Here’s What’s Yours to Own

Uncategorized Jul 03, 2019

You’re able to make your own way in life and reap the benefits of blessings when you own your own faults and weaknesses. Here’s a brief list of things for which you can begin to take responsibility.

Your own unhappiness. Begin to take ownership of whatever pain or discomfort you experience. Then take steps to ask for help for you to find relief.

Specific issues. Determine the root cause of your problem. Is it a relationship disconnect, a faith journey, a job issue, or a habit that won’t go away.

Needed resources. You must lead the way in finding the resources you need to solve your problem. Get help, support, comfort, and advice. Search until you find people who have answers and can give you encouragement.

Weaknesses and obstacles. Identify the areas in which you don’t have the strength you need to meet the challenge, and then begin to develop those areas.

Accountability. Submit yourself to a few people who will keep you on task with your project of resolving...

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Can You Say No to Codependent Habits?

Uncategorized Jul 02, 2019

Codependency is something that often that needs to be addressed because it can be a huge obstacle in your life, and learning to say no is crucial to removing this obstacle.

Codependency is most simply defined as a tendency to take too much responsibility for the problems of others. While it’s good to care for, help and support people, the codependent crosses a line in the relationship – the line of responsibility. Instead of being responsible to others, the codependent becomes responsible for them. And, unless the other person is your child or someone whose care is entrusted to you, the line of responsibility between the to and the for can become quite blurred. The result is that instead of caring and helping, you begin enabling and rescuing. Enabling and rescuing do not empower anybody. They only increase dependency, entitlement, and irresponsibility. Love builds up strength and character, whereas codependency breaks them down.

Codependency unchecked can take you right...

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How to Exist in a World with Good and Bad

Uncategorized Jul 01, 2019

The world around us is good and bad. The people around us are good and bad. We are good and bad.

Our natural tendency is to try to resolve the problem of good and evil by keeping the good and the bad separated. We want, by nature, to experience the good me, the good other, and the good world as “all good.” To do this, we see the bad me, the bad other, and the bad world as “all bad.”

This creates a split in our experience of ourselves, others, and the world around us—a split that is not based on reality and cannot stand the test of time and real life.

This splitting results in an inability to tolerate badness, weakness, and failure in ourselves and others. It leads to two basic problems: sometimes we deny the existence of bad; at other times, we deny the existence of good. We feel like we are all bad when we fail, or we think we are all good when we are doing well. In addition, we blame and punish others for failing to be the all-good person we want them...

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Grief is Different from Other Kinds of Suffering

Uncategorized Jun 29, 2019

Grief is the toughest pain we have to deal with. It is not the worst human experience, because it leads to resolution, but it is the most difficult for us to inter into voluntarily, which is the only way to get into it. The rest of our human experience just happens “to us.” Hurt, injury, anxiety, alienation, and failure all break through, and we suffer. Grief does not “break through.” It is something we enter into.

But its voluntary nature is not the only thing that sets grief apart from other kinds of suffering. The other difference is that grief is the one that heals all others. It is the most important pain there is. This is why we’re called to enter into it voluntarily. It heals. It restores. It changes things that have gone bad. Moreover, it is the only place where we get comforted when things have gone wrong.

Why is that? What is so special about grief? What is it the “pain that heals”? Because grief is the way of our getting finished...

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What to do When You Have a Boundary-Resistant Spouse

Uncategorized Jun 23, 2019

A boundary-resistant person refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing and will not accept correction or feedback. The basic attitude of someone who resists boundaries is this: "I should be able to do whatever I want to do in life." Ultimate freedom is the highest value for such a person. But boundaries dictate that you cannot do what you want all of the time.

When confronting someone who violates boundaries, remember that sometimes ignorance is the cause. Your spouse may be crossing your boundaries without knowing it. Always approach the issue from this perspective first. If your spouse accepts the feedback and repents, the conflict will already be on the road toward resolution. But if your spouse resists, consider these steps:

1. Gather around you a circle of friends from whom you can draw emotional support during the time of conflict with your spouse.

2. Make sure you are right with God and growing closer to Him.

3. Identify the specific issue that is the source of conflict. What...

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Marriage is Not a Shortcut to Becoming Complete or Mature

Uncategorized Jun 21, 2019

Marriage is intended by God as a union of two complete persons. It is only when two mature and whole individuals come together in marriage that their union will be complete. Marriage is not designed to be a shortcut to maturity, a way of completing yourself. Rather, God designed marriage as a way for two distinct people to come together and create something bigger and better than either one could achieve individually. Spouses should complement one another, not complete one another.

A mature, complete adult will take responsibility for himself or herself, and will expect the same from those that he or she loves. This requires honesty and a willingness to confront areas of immaturity. As a mature person, you should value your spouse's feelings, attitudes, perspectives, and talents, seeking in everything you do to nurture, develop, and take care of those precious aspects of the one you love.

You must recognize that your spouse is not an extension of yourself; you need to give him or...

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The Necessary Endings For A Marriage 

Uncategorized Jun 20, 2019

It felt a bit like I was taking my work home, but I still found myself engrossed in an episode of “Hoarders” on TV last night. If you are not familiar with the show, it lets you see in great detail the struggles of people who hoard. Close up and personal, you get to see what happens to people’s lives, families, marriages, health, spiritual well-being, psyche’s and souls, when they are beset by one basic problem: the inability to let go of “stuff.” Whether it is memorabilia, toys, electronics, appliances, clothes, or whatever, the basic issue is the same. The person just cannot let it go. So, he or she keeps it around. 

The problem is that life is not a one-stop shopping event. Reality is that as time goes on, we get even more stuff. We need and buy more clothes, sports equipment, toys for children, or gadgets for daily use. We take more pictures, collect more souvenirs, and keep up with changing trends...

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Setting Boundaries with a Hostile Spouse

Uncategorized Jun 19, 2019

Amy and Blake had been married for eight years, and they loved each other. However, when he was angry or upset, Blake became moody and would withdraw from Amy and the kids, except for occasional outbursts of anger. When his manufacturing business was struggling, he would sit silently through dinner. Once, during this period, the children were arguing at the dinner table. Out of the blue, Blake said, “Amy, can’t you keep control of the kids? I can’t even have a quiet meal in my own home!” And with that, he stormed out of the kitchen into his home office, turned on the computer, and stayed there until the kids went to bed.

Amy was hurt and confused. But she had a pattern of “handling” Blake’s moods. She would try to cheer him up by being positive, encouraging, and compliant. “He has a hard job,” Amy would think. “Nurturance is what he needs.” And for the next few hours, and sometimes days, she would center the...

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Two Categories of Liars to Set Boundaries With

Uncategorized Jun 18, 2019

When we think about setting boundaries in relationships, we have to consider the fact that you may encounter someone who may lie to you, which raises the question – why do people lie, and what can you do about it?

There are really two categories of liars. First, there are liars who lie out of shame, guilt, fear of conflict or loss of love, and other fears. They are the ones who lie when it would be a lot easier to tell the truth. They want to be honest, but for one reason or another, cannot quite pull it off. They fear the other person’s anger or loss of love.

The second categories are liars who lie as a ways of operating and deceive others for their own selfish ends. There is no fear or defensiveness involved, just lying for the love of self.

You will have to ask yourself if you want to take the risk and do the work if you are with the first type. There are people in the first category who have never had a relationship where they felt safe enough to be honest, and they...

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The Boundaries That Make Marriage Work

Uncategorized Jun 18, 2019

When two people marry, two lives blur together to make a new one, two become one. The blurring of expectations and feelings can become an issue. Many times a spouse will automatically expect that the love in the marriage means that her spouse will always see things her way. She may feel unloved when her otherwise-loving mate says, “No, I’d rather not take a walk. I’m sleepy.” Sometimes this happens during the “honeymoon period,” when both parties tend to see eye-to-eye on everything. But when the reality of two different wills, needs, and perspectives comes in, the honeymoon is over. This is when the Law of Respect must be applied.

For example, a couple with whom my wife and I are close, Nick and Colleen, mentioned the same problem at dinner one night. Nick said, “Sometimes Colleen withdraws from me for no reason at all.”

“There is a reason,” Colleen replied. “When I try to say no to you and you try to control me, I...

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