Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

When Your Think Your Marriage is Over, Think Again!

posted by Linda Mintle

Sarah and John were at a family dinner. During a trip to the restroom, John pulled Sarah aside and said, “I’m done. No more of this. I want out of this marriage. ” Sarah, stunned and speechless, wondered what prompted such a big decision. She, like many spouses, was unhappy in the marriage but had not gone to counseling.

According to the Gottman Institute, unhappy couples wait an average of six years to get help. And the wait doesn’t usually make things better. But should this couple divorce over their unhappiness?

Not until they’ve tried a few things first.

One of those things is something rather new called “discernment counseling.” Developed by veteran marriage therapist, Bill Doherty, at the University of Minnesota, discernment counseling aims to help couples decide if divorce is really the next step. The idea came to him after talking to a family court judge who told him that many couples he saw in court handled their divorces so well that he couldn’t really understand why they were divorcing. Doherty figured that the judge was on to something. A reconciliation service may play a role in helping couples stay together.

In typical couple therapy, one spouse usually wants out while the other wants in. Doherty built his model of help around this dynamic. He processes with couples what is good about the marriage and how they arrived at this point of contention. He also asks what they have done to try and save the marriage.

Three options are suggested: 1) Keep things as they are 2) Try a 6 month reconciliation with marriage therapy or 3) Divorce. So far, 25 couples have gone through his process with 40% choosing the reconciliation option. The rest are considering their options or pursuing divorce. Basically, Doherty is offering a service for high risk couples, giving them time and space to really talk about what went wrong, decide if the wrong can be repaired, and discuss their willingness to try options before declaring divorce is inevitable.

Because marriage is a sacred covenant, the idea of slowing high-risk couples down, and allowing them time to process their most important relationship, seems like a great idea to me. Regardless of the outcome, couples owe it to each other to think through their relationship and try to repair it. This process takes time. During that time, some may find that there is reason to salvage the marriage.

How to Handle Rejection

posted by Linda Mintle

When a gunman opened fire and killed seven people and wounded three at a Christian college a week ago, the question was, “Why?” Why would anyone walk into a classroom and shoot people at point blank range? While we may never know exactly what triggered such an horrific event, we can guess that feelings of rejection and deep anger were rooted somewhere in the shooters psyche. And certainly his inability to deal with whatever upset him, tragically ended the lives of innocent people. Our prayers are with the families who suffered the loss of their loved ones.

Rejection, while never an excuse to hurt anyone, is a painful thing. It is about exclusion–social, relationship, peers, family, friends and romance. A group or an individual can be rejected. And while rejection is a subjective experience, it hurts because we are wired to be in relationship. Our basic need to be accepted and belong is tested when rejection is part of any relationship.

We all know how it feels to be rejected, but are there psychological consequences?

Rejection can bring on loneliness, low-self-esteem, aggression and depression. Feelings of insecurity are heightened and once rejected, a person can become more sensitive to future rejection. Anxiety can develop as well as anger and deep sadness. When social rejection is part of the picture, a person can learn to conform to peer pressure and comply to the demands of others even when that compliance could be dangerous or unhealthy. And in the worse cases, people who are rejected can lash out in violence, wanting revenge for the hurt.

So what is important in dealing with rejection?

1) Don’t allow rejection to define who you are or determine your actions. God never rejects you and sees your worth even when others do not. Other people do not determine your worth!

2) Ask yourself if the person’s opinion of you is really all that accurate. Rejection is about you not measuring up to someone’s subjective experience. Who says he or she is right? His or her opinion is only one opinion of many.

3) Forgive the person. Do not carry resentment and hurt inside or it will turn to bitterness and become explosive or depressing. Choose to forgive and let go with God’s help.

4) If you become angry, deal with your anger in a biblical way–don’t give vent to it, don’t get back at the person, don’t hurt those who hurt you. It is natural to feel like taking revenge, but the God part in you says don’t do it. Revenge doesn’t take away the hurt and only hurts others. Take the high road of emulating Christ. You will be a better person for it. (See my booklet, Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness for guidelines on dealing with anger)

5) Confront the rejection but do it with love and gentleness. Sometimes people don’t know they have hurt you. Other times, rejection was intentional. It you would feel better confronting the person who rejected you, do it but practice your confrontation in a way that isn’t harsh, and tells the person the impact the rejection had on you. Understand that confronting rejection doesn’t mean the other person will be sorry or apologize. So you really have to decide and pray about what to do.

6) Take the pain of the rejection to God. Cry out to Him. He knows what it feels like to be rejected and encourages you to give your pain and burdens to Him. God is safe and will not hurt you or reject you. And He wants to heal that part of you that was deeply hurt.

Video Encouragement to Overcome Eating Disorders

posted by Linda Mintle

My friend, Steve Siler, founder of Music for the Soul, uses music and video to encourage, heal, and move people towards recovery and hope.

Recently, a song from his CD Tell Me What You See was made into a DVD and produced by film students at Regent University. If you know someone struggling with an eating disorders, this is meant to encourage!

There is treatment and hope to overcome eating disorders. In my 30 years of doing therapy, I have seen healing and transformation when issues are addressed. This does not have to be something a person struggles with for life.

To better understand what is involved in the treatment, check out my pocket size book, Breaking Free from Anorexia and Bulimia.

And The CD Tell Me What You See also comes with a discussion guide that can be used by a group to talk about the problem and understand the help available. Take advantage of these great resources!

Most of all, know you are beautiful to God, valued, accepted and loved.

 

 

 

The Apostle’s Creed: What It Means to Be Christian

posted by Linda Mintle

As we approach this Easter season, Christians celebrate the events referenced in the Apostles Creed. This Good Friday, Jesus, the One conceived by the Holy Spirit, was crucified, but arose from the dead on that glorious Easter morning. This weekend is a reminder and celebration of the essentials of Christian faith.

If you are like me, you have probably had many conversations with friends who believe in God, but not Jesus as the only way to God. The problem is that the Christian God is a triune God. You can’t separate God from Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God is three is one. Three persons make up the Godhead and while this is a bit of a mystery, it is an essential belief of Christian faith. If you believe otherwise, you are embracing something other than Christianity.

Our pastor has been preaching a series on the Apostle”s Creed. A creed is a statement of beliefs. The Apostle’s Creed is a summary of Christian belief.

This creed is a way to define what is specifically Christian. In today’s world, many people call themselves religious or spiritual. To be Christian though, one adheres to specific beliefs that are considered absolute truths.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 says, For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Christianity does not believe in many gods, that God is everywhere, that God doesn’t get involved in our every day lives or that a spark of the divine is in us all. Christianity is based on essential truths that are non-negotiable. And while Christianity is criticized for being narrow, the core of the faith is that Jesus is the only way to God and that God is relationship–three in One.

If you want to explain Christianity to someone who questions what is means to be Christian, the Apostle’s Creed is a good place to begin. It contains the basic doctrine of Christianity.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
    the Maker of heaven and earth,
    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
    born of the virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
    and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
    the holy catholic church;
    the communion of saints;
    the forgiveness of sins;
    the resurrection of the body;
    and the life everlasting.

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