Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

A Not So Happy Father’s Day: 8 Ways to Cope

posted by Linda Mintle

As we approach Father’s Day this weekend, I am aware that not everyone looks forward to this day with anticipation. Sons and daughters who have been abused, neglected, abandoned and hurt by dad can have a tough time on this day. Just trying to find a card to express some positive thought can be a challenge for some people.

So, if you had a not-so-great dad, how can you help yourself during this holiday weekend?

1) Try to understand who your dad is and what influenced his development. While this doesn’t excuse negative behavior, it does help to know he was shaped by forces and people who influenced his development too. Problems are generational unless they are intentionally stopped and addressed. Be empathetic and let go of unrealistic expectations.

2) Let go of anger and unforgiveness. Holding on to anger and unforgivness hurts you more than it does him. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Let go and allow God to heal those hurting places so you can move on with your life.Your physical, emotional and spiritual life depends on this.

3) Release your dad to God. It is not your job to hold judgment towards your father. God will be his ultimate judge so release him. One day, he will answer for his behavior.

4) Accept the love of your heavenly Father. Romans 8:15-16:  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “”Abba,” Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” You have a Father who will never leave, abandon or reject you. Turn to your heavenly Father for healing and intimacy that will never disappoint.

5) Honor men in your life who have provided positive role models of dads. Maybe yours wasn’t the best, but you had a male role model who showed you a better way and parenting. Honor that person and thank him for being available to counter balance the negative.

6) Continue to pray for your father. I have seen men come to their senses and change late in life. And while this doesn’t prevent hurts and abuse, it does allow for reconciliation. God can change any heart that is willing to change. Don’t give up in prayer.

7) Be the best dad you can be. Learn from your experiences. Study scripture as a guide to fatherhood. Your role model is God the Father.

8) Honor what you can. Find some characteristic, action or time that was or is positive and focus on that this Father’s Day. Scripture is clear that we honor our father and mother. This doesn’t mean you put yourself in harm’s way though. If your dad is unsafe, send a card, a note, make a phone call, or spend an hour with him in a public place.

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.

 

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