Category Archives: Self-Talk

Addressing the “Self” in Selfishness

selfishness 2-children

Filling the cracks of an eroding marital foundation begin with addressing areas in which YOU bear responsibility.  Blaming your mate will produce nothing but further distance between you.  Besides, you don’t have the ability to change your spouse, but you can change the dynamics by focusing on areas in which you need to grow.  After identifying areas in which we may be exhibiting selfish behaviors, what can we do about it? How can we change our selfishness?

  1. Present yourself to God; ask him to make you aware of your own selfishness. BE PREPARED: if you ask God to show you, he will be faithful. Your job is to be ready to receive it and do something about it.
  1. Meditate and internalize the following scriptures:

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.  -1 Corinthians 10:24

These particular scriptures remind me that my relationships are not about me but about loving others.

  1. Try doing the opposite of what you feel. It sounds unusual but consider that your autopilot may currently be guided by your hurt (not the best compass), so your natural tendency is to self-protect that hurt. Take a chance and see what happens. We can only update our script by taking chances and gathering new evidence to see if our childhood beliefs are still accurate. Have these childhood beliefs skewed our adult perception of relationships, of life? Challenge your adult perceptions. Are they accurate?

Remember, in spite of what happened in your childhood, regardless of the pain that may have been inflicted, intentionally or unintentionally, you are no longer that child. You are an adult and bear the consequences of your adult actions. Ask yourself, “What am I going to do about it?” It’s time to take responsibility for your own behavior. Seek God’s strength and help as you begin to take responsibility for the one thing that you can control: your own behavior.

In spite of the hurt and frustration you may be feeling, depending on the current state of your marriage, it is be important to begin taking responsibility for your own behavior and the decisions that you make. After all, who pays the consequences of your actions? Ultimately you do and perhaps your children.

Bless you in your desire to change.

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Love, Self-Talk, Selfishness

Through A Windshield Dirty

Dirty Windshield

Visualize this: you are driving down the freeway in your car. It has been months since you washed it. The windshield is filthy. It has rained a few times, just enough to muddy the filth on the window. There are bird droppings everywhere, making it very difficult to see. That doggone cat that your neighbor feeds is constantly climbing all over the hood and windshield, leaving its grimy paw prints everywhere.

You get the picture. Your ability to see clearly while you drive down the freeway will be considerably impaired. Our mind is sometimes like that. During the course of our lives a variety of things contribute to what we believe about life and ourselves. The way we were raised by our parents is a contributing factor, and our religious beliefs certainly impact how we think. The negative messages we receive on our journey through life affect us. The expectations others place on us can impact as well. If we don’t assess the validity of all these beliefs and release the negative ones, our windshield (or filter) can get very dirty, affecting how we receive information. All the gunk from the past impacts how we perceive what is going on in the present. Some of what we believe about ourselves can be simply inaccurate. Can you see how our acceptance of these internal lies can affect our feelings, having a direct impact on our behavior if we simply choose to stay in autopilot? This concept directly impacts our ability to communicate with our spouse and with others.

Thoughts and feelings are directly related, and it is important to monitor our thoughts, filtering them through what Scripture teaches. So what about behavior? Let’s look again at Mark 14 when Jesus is describing how he feels about the upcoming events and the sacrifice he will make on the cross. He describes his emotional state as “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (v. 34). When he separates himself from his three disciples, he falls to his knees and prays, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (v. 36).

What we see here is a demonstration of a man with feeling. The feelings are real, honest, and easy to validate. The resulting action is the important thing to consider here. In his crying out, in no way was Jesus trying to wiggle free of his obligation. He didn’t choose to avoid the cross even though his feelings might have told him that would be best, certainly easier. No, Jesus’ behavior was consistent to what he knew was God’s will.

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. 

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Emotions, Self-Talk

Why Forgiveness? (Part I): The Command to Forgive

forgiveness 3

My next series, “Why Forgiveness?,  is a difficult topic for many, primarily because it’s a topic we don’t often understand.  I will spend my next three posts shedding some light on this subject that cuts deep to our soul and well-being.

In the Lord’s Prayer, a model for praying given to the disciples by Jesus, we read,

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…  Matthew 6:12

This is a command to forgive those who have wronged us as we have been forgiven by God for our own transgressions.  As we go further in that same chapter, we read,

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:14-15

Why does Jesus make such a definitive statement?  The primary reason lies in the fact that for us to deny forgiveness to another is arrogance on our part.  It’s as if we are denying that we too are sinners and in need of God’s forgiveness every bit as much as that other person.  How much more when you withhold forgiveness from your spouse.  God views forgiveness as a necessary element within our relationships.

We can all agree about the power anger can have over an individual.  If left unchecked it resides in us like a cancer, and some in the medical professions believe it could even be a cause of cancer, but many other issues are related to unresolved anger.

We spend much of our time despising what someone has done to us.  We spend much of the day looking for other things to add fuel to that fire in order to justify the pain caused by that anger.  Anger takes a firm root and grows. It seeps into other areas of our lives as well, affecting our general disposition.  We can become a bear to be around. You see, the problem is that anger envelops our heart and we become a bitter person. It is imperative to forgive because if not we become stuck and unable to move forward in our lives. Essentially we give control to the offending person for our behavior. Do you really want to give that much control to someone who has already hurt you so deeply? Certainly not!

 Forgiveness is a way for you to acknowledge what has happened, relinquish the power of the anger and hurt, and move forward.

As you read through this brief post who came to your mind?  Who do you need to forgive?  More in my next post as we examine some of the misconceptions about forgiveness…

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. 



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Filed under Emotions, Forgiveness, Misconceptions, Restoration, Self-Talk

It’s YOUR Job to Make Me Happy…isn’t it?


When a spouse takes the responsibility for their mate’s happiness problems are bound to arise. The flipside of that coin, and just as unreasonable, is the spouse who expects their mate to make them happy. This is an interesting but absolutely implausible belief founded in faulty thinking. First off, do you really have that much power, the power to make others happy? Some people believe so. Happiness as an attitude; it is a matter of personal choice. This is not to say that things won’t happen to you that will make you unhappy, but that is situational and involves temporary setbacks. These tend to be short-term, and you don’t live your life there.

Unfortunately, some people live their lives unhappily as a matter of choice. Your obligation is to honestly assess how much your behavior contributes to their unhappiness—things you are responsible for.

Secondly, a problem arises when we view our marriage through a filter of faulty beliefs that put our spouse in a “no win” situation. When we do not consider the validity of our beliefs, when we simply accept them as they are—without understanding they may come from dysfunctional roots—we leave ourselves open to taking things personally. When we operate in our default mode we tend to view all of life’s events from only our own perspective (healthy or not), rather than challenge our beliefs or consider the perspective of others.

We stack the deck against our spouse when we take everything personally and expect our spouse to make us happy. It’s not your spouse’s job to make you happy! Consider that maybe there is a greater call that ultimately results in happiness. Remember that your perception of the outward appearance can be skewed (just food for thought).

When you expect others to make you happy, what does that say about you? Nobody is perfect. Do you ever feel validated when someone lets you down? In other words, do get some sort of satisfaction when someone fails you (example: “I knew it would happen eventually!”)? Are you always looking for the “other shoe to drop” in your relationships? Could you ever live up to your own expectations of yourself? Although it sounds noble, “I never expect anything out of anyone else that I don’t expect out of myself,” are excessively hard on yourself…on others? Where does that attitude come from?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Emotions, Expectations, Self-Talk

There Should Be Freedom In Love

freedom in love 2

Sometimes we have behaved a certain way for so long that we are not even aware we are doing it. Even if we can’t see it, God can. Some common impediments to a fulfilling relationship may have developed over time, a byproduct of years of pain. These assumptions may also be a result of beliefs and lies about yourself, or marriage in general, stemming from your family of origin when growing up. They may involve control issues, where our own insecurity forces us to hold on tight to our mate, often to the point of strangling the love out of our relationship.

Remember, there should be freedom in love. The misconception that love should just happen (“If they loved me the behaviors would be effortless”) is simply that: a misconception. Another is the old mindreading game of “If they really loved me they should know.” Or how about “My spouse and I should be doing everything together. Our love should be enough. Why do we need others?” What about friends? What about God? Another common belief that trips us up is “If my mate doesn’t tell me they love me on a continual basis, they must not.” The real question is why do you need so much affirmation? Just something to consider. These are some examples of the thinking that goes into undermining marital relationships.

Do any of these misconceptions strike a chord with you? Can you identify the root of these misconceptions in your own life? How have they affected your relationships past/present? What steps might you take to reshape these faulty beliefs?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Love, Misconceptions, Self-Talk

Do You Have Evidence to Support That Belief?


Think about your favorite Agatha Christie mystery movie. The apparent villain has been apprehended by the steadfast constable. The astute old lady, who has spent years reading detective magazines, has done a little research of her own. Turns out the chief inspector was a bit hasty in pointing the finger of guilt. Our elderly armchair detective has been less hasty. When all is said and done, and after our dear lady has presented the pieces of the puzzle to the reluctant and often frustrated chief inspector, he has no choice but to reconsider his stand. The real culprit is apprehended after, no doubt, an exciting confrontation with our amateur sleuth, guns a-blazing.

What is the point of my dramatic buildup? Ask yourself: what is going to be necessary to convict the criminal, the actual perpetrator of the crime? Evidence! Your objective is to challenge those beliefs that you have about your relationship and your spouse. Are they beneficial or destructive? If you believe them to be accurate, upon what evidence do you base them? If you have no evidence in support of a belief, why are you holding onto it? What might happen if you choose not to accept that belief?

Remember, it is okay to examine what you believe; in fact it is highly recommended. This is one way to address the lies that lead to faulty thinking. The continual gathering of evidence to support what you believe will only expose the lies or reinforce healthy beliefs, neither of which is a bad thing.

We cycle through hundreds, even thousands of thoughts every day.  Think about some of the disagreements/arguments that keep surfacing in your relationships/marriage.  Can you identify what belief you are holding onto that perpetuates these conflicts?  Plug them into the questions asked in paragraph two; are you being reasonable?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Expectations, Self-Talk