Disagreement and arguments are common in most all relationships—between coworkers, spouses, siblings.  In the heat of the moment, angry words can destroy a relationship that took many years to build.  By following a few short tips, individuals can use the opportunity to strengthen a relationship rather than destroy it.

Disagreement Do List

  1. Agree upon a time to discuss the issue
  2. Be aware of your body language (appear nonthreatening and relaxed)
  3. Avoid interruptions (phone calls, texts…)
  4. Control your tone of voice and volume
  5. Listen, Listen, Listen
  6. Think before you speak
  7. Make good eye contact
  8. Ask clarifying questions
  9. Be non-judgmental
  10. Be empathetic

 

boxing-gloves10 Rules of Fair Fighting

  1. No name calling
  2. No interrupting
  3. No blaming or accusations
  4. No cursing
  5. No yelling
  6. No sarcasm
  7. No defensiveness
  8. No generalizations (you always…)
  9. No physical/emotional intimidating
  10. No walking out without naming a follow up time.

 

Diane Reed, MA, LPCC

One thing that we can all count on in our life are stressful situations. These moments–long or short–will happen in many different areas. There are strategies to be incorporated in our daily life that will offset, or prevent stress. The following are four common ways to handle stress:

Handling-Stress

Exercise. An active lifestyle is helpful in distracting the mind in addition to the physical benefits. The human brain actually operates in a way that physical activity creates a happier existence.

Prayer or meditation. Taking our stress to God removes the pressure of carrying it all on our shoulders and provides the comfort of knowing we are not alone. Additionally, when prayer or meditation is taking place intentional solitude has been created. This personal time can provide a sense of peace.

Journal. Writing down feelings is a way of letting things out. It is one way to unbottle the feelings and relieves some pressure. Also, writing down all the good things is helpful in remembering the positives in life.

Talk to a counselor. Verbalizing the stressful situations can provide a sense of peace. A counselor can help change thinking process and give suggestions that are specific to the particular situation.

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At the Christian Counseling Center we have training and experience helping those struggling with feelings of stress.

There is more to making a good marriage better in addition to good communication. Here are tips to make your marriage better.

Pay attention to the needs of your mate as though they are more important or equal to those of your needs. This type of effort usually results in your mate returning the same interest and energy.

Compliment your mate about their appearance, the meal, or whatever would be a genuine positive comment. A good practice is a 5/1 ratio when talking to your mate. Share five positive comments before you attempt to address a concern or criticism.

Small efforts may be more impacting than a major effort, such as, surprising you spouse with something, not expensive that reflects that you thought of them during the day. It could be a card, flower, candy for your wife, while your husband might appreciate something that reflects his interest, such a new fishing lure, tennis racket, shirt, or his favorite candy bar. Use your imagination because it does not have to be any of the mentioned items.

Get Back on the Right Track

When you have a conflict, stop long enough to listen to each other. Really listen rather than jumping to conclusion. Stop with the criticism long enough to notice the positive and make appropriate comments to encourage rather than tearing down. Be cautious with you chosen words as well as your non-verbal expressions.

Be quick to stop the negative, say that you are sorry; I love you and please forgive me.  Sometime it is important to recall a simple rule, “HALT”.

HALT-Never-let-yourself-get-too-hungry-anxious-lonely-or-tired.jpg“H” You might be hungry (or hangry). Take time to eat a snack and wait up to 30 minutes and try again.

”A” Did you feel angry before you began talking or because of how something was expressed? Take ten deep breaths to cleanse your thoughts before going on with the discussion.

“L” may suggest that you might be feeling lonely and not ready for the conversation. It may be helpful to have a conversation about how you feel and allow the other person to know where you are in perspective to the current topic. This could improve your ability to have a more production conversation.

“T” may reveal that you are tired and not at your best to deal with a deep conversation until rested. Hammering out a topic while overly tired may result in greater damage. Tired employees are more prone to accidents that when well rested and the same is likely true for marriages as well.

Take time today to make use these tips to make your marriage a positive marriage.

The best way to make your relationship better is to work at fixing what’s wrong, right? Nope. The most effective way to boost fun and passion is to add positive elements to your marriage. That positive energy makes you feel good and motivates you to keep going in that direction. 

Happy Couple.jpg

  • Say thank you for even the small things like folding the towels.
  • Stay Connected. Talk about the details of your day.
  • Mention the qualities that you appreciate… hair, laugh, kindness.
  • Recall past times together and describe your hopes for the future.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t feel —or talk about —anything negative, but pretend you are weighing your interactions on a scale.

If you want a happier relationship, the positive side needs to far outweigh the bad. The more you honor the love and joy in your bond, the sooner you’ll transform your marriage into one that is truly great.

Love and Respect–Building Blocks of a Good Marriage

Imagine having a marriage in which both husband and wife love and respect each other, have unity in their goals, and commonality in their belief system. This structure is a win/win for both husband and wife.

Two important building blocks to a good marriage are “love” and “respect”. These two words mean different things to different people, and often differ from males to females. Therefore, a discussion is needed to clarify the meaning.

Activity:

As a couple, define “love” and “respect”.

As a couple, agree on the differences between the two words.

As a couple, discuss and give examples of behaviors that would make each other feel “unloved” and “disrespected”.

Words of wisdom:

Be generous with your words of appreciation

Spend quality time with each other

Be quick to forgive and forget

Seek to understand your differences

Be honest and gentle when giving feedback

Be open and honest regarding finances

Always appreciate their best qualities

Pray together often

Practice physical touch

Surround yourself with other Christian families/couples

Attend a bible based congregation that provides Christian fellowship

Pray for your spouse, for when God blesses them, he blesses you

Laugh and enjoy each other’s personality

Diane Reed, LPCC

A friend of mine once told me a story of a Valentine’s Day date with her spouse. She and her husband decided to meet for a meal on this day for sweethearts. At this time, mobile devices were not part of the fabric of society creating a little more of a problem when they both waited…and waited for the other to arrive. By the time she had treated herself to a fair portion of chips and salsa my friend realized, it’s past time for him to arrive. Meanwhile, her man was across town waiting for her to arrive. Eventually they were able to contact one another and get together to enjoy a Valentine’s Day meal but that lack of communication…missing the mark connecting with one another caused a blip in the plans.

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Staying connected to one’s spouse includes clearly communicating meeting points. But there are also things involved in maintaining that important part of relationship building. Here are four ways to keep a bond with that special someone:

  • Find ways to surprise your spouse. The surprises can vary in size, from time to time spending money for a surprise can be appropriate. However, often times small surprises can be even more meaningful. Notes, social media mentions, and providing treats are ways this can be accomplished.
  • Always be in pursuit. Having been together for years gives the false idea that the pursuit of one’s spouse has been completed. Making that special someone feel loved and appreciated by the way they are treated them keeps the excitement of the relationship alive.
  • Take interests in each other’s hobbies. One may even become interested in something new due to broadening of a  horizon. At the very least it is one more way to keep growth of the relationship active. No healthy hobby or interest is more important than another–taking this attitude goes a long way in building comfort with one’s spouse.
  • Set aside time for each other. Just being alone together is not a date. In busy life styles waiting for alone time is an exercise in futility. People make appointments for important parts of their life. What is more important than building relationship with a loved one?

At the very least…clarify that Valentine’s Day date location!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Christian Counseling Center!

Justin P. Lewis, LMFT

A great marriage results from efforts for the good times and even greater efforts to get through the tough times. A wonderful marriage is not an assumed relationship, but one requiring attention and care. The focus of a great marriage is the intent of the article, because it requires intentional efforts.

communication.jpg

  • Pay attention to your mate by looking at them when you talk to them.
  • Turn off any electronic devices that might create distraction. Put down whatever you are doing in order to pay attention.
  • Ask if this is a good time to talk to your mate.
  • Listen to your mate when they talk to you.
  • Look at your mate while you talk to them.
  • Avoid any distractions that may suggest your lack of interest.
  • It might be helpful to ask questions about what they said to be sure that you understood their message.
  • Persuasive speech conveys your thoughts while trying to convince the other to your views. This usually brings a positive conversation to a halt.
  • Listening, ask questions, and being courteous may bring out the best in your mate.

 

Roger Thompson

LMFT

Here are some warning signs of suicide

  • Talking about suicide. Preoccupation with death.
  • Looking for ways to die (internet searches for how to commit suicide, looking for guns, pills, etc.)
  • Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
  • Anger, restlessness, agitation, irritability, or other dramatic changes in mood.
  • Recklessness or high risk-taking behavior.
  • Suddenly happier, calmer.
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about – Withdrawing from family, friends and activities.
  • Visiting or calling people one cares about.
  • Making arrangements; setting one’s affairs in order. Giving away prized possessions.

If You See the Warning Signs of Suicide…

Begin a dialogue by asking questions. Suicidal thoughts are common with depressive illnesses and your willingness to talk about it in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way can be the help a person needs to seek professional help. Questions okay to ask:

  • “Do you ever feel so badly that you think about suicide?”
  • “Do you have a plan to commit suicide or take your life?”
  • “Have you thought about when you would do it (today, tomorrow, next week)?”
  • “Have you thought about what method you would use?”

Asking these questions will help you to determine if your friend or family members is in immediate danger, and get help if needed. A suicidal person should see a doctor or mental health professional immediately. Calling 911 or going to a hospital emergency room are also good options to prevent a tragic suicide attempt or death. Calling the National Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK is also a resource for you or the person you care about for help. Remember, always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously.

Don’t try to minimize problems or shame a person into changing their mind. Your opinion of a person’s situation is irrelevant. Trying to convince a person suffering with a mental illness that it’s not that bad, or that they have everything to live for may only increase their feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Reassure them that help is available, that depression is treatable, and that suicidal feelings are temporary. Life can get better!

If you feel the person isn’t in immediate danger, acknowledge the pain as legitimate and offer to work together to get help. Make sure you follow through. This is one instance where you must be tenacious in your follow-up. Help find a doctor or a mental health professional, participate in making the first phone call, or go along to the first appointment. If you’re in a position to help, don’t assume that your persistence is unwanted or intrusive. Risking your feelings to help save a life is a risk worth taking.

Image result for suicide

If you have thoughts of suicide, these options are available to you:

  • Dial: 911 or Dial: 1-800-273-TALK
  • Check yourself into the emergency room.
  • Tell someone who can help you find help immediately.
  • Stay away from things that might hurt you.
  • Most people can be treated with antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.
  • Look in your local Yellow Pages under Mental Health and/or Suicide Prevention; then call the mental health organizations or crisis phone lines that are listed. There may be clinics or counseling centers in your area operating on a sliding or no-fee scale.
  • Visit the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill website at http://www.nami.org for more information. http://www.save.org/

A suicidal person urgently needs to see a doctor or mental health professional.           

Information gathered from:  http://www.save.org/

This year the folk musician Bob Dylan won a Nobel Peace Prize for his lyrical work. His musical career which started in the 1960s has continued into present day and the songs he wrote back then have had the staying power to be favorites in all generations of music fans.

One of the songs Dylan wrote was directed to his son. The title of the song is “Forever Young.” In this song he gives encouragement to his son on a life worth living, developing character, and being a good person. The first verse includes the line:

“may you always do for others, and let others do for you.”

Many times, in my opinion, a great deal of focus is given on always doing for others. Sometimes to the point of totally sacrificing the needs of self. I want to be clear here, doing for others is important, as Dylan notes in his song. Just as important, I think, is allowing others to help you.

We were not created to be alone in this life. The bible tells us that God created two people because just one was not good in His eyes. Throughout the word of God community is developed in the family, His holy nation of Israel in the old covenant, and finally the church. Within these institutions all people have a role in service towards each other and also to allow another to serve him.

Of course, there is the teaching of Jesus in which he instructs us to:

“do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

This assumes that at times people will be serving us as well as us being served.

As we keep in mind our relationships with other people may we indeed, “do for others, but also let them do for us.”

 

–Justin P. Lewis, MA

October is National Bully Prevention Awareness month.  Schools and organizations across the country have joined the Stomp Out Bullying campaign.  The goal is to encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness and impact on children of all ages.  

Bullying is a cruel intentional act that is often repeated.  It is prevalent in schools, playgrounds, neighborhoods, and even workplaces.  If children are not taught to deal effectively with such behavior the bullying becomes worse.  Adult bullies often become very proficient at threats and intimidation to get what they want.  Such behavior may be verbal, emotional, sexual, physical or cyber-bullying.  Being a victim is traumatizing for adults, but even worse for children.

The best time to talk to your child about bullying is before they have been exposed to it.  This helps them to mentally prepare and have a plan of action.  This alone will help build their confidence and self-esteem.

HELPGUIDE.ORG provided the following classifications.

Physical Bullying

  • Hitting, kicking, pushing, threatening
  • Stealing, hiding, destruction of other’s property
  • Hazing, harassment, humiliation
  • Making someone do something against their will

Verbal bullying

  • Name-calling
  • Teasing, taunting
  • Insulting
  • Cursing someone

Very young children can’t distinguish between bullying and unkind behavior.   Children need to know that unkind behavior is also inappropriate—e.g. “Your hair is really messy.”  “Your mom is fat.” “I don’t like you.” and “You stink.”

StopBullyingSign.jpg

Some Successful Strategies:

  • Ignore the bully, if possible
  • Walk away and pretend to feel brave and confident.
  • Protect yourself.  Safety is the top priority!
  • Don’t bully back.
  • Don’t show your feelings.
  • Tell an adult. Report every threat or assaults. (Teach the difference between tattling and reporting.)
  • Be proud of who you are!

Bullying typically involves at least three individuals—the bully, bystander, and victim.

As students get older, bystanders should be taught to mobilize together, speak up, support the victim, and be a positive influence.  

Dr. Phil McGraw supports teaching Bully BUSTER Skills for Bystanders.

B-Befriend the Victim

U-Use the Distraction (to focus other’s attention elsewhere)

S-Speak Out and Stand Up!

T-Tell or Text for Help

E-Exit Alone or With Friends

R-Give a Reason or Remedy

Victims of bullying often become bullies as they grow older.  Therefore, it is crucial for a nationwide effort to Stomp Out Bullying!  Bystanders can truly make a difference in reducing peer cruelty and halting the cycle.

As parents and community members, we need to continue the awareness and discussion of bullying and its emotional impact on others!

Diane Reed, MA, LPCC

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  • Learning how not to do for others what they can learn to do for themselves is one of the golden rules of adult maturity. 2 years ago
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