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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Should You Keep Secrets From Your Partner?

posted by Linda Mintle

secretI was in the grocery store and the tabloids were headlining the secret love child of yet another celebrity couple. Secrets are a problem. They don’t usually end well.

I am often asked if it is a good idea to reveal secrets to a partner or a friend. The answer to this begins with a question. How does it feel to find out a secret after the fact? For instance, do you really want to be surprised with a secret ten years into a marriage, especially one that may have impacted your decision to marry in the first place? Or do you want to hear about something very personal from a stranger in a public place? Revealed secrets become gossip fodder in the wrong hands.

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In my experience as a relationship therapist, keeping secrets usually backfires. Yes, secrets are difficult to bring out into the light, but keeping them sets the stage for heartache down the road. The hidden thing often surfaces later. Then the reaction is even more intense because now it is associated with dishonesty. Dishonesty makes the impact worse.

We keep secrets for all kinds of reasons. We may be afraid of disapproval. We may want to protect someone from hurt, or we may worry about their reaction. While you don’t have to reveal every thought in your head, keeping secrets about important issues is not recommended. Self-disclosure actually helps relationships and builds intimacy.

In our tell-all culture, where privacy is seriously lacking, discretion is needed. Be wise. Talk to the people involved in your secret, work on repair, and then carefully pray about whether or not this is something that needs to be shared with others.

Except from We Need to Talk by Dr. Linda Mintle (Baker Books)

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The Gift Your Father Gave You

posted by Linda Mintle

IMG_3142Happy Father’s Day! I know not everyone has a great relationship with his or her father. However, this Father’s Day, I encourage to think about your father and find one thing he gave you as a gift. Some of you will think of many things, others will struggle. Our commandment is to honor our fathers in whatever way we can.

At this writing, my father is 94-years-old. It’s a blessing to still have him in my life. He gave me much!

So many fond memories flood my mind when it comes to my dad. Hardworking, steady, strong and fun, my dad taught me so much.

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He taught me how to have fun, to relax, to go on vacation and see the country. Every summer, the family loaded up in our big Buick and discovered America. Some discoveries were a little cheesy, but most times, we were awed by our road trips and their adventures.

My dad had an upbeat attitude. He liked to explore, to see new things, and to meet people. In our small town, everyone knew him and greeted him by name. My dad gave me a love for people and connection.

My dad gave me security. He was always there and attended every recital, play and music competition in which I performed. He never complained, even though I often noticed him napping during long piano recitals. He endured nightly music practices of three children who turned out to be decent musicians even though he didn’t have much musical talent. Whatever we did, it was important for him to support us. And he always supported my mom.

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My dad pushed me. Sometimes he pushed too hard, but I knew his intent was to give me more opportunities than he had in his life. Education was one of the most important things to him. It was the key to making a better life.

Finally, my dad gave me an appreciation for the church. He quietly served in whatever capacity needed. His humility and steady devotion marked his walk with God. And no matter the conflicts a church family presents, he taught me to love the body of Christ, appreciate their diversity and do my best to bring unity. And when we had differences with church leadership, we stayed and worked through conflicts.

All dads have their issues and aren’t perfect. But this Father’s Day, as you honor your dad with a special gift, a dinner out or a new tie, take a moment to reflect on the gifts he gave you. What did your Father give you? Yes, there is always baggage along the way, but the journey offers something to be appreciated.

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Divorce Physically Hurts a Woman’s Heart

posted by Linda Mintle

divorce coupleTheir families were surprised. Don and Jackie were getting a divorce after 15 years of marriage.  Don’s sister believes Don will have a difficulty living alone. She fears the stress of the split could cause him serious emotional and health problems.

But new research says that Don’s sister should be worried about Jackie as well.

Divorce is never an easy road, but when it comes to heart health, women are more at risk than men. According to Duke University researchers, divorce may contribute to higher heart attack risk for women. The acute and chronic stress involved in divorce wreaks havoc on the body.

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Researchers followed over 15,827 people for two decades and found that those who stayed married had a lower risk of heart attack. Emotional and financial stress of divorce, especially for women, are likely factors. So are taking care of oneself, losing friends and changes of lifestyle that come with divorce. Whatever the reasons (we don’t really know), the link between divorce and heart health was found to exist, especially for women. And going through multiple divorces further increases your risk of heart attack.

Men who remarried after divorce lowered their risk of heart attack to the same level as married men, but this was not true for women. Surprisingly, remarriage didn’t help women with this risk factor.

So if you are on the road to divorce, get help. Find a couples counselor and try to work through your issues. Your physical health might just depend on it.

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Is Technology Stressing You Out?

posted by Linda Mintle

technologyTechnology is a good thing, but sometimes it can stress you out. For example, your phone is vibrating. Should you look at it, stay in the conversation and ignore it? Do you feel a compulsion to check?

Ping! Buzz, Vibrate. I have to look, right? It’s addictive and I’m letting the primitive part of my brain grab that novelty–the never ending tweets, the stacks of email, the blue-green text boxes that pop up all day.

What I may not realize it that the constant stimuli is making me stressed and interrupts my work flow and creativity. I know I am losing information every time I stop what I am doing and look.

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Maybe it is time to rethink the way I interact with technology, put down the phone, look around  and attend to the moment. Staying present could change my life for the better! Research tells me it will improve my sense of well-being.

Don’t get me wrong. I like my iPhone, a lot! But when it comes to my well-being, I might need to unplug and be aware of the person next to me–maybe smile or nod! It’s called being mindful of the moment. I might need to give my brain a chance to concentrate on one thing without constant interruption. Research says my creativity will increase.

So here is my challenge. I am going to work on one thing and no matter how many email alerts I receive, iMessages that pop on my screen and text pings I hear, I am ignoring them and staying present and on-task. The promise is that  I will accomplish more and my stress level will go down.

You might want to try the same for a day or two and see how you feel. Don’t allow technology to stress you out! Take charge, be more intentional and see if you notice a change.

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