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The Rushmore Report – The Top 10 Reasons People Get Divorced

If you think that sexual infidelity is the leading cause of divorce, you’ve got it all wrong. We polled over 100 YourTango experts to see what they say are the top reasons married couples decide to split, and — believe it or not — communication problems came out on top as the number one reason marriages fail. Here are some other culprits our experts blame for the high divorce rate.

1. Getting in for the wrong reasons.

Marrying for money — we’ve all heard that that is a ticket to a quick divorce, but what about when you marry because it’s what you think you should do?

I’ve met many divorced women who say the problems that made them leave were there right from the beginning but “everyone expected us to live happily ever after” or “we had already spent so much money on the wedding” or “we had just built our dream home.” So, remember, until you say “I do,” you always have the choice to say “I don’t!”

2. Lack of individual identity.

A codependent relationship is not healthy. When you don’t have your own interests or the opportunity to express yourself outside of coupledom, you become “couple dumb.”

If you are not comfortable doing things without your partner, or you don’t know what kind of music, movies, or food you used to like, you are likely in deep and you probably feel like you are drowning and don’t know why.

3. Becoming lost in the roles.

Just as many couples “forget” their single friends and single ways when they get married, when you add children into the mix, most parents soon neglect or completely forget that they are a couple.

As children grow and need less attention, many husbands and wives find that they have grown apart and they can’t remember why they ever got married in the first place because they no longer have anything in common.

4. Not having a shared vision of success.

“Everything changed when we got married!” He drives you crazy because you’re a saver and he’s a spender. Your idea of a weekend getaway is a cozy cottage in the woods; your partner wants to the hit the town and catch a game. He thinks it’s your job to cook and clean, but you disagree.

Why didn’t he mention these things before? Maybe you should have asked. Chances are that he hasn’t changed — your expectations did. Is it possible to survive major differences in philosophy? It is possible, but many do not.

5. The intimacy disappears.

Somewhere in a marriage there is a subtle change in the intimacy department. One person has an off day, there is a misunderstanding or someone doesn’t feel well. Then there’s the idea that he isn’t as romantic or she isn’t as sexual.

Whoever is the one with the subtle change can trigger a downward spiral in the intimacy department. Men generally need sexual receptivity to feel romantic and women generally need romance to be sexually receptive. As long as both people are getting what they need, they willingly provide what the other person wants. However, when there is a lessening on either’s part, that can trigger a pulling back in the other. If gone unnoticed and unchecked, before the couple realizes, they are seriously intimately estranged and wonder what happened. This can lead to divorce as couples begin to feel unloved and unappreciated.

6. Unmet expectations.

Somewhere written into a human’s genetic code lie the instruction that when a person isn’t happy, he or she is supposed to force his/her significant to make the changes required to make the unhappy person happy again. This usually takes the form of complaining, blaming, criticizing, nagging, threatening, punishing and/or bribing.

When one or both people in the marriage are attempting to coerce each other into doing things they don’t want to do for their partner’s happiness, it is a recipe for disaster. When you are unhappy in a relationship, it’s okay to ask for the change you want. But, if your partner doesn’t oblige you, then you become responsible for your own happiness.

7. Finances.

It’s not usually the lack of finances that causes the divorce, but the lack of compatibility in the financial arena.

Opposites can attract but when two people are opposites in the financial department, divorce often ensues. Imagine the conflict if one is a saver and one is a spender. One is focused on the future while the other believes in living for today. One has no problem buying on credit, while the other believes in saving up for what one wants.

Over time, this conflict can reach such heights that divorce seems to be the only logical conclusion.

8. Being out of touch… literally.

I’m talking about physical contact. Of course, sex is great, but you also need to supplement it with little hello and goodbye kisses, impromptu hugs and simply holding hands. Couples who don’t maintain an intimate connection through both sexual and non-sexual actions are destined to become virtual strangers.

9. Different priorities and interests.

Having shared interests and exploring them together is essential for a successful marriage. Of course, having “me time” is important as well, but unless you can find common passions and look for ways to experience them together, you’ll inevitably grow farther and farther apart.

10. Inability to resolve conflicts.

Every couple has disagreements. The key is to develop ground rules so that each partner feels respected and heard. Sometimes it takes a third party “referee” to help define those rules and teach us to move through the charged emotions so resentments don’t linger.

About the Author

Lisa Payne writes for Huff.Post.

The Rushmore Report – Five Keys to Raising Christian Kids

In the last couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at several Christian conferences and churches on the importance of parents teaching their kids apologetics (how to make a case for and defend the truth of the Christian faith). When I speak, I often begin by asking the following two questions. First, I ask parents, “How many of you have come here already knowing that our world is becoming very secular and that your child’s faith is likely to be challenged in some way because of it?”

One hundred percent of the hands go up…every time.

Second, I ask parents, “How many of you would go to the next step of saying you’re confident that you know specifically what those big faith challenges are, how to effectively address them with your kids, and how that translates into parenting responsibilities on a day-to-day basis?”

Zero percent of the hands go up…every time.

As I’ve blogged about Christian parenting for the last four years, I’ve had the opportunity to hear from hundreds of parents. This gap between 1) knowing our secular world will influence our kids’ faith and 2) understanding what exactly that means for parents, is nearly universal. And it often leads to fear and frustration—parents know there’s a problem but they don’t know the solution.

It’s that gap that led me to write Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith. I wanted to help parents identify and understand 40 of the most important faith challenges they need to discuss with their kids so those challenges no longer feel ambiguous and unmanageable. But even once parents gain this critical understanding, the question remains: How does this translate into parental responsibilities?

Here are five key things to consider.

1. Parents must commit to continually deepening their understanding of Christianity.

In a secular world, kids will frequently encounter challenges to their faith—especially from vocal atheists. Atheists are often well prepared to lay out their arguments against God and Christianity in particular. Unfortunately, many Christian parents are not equally prepared to teach their kids the case for the truth of Christianity and how to defend their beliefs. Questions like the following are critically important for kids to understand today, but few parents are equipped to proactively address them: What evidence is there for the existence of God? Why would a good God allow evil and suffering? How can a loving God send people to hell? Is faith in God the opposite of reason? What are the historical facts of the resurrection that nearly every scholar agrees on? How can Christians believe miracles are even possible? How do we know the Bible we have today says what the authors originally wrote? Does the Bible support slavery, rape, and human sacrifice (as skeptics allege)?

In the past, when society was at least more nominally Christian, parents may have been able to avoid addressing the more difficult questions of faith with their kids (not that they should have!). But today’s challenges require much more from faithful Christian parents. We must learn what the big challenges are, equip ourselves to engage with them, and commit to continually deepening our understanding of our faith so we can guide our kids accordingly.

2. Parents must intentionally make “spiritual space” in their home.

It’s not enough to deepen your own understanding of Christianity, of course. Somehow you have to transfer that understanding to your kids, and that transfer requires carefully set aside time. The kinds of faith conversations we need to be having with our kids today (like the questions listed in point 1) are simply not going to happen in a meaningful way unless you make spiritual space for them. By spiritual space, I mean dedicated time for your family to engage together in growing your understanding of and relationship with God. There’s no reason such a time shouldn’t be scheduled just like all the other (less important) activities in your life. If you’re not currently doing this, start with just 30 minutes per week. That’s reasonable for any family.

3. Parents must study the Bible with their kids. Really.

Even if you know Bible study is important, statistics show you’re probably not doing it: Fewer than 1 in 10 Christian families study the Bible together in a given week. If your kids perceive that you’ve effectively relegated the Bible to the backburner of relevancy, they’ll have little reason to see it as the authoritative book Christians claim it to be. It’s absolutely pointless to talk about the Bible being God’s Word if you’re not treating it as such.

Meanwhile, the Bible is a favorite attack point of skeptics and our kids will have ample opportunity to hear how it’s an ancient, irrelevant book filled with inaccuracies and contradictions. If you’re not regularly studying the Bible with your kids, there’s a good chance they’ll eventually stop caring what it has to say.

4. Parents must proactively and regularly ask their kids what questions they have about faith.

In a secular world, where kids are constantly hearing competing worldviews, questions are guaranteed to continually arise. But there are many reasons kids may never actually ask them—they have too many other things going on, they’re afraid of your reaction, or they are simply not interested enough to bring them up.

In our house, we’ve implemented a scheduled “questions night” to help with this. You can read about how to start your own in my article, How to Get Your Kids to Ask More Questions about Their Faith.

5. Parents must ask their kids the tough questions they don’t think to ask.

If you regularly encourage your kids to ask questions about faith (see point 4), you’ll have lots of great conversations. But many questions that are important for kids to understand in preparation for the secular world they’ll encounter are ones that might never cross their mind to ask. For example, most kids don’t think to ask how we know the Bible we have today says what the authors originally wrote. But that doesn’t mean they won’t almost certainly encounter skeptics who tell them the Bible is completely untrustworthy for that reason. Just as we don’t wait for our kids to ask questions about World War II before deciding when, what, and how to teach them about it, we shouldn’t wait until our kids encounter challenges before we address them. They’ll undoubtedly hear about these topics from skeptics at some point, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t hear about them from us first.

About the Author

Natasha Crain is the author of Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side.

The Rushmore Report – Rethinking the Rainy Day Fund

On the road to building personal wealth, everyone hits a roadblock sometimes. Whether it’s an unexpected job loss or a surprise medical bill, it’s bound to strike when you least expect it – and often when you’re least prepared for it. That’s when it’s time to tap into your rainy day fund. The classic savings account for a rainy day is designed for those unexpected misfortunes that might otherwise bring you to the precipice of a financial crisis.

American savings habits, however, are no longer what they used to be, and creating this financial shield in a world of shopping online, with overnight delivery, isn’t as easy as it used to be. A recent survey found that 57 million Americans don’t have any savings accounts in place for emergencies (or for that matter, retirement).

There are, however, a few tools that can help you keep this vital account in place when you’re tempted by a new TV or vacation.

First, make sure your rainy day fund is accessible – but not too accessible. Dan Andrews, founder of Well Rounded Success, a personal finance consulting firm based in Fort Collins, CO, says a good way to do that is to have it at a different bank from your day-to-day checking and savings accounts. The account should hold money you can access immediately – not funds tied up in stocks, certificates or deposit or retirement accounts. Good places to stash your funds include high yield savings accounts and money market accounts.

How much should you have in a savings account for this purpose?

“I will stipulate that clients have four to six months of cash in their bank account in addiction to whatever I’m managing,” says Chris White, a certified financial adviser and the author of Working with the Emotional Investor. “That makes it less likely they’ll call for distributions at an inopportune time.”

One way to jump start your rainy day fund: when you receive a cash windfall, whether you got a tax refund or you’ve finally paid off a loan and have extra money on hand each month, funnel that into a high interest savings account until it has reached a sufficient level. Keep that four to six months of expense range in mind. Once you’re beyond that goal, you should consider putting the money into a retirement account, such as an IRA, CD, or Money Market account.

If you’re carrying debt, try to get it paid off as quickly as possible. By eliminating interest payments, you’ll reach your savings goals more quickly. And even as you’re paying down that debt, you should put a small amount into the rainy day fund each week or month at the same time to stay in the habit of contributing.

Finally, if you’ve been looking to kick an expensive habit, like smoking or drinking, establishing a high yield savings account can be a good motivation. The national average price for a pack of cigarettes is $6.16. Putting that money from a pack-a-day habit into a rainy day fund would add up to $2,248 per year.

About the Author

Chris Morris regularly contributes to national outlets including Fortune, CNBC.com, Voice of America, Variety, and Common Sense Media, as well as to dozens of other major publications.

 

The Rushmore Report – NFL’s Philip Rivers Credits the Success of His Marriage to Jesus

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is known for many things. Since taking over the reins as starting quarterback in 2006, Rivers has never missed a start, has thrown at least 20 touchdowns a season, and passed for more than 4,000 yards in eight of the last nine years. And while he is well on his way to being the greatest QB in Chargers history, less discussed is his unwavering commitment to his family and his strong connection to his faith.

In a recent sit-down with Rock Church’s Pastor Mile McPherson (a former San Diego Charger himself), Rivers opened up about his Catholic upbringing and how his relationship with Christ informs every decision that he makes.

Born and raised Catholic in a small town in northern Alabama, Rivers described Jesus as the “center of my life” since a very young age. He was an altar boy at church and attended mass every Sunday with his parents and two younger siblings, but it wasn’t until he went away to college at North Carolina State that his faith “really became my own.”

“My faith has always been very important to me,” Rivers told McPherson. “When I went to college is really when it became my own. I had to get up out of that dorm room and go to church, go to mass on Sunday. That’s when I took ownership of my faith.”

Rivers married his middle school sweetheart at the age of 19. Some 16 years later, the two have eight children—six girls and two boys—together. He shared that “remaining pure” and “being chaste” prior to getting married were “very important” to them, and since he “didn’t have a penny to my name” when they got married, Rivers said the foundation of their relationship was and is Jesus.

“I think that the center of our marriage and the foundation of our relationship was on Jesus,” he said. “That is why it’s worked to this point.”

Toward the end of the discussion, Rivers shared one of his favorite Bible versus, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, which became particularly important to his family in the wake of his son Gunner’s type one diabetes diagnosis.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

“I hope that God has used me to touch one of you in your faith journey with Jesus,” he concluded.

About the Author

This article first appeared on the newswire of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Game Shows

One of the ways Beth and I spend the “dog days of summer” is by watching game shows. ABC has produced a series of shows based on old programs from bygone years, such as “To Tell the Truth,” “The $100,000 Pyramid,” and “Match Game.” Two of my favorites as a child were the original “Newlywed Game” and “The Dating Game.” If you remember “The $64,000 Question,” you are older than color television. I love game shows because I like to watch other people make fools of themselves, just for a change of pace.

My favorite viewing ever was an old episode of “Family Feud.” The question was, “In which month do most pregnant women begin to show?”

The first answer was “September.”

On “The Weakest Link,” host Anne Robinson asked, “In which H. G. Wells novel does an inventor travel in a machine of his own making?” Answer: “The Simpsons.”

On another episode, Robinson asked, “Who wrote ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?'” The answer: “Dr. Seuss.”

Then there was another “Family Feud,” hosted by Richard Dawson. He said, “Name a famous ‘Willie.'” The contestant replied, “Willie the Pooh.”

I’ll never go on a game show, as I ascribe to the old adage, “Better to keep your mouth shut and let others think you are stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Let others do the talking. You do the listening. Especially when God is speaking. The world will be better for everyone.

The Bible says, “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says” (John 8:47). So let’s talk less, listen more, and keep watching others embarrass themselves in front of 50 million people on TV.

The Rushmore Report – God’s Design for Marriage

It’s easy to think that only “other people” get divorced. That your own marriage is somehow immune to heartache, infidelity and fights over who gets the house, the car, the dog. After all, how many of us would walk down the aisle if we believed our relationships would end up in divorce court? Truth is, no relationship comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Even men and women who grew up in stable homes, who attend church and consider themselves Christians, who promise “until death do us part,” can have it all fall apart.

As Christians, we know that applying biblical principles to marriage will give us a stronger foundation than those of our unbelieving friends and neighbors. We know this, but what are we doing about it? In other words, what makes a marriage “Christian”?

According to author Gary Thomas, we’re not asking the right questions. What if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?

Instead of asking why we have struggles in the first place, the more important issue is how we deal with them.

In Sacred Marriage, Thomas has not written your typical “how to have a happier relationship” book. Rather, he asks: How can we use the challenges, joys, struggles and celebrations of marriage to draw closer to God? What if God designed marriage to make us both happy and holy?

1. View Marriage Realistically

“We have to stop asking of marriage what God never designed it to give — perfect happiness, conflict-free living, and idolatrous obsession,” Thomas explains.

Instead, he says, we can appreciate what God designed marriage to provide: partnership, spiritual intimacy and the ability to pursue God — together. So, what does Thomas think is the most common misconception Christians have about marriage?

“Finding a ‘soul mate’ — someone who will complete us,” he says. “The problem with looking to another human to complete us is that, spiritually speaking, it’s idolatry. We are to find our fulfillment and purpose in God . . . and if we expect our spouse to be ‘God’ to us, he or she will fail every day. No person can live up to such expectations.”

Everyone has bad days, yells at his or her spouse, or is downright selfish. Despite these imperfections, God created the husband and wife to steer each other in His direction.

Thomas offers an example: “When my wife forgives me . . . and accepts me, I learn to receive God’s forgiveness and acceptance as well. In that moment, she is modeling God to me, revealing God’s mercy to me, and helping me to see with my own eyes a very real spiritual reality.”

While it’s easy to see why God designed an other-centered union for a me-centered world, living that way is a challenge. So when bills pile up, communication breaks down and you’re just plain irritated with your husband or wife, Thomas offers these reminders to help ease the tension:

  • God created marriage as a loyal partnership between one man and one woman.
  • Marriage is the firmest foundation for building a family.
  • God designed sexual expression to help married couples build intimacy.
  • Marriage mirrors God’s covenant relationship with His people.

We see this last parallel throughout the Bible. For instance, Jesus refers to Himself as the “bridegroom” and to the kingdom of heaven as a “wedding banquet.”

These points demonstrate that God’s purposes for marriage extend far beyond personal happiness. Thomas is quick to clarify that God isn’t against happiness per se, but that marriage promotes even higher values.

“God did not create marriage just to give us a pleasant means of repopulating the world and providing a steady societal institution to raise children. He planted marriage among humans as yet another signpost pointing to His own eternal, spiritual existence.”

2. Serve Your Spouse

He spends the entire evening at the office — again. She spends money without entering it in the checkbook. He goes golfing instead of spending time with the kids. From irritating habits to weighty issues that seem impossible to resolve, loving one’s spouse through the tough times isn’t easy. But the same struggles that drive us apart also shed light on what we value in marriage.

“If happiness is our primary goal, we’ll get a divorce as soon as happiness seems to wane,” Thomas says. “If receiving love is our primary goal, we’ll dump our spouse as soon as they seem to be less attentive. But if we marry for the glory of God, to model His love and commitment to our children, and to reveal His witness to the world, divorce makes no sense.”

Couples who’ve survived a potentially marriage-ending situation, such as infidelity or a life-threatening disease, may continue to battle years of built-up resentment, anger or bitterness. So, what are some ways to strengthen a floundering relationship — or even encourage a healthy one? Thomas offers these practical tips:

  • Focus on your spouse’s strengths rather than their weaknesses.
  • Encourage rather than criticize.
  • Pray for your spouse instead of gossiping about them.
  • Learn and live what Christ teaches about relating to and loving others.

Young couples in particular can benefit from this advice. After all, many newlyweds aren’t adequately prepared to make the transition from seeing one another several times a week to suddenly sharing everything. Odds are, annoying habits and less-than-appealing behaviors will surface. Yet as Christians, we are called to respect everyone — including our spouse.

Thomas adds, “The image I use in Sacred Marriage is that we need to learn how to ‘fall forward.’ That is, when we are frustrated or angry, instead of pulling back, we must still pursue our partner under God’s mercy and grace.”

Lastly, Thomas suggests praying this helpful prayer: Lord, how can I love my spouse today like (s)he’s never been loved and never will be loved?

“I can’t tell you how many times God has given me very practical advice — from taking over some driving trips to doing a few loads of laundry,” Thomas says. “It’s one prayer that I find gets answered just about every time.”

While other marriage books may leave us feeling overwhelmed, spotlighting our shortcomings and providing pages of “relationship homework,” Sacred Marriage makes it clear that any couple can have a successful, happy and holy marriage.

With a Christ-centered relationship, an other-centered attitude and an unwavering commitment to making it work, your marriage can flourish — just as God designed.


Scripture teaches that marriage is ordained by God and part of His original design for us as well as a foreshadowing of our eternal relationship with Him. Helping families thrive with the support of friends like you.

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3. Discovery the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Marriage

In order to strengthen and grow your marriage, it is important to first know and evaluate how it is doing.

Take a free marriage assessment to identify the key areas where you could use improvement and the tools that will help you with that. We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take this free assessment to strengthen your marriage!

About the Author

Carol Hoffernan writes for Focus on the Family.

 

American Idol – Nick Fradiani

Nick Fradiani was the winner of the 14th installment of the Fox hit is a 29-year-old rocker from Guilford, Connecticut. Fradiani knocked off Clark Beckham of White House, Tennessee in the finals. “This is amazing,” Nick told host Ryan Seacrest. “This is the best day of my life.” Joining Idol alums such as Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and Kris Allen, Fradiani is set to receive close to half a million dollars in benefits for his trouble. “I can’t even think right now,” said the newest Idol. The show will bring its final installment next year, confirmed Fox executives, as its Nielson ratings have plunged from 30.3 million viewers to 9.15 million in 2015. Nick Fradiani is a big deal . . . today. But in a few weeks, only the most astute Idol fans will remember his name.

That’s how it usually works with idols. Think about some of your celebrity idols from years gone by. My childhood idol was Willie Mays, the “Say Hey” kid, and best baseball player of all time. As a young musician, I idolized jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. As a football fan in Houston, I came to idolize Earl Campbell, the greatest player I ever saw. I would later idolize Ronald Reagan. As far as comedians go, my idol was Bob Newhart. But it’s funny. None of these men really affected my life. Mays never hit a ball with his bat or Ferguson a note with his horn that changed me. Campbell, Reagan, and Newhart did nothing that altered the trajectory of my life. But I’ll tell you who did. His name was Elga Steward. His name was Jim Trevathan. His name was Cecil Sewell. And his name was Gene Wofford. You won’t find their pictures in People or their stories in Newsweek. But they were my idols. They did change my life. In order, these men were my eighth grade English teacher, senior high band director, pastor, and college professor.

John Maxwell had it right when he said, “You impress people from a distance, but you influence them up close.” I confess. I watched the last part of the last episode of American Idol. Nick Fradiani is a rare talent. But I will never be able to spell his last name from memory and I won’t remember his first name tomorrow. He impressed me, but he didn’t influence me. American’s Idol is not my idol. You can have Nick. I’m sure he’s a fine young man. But as for me, I’ll stick with the men who have proven themselves over the course of time: Elga, Jim, Cecil, and Gene. They are difference-makers. They are my mentors. And in the best sense of the word, they are, and will forever be, my idols.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day dates back to 1868, when Anna Jarvis created a committee to establish “Mother’s Friendship Day” in honor of her mother, Ann. After Ann’s death in 1908, Anna held the first Mother’s Day celebration in a Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, backed by retail owner John Wanamaker. Anna lobbied to make this a national celebration, and in 1914 got the attention of President Woodrow Wilson, who proclaimed that the second Sunday of each May would “belong to moms across the nation.” Interestingly, Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day, never became a mother herself. Rudyard Kipling famously said, “God couldn’t be everywhere, so he made mothers.”

A Spanish proverb says, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.” And Abraham Lincoln commented, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” So how will you honor your mother this Mother’s Day? You can buy her something. The average consumer spent $168.94 on Mother’s Day last year. Or better yet, you can pay her for all she does as a mother, cook, cleaner, and housekeeper. A recent estimate puts her annual salary at $65,000. I’m sure she will be happy to accept cash or credit card. I would argue that $65,000 is too little. You can’t put a price on what a mother is worth. But you can honor your mother. Start this Sunday. If possible, take her out. Or you can take her candy. Probably, she just wants you to take her hand. Thank her for being unlike anyone else in your life. Everyone else stands with you when you are right. Your mother stands with you when you are an idiot. You can’t put a price on that. So love her. Pray for her. And for just one day, do what Anna Jarvis did. Make your mother feel like she is the most important person in the world. Because she is.

The Rushmore Report – When Adult Children Move Back Home

“Alone at last!” you and your spouse exclaimed when the last of your kids flew the coop to take on such formerly alien concepts as rent, utility bills, and car payments. But wait. Who’s that familiar face coming up the walk with suitcases in hand? It’s your grown progeny!

These days, many so-called “empty nesters” find themselves with at least one grown child living at home. Some pundits refer to these adult children as the “boomerang” generation. Whatever you label them, they’re returning home in record numbers. Some come back hoping to save money for school. Others return so they can take time to search for the perfect job. Still others may have personal problems and need a refuge.

If you and your spouse find yourselves hosting kids you thought were launched, there are practical steps you and your child can take to minimize conflict and maximize the opportunity to strengthen family bonds. Before any move-in takes place, have a family powwow to discuss mutual expectations and establish house rules. Do this as early as possible to help prevent misunderstandings and friction later on.

Setting Boundaries

If you don’t approve of overnight guests, blaring stereos, bad language, questionable religious practices, the use of drugs or alcohol, etc., then make sure those expectations are clear before your son or daughter moves back in. Depending on the child and the circumstances, you might want to draft a brief “contract,” naming the conditions that must be met in order for them to live under your roof. Have your son or daughter indicate by signature that they agree to your terms. Inform them (lovingly) that if the rules are broken, eviction may follow.

Healthy Relationships

Generally speaking, most kids are just looking for a temporary retreat while figuring out their next step. If you want to maintain a healthy relationship with your adult child, consider these tips:

  1. Trust your adult children to make wise choices.
  2. Squelch the impulse to give advice unless it’s asked for.
  3. Communication is key.
  4. Practice grace.

We all need a refuge from time to time in our lives. Your kids should know that home is a safe, accepting place to land when they need to regroup. Be thankful that your kids like you enough to want to come home. Your dream of an empty nest can wait a bit longer. Besides, you may actually enjoy this chance to relate to your children as grownups – just like you.

 

About the Author

Roberta Rand Caponey writes for Focus on the Family.

The Rushmore Report – The Feel Good Story of the Year

Even a dog with a microchip can go missing for a long time. But even a dog that’s missing for a long time can end up back home where she belongs. That’s what a Pennsylvania family learned recently when they recovered their black Labrador mix, Abby, who had run away 10 years ago from the family’s home in Apollo, 33 miles east of Pittsburgh.

After some time went by, Debra Suierveld and her family assumed Abby had died. But on January 27, Suierveld received word that someone had found their dog. Abby showed up on George Speiring’s front porch in Lower Burrell, 10 miles west of Apollo. Speiring contacted Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley, which discovered the dog’s microchip and was able to contact Suierveld.

Someone had taken good care of Abby over the years. The dog was in great health and still remembered some things the family taught her, Suierveld said.

“She would lie on the floor and cross her paws, and she remembers my daughter’s commands, and she remembers the commands I taught her,” Suierveld told KDKA-TV.

Suierveld called her 22-year-old daughter, who is a student at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, to share the news.

“She cried,” Suierveld told the Tribune-Review.

Suierveld’s family has planned a reunion dinner for Sunday to welcome Abby back. “It feels like a part of my kids’ childhood is back, part of our family is back,” Suierveld said. “It’s pretty awesome.”