Archive | November 2011

COMMUNICATION IN MARRIAGE

There is clearly a blessing in being able to effectively communicate and being on one accord with your spouse. So much so that in the bible in Genesis 11:5-8, the people of the land communicated using the same language began to build a tower that would reach to the heavens. Their actions resulted in God confusing the language, because nothing would be impossible to them who speak on one accord.
Communication in marriage or lack thereof has been cited for years as one of the primary reasons for divorce. Being able to effectively communicate your thoughts and feelings to your spouse is not only necessary to make a marriage work, but essential to maintain a harmonious household. Furthermore, good communication skills are necessary in every aspect of life.
For those who have issues communicating with your spouse whether it be difficulty expressing your thoughts or difficulty being a good listener there are some things you can do to become a better communicator. Listed below are a few tips to effectively communicating with your spouse:

  • Take time each day to talk to each other.
  • Openly talk to the other person, and actively listen.
  • Express feelings without getting angry.
  • Don’t be mean.
  • Don’t give advice, unless asked for it.
  • Watch your tone of voice.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions.
  • Don’t interrupt.

In closing remember that “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 (NKJV)

Written by Terry 411 Cato

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Do You Trust Your Gut? Feeling the Holy Nudge

Did you ever have second thoughts about something?  You know the feeling, that inner sense of hesitation that gently says, “Don’t do it.”, or the louder “Stop!”, or the blaring “WARNING!! WARNING!!”  Us women like to call it “women’s intuition”.  Some people like to call it a “sixth sense”.  Many believers call it “discernment” or a “holy nudge”.  Whatever it is called, it is usually that feeling* in the gut that makes you think twice about something.

I had that feeling when I was engaged to my first husband.  I was a new Christian and had been dating him for about three years before my conversion.  He seemed like a pretty decent guy overall but, admittedly, there were many aspects of his personality that I just did not respect.  One day things were going along on their normal course in our relationship when we had one of our typical arguments.  There was nothing really out of the ordinary with the argument, but afterwards I began to wonder if I should move forward with our plans to marry.  There was just this gut feeling that I should probably really reconsider the decision.  Nevertheless, I ignored the feeling and moved forward in the relationship, doing nothing.

About a week later I was sitting in church and, right in the midst of the sermon, I heard–as clear as a bell–through the voice of the pastor, “IF YOU HAVE DOUBTS, DON’T MARRY HIM!”   (I don’t remember the topic of the sermon, but I do know it had nothing to do with marriage or relationships!)  As soon as I heard that statement, I was revisited by that gut feeling again.  I thought, “Hmmm.  Should I end this relationship?”  I later sought the advice of three trusted wise counselors and shared my concerns with them.  With the limited information that I had and gave to them, they all basically said the same thing–just give it time.  So I listened to what they said…and again ignored that feeling in my gut.  What a bad decision! Several months later–and right after our wedding–I discovered that he was cheating on me.  I should have trusted my gut and felt the “holy nudge”.

Continue Reading: Do You Trust Your Gut? Feeling the Holy Nudge

Dirty Little Secret…SHHHH!

That’s what she called him.  Her “dirty little secret”.  Here was Malynda*, an attractive, vibrant single Christian woman.  She thrived in her job as a paralegal, owned her own home, and was a leader in her church.  By all outward appearances, she had it together.  But she had a “dirty little secret”.  Actually, it was a huge secret.  Despite what she appeared to be on the outside (together, compliant…even spiritual to some), Malynda carried on a secret sexual relationship with a man to whom she was not married.  While she felt extremely guilty, ashamed, and convicted by God for her behavior, Malynda could not seem to stop.  And, despite these feelings, she also felt a hidden thrill about her secret.  She felt a distorted satisfaction at a base level–despite her faith and what she knew intellectually about the importance of obedience and submission to the will of God.

What is it about things that are secretive that seem to feed the flesh and ignite a fierce drive to get more, more, more?  That cake of which you know you should not have another piece.  That money you promised you would not spend because it was set aside to pay an outstanding debt.  That online relationship that, if exposed, would damage your reputation and entire life.  These things and others like them can be and usually are secrets, but they feel good.  Why is that?

The short and obvious answer to the aforementioned question is because we have the flesh and anything that appeals to it is attractive.  The forbidden feels good.  The forbidden that is also a secret can feel even better…almost powerful.  Yet I propose that there is something deeper than the obvious…something that is both general to all and specific to each individual.  It is the longing to be “like God“–an offering originally promised by the devil himself.  It is the desire to be in control of our world, to satisfy our every desire and longing on this side of heaven, to create (and have) our own personal Eden.  This is the thing that drives every outward move towards the “dirty little secret”.  It is sin.
Well, if it all goes back to sin, what hope is there?  If I go to a counselor to address my secret shopping addiction and they (eventually) tell me or lead me to see that I “just need to repent”, what is the point in paying them if I already knew that in the first place?  Valid questions.  The answer is both simple and complex.

The answer is Christ.  It is His death on the cross.  It is His resurrection from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is the fact that He made us alive again spiritually and gave us the power to live with unmet desires and longings on this side of heaven–regardless of the fact that it often feels like we can not.  It is that power that brings our “dirty little secrets” to light and gives us the power to overcome their relentless pull.  The real, life-giving secret is in Christ. We’ve FOUND the (real!) secret!  This is our hope.

*The name and story mentioned in this article is fictional and used solely for illustrative purposes.  Any similarity to actual persons or events is purely coincidental.  Individuals seen in a professional counseling setting are protected by confidentiality as agreed between them and their respective counselors.

Written by Nicole Efunnuga, M.S. – Christian Therapist

Patient Love

“Love is patient.”    I Corinthians 13:4

Love, by nature, is patient. This is why those couples who are “in love” exhibit an inordinate amount of patience in the beginning. What is said, what is done or not done has extra grace embedded in the relationship. Lovers believe, “I will let you down. You will let me down. I will act immaturely. You will act immaturely. I will struggle with fear. You will struggle with fear.

We both need patience, for love is “patient.” If there is no evidence of patience in a relationship, then there is a love deficiency. Love expresses itself in patience. For example, you serve your children because you love them. They are sometimes silly and prone to foolishness, but you still love them. Because you love them, you are patient with them.

This may become more of a challenge when you relate this thinking to relationships outside of your family. A work associate, a stranger, or especially someone outside the faith, is harder to love. You barely know them. Therefore, how can you love them? The most difficult to love is someone who has offended you. We tend to lose our patience with those who are offensive. So, here is an important distinction to make.

You love someone, not because they necessarily deserve it, but because they are created in the image of God. Jesus loved them so much He died for them. You can disapprove of their behavior and still love them. Your willingness to tolerate delay may keep the relationship intact. This is love. This is patience. Your calmness and self-control may be the very thing needed to stabilize the situation. Wake up loving, go to bed loving, and love in between. This environment of love will nurture and produce patience—lots of it.

God understands this because He is love. Therefore, He is the epitome of patience. If anyone has the right to lose His patience, it is God. Everyday He deals with billions of sinners, many of whom are demanding their way. Some are oblivious to God. Some are harsh and angry toward God. But because of His great love for mankind, His longsuffering endures rejection and apathy.

He feels compassion, not defiance, toward someone—lost in his or her sins—flailing away in criticism toward Christ. His love expands rather than contracts in the face of your failures. His capacity to love is greater than ours and his propensity for patience is also greater. But followers of Jesus have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them to love through them. The state of an unredeemed sinner is a limited love. The condition of a saved sinner is Christ’s capacity to love.

Thus, you have the potential for a higher degree of patience. Allow Christ to love through you, and watch your patience grow and expand. Do not fall into the trap of an angry rebuttal. People and situations tend to cool off tomorrow. You still confront, but in the right timing and in the right way. Invest in patience, and the pay off is exponential. Express patience, and everyone is in a better state of mind to discuss the facts. Love the unlovable. Love the undeserving. Love the impatient. Love keeps your motive pure. Love feeds a healthy perspective.

By your love you can be patient, because love is patient. Jesus patiently loved the unlovely. The Bible says, “Jesus looked at him and loved him…” (Mark 10:21a).

Beautiful Christian Sister

By Maya Angelou

A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ

That a man should have to seek Him first to find her.’

When I say. ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not shouting ‘I’m clean living,’
I’m whispering ‘I was lost, Now I’m found and forgiven.’

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say.. ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I still feel the sting of pain…
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not holier than thou,
I’m just a simple sinner Who received God’s good grace, somehow!

Pretty is as Pretty does…. But beautiful is just plain beautiful!

How do you tame a kids bad temper???

Oh my goodness I have a child that thinks any time he doesn’t get what he wants from another kid he needs to hurt them physically. Oh and please don’t think I’m letting him get away with this but my goodness where does that temper come from??? When he was in school he asked a student to see his paper and when the kid said no he scratched him with a pair of scissors. When he gets in trouble if we send him to his room he throws a tantrum and will attempt to destroy the room. I’m being patient and talking to him and making him understand that that’s not acceptable behavior but in the mean time it’s almost scary that he may really hurt someone. If he keeps it up I think Ritalin is going to be in his future. 😉