Quote of the Week

Quote-of-the-Week pic“The way we love each other is the best evidence that Jesus is still alive.”  

                                                                                       ~Bob Goff

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I Want It NOW!

downloadToday’s post is an excerpt from Dr. Kathy Koch’s newest Hearts at Home book, Screens and Teens.

Dr. Kathy is a speaker at our 2015 Hearts at Home conferences. When Dr. Kathy talks, moms listen!  She studies kids and has a heart for helping parents know their kids.

Dr. Kathy was my co-author on the Hearts at Home book No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are.  I’m thrilled she chose to write Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World with us!

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newkathyWe are experiencing the culture of now.

Our teens think they can have what they want when they want it. Now. They have good reason because nowadays everything seems always to be available. Google. Siri. GPS. iTunes. Redbox. Netflix. Movies on Demand. DVR. Digital pictures. Facebook. Apps.

I remember when online shopping wasn’t available and shopping took time and effort. I remember the days before online streaming when videos had to be rented from a store; that meant I had to drive there, park, go in, search, choose something, wait in line, pay for it, drive home, watch it, and return it soon after. I can remember looking up numbers and addresses in actual, paper phone books—and unfolding paper maps to figure out how to get from here to there. The business of living took a lot of horsing around; it definitely wasn’t the culture of now.

When today’s teens don’t get what they want the way they want it right now, many complain and argue. They may accuse us of not caring for them. Subconsciously they may think our job is to keep them happy. Each of us, on the way to adulthood, developed some narcissistic tendencies. It’s considered a normal part of development. However, this generation has taken it to the extreme and the self-focus is lasting much longer.

The culture of now is a cause of self-centeredness. Smart phones have definitely contributed to this. Teens hate turning theirs off or to “silent” for even a short time. Many have FOMO—the fear of missing out. They want to know what’s going on as it’s happening. Now.

Let’s be honest: Some parents have FOMO, too. We have grown accustomed to knowing what’s going on in our friends’ lives through Facebook. We are used to real-time news and knowing what’s going on in the world. We’re afraid if we don’t log in we’ll miss out on something we need to know.

So what can we do to battle this culture of now—in our lives and in the lives of our teens? We can take some steps in the right direction. There’s hope for us and the next generation to learn that happiness is circumstantial but joy is eternal.

1. We can implement screen-free days and occasions. To combat self-centeredness that sometimes displays as a fear of missing out, we can institute days and places free from digital distractions. This forces us and our kids to truly interact. Our teens need to discover they can live without knowing constantly what’s going on with their friends. When the world doesn’t end and relationships don’t fail when they’ve been disconnected for a few hours, they realize they may have more freedom than they thought. No one’s happiness should be determined by how often they comment on posts or how quickly people text them back.

2. We can mentally note and carefully call attention to what happens during tech-free times. During planned tech-free times, make mental notes of how long it takes your children to calm down, focus, and engage with the family. See if you can find times when they are obviously enjoying themselves and forgetting their phones. Tactfully, without inordinate attention, encourage them to discover they’re happy without being tied to some screen or smart phone.

3. We can present them with opportunities to help and serve others. Nothing gets the focus off self better than directing focus on others! Getting out among people, especially with the goal of meeting others’ needs, will wake teens up to activities and events and people they may be missing. They will be reminded of the human side of this world and the needs around them. Whether it’s helping an elderly neighbor with yard work or serving a meal at the homeless shelter, our teens need to get a new perspective of what’s happening “now.”

Used with Permission. Copyright 2015 by Kathy Koch.

What about you? What strategies have you used to manage the screens in your home? 

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The Day I Started Loving God More Than My Husband

Marriage-MondayToday’s Marriage Monday is brought to us by Michelle Athens. Michelle is a Hearts at Home blogger who recently participated in our monthly blog hop.  Her post was so powerful, I asked her if I could share it with you!

I would bet that most of us can see ourselves in her story in some way.

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10628045_1523687171206695_3963093602432003211_n“Good morning.” He hesitated, but then bravely leaned in to kiss my cheek. I shrugged him off, still seething from an argument the night before.

“Leave me alone,” I hissed over the dishes I was washing. He backed away.  “So we’re going to keep this fight going, huh?” He waited, but I offered nothing. I focused on the stream of water dividing around the cup in my hands.

Our five-year old daughter, eyes still swollen from sleep, wandered over to him, her arms raised. He scooped her up. She clung to his neck, melting into him like warm candle wax.

He kissed the top of her head, carried her into the living room, and dropped her neatly on the couch beside her big brother.  He gathered his wallet and car keys and left for work, letting the front door slam behind him.

I let out a long deflating breath. My throat felt bruised from holding it all in.   I dried my hands, making my way into the living room to flip on the television, hoping to keep the kids occupied until I could gather myself.

Over the earlier weeks, my husband and I had argued over everything from financial burdens to the way he slurped his coffee.  I felt voids everywhere, convinced he wasn’t living up to be the husband I thought I needed.

Some days I’d cry out to God in frustration, “Don’t you see how he is failing me?  When are you going to fix him?”

In response, God would consistently shine the light back on me, convicting me to change. My soul would scream in protest.

But why me, God?  What about him?  I am in the right, not him!

Eventually I’d stopped taking my complaints to God. But then, that morning…

I watched my daughter scoot across the couch towards my son, digging her tiny body in as close to him as she could get. She leaned into him, laying her head on his shoulder and draping her arm over his chest. She exhaled a blissful sigh as she settled in.  I felt myself smiling genuinely for the first time in days.

But I noticed how my son’s body stiffened. The day before he’d caught her in his bedroom, dismantling some of his most prized Lego creations. Still harboring bitterness over it, he looked down at her with annoyance.  In one exaggerated move, he rose up, throwing himself on the other end of the couch.

My daughter tried to steady herself as her head slipped off his shoulder and her body fell into the cushions. She sat up,confused looking after him. As the rejection slowly registered, her countenance crumbled.  Her spirit seemed to collapse within her while my son stared indignantly at the television.

I felt disappointed in my son’s inability to rise above what she’d done and extend her some grace. I was in anguish for my daughter. My entire being wanted to protect her, revive her sense of value and mend her bruised spirit.   Then God unveiled His heart in the gentlest whisper.

This is how I feel when you treat Bill that way.

Suddenly my perspective shifted in a way that rocked me to my core. That simple revelation, at that specific moment, was the perfect antidote for the crusty shell encasing my heart. It cracked wide open and revealed the simple bottom line. It was as if God himself had turned my chin, saying,

Your husband is also my child. Put me first and all else will fall into place. 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37

Once I understood the significance of that verse, I was free to experience marriage the way God designed it.

It must start with a genuine love for God. It’s the power source that melts hearts, crushes attitudes and administers deep compassion for one another.

That’s why He must come first, above everything else.

When I consider all that God has done for me in the midst of my imperfections, grace is abundant.  Forgiveness is swift and easy.

Now my husband is the runner-up, behind God, in the order of my heart and yet somehow, I love him more now, than I ever have before.

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What about you? Do you need to love God more than your spouse? 

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Quote of the Week

Quote-of-the-Week pic“Are you trying to prove you are right or are you trying to improve this relationship, because you can’t do both.” 

                                                                         ~Lysa TerKeurst

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Why Your Kid Needs Other Adults In Their Life

Last Thanksgiving, after the death of Mark’s dad, we spent time with one of his half brothers and his family who live in the Indianapolis area.  He has four teenage daughters and we told the girls that they could come over and spend time with Aunt Jill and Uncle Mark so we could get to know them better.

The youngest decided to stay a couple of days that weekend.  She and I enjoyed getting a manicure, doing a little retail therapy, and having lunch out. We talked, laughed, and I got to know her a little bit better.

Her family goes to the beach every Spring Break, but this year she told her parents that she didn’t want to go to the beach; she wanted to spend her Spring Break with Aunt Jill and Uncle Mark.

NoMorePerfectKids_COVAs I processed the possibility of this with her dad, I could tell that he had mixed emotions about this.  I encouraged him to not be offended that she wanted to spend time with us, but to be thankful that she is seeking out other adults in her life.

Most of us have someone we can confide in. Someone we can sort through life with. Someone who knows our hopes and dreams.  Who do your kids have?

When life gets hard, sometimes the last thing a 14-year-old needs is advice from another 14-year-old!

As our kids get older, particularly through their teen years, we need to be praying for other adults, other positive influences, to be in our kid’s lives.  If they talk to a youth group leader more than they talk to you, be grateful they are talking to someone who can give them wisdom and point them in a right direction.

Youth leaders, neighbors, family friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and even coaches may be people who could spend a little one-on-one time with your child or your teen.  As they build a relationship with your child, they talk about school, and relationships, and faith, and parents, and problems….you know the real stuff of life!

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine had a teen going through a tough time.  She fought with her parents a lot and was particularly angry with her father for some choices that he had made that had affected the family.  I suggested a counselor to the mom and asked her mom if I could invite her daughter out for a coke.

She responded positively to my invitation.  We laughed and talked and sorted. For about a year, I was the one she would text or call when things got hard with her parents.  Then she got past that hard season in her life. She eventually resolved things in her heart with her dad. I don’t hear from her much anymore…and that’s fine!  Our relationship served it’s purpose for a season.

As our kids grow up, let’s be praying for other adults in their life.  And when they talk more openly with another adult than they do with us, let’s not be offended they’re not talking to us.

Parenting is hard enough as it is.  Don’t put additional pressure on yourself or  your kid to ALWAYS talk to you.  Just be glad when they talk to someone!

What about you?  When you were growing up, did you have other adults you talked to? What made those relationships safe for you? 

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How Do I Forgive?

ThinkstockPhotos-186251428Today’s Marriage Monday comes out of our email inbox.  The question is forgiving after infidelity, but the answer applies to any relationship where forgiveness takes place.

Dear Jill,

My husband had an affair with my best friend. As we are allowing God to pick up the pieces, there is one thing I don’t know how to change: my hate for this woman that was my friend.

I have never hated anyone like I do her. Nor have I forgiven her. I know it is what God wants of me, I just don’t know how. I haven’t let her off my hook and honestly, I don’t want her off. I still feel she needs to be miserable. But the only person it is affecting is myself.

If you have some insight,I would love some help.

In God’s love,
Hurting

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Dear Hurting,

I’m so sorry for the pain this has caused you. I know your heart is so hurt from the betrayal of not only your husband but a woman you considered your best friend. The pain is deep.

The hard part about forgiveness is that it is not based upon feelings. You’ll never FEEL like forgiving. NEVER. You will have to choose to forgive. You will have to make a decision that goes against the feelings you have.

How can you make that decision? By understanding this is what life looks like on the other side of that decision:

1) Your heart will be uncluttered. Right now your heart is cluttered with hate. There are parts of your heart that are inaccessible to God, inaccessible to your husband, and if you’re a mom, inaccessible to your kids. When you choose to forgive, you free up your heart for God and those you love.

2) She may be off your hook, but she’s not off God’s hook. God is the judge. I Peter 2:23 tells us this about Jesus, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” Jesus entrusted himself to God who judges justly. As believers, you and I need to follow Jesus’ lead and entrust ourselves to God and his ability to judge justly. Don’t try to take a role that’s not yours.

3) You’re able to move forward. Right now you have one foot in the future and one foot in the past. You’ll never be able to fully heal until you can put both feet in the future.

This woman is broken and in need of a Lord and Savior just like we all are. Sometimes it’s helpful to move from “demonizing” this person in our head to “humanizing” them in our heart. She wouldn’t have had the affair if she didn’t have a God-shaped void in her life that she tried to fill with an illicit relationship. Can you have any compassion on her confusion, woundedness, and brokenness? This can be a helpful step in forgiveness.

Finally, it’s important to know that forgiveness isn’t always a once and done. You may need to forgive different “angles” as thoughts come up. I talked about this concept in the article I just wrote for Today’s Christian Woman Magazine. If you haven’t read that yet, you can read it here.

Your Jesus knows the hurt you’ve experienced. He too was betrayed. He was falsely accused. He was hurt by those in his inner circle. Trust Him with your pain. Hand it over to him so you can be free of the hate.

You have a lifetime of love, hope, and freedom ahead of you!

Praying,

Jill

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What about you? Do you have someone you need to forgive today? 

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Quote of the Week

Quote-of-the-Week pic“Comparison will consistently cloud the clarity of God’s call on your life”  

                                                                            ~Robert Madu

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Unleash Your Power to Rise Above

I lifted the phone out of my husband’s hands. He was so tired that he’d fallen asleep in bed while texting. I’d come home late from an out-of-town trip to find him in bed. As I went to plug in his phone for the night, I saw a conversation on the screen that took my breath away.

He had been texting a woman, and a quick glance through the texts indicated that there had been more than just a texting relationship. My husband had been unfaithful.

I wanted to throw up.

58548These are the beginning words of an article I wrote this month for Today’s Christian Woman magazine.  (If you click on the TCW graphic to the right, you can read the whole story about rebuilding trust when it’s been broken in marriage.)

Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes perseverance is needed.  Over the past three years of dealing with our son’s mental illness, the dark season in my marriage, and my own battle with breast cancer, Mandisa’s song “Overcomer” has become my own personal theme song.

I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but I would guess it’s something.  What I want you to know is that you have the power within you to rise above your circumstances.

One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 5:3-4:

… we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

Being a Christian doesn’t protect us from bad things happening, but it does promise us that we won’t have to walk through those hard things alone.  God gives us the strength to rise above.  As we rise above, we are matured in our faith.

If you need to rise above your circumstances…you’re not alone.

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The Difference Between a Reward and a Bribe

WalkingWithGodIntheSeasonOfMotherhoodToday’s post is a favorite of mine from Melissa Kruger!  Oh how I wish I would have understood the difference between a reward and a bribe when my kids were little!

Melissa is the author of Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood.

A mother of three, Melissa hails from Charlotte, North Carolina where she serves as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator.

You can find her online at melissabkruger.com.

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ThinkstockPhotos-135378921I can picture the scene in my mind like it was yesterday.

Chubby legs kicking, back stiffened straight, child wailing, “NO mommy. NO get into the cart.”

Exasperated, I wondered if this trip to the grocery store was in vain. However, I needed to get food for dinner that night and this was my only opportunity.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered that there was a lollipop buried in the bottom of my purse. Holding my daughter heavy on my hip with one arm, I frantically searched until I found it.

And, then I did the very thing I knew was wrong. I looked at her and quietly bribed,

“If you get in the cart, you can have this lollipop.”

 At that moment she complied. While I may have won the momentary battle, I knew that I was losing the war. Rewards and bribes may appear similar in practice, but in reality they teach completely opposite lessons to our children.  Here are three ways that bribes and rewards differ in subtle, yet important ways as we parent our children.

Who’s in Charge?

At the moment when I gave into my daughter’s tantrum, the reality is that she was in charge of our interaction.

A bribe is child demanded while a reward is parent directed.

For instance, in the car, it would have been wise for me to look at my toddler and say, “I know it sometimes can be difficult to be in the grocery cart. If you can get in the cart with no fuss and sit patiently, there may be a surprise for you in mommy’s purse.”

This simple conversation puts me in charge of our trip to the grocery store. A reward flows from proactive discernment that certain situations may be difficult for my child rather than reactive exasperation when things aren’t going well.

How’s it given?

A bribe is given out of parental frustration at a child’s wrong behavior. In contrast, a reward is given out of joyful recognition of a child’s right behavior.

A bribe is given begrudgingly, while a reward is given with delight. And, the reality is that our children easily discern the difference.

The child given the lollipop from a frustrated mom may be glad to receive the momentary pleasure, but in reality is that she leaves the experience feeling like she is a burden and frustration.  A child who experiences the pleasure of a mother’s reward feels like a delight.

What does it encourage?

In the end, a bribe encourages incorrect behavior, while a reward encourages proper behavior.

A bribe teaches a child that if they fuss, scream, or pout, they will be pacified with something that brings them pleasure. It encourages the very thing that exasperates us as parents!

In contrast, a reward teaches our children the joy of walking in the right path. We want our children to hate what is wrong and to love what is right. As we reward them for making wise choices we encourage them towards love and good deeds.

Two children may both each receive a lollipop at the grocery store. However the method in which they won their treat has the power to teach two vastly different lessons. It simply will not go well for our children to think that they will be happy by acting miserably. When we reward them for acts of kindness, patience and love we are directing them towards a life of joy and contentment.

Most likely, you may find yourself like me, tempted to resort to bribery to manage your child’s behavior. Let me encourage you to take the proactive route with your children.

Take the time to be discerning as you parent, using the rewards you want to give your children to direct their behavior in life-giving ways.

It will make a remarkable impact in your experience of parenting and a significant difference in the life experience of your child!

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We Are So Different!

ThinkstockPhotos-78775051Mark: I like mornings.
Jill: I’m a night owl.

Mark: I like to eat out.  
Jill: I prefer to stay home.

Mark: I love coffee.  
Jill: Only tea for me.

Mark: I love anything spicy!
Jill: Mild for me, please.

Mark: I am a feeler.  
Jill:
I am a thinker.

Mark: I’m an extrovert.  Jill: I’m an introvert.

Mark: I like to watch movies.  Jill: I like to read books.

Mark: I like pepper.   Jill: Only salt for me.

Mark: I see the liabilities.  Jill: I see the possibilities.

Mark: I see the big picture.  Jill: I see the details.

Mark: Nuts make a good brownie.

Jill: Hard things like nuts don’t belong in soft things like brownies!

Mark: My favorite cake is German Chocolate.

Jill: Coconut isn’t really meant to be eaten, is it?

Mark: I process things externally by talking about them.

Jill: I process things internally by thinking about them.

WE ARE SO DIFFERENT!

Mark says:
Obviously our differences have clashed many times over the years.  Not so much with little things like food likes and dislikes, but more with things like how we process, the lens we see the world through, and how we think.

Jill says:
Unfortunately, I’ve seen many of our differences as “right” or “wrong,” which has resulted in judgement in my heart.

Mark says:
I’ve, too, had my share of “right” or “wrong” thinking, but even worse, I’ve spent too much time thinking that our differences made us incompatible.  I not only allowed Satan to whisper that lie in my ear, I allowed that lie to take root in my heart. I believed it.  That was certainly at the core of the affair and my decision to leave Jill 3 years ago.

Jill says:
The truth is that every couple is incompatible.  Sure we may have some similarities, but we also have many differences.  We’re two different personalities who came from different upbringings, who will see the world in different ways.

Mark says:
These days I’m not focused on our differences.  I’ve moved my thoughts from grumpy to grateful.  I’m looking at the benefit our differences bring rather than the problems they cause. I’m also embracing who Jill is and resisting the urge to change her.

Jill says:
These days I’m nipping judgement the minute it enters my mind.  I’m not giving the enemy a foothold by “taking my thoughts captive” and replacing judgmental thoughts with grateful thoughts so pride doesn’t creep in unnoticed.

Mark says:
We’re all wonderfully incompatible and that’s “normal” for marriage!

What about you?  Can you embrace your spouse’s differences and not think of them as wrong? Do you need to apologize for being judgmental or critical? 

 

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Quote of the Week

Quote-of-the-Week pic“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

                                                                                        ~Jim Elliot

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How Much Access Are You Giving Your Kids?

ThinkstockPhotos-82567373A couple of months ago, my oldest daughter Anne asked if I could take a day to help her get her playroom under control.  She felt like it was always a mess and she could never get the mess under control.  I told her I was glad to help.

I arrived one morning to help her tackle the job.  We waded carefully through a minefield of toys.  She told me that she wanted the room to be a “self-service” room for her kids, where they could use their imagination and enjoy books, toys, puzzles, duplo blocks, and dress ups.

As we walked through the room I knew immediately what the problem was: the kids had access to too many toys.

When it comes to kids and toys, less is more.

The kids had many wonderful toys to play with, but they couldn’t play with them all at once. Because they could put their hands on all of their toys, they usually did that everyday and the toys went everywhere.

Anne needed to do the three “R’s:” Recycle, Rotate, and Request!

Recycle

In order to get the room back in order, we launched into clean up mode during nap time. Trying to clean up a toyroom with kids in the mix is like shoveling snow in a snowstorm.  Once they awoke from their nap, we asked dad to keep them busy in another part of the house.

We gathered our tools: garbage bags, boxes, laundry baskets (for toys that belonged in a bedroom or another room of the house), and organizing baskets and buckets.

We worked quickly to pick up and evaluate every toy into one of three categories: Keep, Recycle, or Trash.   By the end of our evaluation process, we had filled two trash bags to throw away, two boxes to donate (recycle), and every toy that was being kept had a “home” in a container of some sort.

Rotate

Now it was time to pare down access.  The kids had well over 100 books.  We filled a medium size basket with 10-15 books and then filled 5 more baskets with about the same number of books.  Only one basket stayed in the toyroom.  The other five found a home on some upper (non-accessible to kids) shelves in the laundry room.

Because Anne runs a daycare in her home, she had a wide variety of toys for a wide variety of ages.  There were three baskets of baby toys.  One basket stayed in the playroom and the other two baskets were moved to shelves in the laundry room.

Request

All puzzles and games were assembled and placed on a shelf in the laundry room. These either need to be requested by the kids or offered by mom and dad…one at a time.  No more open access to things with pieces.

Anne also made a list of every game, pop up tent, activity books, flash cards, and things like playdoh, craft supplies, and other activities that she could pull out to diversify their play. This list became her memory file of everything available but not accessible.

The Result

It’s now been two months and, according to Anne, the toy room has been so easy to keep under control!  There is now a manageable number of toys the kids have access to and many toys they no longer have direct access to, but can still enjoy on occasion.

In those moments where it feels like the kids are bouncing off the walls, she uses her list to pull out something new or rarely played with to change things up a bit.  At the end of the evening, that toy/game/puzzle is tucked back away where the kids don’t have direct access.

Pick up is much easier now.  There are simply fewer toys to pick up, however there is still plenty of toys to keep them busy.

What about you? What changes have you made in managing toys that has made a world of difference? 

Posted in Home Organization, Miscellany, Parenting | 1 Comment

Marriage Monday: Why Relationships Fail

Laura_500x500Laura Petherbridge has spent twenty-five years in divorce recovery.  She has a passion for blended families and especially encouraging stepmoms.

If you are a stepmom or know of a stepmom who needs encouragement, check out Laura’s Sisterhood of Stepmom Retreats and ministry.

Today’s post isn’t just for stepmoms, though.  It’s for any married couple! Today’s Marriage Monday has some wisdom for all of us to glean from!

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ThinkstockPhotos-479338169After more than twenty-five years in divorce recovery ministry I truly understand that some marriages disintegrate.

Why?

Listening to people who are getting divorced has helped me to uncover some root causes of failed relationships. They are concealed explosives lurking beneath the known typical marriage tensions such as: financial strain, gender differences, communication skills, respect, and intimacy struggles. Because the couple rarely recognizes the undetected detonators, these issues destroy a marriage that could have been saved.

The unique insight I’ve gleaned after years working with those divorcing propels me to help expose the hidden booby traps that often go undetected until the relationship dies.

Here are 8 myths we believe about falling in love, getting married and maintaining a relationship.

  • Myth #1 Leniency is an Act of Love

Does God have any problem allowing us to suffer a consequence when we make an unwise or sinful choice?  NO.

Then where did we get the crazy notion that tolerating, ignoring, and indulgence is an act of love? We certainly didn’t learn that perversion of the word from God—the Creator of Love. He explains it clearly :

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” (Psalm 119:67 NIV).

Suffering, not leniency was the thing that brought the Psalmist to his senses and turned his life around. True love allows a spouse or child to suffer when they choose unwisely. This provides the catalyst and motivation to wake up—and thrive.

  • Myth #2- I Can Change my Spouse.

It took the Holy Spirit some time, but I finally realized I was sinning and spitting in God’s face when I attempted to change or “fix” someone else. God packed my husband’s personality luggage in the way He knew was best. I need to stop trying to change him into what I think he should be.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NLT).

  • Myth #3- I’m Entitled to be Happy.

Being born in the USA comes with one significant curse. The land of the “free and the brave” has morphed into “I deserve to do whatever I want.” We spend a lot of time focusing on our “rights” but this thinking is contrary to Jesus who came to serve. He teaches us to focus on responsibility rather than rights.

 ”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3 NIV).

  • Myth #4- My Childhood and Previous Emotional Wounds are in the Past. They Have No Effect on My Marriage.

Both past sins done to you and the past sins done by you, affect your marriage. Those choices embed shame, fear and self-loathing.  And unless we confront those tormentors, and learn how they have perverted our thinking and actions—they fester. Jesus forgives all sin and teaches us how to forgive others.

“My father and mother walked out and left me, but GOD took me in.”  (Psalm 27:10 MSG).

  • Myth #5- Pornography Will Not Harm my Marriage.

If I plopped a few drops of Clorox bleach into your morning coffee, would you drink it? Likely not. That’s how pornography affects the precious sweetness of the sexual union between a husband and a wife. It’s toxic and deadly.

“My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins.” (Psalm 38: 5 NLT)

  • Myth #6- It’s My Spouse’s Job to Meet My Needs.

When we expect a person to meet a need that can only God can fill, we are headed for disappointment and trouble. It is neither feasible nor wise to expect my spouse to meet all of my needs. God is the only one who knows all of my needs, and He created us to need Him. He is our source.

“For in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28a NIV).

  • Myth #7- Keeping Secrets From my Spouse Will Not Harm My Marriage.

Can your spouse look at your phone, computer, DVDs, gas mileage, receipts, credit card bill, closet, calendar or hiding spot at any time? If the answer is no, the question then shifts to, “why not”? If the answer is because he’s a manipulative bully and dictates your every move, than you have a different problem. But if it’s because you don’t want to be held accountable—that’s deception.

And lies destroy relationships.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV).

  • Myth #8- Divorce Does Not Happen to Good Christians.

Church attendance, Bible reading, salvation and prayer don’t automatically inoculate a person from divorce. That’s because it takes two people to get married, but only one person to divorce.

A wise Christian prays for a strong marriage and refuses to believe “that could never happen to me.” She continuously works on strengthening her marriage and discovers areas of weakness.

“Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion; wise realists plant their feet on the ground.” (Proverbs 14:18 MSG).

What about you?  Which of these myths are you believing?  Remember, marriage is not nearly as much about finding the right person as it is about becoming the right person.

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