Marriage Hope: 10 Things You Can Do TODAY If You Are in a Bad Marriage

angry couple on benchImage courtesy of Ed Yourdon via Flickr under Creative Commons License

While reading yesterday’s post you may have realized you are in a conflicted or devitalized type of marriage. The bad news about this is that these marriages end in divorce considerably more often than the other types. The good news, though, is that there may be much you can do to improve the relationship. Today I will suggest ten things you can do starting now.

TAKE STOCK OF THE MARRIAGE

1. Rate your marriage from 1-10 based on how valuable it is to you. Most marriages can be saved if both partners are willing, even marriages that partners rank a 1 or 2. Sometimes people  just tough it out because of what the Bible says. Of course it is good to care about honoring God, but if you are in a conflicted marriage, the way you are treating each other does not honor God. The question then is whether the marriage can become a God-honoring environment, or whether it needs to be dissolved.  

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Five Marriage Types — What Kind of Marriage are You In?

struggling married couplePhoto courtesy of Elena Lagaria via Flickr, under Creative Commons License

David Olson, in his exhaustive research on marriage, has found that marriages fall into one of five types.

The Five Types

Vitalized

Partners in these marriages tend to agree on most things and have excellent communication and conflict resolution skills (the two skills without which couples cannot adequately address other problems in the relationship). They report being very satisfied in marriage.

Harmonious

Partners agree on many things and have good communication and conflict resolution skills, but have slight problems in other areas such as parenting, sex, financial issues, etc. They report being quite satisfied in marriage. Interestingly their divorce rates tend to still be quite high. They seem to have higher (often unrealistic) expectations for marriage to begin with and often do not deal well with the reduction in marriage satisfaction that nearly always presents itself in the first few years.

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5 Ways to Fight the Feeling of Not Being Loved

sad not loved

Image courtesy of kalexanderson via Flickr under Creative Commons License

My clients often report that they don’t feel loved by their spouse. People from abusive or neglectful homes may grow up with a deep sense of emptiness, of being unloved. They will invariably get married pinning all their hopes of love on their partner. When the partner ends up being imperfect, they will be disillusioned and left feeling unloved. The real problem, of course, is not being unloved, but feeling unlovable. This is a much deeper problem that will take serious time and effort to resolve. This post assumes you are married to a kind, caring, well-intentioned person who deeply desires your happiness. If your spouse is not such a person, perhaps they truly do not love you. I will deal in another post with ways to tell if you are truly unloved. Assuming you are married to a person with good intentions, here are five ways to fight the feeling of not being loved.

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Why Not You? Why Not Today?

why not you?Image courtesy of blmiers2 via Flickr, under Creative Commons License

Today someone is going to move a little bit closer to realizing their dream. Why not you?

Today someone is going to spend a few minutes doing something that no one in the world is making them do, but that will change their life forever. Why not you?

Today someone is going to face their fears, ignore their lack of confidence, and go for it. Why not you?

Today someone is going to be rejected and choose to keep going anyway. Why not you?

Today someone is putting down their excuses and picking up their efforts. Why not you?

Today someone will begin to take himself as seriously as others take him. Why not you?

Today someone realizes she needs to stop waiting for more confidence before she sticks her neck out, and that confidence, in fact, grows by doing just that. Why not you?

Today someone will realize that she has always been her own worst enemy and that if she’s not on her own side, who will be. Why not you?

Today someone will finally realize that the big random check is never coming, the lottery number is never getting pulled, the pot of gold isn’t falling out of the sky, and success in life is directly and proportionately related to hard work, courage, and the number of times you are willing to be told “no” and still keep going. Why not you?

Today someone will realize time is precious, it’s all anyone is ever given, it’s never enough, and what you do with it is, in the end, all that will matter. Why not you?

Question: Why not you? What obstacles are standing between you and the life you want?

I’m not okay, you’re not okay, and that’s okay

burned out lightbulbImage “Failure” from PixelPlacebo under Creative Commons License

Nobody is okay

Do you ever get sick of the fakeness of society how everybody walks around like everything is okay?  I have never lived anywhere but in America, so I don’t know if what I observe and experience is unique to American culture, or Western culture, or if it’s more of a humanity thing. Most of us walk around acting like we’re okay, but in fact, nobody is really okay. I sometimes feel like my greatest ministry in the lives of people is more about saying “me too” than anything else.

“You feel insufficient sometimes, like there’s something fundamentally wrong with you? Me too.”
“You have doubts and wonder whether God is there, or if there’s even a God at all? Me too.”
“You care deeply for your spouse and children and wish that you could connect with them better? Me too.”
“You didn’t feel like coming to church today? Me neither.”
“You’re bogged down by your fears and wonder if you’re ever going to accomplish your dreams? Me too.”
“You feel like people probably wouldn’t love you if they really knew who you are? Me too.”
“In spite of your struggles, you still somehow manage to be basically happy and wonder if that’s okay, if you should be doing more? Me too.” 

Add your own  here:_______________________________________. “Me too.”

In many ways I’m not okay and you’re not okay. That’s okay. That’s what it means to be human.

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