Archive for the Patience Category

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – “It all Goes Back in the Box”

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Commitment, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Freedom, Freedom from Busyness, Friendship, fUN, God' Love, Good Marriage, Harmony, Intimacy, Laughter, love, Making Wise Choices, pornography, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Board games“Beyond our greatest fear and struggles lies our greatest power.” That is a Heidi-ism I have expounded on in my presentation to audiences for many years. Through each of my struggles God has unleashed greater power in me to help me embrace more freedom and greater clarity to focus on what is good and has meaningful value. Hence the reason for my blog being silent for several weeks. Two weeks ago I buried my sweet mother who loved God with all her heart soul and mind. During the time of your final days on earth I gave myself permission to withdraw from all social media and focus on that which I believed to be the most important event in my life; being at the beside of my mother.

During her final days on earth as I sat and held my mother’s hand, I experienced many long silent hours that gave me time to reflect all that is good and important in my life. Also during her last 6 weeks in Hospice House, our family had to box up all her belongings and empty her beautiful living accommodations because she would never return to all that was familiar and meaningful to her. Why am I telling you all this on a marriage blog? “We have to realize that all our material wealth, accomplishments, successes and stuff all end up in a box. In our families and marriages, we must have discernment as to what is really important in our lives.”

With Christmas just around the corner we are consumed with trying to find the right present so that we can see the expressions of joy and exultation on our loved ones faces. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. God created us for pleasure and the bible tells us that God wants us to enjoy the abundant life. But not when it costs us our soul and our marriages.
• Not when we work too many hours and are away from our families so that we can afford those things that are beyond our income and budget.
• In Canada the average person has expenses that exceed 64% of their income.
• Not when the credit cards are all maxed out and we lay awake at night wondering how we will make the next payment.
• Not when we impose expectations on our spouses to provide us with those expensive things that we think will bring us happiness.
• Not when we buy stuff because of a sense of entitlement or simply that we think we want it.
• Not when we demand things that we cannot afford and we end up in ugly arguments that leave us feeling diminished and angry.
• Not when it causes power struggles and destroys the harmony in our marriages.
The fact remains that one day everything we have will go back into a box.

When my children were growing up we loved to play the board game of LIFE. It was fun to throw the dice and eventually buy a house, car and fill it all up with a wife, children and lots of great stuff. Of course there is always a winner, but whether you won or lost, the game was folded up and it all went back into the box. That’s the reality of LIFE.

We boxed up all of my mother’s precious well cared for clothes, furniture and some simple jewelry. Today they are sitting in boxes in my basement. But what really mattered in my mother’s life was not the stuff left in the boxes; it was the time and experiences we enjoyed as a family, the laughter, the stories, meals and wisdom and love shared graciously and abundantly.

This Christmas season, and throughout the year, what will it take for you to be able to find your greatest power to help you embrace freedom and joy in the events and experiences that will have lasting value? My husband Jack and I do not give each other Christmas presents. Instead we focus on providing experiences throughout the year that will give us lasting memories that will give us joy and continue to reside in our hearts. Let’s help each other to be diligent and intentionally focus on those things in our marriages and families that will bring us joy beyond the Christmas season and not end up in a meaningless box.

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UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE- “5 Things I Wish I Would Have Known”

Posted in 5 things, Assumptions, Commitment, Communication, companionship, Conflict, Expectations, God' Love, Good Marriage, Harmony, Intimacy, Kindness, Listening, love, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Patience, power of words, Understanding each other, wedding day, weddings with tags , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by hmclaughlin

man and woman
This summer I took the time to watch some reality T.V. about lavish weddings and wedding dresses. I saw snippets of Say YES to the Dress, Four Weddings, and Bridezillas. Some comments that made my jaw drop were:
“Ever since I was a little girls I dreamed about having this….You can’t deprive me of this.”
“It’s my day and you WILL wear this bridesmaid dress.”
“I had to fire my first wedding planner because she wasn’t getting daddy to approve all my wishes.”
“Daddy you’re breaking my heart because you know how much I want this. This is supposed to be MY perfect day.”

To me it all sounded like these brides were preparing for the biggest, most fun and extravagant event of their lives. How many of us took the time to play the movie forward as to what this marriage would look like in the next 10-15 years.

After my first wedding was over, the dress put away in a plastic bag, the confetti swept away and the wedding album put into a drawer; I wish I would have known:
1. That after the wedding day comes the marriage. It follows with a vow to love and cherish until death parts us. It doesn’t mean a life time of getting up in the morning and feeling warm, fuzzy and completely fulfilled and loved.
2. That all my wounds came with me into my marriage. Saying “I do” do not erase my insecurity and fears. It was not my husband’s job to heal me.
3. That each of us has different strengths and weaknesses. We had to learn to work them out so that they benefited our marriage. For example: If one person is terrible at handling the finances, then get the other one to do it. If neither of you are good at fixing things around the house; don’t point fingers and blame, call a handi-man.
4. That my husband could not fulfill all my expectations. This was the hardest one for me to learn. Because after all if someone really loves you shouldn’t they fulfill all our needs? I ASSUMED my husband would be able to fix everything around the house, listen to my endless stories, be empathetic with my tears and go Christmas shopping with me. What a shock that this did not happen.
5 That the butterflies and fuzzy feelings we felt during our dating period and first months into our marriage was not love. It was a pleasurable chemical release in our brains that occurred when we found out that we liked each other. I did not know that loving each other takes hard work! I found out the hard way that only God’s love has enough power to sustain us through the times when we actually don’t even like each other, when we have been hurt and when all of our expectations fall down the drain.

Looking back it seems strange to me that I knew so little about the struggles that we will encounter in our marriages. One day we wake up and look at each other and wonder what we were thinking when we married this particular person. Our world is filled with marriage books, manuals and online information, but none of this written material will fully prepare us for the day to day process of learning to live with another imperfect human being. But years later, and after 2 marriages, I realize with all my heart that God puts us together, with all our junk and differences, to sandpaper us into the most beautiful creations on planet earth. My friends don’t lose heart, ask God to help you “love the other person the way they need to be loved.” You’ll be surprised what God will reveal to you.

I love beautiful wedding dresses and over-the-top weddings. What girl doesn’t? But we need to know that….then comes the marriage.

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

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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-“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-“Falling in Love All Over Again”

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Beauty Unleashed, Communication, Control, Encouragement, Finding Truth, Freedom, Freedom from Busyness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Listening, Making Wise Choices, Pain Pleasure, Pleasure, Resentment, Respect, Self-Control, Tension, Valued on June 12, 2012 by hmclaughlin

“Whenever you were in a crowded room, your eyes would lock into an almost shameful, blushing, intimate exchange. You laughed at everything. The hours couldn’t move fast enough before you could see each other again. He listened to every word you said and you felt beautiful, treasured and safe. Then he asked you to marry him and you couldn’t believe you would spend the rest of your life with this tender, loving, brilliant and caring man.”

For many marriages those feelings and memories seem like sepia prints of an old, long forgotten movie. Your marriage has become more of a business arrangement scheduling the next meeting, family gathering or appointment. “Who will pick up the children at day care?” “Can you stop and pick up some milk and eggs after work?” “When are you going golfing this week?” “Don’t forget we need to be at the Browns on Friday night at 6:00…try to be on time.” Now it’s all about requests, schedule and demands.  The lingering, intimate conversations have turned into impersonal staccato sentences.

 

We don’t just “fall out of love.” We have to understand that Love is not a feeling…it is an action. I don’t believe you fell out of love, I believe you fell out of “like.”  God is love, when we love, it is the essence of God in our life. It doesn’t come and go…it just IS.  Through our deliberate actions we can determinedly learn to love each other again. I know this for an absolute fact.

 I’m not going to give you 10 – 12 steps on how to fall in love again, but I will ask you some thought provoking and probing questions about both of you. But you have to remember that: you can’t change him, but you can change yourself so that he will again see you as the person he fell in love with. Bring the fun and excitement back into your relationship.

1.         What were your motives for marrying this man? Was it because you were afraid to grow old alone, or because you wanted to prove to your family and the world that you were worthy to be married? Or: did you choose to love him for the rest of your life?

2.         Now that you have him, are you still the fun, interesting and attractive person you were when you were dating?  Is he?  What happened?

3.         Have you become more like comfortable room-mates; letting the routine of life make you boring?

4.         Do you still have the kind of home that both of you enjoy coming “home” to? Or, is it filled with tension, anger and endless “to do lists?”

5.         Are you “not in the mood” too often?

6.         Now that you “have him”…are you still interested in his sports teams and the sports equipment lying all over the garage floor?

7.         Do you pursue YOUR passions?

8.         Does he not give you the attention you need and make you feel beautiful anymore? Don’t wait for him to unleash your beauty; YOU take the time to exercise and make yourself attractive so that you will feel beautiful again? When you exude beauty, you will feel better about yourself and he will start to pay attention to you again.

9.         When was the last time you asked him, “Are we happy? What can we do to make our marriage more meaningful, fulfilling and fun?”

10.       What are the things that used to make you both laugh?

11.       Do you pay more attention to the children than you do to him?

12.       Have you become the “macho wife” that controls everything because things “just weren’t going your way?

13.       Have you shut your husband out of your activities and conversations?

14.       When you first met, what were the values and goals that you both shared? What has happened to them?

You see, we don’t just “fall out of love”.  We get disappointed in the way things have turned out, we feel rejected or abandoned and start to nurture resentment. Then we build walls, start to carve out our own existence and perhaps become lonely.  It’s time to break down the walls, pick up the broken pieces and begin to rebuild and restore something that at one time was obviously quite beautiful. God is love, and when we ask HIM to help us love again, I know He will give you the wisdom and desire to help you “fall in love all over again.”

 

 

 

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – “Un-Complicate Your Marriage”

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, Control, Finding Truth, Freedom, Freedom from Busyness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Patience, Pleasure, Respect, Self-Control, Tension on May 3, 2012 by hmclaughlin

When life is complicated we get irritated and frustrated. When I drive down our highway I am saturated with billboards that tell me how unsatisfying my life is. But I am told that it will be better when I move into the new million dollar subdivision, listen to THIS radio station, have laser surgery, and find freedom by going to THIS restaurant and never again having to do dishes. For the life of me I cannot figure out our 5 remote controls at home and I almost panic when I get a new piece of technology or kitchen appliance because that means I will have to read 77 pages of instructions. The last thing we need is a complicated marriage. Our marriage is supposed to be a haven of peace and joy…a reprieve from the onslaught of our crazy whirlwind, complicated life.

One of the greatest ways to un-complicate your marriage is by letting go a lot of unnecessary stuff. Like:

  1. Quit arguing over unnecessary, non life threatening, energy wasting stuff.
  2. Think about this:  What will it benefit you to be right? Give up the power struggles in your marriage; at the end of the day most wins or loses probably won’t matter a hill of beans.
  3. How about re-wording and ending a disagreement by saying: “You’re probably right.”
  4. Re-think and re- frame your expectations. I said expectations not standards. Everything does not have to be done perfectly or right now. Breathe…let it go….
  5. Ask yourself this question: “Will it matter 10 years from now?”  That question eliminates a lot of clutter.
  6. Instead of getting mad, say something nice. Kindness defuses offenses.
  7. Change the wording in your conversations and re-think your responses when someone asks you to do something, be somewhere or get involved in something. When someone suggests “You should do something”, rephrase it in your mind to, “Yes I COULD do this…I am quite capable, but how will this affect my marriage and family?”
  8. Eliminate the small stuff. Yes you’ve heard this before but now go and do it.
  9. Spend more time finding things to laugh about and do projects that give you pleasure.

10. Stop taking yourself so seriously; nobody else does.

11. Leave past garbage out of your conversations.

12. Make intentional choices to regain the freedom you were created to enjoy. Find the clutter that is hiding your freedom and reclaim it.

Most of us had a longing in our hearts to be married because we believed that “it is good to be married.” God also designed the concept of marriages to “be good.” One way to make them “good again” is to start with some of the basics in life by getting rid of all the unnecessary clutter and noise, and get back to that place of joy and freedom that we were created to enjoy.

The bible tells us in John 8:36 Amp. Version:  “So if the Son liberates you (makes you free men), then you are really and unquestionably free.”

I crave freedom; I believe we all do, but it’s not going to come looking for us, we have to pursue it.