Archive for November, 2009

Quality Time with God

November 16, 2009

The idea that the eternal God desires to spend quality time with His creatures is one aspect of faith unique to Christianity. The gods who have been created by the imagination of human minds have always been far removed from people’s daily lives. The gods of the ancient Greek and Roman myths had to be placated or feared. The idea of having a close personal relationship with those deities did not exist.

Jesus’ Prayer
Jesus indicated that the desire of the entire Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—was to “abide” (make a home) with anyone who responds to God’s love. Jesus promised never to leave His followers, and told them that He would be with them forever. In one of Jesus’ prayers, He said, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” Clearly, Jesus desired quality time with all of those who responded to His love.

Love Expressed
The Psalms often speak of God’s love for those He created and His desire to draw near and spend quality time with them. For example, “The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” The New Testament describes a similar relationship with God as James promises, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

Do You Desire Quality Time?
When someone’s primary love language is quality time, uninterrupted times of communion with God are not difficult, but joyous. They are not burden-causing, but burden lifting. Recently a woman told me, “I feel closest to God when I have my daily quiet time with Him. It is the most important part of my day. When I miss that time, my whole day seems empty and I don’t feel as close to God. It is in those personal times with Him that I feel His love.” Not everyone would echo this woman’s sentiment, but it is certainly true of those individuals whose primary love language is quality time. Those who seek time with God will discover that He is ready and waiting to meet with them. Quality time is a love language that He is always prepared to speak.

Resolving Conflicts

November 13, 2009

The Presence of Conflicts

Before marriage, they agreed on everything. After marriage, they fought about everything. Why do we have conflicts after marriage that never appeared before marriage? After marriage and after the “in love” obsession fades as it always does, we revert to our natural tendency to think that “my way is the best way.” We seek to use our persuasive logic to convince the spouse. When they are unconvinced, we get angry and often use cutting derogatory remarks.

Want to solve your conflicts? Here’s an idea: never discuss conflicts “on the run”. Rather set aside time specifically for resolving conflict. I suggest that once a week you have a “conflict resolution session.” The rest of the week you can focus on the things you like about each other. Make positive comments about your spouse. This creates a healthy climate in which to discuss your conflicts. Every resolved conflict brings you closer together.

The Way to Discuss Problems

When you sit down to discuss a conflict, take turns talking. Start with five minutes each. Then you can have as many turns as needed, but don’t interrupt each other with your own ideas. Wait for your turn.

Ask questions to help you understand your spouse. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your spouse and see the world through their eyes. Try to understand what they are thinking and feeling, and why it is so important to them. Never condemn their feelings or thoughts. They are unique and will not see the world as you see it. The point is not to condemn, but to find a workable solution that addresses both of your concerns. When you have listened, try affirming your spouse’s ideas and feelings. Sympathetic listening and affirming statements create a positive climate in which to look for solutions.

Goal: Finding Solutions

Humans are all unique. We see the world differently. The common mistake is to try to force one’s spouse to see the world “the way I see it.” Resolving conflicts requires that you treat you spouse’s ideas and feelings with respect, not condemnation. The purpose is not to prove your spouse wrong, but to find a “meeting of the minds”, a place where the two of you can work together as a team. You don’t have to agree in order to resolve a conflict. You simply have to find a workable solution to your differences.

“What would be workable for you?” is a good place to begin. Now you are focusing on resolution rather than differences. Two adults looking for a solution are likely to find one.

The Six Questions You Should Ask Before You Get Engaged

November 5, 2009

Possible Proposal? Here are six questions you should ask before popping the question.

1. Are my partner and I on the same wavelength intellectually? (Try one of these exercises: Read a newspaper or online news article and discuss its merits and implications; read a book and share your impressions with each other.)

2. To what degree have we surveyed the foundation of our social unity? (Explore the following areas: sports, music, dance, parties, and vocational aspirations.)

3. Do we have a clear understanding of each other’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses? (Take a personality profile. This is normally done under the direction of a counselor who will interpret the information and help you discover potential areas of personality conflicts.

4. To what degree have we excavated our spiritual foundations? (What are your beliefs about God, Scripture, organized religion, values, and morals?)

5. Are we being truthful with each other about our sexual histories? (Are you far enough along in the relationship to feel comfortable talking about this?) To what degree are you discussing your opinions about sexuality?

6. Have we discovered and are we speaking each others primary love language? (It is in the context of a full love tank that we are most capable of honestly exploring the foundations of our relationship.) meaningful to that person?