Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why Women Don't Say What They Mean

Below is a brief interaction between two married men concerning communication with their wives, taken from the book "Twelve Lies Women Tell Their Husbands" by Tim and Sheila Riter.

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"Hey man, you're late.  Anything wrong?" Sweat dripped off Alex after fifteen minutes on the treadmill.

"Dude, you wouldn't believe it. But then, you're married, so maybe you will." Don stepped onto the adjoining treadmill and started running.

"I got home from work today and grabbed my gym clothes like I do every Tuesday. Shontell seemed distant, like she'd had another bad day at work. Her boss has been putting a lot of pressure on her to finish that condominium project, and I'm kinda concerned. The baby's due date is still four months away, but I just don't want her to feel any unnecessary stress.

"So I go up to her, give her a hug, and ask if anything's wrong.' No, I'm fine, just fine.' So I told her she could talk to me; I'm her husband. Know what I heard? 'Go. Just go. You're late for your workout with Alex.'

"So I went! But I know I'm going to hear it when I get back. I don't have a clue if it's something wrong at work, or if I did something, but I know it's not over yet."

"Man, why can't women just come out and say what they mean? Danielle does the same thing. We had our tenth anniversary a few weeks back, remember? So a few weeks ahead, I asked her what she'd like to make it special. I'd saved up some extra money just to do it right. She said, 'Just surprise me! The greatest gift is our marriage.'

"I remember I'd heard her talking to a friend about this bed and breakfast inn down the coast. A little pricey, but nice. So I made the reservations, let her know the kind of clothes to bring, and surprised her. She said all the right things, how nice it was, how I surprised her, but her heart didn't seem to be in it.

"I asked her what was wrong, and she kept saying, 'Nothing.' Finally, the last day there, she told me she really had her heart set on a new wedding ring. How was I supposed to know that? She's never said anything about a new ring. Man, I can't figure out women. They just don't say what  they mean. They hint, and they want you to read their mind. Then you try to, and you get crucified. Why can't they just tell us straight?"
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Oh, I feel the frustration of these two gentlemen, and I can sheepishly recall too many similar incidents in the past between my husband and me.  How in the world does this happen?

I think a major problem for me, as probably most other women, is that sometimes I really don’t KNOW what I want or KNOW what is bothering me, ESPECIALLY when I’m emotionally out of sorts.  It could be a myriad of issues that, on their own, don’t cause discomfort.  But compound them with other factors that silently creep up, and I suddenly feel overwhelmed. 

Rick may say  to me, “Honey, is there something wrong?” and I might blurt out one thing that’s bothering me.  As I walk away, I realize that may  not be the core issue that I’m struggling with; it’s something else - a second issue.  Rick, then, is focusing on that first issue to try to help.  No wonder he gets confused when he comes to me with a solution, and I give him that “You’re such an idiot” look because I’ve moved on to thinking about the third issue that’s affecting me.

It’s as though we women carry a bag of garbage around with us.  When things are going well, we don’t need to open the bag.  But when our emotions are running  high and someone offends us with their words, or our husbands neglect to notice something that’s important to us, or (fill in the blank with hundreds of other reasons), we open up the whole bag and air it out.  Not only do we dwell on the here and now issue, but also on everything from the past that we haven’t resolved and still carry with us.  We don’t always know what’s at the core of our hurt because our emotions are so intertwined with all our problems.

As husband and wife, we often share in an unhealthy communication “dance.”  It is important to recognize what doesn’t work and join together to figure out what does work.


Monday, September 19, 2016

What Happened to Faith?

Faith seems to be a rare commodity in our country.  Is it any wonder, though, that we have lost faith when we look at the state of our society?

We’ve lost faith in a government that once governed “for the people, by the people.” It has become greedy for power and control – unconcerned for the needs of the people.

 We’ve lost faith in the values that once resonated strongly in the hearts of our country.  Now, there is no right or wrong.  It’s all about what works for “me.”

We’ve lost faith in a justice system that once ruled fairly and just but is now influenced by the power of money.

We’ve lost faith in a healthcare system that has over-inflated the cost of care while under-inflating the quality.

We’ve lost faith in a banking system that once looked out for its customers but now crushes their dreams for the almighty dollar.

We’ve lost faith in the security of jobs because it’s become too expensive for employers to higher full-time employees.

We’ve lost faith in our welfare system because too many people just don’t want to work.

We’ve lost faith in churches that sugar-coat the truth to bring in numbers.

We’ve lost faith in the value of babies.  Too many believe that if they can’t see it, it must not be real.  They call it the right to choose.  It explains why many can’t grasp the concept of faith.

Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” 

We’ve lost faith in the institution of marriage because it’s easier to bail out then to put forth the effort required for a healthy marriage.   

It saddens me how our country has turned its back on God.  He once made us the greatest nation in the world, but our lack of faith in Him has disintegrated us to a state of mediocrity. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the enemy trying to pull me down in the faithless pit of fear, depression, disbelief and doubt.  It’s a vicious cycle we get caught up in.  The more dismal the world looks, the more difficult it becomes to keep the faith.

I refuse to ride that cycle anymore.  I believe that God still desires for us to have healthy marriages, healthy lives, healthy careers and a healthy government.

2 Chronicles 7:14 -“If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Please join me in prayer for our marriages, our country, and our faith.  We can heal this land and our marriages if we turn to God with faith only as small as a mustard seed, but mighty enough to move mountains.

Monday, September 5, 2016

They Just Don't Get It - Part 2

I know I may come off pretty strongly with my thoughts about mothers staying at home with their children instead of working, but I speak as someone who’s struggled through it.  Looking back, I’m more than grateful I spent that time at home with my children.  They were very special years that I would never have recovered, especially once they started school.  It was well worth giving up all the “things” and “career” I thought I would miss out on.  The bottom line is that children develop faster and are emotionally healthier when they spend their first five years at home with their mother or father. We will have more years with our children as adults, so our job is to be there to prepare them for adulthood in the short time we have them as children.  For more information, go to: http://www.babycenter.com/0_staying-at-home-pros-and-cons_6025.bc


If we weren’t such a material-hungry society, it would be much easier for mothers to stay at home.  Besides, you’ll probably never hear anyone say, on their deathbed, “I should have spent more time in the office.”

Back to the original article – staying at home with the children alleviates a lot of the problems brought on when both parents work.  Most women prefer to be at home doing the mom thing.  (As always, there are exceptions.)  As I said in the last article and many times before, that’s what God made us to do.  Our society misconceptions have caused us to doubt our inner desires because it now goes against the norm.  That’s where a lot of the struggles with working women begin.  Then add a husband who doesn’t know how to pull his weight around the house, and it’s an equation for all-out war.

So what do you do when you are caught in the midst of a battle at home for “who’s gonna do what?”  Here are a few ideas for you to try to begin the journey to peace in your home.

First of all, you need to learn to be patient with your husband.  They (most men – except Bill and Tom Ammons and a few others) really don’t get why you want the house so clean or have to wash the dishes before you go to bed.  They were made to toil the soil and bring home the bacon.  When my husband lived alone as a bachelor, he would pile dishes in the sink and wash them once a week.  He came to me with a completely different idea of what our home should look like.  I’ve had to retrain him to see how important it is to me, while at the same time, I’ve also lowered my standards so I don’t get so frustrated when things are out of order.  I have known a few men who are completely OCD about cleaning, but that’s a whole other set of issues, in my opinion.

Sit down with your spouse at a time when neither of you are hungry, tired, angry, or not feeling well, and discuss who’s going to do what chores around the house and with the children.  Tell your husband what you expect and leave him room to negotiate with you.  Work out a schedule that works for you both.  He may have difficulty sticking with it but don’t be afraid to remind him.  And remind him again, and again (without nagging).  If it continues to be an issue, plan another time to sit down and rationally discuss it once more.  Pray together, first, and ask God to give you both the wisdom and the right words to solve this problem.  Involving God can make all the difference.

Be sure to affirm your husband – often and all the time!  He may not do it as well as you do, but who cares?  (Other than you, who will truly notice? It really doesn’t matter what your mother or mother-in-law think about how your house looks.)  Men love to hear those affirming words.  I know, we as women do one hundred times what most men do at home without one word of encouragement, but you still need to praise him.  If you want your husband to willingly be a part of the housework – AFFIRM HIS ACTIONS! 

I always tell my husband how romantic and sexy it is when he does the dishes.  He now washes dishes with a smile on his face, and I’m always sure to reward his work.  Surprisingly, a little effort from men goes a long way for women.  There’s nothing wrong with bargaining, either.  For example, when he’s feeling romantic, say to him, “Honey, how about helping me clean up the kitchen first, or let’s just sit and talk for 10 or 15 minutes and then we’ll go do our calisthenics in the bedroom.”  You’ll find him willing to scratch your back if you scratch his.

Slow down your family activities.  If you feel like every moment of your day is filled with activity, give up something.  You need to get back to quality family time, not busyness that fills a calendar and keeps you apart as a family.  Have dinner at the table as often as possible.  Get your children involved in cooking and cleaning up as soon as they are old enough.  Take advantage of this time and make it an enjoyable intimacy for your family.  Turn off the television, computers and smartphones for a few hours.

Take time for yourself.  A frazzled, trying-to-do-it-all working mom is going to be of no benefit to anyone.  Even more importantly, make sure you have enough quality time with your spouse since attention seems to be the main need of most women. When we lack it from our husband, the crazy side of us appears - you know, our alter egos who yell and scream about little issues that don’t deserve such fanfare and aren't the true culprit of our reactions.

Turn it over to God.  Look at the positive things your husband does for you and your children.  Most importantly, be sure to start praying together every day with your spouse.  You’ll be amazed at how God can melt away all the silly little issues before they can turn into insurmountable problems.