Archive for the messes Category


Posted in Communication, companionship, Conflict, counsellor, God' Love, Good Marriage, love, Making Wise Choices, messes, Pain Pleasure, Pleasure, pornography, Prayer, secrets, SEX, technology, Valued with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Hidden HeartWe all have a dark side. Sexual scandals are rampant. Anthony Weiner, a former U.S representative and candidate for the mayoral race in New York is now called a “Sexter”. This was the second time he was caught in a sex scandal and it has probably ruined his reputation and career. Bob Filner, the 35th mayor of San Diego just stepped down, in disgrace, from his office after eleven women came forward and alleged he was a “serial sexual harasser.” Jerry Sandusky, the retired football coach who was an idol to thousands of young boys and men, is now in jail for being a “convicted serial child molester”. What a tragedy. Lives ruined forever.

These men were exposed for their dark side. Many people are still seeped in their secret, destructive, addictive lives. If this is part of your story in your marriage…run for help.

None of us can be self-righteous and judge. Every one of us is probably just a movement, sentence or step away from something that could potentially destroy any one of our lives. We need to have the eyes and heart of compassion of Jesus to help each other, especially the spouses, who are caught in the chains of their own prison.

The world and social media makes it to easy and accessible to receive free drugs. The next pleasure is just a click away. Violent games and gambling are at everyone’s fingertips. Any addiction is destructive but there is help and new hope for everyone. Every one of us is God’s creation and He will help us if only we turn to Him.

My heart aches for husbands and wives who are living the secret lives of a spouse who is battling a secret addiction…whatever it is. Please don’t despair. But you can’t do it on your own.

The bible tells us over and over again that we are to “help each other.” The first thing you need to do is break the darkness of the secret and seek help.

1. Tell someone. There is no shame in this, we are all broken people.
2. Get help. I read just recently that there is now a Rehab home for people with computer game addictions. There are programs, counselors and people who are willing to help.
3. Pray and ask God to direct you to someone who will help you, walk with you and cover your back.
4. Something happened in your past that triggered this addictive need inside of you. Find out what this is and ask God to heal you.
5. God is in the “heart transformation business.” You cannot change yourself. Only God can heal your broken heart and restore your health.
6. Don’t condemn our spouse. Help him/her. But also don’t enable them in their addictive patterns.
7. This will take time…don’t despair.

Yes, there are horrific stories of addictive behavior that has destroyed lives. But there are also stories of victories, of families restored and lives healed. I pray that you will have a story of new hope and victory.



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.

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 – When we feel Mad and Mean

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Finding Truth, Forgiveness, Freedom from Busyness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Listening, Making Wise Choices, messes, Patience, Pleasure, Tension on August 26, 2012 by hmclaughlin

I find that the world is getting madder and meaner almost every year. Don’t you wish that some days we would all just hold hands, get along and sing kum-baya?

I stood beside a woman in a line-up at grocery store last week, smiled and made a casual comment about groceries. She swirled around and with a frown on her face shot a mean response. Why? If we treat strangers this way, it makes me wonder if we bring some of that meanness into our homes and marriages. In the last while I have also felt like shooting back some of those angry responses and it has actually startled me. I would never, ever want to be mean to my husband, family or anyone. And yet it creeps in.

If we feel mean and mad, there is a root to those feelings. I took a deep soul inventory of my own heart, and here is what I came up with.

  • For women, one of the greatest challenges is these days is that we are tired.  Fatigue leaves us depleted and makes us very vulnerable. When we are tired we want to scream at the world, “Don’t you see how tired I am, please don’t add another thing to my day’s activities.”
  • We feel mad and mean when there is no margin in our life. When our feet hit the floor in the morning and all we can think about is the endless list of things to accomplish that day…watch out when someone or something gets in our way to disrupt that agenda.
  • When our present reality does not match the picture in our head.
  • When we feel that we have not been heard.
  • We feel hurt when we feel unloved, pressured, taken for granted or overlooked.
  • We have had a poor upbringing or suffer from low self esteem. 
  • We may have grown up in an environment where this is how people treated each other.
  • You may not be feeling well, you may be in constant pain or you find that life is just simply hard.

Whatever makes any of us feel mean, we have to be careful not to punish other people with our meanness. In our marriages we have to be aware that “mean does not cancel out mean.” We can’t be mean back and forth and expect the hurt to disappear.

Our homes and marriages should be those safe havens where we can share our frustrations, hurts and fatigue. Instead of being mean we need to communicate our hurts so that it defuses the “meanness.” The bible says: “Stop being mean, bad-tempered and angry. Quarreling, harsh words and dislike of others should have no place in our lives. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ” (Ephesians 4:31, 32 NLT).

The next time you feel mean words ready to slip off the end of your tongue, STOP and listen to your heart to discover why you feel this way. Maybe it’s time to look at some of that stress in your life, the tension in your marriage or the days that leave no margin for laughter and fun. It’s time to tell your spouse that some things need to change. Meanness does not just go evaporate. Ask God to help you heal those things in your heart so that you can have the kind of marriages that are kind, tenderhearted..and flourishing.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-Being a Wife is not for Sissies

Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Beauty through Boldness, Beauty Unleashed, Communication, Encouragement, Finding Truth, Good Marriage, Hope, Intimacy, Making Wise Choices, messes, Overcoming Struggles, Pain Pleasure, Prayer, Self-Control, SEX, Understanding each other on May 31, 2012 by hmclaughlin

The last 2 months I have had many conversations with women all across our wonderful nation of Canada. Whenever I speak at conferences on the topic of relationships, many women take the opportunity to talk to me about their marriages. I confess that right now my heart is just about breaking with the horrific reasons for so many recent divorces. It is not easy being a wife when husbands have so much liberal free access to pornography on the internet. It’s a free drug accessible 24 hours a day and it is breaking up marriages. Many men actually go one step further and have affairs.

 What wife can measure up to the air brushed women that are paid to act seductively? It makes me angry that so many wives feel they have to harness this ugly secret so that no shame will fall on their children and families. What woman should have to carry that kind of burden? This is a rampant disease that is affecting many marriages but I believe it is especially difficult for Christian wives to carry this burden because so many of them feel they have nowhere to turn. After doing extensive research on this topic, here is what I feel the women need to do.

 Do your own research on his topic so that you can take the shame off your shoulders and recognize that it is not your fault. The seed for this need in your husband probably happened when he was very young and it has turned into a full blown addiction.

  1. The revealing of feeling is the first step to healing. Talk frankly and openly to your husband/or significant other about this.
  2. Get help. Both of you need counseling. The woman needs it so that she can release her own shame; but also to know how to help her husband.
  3. There may be accountability courses offered right in your own church or community as this is becoming a well known and rampant problem. Ask your pastor, goggle information or talk to a close friend.
  4. This will probably take a long time.
  5. If your husband will not get help and he will not change, you will have to decide if you can survive under these circumstances. You know by now that I am a solid advocate for marriage, but not if it will destroy your soul and your families.

When the official Nehemiah was helping the people in Jerusalem rebuild their broken down city walls, and they got tired and discouraged, he said to them; “Don’t be afraid! Remember your God is great and glorious. Fight for your friends, your families and your homes” (Nehemiah 4:14 NLT).

Those are words of encouragement to you. It’s not always easy being a wife, but let me encourage you to take some bold steps to rebuild your marriage by bringing back some much needed honest and open communication. Build on your marriage so that it can flourish…and not die a slow, unexpected and unnecessary death.


Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Beauty through Boldness, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Finding Truth, Friendship, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Kindness, Making Wise Choices, messes, Overcoming Struggles, Pain Pleasure, Respect, SEX, Uncategorized, Understanding each other on May 19, 2012 by hmclaughlin

I rarely bring up the topic of sex, because I don’t want “sex lurkers” hitting my blog and web site. But I do need to address this topic because it sensuously invades almost every aspect of our lives. It is the glaring lure or innuendo behind many billboards, sitcoms, TV commercials, romance novels and movies.  It seems as though sex is the driving force that titillates us to catch our attention.  Yes, sex is a very important part of a healthy, beautiful marriage relationship, but we need to understand how it truly fulfills us. God said that “it is not good for man to be alone”; and He created us to enjoy the beauty and fulfillment of that intimate union. But we have to understand that it is the culmination of love, not the initiation to a healthy, long lasting relationship.

 For Women:

We are the emotional creatures and for most women “sex starts in the brain.” I actually say that “sex starts in the kitchen.” If we feel that our husbands meet our physical needs when we need help, feel overwhelmed or listen to us, our brain responds with gratitude and love. When we feel emotionally loved, we can respond physically. But when women are constantly fatigued with the demands of raising children, careers or constant stress and do not get the affirmation and attention and help from their husbands, it is hard for women to respond sexually.

Note to the men that subscribe to this blog: “Fill your wife’s emotional needs and she will respond physically.”

 For Men:

Some of the best understanding on this topic is in the book written by Shauntie Feldhahn, called For Women Only[1]. In chapter 5 of this book she describes in great detail the sexual needs for men.  In a nut shell: “For men sex fills a powerful emotional need.” So you see, this is completely opposite to a woman’s perspective on sex. Sex gives man confidence and assurance that his wife loves him. One man said it this way, “I feel like I go out into the ring every day and fight the fight. It’s very lonely. That’s why, when the bell rings, I want my wife to be there for me. Making love is the salve for that loneliness.”

Note to women: “Fill your husband’s sexual needs and he will respond emotionally.”

All of us are crying out for love in different ways. Especially in our marriages we have to understand each other’s needs so that they can be fulfilled. But the foundation for sex has to be LOVE-otherwise it is just another physical act that will get familiar, boring and loose its pleasure.  God gave us this most beautiful, intimate act to create fulfilling, lasting and pleasurable relationships.  Understanding our feeling is the beginning of healing. I hope this blog helps.

[1] Shaunti Feldhahn, For Women Only, (Atlanta, Georgia: Multnomah publishers 2004), 91-108.


Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, Control, Encouragement, Expectations, Finding Truth, Forgiveness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Making Wise Choices, messes, Overcoming Struggles, Patience, Respect, Tension, Valued on February 11, 2012 by hmclaughlin

The most beautiful love can be expressed right in the middle of our biggest messes. I found that out again last night as I was on my knees unleashing a violent stomach flu. Each time I got out of bed to “unleash” more supper; my husband was at my side holding my forehead and rubbing my back. Every trip out of bed he walked with me, steadied and comforted me. Today I am still in bed (with my computer) but he is out conducting a funeral on one hour’s sleep. That’s love.

It’s easy to be in love when the lights are turned down low, candles burning, roses sitting in the middle of the table and Josh Groban or Leonard Cohen crooning love songs in the background. Love comes easy when everything is going our way, everyone is in a good mood and there is enough money in the bank account. I wish life was that way every day but it’s not. Let’s face it; life is messy. It’s hard to gaze into each other’s eyes when children are screaming and fighting. When the renovations around the house are just about driving you crazy, one of you looses your job or you actually heard the Doctor say the word “Cancer.” But if you determine to persevere through these messes; you are actually on your way to building the strongest, most beautiful foundation of love.

Through the turbulent, testing times ahead we need to do what the bible says: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2 NIV italics mine). “Bearing” means to: To carry something. Like picking up rocks and carrying them for another person. How can we do that in our marriage when life gets messy?

1.         Be there. Just show up! This may seem like a radical statement for a marriage where you are together every day. But some people pull away emotionally and physically when times get tough.

2.         Be humble and gentle.  When things don’t go our way, people have a tendency to get testy, irritated, frustrated and even angry. There is nothing sweeter than receiving a gentle touch or a kind and humble word when we feel weak and helpless.

3.         Be patient. This is not the time to accuse or blame. One way or another this messy season shall end some day.

4.         Bear with one another in love. Pick up the other’s person’s burden any way you can. Sometimes the best way we can do this is just to listen actively.  This means to try to understand the message that is being sent. It means suspending our own judgment, beliefs and assumptions, and avoiding other mental activities to completely focus on the words and body language of the person speaking.

5.         Pray for one another. Don’t make this your last option; make it your first response. When we pray; we transcend our messes and tap into the resources God has available to us.

Then when Valentine’s Day come around, your love will look and feel different. You won’t feel compelled to spend those exorbitant prices on roses or sit in an overcrowded restaurant. Whatever you do for your spouse or give him/her on Valentine’s Day, will be out of an overflow of our love, and not through guilt of trying to win her/her love. Love is built in the messes of life. Really. I know.