When my oldest child was about three years old, I received a valuable parenting tip from a pastor friend. I immediately started applying it to my own parenting, and over the years it has served my husband and I well in raising our four children. I call it my number one Parenting Rule of Thumb. It’s this: Empathize with feelings, while still holding the line.
One of the most common complaints of couples who come to me for counseling goes something like this: “My spouse should know what I want without being told. If he really loved me, he’d know what I need. I shouldn’t have to spell it out for him.”
Somehow we come into marriage wanting our spouse to be so attuned to us that they will be able to pick up on the tiniest of cues, know us better than we know ourselves, and intuitively discern exactly what we want and need from them at any given moment. We expect our spouse to read our mind.
Many years ago, a Christian marriage and family therapist I knew celebrated his birthday by surprising his wife with the news that he wanted a divorce. He called it his “gift to himself.”
Tragically, this man did not realize that he wasn’t doing himself any favors by divorcing his wife. What was truly best for him would have been to learn to love his wife, to invest in their marriage and to keep their family together. He did what seemed easiest and sacrificed his long-term best interests. He celebrated self-centeredness and called it self-care.
I can remember being one of lead climbers on a high ropes course in the Costa Rican cloud forest. One of the students was trying to make it across something called “the x-rope.” Even though she had two lines attached to her harness, she thought she was going to fall. She desperately clung to the ropes, immobilized by fear. She thought she was going to die. Fear had overthrown her ability to listen. We calmly tried to instruct her, but to no avail. The only way to help her was to go out and get her.
In this busy world, with its unending demands on our time and energy, it’s easy to become depleted. If we want to avoid burnout, we must practice healthy self-care. In previous posts, I made the case for self-care, discussed why we don’t practice self-care, and talked about how healthy self-care involves both nurturing and limits. Now it’s time to talk about some practical how-to’s. This post will talk about the nurturing, compassionate part of healthy self-care, and next week’s post will wrap up this series on self-care by covering the disciplined, limit-setting part of healthy self-care.
Every spiritual journey takes us to the hardest realities in our lives, the monsters within us, our shadows and strongholds, our willful flesh, our inner demons. It is essential that we understand the enemies within us or we will inevitably project them outward on to other people.” – Peter Scazzero in The Emotionally Healthy Church
We all have blind spots. Our lack of self-awareness can cause us to offend, run over and alienate people we love. They react to what we say and we have no clue why. We get defensive, and the battle is on. Both parties are wounded and emotional walls go up and we are left wondering, “What just happened?”
Self-awareness helps us understand and manage our emotions. It gives us a greater capacity for social awareness and empathy. It is a critical building block for enhancing our relationships. Today we are going to take a brief look at what it is and how we can develop our own self-awareness.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In observance of this important issue, I decided to review the book HUSH and address the issue of childhood sexual abuse.
Nicole Braddock Bromley was sexually abused by her stepfather from about age 4 until she was 14 years old. At age 14, she told her mother, charges were filed, and her stepfather committed suicide. Nicole now is the founder of OneVOICE Enterprises and travels around the country bringing a message of healing for victims of sexual abuse.
Have you ever been talking to someone and started wondering, “Are they really listening to me? They are being quiet, but I’m not sure if they are really hearing me!” We all want to be heard. Feeling heard is vital to feeling loved and connected. Today we are going to look at three principles that will help you listen and strengthen your relationships.
I remember caring for four young kids. Days were full of driving carpools, changing diapers, buying groceries, doing laundry, overseeing homework, interruptions, conversations, decisions and stress. Life felt crowded.
Everyone goes into marriage wanting happiness. Our quest for a happy marriage will not be without its obstacles. How we deal with the obstacles will determine the vitality of our marriage. Today’s post is the first in a series on ways to strengthen your marriage.