Happy and fulfilling marriages don’t happen by accident. If you choose to love each other intentionally every day, you will find a wealth of emotional connectivity and mutual strength as your marriage is tested by life’s difficult times.
A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers.
-Ruth Bell Graham
If you would like help in strengthening your marriage and improving your role as two forgivers, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
Here is some Funday Friday elevator music humor:
By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott
Inevitably, you and your spouse will run into issues you can’t agree on that will lead to friction in your relationship. Instead of letting conflict simmer, unresolved–where it will eventually burn up your relationship–allow it to shed light.
It’s frustrating and painful to get locked in a stalemate with your spouse…the one person you really don’t want to disagree with. Here are 5 tips for overcoming an unresolved conflict in your marriage.
DON’T AVOID CONFLICT
In the short run, it’s very easy to avoid conflict. But long-term, it can be damaging–so you can’t ignore issues, especially if you’ve reached a stalemate with your spouse.
Ignoring conflict–instead of addressing your disagreement head-on–will create additional undercurrent issues in your marriage that might not have existed otherwise. Additionally, buried feelings have a high rate of resurrection…and unfortunately, when they arise again, they’re uglier than when we first felt them. You could unintentionally create a minefield for you and your spouse.
Get your conflict issues out in the open, and put them on the table. This exchange with your spouse doesn’t have to be loud, loaded or emotional; focus on having a relaxed and fully present conversation where you reveal that you have conflicting feelings over certain issues.
RATE THE DEPTH OF YOUR DISAGREEMENT
When you and your spouse can’t see eye to eye on a certain issue, try using a rating system to rate how deeply you feel about whatever you’re disagreeing on. You can rate items from 1-10 (least to most important) to give yourself an objective view of how invested each of you are in certain outcomes.
Rating your issues will help keep you from checking out on each other when the going gets tough. Download our freeConflict Card for an easy way to rate the depth of your disagreement and the importance of the issues you’re dealing with together.
STEER CLEAR OF CRITICISM
When hashing out a particular problem or disagreement, steer clear of making critical comments toward your spouse. Criticism can take an argument in a very damaging direction.
We’ve all felt it: someone throws a critical comment in our direction, and we immediately become defensive. Emotions are heightened all the more between spouses, and it can be too easy to hurt the person we’re supposed to love the most.
Instead of being critical, turn your critical comments into complaints. That may sound counterproductive, but it will actually help you keep the emphasis off your spouse, and put it back on you and your feelings.
How you begin your statement makes all the difference. Focus on starting with an “I” statement. Instead of saying, “You never pick up your dirty laundry. You’re such a slob!” you could try, “When you don’t pick up the laundry, I feel frustrated. How can we resolve this?”
Another useful tool to keep criticism at bay is the XYZ Formula. To use it, just follow this simple construct and make it applicable to your situation: “In situation X, when you do Y, I feel Z.” It’s a great way to avoid criticizing your spouse and having to deal with hurt feelings in addition to the conflict or disagreement you’re already working to resolve.
Empathy is the capacity to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes–and it’s SO crucial in marriage. Practicing empathy allows you to see the world from your spouse’s perspective, and imagine living life in their skin.
Feeling things from inside out will have a great impact on you, and in turn, your relationship with your spouse. We’re all hard-wired differently; there’s not one right or wrong way to do most things. We are who we are, and it can be difficult to accept this without being empathetic to one another.
Being empathetic is risky behavior because it will change you. Once you’ve learned to practice empathy, you won’t be the same person you were. You’ll be more accepting of others…and in the case of this stalemate with your spouse, empathy could give you a deeper insight into your spouse’s stance, and why they’ve taken it.
WORK TOWARD CLOSURE
When you find yourselves on the other side of an extended, unresolved conflict (or sometimes, when you’re right in the middle of it), you may find that you have many unresolved emotions to deal with. Burying these emotions will begin a new cycle of conflict, so it’s important to handle these feelings head-on rather than suppressing them.
Make a list of things you consider unfinished or unresolved, and work to get closure with your spouse. Do the necessary work to get internal closure for yourself, as well. Journaling is a great way to process your feelings until they’re out.
CONFLICT ISN’T THE END
It’s important to learn that conflict isn’t the end of your relationship. Once you move past the fear of conflict, you can begin to build confidence in your ability to face and overcome issues together.
If you would like help working through conflict in a healthy and constructive way, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-45-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
By Steve Arterburn
The Associated Press recently reported a story about a lawyer in Las Vegas who showed up in court late to defend his client. The lawyer was slurring his words and couldn’t seem to tell a straight story. So, the judge ordered a breathalyzer, and he questioned the woman who accompanied the lawyer. The lawyer introduced the woman by one name but when questioned she gave the judge a different name. She also stated that she’d met the lawyer at a bar twenty minutes earlier.
What’s your reaction to this story? Disbelief? Disgust? Anger? The truth is that addiction does not respect class, ethnicity, or gender. We all know people who struggle with addiction—perhaps you, yourself, are struggling.
There is a way out—but it begins with you. Are you ready to make some decisions that will require change? Are you ready to feel worse before you feel better? You can do it; but do it with God’s help. Do it with connection with others. Do it with professional help if necessary. God loves you right where you are, but he wants better for you.
If you think that you are someone you love is struggling with a possible addiction, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor.
By Steve Arterburn
Here’s a proven way to build character: learn to control the direction of your thoughts. Your thoughts, of course, are intensely powerful things. Your thoughts have the power to lift you up or drag you down; they have the power to energize you or deplete you, to inspire you to greater accomplishments or to make those accomplishments impossible.
How will you and your family members direct your thoughts today? Will you follow the instructions of Philippians 4:8 by dwelling upon those things that are honorable, true, and worthy of praise? Or will you allow your thoughts to be hijacked by the negativity that seems to dominate our troubled world?
Are you fearful, angry, bored, or worried? Are you so preoccupied with the concerns of this day that you fail to thank God for the promise of eternity? Are you confused, bitter, or pessimistic? If so, God wants to have a little talk with you.
It’s up to you and your loved ones to celebrate the life that God has given you by focusing your minds upon ‘whatever is commendable.’ So form the habit of spending more time thinking about your blessings and less time fretting about your hardships. Then, take time to thank the Giver of all things good for gifts that are, in truth, far too numerous to count.
The mind is like a clock that is constantly running down. It has to be wound up daily with good thoughts. Fulton J. Sheen
God’s cure for evil thinking is to fill our minds with that which is good. George Sweeting
If our minds are stayed upon God, His peace will rule the affairs entertained by our minds. If, on the other hand, we allow our minds to dwell on the cares of this world, God’s peace will be far from our thoughts. Woodroll Kroll
Watch what you think. If your inner voice is, in reality, your inner critic, you need to tone down the criticism now. And while you’re at it, train yourself to begin thinking thoughts that are more rational, more accepting, and less judgmental.
If you would like help redirecting your thoughts to healthy and constructive thoughts, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott
Marriage is a partnership. Part of the beauty of marriage is the ability to work as a team to decide what is best for the two of you as a couple or as a family. Whether you’re looking to buy a house, planning to expand your family, or one of you is trying to make a big career move, it’s important to know how to navigate life’s big decisions together.
Every decision that comes your way affects your marriage–for good or for bad. When you two learn to how to work together in a way that honors each other and sets you up for success, you’ll grow and flourish as a couple.
Here are four simple ways to navigate the big decisions in your marriage:
Plan uninterrupted time to talk.
There will always be some kind of distraction or excuse to avoid the conversation. Your phone will go off from a group text conversation, something exciting will happen in the game playing on TV in the background, or one of your kids will jump in and interrupt your train of thought. It’s important to set aside time for conversations around big decisions. If you need to put a time on your calendar so you’ll stick to it, then do that. Put your phones away, turn the TV off, and focus on the decision in front of you. Making sure your time is uninterrupted will help the conversation be more productive and fruitful.
Do your research.
Spend time looking at all the options. If you’re trying to decide what school to send your five-year-old to then spend some time asking neighbors about their experience, evaluating your child’s needs, and looking into the programs, teachers, and success of your local school options.
Divide and conquer the work with your spouse. If making your decision involves a ton of research, then split up the process. Decide who will look into each piece of the puzzle and be prepared to report back with what you learned. Giving each person ownership in this process will help you feel like it’s a partnership and not a one-sided effort.
As you discuss the information and ideas, listen and respect the opinion of your spouse. You may not agree on the outcome of the decision from the beginning. Emotions may get involved. Work hard to be intentional about giving your spouse the time he or she needs to explain what they’re thinking and why. Approach the subject from a place of understanding and patience rather than jumping right to the result you’d like to see immediately.
Remember: the outcome of the decision is about what’s best for you as a couple and not just what’s best for you alone. You’re in this together.
Approach every piece of the process in prayer. Allow yourself the time to take the decision to God first and listen for His guidance. As a couple, pray together as you make your decision. Pray about the options. Ask for God to make your decision clear. Pray for your spouse as you work through the decision process together. When you’re seeking God’s discernment as you consider all of your options, you will always be set up for success. His plan will always be the best plan.
Decision making doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but it does require intentional work and care. As you approach the big choices together, remember you’re approaching them as a team. When you plan well together, you’ll win together.
If you would like more help in major decisions and your marriage, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
Here’s some Funday Friday food humor for you:
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.
By Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
A filter is any device that removes unwanted material. For example, an oil filter for a car lets the good oil pass through while blocking the crud and removing impurities. The muck and guck are detrimental to the engine and undermine the effectiveness of the motor.
Some of us need a filter on our speech when we communicate. When we lack a filter we undermine our effectiveness in communicating with people, whether those are family and friends, coworkers and neighbors, or acquaintances and strangers.
What is this filter? It consists of asking three questions before communicating in person, over the phone, or in writing.
– Is that which I’m about to say true?
– Is it kind?
– Is it necessary?
When we do not ask these three questions, we oftentimes end up saying something that is untrue, unkind, or unnecessary. This is comparable to letting the muck and guck pass with no filter.
In the Bible we learn that we are to speak the truth in love, and there is a time to speak and a time not to speak. Speaking necessary truth in a kind way is basic to all communication between people.
We also have an eternal motive to filter our words. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36, “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” Our useless and empty comments do not slip by the heart of our heavenly Father.
Communication consists of informing, affecting, or persuading. By that I mean, we inform the mind, which we might call the FYI. We affect the emotions, or affect the affections. This is the heart-to-heart sharing. And the final reason to communicate is to persuade the will, which we might refer to as the sale’s pitch or action item. In other words, we are trying to influence the other to do something.
Let me give some examples of people who did not filter their statements. I want you to see what they did right but also where they erred.
(For the rest of the helpful article, go ahead and click over to the original page.)
If you would like help with your filter or how to deal with other people and their lack of a filter, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.