Monthly Archives: August 2018

About Relationship and Structure in Marriage

Christian Marriage is the model from which western marriage is explained. The unique “one-flesh” relationship and family structure described by Jesus Christ and the early church writers create the godly marriage, where both husband and wife are able to resist the seduction of worldly ideas and destructive temptations.

As western culture forgets its roots, the wonder of marriage is lost. Cheap and shallow connections, involving exploitation, insecurity, betrayal and pain then become the norm. In order to reverse that, and rediscover godly marriage that works, we need to have marriage explained clearly, in terms of the Christian marriage, so the most effective relationships can be established. This will not just benefit the couple, but also their children and the society in which they live.

The following explanations about marriage and relationship come out of the various books I have written on subject, including Family Horizons, Marriage Horizons and Mending Marriages.

WHAT IS MARRIAGE?

In the secular community marriage is based on many different ideas, such as: Assigned Duties; Mutual Obligation; the 50:50 Partnership; It’s a Man’s World; the Idolised Woman; Something is Better than Nothing; Let’s See if it Works; the Obligatory Duty and the Contract.

Christians can be confident about marriage and not be distracted by the ideas promoted in the popular culture, movies, press, music and television. The Bible reveals what true marriage is, from its invention in the Garden of Eden to its ultimate application in the marriage of Christ and the Church, at the end of the world.

Marriage has two main components: Relationship and Structure. Marriage is a relationship, but it is one that must be built on a God-ordained pattern, which gives it structure and enduring stability.

RELATIONSHIP IN TWO PARTS

Marriage is an interpersonal relationship between a man and a woman making a life-long commitment to each other. The quality of interpersonal relationship obviously impacts the way the couple relate, work together, solve problems and enjoy life together. But Marriage is also an “official” relationship, apart from the interpersonal fellowship of the couple.

When a couple join together in marriage God grants them a special “one-ness” that the Bible calls “one flesh”. Jesus called this being “joined together” by God. Once a couple is given official “one flesh” status by God they can enjoy legitimate sexual intimacy. Such activity without the “one flesh” bond is immoral, as either fornication or adultery. Immoral behaviour damages those who engage in it. So the “official” relationship is incredibly important. Marital intimacy before marriage is immoral, since the couple do not yet have the official “one flesh” bond which God gives them when they become “man and wife”.

God’s “one flesh” bond is not created by the couple and cannot be dissolved by them. God establishes it and only He can dissolve it. Jesus taught; do not separate those “God has joined together”. This is the divine “glue” which God uses to make two people into one unique physical entity.

A happy couple without the official “one flesh” relationship are not married. An unhappy couple with the official “one flesh” relationship are still married, even if they separate. So the most important relationship is not the sentimental secular one, but the official bond God establishes. If people understood its significance they would take marriage much more seriously than many do today.

CORRECT STRUCTURAL DESIGN

God prescribed the Structure for marriage, involving both Responsibility and Support. The husband is the one who must take responsibility for the marriage, wife and family. He is accountable to God. The wife is the one who must support the husband’s leadership.

The man was designed to live under God’s authority and fulfil God’s will for his life. The wife was designed to empower the man and assist him to do that. The man, then, must love his wife and bless her for her commitment. The wife, then, must submit to the husband and energise his fulfilment of God’s purposes.

These ideas seem old-fashioned in today’s secularised culture. Yet, possibly to the surprise of today’s generation, they have worked wonderfully well for millennia. The modern, progressive ideas, which abandon God’s prescribed structure of responsibility and support, are far less satisfying, stable or effective as those which follow God’s design.

SOME POINTERS TO MAKING MARRIAGE SUCCESSFUL

In preparing for marriage, or in making a marriage stronger, there are a number of things that will make an important contribution. If people do not have these qualities they will find it harder to make their marriage work. These issues are discussed in more detail in MARRIAGE HORIZONS.

Personal Wholeness – freedom from moral compromise and damage. Damaged people are unable to function as they should, especially in their marriage. Commitment – faithful in the face of difficulty. Weak people who cannot make and stand by faithful commitments will be a black hole in the marriage. Willingness to Forgive and Show Grace – not holding resentment or bad attitudes. It is essential that people learn how to forgive others, especially in the face to face, daily challenges or marriage. High Moral Standards – rejecting temptation. People with loose morals will betray their marriage and hurt their spouse, their family and themselves. Balanced Thinking – clear understanding of truth. Distorted ideas about reality, ourself or others cause people to respond wrongly and to mishandle the challenges of marriage. Willingness to Contribute – non-selfish approach. Marriage is a team effort and so team players who will make a strong contribution will be the most valuable in a marriage. Openness and Transparency – free to be yourself and accept others. Interpersonal relationships, especially the intimate relationship of marriage, require people to be confidently open and unashamed. Courage and Confidence – unafraid to step out with God’s help. Fearfulness eats people’s confidence and messes with their lives. It is to be avoided in marriage. Willingness to be Wrong and Take Correction – teachable heart. Stubborn and argumentative people damage their marriage so teachableness and humility are vital qualities.

About Relationships

Men and women differ a great deal in the number of emotions they carry and even in the way they deal with the emotions they have. Most men usually tend to be less emotional and less expressive than most women.

Whenever a relationship is happy and fruitful, it lasts longer. For some even this might be a reason for concern. It is especially problematic with regard to women who tend to get ‘clingy’ in successful relationships.  Some of them are unable to take stock in their feelings and as a result, it may overwhelm their men with all kinds of overtures. However, some women resort to this behavior due to past bad experiences, which make them very insecure.

A bad relationship of the past makes the affected woman feel that she may have to bear the pain once again. This makes her defensive and she may take steps that can be termed by some people as ‘shrewd’.

Emotions, if tapped in the right direction, can be used to improve relationships and for making them longer and more fulfilling. However, there are some guidelines you must follow in order to do a productive tapping of the emotions.

Rules for Successful Tapping of Emotions

Don’t make an effort to know everything about men – This turns out to be the most wasteful exercise you can undertake. Men are strange and there is no way to gauge their ‘strangeness’. Also, never make an effort to know the reason why your man did something.  Men do a lot of things just for the heck of it. The best option is to just let them be.

Cultivate positive thoughts – Most times, your man may not express it but he still loves you. You have to be positive about yourself and also about your man’s feeling towards you.

Emotions under control – Whenever a woman gets overly emotional she tends to lose control over her actions and speech. Positive emotions can be good for any relationship but negative ones can spell a disaster. It is, therefore, a good idea to not get carried away by any kind of emotions. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, stop yourself in the middle and take a rain check on whether your feelings are justified.

Keep your mind off him – Whenever there is something that troubles you about him (a particular habit or action), try to steer your mind away from it. Think of your friends, family, the day’s other events and anything that helps you take focus away from him.

Do not throw emotions at him continuously – Face it, too much emotion can drive anyone insane. Imagine your best friend talking and getting emotional with you all the time. Would you like it? Probably no. No one does. Spare your man this trouble.

Let go of your fears – Fear is the biggest handicap in the world and quite literally for relationships too. The more you are scared, the more you tend to paralyze yourself and your man.

Feel good about yourself – A confident and self-assured woman is someone not many men can resist. Carry a positive self-image and see it work wonders for you.

Get up close with yourself – A woman who knows what she wants will gain confidence of her man in every sense. Keep the good emotions rolling and find good men who want to be up close and personal with you… all the time.

Relationships

When do you start to change the family dynamics?

Is it you or the children to change?

Within each family there are different situation that is played out each day
and it is sometimes difficult for the families to understand or heal their differences.
Some of these family dynamic are the parents are not satisfy with their children’s behaviour and are constantly blaming their children for not acting, listening or not doing what are ask of them.

Many parents give to their children material things because the parents do not want their children to feel deprive, not good enough or miss out on what they did not get when they were small.
Some parents over give to their children and are later upset that their children is not doing things around the home such as cleaning their room or helping around the home when some thing need attending to because the parents feel that the children should know better.

Many parents feel that their children should be grateful and show it by cleaning up their room or helping around the home and sometimes resent their children.
If the parents did not give to their children to do chores around the home, or to participate in family clean up, it is difficult that the children will start doing this on their own.

Blaming the children for not cleaning up is not the answer.
Having the children earn the things they want by having them do chores around the home.
By setting up a list of things to do around the home that can be rotated every couple of weeks can be another easy way to remove boredom.

Teaching the children that with each action they take or not take has an impact on themselves and others.
How about changing the roles for a day where the children gets to be the parent and the parents gets to be the children and see what lessons can be learn from this.

Nurturing the Gift of Relationships

Barbara Streisand sang, “People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.” If it is true that people need people, then one should wonder:

— Why stress over maintaining relationships?

— Why the excuse that you are too busy to call or visit loved ones?

— Why the feeling of being overburdened with relationships?

— Why is your social calendar filled with one activity right after the other? Are you trying to please everyone?

— Are you constantly on the go and then complain about being too tired to finish projects or handle the paperwork?

— Could it be that you are overdosing on activities, people and things?

As valuable and important as these relational activities are, too much is stressful. An overflowing schedule of activities may appear on the surface to be abundant living, but most often, it is a means of running away from home-front problems. Be honest. Is one of these problems disorganization?

The secret of living abundantly is accepting and balancing the gift of relationships. Take some time to review the balance in your life. Do you maintain a healthy perspective on work, personal projects, and valued relationships while still making time for solitude?

Supportive Relationships

Balance means time for personal activities as well as time for family and friends. Implement some quiet time for monthly, weekly and daily planning. Do not shortchange yourself. Managing your time wisely will give you the opportunity to explore the gifts others bring into your life.

In a previous article titled, “A Journey of Success and Abundant Living,” I talked showed how ‘like attracts like’ and that you get what you focus on. Go back and review that article for a full understanding of living a rich life without overindulgence, overabundance or overdosing. Abundant living involves all aspects of life, including fostering and maintaining positive relationships. If you want to attract friends, then be a friend.

Nurturing Relationships

— Implement the art of remembering by keeping a birthday/anniversary list in your organizer or tickler file. View the tickler file Organizing Resources produces. You can find it on the Products Page of the website.

— Facilitate the art of conversation through face-to-face talks with family and friends.

— Never be too busy to call loved ones.

— Be a good listener. Pay attention to details.

— Be available whenever a friend is in need.

— Remember to say, “I’m sorry.”

— Have a gift drawer so you will always have a small token to express love and appreciation.

— Send flowers when important things happen to those you care about.

— Send special occasion cards and thank you notes.

— Value relationships for who they are, not what they do.

— Have friends from all walks of life.

— Express your feelings by using first person I statements rather than third-person you statements.

— Have a positive attitude. It is contagious.

Summary

The word nurture means to nourish. The act of nurturing promotes well-being for you and those around you. When you nourish people by what you say and do, you add value to their lives and your own. Be attentive and you will always find opportunities to nurture others every day.

It’s About Relationship

By the time I was born (1951), 90% of my environment was composed of things gleaned from information, not nature. (Maybe 99%, I grew up in Brooklyn!) As such, the vast majority of my decisions have been based on what my head thinks, rather than what my heart knows.

My ancestors, for example, were indigenous to a place unknown, became named in Spain, moved to Italy at the time of the Inquisition and then on to North America in the 20th Century. I can muse, in broad strokes, on the process of how the shift from heart-based consciousness to head-based consciousness may have occurred in my kin.

Once the connection was broken with their immediate environment, they had to “learn the ropes” of new environments through history related by others as much as immediate experience. Information started to become a keynote of survival as well as response to the immediate environment. As time went on, each succeeding generation of my ancestors had to digest and assimilate more and more “head-based” information the further they strayed from “home” in time and place, and the more clearly they developed what we call civilization.

When the Machine age hit, the amount of information to digest increased exponentially, and now, in the Information Age, exponentially once again. The consciousness of the heart has progressively taken a back seat to reliance on the brain. It might be useful to note that this all seems like a natural progression, as opposed to something that was imposed or forced or even chosen in opposition to heart-consciousness. We are learning who we are.

And who we are, at our core, are creatures who spent most of our development time having no other way to look at things except within the context of relationship to our environment. We simply had not altered our environment or affected it enough to be able to see the difference between us and anything else. We moved with the seasons, traveled with the game, and depended on and followed the rhythms of the earth we inhabited. The key word here is inhabited, for what we do now, and have done for only a few hundreds of years, is dominate.

It took me a good 30 years after my childhood to re-connect with my heart. I was blessed with being able to live with a Lakota medicine family on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. They are full-bloods and descendants of Woptura, Crazy Horse’s medicine man. I would spend perhaps four hours on some days just sitting with Charles, the eldest brother, in silence at the edge of the prairie. Filled with questions, I’d ask one and then be told, “Shhh!”

At first, it was like agony. Much to my initial dismay, when it came to actually being “taught” by any of the Traditionals I was with, I was sorely disappointed. For months I just mimicked, and then, something started to seep in.

I learned of the mechanics of tending fire for Inipi, the sacred sweat lodge. After a while, I could sit up at night and run through the sequence of “stacking” the fire in my mind – not a simple exercise because for ceremonial fires, there is a very precise way to do things.

I took a certain amount of solace in finding that I was getting better and better in knowing what to do. Yet, as each day went by and I became more automatic in doing each step, I found that there was something else going on. Something not about what was done but about how it was done.

My logical mind noted what Richard, my mentor, did; how he physically balanced the pile of stones. At first, I’d study which he chose, trying to figure out his logic. I would meticulously order and stack my own pile, and invariably, half way up, they’d collapse in a heap and I’d have to begin again and again and again. My head seemed to have nothing to grasp on to; I checked the shapes and “saw” where each would fit. But they wouldn’t cooperate. Wouldn’t cooperate? That flied in the face of anything I knew!

Then, one day while I was working with the stones, I picked one up from the pile and something strange happened. To my immense surprise, in the center of my chest I felt resistance. I put the stone down, like “Whoa! Sorry,” and then picked up another. This registered “I want to go!” I was stunned, but had learned not to argue, so it went.

I kept moving in that way in my choices, realizing (in the center of my chest) it wasn’t about *my* choice anymore, but that it was about relationship. Then, when it came to “stacking” the stones, one after another they took their place on the tipi shaped cone. They took their place.

For the first time in my experience as a firetender, all of them interlocked and held their balance on the pile without my having to juggle or change a thing. And in those moments, my brain found the words to describe what my heart already knew, “Stone People.”