Relationship Issues Question and Answer Part 1

Table of contents for Relationship Issues Q&A

  1. Relationship Issues Question and Answer Part 1
  2. Relationship Issues Question and Answer Part 2

Dr. Henry Cloud, PhD, one of my favorite authors, is a frequent guest speaker for the Family Series event hosted by Bill Hybel.  There are some excerpts of one of his talks. Dr. Cloud is a noted psychologist and author of “Boundaries,” “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping,” and “Safe People.” You can listen or watch the full talk by Dr. Cloud at this link (Part VI on their page).

Here are some paraphrased excerpts from Dr. Cloud’s question and answer session on some of life’s toughest relationship questions. We’ll do this in a 2 part post.  Please use the link below to watch or listen to the full video or audio.

1. Where do you draw the line between tough love and unconditional love?

There is a problem with this term of “drawing the line.” When we look at God’s personality, His expectations are done in ways that are perfectly loving and honest so He never has to “draw the line” due to having gone too far down an enabling, co-dependent road. With parents, too often we have let the child go too long down a path without consequences until it is at a point where harm will come to them if he (or she does) not get control of himself. It should never get to this point, but if it does, it should be done in a loving way.

As for child discipline, in this culture people often say, “Don’t say ‘No’ to your child; give them choices.” As an adult, one runs into ‘No’s,’ with speed limits, job requirements, etc. Our job as parents is to arrange situations in a way that when they make good decisions then good things happen and when they make bad decisions bad things happen. The goal is to transfer self control to the child. They should grow to the point of being in charge of themselves and feeling, “Oh, I better do it this way so something uncomfortable does not happen.” …we must take a stance that requires them to step into maturity so they are in control and we can finally delegate that job to them.

2. How do you address character issues in marriage? How do you let a spouse know you want more from a relationship without making them feel like a bad spouse?

In response to the first part of the question, most problems are the same in every marriage whether or not it is a good marriage, unless something strange is going on. It is how it is handled that makes the difference. Research shows that you can predict divorce in couples by 90% accuracy if couples (1) are judgmental, critical in giving feedback to each other instead of problem solving and (2) if they have a lot of contempt for the spouse.

To answer the second part of the questions, the best way to talk without making the other person feel bad is to talk about what you both want in the relationship that is positive. Express how their behavior is affecting what you both want…By talking about how the behavior’s negatively affecting what you both want out of the relationship, you are not saying they are a bad person but that the situations are negatively affecting what is important to them. If you’ve been unable to make these changes on your own [as a couple], you should probably talk to a counselor or pastor, too.

3. How do I balance time between work, family, friends, hobbies, etc?

Technology has created more difficulties in this area. Before, work had walls and time boundaries. Now we bring it home. If “life” is not protected, than life will not happen. [Dr. Cloud has a book on this topic, “The One Life Solution.”] A main quote of mine is “Follow the misery and make a rule.”

It is similar to God’s rule for the Sabbath, that there should be a protected, designated time, sometime during the week, for rest. Studies show that your brain needs downtime to grow new neuro-pathways. Couples need to talk about “Where is this not working for us?” and set some boundaries, protect your relationships. Examples, no work at home or no work email at home, set weekly date night with no kids, set weekly family meeting. If you do not put the vital things of life into protective structures, something will always get in the way.

4. How can one trust again after having experienced repeated unfaithful spouses?

First, this is one of the most painful experiences a person can go through. But if you have consistently had this experience, before marrying again, you may want to check your “people picker.” Bad people do “happen” to good people, but sometimes we make it easier for it to happen with our blind spots. Go through a good divorce recovery and see why you choose self-absorbed or unfaithful spouses and why you don’t recognize it earlier on in the relationship. We sometimes come into marriage lacking wholeness. We may have parts of us that are inaccessible to bring into the relationship or we do not have the skills to handle hurts that happen. Marriage needs to be a place to bring all of yourself. When you are hurt, you are able to bring that hurt and resolve it instead of take it someplace else. Or, when your needs are not being met, you also show up with your conflict resolution skills and work it out…When you get something immature from your spouse, don’t be overcome by that. Do not let them regress you..if you don’t have that in you, get a support group so that you can take health into the relationship. (Use the link below to hear Dr. Cloud input on if you want to restore a relationship broken by unfaithfulness.)


We will continue with more paraphrased excerpts from Dr. Cloud’s relationship question and answer session in Part 2 of this post. To make full use of the vital information Dr. Cloud has provided, please use this link to watch the video or audio. Click Part VI on their play list.

If you missed Bill’s Hybel’s talk on “5 Key Compatiblities” to look for to guide you through easy-to-follow principles for determining your compatibility in a relationship, be sure to read it for your own benefit and that of your friends and family. Good information for everyone! This talk is Part II in their media player list.

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