Experiences Really Make A Difference

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

A good goal for bringing more joy, contentment, and happiness to our life is to create memorable experiences.  In fact, a research study found that people who spent money on experiences rather than physical things were actually happier than those who focused on purchasing items, whether expensive or inexpensive.  Look back over your life and ask, “What happy moments do I really remember with fondness?”  I think your answer 95%+ of the time will be your individual and relational experiences.

Hence, design memorable experiences both personally and relationally.  Find fresh, exciting individual experiences; create wonderful, new experiences with your spouse; have regular or weekly experiences with your child; and find new sightseeing or vacation experiences. Material things don’t last but memories of experiences last a lifetime.

TODAY:  Begin developing your own list of future experiences that you want to enjoy in life either by yourself or with others. (March 8, 2017)

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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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Healthy Behaviors Create Positive Feelings

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

With almost every unhappy marriage, one or both spouses have numb or empty feelings. The simple reason is a lack of positive behaviors and words on a daily basis.  When dissatisfaction is present, I often ask, “What caring actions and positive comments have you made toward your spouse in the last week?” and the answer is generally not good.

On the positive side, although feelings and thoughts are beyond our control, we can manage our actions and words.  Actions like attentive eye contact, hugs, kisses, kind gestures, compliments, saying “I am sorry” or “I forgive you” are all within our control. Actions always come first, and then loving feelings follow those positive words and behaviors.

TODAY:  Decide to begin serving and giving to your spouse on a daily basis with caring actions and encouraging words. (January 25, 2017)

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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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A Personal Goal: Be Agreeable and Cooperative

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

How agreeable and cooperative are you?  Patience, compromise, being helpful, embracing the ordinary, simply saying “It is good enough,” are all qualities of an easygoing person. And more than intelligence, money, background, similar interests, etc. what creates a gratifying marriage are two spouses who are both agreeable and cooperative.

I understand that being easygoing is hard work for all of us.  Yet, when we are relaxed, laid back, pleasant, and courteous, we not only make our marriages happier we also improve our emotional and physical well-being.  On a daily basis, strive to be an accommodating, supportive person and spouse.

TODAY:  Find a book, podcast, CD, YouTube video, etc. for self-improvement in order to become a more agreeable and cooperative person and spouse.  (December 14, 2016)

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Three Healing Words: “I Am Sorry”

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

Three essential healing words for all relationships are “I am sorry.”  Unfortunately, I estimate that in ninety percent of homes, those three soothing, restorative words are rarely used for repairing relationships. So saying those words, “I am sorry” may feel unfamiliar and even uncomfortable for most of us.

When we say “I am Sorry” we are either saying “I made a mistake” or “I was wrong.” Accepting responsibility for a fault is very hard for all of us because that requires humility. Without two spouses willing to say “I am sorry,” a fully satisfying marriage will be difficult.  However, when the phrase, “I am sorry” is used by both spouses the likelihood for life-long happiness will significantly improve.

TODAY:  The next time you make a mistake or hurt your spouse’s feelings, heal your relationship by speaking those remarkable healing words, “I AM SORRY.”

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Daily Say “I Love You”

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

The three word phrase, “I Love You” takes less than one second to speak.  Yet, it is one of the phrases that matters most in your marriage!  When those three words are spoken infrequently, meaning not daily, then a marital relationship often starts the slippery slide toward serious trouble.

Saying “I Love You” to your spouse on a daily basis is essential for lifelong happiness.  In addition, communicating that significant “I Love You” phrase is not a “one way street” BUT an expression that must be initiated by both of you every single day of your marriage.  Marriage is hard work and one simple reminder of your strong commitment is a daily initiation of an “I Love You.”

TODAY:  And every day, personally initiate a minimum of one time, those magical words “I LOVE YOU” to your spouse and make them feel especially valued and loved. 

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Eat Meals At The Table

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

With every couple, child, parent, and/or family I counsel, I always ask about how mealtimes are handled by everyone.  Unfortunately, when a child, marriage, or family is struggling, I am often told that rarely are meals happening at the table.  Instead, individuals are eating in the bedroom, living room, or just standing at the counter in the kitchen.  Marriage or family meals at the table allow for positive conversation, excellent eye contact, and a strengthening of family ties.

I have found that a happy marriage is a major challenge when couples are not eating together.  In addition, one research study found that children learned a majority of their life and faith values during mealtime discussions at the table.  So if family members are not sitting together at the table for meals, there is often a disengaged family and a significant lost opportunity for discussing life and faith values with a child.

It makes no difference if only two family members are home or if you are only having sandwiches and chips, a major goal is to have meals at the table as often as possible.  Always avoid discussing any problems so your meals together will be positive times.  Turn off the TV, remove all technology gadgets, have light-hearted conversation, and perhaps share one or two positives from the day.

TODAY:  Begin having marriage/family meals at the table and enjoy making an eye-to-eye heart connection with your spouse or other family members.

Please be sure to “Like” and “Share” when you visit my professional Facebook page so others may receive the post.  If you enjoyed reading this post you may enjoy reading other posts found on my website, www.DrRandallSchroeder.com, under “Categories.”  Thank you!