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Romance after Children; Abstinence v. Pre-Marital Sex; the Commitment of Marriage

Apr 20, 1998

We are the parents of a one year old daughter and the opportunities for romance are now very few and far between. What can I do that is romantic for my husband that I can do while she's sleeping? Basically, I'm saying a get away is needed but impossible.
Billi Wagner

Life does change when we have children, doesn't it? I remember taking our (then) two year old boy to a restaurant, and having him throw his milk bottle over the railing, directly onto the shiny bald pate of an adjacent diner. What an evening! You still have time, though, because you have only one young child (so far.) One possibility for you is to make a scrumptious dinner for your husband, with candlelight, etc., and create a romantic ambiance right at home. I would recommend dressing up for dinner -- wear that fabulous gown that he may not have seen in awhile. Just make sure you mutually agree to it - so he doesn't decide to go to a baseball game instead, on the way home. Knowing that such a romantic dinner awaits him will fill him with such eager anticipation that he'll look forward to it all day.

I have just read Julie Mckinnon's letter [from Dec. 22, 1997]. I'm on the other side and wonder if there is anything I can do to promote my husband of 9 months' feelings to grow toward my son. We married and moved 3 states away from all family. My son is 7 and his father has broken all communication with him unless he is visiting with other family and is asked to see him. My husband is a very good man and has handled a few disciplinary problems very well. There just doesn't seem to be any relationship budding. My son is a loving little boy and has never resented my husband. He seems to want to have a relationship with him. My husband has never been around children much because he is the baby of his family. Is there anything I can do beside the prayer and waiting I've been doing?

You might recommend parenting classes to your husband, as a natural outgrowth of his new responsibilities as a step father. Additionally, it's very effective to have him spend time with his new son - one on one. Of course you can join in - perhaps you can all play games together. I think it would help to just get to know him better - which requires a lot of personal and casual interaction, with your husband listening to your son, in order to find out about his feelings.

What is the origin of the traditional marriage vows? Thank you.

I traced the vows back to the Wedding Ceremony contained in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer used by the Anglican Church in England. You can read the unedited text at "", a web site dealing with Medieval and Renaissance wedding information. The vows end with the familiar words, "WITH this Ring I thee wed...".

My 19 year old foster daughter has just stated that she no longer believes that -- absent pregnancy or STDs -- it is wrong to engage in premarital sex. I have no hard evidence to present to her about the near and long term emotional negative impacts of such activities. She has pledged to abstain until graduation from college (2 years) and has acquiesced to my attempting to return her to our (formerly) mutual way of thinking. Can you offer a resource that would provide data about those long-term ill affects? She is as left-brained as I and responds to rational argument and data - although it needs to be fairly convincing because the hormones are starting to rage!

I highly recommend the "FreeTeens" program. You can learn about it at "". It's a program for teenagers that speaks to them in their language, about the perils of pre-marital sex. It very clearly and strongly recommends abstinence as the only good method of avoiding STDs such as AIDS. It also recommends abstinence because of its good effect on young people, in terms of character building, and building the foundation for a healthy marriage. It has a lot of statistics to back up its arguments for abstinence.

Is marriage possible for the future? I have been in a relationship for 6 years with someone that I love very much. However, I am sorry to say that I do not think that it will go any farther than our situation now we are living together. We have been, for most of the 6 years. We each have one son; they both live with us and get along fine. The problems we have always seem to come around the time that we have set to actually get married. I just don't understand. I feel in my heart that he really does not want to be married again. I am not sure that I want to continue on in this relationship with someone that does not consider me good enough or right to marry. Please give me your opinion.

I recommend marriage, because of its eternal commitment to one's spouse (among other reasons.) A relationship of real love requires an unwavering commitment to go through the bad times or struggles that happen between couples. Marriage is many things, but one of it's primary components is (and should be) that the spouses pledge their love to each other. How will it last if they can't do that? You have children, so it's more complicated for them if you break up with him, even though you're not married. I would recommend that you try to get him to understand that committing to marriage is easy if he is truly committed to his love for you and the children. If he's not committed, then why isn't he? Perhaps you can lead him through the process of answering those questions.

Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”

~ Deus est auctor amoris et decoris. ~

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Peter Falkenberg Brown
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