Musings

Why getting help is a good idea.

There has been a fire at the REAL Marriage household. Everyone, including the dog, is safe and in many ways the damage was minimal. Now comes the recovery and rebuilding process. Who knew it would take so many specialists? We understood the basics and got started right away only to find we needed some specialists with special skills and equipment to complete the process. Evidently just washing clothes does not get the smell out.

You might find something similar in your marriage or other relationships. You know basically what needs to be done and you discover you need someone with special skills to really help you through the process. This is where a good marriage counselor can come in handy. A good counselor brings specialized skills in relationship areas to help you, using the fire anaolgy, not only get your clothes clean but to get the smoke smell out also. A good counselor can also peek around your attic to make sure there is not other damage as well so to speak.

I beleive couples can, and should, do a great amount of relationship work and enrichment on their own. I also know that sometimes it is handy to have a trained set of eyes to see things you might miss. That trained set of eyes also comes with some handy skills to help you repair or enrich your relationship.

Take a look at your marriage or relationship and determine what you need to do. If you can do the work yourself then get started and start enjoying your improved REAL marriage or relationship. If you need some assistance then find a good counselor in your area and get to work. The sooner you begin the sooner you will enjoy the fruits of your labor. As always you can contact me for an appointment. Invest in your REAL Marriage today.

Noise

Noise is everywhere. Not all of it is audible. Sometimes it consists of schedules that are too full, sometimes it is activity simply for the sake of activity, and sometimes it is our own desires. Oh, it could be many other things as well and I suspect that while there is overlap, we all have our own special noise. One of the problems of this noise is that it drowns out important things, like God, family, friends, and our marriage. We are no longer able to listen because of the noise.

What is the noise that is currently making it difficult for you to listen to what is important? Better yet, what can you do to turn down, or even turn off, the noise so you can listen to what matters?

Are you upset when a spouse rushes a telephone call with you? Do you think that he or she is not interested in you (selfishness is a post for another time)? If you could hear through the noise you might hear how busy your spouse is doing things for your good and the good of the family. If we shut out the noise it might be easier to assume good will with our spouses instead of jumping to negative conclusions.

To have a REAL marriage, one that is Romantic, Encouraging, Adaptable, and Loving, we need to shut out the noise more often and truly hear our spouses.

The Beginning Was Not Perfect

Recently I have been thinking more about how to present a coherent cohesive approach to marriage. Expectations and their management are a key component of how I approach marriage. Lately I have been hearing more and more of the unrealistic expectations that marriage will be easy and our spouses should be perfect for us. No wonder I am going bald.

Because I believe God made us and designed us to be in relationship I went back to Genesis to look again at what the bible says happened in the beginning. Nowhere does the bible speak of Adam and Eve being perfect for one another. It does say that God made for Adam a helper who was “suitable,” or “fit” for him. One version says, “I will make a companion who will help him.” The bible also says that Adam was put into the garden to tend it to be its caretaker. In other words to work. Eve was then “a companion who will help him.” I am not catching the easy or perfect part here.

Marriage takes work. All spouses are human and therefore not perfect. When we realize that the person we married is the person who is “fit” or “suitable” for us or “the companion who will help us” then we can work together to make our own garden of our marriage. Every garden needs tending. It needs watering, feeding, and good air to grow. It also needs to have the weeds removed so the good can grow.

Take care of your marriage and be glad that there is someone who is suitable or fit for you. For those of you thinking your spouse is not very suitable or fit right now let me suggest that some tender loving care may be just what that spouse needs to flourish once again.

Selling Virginity is not REAL

While reading through articles on my home page today I came across an article that caught my attention the way a train wreck catches your attention. Natalie Dylan is selling her virginity to the highest bidder. This is being done in Nevada where prostitution is legal. I still think it is not only wrong but a bad idea.

Natalie is conducting this auction to pay for graduate school. She wants to study marriage and family therapy. I believe in graduate school (I went) and I think marriage and family therapy is a good choice (it is what I studied) yet I think there are better ways to pay for graduate school. Natalie has kept her viriginity for 22 years she could probably encourage others to do the same.

Keeping your viriginity until marriage is good not only from a biblical perspective (I realize this is not important to many people) it is good from a psychological and marriage perspective. A person’s first sexual experience leaves a lifelong imprint and I think it is a good idea for that imprint to be positive. While paying for graduate school may be positive in this case it doesn’t make the grade. How will this experience affect Natalie’s future marriage? Would you marry someone who sold their virginity to the highest bidder? How faithful will this person be if you run into financial trouble in your marriage?

Selling your viriginity is not REAL. It is not romantic, encouraging, or loving. In this case it is adaptable, however one out of four is still 25% out of 100% and that is a failing grade at any school. I encourage Natalie, and anyone else thinking about selling their virginity, to reconsider. Your virginity is priceless and should only be given to the person you will spend the rest of your life with in marriage. Giving your virginity to one another on your wedding night is a good foundation for a REAL marriage. It is romantic: “You saved yourself just for me.” It is encouraging: “You kept yourself pure before marriage and you will do so in our marriage.” It is adaptable: Not many people are making the choice to maintain their viriginity until marriage. It is loving: “You have shared this part of yourself with only me.”

Let us encourage everyone to be REAL and keep their viriginity until marriage.

Nicole Richie and Premarital Education

It seems that Nicole Richie is getting quite a bit of press for her pregnancy and her DUI. Pregnancy and DUI do not belong in the same sentence.

What I hope Ms. Richie will see is that children do better when their parents are married and they do even better when their parents have a good marriage. I hope that Lionel Richie will spend the money to send his daughter to some good premarital education and support in having a good marriage. Maybe, having children will help her settle down though this is not a guarantee.

Whether you are famous or not, premarital education is a good idea.

Marriage Everyday

You may wonder, “How does he write about marriage everyday?” The simple answer is, I think about marriage everyday. I think about my marriage, how it is going, what I can do to make it better, how I can be a good husband to my wife, and other things. I also think about marriage in general, what makes it good, how to teach others about marriage, and the overall benefits of marriage to individuals and society.

I can write about marriage everyday because I am passionate about marriage. I think marriage in general, and good marriages specifically, have a positive effect on the world and its inhabitants. Research is telling about these benefits all of the time. Therefore, I want to reap those benefits and I want others to reap those benefits also. I believe that the ripple effects of these benefits will impact those around them and eventually we can all be a little better off.

Another reason I can write about marriage everyday is that I am intentional about my marriage. I conciously do things to work on my marriage. I purposefully do things that will benefit my wife and my marriage. Could I do better? You bet. Do I continue to learn and try to be better? You bet. My encouragement to you is to be married on purpose, to be intentional about your marriage, and to conciously work on your marriage all the time.

I am not saying that everyone should marry. While I believe in marriage, I also know that not everyone wishes to marry. There is nothing wrong or bad about not being married and I think we should not pester those who have made a deliberate decision not to marry. For those who want to marry and are not doing it as fast as you would like, give them some space. Show them your good marriage and when they start thinking more about marriage they just may ask you for the advice or encouragement you have been waiting to give.

Whether you marry or not, make the decision on purpose. If you do decide to marry or are already married, be married everyday on purpose.

Love is…

Love is…a favorite meal before you have to go away on a business trip.

Sex, Intimacy, and Making Love

Clear communication is appreiciated by most people, especially if it is appropriate and not rude or crude. Euphemisims are, “the use of a word or phrase that is less expressive or direct but considered less distasteful, less offensive, etc. than another.” Also, “a word or phrase so substituted; as, ‘she is at rest’ is a euphemism for ‘she is dead.'” Euphemisims are not allowed at my house and I counsel against them when I work with couples.

Sex is not a bad word. Neither is intimacy. However, the two are not synonymous. Sex may or may not be intimate (it is better if it is intimate) and intimacy may or may not include sex. “Making love” is a bad term as I see it. Usually it is a subtitute for the word “sex.” However, love cannot be summed up by sex. The way I see it, for you to “make love” you have to spend time and effort doing many things like doing good to your spouse, speaking nicely, sending love notes, taking care of your spouse when you are sick, doing dishes, and hundreds, if not thousands, of other things. Sex is included in all of these things but it is not the only thing.

So, let’s be clear and direct when we talk about these things. I encourage you to make love, be intimate, and have sex. These are all part of your REAL Marriage.

Marriage Rewards and Responsibilities

In the news today is Tom Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots. It seems that Tom is being noticed because an ex-girlfriend is pregnant, allegedly with his child. Along with this, his current girlfriend is allegedly pregnant with his child. This means two children by two different women and he is not married to either.

It appears to me that Mr. Brady wants the rewards of marriage, sex, without the responsibilities of marriage, commitment to one woman and making a life together. There are many more rewards to marriage then just sex and I find that many of the responsibilities of marriage are very rewarding. I wish those in the public eye would take more seriously their responsibility to be good role models. This is the responsibility attached to the reward of the money and publicity they receive.

I also think everyone else needs to accept the responsibilities attached to the rewards they receive. So, if you are dirt poor, I still think that if you want the reward of sex, you need to accept the responsibility of marriage.

Our politicians are in this boat as well. Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain are taking heat about their divorces. Mr. Giuliani is under particular scrutiny because of his public humiliation of his second wife and because his son is now refusing to campaign for him. Divorce is painful for all involved. Newt Gingrich is admitting to infidelity.

If politicians want to lead then they need to lead by example. If they want the rewards they need to accept the responsibilities. I do not expect them to be perfect. None of us are perfect. However, we can all accept our responsibilities.

Accpet your responsibilities in marriage and you will certainly reap the rewards of a REAL Marriage.

Daily Action

If we want our marriages to be “constantly fresh” then we need to work constantly to keep them that way.? A good question to ask ourselves each day is, “What am I doing today to make my marriage better, fresh, and enjoyable for both of us?”? Come up with something to do each day to make your marriage fresh.? There are plenty of tips and ideas on this website alone to help you out and links to other places for even more ideas.

Take the challenge and for one week ask yourself the question above and act on it.? See what happens and let me know.? I suspect that if you do this one thing you, and most likely your spouse, will enjoy your marriage more.? Go for it and you can go to the next level in your REAL Marriage.

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