Doing Life Together

couple unhappyTears in her eyes, Rachel admitted to Tom she had an affair. But does this mean the marriage is over?

Betrayal cuts deep and undermines the trust in any committed relationship. Affairs are secretive relationships,  emotional connections to someone outside the relationship, and an expression of sexual desire. They can happen in a number of ways and wherever opportunity exists.

One of the reasons affairs hurt so deeply is because of betrayal. When we commit to a relationship, we believe the person should meet all our needs, yet affairs say, he/she did not.

Unmet needs often include feelings of loss, an unhappy sense of self, a longing for autonomy, an adolescence never had, a wish to feel alive or to beat back death–all representing both longing and loss. Affairs are less about sex and more about desire. And they don’t always mean the other person has failed to do something.

In today’s world, we feel entitled to pursue our desires and believe divorce would help us be happier. But rather than seek happiness (which might be grounded in a person’s own unresolved issues of loss and need) outside the relationship, it is possible to stay in a relationship and deal with the underlying issues of unhappiness.

The jolt of an affair can reveal a person’s issues and move the relationship into a deeper sense of meaning and connection. Good can come out of what might have been the status quo for a couple.  A more intimate and meaningful relationship in which desire is rekindled can be built.

The work is not easy. Healing begins when the perpetrator acknowledges wrong doing and realizes the depth of hurt he/she has exacted on the partner. The deceived one must deal with the loss of self-worth and resist the curiosity of seeking sordid details that will only inflict more pain in the imagination.

Instead, the betrayed one should focus on questions like what did this affair mean in the relationship, what prompted the person to look outside of the relationship,  and what can be built in our relationship to meet unmet needs and desires. Questions like these will move the relationship forward and can reorganize the relationship into one of  growth opportunities.

The longing for desire and more is at the root of most affairs. Certainly a deeper intimacy with God can meet that need and may be at the root of the problem. The need for validation, unconditional acceptance and love can only be fully met in a spiritual life that may also need revitalization.


stressRichard was feeling anxious. If you asked him, this feeling wasn’t helpful. He was asked to give a speech in front of his company and present his findings to the entire staff. All he felt was dread at the idea of doing this. Sure he knew his material, but having to be front and center at the podium, look at 50 of his fellow workers and talk, created high anxiety. The stress was getting to him. Most of us can relate to a time when we felt the same. Piano recitals, class presentations, work-related speeches, etc. The stress is definitely there and what we do with it matters.

Was there a way for Richard to use those anxious feelings to help him? Yes!

Researchers Blascovich & Mendes (2000) note that when we are motivated by challenge versus threat, challenge can actually improve our performances. Challenge can help us think better, cooperate and be better decision-makers. So when faced with a scary performance, appraise it as a challenge rather than a threat.

So if you look at the scary speech as something that is challenging, you will probably do better. Use your anxiety in a good way–embrace, don’t deny it–seeing it as a normal part of doing something that is challenging. How we think about the situation impacts our physiology and our behavior.

Stressed by that test or recital performance? Tell yourself, this is a challenge I can face, not avoid. Yes, I’m anxious but I can push through this anxiety and do my best.

Anxiety just might be the energy you need to push yourself forward to do what you need to do. This is a much different way to think about how you are feeling. If you cower in nerves and tell yourself you can’t do it, it can make you so tense, you might fall apart. So how you think matters!

And for those of you with a faith perspective, the verse Philippians 4:13  “I can do all this through him who gives me strength,” gives you confidence to face any challenge! Yes, it might create stress and anxiety, but thinking of the situation as something you can face because of Christ who gives strength, will motivate you through the difficulty.



child playingThe push to academic learning at the expense of exercise has some parents concerned. Connie thinks her preschoolers academic learning doesn’t include enough exercise. She decided to meet with her preschool’s administration. The push for academic achievement is  appreciated, but her preschooler needs recess and the school has reduced it to 10 minutes a day due to needing more academic time.

The mom in Connie knew that exercise was just as important to her son’s development as a good student. Not only does exercise help prevent obesity, but it also helps with developing motor and social skills. And those skills are just as important to her son’s overall education.

Connie knows that exercise and learning are linked together. She wants her preschool to be more creative in finding ways for kids to move, even when engaged in learning. Here are her 5 suggestions:

1) Sing songs with lots of movement and action.

2) Teach math skills with active learning, e.g., jumping, exploring, moving and counting objects in a room, etc.

3) Play cooperative learning games that teach social skills and motor development.

4) Add more recess time to the already limited time it is given. Ten minutes to run outside is not enough towards the 2 hours of exercise preschoolers need.

5) Worry less about dull drilling on numbers and letters, and instill a love for learning through active experiences.

It’s true that exercise can help kids learn better. So maybe we need to listen to this smart mom and take a few of her suggestions.



Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.24.42 AM copyMemorial Day is more than a long weekend to play. Yes, it is a three day weekend and the grills are firing up. But it is a day we recognize those who have died while serving in our armed forces. Honestly, it’s not a day of joy and fun for many families. It’s a sobering day of remembering those we have lost to the sacrifice of service.

If your family has been touched by loss like mine has, you pause, remember and pray. Our brave men and women have given their lives for our freedom. I am again, reminded of that loss.

Until I moved too far away, this is a day I used to visit my brother’s grave. When I looked at the small American flag placed on the stone, the military funeral rushes into my head. Memories of his body shipped over seas from a foreign land, a closed coffin draped by the American flag and laid in the ground, flood my mind; the military officer that appeared in our kitchen on a warm summer day to tell us he wasn’t coming home; the shock on the face of his wife when we had to tell her of his death; his two-year-old son who couldn’t understand where daddy was and why he won’t see him anymore; the second born child brought into this world without his father; and the gut wrenching tears and heartache we experienced as a family. It doesn’t go away, but lurks in the mind to always remind you.

Memorial Day is a time to remember. Are we paying attention?

This year, I urge you to pause from your hamburgers and hot dogs. Take a moment to pray. Consider a donation to an organization that helps families regroup from loss, and reach out to someone who is experiencing this holiday without a loved one. Just the acknowledgment that our service men and women are not forgotten goes a long way.

To my brother Gary, you are missed in ways I cannot express. Thank you for your willingness to put your life on the line so mine can remain free. And to the many that join me in remembering their loved ones, you are not forgotten! And we thank you for your service.