Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Addictions...

By Drs. Les and Leslie ParrottMarch 15, 2017
Addiction is an overwhelming illness whose hallmark symptoms are the physiological craving of, and emotional attachment to, a legal or illegal substance or practice. Most often, we see addictions in the form of substances like alcohol, prescription drugs, and illicit drugs.
Substance abuse is devastating to marriages, families, and relationships. It can result in career loss, financial ruin, divorce, estrangement, and even death. Today, we’ll focus on six landmines that substance abuse plants in your marriage when you’re struggling with addiction.
For all of these issues, we strongly encourage that you and your spouse seek outside professional help. Consult your local minister or physician for reliable recovery resources, like a 12-step system that understands your unique struggle. Addiction is not something you can overcome on your own, but with the right help, you will be able to move past this and rebuild your lives.

DENIAL

Denial is risky business when it comes to facing a life-altering issue like addiction. For the addicted spouse, denial comes in the form of the idea that they’re in control of their addiction–they can stop any time they want. This is frustrating for the non-addicted spouse, who can often (eventually) see the problem for what it is, but finds it difficult to impossible to interact with the addicted spouse who is so strongly rooted in denial.
But many times, especially at first, the non-addicted spouse is also in denial. While the other person may display a host of red flags that point to substance abuse, it can feel easier in the moment for the non-addicted spouse to come up with alternate explanations or write off the signs as coincidence. Denial on the part of the non-addicted spouse is dangerous because it delays the possibility of seeking necessary professional help…even if that help only comes in the form of support for the non-addicted person in the marriage.

HELPLESSNESS

Whether it’s you or your spouse who is struggling with an addiction, helplessness takes root quickly. After a period of denial has passed, an addicted spouse may feel helpless to control what is happening to them; they find themselves at the mercy of the drug. The non-addicted spouse is likely to feel helpless when it comes to their spouse’s addictive behavior because they can’t do anything to stop it or make the situation better.
Feeling totally out of control of any situation–but especially a situation like this–is terrifying, stressful, and unsettling. Both spouses are at risk of seeking out behavior patterns that make them feel more in control of their lives, which can create a volatile situation in the relationship.

DISHONESTY

Addiction breeds dishonesty. It’s nearly an inevitable byproduct of substance abuse. The addicted spouse inherently knows that the substance that’s controlling their life shouldn’t be playing a role in it at all. Yet, because the physiological need for it is very real, they find themselves lying to cover up the problem.
However painful it may be, the non-addicted spouse must keep track of their spouse’s dishonesty. It’s essential to learn the telltale signs that the addicted spouse is lying; he or she may fall into a pattern that is easy to recognize. During and after recovery, the non-addicted spouse may still find it difficult to trust their husband or wife, but if they’ve become familiar with his or her patterns during dishonesty, it could become a framework they can use to evaluate the recovering spouse.

NEGLECT

Addictive substances tend to steal an addicted spouse’s entire focus (perhaps not at first, but eventually, this tends to be the case). This can lead to the spouse neglecting the needs of their family, plus their responsibilities at home and at work. As a result, the addicted spouse may eventually find themselves jobless and even in the throes of financial ruin.
For the non-addicted spouse, experiencing neglect is detrimental to their health and wellbeing, the health and wellbeing of their children, and the financial stability of the family. Over time, they find themselves shouldering the burden of the addicted spouse’s responsibilities, plus their own. This can lead to anger, resentment, and contempt, which can be difficult to overcome even after the couple has received professional help to overcome the addiction itself.

PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ILLNESS & PAIN

Substance abuse often begins when a person is trying to escape pain of some kind. What addicted individuals often don’t realize is that the substance will eventually cause them physical and psychological pain. Addiction also leads to varying types of illness, brought on by the years of self-harm.
For a non-addicted spouse, psychological pain and illness may occur as a result of the tremendous stress brought on by the addiction. Practice radical self-care and talk to your physician or counselor if your family is facing an addiction that has caused your health to deteriorate. Your recovering spouse and any children you may have will need you to be healthy in the coming months as you face this down.

ABUSE

Unfortunately, addiction is capable of creating an abusive environment in your home–be it verbal, physical, emotional, or otherwise. A person who has become addicted to a substance is susceptible to personality changes that include aggression and violence.
If you are a non-addicted spouse and your husband or wife has become abusive, creating a dangerous environment in your home, get yourself and any children you may have to safety. Consult your counselor for the safest way to communicate to your spouse that you have left the home, and you won’t be able to come back until it is safe for you to be there. Encourage them to seek the help they need to get well so that your family can be together again in a healthy environment.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Root Causes.....

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, March 1, 2017
Learning that your spouse has had an affair is a jarring, traumatic emotional experience. For the foreseeable future after the discovery (or your spouse’s confession), you’ll go through a deeply painful mourning period. Everything you believed about your life before this knowledge may be shattered, and you may wonder if you’ll ever be able to trust your spouse again.
Picking up the pieces after infidelity is incredibly difficult, but it can be done. The question is, can it be done if your spouse isn’t willing to dig into the why behind his or her actions?

WHY WE WANT TO KNOW

If you’ve been betrayed by your spouse, you’re most likely trying to figure out why they made the choice to have an affair. You’re probably asking yourself questions like:
  • Why did my spouse want to cheat?
  • Was I not good enough
  • What does the other person have that I don’t?
  • Was it something I said or did? Or something I didn’t do?
  • Did my spouse feel their needs weren’t being met?
  • What could we have done differently?
  • How can I be sure it won’t happen again?
It might feel tempting to try to answer all these questions (and more) at once. After all, infidelity will rock your marriage to the core, and if you’ve recently learned of an affair, you’re probably trying to decide what the future has in store. Will you be able to work it out? Will you need to end the marriage? What’s going to happen?
It’s normal to want to know what to expect going forward, as much as possible. For this reason, you might be inclined to question your spouse to get to the bottom of the issue. If you can learn the reasons behind the affair, you believe, perhaps that will help you determine your next steps–especially if the two of you want to work toward saving your marriage.
Learning the reasons behind an affair can also be a powerful form of closure. Perhaps you feel like you can’t forgive completely or move forward unless you’ve gotten all the answers from your spouse. But often, spouses who have been unfaithful don’t want to dwell on details of an affair, much less get to the bottom of the reasons why it happened.
If your spouse is holding back or avoiding conversation about the affair, it can create tremendous anxiety for you. Shouldn’t your spouse be willing to open up and answer all your questions? After all, he or she is the one who’s in the wrong…right?

WHY YOUR SPOUSE WON’T DIG DEEPER

When infidelity has occurred, spouses who have committed adultery often aren’t very articulate about what has happened, and don’t have a deep sense of understanding about the internal factors that drove their decisions to engage in the affair. If your spouse is avoiding these conversations, it’s likely he or she lacks insight into the “whys.”
Another motivation he or she might have is shame regarding the series of decisions that led up to this situation. Your spouse isn’t proud of what has happened, and it’s not something they want to repeat. At this point, they’re so bogged down by the shame of what they’ve done that they have a deep desire to move forward rather than wallowing in the past. Answering questions dredges up emotions, mental images, and more questions that your spouse probably doesn’t want to deal with over and over again.
The future seems very, very bright compared to what you’re going through right now. Your spouse is craving that brighter future, away from the dark season you’re in.
All these factors can compel your spouse not to look deeper into the situation at all; they just want to move forward and put all this behind you. The problem is, you might be left feeling like you’re in the dark.

MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER

Can you and your husband or wife move forward without dissecting the reasons behind an affair? Absolutely. But only the two of you can determine whether this path is the best for you. Healing from infidelity is very tough, no matter how you and your spouse choose to approach it.
What matters most is where you’re headed as a couple, not necessarily understanding everything about the past. You can choose to put it behind you and move forward without digging into the details, but it won’t be easy. (Bear in mind that, after an affair, every path to recovery is difficult in its own way–and the answers are different for each couple.)
While it may be possible to heal and move forward without delving into all the reasons behind an affair, keep in mind that lack of open communication can make it more difficult to reestablish trust. If you feel that your spouse’s avoidance of the topic indicates a desire to hide the truth (whether that’s their motivation or not), that’s likely to raise your suspicions and feed resentment.
If you don’t have an open license to discuss how you’re feeling with your spouse or ask him or her questions about what has happened–and have them honestly answer–trust may not be reestablished in your relationship. Infidelity wreaks havoc on the emotions of the injured spouse, and one important avenue to healing is the ability to freely express how you’re feeling and ask questions. This is not to drag your spouse through the mud over what he or she has done, but rather to reach forgiveness and the closure we talked about earlier.
Agreeing together on a commitment to openness will allow your communication to flow more freely. This is key to healing from the affair that has hurt your marriage so deeply. If you are unable to reach this agreement at first, take heart in knowing that it is possible to move forward regardless. But we strongly recommend finding a way to open those lines of communication between the two of you (seeking out a professional counselor can help you to do this).

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Blocks To Love

By Henry Cloud, Ph.D.
In the mere contemplation of love, we are humbled. For who among us could ever claim to have “figured it out?” The mysteries of love and how to make it work baffle even the most well-intentioned. In many contexts, from parenting to marriage, friendship to business relationships, we find that our best efforts often fail and disappointment finds its way into our most valued sphere of life.
Why is this? There are many reasons, but they all come down to a basic orientation in ourselves towards ourselves. In other words, ever since Adam, we have been basically looking out for number one, and that is the surest way to destroy a relationship. We have a tendency to think of ourselves first instead of the relationship itself. We are trying to get what we want instead of seeing also the needs of others. And as a result of this self-orientation we destroy all chances of getting what we want and need, which in the final analysis is always love.
So, in an edition dedicated to love we thought it appropriate to look at some of the things that we do that get in the way of love. In some ways, it is also a look at maturity, for it is only the mature person who loves well. We will be taking a look at the ways of functioning that prevent love from growing in almost any context, whether it be , friendship, marriage, parenting, work or church relationships.
And before we get into looking at these traits, one sober word of warning: In looking for the problems in any relationship we are in, we always do well to point the finger back at ourselves. At least as Jesus said, it is a good place to begin to look! There is no doubt that others cause some of the pain and failure of relationships in our lives. But the reality is that we are probably adding to the problem or if we are not, we probably could be doing some things better that would give us a better chance of working it out, even if you find yourself in a relationship with a “problem person.” Sometimes, the most immature people can grow when in the presence of an integrating relationship. So, in looking at some of the dynamics of what the blocks are to good relationships, keep yourself in mind. The more that you can take ownership of these tendencies in yourself, the more likely you are to make relationships work and to pick people who are able to make them work as well. Mature people tend to pick mature people. Now, join me in a look at the things that poison love.

The Love Killers-Poisons To Avoid

Self-centeredness or Ego-centricity
Many people think of selfish people as being difficult. But “self-centeredness” comes closer to the real description of what a truly selfish person is. What it means is that someone basically experiences life mostly in terms of him or herself. Someone has said, “To interpret any event only in terms of how it affects oneself is to live on the doorstep of Hell.” And that is true.
When one is self-centered, he guarantees the failure of love, for love is an attachment between two people, and the self-centered person denies the reality of the “other.” He only sees others as extensions of himself. They exist to make him happy, serve his needs, regulate his feelings or drives in life. And whey they fail to do that by having an existence of their own, he has some sort of negative reaction, such as anger, withdrawal of love, controlling behavior or rejection. This orientation to another person being more of an object for self-gratification than a person makes a true attachment impossible. Love requires two people, not one person and an “object.”
We could write about this dynamic for a long time, but one quick way to understand it is to look at it in terms of the quote above. “Only me” involves not ever adapting to someone else’s wishes or needs, or sacrificing something that I want for another person or a purpose or group larger than myself. Or to think of the significance of events or people only as I am benefited or denied.
Lack of Observing Oneself
Psalm 36 says the following: “For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.” And 1 John says the same thing in another way: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
The idea is this and is one of the most frustrating qualities that anyone can have in a relationship: The inability to see one’s own behavior, especially when one is wrong. Have you ever had that experience, to be in a relationship with someone who could not see when they were wrong? There is such little hope to get past any conflict that you might be having.
No relationship or person is perfect. And we can work out any kind of conflict with anyone as long as the two people involved are able and willing to look at their own behavior and own it. The act of ownership of our wrongs makes moving past the conflict and getting to a deeper connection possible, and when someone cannot see their wrong, the relationship gets stuck.
The injured party feels hopeless, and there is little chance for comforting them by the one who hurt them, because no apology is forthcoming. The conflict cannot be solved. This is why God is so into our confession. It lets us get to a better place. Let yourself always look first to yourself in any conflict to see where you might be wrong. That will enable you to see the truth of the situation more clearly. (Matt. 7:3-5)
Inability to Validate Another’s Experience
Being understood is one of our deepest needs. We don’t really need to know that we are “right,” as much as we need to know that someone understands how we feel and what our “reality” is. Making this connection with each other is called “empathy.” When we feel a certain way, we need to know that others validate our experience, meaning that they understand how it is for us.
Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening– that is his folly and his shame.” We need to be listened to and understood, not quickly negated for how we feel and what we think. Research has shown that some of the most serious emotional disorders come from having ones emotions misunderstood. For instance, how do you feel when someone says, “Oh, come on, that didn’t hurt!” or “Oh, that wasn’t so bad.” We immediately go further away inside our hearts, and feel a breach with the person. On the other hand, when someone says something that shows their understanding, we are more open to input about our reality.
“Sounds like that was very difficult for you,” is an example of an empathic statement that draws people closer together.
Understanding how someone feels or thinks, or how an experience was for them is something that builds bonds and connections between people. The inability to do that destroys connection and alienates the parties.
Play Fair
This one sounds weird, for it seems that playing fair would be a good thing. The problem is that fair is what the Bible calls “the Law.” In other words, it means returning an “eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” It means that we treat others as they treat us If they are kind, then we are kind. If they hurt us, then we hurt them back. If they are immature, then we are immature as well.
Listen to what Jesus says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.” (Luke 6:32,33) It is easy for us to be good to those who earn it. The problem is that no one earns it all the time, and every relationship has problem behavior. This is why simple “fairness” cannot work, for then the worst behavior in the relationship becomes the common denominator.
To transcend a pattern in a relationship, we cannot play fair and return evil for evil. (Rom.12:17) The only way for any relationship to overcome our imperfections is for the receiving party to be “bigger than that,” and return grace and truth instead of the injury. Simple fairness will kill any relationship.
Emotional Detachment
“The lights are on but nobody is home.” To be emotionally detached is to be out of touch with one’s feelings and unable to be emotionally present in a relationship. It can be a killer to intimacy, because it feels to the other party that they are alone, even though someone is there.
The Bible says that to love God involves the heart as well as the mind. When we are out of touch with our feelings and cannot express them to one another, then intimacy is blocked, and our experience is one of the person’s heart being “far away.”
To feel close, we need to be present emotionally. Our needs, vulnerabilities, fears, pain, tender feelings, and the like must be communicated and expressed. When someone is detached from feelings, and the ability to express them, the other person cannot feel the kind of connection that we think of as “intimacy,” or “being known.” Intimacy involves the heart, as well as the mind. As David said, God desires truth in the “innermost being.” (Ps. 51:6) If someone is out of touch with their deep feelings and innermost parts, then shallow relationships are what follows.
Control and Denial of Separateness
Paul tells us that freedom is so important, that Jesus died for it. (Gal. 5:1) We are not to be under any kind of slavery ever again. But the reality is that many people do not honor freedom in their relationships. They do not see the other person as a free person from them, able to make their own decisions and have their own desires. Instead, they see the other as an extension of themselves, and have strong attempts to control the freedom of the one they “love.”
Love can only exist where there is freedom. Our attempts to control what another person thinks, feels, wants, does, values, believes, etc. are destined to drive them away, and ultimately destroy love. Love only exists as we see another person in their own right as a separate individual, who as Jesus said is free to do what they want to with what is their own. (see Matt. 20:15) When someone says “no,” we are to respect it. When they have choices and wishes that are different from ours, we are to respect them as well.
Wish For Eden
There was a time when everything was perfect. It was called paradise, and the Bible refers to it as the Garden of Eden. In that place, everything was “good.” But, as the rest of the Bible tells us, and history confirms, Eden has been lost, and we live in an imperfect world. What that translates to in the world of relationships is that we will always be in relationships with people who have imperfections.
To the extent that someone has come to grip with this reality, they have satisfactory relationships. They can accept others for who they are and solve problems. But if they still have a wish to be in the Garden where things are perfect, they are always frustrated with the people they find themselves connected to. They always want more, they judge and protest the reality of who the person is and there is very little safety for love to grow.
Narcissism and perfectionism are killers to real relationship. Real love can only grow where someone’s “real self” can be known and accepted by the other person. If there are demands for perfection and the “ideal person,” then love is blocked.
“I Know Better” and other “Parental Dynamics”
Adults who are in significant relationships are meant to be equals and share the reality of who they are in a spirit of mutuality. Some people, however, want not to be equals, but one-up on the other person. They want to be in more of a parent-child type of connection where they are in charge. They have expectations for the other to be in subjection to them in some strange way, and are dominating in their style.
This type of “I know better” stance blocks love in a horrible way, as the person who is “under” feels belittled, controlled, dominated and disrespected. In the best scenario’s, the so-called “benevolent dictator,” the one on the bottom rung fails to grow up and develop into who they were meant to be.
Typical of this type of stance are a lot of “you should’s,” that dominate the person’s thinking, as they freely tell the other person how to think, live, be and what to do. The biggest problems to love in this type of connection come from the resentment in the one-down person, and their drive to become independent from the dominating one. As Jesus said, we are to all be equals and put no one on a parental pedestal. (Matt. 23:8)
Lack of Boundaries
The last block to love that we will consider is the lack of boundaries. What this means is someone’s inability to take a stance of self-control and to have a proper relation to the word “no.” Boundary problems are usually seen in someone’s inability to either say “no,” or hear “no” from others. When we have these kinds of disturbances, we either allow people to walk all over us in a way that destroys respect, or we walk all over them and “trespass” against them, destroying love in the process. True love respects each other’s boundaries, saying “no” when we need to, and respecting it when we hear it.
Another aspect of boundaries has to do with requiring responsible behavior from each other in a relationship and taking a stance against evil when it occurs. True love cannot grow when evil is allowed to triumph. When we have the boundaries to “abhor what is evil,” and take a stance against it, we preserve the good in a relationship and help it to grow by solving problems.

Summary

Love is not an easy thing to accomplish in this life. In fact, it is so difficult because of our particular inclinations to do the very things we just talked about. There is a part of all of us that tends to try to please ourselves instead of accomplish love, and in the process we lose the love that we wanted in the first place. Remember, love does not “just happen.” It takes work. And part of the work that you will have to do is to avoid the kinds of blocks to love mentioned above. Good luck, and God Bless as you “love one another” as He has loved you. (John 13:34)

Copyright © 2000 Cloud-Townsend Resources, All rights reserved.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Weekend to Remember 2017


Don’t miss this opportunity to rejuvenate & reconnect with your spouse at one of the best marriage retreats offered anywhere!   You won’t regret the investment of time & money you’ll make in your relationship.  Your Weekend to Remember will be Friday night through Sunday noon, Feb. 10-12, 2017 at the Renaissance Hotel (71st & 169).

During the remaining 2 weeks prior to the conference, you can save $100 on the couple registration price by using the group name believerschurchtulsa when registering online, making the cost $198 rather than $298 per couple.

To register, log onto www.weekendtoremember.com, click on ‘Locate your Getaway’ & enter your zip code to begin the process. Remember when you register online, or by phone, use the group name: believerschurchtulsa (it may help some BC couples attend who might not otherwise be able!)


Brochures and detailed registration instructions will be at the Information Desk.  If you have any questions, please email: Cathie Searcy at cathie.searcy@cox.net.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The 9 Most Overlooked Threasts to a Marriage


Ifeel bad for marital communication, because it gets blamed for everything. For generations, in survey after survey, couples have rated marital communication as the number one problem in marriage. It’s not…




By Dr. Kelly Flanagann http://drkellyflanagan.com/2014/10/01/the-9-most-overlooked-threats-to-a-marriage/


Marital communication is getting a bad rap. It’s like the kid who fights back on the playground. The playground supervisors hear a commotion and turn their heads just in time to see his retaliation. He didn’t create the problem; he was reacting to the problem. But he’s the one who gets caught, so he’s sent off to the principal’s office.
Or, in the case of marital communication, the therapist’s office.
I feel bad for marital communication, because everyone gangs up on him, when the truth is, on the playground of marriage, he’s just reacting to one of the other troublemakers who started the fight:
1. We marry people because we like who they are. People change. Plan on it. Don’t marry someone because of who they are, or who you want them to become. Marry them because of who they are determined to become. And then spend a lifetime joining them in their becoming, as they join you in yours.
2. Marriage doesn’t take away our loneliness. To be alive is to be lonely. It’s the human condition. Marriage doesn’t change the human condition. It can’t make us completely unlonely. And when it doesn’t, we blame our partner for doing something wrong, or we go searching for companionship elsewhere. Marriage is intended to be a place where two humans share the experience of loneliness and, in the sharing, create moments in which the loneliness dissipates. For a little while.
3. Shame baggage. Yes, we all carry it it. We spend most of our adolescence and early adulthood trying to pretend our shame doesn’t exist so, when the person we love triggers it in us, we blame them for creating it. And then we demand they fix it. But the truth is, they didn’t create it and they can’t fix it. Sometimes the best marital therapy is individual therapy, in which we work to heal our own shame. So we can stop transferring it to the ones we love.
4. Ego wins. We’ve all got one. We came by it honestly. Probably sometime around the fourth grade when kids started to be jerks to us. Maybe earlier if our family members were jerks first. The ego was a good thing. It kept us safe from the emotional slings and arrows. But now that we’re grown and married, the ego is a wall that separates. It’s time for it to come down. By practicing openness instead of defensiveness, forgiveness instead of vengeance, apology instead of blame, vulnerability instead of strength, and grace instead of power.
5. Life is messy and marriage is life. So marriage is messy, too. But when things stop working perfectly, we start blaming our partner for the snags. We add unnecessary mess to the already inescapable mess of life and love. We must stop pointing fingers and start intertwining them. And then we can we walk into, and through, the mess of life together. Blameless and shameless.
6. Empathy is hard. By its very nature, empathy cannot happen simultaneously between two people. One partner must always go first, and there’s no guarantee of reciprocation. It takes risk. It’s a sacrifice. So most of us wait for our partner to go first. A lifelong empathy standoff. And when one partner actually does take the empathy plunge, it’s almost always a belly flop. The truth is, the people we love are fallible human beings and they will never be the perfect mirror we desire. Can we love them anyway, by taking the empathy plunge ourselves?
7. We care more about our children than about the one who helped us make them. Our kids should never be more important than our marriage, and they should never be less important. If they’re more important, the little rascals will sense it and use it and drive wedges. If they’re less important, they’ll act out until they are given priority. Family is about the constant, on-going work of finding the balance.
8. The hidden power struggle. Most conflict in marriage is at least in part a negotiation around the level of interconnectedness between lovers. Men usually want less. Women usually want more. Sometimes, those roles are reversed. Regardless, when you read between the lines of most fights, this is the question you find: Who gets to decide how much distance we keep between us? If we don’t ask that question explicitly, we’ll fight about it implicitly. Forever.
9. We don’t know how to maintain interest in one thing or one person anymore. We live in a world pulling our attention in a million different directions. The practice of meditation—attending to one thing and then returning our attention to it when we become distracted, over and over and over again—is an essential art. When we are constantly encouraged to attend to the shiny surface of things and to move on when we get a little bored, making our life a meditation upon the person we love is a revolutionary act. And it is absolutely essential if any marriage is to survive and thrive.
As a therapist, I can teach a couple how to communicate in an hour. It’s not complicated. But dealing with the troublemakers who started the fight? Well, that takes a lifetime.
And yet.
It’s a lifetime that forms us into people who are becoming ever more loving versions of ourselves, who can bear the weight of loneliness, who have released the weight of shame, who have traded in walls for bridges, who have embraced the mess of being alive, who risk empathy and forgive disappointments, who love everyone with equal fervor, who give and take and compromise, and who have dedicated themselves to a lifetime of presence and awareness and attentiveness.

And that’s a lifetime worth fighting for.

http://drkellyflanagan.com/2014/10/01/the-9-most-overlooked-threats-to-a-marriage/

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How to Build Friendships with Other Families


http://www.symbisassessment.com/blog/build-friendships-families/

With the crazy fast pace of the world these days, having a family of your own–plus keeping up with all life’s demands–can feel very isolating. It takes all you’ve got just to get your family through the day…so you’re not sure how to even begin building intentional friendships with other families.
The good news is, it’s possible! You can build relationships with other families, and have fun doing it. Today, we’re sharing 3 practices you can put into action right away to start getting connected with other families.
  1. Get Connected

Friendships are built on having things in common–whether it’s a sense of humor, shared experiences, or similar life circumstances. Seek opportunities to connect with other couples who have similar interests and values as you have, and with whom you have a strong rapport.
Interest groups, classes, Sunday school, and small groups are all good places to start as you seek other families to befriend. Be patient in the process of getting to know them, and don’t rush into any relationships; instead, take it slow and get to know the people you’re connecting with. Having patience and peace in the process will help you as you explore which friendships are going to be healthy connections for you and your family to cultivate.
  1. Show Openness

Be open to getting to know other families, and project that sense of openness to the new people you meet. If you appear closed off or uninterested, you won’t seem as approachable to others.
Even if you’re nervous, don’t wait to be approached. Find someone you’d like to introduce yourself to, and jump right in. Be friendly, receptive, and show your interest in getting to know them.
It can be easy, once you’ve made a few close friends, to stop making an effort to bring other families into your circle. Be aware of this, and commit to continuing to meet new families and broadening your circle over time.
  1. Practice Hospitality

Work together with your spouse to invite other families into your home, one at a time. Take turns having each of them over at intervals, and spend time getting to know them (and letting your children get to know one another). Do whatever you can to help them feel welcome and comfortable in your home.
Get out your calendar and work together to chart out times to invite people over you’d like to get to know. Once you’ve decided on dates for the month, determine to include someone around your table on each date, no matter what.
If you put these 3 principles into practice, you’ll be able to establish some meaningful, lasting friendships that will be mutually rewarding, both for your family and the other families you get to know. Give it time, and before long, you will have a community of friends who’ll be there through thick and thin.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Frazzled Mom, Exhausted Wife: What to Do When Everyone NEEDS You

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott July 20, 2016

Being a wife and a mom is one of life’s greatest joys. Partnering with your husband to raise a family is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling role; however, it’s challenging all at the same time. The role of a wife and mom is not only a huge blessing, but a huge responsibility–and it can leave you completely WORN OUT.
The kids have fifteen different places they need to be and, on top of all that, they have a mile-long list of school supplies waiting to be purchased and thrown into their backpacks. Your husband’s working late, and needs you to set up and prepare for your small group to come over, and the babysitter just called and canceled for the second time this month.
So what do you do when it’s all just too much? What do you do when everyone needs something from you, and it feels like everyone forgot you’re only one person?
Here are few things to remember:
Focus On Gratitude
There was a time in your life when you were longing for this. You anxiously awaited the moment you would walk down the aisle to say, “I do,” to your husband. Your heart leapt for joy when you found out you were pregnant, and for nine months you dreamed of holding that sweet baby. Take your mind back to those moments.
Remember, it’s all a gift. Sure, your child may be screaming in your face, but soon they’ll sleep, and you’ll catch yourself staring at their peaceful little faces and wonder where the time has gone. A mindset of gratitude and joy will not only give you a calm demeanor; it will overflow and impact your family as well.
Build in Time and Space for Yourself
In all of your planning and coordinating, don’t forget to schedule some time for yourself. Maybe this season of life doesn’t allow much time for you to sneak away for an afternoon alone, but look for a window of time in your week where you can sit on your porch with a cup of coffee or spend a few minutes reading a book. The mental break will rejuvenate and refresh your spirit and offer you the chance to breathe for a minute.
Ask for Help
No one’s asking you to be Superwoman.
There are a lot of requests coming your way and a lot of things on your plate. Don’t be scared to call in back-up. Maybe you need to ask a friend to watch your children one afternoon so you can get a few things done around the house. Maybe you need to call a family member and ask for some advice. Your closest friends and family have your best interests at heart, and they want what’s best for you.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to things. Share responsibilities with your husband. We’ve all heard the common phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That statement resonates with us because we know it’s true. You don’t have to do it all alone.
Give Yourself a Break
There are a lot of rabbit trails of doubt, worry, and self-consciousness you can go down when you are overwhelmed and tired. One major thing that can fuel the fire of exhaustion and stress is the internet. While we have every resource, piece of advice, and article imaginable at our fingertips, we also are bombarded with pictures, posts, updates, and requests through social media. What can start as a quick “Facebook break” turns into an unexpected self-shaming campaign because you think another mom is doing everything so much better than you are, or another couple looks so much happier.
Give yourself a break. Remember that social media is a highlight reel for many people, and you’re only seeing one side of the story. Focus on your marriage, your children, and your family. Life does not have to look like every Pinterest meal you see, and your kids do not have to win every award the neighbor’s’ kid won. Love your family the way God calls you to love your family–not the way Instagram tells you to love your family.
No one is looking to you for perfection. Your husband loves you for who you are, not what you do. Your children need your love, affection, and guidance, and they’ll be okay if they don’t have a sandwich cut in the shape of a heart. You’re a good wife and a good mom. Just take a deep breath…and maybe grab a cup of coffee!