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.
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.
Often when we talk about a biblical view of divorce, we quote Malachi: “God hates divorce” (2:16). And it’s true. He does. But does that mean God hates the actions of anyone who initiates a legal divorce?
If you are looking for a book on marriage that quickly gets to the heart of what makes a strong marriage, then Hold Me Tight is the book for you.
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love is written by Dr. Sue Johnson. Dr. Johnson is one of the preeminent marriage therapists today, and the founder of an approach to couples therapy called Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). First published in 2008, Hold Me Tight is the first book Dr. Johnson wrote for the general public.
This song evokes such sadness in me, sadness at the ending of relationships, at final goodbyes.
A number of years ago I was talking to a ministry leader about serving. He was expressing his frustration about how some Christians do nothing with their faith. He stated, “They rust out. I don’t want to rust out, I want to burn out.” That sounded so noble at first. Going out in a blaze of glory while serving God and others. But then I thought, both these ways of living share something in common – they are both “out.” Is that what God wants for us?
Ah, the joys of the holiday season! The smell of fresh-baked gingerbread cookies, the cheerful sounds of Christmas carols as we shop, the happiness on the faces of children opening presents, the warm familiarity of loved traditions… there is much to look forward to this time of year.
But oh, the stresses of the holiday season! The crowded stores and packed parking lots, the pressure to buy the perfect gift without blowing the budget, the rush to get ready and head out the door to yet another Christmas event, the arguments with the ex about who gets the kids, the frustrations of hanging out with family members who know just how to push our buttons, the bickering of the kids over who gets to play with the new toys first… there is much to dread about this time of year!
How can we better prepare for the holiday season so that we minimize the stresses and increase the joys? How can we create a more meaningful Christmas season that helps bring our family together?
My husband and I have found that one of the keys to a less-stressful holiday season is to clarify our expectations ahead of time.
Conflicts are a natural part of life. Learning how to resolve them becomes paramount if we are going to experience the closeness we all desire. Through the years, I have taught classes, seminars and counseled people on conflict resolution. I got to a point where I thought I was pretty good at it. But much to my surprise, occasionally I would run into conflicts that seemed impossible to resolve. I would shake my head and think, How can this be? What did I do wrong? I would review my tone, words, and body language. I seemed to be doing everything right.
Mind you, I am not suggesting that I always apply good conflict-resolution skills. But during these encounters I seemed to be doing it right. My strong desire to resolve the conflict kept me persisting in the conversations. I would think, “If I can show him that I understand him or phrase things just the right way, he’ll get it and we will resolve this issue.” But the conversation would get worse. Why?