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?

Wise Men Say…Only Fools Fall in Love

Falling “in love” feels foolish sometimes. When young couples come to me for pre-marital counseling, I often ask, “Now let’s see, why do you want to get married? Whatever else they tell me, they always give me the big reason. “We love each other.” Isn’t that sweet. Then I ask a very unfair question, “Now what do you mean by that?”

What does it mean to “fall in love?” It all starts with what I call the “tingles.” Before long, you’re obsessed with them. They are the most wonderful person you have ever met. In your mind they are perfect. But this is hardly the bedrock for a healthy marriage. Why? Because its average life span is only two years.

In the textbook of marriage, the in-love obsession is the introduction. The heart of the book is rational, volitional love. This is good news to the married couple who have lost the “in love” feelings. The fact is, we can learn to meet each other’s emotional need for love.

How has your love in your marriage matured? What ways did you transition from the “in love” feelings to real love?

Blog for Books!

Congratulations to Cathrine, our March Blog for Books contest winner! Cathrine won a copy of Dr. Chapman’s book, The Five Languages of Apology. To find out more about our winner, take a look at her blog: http://mysquiggles.com/.

Keep commenting, we will choose a new winner next month!

Better to Give….

When was the last time you gave a gift to your spouse for no reason at all? The last time you just showed them appreciation for who they are?

Gifts are visual symbols of love. Most wedding ceremonies include the giving and receiving of rings.

The person performing the ceremony says, “These rings are outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual bond that unites your two hearts in love that has no end.”

This isn’t just meaningless rhetoric. It is a significant truth – symbols have emotional and sentimental value. Visual symbols of love are more important to some people than to others. That’s why when you give a gift to some people, they cry or get really excited. It speaks more deeply than words, quality time, physical touch or acts of service.

Is your spouse a gifts person? Give them one gift this week that will make their day, something small that will speak to them. Then encourage others with your story, post a comment telling what you gave them, and how they responded.

Speaking Love through Physical Touch

Keeping emotional love alive in a marriage makes life much more enjoyable. How do we keep love alive after the “in-love” emotions have evaporated? I believe it is by learning to speak each other’s “love language.” This week we will focus on physical touch.

For some husbands, when they hear the words physical touch, they immediately think of sex. But sexual intercourse is only one of the dialects of this love language. Holding hands, kissing, embracing, back rubs, or an arm around the shoulder are all ways of expressing love by physical touch.

Physical touch can make or break a marital relationship. Do you know how to speak this love language? To the spouse whose primary love language is physical touch, nothing is more important than your tender touches. You may give them words of affirmation or gifts, but nothing communicates love like physical touch.

Touches may be explicit and call for your full attention, such as a back rub or sexual foreplay. They can be implicit and require only a moment, such as putting your hand on his shoulder as you pour a cup of coffee. Once you discover that physical touch is the primary love language of your spouse, you are limited only by your imagination. Kiss when you get in the car. It may greatly enhance your travels. Give a hug before you go shopping. You may hear less griping when you return. Remember, you are learning to speak a new language.

When you reach out with tender touch, you create emotional closeness. This is especially true if the primary love language of your spouse is physical touch. You may say, “What if I’m just not a toucher? I didn’t grow up in a touchy-feely family.” The good news is that you can learn to speak this love language. It can begin with a pat on the back, or putting your hand on their leg as you sit together on the couch.

Almost instinctively in a time of crisis, we hug one another. Why? During these times, we need to feel loved more than anything. All marriages will experience crises. Disappointments are a part of life. The most important thing you can do for your wife in a time of crisis is to love her. If her primary love language is physical touch, nothing is more important than holding her as she cries. Your words may mean little, but your physical touch will communicate that you care. In a time of crisis, a hug is worth more than a thousand words. Physical touch is a powerful love language.

Have you ever had a time when you were in need of a hug? What do you do to let others know that you need a gesture of physical touch? What do you do if your spouse’s love language is physical touch, but you’re not “touchy-feely”?

Speaking Love through Physical Touch

Keeping emotional love alive in a marriage makes life much more enjoyable. How do we keep love alive after the “in-love” emotions have evaporated? I believe it is by learning to speak each other’s “love language.” This week we will focus on physical touch.

For some husbands, when they hear the words physical touch, they immediately think of sex. But sexual intercourse is only one of the dialects of this love language. Holding hands, kissing, embracing, back rubs, or an arm around the shoulder are all ways of expressing love by physical touch.

Physical touch can make or break a marital relationship. Do you know how to speak this love language? To the spouse whose primary love language is physical touch, nothing is more important than your tender touches. You may give them words of affirmation or gifts, but nothing communicates love like physical touch.

Touches may be explicit and call for your full attention, such as a back rub or sexual foreplay. They can be implicit and require only a moment, such as putting your hand on his shoulder as you pour a cup of coffee. Once you discover that physical touch is the primary love language of your spouse, you are limited only by your imagination. Kiss when you get in the car. It may greatly enhance your travels. Give a hug before you go shopping. You may hear less griping when you return. Remember, you are learning to speak a new language.

When you reach out with tender touch, you create emotional closeness. This is especially true if the primary love language of your spouse is physical touch. You may say, “What if I’m just not a toucher? I didn’t grow up in a touchy-feely family.” The good news is that you can learn to speak this love language. It can begin with a pat on the back, or putting your hand on their leg as you sit together on the couch.

Almost instinctively in a time of crisis, we hug one another. Why? During these times, we need to feel loved more than anything. All marriages will experience crises. Disappointments are a part of life. The most important thing you can do for your wife in a time of crisis is to love her. If her primary love language is physical touch, nothing is more important than holding her as she cries. Your words may mean little, but your physical touch will communicate that you care. In a time of crisis, a hug is worth more than a thousand words. Physical touch is a powerful love language.

Have you ever had a time when you were in need of a hug? What do you do to let others know that you need a gesture of physical touch? What do you do if your spouse’s love language is physical touch, but you’re not “touchy-feely”?