A Real Marriage…


I posted a beautiful little expose on marriage the other day and it was well received. It was sort of the ‘real deal’ if you know what I mean. But, despite all the kind words towards me, it was written by someone else! So, ready or not, here’s my version.

Having been married now for over 35 years, I can let you in on a few dirty secrets. Marriage isn’t about feeling happy all the time with your spouse. It’s about figuring out when it’s your turn to add the happiness back in. You can’t always control where your partner is in their mind, but you can sure control where your mind goes. What you want so desperately, you have to give. You can spend a whole lifetime mired in that mud. You wait and wait and wait to receive the kindness, yet refuse to share any of yours first! Marriage is a reciprocal deal, but you always have to go first. How you feel about your spouse is a decision you make and make and make. Choosing not to love someone anymore is also a decision. You don’t feel the love because you aren’t thinking any love. Rehearsing everything you don’t like about someone is a fool’s game. The trick isn’t to struggle to find something good. The trick is to stop thinking evil!

If you’ve been married any significant amount of years you can fall into the “cycle.” The cycle is a perpetual, spinning narrative where no matter what you say or what you do, ties back into some former thing you said and some former thing you did. When couples get to this place, and it doesn’t take long, their communication virtually ends. Instead of listening to each other anymore, the communication quickly dives into the rabbit hole of “I already know where this ends.” In this disastrous scenario, neither party has any opportunity to be anything else. No-one can change. No-one can modify their behavior because you “always” do this and “always” say that, thus I already know where you’re going and am not listening anymore. God I hate that! Each day is a new day! Every moment is new in time. The stupid stuff you did three years ago no longer applies unless you’ve been in a coma for three years! Stop and truly listen to what your spouse is telling you. You don’t have to like it or agree with it, but you do need to hear it. The great marriage killer is the silence that follows a resignation from speaking up!

Speaking of speaking up, if there is one thing I can tell you that almost stands above everything else, it is to keep speaking up. Keep communicating what is bothering you. You serve no-one by keeping silence for your marriage’s sake! Keeping silent runs at cross purposes with your marriage, or at best, delays the inevitable. In marriage, as in life, you have got to be honest with yourself. I don’t mean negative and miserable. I mean honest. You have got to be able to have honest conversations with your spouse. In some areas, you will be tempted to quit speaking up as you perceive nothing is changing, but speak up anyway. Any anger you feel towards your spouse is a sure-fire sign there is something that needs to be resolved. So hey, have the damn fight! Do some yelling, add a little screaming and get it straight once and for all. Simmering within yourself or rehearsing every past injustice is emotional cancer and it is going to kill you! But one caveat, you have to fight fair. Your emotions can help you, but not when they resort to attack mode. The stuff you say in attack mode lasts long after the fight is over. Fight fair…

A common mistake in marriage involves compatibility. People think that in order for the marriage to work well, there must be many common interests. The only required common interest is the other person. Marriage isn’t two people turning into one person (usually the more dominant one). Marriage is two, separate, distinct people figuring out how to head in one direction (while remaining distinct). The more difference between you the better, as long as you come together on the important stuff. (This is why married couples need two TV’s – smile) You also have the joy of figuring out your own arrangement. Don’t copy Mom and Dad because you aren’t married to either one of them. Do individually what you’re good at individually. You already know and you may as well make it work for you!

If I could diagnose one shortfall where people go south today concerning marriage, it would encompass one word – commitment! You have to decide first to remain married, then work out how to make it all work. You don’t remain married because everything feels good, the sex is fantastic and your spouse maintains their ideal weight. You don’t stay married as long as there are no fights, no difficult circumstances or no challenges. (Two people can kick much more ass in a challenge than one can) You don’t remain married with an expectation that your spouse won’t change or grow or evolve. What turned you on at 25 is going to feel ridiculous at 50. Side note – no-one really gives you any insight into the weird stuff that happens as you age, you just sort of have to arrive there together. Okay back to the point! You stay married because, by God, that is the decision you made! You may want a divorce today, but as long as your spouse doesn’t want one on the same day, you will be okay!

In the final analysis, the reason my wife and I have remained married so long is because we both love God and rely on Him to help us get our stuff together when it has fallen apart. We need Him to heal our hearts and make them tender wherever they got hard! We need someone bigger than ourselves to lead the way. Marriage was designed by God for His people. That’s a union you cannot easily dissolve. That is a real marriage…

Just some good thoughts..

Advertisements

Get Honest and Get Answers!


14533-woman-fake-smile-mask-happy-sad-wide.1200w.tnI have never been a big fan of going to the doctor. I suppose I don’t like my fate resting in the words or expectations of a medical provider. Yet, when I find myself at the doctor’s office, chances are I have some medical malady that is not going away on its own. I’ve probably already diagnosed myself  with several incurable diseases compliments of WebMD and decided in desperation to give the local Doc a try. I’m looking for good news so I agree to disclose only 30% of my symptoms. “Just say the right words Doc and I will be out of here!”

The aforementioned scenario, though silly, approximates how humans deal with their lives when fear is involved. Fear stops people from being honest. Fear predicts a dreadful outcome so the less a matter is discussed, the better! Fear stops you from getting the results you desire. Fear hides out in your thinking and prefers to remain hidden through a myriad of distracting variables. Fear does not wish for you to finally get honest with yourself because it knows when you do, you will be well on your way to finding solutions. But, get honest you must!

This is going to sound like a crazy thing to ask, but when was the last time you were completely honest with yourself? I’m talking take your shoes off, loosen your belt, lay it all out honest! When was the last time you admitted to yourself that something was actually wrong with your life and needed to be repaired? When’s the last time you told that great doctor of your own soul ALL of your symptoms without fear of what it might mean for your life? No-one is a greater fan of positivity than your’s truly, but that doesn’t negate the need to acknowledge when something has gone wrong. If your leg is broken, it’s broken and no ridiculous amount of a good attitude is going to fuse the bones back together.

A common method of thinking nowadays seems to encompass the notion that if you are being positive, you cannot give space to anything negative occurring in your life. This seems especially true for the believers. It’s as if acknowledging something has gone astray means you are no longer renewing your mind to be a positive person. Well, here’s a shocker, believers aren’t instructed to change every negative thought to a positive thought. They are admonished to renew their minds to what the Word says is true. Negative things are absolutely going to happen to you. You are going to be deceived off course. You are going to find yourself pushed and pulled in various directions. At some point you might even discover that your life is totally sucking right now and you are in desperate need of some divine guidance! That’s life folks, and to think otherwise is not being honest with yourself! You are not going to get better until you can finally get honest with yourself once again…

Where in the world did you ever get the idea that admitting something is wrong is some kind of testimony or predictor of the future? Unless I’m missing something, every aspect of life has the potential to go wrong at times. It’s not whether or not you ever get off course. Success is in recognizing you’re off course and getting back on track. Your life; your one short go round is immeasurably important for you. Who convinced you that your own personal happiness isn’t worth a discussion, or that you have to smile about everything no matter what? Honesty expects a change. Honesty demands a different result. Honesty lays the damn issues out there no matter how they look and keeps them out there until something positive enters the picture to remedy the situation. People are so desperate for an answer that makes sense; one that fills the void in their hearts, that they resort to all kinds of distractions to avoid the pain. Some drink to excess. Others fill their lives with a never-ending stream of activities. Some seek the perpetual mind loading of social media. For others it’s an escape to drugs or sex or anything powerful enough to numb the reality of unhappiness down at the heart level. The solution? Get honest with yourself!

Our fast paced world of today doesn’t have time for your problems. When asked how you are doing, you must reply with “fine” as anything further takes too much time! We’ve been arm-twisted into thinking our personal issues are selfish and to spend time discussing them with anyone is an “all about me” attitude. How difficult it becomes to pretend you always have it together and have need of nothing else. How absurd it is to ask people to serve and to help others when they are all bogged down, submerged in some personal dilemma! People today, more than ever, needs answers to the difficulties going on in their lives. They need a little light to shine in on their darkness. But before that can happen, someone has to admit to having a little darkness! Be honest folks…

I find myself at times playing the same little shenanigans with God that I play in the doctor’s office. Twenty or thirty seconds into a discussion with God about some grating issue, I quickly chastise myself for not thinking properly and then change my mind into everything is okay mode, while my leg remains obviously broken. If my leg is broken I don’t need a frikkin pep talk, I need for my leg to be healed! If something isn’t right in your life, you don’t need to just decide to be happy, you need the mother&*%*(ng answer! Haha there’s always an answer; a solution if God is involved! Your job is to be honest with Him and lay it all out there. He sees through our bullcrap anyway, so it makes perfect sense!

Most of us have been talked into letting things go and concluding that is just how life is… Well, that’s not how life is and the moment you quit settling for garbage or hand me downs and start expecting the best, the sooner it is going to arrive. Be brutally honest with yourself and with God. Call a thing a thing (thanks Iyanla)! You have absolutely nothing to lose except fear. If you are suffering in some capacity or feel stuck and trapped, know this, God is never stuck and has the life you’ve been waiting too long for and is most willing to share it with you. That is if you can step down off the pedestal of “I already know” and ask for a little help. Be honest my friends and live the life you still dream of living…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

The Great Honesty of Your Soul


Honesty, December 11, 2011There’s a magnificent simplicity to life of which most people are totally unaware. Understanding it completely and thoroughly eliminates all superstition, luck and happenstance. It excludes all circumstances and apparent fortune or misfortune. It is not decided by God or by the devil. It is the law of believing; a law that basically governs your entire life. Your present existence, in all of its variation and complexity, is but the outward working of your inner belief system, or stated more simply, what you choose to believe. And, in order to really tap into its fullness requires a great honesty in your own heart and soul.

As long as you, the individual, attribute any cause other than yourself for the results or lack of results you get in life, you are only deceiving yourself. In truth, you get exactly what you expect to get, nothing more and nothing less. To say that God has already chosen what is going to happen in your life serves only to shift responsibility from yourself to something else. To think that your lack of opportunity and upbringing sets you at an unfair disadvantage implies that circumstance precedes expectation. The only thing that you can control in life is your thoughts, from which grow all of your beliefs. And while every one of us have been inundated and infiltrated with wrong thoughts leading to wrong beliefs, none of us have to remain there unless we persist in blaming and whining and reviling against what is…

If you are honest with yourself; completely and brutally honest, you will see clearly that your life is exactly what you expected it to be. It may suck and you might despise and loathe it, but it is what you thought (most consistently) it would be. If you live in a perpetual struggle always getting less than you thought you should get, you need to take an honest look at the person in the mirror. Somewhere, deep-down your beliefs, contrary to what you truly desire, want something less. Someplace, buried in your heart (from which your believing proceeds) lie hidden beliefs that question your self-worth and your value. Or someone (maybe a lot of someones) succeeded in convincing you that money is hard to come by or a loving relationship is rare or life is hard or the struggle is real or…you name it!

When you peel away all of the disguises and boil down all of the layers, your life is comprised of your beliefs be they good or bad. If they’re bad, you can change them if you will be honest. But, as long as you blame “the man” or “where you live” or “your upbringing and lack of opportunity” “or “lack of education” or that “God doesn’t like you” or “the devil is out to get you,” you will never take the solemn responsibility that belongs to you and to you alone! Instead you’ll spend a lifetime making excuses, pointing fingers and never getting your true needs met! Everyone you have witnessed living their life’s dream has believed to do so. Everyone living with tremendous prosperity believed to be so. The guy, who things seem to always work out for, believes things will always work out. Conversely, the poor guy, who nothing seems to work out for, believes nothing will work out also. Belief is inescapable and perfectly just whether you ever believe in God or not! Believing is the law that governs your life…

Man has been given control of his life, he just remains woefully ignorant of it. He makes decisions based on how things look rather than how he would like them to look. He begs for signs and assurances and in receiving none, chooses poorly. He settles and rationalizes and expects less than he should. When the world tells him what he cannot have, he accepts it without even batting an eye. All the time unaware of his ability to believe and therefore receive. He assigns systems and rules where there are no rules. “If I can just become good enough, surely I will get what I want!” “Maybe if I work hard, really, really, really hard, then can I finally get what I deserve!” Never once considering that what he will get is only what he believes he can get whether he’s good or bad, hardworking or lazy!

All of these great life realities; these fantastic opportunities, can only come about when you finally become honest with yourself. If you are unhappy, then you are unhappy, and you might as well say so. If you are struggling, you are struggling and no amount of fake smiling will make it any easier. If you aren’t getting what you want out of life, you may as well admit it instead of spending another moment pretending or reducing things down to “Well, at least I’m not sick” or “At least I woke up today!” Uggghhhh! How futile? You see, therein comes the great honesty of your soul. For some reason, you and I have been tricked into acting like things aren’t presently the way they are and as such, lying to ourselves. It’s a mental masturbation that satisfies no-one! (LOL forgive me) It’s mental assent that wishes and hopes but never truly believes. It’s a recipe for misery and it doesn’t have to be…

This isn’t criticism and fault-finding for everything I’m telling you, I’m also telling myself! If you can wrap your mind around the unchanging law that what you believe you will receive, then you can finally get honest about what you really want. How can you ever believe for things to get better if you cannot even be honest about how things are? This isn’t anyone’s business but your own. This isn’t a request to start complaining to everyone you meet but rather a request to complain to the management (God)! This is about honesty, great honesty in your own heart and soul.

What can you believe for, for the sky isn’t even the limit! There is no limitation, no lack, no poverty, no sickness where God lives and He lives where you boldly and confidently believe! So, believe my friends, believe!!!

Just some good thoughts…

The Key to a Good Relationship ~ Communication…


The secret to any good relationship is being able to communicate successfully.  Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt like you were fighting all the time?  Well, fighting and arguing isn’t what kills a relationship!  What kills a relationship is when you decide to go into silent mode.  As long as you still feel it is worth the effort to say what you think, or disagree with what someone else thinks, your relationship maintains the potential for good.  But, if the relationship deteriorates to the point where “it just ain’t worth it” or you no longer care to say what bothers you, then the relationship is on the slippery slope downward and destined to end badly.

All of us want to have sweet, meaningful relationships with other people.  When our relationships are mostly sweet, life becomes a joy.  So, how can you have a “sweet” relationship with another person?  Well, you have to take the time to handle the issues that threaten it.  Let’s say you get home from work feeling pretty good and you are met with a bad mood from your partner.  You recognize that they are in a funky mood and now your good mood is being threatened.  Instead of getting mad or matching mood for mood, why not take the time to find out what is wrong with ’em?  That’s called having a conversation.  Now, lets say every time you come home in a good mood your partner is in a bad mood.  Well, that’s another conversation.  It bothers you, right?  So, why in the world would you spend your days with things bothering you when you can talk it over and get it straight?  If you do it well, you can do better than straight and get to sweet.

The problem with most people is that they do not take the time to get the “air” cleared.  And worse, they let stuff go day after day, quietly seething and thinking evil of the other person.  The best time to talk about things is as the things are happening.  Right now, in the moment, say what you are thinking.  Say what you like.  Say what you don’t like.  Say it, say it, say it!  You’re not looking for a fight, you are looking for the sweet.  If you delude yourself and say things like, “I don’t want the drama!” – you are setting yourself up for the big volcanic eruption.  How could it not turn out that way?  Have you ever heard people say, “I just need to get some things off my chest?”  The reason they have to get them off their chest is because they cannot remain “on their chest” for them to be okay.  If you bottle things up, hold things in, stop talking, and let things go that you shouldn’t let go – you are going to blow!  When you blow you are going to bring up 300 issues that you have been saving and you will bring them up in a way that is all out of proportion to the incident!  In short, you will sound like a crazy person; a stark, raving looney tunes person!   Chances are your anger is going to result in saying a whole bunch of things you really didn’t want to say.  Then, despite your heart-felt petitions towards the other person, your words are going to cut them like a knife.  Slice and dice – and there’s no coming back from that.

So what should you do instead?  Get into the habit of saying what you think.  Emerson said, “I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways….”  Get it?  Upright and vital means stand up and wake up!  But remember your goal is sweetness, not victory over the other person.  You can win an argument, but lose your relationship.  You can browbeat your partner, but find them getting the final say on the way out the door.  It kills me when people say awful, dreadful things and then justify it by saying, “I’m just being honest!”  That’s not honest.  Being honest doesn’t mean you have to say every silly thing that runs across your mind.  Just because you thought it, doesn’t make it valid.  Don’t let anger have its way.  Anger always follows another emotion anyway, so why not be “honest” and speak up when you were experiencing the other emotions (sadness, fear, frustration, guilt etc.).  It seems to all boil down to having some healthy self-respect.  In other words, respecting yourself enough to acknowledge that your feelings are just as important as other people’s feelings, not less important.  Your likes and dislikes are just as valid as someone else’s likes and dislikes.  Again I am reminded of Ralph Dubya (RWE) –

“I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me, and the heart appoints.”

That my friends, is honest.  There is nothing wrong with “going with the flow” or being “yielding on insignificant matters.”  That’s how we all manage to get along.  But on those matters of the heart; those things  that are important to you – you gotta speak up!  People that really love you aren’t going to stop loving you because you spoke up about some issue.  If you can’t speak up about anything to them, you need to re-evaluate that relationship.  You may surprise yourself and find out something you didn’t know before.  You might even actually learn that you had it all wrong and that the other person wasn’t thinking what you thought at all… (haha)

At the end of the day, life goes by way too fast for drama and hurt feelings.  Your life is worth it!

Those are just some good thoughts…

Suhhhhweeeeeeeeeeet!