Family Matters Fun Friday!!!

Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 8.27.12 AMYou may recall the “Doghouse” video from a few weeks back. Well, here’s the sequel. Still funny – still great at making the point. The doghouse prolongs the conflict by punishing the “guilty” party. Who made us the judge? Hash it out and move on people! Life’s too short for this kind of stuff. So ask yourself as you chuckle, “could this be us??”

Watch it here: FMFunFriday5

 

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

 

What Does It Weigh?

glass of waterIn our new book, Don’t Go to Bed Angry, Stay Up and Fight!, my husband Ron and I bust a Bible myth. Every Christian couple heard it in pre-marital counseling. Sometimes it came as bridal shower advice from Aunt Anna. And if you haven’t heard it in a women’s Bible study you’re just not at the right church! You know the verse: don’t let the sun go down on your anger. For years I thought that meant we had to keep at it till we solved the problem, identified a solution, or achieved a harmonious outcome.

Nope. We got it wrong, and so have millions of marrieds who were taught “No solution. No sleep.” Or  more often for us, at least a cease fire that masqueraded as a solution when we were both too worn out to care any more and one of us said, “Uncle” and threw in the towel.

That’s not what it means. Look at it again. “And “don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Eph. 4:25 (NLT). It doesn’t say “don’t go to bed till you’ve brokered a deal.” Or “Stay up until dialogue creates unity and perfect alignment.” We’ve been overthinking this and making it all far too complicated. Don’t go to bed angry. But by all means, go to bed. Makes perfect sense – and my mother always said that going to bed mad was bad for your digestion anyway.

How long does it take to realize, “Whoa, we’ve let our emotions get way out of hand.” You know when you’ve crossed that line. A good rule of  thumb is if there are tears, accusation, blame, or someone spitting while s(he) talks – you’re there. And when you’ve acknowledged that, the rest is easy—or at least possible. ” I don’t feel good about how we’re doing this, and I’m fairly sure God’s not feeling honored by our behavior. Can we put a stake in this for tonight, pray and release the anger we’re experiencing, and come back together in the morning with clear heads?”

It requires both of you to make the decision. But it only takes one of you to speak up to propose it.

It’s not the weight of the conflict that drags us down. It’s how long we’re willing to hold on to it. To illustrate this point perfectly, take a moment to watch this 2-minute You Tube flick. It’s worth it’s weight in gold.

 

 

 

Interview at the Debbie Chavez Show

Sick and tired of the same old fights? Marital conflict is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Debbie Chavez hosts us today on her show, discussing our new book, Don’t Go to Bed AngrMicrophoney. Stay Up and Fight! We love your comments and questions. Drop them in the comments and we’ll be sure to respond quickly!

 

You can listen online here:  The Debbie Chavez Show

Family Matters Fun Friday!!

NailEmpathy.

Merriam Webster defines it as follows: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manneralso: the capacity for this.

I understand it. It’s the capacity I’m a little light on.

Women are supposed to be better at this than men, research says. I didn’t participate in that survey. I am, however, vividly aware of when I need empathy and my husband isn’t providing it. That I get.

In any case, let’s take a peak, with a humorous poke, at the role of empathy and marital conflict.

Find it here: It’s Not About the Nail

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

Family Matters Fun Friday!!!

 

Marital cDog House Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 12.06.26 PMonflict is tough. But it happens in every marriage at one time or another. The kiss and make-up part can be fun, but the fight to
the finish wears us out. Sometimes we’re just glad it’s over and retreat to recover. A little alone time is okay after a difficult interaction. Gather your thoughts (and your strength) to move forward.

But on occasion, the conflict has an “afterlife.” It’s the penalty. The punishment that keeps the issue alive with a “you need to pay for what you did,” mindset. It’s damaging. My dad used to say, “I’m in the doghouse with your mother.” And while the punishment is nothing to laugh about, this video can help point out just how ridiculous it is.

Watch it here!  FMFunFriday

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

 

Family Matters Fun Friday

Gelato Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 11.50.32 AM
It’s Friday at Family Matters – time for a little levity. How many times in the middle of an “intense moment of fellowship” with your spouse did it suddenly occur to you, “Why are we fighting over this?
It’s ridiculous!” Ron and I have sometimes burst into a belly busting laugh over how incredibly petty the “thing” is that can create such energy. So, join us for a chuckle and remember – it’s often not that big a deal!!!

Enjoy – watch it here! FMFunFridays3

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

Family Matters Fun Friday!!

It’s Friday, and time for a good laugh – perhaps at our own expense. See if any of this seems familiar to you. Marital conflict is nothing to laugh about, but sometimes, we take ourselves waaay too seriously! Let’s get serious about lightening up and not going over the top!Dead Husband Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 11.51.03 AM

Enjoy! There’s a short ad up front, but you can skip it!

View it here:      FMFunFridays2

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

So You Wrote a Book With Your Husband . . .?

Couple looking at a photo albumSeveral people have recently asked me about the new book, Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight,  and what it was like to co-author it with my husband, Ron. After writing the first two books myself, it was, well—different.

Ron has been very involved in all of the writing I’ve done in the past several years. He was on tap to listen to the read through of each chapter and offer his insights and feedback. He often helped me connect specific passages of scripture to the content of an article or chapter. Immensely helpful. His input was a huge value and often helped strengthen what I had created. But the decision to make a revision or add a new twist he’d suggested, was mine. Alone.

This was an entirely different process. As co-authors, our goal was to collaborate. Meaning we had to find common ground as we created the content. Did I mention the topic was marital conflict?

We developed a process to move forward as a unit. We agreed to discuss the chapter content, review survey and research results, make notes jointly, identify examples and appropriate scripture references, develop tools and application activities. I would then sit down at the computer and write the chapter. It sounded like a solid plan. On paper it looked good. And in the first chapter or two, it worked well.

Then we made an important discovery. As each new chapter began we’d reminisce about an occasion and discuss how it had transpired. Details. Who said what. How it went. We remembered the details vividly. But we often vividly remember it differently. Was it just that 40 years of experiences were difficult to remember with clarity? No. We each had crystal clear recall. Just not the same recall.

If it hadn’t been important to the writing process, it would have been humorous. And looking back on it all, it was pretty funny. Many of the topics, now some twenty or thirty years old seemed so trivial. Why did we let them become issues? Stubbornness? More time than common sense? Perhaps.

Others were more important: how we’d discipline our boys, deal with financial issues, or how busy schedules impacted time for romance and our sex life. Big stuff.

Apparently, we’ve worked it out. The details may escape us today, but we found agreement about the trivial and the significant.

The exercise of reviewing our four decades of life together was challenging at times, but a huge blessing. We recounted the times God came through, granted favor, instructed, corrected, and developed us as believers and as a couple. What an affirmation of His faithfulness. At 19 when we married, we were greener than grass about everything that life would demand of us. The gift of a young marriage is that we grew up, and grew up in Him together.

This was new for us as a twosome, and we learned a lot – some of it the hard way. So here are a few tips for those thinking about establishing a co-author project:

  • Vision. Talk about it, write it out, and revise it until it’s clear and one about which you both can be in full agreement. The Bible remind us in Habakkuk 2:2: “And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” (ESV).
  • Listen. My favorite definition of listening is the willingness to be changed by what you hear. We all have our own opinions and thoughts about the right way to do something. Your writing partner may have a different approach. Remember that different is not always wrong, it’s just different. Be open enough to hear other ideas. God brought you together as partners, so partner together.
  • Pray together. As a Christian writing team, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of craft and omit the cross in the process.
  • Communicate frequently. Set regular times to discuss, imagine, review and edit together. Creating a schedule can help establish a routine and allow each party to protect time on the calendar. In person is best, but if doing it remotely, try Skype or one of the other online meeting sites – Zoom is great – and it’s free.

When was the last time you and your mate looked back together over the collected years you’ve accumulated? A walk together down memory lane can be a great way to remind yourself there’s a lot to be grateful for in both the magic and the tragic. None of it’s wasted if you learned from the experiences and moved forward together. He can use it all.

Will we write another book together? Only time will tell.

 

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!