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!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Four Words that Changed My Marriage

by Mike Blacet, Posted on May 4, 2016 in LifeMarriage 

Even before our wedding day, my wife and I were having serious problems.  Some of the problems were caused by us, wounds that we were unwittingly carrying into the relationship.  Some of the problems were caused by people and circumstances outside of our control.  I had no idea what to do.  I was very literally at my wits’ end.  And I’m confident that my wife was as well.  In seeking God, I heard four simple words that changed everything from that moment forward:

“Love her.  Trust me.”

Ever since we were children, we have heard the age-old fairy tale that goes something like this: The knight in shining armor, a fearless warrior, seeks out the princess, perfect in all her beauty.  He slays a dragon, wakes her from her slumber, and, of course, they live “happily ever after.”  The story has been told over and over, in so many variations, through so many characters.   So we arrive on the scene and do our best to fill the role, perhaps secretly fearing there is no way we’ll measure up.  And we expect, or at least longingly hope, that the other person is going to fill their role. In time, or maybe very quickly, we find out that ours isn’t a fairy tale.  What has happened to this fairy tale we thought we entered into or so desperately want to enter into?  Is it even humanly possible?  Maybe we conclude that it isn’t really possible, so we give up.  We sink.  Or we fight the one we love.

One of the most common experiences in every marriage is grief. Let that sink in. Every husband and wife grieves, in varying measures.  We grieve who we thought our spouse was supposed to be, who we thought we were, what marriage is about, and what kind of God would bless this, knowing what we were getting into.  We have to grieve our false images.  This has been my experience as well.  And it has been grueling at times.  Perhaps it is supposed to be.  But Jesus didn’t pull any punches.  He told us ahead of time.

Mark 2:17: “Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.’” 

John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” 

So, you married, or are preparing to marry, a sick person, a sinner.  And that’s not a bad thing.  It’s perfectly normal.  As you come to grips with that, don’t forget that Christ offers and is the remedy and has already overcome the trouble you have had, are in the midst of, or is ahead. 
That is why I’m so thankful that God gave me those four words: “Love her. Trust me.” That was terrifying counsel.  Stop trying to fix or change what I’m afraid of in her?  Trust this God who lets people hurt, this God who has already let me get hurt?

“But, God, I can see the disaster ahead.” 

“So, Mike, she’s your disaster? And not your treasure?”  He delivered it gently, but it was quite a blow.

“Love her the way I love you, Mike.  You are a ‘disaster,’ yet still my treasure.”

I knew he was right.  I was doing things disastrously in this relationship.  I was not loving his daughter very well at all.  And I blamed her for the mess inside of me.  Yet, he continued to be with me, and guide me, and love me.

“How, Lord?”

“She’s free from you, Mike.  Christ secured that for her.  Agree with me in that.  I’ve invited her to come to me just as she is.  Will you let her come to you just as she is?  John 8:36 tells us, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

It isn’t our spouse’s responsibility to meet all of our needs.  That isn’t possible.  Not even close.  God alone promises to do that for us.  This leaves our spouse free to give to us, as opposed to obey us. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
It all comes down to that four word promise, “Love her. Trust me.”

So how do we practically participate in God’s craftsmanship?

Love.  First things, first.  Love before, and then, while asking for and helping with change and growth, tend to your spouse’s weaknesses the way you would tend to their physical wounds—with gentleness.  Deliver your words gently, especially the sensitive ones.

Make a list of ways that you are willing to unconditionally give to your spouse, even when (or especially when) you are at odds, you’ve had to set some boundaries, or they are experiencing the difficult consequences of their ways.  Put them into practice.

Ask.  When you would like your spouse to do something for you or give something to you, ask them if they are willing, as opposed to telling or demanding it from them.  Asking says that you have no intention of being in authority over them. All that is theirs, and they are free to give and withhold.  It upholds equality in that you are declining to be their master.  You are side by side.

Accept their no.  If your spouse is unwilling or unable to help meet your need, let God meet it in another way.  This is what makes it even possible to accept their no.  Are you reluctant to let God meet your need in another way, as he sees fit?  Do you know that he will?

To treasure your spouse’s freedom to say no is to value them and their freedom over what you want from them. 

Forgive.  Forgive.  Forgive.  It can’t be said enough.  Free them from debts they can’t even repay, from the past they can’t unwrite.  Let Christ pay that debt to you.  Let Christ meet the needs that your spouse can’t meet. 

Can we forgive them for not being the fairy tale that they were never supposed to be?  Can you forgive yourself for not being the fairy tale that YOU were never supposed to be?

Jesus is enough. Psalm 62:1-2 says, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” This task of loving our spouses while trusting God is far from easy, and cannot be done alone.  It was never intended to be done alone.  If you are struggling in your marriage, don’t hesitate to seek help from a Christian counselor.  A counselor will help guide you through steps toward healing or rejuvenation, offer practical ways to carry out a rewarding relationship, and can recognize and address hidden obstacles.

Mike Blacet is a therapist with Cornerstone Christian Counseling Services.  His first career choice was engineering, but God got ahold of him and turned many things upside down, or right-side up. Mike and his wife Angela have been married since 2001.  They enjoy their time together as a family with their two daughters, Madelyn and Grace, and their son, Noah.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Intense Marriage, Intense Kids: How to Cope

                                                                  By Drs. Les and Leslie ParrottJune 15, 2016


Children are always a blessing. But children bring a tremendous change to your home and your relationship as you previously knew it. And if your kids have intense, spirited, strong personalities, the changes to your world are even more pronounced! If one of your personalities is also intense (or both!), this makes life all the more interesting.

Today, we’re sharing a few tips on how to cope with intensity in your home.

1.    ACTIVELY MANAGE YOUR STRESS LEVELS.
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep your stress levels as low as possible. Intensity in your marriage or family could increase any life or work stress that is already present, creating a pile-on effect…in other words, not the best recipe for a peaceful home.

Start by working with your spouse to identify ways the two of you can reduce your own stress load. This might involve cutting back on activities, hiring some extra help around the house, or saying “no” more often to obligations that make you feel overloaded. Then, consider whether your kids need additional help in this area.

If Mom and Dad can keep their stress and intensity dialed down, this will have a positive impact on the kids. Win-win!

2.                INJECT HUMOR AND FUN INTO EVERYDAY LIFE.
Laughter is definitely the best medicine, and it soothes all manner of ills. Take time with your spouse to have fun, and laugh on purpose. Be silly with each other and with your kids, and make life as happy and lighthearted as possible. Focusing on negativity and anxiety will only serve to amplify the intensity you’re attempting to calm.

Use humor to diffuse intense situations and emotions, particularly when your kids are having a meltdown or a hard day. When it comes to dealing with hard adult issues, agree with your spouse to try to keep things as light as you can.
Sometimes the only way to keep from crying is to find something to laugh about. If you’re feeling the pressure of an intense marriage or parenting kids with intense personalities, this is definitely true.

3.                REMEMBER THAT THIS IS ONLY FOR A SEASON.
It’s all about perspective. Remember, your kids won’t be little for very long, and before you know it, you and your spouse will be empty-nesters. That may not be easy to picture now, but time passes by more quickly than most of us realize.

Take the time and effort to help your kids learn to manage their intense feelings throughout their lives, and they’ll be able to manage them when they’re grown. Work to manage your own, and you’ll be better equipped to help your kids!

Intensity in your home might be overwhelming at times, but you have what it takes to cope and create a healthy, peaceful, thriving family life. Keep your stress as low as possible, remember to use humor, and keep in mind that this is just for a season; it won’t be like this for long!


Sunday, May 22, 2016

11 Ways to Show Respect to Your Husband

Some wives don't understand how important respect is to a man.            By Mary May Larmoyeux  @FamilyLife.com

After being married for about 30 years, I asked my husband, Jim, what might seem to be a simple question: "What would you want more—love or respect?" 

 While both are important, his answer surprised me: "Respect." 

I couldn't understand why anyone would choose respect over love. 

My question to Jim was prompted by a FamilyLife Today® broadcast with Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of the book Love and Respect. Eggerichs bases the book on Ephesians 5:33, which says, "Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." 

Eggerichs' premise is that, though every person needs both love and respect, God gave men a special, deep need for respect, and He gave women this same deep need for love. That's why I didn't understand Jim's need for respect. 

In the radio interview, Eggerichs said that among church members, there's a consensus that husbands should love their wives. "But the idea of respecting a man, some women gag … because they don't feel that." 

He said when a wife feels unloved she usually reacts in ways that are disrespectful to her husband. And that when he feels disrespected, he tends to react in ways that don't express love to her. As Jim and I talked, and after I read Eggerichs' book Love and Respect, I understood that the respect my husband longs for should not be based on his performance. Instead, I should honor him because it pleases God and because I know that Jim's actions are motivated by his love for Jesus Christ and me. 

My husband wants me to respect him for who he is, not for what he does. 

Why your respect is important to your husband

I asked some men to help me understand why respect is so important to a husband.  Here are some of their responses: 

  • Respect expresses a wife's trust. One friend wrote, "Respect won't exist unless trust exists first." 
  • Respect gives a husband the belief that he can do hard things. One husband said that receiving respect from his most intimate friend, his wife, reduces his fear of failure and of being inadequate. Another explained respect this way: "It is like wind in my sails. No one knows me like my wife does. Her level of respect for me is a very accurate barometer on how I am doing, and my confidence to do hard things is very much connected to that." 
  • Respect acknowledges his leadership and discourages passivity. Giving respect shows the husband that he can be a leader in the relationship (Ephesians 5:25-30). One husband said if wives would express love to their husbands through respect, "I am convinced that men would be better leaders and passivity would be less commonplace." 
  • Respect provides encouragement and makes him want to love her even more. One man said that when a wife does not respect her husband enough to listen to him, he feels defeated. Another said that when his wife respects him, it makes him want to love her even more. 

Chad said that his wife expressed her respect for him the most when he was at perhaps his lowest point in life. He had lost his job, and felt demoralized and discouraged. Yet even after many disappointing interviews, his wife remained supportive. He says, "She spoke words reflecting confidence to me and hope of what will come." 

When Chad took odd jobs just to make ends meet, his wife told him how proud she was of him. "I did not mow lawns because it was my life's calling," he said. "I did it because I needed to help pay my bills and feed my family. She allowed me to do it without shame or guilt." 

Practical ideas for giving respect 
How does a wife show her husband unconditional respect?I asked Chad's wife and some other women that very question. Based on their responses, here are 11 ways a woman can give her spouse the esteem he longs for: 

  1. Look for opportunities to show your husband honor and build him up. Kris began her marriage thinking that respect for her husband needed to be earned, and she often had a critical attitude toward him. She says that changed because "God's Word taught me that respect is an unearned gift." 
  2. Accept that you married an imperfect man. If your husband makes a bad decision, avoid saying "I told you so." Trust that God will somehow make even his bad decision work out in the long run (Romans 8:28). 
  3. Focus on what your husband does well. Ask God to give you an attitude that looks for the best in your husband and responds in ways that build him up. Tell him what you appreciate about him. As you begin each day, ask yourself: Is my heart in the right place? Am I following the humble example of Jesus Christ, counting my husband's needs more significant than myself (Philippians 2:1-4)? 
  4. Speak well of your husband. Don't belittle him to your girlfriends or make him feel unnecessary or incapable. 
  5. If you have a blended family, support your husband's discipline of your biological children. Sabrina says there are times when she doesn't agree with the way her husband is disciplining her biological children. But instead of correcting him in front of the kids, she waits and talks with him later. "As a result," she says, "I've seen him become more and more sensitive to my children's needs, and the kids have learned to see his word as authority in our home." 
  6. Encourage your husband when he gives spiritual direction to your family. Affirm him for his efforts, no matter how small. (If your husband is struggling in his spiritual leadership of your family, read Dennis and Barbara Rainey's article "How can I motivate my husband to get right with God and become the spiritual leader of our family?") One wife told me about a time when she took over the biblical training in her home because she didn't think her husband was doing it right. She had hoped her actions would encourage him to step up his spiritual leadership. However, her strategy backfired. She says, "Doing this left him discouraged and feeling, ‘Why should I bother if she wants to do it?'" 
  7. Think before you speak. Sometimes life's decisions are really hard, especially when men and women think and reason so differently. One woman suggested that a wife should strive to understand her husband's thinking as he considers different options. Another said, "Often, if I make snap judgments or comments, that's when I disrespect my husband." Proverbs 21:23 (The Message) offers some good advice on this topic: "Watch your words and hold your tongue; you'll save yourself a lot of grief." 
  8. Consider the three T's: Text (what you will say), Time (when you will say it) and Tone (how you will express your words). Before discussing something difficult with your husband, Shannon suggests asking yourself three questions: "Is it true? Is it right? Does it build up?" She says to consider the best time to talk with your husband, and to ask God to give you the right tone when communicating. 
  9. Tell your children the positive aspects of their dad's character, both as a husband and a father. Regularly doing this in front of your spouse not only shows him respect, but also helps the kids develop a loving, respectful attitude toward Dad and marriage. 
  10. Remember that your touch tells your husband that he is worthy of your time and concern for his well-being. "When I know my man is tense or stressed," Joanie says, "all it takes is a massaging touch to his neck, shoulders, and back along with a fully engaged, listening ear. We give glory to God as we care for one another." 
  11. If your husband travels regularly, give him tangible reminders of your love for him. When Ashley's husband was discouraged about leaving home because of a job-related trip, she surprised him by tucking a special note into his suitcase. She expressed how much she appreciated his work ethic and commitment to providing for the family. The result? "When he came home we … felt connected at a deeper level. It was definitely an example of my respect for him." 


Respect is what men yearn for 
There are many times when it's not easy for a wife to give her husband respect. As one friend said, "It takes lots of prayers for me to let God take control of me and make me able to make wise choices when it comes to respecting my husband." 

This friend says her unconditional respect for her husband has paid great dividends. Why? Because, respect is what men yearn for. As Ron Deal, director of FamilyLife Blended™, explains, "Respect is like chocolate to a man's soul." 

Editor's note: If you are married and are suffering from abuse, showing respect for your husband becomes much more complicated. You need help. We suggest reading Dennis Rainey's article, "Responding to Physical Abuse," which lists several practical steps to take....http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/life-issues/challenges/cultural-issues/responding-to-physical-abuse

Friday, April 29, 2016

10 Questions to Ask Your Wife Every Year


An annual exercise to listen to your wife's words and hear from her heart.......
By Dennis Rainey

For many years, Tom Elliff and his wife, Jeannie, took time away from their normal routines to get away and be together. They read Scripture together, they prayed, they had a wonderful time time talking about their lives.
One year Tom decided to elevate the discussion and, in the process, open himself up in a way few husbands ever do. He developed a list of questions over a few months, basing them on issues he knew were of concern to Jeannie, and then sprung them on her at breakfast one morning during a retreat in the Rockies.
Here’s the list:
1. What could I do to make you feel more loved?
2. What could I do to make you feel more respected?
3. What could I do to make you feel more understood?
4. What could I do to make you more secure?
5. What can I do to make you feel more confident in our future direction?
6. What attribute would you like me to develop?
7. What attribute would you like me to help you develop?
8. What achievement in my life would bring you greatest joy?
9. What would indicate to you that I really desire to be more Christ like?
10. What mutual goal would you like to see us accomplish?
Optional: Have I overlooked any question you would like for me to ask?
You’re probably thinking, There is absolutely, positively, no way I’m ever going to ask my wife questions like that.
That type of vulnerability takes courage.
When I interviewed Tom and Jeannie on FamilyLife Today®, I asked her how those questions made her feel. Jeannie replied that the first thing that crossed her mind was a sense of tremendous honor that her husband wanted to know how she felt about important issues in their lives. “I was almost blown away,” she recalled. “It was wonderful.”
Before her death in 2015, Tom reviewed these same 10 questions with Jeannie many times. When he told me about this experience, I couldn’t help but think it was a perfect illustration of 1 Peter 3:7, which instructs husbands, "You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life ..."
Asking these questions, and actually listening to the answers, helps a husband understand his wife’s heart. It connects them in a deeper way, and makes them accountable to each other.
This is the type of love, understanding, and leadership we are called to as men.