Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Waiting For Your Inheiritance? 5 Areas to Consider

posted by Linda Mintle

Many baby boomers are counting on their parents to leave them an inheritance to pay off the mortgage, college bills or other finances. But with parents living longer, health care costs escalating and the market doing poorly, will the money be there?

The Wall Street Journal had some great tips this week when it comes to counting on an inheritance.

Here’s are a few of the tips from the June 11, 2012 edition:

1) Talk about finances with your parents. Many adult children are reluctant to have conversations about money with their parents. In my experience, it helps to bring up finances and ask about their plans. While this may create tension, not all parents have thought about long-term care plans. Having conversations regarding their wishes, plans and ways to pay for care is beneficial for everyone.

2) If your parents are running short of funds, consider these options: a) Pay their health premiums b) Purchase a long-term care policy c) Give your parents a monthly allowance to help cover costs. In the long run, this could provide for future care and save costs.

3) Talk with your siblings about expectations. Siblings may differ in terms of expectations for care, the way money will be divided and how assets will be handled. Talking it through now saves a lot of potential grief later.

4) Write it down. While your parents are alive, write down their wishes. A living trust is a good way to keep things up to date.

5) Remember, this is your parents’ money. You or your siblings did not work for this money so honor their decisions. You may not agree with everything they want to do, but respect their wishes.

A Breath of Fresh Air

posted by Linda Mintle

I recently spent six days along the coast of San Diego, California hiking state parks, dining at cafes and shopping at boutiques and malls. What I noticed was that I didn’t have to move through a haze of cigarette smoke to get places. During my trip, the only time I saw anyone smoking was outside the airport. For six days, I watched and never saw a smoker.  As a nonsmoker, it was a breath of fresh air.

In April, I spent five days in New York City and had to take allergy medication because of all the smoke inhaled as I walked through the city streets to shop and dine. I couldn’t get away from it. No matter where I walked, the thick haze of multiple smokers standing outside of buildings hung in the air. By the end of each day, I felt sick from all the smoke. I’m highly sensitive to the smell. What a stark contrast.

We all know that second hand smoke is a known  carcinogenic, containing chemicals that can cause cancer. And while I know it is controversial to ban smoking in many places like your own car, I can’t imagine a child having to breathe that air from a parent smoking. A child can’t move out of the path of a smoker.

So if you are a parent who smokes, give your child a break and give up the habit. He or she needs a clean air break too.

 

How do you feel about banning smoking from personal vehicles?

For help to stop smoking, read this guide from the American Cancer Society.

 

 

 

Are You Normal When It Comes to Married Couples and Sex?

posted by Linda Mintle

Jennifer came to therapy because she was not having sex with her husband. She wondered if this was normal. It isn’t. Then she asked a question so many people ask, “What is normal when it comes to sex in marriage?”

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors and is difficult to address in general. But we do know a few things from surveying couples. Here are a few interesting findings  from a large couple survey and other research recently reported in the Wall Street Journal:

1) When marital therapists talk about couples in a nonsexual marriage, we usually mean a married couple who has sex less than 10 times a year.

2) Regardless of what media portrays, married couples have more sex than co-habitating or dating couples

3) Almost 80% of married couples have sex a few times a month or more.

4) 32% have sex two to three times a week or more.

5) 47% say they have sex a few times per month.

6) 80% of married couples schedule time to have sex.

More important than the numbers and frequency of sex, is how satisfied couples are with their married sex lives. Dissatisfaction and disconnection can lead to problems and should be discussed. Sexual difficulties can be triggered by physical, emotional or even stress problems. Thus, getting to the root of dissatisfaction is important. Things like busyness, boredom, childhood trauma, stress reactions, aging and a host of other issues can lead to sexual problems. And couples are not good at talking about this subject with each other.

So start talking, sleeping in the same bed together, showing physical affection to each other during nonsexual times and making time for intimacy.

If you find yourself unable to make changes or even have a conversation about your sex life, consider getting professional help from a Christian therapist who specializes in sex therapy. Doing nothing only continues the dissatisfied and puts the marriage at risk.

 

Is Profanity on TV Harmless?

posted by Linda Mintle

Steven Tyler gets bleeped repeatedly on American Idol. Howard Stern, known for his use of profanity, is a judge on America’s Got Talent. I could make lists of people who are constantly bleeped on television due to their language. I find it completely unnecessary and a real lack of imagination when it comes to the English language.

My kids and I have this on-going conversation regarding profanity. They think TV reflects the way people talk in real life. I say TV has purposely increased its use of profanity and gives license to this behavior.  I don’t hear this amount profanity in the general public– not at my job, among my neighbors, in public places or with friends. This may be a generational shift because I didn’t grow up hearing profanity on so much media.

The increase in the use of profanity on TV is not my imagination. The Parents Television Council did a study in 2011 and found  that the amount and gravity of profanity on television is higher than ever. One reason had to do with a FCC ruling in July of 2010. Basically, a panel of judges allowed broadcasters to freely use expletives in the late night hours when challenged in court. Networks pressured the FCC to stop enforcing its decency laws. One result, is more language during the prime time hours. The study showed that the use of profanity is deliberate and pervasive.

My question is why? What’s the point of this? To teach our kids to be potty-mouthed? To what end?

Is this another attempt to desensitize the culture to rudeness?

People are influenced by what they hear and see on television, especially teens. Due to media influence, swearing has moved  from a language of restraint to one of license. It has becomes part of the normal landscape of television. And I believe this has something to do with the lack of civility that we continue to see in our culture.

So does P.M. Forni, co-founder of the Civility Project at Johns Hopkins University. When it comes to cursing, he says it is “Still the language of aggression… the precursor to violence. Very often, rudeness and cursing are the beginning of an escalation toward violence.  Words, our words, are like our hands.  They can soothe and heal, but they can also strike, which means they can hurt.”

Furthermore,  a study in Pediatrics linked profanity to increased violence.  Researchers found that exposure to profanity is moderately associated with acceptance and use. Both influence physical and relational aggression.

Bottom line, profanity is not harmless. If the end result can be less civility and more aggression, why do we want this and why are writers and media executives so bent on injecting profanity in so much media?

And scripture is not silent about the use of our tongue. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

The question is, Do we want to tear down or edify with our speech?  Seems like the choice is an easy one.

 

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