The Missing Links – February 10, 2013

  • A self-described lesbian leftist professor describes her conversion at Christianity Today.  “I continued reading the Bible, all the while fighting the idea that it was inspired. But the Bible got to be bigger inside me than I. It overflowed into my world. I fought against it with all my might. Then, one Sunday morning, I rose from the bed of my lesbian lover, and an hour later sat in a pew at the Syracuse Reformed Presbyterian Church.”
  • a Liberal-Democrat Member of Parliament and former minister, explaining why she voted against the redefinition of marriage in the British Parliament on February 5.   “My concern, however, is that by moving to a definition of marriage that no longer requires sexual difference, we will, over time, ultimately decouple the definition of marriage from family life altogether. I doubt that this change will be immediate. It will be gradual, as perceptions of what marriage is and is for shift. But we can already see the foundations for this shift in the debate about same-sex marriage. Those who argue for a change in the law do so by saying that surely marriage is just about love between two people and so is of nobody else’s business. Once the concept of marriage has become established in social consciousness as an entirely private matter about love and commitment alone, without any link to family, I fear that it will accelerate changes already occurring that makes family life more unstable.”
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Dr. Gary Chapman on the Power of Listening to Your Spouse

Communication is easy until you have a disagreement.  So, how do we process conflicts without arguing?  As I was writing my book The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted, one of the great discoveries I made was the awesome power of listening.  Most of us are far better at “making our point” than in “getting the point” of the other person.  Listening has to do with trying to look at the world through the other person’s eyes.  It’s not that difficult if you try.

Once you can truthfully say, “I think I understand what you are saying, and it makes sense.”  Then you can say, “Let me tell you how I’m thinking, and see if it makes sense to you.”  Two people who listen long enough to affirm each other can then find a win-win solution.

Arguments reveal the heart.  Almost always arguments grow out of unmet emotional needs.  One wife said, “Little things like getting the old newspapers out to the garage for recycling is not a big deal to him, but it is to me because I hate clutter.  It’s kind of a visual thing.”  What is she saying?  One of her emotional needs is to have order in the house.  Clutter is emotionally upsetting to her.

The wise husband and wife will look for the emotional need behind the argument.  Why is my spouse so upset over what seems trivial to me?  The answer to that question will help you understand your spouse.  Meeting emotional needs for each other is one way to create a positive climate for communication.

Adapted from The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted by Dr. Gary Chapman. To find out more about Dr. Chapman’s resources, visit www.fivelovelanguages.com.

(Via A Love Language Minute)

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Why Communication in Marriage is Hard

Dr. Gary Chapman always has good things to say on marriage.

Why is Communication So Hard?

Why does communication  break down after marriage?  Often, the answer lies in emotions.  Before marriage we felt one over-powering emotion – love.  But now, the emotions of hurt, anger, disappointment, and fear often dominate.  These emotions do not encourage us to communicate.  Or, if we communicate it is likely to be critical.

We speak out of our anger and create even more negative feelings.  The key is learning how to share emotions without condemnation.  “I’m feeling hurt and when you have time, I need your help.”  Identifying your feelings and choosing to share them is step one.  Step two is accepting the feelings of your mate and asking, “What can I do to help?”

Why is communication so important in a relationship?  Because we are not mind readers. The apostle Paul recognized this reality when he asked the question, “Who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him?  So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”  The reason we know what God is like is because God has chosen to reveal Himself.  If we listen and reciprocate, we can have a love relationship with God.

Likewise, when we reveal ourselves to another person, and they listen and reciprocate, we can build an intimate relationship with that person.  Communication is to a relationship what breathing is to the body.  Don’t stop talking and don’t stop listening.

Adapted from The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted by Dr. Gary Chapman. To find out more about Dr. Chapman’s resources, visit www.fivelovelanguages.com.

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Dr. Gary Chapman on Making Decisions in Marriage

If you’re married, how many times has your spouse saved you from making a bad decision?  I’ve lost count.  Good words here from author and counselor Dr. Gary Chapman on making decisions in marriage.  This one is addressed to men, but it works both ways.  Both husbands and wives need each other’s perspectives to make good decisions.

Most counselors agree that one of the greatest problems in marriage is decision making.  Visions of democracy dance in the minds of many young couples, but when there are only two voting members, democracy often results in deadlock.  How does a couple move beyond deadlock?  The answer is found in one word: love.

Love always asks the question, “What is best for you?”  Love does not demand its own way.  Love seeks to bring pleasure to the one loved.  That is why Christians should have less trouble making decisions than non-Christians.  We are called to be lovers.  When I love my wife, I will not seek to force my will upon her for selfish purposes.

The biblical idea of the husband being the head of the wife has been one of the most exploited concepts of the Bible.  Christian husbands, full of self-will, have made all kinds of foolish demands of their wives under the authority of “The Bible says….”  Headship does not mean that the husband has the right to make all the decisions and inform the wife of what is going to be done.

She is called to be a “helpmate”.  The word means “helper”.  How can she be a helper if she has no opportunity to share her ideas?  “Two are better than one,” the Scriptures say.  That is certainly true in decision making.  Why would a husband want to make a decision limited to his own wisdom when God has given him a helper?

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Gary Chapman on Teamwork in Marriage

Dr. Gary Chapman always has good things to say about marriage.  This came from his Love Language Minute today.

Who cleans the commode at your house?  Has it always been true?  If you are the one who cleans, are you happy with this arrangement?  Who takes care of what in a marriage?  This is the question that often leads to conflict.  Many couples do not agree on these issues before marriage.  They wake up six weeks into the marriage to discover that no one is cleaning the commode.

If this is a trouble spot for you, let me encourage you to take action.  Make a list of all the things that must be done on a regular basis.  Put your initials beside the ones that you think are your responsibilities.

Ask your spouse to do the same.  Then negotiate your differences.  Try it for six weeks and see how it works.  Re-negotiate if necessary.  Remember that you are a team!

Who does the taxes at your house?  I must confess that role is mine in the Chapman household.  It’s not a task I relish, but I’ve done it each year since the beginning of our marriage.  Why me?  Why not her?  In our case, it’s at my wife’s request.  She doesn’t mind writing numbers as long as they are on the face of a check. But when it comes to balancing the check book, she says it hurts her stomach.

Each of us have skills and interests, likes and dislikes, and these tend to guide us as we decide how to work together as a team in marriage.  It really doesn’t matter who files the taxes, but it’s nice if we can agree. Agreement brings harmony.  That’s what marriage is all about – husband and wife working together for the common good.

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6 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged

Quite a potpourri of topics today.  If you’re thinking of tying the knot, here’s some good advice from Dr. Gary Chapman.

Possible proposal? Here are six questions you should ask before popping the question.

1. Are my partner and I on the same wavelength intellectually? Try one of these exercises: Read a newspaper or online news article and discuss its merits and implications; read a book and share your impressions with each other.

2. To what degree have we surveyed the foundation of our social unity? Explore the following areas: sports, music, dance, parties, and vocational aspirations.

3. Do we have a clear understanding of each other’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses? Take a personality profile. This is normally done under the direction of a counselor who will interpret the information and help you discover potential areas of personality conflicts.

4. To what degree have we excavated our spiritual foundations? What are your beliefs about God, Scripture, organized religion, values, and morals?

5. Are we being truthful with each other about our sexual histories? Are you far enough along in the relationship to feel comfortable talking about this? To what degree are you discussing your opinions about sexuality?

6. Have we discovered and are we speaking each other’s primary love language? It is in the context of a full love tank that we are most capable of honestly exploring the foundations of our relationship.

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