By John Thurman
I shot this image a little over a year ago at a Living Free Service at Sagebrush Community Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Pastor Rick Bosh had just finished a message and he invited all of those who were attending to some write down some places where they were stuck? It was a powerful time, there was silence in a room for around 800 people with only the occasion sniffle of sadness or joy or the sharp and loud slaps of a man hug.
Do you ever feel stuck? Do some of your old thinking styles trip your up? Reviving your mind is tough work, but it leads to great rewards.
As we look at these styles, let’s review where some of our struggles originate.
What we believe is partially determined by the programming we absorb from our early childhood to the present. Our parents, siblings, peers, teachers, faith group, significant others, books, TV, and so on, all contribute to our perceptions about the world and ourselves. As mentioned in the introduction, there are two basic mindsets people deal with the “fixed mindset” and the “growth mindset.”
If a person is in a fixed mindset and something bad or negative occurs, the following things happen. He or she tends to think:
· It is personal (it is all my fault)
· It is permanent (it cannot be changed)
· It is pervasive (it will affect everything)
In Genesis chapters 11-25, one of the best-known couples in the Bible, Abraham and Sarah, serve as reminders of what happens when we presume to know God’s plans, and the plans of others. This couple often strayed from God’s will. Early on they gave into fear, dishonesty, and manipulation as they dealt with others. At times, they wrongly presumed to know God’s mind and plans before He had revealed them and then foolishly attempted to assist Him.
The good news is, over time Abraham, and Sarah got the lesson. They learned that a fresh start is always possible. They also learned that the fulfillment of God’s promises does not depend upon our performance, but rather on His grace. Finally, they learned it is dangerous to try to read God’s mind and to move ahead without first seeking His direction.
This mind-reading trap assumes that you know what the other person is thinking or expecting, or that you expect another person to understand fully what you are thinking.
Mind reading often happens when we know or think we know the other persons well. After forty years of being married to my wife, she is learned she cannot always read my mind.
The way to avoid the trap of assuming you know what another person is thinking is to ask questions. Getting answers is the easiest way to see if what you are thinking matches what the other person is thinking. It takes courage, but it can work.
Here are a few questions to ask:
· Did I express myself?
· Did I ask for information and clarification?
· Am I sure the other person is not holding anything back in fear of my reaction?
Feel free to leave a comment.
(c) 2014 John Thurman
Want a happy wife?
I have been a married man for over 42 years and after all that time, I still do not pretend that I understand how complex my wife is. While there are several excellent books on the topic, I will mention three that will give guys some tools to help make their wives and girlfriends happier.
At the risk of failing to sounding simplistic, I think we guys do a better job in our relationship if we treat them more like a job. A left brain, task oriented, outcomes based approach.
Here we go.
First-Make Marriage Your Job - Here is the Job Description
If building your marriage is your job, what are the expectations for the company?
To Love, Honor, and Respect Her.
From these core values based in the Word and the vows that most of us shared in our weddings come all things good in a marriage.
To Be Sexually and Emotionally Faithful.
No one issue better defines marriage than the promise of sexual fidelity, and I believe that all men know this.
To Listen Without Being Judgmental.
Since 95 percent of all Nobel prizes go to men, you’ve got to believe that men know how to solve problems. The problem is that your wife may not need you to solve her problems; sometimes she just needs to know that you are there by her side.
To Support and Nurture Her Ambitions in and Outside the Home.
Roles are changing, and that is not a bad thing. More men than women work outside the home, but due, in part to the economy, more and more women are either entering or re-entering the workplace or are starting home-based businesses. As your children grow and, opportunities open up for your wife to pursue her pen dreams, will you be there to support her.
Thank you to Scott Haltzman, M.D., and his excellent ideas from The Secrets of Happily Married Men. This article is adapted from that resource. Another couple of resources I like is For Men Only and For Women Only by Shauti & Jeff Feldhahn
Marriage and serious relationships are some of the toughest endeavors that any two humans can engage. When a couple begins their journey they are fueled with hopes and dreams, but within the first year those hopes can sometime lead to despair and dreams to nightmares.. Here are six hot tips that can keep you moving forward.
Tip One – Watch out for Anger
Anger, hurt, frustration, and disappointment can stifle a relationship. Here are three things couple can do to lower anger, frustration.
1. Don’t let you negative feeling grow with interest. Express your hurt, fear or frustration as soon as you are aware of it.
2. If you decide to tell your spouse be sure to share in the language style of your partner.If they are brief in their communication (a condenser) in their style, keep it brief.
3. Don’t give ultimatums during your talks. Even if one is to be given, this is not the time of the time or the place, and it reflects control or power struggle. Rarely does it work.
Tip Two – Four Ways to Get Closer to Your Partner
1. Forgive each other for something that you’ve held on to.
2. Give up one habit that drives your partner bonkers.
3 Be generous and grateful.
4. Have Fun Together.
Tip Three – 7 Things Women and Men can do for each other.
1. See each other as allies, not enemies.
2. Appreciate each other’s power without being threatened with it.
3. Value and nurture each other.
4. Stop seeing each other as stereotypes.
5. Celebrate the differences and enjoy the commonalities.
6. Realize everybody had wounds.
7. Be there for each other.
Tip Four – Hints for a fun Special Days
1. Devote 100% of yourself to each other on those special days.
2. Rent a Honeymoon Suite at a local hotel for things like anniversaries, birthdays and Valentine.
3. Take a day off from work and enjoy each other.
4. Buy some cards or postcards and flood your spouse with them.
5. Bake or buy some heart shaped cookies.
Guys, flowers and chocolate can really help.
Girls, when he comes home from work on those special days greet him wearing something red or black like ribbons in your hair.
Tip Five - FOR GUYS – If your marriage seems a little dull, perhaps it’s you! Maybe you’re stuck in your routine. Maybe you’re too predictable. Shock you wife! Be unusually creative and totally unpredictable.
John is a Licensed Professional Counselor, with over thirty-five years of counseling experience. He has also been married to his first wife for 42 years. If you need help getting your relationship back on tract contact him today. John provides traditional counseling in an office setting as well as over the phone, and through SKYPE or FACETIME.
© 2014 John Thurman
Sex Begins in the Kitchen is a fun and informative book that my friend Dr. Kevin Leman wrote several years ago. His second book on marital intimacy is called Sheet Music. Both of which are still in print. I encourage couples to add these books to their reading list. Kevin has an uncanny ability to communicate in a clear and fun way about crucial things. Years ago he and I shared the microphone on national radio show called Parent Talk. It seemed that whenever he and I were on the show the topic of sexuality came up.
I mention that because physical intimacy consistently stays in the “Top 5,” concerns of marital conflict.
As you and I continue to move through Shades of Love, I want to give you some tips that will improve physical intimacy. "Quantity" is the most frequent complaint that counselors hear. Unfortunately, couples often define their physical relationship in terms of "the count." How often do we have it? How many times did one or the other reach orgasm? How much foreplay was there? How long did it last?"
It's sad that we haven taken the beauty of lovemaking and reduced it to numbers. Some couples make it worse by attempting to negotiate the numbers, comparing their numbers with the "average couple," whatever that is, or agreeing to trade physical intimacy for help with cleaning the dishes.
Here are some proven tips to improve your intimacy:
1. Add some variety to your lovemaking. Some of us are too restrictive. Change the locations, times of day, or the lighting. Try some candles, new perfumes, or aftershaves. Put on some different music.
2. Vary your routine. I did a Google™ search on, "how many ways you can cook a potato", and the search came up with thirteen different ways. Amazing! If you can cook a potato that many different ways, you can be equally creative in finding ways to share physical intimacy with your partner. A nice full body massage is nice. And don't forget the shower.
3. Communicate more openly. Don't let intimacy become a guessing game. Two physically different individuals with unique personalities, life histories, backgrounds, preferences, and hangs ups must learn to talk openly about intimacy. Be careful about making assumptions. It is fine to have these conversations because communication will directly impact physical intimacy.
4. Increase the desire for physical intimacy. One of the easiest ways to enhance your passion towards your partner is to let your mind wander over pleasurable thoughts about them throughout the day.
Three tips for guys:
•Sex must become something you give to your wife and not something you take.
•You will improve your physical intimacy dramatically if you learn to give first to your wife emotionally.
•Increase your nonsexual touching. This means hugs, holding hands.
Have fun and be safe as you discover new ways to Cultivate Romance.
Want to read a great article about Marriage from a GenXer? follow this link to Relevant Magazine
You can also listen to a 29 min and 55 sec talk I did on Marriage - here is the link
I would love to hear some of your thoughts and ideas about cultivating the romance. Feel free to post your comments.
What is intimacy? One definition of intimacy is that it is an act of a familiar expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, and love.
I believe as a culture we have lost some of the important components of intimacy by limiting it to just a physical response.
There has been some breakthrough research that shows which there are at least five different areas of intimacy! Take a moment and grade yourself in each area, and then ask you partner to do the same.
The first is intellectual intimacy. On this level couples are able to talk about current events, share ideas and thoughts, even debate political and religious topics. They are able to participate jointly in the exchange of thoughts and ideas.
The second area of intimacy is recreational intimacy. This means that there are some recreational activities that a couple enjoys together. It does not mean that they do everything together.
The third area of intimacy is social intimacy. After decades of marriage, my wife and I realized that its completely okay for her to have her friends and me to have my friends as long as we share some "we" friends. Couple friendships can be a bonus to the relationship by being a sounding board, providing feedback, and accountability.
Spiritual intimacy is the fourth level of growing deeper together as a couple. While this area of intimacy is the most subjective, due to the various religious backgrounds & practices a couple may have, it is still a crucial component. In my opinion, one of the most important because a growing relationship is at its core spiritual in nature. Spiritual intimacy is also an important factor when and if children become a part of the family.
The fifth and final level of intimacy is physical intimacy. Sexual expression is part of our hard wiring and can be both exhilarating and invigorating for a couple, in the right context. In recent years, a major focus has been primarily on physical intimacy. We have reduced physical intimacy into a series of positions and practices based more on applied physics than on building relationships.
Could it be that one of the reasons we see so many relationships falling apart is that we have failed to understand that intimacy works on several levels? If a relationship is based primarily on sexual expression, it is doomed to fail in the long run. However, if a couple can grow in their understanding of these different levels of intimacy their relationship will experience growth in all areas. As you grow in these other areas then, sexual expression within your relationship will become more intense and meaningful. This is because it is based on getting to know your partner and being known by them.
So how can you have a better sex life? Be mindful of the five levels of intimacy and how interconnected they are.
I'd love to hear your opinion. What are some ways that you have increased intimacy in your relationship?
This list is adapted from my workshop: Get a Grip on Your Relationship, a half-day or whole day workshop for churches, ministr
John is a Counselor, Author, Speaker and Photographer that helps people "Get a Grip on Life."