Q: I married my husband purely for pragmatic reasons. As a single mom, I believed he'd make a great father to my child. Now I realize that I never really had romantic feelings for him. Is there hope for our relationship?
Jim: The short answer to your question is yes. Why? Two reasons: First, in cultures where marriages are arranged, we know that couples often learn to love one another deeply, even though their relationships weren't originally based on romantic feelings. This isn't to say that feelings have no place in marriage. They absolutely do. But in this case, the feelings generally follow in the wake of intentional, deliberate actions, growing out of commitment, perseverance and hard work.
In your situation, there's even more reason for hope. Though you're not sure how to make it happen, you want to fall in love with your husband -- otherwise, you wouldn't have asked your question. To put it another way, you're dissatisfied with the status quo and willing to make a change. In a very real sense, then, you've already taken an important step in the right direction.
You can build on this foundation by asking yourself what it was that first attracted you to your husband. At some level, the two of you felt an emotional connection and there was something that led you to believe that life with him would be better than life without him. That spark may have diminished over time, but it can still be found and fanned into a flame if you're willing to put forth the effort.
A resource that may help is Emerson Eggerichs' book and CD series "Love and Respect." Our Focus counselors are also available for a free consultation and would love to speak with you. They can be reached at 855-771-HELP (4357).
Q: I know there are Internet-filtering products that can block inappropriate websites on our home computer. But I'm just as concerned about protecting my children from the kind of destructive content they can pull up on their smartphones and mobile devices. Is there anything out there that can help?
Bob Waliszewski, Director, Plugged In: You're wise to be aware of this potential threat to your kids' well-being. With more and more information being accessed via mobile devices, it's no longer enough to just equip your PC with the best filtering software. You also need to safeguard your family's phones from harmful Web content.
Focus on the Family has partnered with Net Nanny in an effort to help make families aware of its effective Internet-blocking software for home computers. I'm pleased to say that you can find this same reliability through a Net Nanny app that's been designed for Android smartphones. (This app is also available for iPhones, but due to Apple's regulations, it isn't as robust as the Android version.) The tool is effective because Net Nanny becomes your child's default Internet browser and blocks other browsers from launching on his or her smartphone. Net Nanny also manages the apps your child can access on the device. Plus, as the parent, you can manage your child's phone settings, view reports and much more.
How? Simply download the app, follow the installation instructions and create a user profile for your child on his or her device. You can use one of Net Nanny's pre-defined age-based user profiles, or you can customize the profile to include your own designated categories or specific sites you want to restrict. Another great feature of the app is that it categorizes webpages in real time, including brand-new websites and sites with user-generated content such as comments or posts.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.