Sunday, January 18, 2015

Things to START Doing

Sometimes we married couples spend so much time in what Gottman calls Negative Sentiment Override (NSO), that is, doing all the things mentioned in my previous blog, and it becomes nearly impossible to see through the negativity to something positive. There are many great techniques to counteract this behavior and we will explore those in upcoming blogs. But for now, we will take a look at what Stephen Arterburn in his book, The 7 Minute Marriage Solution, suggests. He came up with these solutions based on, in his words, “years of extensive study based on hundreds of couples’ experiences in our New Life Marriage Weekend workshops, a research project from the Center for Bible Engagement, and my own personal experience.” So, along with the seven things to STOP doing, he discusses the seven things to START doing:

·      Start embracing friendship and fun

“A little humor and fun may be your best path to restoring or renewing or revitalizing a relationship.”

“Friendship forms the foundation for the fun and humor that make marriage enjoyable at times and endurable at others.”

·      Start responding romantically to your mate

“Sexual satisfaction comes from investing in the other person’s joy and pleasure. It does not come from seeking to gratify yourself.”

“What really fuels romance in a marriage is for each mate to put the other first and be continually attentive to the other’s needs.”

·      Start expressing grace and forgiveness

“Forgiveness must be accomplished without accepting or condoning the hurtful behavior.”

“You should forgive your mate simply because you love him or her. That is why God forgave you, and that alone is reason enough to forgive each other.”

·      Start affirming your mate’s strengths

“The more you accept the other person, the more likely it is that your mate will transform into the best he or she can be.”

“The way of love, the way of commitment, and the way of Christ is to accept the flaws and weaknesses of your mate and love in spite of them.”

·      Start spending money responsibly

“Communicate to each other hopes and expectations that involve money and make a budget that accommodates both necessities and dreams.”

“To avoid financial disaster, you must close your ears to the siren voices of government and alluring TV commercials urging you to spend your way to prosperity.”

·      Start practicing your lifetime vows

“God looks upon a vow as an extremely serious thing”

“Wedding vows are crucial because in the presence of witnesses the couple makes a solemn promise to stick to the rules even when they feel the powerful pull of their wants and urges.”

·      Start showing respect no matter what

“Just about every problem can be boiled down to a lack of respect.”

“You can’t respect a person while criticizing, trying to change, nagging, hiding money from, or ignoring your spouse.”

This week, which of these things will you commit to START doing? Share with the rest of us how you plan to start. And see what’s new on my website:

Next time: The Seven Minutes that Matter Most

Friday, January 9, 2015

7 Things to STOP doing

Every married couple wants to have a good marriage. No one stands at the altar thinking, “Well this is probably going to be really difficult, but I guess I’ll go ahead and give it a try.” Noooo, we go into marriage with high hopes and visions of romance and fun and never-ending adventure. At least that’s what my hubby and I envisioned. But, everyday life, kids, in-laws, money, colliding personalities and other things seem to circumvent that dream, and we even find ourselves doing and saying things we never imagined we would.

Fixing your marriage is easier than you think, at least according to Stephen Arterburn where, in his book The 7 Minute Marriage Solution, he points out how much more difficult we make marriage than it has to be. He states, “If we’re honest with ourselves, we all know the self-defeating thoughtless things we do everyday.” He then goes on to list some of those things:

·      We use put-down humor or criticize our mate in public
·      We try to change our mate into the “perfect” spouse
·      We run up credit card debt or secretly spend money
·      We nag and complain about our mate’s flaws
·      We manipulate, give the silent treatment, or say harsh things in anger
·      We hold grudges and refuse to forgive our mate’s mistakes

Arterburn gives us a simple way to build a strong marriage and it’s easier than you think:

STOP doing negative things and START doing positive ones. Wow! That is simple.

The things we need to STOP doing?

1.  Stop clinging to unrealistic expectations

“Dashed expectations result from too little time spent getting to know the other person. Before marriage, both put their best foot forward, and the other foot is not exposed until after the honeymoon. And each partner is shocked to see how ugly that foot turns out to be.”

“You and your spouse can live happily ever after- but only if both of you are willing to work through the issues and differences you brought into the marriage.”

2.  Stop obsessing on the past

“If you don’t build this bridge to the past- from where you are now to the cause of the pain- you will never truly know your spouse even after years of being together.”

3.  Stop drowning in suspicion and jealousy

“If distrust exists in your marriage, begin now to take positive steps to uncover the causes and then work on those issues to rebuild trust.”

4.  Stop trying to change your mate

“Trying to fix a mate with criticism and judging is like trying to alter a suit with hammer and nails.”

“Sometimes God does not remove the burden from us. Instead he does for us what he did for Paul: He gives us the grace and strength to bear it.”

5.  Stop seething in anger and resentment

“There are ways to be angry and yet keep anger from controlling your life and ruining your relationships.”

“Some conflict in marriage is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to build a wall or destroy intimacy.”

6.  Stop tolerating compulsions and addictions

“We’re in this marriage together, so together let’s work through the problem and get things back the way they should be.”

“Some situations should never be tolerated.”

7.  Stop focusing only on your interests

“Relationship, especially the marriage relationship, forces selfishness out of you.”

What little things can you do to improve your mate’s life or to make your mate’s day better?”

That last suggestion is your Call to Action today. Leave a Comment and let us know how it goes.

Next time: Things to START doing.