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December 14, 2009

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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?

Living with a Workaholic?

October 30, 2009

Many wives ask me, “Dr. Chapman, how do you live with a workaholic husband?” They will talk about a husband who spends long hours at work and short hours at home. He sees his children only when they are asleep, and his wife sees him only when he is exhausted. The workaholic doesn’t understand why his wife is not happy with his accomplishments and all the material things that he provides. She, on the other hand, is dying for a relationship. This week we will explore the possibility of bringing balance into the life of the workaholic.

1. Praise and Criticism
The workaholic is usually well respected in the community, and he often receives accolades from his employer. On the other hand, his wife is likely critical of him because he invests so little in their relationship. Her criticism is part of the problem. Oh, I understand why she is critical. But when she criticizes him, or his job, she is criticizing the one thing in life that brings him recognition. Her criticism strikes at the heart of his self esteem.
Let me suggest a better approach. Stop being critical of his work. Praise him when he receives awards at work. Then request that he do something with you and the children. When he does, and he will, then give him praise. Praise him for little and you will get more.

2. Deep Roots
Many workaholics are suffering from a deep sense of inferiority. Work is an effort to overcome these feelings of inferiority. Many workaholics also feel unloved. Understanding this should help a spouse know how to minister to the workaholic. He certainly does not need condemnation, but rather praise.

3. Return to Intimacy
If you want to pull the workaholic away from his job, let him know that you admire his success. Tell him that you realize that you have been negative toward his work, because your own needs have not been met, not because he is a bad husband. Tell him that you believe he can both meet your needs and be successful in his vocation. Now you are on his team and will likely find intimacy returning to the marriage.

Adapted from Loving Solutions: Overcoming Barriers in Your Marriage by Dr. Gary Chapman. To find out more about Dr. Chapman’s resources, visit www.fivelovelanguages.com.

Parenting Together?

October 16, 2009

Two Approaches to Parenting?

Is it possible for two parents who have very different approaches to child-rearing to find a meeting of the minds? The answer is an unqualified “yes.” In my marriage we discovered that I tended to be the quiet, calm, “let’s talk about it” parent, while my wife Karolyn tended to be a “take action now” kind of parent. It took us a while to realize what was happening, analyze our patterns, and admit to each other our basic tendencies. When this was done, we began to concentrate on the question: “What is best for our children?”

Using Love, Words, & Actions

No pattern of teaching and training will be highly effective if the child does not feel loved by the parents. Love really does cover a multitude of sins.

The two wheels upon which the chariot of parenting rolls are teaching and training–using words and actions to communicate to the child. It is not uncommon that one parent will emphasize words and the other actions. One will want to talk the child into obedience, while the other will simply make the child obey. When taken to the extreme, this can lead to verbal abuse on the part of one and physical abuse on the part of the other.

The better approach is to bring words and actions together. Tell the child exactly what is expected and what the results will be if they disobey. Then if they do not obey, kindly but firmly apply the consequences. When you are consistent, your child will learn obedience. Of course, all of this works best when the child feels loved by both parents. Parenting is a team sport.


Agreeing on Principles of Discipline

Mature parents are always seeking to learn. Administering discipline is a point where many couples have disagreement. Talking about and agreeing upon some principles for discipline can be helpful. For example, how about agreeing that all discipline should be done in love, and the word love should always be used while administering the discipline. Love and consistent discipline, accompanied with information, is the road to responsible parenting and a growing marriage. You owe it to yourselves to be teammates in parenting.

I want to conclude our week with two principles of discipline. The first is that positive discipline must always seek to explain. Tongue lashing does not correct behavior.

The second principle is that we deal only with the matter at hand. Don’t bring up past failures. Make room for your child’s humanity. Agree on the principles and you can be teammates in parenting.

quiet but not quite peace

September 16, 2009

When your spouse gives you the “silent treatment” there are always reasons; usually a historical reason, an emotional reason and a contemporary reason. The contemporary reason is that something has just happened that the spouse finds objectionable. For Mike, it was Jill’s announcement that she was going to spend the weekend at the beach with her girl friends.

The emotional reason was that Mike did not feel secure in Jill’s love. He reasoned, “If she loved me she would want to be with me.”

The historical reason was that Mike had learned the “silent treatment” in his childhood. His parents would not allow him to argue with them, so when he felt hurt or angry, he learned to be silent.

If you have been given the “silent treatment” by your spouse, here are the three questions you need to answer:

1. What have I done or failed to do that my spouse might have found objectionable?
2. Have I been speaking my spouse’s love language lately?
3. What do I know about my spouse’s childhood that might help me understand his silence?

Success!

July 14, 2009

Today is named successful marriage day in Colorado! Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. has declared this day successful marriage day because as he indicated “the State of Colorado recognizes the hard work of those providing advice and counseling to couples and families, and their efforts to ensure marriages succeed and our community’s foundations remain strong”

May Blog for Books Winner

June 12, 2009


Congratulations to Angela!  Our May Blog for Books winner!  Angela will be receiving a copy of the one that started it all, The Five Love Languages.  

Whose Money?

June 11, 2009

Remember when we were kids and our parents told us to share?  Why was that so hard?  Well if we thought it was hard to share our toys it’s even harder to share our money.  When you get married it’s time for a change in the mentality of, “Mine!”

When you get married, it is no longer, “your money” and “my money,” but rather “our money.” Likewise, it is no longer “my debts” and “your debts,” but rather “our debts.” When you accept each other as a partner, you accept each other’s liabilities as well as each other’s assets.

A full disclosure of assets and liabilities should be made before marriage. It’s not wrong to enter marriage with debts, but you ought to know what those debts are and agree on a plan for repayment.

Marriage is two becoming one. Applied to finances, this means that all our resources belong to both of us. One of us may be responsible for paying the bills and balancing the checkbook, but this should never be used as an excuse for hiding financial matters. Full and open discussions should precede any financial decision. Marriage is enhanced by agreement in financial matters.

If you’re the “bread-winner” of the family how do you maintain humility and remember that it’s not YOUR money?  If you have a lot of debt in your name, do you ever feel blamed by your spouse for that?  We can lift one another up if we remember that all we have belongs to the Lord anyway.

How do you work out finances in your home, and remember the “OUR” rule?