Tears to Joy

Tears to Joy: September 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Protecting Your Marriage

Last month I began to blog about the 4 horsemen that seek to destroy marriages.  John Gottman identified the four horsemen and has been able to use his theory to predict divorce among couples he counsels.  The first of the horsemen was criticism and you can read more about it by clicking here.

The second horseman, and perhaps the most dangerous, is contempt.  Contempt is when we demonstrate disgust towards our spouse.  It may come in the form of sarcasm, name-calling, or eye rolling.  When couples are in conflict, one responds in one of these ways, the spouse often feels devalued and disrespected.  We do this when we mock our spouse or sneer at them.

We've all seen it before.

A wife says, "You are such an idiot. I can't believe you..."

A husband remarks, "You disgust me."

We tend to be contemptuous when we are angry or insecure.  When we feel backed into a corner we may bark out comments we wish we could take back.  When someone hurts us, we fight back with either words or actions as a means of self-preservation (or so we think). Some of us are gunny-sackers; this means that we hold on to negativity and keep a running list of things our spouse does wrong.  Whenever they do something we don't like, we don't address the issue at hand, but we drag out our list and throw it in their face.

This is the opposite of biblical love. First Corinthians 13 says, "Love keeps no record of wrong."  For many, we not only keep score, but we constantly remind our spouse that they are losing in our book.

Most of us don't realize the damage done by contempt.  Dr. Gottman's research suggests that  this is the #1 predictor for divorce.

The question at this point becomes what is more important -- winning the battle or saving the relationship?

The next time you are irritated by your spouse, take a few deep breaths before your limbic system kicks into overdrive (the limbic system is a part of the brain that controls emotional processes) and you say or do something you will later regret.

You can learn more by checking out Dr. Gottman's blog at www.gottmanblog.com


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Blessed by the words of a friend...

I was recently touched by a friend's raw response to Robin Williams suicide.  Next week is Suicide Prevention Week and the best thing we can do to prevent suicide is to share our story and invest our lives in others.  Well, Lindsey Brackett is doing just that.  I encourage you to read her post by clicking here.

Like Lindsey, too many Christians believe that if you truly love Jesus you will "be joyful always" and never feel depressed.  As much as I wish this were true, it is not.  The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who experienced the dark night of the soul.  Naomi even begged God to change her name to Mara (meaning bitterness) because of her hopelessness.

If you are in despair, muster up your courage and share your struggle with someone you love.  You don't have to struggle alone.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No Sugar Please...

Today is my 30th day going sugar free! In the past month I've eaten no sugar and very, very little carbohydrates.  When I started I wondered how I'd ever survive.  Now that the days have passed, I don't even miss it.  When I think of celebrating, I want to continue on this journey.  Not only do I feel better physically than I have in a long time, but I feel mentally sharper as well.  I have decided to make a lifestyle shift.  I plan to continue on this no sugar journey with only an occasional treat.

Did I miss it?  Yes and no.  I thought sweets would be my weakness but I mostly missed bread and pasta.  It was difficult to eat Mexican and avoid the chips, but I did it!  I am sharing this with you to encourage you.  If I can do this, so can you.  Sugar is in so much of our diet. I had no idea how much sugar I was eating until I decided to avoid it.  Eating out seemed impossible at first, but I gradually learned how to order.  I know, I'm a waitress's nightmare.  "I'd like to order a sandwich with no bread and hold the chips," or "I'd like a zensation salad (Zaxby's) with no sauce and no dressing (yes, this salad actually has both).  I've learned to love unsweet tea, and I can actually taste my food again.  I did not realize that sugar had deadened my tastebuds.

So, what have I learned on this journey?  I've learned that living requires sacrifice; I can sacrifice my health or I can sacrifice the sugar.  Life also requires discipline; I had to daily make a conscious choice to avoid sugar and carbs.

Translation into the spiritual realm:  If I want to be like Christ and be spiritually fit, it will take sacrifice and discipline.  I must be intentional to spend time with the Lord daily, even if it means sacrificing time on facebook or some other social network.

Change doesn't happen over night, but it does happen ONE DAY AT A TIME. Make a decision today to live healthier  -- physically, mentally, and spiritually.