Archive for Marriage

To Pooped to Parent


“Not surprisingly, perhaps, the most likely candidates for early exhaustion are the parents who are radically committed to their children.” (Pg. 128)

So if you are worn out from your children, this could be evidence that you sincerely care about them. You are totally committed to them. However, it would be unhealthy to throw out all other relationships and activities because of your children.

He gives a funny example about parents that are so paranoid about leaving their children, their imagination gets a little carried away while they are enjoying some free time from the children. “Imagine how they would feel if the announcer said over the public address system, May I have your attention?  Would Mr. and Mrs. James Johnson come to a house telephone, please? Your baby-sitter needs to know where the fire extinguisher is.” (Pg. 128).

John 6

1After these things Jesus went away to the other side of )the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias).

2A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick.

3Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples.

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Why do they pursue conflict?

Raising the strong-willed child can leave parents not only exhausted but puzzled. Why would a child which you have sacrificed for, want to treat you with such disdain? What is the motive of a child, to talk disrespectful to the parents that have loved and nurtured that child from day one?

Dr Dobson describes it this way, “Yet the tough-minded kid goes through life like a runaway lawn mower.” “He’ll chew up anything that gets in his way.” (Pg.109)

“Deep within his or her spirit is a raw desire for power. We can define power in this context as control or control of others, control of circumstances and, especially, control of ourselves.”

Dr Dobson talks about how adults also seek this power to be in control, but that it “varies only in degree”, between individuals.

All of my life I thought, at meal time, you selected what you wanted to eat. The cook found out what you liked and catered to your taste buds. Until I was married. I watched my wife with our children during meal time. Oh yes, she made an attempt to give them something they liked within healthy limits. For many, many meals there was a power struggle. She was determined to teach them to like healthy foods. They were determined to eat what they wanted. It seemed much easier to me, to allow them to have something they wanted versus something they needed. But she pressed on even when she was considered the bad guy mommy. I can tell you without a doubt today, the 2 older kids enjoy eating healthy foods. They got what they needed, not what they wanted.

So based on his description, that we all have a desire to be in control at varying degrees, but some kids desire to control is beyond the norm. Couple that with their immaturity and you have an out of control possibility.

If we have built 1 an altar for ourselves to turn back from following the Lord by making 2 burnt sacrifices and grain offerings on it, or by offering 3 tokens of peace 4 on it, the Lord himself will punish us. Joshua 22:23

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Brief Book Review on “Making Love Last Forever”

Gary Smalley’s book, Making Love Last Forever

When you consider the divorce rate for first time marriages to be anywhere from 40 – 50 %, you can begin to see the need for some type of answer or way out of this dilemma.

If you are looking for an operational, first-hand method of how to avoid divorce, then you will want to study this book. In our online study we barely scratched the surface regarding what the author provides as practical, proven methods on how to have a successful marriage.

He never tells you anything other than marriage is work, just like anything else considered worthwhile. The author’s transparency is one of the biggest advantages of this book. At times, he takes you into his personal marriage and reveals his humanness. Then demonstrates how he and his wife changed and what it took to bring about that change.

One of the most organized authors I have ever read. His style of methodically explaining marriage concepts and how-to’s makes it simple for almost anyone to easily understand what he is teaching.

Utilizing this book would improve almost anyone’s marriage, because it is filled with practical techniques that anyone could employ. I highly recommend this book, it should be required reading for anyone who plans to get married.

Proverbs 24:3
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;

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Good times and bad

“Every marriage will have its better and worse times, springs and summers and falls and winters. Forever love-love allows that full range of seasons.” Pg. 267

The seasons represent the ups and downs of your feelings.

“Unfortunately, many couples don’t wait for that exciting season that wipes out the memory of the difficult times.” Pg. 267

In other words, with God and time, painful history can lose its sting. Of course, there are both devastating situations and there are what may be considered minor transgressions. But some folks have made it through some incredibly difficult circumstances.

“Its perfectly normal for a marriage to go through different seasons — of drought, worry, sadness, anger and also times of plenty, happiness, and overwhelming joy and laughter.” Pg. 267

So we know ahead of time, we will experience each of these emotions and more. A marriage cannot be based on how you feel at any given time. I think its important to have a short memory for the negative things in a marriage and a deep memory for the positive things.

Lamentations 3:20
I continually think about this, and I am depressed.

Continue to hope, ask God for help, He cares for us.

Job 14:7
“For there is hope for a tree, When it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And its shoots will not fail.

This is the final post (except for the book review) from our Online book study — Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley.

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Marital Banking

Pg. 251 The author tells a great story about how they handled their finances in the first part of their marriage. He (Gary) had never bothered with balancing his check book. His finance method was to write checks until he thought it may be getting to the limit. His wife, well, she worked in a bank. Needless to say, they had two completely different ideas on how to handle finances. With each of them carrying a checkbook and Norma in charge of the finances, you knew this formula was not going to work. I love the fact this very accomplished and successful author is admitting that he did not learn how to deal with his finances until the early years of his marriage. And had he allowed it to continue its course, they possibly could have been a divorce statistic.

At times she would say, “I can’t keep track of this. It’s driving me crazy.” Pg. 252. She had finally had enough, she brought the checkbook and the bills to Gary, “I’ve had it!” she said. “I can’t take it anymore. From now on, this area is all yours. It’s up to you whether we sink or swim.” Pg. 252. So Gary had a choice to make and some concepts to learn. Thankfully he chose to get it together and learn to be responsible with money. He goes on to describe a simple principle he learned during the process. “You’ve got to have more money in the bank than you spend every month. Income has to exceed outgo.” Deposits must increase more than withdrawals. Pg. 252

He uses the same case in point when examining the marriage. Increased deposits in the marriage are worth the effort. Too many withdrawals can be a detriment. Here’s how he defines the two set of laws:

Deposit (can be)

  • a gentle touch
  • “I love you”
  • “you look great”
  • Helping clean up the kitchen

Withdrawals (can be)

  • anything sad or negative
  • anything that drains energy
  • harsh words
  • being ignored

Of course, each spouse may have different variations of what they consider deposits and withdrawals. But the idea is to keep positive deposits flowing into your partners account. And as the author points out this can work with other relationships as well (children, coworkers, friends, etc.).

Ecclesiastes 11:1

Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.

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The facts won or lost

Pg. 229 He talks about how to resolve an argument/conflict with his wife when standard communication has failed. They pull out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side of the paper list the “Reasons we should do this” on the other side of the paper, “The reasons we should not do this”.

Usually, “the facts won or lost”, the argument according to Gary. I like this idea because they have come to a point where they are struggling to make a decision and by taking the time to make a list, in the process, they are gathering the “facts” of the situation. Its the same thing we do in the work place. If you are a doctor and you are seeing one of many patients, the doctor pulls out your file. After he reviews it, he then asks you further questions to gather as many facts as necessary to know how to proceed. If your kids have an issue at school you ask them questions and gather the facts so you can have a better understanding to help them make a decision. A councilor will spend a significant amount of time gathering facts and then investigating each one.

He also said if this method fails to resolve the issue, then you assign each fact to a longterm (more than 10 years) or temporary status. If this fact (the one you gathered during this process) effects you longterm then he writes an “L” beside it. Temporary gets a “T. Then add up the L’s and T’s to see which side won. “This analysis seemed to resolve the issue every time, even with the kids involved”. Pg. 229 (Gary)

This method peels back the emotions and self-interest caused by the conflict you are having. Its a simple method and one that people use everyday in life just by discussing the pros and cons. But I can say from experience there is something to pulling out the paper and documenting your reasons for and against.

Make a point not to suppress the facts.

2 Peter 3:5
For they deliberately suppress this fact, 1 that by the word of God 2 heavens existed long ago and an earth 3 was formed out of water and by means of water.

John 8:32
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

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Why Most Conflicts Occur

Online book study — Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley.

“Conflicts happen because there are power and control problems in the home”. Pg. 215 (Gary)

For example, a decision needs to be made whether or not your child can go to the football game tonight. You have one opinion your spouse has another. Each of you wants your decision to be final, as result of this difference you now have conflict.

Gary lists other reasons for conflict in the home:

  • Power and Control
  • Insecurity
  • Differences in Values
  • Competition
  • Personal Differences
  • Misunderstood Feelings and Unmet Needs

When you argue, do you ever get the distinctive feeling you are chasing your tail (if you had one)? They say one thing about the issue at hand, you say another, they counter, you counteract, they answer, you oppose and on and on it goes.

Before I was married, my only training in conflict resolution, was to win (this term defined loosely). Now I try for a completely different goal, “to act in love”. Remember, the biblical def. of  “love” is the most powerful force on earth. Oh don’t get me wrong, I still lose sight of what is important during an argument. But at least now, I realize there is something better than the proverbial Touché.

It can be very difficult when we are in the heat of the argument. Who is going to be the one to reach for the life jacket, because it seems like we are both in the water and sinking fast.

The author suggests if you are going to bring resolution to conflict and be drawn closer together, there should be rules or boundaries by which you fight. I’ll give you a few examples because his list is long Pg.222:

  1. Clarify what you are fighting about
  2. Do not seek out past problems or hurts.
  3. No sarcasm
  4. Try not to use the word “you”.
  5. No exaggerations
  6. No name-calling
  7. No manipulation statements: “I’m sleeping on the couch”
  8. You cannot use the silent treatment

So we do not seek arguments, but realize they will happen. According to Gary, an argument can bring more intimacy in a relationship if it is handled the right way.

Proverbs 17:19
The one who loves a quarrel loves transgression; 1 whoever builds his gate high seeks destruction

1 Peter 4:8
Above all keep 1 your love for one another fervent, 2 because love covers a multitude of sins

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