Archives for October 2013

10 Secrets To A Successful Marriage

This is from a Focus On The Family newsletter and I wanted to pass it on!

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Here are ten principles that will help you create and maintain a successful marriage.

Successful couples are savvy. They read books, attend seminars, browse Web articles and observe other successful couples. However, successful couples will tell you that they also learn by experience – trial and error.

Here are ten principles of success I have learned from working with and observing hundreds of couples:

  1. Happiness is not the most important thing. Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness will come and go. Successful couples learn to intentionally do things that will bring happiness back when life pulls it away.
  2. Couples discover the value in just showing up. When things get tough and couples don’t know what to do, they need to hang in there and be there for their spouse. Time has a way of helping couples work things out by providing opportunities to reduce stress and overcome challenges.
  3. If you do what you always do, you will get same result. Wise couples have learned that you have to approach problems differently to get different results. Often, minor changes in approach, attitude and actions make the biggest difference in marriage.
  4. Your attitude does matter. Changing behavior is important, but so is changing attitudes. Bad attitudes often drive bad feelings and actions.
  5. Change your mind, change your marriage. How couples think and what they believe about their spouse affects how they perceive the other. What they expect and how they treat their spouse matters greatly.
  6. The grass is greenest where you water it. Successful couples have learned to resist the grass is greener myth – i.e. someone else will make me happy. They have learned to put their energy into making themselves and their marriage better.
  7. You can change your marriage by changing yourself. Veteran couples have learned that trying to change their spouse is like trying to push a rope – almost impossible. Often, the only person we can change in our marriage is ourselves.
  8. Love is a verb, not just a feeling. Everyday life wears away the “feel good side of marriage.” Feelings, like happiness, will fluctuate. But, real love is based on a couple’s vows of commitment: “For better or for worse” – when it feels good and when it doesn’t.
  9. Marriage is often about fighting the battle between your ears. Successful couples have learned to resist holding grudges, bringing up the past and remembering that they married an imperfect person – and so did their spouse.
  10. A crisis doesn’t mean the marriage is over. Crises are like storms: loud, scary and dangerous. But to get through a storm you have to keep driving. A crisis can be a new beginning. It’s out of pain that great people and marriages are produced.
Copyright © 2009, Mitch Temple.

Problems Only The Rich Have

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Apparently, I had never heard the phrase, “Problems only the rich have,” but after our pastor’s sermon last week, it was crystal clear to me.

Here’s an example he used.  One of his frustrations this past month has been that the battery in his garage door opener is wearing out, so once in a while when he pulls into the driveway the door doesn’t automatically go up with the push of the button.  He actually has to get out of his car and walk up to the garage and push buttons to make the door open. Can you believe that??

Well, actually I can. Sadly.  I guess I’m a rich person, because I came home from church today and proceeded to have problems that other people in the world just don’t ever have.  Like being annoyed that the key cover for the period on my laptop is missing.  Or upset that our faucet continues to leak.  Or bothered that the kids clothes are all over the floor of their room.  Or, (this one really did me in) VERY frustrated when the Costco size syrup that one of my sweet children precariously balanced on the edge of the fridge shelf fell and oozed all over the kitchen floor (think sticky).  All problems that other people don’t have.

Because they don’t have computers.

They don’t have running water.

Their kids only have two shirts.

They don’t shop at Costco, or have syrup….or a fridge.

Our pastor’s point?

Thankfulness.

Not just thankfulness, but what he calls baseline thankfulness.  Our baseline in America tends to creep up quite a bit more than in other parts of the world because we live in a culture of convenience, efficiency, and discontentment.

As Christians, we need to push that baseline of thankfulness down, down, to the very basics of life.

We need to be thankful for (A HUGE VARIETY OF) food, (ABOUNDING) health, running (HOT) water, a (COMFY) mattress to sleep on, a yard to take care of, and the list goes on.

Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens.  That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.  Thessalonians 5:16-18

I have recently wrestled with potential change in my life, and that change meant losing some things that are dear to me.  Throughout that process, my baseline thankfulness changed.  I gained a whole new perspective of things that I had taken for granted.

You might want to try that exercise.  Think about losing some important and not so important things in your life–your marriage, your job, your cell phone, your church, your computer.   All of those things may have parts that are frustrating, that you wish would be different–but what if they were completely gone?  And you had to start–over. What things would you appreciate again?

We have so much to be thankful for in America–material possessions, freedom, opportunity, choice.  Thanksgiving is right around the corner…maybe it can take on even more significance in our homes as we shift our baseline of thankfulness.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:5-7

What are your problems?

(Darn…my voicemail doesn’t work as well now that I’ve shifted to the new IOS system on my iPhone).

Kids And Chores? 3 Great Ideas!

How motived are your kids to do chores? I wanted to share three parenting ideas that may help solve some of our most common struggles as moms.

Two of these I have done myself, and one I just learned about today from a good friend.

1. This first chore “helper”  is GREAT for little ones, and it actually became something my kids asked for.

It’s called THE CHORE BOX.

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Here’s how this simple tool works.  Make a list of household tasks that you would like your kiddos to help with.  Write them on strips of paper and put in a tissue box.  Gather the kids around when you have a half hour or so, and let them draw a strip of paper from the box.  My kids would giggle or playfully groan when they picked a chore, and then race to complete it.  As soon as the chore is complete they race back to draw the next one.  I would throw in one or two “Pick a piece of candy” in the box to make it really fun.

Caveat:  This won’t work as well with older kids–not quite as enthusiastic…

2. The second chore helper works when the kids get a little older, maybe 3rd grade to middle school:

It’s called CHORES FOR REWARDS

I created this chore motivator a few years back when I felt like the daily expectations for the kids around the house were well, kind of being ignored.  Lights were left on, food not put away, etc.  We needed a tune up!  So, knowing my kids were all motivated to earn money, I tried this system.

~ First, find two small bags.  In one, the “money bag”, put cards with coin amounts written on them–$.25, $.50, or whatever you are comfortable with.  Put several  quarters in the bag also.  In another bag, write the daily chores that need to be “sharpened up.”

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~ Next, gather the kids around in the evening.  Pick a task out of the bag, such as “Made Bed.”  Whoever has completed that task successfully for that day gets to pick out of the money bag.  So, let’s say two out of your three kids made their bed, they get to pick cards out of the coin bag.  And depending on what they draw, they can reach back in and gather that many coins.

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~ I would not do this every night, but maybe two or three times a week.  It was a great way for the younger kids to earn a few extra coins each week! (oh, and I threw in $1.00 cards every once in a while)

~ On one money card, I wrote “PRAISE”, and if the kids picked that one, they received verbal praise from me (usually a tackle hug or something fun too).  Even though this was not quite as fun as money, I wanted to teach them the value of praise and that it could make them feel great too!

 

3.  The final idea for today is for middle and high school kids, shared by my friend Heather this morning.

I don’t know what it’s called, so I’ll make up a name!  PROTECT THE LOOT

With this chore motivator, each of the kids gets X amount of money (whatever you might give them in monthly allowance) at the BEGINNING of the month in one dollar bills.  The bills go in a container in their room.  The goal is for the kids to not lose any money during the month.  “How might they lose their loot?,” you ask?  Well, each time they don’t do a standard, expected chore (in my house this would be something we have told them about, umm, 431 times), they lose a dollar.  Like, putting their wet towel from the shower back on the hook instead of on their bedroom floor.

So, will they choose to protect their loot or not?  I can’t wait to give this one a try!

 

 

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