Category: Honesty

Starting Over

Would you like to put the past behind you and start over? I’m talking about in your marriage. Many couples have so much pain from past failures that they have a hard time moving ahead. Time alone, will not heal hurts. Healing comes when we are willing to confess our failures and change our behavior. Some of us would like to leave out the confession part and just focus on being different in the future. However, confession is essential to the healing process. Even God requires confession before He forgives. I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Confession means that we admit to our spouse that what we did is wrong. We accept responsibility for our failure and request forgiveness.

The Difference Between Giving up and Letting Go

A few years ago,  my daughter had her first job pet sitting and I felt like, at her still young age, she might need a little bit of back up. We took in a toy poodle for the weekend and things were going smoothly until someone (who shall remain nameless here) let the dog out of the house by accident. Our calm Saturday morning at home turned into pandemonium as all 5 of us, plus a few helpful neighbors, sprung to action to find and retrieve this little black ball of fur.

My daughter was in a panic. This was her first real job as a hired pet-sitter and she lost her first client already! Stephen went in one direction on foot, and I went in another by car. It felt like hours had gone by before someone in our neighborhood spotted the little guy under their neighbor’s porch. Picture this: frightened poodle, feeling trapped under this porch (surrounded by lattice), with strangers cajoling and bribing with treats to come out. I’m sure it was a fun sight to watch, but it was NOT fun to experience!

All of a sudden, the little guy FLEW out from under the porch! And by some miracle, I was able to grab him by the collar. And then everything went dark.

Continue reading article by Shelley Hendrix >>

7 Steps to Get the Most Out of Anger

I grew up in a family that understood anger as a threat to relationship. As such, raised voices or certain vocal tones got us a ticket to our bedrooms where we were supposed to magically get over it. Only we didn’t…

…The unfortunate conundrum is that unless humans pathologically detach, we cannot avoid anger. If you are awake and paying attention, there’s actually a lot going on around the globe to inspire this threatening emotion. Thankfully, God does not call us to be emotional agnostics. Anger is one of many appropriate responses to atrocities, particularly those that end in premature death. When Lazarus died and Jesus faced his grieving sister, Scripture tells us “a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled” (John 11:33). Because of his connection to God the Father, Jesus didn’t sin in his anger. As Paul referenced in Ephesians, we occasionally do.

How are we to respond honestly without hurting others when the inevitable anger rises up within our marriage?

Continue reading article by Dorothy Greco >>

Coercing Love

One of the five love languages is “acts of service.” For some people, this is their primary love language. However, people sometimes make the mistake of demanding acts of service from their loved ones: “If you loved me you would help me around the house.” true love, however, is a choice and cannot be coerced. Criticism and demands tend to drive wedges. With enough criticism your spouse may do what you want, but it will not be an expression of love. You can give guidance to love by making requests: “Would you please mow the grass?” But you cannot create the will to love. Each of us must decide daily to love or not to love. If acts of service is the primary love language of your spouse, then mowing the grass will be loves loudest voice.

Recognizing Fault

In all of my counseling, I have never met a perfect husband or a perfect wife. Yet, when there is a problem, we tend to blame the other person. I have often given individuals a sheet of paper and asked them to list the faults of their spouse. They make long and impressive lists. Then I ask them to list their own faults. Seldom has anyone come back with more than four. What does this tell us? That the spouse really is the problem? Hardly, for each spouse has a grand list of the other’s faults. It tells us that we have become accustomed to our faults, and they don’t seem so big.

Remember the words of Jesus, before you try to get the speck out of your mate’s eye—behold the beam in your own eye. Personal confession is the first step in improving a marriage.

Hope for Your Marriage

Bob and Janice have been separated for three months. The only contact they have had is when they met briefly with a lawyer to discuss the terms of legal separation. Is there hope for their marriage? Not until someone seeks to penetrate the silence. But let me remind you that one person can break the silence. It takes both to communicate, but only one to initiate the process.

Have you been standing off, refusing to give in and call, waiting for your spouse to make the first move? Jesus said, that if your brother sins, you are to confront him in private and seek to be reconciled. You can’t make him reconcile, but you can seek reconciliation. If your spouse refuses, you have lost nothing. It is worth the effort.

Q&A: Trust Issues

Q: I have serious trust issues from a past relationship. How can I keep it from creeping into my new relationship? 

Gary: This is a very common problem. We often reach back and bring the fears of that past relationship into the new relationship. Acknowledge the reality that this is very common–that these thoughts and feelings come back to you. But, you choose not to let those thoughts and feelings control your behavior. And you say to this new person, “Here’s what I’m feeling, here’s what I’m fearing. I don’t want to bring that into our relationship and put that between us. I’m choosing to trust you.” Obviously, if they are untrustworthy, you will be hurt again. But you choose to trust, it’s a choice we make in every relationship.

A Friendship with a Female Online Gaming Partner

Q: My husband seems to be pursuing a “friendship” with a female gaming partner online. He says there is nothing going on, but it makes me uncomfortable.

Gary: I think many wives can identify with this question. Let’s face it, most affairs do not begin with the affair. It begins with interaction with another person, often online, and bit by bit it develops into something. So, maybe there is nothing really going on that’s improper here. But, the very fact that you’re concerned and you’re sharing that with your husband, which I think you should share it with him. It ought to trigger in him a desire to please you and be willing to draw back from that. So, pray that God will touch his heart and make sure that he knows you’re not happy with this.

Negotiating Solutions

“Ignore it and it will go away?” Is that your philosophy? If so, your relationships will never be authentic. In healthy relationships, people must talk about the things that irritate them. They must seek to negotiate solutions which will respect their differences. Put your head in the sand, and your problems will get worse. Speak the truth in love and you can solve your problems. Don’t change the subject when your spouse brings up a topic that you think will start an argument. Simply ask, “Do you want us to share our ideas and look for a solution? If so, I’m willing to talk. If we are simply going to argue, I don’t have the energy to do that. If we can respect each other’s thoughts I think we can find an answer.” This is the way to build healthy relationships.

Q&A: Friends Tell Me That There Is Something Wrong With Us

Q: I’ve been dating for several years but my best friend tells me that something’s not quite right. What should I do?

Gary: Listen to your friends. I don’t mean that you should necessarily break up. What I do mean is that you should listen to what your friends are saying. It’s not uncommon to have blind spots. Your friends see things that you don’t see. You need to find out what their concerns are and then address the issue. If you don’t, you’re likely to wake up married and realize that your friends were right. Don’t assume just because you are in love you should get married. It’s highly possible to fall in love with someone you should not marry. If you want a practical guide as to what you should consider before deciding to marry, you might want to check out my book, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married.

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