Showing posts from September, 2011

How Not to Shutdown in an Argument with Your Spouse

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

Have you ever experienced this? You are in the middle of explaining a problem to your spouse and instead of listening to what you are saying, they are picking apart the most ridiculously details. Frustrated, you try to answer and return back to the problem but they are so stuck on the wrong word you used or your tone of voice that you don’t even want to continue. So instead of having another argument, you decide to shut down and keep your comments to yourself.

Now you have another problem on top of the original problem and so it builds until you just want to explode. While there is nothing wrong with deciding not to argue about semantics, not voicing your opinion can breed resentment which turns into anger and eventually bitterness. So what can you do? Instead of replaying the argument over and over from your perspective, try to replay the argument as if you were a third party looking from the outside. Then evaluate the situation with these points in min…

Creating Positive Change in Spite of Crisis

By Dwight Bain

Change... it is a part of life that we don’t like to face. Oh we may speculate on what it would be like to live some where else, move to another house, take another job in another industry, move away from mom and dad, or marry our 'dream date'. We like to talk about the big changes that we may go through one day; but let's face it. Most people hate to go through a major change. I think we tend to avoid change like the plague; even though we know in our heads that God will ultimately use change to grow us into a stronger person through the process.

Some of the changes in life are predictable. Losing our first tooth, the independence that comes from a driver’s license, graduation, moving out on our own, and other expected stages of life. Some changes are not pleasant, but equally common. A new-born baby not sleeping well and the parents struggling to find the energy to cope with their new child's continual cries for comfort, siblings fighting with ea…

The Importance of Win-Win Arguments in Your Marriage Relationship

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

You are having that same argument about money again. One person believes the money needs to be spent and the other person believes the money should be saved. Sometimes the argument is spoken out loud and sometimes the argument is done silently, nonetheless the same argument is replayed over and over. If the spender gets their way then they are happy to have won this round, if the saver gets their way then they are happy to have won. In both cases the opposing spouse often feels like the loser of the argument desperately trying to figure out how to win the next round.

Everyone falls into this trap sometime; maybe the issue is manifested differently but the pattern is the same. The problem is not the issue per say, but rather the outcome. There are three possible outcomes to any argument: win-lose, lose-lose and win-win. However, in a marriage only two of the three outcomes are really possible.

Lose-Lose. In lose-lose outcomes, both spouses walk away fee…

Help for When You Feel Discouraged or Unsatisfied

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

Have you ever begun a project knowing that it was the right thing to do but everything seems to be working against you? Without even realizing it, discouragement overtakes you and what appears to be a good idea has now been put on the back burner. Maybe the discouragement came in the form of criticism by a loved one or in the form of diminished enthusiasm from co-workers or in the form of last minute emergencies that consume excessive amounts of time. Regardless of the source of discouragement, it is there and the once great project is no longer getting any of your attention.

There is a story in the Old Testament about a group of people who tried to rebuild the Temple after it was destroyed but got discouraged (book of Haggai). Several governmental officials went out of their way to prevent the rebuilding from happening and slow the efforts of the workers. The workers in turn got distracted with building their own houses, planting crops and tending to the …

How to Overcome the Need to Please Others

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

Do you get enjoyment out of anticipating someone’s need which you think will make them happy and then investing time meeting that need without being asked? Do you often feel drained of your energy but keep working anyway because they need you to help? Do you spend countless moments replaying conversations and rehearsing new ones trying desperately to figure out what someone else wants? If so, you may have an unhealthy need to please others.

There is a difference between a healthy need to please others and an unhealthy need to please others. A healthy need is not dependant on a particular response. For instance, if you clean the garage because you know it will be helpful to the family but are not expecting any help or compliments in response, then you have a healthy need to please others. On the other hand, if while you are cleaning the garage you are thinking about how your teenage son should be helping you and looking forward to your wife praising your w…

Ten Years After the Terrorists

Reflections on God’s protection and provision

By Dwight Bain

“Where were you when you heard about the terrorist attacks?” Ask any American above the age of 15 and they will get a sad look in their eyes and tell you exactly what they were doing ten years ago. We remember any major crisis and the attacks on 9/11 were the deadliest in our nation’s history. What we remember about that day can make us stronger because we are filled with overwhelming gratitude or it can crush us because of unresolved grief, guilt or trauma.

Reflections only show a picture of the way things are in a given moment of time. When you look into a mirror or see your face reflected back from the still water of a pond you aren’t seeing the real thing, it’s just a mirror image of the real thing. Memories are like that and memories are a gift from God when we have worked through the grief, or memories can bring back a lot of pain.

News anchor Ted Koppel said on the day of the attacks, “Nothing will ever be the same agai…

Biblical Strategies to Let Go of Loneliness

By Dwight Bain

The Bible has a great deal to say about the subject of loneliness, which is one of the most common, and painful emotions that 1 in every 4 Americans experience. Here are a number of strategies to help you, or someone you care about. No matter how lonely you feel, never forget God loves you and when you reach out to Him you will never be alone.

1. Reach out to others
For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. Romans 14:7

2. Let go of disappointment
See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15

3. Find other lonely people to connect with, since lonely people are everywhere
I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 2 Timothy 1:3-4

4. Take strategic action to reach out to others
(texts, instant messages, letters, calls, visits, meals, committees, etc)

Then Jesus said to his host, “W…

Marriage Counseling: Cheap Date Nights

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

There is a conversation between Harry and Jess who are married male friends in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” during a football game in which one of them says to the other, “I got married so I could stop dating”. Too often we are under the same assumption that once you are married you do not need to date your spouse. After all, dating is work and it requires your time, energy, focus, money, a fun plan and a good attitude. And when you are married, you already know the good, the bad and the ugly so why go through all that effort?

Why? Because your spouse deserves to see the best of you and to see the person they fell in love with in the beginning. This is what helps to keep a marriage interesting and adds spice to your relationship. However one of the biggest objections to dating your spouse again especially in this economy is the cost. So to help your relationship out, here are some favorite cheap date nights.

Matinee movies – Who said your date neede…

“Show Me the Car Facts: Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Drive”

By Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC, CSOTS

It’s that time. Yes, THAT time. The moment you have dreaded for years. It is time to teach your teenager how to drive. It is the time for you to step into two tons of glass, steel and plastic and hand the keys to someone who, fairly recently, needed you to tie their shoelaces for them. It is the time for digging your fingers into the car door, pushing a brake pedal that is not there, and using a paper bag to cope with hyperventilating.

Yet someone, somewhere made up a rule that said a person with out-of-control hormones, a still-developing brain, and very poor impulse control should have the privilege of driving.

All kidding aside, teaching teenagers the art of driving can be very anxiety-provoking for many parents. Because of this, learning to drive can also be very anxiety-provoking for many teens as well. That’s not so good because the last person I want to be on the road with is one who lacks confidence and has the anxiety levels of a f…