Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Digging in to Gratitude

GratitudeThis time of year we are bombarded with messages about gratitude. Thanksgiving reminds us to literally “give thanks” for the blessings we enjoy. But I wonder how many of us really “dig in” and go beyond a quick list of people, possessions and experiences we have in our lives.

How much more grateful would you feel if you went deeper into your list? Here’s an exercise to try:

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Are You “Spooked” About Getting Married? (Maybe you should be!)

Spooked about marriageFor most people, getting married and establishing a life with that special someone is one of our greatest desires. And it’s not surprising, considering that we are social beings with a need for secure attachment. Being securely attached to someone in a committed relationship is a vital source of stability, safety and contentment – or at least that’s what we want!

Unfortunately, we can be blinded by those desires and overlook some important red flags. I recently created this list that will help you understand when you should get “spooked” about getting married and slow down… or even run!

Before You Say, “I Do”… Consider These Cautions

Marriage, in its original design, is a sacred commitment that promises fulfillment, stability, partnership and purpose. But it only works well if it is based on a firm foundation. Be very cautious, or avoid the altar altogether if…

1. Your partner doesn’t share your strongly held faith and spiritual beliefs.
2. You have a high conflict relationship and issues rarely get resolved.
3. You feel compelled to rescue or fix your partner and you believe marriage will change them for the better.
4. You are afraid that no one else will ever love you or that you are getting too old to have better options.
5. You want to escape your current living arrangements.
6. Your primary motivation is to have children.
7. You want a father or mother for your child.
8. You want to “make it right in God’s eyes” because you’ve been sexually intimate.
9. Your only real connection is that you became pregnant together.
10. Your primary motivation is financial security.
11. Your family and friends are not supportive of your relationship.
12. You are in a relationship that began as an affair.
13. Your partner has a history

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Peace on Earth Begins at Home

PeaceFor many families Winter brings the biggest holiday celebrations of the year, with relatives making it a priority to come together even if they have to travel from all over the country. Our own branch of the family tree is growing as our children marry and have children, and I can’t think of anyone I would rather spend time with on a special holiday than my extended family! I love to anticipate laughing, eating, playing games and opening gifts together.

Between holidays, birthdays, weddings, and funerals, there may be many times your family gathers together, and maybe you eagerly look forward it the same way I do – unless your happy holiday bubble bursts because conflict arises between your loved ones. I hear often about the heartache people feel when Christmas or another important occasion is tainted with strained relationships or bad behavior by one or more family members. Somehow, a feud or a bad attitude seems magnified during the season of hope and joy. So, how do you try to restore peace for your special day? Here are some ideas:

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Do You Struggle with Difficult People?

Difficult people are everywhere. You can find them at work, in your neighborhood, at the local store, in government offices, in customer services and even in your own home. Now, to be honest, we can all be difficult at times, but today I’m talking about what I refer to as chronically difficult people – the people whose behavior is often obnoxious, rude, aggressive and just plain frustrating. In other words, their behavior is predictable… predictably difficult!

Difficult People

Difficult people come in a variety of styles with behavior patterns that fit some classic categories. The Tanks bully their way through every situation, steamrolling anyone who stands in their way without considering how others feel. The Exploders use “shock and awe” to get their way by blowing up so others learn to tiptoe around them or give in to prevent an angry outburst. The Know-it-All has to answer every comment and conversation with information designed to make themselves look better. The Super-Agreeable Charmers are those people who are the first to volunteer and make commitments, and then often don’t deliver (because nobody could keep as many promises as they make) which leaves everyone else stuck with more responsibility or unmet expectations. The Clams use silence as a powerful weapon to control people who are trying to gain consensus or move forward with ideas. The Indecisives can stymie negotiations and progress with their wavering and worry. The Wet Blankets can suck the fun out of anything with their negative attitudes and complaining. The Snipers wield a double-edged sword of appearing to agree and support, while secretly sabotaging and demeaning.

Friday, January 22, 2016

What Difference Will Your Life Make?

Make a DifferenceThe entertainment industry has been shaken recently with the well-publicized deaths of musician/actor David Bowie, Eagles’ founder Glenn Frey, and actor Alan Rickman, who played Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. Each one has had a major impact on popular culture through their individual art forms, but none of them lived past the 70-year mark. By today’s standards, that’s not very old. The death of a high-profile person is a reminder that no one is exempt – there is a day coming for each of us that will be our last, and that makes us think deeply about life. What is important? What difference will I make? What will I be remembered for?

Here are some principles to help you think about how your life can make a difference in this world:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday of the year.  I have very fond memories of the many special gatherings my family has celebrated together.  Playing and watching football, catching up on the latest news, and eating until we practically pass out continues to be a part of our family’s Thanksgiving tradition.  As is the case for many families, it has also been our tradition to acknowledge the many blessings we experienced throughout the year.

Pausing to reflect on the things and people you are thankful for at Thanksgiving is a great practice, but it’s important to remember how valuable it is to engage in this exercise on a daily basis. When you consistently make space in your life to regularly pause and express gratitude it promotes an attitude of appreciation, optimism and hopefulness.

The truth is, we too often take for granted the things and people that help to bring happiness and joy into our lives.  To understand this reality of life you need only to talk to someone who is going through a financial crisis, poor health, the death of a loved one or some other painful life circumstance. When you possess an attitude of thankfulness you are much more resilient to the negative effects of life’s inevitable hardships.

As I reflect on what I’m thankful for this year I have a very long list, but here are just a few:

I’m very thankful that I’m married to a wonderful woman who has always given far more than she receives and for the wonderful parents who raised her. I’m thankful for my new daughter-in-law and my son’s opportunity to begin a career that has been his life-long dream.  I’m thankful for my first grandchild my daughter and son-in-law will be welcoming into the world in just a few

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How to Sabotage Your Relationships

Send mixed signals – What a great way to get off to a bad start in a relationship! If you want people to be confused and angry, be sure to keep them guessing about what you are thinking or what you really mean.  It can also drive people crazy if you’re unwilling to express your honest opinion, or if you make them wonder if you’re telling the truth.  Mixed signals will keep others off guard and frustrated.

Sabotage your relationships

Assume the worst – Convince yourself that the friend who let you down did it on purpose; don’t even consider the possibility that it was an honest mistake or simple misunderstanding.  If something doesn’t go your way, you can effectively sabotage your relationship if you begin by assuming that it’s never going to be okay, and then respond accordingly. Rehearse the belief that you have to look out for Number One because others are out to get you.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What Makes a Great Dad?

In my blog earlier this week I discussed the importance of the father’s role in the lives of his children, but what does that mean to you in practical terms? Really, the question is, “What does it take to be a great dad?” Based on my work with hundreds of couples and families, I have found that great dads consistently practice five key principles.

Little Girl Helping Father with His Tie

Raising children is a little bit like building a home. I’m not an expert in construction, but I know that if you want to build a quality home, you need to pay close attention to the details – just as a father seeking to raise “quality” kids will find it helpful to keep these five key principles in mind.