Archive for marriage

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 – The Digital Invasion

Posted in Balancing life, Communication, companionship, Control, digital obsessions, Expectations, Friendship, Good Marriage, i-phone, Intimacy, intimacy destroyer, Making Wise Choices, pornography, technology, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , on July 19, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Digital Invasion cover

Dr  Sylvia Hart Frejd 1 pic
My friend, Dr. Sylvia Frejd has written a book that hits the heartbeat of everyone that carries around a smart phone, i-phone, i-pad or is involved in any digital technology. I consider this well researched book a “must read” for every family because it shows us how our digital obsessions are affecting our relationships. Here is what Sylvia has to say about how our digital world can affect our marriages.

1. How can technology drive a wedge in a marriage?
Our digital technology is a barrier and an intimacy destroyer. It connects us with those far away but disconnects us with those sitting in the same room. We are having a lot of connections but not conversations. To have true intimacy in our marriage we need to have face-to-face, heart conversations. The best advice I can give to a couple is to leave their technology out of the bedroom.

2. What can a wife do when she discovers her husband is addicted to pornography?
When a woman discovers that her husband is addicted to pornography she may feel shock, denial, anger, rage, depression, self-loathing, and isolation.
Here are 3 steps a wife can take if she discovers her husband is addicted to pornography.
1.) Listen objectively to your husband before reacting out of anger or disappointment. Is his story consistent with what you know?
2.) Is your husband’s heart attitude towards his sin one of repentance or excuses and justification? If not pray that he will come to a place of true Godly sorrow.
3.) Discuss installing Covenant Eyes with your husband and having him enlist an accountability partner. Encourage him to seek counseling for his pornography addiction.

3. What are some tell tale signs that reveal when we are headed to digital addiction?
Today in our digital age it’s not a matter of “if” you are addicted but how bad do you have it. Some signs you may be headed toward a digital addiction are:
– Staying online longer than intended.
– Lying about your digital use.
– Anxious when you can’t be online.
– More time spent in your virtual life than your real life.

4. What is the best way to battle a digital addiction?
Ask your spouse what they think of your digital use. They know your digital habits probably better then anyone else. I encourage you to take a digital fast together once a week or once a month. Fasting will reveal what you are most addicted to. Start praying today together as a couple about becoming better stewards of your digital technology. Don’t waste your real life on a virtual life.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE- “Oh, You’re So Sensitive”

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, companionship, Encouragement, Friendship, Good Marriage, Harmony, Intimacy, Kindness, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Pleasure, Power of the Tongue, power of words, sensitive with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Woman whispering in man's ear
I cringe when I remember saying to my children: “Oh you’re so sensitive.”At that time I did not realize the negative impact it would have on their spirits. Even though we are all grown up now, we still have those tender…“sensitive” feelings that cause us to react defensively. Let me explain.

As we mature, we do not want to show our weaknesses. But each one of us has that tender spot in our spirit, or a red hot button, that when it is pushed or trammeled on, causes us to respond negatively. Most men have been taught to “suck it up… be a man… babies don’t cry…grow up”, and consequently have learned to build a wall around their weaknesses. But, those tender feelings are still deep inside their spirits and are easily evoked when the wrong thing is said. However, men… (and many women) have learned to hide weakness and respond defensively through anger, arrogance, and indifference or trying to be emotionally distant.

It can actually be quite irritating when we make a simple comment like: “Why are you wearing THAT shirt?” or when we compare or criticize their golfing skills, mechanical, “Mr. Fix It” skills or their computer expertise to someone else. If they react defensively, we know we’ve hit a “red hot button”. Of course we all need to learn to get over the small, seemingly insignificant issues in our life, but until that day comes, we have to realize we may have hurt someone with our flippant comment.

Here’s where it gets dangerous. If we don’t recognize our “too sensitive side”… we will learn to protect ourselves from hurtful barbs by building walls. One brick at a time. After a while we may realize it’s just too much work to edit all our conversations and we shut down and protect ourselves. Once this happens, the marriage loses its intimacy and joy. We become defensive instead of protective. We enter into power struggles instead of joyful companionship.

I know! I have spent my whole life learning not to be so sensitive and to take comments personally. It has helped tremendously to learn to sort through criticism and people’s opinions by being a speaking and author, a Controller of a large automobile dealership and being in a second marriage. Needless to say I have become “sensitive” to other people’s sensitivity and I realize how much some comments may hurt.

I want to ask you.
“Do you know your spouse’s sensitive areas?”
“How do YOU respond when your spouse gets defensive?”
“How do YOU respond when someone hits YOUR red hot sensitive button?”
“Do you use your spouse’s sensitive spots to deliberately hurt him at times?
“Do you know YOUR sensitive spots and how do you protect yourself?”

Our marriage should be places where we feel safe and protected. Learning each other’s sensitive areas by protecting them instead of using them as hurtful weapons, builds the kind of joy and intimacy we are looking for in our marriages.

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

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“Predictable Patterns”

Posted in Anticipation, Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Freedom from Busyness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Pleasure, Resentment, SEX, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , on March 14, 2013 by hmclaughlin

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Some predictable patterns evoke a sense of pleasurable anticipation. For example. My husband and I can’t wait for golfing season to start so that we can golf on every available Friday. This pattern is full of joy and freedom because it is something Jack and I love to do. But there are predictable patterns that turn into boredom, rob us of all freedom, suck away our joy and may leave us feeling depleted and even resentful. These are the patterns that evolve from repeated and endless duty and obligations. Once an obligation or duty becomes predictable…be prepared for the danger signs.

Let’s be realistic. In all marriages there are obligations that must be met every day. But there comes a time when we have to change our routines or pull away from them for a short time so that we don’t turn into time management robots. As I observe marriages these days, my heart aches for couples that are caught into the predictable pattern of work, driving children to activities, paying bills, going to meetings and the myriad of tasks that endlessly fill their days. We cannot experience the joy and fullness of marriage if we don’t break away from these predictable patterns and get reaquainted with the person we said “I do” to. Relationships cannot survive without eyeball to eyeball conversations and heart connection intimacy. Here are a few suggestions for breaking the patterns:
1.Unplug. Put away your phone, I-pad, computer, game boy and anything that resembles a piece of technology. Yes, those pieces of plastic and wire are important, but not more important than answering your child’s question, or your spouses plea for an important conversation. Pour your favorite drink, sit down, look each other in the eyes and talk.
2.Go away. Do something different. If you go to aunt Sophie’s house each summer, it may be nice visit, but over the years this may have turned into another assumed predictable pattern. Go to the mountains..the ocean…explore an area that you’ve never seen before. Try golfing, playing a new game, go to a different restaurant, try a new ice cream, buy coloured shoes, a different coffee shop or maybe it’s time to attend a marriage retreat.
3.Laugh. When was the last time you laughed? I mean belly laughed! Laughter has the power to heal wounds, it breaks down tension, and puts a new perspective on our relationships. Go to a funny movie..or download one on your tv or computer. A quick and easy fix is to watch some Brian Regan (the comedian) clips on utube…together. They are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.
4.Prepare a Romantic night. Yes, get dressed up and go to a romantic restaurant where you have to sit across from each other and talk. Talk about your future. Dream about possibilities. Remember how funny you once were!
5.Give each other freedom. Tell your wife to go shopping for as long as she wants. Tell your husband to go golfing and not worry about rushing home. We all need to know that we are not TRAPPED into a certain time frame all the time. Because when we begin to feel trapped, we will find other means of pleasure.
We are living in a time in history where many marriages are struggling to survive the many demands that bombard us every day. Please do not be one of those that thinks it will be easier to walk from the marriage than to fight for it.

God made us to be fulfilled in our relationships. The only way we can thrive is to spend the most valuable commodity we have to succeed. TIME.
Please take the TIME to break some predictable patterns and change them into freedom finders. Freedom to be who God created you to be as your own person..and a successful spouse.