Archive for the Forgiveness Category

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – Secrets

Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Beauty through Boldness, Commitment, Communication, counsellor, Encouragement, Expectations, Forgiveness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Life of Jesus, Making Wise Choices, messes, Overcoming Struggles, Pain Pleasure, Power of the Tongue, sabotage, secrets with tags , , , , , on April 27, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Hidden Heart
CNN stated that Katherine Tsarnaeva (Russell), the wife of the deceased Boston Bomber, claims “she was completely in the dark about her husband’s alleged plan to bomb the Boston Marathon.” Katherine’s lawyer also stated: “Reports of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as an absolute shock to them all.” As you and I read these excerpts, we must wonder how it is possible to be married to someone who carries such dark and insidious secrets. Yet we must recognize that there is a dark side to all of us.

Secrets are destructive and toxic. They will not evaporate over time and free us from their claws, in fact; they will grow their sinister barnacles into the fabric of our soul. Anything that is kept in the dark holds power over us. Especially in our marriages.

This is a tough topic because no one wants to talk about their secrets. The reason I got brave enough to tackle this issue today is because I was engaged in yet another story of where a family secret set out to destroy all family relationships. Let’s not kid ourselves…secrets will come out and they will destroy. They will have a similar effect as the Boston bombs, shrapnel piercing the hearts with betray and rejection. Sometimes the destruction is final. Non-repairable. Destroyed. Finished.

To keep marriages healthy and intimate, a person cannot be living a double life or keeping secrets. It might work for a short while, but do not be deceived, the story will emerge at one point or another. The question on the table is: “Do you need to divulge everything that transpired in your life BEFORE your marriage?” I believe the answer is: “Only if it has a present power to sabotage your marriage from being healthy and loving.”
So what now?
1. Acknowledge secrets and that they have destructive powers.
2. Admit that they will one day be revealed. The bible says this about our secrets: “For He will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives: (1 Corinthians 4:5).
3. Secrets need to be brought out of their dark places and into the light of God’s healing power
4. BUT, use Godly wisdom to know if you need to discuss this with your spouse. Not all things need to be blurted out especially if you know it will destroy all aspects of your marriage. Sometimes there are things that need to be confessed to a very trusted friend, our counselor.
5. They need to be discussed so that your soul can be free from the hooks of the power of that secret.
6. Our God is a loving God and always ready to embrace us when we run to Him with our messes, mistakes and secrets. He is not waiting to punish us, but willing to forgive us and give us new freedom for living the abundant life.
7. Learn to live an authentic life that brings freedom into our marriages and all aspects of relationships.
When we are honest with each other, we don’t have to lie, make us stories, edit our conversations and be ready to dodge bullets. There is something incredibly beautiful about authentic, honest and trustworthy relationships. We may not be able to find it in the rest of the world, but we should be able to find it in our marriages. May yours be the one.

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UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-My Daughter Speaks Candidly about Communication

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, Control, Encouragement, Expectations, Finding Truth, Forgiveness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Listening, Overcoming Struggles, Patience, power of words, Resentment, Respect, Tension, Understanding each other, Valued with tags , , , , , , , on March 24, 2013 by hmclaughlin

photo
A few weeks ago while visiting with my parents in Kelowna, British Columbia, my mom and I started talking about marriage. She looked me straight in the eyes and asked: “Sweetie, what do you think is one of the most important ingredients in a marriage to make it successful?” My instant and candid response was, “Communication”. My husband Tim and I have been married for over twenty years and, and in my experience, the happiest times in our marriage are the times when we are communicating well with each other.
This is not something that happens overnight. When Tim and I started dating, we would sit side by side on a bench in the park for long periods of time and not say anything to each other. I remember thinking; “Is this really the right person for me? We hardly know what to say to each other?” Over the years we’ve learned how to open up to each other. But we have worked through a lot of these struggles and continue the complicated and ongoing process of learning how to communicate. However, here are some of the things I’ve learned so far:
1. Don’t be vague with your feelings. Men don’t like to play the guessing game. If you’re angry, don’t slam the cupboards and drawers in an attempt to have him ask you what is wrong. The longer it takes him to ask you if you’re mad, the madder you will get. Does it sound like I’m talking from experience? Believe me, I’ve tried this, and it doesn’t work. Tell your husband you’re upset and why. Try not to say, “you always” or “you never”, because this will make him feel defensive. Use phrases like, “I feel upset because I asked you 3 times to take out the garbage, and you didn’t do it”. This leads up to the next point.
2. Don’t let your feelings build up to the point of exploding.
This is something I struggle with a lot. I want to be the nice one, and not dump my feelings all over people. What we often don’t realize is that negative feelings do not go away. Instead, they continue to build up inside of us. One day you can’t even look at your spouse and you feel incredibly angry and you don’t even know why. It’s difficult to get back to a good relationship when you’ve let your anger and resentment build up.
3. When feelings are overwhelming, try to take some time to cool off. It sounds like the opposite of what I just said. But what I’m talking about is to take an hour or two, or maybe a day to try to figure out why you’re upset. Then you need to stop and pray about it. Sometimes we need a new perspective on our situation. I find that when I pray about a very emotional situation the Holy Spirit will open my eyes to see situations in a new light, or through the eyes of another person. Talking things out is important, but when we’re extremely emotional we spurt things we don’t mean and that can severely damage our relationships.
4. Communication is verbal and non-verbal.
Am I scowling when my husband comes home from work or do I greet him with a smile? What we don’t say can be just as powerful as what we do. Touch is a huge form of communication and a hug and a kiss either given or rejected can speak volumes.
These days, it can be difficult to find that time that you need to really communicate, the distractions are overwhelming. Take some time to turn off the TV, ignore the phones, put down the IPad and really talk to your spouse. When we don’t take the time to communicate we won’t feel close to our spouse and that can become very lonely. Taking the time to communicate with our spouse is a very important investment that we can make in our marriage; it creates a connection that will build the foundation for a strong and lasting relationship.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – 8 THINGS MEN DISLIKE WHAT WOMEN DO. (Part 1)

Posted in Anticipation, Communication, Control, Encouragement, Expectations, Finding Truth, Forgiveness, Friendship, Hope, Intimacy, Listening, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Power of the Tongue, Resentment, Respect, SEX, Tension, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Man woman discussing.1
To unravel the mystery of a man’s mind, we women need practical and useful information. That’s what I set out to discover. I conducted a survey amongst some of my favorite men, and asked them to provide me with a list of things they “dislike what women do.” Here are their top responses.
I give credit to my friend Darrell who provided some names for women’s actions:
1. Diva-This was by far the strongest “dislike” amongst the men. This is when women use drama to get their way. This drama can include guilt, exaggeration, tears and acting cute and coy. Women we have to remember that we like to use our emotions; but men are fixers. When we use this drama to get our way, it will either push men away because they don’t know how to handle our emotions, OR they will try to “fix us” as quickly as possible.
2. The Zealot-This woman is a “keeper of the list and rules”, she knows every policy, procedure, collective agreement and statue by heart. She will use her lists and rules to throw the book at you if you have not done your job or broken a rule.
3. Grenade Thrower-This lady will collect the details of all her unmet expectations, each time you looked at her the wrong way or gave a wrong answer, and store them in a box. This box is called “The Resentment Box”. One day you may ask as simple question like: “Honey did you take your car into the dealership for that oil change?” She did not like the question so she opened her box, took out the grenade and watched the shrapnel destroy your manhood.
4. Jail Keeper-Using sex to hold men hostage. You know what I’m talking about.
5. Gossiping Gertie-Sharing private marriage matters with girlfriends. Difficulties in a marriage relationship should be dealt within the context of the marriage, with counselors or mutual close and trusted friends. Men feel disrespected when private matters are hung out like dirty laundry.
6. Assuming Angie-No, men cannot read the assumptions in your head, nor do they understand your facial expressions or body language. If you want a man to do something, ASK HIM…use your words succinctly and kindly.
7. Late Night Fixer-Wanting to “talk about the relationship” at 11:00 p.m. Women we have to find the right time and place to discuss things that will have emotional implications. It’s hard enough for men to deal with emotional, relational issues…let alone when they are being ambushed late at night.
8. 50/50-These ladies expect their spouses (or significant others) to shoulder half of the household chores, child rearing despite having a cleaning lady. However, they do not help with any of the chores around the outside of house. Most husbands to not have a gardener, pool company, handyman or mechanic on site.

Other little pet peeves included:
a. Being asked to pick up their socks.
b. Starting to talk the minute the door is opened at home. Give your husband a few minutes to get settled and anchored.
c. Women who lounge in front of the T.V. in Lulu lemon pants.
d. Comparing your husband to your father.

I am personally grateful for this valuable information because I am on a constant learning curve to have a great marriage. When God designed marriage, He said “marriage was planned for us and that it was meant to be VERY GOOD!” We can all have that great marriage if we take the time to communicate our differences and seek to understand each other. Love is not just a nice fuzzy feeling. It is about learning to accept each other’s quirks and differences. Once we grasp that concept, we can use our differences to make us stronger and better.

Next week I will uncover 8 more great concepts for you to chew on.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – The Brilliance and Power of Seeds

Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Beauty Unleashed, Communication, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Intimacy, Making Wise Choices, Pain Pleasure, Power of the Tongue, power of words, Prayer, Respect, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Girl Holding Plant

 

Every time I open my mouth I plant a seed.  There are days I wish this was not true, but there is no escape from this spiritual law. Surely those subtle, sarcastic remarks when I am standing in a tedious, long line-up can’t have much power. After all, I will probably never again encounter the people who heard them. But I have come to realize that you and I hold an astonishing power that can be absolutely brilliant or beastly.  It’s the words that come out of our mouths.

My son-in-law Tim runs a huge farming operation in Southern Alberta. I love to drive by his fields and see the yellow canola, the rich beans, barley or the thirty other seeds he may have planted that year.  Whatever seeds he plants…that is what will grow and be produced. When he plants flax he does not get peas. When he plants canola he does not get barley. There is no getting around this.

Imagine the influence and brilliance of the words I speak in my home to my children or my husband.  I have the staggering power to bring hope, joy and peace into my home simply by opening my mouth. But unfortunately that same concept works with my ugly words. When I blame and accuse; blame and accusations will come back on me. When I criticize; criticism will come back on me. This may occur in the next hour, day, month or year. We may think we got away with our ugly words-but we do not.

None of us can get around this spiritual law no matter how hard we try. The bible says it this way: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction, the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 5:7, 8 NIV).

Life is too short to play around with this kind of dynamite. I am serious about planting great seeds in 2013. I choose to have my words give life whenever I open my mouth.  The bible puts it this way: “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose” (Proverbs 18:21 MSG).

How will I do that?

1.         Be fully aware that every time I open my mouth I have the power to evoke  life or death.

2.         Stay immersed in God’s word (the Bible) so that the Spirit of God can have full access to every part of me…every day.

3.         Our minds can only have one thought at a time. I must STOP and pray and ask God to      help me control the ugly words before they escape my mouth. By the time my prayer is     finished, God will have helped me to overcome that momentary feeling.

4.         God has given me this space of time in the history to do something significant with my    life. I don’t want to miss this glorious moment.  

My dear friends, in our homes are the most important people in our lives. We literally have the brilliant power to make them feel respected, valuable and cherished. Or, we can destroy their spirits by crushing them with our words. The choice is always ours.

 

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“What My 2 Husbands Taught Me” (Part 2)

Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, Expectations, Finding Truth, Forgiveness, Freedom, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Listening, Making Wise Choices, messes, Overcoming Struggles, Power of the Tongue, Resentment, Respect, SEX, Tension, Understanding each other, Valued with tags , , , , , on November 23, 2012 by hmclaughlin

 We don’t “fall in and out of love.”  Love is not just a feeling, because our feelings are very fickle and play tricks on our minds. We have a tendency to think that when we lose that glow of pleasure and excitement in our marriage, that we have “fallen out of love.” Not so. We may, temporarily, have fallen out of “like” for each other, but the love is still there. God places that love within us and it needs to nurtured. In the same way that we fertilize our flowers, water them and prune them, in the same way we need to nurture the love in our marriage relationship.

When we fight FOR the values, intimacy and love in our marriages, and do no fight WITH each other, we will begin to experience a deeper level of that strange word called “love”.

Here are 6 more things that my two husbands have taught me about nurturing a deeper love in my marriages.

1.         RESPECT: Our husbands need our respect, respect, respect. They need this more than sex, words or gifts. The biggest issue here is that many women feel their husbands don’t deserve their respect. Obviously it must have been there when you met and dated, or you might not have gotten married. Go back to that original place in your relationship where you had that respect and deliberately find ways to nurture it. This may mean some gut level honesty with your spouse about why you have lost respect for them and something needs to change. For further information about respect, please read my other blogs in the archives, one of them being: UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“Cutting down the Male Species”

2.         ASK… for help. Most men cannot read our expressions, body language or minds. Perhaps we assume that “if they really loved us they would know when we feel overwhelmed, tired or unhappy”. But most men don’t have that gut level, inner intuition that you and I have. We need to clearly identify our needs and desires with words that they can grasp.

3.         KINDNESS…is the greatest gift we can give each other. Small acts of kindness cover a multitude of mistakes and oversights. I have learned that “stopping and showing kindness” literally changes the course of conversations, obstacles…life.

4.         LAUGH.  Laughter is like medicine that can cover awkwardness, mistakes and even mends a broken heart. Seek out opportunities to stop and laugh. Sometimes that means going to a funny movie or talking about a hilarious situation that happened in the past. Just last night I sent my husband a funny U-tube and we watched it together and laughed hilariously.

5.         EAT MY WORDS. That means, to chew on my thoughts, play them backwards and forward then eat the bad ones before they escape my mouth.

6.         FORGIVE. Forgive very quickly. Building up resentment not only poisons my soul, but builds barriers. The number one reason for marriage break-ups is “resentment.” Forgiveness is never a last resort, but must always be a first response. We must remember that forgiveness is very hard because it is not a natural transaction. Forgiveness is a supernatural transaction between you, your spouse and God’s Holy Spirit.

The bible tells us very clearly that when we obey His commands, “our joy may be complete” (John 15:11 NIV). In order to have a thriving, intimate loving marriage relationship we must obey God’s command. The bible puts it this way: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:13, 14 NIV).

I know from personal experience that if we are willing, with God’s help, to “fight for our marriage”, beyond our present struggles we will experience our greatest power, freedom and joy. What is one area you will work on today?

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“What my 2 Husbands Taught Me” (Part 1)

Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Beauty Unleashed, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Finding Truth, Forgiveness, Friendship, Hope, Intimacy, Kindness, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Pain Pleasure, Pleasure, Respect, Uncategorized, Understanding each other, Valued on October 22, 2012 by hmclaughlin

Intimacy unleashes unexpected and strange gifts. At this juncture in life I consider myself mature enough to be able to look back in my marriages and realize how these sacred unions have made me a better person. But, this learning curve was not without some excruciating, self inflicted pain. Fact is, when we take the time for some self examination of our weaknesses and ugliness, it is never pretty. Marriage can be like the sandpaper that rubs off all our pretenses to reveal our true self.

After 28 years of marriage with my first husband, before he tragically died on the basketball floor 2 weeks before Christmas, and now 16 years into my new marriage, I believe I have gained some crucial insight into who I am and what will make me a better, nicer and more loving person. Here is what I have learned:

  1. Cut the drama. Men can’t handle a lot of tears, blabbering, emotions and too many dramatic words. They will try to stop the drama by coming up with a quick fix. On the other hand, I just need to talk, vent and explain everything in great detail. I have learned that I need to find the right time and place to discuss a problem with simple, logical words and sentences that are clear and make sense.
  2. Tolerance of other people’s irritating habits. It’s hard to believe that I do things to annoy other people…but I do. Being fully aware of this has taught me tolerance for other people’s quirks.
  3. Carefully pick the mountain I’m willing to die on. After experiencing tragedies and painful obstacles in my life, I realize most of our difficulties are “small stuff” that will someday fade away and become meaningless. I need to know my values, purpose, situations, and people I am willing to lay down my life for. Everything else is wasted energy and time. 
  4. Be authentic at all times in all places. Marriage has knocked the pretense right out of me. Who better to keep me accountable than the person who knows all the good and bad in me? Men, being the born “fixers”, will quickly remind us when we start to exaggerate, twist the truth and make situations look better than they really are. Being “me” at all times and in all places has in fact, given me the gift of incredible freedom.
  5. Stay interesting . Stay current in sports, politics and world affairs so that I can carry on an intelligent conversation. 

I believe with all my heart that God puts two unusual people together so they will allow themselves to be “sandpapered” into more beautiful creations. I continue to be on a learning curve…I hope you are too.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – “MISGUIDED “MIS”-SILES

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty Unleashed, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Finding Truth, Forgiveness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Listening, Making Wise Choices, Offenses, Overcoming Struggles, Pain Pleasure, Pleasure, Power of the Tongue, Resentment, Respect, Tension, Uncategorized, Understanding each other, Valued on October 1, 2012 by hmclaughlin

Past hurts make us say crazy things. Hurtful words can be like an ugly misguided scud missile that has the power to rip apart our tender and easily wounded hearts. I have been the receiver and giver of those “miss”-guided words.

Our wounds MAY cause us to misinterpret the intent of someone’s words to us. This is so true in a marriage where we carry on conversations every day of the year. Imagine the “miscommunications” that can occur on a daily basis.

Example:

I am very familiar with the story of a wife who wanted new blinds for the bedroom. She asked if it would be OK if we spent XX dollars on new blinds. The husband immediately responded No.

MISCONCEPTION and MISCOMMUNICATION:

Wife:  She is a home-maker who loves to create a beautiful home. The sun shines into the bedroom at uncomfortable hours of the day.  She wanted to solve the problem.

Husband: He works hard to earn a good income for the family so that the wife does not have to work. He has given in to similar requests in the past and it seems quite frivolous, and a waste of money. Things are tight at work, he is working hard to make a good living for the family but right now the budget cannot afford something as unnecessary as blinds.

Wife: Receives the NO as a hurtful response. Something in her past triggers a wound of not having her needs met and her father sharply saying NO for no reason.

Husband: Feels he works hard and no one seems to notice that he gets no respect or gratefulness for all his hard work. He feels the NO is perfectly justified.

So we are dumbfounded when another missile hits our hearts. We feel unheard, angry, overlooked, rejected and unloved. What actually happened is that there has been another “MISGUIDED  REPRESENTATION” of what was really happening. The wife’s heart becomes more wounded, and the husband feels even more attacked and less respected.  The misguided missiles have hit a vulnerable target and it is another step to a full out war.

Our words have the power to bring hope, healing, understanding and LOVE. But…they also have the power to destroy, crush, wound and…DEATH to our soul.  We need to be aware of the past hurts in our life that cause us to perceive and formulate our own perceptions of the words that we hear.  We are all guilty of that.  It is especially true in our marriages where we have opened up our hearts and made ourselves vulnerable to unguided missiles.

 I have to remember that we live in a sinful and harsh world. All of us have past hurts, and wounded people wound other people.  Now I know there is only one antidote for all our wounds. That is the healing power of grace. Grace in the human form of Jesus Christ who went to the cross to die for all our ugliness and to shed the blood of forgiveness over all our sin and wounds.  The bible puts it this way: “Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT).

When I stop and remember Jesus’ grace to me in the form of forgiveness, a gift I do not deserve,I have to take inventory of my wounded soul. I need to ask myself: “Heidi, how many times did you send a misguided missile into someone else’s heart? How many times have you hurt your husband, mother and children with harsh words that left them feeling condemned instead of loved? What emptiness and unresolved pain in your soul leaves room for feeling “mis”-understood and “mis”-taken?  And now…how will you exercise grace?”Then I have no other option but to fall on my knees and ask for God to help me understand the real intent of the words that were spoken. Then I need to offer forgiveness for any misguided missiles that I have allowed lodging in my heart and infusing anger and resentment. I must do go through these heart checks and make a deliberate choice to forgive, because if these missiles are not detonated with the power of grace, they will eventually explode with resentment and destroy my soul.

Let’s be on a soul mission to apply grace and forgiveness in every area of our lives, especially where there is “miss”-understanding or when we “miss”-treat our husbands and children.  I know that I want God’s grace to permeate every area of my soul…but especially my mouth. I don’t want any of my crazy words to “miss”-fire and accidently cause misery to my husband’s soul. Once words are spoken they cannot be taken back.