Archive for May, 2009

Thoughtful Gifts

May 20, 2009

Gift giving is a major part of relationships in many cultures.  I was in Chicago when I studied anthropology.  By means of detailed ethnographies, I visited fascinating peoples all over the world.  I went to Central America and studied the advanced cultures of the Mayans and the Aztecs.  I crossed the Pacific and studied the tribal peoples of Melanesia and Polynesia.  I studied the Eskimos of the northern tundra and the aboriginal Ainus of Japan.  I examined the cultural patterns surrounding love and marriage and found that in every culture I studied gift-giving was a part of the love-marriage process.
A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or “She remembered me.”  You must be thinking of someone to give him a gift.  The gift itself is a symbol of that thought.  How often do you think about your spouse throughout your day?  How often do you make that known to them?  This week when you think about your spouse try to show them by giving them a token of your affection, a symbol of that thought.  
Advertisements

Winner of April Blog for Books!

May 14, 2009


Congratulations to Jena, our April Blog for Books winner! Just for commenting on this blog Jena is receiving a copy of Gary Chapman and co-author Ross Campbell’s book The Five Love Languages of Children. If you would like to find out more about our winner you can find her blog at: http://craftymomof4boys.blogspot.com/.

He’s Got Personality

May 13, 2009

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

May 7, 2009

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

May 6, 2009

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.