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He's Got Personality

Have you ever gone on date with a person and all they wanted to do was talk about themselves? Their life, their problems, their emotional baggage strewn out for you to look at and analyze. It’s probably because they’re a babbling brook. Many of you may be asking what in the world that means.

When it comes to communication there are two extreme personality profiles. First is the babbling brook. This person is constantly picking up the phone to talk to others, in fact, if they get someone’s voicemail they call someone else. If they can’t get someone on the phone they’ll talk to themselves. Whatever they see, whatever they hear, they tell. Some of you are probably turning red saying, “That’s me,” but don’t get too embarrassed because there are likely others out there saying, “I wish I could find someone like that, then I wouldn’t have to worry about conversation starters.”

This personality type is called, the “Dead Sea” personality. These people are perfectly content not to talk. In fact, if you say to a Dead Sea personality, “What’s wrong, why aren’t you talking tonight?” He/she is likely to respond, “Nothing. What makes you think something’s wrong?” These are the kind of people who don’t find long silent car rides awkward, rather they find these car rides enjoyable.

Babbling brooks have a great time with Dead Seas because they are such great listeners, and Dead Seas love not having to carry the weight of the conversation so they enjoy time with babbling brooks. The good news for two babbling brooks is that you can both learn to become better listeners. Likewise two Dead Seas can learn to be more open and to find things to talk about.

Which are you, a babbling brook or a Dead Sea? What ways have you tried or learned to become more balanced?

Knowing Your Needs

After dispelling some of the myths about dysfunctional marriages, you may have been left with more questions than answers. The problem is we all have needs and sometimes it’s hard to know what they are.

What are the inner needs which motivate much of our behavior? Let me mention three.

1. The first is the need to love and be loved. I feel good about myself when I am helping others. Conversely, I feel significant when I believe that someone genuinely loves me and is looking out for my interest.

2. A second inner need is the need for freedom – the desire to order my own life and not be controlled by another. Free to have thoughts, desires, and feelings as a person.

3. A third need is the need for significance – to feel that my life counts for something.

It should be clear that if we don’t understand the inner motivation of our spouse’s behavior, we will likely misjudge their behavior and hurt them deeply. It is worth the effort to try to discover the inner motive behind your spouse’s behavior.

One of the inner needs which motivates our behavior is the need for peace with God. That is why religion is a universal phenomenon. If your wife is attending a weekly Bible study and you are complaining that she is getting too religious, you are going to stimulate her defensive mechanisms, because you are striking at one of her inner needs. Far better to encourage her pursuit and ask yourself, “Which of my needs is going unmet that motivates me to get on her case about her Bible study?” Chances are, you’ll find your answer.

When you share your need with her and she is open about her own needs, you can find a way to meet both of your needs. It should be apparent that in order for this to happen, you must both be in touch with your own inner needs and respect the needs of the other. You are there for each other. This is God’s design.

How can you share your needs with your spouse? What support system do you and your spouse have besides each other? How does it help you both maintain your relationship with each other?

Dispelling the Myths about Dysfunction

Unfortunately, many people in desperate marriages base their lives upon commonly held myths. This week I want to expose some of these myths and challenge you to take constructive action in your marriage.

Myth #1
The first myth is the idea that my state of mind and the quality of my marriage is determined by my environment. “I grew up in a dysfunctional family, so I am destined to failure in my relationships.” This kind of approach leaves one helpless.

Our environment certainly affects us, but it does not control us. You can keep a positive spirit even in a bad marriage, which will affect your emotions and your actions. God can give peace of mind even in the worst of situations.

Myth #2
You’ve probably heard this one: “People cannot change.” This myth fails to realize the reality of human freedom and the power of God. History is filled with accounts of people who have made radical changes in their behavior. From St. Augustine, who once lived for pleasure and thought his desires were inescapable, to Charles Colson, the Watergate criminal who repented and began an international agency to offer prisoners spiritual help, the record is clear: People can and do change, and often the changes are dramatic!

Don’t give up on yourself or your spouse. God is in the business of changing lives. Begin with prayer, and believe that God can and will change you and your spouse.

Myth #3
“When you are in a bad marriage, there are only two options: be miserable for life, or get out.” This myth limits one’s horizons to two equally devastating alternatives.

But there is always something you can do to improve a marriage. You can be a positive change agent in your marriage. Being miserable or getting out are not your only options, and there are loving solutions even in desperate marriages.

Myth #4
“Some situations are hopeless.” Have you said those words? Have you believed them? The person who believes this myth usually also concludes, “My situation is hopeless. Perhaps there is hope for others, but my marriage is hopeless. It has gone on too long; the hurt is too deep.” This kind of thinking leads to depression and sometimes suicide.

God is the God of hope. When you put your hand in His hand, He will lead you through the valley of despair into the plane of hope. With God no one and no situation is hopeless. Focus your eyes on Him rather than your situation.

The Stand-off

hopeForSeperated

It only takes one person to break the silence. Have you been standing off, refusing to give in and call, waiting for your spouse to make the first move? Why wait? An effort to communicate that you care, that you are open to working on the relationship may be all that it takes to get the process going.

“He failed me. Why should I try to reconcile with him?” That line of reasoning is perfectly normal, but not biblical. In Matthew chapter 18 Jesus instructs us to reach out to those who have sinned against us and seek reconcile. If they won’t turn from their sin, then we take someone with us and lovingly confront them again. If they still refuse to talk with us, then we turn them over to God. We pray for them. We seek to win them by the love of Christ in us.

Reconciliation is hard in any relationship, and it’s even harder in marriage. But God is good. He offers healing. If you and your spouse have been separated in the past but are now reconciled, share an encouraging story for others who may be in that situation right now.

From One Widow to Another

On last weeks Building Relationships….

One topic that we often don’t hear about on Sunday morning is widowhood. Though we don’t often discuss it, it is vitally important. One of the difficulties of such a topic is that we often think we’re invincible. And when someone we love loses a spouse, what do we say? How do we comfort them?

Author and speaker Miriam Neff joins us to tell her story. She tells about her husband, Bob, and what it was like to lose him to ALS. She opens up about the sorrow she felt, and how she dealt with the loss.

To listen to the broadcast: Click Here or click on the individual segments (1) (2) (3) (4)

Find out more about Miriam Neff, author of From One Widow To Another: http://www.widowconnection.com.

You can also find her new book at: http://fivelovelanguages.com/building_relationships.html

Just Released!!!

5LL-singleBeing single or married has nothing to do with whether you need to feel loved!

Everyone has a God-given desire for complete and unconditional love in all relationships. Originally written for couples, bestselling The Five Love Languages continues to revolutionize relationships.

You Complete Me

Sure it’s a cheesy line from a movie, but how often do we actually feel this way about our spouse? There should be in any marriage a oneness that is evident in all areas of life.

When God said of Adam and Eve, “The two shall become one flesh,” he was not speaking only of physical oneness. In marriage, all of life is to be shared, and communication is the vehicle by which we attain this kind of intimacy.

If we don’t feel that oneness with our spouse maybe we aren’t communicating with them the way we ought to be. We cannot read each other’s minds. If your spouse is to know your thoughts, feelings, and desires, then you have to communicate them. A marriage without communication is like trying to win a million dollars without lifelines.

It may seem silly but even talking about the mundane can improve communication. The easiest level of communication is simply sharing day-to-day events. You are one! Don’t you want to know what your other half did that day?

Questions are so important for communication. If a husband comes home and his wife doesn’t simply ask, “How did things go?” she may communicate, “I don’t care how things went.” If her husband never inquires about her day, she may feel rejected or unloved. Asking questions about the day-to-day events is the easiest and best place to begin. And, it will make communicating easier over all, especially when it comes to discussing important things.

What are some other questions that you could ask besides the age-old, “How was your day?”

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

“Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the Church…”

In the contemporary world, perhaps nowhere has confusion reigned more than in the area of the husband’s role in marriage. On one extreme there’s the dominant husband who makes all decisions and informs the wife as to what they are going to do. On the other extreme is the husband who expects the wife to support the family and make all the major decisions. But, there’s a healthy middle—the husband is a responsible, dependable, leading but non-domineering. A husband who is deeply committed to his wife and family.

Leadership means communication, not control. The husband is to love and provide for his wife as Christ loves and cares for His Church. But how can the husband do that if he doesn’t know her needs? We must take the initiative in asking questions and listening in order to “know” our wives and thus be able to meet their needs. If God invites us to come to Him with our needs, and make our requests known, why shouldn’t the husband do the same?

Being a loving leader requires us to serve whomever we lead. To put them at the top of our priority list. So, the husband who loves his wife will make his wife his number one priority. Throughout the day he will ask himself the question: What can I do for her that will enhance her life? He will pray for her daily and commend her for her accomplishments. Last week Gia commented that to show love for her husband meant that she prays for him. It is equally as important for husbands to be lifting their wives up in prayer as well.

As Christ intercedes for us and showers us with daily blessings, so the husband as a loving leader will shower his wife with actions and words which say, “I love you.” And she? She will follow his leadership.

Today there are two sets of questions:

For the Men-
What ways have you been a loving leader, and what are some ways you want to improve in this area? What could your wife do to help you be a better loving leader?

For the Women-
Submission is a taboo word, why does it bother you so much? What does this word look like in your marriage? What ways do you need to improve in submitting to your husband, and how could he help you with that?

Get Your Emoticons Under Control!

angerHave you ever seen this?>:-What if we had this emoticon popped up over your head every time we were angry? Would you be embarrassed :”> or would you stop getting angry as often as you are? Probably not… think about it…

Why is anger so pervasive? The answer lies in the reality that we are made in the image of God. After all, God experiences anger. God’s anger is based on His holiness and His love. His holiness means that He is righteous in all of His thoughts and deeds, and His love means that He cares about the well being of His creatures. When His creatures violate what He knows to be right, God experiences anger. This motivates Him to take constructive action. I believe our experience of anger is very similar.

But, Anger is more than just an emotion [or an emoticon ;-)]. It involves the emotions, the body, the mind, and the will, all of which are stimulated by some event in the individual’s life. All people have some sense of fairness or rightness. When they encounter what they consider to be wrong, they experience anger. Anger is an indication that we are moral creatures. God made us, and we reflect His concern for righteousness. Anger is a friend, not an enemy.

Anger is not evil; anger is not sinful; anger is not a part of our fallen nature; anger is not Satan at work in our lives. Quite the contrary. Anger is evidence that we are made in God’s image, and He experiences anger because He is holy and loving. We should thank God for our capacity to experience anger. Thank God for anger, and then learn how to process it in a godly way.

How do you process your anger? How do you keep yourself from letting anger overcome you?