Monday, November 30, 2009
3. Make Some Rules - You know all the fire drills in primary school you prayed would happen during your pop math quiz? All those times the school administrators rehearsed what, exactly, would happen in the case of an emergency? Families of bipolar persons need those as well: plans of action for those times when the bipolar person is sick. In order to design such a strategy, the manic depressive and their loved one must compile a list of symptoms -- the equivalents of the smoke and burning smell of a fire -- and what action should accompany each, like "call the doctor." Each family will have a different list of symptoms and a different model of recovery, because no two
7. Laugh Together - Humor heals in so many ways. It combats fear as it loosens anxiety's death grip on your heart and every other living organ. It comforts and relaxes. And recent studies indicate that humor also reduces pain and boosts a person's immune system. "Laughter dissolves tension, stress,
8. Support Yourself - Caregiving is draining. Even when you are protecting yourself with the armor of regular sleep, healthy meals, and essential time-outs from your bipolar loved one, caring for a person still takes a toll on both physical and mental health. "It can be exhausting to live with a hypomanic person and frustrating to deal with a seriously depressed person day after day," says Dr. Mondimore. "The changes and unpredictability of the moods of someone with bipolar disorder intrude into home life and can be the source of severe stress in relationships, straining them to breaking point." That's why you need support as much as your loved one. You need to talk to people who have lived with a manic-depressive, and be validated by their experiences. Spouses and family members of bipolar people should consider therapy for themselves, as a way of processing all the stress. You may also benefit from checking out support programs for spouses and loved ones of the mentally
Thursday, November 26, 2009
- Pray for them by name. Ask God to intervene in their marriage. Ask God to give you and others wisdom to know how to help. Pray in their presence as well as when alone. Send emails and note cards of encouragement.
- Listen. Listening doesn't mean simply hearing. It involves empathizing, seeking to understand and expressing genuine interest.
- Don't give advice. Your main job is listening. Leave the advice giving to a pastor, counselor or mentor.
- Don't make the problem worse. Don't allow your support to be seen as an encouragement to give up or get a divorce. Your job is to help steer them toward the proper help and reconciliation (If addiction or abuse is involved, make sure they get the professional help they need and are safe).
- Help them think outside the divorce box. Booklets such as When Your Marriage Needs Help, Should I Get a Divorce, and Marriage and Conflict can give couples both research and practical advice to help them consider the facts about divorce and how to get the help they need for their marriage.
- Help them find the right help. Locate a good, licensed Christian counselor in their area. Ask your pastor or Christian M.D. for a referral. Focus on the Family offers a free counseling consult as well as a free referral service to a Focus-screened marriage therapist.
- Connect them with a mentor couple. If you are not qualified to help, call your pastor to recommend an older couple who is willing to mentor a younger couple.
- Refer them to helpful Web sites. Web sites such as TroubledWith, Pure Intimacy and www.FocusOnTheFamily.com offer hundreds of articles, practical advice and resource recommendations on various marriage issues. Focus also offers a Marriage Forum designed to give couples a safe place to talk about struggles and successes in their marriage.
- Encourage them to work on their problems and not simply expect them to be solved on their own. Focus On The Family offers an online Marriage Checkup which measures over 18 major areas of marriage -- identifying both strengths and weaknesses.
- Refer them to solid Christian-based books and seminars. Many are available through Amazon and Focus On The Family. Key resources like Yes, Your Marriage Can Be Saved, Love and Respect, Love Must Be Tough, First Five Years of Marriage, Help! We are Drifting Apart, Breaking the Cycle of Divorce, Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage and others can provide needed encouragement and direction.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
According to a new poll commissioned by The Associated Press, 60 percent of those who live with families said they sat down with family for dinner at least five nights in the past week. The research also revealed:
- Twenty-five percent of families have the television turned on during dinner.
- Fifty percent of families feel pestered by phone calls during this time together.
- E-mailing or texting on a cell phone is constantly taking place during dinner for five percent of families.
- Fifty-one percent of men said they cook dinner at least sometimes.
- Sixty-four percent of people in rural areas said they eat dinner as a family at least five times a week compared to 56 percent of those living in cities.
- Twenty percent of those polled said they ate dinner in a sit-down restaurant once in the past week.
The poll was conducted November 5-9 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media, and was based on phone interviews with 1,006 adults. [MercuryNews.com]
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
[by Sydney Harris]
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
God intended His relationship with His created human beings to be a loving, committed relationship, and marriage is modeled after that. When a man leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife, it connotes more than just a companion or partner. It's the infusion of two people into one relationship that God expects to stay together.
"Marriage is the very fabric of a society that's healthy," says Linda Mintle, a licensed marriage and family therapist. "It's a sacred institution of God."
MORE THAN HAPPINESS
Experts say the biblical model and societal expectations for marriage are vastly different. Scripture presents marriage as a covenant vow, not a social or business contract. Yet the standard thinking among many today is that a spouse is disposable if he or she no longer keeps the partner content. Marriage won't always be consistent in its level of fulfillment and personal happiness. Marriage should be a committed union with another person rather than something to make us happy. There will be conflict in marriage. But if the emotional bond between partners is strong and intimate, damage can be repaired quickly.
In July, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford attempted to justify an eight-year secret relationship he had with an Argentine woman. Frequently, politicians caught in adultery make a brief statement of contrition to the media with their wife stoically at their side. In contrast, Sanford stood alone and showed no remorse. He called his affair partner his "soul mate" and admitted that he no longer loved his wife of 20 years, with whom he has four sons. The ordeal may have been a watershed in terms of shifting attitudes. Josh Spurlock, a professional counselor with Tri-Lakes Relational Center in Springfield, Missouri, (http://getrelationshiphelp.com/) who has been married four years, agrees that the Sanford affair signaled a new boldness by public figures in displaying behavior long considered unacceptable.
Likewise, the sad demise of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair shows how infidelity can spin out of control. McNair, married and the father of four sons, had bought a luxury vehicle for and vacationed with a 20-year-old girlfriend. Police say the adulterous girlfriend murdered McNair because she suspected he was cheating on her in a second affair.
Another sign of growing tolerance of infidelity is the burgeoning number of Web sites facilitating extramarital affairs. One site, whose membership has doubled to 4 million in a year, recently added mobile iPhone and BlackBerry applications to keep suspecting spouses from discovering the adultery.
A critical root of the problem is that it's all about what feels good at the moment. This new relativism of "whatever's right for me' pushes away absolute values." Such thinking is evident in the reality show "Jon & Kate Plus 8," which follows the Gosselin parents and their sextuplets and twins. Early episodes in 2007 talked about the faith of the mother, Kate. By June this year, Kate had filed for divorce after the series divulged Jon's dating of a 22-year-old woman. On air, Jon complained that he needed to flee the marriage because of his overbearing wife. "I was too passive. I let her rule the roost and went along with everything. And now I stood up on my own two feet and I'm proud of myself," Gosselin said. No spiritual solutions were offered. There was no talking to their pastor, no praying together, no push for an intimate walk with God. No other couples coming around to help them. It was strictly the secular answer: I'm not happy; I'm getting out. The Gosselins are symbolic of the American pattern of the highest divorce rate in the Western hemisphere.
Divorce and cohabitation -- which begins and ends quicker in the United States compared to other countries -- challenge the foundational premise of marriage. It's a false premise that a relationship is about my pleasure as long as it lasts with a certain other person, and then I can leave. It's antithetical to God's design of marriage, which is about commitment, growth, mutual sharing and benefit of the other person. When people don't have a commitment to the biblical model of marriage, they are vulnerable to other kinds of relationships.
Growing acceptance of adultery has been accompanied by astronomical cohabitation and the highest divorce rates. Many people see broken relationships as an expected part of life. Linda Mintle, whose books include Divorce-Proofing Your Marriage and I Married You, Not Your Family, says the divorce rate for Christians mirrors that of non-Christians because they have adapted to the mindset that marriage is about personal happiness, rather than honoring a covenant.
"Anything that breaks up the institution and marginalizes the important role of a man and a woman in creating a family is destructive," Mintle says.
FALLOUT FOR CHILDREN
Mintle says Satan has effectively assaulted marriage on a variety of fronts involving parenting, including: common portrayals of fathers on television as dolts; unmarried Hollywood couples having babies without moral qualms; and homosexual-rights groups trying to redefine the family to include two same-sex parents. "All of this at its root destroys what God developed: The best place for kids to be raised is within the institution of marriage," Mintle says. A generation ago, most viewed procreation as a vital reason to marry, but that's no longer the case.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a record four out of 10 births are to unwed women. The widespread acceptance of divorce towers above other threats to marriage. The median age for a first divorce in this country is 30.5 for men and 29 for women. The devastation that happens with kids in the course of a divorce often seems to repeat itself in the next generation. Divorce wrecks the home life of kids. Emotionally, it leaves scars that are carried into other relationships. The wounds of infidelity or pornography are damaging, but they can be healed. Divorce is more like an amputation.
Andrew J. Cherlin, author of The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today, concurs that the carousel of relationships of parents is particularly damaging to children's emotional development and undermines a sense of security and trust. About 60 percent of children born to cohabitating parents see them split up by the time they reach 10 years old, he reports. "Some children seem to have difficulty adjusting to a series of parents and parents' partners moving in and out of their home," Cherlin writes.
Couples contemplating giving up on marriage need not be afraid to seek mentoring help from solid older couples in their church or professional counselors. Such guidance may help put the marriage in perspective. In marriage, sometimes the spotlight of the heart shifts onto what disappoints us about our spouse. As discontentment grows, attraction fades and eventually fades to coldness. The reality of what characteristics attract us to other people is that they are also the qualities that attracted us to our spouse. Thus, innocent attraction can grow improperly into affection that becomes obsession. Even through the bad times in a marriage, God is able to use difficulties to mold us in His image.
[by John W. Kennedy, Pentecostal Evangel]