Category Archives: Communication

More Than Just Friends: Advice For Those Daring To Date

The two of you laugh at the same corny jokes. He brings you pink frosted donuts on Fridays because he knows your weakness for them. You’ve gone shopping with him to help him pick out a killer suit for his new interview. In fact, you’ve even given each other dating advice or a shoulder to cry on when past dates didn’t go so well.

You may have been friends for years, or recent acquaintances from your time together at church or at work. But now the question comes up: should we dare to date? Can we go from being friends to being in a relationship?

Daring to date someone that you’ve previously had a platonic relationship with is a tricky thing. There are some risks involved once you attempt to be more than friends, but it might just be that the Proverb was right: “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.”

Here are three areas to evaluate in deciding if you should dare to date each other.

Does Your Friendship Contain Any Chemistry?

It isn’t necessary to feel overwhelming, instant attraction for someone in order to eventually fall in love with them. Sometimes, chemistry grows as the friendship grows, and suddenly there is a hint of the possibility of romance. It might just be that when he smiles, you now notice his eye crinkles. Or when she laughs, you suddenly hear the musical undertones.

If you’re now noticing this friend with a newfound appreciation and a bit of a flutter in your heart, it could be that your friendship is more than platonic. The question is, is this happening for him or her as well? It’s time to converse about this in a way that is subtle and gracious.

Has Emotional Intimacy Developed Between You Two?

Do you find yourself wanting to share more and more of yourself with this friend? It may not even be a conscious decision to open up more, but more of an ease that grows as you two text and talk openly about your lives. Feelings can ignite on one side or between the two of you.

Many friendships between men and women get complicated in this area. The challenge is discerning whether this emotional intimacy is reflective of a romantic connection that both of you are feeling. Often, one person can feel like this emotional connection means something lasting is happening, but the other person can simply just be a very extroverted and open person when it comes to sharing their feelings. So, don’t rush to conclusions yet.

It may be time to have a conversation about what feelings are being felt and what direction you both would like the friendship to go in. It also should include a type of “out” if one of you isn’t feeling the desire to become more than friends. And yes, that can be awkward. But it’s far more painful to spend months or years hoping that the other is secretly feeling more, and then later find out that you two were always going to be “just friends.”

How Would The Transition From Friendship To Dating Work?

True friendship involves honesty and a candidness where the two people can tell each other the truth of where they’re at, even if it includes fear, hesitation or vulnerability. Be sure to talk about what changes you should expect if you decide to start dating.

….
Read more at Christian Mingle Believe

Advertisements

How Did I Let This Happen To Me?- INTIMIDATION! Part 1

It happens to you before you realize it, but the signs are all there: you’re feeling afraid, coerced, demoralized, bullied, held back, demeaned, and limited. You wonder, “How did I let this happen to me?”

I’ll tell you how. Because I’ve been there.

You see, Intimidation usually happens within a supposedly loving or fair or long running relationship. It can happen when you’re dating someone,  with a co-worker or boss, with your sibling or parent, with someone you thought you were friends with. It’s often a precursor to abuse and domination. And when it’s at work in the relationship, all the nice titles that previously defined your relationship don’t mean a hill of beans.

Take a hard look at that troubling situation you’re in. (Healthy relationships can stand to be examined.) You havn’t been able to put your finger on it, maybe, but you know you’re in trouble because of that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You’re just not sure when you started to feel that way.

You see, Intimidation occurs over time and in an under handed way.  So it’s hard to tell when you fell under it. But if you put that thermometer in and take your temp, you’ll be able to see the elevated levels of discouragement, depression, and despair in your life. Those are signs that something dark and nasty is at work there. Intimidation has been eating away at you, like a necrotizing despair.

Someone, somehow, got more than just the upper hand in your interaction with them. They pushed and took control, they smiled with their mouth but there wasn’t warmth in their eyes, you sensed a  power struggle, a battle you couldn’t win– and you gave in.

You thought you just gave them that “win” in that situation, but you really gave them way more than that–because you lost your voice,you lost your confidence,  you lost your peace and your power. You lost your sense of dignity and worth.

And now it’s time to get it all back.

That one decision, right there, is the beginning of health and healing to your soul. That desire to fight for the truth of what you’re facing–not necessarily fight against the person– that right there will start to lead you out onto solid ground.

Because when you can’t fight back, when you don’t want to fight back or equalize your standing and validate your right to be heard– that is a dangerous place. That’s where that bully in your life wants to bring you, to the point of your complete loss of confidence and self respect. That way your bully has an easier time walking all over you.

I’m at a dangerous but liberating point in my life. I’m too old to be ignorant of patterns I’ve seen in people’s lives, my back is too stiff to lie down and let someone walk on me, I’m too angry about all the abuse I’ve seen loved ones endure, and I’m not willing to stay quiet and polite anymore.

I’m going for bold and loud. Loud, as in loud and clear.

So let me make this message clear: I’m speaking out against Intimidation and those who major in it. I’m taking the journey into wholeness, where people walk with self respect and quiet confidence–and they don’t have to apologize for their peace of mind and sense of dignity and worth. If you want to come on this journey with me, sit tight.

And stay tuned for Part 2.

(Watch for our new YouTube Video on Intimidation being released soon!)

It Only Gets Better: Why Our Marriage Is Built To Last

I’m not an optimist or a Pollyanna. But something happened to me during these last 32 years of “for better or worse” that’s changed my view on what marital happiness is. Over the years, I’ve learned how good our marriage is, how strong my husband’s love for me is, and how much better it’s going to get.

That was one of the first unofficial promises my husband made to me when we got engaged. I was nervous about keeping our love alive and whether we could have that “happily ever after.” My husband reassured me with a sincere smile, “Honey, it’ll only get better.” He promised our communication, our love for each other and our sense of peace about our future would improve day by day.

And he was right.

The following are the four bedrock values that have helped to make our marriage built to last.

Today Is A Good Day

A good day for us is no longer a day when we have absolutely no quarreling or frustration with each other. It’s nice when we have a day like that, but that isn’t the essence of a good day. A good day is more about meeting challenges and getting through any miscommunication with maybe a laugh or a quick prayer where we lay out our concerns we are experiencing.

Psalm 118:24 encourages us to echo the statement, “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” A good day is making the decision to rejoice and press through to the other side of renewed love and deeper trust.

We’re On A Mission

Married life is no longer about the goal of each of us being happy. It’s about whether we are serving each other in love, and then taking our united front as a team out to a hurting world and serving together in some capacity of ministry.

It doesn’t have to be a formal ministry based at a church. It could be that you two decide you’ll host a dinner once a month at your house and invite newcomers from your church. Or perhaps the two of you can “adopt” an elderly neighbor or get involved in foster parenting. A shared mission makes a marriage stronger.

It’s Time For Play

Proverbs 17:22 tells us that laughter is good medicine. We laugh more and more as the years go by.

When I married my husband, he was the one known for having a good sense of humor; he was the clown in the relationship and I was a bit more like the lion tamer! But over the years, my husband’s jovial sense of humor has rubbed off on me. I always had a sense of humor, but now mine is quite developed and very much used, thanks to my comical, sweet man.

It’s About Constant Communication

I asked my husband the other day what things surprised him the most about being married….

Read more of my article at Believe

I’d love to know what makes your marriage better over the years!
………………………..Comment here and subscribe for more relationship advice!

Is Your Relationship Worth Rescuing??- Take the Test!

Every relationship reaches stressful turning points that could seemingly threaten the end of the relationship. You may be in a relationship right now and wondering if your current problem is the one that will make him call it quits. Or you may be wondering if she is starting to give up on the two of you, due to the recent disagreements you’ve been experiencing.

Your relationship is continually being tested, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When we hear the word “test,” we think of the performance anxiety we feel at the thought of failing a challenging test we weren’t prepared for. But testing can also be a positive thing because it helps to prove what’s authentic and valuable.

Every relationship goes through a type of testing that is ultimately clarifying. The test results indicate the direction you should take – either breaking up or breaking through to a stronger commitment.

It’s Real

My daughter and I love to go to antique shows and flea markets. At one flea market, we were looking at some old silver rings that were a bit tarnished. We couldn’t see the microscopic markings and were wondering if the rings were sterling silver, but we had no way of verifying that. The antique dealer at the booth showed us how to test for sterling silver by using a magnet: sterling silver is non-ferrous, and won’t cling to a magnet.

In the same way, we have to let our relationships be tested to see what they’re made of: is there a foundation of forgiveness and an expectation that ongoing grace is necessary? Is there an attitude of respect for each other? Is God at the center of your relationship, with the two of you leaning on His direction to guide you through the challenging times?

Your relationship doesn’t have to derail when you hit a problem. It may not be time to break up; instead, you can break through to a new level of understanding and a higher level of love.

Take the Test

Not sure if your current relationships is ready to go the distance? Here are four questions that can help you evaluate the strength of your relationship:

  1. Can we talk about it? Healthy relationships excel in communication. Verbally expressing your intentions and using words of affirmation are important, but so is communicating through eye contact and through action. One of the best ways to truly communicate well in your relationship is to learn how to pray with each other and let God in on the problems you face and the desires of your hearts. Can you both open up and honestly talk about stressful situations and difficult subject matters?
  2. Do we harbor resentment? Built up resentment can lead to an explosive turning point in your relationship that is hard to recover from. And forgiveness is not a one-time deal. You shouldn’t ignore serious problems, but as you speak the truth in love to each other, you’ll also need to express and walk in continual forgiveness. Are you both committed to a lifestyle of  forgiveness and showing ongoing grace to each other?
  3. Are we repeating patterns of dysfunction from our pasts? Everyone brings some “baggage” into their current relationship, but not everyone is willing to work through their past problems and pain. Some people walk in denial of their problems, and relationships can suffer under the weight of repeated blowups born out of unhealthy patterns of coping. Are you both ready to be truly vulnerable and open up about your past pain and resulting coping patterns?
  4. Do we both have the same outcome in mind for our relationship? If one person is looking forward to marriage and building a family, but the other partner is not really commitment-focused, this could be the turning point in your relationship where you realize your hopes for your futures just don’t line up. Are you both committed to the goal of long term commitment for your relationship?…..

(Read the rest of this article at BELIEVE by Christian Mingle)

Comments or Requests?! I’m here to answer them 🙂

Not In Our House: How To Break Generational Patterns

When I got married to my husband of 32 years now, I was a “package deal”:  I brought into our marriage all that I witnessed as a child in my home, and all that I am as an affected, vulnerable human being. But you can’t keep patterns of coping with pain hidden for long. So as I grew not only “in love” with my husband, but “in trust” with him as well, I learned to open up and let him into my past. We prayerfully did this so that the patterns of living and loving we would develop in our future family would be patterns that we deliberately initated, and not dysfunctional generational patterns we fell back into.

Generational patterns of behavior are unknowingly learned – usually in the childhood years – and are unwittingly repeated in our lives as we enter into relationships. The dysfunction gets multiplied and passed on to the next generation, not as a direct curse but more so as a pattern that was instinctively learned and unknowingly repeated. We usually live out in our current family life what was modeled and lived out in our home as a child. But we don’t have to repeat our past. It’s time to walk in freedom and grace.

Doing Life

It’s important to understand that our current patterns of “doing life” are often tied to our knee-jerk reactions from having lived with any unhealthy issues or addictions. We learn coping mechanisms as we grow up, based on our need for surviving painful experiences. So if there was trauma, chaos or crisis in our childhood home, we not only had to deal with these critical issues, but we also inevitably adapted to those problems.

Later, when we enter relationships and get married, while we may no longer have these same stressors, we still have the pattern of coping that we learned as a child. For example, if, as a child, you learned that lying was a way to avoid getting abused, then lying can become your fallback reaction when you now encounter any stressful situation where your sense of safety even remotely feels threatened.

Whether it was alcoholism, abuse, intense health crises or other serious stresses you had to deal with growing up, you nonetheless were a witness of pain, dysfunction and even of despair. You can’t ignore how these experiences affected you as a child. But God doesn’t expect us to deny the reality of our past.

Break Every Chain

In the Bible, we see this played out in Joseph’s life. Joseph grew up in a dysfunctional family with brothers who strongly disliked him – and that’s putting it mildly. Joseph had these special dreams, but his brothers had vindictive desires for his destruction. They competed for their father’s affection, and found ways to demean Joseph at every juncture. It doesn’t appear that Joseph’s father did much to stem the tide of their mounting rage and jealousy. In fact, giving Joseph the coat of many colors only made things worse for him.

Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him, but relented and sold him as a slave. From there, he later wound up being imprisoned for years, until a miraculous release occurred. Later, he faced his brothers in an ironic turn of events where he was now a famous leader in the land and they were in severe need during the famine.

But Joseph had a perspective of God’s ultimate victory in his life, and was set free from the generational patterns of competition, strife and abuse that he grew up with. Instead of responding to his brothers with a vindictive spirit of revenge, he chose to speak kindly to them, assuring them that he would use his prominent place of authority to see to it that they and their families were well cared for. Joseph broke the generational pattern of competition and abuse.

(…Continue reading my article at Believe)

The Holy “No”: Setting Yourself Free From the Fear of Saying No!

It’s natural that we look forward to the big “yes” moments in our lives, like saying yes to a wedding proposal or a great job offer. The day we say yes to God and allow Him to be the Lord of our lives is a significant turning point.

On the other hand, we generally don’t enjoy having to say no to people.

We often struggle in declining an invitation to an event or denying someone’s request for help because we don’t want to appear harsh or unloving.

We obviously can’t say yes to every request that comes our way without overextending ourselves. But learning to say no to people doesn’t have to be a negative, stressful experience.

Open Doors

Every one of us is a steward of our time; the question is, how good of a steward are we? Stewardship involves the ability to manage our time, and that involves learning to saying no. This is especially important when we are working long hours, busy at home with children, newly married and trying to get time with our spouse, or dating and talking to people online. In these and other situations, saying no can be quite challenging.

But saying no to something doesn’t necessarily mean we are closing a door; it may just mean that we are indirectly saying a resounding yes to something else, like yes to time with our family or periods of much needed rest. It also means you’re saying yes to allowing others to come into the picture who may more adequately help the person in need.

Learning How To Say No

If you struggle to turn down all those invitations or requests for help, it’s time to practice saying no. Here’s how:

  1. Begin graciously. You can still show empathy for someone’s needs while declining to be involved. Your tone of voice can reveal kindness even when you have to deny someone what they are asking for. “I’m so sorry that you’re experiencing that, but I won’t be able to assist you at this time.”
  2. …..                                                                                                                                            (Read the rest of my article at Believe )

Daily Devotions or Despair?

God desires to speak into our hearts and radically change our lives, our dysfunctional patterns and our mindsets.

Daily time spent in God’s Word brings refreshment and perspective. Scripture tells us that “The revelation of Your words brings light and gives understanding to the inexperienced.” (Psalm 119:130) When it comes to  improving our relationships, we greatly need this understanding and discernment found in studying God’s Word.

Boxes Of Journals

I know in my case that trying to have a daily quiet time with God has been quite the journey. I’ve tried many approaches. I have boxes of journals that I’ve written in, pouring out my hurts, my concerns, my questions for God. I’ve tried disciplined reading plans and systematic study, as well as a free flow approach: open the Bible and point to a verse!

Throughout all the attempts to study the Bible, deep down I knew that I should do it, no matter how daunting a task it seemed at times. But in failing to get to a disciplined daily plan, I experienced guilt and often dreaded having a daily devotion.

Many of us often struggle with guilt if we have not been consistent in reading our Bible or we lack the desire to even start a disciplined plan of reading and devotions.

But discipline, in and of itself, is not the goal when it comes to having daily devotions; it’s all about the connection with God.

God desires to speak into our hearts and radically change our lives, our dysfunctional patterns and our mindsets.

Longing For God’s Word

I believe it’s God’s desire that we learn to approach our time in His Word with anticipation, not anxiety. So how do we do that?

Here are three tips to help you look forward to your daily devotion…

(Finish reading this post at Believe )