Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

ID-100186774The last thing you will hear from me, an eating disorders specialist, is to grab some food when you are angry. This is exactly what I help people NOT do –eat when they are emotional. So many of us channel our emotions into our food and find ourselves medicating those negative emotions with something good to eat. After all, food is soothing and makes you feel good for a moment. This is why a number of people compulsively overeat.

So why am I telling you to eat when you are angry at your spouse?

A new study led by researcher Brad Bushman of Ohio State University concluded that marital hostility is highest when someone’s blood sugar is lowest. The application? Don’t fight or talk about something highly sensitive when your stomach is empty.  Eat something, go to dinner and then discuss the problem and maybe things will go better.

Now, this doesn’t mean that people with diabetes will become hostile when their blood sugar is low. That would be taking the study’s conclusion too far, but it does speak to mood when blood sugar drops. Think about this idea as it relates to young children. How many times did you intuitively know that you just needed to get your child a snack and his/her mood would improve?

So, the take away here is that if you are about to fight or deal with a difficult conflict, make sure your blood sugar is stable. Eat a small snack and see if your mood improves and hostility decreases. It certainly can’t hurt unless you begin to associate food with emotions and calming yourself. The idea in this study is to prevent more problems by not reacting impulsively or in anger because your blood sugar is low.

This one time, I’ll say it–angry at your spouse–go eat!

 

Tori Spelling, former Beverly Hills 90210 TV actress and daughter of well known television and film producer, Aaron Spelling, takes her broken heart to reality TV.  After seven years of marriage and four children, Tori is telling all in her new series entitled, True Tori.

The premise of the show? A cheating husband  goes into treatment and we ask the question, “Can this marriage be saved?”

As a couple therapist, this is not  the venue to discuss your very private issues, especially when you have  four very young children. Is anyone thinking about the impact on the children one day? Imagine one of the kids in sixth grade who hears,  “Oh hi! You are the kid whose dad cheated on your mom and they talked about their sex life on TV.”

This need to spill our private lives to the public through social media, websites, and reality television creates a lack of boundaries in peoples’ lives. It also creates a society of voyeurs who thrive off the misfortunate and psychopathology of others. It’s simply TMI (too much information). And that information is most often a false representation of truth because the truth is less entertaining that manufactured drama. Yet that drama gives permission to be rude, obnoxious and aggressive in real life.

Most disturbing is the idea that a person can reach celebrity status by airing their dirty laundry to the public, e,g., The Real Housewives of….you name the city! Rather than working hard or positively contributing to society, we have a generation of people who now think bad boy/girl behavior will make them profitable if they can just get it to the public through any type of media. It appears that good guys do finish last when it comes to viewer ratings.

Of course, reality TV is anything but real. Thus, the argument that these shows teach us about human behavior doesn’t fly. A better argument is that these shows teach us how to write a scintilating script that encourages bad behavior and often shows unbridled human emotion. Shocking  the viewer is the goal and this requires exaggerated story lines similar to the life of someone diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. In fact, these shows provide ample opportunities for me to teach my students how to diagnose!

 

 

425877_crossEvery time I turn on the news I hear about some group who is trying to strip God out of the culture. They don’t want prayer in school, God on our money, the 10 commandments in court rooms, Christian clubs to meet on college campuses (but Sex Week is fine), manger scenes on lawns, I could go on and on.., but you get the point. To me, this just defies logic! I have to wonder what is in the heart of someone who wants to take Christianity out of the culture.

The core tenets of Christianity, if lived out as Christ prescribed, only make people better. Love is the most important principle of the Christian faith–we love God and then love each other. Service to others, living a moral life and not hurting your neighbor are all good things. We don’t want to kill people who don’t believe like we do. We don’t force people to become Christians and we live side by side with those who think differently. Yes, we may have different moral positions, but those positions guide our lives and allow others to live theirs.  So why do people try so desperately to rid the culture of such a positive force? If even you don’t want to be a Christian, this is not a group that is going to harm you. Christians help society, not hurt it.

Before you tell me your horror story of some person claiming to be Christian, hold off. Jesus said only a good tree can bear good fruit. Those who claim to be good, but bear bad fruit are not His.

I realize that some Christians don’t represent Christ well, and that periods of our history are marked by bloody battles, all done in the name of Christianity. I get that some people hide behind the label and hate gays or shoot at abortion clinics. But these people are not following the words of Christ to love one another, bless those who curse you and pray for those who despitefully use you. In the Christian faith, love is supposed to win the day. Jesus said, they will know you by your love.

We need a fresh understanding of what Christianity stands for and means in a person’s life. It doesn’t mean that we agree with every culture position. When we disagree, that disagreement  should be respectful.

I challenge you, study Christianity and you will find it hard to have objections. Separate the people who abuse the label from the heart of the religion. When you really understand what Christians are supposed to be like, you would want them in your places of employment, as your neighbors and friends. Are Christians perfect, no. They are broken and flawed and don’t always get it right,  but they are trying to do better through a relationship with Jesus Christ. They don’t always represent well, and don’t always act in love. That makes them human. But the intent of the heart is to love and treat our neighbor as ourselves. Hopefully, we are at least on the path.

Christianity  gets a bad rap in our culture because those who use the name and don’t represent Christ are are always featured in the spotlight. To quote Bonjovi, [They] …”give love a bad name.”

If you want to war against something, choose sex trafficking, poverty, hate, prejudice, greed, malice, etc.,  A war against Christianity will only take the light out of a great deal of darkness. Do we really want to go there?

couple in lovePeople tell me in therapy that they have or want to find their soulmate.  I’m really not sure what that means. Murray’s new book, The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead defines  soulmate as your closest friend to whom you are sexually attracted.

I like this definition because of the importance it places on finding a friend, not just a lover. We know that relationships not built on a foundation of friendship have problems. If you marry only for passion and then realize you don’t like the person, the relationship is going to have major problems.

In a good relationship, you don’t have to be alike on all fronts, but you should like the personal habits of the other person. Jacques Barzun, cultural critic who died in 2012,  says that if you differ on areas of punctuality, orderliness and thriftiness, you are headed for trouble. Apparently, those areas just eat away at relationships. You know, the constant complaints of,  “She’s always late for dinner.” “He’s such a slob around the house.” “She spends too much on herself.” Yes, these are touch points for many people, but they are also criticism, a relationship killer.

Those three areas represent a deeper issue of not liking the person, because people who like someone and feel very positive about the person overall, can overlook a late comer or impulsive spender. There is too much positive in the relationship to make those things an issue. The positives are built on friendship–knowing, liking, and admiring the person. Without the friendship, you are easily annoyed.

So, to find your soulmate, ask yourself:

Is this person someone I would want to be with if there was no sexual attraction?

Do I feel better when I am with this person?

Do I  like his or her personality?

Do I have shared meaning with this person?

Am I  in spiritual unity with this person?

Can I create a life together with the same values and goals or am I constantly fighting about the deeper meaning of life?

Soulmates share your fundamental beliefs and values. Your desire to be with them is because of who they are.

If you don’t like the person you are dating, run for the hills. Don’t overlook his contentious nature, the out of control temper, her controlling personality, or her obsession with self. These are deal breakers when it comes to a soulmate. Look beyond attraction and liking someone to the deeper values and beliefs that are held.