Unequally Yoked

What Is LoveSocial media is very entertaining for lack of a better word. I have witnessed today a couple break up over EASTER. Now being in the field of counseling I am sure that it was more than just the ‘Easter’ argument and more about being unequally yoked, but the break-up was played out on Facebook. The entire fight, though was over the relevance of the date. The gentleman was saying that Easter is just another holiday forced by the government. He said first of all Easter is supposed to be in April He also mentioned that it is a known fact that it rains on Easter and today was clearly sunny- I am not sure if this is a ‘fact’ but it does happen often. He finally ended it by saying that people keep saying it was three days when in actuality it was two nights and two days. His fiancé on the other hand, is a devout Christian and she found everything that he was saying to be blasphemous and embarrassing. Needless to say, since this argument played out on social media there were others involved, thus escalating the situation past what it should have been.

This argument reminded me of two things. One it reminded me of the importance of couples keeping their business private. Many relationships have been broken due to outside sources. It is a proven fact that when couples bring people into their arguments they are going to choose sides. Choosing sides can be detrimental because the other person becomes a target and it puts a rift between the couple; sometimes ending in a split up or a divorce. Two, it reminded me of the old saying about being unequally yoked (‎2 Corinthians 6:15). I can totally understand where the woman is coming from, yet as a Christian I have to wonder if this is something that she brought upon herself. The Bible clearly states that we are not to be unequally yoked. Had this couple been better familiarized with each other, this conversation may have been avoided. To make a long story short, when choosing a mate choose carefully, don’t be blindsided by love, and be open honest. Mates are supposed to be lifelong commitments. Relationships are hard enough on their own and as a result it is important that the playing field is equal as possible from the beginning.

Positive Deflection Techniques for Strained Marriages

THROWBACK THURSDAY

This post is a blast from the past.  Check it out!

Many people live with a spouse that is overly critical of them.  On a positive note, the injured spouse can use these criticisms as a way to grow as an individual.  If you use these techniques in a non-threatening way the criticizer may have to actually focus on things they truly feel about themselves when they’re focusing on you.  Learn to set boundaries in your marriage without being disrespectful or unloving. I’ve listed 8 examples of positive deflection techniques below.

1. Agree – Marriage is not a competition.  If you are with a person who HAS to be right, let them.  There is a great deal of security in knowing you’re right and not having to argue about it.

2. Give compliments –  Ex: “You think you know everything.” Your reply, “I don’t think that at all and I’m sorry you feel that way.”

3. Take compliments – Ex: “You think you know everything.” Your reply, “I’ve worked hard to get where I am, but I know I still have more to learn. No one knows everything especially me.”

4. Label Feelings – Ex: “You did (whatever always comes back up) to me 4 years ago.” Reply: “You’re right, I apologize again for that.  What am I doing now that upsets you.”

5. Sympathize – Rephrase or validate feelings when critical remarks come from genuine anger.

6. Ask questions – Ex: “I’m so irritated with (whatever it is) and you.” Reply: “I understand so what can I do now to fix it or avoid it in the future?”

7. Express feelings, wants, limits – Ex: The critical partner blows their top and displays their anger by throwing something.  Reply: (Make sure you are somewhere safe is #1) “I know you’re upset by (whatever) but angry or not, I won’t allow you to curse at me.  Let’s talk when we’ve both calmed down.”

8. Humor – Laugh, because you have to admit sometimes when we’re angry we say stupid things.

Your Priorities and Your Marriage

bed disagreement

According to author Tommy Nelson, in his book Better Love Now! the destruction of marriage doesn’t happen quickly.  It starts ending over a period of time, day to day, month to month.  A godly marriage is built on simple things and destroyed by simple things.  In simple terms spouses begin to make something else more important than their spouse.  Examples of those things can be time with friends, electronics, work, hobbies, etc.  He lists 8 biblical priorities that make the greatest difference in marriages:

1. Your Individual Time with God – Make it a priority everyday to pray and spend time in the word.  As a married couple your spiritual life impacts your interaction with your spouse.

Use the scale to rate how you are doing in this area:  Poorly  1  2  3  4  5  Very Well

2. Your friendship – Work everyday to be friends, make it a priority.

Use the scale to rate how you are doing in this area:  Strangers  1  2  3  4  5  Best Friends

3. Quality time together – You must be diligent and creative about your time spent together.  Don’t get caught up on the length of time, focus of the quality of time you have.  If you have kids avoid using them as an excuse for not spending time together.  Find another couple with children and alternate staying at home with the kids while the other couple goes out.  If you expand the time to an overnight stay each couple will have a night out and possibly get to wake up together without the help of their kids.

Use the scale to rate how you are doing in this area:  Almost None  1  2  3  4  5  Just Right

4. Good Sex – enough said make it a priority.  Sexuality is a gift from God.  Notice I said good sex FOR BOTH SPOUSES. If it is non existent or not good start working on it.  Read our previous post 30-Day Sex Challenge!!

Use the scale to rate how you are doing in this area:  What Sex  1  2  3  4  5  Really Good Sex

5. Direction for your marriage – Know where your marriage is heading, know what you are BOTH trying to accomplish. What vision do you and your spouse have for your marriage?

Use the scale to rate how you are doing in this area:  Sort of Aimless  1  2  3  4  5  Going with God

6. Your children – Making your children a priority DOES NOT mean your marriage should be built on the children.  Although this sounds obvious to me I’ve seen many couples struggle with differences of opinion when it comes to the priority of their kids.  People often forget that one day those kids will leave home and start families of their own.  Make them a priority not the center.

Use the scale to rate how you are doing in this area:  Not So Good  1  2  3  4  5  Just Right

7. Humility – Successful couples know how to show humility towards their spouse.  The only way to be submissive to EACH OTHER is to consider them more important than yourself. Are you trying to preserve your conceit and pride, if you have forgotten humility you are heading down the wrong road.

Use the scale to rate how you are doing in this area:  Way Too Proud  1  2  3  4  5  Living in Humility

8.  Repentance – If you make repentance a priority, you will be willing to make it right.  This happens when both spouses refuses to admit wrongdoing. If they argue in public one spouse will offer a fake apology.  The contempt  is evident in how they look at each other.  When couples lose the priority of repentance, small problems become big problems.

Use the scale to rate how you are doing in this area:  Stiff-Necked  1  2  3  4  5  Repenting Daily

How I Stayed Married for 17 Years – Guest Post by Regina Yvette Hall

I continue to praise God for the wonderful people he places in my life, especially the women.  I have had instances of cattiness, drama and shadiness, but not often.  One of the first people I met when I moved to Texas was my friend Regina.  She lived a couple of houses down from me and we instantly clicked.  She offered to walk my daughter to the bus, keep her after school and to make me dinner! All in the first day I met her.  Regina is a woman after my own heart that says EXACTLY what she thinks about everything!  I love it.  Her Facebook post about her marriage struck a chord with me and I asked if I could republish it.  Thanks GIGI!

I keep getting the question of how did I stay married for 17 years; Here is my answer. And no it will not be stay in church or go to church, because the church people are getting divorced faster than anybody else…so that aint it. My answer is know who you are. When you know who you are, you are a happy person. You are not secretly jealous or envious of others. You do not hate on the accomplishments of others, because you are doing your own thing and have your own life. You do not look for others to make you happy, nor do you seek the approval of others. You will never need your degrees, money, marriage, clothing, religion, church, pastor etc. to define who you are. You let God, not MAN tell you who you are. Then you believe it 100% and walk in it. You seek the approval of the Almighty God alone. When you know who you are AND WHOSE YOU ARE, you do not tolerate foolishness or foolish people. You have to have a mate who thinks the same way; then you become compliments to each other, not competitors or frenemies. That is how you get married, not out of instruction, neediness, boredom, or lust. Nobody can complete you. You must be whole 100% first, or you will forever be unhappy.

Regina Yvette Hall

Do you agree?  What has helped you stay married? We would love to hear from you!

No Spouse is Perfect

Successful marriages are those in which spouses grow together despite their shortcomings, care for each other including flaws and differences, and nurture their respective strengths to hold on to the good and minimize the bad in their relationships.

What were the good qualities that drew you to each other? What flaws in your relationship or in each other that you overlooked? Can you recover the best parts of your relationship and each other that made you want to spend the rest of your lives together?

megan.lee.lpc.2013

Megan, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, is the wife of Malik, and mother of Ayanna, Jonathan and Isiah. She actively encourages her children’s higher education and community involvement. Megan is a Christian and active in the marriage ministry at her church Cornerstone Baptist Church, in Arlington, TX. Her personal interests include independent film, music and marriage enrichment. Megan is the co-founder of the Minority Behavioral Health Provider Networking Group along with colleague Cynthia Thompson.

Should I Get Divorced? Relationship IQ Quiz

Awesome quiz from Divorce Busting by Michele Weiner-Davis.

Having marriage problems? Are you considering divorce? Well, it?s time you put your assumptions about marriage issues to the test! Take the Relationship IQ Quiz and find out what makes a healthy marriage, what causes divorce, and what most people do after infidelity occurs.

If you?re looking for a divorce quiz, or trying to decide if you should get divorced, then this is a great place to start. As always, remember, it?s never too late to save a marriage from divorce.

By Michele Weiner-Davis

Answer “True” or “False” to each of the following questions:

  1. Conflict and anger are signs that your relationship is failing.
  2. You’re more likely to divorce if there are differences in your backgrounds, likes and dislikes and interests.
  3. In healthy relationships, major disagreements get resolved over time.
  4. In healthy marriages, spouses have the same definition of what it means to be loving.
  5. People just fall out of love.
  6. Affairs don’t have to ruin marriages.
  7. Most people are much happier in their second marriages because they’ve learned from their mistakes.