Funday Friday: Funny Bone Joke

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We hope that this Funday Friday joke will strike you right in the funny bone:

bone joke

 


If you would like to add some more joy or humor into your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

3 Ways to Connect Spiritually When Your Beliefs Clash

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3 Ways to Connect Spiritually When Your Beliefs Clash

By Drs Les and Leslie Parrott

We’ve met many couples who have built successful marriages and relationships despite having different faiths, religions, and beliefs. Without exception, every single one of them sees their difference of beliefs as a challenge.

When things of the spirit aren’t shared, that presents a lot of challenges to your marriage, as well as your children and your extended family. Navigating these challenges requires a great deal of grace and wisdom.

In today’s post, we’re sharing three ways to connect spiritually with your spouse–even though your beliefs clash.

  1. FIND YOUR COMMON GROUND.

Intimacy is based on sharing. When you and your spouse don’t share fundamental spiritual or religious beliefs–beliefs that, essentially, make up who you are at your very core–this can significantly threaten intimacy.

Are you a Christian married to a Jewish person? You both worship Yahweh. Are you Protestant, while your spouse is Catholic? You believe in the same God, and that Jesus is the Messiah. Does each of you align with a different denomination? Instead of focusing on the things you disagree on, find your common ground and put your emphasis there instead.

What if your spouse is part of a completely different religion altogether? You can still find common things to appreciate. If you share the belief that you aren’t in control and a power greater than you created the universe, that’s a good place to start. It’s not ideal to experience such a deep divide with your spouse, but trying to force your beliefs onto him or her may do more harm than good.

  1. REACH OUT TO OTHERS–TOGETHER.

Doing charitable or benevolent work is deeply spiritual, and deeply rewarding. Engaging together in work for the greater good will not only bring the two of you closer together; it will aid in your spiritual growth, both as a couple and as individuals.

To avoid any potential conflict, it may be easier for you to choose to support or align with charities or causes that aren’t closely tied to religious organizations–depending on the difference of beliefs between the two of you.

Reaching outside of yourself to help others in need will bring you closer to God, and closer to your spouse. It will also help the two of you to focus on the good you can do in the world if you work together.

  1. FOCUS ON HOPE, LOVE, AND GOODNESS.

Hope, love, and goodness are universally spiritual things, valued in most major religions. Focusing on them together could help foster the sense of spiritual closeness that you may be lacking.

No matter how deep your differences of belief are, you can always circle back to these tenets. If the two of you are committed to one another and to having a successful, peaceful, and fruitful marriage, you’ll find comfort in grounding yourselves here.


If you would like help with your marriage or relationship, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Building an Intimate Marriage: Honesty

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Building an Intimate Marriage: Honesty

By Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott

The most beautiful thing about Jesus is the He knows us fully, and yet He still loves us. That was His purpose when He created man and woman. His intentions were for us to live sinless in perfect harmony with one another, but we all know that story took a rather quick turn for the worst in the garden. The Bible says that when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of Knowledge, they became aware of their sin and nakedness and covered themselves with fig leaves. They were ashamed.

Adam and Eve quickly went from naked and unashamed to acutely aware of their nakedness–and very ashamed of where they found themselves. Their immediate reaction was to attempt to cover it up. We are still facing the same challenges in our marriages today. We enter a union that is meant to be sacred and intimate, yet we can only be as intimate as we are honest with each other.

The ability to be honest with your spouse should be a given. We often declare it in our vows in some way, shape or form. We promise to love one another unconditionally, yet we are still afraid to show our spouse some pieces of ourselves, aren’t we? These things can be seemingly small, or worse yet, sins we can become entrapped in. Without honesty, however, having intimacy the way it is intended in marriage is nearly impossible.

Think about those vows you made; would you consider your marriage to be one where complete honesty is a top priority? If the answer is no, here are some ways you can work to build a more intimate marriage through honesty.

REGULAR MAINTENANCE

If you have ever owned a car, you know that regular maintenance is key to keeping it finely tuned to prevent a breakdown. Creating and maintaining a safe environment that cultivates honesty is very much the same. It is so much easier to have regular conversations, to set aside time to dig into the deep questions, and to leave space for your spouse to communicate openly and honestly, than it is to wait until something seems to be breaking down.

It can be easy to avoid the harder places, but it can also be costly. Setting aside some time to really check in with each other builds trust–and yes, intimacy, as well. So often, we can be scared of rejection, or of what our spouse may think if we let them into our deepest, darkest places. Don’t let that stop you. It’s often where the most beautiful bonds are formed.

Allowing time for that regularity is key. Try it now. Set a time for a no-holds-barred conversation. Ask hard questions, and be open to hard answers. It will make a world of difference.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Accountability can be an intimidating word. It could be positioned to imply that you are bound to screw up or fall, and chances are that in some way, big or small, we will all fall. Genuine honesty in marriage allows us to develop an unshakable trust in each other. That doesn’t happen on its own. Accountability practices in your marriage lay the foundation for that trust. In fact, they could be the difference maker to keep one or both of you out of affairs, addictions or secrets that can tear a marriage apart.

We’ve established that having accountability builds trust. Trust breeds honesty, and both, in turn, breed intimacy. When you can face your spouse wholly–when you can be fully present and give of all of yourself–your intimacy will soar.

Accountability can look different for every marriage. Your accountability practice could be sharing all of your communication accounts and passwords with each other. It could look like blocks or controls on websites that could lead to lust or affairs. It could be having a series of friends (that you both agree on) to check in with you regularly about the hard stuff (it should always be an “ask any question anytime if you ever have a concern” type of understanding).

When it comes to making yourself accountable, you can never be too careful. Your marriage is yours to protect, and accountability is one great way build trust, honesty and intimacy.

NO LEAVE POLICY

Marriage is a forever vow. Sadly, it’s far too easy to get divorced these days. Marriages break down, people grow up, grow apart, stop communicating, lost trust and altogether lose the privilege of being honest about where they may be, who they’re communicating with, or what they’re doing at any given time.

Make it known regularly that you have a no-leave policy. Divorce should never be an option. If it is, fear creeps in and honesty breaks down. Remind your spouse there is never a plan B. Do it now. Do it often. The hard work of building honesty now is far better than the always-bitter ending of divorce.

Far too many marriages simply survive. Marriage is a sacred union, ordained by God. He wants nothing more than for our marriages to reflect Him. He is for you. He is for honesty and intimacy, and all the good that marriage can bring.


If you would like help enriching or strengthening your marriage or relationship, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or a counselor.

Free Marriage Audiobook: The Mingling of Souls

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minglingThe Song of Solomon offers strikingly candid—and timeless—insights on romance, dating, marriage, and sex. We need it. Because emotions rise and fall with a single glance, touch, kiss, or word. And we are inundated with songs, movies, and advice that contradicts God’s design for love and intimacy.

Matt Chandler helps navigate these issues for both singles and marrieds by revealing the process Solomon himself followed: Attraction, Courtship, Marriage … even Arguing. The Mingling of Souls will forever change how you view and approach love.

(From The Mingling of Souls on amazon.com)

Does that book teaser sound interesting to you? For the month of July you can download an audio version of The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler for free from Christianaudio.com.

If you would like some more help in strengthening your current relationship or marriage, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

What to do When a Spouse Lies

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What to do When a Spouse Lies

By Drs Les and Leslie Parrott
When you’ve caught someone in lies, it’s natural to doubt almost everything they say. And when that someone happens to be your spouse, the sense of betrayal is even more profound. How can you rebuild trust when your spouse has lied to you?

REASONS SPOUSES LIE

Conflict in coupleThere are many reasons your spouse may be dishonest with you. Maybe they’re not fully coming clean because:

They have already disappointed you, and they’re afraid of your reaction;
They promised to change a pattern, and they haven’t;
They promised to get something done, but didn’t…even though they meant to.

People often lie not necessarily to deceive, but to protect their own ego. They’re ashamed of what they’re trying to cover up, they are afraid of the consequences, and they don’t want to have to live with your disappointment in them. When this is the case, it can be easy for them to convince themselves that they’re not really lying.

In cases like these, this isn’t so much a character issue as it is a maturity issue. They’re not liars across the board–this is not an issue of global dishonest or global distrust. But by the same token, they have to be willing to start to come clean, because regardless of the reasons for their dishonesty, lying is a toxic practice that will eventually break down your marriage.

Another kind of dishonesty is when your spouse is actively trying to deceive you by doing things you wouldn’t choose for them to do–things that are destructive to them, to your relationship, or even to other people. Maybe they aren’t honoring your relationship through chronic or repetitive infidelity.

When someone is actively deceptive on a large scale, is deliberately deceiving you and hurting you and others, they have holes in their conscience. Clinically, we refer to these people as sociopaths or psychopaths–in other words, people lacking the normal sense of guilt that most others feel when engaging in activities that are morally wrong and hurtful to others.

HOW TO CONFRONT A LYING SPOUSE

Now that you’re dealing with deception in your marriage, you’re going to think that whatever your spouse has lied to you about is global. It might be; then again, it might not. There’s no way around the painful conversation that comes next; you have to be able to put this on the table with your spouse, one way or another.

How can you confront this in a way that will be productive? There are a few different ways of dealing with dishonesty, depending on what the root of it is.

If your spouse is lying to protect his or her ego, talk to him or her about your perspectives, your experiences, and your feelings surrounding the lie. Yes, you’re in pain, but don’t throw it in your spouse’s face or try to hurt them back (even if you want to). Saying things like, “Look what you’ve done!” or, “Look how you’ve hurt me!” won’t be helpful.

The worst thing you can do is provoke someone when you’ve recognized that they’re not being honest with you. Try to look at the situation in the context of their perspective, and attempt to understand why they felt the need to lie. Emotional fear causes people to lie because they don’t want to feel exposed, for whatever reason.

It’s very good judgment to reveal that you know what’s going on up-front; don’t try to set up a situation where you can “catch them” in a lie. Instead, let them know that you know they’ve been dishonest. Gently explain that you feel very betrayed, and this is painful for you.

You can ask your spouse, “Why didn’t you think I’d be safe to tell the truth to?” Let them answer, and hear them out. Then, let them know that you’d rather feel disappointed because they told you the truth, rather than betrayed because they lied about it.

Be careful not to appear judgmental; instead, let your spouse see that you’re sad and hurt, and that you want to have a relationship with them that isn’t painful and doesn’t include deception.

Tell your spouse that you don’t want this to happen again. Trust is the foundation of love, and you must be able to maintain a healthy sense of trust in one another in order to nurture the lifelong love you both want.

If your spouse falls into the more toxic, chronically deceptive category, don’t deliberately try to catch them in their lies. Instead, the approach you take should be more strategic, aimed at interrupting his or her patterns of deception. This approach will also communicate that you’re not fooled.

If you’re seeing things that don’t add up–that make you suspect deep dishonesty–try saying, “Look, I see this, and I see this. And they do not add up.” Simply state the facts. Let them know that what you’re seeing and what they’re saying don’t add up.

Another variation you could use is, “I’m getting different messages that make it seem like you’re not being honest with me.” Stating that words and actions, or stories and evidence, don’t add up interrupts their pattern of chronic lying, and they won’t feel like they’re getting away with it.

Little by little, pull down each brick in the wall of lies they’ve built. Confront your spouse event by event, as things happen, and deconstruct the illusion they’re trying to create.

Staying in a relationship with a sociopathic person is incredibly toxic, and you may find that you need to seek professional counseling in order to cope more comprehensively with what’s happening in your marriage.

YOU CAN OVERCOME DISHONESTY IN YOUR MARRIAGE

People have best and worst moments, and when you’re married someone, you see the very best and the very worst of one another. You can overcome dishonesty in your marriage and go on to live a long, happy life together, full of trust and honesty.

When Routine Trumps Romance

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After the Honeymoon: When Routine Trumps Romance

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

We all long for a lifetime of honeymoons–starry-eyed romance, long days on the beach, sleeping in, pampering, relaxation. The reality is, once newlyweds return from their romance-filled paradise, they step back into their daily routines, this time as a husband and wife.

The first year of marriage is an adventure, regardless of what each person’s daily schedule looks like. Maybe both spouses are getting up and going to an office everyday, or maybe one is working from home and the other traveling for a living. Combining the busy schedules of two different people equals a situation that requires intentional care.

Eventually, routine tends to get in the way of the honeymoon period, and some of the romance (and sometimes, a large part of it) that seemed effortless before becomes almost nonexistent. So what can you do when that happens?

We always say choose your ruts carefully, because you’re going to be in them for a long time. We all develop habits over time, and it takes deliberate work to break them.

When you’ve experienced the loss of something you loved or enjoyed, like being romanced, it’s hard to know how to approach your spouse about it. Asking for it directly takes the pleasure out of the act, and makes it feel obligatory for your spouse. Then, he or she feels caught in a catch-22.

HOW TO REIGNITE YOUR ROMANCE

If you want to help remind your spouse to lean into romance again, start by doing and saying things that invite those moments without making them into demands.

You could say, “I miss holding your hand,” or, “I miss this. I’d like to do more of this.” Let them know it’s something you enjoy and want more of. Don’t demand, manipulate, or make yourself look needy or angry.

You might also gently remind your spouse of memories you enjoy by saying things like, “Did you ever realize what kind of power you had over me when you would…” Let him or her know how intoxicating that was for you. Simply knowing their effect on you might be enough to spark that romance again.

Both of you could also make a list of things you’ve enjoyed together over the years. When you come together to share your lists, that’s a fun opportunity to say that you miss something you’ve listed. Who knows–maybe your spouse misses some things you used to do, as well.

We go through many different seasons in marriage, and it’s important to be aware of your season when you find yourself feeling upset about something regarding your spouse, or your dynamics together. Stress can make us pull back from each other. Also, the child-rearing season is a demanding time that can put a temporary damper on your romance.

In these situations, it’s important to remind yourself, “This too shall pass.” Seasons come and go. Try to remain grounded in the knowledge that whatever stress you’re under right now isn’t going to last forever.

Finally, find time to connect–just the two of you. Uninterrupted quality time with your spouse will do wonders for the romance in your marriage.

Make it a point to plan a certain time during the day that’s just about the two of you. Put your phones away. Turn off the TV. Focus on connecting with each other and ignore the rest.

This may work best for you first thing in the morning, or maybe late at night. You two know your schedules best, but it’s up to you to prioritize this time together!

The habit of happiness and romance is an inside job. If you find the right attitude in spite of atmospheric conditions and intentionally set aside time for you and your spouse, you will discover that living happily ever after need not be a myth. You can keep the romance and passion alive, and enjoy many years of lifelong love!


If you would like help enriching or shoring up your relationship, please give CornerStone Family Services a call at 614-459-3003 to talk with one of our coaches or counselors.

How Work and Health Can Go Together

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How Work and Health Can Go Together 

By Leigh Stringer

Lots of us experience stressful moments at work, but do you actually know what’s happening biologically in your body when you experience stress—and what that means for your ability to make decisions? Learn more below.

Reduce Stress, Increase Focus

I went rock climbing for the first time recently. I consider myself a fairly athletic person, but this activity definitely took me out of my comfort zone. Despite being “on belay,” or harnessed, and in the hands of an expert on the ground below, I got about 75 percent up a 50-foot climbing wall and just froze. I was out of breath, mentally and physically taxed, a little freaked out, and I just could not figure out how to get any further up the wall. My arms and legs just could not reach any more of those tiny colored knobs. At this point, having no other options, I stopped for a minute on a rock crevice, took some giant yoga breaths, and looked around at the beautiful scenery around me. I was surrounded by the Sonoran Desert—full of cactus plants and the Santa Catalina Mountains. The quiet of nature sunk in and I thought about the spectacular view.

Then, amazingly, after about a minute of focused breathing, I found the mental and physical strength to figure out a new climbing route and make it to the top. For me, this was a great lesson in “taking a breather when things get tough.” Now, when work gets stressful—and it can get really stressful sometimes—I take a few deep yoga breaths and look outside or maybe take a short walk. I learned later that this deep breathing produces what’s called a relaxation response in the body that is important for getting your brain to focus on being productive, not stay in permanent “fight, flight, or freeze” mode.

Most of the time, stress is talked about as a negative thing, but the truth is that not all stress is bad. All animals have a stress response, which can be lifesaving in some situations. The nerve chemicals and hormones released during such stressful times prepare animals like us to face a threat or flee to safety. When we face a dangerous situation, our pulses quicken, we breathe faster, our muscles tense, and our brains use more oxygen and increase activity—all functions aimed at survival. In the short term, stress can even boost our immune system.

Problems occur if the stress response goes on too long, such as when the source of stress is constant, or if the response continues after the danger has subsided. Over time, continued strain on our bodies from routine stress can lead to serious health problems, such as anxiety disorder, depression, digestive issues, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and memory and concentration impairment.

The thing about stress that is really counterproductive for the workplace is that it shuts down our ability to be creative and to make calm, thoughtful decisions. When we are stressed, we get very reactive and tense. Have you ever been really stressed out at the office—with your phone ringing off the hook while you are simultaneously responding to seven emails and you have someone waiting for something standing by your desk—and you thought, “Wow, I just had a brilliant insight and I’m going to reflect on that for a minute”?

No, this probably did not happen, because when we encounter a perceived threat—our boss yells at us or we are under a deadline, for instance—our hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of the brain, sets off an alarm system in the body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts our adrenal glands, located by the kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure, and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances the brain’s use of glucose, and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system, and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of the brain that control mood, motivation, and fear.

Making calm, thoughtful decisions when we are stressed out is just about physically impossible. Fortunately, there are many ways to calm down and reverse the crazy hormonal party happening in our bodies. The key to stress is to understand how it affects us physiologically and then manage it in a productive way.

Date Night Tip When Married with Children

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Have kids and looking for an idea for a date night?  Here is one tip from Jay and Laura Laffoon:

Table for 2

Planning a family movie night at 6pm gets your kids involved in hanging out as a family. Putting them to bed and then letting your wife pick out a romantic movie for the two of you sets the stage for one-on-one time without the kids and without breaking the bank.

What are other tips that you may have for inexpensive date nights when you are married with children?

 

If you would like help enriching your relationship or help getting through a time of struggle in your relationship, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with one of our coaches or counselors.

Funday Friday: Writing Humor

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Here is a little writing humor for your Funday Friday:

writing humor

 

If you would like to add some more humor and joy to your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.