Have you ever gone on a date that ended up being a meeting about the kids, money problems, in-laws, work, chores, etc.?
Next time you go on a date, pull up this article on your smart phone and take the conversation in a totally different direction. Take turns answering the questions first. There are no wrong answers. Make it a night of discovery!
‘Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults.’ I Peter 4:8
Rediscover your spouse and all the reasons you truly love them. Enjoy humor and discussion about things that have no emotional negativity. Take your date night to a whole other level!
Conversation Starters (adapted from Love Talk Starters by Les and Leslie Parrott)
Deanna called describing deep sadness and depression. “Peter treats everyone better than he treats me. “ Over thirteen years ago she was drawn to Peter’s incredible graceful spirit toward everyone that he came in contact with. “Peter has a huge heart and is very caring, except when it comes to me.”
Peter and Deanna came in for a Marriage Intensive. During the course of the day we discovered that Peter’s good nature and high empathy with others was a great quality that had began to get in the way of the marriage he really wanted with his wife.
Grace on Empty
Holidays are a stressful time for couples and families. Negative patterns of interaction grow exponentially as almost all communication becomes focused on the tasks of the holiday. Frequently feelings are hurt in the mix and there are long periods of negative emotions and energy.
But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13 (Voice)
Make This Holiday Weekend Better
Turn your relationships around during the holidays by implementing these tips for making memories!
Taking a vacation can be hard. Taking a kid-less vacation can be even more difficult.
According to Leigh Weingus’ The Huffington Post article, Way Too Many Americans Took ZERO Vacation Days in 2014, “…almost 42% of Americans didn’t take any vacation days in 2014.” If you are one of the many who do not take vacation days you are missing out on some important effects of vacations:
Jenny inquired about a Marriage Intensive. Their marriage began to unwind nine years ago over a disagreement about their adult daughter moving back into the house. Dalton insisted that they would be there for her and Jenny felt like her move back into the house would keep her from growing up and stepping into adulthood.
“Ever since then, we can’t talk about anything without Dalton storming out of the room.” Jenny reported that she never feels heard and can never get any issue resolved. Dalton described being nagged about everything and leaving the conversation before he did something he’d later regret.
Move Against – Move Away Cycle
Dalton and Jenny were in what we call the Move Against – Move Away Cycle. Jenny moves against Dalton with a criticism and Dalton moves away from Jenny.
Cindy was sitting on the other side of the couch with tears running down her face. “When I told my best friend Lisa about my unhappy marriage, she told me I should look into what it would cost for a divorce and handed me a phone number of the attorney she used.”
“All I wanted was for Lisa to give me some support.” Cindy made that call to the attorney’s office who’s sales focused incoming calls receptionist talked her into a face to face, no obligation, free meeting with them to learn more about it. During the appointment, the divorce attorney’s staff focused on the problems in the marriage and encouraged her to proceed with signing them as her representation just in case things ever proceeded.
Father absence is at epidemic status in the United States today. Yet, science has been unable to produce a single child without one. In fact, 100% of children have a father. Some are deceased, incarcerated, pushed away or errantly absent, but everyone has a father… it’s the only way children are made.
For decades, research focused on why mothers are central to children. It is a no-brainer that moms play a critical role in parenting and child development. Sometimes single moms tell us that they are “the mother and the father.” They may be doing double duty, but mom cannot replace dad. In the past few decades research has revealed that “father need” is as central to children as “mother need.”
Heather and Joe showed up for their scheduled Marriage Intensive almost and hour late. Heather was tired before we started the first process. She had been up since 5 AM when her 18 month old couldn’t sleep any longer. It took longer than expected to get three young children to her parents for the day. She was operating on fumes.
Stuck In A Pattern Of Interacting
Like every one of the three hundred plus couples we have taken through the Marriage Intensive, Heather and Joe were stuck in a negative pattern of interaction. Joe felt like he was not important or valued in the marriage as he experienced her unavailability for conversation, time together, affection, and physical intimacy.
Heather felt like she was not enough as a woman and not good enough as a wife and mother as she experienced any un-affirming remark he made as criticism of anything that she had done to take care of their young children and the domestic chores of the home.
Lisa was about to explode. Her husband of 8 years came home early from work, plopped down on the couch and asked, “what’s for supper?” After a full day of caregiving for her 18 month old and kindergartner, she was tired and stressed. And his first communication with her was one that really pushed her buttons.
Full body attention is how we tell our spouse they are the most important and highest priority in our world in that moment.
Todd believed he was gifted with insight about other people. He was a “quick read” of people and could identify their flaws easily. When Rochelle and Todd first met, she was impressed with him and loved the funny comments about others that they had just met.
Once they began their life together as a married couple, Todd’s gift of insightfulness felt much more like criticism to Rochelle. She felt like his humor felt like sarcasm. His “quick read” abilities felt like he was always telling her what she was thinking and was unable to listen to what she was trying to communicate about herself. They called us for a Marriage Intensive.
“If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people. Why is it that you see the dust in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but you can’t see what is in your own eye? Don’t ignore the wooden plank in your eye, while you criticize the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eyelashes. That type of criticism and judgment is a sham! Remove the plank from your own eye, and then perhaps you will be able to see clearly how to help your brother flush out his sawdust.’ Matthew 7:1-5 (VOICE)