Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How To Be a Great Dad

I was walking through the mall and noticed a man with a young boy .  His t-shirt caught my attention: “My #1 job is to be a great dad!”  At first I thought, “That’s a fantastic desire!”   But then I started thinking, “Is this really what a man’s number one job should be?” 

First, I thought about it in conjunction with Scripture.  The first thing God did with people in the garden was to have a wedding.  Then we don’t really see anything about parenting until we get to Cain and Abel.  That was a mess! Then came Noah--that too did not have the best of outcomes as far as a parent-child relationship is concerned.  How about King David and his progeny?   We can go on and on about so many examples of parent-child relationship run-a-muck.  Why?  Because the parent-child relationship is not the core of the family; it is the husband-wife relationship that is of the utmost importance.

In fact, the demise of a family is often when one or the other parent walls off in the marriage relationship in order to focus on parenting.

Study after study makes it clear that children are better off with a mother and a father in a marriage relationship.  Please take note of the following statement:  Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to be physically or sexually abused, less likely to use drugs or alcohol and to commit delinquent behaviors, have a decreased risk of divorcing when they get married, are less likely to become pregnant/impregnate someone as a teenager, and are less likely to be raised in poverty. ("Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences," Bradford Wilcox, Institute for American Values.)

So, if the dad in the t-shirt really wanted to be the “best dad” his shirt should have said, “My goal is to be a great dad, so I will commit to love my wife and his mother as my number one priority!”  OK, that is a bit wordy, but I believe you get the idea.  In fact, maybe you can come up with better wording!  Share your ideas on our Facebook page—we would love to see them!

Here’s to happy parenting through better marriages!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Marriage Fights--A Truce is Not Resolution

Do you remember your first real fight as a married couple?  I’ve heard of some couples that it occurred as they drove away from the church and others that it took months.  Did voices rise?  Doors slam?  Utter silence?  Did plates sail through the air?  What was it about?  One couple said their first fight was over whether or not it was acceptable to talk during a movie they were watching at home.  Another’s first blow out was over him forgetting his vows and laughing during the ceremony.  And let’s not get into the number of first fights initiated because of mothers-in-law.

The real question, though, is did you know how to handle it?  Conflict occurs in marriage.  A great counselor, Gary Rosberg, said, “If you have two people who have a pulse in the same room eventually it is not if you are going to have conflict, it is when are you going to have conflict.”  It occurs in your marriage, my marriage, and every other marriage that’s ever been, but the question remains:  Do you know how to resolve it correctly?

Too many couples only want to have a cessation of hostilities not necessarily the resolution of the issue.  Simply stopping a fight will only give a truce not a solution.  If one of you wins the fight, you both lose.  Marriage based on winning fights destroys the foundation of the relationship.  The becoming one flesh concept we discover in Genesis 2:24 is lost when one wins, because they are no longer one but two—a winner and a loser.  Winning cannot be the motivation in disputes; resolving must be the goal.

Unfortunately, most couples have no idea how to resolve an issue.  Some of us had poor examples.  Maybe your parents simply divorced rather than coming to resolution, maybe you witnessed abuse as a result of unresolved anger issues, or maybe it was simply always resolved behind closed doors and thus you never saw how to resolve it.

At Marriage in the Raw we have a seminar entitled, Better Communication = Greater Intimacy. (click here to find out more)  In this seminar we give a plan to resolve conflict.  If you would like to host a seminar, please contact us by clicking here.  We will get in touch with you and make this a reality.  If you are in trouble in your marriage, we can work with you as an individual couple in an intensive (click here) or, if you are close to Little Rock, we can meet with you weekly to get your relationship back on track.

What ever you do, don’t put this off.  If your relationship is suffering, the longer you wait the more entrenched the conflict becomes.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Do You Believe in Magic?

Magic?  Do you believe in it when it comes to an enduring relationship?  We do!

After working with hundreds of marriages, we are firm believers that couples need to spend a lifetime learning, applying, relearning, applying, day after day, year after year.  That’s why we do what we do!  But we also believe in an intangible thing we’ll refer to as “magic.”

One of our favorite teachers once said when teaching about marriage that it starts with a spark…no, we’re not talking about lust here!  We’re talking about butterflies in the stomach, feeling a need to get to know this person better, catching his eye across the room, noticing she likes Mexican food as much as you do, your heart skipping a beat when she enters the room.  That’s the magic!

Sometimes we hear the statements:  What does she see in him?  They sure are an odd couple!  I never pictured a guy like him with a girl like her.

I (Paula) remember my best friend confronting me when I was thinking about dating Kevin again after he had broken my heart two times already:  I can’t believe you are willing to even consider dating him again!!  What could I say…there was just something about this young man!  From the first time I set eyes on him I thought he was THE ONE.

So, when you look at the differences (age, race, background, personality type) and doubt the relationship’s viability, consider learning more about that person and how to communicate with and understand them.  That’s why we always help couples understand their differences (temperaments, background, conflict resolution styles, etc.)

Because sometimes, it’s the intangibles, the “magic” that makes an enduring relationship.  One woman (married over 50 years) put it this way:  I don’t know how to explain it, but there’s something about my husband.  Music always sounds better, sweeter, when we’re together.  Her husband agreed:  When she’s around, food is tastier, sunsets are more beautiful…everything is just plain better.

That is why we believe in the magic of “happier ever after”…  When we seek to understand that other person and to be understood by them (learning about them, sharing our hopes and dreams and disappointments with them, working on that day after day), we believe that spark that started it all can be fanned instead of snuffed out over time.  And that’s magic!!