Honor Your Spouse and Others By LISTENING WELL

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

God commands children to “Honor your father and mother” and God tells parents to “not embitter” their children.  What is the very best way to “honor” and “not embitter” a spouse, child, or parent?  LISTEN!  When we listen well to our spouse or anyone, we are honoring them by conveying that “You are my Number One Priority, not just one of my many activities, and I will listen to you!

Here are some thoughts on how to listen effectively.  Look the person directly in the eyes; ask questions for better understanding; do not interrupt; remove any distractions; suspend any judgment; and summarize often the content of what was said.

TODAY:  Be a wonderful listener throughout the day with everyone and help them feel special, valued, and number one in importance. (March 1, 2017)

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Disagree Yes, Disrespect NEVER!

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” and that begins by showing respect toward a differing perspective rather than attacking that opinion. A mature and logical spouse or individual can understand and value another person’s point of view, without agreeing, but also not attacking with character assassinations.  Whether marriage, family relationships, or citizens in a society, a relationship will only be healthy when both sides are smart and reasonable by respectfully recognizing both sides of a position.

Unfortunately, a disrespectful spouse or person will often criticize an opposing viewpoint by assigning a negative label in order to justify their position creating an even further divide in the marriage or relationship.  Frequently, the spouse or person throwing the “name-calling grenade” is immature, illogical and is the one who probably possesses an unhealthy perspective.

TODAY:  Be an intelligent, mature, and respectful spouse or person by having regard for a differing opinion through an attempt to understand the reasons for an opposite viewpoint while NEVER being disrespectful.  (February 15, 2017)

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Anxiety Is The Culprit

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

Surprisingly, many life problems and relationship issues actually fall under the umbrella of anxiety.  Anxiety creates an internal “chaos” that produces personal and relational unhealthy behaviors, and eventual overall unhappiness.

Personal issues like fear of social situations, spending too much, obsessive/compulsive disorder, addictions, eating disorders, and difficulty with decisions usually stem from anxiety.  Relationship issues often created by anxiety are lack of affection, controlling nearly every relationship aspect, avoiding sexual intimacy, and dominating decisions.  Of course, these lists are not exhaustive. 

The goal of this post is not to “fix” anxiety issues but only to create an awareness of what is often at the core of life and relationship heartache.  When anxiety is present seek solutions to bring more contentment and joy to life. 

TODAY:  Learn to be uncomfortable with anxious feelings so eventually comfortable feelings and healthy behaviors develop in order to enjoy life and relationships even more. 

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Decision-Making Based On Facts

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

When faced with making a decision, separate FACTS from feelings.  “Feelings” decision-making is usually founded upon our assumptions or intuition.  For example, when counseling premarital couples I tell them that, “Marriage is an intelligent (factual) decision, not an emotional one.” I always suggest the two of them objectively evaluate their future spouse’s virtues and flaws.  The reason:  Failed marriages are often the result of a “feeling” choice.

Definitely like you, I am human and do make mistakes.  Unfortunately, when I made poor choices over the course of my life, the main reason 90% of the time was due to basing my decision on feelings rather than FACTS.  In the future, we can change most of our poor choices by assessing decisions in a factual manner.

TODAY:  Begin writing down the FACTS in a “Pros” and “Cons” manner with all major decisions. (January 11, 2017)

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Handling Christmas Stress

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

It is true that life without holidays can be overwhelming and stressful.  Today we may be thinking this is the most important Christmas ever and it has to be perfectHowever, what were three gifts you received last Christmas?  What do you and I really remember from past Christmases?  My point: Christmas won’t really matter one month from now, so relax and tell yourself, “This Christmas will be good enough.”  What we will remember is what we did with others.

I have several thoughts on handling Christmas and holiday stress:  be realistic and create memories of closeness; view the remaining Christmas and holiday season one day at a time; and make time for things you value.  When things don’t go quite right or turn out exactly as planned, maintain a sense of humor, laugh out loud, and look for positive aspects in the “closeness” facet of the holidays.

TODAY:  Create your own “Peace on Earth” and focus on glorifying God in Jesus Christ, family closeness, church celebrations, and adding value to others. (December 21, 2016)

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Don’t Live In Denial

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

Denial originates from either a lack of awareness or confused thinking about what is healthy or not healthy.  Most of the time denial is due to not being able to identify the “unhealthy” rather than a will not attitude.  Thus, it is a “Can’t” identify, not a “Won’t” identify unhealthy thoughts or behaviors.  Unfortunately, before the truthful realities of unhealthy words and behaviors become apparent, it is often too late and the extreme damage has already been done.

No matter what the reason, not recognizing major personal issues, addictions, unhealthy life/marriage/parenting thoughts, eating disorders, etc. may create a miserable personal life as well as produce painful relationships. A spouse in denial over controlling behaviors, extreme selfishness, an uncompromising spirit, or an uncooperative attitude, makes for a difficult marriage.  Or a parent in denial with unhealthy parenting ideas can create a lifetime of struggles for a child in adulthood.

By continually living in denial regarding unhealthy individual behaviors, spousal issues, or an unhealthy parenting style, your personal life, marriage, or child may be severely hurt for years to come.  If you have dissatisfaction with your individual life or marriage or your child is struggling in some area of life, before it is too late, make sure that denial is not the main issue with a particular problem.

TODAY:  Recognize how you may play a part in a personal life problem or a relationship struggle due to denial.  Then, avoid the trap of denial and seek ways to overcome those destructive, thoughts, words, or actions. 

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Be A Lifelong Learner

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on life, marriage, or parenting.

 Knowledge is one of the major keys for a successful life.  And one of the best ways for gaining knowledge is to be a lifelong learner.  Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  I truly appreciate you following my Weekly Wednesday blog posts because my goal is to help you acquire knowledge about life, marriage, and parenting, and at the same time, staying young.

Personal growth and development happens through lifelong learning and lifelong learning leads to knowledge and knowledge increases life wisdom!  Thankfully, it is easier to gain knowledge today than at any other time in the history of the world.  We can expand our knowledge through books, audio-books, college classes, trade journals, podcasts, associating with wise people, and the internet, to just name a few.

 TODAY:  Choose to be a lifelong learner and take some time to gain just a little knowledge within one area of your life. 

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We Only Have 24 Hours To Live!

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on life, marriage, or parenting.

Unfortunately, it is so easy for us to live today as if we have years ahead of us.  When we live for the future we not only discard today but we often create feelings of fear and anxiety.  On the other hand, we can waste today by living in the past and that usually leads to feelings of regret and guilt.

The Bible states, “This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” and it means Just For Today! Savor each moment throughout this day and gain more happiness by just living in the present.  Make Today a wonderful day, in fact, make It your best day ever!

TODAY:  Be agreeable, cooperative, and courteous to everyone you meet.  Today thank God for three blessings that recently happened in your life.  Today compliment or praise a minimum of two people. Today set a goal to be better in one area of your life.  Today tell close family members “I Love You.”

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Make Sleep A Priority

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

Never underestimate the importance of sleep for a happy, successful life.  Hence, an extremely important objective for all of us is to make sleep a priority!  Lack of sleep and /or irregular sleep hours will confuse our biological clock often resulting in negative effects mentally, emotionally, and in relationships.

Children who do not achieve the required amount of sleep for their age level frequently suffer academically and are more irritable at home and school.  Adults who do not have the minimal amount of sleep usually have poorer work performance and often experience relationship struggles.  Lack of sleep can also lead to a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, heart complications, impaired judgment, and memory issues as well as other serious problems.

Have two goals: 1) a regular sleep schedule and 2) a regular bedtime routine.  With your sleep schedule, consistently go to bed at approximately the same time.  Adults should aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep, while school-aged children require a minimum of eight and a half to eleven hours of sleep.  Prepare for sleep by developing a regular bedtime routine.  Avoid stimulants within six hours of bedtime; clear your mind for sleep by planning for the next day with a “things to do list”; and finally relax one hour before bedtime.

TODAY:  Improve your energy, focus, and mood by writing down your Sleep Schedule and the various components for your Bedtime Routine

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