Who’s more complicated?

So many couples who are experiencing relationship problems seem to need an interpreter. In fact, what I mostly do during a couple’s counseling session is to to translate “what he just said” into words that she can understand, and then translate “what she just said” into words that he can understand.

So on the surface, it seems like poor communication is the problem. But like so many other things in life, there’s more to it than that.

In other words, the lack of connection and understanding run deeper than mere word-choice. There are some fundamental biological and social differences that lead to very different world views — a situation that’s not easily resolved, especially when it prevents us from even trying to understand.

At the root, we find the commonly held belief that “men are simple,” and “women are complicated.” I hear that a lot, so much so that it seems to be universally accepted as an immutable fact of life — one that gets in the way of any hope for a better connection. Internet author Grantley Morris puts it this way:

There seems a common belief that women are more complicated than men. This belief has perhaps contributed to more marriage problems than any other belief. Men generally conclude from it that women are so hard to understand that there’s no point in even trying to understand them. (Women who try to maintain an aura of mystery may be doing so to their own hurt.) And women tend to assume that men are so easy to understand that there is no need to even try to understand them better. So when it comes to better understanding the opposite sex, it’s often the case that men feel defeated before they start and women barely see a need to start.

For more insight into the emotional world of men and women, order your copy of Ephesians 5 Romance here.

Happy Couples

In every relationship, partners continually make “bids” for one another’s attention, closeness, and reassurance through comments, questions, and gestures.

In successful marriages, spouses respond positively to these bids *86% of the time. That means you could totally miss 14% of the opportunities presented and still be pretty happy! How cool is that?

  • Through their words and/or their actions, they invite more connection.
  • That is, they communicate (with or without words):
    • “You matter to me.”
    • “I want to connect with you, too.”

In fact, successful couples make at least 20 (yes, twenty) positive remarks for every 1 (one) negative remark! If you do the math, that means 95% of their words are positive. Who saw that coming?

A tender answer turns away rage,
    but a prickly reply spikes anger. PROVERBS 15:1

To respond to a matter before you hear about it
    shows foolishness and brings shame. PROVERBS 18:13

The Knight in Shining Armor

Don’t you just love Medieval Stories? Stories about the Knight in Shining Armor who comes to the aid of the Damsel in Distress. We forget he’s wearing a lot of heavy gear to protect himself.

Sometimes, once he’s broken through the castle walls, rescued his Fair Maiden, and settled down to a life without Fire-Breathing Dragons, he still fails to take off his armor.

Like the men in Days of Old, today’s guys often have good reasons to leave that armor on, not only at the office, but at home as well.

For example, does your Knight give you “the silent treatment”? Believe it or not, that’s a frequently used piece of “armor.”

He’s not quiet because he doesn’t care,
but because he needs to shut out something painful.

And are you’re wondering what’s so “painful” about  “simple conversation” with his mate? Get the details in the FREE Book: Why Won’t He Talk to Me? The Simple Truth About Men and Intimate Communication.

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Where is your victory today?

Joshua listened to The Lord. He learned how to listen for His Voice as he served under Moses. And he also learned obedience. So after Moses died, Joshua became their leader with a Really Big Promise from The Lord.

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. JOSHUA 1:5-6

First, while serving as Moses’ aide, Joshua learned to occupy his own inner territory fully and bring it under obedience to the will of God. Then he was able to take New Territory. The Land The Lord had promised the Israelites.

What does Joshua’s story mean for you?

You can never be taken from The Father. But there is someone who has been working steadily to make sure you’re totally ineffective in The Kingdom. It’s time we put a stop to his lies. How?

  • First, occupy what you have. Fill it with goodness and excellence.
  • Then pray about New Territory. Watch for open doors. There will be many.

Want to learn more? Join me for Invincible.
June 10. 9am-12pm. Vanguard University.
Register here.

To forgive? Or not to forgive?

heavenly romance

At one time or another, we hurt the ones we love – whether we mean to or not. Sometimes we’re just being selfish – totally self-absorbed, and we don’t even realize the level of pain our actions will cause for our spouses. Whatever the reason, it simply shouldn’t happen – in a perfect world.

But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a fallen world. And we all need forgiveness. And as Christians, we are required to forgive one another. Jesus said so.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” ~ Matthew 6:14-15

Even so, we all have the ability – and tendency – to harbor resentment.
It’s the human way – that is, it’s our natural bent.
We want to punish the one who hurt us.
Get even.

[callout]Yes, you can decide NOT to forgive.
It’s completely your choice.[/callout]

And it’s the easier route.
Or is it?