Monday, June 29, 2009

Loving Listening by Jeff Williams

My friend, Jeff Williams, of Grace & Truth Relationship Education, wrote this about learning to engage in "loving listening" in marriage.

If just one person of a couple really focused on learning this skill with the heart Jeff describes, a marriage could be changed dramatically. If both grasp it, they could be on the way to a whole new marriage.

Loving Listening: The #1 Way To Avoid Pain In Marriage

Marriage Tip: Is It Good Enough? Michael Smalley

This is from Michael Smalley. Is It Good Enough?

Here are the last lines in the article that really grabbed my attention.
So ask yourself how it’s going and then do something about it. Stop waiting for your spouse to change, do some changing on your own and see how that impacts your marriage. Why sit on the sideline when you can be in the game of becoming the kind of spouse you want to be married to.

Reminds me alot of Dr. Phil in "Relationship Rescue." His premise is that if you want a different marriage start with changing yourself.

Civil Divorce or Civil Marriage

I just read an article in my local paper today about how to work out a civilized post divorce relationship that works for everyone.

Here were their recommendations:

1. Recognize your role in the conflict. "Hard as it may be to give up the crutch, being honest with yourself is the first step in creating a lasting truce."

2. Keep the kids out of it. "Effective parenting often involves putting yourself second," says Rick Tivers, co-director of the Center for Divorce Recovery in Chicago.

3. Set Boundaries "Use the phone or even talk to their answering machine if personal communication erupts into arguments," Ron Deal says. "Write out exactly what you intend to say, along with answers to their anticipated responses."

4. Be consistent. "No amount of anger over agreements is worth contaminating your relationship with your ex or children," Wolf says.

5. Be considerate. "Begin with a return to basic courtesies such as listening at least as much as you speak during interactions, soliciting your ex's opinion on joint issues and trying to see things from their perspective."

6. Plan for the future. "In the end, whether you and your former spouse become bitter enemies or good friends depends on where you want to end up."

(From "Civil Divorce" by Amish Majumdar

My thought is that if you can really work through all of those things civilly, there is a high probability you could use some of the same principles and attitudes to reconcile your marriage, which to me is even better.

When my wife and I were in legal mediation, trying to mediate a legal separation - which I was willing to do only because it might avoid divorce - our mediator gave us a list of every issue about which we would either agree or the court would decide for us. My thought then was "Gee, these are most of the issues we have struggled with during our marriage such as finances, child rearing etc., so if we get all of these agreed upon, about the only thing left is what we do with our free time, and sex - which was off the table at that time - we might as well stay married."

Thankfully with Christ's help we did reconcile, and learned new ways to work through those many issues.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Relationship Quote

"...the key to succeeding in marriage is NOT finding the right person; it's YOU becoming the right person. Your relationship is not simply a function of who you pick; it's also a function of who you are." - Dr. Mort Fertel

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Letter to Kate, from Today's Christian Woman

I found this letter to Kate Gosselin from a Today's Christian Woman writer to be a passionate but tactful call to rise up and fight for her marriage. Wish I was more eloquent at times in calling people to honor their marriage vows and to fight on.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Smart Marriages

Smart Marriages is having their annual conference in Orlando from July 6-12. I have been to one of these before. It is basically a huge trade show/conference for about anything to do with marriage and includes secular and faith based approaches. Enough information to overwhelm about anyone, but with a little discernment you can sort out what is most appropriate to your values and interests.

Check it out at

Conference for the Association of Marriage and Family Ministries

AMFM is having their annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona from August 3-7. I attended a few years ago and came away encouraged and inspired by the high quality Christian materials available to help with marriage and family issues.

Check out the conference at

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mistakes in Marriage

Just happened across this article by a writer who was reflecting on her mistakes in marriage.
I realized that I make some of the same mistakes.

I liked her encouragement to touch more, hug more, and kiss more. It can help take care of alot of those little things. I also like her encouragement to focus on the huge pluses of her spouse instead of the imperfections.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Article from Christianity Today - "I Stayed"

I found this a great article about the power and necessity of commitment in marriage.

If you like this you might want to subscribe to Christianity Today's marriage e-newsletter.

"I will, if they will."

So often I hear a spouse who is separated, even against their wishes, say something like "I am willing to work on our marriage if my spouse will." That is great, but that may not be enough to save a marriage.

Those who really want to save their marriage will make a conscious choice to take a step of faith and continue to work on themselves along with their marriage, even when their spouse is unwilling or pulling away. Faith is the conviction of things not seen - and it does take alot of faith to continue to do your best to fulfill your vows when it appears your spouse isn't. Ultimately though such faith is pleasing to God.

Awesome Marriage Post by Amanda Jones, Beth Moore's daughter

I found this to be an awesome post about marriage. It was written by Amanda Jones, Beth Moore's daughter.

There were some great comments about this post, including this one that really caught my eye by The Skaggs.

I believe love is a choice...Jesus uses the same word love when he says love your enemies as he uses for loving your spouse. I'm certainly not going to love my enemies with the same feel good, cloud 9, emotional love that I feel for my husband. I'm going to have to choose to love my enemies with Gods supernatural power in me, and I'm going to have to choose, daily in Gods power, to love my husband...whether I feel giddy about it that day or we're working on some tough issues at the moment. So when someone comes to me and says they've fallen out of love with their spouse, the spark just isn't there anymore, I'm going to say "no, you are choosing to not love your spouse anymore." And I hope my friends would do the same for me! Hope that made sense! Praise God for the ministry y'all have!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Topic Question

I really appreciate my readers. I wonder if there are any topics that you have been waiting for me to post about. Let me know and I will see what I can do.

Random Ponderings

As I look over my list of resources and as I read books and other websites, I realize that there is a huge amount of help for marriages, both secular and Christian. Wonder why people don't utilize it more.

Often wonder why people seem too poor or unwilling to pay for counseling or a marriage seminar, and yet when they give up on their marriage, one way or the other they find the money to pay the attorneys.

I am amazed at how even alot of the secular world is realizing the pluses to stable marriages and both parents being involved in their children's lives. Always interesting when secular research and sources make the same conclusions that the Bible has pointed out for thousands of years.

Wonder what to write that will really inspire my readers.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Marriage vs Children, Which Should Be More Primary?

Something to ponder.

In God's eyes is our marriage the most important permanent relationship in our lives, or is the relationship with our children?

My personal view is that marriage is more important when a choice has to be made.

Jesus said "Let no man put asunder what God has joined together." God has united us with our spouse in a special bond. He does hold the parent/child relationship in high esteem, but I believe marriage is the more important.

If you think about a typical lifespan a person might be single for 20 or 25 years before marriage. In most circumstances children are only in the home for 18 to 20 years, and by then they should be fully functioning independent adults.

Even if a couple gets married at 25, they can have their 50th wedding anniversary and only be 75 years old. Of those fifty years, maybe 20 or 25 had children in the home if they had two or three children with a couple of years in between.

So bottom line is typically the marriage years last alot longer than the child rearing years.

Another thing to ponder on... Why do so often parents seem to be able to forgive their kids for a myriad of behaviors, still love and accept them and have hope for a better day? But so often, if serious issues or behaviors appear in their marriage, a spouse is quickly looks for ways that a divorce would be Biblically justified so they can be free of their spouse and the spouse's problems. Why do they seem to have little hope that the spouse will ever change, but can believe and hope their children can?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Thought from Beth Moore - The Empty Nest

I found this on Beth Moore's blog.

Thought it was a good reminder about preparing your marriage for the empty nest.

"You tend to get more attached to your mate when your kids are grown because you're all you have left within your own four walls. It's really important that you darling young wives and moms remember that one day, God and couple-willing, it will be just the two of you again. It will happen before you know it and, if you don't have anything left, it's hard to know where to start again. It's one reason some folks just start all over but there's no need. There are all sorts of adventures to have together. Just keep investing"

By mid August, looks like we will be back to an empty nest, but for now, the kids are home for the summer.