Archive for January, 2010

Freedom to Enjoy Peace

Rule #10: I love you enough to stop when either one of us calls for a halt. Not every issue has to be solved in one session. In fact, few ever are. We slowly change to accommodate each other. In between discussions, Let There Be Peace.

We are two different people with two different personalities. We were raised differently and we experienced life in two very different ways. There will always be times of conflict just because we are two individuals who committed to live a joined life. Conflicts will happen but those conflicts do not define who we are!

We were drawn together for many wonderful reasons. We need each other in ways too deep and foundational to completely put into words. We find each other amazing, at least during those times when we are not getting on each other’s nerves. Therefore, let me stress that we must contain the conflicts to just a “corner” of our lives together. In between those times of tension, let there be peace!

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Freedom from Guilt

Rule #9: I love you enough to forgive and forget all wrongs. The healing of all conflicts really lies with the asking for and the offering of forgiveness. We can in love see the sinful side of each other and continue to love. This is only possible because we forgive and forget. (Forgetting is defined as “not bringing the problem up again.”)

We are commanded by Jesus Christ to forgive each other (Matthew 6:14-15).  There is no place where forgiving and forgetting is more important than in the marriage relationship. Unfortunately, seldom is it practiced as much as it should be. There is no one who will ever know more of your faults and failures than your spouse. For someone who cannot forgive, being married is like being in a torture chamber.  No one tells the truth without failing. No one fulfills every promise. No one lives up to the highest standards of behavior and yet we must continue to love and live with each other.

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Freedom to be Honest With Each Other

Rule #8: I love you enough to actively question and search for what you need. We often cover our deepest problems with a smoke screen of superficial complaints or issues. We can argue all day and make NO progress if we are not really dealing with the honest issues.

The Awful Truth 1937

Ephesians 4:15 says we are to “speak the truth in love” as we share with each other. There is no better way to define our conversations with our spouse than speaking honestly in a loving way. We don’t always share this way.  Why?  One of the reasons is that we don’t understand what truth means and we don’t understand what love means. We will start with love.

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Freedom From Being Ignored

Rule #7: I love you enough to really listen to your words. Try playing “I bet you can’t repeat what I just said”. When we listen, not just hear, conflicts are seldom as emotional. Honest listening often brings out honest answers. There are few greater proofs of genuine love and concern for each other than this.

There is an old expression that says, “Time is money”. In marriage, time is better than money!  However, even in giving our partner our precious time, we need to commit our focused attention on the person we committed to love. Listening is the same as a true gift of love given to the other without strings attached or reluctance.

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Freedom From Running In Circles

Rule #6: I love you enough to stick to the subject. There are often at least two arguments going at once. Too many issues on the table at one time, leads to frustration not a solution.  Stick to one subject at a time.

One of the frustrations of marital conflict is the number of times we fight the same quarrels over and over without accomplishing anything.  We do what some call chasing rabbits; when we go from one subject that bothers one partner to rambling around two or three different issues that bug the other.  Most of the time all we have done is muddy up the water by thrashing around and not settling one topic.

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Freedom from Surprise Attacks

Rule #5: I love you enough to set a time to talk. DO NOT strike when your partner is unprepared. You must give your partner a chance to get ready, “cool, calm, and collected”. Don’t continue if you are caught off guard or are distracted. Both persons should feel rested (not late at night) wide awake (not early in the morning) and feeling comfortable and happy.

SURPRISE ATTACK: SUCCESSFUL

In an argument between two people the temptation is to attempt to win something.  When the goal is winning, you are free to use strategies that prove successful at winning the battles!  The use of “sucker punches” or surprise attacks are clearly successful strategies that win.  The opponent is caught off guard and off balance and, if the first blast is powerful enough, they will not even get a chance to counter the attack.

Marriage is NOT a war!

Maybe we should call it a “tug of war” because we can clearly picture what would happen if one side pulled suddenly on the rope before the other side was set and holding firmly on the rope.  One side pulls so hard that they fall over in a twisted pile and the other has the rope burning through their fingers.  Who “wins”?  Even though the marker shows that the pulling side got the ribbon over the goal line, both sides are “damaged” by the effort!  Everyone loses.

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The Fear of Failure

The greatest fear in the heart of a man is the fear of failure; the fear of being unworthy of respect or approval.

This video describes how a man’s Greatest Fear can be calmed by the love and respect of his wife.

Men-What are you afraid of? from PastorBobDouglas on Vimeo.

Freedom from Humiliation

Rule#4: I love you too much to open you to public ridicule. We must keep our discussion “within limits”. There will always be people we can turn to for help. But, to speak out in public about personal conflicts or disagreements will open our most personal feelings and thoughts to everybody.

Ridicule

Public humiliation is a popular way to force people into doing (or not doing) something. We have not come very far from the middle ages when they put people on display when they failed or sinned. The early years of our country had people put into stocks in public places when they failed to pay a debt or some other offense.

Today our range of options is much wider

Today we can blog about them in public forums or publish their failings in yellow tabloids or entertainment shows, but the point and the purpose is still the same. These displays amuse the masses and embarrass the guilty. We hope the fear of exposure will keep everyone else behaving better.

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Freedom from the Fear of Harm

Rule #3: I love you too much to harm you. We are all vulnerable to severe harm on certain issues. They include past mistakes, sensitivities, insecurities, fears or guilt. I won’t subject you to harm by raising these things.

It seems almost too simple; “Don’t hurt each other”.  But when the tempers flare and the anger gets rolling, we need to remember the Rule Number 3.  “I love you too much to harm you in any way!”  For those in abusive relationships, please read our message on abuse.  For the rest of us, please take a moment and consider just how seriously we take that rule.

Harm comes in all Shapes and Sizes

Have you ever had a guilty conscience?   Remember that when we feel most vulnerable either by guilt, remorse, grief or regret, we are much more open to harm.  Even a sharp word can inflict terrible pain.  Remember the lessons on the Greatest Fears of Men.  If this man, who has these in-born fears of being unworthy of respect or approval, has just been told that he has lost his job, this would not be a good time to remind him that your mother always thought he would never amount to anything!  While what you say might be true enough, this would not be a great time to remember it!
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A Message About Abuse

This is an unpleasant topic for everyone concerned.  Some people hurt other people.  Sometimes this happens unintentionally and other times it is done will full knowledge and intent.

A Social Contract

When I drive my car, I acknowledge and accept a “social contract” that I will abide by the laws, the rules of the road and the expected behaviors required from a safe driver.  If I break that contract by speeding or reckless driving, I must be penalized.  As painful as that situation is for the person who is being punished, it is impossible for our society to tolerate such bad behavior.  It is just not safe to allow someone who is recklessly ignoring the rules to endanger everyone on the highway.  The worse the offender is, the higher the penalty must be!  The intended goal of all of this effort is to teach that offending person to change their behavior and stop being a danger to themselves and others.

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