Thursday, December 9, 2021

An Equal Marriage or a One Up, One Down Arrangement?

Question:     I'm worried about a friend. She seems to be verbally abused and controlled by her husband. The man is also a friend as they are both members of the church I attend. He frequently gets into discussions about marriage and family life, saying the Bible tells him he must be the leader and control his wife. Is there anything I can say to him?

  Dear Friend:    God often leads us to a marriage partner who has the talents we lack. This helps the family by bringing more strengths or talents than one person has. It is up to each spouse to respect the strengths of all in the family. Abuse should never be tolerated.

Unless they have an unsafe home of abuse that needs to be reported to authorities, I would not initiate the conversation. I would listen for opportunities to walk along beside the husband in conversation, agreeing where you agree and pointing out Biblical truths that teach a lesson on a healthy, happy marriage. 

Begin with statements in his own best interest. "A happy wife benefits that husband's needs." Then move on to, "An accountant for a wife is a blessing to the family's financial security. And as you know, she  is better at her job when her talents are appreciated."

If his justification for his treatment of his wife is Biblical, he may not be able to change. Some researchers have found that men who abuse their wives and/or family because they believe they are following the teaching of the Bible usually cannot change. Your debating his beliefs with him will only strengthen his ideas.

If the wife is safe enough to stand up for herself, she doesn't need her husband's approval to believe what she believes, enjoy the talents God has given her, or follow her calling in life as she understands God's words.

If a wife has a desire for her husband to be "the head of the home," it is not because twentieth-century women are not capable. It is her gift to God, not the husband. When the opportunity arises, pass along the verse from 1 peter.

1 Peter 3:7: "In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker [physically] than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered."

Perhaps you could encourage counseling for your friends. It is best not to suggest their pastor. Ministers are not trained in mental health diagnosis and treatment. Many ministers interpret a husband's withdrawal from the family, sleeping a lot, and avoiding interaction, as stubborn disinterest. The man may be depressed. Perhaps a Christian Psychologist practices in your area. That may be a better fit.


Copyright 2021 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Save Small Businesses by Giving Students Credit

Question: We wanted to eat in the dining room of a fast-food restaurant, but they offered only take-out and delivery. They said they didn't have enough employees to open the dining room. How can life get back to normal?

 Dear Friend,

Everyone is anxious for life to return to something they remember as "business as usual." When the lack of employees came to my attention again today, a new idea came to mind.

Work-age eligible high school students could be given a job in a restaurant, local business place, small office, automotive store, or another place of employment. They would take a course in business at the high school that has both high school and college credit. Classes for school-age students and taught by a teacher, would have no fee like a college course would. The high school teacher could present ...
how to dress on the job, 
how to be a responsible employee- showing up and time-off requests, etc, 
how to count change (it's amazing how few can), 
appropriate behavior with other employees and workplace harassment,
interacting with patrons (the customer's always right), 
telephone etiquette, 
tax forms and filing responsibilities, 
workplace mature behavior when friends and attractive people enter,
respect for the elderly,
balancing work, school, homework, family, and social life,
and on-site visits by the teacher.
Many more - these just come to mind.

The teacher could lecture, have role-playing sessions, lead visits to businesses, and assign a paper - either written, verbally delivered, or a video presentation with testimonials from others regarding the student's work.

These brain-storming ideas took no pre-thought. Think about a course that has been carefully planned and quickly implemented. Students would benefit ((money from their job, high school and college credit, and pride in their work). Businesses would benefit by opening up again. And patrons would be thrilled to see their community at work again.

Enjoy your reconnection with your community.

Copyright 2021 Doris Gaines Rapp

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

I Don't Speak Geek

 Question:  What do you tell the arrogant geek who condescendingly pretends to help you with your computer issues?

Dear Friend:

On August 5, I posted I Don't Speak Geek to my Facebook page. It sounds like it is perfect for you, too.

I don't speak geek. When the one on the phone ... gives a superior tone ... Reply on your own ... with a patient drone ... I don't speak geek. Maybe English or French ... or professions advanced .... but your rapid-fire lingo ... Just has to go, 'cause ... I don't speak geek. Doris Gaines Rapp 

Remember, you earn a passing grade in a college course by learning its vocabulary. Whether it's a foreign language, a psychology course, mathematics, or whatever, each subject has its own vocabulary. Computers have their own vocabulary as well. If you haven't studied computer science, you don't know the geek lingo.

When you ask for help from someone regarding your computer, and you cannot understand them, it probably isn't your fault.  You may even feel sorry for their inability to talk about their field of experience. The geek you are speaking to has a very limited glossary of terms in other subjects and has no people skills. Speak slowly and politely, explaining your needs in detail using your own professional lexicon. Perhaps the geek will be able to catch up to you and find other words to explain your computer's function.

Accept the fact that you are not inferior because your computer skills are limited. The problem is that the "computer tech" does not understand computers well enough to explain them to those too busy to learn another language. Be patient with the techie. Try to hold down your frustration. It seems many,  gifted in computers, can't explain them to others.

Happy computer use.


Copyright 2021 Doris Gaines Rapp

Monday, October 25, 2021

Your Adopted Children are Your Children

 Question: What do I say when someone says my adopted children are really my grandchildren, not my children?

     Dear Friend:  I've received a similar question before. Several years ago, I led a small group of adoptive parents at Assembly, an international, Christian women's meeting. Some were former grandparents, some were not.

As those who know me and my husband, you know we adopted two of our grandchildren many years ago. Does that still make us their grandparents? No. The birthparents' rights were terminated before the adoption. Then the adoption paperwork was completed. If we are not their parents, they have no parents.

There are some people who, for reasons of their own, need to diminish your parenthood. Without labeling them, we will let them wrestle with the reasons for their behavior. They obviously have limited knowledge and understanding of adoption. Their ignorance does not make them correct. It reveals that they are uninformed or choose to attempt to lift themselves up by putting others down. Of course, that only makes them look bad.

You owe no one an explanation. If you signed the adoption papers, you are their parent. Refer to yourself as Mommy or Daddy, Mom or Dad when talking to the child. Don't argue with those who don't understand the adoption laws. 

In today's society, many young people are waiting to marry. They may also postpone starting a family. Your age is not much different than theirs. 

God has blessed you with the opportunity to rear a family late in life. Or, like my husband and me, we reared a second family. Isn't it wonderful how the norms of today include all kinds of families? Hug your children. You know who they are and your parenthood of them. You owe no one else an explanation. God bless you and your family.

Doris Gaines Rapp

Friday, October 22, 2021

How to Speak When It's Important to be Heard.


          Everyone is talking about how much involvement parents should have with their children's education. Come on - they are your children. You know you are responsible. You hire others to teach them, with the help of funds from the community called the taxes you pay. 

You are also responsible for how you speak to your children's educators. No one can hear you if you are rude. They don't hear words; they hear rudeness. No one can hear you if you are loud. They hear noise. No one can hear your words if you are threatening. They hear threats. No one can hear suggestions if they do not hear positives first. No one can hear you if you use vulgar language. They hear an uneducated person with a limited vocabulary.

Smile an honest smile. In your heart, lift them up to Christ. Pray that they will receive all the good things God has for them. If they are blessed, your children will be blessed.

Many Blessings to you,

Josie Davis Gaines 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

When to Speak, When Not

Question:     My best friend since fifth grade, Grace, just told me she and her husband, Nick, want to take in her sister's children. Her sister and brother-in-law are going out of the country for five or six months for work. Their high school kids need to be in boarding school or, Grace could let them live with her and her family. There are four children, freshmen twins, a junior, and a senior. The thing is, Grace and Nick have three kids of their own in a three-bedroom house. I told her what I thought, and she got mad at me. Now it's my fault if things go wrong. I'm going to have to stop talking to her unless you can help me. What did I do? What can I do?

Dear Friend,     The first and second questions go together. You can't do anything. It is Grace and Nick's home, their life, and their decision. But I do know, if you stop talking to her, you cannot provide support or offer suggestions of any kind. Remember, you wouldn't be talking. My cousin once said, if your adult kids (or a friend) want to share something with you, (1) listen without talking. (2) When they say something important, you respond, "Ah." (3) When they finish talking, say, "Keep me posted." 
Regarding the first question, they didn't ask for your permission so, don't tell them what to do. Grace was telling you about a decision they had already made. Be happy for them. Encourage her. Tell Grace you will keep her and her family in your prayers. Then, remember to do so.

Doris Gaines Rapp

Friday, October 8, 2021

Talk is Good for What Bothers You

     This new blog is your opportunity to ask a question about a topic that has bothered you. We will screen questions when they are emailed. Let us hear from you.

 My blog,, has been offering supplementary ideas for the classroom and home for over two years. In addition to activities, as a psychologist, people also ask many questions about parenting, grandparenting, and a variety of relationship issues. Though I have closed my practice, the questions still come. Josie Davis Gaines is also following her joy of writing and will answer some questions. 

Talk is Good for What Bothers You is an opportunity to ask a neutral friend a question. Click on the Follow button to receive a notification when there is a new post. Then, email your question to (Copy and paste the address into your mail server.) Josie or I will post your abbreviated question on the blog, omitting identifying information, then offer a brief response.

This blog cannot answer all your questions. And there will be no email response. Talk to a psychologist, counselor, minister, or trusted friend to continue discussing your issue. This is not a counseling session. It is an opportunity to begin to talk about things that are on your mind. 



How do I tell a friend I understand what s/he is talking about without seeming to take over their conversation?


Dear Friend,    I understand. No one wants to tell someone about their health problem or share a family issue with a “friend” and have it boomerang in their face. “You think that’s bad, let me tell you about my back, or my sassy child, or my boss. Try not to let “I” intrude.

Jesus taught in parables. He told stories about other people that politely gave the listener the space to see if the story applied to them. As an example, a friend might say, “I worked at the office all day, then until 9 pm at home. I’m exhausted.”

A response that indicates no empathy might be, “I know just how you feel. I had to get up at five in the morning, then didn’t get to bed until after 1 AM.”

                An indication you heard them and want to help could be, “I have a co-worker who works long hours like you do. It’s hard. She feels guilty about not spending time with her mother. So, on especially long days, she calls and checks in on her mom, then tells her she won’t be available for the rest of the evening. Last, she turns off her cell’s ring tone for the evening.

                If Mom doesn’t understand how busy she is, no amount of explaining will help. Know what you need and follow through.


Doris Gaines Rapp

Josie Davis Gaines

An Equal Marriage or a One Up, One Down Arrangement?

Question:     I'm worried about a friend. She seems to be verbally abused and controlled by her husband. The man is also a friend as the...