As a marriage and family therapist I have learned countless number of techniques to help marriages and family relationships work. Read the rest of this entry »
As a marriage therapist and being married myself, I have learned that what is said is not often what is meant. For example, after a discussion with my wife, and she says “fine,” that is often used to end an argument when she is probably right, and I need to stop talking. Other times she may ask me ”What is wrong?” and I say ”Nothing,” even though something is wrong. If I make a proposal and she says, “Go ahead,” I cannot assume it is permission. (It is actually a dare.) I’ve also learned that when my wife says “Whatever,” it is not “Whatever makes you happy.” Instead, she is sending a subtle but possibly explicit message. If she apologized and I say ”That’s okay,” I actually may be planning to keep my distance for awhile. Finally, when my wife says “Wow,” it is not a compliment. It often means the she is amazed that one person can be so stupid.
Not only do I see communication problems, but I see problems people think would be solved if they were married to someone else. Read the rest of this entry »
What are some criteria for effective listening in the Bible? Some seek to correct more than connect when “listening” and find the discussion frustrating. Use the following as a checklist to accomplish effective listening:
“More than 100 million American adults who describe themselves as Christian contend . . . they are still searching for clarity regarding their purpose in life (George Barna, Maximum Faith).” Is there a connection between awareness of God and awareness of self? As one goes up, does the other go down? Or does awareness of self and awareness of God work together? John Calvin writes, ”The knowledge of God and that of ourselves are connected. Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God. Without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self.”
Due to the transient nature of thoughts and emotions, the goal of Christian mindfulness is to be aware but less reactive to your thoughts and emotions. It allows you to have your emotions and thoughts without triggering the brain’s alarm system. At the same time, understanding that God can speak through your thoughts and emotions, you can also rest on what you know about God so you can rest in the unknown. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7). The benefits, with patience and openness, can be described as “affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified” (Galatians 5:22-24).
Here are some ideas on developing Christian mindfulness to be practiced 15 to 30 minutes a day. “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psalms 16:8). Read the rest of this entry »
The burdens that pastors carry are many. Dr. Greg Smalley reports that 80 percent of pastors leave the ministry within five years of graduating seminary. He adds that 1500 pastors a month leave due to burnout or moral failure. Dr. Mark McMinn through his data-based method of church consultation shared ten burdens pastors face.
The anguish we encounter in life is immeasurable at times. It’s big. Too big. What do you do with anger and the impulse to express it without a satisfying outcome? What do you do with fear/shame that reveals our vulnerability at its core and that our worst fears can come true? What do you do with sadness so profound, so far-reaching that it drains our ability to cope?
Over time divorce rates and marriage rates have gradually moved closer. More are divorcing and less are marrying.
What if instead of judging yourself, you fully accepted yourself as does God? The Christian concept of grace is based on the finished work of Jesus as a completely effective mediator between God and man. Depression, anxiety, and addictions all depend on a negative cycle and sense of inadequacy that is fed by stress, fear, and shame. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s no one cause to divorce. Researchers point to a spike in divorce between five and seven years of marriage due to high conflict and between ten and twelve years due to loss of intimacy and connection. Read the rest of this entry »