the parents who agree, the next question is WHEN? When should I discuss sex with my child? What is the appropriate age? Frankly, there is not an appropriate age to have this discussion. Base the timing of the discussion off the maturity level of the child along with your judgement as a parent. So now the question arises; what or how much should be discussed? The answer is EVERYTHING and EVERYTHING! Remember if you don’t communicate with them about sex, they will eventually become informed in ways that you never could dream of. Moreover, they may find out “from or with” someone you may not want them to. So let’s make it our responsibility to keep our children informed of the truth when it comes to subjects of this nature. Afterwards; when the time comes, your children can make an informed and educated decision concerning themselves and their involvement in sex.
What’s the hardest thing you have ever done? For me the answer is simple… it was a conversation I had with my wife. About 5 dates into our relationship we were already both very confident that we would marry each other. Because of this I mentioned on that particular date that I want for us to have a talk at some point in the future before we were married where we confessed everything about ourselves to one another so that we did not enter marriage with any secrets. In my mind when I brought this up I had no specific date of when I thought this should happen so I guess I had it set as a hypothetical undetermined date. What my wife said next kind of shocked me… she asked if we could go ahead and have that conversation at that point. So much for that hypothetical future date!
What followed was hands down the hardest talk I have ever had with another human being. While I am not the worst of people, and had nothing overly villainous to confess I still have things about my past that I am ashamed of, I regret, and I did not really want anyone else to know about. Also, while I know I am not defined by my mistakes, let me tell you, to do a rundown of all the things I wish I had never done was pretty brutal. At one point I felt like I was playing right into the devil’s hands where I was willingly condemning myself. I felt so bad while doing this that I broke down and began to weep uncontrollably.
However, on the other side of that talk I felt liberated. Two things happened in that moment that moved me from “hardest things I’ve ever done” to “the most free I’ve ever felt.” I got to listen to my future bride say that the things I just confessed did not matter, and that she forgave me because she knows that is not who I am anymore. Also, I got a real tangible picture of how Jesus feels about me. To be His means that regardless of how bad your sin is His grace covers it all. It was the weirdest transition from feeling terrible to feeling liberated in a matter of moments.
The point I hope I am making with all of this is that secrets within marriage are terrible! I wish I could confess to you that after that conversation with my wife I have never been tempted to keep a secret from her. Unfortunately, that temptation still rears its ugly face. It is hard work to fight against it, but knowing that we are completely open in our marriage helps us trust one another and stay close and strong. I know we are not perfect at it, but I also know there are a lot of couples that hold fast to secrets, and it pains me to see that do damage in their marriage. I encourage you to have hard conversations and rid your marriage of secrets.
I remember watching a very well known movie called the Best Man. This movie had a follow up episode about 13 years later. The plot of the movie was dealing with “things of the past.” The groom found out right before his wedding that his best man and wife to be, had a sexual encounter when they all attended college. It caused quite a chaos between the three of them. Through out it all, the marriage still took place. However, we find out in the second sequel “Best Man Holiday” that it has been 15 years and the husband is still not over the fling.
For some this scenario will not apply. But for many, it is a truth that is being dealt with to this day. How many times have you discovered something about your spouse, fiance’ or companion years and years after being into the relationship? What kind of things did you discover? And once you found out about these things, did you really want to know? Yes, there are some things that couples should discuss before committing to a relationship. These things include but are not limited to; medical conditions, previous children outside the relationship, careers and career interest, financial stability or instability, criminal background, religious beliefs, sex and sexual preferences, previous marriages, etc. But even discussing all these things we have to be open to the fact that everything about a person is not going to be revealed up front.
The truth of the matter is that there are some things you need to know, some things you think you want to know, and some things you truly do not need to know. Just realize that everyone has a past. When you marry them, you marry them for who you believe they are. However, you just don’t marry that person. You marry everything about them. You don’t just marry John or Judy. Some days John or Judy will turn to Heckle, Jeckle, and occasionally Mr. Hyde. The truth of the matter is that no matter how long you think you know a person, you will never truly know their entirety. If something does surface and sometimes it will. Put forth the effort to deal with it appropriately and move on. There is nothing wrong with wanting to know the truth. For we all want truth. The question is can you handle the truth?
Many couples fight over money. However, money issues aren’t usually actually about money. They are about what money REPRESENTS to each partner. Money could represent security, freedom, status, achievement, personal worth, pride, respect, fun, or many other things.
Next time you are fighting about money, ask your self and your partner, what does MEAN to each of you? Then try to respect that. Discuss how he wants financial security but she wants to feel a freedom she’s never had before. Understand that the symbolic meaning of money is what’s being contested here. You probably won’t be able to change your partner’s meaning, but you might be able to understand him/her better. And let that understanding help you to find common ground.
Is it okay to withhold information from a close friend? Some would say; it depends on the situation. There are some that would answer; maybe. Others would say; absolutely not! What if the situation involved you knowing something about a close friend or family member’s relationship? Here is the scenario; you were close friends with a couple. The husband was your close friend but over a period of time, you also became good friends with the wife. You found out that the wife was cheating on the husband and has been for quite sometime. She has even made several attempts to be with you! However, your respected yourself and your close friend’s relationship enough to turn her down. The close friend is constantly telling you how much he loves and adore his wife. You witness him on numerous occasions shopping for her and always looking for ways to keep her happy. When you see him going out his way and constantly praising her, it makes you just want to put her on blast!!!! What would you do? What do you do? Do you reveal what you know to the husband/close friend? Or do you keep it to yourself?
After giving this scenario some thought, I come to the conclusion that there is no simple or easy answer to these questions. Situations as the above example require an ample amount of precautionary measures. You really have to judge for yourself how much you should or should not get involved. One false move could cause more harm than good. There is however, one absolute recommendation. This is to get people involved who are experienced to handle these type situations. Most times these individuals are your counselors, therapists, pastors, etc. Remember, although your friend may need to know what is going on, it may not be a good idea for them to hear it from you! Seek help! It could very well save the relationship and moreover; your friendship!!!