Fifty going on fifteen!

The TOP 5 Problems We Hear On the Radio…
and what to do about them.
Part 1 of 5

So you think that you are unique and that your problems are special?  That your life or relationship stresses are known only to you and that somehow your case requires special advice or care?  No, your problems are quite common.  Actually, human beings are not that inventive.  We all do the same things, have the same concerns and get into the same predictable dilemmas.

As a radio co-host on New Life Live, a nationally syndicated counseling talk show, I (Milan) have come to recognize that there are repeatable themes to the caller’s issues.  Whether it is Freda in Fresno or Bill in Baltimore, guess what?  As Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).”  In the next five weeks, we will cover the top five issues that we encounter and how to counter them so that you can grow and your situations might improve.

Fifty going on fifteen!”PROBLEM # 1:  “

Cher from Charlotte called in to the show one day and wanted to know what she could do to get her husband to make up his mind about returning home or getting a divorce.  In the first part of the call, she indicated that the weather was cold, it was the early afternoon and that she was snug in the kitchen with robe and slippers sipping a warm cup of tea.

At a desperate moment, several months ago, she had asked him to leave the house after 30 years of a dry and lifeless marriage.  When she could not stand to any longer, she chose this extreme intervention, which he resisted for some time.  Finally, he left the house, got an apartment and began to adjust to being alone.  Within a few months, he had met an old girlfriend at a class reunion, fell head over heals and was essentially gone from the marriage.

Alone in a quite house with a lifetime of memories, with a teacup in hand, she was now  lamenting her loneliness, hoping and wishing for her husband to decide to come home or end it.  “What should I do and how can I get him to make up his mind?”  Trusting an intuitive hunch, I sensed that she was still childlike inside and that she had no “adult voice”, and was therefore very dependent on others to make decisions and guide her life.  My colleagues Dr. Hubbard and Steve Arterburn gave me a quizzical look as I asked her “Are your parents still alive?” Sadly, she said they had both died in last two years.  I then asked, “When they were alive, were you adult like around them?  With a voice, to speak differently?  To be able to disagree with them, be an adult peer or equal, to be able to get angry at times and risk their disapproval?  After a long pause, she said,  “No… not at all”.  Even though she was fifty something, she was still very little and childlike inside, even with her husband as well.  She was still waiting for someone else bigger than her to take the lead and make the decision.

Children are born to be launched. Hopefully, as parents we clearly see this and foster a secure bond and attachment as well as the ability to tolerate separation and exploration and maturity.    Our children will leave our house someday and they will be adults inside and out or they will be an adult on the outside and little on the inside, which will make them insecure and fearful of life and afraid to venture out on their own and make decisions and choices.

Have you learned to leave YOUR parents or are you still the kid or in a kid role when you enter back into the family system?  So many of the radio calls during the holidays are about having to temporarily enter back into families where adults are expected to play out their childhood roles.  At my oldest son’s wedding rehearsal dinner, I read the scriptures, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).  I then proposed a toast and said, “As your dad, I am no longer your authority figure, so I would like to toast you as my new friends!”

Our advice to Cher? 

1.  She needed to begin the process of growing up inside.

2. She needed to admit to him that they should have been in marriage counseling years ago, and that she now regrets making a demand that was too extreme.

3.  She needed to get dressed and explore her adult world.  Perhaps go to school, gain an a adult career competency, get a job and face real life.

4.  She needed to tell him of her love for him, her desire for them to be together and that they needed outside help to get there.

5.  If after a reasonable period of time he refused and continued to live with the old girlfriend, she would need to choose for herself to move on in her life.


If Cher’s story strikes a chord within you perhaps it is time that you grew up also.
One of the best books that can help you deal with this issue is:  Changes That Heal, by Henry Cloud, (Section 4, Becoming an Adult.)

You can get this book by clicking here: Changes That Heal

Get this book, read it and start being the adult you truly are.

Milan and Kay