Here’s A Perfect Valentine’s Day Idea For YOU!

Here is a simple observation: most couples love each other, but don’t know how to show it when they experience difficulties in their relationship. What do we do when we are at odds? How do we respond when hurt by the other? How are we supposed to react when we are angry?

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These and other such questions were the very reason I wrote the book: The PLEDGE of a Lifetime, Her Hope for Connection, His Guide Through Conflict. It has been one year since its publication. I have heard story after story from those who have read it how much they learned and how it has helped their relationships.

One person spoke of how she has read the book, and is now re-reading it because there is so much to grasp.

Many others have purchased multiple copies to give to their grown children to help in their marriages.

What do we do? How do we respond? How should we react? These and similar questions are all clearly answered in my book.

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When You Can’t Trust Your Spouse

I have heard it from both sides: “I can’t trust him – not after he hurt me like he did.” OR, “No way, I could never trust her again – not after what she did!”

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Much is said about how and when to trust again. Genuine repentance over a wrong done is a necessary beginning step. There is also a goodness in overlooking some things as we give each other grace. I am so thankful how many times my wife has “forgiven” me for not getting everything at the store as I said I would.

My focus in this post however, is to understand how three components of trust are necessary to bring healing to a relationship.

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One Thing That Will Make Resolving Conflict Easy(er)

I can think of a number of occasions when I was in a disagreement with my wife, my kids, or a friend. No doubt you can too. Recall the discomfort you felt, the tension in your body, the lack of certainty of what to do next.

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It is very difficult to feel any differently when conflict happens because of the fight, flight, or freeze button activated in our brains. There is however, one thing we can do to lessen those reactions and make resolving conflict easy(er).

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6 Crucial Lessons For Your Marriage

Inspired By The Movie "War Room"

My wife and I went to see the Christian movie, War Room, recently produced by the Kendrick Brothers. It is about the battle that ensues over a troubled marriage. Whether you consider yourself a Christian or not, there are a number of key lessons to learn for your marriage to succeed. Here are six:

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1. Be prepared for conflict: when you get married you are entering into a war zone.

Before long, one or the other of you will hurt or disappoint the other, and conflict will occur. In time you may also experience conflict between you and your in-laws; between you and your children; and potentially between you and those outside your marriage who don’t care if your marriage survives or not. If the Ashley Madison scandal proves anything, it reveals that there are many people who are looking to have an extra-marital affair with someone else who is married. Learn to work through conflict. 

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Do These 3 Things With The Story In Your Head

“Zerrin knows how to listen well, so why did she interrupt me? She must be getting tired of me having negative thoughts about life, so she just interrupted to stop me from whining. Living with me has to be hard–she may be just getting tired of me, period. I’m a mess.”

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In a previous blog I wrote about how we develop stories in our head when a conflict happens. It is an attempt to bring clarity to the situation and therefore a greater measure of control and security.

Usually the stories develop along the lines of us berating ourselves for what happened or blaming the other person. Rarely does either lead to healthy resolve.

What does? And what do we do with the stories in our head?

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Do You Know The Story In Your Head?

Recently I was disappointed in a certain situation and decided to talk about it with my wife. Before I got even two paragraphs out of my mouth, she began telling me how she saw things from a different angle. Rather quickly I found myself frustrated and shutting down. It is often what I do at first when angry.

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In my head I found myself thinking things like:

“She knows how to listen well, so why did she interrupt me? She must be getting tired of me having negative thoughts about life, so she just interrupted to stop me from whining. Living with me has to be hard – she may be just getting tired of me, period. I’m a mess.”

That was the story in my head that day.

On another day it might have been something like:

“I can’t believe she interrupted me. Sometimes she can be so inconsiderate – like what I think and feel doesn’t matter to her at all! What matters to her is just getting out what she wants to say so she can get on with her day.”

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Are You Serious?!?!

My Take On Ashley Madison

Hackers did it again. Last week the hacker group “Impact Team” broke into Ashley Madison, a website which connects married men and women with another partner to have an affair, and leaked the personal information of the site’s 37 million subscribers. Ashley Madison’s byline is: “Life is short; have an affair.”

Are you serious?

Wait – that isn’t strong enough.

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Sadly, millions have fallen prey to this deception, and now their names, addresses, financial info, and personal preferences have been exposed. At least 2 suicides have resulted from the leak and Ashley Madison is being sued in a class action lawsuit.

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Mark’s Marriage Minute

Dealing With Conflict...

In the opening chapter of my book you read the following story about Jake and Lisa:

“I can’t believe you’re telling me this!” yelled Jake. He knocked his chair over with a clatter and stomped toward the front door. “What did I do to deserve this?”

“Jake, come back!” cried Lisa, following him out to the driveway.

“I can’t! I have to get away and think,” growled Jake as he tried to contain his rage.

“I’m sorry! Really, I am! WAIT!” Lisa pleaded as Jake drove off, tires squealing, in his ’94 Mustang convertible.

Okay now stop a moment. Imagine this:  you are Lisa…or you are Jake. What do you do next?

Most of us really don’t know. We experience conflict and we hate it – for a number of reasons – one of them being we simply don’t know what to do when it happens!

My heart and passion is to help people find their way through difficult times like the one above. I can only help however, those who are willing to learn.

My challenge for you this week is to do one of the following to further your understanding of how to deal with conflict when it happens:

  • Ask a friend, mentor, pastor, or parent what they have learned over the years to help them deal with conflict well. Start a journal and write down what you discover.
  • Google “conflict resolution strategies” and write down what you learn.
  • Beg, borrow, or – no, don’t steal – buy my book The PLEDGE of a Lifetime and LEARN all you can about how to process conflict well in love!

Remember 3 Things and Get The Most Out Of Your Next Conflict

Most people don’t like conflict, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, there is much good that can come out of conflict if you know a healthy process to work through it AND you keep the following 3 opportunities in mind:

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1. It is an opportunity to grow in your understanding of each other.

Saying we all want to be understood is like saying we all need air to breathe. But how often do we focus on understanding the person we are talking to, especially when we are in conflict?

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When Your Spouse Says They Don’t Love You Anymore

I received a call from someone wanting counseling for their marriage. They were desperate, not knowing what to do. Their marriage was fine – so they thought – up until recently when their spouse informed them things were over. The reason given?  “I don’t love you anymore!”

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I have had that call on many occasions.

What was to be my advice? Why does this happen? What can you do when this occurs or if you find yourself feeling this way?

Three facts to keep in mind about feelings:

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