Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

older coupleGetting old is not for the faint at heart, at least, that is what my mother used to say. But is this attitude about aging one of the reasons we don’t age well?

Research on aging tells us that the messages we receive about aging affect how well we age.

Consider this. You are watching TV and you hear words like, “Spry, wise, honor, dignity, etc.,” to describe aging. Instead of the usual messages about falling down, taking multiple drugs and the need for pain relief, you hear positive words about aging.

A study in Psychological Science at the Yale School of Public Health concluded that these positive cultural messages about aging affect your physical function in a good way. In the study, positive messages about aging were presenting in unconscious ways. Those unconscious messages had more of an impactful than the conscious ones. And those unconscious messages about aging were more impactful than writing a positive story about aging. The subliminal messages were so powerful that another study found them equally as effective as exercise!

What does this mean? Stop listening to people and commercials that tell you how problematic aging is and will be. Find people with a positive outlook and support each other. Approach aging from a positive light.

The more positive the messages about aging, the better your self-image! Even better, be the bearer of good news. Talk about aging in positive ways and you will positively impact others.

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I am thankful for a world of beautiful color!

For family who loves me and loves God!

For a marriage that has endured 40 years with my best friend!

For children who honor God and each other!

For my dad who at 93 is still with us!

For all the many blessings we have….count them one by one!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

prayerThere is a great deal of entitlement in our culture. Daily, we are reminded as to what we deserve. Humility seems to be a lost character trait in a celebrity culture. So how can you intentionally develop an attitude of gratitude?

Try these ideas every day, not just at Thanksgiving.

1) Write down 3 things for which you are grateful. They don’t have to be big things. For example, I am grateful for a warm bed every night. I am grateful for kind neighbors. I am grateful for children who do their best at school, etc. Writing reinforces your thoughts and requires an intentional act to get it on paper.

2) Throughout your day, rehearse your blessings mentally. For example, I was walking the dog and the sunset was stunning. I paused, thanked God for the beauty of His creation. Or the other day, I swerved away from a car that almost hit me and I thanked God for His protection. There are many small opportunities every day to be thankful. Rehearse them in your mind.

3) Tell people what you are grateful for in your life. When you speak out words of thanks, it improves your mood, strengthens your immune system, lowers blood pressure and makes you more compassion. Their is power in words of thanks. Tell one person each day something for which you are grateful. You will also find that people like to be around those who are positive.

4) Create a gratitude box in your home. Have family members contribute to it regularly. Then, after a meal, pull out a few of the notes and read them as a family. This exercise teaches children and adults to be intentional about their blessings. I remember an old hymn we used to sing in church that said, “Count your blessings. Name them one by one.” This is one way to do that!

Finally, Scripture admonishes us to give thanks:

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endure forever (Psalm 118:1)

And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17 ESV)

Like anything, the more you practice, the habitual it will become!

divorce couple“Our marriage needs help but my husband won’t go to therapy.”

I’ve heard this statement often and it is usually filled with frustration, sadness and sometimes anger. A relationship is in trouble but one spouse refuses to get help.

If a marriage is going to be helped, both people need to go to therapy. Men are typically the ones who aren’t keen on the idea. For one thing, therapy tends to be talk-oriented, making some men uncomfortable since women talk more about their feelings.

So how do you overcome an unwilling partner when it comes to attending couples therapy? Here are 10 tips:

1) Stress the ACTION of therapy. The purpose is to make change and practice new ways of doing things, not simply talk. Yes, feelings will be discussed, but therapy involves action steps to change.

2) Talk ahead of time about the purpose of therapy. Therapy is not a place to fight or blame.  A good therapist interrupts the problem patterns and helps you have a positive experience in the room with the hope that news ways of behaving will carry over outside of therapy.

3) Talk ROI (Return On Investment). If you put the time and effort into marital therapy, the results are good. Trained therapist know how to move people from problems to success.

4) Focus on taking responsibility for your own behavior. The purpose is NOT to change the other person.

5) Discuss what changes you would both like to see. Be specific like improve your sex life, do more activities together, etc. Be concrete about what you expect to see at the end of the process.

6) Don’t threaten divorce or separation as a reason to go to therapy. Stay positive and go because you believe that changes can be made and the marriage can be better for both of you.

7) Find two or three referrals and discuss which one looks the best. Sometimes by doing the work ahead and having options, the other person will be more willing to go.

8) Remind yourselves that relationships are work because they invoke skills. If you want to get better at something, you often need a coach or mentor. A therapist can provide that function and help you be a better you!

9) Change your thinking from “I” to “We.” Think of yourself as a couple, not just two individuals with issues. What do you bring to the table that helps or hinders the relationship?

10) Stay humble. No one is good at everything. And many of us need help with our relationships. If you humble yourself enough to say, “Yes, we need help,” the possibilities are endless.