What does it take to have a 62-year marriage?

Last Thursday I had to bury my mother. She was a wonderful woman. But at the end, the many things that she suffered with all came together and was too much for her to handle. 10461025_sShe left behind the man that she married almost 62 years ago. He told us at the funeral, “There’s a hole in my heart that cannot be filled.” He loved her at the beginning, loved her till she died, and continues to love her. I think one of the keys to a long marriage is the idea of overlooking and forgiving faults, or the cut-him-some-slack attitude.

 

When love and forgiveness are always present, relationships have a strong ability to keep going. I asked some of my friends that they thought may be a key to 62-year marriage. Here’s what some said.

  • Brenda- Continually investing in your marriage…like going to your seminars and reading your books.
  • Kim- When I asked my parents that question on their 66th anniversary. She said, “By living a long life.” Makes me laugh!
  • Emily- Keeping God first in your marriage.
  • To which my sister Jill said- God was always first.
  • Rebecca– Commitment. Knowing that no matter what happens, we will stay together. Then, forgiving…overlooking faults…picking the right battles, all become easier to get through because there is no other choice, no other person.
  • Tami- Real forgiveness. The kind without grudges and rehashing what you did wrong.
  • Tracy- A good sense of humor
  • Dottie– Loving the lord, doing what he says not what we say.
  • Bryndl– Remembering your marriage vow is between you and God, not the other person
  • Maurice– Never go to bed angry with each other.
  • Robert– Agreeing to disagree on some points. Respect goes a long way!
  • Carr– There are some things couples simply have to agree to leave alone-they may never agree and continued argument will damage the relationship. Leave it alone.
  • Lyn– If you still disagree at sundown, don’t keep trying to force your opinion with the excuse that you don’t want to go to bed angry. Learn to understand your spouse and use that understanding to bring peace and delight to him/her, not to manipulate. Learn the true meaning of ‘helpmeet’, not what man has twisted it to mean. Be a gentle person who actually cares about the other.

Perhaps the greatest thing that any couple can do to ensure a long-lasting marriage is to be servants of one another. Servanthood means to figure out what the other person needs or wants and then to serve those needs to the best of your ability. All of my friends who answer the question “What are some keys to a successful 62-year marriage?” were explaining that very thing. Figure out what he or she needs…then serve.

dr_bob_thumbAbout The Author:
Dr. Bob Whiddon, Jr.
Founder and Executive Director
Email: drbob@northwestmarriage.org
Website: www.northwestmarriage.org

Dr. Whiddon holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling, Trinity Theological Seminary, Indiana in 1996. D.Min. in Pastoral Ministry, Northwest Graduate School, Seattle, 2001. He is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor. Certified Temperament Counselor. Licensed Minister of Pastoral Counseling and has over thirty-three years of experience in ministry and counseling.

When the Poet Warrior Fought a Giant

The Warrior-Poet is the ancient tradition of dedication to developing the body and the mind equally as one, using each to guide the other.  The warrior-poet is often a spiritual warrior as well.  They have higher standards that they live their life by than average men.

30172071_sMany of the current special forces warriors of the US military branches might be considered today’s warrior-poets.  They are highly trained and skilled in all areas of warfare, yet many have advanced degrees in subjects such as Philosophy, Literature, Engineering, or even Poetry.  They are all the more effective because their minds and bodies are highly developed to function as one.  They are no longer just programmed machines, but highly intelligent and adaptive “whole” men, trained to use their minds as well as their bodies.

Throughout history there may have been no more rugged, masculine man or powerful leader than King David.  David started being passionate, courageous, and spiritually faithful very early in life.  One time when he was a young teenage shepherd boy, a bear made off with one of his flock.  David tracked it down and killed it with just his bare hands to get his sheep back!  Another time he did the same with a lion!  Think about that, killing bears and lions without a weapon!   Then, as if those accomplishments weren’t enough, while still a teenager, he killed a heavily armed nine-foot-tall giant with a bad attitude using just a sling and a rock while all the rest of the army of grown men and battle-hardened warriors trembled with fear in a ditch behind him.

The book of 1 Samuel, Chapter 17 describes David’s battle with Goliath.  I think it’s important to put this confrontation into perspective so we can put ourselves in David’s shoes.  David was a young man-just a teenager.  He was described as slight of build, fair-skinned, and not very tall.  While bringing lunch to the battlefield for his brothers, David heard Goliath insulting God, and laughing and taunting the soldiers and the God of Israel.  This righteously [displeased] David.  He was perplexed and angry that no one was doing anything about it, and so he confidently volunteered to shut Goliath’s pie hole.  David probably figured he’d already killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands-how tough could a measly giant be?  David knew he had the holy spirit within him and likely did not fear a mere mortal man.

Goliath was the mightiest warrior of the entire Philistine army.  The Israeli army was deathly afraid of him as every day he strode forward from the enemy camp and hurled insults at the Jews and their God.  He was reported to be six cubits and a span tall.  A cubit is approximately 18 inches in length and a span is about nine inches, which would have made Goliath a towering nine feet, nine inches tall.  He wore a coat of armor (plates of bronze sewn overlapping on a leather coat) which weighted 5,000 shekels of bronze, or about 125 pounds.

He carried a bronze javelin, the staff of which was like a weaver’s beam–between 2.5 to three inches in diameter.  I don’t know how long it was but it had to be huge if the diameter was as big around as the head of a baseball bat.  Let’s estimate for sake of speculation that an average spear is one inch in diameter and approximately six to eight feet long.  That would, by extrapolation, make Goliath’s spear about 15-20 feet long.  If it was made of solid Bronze, it would weight at minimum about 270 pounds at 2.5 inches in diameter, and about 345 pounds if three inches in diameter, which would seem excessively heavy even for a behemoth like Goliath.

An Olympic javelin used today is approximately one inch in diameter, weights about 800 grams (1.76 pounds), and is about 2.6 meters long (8.5 feet).    So even if Goliath’s spear was made out of wood and not some lightweight metal (or fiberglass) like today’s javelins, I estimated the weight of an average wooden pole, one inch by 8.5 foot long and came up with about four pounds (I readily admit my math skills are rusty-any engineers out there please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).  Since Goliath’s javelin was about three times as thick and twice as long as that model, I estimate that his wooden spear probably weighed in the range of 22 to 26 pounds.  Attached to this pole was an iron spearhead weighting 600 shekels or about 17 pounds for a total weight of maybe 43 pounds-a pretty hefty chunk of weight to carry around and throw.  He also wore a bronze helmet on his head, bronze armor (greaves) on his legs, and had a shield-bearer in front of him.  He was a veritable war machine-bigger and more powerful than any three men combined.

As David approached the field of battle with just his shepherd’s staff and sling, Goliath sneered, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?  Come here [boy],” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”  Then David, in classic line, responded with complete confidence, “You come against me with a sword, and spear, and javelin.  But I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the LORD will deliver you over to me, and I will strike you down and cut off your head.” (1 Samuel 17:43-46 NIV)   Enraged, Goliath charged.  It must have been like being charged by an angry bull elephant, ground thundering and dust flying.  But David calmly picked up five smooth stones and running forward slung one from his sling which struck Goliath and embedded itself in his forehead, dropping him like a dirty shirt.  David then walked over, picked up Goliath’s huge sword, and hacked off his giant head, taunting the enemy army with it.  The entire Philistine army turned tail and ran.

But for all his skill as a warrior, David was also an accomplished poet (he wrote most of the psalms in the Book of Psalms), a songwriter, and a musician.  He also liked to dance in public (naked if possible) to worship God.  He was a noted musician who had soothed Saul with music during his periods of insanity.  He was educated and could read and write when many men (especially warriors) couldn’t.  This gave him a distinct advantage over his less educated opponents.

David was a Poet Warrior.  He was a man’s man.  And yet he was flawed.  He made many mistakes.  He wasn’t necessarily a good husband.  He committed adultery and then had the woman’s husband killed by sending him into a battle that he could not survive.  He wasn’t necessarily the best father around.  One of his sons tried to overthrow him as king and have him killed. He wasn’t the holiest man to walk the face of the earth.  He was often scared and frustrated with God.  But David had great faith in God and cried out to him in his fear, pain, frustration, anguish, and joy.  God called him a “man after my own heart.”   David shows us that even if we are imperfect men, reliance on God can make us men who can change history.

rick_johnson_authorAbout The Author:
Rick Johnson
Facilitator of our Fatherhood program
Email: rick@betterdads.net
Website: Betterdads.net
Rick Johnson is a bestselling author and speaker. He founded Better Dads, based on the urgent need to empower men to lead and serve in their families and communities. Rick’s books cover several topics including influencing the whole family, with life-changing insights for men and women on parenting, marriage, and personal growth.

ARE CHURCHES HURTING MARRIAGE?

As a Marriage and Family Counselor I see many Christian couples come to me for help. I am always glad to help. But I often bemoan the fact that if Churches were doing their job in helping couples learn about what it takes to have a healthy marriage I wouldn’t have to look into the eyes of so many Christian couples with hopelessness in their eyes.

healthy-marriage-ministry

So, what are Churches missing? I stated the fact, in several articles, and in many workshops and classes, that for every three Churches that have a divorce recovery ministry, only one Church has a healthy marriage ministry. It’s like “building a hospital at the bottom of the hill.”

Once upon a time there was a little village that was built at the bottom of rocky hill. The youth of that village enjoyed climbing the hill and spending time with their friends in fun, games, and dares. Several times each month one of the youth would slip and fall down the rocky hill, sustaining various injuries. The problem became so big that the elders of the village got together to discuss the problem and how to address it. Possible solutions were brought up including the idea of educating the youth about possible problems that may come because of their activity and how to avoid the cliff of the hill. After much discussion, the elders of that village, in their enormous wisdom, decided to build a hospital at the bottom of the hill. “If they are going to hurt themselves anyway,” said one of the elders, “let’s at least have help ready for them when they fall.”

Divorce recovery ministries are very needed in Churches. But where is the education for couples on how to avoid the fall? Where is the ministry to teach couples how to communicate, how to resolve conflict, or how to set goals and dreams TOGETHER as a couple? And, where is the ongoing ministry to help couples through all of the different phases of marriage that sometimes bring major changes? When will we help them know that those major changes may come after the first year, in the third year, fifth year, when kids come, in the tenth year, twentieth and twenty-fifth years, retirement years, and the golden years?

These are some of the usual problems I have to help Christian couples work through: communication, parenting issues, sexual issues in the early years, sexual issues in the later years, setting goals, dream

ing together as a couple, money, real estate, money, savings, and retirement. Why all these problems? Perhaps it is because no one talked to them about these things before marriage or continued to have an ongoing ministry to help couples through every phase of married life.

I have been trying to promote the idea of healthy marriage ministries in Churches for years. So far I have not had much success. Perhaps it is time that Churches stop hurting marriage by failing to offer continuing help to married couples before they get into trouble.

dr_bob_thumbAbout The Author:
Dr. Bob Whiddon, Jr.
Founder and Executive Director
Email: drbob@northwestmarriage.org
Website: www.northwestmarriage.org

Dr. Whiddon holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling, Trinity Theological Seminary, Indiana in 1996. D.Min. in Pastoral Ministry, Northwest Graduate School, Seattle, 2001. He is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor. Certified Temperament Counselor. Licensed Minister of Pastoral Counseling and has over thirty-three years of experience in ministry and counseling.

So What Do I Give My Wife for. . ? (Christmas, Valentines, Birthdays, Anniversaries)

What_Do_I_Give_My_Wife It has already been said, but here it goes again. Men, for the most part, are cognitive. This means we want to DO something for our wives to show them how much we love them. Women, for the most part, are affective. This means that they want to BE a part of the life of another.

So now apply this to the gift-giving seasons of the year. Men would love to ask their wives, “What do you want for Christmas.” They hope to get a list of things she wants. They will show their love by buying those things for her. Women would love NOT to have to make a list of things they want. They would rather their husbands just know what they want.

 

After all, if he was really in tune with her already, you know, connected or BEING a part of her life, he would already know.

Men, have you ever heard this statement? “Well, if you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.” Women, have you ever heard this response? “Well, how am I supposed to know unless you tell me?” Frustration erupts from both sides and gift-giving seasons sour.

Men, by the time Christmas or birthdays come around your wife has already given you a list of things that they might like. It might be a list of six things, but they gave you hints throughout the year. You heard their wants, but you didn’t process it in the right way.

The key is to be more in tune with your wife. That’s what she wants anyway. Here’s what you do. Listen! When your wife says something like, “I would love to have one of those…” pay attention. She is telling you, in her language, to put that on your list. And, because you like lists, PUT IT ON YOUR LIST. Then at those gift-giving seasons, buy her something that she said she would like to have. But first, be sure that she still wants it. Bring it up in a conversation. Be sure that she hasn’t changed her mind on that gift.

The key, again, is to be more in tune with your wife. The more you do this the better you become.

dr_bob_thumbAbout The Author:
Dr. Bob Whiddon, Jr.
Founder and Executive Director
Email: drbob@northwestmarriage.org
Website: www.northwestmarriage.org

Dr. Whiddon holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling, Trinity Theological Seminary, Indiana in 1996. D.Min. in Pastoral Ministry, Northwest Graduate School, Seattle, 2001. He is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor. Certified Temperament Counselor. Licensed Minister of Pastoral Counseling and has over thirty-three years of experience in ministry and counseling.

10 Tips for Better Dads

Niels Bohr said, “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.” If that quotation is true, I must be getting pretty close to being an expert father by now. Hopefully though, I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made. The mark of a good leader and a good father is just that—the ability to learn from mistakes. The man who doesn’t is doomed to repeat them over and over again. The following areas are some tips about fathering that I’ve discovered over the years. I list these not because I’ve perfected these areas, but because I finally recognize them for how important they really are.

Tip #1
Emphasize Strengths not WeaknessesAs a father I have a tendency to focus on the things my children do wrong instead of the things they do right. But as a coach I tell my players to focus on their strengths not their weaknesses. Help find your son’s and daughter’s strengths–their gifts from God. Focus on those instead of being overly critical of their weaknesses.

Tip #2 – Give Plenty of Physical Affection
As men we are raised to be uncomfortable with too much affection from another male—especially the physical kind. It’s interesting that we compensate for that by knocking each other all around the football field, wrestling mat, or boxing ring. For some reason we think it’s okay to slap another man on the butt during the heat of athletic competition, but we’re uncomfortable hugging one another in greeting. As physical as the male animal is, you’d think we would be more comfortable expressing physical affection. But I think it must be a social taboo ingrained into our unconsciousness at an early age. Hug and kiss your kids—even your son. Give them plenty of physical love. Even as they get older, continue to show them physical affection.

Tip #3 – Give Them Your Time
It’s almost a cliché to quote the song by Harry Chapin, “Cats in the Cradle,” to illustrate the consequences of a father being too absorbed in his work when his son is young. The reality is that most of us men are given the vision that in order to be a success in life we must be successful in our work—that our career is more important than anything else in life. Oh, we give lip service to the importance of our families, but our actions often speak louder than our words. Time is the most valuable, and the most limited, resource we have to give to our children. Your kids need your time more than they need your money—just ask any fatherless child.

Tip # 4 – Heart over Performance
Too often, I have a tendency to judge my children’s efforts by their performance. The reality is that an individual can do his personal best in an area in which he is not gifted, and still fall short of average performance. Likewise, a person can be gifted and do well in an area while applying very little effort. Which scenario should they be applauded most for?

Tip # 5 – Have Fun
It’s so easy to get caught up in the complexities and stresses of everyday life. This is especially true for those who take responsibilities seriously. But part of a dad’s charm is his ability to have fun. Let yourself go and remember the all the goofy things that make life worth living. Have fun with your children while they’re still little. Take some time to just goof-off. There will be plenty of time to be serious and somber. One of the things kids appreciate most about their fathers is his sense of humor. When Dad has life under control, he values the humorous side of life and shows it to his kids.

Tip # 6 – Don’t Fear Failure
I spent much of my life avoiding anything I wasn’t perfect at because I was afraid to fail. This has caused me to have a number of regrets. The regrets I have in life are mostly of things I didn’t do–not what I did do. Oh, I regret some things I’ve done over the years (I’ve done many things I’m not proud of), but I don’t regret my sins of commission like I do my sins of omission. Missed opportunities, an apathetic attitude, and not seeking significance were all choices I made which I regret deeply. I was raised to believe that failure was the worst thing of all. But it’s not. I’ve come to understand that true failure is never reaching out to attempt something great, to try and reach your full potential. You only fail when you don’t try. I regret all the times I was impatient with my children and never gave them the attention they deserved. I’ve told my son many times that I needed him to know that whatever mistakes I made as a dad–and I made many–those mistakes were my problem; they were never anything to do with him. He deserved more love and better fathering than I was capable of giving him.

Tip # 7 – Understand Your Power
Several years ago, during a rare bout of brutal self-honesty, I discovered that I treated my employees better than I did my wife and children. I heard myself saying things to my family I would never say to my employees. If another man had made those kinds of statements to my wife or kids, I would have physically confronted him. Why did I feel free to verbally wound those I treasure more than anything else in the world with words that I would never dream of saying to a stranger? God has given us men great power that can be used for good or evil. Just look around at some of the problems men have created in other peoples’ lives. Then look at some of the great things men have accomplished to benefit others. It’s an awesome power. But with that comes the need to understand it and use it responsibly. Former U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammerskjöld said, “Only he deserves power who every day justifies it.”

Tip # 8 – Develop Friendships
Most men in our country have acquaintances, but no real friends. The pressures and time constraints of work and supporting a family often take away the opportunity to build masculine relationships. But to be the best father possible, you need other men in your life to hold you accountable and to lift you up during difficult times. Another man’s experiences are invaluable when we try to navigate some of the uncharted waters of fathering. Isolation is death to a man’s character. Perhaps that’s why our culture, seemingly bent on the destruction of positive masculinity, continues to promote the rugged individualist as the model for men to look up to. The Marlboro Man, Dirty Harry, John Wayne, and James Bond—our celluloid heroes—never needed any help from other men. They just sucked it up and overcame whatever problems popped up. Then they rode off into the sunset by themselves. But real men need other men. We need the accountability, comradeship, support, and yes, gasp, help, that other men can provide.

Tip #9 – Be Consistent
Being consistent is one of the strongest traits a man can bring to fathering. Kids rely on you to be consistent in your responses no matter the circumstances. They rely on you being dependable, a rock in the face of adversity. When life throws a curve ball, they need Dad to be there to tell them it’s okay. Think about how scared you would be if the leader you were following–maybe someone you thought was strong or even invincible–were to suddenly become very frightened or to exhibit erratic, out-of-control behavior during a stressful situation. Would you want to follow that person again? I wouldn’t. Your emotional stability, especially in stressful situations, provides your kids with the security they need in order to grow into a healthy man or woman. You can’t keep stressful situations from happening, but you can control how you react to them. Teach your kids that a man keeps his head while others around him lose theirs.

Tip #10 – Overcome Complacency & Passivity
In the movie Schindler’s List, Liam Neeson stars as Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist during World War II. In an effort to capitalize on the war he acquired a factory in Poland which he ran with the cheapest labor around—Jewish labor. At first he seemed like every other greedy German industrialist, driven by profit and unmoved by the means of his profiteering. But somewhere along the line, something changed. He succeeded in his quest for riches, but by the end of the war he had spent everything he made on keeping 1,100 Jewish men and women alive. He literally bought their lives by having them work in his factory. In a powerful scene at the end of the movie, with Allied forces bearing down, Schindler said goodbye to the many Jewish factory workers he had saved. The workers had previously removed some of their gold-filled teeth to create a ring for Schindler. Inside the ring they engraved an old Hebrew proverb, “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.” As they gave him the ring in gratitude, Schindler fell to his knees and began sobbing in remorse. He deeply regretted that he had not done more to save additional lives. Even when the workers tried to console him that he had done so much more than anyone else, he cried out in agony over regret at his complacency. “I could have got more out. If I’d just…I didn’t do enough,” he sobbed. “I could have gotten one more person—and I didn’t…I didn’t!” Shindler, while certainly not as complacent as many of us, realized too late that he could have done so much more. He regretted it dearly. And while others did not blame him, he knew in his heart that he could have done more.

When my time comes I do not want to be a man on my knees before God with my face in my hands sobbing with regret over the fact that I did not use the gifts that God gave me to make a difference in other people’s lives—especially my own children’s. I don’t want those regrets and I don’t want you to have those regrets either. Use the power God has given you to make a difference in the world—before it’s too late. Your kids will be proud of you for it!

About The Author:
Rick Johnson
Facilitator of our Fatherhood program
Email: rick@betterdads.net
Website: Betterdads.net
Rick Johnson is a bestselling author and speaker. He founded Better Dads, based on the urgent need to empower men to lead and serve in their families and communities. Rick’s books cover several topics including influencing the whole family, with life-changing insights for men and women on parenting, marriage, and personal growth.

 

C*E*A*S*E Fighting!!!

Research tells us that attending a marriage education workshop or seminar can reduce the chances of divorce by almost 35%. They also tell us that one of the most beneficial parts of any workshop is learning to resolve conflict. When I mention these two facts in our marriage workshops, I always say, “You’re welcome!” Not only do we provide great marriage workshops, but we teach a conflict resolution tool that has been proven successful for over 25 years since I have been using it in counseling and in workshops. It’s easy, it’s kind of fun, and it definitely helps resolve marital conflicts. In this article, I will give the gist of the tool. Couples must practice this regularly to gain the greatest benefit.

cease_fighting
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are two rules before a couple begins the conflict resolution: they must decide on a single conflict and they must make an appointment.

Couples cannot resolve two conflicts at once. And they must set a time so that nothing interferes with their resolution efforts. Then, we begin with the five step process:



C
Confess. The husband always goes first. “Honey, I’m so sorry because I….” He confesses to whatever he did to either cause the problem or add to the problem by anger, harsh words, lousy attitudes, etc. Afterwards, the wife also confesses. This first step settles the atmosphere and allows both parties to become humble.

EExplain. Why did you do what you did? “Well, I felt (give an emotion), like (give a simile). In this step, the husband shares emotions, something his wife desperately needs. But it is done in a non-threatening way. A simile allows the couple to SEE what the other FEELS. “I felt cornered, like when Daffy Duck was painting the floor and he backed himself into a corner and screamed because he couldn’t go anywhere.” The simile allowed the husband to tell his wife that he felt she was pressuring him and backing him into a corner. But the way he did it was non accusatory. Afterwards, the wife does the same.

AAsk. The husband asks, “Honey, what could I have done differently?” The wife is allowed to talk straight and give him advice. But she must use the word “maybe” with her advice. Why? It softens the advice: “Well, maybe you could have….” And, it allows the husband the freedom to choose for himself. Afterwards, the wife asks and the husband gives advice.

Open Season. Before the couple gets to the letter “S” which will end the discussion, both are allowed to bring up anything else that went on during the incident. For example, if the husband called the wife a horrible name and he didn’t mention it in step one, the wife is allowed to bring it up here. But remember— the atmosphere has settled down and both parties are humble. “You know, you called me that horrible name and I didn’t like it at all.” “Yea, that was real stupid of me. I’m very sorry.” Spend as much time here as you need to make sure that all the details of the conflict are worked through and resolved.

SServant Solution. In step three, both parties were allowed to give each other advice on what they could have done differently or better. Here, they will now declare what they will do to make sure that this conflict does not happen again. “Honey, next time I will….” After the husband makes his declaration, the wife does the same.

EErase & Enjoy. There is no such thing as “forgive and forget.” Our human minds are too wonderful to forget things and it would do more (Continued from page one) harm than good to “pretend” that the conflict did not happen. But what must happen is a commitment from both the husband and the wife not to bring up this resolved conflict again. It is so tempting, when in the midst of a heated conflict, to dredge up old conflicts and use them as weapons against each other. This never helps. So, you must commit to each other not to bring up this resolved conflict. “Honey, I promise that I will
never bring up this incident ever again.” Then, the wife makes the same promise.

Finally, the couple must “enjoy” or kiss and make up. If they cannot give each other a big smooch, then the emotions haven’t subsided and the conflict hasn’t actually been resolved. If this is the case, the couple must make an appointment to try it again the next day.

Here’s what happens if you will try to resolve conflicts, even if you’re not very good at it at first: You talk, share feelings, open hearts to each
other, etc. This is intimacy! And when intimacy grows stronger, so will other good marriage stuff. So, talk and smooch. Talking is good. Smooching is always good. I prescribe this for all my clients. Take two and call me in the morning!

dr_bob_thumb
About The Author:
Dr. Bob Whiddon, Jr.

Founder and Executive Director

Email: drbob@northwestmarriage.org

Website: www.northwestmarriage.org

Dr. Whiddon holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling, Trinity Theological Seminary, Indiana in 1996. D.Min. in Pastoral Ministry, Northwest Graduate School, Seattle, 2001. He is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor. Certified Temperament Counselor. Licensed Minister of Pastoral Counseling and has over thirty-three years of experience in ministry and counseling.

The Secrets To Being a Happy, Successful Man

happy-older-man

What men experience at a young age has a causal influence on their success and happiness later in life, according to the Grant Study, a longitudinal project that began studying men in 1938. Researchers wanted to know what factors led to an “optimum life”, by asking the same men questions every year about everything from their habits to their health.

What are the predictors of a man having a successful, happy life? Some of the findings:

  1. Warm relationships. Men who were successful and happy had a supportive childhood and warm adult relationships. Men who had a good relationship with at least one sibling made $51,000 more per year than those that had poor relationships with their siblings or no siblings.
  1. Loving Fathers. Men who had loving fathers had a greater capacity to play, had less anxiety and stress in young adulthood, and adjusted easier to retirement.
  1. Positive virtues. Men with an optimum life had warm, social personalities during their college years. Practicality and organization were the strongest predictors of mental health in middle-age.
  1. Strong marriages. Men who were the happiest and most successful stayed married for most of their lives. However, most of the men who were divorced and remarried were still married for an average of 30 years. By the age of 85, 76% of men said they had happy marriages.

What if some of these predictors were absent in a man’s life? George Vaillant, who has directed the study for the past several decades, noted that it was not what happened in childhood itself as much as what men “did with a loving or bleak childhood.” Further, the study revealed that men, regardless of their childhood and young adult lives, could continue to grow and mature throughout their years—especially if they sought and exercised these virtuous traits. The message to young men is clear: what you do now impacts the rest of your life.

 

The full study has been compiled into a book, Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study.

 

Related Posts

Helping Fatherless Families

Risks of Father-Absent Homes


docshawnAbout The Author:
Dr. Shawn Anderson
Facilitator of our Blended Families
Email: info@docshawn.com
Website: docshawn.com/
Dr. Shawn Anderson grew up in North Pole, Alaska, and presently lives in Oregon. He is a disciple of Jesus, coach, mentor and leadership professor. He writes about Christianity, leadership, and church health, with the occasional book, music, or film review. He holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University. He is also the author of Living Dangerously: Seven Keys to Intentional Discipleship, published by Wipf and Stock.

The Changing Role of Fathers

The role of fathers is changing in America—mostly for good. According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, fathers are taking a more active parenting role and they are spending more time with their children.

In a 2012 study, 46 percent of fathers said they spent more time with their children than their own fathers did with them.

Tweet: “46 percent of fathers said they spent more time with their children than their own fathers did with them.” @docshawn http://ctt.ec/7Unc4+

FT_dads-time-with-kids

Additionally, fathers in 2011 took more active roles in doing housework and taking care of their children than they did in 1965.

FT_moms-dads-family-roles

The role of fathers cannot be overstated. As I have written in the past, children that are raised in fatherless homes are much more at risk to drop out of school, be incarcerated, become pregnant, as well as a slew of other behaviors.

Unfortunately, fatherless homes are also on the rise. In 2010, the Pew Research Center revealed that 27 percent of all children live in a fatherless home. That is up from 11 percent in 1960.

Ft_father-child-living-apart

We instinctively know the positive influence of fathers on children, yet fathers are increasingly absent from homes. Why is this?

1. Fear of Failure. Some fathers give up and leave the home because their standards are too high. Often, when men lose their jobs or make a fathering mistake (as even the best fathers do), they lose confidence in their ability to be a good dad, and they would rather leave than have their children or wives think less of them. These men need to “suck it up” and keep trying. There is no such thing as a perfect dad!

2. Lack of Encouragement. Sadly, the role of men is often cast in a negative light. The media frequently portrays fathers and husbands as bumbling, dumb or childish (eg: Home Improvement, Married With Children, The Simpson’s). This can increase feelings of inadequacy in men. At the very least, it is difficult to find positive role models in the media to emulate. Men cannot let outside pressures minimize their value. They need to meet with other men that care about their families for mutual encouragement and inspiration. And they need to be willing to take their roles more seriously.

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3. Lack of Marriage Training. Through my involvement with the Northwest Marriage Institute, I have come to realize that most fathers desire to be better husbands and fathers. The problem is that many men lack the skills and experience to be an effective father or husband. The Northwest Marriage Institute provides men with tangible training and tools to better enable them to be an effective dad and husband. I am proud to be part of this team. And our services are free! I would encourage all men to look for seminars or workshops that teach marriage and parenting skills. Anyone can become a better husband or father!

docshawnAbout The Author:
Dr. Shawn Anderson
Facilitator of our Blended Families
Email: info@docshawn.com
Website: docshawn.com/
Dr. Shawn Anderson grew up in North Pole, Alaska, and presently lives in Oregon. He is a disciple of Jesus, coach, mentor and leadership professor. He writes about Christianity, leadership, and church health, with the occasional book, music, or film review. He holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University. He is also the author of Living Dangerously: Seven Keys to Intentional Discipleship, published by Wipf and Stock.

Are You Having A Marital Heart Attack?

Marriage Heart Attacks, Heartburn, and Heart-to-Heart Talks

The other day my mother was telling me of the time when she went to the hospital because she felt she was having a heart attack.  She didn’t feel like she had an elephant standing on her heart, a description like many heart attack patients describe.  But it was still a pressure unlike she had felt before, and it wasn’t going away.  Her doctor automatically told her that it wasn’t a heart attack because she was not describing the heart attack in terms he was used to.  He ordered the heart scan any way but said, “I shouldn’t have to do this.  I’m not going to find anything.  You are not having a heart attack.”  During the scan, the doctor kept saying, “Oh wow, this isn’t good.”  So bad was her heart that bypass surgery was scheduled for that afternoon.  The communication was not what he was used to, but when he stopped to listen, he found the problem and was able to fix it.

Marriage heart AttackIn marriage, many times, we have the same problem.  A wife describes her unhappiness with a situation or a conversation with her husband.  He is not hearing a description of a problem like he is used to hearing.  So, he concludes, she misunderstood, she heard wrong, or she is just making things up. The he tries, explaining to her the facts as he sees it.  She concludes that he isn’t listening and doesn’t care.  We are not really listening to our mates.  Instead, we are trying to convince them they really shouldn’t have a problem.  The marital heart attack goes untreated, damaging the relationship and eventually causing the marriage to die.  And, because we don’t hear things in the way we think we should hear them, we interrupt and never really allow our mate to fully explain or vent his/her frustration.

   Here are some pointers in marital listening:

  • The best thing to do when your mate is frustrated and needs to talk, is to listen, just listen.  Drink in what he/she is saying.  Try as much as you can to understand the frustration.
  • Show your mate that you are listening.  If you sit with a blank stare, your mate will be further frustrated and either quit talking or lash out.  Neither is good.  Show your listening by facial expressions.  Wrinkle your forehead.  This may show him/her that you are putting energy into listening.  Shake your head.  This may show him/her “Yeah, I can see that.”  Even make short comments like, “Yeah, I can see that” or “Wow.”  These kinds of comments don’t indicate that you agree, necessarily, but that you are listening.
  • Listen with the idea of “What can I do to help my mate?” or “What can I do to help solve this problem?”  Too many people sort of listen, politely stay quiet so the other can speak, but the whole time are creating their defense.  This is not listening at all.  This is just a temporary peace before the war starts again.

My mom’s doctor finally listened to what she had to say.  The heart attack was found, fixed, and she is still alive and kicking 18 years later.  Your marriage can survive anything.  But you must talk, you must listen to each other, and you must resolve your problems.  It’s not as hard as you think.  Just do it.

About The Author:
Dr. Bob Whiddon, Jr.
Founder and Executive Director
Email: drbob@northwestmarriage.org
Websites: Northwestmarriage.org, relationshipwellnesscheck.com

Dr. Whiddon has earned a Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling, D.Min. in Pastoral Ministry, Northwest Graduate School, Seattle, 2001. He is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor, Certified Temperament Counselor, Licensed Minister of Pastoral Counseling and has over thirty-three years of experience in ministry and counseling.

Reviewing the Faithfulness Plan

It’s not a great statistic.  But 90% of all married couples that go to counseling have an affair as part of their history.  There are many reasons given as to why the affair happened.  But the fact is that affairs are the most destructive things that can happen to any marriage.  And, it can happen to any marriage.

That’s why we need to spend some time talking about being faithful.  No one starts out their day saying, “I think I’ll be unfaithful today.”  But many men and women start each day without a commitment to stay faithful, which can, if they are not careful, lead to an affair.

A faithfulness plan is an intentional plan to do whatever is necessary everyday to stay away from anything that might tempt someone into moving towards the line that they should not cross.  A faithfulness plan is a written commitment by both the husband and wife to honor their love and commitment of marriage.  It is a signed and sealed document that gives security to the marriage.

So here’s the deal—there is nothing greater you can do for your marriage than to make it a long lasting, happy marriage.  You both will benefit emotionally and physically.

Consider these five major components that should be in your faithfulness plan.  They are:

  •  A statement of love—Believe it or not, this document may be one of the most romantic things you can do for your spouse.  So, tell him/her how much love is going into this plan.
  • A statement of commitment—You will use this document to show your spouse how serious you are in staying faithful, that you are committed to being faithful.
  • Your plans for faithfulness—You will give a list of things you will do, positive and loving things, to show your faithfulness everyday.
  • Your plans when things go wrong—Even though you plan to be faithful and avoid traps that others have fallen into, you may come across situations at work that may compromise your plan.  So, what will you do then?  You will give a list of things you will do, when things start to go bad, to show your faithfulness.

· A statement of faith in your marriage—You are making this plan to honor your spouse and the sanctity of marriage.  So, tell him/her how important your marriage is and how much you are willing to work to make it last.

Making a plan to stay faithful is not that hard.  Write it out.  Frame it.  It will take a little bit of work, but the rewards are fantastic.  Enjoy!

About The Author:
Dr. Bob Whiddon, Jr.
Founder and Executive Director
Email: drbob@northwestmarriage.org
Websites: Northwestmarriage.org, relationshipwellnesscheck.com

Dr. Whiddon has earned a Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling, D.Min. in Pastoral Ministry, Northwest Graduate School, Seattle, 2001. He is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor, Certified Temperament Counselor, Licensed Minister of Pastoral Counseling and has over thirty-three years of experience in ministry and counseling.