Recommended Book: Finally Free

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Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace finally freeby Heath Lambert is one of the best new books on breaking free of the hold of pornography. Finally Free lays out eight gospel-centered strategies for overcoming the deceitful lure of pornography. Each chapter clearly demonstrates how the gospel applies to this particular battle and how Jesus can move readers from a life of struggle to a life of purity.

Whether you are struggling with pornography or know someone who is, please pick up this helpful and empowering book.

For more help in breaking free from the grip of pornography, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003.

Recommended Book: Love and Respect

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Love and Respect: Love and RespectThe Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is a marriage book (great in premarital as well) that uses Ephesians 5:25-33 as the basis of a healthy marriage: men showing unconditional love in a sacrificial manner, like Christ did for the church; and women showing unconditional respect as the church does to Christ. By one partner opting to live biblically, the “crazy cycle” in marriage is often thwarted and a reward cycle is started. The book also teaches skills about healthy empathetic listening and living.

If you are in a relationship, this book is well worth buying, reading, and putting into practice.

For more help in your marriage or relationship, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003.

Don’t Hide Issues Under the Rug

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rug sweepBrushing your issues under the rug brings only temporary peace. Eventually the problems will come out and have to be dealt with. Have those tough conversations in your marriage. It’s better to deal with them now when they are small, compared to 5 years from now when they are massive and resentment and anger have built up. TRUE PEACE is when two people communicate about their issues and continue to choose love inside their marriage. ‪#‎marriage365‬ ‪#‎ichooselove‬

By Marriage365

Pastor Exposed as Faithful to Wife of 17 Years

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Attractive and Affectionate African American Couple posing in the park.

Pastor Exposed as Faithful to Wife of 17 Years

By Megan Hill

My husband and I bought a house today. It’s a green house on a little hill, built in 1927, and owned since 1966 by the local fire chief and his wife, now recently widowed. “Oh, the Flaherty house!” people around town said to us, “What a great family! What a great house!”

And so we bought it—the well-loved kitchen and bedrooms and front porch—the settings of half-a-century’s worth of lazy Saturdays and Sunday dinners and hectic Monday mornings. And lugging our cardboard boxes through the door, we found a note on the kitchen counter: “We hope,” she had written in the fragile penmanship of the elderly, “you have many happy years as we did in this home.” My house tells the story of a happy marriage.

The church, too, is a kind of house (1 Pet. 2:5, Heb. 3:6). Yet, tragically, the marriage stories of its well-known members and leaders are not always the happy kind.

Tullian Tchividjian, a pastor in my own denomination, recentlyresigned over an affair. He joins what seems like a long list of pastors whose reputation for sin now precedes them. Turning in disgust from our unrelenting newsfeeds, we might shake our heads and sadly accept the pronouncement of a Christian Postop-ed: “Moral failings among [Christian] leaders are becoming an epidemic.”

We are right to lament moral failure. Forgiveness and reconciliation are central to our Christian faith, but Tchividjian’s sin (and the sin of every pastor who is unfaithful) will still have grave consequences for himself and for the lives of his wife, his children, and the woman with whom he committed adultery. The effects will extend to the members of his church and to those who have read his books or listened to his sermons.

And as secular news outlets like Time, NBC, and People report the events to a watching world, Tchividjian’s actions bring shame on his own name, on the name of his faithful grandfather Billy Graham, on the office of pastor, the Christian church, and, for many, on the name of Christ himself.

Whenever a Christian leader fails to exemplify Christ in his marriage (Eph. 5:25-28), we must grieve. Yet, perhaps this disease of pastoral unfaithfulness has not reached the “epidemic” status many assume. The church has many examples of happy marriages, of pastors and their wives who walk in daily obedience together, of lifelong faithfulness for better or worse. For every pastor who abandons his first love, there are countless others who fight to remain faithful. If we would pay attention, we’d find that these happy marriages are both more common and more compelling than Twitter trends and news headlines might suggest.

I think of my own parents. My dad has been a pastor for 37 years and married to my mom for 42. Through hundreds of sermons and hospital visits and church dilemmas of Solomonic proportions, he and my mother have loved one another with tenderness and self-sacrifice. Perfectly? Of course not. But faithfully? Yes.

I think of my pastor during college. On the brink of forming our own adult commitments—work, marriage, and family—students watched his marriage intensely. And though he and his wife were probably unaware, we always saw them love one another with patience and grace.

I think of my year as a newlywed in the huge church of a “famous” pastor—widely known, an author of books, a speaker at conferences. Nevertheless, he and his wife invited us to their home for Sunday lunch. We all snapped stalks of asparagus in the kitchen while the two of them laughed at some nearly forgotten story from their dating years. A quiet moment of faithful affection, echoing loudly through the years.

And I think of my own marriage. For 11 years, I have been married to a pastor. And we are happy.

Ministry life poses particular challenges for marriages, no doubt. In their book, Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us about Surviving and Thriving, authors and researchers Bob Burns, Tasha Chapman, and Donald C. Guthrie list five major stressors: the “normal” pressures in marriage and family life; always being on the job; conflicting loyalties of church and home, abandonment due to work commitments; and a lack of confidants in other ministry spouses.

To varying degrees, I have found all of these to be true. But “faith is a fighting grace,” as Aimee Byrd writes in Theological Fitness. Happy marriages in ministry are a testimony to God’s grace—his kind preservation from the world, the flesh, and the Devil. And happy marriages are a testimony to days of hard fighting.

We should remember that the infant church, too, had its unfaithful pastor problems. Christ himself knowingly chose its first 12 leaders. One betrayed him. One denied him and later was restored. But ten followed Christ unmarked by public scandal.

We each can name far more pastors who are faithful in their marriages than those who are not. And I suspect we would also say that it’s those faithful marriages, those ordinary, daily testimonies of richer or poorer, sickness and health, for better or worse that most influence us. One marriage fails that we might not presume, but many—many!—marriages are, by God’s grace, faithful that we might not despair.

Our grief and disappointment—or cynical resignation—at the news of one more pastor caught in public sin can blind us to the faithfulness of many. What’s more, it blinds us to the bigger picture of what marital faithfulness is. We need to remember that faithfulness is not only what happens in a bedroom at night but what happens in every room, in every moment, of a marriage. When we witness joy and peace and kindness—and forgiveness and long-suffering, too—between a husband and wife, we witness faithfulness.

“God’s glory will be shown in faithfulness wherever it is found, even in the tiny domestic picture of our seemingly insignificant families,” wrote Albert Mohler. Christ is building his house. And for generations to come, it will tell countless tiny stories of happy marriages. To the glory of God, let’s make sure we notice.

6 Things To Do When Happiness Fades in Your Marriage

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6 Things To Do When Happiness Fades in Your Marriage

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

Julia_young_couple_relationship_problems_look_left(5).jpgYou’ve begun to feel unhappy in your marriage. You and your spouse haven’t been spending time together like you used to. There’s distance between the two of you, and your interactions have cooled. As blissfully happy as you were when you got married, you can’t imagine how you got to this point.

This is supposed to be your soulmate, right? So what is going on? Do you even know this person any more?

Long before we ever get married, we imagine that once we’re in a marriage with our soulmate, that person will meet our every need. But that’s not true because even after we say our vows, we’re still the same people with the same baggage and the same emotional hard-wiring.

Even though you love your spouse deeply, you will still feel unhappy and alone sometimes. This is normal; it’s not an indicator that something has gone wrong with your marriage.

There will be times when outside stressors invade your marriage and dampen your happiness. There will also be times when the two of you will have to invest extra energy into one another in order to find your footing again.

Don’t become fearful; with hard work and perseverance, you and your spouse will be able to overcome the unhappy times you face together. Here are a few tips to help you get through.

1. GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER AGAIN

When you’re dating, you spend a lot of time getting to know each other. After you’ve been married for several years, you think you still know one another–but your tastes change over time, and your old favorites aren’t your new favorites any more.

Being married is a continual process of getting to know your spouse again and again over the course of your relationship.

Taking time to intentionally learn the things that are significant to your spouse will stave off boredom. You can easily become disinterested in someone who you think you know, and who you believe really hasn’t changed since you got married. If you put that effort into constantly learning about your spouse, you’ll see that he or she will keep you fascinated.

Husbands, take note: we learned of a study done by a great researcher on marriage, and what makes the happiest couples happy. One corollary he discovered was how well the husband knew his wife. (Because women tend to tune into little details, there wasn’t much of a fluctuation for them.)

Basically, how well husbands are tuned into their wives’ favorites (movie, color, flower, perfume–whatever things are most significant to them) directly affects the level of satisfaction in the relationship.

A great way to get re-acquainted with each other is to work through Love Talk Starters. The book contains 275 questions to spark conversation and help you learn more about one another.

Invest some time to get to know each other better, and watch the level of happiness and fulfillment in your marriage grow.

2. BE GENEROUS WITH ONE ANOTHER

It’s important to cultivate a spirit of generosity toward your spouse. In fact, it’s the best marriage insurance you can invest in.

Being generous has little to do with money; focusing extra time and effort on your spouse will make a world of difference in your marriage.

Little things count BIG. Offer your husband or wife little comforts, tokens of affection, extra help, or special attention. If your wife loves to have her back massaged, offer that to her–don’t wait for her to ask. Or if your husband likes to have coffee before he leaves for work in the morning, prepare it for him, and maybe throw in something special, like a flavoring or a creamer he enjoys.

Be careful not to keep score, though. Being petty and keeping tabs is definitely not the way to draw happiness back into your marriage.

When it comes to paying extra attention to your spouse, go above and beyond to display generosity and unselfishness. The impression you’ll leave on him or her will be hard to ignore.

3. SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER

One great way to bring happiness back into your relationship is to make more time for each other–valuable, energized time, not the leftovers after you’re already exhausted.

The two of you need time to hang out together, when you can be playful and affectionate with each other. You can’t do that when you’re focused on kids or your to-do list.

It’s easy to get stuck and comfortable in patterns that starve your marriage of this special one-on-one time, but it’s imperative that you find ways to ignite one another’s desire for that companionship.

Be fully present with each other as you create space in each day where you can slow down together. These moments are essential to the well-being of your marriage.

Share your dreams; inspire each other. What are some things you dream about doing together as a couple? Perhaps you can plan a special vacation that signifies a new day in your relationship.

If you’re having trouble finding the time to set aside for one another, we suggest that you take our very short time assessment. It will help you identify your (and your spouse’s) major time style, and will give you insight to one another’s approach to time. This will set you on the right path to creating moments for just the two of you.

4. DON’T BE A VICTIM

When the happiness in a marriage fades over time, the blame rarely rests on one spouse. And when you find yourself in this situation, it’s incredibly easy to point the finger at your husband or wife, mentally listing, re-listing, and memorizing the faults and behaviors that you believe are to blame.

Any time you’re facing an ongoing or long-term unhappiness issue in your relationship, it’s your responsibility to take a look at your life and question what role you may have in your situation.

Instead of assuming the victim role and assigning the role of oppressor to your spouse, focus on becoming a healthier, happier person. Work on yourself and make the necessary changes to get yourself into a better place.

Ask yourself what changes you can make to your own behavior, or your treatment of your spouse, to help lift some of the burden from your marriage.

Making positive changes on your own will have an impact on your spouse. It will affect how you view yourself, how your spouse views you, and ultimately, it will benefit your relationship.

If you are being mistreated, neglected, or abused by your spouse, getting healthy will enable you to set appropriate boundaries, protect yourself, and enact change. Make sure you seek support from a professional counselor and trusted friends or family members as you work toward a healthier future.

5. EXERCISE FORGIVENESS

As Ruth Bell Graham once said, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” No matter what you face in your relationship, it is imperative that you and your spouse be willing to forgive one another’s shortcomings.

Forgiveness in marriage is the only way to move forward through a period of unhappiness. It’s likely that both of you have done (or not done) and said (or not said) hurtful things to one another leading up to and during this time.

While it’s tempting to hold onto that negativity as an excuse to keep your spouse at arm’s length from now on, resist the fears you have and release your right to exist in a defensive state. Withholding forgiveness will foster bitterness toward one another and drive you further apart.

6. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES

When you’re going through a difficult time in your marriage, it’s easy to allow yourselves to be completely drowned in negativity until you are unable to see the positive aspects of your spouse and your life together. During times like these, it’s important to be deliberate about being positive and cultivating a sense of gratitude for your blessings.

Not only should you take responsibility for your part in the bad situations you face; you must also take responsibility for the good times–that is, what good you can create in, and extract from, your life.

Create a daily habit of having several positive interactions with your spouse. Thank them for what they do for you; pay them compliments; take the time to point out or share something that makes you feel good (or that you know they’ll appreciate).

Gratitude will protect you from losing yourself to negativity during times of marital unhappiness.

No matter what, always believe that good wins, every time. If you stay focused on the good around you, you and your spouse have much greater chances of overcoming unhappy seasons.

HOLD ON TIGHT

How you feel in your marriage right now isn’t how your marriage will always feel.

The truth is, relationships are ever-changing. Love is always evolving. Hold tight to each other as you ride out the rough times together. When you come out on the other side (and you will!), you will be closer than ever.

For more tips and suggestions for making your marriage the happiest possible, check out our book, Making Happy.

 

How To Recover From a Sleepless Night

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Woman waking up

It is beyond question that a lack of sleep impacts a person mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  At some point in our lives we will likely experience a night of no sleep, interrupted sleep, or little sleep.  What is the best way to cope and function after such a restless night?

Take a look at this video for some tips on recovering from a sleepless night:

An Open Letter to Someone Who Hurt Me

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old ink letterHanging onto hurts can make us feel better about ourselves for a moment but is destructive to us in the moment and into the future.

Take a look at this open letter from a brave and healthy young woman to a person who hurt her.

Her letter demonstrates the power and healing that comes with choosing to forgive.

An Open Letter to Someone Who Hurt Me

By sarahmae

To Someone Who Hurt Me:

You don’t get to win.

You don’t get to take control of my life – my thoughts.

No – you don’t get the privilege.

My mom always said that people who tear others down, only do it to make themselves feel better.

She’s right, of course.

You’re the insecure one. You’re the ugly one. You’re the fat one. You’re lonely, mean, and sad.

But there’s a difference between you and me.

I’ll never make you feel insecure, ugly, fat, mean, or sad.

In fact, I want to build you up. I want to tell you that you’re beautiful, sweet, confident, and kind.

Your life is so much bigger than tearing someone else down. When you do that – you press pause on your own life. And we only get 80-or-so years on this earth – that’s nothing. That’s not even enough time to blink.

So, you beautiful, confident, sweet, kind human who hurt me –

Believe in yourself and your abilities. Find something about yourself that’s worth loving.

You may not even know that you hurt me. You might’ve done it on purpose.

It doesn’t matter.

I truly hope you discover your own self-worth…and soon.

80 years isn’t much time.

Don’t waste it.

All my love,

Someone Who Forgives You & Wishes You Well

Fail Better

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fail better

Something I tell my clients all the time is, “Quit and do what?”

In fitness, much like life, we fail numerous times as we grow. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about the effort and the continual growth towards new success.

Each time you think you’ve failed turn your thoughts around and realize you’ve grown and are able to do it better the next time around.

You only truly fail if you QUIT. Don’t quit.

-Michelle 

From One Fit WIndow

Myers-Briggs Personality Type Life Verses

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The Myers-Briggs helps us understand different personality types so we can understand and appreciate one another. Here’s a fun Myers-Briggs infographic designed by InterVarsity that applies a Bible verse to each of the 16 personality types.

Myers Briggs Type Life Verses

 

The Myers-Briggs can help us realize that we are all different and no personality is better than another personality.  If you would like to learn more about the Myers-Briggs, take a Myers-Briggs Inventory, or learn more about the strengths you possess based upon your personality type, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614.459.3003.

6 Reasons You Need Godly Friends

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6 Reasons You Need Godly Friends

By EquippingGodlyWomen.com

How many friends do you have? five? twenty? one hundred? How many of them are close friends that you can trust with anything? How many of them consistently encourage you and build you up? While it’s easy to gain a huge number of “friends” on social media, we all need more than just a few passing acquaintances who fill our newsfeed with funny cat pictures or pictures of adorable babies. Here are six reasons why you need close Godly friendships too.

 

1. They Encourage You

 

Whether you are having a good day or a bad day, your Godly friends are always there to encourage you. They won’t allow you to wallow in self-pity indefinitely. Instead, they help you remember that God has everything under control and that it WILL be okay, even if it doesn’t seem like it now. They are full of encouraging thoughts, they genuinely care, and they have a wealth of Scripture verses that somehow really do make you feel better.

 

2. They Ask the Difficult Questions

 

When you are really struggling and a friend asks you how you are doing, it can be tempting to just say “fine.” Godly friends don’t let you get away this, however. They ask the difficult questions to find out how you REALLY are, how they can help you and how they can pray for you. Whether you are struggling with depression or struggling to stay faithful to your spouse, your closest Godly friends want to know what’s really going on so they can be there for you.

 

3. They Offer Godly Counsel

 

Advice is very easy to come by these days. Every time you turn around, you find 100 different opinions, many of which directly oppose the others. Godly friends give you advice you can trust, however. Their advice is based on Scripture and given with your unique circumstances and personality in mind. They won’t just tell you what you want to hear. They’ll help you figure out what God would actually want you to do in your situation.

 

4. They Keep You Accountable

 

Being a Godly woman isn’t easy, and we all mess up sometimes. Thankfully, Godly friends keep us accountable. They ask the tough questions to see what you are struggling with, and then they follow up consistently to see how you are doing. They don’t do this to judge or belittle you, but because they truly care about you and helping you be an amazing Godly woman too.

 

5. They Pray for You

 

Which of us couldn’t use some additional prayer from time to time? Whether you are sick, you are unsure about a decision, or you just received big news, Godly friends are the perfect people to pray for you and they are always happy to do it. They won’t just say “I’ll pray for you,” and then forget. They will pray WITH you, and then they’ll go home and pray some more.

 

6. They Have the Resources You Need

 

None of us has all of the answers. Thankfully, when we band together, we are much stronger together than we are individually. Not only do Godly friends offer the advice, accountability and prayers that you need, but they can connect you with other resources you need as well. Need a ride to church this Sunday? Have a question about the Bible and you don’t know where to find the answer? Need some encouragement for the journey? Godly friends either have just what you need or they can connect you with other people who can help you find it.

 

Please understand, the point of this article isn’t to say you should dump all of your friends that aren’t Christian and replace them all with Godly friends. There are lots of reasons why you should have non-Christian friends too, but that’s an article for another day. The point of this article is just to say: if you don’t have a few close Christian friendships, you are missing out! Godly friends can offer you so many benefits you simply cannot find anywhere else.

 

Don’t miss the second half of this article: 6 Reasons Why You Need non-Christian Friends Too!