Archive for the Faith Category

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE- A Simple but Radical Prayer

Posted in Acceptance, Beauty from the Inside Out, Commitment, companionship, Conflict, Encouragement, Faith, God' Love, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Listening, Ocean of Love, Overcoming Struggles, Pleasure, Prayer, Understanding each other, Valued with tags , , , , , , , on November 11, 2013 by hmclaughlin

heart in hand
Gary Chapman’s book on the 5 Love Languages hit the bull’s eye, but I think we need to go deeper. I specifically remember the time and place when I discovered how we truly learn to love each other.

After being married about 15 years to my first husband, I hit the brick wall thinking that nothing was ever going to change. My husband was never going to love me the way I needed to be loved. I needed the kind of “action love” where I knew my words were being heard and that I was accepted for who I was; junk and all. I wondered if there would ever be a life beyond Monday night football and the next basketball event. I thought: If he would just do all those things that I need, then I would be happy and our marriage would be perfect.

It was 1982 when God nudged me in my spirit and these words came to me: In order for you to feel loved, why not find out how Dick needs to be loved.

I remember that moment in time because that is when I started praying this prayer, “Lord, show me how Dick needs to be loved, and show me how to love him.” I thought it was kind of a strange prayer and I wondered what would happen. For the next 12 years I prayed this prayer faithfully. Over time, albeit slowly, this is what transpired:

1. The most important thing this prayer taught me was to STOP trying to change my husband so that he would meet all MY needs.
2. I started observing what my husband needed. For instance, he needed to watch football and play basketball. Those were things he loved and I finally relented and stopped nagging him.
3. Miraculous things began to happen. Over time as I stopped trying to “get him to do things” he took more notice of my needs.
4. I re-learned how to love him in a deeper level…not for what he could bring into our relationship but to ACCEPT him for who God made him to be.

When my husband died 12 years later, I can tell you from the depth of my heart that this simple but radical prayer taught me how to love in a way I never thought was possible.

I have discovered that loving people is not easy. I need God’s love to fill me and cover me so that I feel like I am in the middle of an ocean of God’s love. Over time the people around me will feel the splash of this love on them and they won’t be able to help themselves but love us back. Over time that is what this radical prayer will do. The bible puts it this way: “The fervent prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results” (James 5:16).

If you want to put joy, vibrancy and intimacy back into your marriage, I dare you to start praying this radical prayer. Persist, don’t give up. Wait for the results. They will come.

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UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“Play the Movie Forward”

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Commitment, companionship, Encouragement, Faith, Finding Truth, God' Love, Legacy, love, Making Wise Choices, Peace, resilient, self gratification, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , on October 21, 2013 by hmclaughlin

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It’s a gift to be able to enjoy life by learning to live in the moment. But perhaps we’ve taken this too far. Even though we’ve overused the words “instant gratification”, I believe there is value in unpacking its dangers when it encroaches on our marriage and family life. Let me explain.

Even as I am writing this, I am sitting by the bedside of my 88 year old mother who will soon come face to face with Jesus. Over the past week many of our family members have flown in to express their good-bye to this extraordinary woman.She is not extraordinary because of her many accomplishments. She never wrote a book, won any prizes, or made the newspaper headlines for some notorious act of valor or media releases.But she soaked our family with love through her unfailing prayers and gratefulness. Just this morning she softly breathed the words, “Our family is one big love affair.” My mother is leaving behind a legacy of love,prayer and resiliency. Through the many outrageously difficult times she encountered, she never allowed her selfish “instant gratification” feelings to sabotage her marriage or family.

Throughout my many conversations with my children this past week, we agreed that to leave a legacy of a resilient and loving marriage, we need to “play the movie forward”. If we really believe we married for better or for worse,until death parts us, what does that look like?

1. Is this (whatever it is in the moment) “self gratification” hurting my family?
2. If I give in to my selfish feelings, how will I feel about the way I acted next week, next month or next year?
3. What do I want my marriage to look like in 10 years…at the end do my life?
4. Realize your spouse has not been placed on this earth to bring you all the happiness, pleasure and fun you think you deserve. We all need to find that within ourselves through our relationship ship with our loving Heavenly Father.
5. If I do this (self gratification thing)…will I have regret?

All of us will come to that place where my mother is right now. Even though life has not been easy for her, she is a woman who has loved well and has the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7 NIV). She is ready to leave this earth having lived a life of no regrets.

Isn’t this what you and I want? If we do, then we need to play the movie forward right now. Let’s ask ourselves this question. “If I continue to act this way, will I leave the kind of legacy that will bring value and honor to my marriage and family.”

It’s never too late to start.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – When your husband is stimulated by CHAOS and you thrive on PEACE

Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Boring marriage, chaos, Commitment, companionship, Conflict, Differences, Encouragement, Expectations, Faith, Friendship, fUN, Good Marriage, Harmony, Intimacy, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Peace, Respect, Uncategorized, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Family Lying on Grass

Books can’t prepare you for this. Life is just not perfect.
Real marriage starts when you wake up with someone day after day, through the laughter and the stomach flu; that you really find out who this” other person” is. While we are in the dating and “chemical stage” (pleasure chemicals flowing through our bodies) we don’t really let people know the authentic, and even darker sides of our personality.

I had the great pleasure of observing a 21 year marriage recently, where the husband and wife have learned to cohabitate in chaos and in peace. The husband is stimulated by chaos. What I mean by that is that his office looks like the aftermath of a hurricane, yet he knows where everything is and everything gets all his work done successfully. While is he on his phone he is also able to fix machinery, empty a dishwasher, check invoices and break up children’s squabbles. He is always good natured, kind, generous, very energetic and one of the nicest people I know. Yes he flourishes in chaos.

The wife thrives on peace. She loves everything clean, quiet, planned and organized. Her “space” is a beautiful corner in their home with a comfortable chair, footstool, soft accessories and it exudes…Peace. She is tender, very generous, takes time to create loving and intimate friendships and exemplifies the fruit of a beautiful inner spirit.

How has this couple learned to thrive in this marriage?
1. They have learned, (sometimes painfully) how to live out: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7).
2. They realize this is who they are. They don’t try to change each other but RESPECT each other’s differences.
3. They support each other through their differences. She allows him to have his messy office and he graciously and lovingly built her a corner “She Space.”
4. They have learned to compliment and help each other. What that means is this: Sometimes those of us who are too laid back and quiet need a nudge of adventure and chaos to get up out of our comfort zones. Yet sometimes those of us who are too chaotic need someone to slow us down and let us find the joy and contentment in being quiet and still.
5. They have asked God for wisdom to know when it is time to step in and push the boundaries when things are too chaotic or too quiet.
6. They have learned that the most important aspect of their marriage is “not to fight with each other, but to fight FOR the good values in their marriage”.
7. I have observed that both of these personalities add good value into their children’s lives. Their children are learning about different ways of handling “life” and how to function in these different elements. They are also learning how to resolve conflict.
8. There is no plan “B”. When this couple said their vows to love each other until “death parted them” they made a covenant with God to honor those vows. When we know there is no back door where we can escape when life gets hard, we struggle through the tough stuff and reap the fruit of fulfillment and success.

A marriage would be very comfortable (and boring) if we all had the same personalities. But I know that God has placed a husband and wife in a marriage so that each person can grow to be the very best that God created them to be. If we realized this simple yet hard concept, I believe our divorce rate would plummet drastically. It’s hard work…but very worth it.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“When Commitment becomes a Stark Reality”

Posted in aneurysm, Beauty from the Inside Out, Commitment, Encouragement, Faith, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Life of Jesus, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles with tags , , , , , , , on April 4, 2013 by hmclaughlin

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This blog post is written by my friend Larry Dieno. I met Larry when I was facilitating a study called a “Life of No Regrets.” Little did our group know that one day Larry would be faced with decisions that would change the course of his family’s life. Larry’s words in this article ring true, because he has walked every step of this journey of faith and commitment.

April 19, 2003. Janet and I stood before God, family and friends to declare our love and commitment to each other for the rest of our lives. Little did we know how one day that commitment would be tested.

Our first nine years together were a whirlwind. We started out with five of our combined seven kids living with us, all of them active in a variety of sports and community activities. Rarely did we have time to just be with each other and grow our relationship, as our focus was mostly on the “crisis and kid of the day”. Without commitment to each other, our marriage may not have survived that hectic period in our marriage.

Gradually, not suddenly as we feared, each child found their way to some sort of independence. This new independence gave us the gift of time, but before we fully knew what to do with it…everything changed.

May 15, 2012, Janet suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. This left her in a coma for a month and now began the long slow road to recovery, the end result of still remains unknown. Some would call this a tragedy and they would be correct, but that’s not how I choose to look at it. To me it is simply a life changing moment that required me to remember that day nine years ago and I spoke the words: “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” We are all familiar with those words; we’ve all half listened to them as they were spoken at other people’s weddings. But when I got a call from my panic stricken son after he found his mom lying on the floor, those words resonated loud and clear and soon became a harsh reality. God spoke loud and clear to me that day, “Now it is now time to start living those words of commitment. “

So what does commitment look like? I had to remember that those wedding vows which were spoken in front of God, family and friends; were not just between the two of us. From the very beginning friends stepped up to help me by providing rides, comforting me and helping me to remember things that I had forgotten because of the distractions in the hospital. Commitment.

Our family is spread out all over this great land of Canada, and thankfully we have the means to move about it. All of Janet’s children were in Vancouver during the most critical days. Previously it had been hard to get them all together at one time but there they were… taking bedside shifts, comforting each other and supporting me during a roller coaster period of time. They remember it as one of the “best” times they have spent together. Thanks to technology, our family was able to keep in touch during this difficult time, and offer prayers and encouragement to each other. We still do this today, except now Janet can participate as well. We had family in Kelowna looking after our house and dog while we were away, and other people who don’t routinely engage in our family life made contact and offered support. Commitment.

I have been blessed with being part of a strong faith community and the relationships that we have built were definitely God’s way of preparing me for the changes to come in our lives. Without my faith and the network of people God placed in my life I would not have been able to live out my commitment to Janet. I would have felt fear, anger, despair and lacking in confidence to make key decisions. God’s commitment to me has enabled me to love Janet more than ever. God has taught me to trust that He is at work through this and He will do good things through it. Janet has progressed to the point where she recognizes the commitment so many people have made to help with recovery. This knowledge and awareness motivates her to keep working hard.

Commitment is a two way street. If you were reading carefully at the beginning of this article you would have picked up on the fact this is marriage number two for both Janet and I. We each spoke words of commitment to another person before. Did we fail previously? Yes. Were we uncommitted previously? No. You cannot truly commit to another person without them committing to you as well. God is committed to all of us and will never leave us. I am committed to Janet and will never leave her. Commitment seems to be lacking in the world today and I pray that our story is a testament to how true commitment has the power to overcome any adversity.

PLEASE STOP AND CHECK OUT LARRY AND JANET’S INCREDIBLE, INSPIRING MESSAGE OF HOPE

Here’s the link. http://vimeo.com/62907312

If you wish to learn more about commitment, Pastor Craig Groeschel taught a series entitled From This Day Forward that really hit home for me. You can watch it here.
http://www.lifechurch.tv/watch/from-this-day-forward/1

If you wish to follow our story more closely I invite you to our blog, http://www.houdieno.wordpress.com