Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How to "Affair Proof" Your Marriage

 Statistics indicate that extra-marital affairs are a threat to a majority of marriages today.  To avoid this both partners must work out recurring problems between them. Marriage is not easy nor is it a static relationship. Working on the issues in your marriage will strengthen it. This will involve exciting and rewarding growth for both of you. Here are some steps to "affair proof" your marriage:

1. Share your secrets. Marriage is an intimate relationship. Your privacy should be invaded by the relationship. The things you resist telling may be the very issues that come between you. 

2. Share your thoughts. This may seen obvious but studies show that the average couple only communicates 22 minutes per week! How can you know each other unless you share your ideas, dreams and plans?

3. Share your feelings. Let your partner know when your feelings are hurt, when you feel sad and when you are irritated or angry. It's also important to share your loving, appreciative, and joyful feelings. Couples often find it difficult to share their positive feelings.

4. Ask for anything your want but realize a request is not an obligation. Unless you specifically ask for what you want your partner will not know your wishes. No one can mind read. 

5. Be romantic, loving and caring with each other. Say "I love you." Show that you care with affectionate gestures. Do all the things you did while courting.

6.  Be your partner's best friend. A best friend listens, strives to understand, assumes the best, emphasizes the positive, takes the time to be with you.

7. Nurture your partner. Nurture means to nurse or to feed. We can minister to our partner when he or she is sick or needy. We all have "bad days" or go through trying times. A nurturing marital relationship can bolster our egos and can even make up for some of the lacks we experienced as children. 

8. Show your partner honor and respect. Learn what makes your partner tick as an individual. Admire and value his or her uniqueness.
9. Find ways to resolve conflict constructively. Learn to listen to the other person's point of view. Learn to look for unique solutions. Realize that in a marriage you either both win or you both lose.
10. Put some fun in your marriage. This does not have to take time, it is more an attitude. A light-hearted attitude can be cultivated. Learn to laugh by watching comedy shows on TV or going to movies that will make you laugh. Try new things and find activities that are fun for you both. 
If you have difficulty carrying out any of the above items read Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix, attend a A Weekend to Remember, join The Third Option or see a Christian counselor.  Each of these can assist your growth together.

“Be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.” 1 Peter 3:8 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Musical Unity?

Worship Wars Divide Us                                                                                        
Much has been written about the “worship wars” of recent decades sparked largely by the change of music from traditional to contemporary. Charles Swindoll, in his book Church Awakening details these wars in a balanced way. He says “What God intended for his glory and for our corporate and personal growth­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ – worship, has been transformed from a soul-deep commitment to an ugly, carnal fight.” This is sad but true. Swindoll also says, “God intends our corporate worship to be a unified voice directed at Him-for Him.”

The March 2011 issue of Christianity Today featured many articles on worship music including one by religion professor T. David Gordon titled “Pop Goes the Music.” Gordon wrote “’traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ have become their own denominations." Many churches hold separate traditional and contemporary services. This effectively divides the congregation. Unity is lost as well as community. Gordon also notes the change from music as a participatory experience to a passive one. Worship, in many contemporary settings, resembles entertainment with the congregation listening. The volume of the music stifles singing along. Shouldn’t worship involve everyone?  

Wayne Grudem in his chapter on worship in Systematic Theology writes: Singing is especially important to worship in both the Old and New Testaments. In our day there has been quite a change in both the standard English that is spoken by people and the musical forms that people are familiar with, and churches need to talk and plan openly and honestly in order to find a mix of songs that can be sung  well by the whole congregation, and that people can genuinely identify with as a vehicle for expressing their praise to God. Songs that address God directly in the second person (that is, speaking to God as “you” rather than speaking about him as “he”) will often be especially effective as worship songs - though Psalms show that both kinds of songs are pleasing to God.”

Swindoll says, “If you have found a church where music has a proper and prominent place, centering its message on the word of God, you have found a rare church. Don’t lose that place.”
Worship wars can be avoided by holding two identical services which blend hymns and contemporary songs. In this way the congregation is not split into traditional and contemporary, young and old. All generations worship together. Unity is maintained.

Jesus prayed for our unity. We must live it as a church.

Blessings, Dottie
For more on Worthy Worship + church changes read Changing Churches - available on Amazon(on sale for $8.82)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Q. Should I tell my wife about my attraction to another woman?  Should an affair be disclosed?  Recently my wife has questioned my time away from home. How much should I tell her? I don’t want to hurt my wife nor do I want a divorce.

A.  An attraction or an affair is best revealed. This will be painful for both of you but confessing this secret is essential for a viable marriage. Secrets form a wall between people. Disclosing secrets lowers the wall. Marriage requires openness. Disclosure is necessary in order for your marriage to grow. 
Confession is essential but you don’t have to do it alone. A Christian counselor or pastor can guide both of you through this. It's not necessary to divulge every aspect of an affair. In fact it's best to only give minimal information. If you reveal too many details your partner will have a hard time shaking the mental pictures these leave in her mind.
The injured partner has a right to know who the affair was with, what happened (in general), how long it has gone on, whether it has ended and who else knows. Also, the partner has a right to know if there is a pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease.

Disclosing an affair in the counselor's office adds protection against further damage to the marriage. The counselor will assist you in disclosing the affair by controlling your partner's initial responses and insisting that he or she hear you out.
Although you will be held responsible for the affair you will not be put down or judged by the counselor. Your spouse may respond to your disclosure with extreme anger and hurt. An affair is a betrayal of your marriage vows; a betrayal of your spouse’s trust. The one betrayed will need to express hurt and angry feelings in order to eventually be able to forgive.   
Disclose your affair to only a few people. When extended family members get involved sides are drawn and the problems are multiplied. Although parents and siblings are well meaning they cannot be objective. Advice to "leave the bum" or to "make him pay" only confuses the couple. Family members may also hold the affair against the "in-law" for years after the couple have resolved the issue. 
Stay together during the crisis phase. You must focus on the immediate survival of the marriage. When a partner moves out this provides more opportunity for continuing to see the third party. This may lead to an intensification of the affair rather than aiding the marriage.
End your relationship with the other person if you have not already done so. Do this "cold turkey." Continuing to see this person will only prolong things. All parties will experience a period of turmoil and grieving. The person ending the affair may "relapse" and contact the third party again. Disengaging from this "romantic" attachment is painful and difficult – but essential. 
Make a determined effort together to change your relationship—to make it work. This will involve spending time talking though the various issues that have been troublesome over the years or that come up in counseling. It will also involve finding new ways to add fun and romance to your relationship.

Counseling about an affair will take time and effort. Don’t give up. Stay in counseling for a year or longer to be certain forgiveness is completed and trust restored. The Third Option group for couples can also very helpful. 

See a Christian counselor with experience in marriage counseling. A counselor who is not a Christian may have a very different view marriage.

What God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19:6 NIV

Blessings, Dottie