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Friday, November 18, 2016

Are You A Slave To The Inanimate? Cleaning House!

Stuff is great!  Because of stuff, I can stay in touch with friends and family, my teeth stay clean and healthy, and holidays are distinctively beautiful! Huzzah!  
Here in the USA I enjoy many things that make my life easier! ... To an extent...

I am sure most of us are familiar with the stress that clutter can cause.  Maybe you like your room a little messy; but every room? All the time? Probably not.

So what do we do? Usually one of three things:
  1.  Ignore it, because we are tired and the job of cleaning will be too much of a drain.  
  2. Satisfy ourselves with a quick clean, shoving clothes into laundry baskets, things away here and there.
  3. Put everything away how and where it is supposed to go. (probably at most once or twice a month occurrence due to a freak influx of cleaning energy)
Doesn't sound like you? Have it all figured out? Great! 

If it does sound like you, then you might sometimes wonder "why do I have all of this stuff".  Well, why do you? Is it making you happy?  Do you really need it?  

Your house doesn't have to be in constant disarray.  Messiness doesn't have to be the rule, and cleanliness doesn't have to be the exception.  The fact is, if you are having a hard time keeping your house clean, you are probably beholden to too many things. 

The three biggest reasons, I can think of, that we hold onto what are really non-essential things are as follows:
  1. We have invested time or money in them.
  2. We think they might come in handy in the future. (i.e. situation changing, gonna lose that weight, might use it in a special project, etc)
  3. We ourselves, or family members have an emotional attachment to the stuff.
The first is known as a sunken-cost fallacy. Because of the previous cost of something, we ignore that it is no longer providing enough use to off-balance the continued cost (stress) to us.  Okay, easy to understand.  Just get rid of it.

The second, holding on to things for possible or even probable future use, may seem sensible to many.  But why hold on to spare shirt buttons or pieces of lumber when they are easily obtainable.  The small cost of purchasing these things as needed, is nothing compared to an actual tax on your health from a cluttered living space or the extra effort when it comes time to move.

Perhaps hardest of all, are our emotional ties to our stuff.  I remember my dad always seemed to be throwing our stuff away when we weren't looking.  It was so upsetting!  Especially the day I realized he had tossed out our Nintendo Entertainment System.  (I might mention it had been sitting in the closet for about 8 years...) If this seems at all upsetting to you, then you can probably imagine that I was quite upset at the time.  It was a "no forgiveness" kind of situation for me.  A lover of games at the time.

Only now that I am grown and have moved a number of times, have I realized that less is more.  The problem with emotional ties is compounded when it is a spouse's or a child's emotions that are tied to an object.

So what do you do? You could be sneaky like my dad... But it might be better to hold a family counsel about solutions to this problem.  One tactic I've seen for this particular problem is to go through your things, looking at them, touching them, and paying attention to how they make you feel. If it is a negative emotion, you would probably be better off getting rid of it (not applicable with bills). 
  
Whatever you decide to do, remember to measure the stress from clutter against each individual object, because they do add up.  Perhaps, dedicating one small box or tub for things that "just can't be gotten rid of" at the time could help the process from shutting down completely.  Giving yourself a reward, like a pizza movie night in your new uncluttered living room, can be a great way to get the kids on board.  Remember you are all sacrificing some things for something better.  It should be a happy thing if you can keep that in mind.  

Now, to stem the flow.  It may be beneficial for couples to honestly and openly evaluate where the influx of stuff is coming into your home from (this can include extended family, shopping habits of either or both partners, or swag from all your fancy outings).  Set aside time to have these conversations, as opposed to impromptu emotionally driven arguments. 

Finally, if you really can't imagine parting with anything, yet you feel like your house is a constant mess then perhaps it is time for a vacation.  Next time you have the opportunity to take at least a week long vacation, try to realize how little you really can get by with while you are living out of a suitcase.  Take time to think about if the things you own are owning you, and how it feels to take a break from all that stuff.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Watching for Infidelity

In his book Drawing Heaven Into Your Marriage, H. Wallace Goddard presents a list of things to look for in your interactions with others.  He suggests that there is a progression of infidelity rather than things just happening out of the blue.

The following is a list of how things can progress from seemingly innocent behavior to full on infidelity:

  1. Behaviors that seem or may be innocent (i.e., service for a neighbor, going out to lunch with a co-worker, chatting about problems with an old friend of the opposite sex).
  2. An affection grows that claims part of one’s heart.
  3. Extramarital flirting.  (Justification-“no harm intended”).
  4. Relationship declared as “special”.
  5. Opportunities created to see “special friend” (Accompanied may be a worry of what others will say/think if they knew).
  6. Excuses made, lies told to hide time and resources spent on other person.
  7. Spouse is displaced. Emotional intimacy exchanged with “special friend”.
  8. Faultfinding with spouse.
  9. Fantasies about other person.
  10. Physical affection– a squeeze, a kiss, a hug.
  11. Sexual relations.
What to do if you find yourself somewhere along this progression?

In my opinion, wherever you are, you should turn back immediately.  In every case you should disclose to your spouse anything and everything (even if you aren't sure if it's a "big deal" or not) involved in what has happened.  It is the secret-keeping that fuels the inappropriate behavior.  Cut off your personal relationship and all ties possible with that other person.  Apologize, express your sorrow and desire to be closer to your spouse.  

Even though you are trying to do the right thing now, do not expect your spouse to be "overly pleased" at your coming forward.  This news likely will come as a shock or a severe blow to your spouse.  Be patient (you are throwing yourself at the mercy of your spouse).  They may need time to think about things and come to grips with what has happened.  Be constant to in your desire to be true and faithful to your spouse.  

You cannot know what will come of these things once they are allowed to progress to far.  My advice is to catch yourself early.  Minimize any unnecessary time with those of the opposite sex outside of your marriage.  Be aware of those who may not be a "friend" to the marriage.  Ask yourself if you have anyone outside of your family that you consider a "special friend".  Do not be too ashamed that you keep the little things secret or they will lead to bigger mistakes.  The need for emotional intimacy is built into us and as a husband or wife the natural and correct partner with whom to share your feelings and thoughts, big and small, is your spouse.  

You cannot decide what your spouse will do, only what you will do.  Trials will come but overcoming such things together will be a strength to your marriage and affections for each other. 

REMEMBER: Whatever you may feel now, that person you married is, or at least "was", someone whom you loved very deeply,  Deeply enough to take as your partner and best friend in marriage.  You don't give up on your best friend.  Ever.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Are We Overly Available to the Wrong Things?

Are we overly-available to the rest of the world?  Think for a moment.  How hard is it for someone to get a hold of you?  How quick are you to drop everything to respond to a text or check on an update someone sends to you through one of your social media apps?  How often does this change or affect what you are doing?  What about the other many forms of media we use each day?  Is your day a waste if you don't get some quality time with your media?  Are we using these things to our best interest or to our detriment?  I would suggest that perhaps we focus a lot on the benefits of new technologies while sometimes forgetting to weigh the cost.  

Now I will ask a different question.  When was the last time you went out with your family for the day, leaving technology out of the picture? 

Observe Georges Seurat's popular painting, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (Un dimanche après-midi à l’Ile de la Grande Jatte), Georges Seurat, 1884-1886.  (Retrieved from http://www.webexhibits.org/colorart/jatte.html)



What a beautiful painting!  I wish every day were like this!  How would you feel about this masterpiece if everyone in it were looking down at tablets and smartphones?  For me, that would drain the delight from my experience in viewing it.

When was the last time that that you considered time spent with others as "quality" time?  How important is it to you to get that new high score?  How important is it to know what everyone is doing all the time and to have them recognize daily your existence through the social media?  Are your children, friends, and family learning that more important to you is the need to connect to the world at large, rather than to strengthen personal bonds with them?  If you want an existence then go exist somewhere other than digital space.  I challenge anyone who reads this to put down the technology and look up more often.  Step outside.  Go for a walk.  Play with your kids.  Technology is a tool, not a life.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

To My Fair Mother

   I was so very lucky to have a mother who was very involved in my life.  I have countless memories where she was just plainly there, being with me.  I imagine many mothers wonder if they are doing enough.  I would say that there is no magic formula for a mother save being there for her children in love and trying her best.  Mistakes will happen, but it is the long-term stability that is provided through the day-to-day love that a child remembers.  I am writing this entry to express my gratitude for my mother, as well as the following poem.

To the fairest of all is given the gift Motherhood

The gift of bearing God's children 
is given to her most fair.
A bond born of giving,
of sacrifice.
Men may learn somewhat of these things
but she came down, this love her wings.

This trust placed in those most fair,
His trust in her, to love them here.

A sacred pact, of mother to God,
of mother to child, to child from God.
To leave a heavenly home for a time, 
yet given an angel to always guide.

The fairest among His children are blessed 
with the keeping of these so small.
Could there be any other way?
No, it's clear as night and day!

Even if she is not perfect,
even if life has thrown her down
For her service, He will bless her.
Her sacrifice shall become her crown.

-Patrick Williams(to my mother who has always loved me)

Memories I have of my mom growing up:

  •    Being involved in my school's homeroom activities and field trips. (She would buy me and my friends little snacks on the field trips)
  •    Holding and dunking me in the public pool until I guessed the color she was thinking of. (It was fun and not life threatening)
  •    Playing Mario Bros. 3 with me even though I would beat her badly.
  •    Cleaning up my rejected food stuffs in a hotel room in the middle of the night when I couldn't make it to a receptacle in time.  (I had eaten Chinese food at a fair earlier that day, and we both agreed that the room actually smelled kind of delicious afterwards)
  •    The many times she would patch me up from scrapes and cuts from playing outside (I refused to wear shoes which led to the majority of injuries)
  •    Reading Disney short stories to me and sometimes changing them up (Ferdinand the bull got a little violent one night)
  •    Reading R.L.Stine's Goosebumps Series to me (sometimes both of us were afraid to keep reading)
  •    Letting me get involved with baking even though it would have probably been easier without my "helping"
  •    Having the best birthday parties even though we didn't have a lot of money.
  •    Packing me healthy homemade lunches (especially when I started to get a little plump, she would even sometimes make them for me in high school and write little notes on my napkin)
  •    Being the primary care-taker of the pets we took in.
  •    Helping me memorize the scout law (A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent)
  •    She was just always there, through all of my tears and trials, there is nothing to replace those things she has done for me.  To this day she still continues to do more for me than I deserve, and I thank her for it.  I love you Mom!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Not Your Grandma's Marriage

Some thoughts on what marriage was: 
Marriage used to be so vital to a community that receptions were put on by that community and not the couple's family.  (The latter came about through emulating the Royals).  Marriage was recognized as a promise to serve each other and the community.  It has been the center of most every successful civilization.  It was well known that the true way to prosperity and happiness was looking after the well being of others and the marriage relationship epitomized this.  Now I will tell you what I see.  I see a disconnect from others in marriage.  Community, children, and even spouse often come second (if at all) to personal fulfillment and happiness.  The big joke is that the more you focus on yourself the more miserable you will be.  I hope we all think a little more about and do even more for others.  Be happy... for real this time!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Personal Strength and Healing

Maybe you feel the desire to be a better spouse, parent, or child.  Maybe you are trying very hard to make yourself more ready and worthy to enter into marriage to your best friend.  Maybe you are just hurting and do not know what to do.  

Here are a couple very good resources that are focused on healing and using the atonement to have strength to make it through this life.

David A. Bednar - In the Strength of the Lord
A talk on learning to use the atonement of the Lord in all stages of life.  Going from bad to good and then from good to better.
Excerpts: 
As you and I come to understand and employ the enabling power of the atonement in our personal lives, we will pray and seek for strength to change our circumstances rather than praying for our circumstances to be changed. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon 

Most of us clearly understand that the atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the atonement is also for saints--for good men and women who are obedient and worthy and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully. I frankly do not think many of us "get it" concerning this enabling and strengthening aspect of the atonement, and I wonder if we mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves, through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities.
Audio
Video
Text

James E. Faust - He Healeth The Broken In Heart
A vary good talk on turning yourself over to the Healing of the Lord
Excerpts:
Our hurry to meet the relentless demands of the clock tears away at our inner peace. The pressures to compete and survive are great. Our appetite for personal possessions seems enormous. The increasing forces that destroy the individual and family bring great sadness and heartbreak.

...faith and hope will replace heartache, disappointment, torment, anguish, and despair, and the Lord will give us strength...
Article

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Word to the Aging Singles

If you are reading this and single: Congratulations!

I'll take that as a sign you still hold on to hope! 

As a 29-year old single male in the Latter-Day Saint faith I know I am not alone, but my existence sometimes causes other's to scratch their heads.  

In other words, I get the question "Why aren't you married yet?" in various forms.  Now sometimes people want to know the actual reasons or they may just paying me a compliment, meaning something like, "you seem to be marriageable, what's the deal?"  The deal is there are many reasons I am not married yet.  Finding someone who suits me, the ups and downs of life, and making myself get "out there" are just a few.


Though questions may come occasionally, I feel I haven't really received a lot of outward pressure to get married, at least in comparison to the pressure I put on myself.  I listen carefully whenever counsel is given on marriage, trying to make sure there is not anything I am missing, some unknown secret.  There have been girls that I have adored and girls that have thought I was tolerable enough, but it has not been right yet according to all parties in any given relationship I've had (I'm including God and his wisdom through the verifying of the Holy Spirit here - in other words, that feeling that something just isn't right). 

Here is my point.  Being single, sometimes one thinks that things just aren't working out.  At some points we get the most defeating feelings and thoughts.  We feel overly needy or pitifully and embarrassingly desperate.  We think things are just not working out for us in particular.  While we may well continue to have those feelings from time to time, it's what makes us human AND guess what?! It's not a negative thing to experience the loneliness that can come with being single.  I am a firm believer that single people can be happy over-all, but there are unavoidable times when we feel those painful feelings.  They are what can propel us to redouble our efforts, pushing us to continue in our journey.  In Genesis we find out that "it is not good that man man to be alone."  I think most of us could have found that out without that scripture, but it's good to know that our feeling, that need to find someone, is correct.  Could you imagine?! Being perfectly happy 100% of the time while single would be a disaster!  Why, who would ever go through all the effort of finding a spouse, having children, and growing beyond what they are now, if we could be perfectly happy in our current situation?  It's just not right, the truth is that we were meant for more, we can feel it.  We feel it when we see other happy couples, we can feel it during our greatest triumphs and in our lowest of lows.  There is a need in us to share our lives, ourselves, with someone else.  Sure, we can run for a while from such thoughts or feelings, we can hide... for a while.  But when we feel that pang again trying to wake us up to our purpose, we will realize our bitter mistakes. 

So what do we do in the meantime? What I believe is NOT correct is to have the attitude to wait for marriage or someone else to start living our life or becoming what we want to become.  

In a talk available on CD by John Bytheway entitled What I Wish I'd known When I Was Single: How to Do Life as a Young Adult, he talks about how it is so much more attractive to be moving forward and developing yourself rather than being focused on your singleness.  Not only do I fully endorse that talk for it's hopefulness (It's so good and helpful!) but it is based in what is true and firm providing real instruction for us "singles".  

Despite where we may be, we can be a little happier, we can open ourselves up to opportunities that will increase our chances to find someone when the opportunity comes along.  Most importantly for my LDS audience, we can get to the Temple, and live our lives in accordance with God's commandments, finding the wealth of joy and feeling that comes thereby.  For all the reasons we may not be married yet, let not a lack of faithfulness to the God of Heaven, Earth, and Man be among them.

One more thing... to my readers who are tender of heart and for whom these things may just be too real and close right now, missing and longing for that person they have yet to meet.  You pray for your future spouse. They may need your blessings.  Not only that, but your heart will be turned to them and you will want to be a better person, the kind of person they will need in their life.


Link to Sample of Audio Book

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Benefits of Parenthood

Children need parents, but perhaps just as much, we need children. 

This week in class we discussed the importance of being parents.  Having children opens new doors of learning for us. 

As children we were always exploring, learning about, and testing the world around us.  As we got older we kept learning but not to the same extent as children.  If marriage is a house of learning then raising children is the core curriculum.

The following is a basic list of benefits of parenthood:
  Belonging to something greater than oneself - participation in any group makes you a part of that group.  No other entity I can think of allows for closer more significant unity than family.
  Becoming selfless through service - The key to love is service and self-sacrifice.  Emotional investments required in a healthy parent-child relationship will pull you out for your own shallow need for excessive individualism and replace it with something real and rewarding.
  Learning to love more than ever before 
  An opportunity to re-parent yourself through your own parenting - Through parenting we can work to change things for the better from the way we were parented, keeping the good and weeding out the bad. As our parenting styles change we change.
  An increased sense of self-worth and significance - Sometimes we refuse to push ourselves unless others depend on us.  The great duty that comes with children will be the most fulfilling work we do!
  Coming to understand God better - For all His titles He has chosen for Himself the title of Father is the one He prefers us to address Him as.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fatherhood

"YOU'RE ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS!"

This is one of the things my father wrote in a birthday card to me some years ago that I will never forget.  Fathers impact the lives of their children, for good or for bad.

Have you taken the time recently to sit down and think about what your father or a father figure has meant to you?

I recently wrote a paper on fatherhood and the effects on fatherless homes -- it has left me feeling grateful for my own father.

I would list among his greatest accomplishments:  Giving his time to working very hard to provide food and shelter for our family.  Changing to become the type of man his family needed.  Teaching his children to love and serve others.  Dropping everything and taking no small amount of time to help fix a broken son who was in over his head, turning what might have been a painful memory into one that is full of sweetness because of his remarkable love. 

These were all choices where he didn't have to choose to do what he did.  I am grateful.

The other day in class we were discussing heroes.  The class seemed to grow still as my teacher took on a somber voice.  He spoke of the way we often think of heroes -- muscled bound hunks with long blonde beautiful hair who smash things with a hammer. -- He then told us that if we could look around us and know the heroes seated in that room we would be amazed. -- It is true. -- There those all around us who have overcome insurmountable odds, some who struggle everyday but never give up.  They may lose their battles but they are still focused on winning the war.

My father is my hero.  He seldom had it easy.  Like all of us, I am sure he felt he was, at times, his own worst enemy in becoming what he wanted to be.  He persevered.  He still does.  He does it for others.  What more makes up a hero I ask you? 





Let us all take time to think about what we have been given, then let us look to what we may do to become heroes for our families.  What are the specific things that you will do that will ring reverberating love in the minds and hearts of our children throughout their lives?

Quote: (I think you can apply it to anything that could take our time as fathers and husbands: Video games, Television, Sports, other relationships)
“Some of our most important choices concern family activities. Many breadwinners worry that their occupations leave too little time for their families. There is no easy formula for that contest of priorities. However, I have never known of a man who looked back on his working life and said, ‘I just didn’t spend enough time with my job’ ” (Dallin H. Oaks “Good, Better, Best” Oct. 2007 general conference).

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Case for Maintaining the DEFINITION of Marriage

"Why a Good Person Can Vote Against Same-Sex Marriage" By Dennis Pragger

http://www.dennisprager.com/why-a-good-person-can-vote-against-same-sex-marriage/

The link above is to a short article that addresses the question "is marriage good for society".  It's a good article acknowledging that sometimes those on both sides are looking at different questions about this issue.

A few excerpts:

“Few on either side honestly address the question of the other side. Opponents of same-sex marriage rarely acknowledge how unfair the age-old man-woman definition is to gay couples. And proponents rarely, if ever, acknowledge that this unprecedented redefinition of marriage may not be good for society.”

“Catholic Charities, which operates the oldest ongoing adoption services in America, has had to end its adoption work in Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington, DC because the governments there regard placing children with married man-woman couples before same-sex couples as discriminatory.”


“The socialist French government has just announced that in the future no government issued document will be allowed to use the words “mother” or “father.” Only the gender-neutral term “parent” will be acceptable in France.”

These are things that are happening, individuals and organizations being sued at the law for not supporting something they do not believe in.  I remember learning as a child that people may believe and practice as they wish as long as it doesn't harm another.  Well people are now being harmed, disallowed to make a living, or help longing parents to have families if they will not deny their personal beliefs.  I would say that yes, discrimination and confusion, a lack of kindness was shown to same gender relationships and in some cases still are.  But now we are doing the same thing in the other direction.  We aren't getting rid of discrimination and persecution, but changing who the target is.  Taking away the freedom of churches and their members to believe and practice as they will.  Persecution is already on our doorstep and many are rushing to open up.  We need to be thoughtful, non of us should be too eager to leap.  Such a change is unprecedented and the consequences may certainly be wide and unforeseeable.  Whether it is homes with more than two parents, eliminating laws inhibiting sexual relations between minors and adults (a notable organization in favor of changing the marriage definition has already declared that sexual abuse from men towards young boys may not be as bad as we thought), or whatever else many various things may happen, we need to ask ourselves, "are we unwittingly opening a flood gate we will not be able to shut?"

I am reminded of the fallen Roman Empire, where it was socially acceptable for men to court young adolescent boys.  The people were purposefully constantly distracted so as not to notice the moral climate change.  It is sad, but we are not far off in some ways from such atrocities, for falling happens fast and fall that once great Empire did.  It is not a question of love for our brother, most religions teach that to their followers.  The question is what are we leaving for future generations as we endeavor to change a definition that is as old as man, being declared and instituted in the beginning by God for a wise and good purpose for all of us, his children.

The only thing I can say for certain is that those with the attitude that "it is not a big deal" are not thinking it through. I plead with all not to be lax on this issue.  Some things are abominable to the Lord.  He is understanding, He loves all of His children.  He has given marriage between a man and woman to help us, but it is hard to help someone who will not be helped.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Topics to Discuss Before Marriage

We live in a world where (I have heard it put) we often spend more time planning the wedding and not enough planning the marriage. In class yesterday we were going of some important questions to ask during dating, courtship, and engagement (AKA things you might want to talk about before marriage).  It seems more and more people aren't as comfortable asking deep questions of their intended.  Well you'd better start because it's a lot better than the alternative!

We refer to the list as a "marriage contract", not the legal kind of contract, but an agreement or consensus of plans for married life.  You may want to come up with a list of things that are important to resolve for you personally before you make those vows!  Following is an example list, but feel free to put them on your own list if they are important to you!

***Remember, consensus on important marriage topics is more favorable than concessions (it is better to agree than to compromise)
The Marriage Contract
  1. Last Name - Will she take his, keep her own, or hyphenate? If the latter 2, what is the last name the children will have?
  2. Division of Labor - Who will have which jobs, which will be shared? (IE dishes, cleaning the windows, maintaining the cars, making dinner, maintaining the budget) - Take in to account your different strengths and preferences, not everything has to be the way you have seen your parents or other couples organize tasks.
  3. Children - Do we want children?  How many? When? 
  4. Care of Children - Another question of division of labor.  Who will: read them bedtime stories, feed them, help with homework, etc. - Keep in mind that it has been noted time and again that it is important for both parents' involvement in the rearing of children.  One example is that mother's tend to draw the child in with "face time" and familial relationships, while fathers tend to introduce children to the world more.  Think of how you might see father's and mother's holding babies differently, fathers with them facing outward or over the shoulder - mothers cradling them face-to-face.
  5. Discipline - When? What? How? - Remember that there is more than just spanking and not spanking. Get creative.
  6. Housing - What can we afford? What do we need/want? What will we have to sacrifice for that?  Will we use both incomes to finance our housing (if both are working) or just one spouses and put aside the other's for savings, rainy-day fund, or other?
  7. Who Will be the Bread Winner? Will it change when children come along? 
  8. Financial Dreams - Goals, retirement, planning for children's futures. - Note that this can be a difficult topic and the help of a professional financial planner may be needed if neither spouse is well-versed in planning.  It doesn't have to be all planned out right now, but get educated and start making plans when appropriate.
  9. Will you live close to family? - Who's family? Is it smart? This can have benefits and detriments.  It is healthy to talk things over with each other rather than either individually with a source outside the marriage, even well meaning family members.  Family can help out, but they can also keep the couple from forming new patterns and graduate from child to spouse.  It can be healthy to spend the first few years further from family until you have a strong connection with your spouse.  Be smart and know what your own circumstances are.
  10. Holidays - With extended family? Rotation Schedule? Pros/Cons - Remember to discuss things before making up your mind, you may be surprised how your ideas change when taking each other's views under consideration.
  11. Address Frustrations and Concerns - It is good to be aware of the things that we can and can't live with early.  They are not likely to change because you are now married.  Patterns set early in marriage naturally persist throughout the entire marriage unless someone speaks up and efforts are made to change.
  12. Who's Opinion Will Prevail? - Is one of you an expert in the matter?  Does the breadwinner get more say in finances?  Will one opinion prevail? - It is better to agree, if you cannot, then perhaps it is time for both to go to God in prayer to find His will that will best move you forward.  There are certain circumstances where one spouse may have a better understanding and the other spouse can choose to support their decisions concerning certain matters.  It never hurts to keep your spouse "in the loop" if this is the case.
  13. How will you change the terms of this contract over the course of the Marriage? - What might necessitate change?  How will you bring it up?  What methods will you use? - One Idea I had was a yearly "Marriage in Review" session, going over successes, hardships, difficulties overcome, favorite moments, concerns, etc.  Make sure to keep plenty of positive things in there, and end on a good not, a treat of some sort wouldn't be a bad thing.  It needs to be something that you look forward to for the good it does and the happy memories it brings.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Deminishing Negative Thoughts and Getting a Hold on a Happier Reality

   Can I just say that there is so much info out in the world today that it's dang dizzying looking for and deciphering what will be of good use?  Well in my commitment to bring you only the shiniest most precious gems, I introduce my most recent discovery!
 
    I myself have recently been introduced to something so simple yet so helpful in my Family Stress and Coping class.  We've been reading a book by David D. Burns, M.D. called When Panic Attacks, The New Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life.

    In this book he talks about something called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).  Burns claims that with CBT we may:
"learn to change negative thoughts, or "cognitions," that cause depression, as well as the self-defeating behavior patterns that keep you stuck."1  
The best part is that it doesn't use medications (which have, at times, been known to bless you with side effects that make life just as uncomfortable as the problem you were trying to solve).

How often does this happen to us? We have negative thoughts passing through our head, we might even know they are false, yet our brains seem to believe them and it affects our bodies and moods accordingly. We start to stress, panic, or feel overwhelmed. 

Well I have a tried a simple exercise with the use of a Mood Log© & Worksheet attached with a Checklist of Cognitive Distortions ©.  These are basically two tools that will help you realize where you are going wrong, and replace those unhelpful negative thoughts and feelings with ones that are more positive and accurate. I really wish I had known about this so long ago, It has helped me so much that I just have to share it with all of you!

Following are an example worksheet to walk you through the simple process and a blank worksheet to fill out yourself.  The nice thing is that once you get used to these steps you won't need the worksheets anymore!  You will be thinking more positively as a natural reaction!  Please try it for yourself and see what comes of it!

Mood Log Example
Mood Log Worksheet

I am not the owner of the above Copyrighted materials.

1.Burns, D. (2007). When panic attacks. (p. 2). New York: Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group.