Tag Archives: Behavior

Going Through the Fire…Together

Overcoming

There are many ways to build our foundation of intimacy as a married couple.  One that some don’t consider is the refining process that occurs when couples go through trials, crisis and life changing events together.  Going through trials together certainly builds intimacy in a relationship. The interesting thing about trials is that they often force greater reliance on God, thereby offering an opportunity to grow in our faith.

We do not want to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.2 Corinthians 1:8-9

Sometimes the challenges that couples go through are incredibly difficult.  When two people are on the same page and working toward the same ends, the pain is considerably reduced by having someone to share them with. It is essential that couples be willing to share difficult circumstances with one another.  Men are notorious for stuffing situations so as not to trouble their wives.  Let your wife see inside you and understand your troubles; let her encourage and support you. If something is bothering you, odds are that you will make it known whether you say anything or not.  When you become quiet or grumpy, your spouse will suspect that something is wrong.  This leaves the spouse to feel responsible for your behavior when it may have nothing at all to do with them.  If there are only two people in a room and one of them is obviously upset, it stands to reason that the remaining person must have done something to offend the other.  This is often how people think, whether it’s accurate or not.

It is often very helpful to receive input from a source that can give you a perspective that perhaps you can’t see, being so close to the problem.  Utilize the gifts that God has given your mate.  Minimally, there is a cleansing process that occurs when you lay out the difficulties that you are struggling with rather than trying helplessly to filter through the emotional frustrations of carrying destructive baggage on your own.  Whether the crisis is personal in nature or one that plaques you as a couple, remember, at some level you will both be affected in one form or another so work it together.

When couples have the opportunity to work problems through to resolution together, they feel a great sense of accomplishment and it strengthens the marriage and increases intimacy.  You guys signed on as a team, play like one!

I pray blessing on you and that God give you the strength to do what’s right.

©2017 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 Assertiveness, Behavior, Commitment, Communication, Emotions, Transparency, Trials, Unity

Control Yourself!

 

control-yourself

Have you come to place in your relationship where some assessment may be necessary?  Fact of the matter, you should be periodically assessing your marriage.  It’s much easier to work through the issues in a relationship while they are small and manageable.  For some reason, many people wait until the violations are so deep that coming back from the damage is a very difficult proposition.  Mind you, I did not say impossible!  Has the reality of your marriage left your marital expectations in the dust?

If this is the state in which you find yourself, you may be asking, “How do I not only achieve some relief but hopefully move this ailing union forward?”   I want to encourage you, it may be time to stop addressing the seemingly endless negatives about the other person.  Our tendency is to gather as much evidence as possible to support the reason you feel the way you do about your spouse.  This only feeds the negative attitude.  At this point it is important to find and focus on the positives.

You need to periodically identify what behaviors were occurring when things were better; in other words, what was I doing differently (or, doing right)? Notice that your spouse is not being addressed here.  There is good reason for that. One of the keys to a healthy relationship is that both parties involved take responsibility for their own attitudes and behavior.  I am more interested in you than your spouse for the simple reason that you do not have the ability to change them, only yourself.  If, however, you begin to take responsibility for your own behavior and focus on positive improvements, it certainly can affect the dynamics of the relationship.

Ponder the following scripture. As you do, listen to what God has to tell you. This may take more than a few minutes because sometimes our own hurts prevent us from wanting to hear what God has to say in a given situation.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.              -Jeremiah 33:3

What does this scripture speak to you?  Go someplace where you can be alone, someplace comfortable and with no intrusions.  Now make a list of six expectations you have for the future of your marriage.  Once your list is completed, go back and reread it.  Do you find more negatives in your expectations list than positives?  What current behavior(s) might you need to change to move the marriage back to a time when it was more fulfilling? Ask yourself what positive behaviors you did in the past that you are no longer doing.  Once you’ve identified theses behaviors you’ve complete half the job.  Yes, the other half is implementing them without expecting anything from your mate at this point.  “Well, why should I do it if they won’t even acknowledge it!”  Why?  Because it is the right thing to do.  Now that IS YOUR responsibility!

I pray blessing on you and that God give you the strength to do what’s right.

©2016 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, Character, Communication, Emotions, Expectations, selflessness

Forgiveness is Not a Suggestion (Part 2)

extending-forgiveness-2

In our last post we discussed a letter-writing technique that will be helpful in allowing us to forgive one who has wronged us.  This technique is most useful in situations involving our spouses, but just as useful in addressing anger and resent that is being stored up in circumstances with friends, family and even co-workers.

A quick summary of the technique will refresh your memory.  First, find a nice secluded place to write a forgiveness letter.  It doesn’t matter where you go as long as you can have a place to concentrate.  Try your best to eliminate the distractions of the outside world.

Second, address the letter to your spouse (or whoever wounded you) and then follow it with your statement of forgiveness: “I choose to forgive you for (whatever that issue might be)”   Then, write down how you feel about the idea of forgiving them for this issue.   Write down the second emotional response, then the third.  Continue writing until all that you feel is written on the paper before you.  Once you have addressed all the feelings that surfaced from your first statement of forgiveness, take a breath and write “I forgive you.” for a final time regarding that hurt.  Go back to part one of this post if you need more elaboration or an example.

We follow this letter with a technique that allows you to receive closure in those areas that you need to forgive in your spouse (or others).  It is known as “the empty chair technique.” Take a seat next to another chair and imagine that your spouse is sitting there, willing to receive what you wrote in your letter.  Read the letter aloud to them, and each time you make your statement of forgiveness, imagine your spouse accepting your forgiveness. Take as long as necessary to complete this process.

Once you have shared your letter of forgiveness, destroy it thoroughly. There is no need to actually share it with your spouse or to keep it on hand to revisit. It is done; now let it go. This is an issue between God and yourself. If the enemy tries to throw it back in your face, remind yourself that you are done harboring resentment about that and have given it to God.

Now that you have concluded this assignment, do not take back what you have extended. It’s time to leave the hurt at the foot of the cross and go forward on your journey of forgiveness which includes allowing God to heal you of the residue from the hurt left behind.  Is there anyone else in your life that has hurt you?  Is there anyone else you need to forgive?  It would benefit you to go through this process again, addressing those other people toward whom you have developed bitterness.  God wants your yoke to be light.  It’s time to let go of the anger so that you focus your energy toward what God has planned for you instead.

Remember, the decision to forgive is immediate but the journey of healing for what you are forgiving of may be an ongoing journey.  As you come to accept the fact that you have forgiven, the pain from past hurts will begin to diminish.  Be Blessed!

©2016 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, Character, Emotions, Forgiveness, Restoration

Forgiveness is Not a Suggestion (Part I)

extending-forgiveness-1

I see countless people in my office that struggle with moving beyond the hurt in their lives.  A key component of moving forward involves ones ability to forgive those who have wronged us.  We confused and think that if we forgive we condone the other persons bad behavior.  When the religious folks of the time asked Jesus, “How are we required to forgive?”  His concise response, “Seven times seventy.”  Jesus was not referring to a specific number, he was telling the people that we are ALWAYS called to forgive.  Forgiveness is less about the other person than a way for us to move forward and develop a heart of hatred.  Once the bitterness is established it’s like giving the offending party permission to continue to victimize us.  I would like to share a technique that will help to put you on the road to forgiveness.  The healing process may take some time, but this will allow you to solidify the decision to forgive.

Find yourself a nice secluded place. It doesn’t matter where you go as long as you can have a place to concentrate.  Have plenty of paper on hand.  It may take more than one sitting to complete task and you don’t want anyone to read this letter.  Begin this process by praying that God would give you the strength and courage to address the pain and hurt that will likely surface as you start to write your list of hurts.

Address the letter to your spouse and then follow it with your statement of forgiveness: “I choose to forgive you for…”   No doubt several feelings will surface. Identify the pain that would interfere with your ability to forgive.  Write down the first emotional responses to your statement of forgiveness.  In other words, how do you feel about the idea of forgiving your spouse for this issue.   Write down the second emotional response, then the third. Write them all out, beginning each time with “I choose to forgive you for…”   Let them flow.

Continue writing until all that you feel is written on the paper before you. This process will help to move some of these destructive, hurtful feelings out of you and into the open, much as a surgeon tries to cut away anything that would interfere with the normal functioning of your body. Feel free to write as much as you need to write.  Once you have addressed all the feelings that surfaced from your first statement of forgiveness, take a breath and write “I forgive you” for a final time regarding that issue.

Example:

Dear Jim,

I forgive you for not making me a priority in our relationship.

  • Why am I bothering to forgive you? You couldn’t care less!
  • I’ll never have priority over your friends.
  • I hate it when you work all the time and have no time for me!
  • It embarrasses and hurts me when I hear how my friends’ husbands enjoy time with their wives.

I forgive you for not making me a priority in our relationship.

Now we move on to your next statement of forgiveness.  Write “I forgive you for…” and go through the same process as just described.  You will continue to move through all the issues you have been harboring resentment about, letting them go one by one by extending forgiveness for them.

When you feel that you have addressed everything you want to cover in your letter, take a moment to reflect on what you have just completed.  Congratulations, this was a monumental task!  Do not feel that you must complete this in one sitting, as the emotions generated by this assignment may require that you revisit it a couple of times to complete it.

What now?  In the next post, we will complete the p[rocess of extending forgiveness to others by addressing the letter that you have completed.

©2016 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, Character, Emotions, Forgiveness, Restoration

Stumbling in the Darkness

darkness

Why is it that so often couples come into my office, there marriage a wreck, without a clue about what to do about it?  They are totally lost, hopeless and helpless with regards to what direction to go.  “How did we get like this?” is a very common phrase that echoes off the walls of my office.  My question for them,“ Why did you wait so long to address this situation?”

Marriages do not dissolve overnight.  Generally it takes an extended period of frustration to erode the foundation of a marital commitment.  Why the procrastination?  Let me share a little allegory that might give insight into the consequences of poor decision-making…

Once upon a time there was a man.  This man was enjoying a 3D movie in the privacy of his home theater.  Needless to say, the room was darkened as the glare from the movie screen lite up the room.  Suddenly, there was the sound of the telephone coming from the other room.  Annoyed, the man rose to his feet, crossed to the end of the couch, around a small padded leather child’s theater seat then past another, making his way to the screen in order to cross to the door leading out of the theater.  He passed another child’s chair, maneuvered past the wooden, cinema poster decorated coffee table, finally opening the door and exiting the theater.  In a hurry to get to the phone, he didn’t even bother to stop the video or turn on the house lights.  In fact, in his rush it never occurred to him to remove the 3D glasses he was wearing.  After all he was coming right back, no need to bother with that!  As one would expect, by the time he reached the phone the ringing stopped.  The call was obviously not important enough for the caller to leave a message.  With a sigh of frustration, he turned back around a headed toward the theater…

Is anyone predicting a problem?

…rushing back into the theater our main character does not take into account the eye adjustment required when leaving a brightly-lite room into a darkened theater, to say nothing of the fact that, don’t forget, he is still wearing those 3D glasses he was too lazy to remove.  He crosses the screen, blinded by the intense light from the projector, eyes that are still trying to adjust, and unable to see through the darkness before him, the poor sap bumps the coffee table at the front of the theater.  This one action triggers a ballet of disaster!  He tumbles forward, curves to the left, hoping to regain balance.  He falls forward, bumping an end table next to a chair.  To compensate, he pulls back, tripping on the chair which causes him to completely loose his footing.  Mind you, he hasn’t hit the ground yet.  The situation resembles a giant pinball machine; he is the ball that is bouncing from one furniture item to the next.  Now it’s too late to stop the inevitable.  Down he comes, crashing on the side arms of the child’s padded leather theater seat.  THUD! As he quickly discovers, the padding does a rather poor job of covering the solid wood frame of the chair.  Rolling off the chair he feels the pain as the end table crashes upon him, pelting him with the heavy ceramic coasters that adorned the table.  CRASH!  Lying on his back, a painful groan is the only thing that cuts through the dialog being spoken on the screen.  Now he feels it appropriate to remove the glasses that in all the commotion, as if to mock him, refused to fall off on their own.  The consequence of these little decisions included two broken ribs, several bruises and many weeks of painful recovery.  I’m sure that most of you predicted nothing but bad possibilities in the previous scenario.  I wish I had the moment the phone rang.

This is often how we conduct our marriages.  Here are a few helpful tips to promote healing in your relationship:

Turn on the lights!  We need to be realistic about the issues that face the marriage and stop ignoring reoccurring problems.  They will NOT resolve themselves.  You also need to accept responsibility for the areas in which YOU have done damage to your spouse.

Don’t be lazy, take off the 3D glasses!  It is important to consider the negative consequences if the marriage continues down its current path.  Try to imagine a clear image of what your marriage could be.  It’s harder to regain your balance once bad behavior, negative marital attitudes and resentments have become a way of life.

Stop the movie for a minute and tend to the business at hand!  Look toward the future.  Don’t be so focused on the problems of the present that you forget to prioritize what your marriage CAN be if you put forth the effort.  You’ll need to rebuild the relationship a step at a time, don’t think you can do it all at once, there are wound that need to heal.

Too many obstacles in a dark room create a nightmarish maze that is bound to trip you up!  You need a clear path.  Sometimes that takes a third party to help you both sift through the hindrances in your relationship.  Clear out the junk!  In many cases, small adjustment made sooner than later can eliminate a catastrophe down the road.  A good counselor who shares your world view can help you through that process.  Here is a great resource of counselors in your area:

http://www.aacc.net/resources/find-a-counselor/

You will also find many other resources that will help you to propel your marriage forward.  Feel free to have a look around.  Take the steps necessary to begin your journey to the marriage that you’ve always wanted, the marriage that you signed up for.

Be Blessed.

©2016 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, Commitment, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Counseling, Expectations, Priorities, Restoration, Unity

God Keeps His Promises

dignity

For those who feel far from God or are simply praying for answers to their situations; I want to share a true story that may offer you some hope.

I had the honor of speaking at a parole board hearing in Sacramento recently on behalf of a very dear man. His story is that of true repentance evidenced by dramatic change in attitudes and behaviors over many years now. David has remained steadfast and consistent in the Lord.

After praying up, having the opportunity to speak before the parole board and heading back to the parking lot, I could feel God over the entire situation. I turned to my friend and said, “David, you know this is already done.” He nodded in agreement but I could see some nervousness and anxiety in his expression. This was incredibly important to David so he was a bit apprehensive about getting his hopes up. I completely understood. We all walked to the valet lot and approached the rental car which was nearby. Everyone was getting into the car while I crossed in front of the car to enter the other side. I glanced down and stopped in my tracks. Sometimes God’s answers are blatant and obvious, other times they are quiet and subtle. Mind you, we didn’t park the car, the valet attendant did. I asked David, “What was your greatest expectation from this hearing?” He looked at me with a slightly puzzled expression, “A lot of people might not understand this, the most important thing to me is to be officially forgiven for what I had done. I want my life back.”

I already knew the answer; I just wanted him to say it. I nodded, smiled and pointed down to the ground in front of the car. I felt myself getting a little emotional, “I think this is for you. Does this sum it up?” He came around the front of the car and when he saw it, he beamed with a huge grin. There on the ground, stenciled in paint, in large white block letters was the single word, “DIGNITY”! We looked knowingly at one another.

“Yeah,” he said in a low, introspective voice.

“You’d better take a picture of this, so you don’t forget what God is doing today! I don’t think you have to worry, my friend.”  (The actual photo leads this post.)

What was most odd to me was the fact that I saw no other parking slots with words printed on them. This was the only one. For myself (and David) the message was clear, forgiveness had been granted him long before the trip to Sacramento. When one seeks forgiveness, confesses their sins and repents, truly repents, God can bless you abundantly.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  -1 John 1:9

We received the outcome we had prayed for, but my friend knew that whether his change and growth were recognized by the state or not, he stood forgiven by his Father!

I encourage you to keep praying, hold your faith close, accept that God’s timing is ALWAYS right  (even when we don’t understand it) and that Gods will is NEVER WRONG (even when it doesn’t align with ours.

Incidentally, God confirmed his promise to David when he read this response on the government website a mere few hours later. “In referring to application for pardon to the Governor with a favorable recommendation for consideration by the Supreme Court. Motion approved by the majority of the commissioners present.

We have complete faith and confidence that the governor will consider the parole boards recommendations and reinstate him in short order.”

Glory be to God and thank you David for allowing me to share this story with the desire to offer God’s hope to others.

©2017 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, Character, Commitment, Faith, Forgiveness, Prayer, Restoration, Trust

Making Connections – Feelings and Behavior (Part Two)

bible reading 3

In connecting feelings and behavior let’s see how these two dynamics interact. We will refer to the expert, Merriam-Webster. Behavior is defined as “the manner of conducting oneself; anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation; the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment.” This is where the problem often unfolds. Events happen to us throughout the course of our day that trigger an emotional response. Often that emotional response leads to a behavior tied to that response. In other words, we determine our behavior based on what we feel about that particular person, circumstance, or event.

A common example: you are driving along the freeway. Suddenly a car comes off the on-ramp merging onto the freeway. They merge right in front of you, forcing you to swerve into the next lane nearly causing an accident. You have experienced surprise, fear, and anger almost simultaneously. Taking the personal assault angrily, you pull up alongside them and offer the all too common single-finger gesture of dissatisfaction at the behavior of others. You know nothing about that other person. A variety of reasons may have caused that reaction from the other person, reasons that have nothing to do with you personally. Scripture is very clear:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.        – 2 Corinthians 10:5

We are called to live intentionally. If that were not the case, why would God have left us the Holy Bible as a love letter from Him and clear instruction on how we should live our lives? In reality the question should not be, “Are feeling god or bad?” The better question would be, “How do we behave when the feelings come?” For heer is where we get tripped up. We are called to behave in a scriptural manner in spite of how we may feel. In scripture you will note that in spite of how he may have felt about something, he never behaved in a way that was inappropriate. Yes, the bar is high, but make that your goal.

How often do you allow your feelings to dictate your behavior? How many times do you do what your feelings tell you to do? The curious thing about feelings is that it is sometimes difficult to determine what truly triggered a particular feeling that just swept over us. Since feelings tend to be inconsistent at best it would benefit you to focus on your behavior in spite of what you may be feeling. Making healthy decisions about your behavior can have a positive impact on your negative feelings.

©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, Communication, Emotions

Making Connections – Feelings and Behavior (Part One)

fighting

Let’s pose a simple question, “Feelings, are they good or bad?” The most common response to this question is that overall they are a good thing. The feelings themselves may not always be good (anger, frustration, sadness), but in general they are a good thing. Certainly, when Jesus came to earth in human form, his emotions and feelings were on display. Jesus demonstrated righteous anger when the sellers were ripping off those who came to worship by charging exorbitant amounts of money to purchase the required animal sacrifices. Jesus went so far in his anger as to turn over the sacrifice tables, making them fully aware of his displeasure.

We see demonstrations of sadness and depression in the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus agonizes over his fate. In Mark 14:34, Jesus clearly makes his feelings known: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he tells Peter, James, and John. He asks them to keep watch while he goes up a little farther to pray. Upon his return he finds them sleeping. “Are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?” Jesus shows obvious disappointment with the three disciples. There are also times of happiness recorded in the life of Jesus. If feelings are good enough for Jesus, they are good enough for me.

Whether feelings are good or bad is not really the issue. We obviously have feelings. Some of those feelings are good, while others are not so good. The core issue is not the feelings themselves. The important thing to consider is the consequences of those feelings. In other words, what do we do with our feelings? How are they demonstrated in our behavior?

Are your behaviors an extension of your emotional state? How does this dynamic affect your interactions with your spouse? What do you think might happen if you focused on your behavior rather than your feelings?

We will examine this in the next post so be sure to check back!

©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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Time to Dust Off Your Marriage?

couples 6

Reminders are a way of providing a tune-up in order to keep our marriage in the appropriate priority with all the things that compete for our attention in this crazy world.

Let’s consider some key elements about marriage that we may have forgotten.  Here are a few that help us to demonstrate the practice of love in our relationship:

A key component in revitalizing your marriage is the understanding that your marriage is not about you. Realize that God has created uniqueness in both of you. The more you come to accept and love the differences between the two of you, the sooner you can learn to let go of the little stuff that the enemy loves to use to distract you from the goal.  The goal of every couple should be to live for the other, to live for God. That doesn’t mean you sacrifice your individuality; it simply means that consideration for what is most beneficial to your relationship will outweigh what is solely beneficial to you individually. From that you will begin to reap increasing dividends.

Creating a richer, fuller marriage begins with a decision: the decision to die to oneself.  This is not only in relationship to God, but also in our relationship to one another.  Whether our dysfunction stems from attitudes, behaviors, past experiences, or simply choosing to believe the lies of the enemy, it is essential that we step out of ourselves and move into alignment with our creator.  As you continue on your journey of marriage, begin to step out of the shame and guilt of the past. No matter what you may have done, no matter what you may have partaken in, you are not out of redemption’s grasp.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.     – Colossians 1:13-14

Be comforted; your past doesn’t have to be a blueprint for your future. The time to start living intentionally is right now. Let your marriage be an example that glorifies God. The benefits of such a decision are countless, not just to you, but to your children, future generations, and everyone you come into contact with.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.      – 1 Peter 4:8-11

Perhaps it’s time to assess yourself?  That’s not a bad thing; we should ALL do it from time to time.  Maybe it’s time to dust off some of these elements and place them front and center in your life so that your marriage will to an extent that you never thought possible.  Marriage is work, hard work, but some of the most rewarding work you will ever do.  Just a thought…

Be blessed as you continue your marital journey!

©2016 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, Love, Obedience, Priorities, selflessness, Shame, Unity

“I Just Want to Be Heard!”

Listening

Just as important as what you say to your children is how you listen to them.  Give your children your undivided attention when they are sharing with you.  Turn off the television, put away the paperwork, get off the computer, just listen.  Acknowledge what they say and hear them out.  Your job is to be approachable when they need you. Understand that they are children and may not express as effectively as you do, but let them try.  This is not the time to correct them or critique their verbal skills.  Just like your spouse, they want to be heard.   Oftentimes whether they are heard or not has a greater impact on their esteem than whether they get their way.

A mother brought in her son, a young man about sixteen.  She wanted someone to talk to him because he wouldn’t open up at home, and he seemed to be carrying a great deal of anger. When he entered the office it was apparent things were going to get interesting.  The first thing he did was sit in the chair in front of the desk, raise his leg to the desk, and push his chair back about four feet from it.  Arms folded, body rigid in the chair, he was very direct in his communication: “I don’t have a f—in’ thing to say to you.”

It was obvious what he was expecting.  This coarse phrase would elicit a reaction and get him thrown out of the office. Ah, he would have to do better than that!  I calmly told the young man, “That’s entirely up to you.  But if you want to chat, I’d love to hear what you have to say.” He was very confused, and when he realized my response was sincere, no one could keep this guy from talking!  He was thrilled to have a venue to be heard. As he talked more and more, his entire demeanor changed and his body language loosened up.  He was able to be direct in areas where his behavior was not serving him productively, and he was eager to listen to what I said.

In the end, after speaking with his mother, it was apparent that his father didn’t really connect with him because they never talked.  The son never had a voice in the house, and when he was bold enough to speak, his father shut him down immediately.  His behavior issues were simply symptoms of a much greater problem: poor communication in the home.

Consider your own home.  In what ways do you frustrate your child by not providing them a venue to share with you?  How might the behaviors and communication we, as parents, demonstrate to our children play out in their lives as they become adults and parents?

©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, Communication, Parenting, Respect