Category Archives: Marriage & Family

interesting articles

A Real Love Calculator

Remember those quizzes in the teen magazines? Now we have fancy Facebook apps and random Google Ads promising to tell us what type of lover we and if we’re compatible at all. We don’t really need a love meter, a quiz or even a love calculator to find out if you’re really in love… just ask yourself the following questions based on a wonderful definition of love from 1 Corinthians 13.

1. Are you patient with your partner?

2. Are you kind to them?

3. Do you envy anything about them?

4. Do you put them down to build yourself up?

5. Do you put them first in everything… or just yourself?

6. Do you find yourself getting very angry with them at a moments notice?

7. Do you keep a record of things they’ve done wrong to you in your mind?

8. Do you enjoy it when they suffer?

9. Would you do anything to keep them safe?

10. Do you trust them completely? Or do you have your doubts about their faithfulness?

11. Looking into the future, do you see great things ahead or just a bunch of drama?

12. Are both of you the type to keep loving one another even when things are the greatest in your relationship or life?

Now that you’ve answered these questions… put your name in the following blanks and see if this statement feels true in your life.

(Name) is patient. (Name) is kind. (Name) does not envy. (Name) does not boast or brag. (Name) is not stuck on him/herself. (Name) is not rude. (Name) is not self-centered or self-seeking. (Name) is not easily angered. (Name) keeps no record of wrongs. (Name) does not enjoy the suffering of others. (Name) is comfortable with the truth. (Name) will protect, hope for, and stick with those he/she loves.

Now that is a love quiz.

How did you do? What, if anything, was challenging to you? Post your thoughts in the comments.

Audit Your Child’s Spiritual Life

If you are a person of faith, you are tasked by God Himself to be the primary spiritual leader for your children. You are the one who should have the most influence, the most input,  and the highest level of concern over where they are spiritually.

There is a trend that I see today in our families. Parents are more concerned about their child’s behavior than their character. They’re more involved in their child’s sports than they are their Sunday School. They’re more worried about academics than their basic Biblical understanding.

I’ve seen it dozens of times in my 10+ years of ministry. Parents who brush off church services for sporting events. Then when child grows into a teen and loses all interest in Church and a relationship with God they come to me wondering what went wrong. I’ve never had a parent who prioritized their child’s spiritual upbringing come running, eyes wide with fear.

“Exercise is good for your body, but religion helps you in every way. It promises life now and forever.” These words are worthwhile and should not be forgotten.
1 Timothy 4:8-9 (Contemporary English Version)

I’m not saying that we need to quit caring about these things… I’m just arguing that we need to care about spiritual things more… and most. Our enemy doesn’t care if your kid is smart, athletic or talented. He can make use of any of that… but if your child becomes smart and spiritual, athletic and Godly, talented and discipled… that’s a threat.

My advice? Do an audit of your child’s spiritual life. Have you met their Sunday School teachers? Do you know their minister? If they go to a Christian school or daycare have you met the Chaplin? Have you ever sat through a class? Requested a copy of their policies and procedures? Do you know what they’re teaching?

Your child’s spiritual upbringing is your responsibility. It’s not like ballet or soccer… we can’t trust someone else to teach it to them. And we can’t take for granted that they’re getting what they need outside our home.

Your feedback and comments are welcome.

5 Things I’m Doing To Help My Wife More

I’m learning more and more that the key to a happy home is a happy wife. The key to a happy wife is making her feel appreciated and keeping her from feeling overwhelmed. The key to both of those is to  help her. It’s basic I know… but like so many things with relationships, it’s not knowing what to do, it’s buckling down and just doing it.

I’ve always figured that if my wife needed my help that she would ask. But she’s the type that things she should be able to handle it all on her own. She’s not good at asking. So these are things that I’ve just started to do on my own. I just made a list of tasks that seemed to drain her the most and took ownership of them. These aren’t things she’s asked me to do… they’re things I added myself and just let her know. She didn’t complain.

Here are a list of 5 things I’ve added to my Husband Portfolio that are really working wonders in my home.

1. I’ve started putting the kids to bed every night. We used to trade nights… now it’s my responsibility.

2. Bathing the kids… it’s my job now.

3. Cleaning the kitchen and doing dishes after dinner? My job now.

4. I must find and complete 5 tasks that help her around the house every evening after work.

5. I’ve secured a babysitter every other Thursday night so I can take her out to dinner.

She literally told me the other night, “You’re coming as close as you ever have to being the perfect husband”. I still have a bit to go I suppose. 🙂

Husbands, I put it to you. What things could you be doing (or are doing) to keep your wife happy, healthy and appreciated? Share your ideas in the comments so that we may all gain strength from your great wisdom!

By Popular Demand I Present: Pink Stuff

A while back Jenn and I promised to share the recipe for a Cranberry Jell-O mole I lovingly call “Pink Stuff”. We said we’d share and here it is!

½ Cup Milk
8 Large Marshmallows (80 Small)
8 oz. Cream Cheese, Softened
3 oz. Cranberry Jell-O
1 lb. Can Cranberry Sauce

Heat milk enough to melt marshmallows. Whip cream cheese; beat in cranberry sauce. Add Jell-O to milk. Add milk to cranberry sauce. Pour into mold. Chill until set. 3-4 hours.

(Credit to Jenn’s mom)

Helping Your Wife Through A Bad Day

Have you ever been in a situation where your wife is having a bad day and everything you try to do to help doesn’t help at all? I think every husband who cares about the wellbeing of his wife has.

I’ve found that when my wife is having a bad day it’s typically because of one of the following reasons:

  1. She’s not feeling well.
  2. She’s stressed.
  3. She feels bad about herself.
  4. She’s bored or feeling trapped.

My default response it to try to “fix” her bad mood by offering advice and trying to talk her out of it. This has never worked, but until recently it’s all I knew how to do. Even when I offered a fix that included time away or a nap, I would find that even if she accepted my offers, it didn’t always help the issue.

Lately I’ve found that the best thing I can do for my wife is to get her to talk about what is bothering her. Sometimes it takes a bit of pestering on my part to get her to open up. Especially if she feels silly or stupid about the issue. When she does begin to talk, I sit and listen. I do not offer advice. I have plenty… but I keep it in my mind like a check list for later. I limit my responses to phrases that show my interest and sympathy. Ninety-nine percent of the time just her talking about what is bothering her helps her day turn around.

The advice that I’ve stored up then becomes my mental to-do list. So rather than offering up promises of things that I will do to make life better for her, I instead begin doing them and/or offering to.

Try it out and see if your wife’s day doesn’t turn around.

What To Do When Your Son Pukes On Your Wife In Public?

dunderpuke

What do you do when your baby pukes out his last three meals all over your wife?

You take the baby and let her run to the restroom!

And if you’re Sam Lussier, with who’s family we were having a delightful lunch, you take a picture of it!

I got major points for the way I swept in and saved the day, allowing her to go and clean herself up. Those points are pointless however now that I’ve posted this photo.

Where Is Your Teen?

fight

The other day I took my family to a local park so the kids could get out some energy. Our new apartment isn’t well suited for it really.

We hadn’t been there long when seemingly from no where a group of 35-40 teens gathered in the center. There was an energy in the air. I noticed they were all focused on a couple of young men. It’s been nearly 20 years since I’ve been in High School… but I still remember what it looks like when a fight is about to break out.

This was no ordinary fight though. There were tons of teens around. No one was trying to step in or talk the boys out of it. Even when punches starting being thrown no one stepped in like I remember kids doing. I jumped on my phone and punched in 911 and was routed to the police department.

I screamed out, “Hey Morons! I’m calling the cops!” To which some random watcher near me responded, “So.” I did my best to describe to the officer what was going down and why I was concerned. The fight did end and the crowd started to walk away quickly as word got spread that some guy had called 5-0.

Most of them walked right past me and glared. One girl said, “Why do people always call the cops?” another boy shouted, “I bet you feel all hard dontcha?” I didn’t. I felt stupid but I had to do something. I can’t sit by and watch that go on without a proper response. My daughter and son are to precious to have a bunch of thug kids take over their park and show them that violence goes without consequences.

I was left with a few questions in my mind.

1. Are there really 35-40 families who don’t care where their teens are at 5pm on a Monday?

2. “Why do people always call the cops?” she said. How many fights like this have you been to?

3. What happened to a basic respect for adults… or at very least adults with pre-school children nearby.

4. How many of the kids in that group would call themselves Christians… but did nothing, said nothing… and never even thought twice about it.

God help us.

What Moving House Taught Me About Compromise

moving

While packing our house I have realized (yet again) that my wife and I think differently. Not only that, but we think differently from two different perspectives… even when we have the same goals. This isn’t because we’re two different people (it’s not a personality clash for once), it’s because we have two different roles.

Her role is the organizer. It’s her job to keep the family working during this entire process. She wants to keep us comfortable and herself sane. My role is the loader. It’s my job to do the heavy lifting and get everything from here to Florida in one piece. This translates into one person who wants everything in a box and every room cleared out… and another person who wants to keep a lot of stuff right where it is till the last moment.

This is more than about moving… It’s given me a chance to think back to past conflicts and wonder how many of them were not because of some huge, deep-seeded issue, but rather just because we had two different jobs to do.

Jennifer is a Mother, for instance. She has a different role with the kids than I do. She handles them differently than I would… but that doesn’t make her wrong. We both have the same goals, to raise great kids, but we have different parts to play in that goal. We’re not always going to be working together to see our goal reached. If it really takes two to make things go right, it takes two perspectives as well.

If two people have the same goal, there is no reason they can’t find a way to come alongside one another, even though their roles differ, to have harmony in the process. An added bonus would be to have those two roles not only accomplish the task, but benefit and enhance the other’s role as well.

In the case of our move, giving each person a chance to represent and explain their perspective can go a long way. Understanding how the other person sees things, rather than simply defending your own view, can relieve tensions and build unity. Our roles in the move appeared to be in opposition to one another. This created conflict, but once we explained our views and understood one another, a compromise was possible.

Compromise doesn’t always mean nobody gets what they want. Sometimes it means you adopt a little of the other’s way of thinking as your own. You realize that your perspective was a bit to limiting and you weren’t 100% right. A perfect compromise is when both parties do this.

So in the end… I’m going to get to pack up more than I would have… and she’s going to be able to keep out more than I had wanted… and it’s all good.

Commonly Used Discipline Techniques That Don’t Work

tantrum

Having young children means I have to keep them busy. When I’m keeping them busy, it’s usually at places where there are other parents trying to keep their own kids busy. All those kids and all those parents means I get to see a lot of different personalities and parenting styles. I hate to say it, but most of those parents don’t seem to have a lot of control over their children’s behavior. At home it’s not embarrassing and who knows how they handle it… but in public it’s a different story. They all seem to employ the same techniques… and none of them work the way you’d think they would.

The Threat

The Technique: Dad is trying to get Billy to be good in line at Disney World. He says, “If you don’t straighten up, we won’t go swimming later!”

The Problem: Billy is six. He lives in the moment. He only knows how he feels right now… and he’s bored. Plus, he knows you’re not going to ruin the entire family’s plans. You’ve threatened before and never followed through.

The Proper Solution: Billy is bored… but that’s no excuse for bad behavior. Billy needs a time out until he can get his attitude straight. Leave the line, sit Billy down and calmly explain to him that Vacation is on hold until he can control his attitude. The moment Billy pulls it together, jump back in line. If Billy freaks because we’re now at the end of the line, explain that’s what happens when you’re not happy with what you have. If Billy freaks again… lather, rinse, repeat.

The Bribe

The Technique: Mindy won’t eat her McDonald’s and won’t sit still. Mom promises that we’ll get ice cream if she’ll eat her nuggets.

The Problem: Mindy is eating McDonald’s. You should never have to be bribed to eat McDonald’s. Mindy has learned that if she’s bad, she gets rewarded so she pulls this just about every time she can. Plus, she’s so focused on ice cream that she can’t possibly focus on finishing lunch. Also, Mom will probably get ice cream later anyway to keep Mindy from pitching a fit… so for Mindy, it’s a win-win.

The Proper Solution: Mindy gets a time limit. If she finishes, great. If she doesn’t she gets to see it go into the trash. If she pitches a fit, it’s nap time when we get home.

The Pacifier

The Technique: Little Blake has lost his mind in the shopping cart because Mom walked past the toy aisle on accident and didn’t stop. Mom is embarrassed so she runs back and lets Blake pick out a toy which turns into an ordeal of it’s own.

The Problem: Like Mindy above, Blake has learned that throwing a fit gets results! He’s being rewarded for bad behavior. Plus, he’s young… and kids have a hard time making choices. Some kids enjoy whipping their parents into a frustrated frenzy.  If they can’t get positive attention, they’re more than happy with manipulation.

The Proper Solution: Blake needs to be ignored. He doesn’t need a toy every time he sees one. It’ll be embarrassing. People will look at Mom like she’s being abusive… but eventually little Blake will run out of energy and accept his fate. He’ll learn that his temper gets him nothing!

The Sibling

The Technique: It’s time to leave Chic-Fil-A so Mom, knowing how younger sister Starla can be, sends older sister, Lisa into the playplace to get her.

The Problem: Mom is putting Lisa into an unfair position. She’s been charged with a task that is going to frustrate everyone involved. Starla isn’t going to listen. Lisa isn’t going to get the results Mom wanted. Mom’s hoping to avoid drama and she is… but only at the expense of her daughter’s stress level.

The Proper Solution: Before Starla goes to play, Mom tells her how long she’s got… and what will happen when we get home if there is a temper tantrum. When it’s almost time to go, Mom comes in to tell her she’s got 5 minutes left to play then it’s time to go. This gives Starla time to adjust and will help keep outbursts to a minimum. At one minute till Mom comes back to tell Starla to get her shoes on. If she has an outburst, Mom simply follows through with what the promised would happen once they get home. Mom is patient and doesn’t lose her temper. Eventually Starla gives up, puts on the shoes and leaves.

Even great kids lose it. The trick for parent’s is to stop caring how they’re being perceived in public. Do what needs to be done for the betterment of your child. That takes patience and self-control. If you get embarrassed and lost your temper… they’ve won.