Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

ID-1002830Most of us think, “If I just had more money, I could relax, feel better about life and be happy.” But is this true? We know money can’t buy us love, but what about happiness?

And if you are blessed to have money, should you buy that expensive TV in order to feel happy, or go on that lavish vacation?

Yes and No! Research on money and happiness tells us a few important things.

1) How you spend money matters in terms of happiness. For example, when you give money away, you are happier than when you spend it on yourself. Giving is better than getting!

2) If you do spend money on yourself, again, how you spend it matters. Researchers have found that spending money on things makes you less happy than spending money on experiences. For most of us, this seems counterintuitive. Experiences seem fleeting, material things last longer, right? True, but we somehow value experiences more and adapt to the presence of material things. In the end, experiences win over things.

So when it comes to money and happiness, spend it on experiences–take the vacation, go sky diving, pay for that gourmet dinner for 10 friends. Forget the large screen TV, the new boat, or even the bigger house. More importantly, find good causes to which you can give!

Yes, people with money are happier than those who don’t have it, but what you do with it matters! It is better to give than to receive!

 

ID-10016236We’ve all experienced it at one time or another–a friend breaks trust, a husband cheats, a boss promotes someone else, etc. The challenge is to respond to betrayal in a way that honors God. What better example to learn from than the Son of God himself.

When Jesus was betrayed:

  1. Jesus knew the heartbreak of betrayal when he watched his beloved disciples turn against him. Judas gave Him over to his enemies for money. Peter denied Him for fear of retaliation. Those who loved Jesus also betrayed Him. Yet, Jesus in his mercy and grace chose to forgive. The betrayers didn’t deserve it, but that was the point. Grace gives what isn’t deserved. It’s not about being right. It’s about doing right!

 

  1. Jesus could fight back. He could prove He was right. At his disposal were 10,000 angels ready to rescue Him from a death he did not deserve. He could call down an army, wipe out those who came against Him, and win an immediate victory. He could show them how right He was. He could get angry, call foul play, retaliate and seek revenge.

 

  1. What did He ever do to deserve such treatment? Who could blame Him if he reacted this way? He could prove his point. Retaliation and vengeance were tempting. Jesus could flex those powerful spiritual muscles and take down the oppressors. He could rightly put people in their places and show them who was in charge. He could win the argument and be right.

 

  1. No angels or armies were called from heaven. The decision to do right ended in dying alone. There He was, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, meaning the punishment that brought us peace was on Him. Because of his response, our reconciliation to God is now possible.

 

  1. Jesus’ decision to forgo being right was made out of sacrificial love. Jesus gave up his right to be right.

 

  1. Instead, He chose to do right.

 

  1. What an incredible challenge. Do we choose to do right or do what we do because we are right?

 

 

couple unhappyYou are busy. I get that. Welcome to life!

When we are busy, sex can take a back seat and get lost in our everyday TO DO list.

Of course busyness isn’t the only reason why sex wanes in a marriage. Often busyness is a cover for deeper or life issues. Consider the following 10 reasons and decide if any of these could be impacting your sexual relationship:

1) Your hormone levels are out of balance.  An imbalance can cause a low sex drive. See a physician and get checked!

2)  You’ve recently had a baby. Most women do not have sex on their mind after delivering a baby. Libido wanes, you are exhausted, sore and overwhelmed for weeks and even months. It takes time to heal and adjust to a newborn.

3) You’ve gone through cancer or other serious medical treatment. Some people are very tired and lose interest in sex when fighting cancer or a serious illness. Body image can suffer as well. However, some people desire sex as a way to feel close to their partners, so it is important to talk about what the cancer is doing to you physically, mentally and relationally.

4) Your job is very stressful. Stress of any kind can shut down sexual feelings, especially when you feel something is out of your control. Work stress is one of those areas in which people feel a lack of control over their lives–too many demands, bad leadership, critical bosses, lack of resources, etc. can pile on stress and take a toll on your libido.

5) You are care taking aging parents. Care taking stress is well documented and often leaves people exhausted and out of touch with their own needs. The demands of others can push your needs to the bottom of the list.

6) You struggle with serious financial problems. Financial stress wears on a person and often results in feeling of worry. Worry can strangle the joy out of a relationship!

7)  You don’t trust your partner because of certain behaviors or past history. A lack of trust is an intimacy killer. If someone has betrayed you, you may be reluctant to be intimate.

8) You feel rejected by your partner. Rejection doesn’t lead to sexual closeness. It does the opposite. So the rejection must be addressed in order for a person to re-engage in a sexual relationship.

9) You are carrying around resentment and unforgiveness. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness. Bitterness leads to distance. If you want to turn things around, forgive to move forward sexually.

10) There is an absence of touch during nonsexual times. People want to be caressed and physically touched in nonsexual times so make an effort to touch as much and as often as possible.

If any of these reasons apply, attend to your sexual relationship. You may want to consult a sex therapist to turn things around. Ignoring sexual intimacy leads to lower satisfaction in marriage and usually means something deeper is going on in a couple’s relationship.

Don’t allow a long period of time to go by without having a sexual relationship. Talk, touch, flirt and make sex a priority. It helps a couple feel loved and connected.

ID-10016236Forgive and love generously. Remember, as you choose to forgive, bless and do good, this does not mean you condone negative behavior, are minimizing hurt or denying problems. It means you have decided to follow the words of Christ and do what does not come naturally to most of us. Our model is Christ. He was despised, rejected, and abused. Yet, he had compassion and loved the unlovely. What a challenge!

As you encounter family members who are not always so loving, try these suggestions:

  1. Make attempts to resolve issues that have built up and caused resentment. Avoidance just leads to anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness.
  2. Remember the good moments in your relationship. Do not deny problems, but balance negatives with positives.
  3. Do something enjoyable together in order to build positive memories.
  4. Control your tongue. It has the power of life and death according to the Book of James.
  5. Pray for those who irritate you. Ask God to give you His heart when it comes to them.
  6. Love people as yourself.
  7. Consider the biblical principle—what you sow, you reap (Galatians 6:7).
  8. Forgive often and do not hold on to offense.
  9. God’s grace is a gift; offer it to others as well.
  10. Read I Corinthians 13 as a true reminder of love. Love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, keeps no records of wrong, hopes and never fails. (v. 4-7)

Betrayal cuts deep. A husband cheats, a daughter lies, a friend goes behind your back…Your heart is broken! How you respond to that betrayal will move you forward or keep you stuck.

Next: Do Right or Be Right: The Challenge of Betratal