womanqaQ. I have a Christmas bonus coming up and my kids have been begging me to buy them new laptops because they've both done well in school this past semester. My problem is that I've been behind on the mortgage for two months and with so many people going into foreclosure and my credit going down, I just don't think I can afford to spend on anything else but the house. My kids will never forgive me and I'm afraid they'll hold this against me, and stop trying in school if I don't reward them.

A. Families are supposed to work together for the good of the family. That's one basic rule that parents should teach their children from day one. It seems like you are the one in a submissive role and your kids' opinions intimidate you. An unhealthy balance of authority takes time to develop, and it will take time to undo, but it definitely can happen. Your children should be caring and considerate towards their parents, and care about the risk of losing the roof over their own heads! For you to teach them this you have to start somewhere, and explaining your situation and refusing to bow to their demands is a good way to begin. They will try to manipulate your feelings, (they've been doing that already) but you taking back your role of loving, wise authority over them and prayerfully standing firm in your decision will actually cause them to respect you more.


singlemotherQ. I am a single mother of three. My neighbor stopped by yesterday and practically started preaching to me because my house wasn't clean. I love my kids and I work a full-time job. I think I should be given a little more respect and compassion, and I'm having a hard time forgiving her.

A. Maybe your neighbor was out of line to preach at you, but God can use all kinds of people to reach us when we need some correction. Keeping a clean house is everyone's responsibility for the sake of our health and the health of our children. We think clearer, we are emotionally more stable and we work more efficiently when our homes and workplaces are clean. Being a single mother is not an excuse for dirty living conditions, and as a mother, you have an obligation you to teach your children the importance of hygiene and cleanliness. If you teach them to love being clean and to do their share of picking up according to their ages and abilities, keeping house will become much more pleasant an enjoyable.

As for your neighbor, be humble. Be thankful that even if her heart was not in the right place, God used her to speak to you and help you change. It may hurt your pride, but if you start working on this now, you will be so glad you did.


womanqaQ. My 25 year old daughter is head-over-heels in love with a man from another country who barely speaks English. He is overly generous with her – he even paid off a large credit card balance that would have taken years for her to pay. Now he asked her to marry him and gave her an enormous engagement ring. I am convinced that he just wants to marry and dump her to get his green card. She is angry that I want to ruin her happiness.

A. Technically your daughter is an adult and has the right to choose who she marries and what she does with her life. Yet as her mother, you have an ability to pray for and influence your daughter as a loving counselor and mentor. If you are certain that this is his motive for marrying her, then pray strongly to bind up the spirit of deceitfulness that wants to harm her. Prayers of authority over evil are more effective than you may realize. Minds and hearts can change just by God sending light into the dark corners of people's lives, and this is something you definitely need to do. If in fact the young man has the best of intentions and is the right man for your daughter, your prayers will reveal that too. This is not the time for complaining or protesting, because that will drive her away from you. Pray and fight this possible problem wisely with faith. Encourage them to come in to SiLC for some marriage counseling and perhaps God can use that to help clear up the air.

qawomanQ. My boss is asking me to work so much over Thanksgiving that I might as well not have a holiday. He has no respect for me as an employee and I wish I could quit. I'm just scared I'll never get another job that will cover my bills.

A. How often do you take your needs to God? How faithful are you in your tithes and offerings? In coming to God's house? Have you anointed your place of work? Prayed for God to give you favor on the job? Are you working with an attitude of serving God, or just to get the work done? There are a lot of factors that play into why you are unhappy with your work situation, and many of them are strictly up to you. God doesn't want any of His children to feel miserable where they work, and if that's the case, you need to find out what you can change about yourself first to alter the situation. Some jobs really are not worth holding on to and there are times that God wants us to move on, but before you throw in the towel, talk to one of us at SiLC to get the specific advice you need. It can all turn around very quickly if you use your faith.


womanqaQ. My boyfriend and I have lived together for the past two years and he's always promised me that we'll get married when we have enough money for a really nice wedding. I finally got a raise in my job and I told him that we can afford it now, so I was so hurt when he said that he didn't know if it was such a good idea yet. He says he loves me, so why won't he marry me?

A. For one, your relationship has started all backwards. Moving in and living as if you were a married couple with sexual intimacy and all that comes with it, has cheapened your relationship, and actually cheapened yourself in his eyes. Of course he may not consciously think so, but how else can a man view a woman if she is so willing to give herself to him without a commitment of marriage?

I know that you both agreed to this, I know he said he loved you and I know that this is the trend in this day and age to treat sex for after marriage only, as an old fashioned relic of the past. But look at the upshot of your choice. He has a live-in sexual partner but has never had to publicly vow faithfulness to her up until now. The back door is always open for escape, other women can still factor into his life if he wants, you don't value yourself enough to save yourself for marriage and you've proven that marriage is nothing more than a ceremony and a piece of paper, so why should he care about it when you obviously don't either? He's got it made in the shade. Why commit to marriage now?

Time to reassess what you want for your future. Do you want a roommate to have sex with? Or do you want a marriage? Stay with him if you want the first. But you may have to call it quits and start things the right way if you want the second.

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