Friday, November 30, 2012

Life is a bed of roses with lots of thorns


"I learned there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead, others come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready, you see. Now my troubles are going to have trouble with me. 
- Dr. Seuss
 "Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I need it the most..."- Anon
 "The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials" - Anon

I have a thing for quotes, the wisdom of decades squeezed into a few lines. Anyway, there is something about roses that makes ladies smile (even the ones who say its a fancy car or nothing) roses are very pretty.

Growing up as a child in London my neighbour, an old Albanian widow, kept all colours of roses in her garden, red, yellow, white, they were lovely. Sometimes I would try to pick them but the thorns would always prick me so I gave up. But this woman always wore black, apparently, she never stopped mourning her husband and those roses were cut, arranged and taken to his grave site on a regular basis. They were so pretty but what they truly signified was pain, loss and sorrow.

Long Distance Relationship Advice

Anyone who seeks long distance relationship advice has made one of the first steps that are necessary to make such dating arrangements work out. The reasons behind choosing to build relationships across many miles can vary.

Employment situations can sometimes dictate such separations. In other cases, a couple may have met under circumstances such as online dating and the separation has existed from the very beginning.

Whatever the reason, there are a number of obstacles that can be associated with getting to know a potential romantic partner from a distance. 

These obstacles call may call for long distance relationship advice from a reputable source. The frustrations that can accompany a budding relationship under these constraints are many. Two people who wish to be together on a frequent basis, but are limited to various electronic means of communication such as telephone or email rather than face to face contact, can become easily discouraged. As all of the difficulties begin to add up, many couples decide that it is just not worth the trouble. Weekends and holidays may supply time for connection, if the distance between the two parties does not prohibit this. For some, the separation may be temporary and short lived. When this is the case, most couples can simply deal with the situation until they are reunited permanently. But for those who see no end to the situation and no closing of the gap on the horizon, any kind of future may seem impossible. However, the kind of communication that is required in these separations can sometimes actually build relationships rather than destroy them.

Spouse vs. Kids

Your marriage comes before your kids.

When children enter the picture, the greatest marital challenge often begins. Our children are totally dependent on us. It's easy to fall into the trap of putting every other part of life on hold and focusing all of our energy, physical and emotional, on caring for and supporting them. Too many couples can even pinpoint the moment of childbirth as the time when their marital problems intensified.



Parenting is a full-time job, but too many parents decide that they don't need to focus on their marriage because their kids need them. There is the big mistake. I'm not implying that you need to spend the same amount of time alone with your spouse as you do with your kids, but your marriage is far more important than so many things you do for your children, even though you are expending the energy only because you think it benefits them. So, if you just spent three hours making sure your kid was placed on just the right team for Little League, think about the last time you spent three hours focused on your marriage. If you haven't, you are placing your marriage and children in danger.

Your marriage is far more important than so many things you do for your children.

All parents must realize they can't do it all without it coming at the expense of something else that is equally or more important (which means they haven't done it all anyway). The focus on children's extracurricular activities often comes at the expense of your marriage, either directly or by zapping energy that could later be used for your marriage. I had to face the fact long ago that my child was not going to be a violin prodigy (even though my grandfather was and I figured it's in our blood). But more important, he'll be surrounded by parents who really love each other.

Projecting

What drives you crazy about your spouse? Do you have a judgment that your husband is controlling and cheap? Do you feel that your wife is impulsive and irresponsible? If you take a few moments to reflect on the very traits that you can’t stand in others, you may be able to see a valuable gift that will teach you a little more about yourself and help you experience great change in your relationship.

Projection: An age-old defense

One who casts aspersions on others is suspect himself to have the very same defect he is publicizing about others. This is the defense mechanism we call projection. If you spot it, you got it.

Projection serves to protect ourselves psychologically from the unconscious pain and discomfort that we may posses a trait that is unsavory. Rather than dealing with the trait in ourselves, we deny it and project it onto others.

How do I know if I am projecting?

One way to know if you are projecting is to witness how much negative energy you feel about that characteristic you’re noticing in the other person. While most people are rubbed the wrong way by someone who is arrogant or greedy, some get more fired than others. If your blood boils when you think of such a person, it’s a good sign that you have struck a golden growth opportunity!

But what if it’s really their stuff?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Create a Happy Marriage by Appreciating Your Spouse

Appreciating your spouse is the elixir for creating a happy marriage.

When couples get lost in the daily routines and responsibilities of life, they lose sight of what it is they appreciate about each other. They take each other for granted and forget to take stock of what they value about their marriage. Small gestures from a wife that once touched her husband’s heart now go unnoticed. If hubby forgets to do his regular routine of taking out the garbage, vacuuming the house, or picking up the groceries he gets verbally wacked. Why is it that married couples remain silent when their partner does something helpful, but they suddenly find their voice when something goes wrong?

All it takes is a little appreciation sprinkled throughout the day, week or month to shift a bland or unhappy marriage into a happier one. There may be deeper issues to deal with in the marriage, but without acceptance and appreciation, they’ll be difficult to resolve. When you start to appreciate your spouse, they feel loved and acknowledged which softens their heart and opens their mind to exploring further ways to heal the relationship.

Emotional Infidelity

Protect your marriage by avoiding friendships with members of the opposite sex.

Adultery is one of the gravest blows to a marriage, as well as a painful rejection for one partner. But you don't have to be intimate with anyone else to be unfaithful. Emotional infidelity is just as -- and at times even more -- destructive to your marriage. Couples I counsel are absolutely outraged when I tell them that they could well be committing emotional adultery when they flirt with coworkers, send around funny emails to colleagues, or hang out with members of the opposite sex at gatherings. But they are, and so probably are you.

Stopping this kind of relationship is the single most important thing you can do for your marriage. It's not about where it may lead. It's about where it has already gone, far from your focus on your marriage.

The "D" word. D is for Divorce

You're back to the name you left behind long ago. Memories of a family you intertwined with and shared many festive season with, suddenly has little or nothing to do with you. The children, how will they understand that mummy and daddy are no longer best friends? Will you now be seen as a bad influence on your other married friends?

These are the questions that arise over and over again in the minds of someone going through a divorce. Sometimes issues become irreconcilable and the marriage ends. As a result of doctrine many people shy away from the subject of divorce. Opinions vary, some people will tell you that biblicaly marriage is a covenant that should never be broken and divorce is a sin. Some will say it is only suicidal for a woman to remain in an abusive marriage.

However you look at it, divorce is usually a sensitive topic. Books abound on how to make your marriage work but divorce is also an issue many people are faced with, where do these people turn? It appears our churches have a 'Teens church, singles fellowship (those looking for a spouse), people who are married, people who are looking for the fruit of the womb (many publicised programmes are on this topic) and outreaches for widows and orphans.

Women & Love - Melissa Groman, LCSW

It makes no sense, but I am angry. Not the heart-pounding, mind-numbing, finger pointing angry, but the sulking, skulking and simmering kind. My husband is on vacation.

I told him he should go. I encouraged it. And besides, it’s not a real vacation. He is visiting his parents who live far away. He is not lounging on the beach or cruising the sea with a cocktail in his hand (though I know there will be beer and steak). But he is going for long walks, sleeping in and playing a lot of Scrabble.

It’s not that I mind staying home and holding the fort. And I don’t like Scrabble. I could take a vacation of my own if I’d like to. But somehow, anyway, I’m feeling the buzz.

My friend Debbie told me that one night last week her husband called to say he’d be home late. He told her that there was some kind of huge back-up on the Interstate. She was nice to him on the phone, but inside she was seething.Why didn’t he leave earlier? Why didn’t he take an alternate route? Traffic? Really? Yeah, sure.

After listening to the radio, she heard that in fact there was a traffic nightmare and folks were delayed for hours. But she was still clenching when he walked through the front door, as if somehow the very least he could’ve done was catch a helicopter home that night.

It’s not that she didn’t believe him about the traffic, it’s just that women are not always creatures of fact so much as we are creatures of feeling. This is often lost on men. Trying to explain how an obvious and objective fact such as traffic could possibly have anything to do with how much your wife feels loved is like trying to explain the color blue to someone who is color blind. Either you understand all too well, or you don’t understand at all.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is He Flashing you ?

When your ringtone plays for a millisecond or the other one where you pick and she drops immediately ..All na flash, and it was fun.

I remember the early stages of my relationship, my hubby and I played this game a lot. It just helped the other person know they were being thought of. Sometimes I would get disapointed cos I was looking forward to a long conversation where I could listen to whatever it was he had to say.

Then there is the other one some people would do here they would withold their number (never did get that).

Love Insurance - Slovie Jungreis-Wolff

Three steps to protect the most important investment of your life.

You’ve seen the pictures and watched the news. Rivers overflowing, homes bashed down, basements flooded and a lifetime of memories washed away. People have inquired about natural disaster insurance and ‘what about next time?’

I started thinking about it. We work tirelessly building our homes. Marriages and relationships take great effort. We put in our best years. We sacrifice. We look away at slights. We open our hearts. We love more than we ever thought possible. There are times that we are fatigued but still, we keep at it.

Dear Expectant Father - Aaron Hirsh

What a man needs to know before his wife gives birth.

A week before my wife gave birth, my friend Sam pulled me aside and gave me “the talk.” Since then I have shared his “pre-birth shmooze” with at least a dozen men, who have all later returned, bowing in thanks.

Listen up. These principles can easily make-or-break the next few years of your married life. So here we go:

A new couple builds up trust between one another slowly. Despite all your kind gestures as a husband, you need to know that your wife is anticipating the “big test”: Will you be there for her when she gives birth, or will she end up taking care of herself, the new baby and you, too?

If you choose to remain unaware of what your wife is going through, it can send your relationship spiraling toward resentment and distrust. However, if you step up and carry her through this time of transition and challenge, then your ability to bond will reach new plateaus of caring, love and warmth.

Men, Women And Forgiveness - Morris N. Mann, Ph.D

Love means saying you're sorry.
Our relationships are strengthened or weakened by hundreds of small actions and communications we share with each other. When we are paying attention and offer help or empathy or thanks, for something, it strengthens our relationships.

Insults, neglect and ignoring, whether intentional or not, create a breach in relationships.

When your spouse, your child or your friend expects you to be there for them and you either ignore, neglect or even forget them, that creates a breach in the relationship. This can then lead to resentment by the offended party. What happens as a result is that you become less caring and trustful. This can start downward cycle which can often lead to a long-term negative effect on the relationship.

An important method of repairing that relationship is to apologize. It can help you reconnect and heal a wound when you offer an authentic apology. Marital therapists report that authentic apology is a very important feature of a healthy marriage. An authentic apology includes accountability, remorse and repentance.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

6 Habits Of Happily Married Couples - Rabbi Dov Heller, M.A

Success in marriage hinges on consistent performance of six key habits.

HABIT #1 - GIVE EACH OTHER PLEASURE


Happily married couples are committed to the goal of giving each other pleasure. You must stay focused on the ultimate goal -- which is to give each other pleasure and not cause pain. It sounds simple enough, but can be very hard in practice.

For just one day, try to maintain a consciousness with everything you do, by asking yourself, "Is what I'm about to do or say going to cause my spouse pain or pleasure?"

To monitor how you're doing, each of you should make two lists: One for all the things your spouse does to cause you pain, and another which identifies what you would like your spouse to do to give you pleasure. Swap lists, and now you know exactly what to do and what not to do. No more mind reading!

HABIT #2 - CREATE MUTUALLY SATISFYING LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP RITUALS

Rituals are habits that build and strengthen a relationship. One couple had the following "greeting ritual" at night when the husband came home:

He would first greet the dog and hug the kids. Then he would go into his bedroom, change his clothes, and watch the news, followed by a visit to the bathroom. Finally he would wander into the kitchen and mutter something to his wife, for example, "Let’s eat fast so we can get to the PTA meeting!"

One might say that such a ritual was not exactly increasing their love for each other.

God's Design for Marriage - Carol Heffernan

It's easy to think that only "other people" get divorced. That your own marriage is somehow immune to heartache, infidelity and fights over who gets the house, the car, the dog. After all, how many of us would walk down the aisle if we believed our relationships would end up in divorce court?

Truth is, no relationship comes with a lifetime guarantee. Even men and women who grew up in stable homes, who attend church and consider themselves Christians, who promise "until death do us part," can have it all fall apart.

As Christians, we know that applying biblical principles to marriage will give us a stronger foundation than those of our unbelieving friends and neighbors. We know this, but what are we doing about it? In other words, what makes a marriage "Christian"?

According to author Gary Thomas, we're not asking the right questions. What if your relationship isn't as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?

Instead of asking why we have struggles in the first place, the more important issue is how we deal with them.

In Sacred Marriage, Thomas has not written your typical "how to have a happier relationship" book. Rather, he asks: How can we use the challenges, joys, struggles and celebrations of marriage to draw closer to God? What if God designed marriage to make us both happy and holy?

Viewing Marriage Realistically

STAGES OF MARRIAGE: Newly Married

The first five years can be exhilarating as couples experience new “firsts” together- their first Christmas as a married couple, first dinner party for the in-laws, even their first joint tax return. At the same time, the early years require some radical personal adjustment, which is stressful on the relationship.

Most divorces occur during the first five years of marriage (Kreider, 2005), with the highest incidence of divorce coming in year three (Kurdek, 1999). Why?

Sometimes it’s poor choice of partner. Couples who entered enthusiastically- but blindly- into marriage soon see their spouse’s shadow side when there’s no longer a need to keep up a good front. They realize that they married a person who doesn’t share the remote, likes to chatter in the morning or, worse yet, doesn’t share their values. They assume that marriage won’t change that and they divorce quickly.

Others fall prey to the stresses of early marriage. Some of these stresses might be age-related. Young couples may not have developed the emotional maturity, coping and communication skills, or financial savvy to navigate the many decisions thrust upon them early in their marriage. Hanging in and learning the art of negotiating can resolve many of these issues, but it takes maturity and patience.

That Praying Couple

A car travelling on "Third Mainland" Bridge in Lagos is fully supported by the integrity of the bridge. It doesn't matter what the driver may be feeling, or thinking about, or discussing with someone in the passenger seat. What gets the car safely to the other side is the integrity of the bridge, which the driver was willing to trust.

In the same way, God asks us to trust his integrity, his character...his compassion, love, wisdom, righteousness on our behalf. He says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." "Trust in him at all times, O people. Pour out your heart before him. God is a refuge for us."

In marriage sometimes its hard to maintain a strong prayer life with your spouse. When hubby annoys you or you have upset each other, its hard to open up in prayer fully. Prayer, like I've mentioned before is very intimate.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I am SUPERWOMAN and You are my SUPERMAN

"The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway."
"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."
"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
"I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much."

Each of these quotations from Mother Teresa merits pondering, rather than speed-reading or a quick scanning.

As I became a more observant Christian, it became clear day by day that indeed our life/mission is defined by bringing out Godly sparks into the world, by doing good. In doing so I discover deeper love for God, God's love for me, perfection and goodness in the world. But, none of this came naturally to me. Discovering God required actions! Getting up and thinking of what good I could do when my negative will oppose me making various sacrifices. But still, the question remains: With a world population estimated at 7.054 billion how am I, a woman, significant? In modern times women have tried to answer this question with various feminist theories; Girl Power, Gynocentrism, Ecofeminism, etc. Women have not always been allowed to vote, to dress as they like, to speak as they like. It is evident that over the years men have been given more visible roles in the society. This has sparked various feminist movements.

How Not to Date a Loser - Georgia Shaffer

It doesn't matter whether you've just begun to date or your dating life is an ugly wreck, there's hope for you. You don't have to be an accident waiting to happen. By putting yourself in the driver's seat you can avoid crashing into losers. To maneuver safely through the hazards of dating, it's important to acquire the following qualities, much like a driver becomes adept at scanning the road and using peripheral vision to know what's nearby.

Be willing to learn.
You don't need a college degree to be successful at meeting nice men or women, but you may need to learn new things and shed self-defeating behaviors. Choose to learn from your mistakes instead of repeating them. Work on gaining tools and strategies that will help you make real changes in your dating life.

The first step is to work on making yourself better. I know, I know. It sounds simplistic, but the truth is that the healthier you are, the less likely you will be to settle for anything less than the best. If you're reading this book, you've demonstrated you are willing to learn and grow. That's a great start.

The Real Man's Playbook - Brian Goins

What satisfies your wife's need for love and affection won't always be the same. As your relationship grows and matures, her needs will change as well. You can't just rest on your laurels; it's a continual and progressive pursuit. That said, how do we know if our wives feel pursued and loved by us? Your guess is as good as mine. I think that's why Peter says, "Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way" (1 Peter 3:7, emphasis added). He knows we may never understand, but God holds us accountable to try.

Gary Chapman, author of the classic relationship book The Five Love Languages, is one of the best marriage coaches out there. He says if you want to discover what nourishes your wife's heart, listen to her irritations: "My spouse's criticisms about my behavior provide me with the clearest clue to her primary love language. People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need." In other words, turn criticisms into clues. Chapman adds that "criticism often needs clarification." After a tirade you might want to ask her, "It sounds like that is extremely important to you. Could you explain why it is so crucial?" Next time you notice your wife's evil eyes, start taking notes. After you get over your hurt feelings, you'll see a grocery list of nourishing things you can do and say to feed your wife's heart. Man, I wish someone would have dropped me this clue on my wedding day!

Bringing Laughter into Your Marriage - Les Parrott

Essayist and biographer Agnes Repplier, who was known for her common sense and good judgment, said, "We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh."

We couldn't agree more. And we believe the implication of her statement is also true: The more you laugh together, the more you love your spouse.

So, with this in mind, we offer the following tips on bringing a daily dose of laughter into your marriage.

Remember Rule Number 6


Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him. "Peter," he says, "kindly remember rule number 6," whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws. The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by a hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: "Marie, please remember rule number 6." Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology.

The Divine Order to Marriage

In Genesis we read:

And the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." . . . So he Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib (side) he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. (Gen 2:18, 21 22)

Why did God do it that way? Why create one being and then take a part of that being and create a second, differentiated yet complimentary being who is "bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh," a being who is sexually, emotionally and in other ways different, yet of his own substance? Upon seeing her, Adam could have observed, "It's me . . . but not me." Well, if you think about it, it does sound like the kind of thing you might expect a Trinity to do.

The Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is a family, and thus man in God's image must be made a family as well. Therefore, a man cannot completely realize the essence of his existence until he learns to exist with someone and for someone. Both relationship and communion are crucial to this process.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Can Your Marriage Fulfill Your Dreams?

We all enter marriage with a dream. When you said "I do" to one another, a brand-new creation of God took place. You might even remember some of the people who toasted the dream at your wedding. Some see the dream as practical: "To the bride: may she share everything with her husband, including the housework!"

Others see the dream as impossible: "Here's to you and here's to me, I hope we never disagree; but if, perchance, we ever do, then here's to me, to heck with you."

While others see the dream as blissful: "May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door."

In our newest book, The First Five Years of Marriage, we explain that Romans 15:6 lays out the highest aspiration of marriage: "So that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." You as a couple have much in common with other couples, but no other husband and wife on earth are exactly like you. The ways you interact with one another, make decisions, plan your lives, communicate your values, and enjoy your time together are unique and ought to be treasured. You are a vital part of God's worldwide, history-wide plan. The dream of your love will bring glory to God because you two, and the love you share, are intricately woven into God's plan of love for the entire planet.

As you dream about your life together, you may be thinking: 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Mr. Miracles or Miss The Miracles?

Life is so unpredictable. Today you're driving the best cars, have a lovely spouse, travelling around the world and before anyone accuses you of being proud or smug you give a smile, repeat that mantra with all conviction, "God is good".

You did, at one time, believe God loved you and cared for you. That belief was carried and punctuated by a life of success financially and socially and physically. Then you loose your job, or health which destroyed your finances, your marriage and your social position.  Your safe and secure world falls apart. It seems like you were taught to believe God's love for you was solely demonstrated in large and grandiose events.  Parting the sea, bread from heaven, pillars of fire; all evidences of God at work, God's love for you. Yet in your greatest need you didn't have an Exodus experience. Now, you are desperately trying to find God's love for you in much smaller things, lesser events, maybe even in the common and mundane interactions with people and things. 

A Man Worth Waiting For - Jackie Kendall

Before Tristan and Isolde, before Romeo and Juliet, and even before Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth of Pride and Prejudice, there were Boaz and Ruth. Their love story, dating from approximately 1000 BC, is still powerfully relevant in the twenty-first century.

Boaz, the leading man in the Hebrew book of Ruth, enters this short love story in chapter 2. This book is the story of a young widow named Ruth, whose heart had been broken by her husband’s death yet healed by faith in the God of Israel. Having touched God’s heart, she also touched the heart of one of God’s champion followers—Boaz. The intersection of their lives becomes not only the framework of an earthly love story but also the foreshadowing of the greatest love story, God’s love for the world through Jesus—Himself a descendant of the union of Boaz and Ruth.

After we look at their story, we’ll look at how it affects your story today. Granted, this story has some odd twists and turns unfamiliar to our twenty-first-century minds, but solid principles are there as well.

An Ancient Love Story: Boaz and Ruth
Ruth, as I’ve mentioned, was a young widow. After her husband’s death, she chose to continue living with her former mother-in-law, Naomi, also widowed, who believed in the God of Israel. Ruth was a Moabitess—a foreigner who did not follow the Hebrew God. Yet when she opted to remain Naomi’s companion, she stated, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). She swore her allegiance to the lonely older woman, who was heartbroken over the total loss of her family. The two traveled from Moab to Naomi’s home in Bethlehem just as the harvest of barley was starting.

Are You Married to Media? - Dave Boehi

You’re driving down a city street and find yourself stuck behind someone going 15 mph below the speed limit. What’s your first thought? That guy needs to get off his cell phone!You’re sitting in the stands at a high school football game. You notice that many of the students are not only ignoring the game but they’re also ignoring the friends seated beside them—instead they are busy texting other friends. You walk through an airport concourse and notice a man pacing back and forth, waving his hands while he talks on his cell phone in a voice that bounces off the walls 30 yards away. You think, That’s why I hope they never allow people to make calls with their cell phones on a flight.

Sound familiar? In the last 15 years the cell phone has conquered the world. I could make a list of 50 ways these phones have improved our lives. But if you’re like me and can remember what life was like before we all got cell phones, you may wonder if all the changes are really for the good.

The Silent But Deadly Treatment : Sabotaging Your Own Marriage - Mike & Trisha Fox

There are many words and actions in heated moments within an argument that can be considered hurtful and destructive to one's marriage relationship. Some scratch the surface of poking at the threshold of provocation; and others dig deep irreversible wounds to the soul, never to be recovered from.

But there is a trend among married couples that seems to continue to permeate grown, mature adult marriage relationships, no matter what religious preference, race or nationality, or upbringing. It's the act of giving what's been coined, "The Silent Treatment," or simply put, purposefully ignoring your spouse and withholding all forms of interactivity and conversation. Yet many do not realize that they are in fact sabotaging their own relationship by this hurtful tactic and could even possibly dissolve the foundation to which the relationship was based on in the first place.

"The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman

Dr. Gary Chapman, Christian counselor and author of The Five Love Languages, writes about the importance of being able to express love to your spouse in a way that your spouse can understand. He calls this type of communicating using the five love languages.

Chapman's Five Emotional Love Languages:
  • Words of Affirmation
  • This is when you say how nice your spouse looks, or how great the dinner tasted. These words will also build your mate's self image and confidence.
    • Quality Time
    Some spouses believe that being together, doing things together and focusing in on one another is the best way to show love. If this is your partner's love language, turn off the TV now and then and give one another some undivided attention.
    • Gifts
    It is universal in human cultures to give gifts. They don't have to be expensive to send a powerful message of love. Spouses who forget a birthday or anniversary or who never give gifts to someone who truly enjoys gift giving will find themselves with a spouse who feels neglected and unloved.
    • Acts of Service
    Discovering how you can best do something for your spouse will require time and creativity. These acts of service like vacuuming, hanging a bird feeder, planting a garden, etc., need to be done with joy in order to be perceived as a gift of love.

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

    Daddy Of Many Nations - Mentoring

    As a young boy, Star Daily's teacher routinely called on him to stand and read a passage in front of the class. Unfortunately he was a very poor reader. The more he tried the harder he failed since he was self concious and shy. One day, he was finding it difficult reading in front of the class and suddenly everyone erupted in laughter. Even his sister buried her head in laughter and ebarassment. He turned to solace from the teacher but saw her hiding her face in laughter. He exploded in anger, threw the book against the wall, screaming as he left, " One day you will fear me, you will hate me, but this will be the last time you laugh at me". He went on to become a notorious killer, and hardened armed robber. 

    Perhaps if he had been encouraged the evil he perpetuated would have been averted. So many criminals would not have been criminals today if they had remained in school. Sometimes parents can't afford to keep their children in school and its sad when you a child with so much potential turns to a life of drugs and crime to escape the realities of poverty and low self esteem. Every armed robber is or was somebody's son, so is every conman (yahoo-boy).

    An engineer once noticed the secondary school pupils in his church were not doing well in chemistry and physics. He set up a lesson in his house for selected days of the week to go through the rudiments of those subjects and they all went on to pass their exams that year.

    Exposing the Top Marriage Myths

    Prior to getting married we had many misconceptions about marriage. Some of our misconceptions were images we had conjured up, some were a result of media, and others had been handed down from past generations.

    A myth is defined as any invented story, idea, or concept. So a marriage myth would be any invented story, idea, or concept about marriage.

    Listen, God's desire is that you know and live by the truth. He doesn't want you living by made up stories, concepts, or ideas no matter how good they sound on the surface.

    So let's dig deep under the surface and get to the truth!

    Marriage Myth #1: The husband is the boss of the wife.

    Fact: The husband is not the boss but he is the spiritual head. As the spiritual head the husband has many huge responsibilities. For one, he has an obligation to love his wife just as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). That may sound simple, but to love as Christ loves is no easy task.The wife has the responsibility to respect her husband's authority and subject herself to him just as we the Body of Christ are subject to God (Ephesians 5:24). The relationship a boss has with an employee is not the same; It's a contractual relationship based upon performance. There is no love or respect involved just an agreement to perform.

    Marriage Myth #2: My Pastor and other spiritual leaders in the church don't have marriage problems.

    Fact: Okay, if you watch the news, you know this is far from the truth. Your Pastor and other church leaders are just as human as you. Yes, they have different positions in the Body of Christ but that doesn't mean they're exempt from the issues of life. In fact, some church leaders have more marital problems because they find it difficult balancing ministry responsibilities and family life. So pray for your leaders as the Bible instructs us to do.

    Girl's Guide to Understanding Guys and Porn - Scott Croft

    Do all men struggle with pornography? Sadly, use of pornography is extremely widespread, even among Christian men. Do 100 percent of men regularly view pornography? No, but both secular and Christian surveys regularly indicate that the vast majority (over 70 percent) of men age 18-24 view it regularly (at least weekly) – and those are just the guys who are willing to admit it. Pornography use even among women has increased markedly in the last several years. In the two churches in which I have served in leadership in the last 10 years, we eventually had to make it a systematic practice to have pointed conversations with men we were considering for deacon or elder positions to make sure that they were not viewing pornography.

    Having said all that, I personally know a number of brothers who have never viewed pornography regularly and some who have never viewed it at all. Still, as a practical and statistical matter, a single Christian woman looking to marry may well have to contend with a current or past struggle with pornography in the man she considers marrying.

    Is an addiction to pornography impossible (or nearly impossible) to overcome?
    No. Like most sins – especially those that grow to operate like an addiction – abandoning the use of pornography can be very difficult to overcome, but no sin is impossible to overcome with God. God's Word tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that "no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." We will never be perfect in this life, but if we have the Holy Spirit in us, the Bible tells us we can fight any sin and have real victory with God's help.

    How to Give Your Child a Healthy Self-Image - Dorothy Corkille Briggs

    If I were to give you nine compliments and one harsh criticism, which of the ten comments would you probably remember me for—for the rest of your life if we were close friends? And when we give our children more criticisms than compliments and words of encouragement and praise, which are they going to remember the longest? Undoubtedly the criticisms.

    It's primarily what we, the parents, program into our child's memory bank that shapes his or her self-concept which is how he perceives himself. This also includes his/her self-image and self-esteem—how the child sees and feels about him/herself. A healthy self-concept and self-image is so vital for the development of a healthy personality, we simply cannot overemphasize its importance. It is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.

    In her book Your Child’s Self-Esteem, Dorothy Corkille Briggs, educator and child counselor, says: "High self-esteem is not a noisy conceit. It is a quiet sense of self-respect, a feeling of self worth.

    "Your child’s judgment of himself influences the kinds of friends he chooses, how he gets along with others, the kind of person he marries, and how productive he will be. It effects his creativity, integrity, stability, and even whether he will be a leader or a follower. His feelings of self-worth form the core of his personality and determine the use he makes of his aptitudes and abilities. His attitude toward himself has a direct bearing on how he lives all parts of his life. In fact, self-esteem is the mainspring that slants every child for success or failure as a human being."

    Self-esteem is the mainspring that slants every child for success or failure as a human being.

    In other words, if children like and believe in themselves, they will naturally accept that others like them and believe in them too. If they don’t like and believe in themselves, they will be convinced that others don’t like them or believe in them either.

    10 Tips for Fun Family Devotions - Denise Oliveri

    Family devotions are a great way for families to come together and learn about the Bible together. They should be interesting and fun for everyone in the family.

    You want to have family devotions because you know that devotions are a way to keep your family connected and learn Bible truths together. But what about time constraints and busy schedules? What if they just bore your kids and lose their original intent? Listed below are some ways of making the most of your time together and keeping the whole family ready to come back for more!

    Tip #1: Do not make devotions boring. Make them lively and inviting. If the weather is nice, get out of the house. Have devotions in different places in the house, and not the same place every time.

    Tip #2: Do not make your devotions too long. Rambling on and on is not an effective way to keep your kid's attention. Get to the point.

    Tip #3: Use object lessons for devotions. Having things that your family can feel and hold will really liven things up. For instance, if you are doing a devotion on Noah and the Flood, use stuffed animals, fill a tupperware bowl with water and have a small boat to float on it. Use your imagination!

    Tip #4: Be knowledgeable about the devotion. The devotion will be more enticing if you flow with your words. Stumbling and checking back to references can become frustrating to those listening to you. Give yourself time to prepare the devotion ahead of time.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    Me, myself and Leah

    A young man and woman went on a date. For two solid hours, he spoke about himself, his accomplishments, successes and ideas. And then he turned to her and said: “Enough of me talking about myself, now what do you think of me?”

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth...we all know the story. For those who appreciate nature; the incomprehensible beauty of the world, the waterfalls, the millions of different types of flowers, red roses, purple tulips,animals, pink flamingos, peacocks with their colourful tails. For those who appreciate science; consider the angle at which the Earth tilts, the Earth's axial tilt varies from 22.1° to 24.5° over a 42,000 year period. This tilt, explains why we have seasons and why places above the Arctic Circle have very cold weather. Honestly Its beyond my comprehension. But it all goes to show how much God gave us to experience and enjoy in this world.

    Stages of a Man's Life - Minister Onorio

    Rethinking Prophet, Priest, and King
    In a previous post I connected the biblical offices of Prophet, Priest and King to us as men of God.

    But I’m also thinking about these biblical offices as stages in a man’s life. Here is what I mean:

    The Single Man as Prophet
    We live in a culture where single young men 18-34 “hang out in a playground of drinking, hooking up, playing Halo 3, and, in many cases, underachieving. With them, adulthood looks as though it’s receding.”1
    Some men think this script is fun. But not when they turn 45 and hit midlife crisis with tears of regret. No pay increase. No early retirement. No rewarding career. Singleness is not the time to play the field. Singleness is the time to develop the field of your life by being a man of integrity, creativity, purpose and vision.

    Prophets were set apart by God to speak His Word and represent Him before the people. Where and how they lived marked them as God’s property. They were incredibly creative, articulate and bold because they were crystal clear about their identity.
    God may be calling you to be set apart as a single man for a season of personal and career development. Your future wife needs a husband who is confident about who He is and where He is going.

    Verbally Abusive Relationships - Patricia Jones, M.A.

    Verbal Abuse is Scary
    If you have been or are the victim of verbal abuse from someone you love, or who says they love you, it can be a terrifying experience. In fact, it makes you sick to your stomach, that "hole in the pit of your stomach" kind of feeling. And many times, verbal abuse comes when you least expect it. Everything appears to be going fine, and then WHAMO, out of nowhere YOU are all of a sudden the TARGET for someone else's anger or their inability to control their own emotions. They get upset at something THEY DID, usually, and then they verbally lash out at you, as if you are the one who messed up. And it happens over and over and over again.

    I call it VERBAL RAGE.
    This supposedly calm person erupts like a fiery volcano over the slightest thing, and then can also remain calm over things that most people would respond to very vocally. It is maddening! If it were not so pathetic, it would be funny.

    First you must identify verbal abuse for what it is: ABUSE To be the target of someone else's rage is never fun. And over time, it can weaken every strength that you have. You begin to live in fear of the next explosion. You begin to cower whenever the abuser is in the room. You pick and choose your words carefully. It has been called "walking on egg shells, but I think it is more like "walking on thin layer of ice," that can crack open at any moment.

    To continue reading, click here
     

    Holy Matrimony! - Michael Ross


    One minute, I'm surfing the tube — looking for something decent to watch — and the next minute, I'm bewildered. What I'm seeing can't be real! I tell myself. It's got to be staged. But why? Who actually lives this way?

    I've stumbled upon a popular daytime talk show that uses shock topics to boast ratings. Today's subject: "Transvestite Gay Males and Their Female Lovers."

    I'm morbidly transfixed.

    The host is interviewing a gay-identified young man named Charlie, who is dressed like a girl, and a lady named Sarah, who is dressed like a boy. Both claim to be lovers. Suddenly, the girl pulls an engagement ring out of her jacket pocket and kneels in front of the boy.

    "Charlie, we've been friends through high school," she says, "and you know how I feel about you."

    The boy blushes, and the audience cheers.

    "I want to spend my life with you," Sarah tells Charlie, offering him the ring. "I want to have your children. That's why I'm asking you to marry me."

    Pursue Her - Kiesling

    Have you ever heard the fairytale about the princess in shining armor? You know the story. She crosses an ocean, slays a dragon and rescues the man she loves?

    Wait. You've never heard that one?

    OK, neither have I.

    Why? Because fairytales are always the other way around — the man fights for the woman. He takes the risks. He battles the beast. He pursues her.

    Now I realize that fairytales are stereotypical, admittedly even a little sexist. But they do contain a measure of truth. These whimsical tales we learn as children mirror a deep-seated longing in the soul of every man and woman.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    Trying To Conceive?

    The long wait for a child can be hell. With family and friends always asking "What are you waiting for?" While some people are sensitive, for others it will hit it in your face and you might be faced with snide comments. It's very normal for women to feel unhappy if they have no kids. Single ladies approaching 30 or above 30 get uncomfortable around their married friends, talk less of married women without kids.  It is really hard to understand the pain of trying to conceive except you have been there.
    • When you laugh or smile and play, people will ask "what is making you happy, instead of you to be crying that you are barren".
    • When you are down and praying , they say you are envious. They remind you of the several boyfriends you had back in University.
    • When you stay away (so that you avoid the two points above), they say you are not happy for them.
    • When they offer you ridiculous ways out (like taking you to a herbalist) and you decline, they say you are proud and your suffering never start.
    • When you tell them you are waiting on God for His miracle, they say 'Heaven helps those who help themselves'
    • When you go to church, the pastor indirectly says you are barren because of your sins or lack of sowing seed to the church.
    • When you correct a child for doing wrong, the mother will remind you of how barren you are.
    • When you eventually get pregnant and keep it to yourself, they get mad that because you did not inform them; they say it is fake, or you adopted, or you did surrogacy, like any of those are bad. 
    • When you give your precious miracle child several names, they call you illuminati.

    Adopt or Have My Own? - Candice Watters

    It's understandable and commendable that you want to adopt when you get married.

    Showing compassionate love for orphans (and widows) plays no small part in the kingdom of God. In fact, it's the mark of true religion. James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

    There's no question that your desire to adopt is in line with God's will for believers. So where does that leave your plan to adopt instead of having your own children? The best place to look for answers to your question about preventing birth is Scripture. Nothing in the Bible suggests that some married couples are set apart to not have children. Never does the charge to care for orphans and widows come at the expense of natural children. The ministry of adoption is in addition to biological offspring. Throughout Scripture, natural children are always presented as a blessing to be embraced. As such, biblical marriage presupposes an openness to the blessing of children:

    Sex Series: Bridal Preparation for the Honeymoon - Dannah Gresh

    You've had the modern-casual wedding dress picked out for 18 months. To put a touch of traditional into your look, you've opted for a "duchess" bouquet inspired by "Downton Abbey." Your caterer has designed a meal guests will remember, starting with a cappuccino bar and ending with a retro-inspired pineapple upside-down cake. Your fiancé has spent nine months planning a honeymoon in Bora Bora.

    But how much time have you invested into the launch of your sex life?

    Sex isn't simple.


    And compared to that pineapple upside-down cake, you'll spend a lot more time feasting on it in the intimate chamber of your bedroom. Maybe you should spend some time preparing. Here are a few ideas to get your sex life off to a great start.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Biblical Dating: How It's Different From Modern Dating - Scott Croft

    If you're reading this, you're interested in dating. You've done it, you're doing it, you'd like to do it, or you need to teach somebody else how to do it. Don't worry. You're not alone. In our society, dating has become something of an obsession. It is expected to be a universal phenomenon. It's just something you do if you're single and of age (and that age is quickly dropping) in America. It is considered the natural precursor to marriage, and is generally considered something to be desired, whatever form it might take.

    It's also big business. If you were to Google the word "matchmaker," you would receive something in the neighborhood of 19,500,000 responses — with a few of these outfits claiming to be Christian, but most making no such claim. "Dating" will get you 730,000,000 hits.

    As evangelical Christians, we're called to be distinct in the ways we think and act about all issues that confront us and those around us. This topic is no exception. So is there such a thing as biblical dating? If so, what is it? How can Christians think differently about this pervasive issue in media and culture? How are we doing so far?

    The answer to that last question is "not well." Surveys consistently indicate that professing Christians behave almost exactly like non-Christians in terms of sexual involvement outside of marriage (in both percentage of people involved and how deeply involved they are — how far they're going), living together before marriage, and infidelity and divorce after marriage. Granted, not all of these people are evangelicals, but we're not doing so well either. Indeed, the central issue we need to confront — and the reason I write and speak on this topic — is that when it comes to dating and relationships, perhaps more than in any other area of the everyday Christian life, the church is largely indistinguishable from the world. That truth has brought immeasurable emotional pain and other consequences to many Christians. Worse, it has brought great dishonor to Christ's name and to the witness of individuals and the church.

    It doesn't have to be this way. For Christians, the Lord has given us His Word, and the Holy Spirit helps us understand it. We have brothers and sisters in Christ to hold us accountable and to help us apply the Word to our lives. If you're a Christian, that's the biblical life you're called to.

    That's what I hope this series will be about — applying God's Word to dating, finding a spouse and getting married.

    Scripture Rules

    Do you have to have sex on your wedding night? - John Thomas

    What you do on your wedding night is between you and your new spouse. As long as you are both in agreement, and your actions honor and respect one another, then there's no set physical agenda.

    The wedding night can be terribly intimidating, especially if there are expectations of hours of rapturous sexual ecstasy, an idea fueled more by Hollywood than reality, and one that most assuredly will leave one or both spouses disappointed. You'll do yourself a favor by getting the perfectly-timed hot and steamy love scene from the movie out of your head now. Somebody wrote that script for two actors, and they're getting paid to fake you out.

    There's nothing magical about saying "I do" that suddenly makes a person an expert about the other person's body. The wedding night is the first of hopefully thousands of nights (and mornings and days and afternoons) together — there's plenty of time to learn and discover.

    The process of discovery is a blast, as long as you know the key: COMMUNICATION, which means TALKING. The couple should talk with one another about their wedding night (a good pre-marriage counselor will help facilitate this) and what are proper expectations. Even two of the world's greatest musicians would have difficulty suddenly having to play a duet that neither had ever heard before. There would be plenty of notes missed. But as they took time to practice, things would begin to click.

    Here I'm speaking from experience: if the couple has reserved sex for marriage, they can expect plenty of notes to be missed early on as they begin the process of physical discovery. But not to worry, with patience, practice and good communication, each will continually enjoy the song more and more as the years go by (now 13 years for my wife and me and still getting better). Continual discovery for a lifetime is, in fact, the way God designed marital sex, and He wired it so that the two must communicate in order to fulfill its design.

    One more thought. There could be issues that make sexual expression especially difficult for a couple, such as pre-marital promiscuity, a past abusive relationship or event, past pornographic addictions, etc. These issues might require help from a trained counselor to work through. No couple should be afraid to ask for help as they learn to navigate new and sometimes difficult waters. They'll be glad they did.

    Monday Morning Blues

    Monday mornings are infamously miserable, the cycle of early mornings, traffic, deadlines at work, meetings and all importantly the drive to succeed !

    An Ibo adage says " When the Goat is eating the yam it should remember the kid is close by watching it."

    The last of God's Ten Commandments--and probably the most difficult to obey--deals with the sin of covetous. "Thou shalt not covet . . . any thing that is thy neighbour's" (Exodus 20:17). "Take heed, and beware of covetousness" warned the Lord Jesus, "for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). This warning introduced His parable of the rich man whom God called a fool. "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:21).

    But how does one attain this in a consumer driven society such as ours.? Some might even think that with all the money companies spend on advertising, buying that brand new car is a form of commercial responsibility. Riding a car or jet is not a sign of covetousness or not being contented. What God sees is our hearts, there lies our true purpose and intention. And how does one become rich toward God? "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . . . Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. . . . seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:20, 25, 33). The things that are important to God should be important to you. It is a recipe for a life of peace and inner joy. Guided by this precept,a Christian will not be drawn to the unending quest for material wealth at the expense of family or time he/she ought to use in serving God. What's d point of it all anyway?

    Singleness: A Blessing or a Curse? - Fern Horst

    I used to think that singleness was about the worst lot in life a person could have. I don't think it helped that I read every Christian romance novel I could get my hands on. It all seemed so wonderful that I couldn't imagine what an awful thing it would be to end up...single!

    After a number of years had passed and with them a few romantic disappointments, I was forced to take a second look at singleness...and at some of those novels. I began to look around me at some of the single people I knew and I began to wonder. What about Sarah? She's as faithful to the Lord as anyone I know, why hasn't God "rewarded" her with a mate? And what about David? He certainly doesn't seem to be one who is deserving of singleness. After all, hasn't he chosen to go to that remote mission field for the Lord's sake? Of all people, doesn't he "need" a wife?

    I realized that the undercurrent message of many of those Christian romance novels was a lie. After all, not every sweet and wonderful person ends up with a "happily ever after" walk down the aisle. Romance obviously isn't the beautiful ending to every difficult situation. And a wedding isn't the reward for those who trust God and wait on Him for His perfect timing. As warm and fuzzy as these concepts are to us, they just aren't true.

    Should A Christian Use Birth Control? If So, What Forms Are Acceptable? - Jack Wellman

    Is it sin to use birth control? If birth control is okay, what forms are acceptable to God? Can we know from the Scriptures?

    Birth Control and Contraceptives Methods
    There are dozens of birth control and contraceptive methods that are available. Hormonal methods include the use of oral contraceptives (called “the Pill”), skin patches, and vaginal rings. Hormonal methods contain estrogen and progestin. There are progestin-only hormonal methods and even the IUD. There are even birth control shots that are effective for a period of 3 months. Male and now female condoms are available. Others include the diaphragm, cervical cap, cervical shield, and the contraceptive shield. None is 100% effective in preventing conception and many can cause medical complications for women.

    When Does Life Begin?
    Most pro-abortionists have ambiguous answers to the question of when life begins. Some say it is when a heart beat is detected, others say it is about 6 months when premature babies have been born, and still others say it is at birth. Where in the Bible can we see when life actually begins?

    7 Tips for the Christian Father

    Fathers, it is important that we consider ourselves role models for our children. This is not something we can take lightly. It always bothers me when a public figure says that they are not a role model and should not be looked up to for how to live. However, by virtue of being a public figure they are a model. People will look up to them for leadership. They may or may not be a good one, but people are going to follow their lead. The same is true with fathers for our children. They will always look to us as an example of how to live. Saying “do as I say and not as I do” will not change the fact that you have young eyes watching your every move.

    Here are seven tips for Christian fathers that I hope will be a help and blessing to you.

    Love Your Wife

    Loving the mother of your children is important to being a good dad. Children derive security and stability from knowing that their parents are unified and love one another. Your children should see you doing special things for your wife. This is a good example for them on how they should treat their future spouse. It also gives them a chance to see a good relationship. With TV, music and movies today your children are being taught that there are many horrible relationships in the world. Your family does not need to be one of those.

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    Mending a marriage after an affair.

    This is every man and woman's nightmare, we like to think it won't happen to us, and hopefully if won't. One of the most devastating, destructive events that can happen to a marriage is the heartbreak left in the wake of an affair. Now that it's over - really over - you want to try to pick up the pieces. It could be a full blown affair or emotional infidelity, there might even be a love child involved but the question is what do you do now?

    The rate of Infidelity is high everywhere not just in Nigeria because society does not frowned on a man cheating on his wife. Both Nigerian men and women make excuses for husbands who cheat on their wives. Polygamy is also acceptable in Nigeria. Women are not innocent either. It is a clear case of hate the game and not the player. I think that if people cannot be faithful to their spouses, they are not ready to get married.

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    I'm an Obama Mama

    "I miss Saturday morning, rolling out of bed, not shaving, getting into my car with my girls, driving to the supermarket, squeezing the fruit, getting my car washed, taking walks". - Barak Obama

    About her husband, Michelle Obama once said, "Barack didn't pledge riches, only that life would be interesting. On that promise, he's delivered."

    President Obama is a tough dad. His daughters flew to North Carolina to hear their dad’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. He began his speech by saying, “Malia and Sasha, you make me so proud. But don’t get any ideas — you’re still going to class tomorrow.”

    In June 1989, Obama met Michelle Robinson when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin. Assigned for three months as Obama's adviser at the firm, Robinson joined him at group social functions, but declined his initial requests to date. They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married on October 3, 1992.
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