A strong marriage requires a foundation and unbreakable, sturdy support. We would like to think that love is all a marriage needs in order to be strong and last forever, but the truth is, love is just not enough. Building a marriage requires a foundation and then pillars. The pillars can only stand when it is deeply rooted in the foundation. The pillars are what gives the marriage support and keeps it balanced. Let’s look at the 4 pillars needed:
Pillar 1 Trust—trust doesn’t just mean being faithful to your partner, it also means trusting your partner’s decisions and judgement. This also doesn’t mean that your partner always knows what is right or what is best for the marriage. Trust in marriage means believing in his/her integrity, trusting your partner’s love for you and that they will seek to improve themselves for their own growth as well as the growth of the relationship. Conflicts are frequent and intense because of the lack of trust in the marriage. When you feel you cannot trust your partner to provide or that you cannot trust him/her with your vulnerability, you become agitated, fearful and uncertain about his/her love for you.
Pillar 2 Respect has so many layers and unfortunately respect does not always start during the foundation process which makes it very difficult when it needs to be a pillar. If your spouse doesn’t respect you during the dating phase of the relationship, he/she will certainly struggle with respecting you after marriage. Respect should be required. Respect should be noticed and should be spelled out and discussed in the very beginning. Your idea of respect may be very different from your spouses. Having the discussion early in the relationship sets the tone and roots the pillar so that it provides balance.
Pillar 3 Security—fear in a relationship comes from a lack of security and safety. Despite of what you think or have been told about your responsibility to your partner, you are responsible to providing a secure and safe emotional connection to your partner. What this means is that, games should not be tolerated or allowed, teasing and provoking your partner to jealously is cruel and initiates dis-trust. When you do not trust your partner to be around someone of the opposite sex, why? What has happened that has sparked the feelings of low security? When you do not feel secure with your partner when they are not around you, take inventory of what has happened in your relationship that is making you feel insecure.
Pillar 4 Attachment-emotional attachment is a problem in many relationships especially after being married several years. Emotional attachment means being there for your partner in an emotional way. Be present with them in whatever they are experiencing or have experienced in life. Couples will start to distant themselves when someone is not feeling heard, understood, or wanted. Stay connected by having “relationship talks”, discussing difficult subjects, and sitting with each other in their pain.
Families of all races, ethnicity and cultural backgrounds may experience some level of dysfunction or brokenness. Some families have a generational cycle of dysfunction and is not able to see that this is the way they are operating. Meaning, you may tend to parent the same way your parents did and not realize that your parents were not nurturing or supportive. Baby Boomers (years 1946 to 1964) did not have parenting education classes, they did not have parenting workshops and mental illness was certainly not discussed or explored. If someone was molested, most families did not even talk about it. If a teen girl was found to be pregnant, she was hidden until she had the baby and someone else raised the baby, so it didn’t bring shame on the family.
Let’s talk about the 3 steps to healing a family that has been broken by generational issues, family trauma or other problems. Let’s talk about putting an end to family dysfunction and start the process of healing.
Step 1--Acknowledge there is a family dysfunction and/or brokenness. Some families are good with sweeping issues under the rug and acting as though it doesn’t exist. How do you know your family is in a state of dysfunction? Start asking questions. Ask your children how they feel about being in the family. Ask them if they feel loved and supported. Ask them if they feel heard. Watch your family’s behavior when a crisis or an issue comes. If someone is raped or molested do the family come together and talk about and get help? If someone dies are family members allowed to cry and grieve or were, they told to “be strong”. If there is an alcoholic or drug addict in the family, is everyone try to cover and make excuses for his/her behavior?
Step 2--Deal with your own issues before bringing the family together. This is not as simple as it seems. You may be able to see the problem within your spouse and children but are you able to see any bias within yourself or unresolved pain and problems that are now being carried over to your interaction with your spouse and children? Go get healed from your hurts before trying to repair brokenness so your voice is without anger, pain, and resentment.
Step 3—Parents first. You as parents cannot begin the healing without being on the same page and healing each other. You first must learn forgiveness and demonstrate compassion for each other. Kids learn behaviors, they learn relationship dynamics from their parents, guardians and those that are around them. This doesn’t mean you will never have arguments, but you will have to show how to resolve and manage your conflict. This also does not mean that you will have to agree with everything each other say or do, but you will need to learn how to respect each other opinion and identity.
Step 4—Family healing can begin. You and your spouse are now at a place where you can pull the rest of the family together and begin the healing process. If you struggle with this area, go to family counseling. This is also another area your children will learn how to break-up dysfunction. When they see you seeking support for the family, they will feel more open about seeking their own help in the future.
There may be times that situations can appear so overwhelming that you may feel lifeless and paralyzed. There may be other times that the same situation can happen but you have a much more rooted confidence and faith in God that you are not shaken as bad. But why? Why does it appear that there are times when you can navigate through some issues better than others and they both may seem to be a lot to deal with?
You may consider yourself as a strong Christian because you are able to handle certain situations and then, suddenly, out of nowhere something happens that knocks you right off your feet. A storm that you never seen coming will hit your life and make you question your faith. Not only that, you start questioning your strength, your ability and skill as a parent and spouse.
The Warrior within is there, it has always been there. The smaller battles were preparing you for a more contentious combat. You were in a different place in your walk than you are now and the way you see issues and trauma is much different. There are times when you have to re-treat away and emotionally and spiritually prepare for the next battle. The warrior is within and the warrior knows how to fight. The warrior has been trained and is conditioned to go to battle and fight until they have been called off the battlefield. Sometimes in war soldiers may not know if they are winning or losing, all they know is to keep fighting. Stop looking at the situation to determine how you are doing and just fight until the enemy is slain. You may even feel like you cannot catch your breath as one battle end and another begins. Find your support, go back to the basics fasting, praying, reading, speaking, and declaring victory.
You have a warrior inside you. It was there before the foundation of the world. God knew the day would come when you would have to fight, and you would feel tired. But don’t stop. Your children need you. Your spouse needs you. Your family need you.
In working with teens, the one issue they share that is common is that they feel their parents don’t listen to them. Teens share that they want a relationship with their parents, but they feel so misunderstood. Teens feel like no one “gets” them and that their feelings are isolated and different from everyone else. The issue that parents mostly share is the feelings of being disrespected, unappreciated, and dismissed. I want to share 3 mistakes a parent makes with a defiant teen.
Don’t be shocked at what the teen says. We have all heard parents say the famous line “not my child” or “my child would never…”. But the truth of the matter is that a child is still a child and they can make some very impulsive decisions. Don’t forget, their brain is not fully developed and even though they may have made some pretty good decisions about other things, there may come a time when they just had to try weed for the first time or they really felt the pressure from peers and took a drink of alcohol. Just listen to what they are telling you and don’t show that shocked disapproving looks at whatever they tell you. That look tells them they are being judged; it tells them that you don’t love them any more or that they are not accepted. His/her perception is reality to them.
Punishing too soon. Most of us adults have been in situations where we’ve done something wrong as a child and were immediately punished. Think about the results you want to get from punishing your teen. You will also need to think about if their crime fits the punishment. Some parents make decisions out of anger, escalated emotions, and fear and then later must adjust the punishment or remove it all together. You and your spouse will need to come together and talk about what types of punishments you will use and for what type of situations they will be used.
Not listening. Most parents will say, “I heard you” but are they really listening? Did you hear what your teen is not saying? Adults have a difficult time being expressive and identifying specific emotions which makes it 10 times harder for a teen to do the same. They may not be able to share with you that they feel confused, numb, hopeless or frustrated so it may come out in their behavior. Remember hormones are all over the place, they are embraced by other confused teens and they are trying to make sense of life. Find out if they want you to respond, listen or help them. Don’t assume they want you to fix their problems, don’t assume they feel listened to. Ask them what they need when they sit down to talk to you.
There may be a good reason why your teen is defiant, and it would help them and you to get them the support they need. Just because life is good for you don’t mean life is good for them.
Becoming a spiritual warrior is much like being a military warrior with a different focus and a different type of enemy. Every individual has their need for becoming a warrior, rather it is for their own peace of mind, their family, their church or a special group of people. This blog will focus on being a warrior for your family.
Be Relentless: A warrior must be relentless. They cannot give up in the middle of the battle. A warrior must fight when they don’t feel like it, when they are ill, when they have been wounded and even when it looks like there is no winning. Being relentless is more than the mindset of not giving up, it is the mind that says I will make a difference in this situation.
Know your strategy: Going to war means winning is the only option. You cannot consider losing. A warrior must have a strategy, a plan or a playbook. You cannot fight the enemy if you don’t know what the enemy looks like, if you don’t know the moves of the enemy and how the enemy attacks. Your Bible is your playbook and it is there to give you specific instructions on how to prepare, how the enemy moves, what the enemy is known for and how to take the enemy down.
Plan for casualties: Whenever there is a fight or war you can count on pain, hurt or even death. There will be a loss of some sort. The loss can come in all forms such as being detached from friends or family, being rigid with fasting, and cutting off negative interactions. You may be the person hurting, not intentionally, or you may be the person being hurt.
Suite Up: Surely you do not think you can go to war without being properly dressed. Your enemy is not who you think it is, which means you cannot dress the way you normally dress. Ephesians 6:13 gives a description of how to dress; “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Your head is covered so you can think, see, hear and smell, your heart is shielded, your feet must be protected and ready to take you where you need to go.
Finally, as a warrior, know the Word of God. The Bible is your sword, it is your weapon. The Bible is quicker than any bullet, it will hit its target. The Bible is what you stand on. As a warrior, you will be lonely, and you need the Word to be a comfort. It gives you light when it is dark.
Always declare the victory , say it with your mouth, believe it in your heart, see it and walk in it!
One question I am asked by clients, family and friends, “How do you wait on God?”. It is not a hard question but there is a complex answer. When in a crisis, when feeling defeated and hopeless, when looking at the situation play out in front of you, how do you wait on God? What are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to feel?
I have asked this question so many times and have been sitting in anguish every time I have asked it. I needed so very badly for someone to just give me a simple answer, so I could do what I needed to get out of the feeling I was having.
When something is happening in your life and it generally affects someone that you are close to like a child, parent, spouse, or best friend; you typically have feelings and an emotional connection tied in. You have time invested in that person. The other variables that makes it a crisis is the hurt as an outcome that may come upon an individual, rather it is emotional, physical or spiritual. Some hurts are even deadly. But how? How do you wait on God?
Allowing tears to flow. But there is a specific type of tear. The tear of hope, belief, stillness, and vision. The tear of knowing things will be okay. The tear of knowing you are not able to move at the current time. The tear of endurance.
Building your spiritual immune system. Your tolerance for problems. You cannot possibly think you are going to go through life and not have any issues. “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” I Peter 4:12. Yes, some issues and crisis seem foreign and like they don’t belong in your family, but everyone is open game; don’t forget about Job.
Know your insurance is paid. I like to think that we as Christians have an assurance policy. The Blood of Jesus has us covered and it provides a protection that our eyes cannot see. Sometimes we forget because we become used to seeing things through a natural eye. The first thing people do when their house burn or have an automobile accident, grab their insurance policy to see what is covered. Grab your Bible and see what is covered, take God’s word back to him.
Speak life. This is not the time to start agreeing with the situation. This is not the time to say how much you want to give up or give in. This is the time to tell the individual or yourself that you will live. This is when you let greatness come off your tongue. Proverbs 18:1 “The tongue has the power of life and death…” The words that you say is what you’re are creating more of. We don’t realize that phrases like “I’m sick and tired” or “I can’t do this anymore” or “You are killing me”. This is the time to say, “God’s got this”, “This is a small thing for God”, “God is in control”.
My final answer is to Praise! No matter what you’re feeling, no matter what is happening, no matter how bad the issue continues to be, JUST PRAISE! Praise God in your dance. Praise in your prayer, in a song or even in your words. Whatever you do, don’t stop praising him. You need it, but God needs to see it in you more than anything. Your praise in the middle of a storm or crisis is what moves God. He is not moved by your feelings and emotions; but He is moved by your praise. It goes against nature. It is faith in action. Your praise lets God know that you are serious and that you believe in him.
When a wound is re-opened it usually means the original cut has never been healed. Some lacerations take longer to heal than others and the deeper the wound the more time it takes for it to heal. But why? Why is it necessary for a wound to heal? What is happening during the healing process? What would happen if the wound doesn’t heal?
I would like to share 3 reasons why you as a person need spiritual healing and how it is significant to a physical healing from a wound. When a flesh wound does not heal the three main issues preventing it is likely to be poor circulation, fluid build-up and/or an infection has developed. When you have been spiritually wounded and are not healing, the three main issues preventing it are hardening of heart, rejecting grace, or lack of knowledge about Christ and his power. There is not one scripture to justify why God would not heal someone. All the responsibility is on you, the receiver.
You do not want to sit in hurt and pain with spiritual wounds open. You do not want to feel anxiety, loneliness and unloved. But there is something that has brought you to this place. You may have felt like your life has ended or been destroyed, but now it’s time to understand why this healing needs to happen.
Transparency Transformation and Transcending are three of the most powerful words to describe the feeling of freedom and power. We will take a few minutes to talk about how these three forces can move you into a place you had never imagined.
The reason why I chose a Jellyfish as an image to write about transparency is because Jellyfish is translucent, you can see right through it. The fact that it packs a powerful life of energy and other great benefits makes it an even more powerful. Transparency is about being real, honest, and open with yourself first and then with others. There cannot be anything lurking around on the inside if you are truly transparent. You cannot have secrets or be afraid of telling on yourself and strive for accountability. Transparency is what lightens the load.
Wonder Woman is my favorite super hero growing up. She was a beautiful woman who had a mission to save and protect others. Transformation is more than a motivation speech for people who want wealth. Transformation is a process, it is a way of living and the transformational being is within you already, you just need to go through the process. Princess Diana did not have to go and learn how to be Wonder Woman, she was one in the same. It is time for you to identify how to begin the process of your transformation to bring out what is already there.
Transcending is a word we don’t hear every day, but it is the final stage of your transparency and transformation. Why go through the first two stages if you are not going to soar afterwards? To transcend is to thrive beyond imagination. It is to do what has never been done. Superman could not fly as Clark Kent, he had to transform first. Wonder Woman could not have the strength she had until she transformed. If you have been through a transformation and you are not transcending, we need to explore the missing pieces. To transcend is to create what you mind have yet to imagine.
Family conflict, balancing schedules, school meetings, disrespectful behavior and relationship disconnect are very apparent signs that your family may be in trouble. But how do you stop the cycle? Where do you start? It seems there is never a good time because there is always something going on.
4 Strategies for Building Family Connections
Start meeting with each child one-on-one. Showing them interest, ask about their friends. Do not criticize. Let them do all the talking and don’t give feedback. This is one way to start building trust with your child. Slowly begin to integrate what respect means to you and how you want to continue to have time together. Teens want to know that you are there emotionally.
Family meetings is a good way to get the whole family to participate in creating rules, share what they feel about certain issues and situations in the home and to help with problem solving. This is also a good time to delegate responsibilities and roles to the children. Ask, “Who wants to be in charge of making the family menu and creating a grocery list?” This is one way to reduce a task for you.
Routine and consistency! I am sure you have all heard this before, but it really works. When everyone knows what to expect, everyone is more prepared. Don’t overkill on the routine by having pizza at the same pizza place every Friday. But routine as in getting up the same time every day, going to bed the same time every night or an afterschool routine. Be consistent with your spouse around rules and boundaries.
“It takes a village..” is true. It really does take more than you. Be open to allowing people to assist with the children, such as mentors or neighbors. Allowing family and friends to help is another support. Talk with your spouse about ways people can help the family and agree that when someone you both agree on offers to help, you will let them. This does not mean that you are not capable of raising your children. But as they grow, there are certain personalities they may be drawn to, or specific interest they may have that others can help them develop.
As parents, be open to trying new activities until you find the right fit for your family. Your family is unique and you and your spouse will need to explore through attending parenting workshops, teen events, and other programs that motivate parent involvement.
Being a Transparent person is not as easy as it may sound. For some, it may have been their culture and religion while others may have lived a life of covering or wearing a mask due to the shame, embarrassment and hurt from others knowing their deep dark secret. There is a difference in being a transparent person versus the person who criticize themselves to take the pressure off from others doing it.
When you are hard on yourself or become your own worst critic, you really may have self-esteem issues and feel inadequate in your lifestyle or professional performance. When you become transparent you are real with the fact that you have flaws and will make mistakes and that you are okay with it. But if you have not considered it, here are 5 steps that can get you there.
Look within yourself: as you look deep within yourself, don’t try to measure up to someone else. There is only one being that you should be concerned with being in the image of and that is God. As you look within yourself, don’t look at the person you have been throughout life, that person is the one who got you to the point you are now.
Accept the struggle: the struggles we encounter in life is real and it deserves to be acknowledged as that. As humans we don’t always understand the impact of our decisions until we walk through it and then and only then do we process and make logic out of what has happened. Just don’t stay there, don’t allow yourself to dwell in that place. Gather the lessons and keep it moving.
Bury the shame: there is nothing good that can come from being shamed. It is not a feeling that God wants us to have and He demonstrated forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ. With shame is guilt, hiding, anger, resentment and so many other negative feelings. All these are designed to keep you weighted down.
Tell the story: the one step that will literally break you into being transparent is the ability to stop being silent. You can only release what’s being held inside you by getting it out. When you begin to talk about your issue, you are actually hearing it for the first time. It has moved from your mind and heart and has begun to regurgitate. You have also normalized your issue and start to realize that you are not the first to have this life experience and you certainly won’t be the last.
Connect: connecting with others who have been through similar situations will help you to see that you are not alone. The one behavior people have that increase depression is isolation. When you feel like you are alone in your issue, you begin to feel lonely and then you begin to separate yourself from others. Don’t kid yourself, there are people who may act as though they cannot relate to you but deep down inside they are wishing you can help them.