These gestures of favoritism can lead a spouse to feel left out and not valued when around in-laws. Caring for a two-year old, planning for a baby on the way, building a business, and buying their first home, life was busy but rewarding. Since they lived nearby, Linda's parents loved to visit—invited or not.

Over the past few years I have written about boundaries, your personal limits of what you will and won’t put up with, many times.

“I wasn’t there for him, so I avoided setting limits with him.” Ray was talking to me about his son Brad, who had begun drinking and running with a bad crowd.

However, in assuming he would solve one problem, he actually created a second problem, and now his son was worse off. A self-diagnosed workaholic, Ray had, from his own report, been too wrapped up in his career to connect adequately with his son.

Don’t start dating without praying, and don’t stop praying while you’re waiting.

If you don’t know what to pray, here are seven prayers for any not-yet-married relationship.

Even so, healthy parents will welcome their child's spouse into their lives, if that person is loving and kind.

However, when a parent's preference for their own child over their child's spouse exists and is expressed, distance and hurt can result.

So I thought the time I did spend with him should be positive.” Guilt fueled Ray’s flawed thinking, as it does for many parents.

Both guilt and fear are internal emotional states that often prevent parents from setting the right boundaries that can help a teen learn responsibility.

We wonder why we make the same mistakes and fall into sin over and over again, while we leave the King sitting on the bench.

We may talk about praying, but we rarely actually talk God.

Brittany Bergman is TCW regular contributor as well as an assistant copyeditor at Tyndale House Publishers.