Oct 31

You Can’t Just Pray This Issue Away

Today is the last day of October. Many individuals are celebrating Halloween. It is also the last day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Last Friday, I attended a Domestic Violence Vigil at the YWCA of Northwest GA. The YWCA has a special place in my heart because it has helped so many women, men and children escape abuse. I held a white rose in my hand and I put it in the coffin as a remembrance of a woman who did not get a chance to live her life. This year domestic violence received a lot of coverage due to the high profile cases in the NFL. However, the same atrocity is taking place in many homes in America.   

 

Did you know that an estimated 1.3 million women experienced some type of physical abuse by an intimate partner each year? However, domestic violence does not only affect women. You have children living in violence and learning to be deceitful as a coping mechanism. You have men wasting their lives because they are not living and serving their families to their full potential. In some cases, both spouses are violent toward each other and in some cases the women are violent toward the men. You can look at it from all angles, it is wrong and disgusting.   

 

8093617912_3487143636_z

 Photo Courtesy of U.S. Navy Imagery under Flickr Creative Commons

The breakdown that occurs in family due to domestic violence is huge. Yet, when I give talks to Christian married groups, domestic violence is sometime sweep under the carpet. You hear – I’m praying for him and I’m praying for her. Prayer is wonderful and great. It is always needed. However, domestic violence requires action and prayer. Not just prayer.  

 

Why she stays with him? Maybe spiritually, emotionally and financially she is paralyzed, and she believes that she has nowhere to go. Her self-esteem has been stripped from her soul. She fears leaving him more than getting help for herself.

 

Why he is putting up with the abuse when he is a man? Maybe he is ashamed. He has been emasculated emotionally. He was taught not to hit a woman. Domestic violence is like cancer to the victim and the perpetrator. Many individuals hide the domestic violence and its secrecy is one of the reasons it keeps going. Love, family, for the children, faith, fear of starting over, fear of the unknown, fear of loneliness, the dream, the promise of change, status, are some of the reasons that many spouses have told me they stayed.  

 

Can a marriage be restored after experiencing domestic violence? Yes. In working with men and women who have restored their marriages after domestic violence both parties took ownership to change their way of thinking about each other. When safety was an issue, they separated. They fought to learn to trust each other again. They did not just pray it away. They took action. And some couples are still fighting for their marriages. I applaud them for it. Some spouses had to face legal actions before they see the  magnitude of domestic violence. I applaud women and men who decided that they will no longer tolerate domestic violence.  

 

Domestic violence is not a celebrity or NFL issue. Yes, the recent NFL case shed more light on it, but it is happening in your backyard and in my backyard. The month of October is not and will not be the only time I address domestic violence. I urge you to do the same. So if you know a man or a woman who is experiencing domestic violence, please give them the hotline number listed below. Perhaps, they are not ready to make the change now, but you can plant that seed. You have taken action and you have done more than just pray.   

 

Take Action: I have worked with the men and women. I have seen individuals who had the chance to leave abusive relationships, but decided to go back. One thing I know for sure, an individual will leave a domestic violence relationship when he or she is ready to leave. You can help tremendously by not participating in the secret of death and by giving the resource below. Pass the resource today  to someone you know that need it.   

Question: Domestic violence is not taking place just in the NFL or in the life of celebrities. It is in your back yard.  In hat other ways you  can reach out to someone that have been affected by domestic violence?

 

 

Resource: National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233

 

 

 

Thank you for reading

 

 

 

Oct 29

Enough is Enough

ENOUGH

No longer will I be a victim.
No more will I endure the pain.
Never again will I allow him to hurt me or call out my name.
For years I lived in the dark.
Hiding black eyes and blood stained swollen lips,
And to think that this started with a simple twisting of the hips.

No, I was never hurt physically by the hand of the man I loved so dearly.  

But I can honestly say that I feel your pain.
I felt the pain through her as she lay gasping for air in her front yard.
As he publicly shot and beat her until she had nothing left. 

14581195604_8b00420af4_bPhoto Courtesy of Frank Fukuchi under Flickr Creative Commons

You see,
I like her never knew I could be better than he told me I could be.
I never knew the love I had was so valuable,
And that my dreams could be reality.

No.
My reality was this fiery pit that I was, and had been stuck for years.
My dreams deferred,
Had rotted a long time ago.    

As I became enslaved, I had no thoughts of my own.
Always wondering, how could I get out if I was all alone?

But God showed me truth,
That I could be set free.
And I was not the only one experiencing this life of lost dreams.
Many women in the world have felt this “need” that is really misuse.
And many lives have been changed by this “love” called abuse.

 

Author – Tanisha L. R. Hudson

 

Question: Domestic violence is not taking place just in the NFL or in the life of celebrities. It is in your back yard. Is it time for you to say enough to domestic violence? How can you reach out to someone that have been affected by domestic violence?

Resource: National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233

Thank you for reading

Oct 27

Lessons from The DNA of Relationships

READ TO FEED YOUR MARRIAGE – GREAT MARRIAGES REQUIRE HEALTHY FOOD.


Read to Feed Your Marriage allows you to read a great marriage book by a world renowned marriage expert and you get a licensed counselor to give you weekly tips and challenges to transform your marriage from average to amazing. Join us from September 29th to December 1st as we read the DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley

GET THE BOOK TODAY

 

Chapter 5 – Safety – Create a Safe Environment

 

Are You Creating a Safe Place in Your Relationship?

October is the National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Most couples would agree that if there is physical abuse in a relationship, it is not safe. However, there are many relationships that are suffering from lack of safety. Spouses are afraid to share their feelings due to the other spouse judgment. Lack of honor, lack of boundaries, and disrespecting your spouse’s values are all components of poor safety in relationship. But, many couples would not treat the above issues as a lack of safety. Is your spouse safe to be real? Have you created a standard of living that does accept differences of opinions? Let these questions sink in. A relationship without safety is a prison. Creating a safe place in your relationship = more intimacy, more open and honest conversation, more romance and much more.

If you are looking to create a safe place in your marriage start by using these 5 tips:


Respect the Wall – In every human relationship, walls can be created when there is a lack of safety. Perhaps, you are not the cause of the walls or maybe you have contributed to the walls being erected in the first place. If your spouse has created walls in your marriage, seek to understand the purpose of the walls before trying to hammer it down. Every human being has lived a unique experience. Maybe your spouse was hurt in the past or unintentionally you have hurt your spouse. Respecting the boundaries will allow your spouse to be open and eventually let the walls down. Instead of focusing on breaking the walls down, focus on what actions you can take that will lead your spouse to feel safe. 

Honor Your Spouse – Your spouse is a unique individual, beautifully, wonderfully made by God. Honoring your spouse is to honor who they are. Their differences, their beliefs, their values, their intelligence and all the quirks that is what make them who they are. So many spouses focus on changing each other in the process they dishonor each other. Honoring your spouse does not only creates an environment of safety but it allows them to flourish into the person God created them to be.

  ID-100285033

Photo Courtesy of Tiverylucky under freedigitalphotos.net

Stop the Judgment – A safe place cannot be created in your marriage while you are judging your spouse. Stop putting your spouse on trial. Passing judgments lead your spouse to walk on eggshells. Eventually, they will stop talking because they don’t feel safe. If you are using judgment as a way to motivate your spouse to change, you are wasting your time. Rather than passing judgments, seek to know your spouse genuinely. You never know, you might learn the real reason behind their actions. 

Value the Differences – In every marriage each spouse brings something special to the table. The differences are so valuable when we focus on how the benefits that they bring. Most couples see their differences as a negative thing. However, it is those same differences that attracted them to each other in the first place. The introvert was so happy to meet the extrovert because she was so outgoing, but now he sees that going out is a dysfunction. When we value the differences we allow each other to be the best that we can be for each other. 

Be Trustworthy – All healthy relationships require trust. In marriage, your spouse is saying, “I’m giving my heart to you it is of great value and it is yours.” Your duty is to create a safe place that will show that you not only value that trust but you value that vulnerability. Manu spouses who fail to create a safe place do not understand the value and the vulnerability that their spouse have place in their hands. Don’t make that mistake; treat your spouse with value. Treat yourself as a valuable individual because if you are consistent with your owns values you will be able to create a safe haven not only for yourself but for your spouse.  

If you want a healthy relationship, you need to create a safe place in your marriage. Openness, trust, honest communication, vulnerability are all products of a safe place.

Challenge of the Week – Is your marriage a haven or a place of fear?

Creating a safe place requires one thing – You deciding to create that safe place.

This week, take action. What ways you can increase safety in your marriage? Do you need to respect your spouse’s wall/s? How are you doing in the judging department? Is your spouse on trial daily?

Action speaks louder than words. Ask your spouse how safe do they feel in the marriage. Implement at least one safety measure this week.

 

Thank you for reading

Oct 24

Do You Want More Romance in Your Marriage?

Romance is so crucial to keep a relationship alive. However, if a couple is not intentional, everyday life issues can kill the romance.

What is romance? Romance is simple, thoughtful and sometime spontaneous. Romance is doing what your spouse needs to feel loved. Romance is creating an environment of warmth. Romance can lead to sexual intimacy, but a relationship cannot survive if the only reason for romance is sex.

Romance

When should couple initiate romance? Every day. Romance requires daily practice. Do not wait for the end of the day to romance your spouse. At the end of the day, you are probably tired.

How can you demonstrate romance? This question is extremely important. Communication with your spouse will determine how you demonstrate romance. It might be with an encouraging text, a simple note, a breakfast in bed or a massage. Whatever it is. Do it. No marriage can flourish without romance.

Question: What does the word romance means to you? What does the word  romance means to your spouse?

Thank you for reading

Oct 22

Are You in for The Long Haul?

Are you in it for the long haul? Marriages that fail are due to selfishness and lack of commitment.

The honeymoon does not have to end. But you have to put in the work. Just because you said “I do”, you don’t have the right to put your marriage on cruise control. Great marriage requires work and healthy food. Commit to feed your marriage daily. Have a selfless attitude toward your spouse. Remember it is NOT about you.

QuotesCover-pic89

Don’t let your marriage commitment become a chore or a checklist. Be present in your marriage. Have those times of laughter. Do not ignore the heart to heart talks out fear or anxiety. Do not commit to your marriage out of routine. Commit to your marriage out of love an out of selflessness.

What would happen to your marriage if you give 100%? What would happen if you focus on your role as a husband or a wife instead of your spouse’s role? Commit to your marriage out of love an out of selflessness.

Questions: What does the word commitment mean to you? Are you fully committed in your marriage?

Thank you for reading

Oct 20

Lessons from The DNA of Relationships

READ TO FEED YOUR MARRIAGE – GREAT MARRIAGES REQUIRE HEALTHY FOOD.


Read to Feed Your Marriage allows you to read a great marriage book by a world renowned marriage expert and you get a licensed counselor to give you weekly tips and challenges to transform your marriage from average to amazing. Join us from September 29th to December 1st as we read the DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley

GET THE BOOK TODAY

 

Chapter 4 – The Power of One – Take Personal Responsibility

 

Yes, You Can Dance a New Dance

 What if I told you hold the power to stop the fear dance in your relationships, would you believe me? It is so easy to blame others when we are hurt. We seek apology; we try to control others and situations. In reality, we are the only one that can change how we react and act to the fear dance. It can be quite hard to make the first step, but if you are waiting for your spouse to heal you, to complete you or to fix you, you have chosen to be a victim. Beside, you can wait a lifetime hoping that your spouse will change or be extremely tired trying to change your spouse, but the only person you will have total control of is YOU.  

You don’t have to participate in the shouting match that was initiated by your spouse, you can choose to walk away and choose to communicate when both of you are listening to each other- because the Power of One Dance.

You don’t have to use manipulative behaviors and withhold sex from your spouse, you have the power to communicate your needs and your fears – because of the Power of One Dance.

2449770721_71ac512444_z

Photo Courtesy of Linda Yvonne under Flickr Creative Commons

The Power of One Dance is sum up in 3 Words – Take Personal Responsibility

Here are 6 steps that will get you out of the Fear Dance and get you to dance the Power of One Dance: 

1. Take Control of Your Thoughts, Feelings and Actions – When I counseled couples, many spouses will say if my wife didn’t do that, I would act this way. In reality our thoughts, feelings and actions are our properties. No one can have control of these three areas unless, we relinquish that control.

2. Take Responsibility for Your Buttons – Get to know yourself. What exactly get under your skin? If you know what lead you to react out of anger, sadness or any unpleasant emotions, you can learn ways to not react when those buttons are pushed. The truth is – buttons will be pushed, have control of them instead of letting yourself be moved as a yo-yo.


3. Don’t Give Others the Powers to Control Your Feelings – There is nothing that will keep you in the Fear Dance on a perpetual basis more than you relinquishing your feelings to others. I have seen this play out many times in marriage counseling. “You made me mad, he made me sad, she made me angry.” If you are experiencing a feeling, chances are you have a fear that it triggering that feeling. Learn to explore that fear.


4. Don’t Look to Others to Make You Happy – Happiness is really a state of mind. Many couples come to relationships with false expectations. Consequently, when these expectations are not being met, they feel unhappy. Don’t leave your total happiness to your spouse. This is a void only you and God can fill. To set your happiness meter on your spouse is to plan your relationship for doom. If your happiness is your spouse‘s responsibility, when he or she has a bad day, your happiness go down the drain.


5. Become the CEO of Your Life – Don’t watch your life happen while you stand in the distance. Be active. Learn to express legitimate needs. Learn to communicate your fears without holding back. Seek assistance from your spouse as support and accountability partner, but do not make that their responsibility.


6. Forgiveness Heals Relationships – Holding on to grudges will keep you enslaved. The more time you take to give forgiveness the more that you will hold yourself hostage. The only way to heal a relationship is to ask for forgiveness when needed and give forgiveness when needed. 

So today, let it be the day you start dancing the Power of One Dance. Don’t wait for your spouse to make the first move, face the person in the mirror and start taking responsibility for You.

 

 

Challenge of the Week – Take Personal Responsibility.

This week is your week to take back control.

How have you give control to others when it comes to your thoughts, feelings and actions?

How can you take personal responsibility for your relationship? How have you played the Fear Dance? List specifics examples

Answer the above questions by writing them in a journal.

 

Thank you for reading

Oct 17

Having Troubles Connecting With Your Spouse Spiritually? Try These 5 Tips

Spirituality can mean many things to individuals. In a marriage, spirituality can be a bond that help the marriage grow or a point of contention. There are couples that argue that their spouse not going to church or pray. Spirituality in marriage really goes beyond just sitting at the pews on Sunday or attending midweek on Wednesdays. Attending service is one of the ways you can build a spiritual connection with your spouse. However, there are endless ways to build spiritual intimacy with your spouse. Spirituality can really be a way of life that triggers great intimacy in every area of your marriage.

If you have not tapped into spirituality powers to create a great marriage, you are missing out. When you are facing hard times, you can pray with each other or pray for each other. If you are feeling overwhelming, instead of running away or argue with each other meditate.

3670762975_9827e8cc21_o

Photo Courtesy of Irina Patrascu under Flickr Creative Commons

Here are 5 Tips That Have Helped me to Create a Spiritual Connection with My Spouse:  

1. Meditate together – I can attest to this tip personally. Meditation is not only relaxing, but it triggers so much clarity. I have meditated with scriptures, positive affirmations, eastern music and positive quotes and it keeps me  and my spouse on a positive note. 

2. Read a book from the Bible – I have read Proverbs with my husband. To this date, this is an annual activity I look forward to. We learn so much from each other. This can be a great accountability exercise. As you practice what you learned from reading, you can keep checking on each other and encouraging each other to grow.  


3. Pray together – When you have hard times or want to celebrate victories, praying together can really trigger togetherness. Two hearts petitioning , thanking and praising God. I can tell you hearing my husband praying for me have encouraged me in many situations. Hearing his prayers gives me a door to his heart. Go on a prayer walk, start a prayer journal or just get on your knees together, you will see wonders.

4. Pray for each other – Praying for my spouse have really softened my heart throughout our marriage. There have been times I gained clarity about situations because I prayed. Sure, it is great to pray together, but praying for your spouse’s goals, dreams, struggles, can really help you understand their point of view. 

5. Study a spiritual book together – I’m not talking about a marriage book. I’m talking about a book that will challenge you to grow to the core in your spiritual convictions. A few years ago, we read Grace by Max Lucado.  All I can say is Wow. Talking about our convictions and gaining new insights on grace was just the beginning. The book focused on grace, but I can tell you the benefits were spiritual, emotional and it helped our marriage tremendously.

Whether you have created a great spiritual connection with your spouse or looking to establish a deeper spiritual connection, use the above tips. My marriage has benefited exponentially from these tips. Start getting spiritual connected with your spouse today.

 

 

Question: How do you stay spiritually connected to your spouse?

 

 

Thank you for reading

Oct 15

Who is In Charge Here?

The  way they were interrupting each other was so painful. By just observing you would have thought they were enemies. Actually, they engaged in marital counseling because they “fell out of love” I stopped the argument not because it was getting uncomfortable for me, but because they were opening the wounds deeper  and each hurtful words was digging at the flesh of their hearts. A wife and husband who were once in love, but they are at each other throat. She mentioned that her concerns have never been taking into consideration. He mentioned that his leadership is not accepted. This scene is common in marriages all over America. The following questions were not mentioned overtly but they echoed in the room.

Who is in charge in here?  What does leadership means in marriage? Do you value your spouse leadership? What does it means to be the leader in your household? How do you treat your spouse as the leader? Many couples use leadership in marriage to exert a dictatorship control or to avoid participation in decision making. That is not true leadership.

6605615603_4b66f73144_o

Photo Courtesy of Vinoth Chandar under Flickr Creative Commons

True leadership in marriage is about service. It is about taking  consideration of your spouse’s needs while making decisions for the marriage. True leadership is not about taking the back seat and letting one spouse making all the decisions. True leadership is about heading in the same direction. True leadership is being in charge of your own emotions  and intentions so you don’t abuse your leadership. True leadership works best when there is unity. True leadership in marriage is NOT about the husband making all the decisions. True leader does not lead with fear. Following your spouse has a leader do not signifies you don’t have a vote. Speak up lovingly. Communicate your needs instead of suffering in silence or letting your anger speak for you. Lead with a heart of a servant.

Question: What does the word leadership means in your marriage?

 

 

Thank you for reading

Oct 13

Lessons from The DNA of Relationships

READ TO FEED YOUR MARRIAGE – GREAT MARRIAGES REQUIRE HEALTHY FOOD.


Read to Feed Your Marriage allows you to read a great marriage book by a world renowned marriage expert and you get a licensed counselor to give you weekly tips and challenges to transform your marriage from average to amazing. Join us from September 29th to December 1st as we read the DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley

GET THE BOOK TODAY

 

Chapter 3 – The Dance That Destroys Relationships

 

Are You Dancing The Fear Dance?

In my work with couples I see that most spouses want to have a great marriage. The issue is they don’t know how to create the great marriage that they desperately desire. One of the main reasons couples are having a hard time in their marriages is due to dancing a dance of fear. Love is not the problem. Most couples love each other deeply, but when they face their core fear, 1. They make assumptions 2. They put up walls and the fear dance continues.  

Before you can really stop dancing the fear dance with your spouse, you have to understand and accept that you have fears and that when you are hurt, you react and It is a vicious cycle that is part of every relational crisis.

1. I hurt


2. I want


3. I fear


4. I react


5. You hurt


6. You want


7. You fear


8. You react 

385366487_74825ae858_oPhoto Courtesy of Aussiegall under Flickr Creative Commons

And the whole cycle repeat will be repeated again unless a spouse take a stand to address their core fear and not allow themselves to fall prey to the cycle.  

All of us have some deep core fears, but there are many individuals who live trapped by their fears but have no idea how to explore it and address in the context of marriage or any relationship.  

To start removing fear in your marriage you have to really know what is you core fear – Is it fear of disconnection? Fear of failure? Fear of being controlled or fear of being taken advantage of? If you know your core fear, instead of reacting you can start discussing your want with your spouse.  

It is so powerful for a wife to communicate that she wants companionship instead of reacting to the fear of loneliness. However, if she does not know what is her fear is and learn to communicate that she wants companionship she will always react when she feels hurt by any actions that she might interpret as abandonment or lack of companionship. Consequently, the cycle will continue since her husband will see reactions as attack instead of a wife seeking a deep intimate relationship. 

14255614972_da5cb856fc_oPhoto Courtesy of BK under Flickr Creative Commons

In many cases, the fear dance continue causing lasting damages because spouses react by using withdrawal, escalation, temper tantrums, sarcasm and much more. For some couples dancing the dance of fear is a way of life. They want to communicate that they want attention, support, safety, trust, etc. because they are needs. Instead of asking they make demands and the fear button is push again. 

The best way to stop the fear dance is get to know your fear and learn how to communicate with your spouse instead of reacting.

 

Challenge of the Week – To know your fear is to know how to create the marriage you want.

This week is your week to do some self-exploration. 

What is your core fear? – (i.e. rejection, feeling devaluated, humiliation, etc)

How have you reacted to your core fear buttons being trigger by your spouse? ( i.e. blaming, denial, anger, rage, etc) 

What is exactly you want from your spouse? (i.e. respect, worth, wanted, trust, affection, etc) 

If you were to receive what you want from your spouse how would you want your spouse to deliver it to you? By what actions?

Answer the above questions and make time to discuss them with your spouse.

 

 

 

Thank you for reading

Oct 10

Looking to Laugh? Inject Your Marriage with Playtime

When was the last time you really play with your spouse?

I’m talking about real fun. Playing, laughing, the kind of play that you just thought of when you read the question.  

There is a lie that been going around for centuries – children play and have all the fun, but adults we are serious individual who just supposed to work. Consequently, the same mindset crawls in many marriages. Actually some couples used to have fun while dating, but as soon they say, “I do” the fun stops right then and there or right after the honeymoon. The sad part about this lie is many couples have come to believe this is the normal way of life. I have heard all the excuses that client have used to justify like of playtime in marriage, and the most common excuses “after the honeymoon we started our life, life gets busy” As if playing is not part of the real life of a married couple, just something that children do.  

7937499476_bf6539e0ab_oPhoto Courtesy of Eleazar under Flickr Creative Commons

We ache to have fun. We live for laughter. Especially when we play with someone we love. Some of our earliest memories are encrypted with play factors. We recalled the way we play with our parents or a playmate and a huge smile just appear out the blue.We can even go back and relive the play time screen by screen. Some of us can go to the playground right now, recalling our favorite time and games    

Why then so many couples go out of their way to stop playing with each other? I see it all the time. The husband has his buddies and the wife has hers. Both spouses plan separate events with different people. I’m not talking about eliminate the key friendships. I believe that it is healthy for husband and wife to have key friendships because these are the individual that will keep you accountable in your marital journey. 

I’m talking about creating moments with your spouse that evoke laughter. Creating the moments that challenge the both of you together. Creating memories that make you laugh from the belly. Most spouses who have children go to the distance to create playtime and  schedule activities for their children. However, they neglect their marital calendar.

Life can throw curve balls left and right at you, but you can have those playful moments in your arsenal. In the past months, I had to deal with a death of love one, seeing love ones facing serious illnesses. I relied on many things to help me get through those tough times. One of them was playing with my spouse and remembering moments that I play with my spouse. I remember our hike at Kennesaw Mountain and it brought a smile to my face. We were tired, but were dedicated to make it to the top. By the look of our faces, you would have thought we conquered Everest. That moment created something special for us. You can call it  recreational intimacy, laughter or just plan fun. It was good for me then and it is still good for me now. I still had hard to deal with those stressful situations, but I can tell you there were days of laughter from that playtime.

873349931_f28872c18e_o

Photo Courtesy of Bradleypjohnson under Flickr Creative Commons

So if you want to start playing with your spouse use the following tips:

Start by talking about the activities you would like to do.


Make a list of all the activities that both of you talked about.


Make a list of the activities you have in common


Pick one activity from the list


Schedule the activity


Make memories and laugh from the belly. 

If laughter is medicine to the soul, I truly believe you should create many laughable moments. It is those moments that will keep the marital bond strong when you face hard time. When you are stressed at work or with issues of daily living, go back and play with each other and keep making fun memories. The couple that plays together stays together.

Question: What is one activity that you are looking forward to do with your spouse?  

Resource: Recreational activities list for couple.

 

Thank you for reading

Older posts «