Dr. Greg Smalley, son of popular author and speaker Dr. Gary Smalley, serves as Focus’ Vice President of Family Ministries. Greg’s office is just steps from mine, and I enjoy our regular interactions. Not only is he a marriage expert and popular author with a doctorate in psychology, but he also has a great sense of humor. He’s a fun guy to be around. Greg and his wife, Erin, have been married for 21 years and have four children.
Over the past few days I’ve found my thoughts turning often toward 13-year-old Gracie Johnson, the sole survivor of a freak Colorado rockslide that claimed the lives of her parents, sister, and two other relatives while hiking this past Monday in Buena Vista.
As a Colorado resident this tragedy may be hitting me especially hard, but you don’t need to be a local or even an outdoorsman to be affected by this widely circulating story. The idea of the unthinkable happening and changing our lives in a moment may be a universal fear, and one most of us would prefer not to dwell on.
Most people don’t get married planning to divorce, but the research suggests so much of what they do before they wed sadly leads them to that place.
Part of the reason might be that, as a culture, we’re often more enamored with the wedding than the actual marriage. A colleague of mine once worked in a church office. He regularly encountered heartbroken brides-to-be who made the mistake of booking the reception hall before the sanctuary, only to discover the church was already taken.
We receive hundreds of thousands of inquiries every year from people seeking relationship and family advice – and among the top topics are moms and dads asking about their adult children.
Our counselors have helped many parents concerned about their millennial-age kids: Should they take a year off from their studies? Why do they seem like they lack direction? Should they take on more responsibility? Why aren’t they looking to settle down?
It can be a challenging road to walk.
Like most young ladies anticipating their wedding day, Rachel Wolf had looked forward to her father/daughter dance since she was a little girl. Recently, that long-awaited dream came true for her. And, as you’ll see in the video below, it was a beautiful moment.
But this dance was far different than most of its kind. You see, Rachel wasn’t really getting married. In fact, she wasn’t even engaged. No, this was a unique wedding dance she and her family had planned so Rachel and her father, James, could share that special moment together before he passed away from pancreatic cancer.
There’s an important article over at National Review Online that I wanted to highlight for you. “A Guide to Saving Marriage” is an interview with Hilary Towers, a developmental psychologist who has some insightful things to say about marriage, the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex unions, and cohabitation.
I’ll leave you with this gem of wisdom gleaned from the interview:
Young people, in particular, deserve to hear the truth about what to expect from a vocation to married life at this time in history.
When we discuss the growing trends of young people engaging in the “hookup culture” – casual sex and sexual acts outside of marriage – we often speak of the damage it does to girls. There’s good reason for that, obviously – young women often feel great pressure to go along with certain behaviors and later pay a high price for it in terms of sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and emotional wounds.
But what about the young men?
We’re rolling out a new marriage program here at Focus on the Family designed to help newlyweds as well as couples married for years. It’ll speak to new moms and dads just starting their family, as well as seasoned parents preparing to send their kids off to college. It has the potential to give hope and help to husbands and wives facing bankruptcy, infertility or even adultery.
Does this sound too good to be true? How can one program do so much?
Smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more ubiquitous. Increasingly they’re our constant source of news and entertainment. Sometimes it seems like these devices are surgically attached to our hands – but this reliance on smart technology is also demanding us to make decisions about what we prioritize and how we will steward our time.
Today I want to share with you a post written by one of our young staffers. In it, Chelsey, a newlywed, explores how she waded through the choices her iPhone forced her to make:
The phone alarm wakes my husband.
When I was an eight-year-old boy, I looked to Hank, the father figure in my life, for all the things the other kids my age seemed to enjoy with their dads. Sadly, Hank wasn’t willing to be engaged in my life. He adored my mom, but my siblings and I were simply excess baggage. While my mother was affectionate and nurturing, Hank’s love for us was missing in action. As a youngster longing for a strong, caring father figure in my life, it would have gone a long way toward forging a close bond between Hank and my siblings and me if he had: