Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How to Stop Repetitive Arguements in Marriage

Q.  My husband and I fight every day. He criticizes nearly everything I do. I used to ignore this but I'm tired of being put down all the time so I argue back. Now that I defend myself things are worse between us. I'm sick of his criticism and sick of giving in to him. I know we need counseling but I doubt he would go. What else can I do to stop repetitive arguments? I really want my marriage to work out.

 A. Your marriage sounds very painful but not hopeless. Your willingness to work on your side of things and your commitment to your marriage are factors that will help you stop repetitive arguments in your marriage. I’m listing problem solving guide lines for you to use in changing things. These are not easy but they do work.
1. Don’t defend yourself. When your husband criticizes or verbally attacks you don't defend yourself, don't make excuses and don't counter attack. It takes two to argue. Even if your husband’s accusation is grossly unfair or unreasonable, remain calm. Your job is to listen to what he is upset about and why. Listening to your husband and understanding his viewpoint does not mean you agree with it. Nor does it mean you’re giving in.
2. Look for specific complaints. Clarify exactly what it is you have done or not done that has upset your husband. This may take some persistence if he is making global statements such as "You never keep your promises" or "You're always so messy." Ask for specific examples. It is much easier to deal with a specific complaint than a global one.
3. Summarize. Tell your husband what you understand are his complaints and ask if you have understood correctly. If not, ask him to clarify further. Summarize your husband’s position again. Repeat this process until your husband indicates you have understood. Even without a solution to the issue, arguing diminishes when we feel we are understood.
4. Find solutions.  Ask your husband for ideas about what you can do about this specific problem. Suggest possible solutions that are acceptable to you. It doesn't work to "give-in" in a marriage but "giving" is necessary. There is a difference.
5. Meet Regularly to Problem Solve. Suggest to your husband that you set aside a specific time on a regular basis to discuss problems. Be sure to pick a time for these problem solving sessions when you can talk freely. Hire a babysitter if necessary. Agree on what you will discuss ahead of time or at the beginning of each session. Start with just one or two problems and stick to these issues. Take turns speaking and listening. I hope these problem solving guidelines help you. In a few weeks I’ll post information on a Problem Solving Format that can help. Counseling may be necessary in order to stop repetitive arguments between you and your husband.

Change your ways. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace.” Romans 15:5 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Promises of Jesus


Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3 God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them. NLT

Matthew 5:3 You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. The Message

Matthew 18:4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 6:20 Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 6:20 God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is given to you. NLT

This is Jesus’ first promise in the bible. It’s also the beginning of the Beatitudes from
the gospel of Matthew. The Sermon on the Mount begins with the Beatitudes and summarizes Jesus’ teachings. All eight beatitudes characterize followers of Christ. The first four are about our relationship with God. The second four are about our relationship with others. We are to display all these qualities and we will as we surrender to Christ. We don’t do it. He does it.

The word blessed means bliss! Blissfulness is a heavenly condition! Some translate it happiness but the root of happiness is hap which means chance or luck. What Jesus promises does not happen by chance but rather by God’s purpose and plan. We often say we’re lucky – we need to realize deep inside that we are blessed. There’s a huge difference.

Your way of life turns our ideas of happiness (blessedness) upside down. Your Word doesn’t say blessed are the self-confident – so admired by the world. Instead it says blessed are the poor in spirit, the humble, uncertain, weak people; those who recognize their flaws and sins and inability to love as you do. Those who recognize they are lost without you - are promised the kingdom of heaven!  What a gift! Forgive our self-satisfaction. Teach us to humble ourselves before you daily. I thank you that your kingdom, your rule of grace, is available and is promised. Come, Lord Jesus, rule in my life now, right here. You are my Lord and Master. You are my God.
Blessings, Dottie

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Best Books About Church - Part 2

This is the second in a series of posts on books about church. Today I’m reviewing two more excellent books about today’s church. These books describe the failure of many churches to remain focused on biblical truth. Many churches espouse false beliefs or syncretism – combine contradictory beliefs. Both books also offer positive solutions. Here’s the link for Best Books About Church Part 1.

Bad Religion: How we Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat gives a detailed, carefully researched study on the decline of Christianity in the United States in the last fifty years. He says that “American democracy, while formally secular, has always depended on religion to provide a moral framework for its citizens.” The decline in faith has impacted our morals, both private and public. Douthat says: “Faith has been steadily marginalized with increasingly disastrous results” and he argues that America doesn’t have too much religion, or too little religion, but rather, Bad Religion. The decline of traditional Christianity has led to many destructive “pseudo-Christianities.”

Douthat gives a detailed account of the reasons for the decline in faith including observations about social trends. He cites the effect of many heretics – John Spong, as well as misguided leaders, Joel Osteen (“Pray and grow rich”), Joyce Meyers (“Obey me and you’ll be blessed”), Elizabeth Gilbert (“God dwells within you as yourself “) as well as Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and Oprah Winfrey.

He concludes with a hope for revival and renewal of orthodox Christianity and his perspective on how this might be achieved. This is an excellent book for scholarly readers. The details became tedious for me – though I learned much and I’m glad I read it.

The Courage to be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers and Emergents in the Postmodern World by David Wells explores significant issues for the church today as indicated by the sub-title. Wells, a Congregational minister, theologian and author, addresses five doctrinal themes: Truth, God, Self, Christ and the Church. Wells urges the evangelical church to have the courage to be faithful to its biblical roots. He laments the light-weight topical messages in many churches today. In many churches psychological wholeness is emphasized rather than biblical holiness. Wells says, “Unless the congregation is being confronted—is being informed by the truth of God’s Word—it will leave as empty and confused as when it came in, no matter how good it may feel about itself. Unless the congregation is learning to think God’s thoughts after him in this world, one that is highly modernized and postmodern in its ethos, it will not be able to function with a Christian worldview.”  

I recommend both of these books.

“On this Rock I will build my church.” Matt.16:18

Blessings, Dottie

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Active Listening  
You can change communication patterns in a marriage by changing the way you talk with your partner. Here are some rules of communication that will improve your relationship.

1. Use "active listening". For example, If your partner says, "I don’t care much for your family", repeat back to him or her "You find it hard to care much for my family." This may lead your partner to add, "They're always indifferent toward me."  Then you reply, "You think they're always indifferent to you."  Active listening encourages communication because the person feels understood. Repeating your partner’s statements does not mean that you agree with them. Active listening is also called mirroring or reflective listening. Ask is there more about that? Encourage full expression of your partner’s thoughts and feelings. How can I be of help to you about this? Listen and reflect back again. When he or she feels understood, it’s your turn to be listened to about this issue.
2. Stick to one issue at a time and choose specific current issues that can be resolved.  The past is over; stick to issues that can be changed. This is not easy to do. Write down the issues you each want to address. Pick the top one or two and agree to limit your conversation. These must be current issues and ones you can change.

3. Use "I feel" or “I think...” statements when you talk with your partner rather than saying "You did…" or "You said…"  Be clear in communicating what it is that you want. Don't try to change or take responsibility for him or her. Think of what you can do to change the situation.
4. Look for unique solutions. Often couples doing battle think there are only two solutions to every issue - my way and your way. Most issues can be resolved in many different ways. Find solutions that satisfy you both. Think outside the box.
For example, your partner may want to go to Myrtle Beach on a vacation while you prefer Chicago. If you list what you like about Chicago and your partner lists what he or she likes about Myrtle Beach, you may then decide that either Tampa or San Diego which are large cities but also have beaches, will satisfy both of you. Remember, also that in a marital fight you either both win or you both lose.

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” Proverbs 18:21 The Message

Blessings, Dottie

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Commands of Jesus

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
John 7:37 If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.

Father, I am touched by your invitation to COME to you! You don’t say be good or do good or follow my laws. You know we fail when we try this. You know we can’t save ourselves. So you just say COME to you for rest. Take your yoke upon us – be joined with you, going in your direction. When we are weary and burdened we come. Letting go of control and surrendering to you brings us rest and peace. We surrender to you and allow you to drive our lives. Help us come to you every minute of every day. Help us obey you, be joined (yoked) with you in all we do and say. I thank you also that we can COME to you to quench our thirst. You satisfy!

This is the last command of Jesus recorded in the bible. I’ve blogged on these since April 2012! Now I will blog every third week or so on the promises of Jesus. The promises are also in the red words written as the words he said. It’s interesting that the command today also offers a marvelous promise – “Come to me…and I will give you rest.” Thank you, Father for your commands that guide us and your promises that bless us.

New Year Blessings, Dottie