Sunday, August 22, 2010

Parents with Disabled Kids Need Help

With your help, Sweeten Life Systems can win $25,000.00 plus other great prizes. We need your help to win. We have kicked off a new aspect of our ministry that falls squarely within our mission of "Building a lifetime of great relationships"(R)

We received a generous grant to do an in depth research study on the concerns, stresses, insights and conflicts of families with Special Needs kids. The research interviews are completed as is our grant so we need more money to carry out the Action Steps.

We have entered a great contest sponsored by Cincinnati Innovates. One of the ways they judge an entry is by "Fan Voting". Will you be our fan? You can go to their web and vote daily for us. So, please log in and vote for our entry tight now as well as tomorrow and Tuesday, and Wednesday, etc.

After you log into Cincinnati Innovates, look for Special Life Skills and read all about our project. Then, vote YES for Sweeten Life-Special Life Skills!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stress and Pregnancy

An article in the Wall Journal tells us that most types of stress that bother expectant mothers is relatively harmless for the unborn child but certain kinds of stress can be harmful to the child. What do you think is most harmful?

Stress about money?

Stress about work issues?

Stress about housework?

The answer is, "None of these issues". The most harmful stress comes from within and it has to do with anxiety about the child. So, if you are worried about your baby, get some help. But first, read the story.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Marriage and Conflict

Conflict is normal

Misery is optional

Why, then, do we so often allow conflict to become miserable in our marriage and family life?

Dr. John Gottman has done research with hundreds of couples. He hooks them up to heart and brain wave monitors and asks them to plan some simple activity. In a few minutes Dr. Gottman can see if the couple is likely to divorce or stay married.

How does he do that? Do they threaten divorce or indicate a low interest in the marriage?

Nope! They do not know how to handle even simple differences.

In making a decision about the time to leave for a meeting they will attack each other and develop an attitude. If the couple tends to attack rather than attend, the marriage will probably not last.

How about you? Can you disagree while being agreeable? If not you may end up in court.

Or, do you find yourself Defending Yourself and Offending your Spouse?

Why make yourself and the person you love miserable?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sex and Marriage

I have been a Counselor for many years. there is no more powerful force in marriage and all male female relationships than sex. When sex and romance are confined to marriage it is powerfully good but sex outside marriage is powerfully bad. I wrote on this issue on Brave Heart so you can read my ideas there as well.

Many of my long term couple clients discover deep divisions between them because they had sex before marriage and the wound has never healed. Even if they were not Christians or very moral at the time, sex before marriage is a powerful, long lasting fact.

Jesus taught about building our foundation on rock or sand. Only the house build on rock will sustain the storms of life and believe me marriage must face a lot of storming. Marriages of people who have sex before marriage are less stable and less long lasting than those where people waited to "do it".

Even more threatening to me as a therapist are the unleashing of unbridled passions and sexual desires today. I recently head that the rate of Sexually Transmitted Disease is the highest in this nation in the Villages Retirement City in Florida. Old men and women are hooking up and sharing disease as well as emotional bonding in record numbers.

Young people seem to share sexual organs today like we did baseball cards in our youth. The long term results will be dramatically different for them and their offspring. Just think of the price even such a star as Tiger Woods must pay for hooking up. His kids will very likely grow up in a severely dysfunctional family with shame as a family heritage.

Tiger did not count the cost of there one night stands.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Woman of Character

When Jenny Sanford, former wife of Governor Mark Sanford, sat down to tell her children about their father's sordid affair, guess what the eldest said. This is story of great wisdom, character and maturity in a wife and of narcissism, immaturity and ego from her husband.

Mark Sanford had all the outward appearances of a Christian man. He talked the walk and led Bible studies for high end couples. He took oaths about being pure and holy but he obviously had a shallow inner life in the Holy Spirit.

Jenny Sanford writes a compelling book about her side of things and it seems to be well done. We need more leaders like her and less like her husband.

The New York Time review of Jenny Sanford's book is wonderful. I want to read the book as well.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Great Marriages

Karen and I have been married for over 48 years. That is a very long time to live with one person. It has had its ups and downs. Differences! that's what causes couples to fight. It is well known that the main cause of divorce is the inability to deal with differences.

And, there are no greater differences than those of men and women. Just imagine that every marriage is joining two people into holy matrimony who are almost wholly incompatible and who need a miracle to stay together.

It takes a lot of compromise, forgiveness, patience, sacrifice and patience to survive marriage. But here is the good news. Marriage changes from surviving to thriving as we learn how to trust each other. I suppose it is trust that makes the difference. When one partner develops a lack of trust for the other a downward spiral of hurt, anger and bitterness is kicked off that can be hard to heal. If healing fails or isn't attempted, divorce occurs.

I am often amazed when I speak with people who assume that every time a spouse fails to remember an important event, read his/her mind or doesn't speak softly it is taken as an intentional, premeditated hostile take over. These couples are so emotionally enmeshed that despite a legal divorce, they cannot be separated.

Divorce is easy but separation is impossible.

Marriage counseling is often focused on helping the couple realize that they did not marry each other because they were motivated by hate. Nobody on their wedding day thinks their marriage should be painful and destructive. But it doesn't take long for mistrust to develop and the trouble begins.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Is Tiger or Elin to Blame?

Iran is building nuclear weapons, North Korea is threatening war, wars are intense in the Middle East and the economy while Obama is trying to give us socialized medicine. But hold the presses! Headline News Now! Tiger and Elin are fussing.

Let's face it. We do not know the truth about the accidental wreck with a Caddie or the intentional wrecks he has had with a lassie. It is all rumor, gossip and hear say. But it is delicious anyway.

I saw Joy Behar on her show and one of her guests was telling everyone how shocked she was that a man with Tiger's integrity would mess around with other women. Joy and the other women said that promiscuous sex was natural, normal and the thing all guys should be doing. If Tiger did not do it with a lot of women he needed a psychological exam.

They are saying, "The norm is promiscuity. Only sick people honor their marriage vows." (Do they still vow to remain true to each other now days?)

But what was Tiger's expectations with Elin? They lived together before marriage so why would he assume it would be different after marriage? Why would a "Piece of paper" really mean anything? When people start off by living together without "benefit of clergy" they are much more likely to have severe conflict in marriage and find themselves unable to resolve those conflicts. Divorce is much more likely for couples who co-habit before marriage.

I don't know why. However, I have counseled many couples who had severe conflict and were able to trace some of it back to pre marital cohabitation. Even when the couple had no high levels of moral qualms about sex outside of marriage the often had an intuitive sense of doing wrong. They often felt angry and guilty and worked it out by punishing their mate. There are other reasons but we know the Stuttgart's but not all the reasons.

Woods plays a game based on acting with integrity. The focus is so much on Honor and being a gentleman that we are expected to add a stroke to the score even when no one but us saw the misplacement of a ball. But here he is, married with two children placing his _____ all over the place with no thought of ethics, honor, standards and being a gentleman? Can it be so clearly differentiated?

Tiger is a smart billionaire who acted very stupidly. He left names and numbers of sexual partners on his telephone. He had sex with all kinds of poor women who needed money. Many years ago I read a short story about "A $100.00 Misunderstanding". It was the story of a young, wealthy man who narcissistic assumed he did not need to pay a prostitute the $100 she charged for sex. Why? No woman would charge such a wonderful man for sex.

Elin grew up in Sweden where the Bible is taught in all the public schools. She must have heard the Ten Commandments. Despite the universality of prohibition against sex outside wedlock she agreed to live with Tiger. He was undoubtedly living then like a rich bachelor. She had to know what he was like. But, she chose to marry a philanderer anyway.

Is anything more destructive to the human spirit, the souls of men and women and the soul of a nation than sex outside of marriage?