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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

One Secret to Keeping Love Alive

posted by Linda Mintle

smaller sports coupleDo you like to roller skating?

How about hiking?

Maybe consider taking cooking classes or release that inner artist by painting.

You could be on to something and discovering one of the secrets to keeping love alive.

When couples try new things together, it helps prevent relationship boredom and complaining. In fact, new experiences tap into the brain’s reward system, flooding it with powerful chemicals that boost pleasure and bonding.

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Novelty is good for relationships and makes people happy.

But that novelty needs to be SHARED by you as a couple in order to get this relationship benefit.

So here is what I suggest. Think about what your partner likes to do. Could you be a part of that? For example, my husband was an avid soccer playing and fan. I was not, but when we married, I figured I should get into the sport and share his passion. Going to see professional soccer and watching our campus team are fun and  activities we can share together. I, on the other hand, being raised in the north, loved to snow ski. My husband, raised in the tropics, had no clue. But he strapped on a pair of skis and gave it the college try. And while he wasn’t skiing the black diamond runs, I gave him lots of praise for joining me in an activity that I really loved. And that is another important point–give your partner praise for joining in and trying your interest or passion.

So think about each others passions and give the interests a try. The novelty will bring you closer together. Maybe there is something you both want to do that you have never tried. That too would get the brain chemicals flowing in a positive direction.

Want to keep love alive? Do something new together and explore your interests!

 

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One Sure Fire Way to Help Your Kids Deal With Divorce

posted by Linda Mintle

2 codBrian isn’t doing too well with his parents’ divorce. Lately he’s showing more aggressive behavior. His divorced parents, Sam and Sue, are concerned about his behavior and seek help. The therapist tells them that their unresolved conflict is causing Brian problems. They have difficulty talking about their son without blaming and fighting each other. They can’t parent because they are too busy demolishing one another’s character.

Divorce didn’t solve their conflicts and Brian is still caught in the crossfire of two people who haven’t learned be civil to one another despite their differences. Brian’s behavior is a response to their constant fighting.

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Most of you are concerned about the effects of divorce, separation and remarriage on the adjustment of your children. You want to do whatever possible to help them adjust. You already feel guilty about putting children through the ordeal of divorce.

A good place to start is to reduce the conflict between you and your ex-spouse. I know you are thinking, “ If I could do this, I wouldn’t be divorced!” Possibly, but you still have to work on it for the sake of your kids.

So how do you work on conflict reduction with a difficult parent partner?

1) Both agree that your unresolved feelings for each other must get resolved. If this means you need to see someone in therapy, do it. Your child’s adjustment is at stake.

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The surprise for many couples is that divorce didn’t make all those negative feelings go away. The feelings stayed. You just left. Conflict between you and your ex must be resolved because it affects your ability to parent. It is very difficult to make rational decisions concerning your child when you feel negatively towards your ex-spouse. It is no secret that parents unconsciously fight with each other through their kids despite knowing they shouldn’t do this.

My suggestion: Work in therapy with a marital therapist who will help you exercise grace and forgiveness towards your ex. It’s time to bury the multiple hatchets. It doesn’t matter how wrong you’ve been treated. God tells us to forgive and let go. He forgives you when you don’t deserve it. Now do the same with your ex.

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2) Remind yourself that no matter how you feel about your ex, he/she is your child’s parent. That fact doesn’t change. Help your child see you can have positive exchanges around parenting issues.  It will help build positive feelings in the child as well.

3) Always keep in mind that you are doing this to please God and help your children. Your walk with the Lord is of utmost importance. If you hold on to old stuff, you’ll create roadblocks in your intimate relationship with God and others.

4) Humility is often needed. Putting your needs aside for the sake of your children may require sacrifice. With God’s help, you can do it.

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10 Reasons Fathers Are Important

posted by Linda Mintle

June 14  is Flag day–not a day most people think to remember, but I do. It was the day we buried my oldest brother who was killed by a bomb on an airplane. He was an army officer and father of a two-year-old and a baby on the way. It was a sad season in the life of our family. And not having your dad is a tough thing.

So I want to honor the importance of dads, especially on the eve of this Father’s Day weekend.

Dads are more than second adults who grace our homes. Dads bring benefits to children and families and serve important roles. Despite the mockery of dads in sit coms and the movies, dads are vital to the healthy development of kids.

Here are 10 reasons dads are important:

1) Fathers who have good relationships with mothers spend more time with their kids and bring psychological and emotional health to their children.

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2) Fathers tend to push achievement and intellectual development in their children and greatly influence academic success. They have children who get As in school more often and are less likely to repeat grades.

3) Fathers promote independence, moms tend to be more protective and nurturing.

4) Fathers play differently with their children than moms. They stimulate more one-on-one play with their babies and toddlers and help them deal with their aggressive impulses and lessen the frustration of toddlers which spills over to the adolescent years.

5) Involved fathers have children who are more social and popular according to studies (Pruett, K. 2000).

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6) Involved fathers have children who are socially better connected with their peers.

7) Involved fathers provide emotional security to children.

8) Fathers who treat mothers with respect, raise boys who respect women and girls who are respected, making them less likely to be involved in violent relationships

9) Fathers who resolve conflict with mothers model this skill for their children.

10) Involved fathers provide an all important spiritual leadership role that models faith in action.

This Sunday, find a way to honor your father!

Happy Father’s Day to my 92-year-old father who was, and still is the best! And to my husband, the father of my children, you are so important to our family. Thank you for all you do.

 

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A Bully Now Anti-Bully–A Spiritual Lesson

posted by Linda Mintle

Apparently, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO, Mike Jeffries, is reacting to all the negative press about his remarks to exclude uncool teens and unattractive people from his clothing line. Even late night television picked up the bullying behavior and did a spoof on Jeffries remarks. His comments sounded like a grown up bully–you can’t be part of our club because you are not cool enough. This, from a 60 something man!

Now the CEO bully is offering an anti-bully college scholarship to a high schooler who has maintained high achievement in  the face of being bullied. I wonder if the winner will also qualify to wear Abercrombie’s clothing as well.

Call me skeptical, but it feels like a reactionary move to critics rather than a genuine commitment to change. Jeffries has admitted that he is exclusionary when it comes to his clothing. He has been highly focused on image, touting thin and beautiful as the way to be in and current.

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But maybe the public outcry gave him pause, at least from a business perspective.

This story is about what is in the heart. Matthew 12:34 tells us that out of the heart, the mouth speaks. What Jeffries originally said was what was in his heart. Only when there was a public outcry did he try to undo his words.

So is that a bad thing?

NO. Public outcry can cause us to reexamine our hearts. King David did this when he was “caught” by the prophet Nathan. He was in sin, caught, but repented and turned from his sinful way.

We all hold unkind things in our hearts that aren’t always exposed. But when we speak and the heart is revealed, it can be a window into our inner thoughts. If we truly see our sin (pride, bullying, thinking more highly of ourselves than others, etc)  and repent of it, asking God to forgive us, we can grow and behave in better ways. God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins when we confess them.

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We can’t judge the heart of Mike Jeffries. We don’t know if he was driven to provide this scholarship in order to clean up his image and regain lost market share. Or maybe, and we can always hope this, the public outcry caused him to re-examine his own heart and make a change. Only God and the people who know him best, know what is really in his heart.

The positive side of this publicity stunt or true change is that one teen will benefit from bullying behavior!

The spiritual lesson is that even if you are caught doing something wrong, you can repent and make changes. That gives hope to all of us.

True change can be measured by consistent action in a positive direction.

Let’s see how Jeffries does.  Behavior follows repentance.

 

 

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