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.

 

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