Monday, April 30, 2012

Relevant Children's Ministry: Embrace Brevity

Relevant Children's Ministry: Embrace Brevity"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one word will do."  -Thomas Jefferson

Embrace brevity... Keep It Short S ... Servant of God!  Such a necessary reminder for those of us in Ministry.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Marriage: 4 Negative Patterns that Lead to Divorce

Today was an unusual day.  I found myself sitting at home recovering, and watching the TV.  First the Cubs game and then I found Anderson.  Anderson Cooper's newish show. He started the show out with these words, "It's an important show... one that just might save your relationship. Do you fight fair or are your fights going to destroy your relationship?"

Anderson welcomed Dr. John Gottman, Co-Founder of The Gottman Institute, and the nation's foremost researcher on marriage and relationships. Gottman says he can predict with 94% accuracy whether a marriage will end in divorce. He told us that how someone fights makes a huge difference. For instance, do you roll your eyes, show contempt or constantly nag? Nagging is as toxic as adultery to a marriage.

Cameras were allowed to follow one couple into their home for a week to observe every interaction and every argument. As we watched, we were able to see and learn from the way they fought, and find out the right way to argue to keep your relationship from falling apart.

Dr. John Gottman, discussed the four negative patterns that often sound familiar to fighting couples. Dr. Gottman  told Anderson that these four elements predict divorce, and called it "the four horsemen of the apocalypse."
1. Criticism: Gottman says criticism is "really a way of fueling the attack, so you state your complaint as an attack on the other person." He noted, "It's not constructive, it winds up leading to an escalation of the conflict."
2. Contempt: "Not only is contempt the best predictor of divorce, because it's really this air of superiority. You need respect in a relationship."

3. Defensiveness: Gottman explains people need to take responsibility for the problem, and can say to the other person, "What's your point? I mean, it makes some sense what you're saying. Tell me more.'" Dr. Gottman points out that defensiveness gets in the way of two people working as a team to figure out a solution.

4. Stonewalling is also known as the silent treatment. Gottman said, "The stonewaller is really trying to calm down and not make it worse, but when you're faced with somebody who's silent like that, you escalate. So, it's a very disruptive pattern."

I found this to be very interesting, helpful and a great reminder that I can never stop working and developing my skills as a husband so that my marriage is strong and stable because divorce is not an option in our marriage.  At the end of Dr. Gottman's segment, he issued a homework challenge for couples.  Take a moment or a create Date Night to recall the history of your relationship by answering the questions in Dr. Gottman's quiz. He advises needing a few hours of uninterrupted time to complete the exercise.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.  (Ephesians 5:22-33 ESV)