Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Should You Keep Secrets from Your Partner?

posted by Linda Mintle

secretI was in the grocery store yesterday. The tabloids at the check out were headlining the secret love child of yet another celebrity couple. While we tend to expect this 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.

The answer to this begins with a question. How does it feel to find out a secret after the fact? 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?


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. Because of dishonesty, the impact is usually worse.

Furthermore, 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.

So should you keep secrets from your partner? Generally speaking, I’m not recommending it. Better to be honest. Otherwise, it makes trusting that person difficult. And trust is a building block of healthy relationships.




10 Tips to Express Anger in a Healthy Way

posted by Linda Mintle

angry1We all get angry, right? But how we deal with others when we get angry makes a big difference. Here are 10 tips to express anger is way that helps your relationships, not hurts them.

1)    Press pause. Don’t respond immediately when you feel intense anger. Stop and don’t speak. My dear brothers and sisters take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry… (James 1:19).

2)    Stop trying to convert others to your point of view. Listen and accept differences.


3)    If you can’t calm down, don’t respond until you can. Stop the negative cycle by not engaging in the negative behavior. A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated. Proverbs 14:17

4)    Stop talking about what made you angry. When you repeat the story over and over, you give it energy.

5)    Find the lesson in the anger. Is there something that needs to be corrected, changed, or dealt with better? Look for the lesson. Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Palm 4:4


6)    Observe your feelings. Acknowledge the feeling and then let it go. Practice calming techniques. Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32.

7)    Have fighting rules that keep anger from escalating. A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again. Proverbs 19:19

8)    When anger escalates, regroup. Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11

9)    Look at the big picture. Is your anger worth the relationship? It is more important to be right then to be merciful? But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Colossians 3:8


10) Be around positive people who exercise good self-control when it comes to expressing anger. Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
do not associate with one easily angered. Proverbs 22:24


For more help Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness



A New Method for Working With Autism

posted by Linda Mintle

child 1When Ann took away her son’s play station to begin his homework, he threw a huge temper tantrum. Her son, Rob, was autistic and a handful when it came to managing his behavior.

So Ann decided to try a method of working with Rob’s behavior that she saw on a TV interview. Even though the method was presented as new, it is not new. It has been around since I began seeing clients in the late 1970s. The application of the method to autistic behavior might be new, although I suspect we were using this without knowing about the label of autism.


The method is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). It is based on basic reinforcement principles applied to behavior. The idea is to teach new skills that will help the autistic child do better in a number of environments. To do so, the child is engaged by using reinforcement for appropriate behavior. The method is sometimes considered controversial, though I can’t really see this as I was teaching these skills to parents without autistic kids for years. Teaching takes time because you have to reinforce the behaviors you want using rewards and gradually shape the desired responses. Rob, for example, would be rewarded with extra play time later if he gave up his play station with no temper tantrum.

ABA focuses on changing behavior. So the parent/teacher may have a bag of rewards, give a direction and reward the child if there is compliance. Some argue that this is like dog training. Well, the principles are similar. You reward appropriate behavior and withhold reward for inappropriate behavior. I would argue that we all do this when potty training, teaching compliance to directions and more. Helping autistic kids learn behavior that is going to help them in different environments is a positive goal. It’s individualized teaching that considers what the child needs to be successful. There are clear consequences for noncompliance.

Yes, kids do cry, tantrum and become stubborn when rewards are withheld and parents/teachers are firm about  rewarding appropriate behavior. But that is part of any parenting effort.

Critics say ABA is trying to normalize children with autism. I say, it is helping kids socialize and fit into environments that help them grow and learn.


10 Reasons To Forgive Even When You Don’t Want To

posted by Linda Mintle

upsetYou’ve been hurt, wronged, treated unfairly, or even abused. The natural response it to seek revenge or want to hurt the person back. But Jesus was radical when he talked to us about how we are to respond to someone who offends or hurts us. And psychology has finally caught up to the benefits of choosing to forgive.

Here are 10 reasons why forgiveness is so important?


1)   Is a choice. You can choose to stay stuck and hold on to anger, bitterness, resentment or you can choose to move forward by letting go.



2)   Is not about what people deserve. None of us deserves to be forgiven yet God forgives us.


3)   Does not mean you condone what a person did. It means the opposite. You acknowledge the hurt and still choose to forgive which is why it is so powerful.


4)   Is an individual act. It takes two to reconcile but one to choose the route of forgivness.


5)    Is commanded by Christ, not an option. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them. Luke 17:4



6)   Helps your physical health by lowering blood pressure and stress and making you a reduced risk for substance abuse and depression.


7)   Opens the door to reconciliation. You can’t force someone to reconcile because you don’t have control over his/her actions but you can open the door to the possibility by beginning with forgiveness.


8)    Is on-going.  Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22



9)     Forgiveness goes against our natural instincts to get revenge or even the score.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21


10)  Forgiveness means leaving our case in the hands of God. 1 Peter 2:22-23

“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.



For more help breaking free, Breaking Free from Anger and Unforgiveness by Dr. Linda Mintle


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