Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

8 Questions: Are You A Hard Worker or Workalholic?

posted by Linda Mintle

black man workingIn the same way a drug addict uses cocaine or an alcoholic downs booze, work can have an anesthetizing effect on negative emotions. People use work to escape and avoid unpleasant emotional states. But because hard work is so sanctioned in our society, it is an addiction often minimized.

Our once sacred days of rest have vanished as malls and superstores stay open during Shabbot and Sundays. Technology invades our home life. Solicitors assault us during the dinner hour. And the boundary between work and home is blurred by balckberries, faxes, cell phones and computers. This instant communiqué turns our play to work and our home fronts to alternate work sites.


How do you know if you are simply a hard worker or a workaholic? Ask yourself these questions:

1) Do you view work as a haven rather than a necessity or obligation?

2) Does work obliterate all other areas of your life?

3) Can you make the transition from the office to the Little League game without guilt and constant thinking of what you need to do?

4) Do you have work scattered all over your home?

5) Do you regularly break commitments to family and friends because of deadlines and work commitments?

6) Do you get an adrenaline rush from meeting impossible deadlines?

7) Are you preoccupied with work no matter what you do?

8) Do you work long after your co-workers are finished?

If your answers are “Yes” to most of these questions, it’s time to reevaluate your love for work and cut back. Workaholism can bring emotional estrangement and withdrawal in your relationships. In the worse case, it can even lead to separation and divorce.


If you think you may be a workaholic, acknowledge the problem. Then, begin making small changes that limit work hours. Get active with your family. Turn off electronics and be unavailable for work during certain hours of the day. Leave the office at a reasonable time even if your work isn’t perfect or completely finished.

Even though you may be rewarded at the work place for your obsessive efforts, your family needs you, not more work. And as the well-known saying goes, “I’ve never met a dying person who regretted not spending more time at the office!”




Breaking the Mental Habit of Worry

posted by Linda Mintle

Letting Go of WorryBecause worry is in the mind, it is a mental habit that must be broken. Here are a few practical tips to help break the worry habit:

  • Identify the thought behind the worried or anxious feeling.
  • Let it come and don’t try to suppress it with thoughts like, “Stop worrying” “Don’t do this,” etc. The more you try not to worry, the more you will worry. It’s like dieting. The more you try not to think about food, the more you do think about food.
  • Look at the thought and decide if it is true. Do this by judging it against the Word of God. For example, “I will never get a job in this economy.” Think, Is God on my side? Is He for me? Will he help me when I do all I can and there is nothing more to do? Does He promise to provide for my needs?
  • Replace the thought with the truth of God’s Word.
  • Trust God to be who He says He is and do what He says He will do.

Jesus would not command us to give up worry if it wasn’t possible. His prescription is to take those worried thoughts captive and replace them with the truth about His character and love for us. Basically, we need to confine those worried thoughts and not allow them to wander in to the waters of anxiety. Once confined, we think on good things.


Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace(will be with you.what God says. Read His word. Philippians 4:8-9



Hurt By a Conflict? How Do You ReBuild Trust?

posted by Linda Mintle

unhappy coupleYou’ve heard the saying, trust is easy to break, hard to repair.

How do you go about building trust with someone you’ve hurt! The key is to know the other person’s world and reliably respond to it. Do what you say. Keep your promises. Empathize with the other person’s issue and try to see the problem from both sides.

When differences emerge and pain is associated with those differences, don’t dismiss the pain. Acknowledge it, empathize, and be there for that person. This is how you create a safe haven to work through differences.


When differences are expressed and that expression is negative, stay calm and listen to those feelings. Do not get defensive, turn away, or decide to avoid or make excuses. Stay in it. The person who has the conflict is trying to connect with you. When you stay in the conflict, trust builds. The person learns that they can have issues and that you will stay in the relationship and work through those issues with them. This is what creates safety and a secure attachment.

An important part in building trust is not turning conflict into a win-lose argument or debate. American Idol’s Randy Jackson’s sentiment “He’s in it to win it” doesn’t fly with conflict. Disagreements aren’t about winning; they are about understanding. We aren’t in conflict to win it. Our aim is to understand the other, consider our part, and take responsibility where necessary. This is what creates a win-win outcome.


Finally, when trust is broken, repair is needed. Repair begins with forgiveness. Forgiveness is so important and necessary to move forward. In my opinion, people deserve a second chance and a right to win back trust. We all make mistakes and need a little grace in our lives.


Adapted from We Need To Talk by Linda Mintle, (Baker, 2015)


Should You Keep Secrets From Your Partner?

posted by Linda Mintle

struggling coupleI was in the grocery store yesterday, and the tabloids were headlining the secret love child of yet another celebrity couple. Even though we tend to expect this sort of thing from celebrity relationships, 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.


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.

The person living with a secret carries a burden. That burden may interfere with intimacy as well. It’s hard to live with secrets—the guilt, the fear, and anxiety of being found out rarely helps a relationship.

Whom you share secrets with is important. In relationships where trust is absent, self-disclosure can open the door to betrayal, gossip, and violations of your privacy. So don’t reveal your secrets to people whom you can’t trust. I also don’t recommend broadcasting secrets to people not involved in your affairs. There is no need for this (unless you are a public figure who has violated the trust of the public, or a leader who has violated the trust of a specific group). In fact, it’s better to keep those secrets between you and the person involved and those directly affected.


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.

Excerpt and adapted from We Need To Talk (Baker, 2015)

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