Beyond Marriage

Using PLEDGE In Your Family

One of the questions we are inevitably asked each time we teach the Madly in Love PLEDGE Conference is: Can we use these principles in other relationships than in our marriage? Can we use them for example with our kids or extended family?

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And we always respond with a resounding: YES!!!

Here is what one of our our recent attendees said when she went home from the conference and began teaching her 4 and 7 year old:

“We started implementing this in our marriage, AND with our four young children, right away. My seven and six-year-olds are already responding positively when they see me do the pause sign during the conflict between them! Thank you for this new tool!

This same person said even further: “Even after such a short time, I’ll hear my seven-year-old son comment to himself, pause and shift, when he gets frustrated with his sister!”

Imagine similar experiences in your home:

A mother stops what she is doing when her angry daughter speaks to her. She turns towards her daughter with the intent of really listening. As the mother seeks to understand her heart, the daughter feels loved and her heart softens. Mom disarms the conflict by validating her daughter’s hurt and angry feelings. Both feel closer, thankful for the connection they experience. As the tension in the room subsides, the daughter expresses more of an openness to hear what mom has to say in response.

That same daughter begins to note the destructive nature of her words towards her mother. Convicted, she learns to pause before she speaks. She considers more carefully her words and how to express her anger, but in a loving way.

In another family, two children are playing when a conflict occurs over who grabbed the new toy first. Mom is about to intervene before either hurts the other, but before she can say anything, the older child uses a hand motion to signal they need to pause. Moments later, the children agree to give each other a turn rather than fight.

As the kids get older, each family member learns to listen well and understand each other when communicating. Each one reflects on what the other is saying, clarifying wherever needed, and valuing what is said. Imagine a family where felt love is more common than not because of the way each member relates to the other.

You say: “Is that really possible?” More than you think.

It will not be easy. It will take work. More specifically it will require that you first put the principles into action in the way you relate to your spouse and your children. After doing so, you then teach and train your children to follow after you.

There is no greater joy or satisfaction or calling than pursuing a life of love!

Learn more of the PLEDGE process and how it can positively affect and deepen your relationships here.

Why My Marriage Isn’t As Good As It Seems (On Facebook)…But That’s Okay

Guest Post from Jackie Bledsoe

While I’m away, I’m excited to share with you several guest posts from friends and colleagues that are passionate about marriages, relationships, and conflict resolution. Jackie Bledsoe is a professional blogger, author, and speaker, but first and foremost a husband and father, who encourages men to better lead and love their families through his blog, JackieBledsoe.com. He’s the author of the  The 7 Rings of Marriage™, and with his wife, co-hosts The 7 Rings of Marriage Web Show, where they share practical marriage lessons, and interview other couples who have lasting and fulfilling marriages.

When you write and speak about marriage for a living it might seem like your marriage is good all the time. But it’s not (I’m sure this isn’t a surprise to you). However, after a quick scan of my Facebook timeline it does look like my marriage is good, no, great all the time!

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There are pictures of our kids smiling and having fun, selfies of my wife and I on our date nights, and pics of us enjoying ourselves on vacation and with family and friends. Smiling faces abound — life, marriage, and family seem amazing!

But I’m coming clean here.

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What 8 Years of Marriage Has Taught Me about Joy & Pain

Guest Post from Danielle Darnell

While I’m away, I’m excited to share with you several guest posts from friends and colleagues that are passionate about marriages, relationships, and conflict resolution. This week’s post comes from Danielle Darnell. She and her husband Jake live in Kalamazoo, MI with their 2 little girls, Story and Teagan. When not working or mom-ing, Danielle loves to cycle, build tables, write about personal finance, and spend as many hours as she can gathered around a table with old friends and new, enjoying life together.

The Beginning Is Only The Beginning

Next month we will celebrate our 8th anniversary. But we’ve been together far longer than 8 years, 15 in fact. Brought together through brokenness, we met during our freshman year of high school, shortly after my parents separated and two years before his parents did the same.

We each had front row seats to the pain and damage that can arise through marriage and divorce. We bonded through trading war stories, helping each other reconcile the pain, and delivering just the right dash of humor when needed. And the thing we said more than anything is that someday when we get married to our spouses, we will do things differently.

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We weren’t naive, we knew marriage took “work”, but we also knew that any amount of work and sacrifice was better than experiencing what we were going through at the hands of divorce. We knew what not to do, so we each began searching out scripture and mentors to help show us what to do.

Over the next few years, our friendship grew, but life took us apart for college. Through God’s grace, we stayed in touch and began to experience our feelings morph from friendship into love for each other. And we realized all the pain, all the tears, and all the late night talks about divorce had been knitting us together and laying a foundation for our own future marriage.

We married at 20 and 21, having already traveled the ups and downs of seven years of friendship together. By the time our wedding day arrived, I thought we were invincible. We knew what not to do, and we had a pretty good idea of what to do – what else was there to figure out?

A lot.

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10 Key Ingredients To Living At Peace With Your Spouse

If you have been reading my blog for very long at all, it would hardly be a surprise to hear that most of my life I have sought to learn principles to get through conflict in a more productive manner rather than just fighting. As an adult I formed those principles into a conflict resolution process we call PLEDGE. I use the process personally and teach it to others on a regular basis so that they might truly learn to love well.

10 KEY INGREDIENTS

More recently I have been thinking that to get the most out of the PLEDGE process, some key ingredients are necessary to put into the mix. This blog post lists those ingredients.

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3 Things To Do When Your Friends Are Facing Divorce

On a number of occasions I have heard someone say to me, “Did you hear about so and so? They are getting a divorce!” And every time, it grieves me. When I ask what they have done to help, they most often say something like: “Oh I couldn’t help. I wouldn’t know what to do.” I am even more saddened after that!

3 Things When Facing Divorce

There is always at least something we can do. Here are some ideas:

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Three Men, Three Athletes, and Success in Your Marriage

Do you know any of these three men: David Cutliffe, Patrick Mouratoglou, or Angelo Dundee? What do they have in common with three of the top athletes of the last 60 years in our country? The answer is critical to you accomplishing the greatest desires of your heart.

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THINK: what is more important than becoming the best possible husband or wife to each other, the greatest parent to your children, and the most love-filled individual to all? Nothing! But how do we get there? To answer that we have to know who the three men are I just mentioned and what their connection is to Peyton Manning, Serena Williams, and Mohammed Ali.

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When Conflict Happens: PAUSE and do this FIRST

When conflict happens, the first and most important step to keep in mind is this: put everything on pause–until you are able to talk about it in a healthy manner.

We all know the experience of trying to talk things out in the heat of the moment–it only makes matters worse! You have been there. I have been there. It doesn’t work.

So what then?

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I wanted to SCREAM when I saw this…

It was in my inbox with the subject line reading “Life is short–have a discreet affair!” I wanted to scream! I wanted to shout: “Life IS short–so do it right!” In all my 30 years of marriage counseling I have never ONCE heard anyone in my office say they were glad they had an affair–but I have heard MANY speak of how sorely they regret it. What can you do to guard against this temptation?

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God Spoke to Me 4 Lessons for Your Family!

I was taking my normal exercise walk one morning last week when a flock of birds – perhaps 1,000 in number – flew overhead and followed me down the street flying from one tree to another.  I sensed very clearly God saying to me “Mark, what do you see?”  What I observed was four of the most powerful lessons about family that need to be heard today:

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Learn This One Principle and Change Your Life For The Better!

Driving home from visiting our daughter in Tulsa yesterday, we drove by colorfully adorned fields of green giving way to the auburn milo and back to the green again. The various crops, each with their unique beauty, are part of what makes the mid-west a wonder to behold. They also speak of a very simple but life-changing concept for all who will hear…

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