Family Matters Fun Friday!

Weird Things Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 11.47.35 AMWhile marital conflict is no laughing matter, there are some humorous videos that might help us see the light when it comes to our own behavior. So for the hearty laugh at the end of your week, watch for a shot of Friday Fun at Family Matters.

The goal: take your relationship seriously, but yourself less so. Thank goodness our kids didn’t have camera phones when they lived in our home! View it by clicking here! Weird Things 1

 

Find our new book on making your marital conflict work FOR you instead of against you:Don’t Go to Bed Angry

It’s Launch Day Book Giveaway!!

Final Cover DGTBA_Today is the day! Our new book on marital conflict officially releases today! Yes, I said OUR new book. My husband Ron co-authored this one, so guys – this is NOT a book from the woman’s point of view – know that you are represented in this work!

Take a look at the blog post below (in the new post position) for more details about the book and a chance to enter and win a free copy of the book!

You can find the book online in paperback and e-version (Kindle, Nook, etc) on multiple sites. Here are a few of the links:

Amazon

ChristianBook.com

Barnes and Noble

Check your local Christian bookstore as well!

Winning at All Costs is Soooo Expensive!

WinnerLoser“You process faster than I do. You talk faster than I do. And if you want to “win”—you’re on a roll. But if you want the best solution Deb, one we can both fully support, we need to slow this conversation down and really listen to one another.”

It was a moment. Do I want to win? Or do I want the best solution? My solution IS the best one, therefore, I win!

 Good thing my husband, Ron, can’t hear my inside voice. But God can—and His Spirit promptly thunked me upside the head. Ouch!

 Marital conflict is bound to happen in our home. We are two very different personalities, raised in opposite camps, and we’ve never been shy about expressing our opinions. We often experience intense moments of fellowship when all that stuff collides. But after 40 years, we’ve learned a thing or two. And God has led that parade of discovery.

And discovery can be an outcome of conflict – when it’s handled well. It can lead to “Wow, I didn’t know you felt that way.” Or, “Huh, I never looked at it like that before.” Genuine agreement (not weary capitulation) is possible, along with increased connection and intimacy.

After all, conflict is not the problem. It’s the way we deal with the problem that determines where it takes us.

When it’s handled poorly, without rules, tools, and scriptural foundations, damage will almost certainly be your final destination. You may win the argument at hand, but sacrifice the life of your marriage. Bit by ugly bit.

Marriage requires a merged existence, which requires carving out space (which already sounds like it could be a bit painful) if we are to enjoy the supernatural life of unity to which God calls us. It’s about yielding, giving way, opening up our hearts and minds to one another. It’s not easy which is why we often struggle.

But it is possible to channel those differences into the strength of your marriage. Two heads, two hearts, one mission: to honor God and one another in your union. Marriage is, after all, a mirror of Christ and the church. When our marriages reflect the love and sacrifice that is only possible through our relationship with Him—the world notices. Our life together as husband and wife can draw people to the Savior.

And don’t misunderstand; we haven’t arrived at a perfect record. We sometimes slip back into bad behavior. But there are two principles or truths to which we submit. The first is: If you have to fight, fight fair. And the second is even more essential: be clear about who the enemy is—and isn’t.

So if you’re sick and tired of the futility of fighting the same battles the same way, leaving you exhausted and broken, we encourage you to put on the gloves and take on the real enemy – and it’s not your spouse. It’s time to commit to healthy conflict and discover tools to fight together in a way that is aligned with scripture, honoring our union and our God. It is possible to develop a relationship of genuine understanding and intimacy, but it can occur only when Christ is our banner and love is our battle plan.

All’s fair in love and war may sound like a good idea when you need permission to go all in and let the feathers fly. But ask yourself: Can I really afford that trip? Leaving behind kindness, love, and the instruction to live like Jesus?

So if winning is your goal, be prepared to experience brief euphoria, followed by loss of connection with the one you pledged to be one with. Never forget: if there’s a winner, there’s a loser. Do you want to be married to a loser? I didn’t think so.

Looking for help on dealing with conflict in your relationship? Our new book (c0-authored by my husband Ron) releases today, June 21. You can find it online at Christian Books and Amazon. Leave a comment here today for a chance at a free copy of this book!

If You Can’t Say Something Nice …

Be QuietToday is National Say Something Nice Day. That would make my mother happy. She lived that theory “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.” Easier said than done.

If you’re married, you already know it can be tough duty. Especially in the face of what my husband, Ron, and I call, “an intense moment of fellowship.” When it gets heated, something nice is not always the first thing that rolls off my tongue.

And the tongue is often the problem with conflict, isn’t it? The Word gives us that heads up. “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way,” James 3:2 (NLT).

You mean if I could manage my mouth, I’d also be able to resist the call of Cappuccino Crunch ice cream? Now there’s some motivation!

Over the years I’ve become more aware of the need to be intentional with Ron when conflict arises. Mostly because the Spirit of the Lord has been persistent to point out missed opportunities, little slips, and major mishaps of the mouth. I’m working on it.

Just remember we do have an enemy, but it’s not our spouse! Marriage is worth the effort and it’s always worth fighting for.

So celebrate the opportunity to say something nice today. Smile  when you say it. A kiss and a hug for your sweetheart can help seal the deal. And if you really want to make an impression – write it down. Slip it in his pocket or tuck it in her purse to discover when least expected. It might just make your honey’s day.

And it will make your Mama so proud!

Want more help on this topic? Our new book, Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! releases June 21. But you can pre-order it and enjoy a 37% discount on the cover price. Find it here: Book Deal  Don’t delay – this special offer is only good through June 20, 2016!

It’s Coming – But You Can Order Now and Save!

Final Cover DGTBA_Are you tired of fighting the same battles over and over again? Ready to use the conflict in your marriage to create greater intimacy and connection in your life? It’s possible – and it’s the topic of our new book. That’s right – OUR new book – this one was co-authored by my husband, Ron. I mean, it’s only fair, right?

Conflict is not the real issue here for most of us. It’s the way we deal with the conflict that creates the problem. Silence, sarcasm, sulking – any of that sound familiar? That’s a short list of manipulation methods, and it’s the stuff that can damage the relationship. But if we learn and use tools that align us with one another and with God – and establish some rules together on how we will deal with conflict, discovery and deeper commitment can be the result.

Forty years of marriage have taught us a lot of lessons, and much of it was learned the hard way. Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! is the fast pass to help you skip daily attendance at the school of hard knocks and move beyond the “he said, she said” nonsense.

The book will officially release on June 21, but is now available for pre-order on any one of several sites. By ordering early, you will receive a significant discount, as much as 35%! So here’s the link to discover a new approach to an old problem. What are you waiting for???

Order Here Link 

The Power of Commitment

A portion of a recent radio interview I did for Live the Promise / Faith Radio has been turned into the blog post below. It’s a great time to set your goals for taking your marriage to the next level in 2016.

THE POWER OimageF COMMITMENT

“One of the most urgent human needs is to be heard.”

When we are in a tough situation, the last thing we want to do is listen to our spouse. We tense up, distance ourselves emotionally, and try to get the last word. But God calls us to honor them by engaging and letting them open up. There is power in giving someone the opportunity to be heard. This can be practiced with every relationship, but is particularly important in marriage.

Author Deb DeArmond writes about this in her book, I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last. She and her husband had been married a very short time when he pointed something out to her about the power of giving someone “air time.” He shared that he first felt attracted to her because she had listened to him. He told her,

“You were interested in what I was thinking about. You wanted to know my opinion and how I felt about things.”
Forty years later, it’s till one of his strongest needs.

“I recognize he needs to be heard; I cannot cut him off. He’s an engineer. He thinks long and intricately about things- he’s a process guy. He said to me once, “You think faster than I do. You talk faster than I do. And if you want to win you’re on a roll, but if you want an outcome we can both really support, we need to slow this down a little bit and come to a solution we can both live with.”

It can be easy to run our spouse over in conversation, but that doesn’t build intimacy. Deb urges spouses, especially wives, to draw out their spouse by asking questions and listening well. Ask,

We’re struggling. What are your thoughts about it?
What’s in your heart?
What would you like to see happen?
What needs to change in our relationship?

This is not just a natural issue but a spiritual one, as Deb points out. “Open the dialogue, because as soon as the dialogue stops we start listening to the wrong voices. Shutting down communication can give Satan a foothold to work against us and start to unravel a relationship.

Key Scriptures: Proverbs 18:21; James 3:5

Enrich Your Marriage in 2016: Free Audio Book Giveaway!

Cover I choose you today JPGHow would your marriage change if you and your husband made the spoken declaration, “I choose you” every day? Even when “for better or worse is disappointing? The book offers inspirational stories, conventional wisdom and thought provoking questions to explore your choices and commitment to each other . . . every day of your marriage.

You CAN make a choice to take your marriage to the next level – no matter where it is today. It’s all about the choices we make. Endorsements include Focus on the Family and James Dobson’s Family Talk. Here’s what they have to say:

  • “It’s often been said that our choices define us. That is true personally, but it’s also a key to our relationships. Deb DeArmond has provided a practical and insightful book detailing 31 choices we can make as husband and wives that have the potential to transform even a good marriage – and make it a great one. -b>Greg Smalley, Vice-President of Family Ministry, Focus on the Family
  • “I Choose You Today gives us a clear roadmap to achieving great love with our spouse. Every couple, married or not, will benefit from reading this book.” – Meg Meeker, M.D. best selling author and co-host of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk Radio

Use this link to enter today. Deb DeArmond Book Giveaway

Not in Front of the Kids!!


Children learn
“Not in front of the kids!” was a phrase I recall a mom in my neighborhood using fairly often. It was always whispered through gritted teeth, accompanied by a stern glare, when one of the teenagers in the room used a word she though inappropriate for us little kids.

The teens thought it was hilarious, and did it to show off how grown up they were and to bait her practiced response.

Adults on social media, discussing politics, and specifically the recent world events in Paris and California might benefit from the presence of that neighborhood watchmom.

I am stunned at the hatred and vile comments hoisted into cyerspace from those who claim to love and know Jesus. And if the depth of their anger and vitriol are any indication, I doubt Facebook is their only outlet. They write it because they believe it. And if they believe it, it is invading their attitudes and their conversations with those in their world.

  • I hate them all and cannot pray for them.
  • Kill them and wrap them in pigskins. Then let them try to get to their god.

Both of these actual comments from people whose profiles showed they were Christians. And these were some of the tamer quotes.

This is not just a political issue. This is a family issue.

What about the children? Your kids, your grandkids? What are we teaching them about the very specific commandments Jesus gave us while here on earth?

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,” Matt. 5:24 (KJV).

“Do to others as you would like them to do to you,” Luke 6:31 (NLT).

It does not instruct us to do unto others as they have DONE to us. And while what has been done is horrific, without excuse, and beyond explanation, we must know that those who have murdered innocents have been deceived by their false prophet into believing they are serving their god.

We have the opportunity to teach our children to follow the Word, regardless of our fears or our feelings. It’s easy to do so when all is well with our world. Much tougher to do when it seems chaotic and out of control. But it begins in us, to reject the fear that breeds anger and hatred and lean heavily on God’s Spirit within to love and forgive instead. Our children learn what they live and live what they learn. What are they learning in our homes today?

Here are three tips to prevent your anxiety from creating fear in your children.

  • Reassure them that God is watching over them. Help them understand early in life that God is on their side, always with them because He loves them.
  • Keep adult conversations among the adults.Discussing the world around us and praying for protection and resolution is important. But allow children to be free of hearing your anxiety or anger expressed. It serves no purpose, but to create anxiety in them.
  • Ask God to guide your own emotional responses. Focus on the scriptures and Christ’s example of loving those who hate you. He was innocent throughout the days leading up to the cross and could have allowed His righteous anger to guide Him. He chose, instead, to ask His Father to forgive them with His very last breath. Ask God to guide your responses and emotions through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

In the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific, there is a beautiful song, You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught, that addresses the idea that children are born as clean slates. And yet they learn how to hate. It doesn’t have to come in a daily tutorial or indoctrination. It comes by observing the people they love and trust. Read the lyrics (below) and see if they strike a chord in you. Little eyes are watching, little hearts are forming their thoughts based on the adults around them. They’re counting on us.

You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught

You’ve got to be taught

To hate and fear,

You’ve got to be taught

From year to year,

It’s got to be drummed

In your dear little ear

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

 

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

 

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate,

You’ve got to be carefully taught!