Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

The Positive Side to Gaming

posted by Linda Mintle

Most of you know I am not a fan of children, teens and young adults spending long hours a day playing video games –especially the violent and sexually exploitative ones. We know from studies that playing violent video games changes the adult male brain after just one week of playing. The brain regions associated with emotional control become depressed. And there is an association with compulsive gaming and obesity, depression, and being more introverted. Furthermore, a meta-analysis conducted by Iowa State University found violent video games to make people more aggressive and less caring to others.

But is there any up side to the research on game playing?

Apparently YES, according to the Tuesday, March 6, 2012 issue of the Wall Street Journal. Even when  violent games are played, these benefits were noted compared to those who didn’t play games:

1) Those who played action video games were 25% faster at making decisions.

2) Those who played Starcraft II were faster thinkers.

3) Middle school kids who played electronic games scored higher on creativity.

4) Surgeons who played video games for at least 3 hours a week made 37% fewer surgical errors.

5) Hand-eye coordination improved.

6) Players could multitask better (University of Rochester).

7) Women improved on their ability to mentally manipulate 3D objects.

The games played were engaging but most often violent and researchers do not know if the violence matters. So while there are positive benefits noted, there are also positive benefits to other types of learning that engage the reward systems in the brain.

For me, the jury is still out in terms of the overall impact of violent video games. But at least we know there is also an up side to time spent playing video and computer games.

 

 

Dr. Mintle is the author of Raising Healthy Kids in an unhealthy world. The book includes a chapter on the impact of video game playing on children in terms of childhood obesity.

 

Couple Therapy For One Please

posted by Linda Mintle

Susan’s marital distress reached a tipping point, leading her to see a marital therapist. Her chief complaint was that her husband refuses to change, blames her for all the family problems, doesn’t hold a steady job and rarely takes responsibility for his behavior. He is constantly late to family events, forms unhealthy alliances with their children and responds to confrontation with anger and entitlement. The problem is he won’t come to therapy.

While I prefer to see both spouses for couple therapy, couple work with one person is possible and effective. In practice, not all spouses are available or motivated to attend sessions. Couple  therapy, however, is not constricted to both partners attending, but rather involves a systems mindset applied to the work conducted with the person present.

The work involves helping the person observe his or her role in the couple process and changing unhealthy patterns by changing the client’s step in the couple dance. And nothing like an affair, lying or abuse can be on-going.

Ever since Adam first blamed Eve and Sarai accused Abram of being the cause of her suffering (Gen 16:5), people continue to stubbornly avoid personal responsibility in the context of relationships. Our natural bent is to blame others rather than “take the beam out of our own eye”.  Couple therapy with one person helps people take personal responsibility, focus on their own hearts and mind, and control the one thing they can control—their own reactions to others.

Ultimately, God holds each of us accountable for our part in our interpersonal relationships. He does not excuse us based on the unhealthy reactions of others. Thus, this type of therapy, which focuses on your reactions to unhealthy patterns fits beautifully with a biblical frame of personal accountability and responsibility.

So if your partner refuses to go to couple therapy, you go. Work on your behavior, conflict management and relationships skills and see what a difference this type of focus makes in the relationship. You can’t change another person but you can change you. And when you change you, the relationship does change. However, you need to find a therapist who understands the systems approach to couple work, and not a therapist who only deals with individuals.

 

More marital help, I Married You, Not Your Family by Dr. Linda Mintle (click on the link at the right More Books By Dr. Mintle)

 

A Tall Order: Bless Those Who Curse You

posted by Linda Mintle

This week I have had the opportunity to practice what I consider one of the most difficult passages in the Bible. It is found in Matthew 5: 43-48 (NIV). Jesus tells us how to treat those who curse us –something impossible to do in the natural.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

When I read this passage, I think of the story of Corrrie ten Boom who after one of her lectures on grace, shook hands with a former prison guard from the Nazi concentration camps where her family was killed. What grace it took to shake the hand of the one who was her enemy and cursed her family. My encounter this week was nothing on this scale, but words of cursing, rejection and incredible arrogance were spoken. And Jesus expects me to follow that same directive–bless those who curse.

So what does that look like? How do I pray for someone who curses? The context of the passage seems to say, pray good things for that person who did wrong. I am to leave my vengeance for God and approach this unloving person with the same love God approaches me.

Are any of you challenged by this? I certainly am.

So I cry out to God and say, “You know what happened. Your love can conqueror my unloving heart. I am to reflect you in all I do. Help me to give it completely to you and love.

It is easy to love those who are like us, who are on our side and treat us with respect. The challenge is to love our enemies, those who curse us, persecute us and spitefully use us.

Jesus tells us to bring those who curse us to the Father in prayer. Because we are the righteousness of God, we don’t allow those who treat us poorly to determine how we treat them. Instead, as we receive His love, we love others. It is only through God’s grace that my heart can be transformed.

To bless a person doesn’t mean I have to like what he did. But I do have to love him, pray the blessings of God in his life. To bless means I pray for complete restoration and all that God has for this person.

So Lord, hear my prayer. I desire to be more like you. Help me bless those who curse me. Help me show your character in this situation, to be more concerned about being your child and emulating my Father, than being right or getting back at someone. I can pray for that person as Jesus did, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:24). I can choose to love, not by my own power, but by yours.

 

Later Life Divorce: Why Boomers Are Calling It Quits

posted by Linda Mintle

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, The Gray Divorce” brought attention to a growing trend–divorce after 50. The article reported that for people 50 or older, the divorce rate has doubled in he past two decades. At a time when the overall divorce rate is actually declining, what is up with baby boomers?

While the answer is complex, the article notes that boomers are the first generation to focus on self-fulfillment. When the kids are gone, a spouse may look at her current situation and decide she doesn’t want what she currently has for the next 20 plus years. The AARP found that women are the ones initiating more of these later life divorces. Economically, women have more options these days and are less reluctant to leave an unfulfilled relationship.

Other explanations include:

1) People are living longer so divorce becomes an option. Instead of dying, people are divorcing.

2) Happiness needs override commitment.The Me focus of this generation has many boomers feeling their mortality and wanting to get more out of their lives. Divorce becomes an option to that need fulfillment.

3) Personal needs are defining marriage. In the past, role fulfillment was more of a definition. Being a good mother/father was valued over getting individual needs met.

4) Those divorcing (53%) have divorced before and we know from numerous studies that second marriages are high on the risk scale for divorce.

Marriage is being impacted by a change in cultural thinking. When happiness, not covenant is the goal, couples find ways to end marriages in order to pursue individual happiness. But does one preclude the other? I would argue that even in unhappy marriages, the skills to make the marriage better are available and can be applied to trouble marriages. However, people must choose to work on those marriages, not get out. If they are willing to turn towards each other, face their issues together and work with a therapist, happiness can be achieved.

Do we know how to help couples who are unhappy in later life marriages? Yes, but you must choose to work on a relationship instead of ending it.

 

To guard against divorce, get Dr. Mintle’s book, I Married You, Not Your Family. Click the link on the right, More Links by Dr. Mintle

 

Previous Posts

Adrian Peterson: When Does Spanking Become Abuse?
This week has been filled with reports about NFL Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's accusation of reckless or negligent injury to his four-year-old son. The incident has once again raised the controversy surrounding the use of corporal punishment. Three issues are key in this deba

posted 6:00:52am Sep. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Would You Allow Your Teen to Have Sex in Your House?
A friend of mine was having coffee with me and mentioned something that took me aback. Someone we know is allowing her son's girlfriend to live in the house with them and have sex under their roof. Neither of these "kids" are 21 and the family claims to be Christian. Honestly, I don't understand!

posted 6:00:33am Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Does Porn Affect Your Relationship?
During an evening talk show  there were plenty of jokes about pornography. And as the host and celebrity guest settled down, it was evident, porn, in their opinions, is no big deal.  If fact, many of the tabloids and even a few respected marital therapists, will tell you that a little porn is fi

posted 6:00:38am Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »

5 Ways to Live in Financial Harmony
Money can't buy you love but it sure can make love difficult. Especially if you are in a relationship and not managing your money well. When it comes to money, here are 5 tips to live in relationship harmony: 1) Decide how your credit cards will be used when you enter a relationship. One person

posted 6:00:28am Sep. 12, 2014 | read full post »

Understanding Depression: Let's Keep Talking
This week, Janet Parshall had me on her radio show, In The Market, to talk about a topic the church and society have  a great deal of trouble discussing--depression. The phone lines were constantly lit up. People wanted and needed to talk. Emails were sent asking for help. With  1 out of 10 peo

posted 6:00:22am Sep. 10, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.