Archive for March, 2015

You shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14 (NKJV)


Sometimes bad information becomes so commonly believed that people accept it as fact.  For instance, one common statistic we hear thrown out there is that 50 percent of relationships involve infidelity.  However, that statistic is not based upon any scientific research.  So, how common is cheating, really?  The short answer is, “Not nearly as common as you would be led to believe.”

According to researchers Blow & Hartnett, [i], over the course of married, heterosexual relationships in the United States, extra marital sex occurs in less than 25% of committed relationships, and more men than women appear to be engaging in infidelity.

Whisman & Snyder[ii] also found support that the likelihood of infidelity decreases the more religious you are, as you age, or if you’re better educated. They also found that the risk for cheating was greater for women who were remarried (compared to those who were on their first marriage), or for either gender with the greater number of sexual partners you have.

In addition, according to John M. Grohol, PsyD, [iii] both the clinical and self-help literature reference general types of infidelity, including one-night stands, emotional connections, long-term relationships, and philandering. But most of the empirical literature does not delineate these types of infidelity, nor does it offer ideas on how prevalent different types of infidelity are or in what kinds of relationships they exist.  In addition, within each general category there are different types. For example, emotional infidelity could consist of an internet relationship, a work relationship, or a long-distance phone relationship. Sexual infidelity could consist of visits with sex workers, same-sex encounters, and different types of sexual activities. Cheating is something to be aware of in any relationship. However, in most relationships, it is not something to be overly concerned about unless you have one of the above risk factors. Even then, the rate is half as what many would have us believe, and that’s some good news for a change.


Father God, may our hearts be captive to you that we may not sin against you or against our spouse.

[i] Blow, A.J. & Hartnett, K. (2005). Infidelity in Committed Relationships II: A Substantive Review. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 31, 217-233.

[ii] Whisman, M.A. & Snyder, D.K. (2007). Sexual infidelity in a national survey of American women: Differences in prevalence and correlates as a function of method of assessment. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 147-154.

[iii] http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/03/22/how-common-is-cheating-infidelity-really/

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Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7 (NKJV)


Continual conflict in marriage makes people feel dissatisfied with their relationship and may lead them to consider the possibility of divorce.  In the new book “37 Things I Wish I’d Known Before My Divorce,” Nicole Baras-Feuer and her mother Francine Baras offer a guide with tips, lists and how-tos that aim to help you emotionally and practically get through your divorce.  If you are at the point in your marriage where you are seriously considering divorce, they recommend asking yourself these six questions before taking that momentous step:

  1. Have you done everything you can to save your marriage? For instance, have you seen a marriage and couples therapist? Were you and your spouse willing participants?  Have you read books on how to improve your relationship and have you applied at least some of the principles you have learned to your own marriage?  Have you given God a good chance to heal you individually and your relationship together?  Until you can provide a very strong affirmative answer to these questions you can’t say you have done everything to save your marriage.
  2. Are you prepared to survive on your own, especially emotionally and financially?
  3. Has it been a very long time since you were intimate and affectionate with your spouse? When was the last time you held hands, or kissed for more than just a passing moment, or took a romantic vacation, or just spent some time without any distractions?
  4. Does everything about your spouse irritate you? Or is it only some things? We tend to generalize as if all they did was bad.
  5. Do you and your spouse argue daily or almost daily? Have you tried learning better conflict management techniques?
  6. Do you and your spouse ever laugh together? Maybe you have been focusing on the negatives of your relationship only.


Father of love, getting a divorce is as important and as life-changing as getting married.  Help us to think carefully before doing so.

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The mind shuts off

People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Isaiah 26:3 (MSG)


According to Billy Hallowell, in The Blaze,[i] science offers another reason to stay away from pornography.  David Greenfield, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and director of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction says that, “When you’re in a sexual arousal process where you’re looking at pornography, you’re activating limbic parts of the brain.”

Greenfield explains that the prefrontal cortex — the area where personal decisions are made in light of morals and values — is essentially shut off while viewing porn, with the desire to see more so strong that it supersedes any feelings or cautions someone might have that would potentially hold them back from partaking in such activity.  He added, “The frontal cortex sends information back to the hippocampus which says ‘remember the last time you did this, this is not going to feel good,’ the ability for that circuit to occur is hampered.”  Addicts also have the same dynamic since they don’t have control over their judgment, leading them to repeated behaviors.

Hallowell also refers to research by Donna Rice Hughes, CEO and president of Enough Is Enough, a nonprofit devoted to ensuring the Internet is a safe place for children, who wrote an article on the subject titled, “The Internet P*rnography Pandemic.” Hughes calls the findings of current research “eye-opening” and claims that Internet smut has a “harmful impact on the emotional, mental and sexual health of young children, tweens and teens.”

God provided us with a brain to not simply operate and control every area of our body.  Every sound we hear, everything we taste, everything we feel through our fingers, everything we smell is processed and filled in the brain.  In the same way, every image we see is sent to the brain where those images are processed and forever filed there.  And the more we watch, the more we want to watch…unless we yield control of our brain over to God.


Father God, take full control of my brain.  Clean it, reshape it, and strengthen it that I may be free from anything sinful that controls it.

[i] http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/02/03/psychologist-reveals-what-watching-porn-does-to-the-brains-ability-to-weigh-morals-and-values-in-decision-making/

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Although…feelings of jealousy come over the husband and he suspects that his wife is impure. Even if she is innocent and his jealousy and suspicions are groundless…” Numbers 5:13-14 (MSG)


Even when you are with the most trustworthy partner, there may be times when jealousy can take over your mind and relationship. Those feelings are driving you crazy and driving you apart.  How can you get yourself out of the jaws of jealousy and combat these crazy feelings so you can find your sanity again? Leslie Becker-Phelps, from WebMD,[i] provides some ideas on how to deal with jealousy.

First, recognize that jealousy for what it is.  Recognize that your fears are coming from your own insecurity and mistrust. At the same time, acknowledge that this jealousy is making you unhappy. Once you are honest with yourself about your jealous feelings, you can start addressing them.

It is a common saying that people are “green” with jealousy because this is the color of sickness.  Only you can choose to heal that sickness rather than allow it to infect your relationship. While it may not be easy, you can start to do this by admitting your struggles to your loved one. Acknowledge your pain. And concede that the problem resides inside you, not in the actions of your partner.

Green is also the color of the vile in the digestive system, and much like vile jealousy tastes bad and burns.  If you allow those feelings to continue, your relationship, even when you want it to be good, will always have a bitter edge to it.  Don’t let this horrible beast to find a dwelling place in your relationship or in your home.

If your partner is supportive, consciously accept their love for you, and move forward.  The next time you fall in the jaws of jealousy again, redirect your thoughts to your partner’s loving words and actions.  If your partner is not supportive and you’re not able to talk as a team to address this issue between you, then the problem among you is bigger than your jealousy. You would be wise to address this breakdown in communication. If you cannot do it alone, then you might want to consider couple therapy.


Father God, when the ugly beast of jealousy raises its ugly head, please help to deal with it in a positive, constructive way.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2015/01/how-to-deal-with-jealousy.html?ecd=wnl_sxr_012415&ctr=wnl-sxr-012415_nsl-promo_2&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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I opened for my beloved, But my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. Song of Songs 5:6 (NKJV)


As Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD , from WebMD[i] explains, it is normal to feel nervous before going on a first date with someone new. Every first date has the potential of leading to a permanent relationship, and therefore you want to make a good impression.  For some people, the pressure can get a little nerve wracking.  Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when you feel the first-date jitters.

Instead of trying to suppress those feelings what would work better is to redefine them as excitement.   Most people try to calm themselves when they are anxious, but this is difficult to do and rarely works.  What happens as a result is that the anxiety remains or increases which in turn tends to harm performance and self-confidence.  Reframing anxiety helps performers and public speakers, so it’s not so debilitating, and they are able to gain a new perspective on their emotionally threatening task by viewing it as an opportunity.

In the same way, when you are preparing for a date, it can feel emotionally threatening.  There’s a possibility this won’t work out and that you will be rejected.  Instead of thinking of the risks, you can choose to think about the date as an opportunity to meet a person that may end up being your future spouse or simply meeting someone interesting and learn new things, or just to gain more dating experience. The feelings may still be strong, but you are more likely to proactively create a better outcome.

To get yourself into this positive mindset, make a conscious decision to recognize a potential positive outcome and tell yourself that you are excited about it. You can also encourage yourself to get excited. If you already know something about what makes the other person more interesting, think about that. Or, think about how you find your date’s career or hobbies to be interesting. In other words, choose to focus on positives that can help you to feel more excited.


Father of love, dating is an opportunity to get someone else at a deeper level.  Help me to be open and willing to listen and learn.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2014/01/how-to-overcome-first-date-jitters.html?ecd=wnl_sxr_012415&ctr=wnl-sxr-012415_nsl-ld-stry_1&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 1 Timothy 5:14 (NKJV)


In her blog, Shoshana Hayman[i] writes that, “when a child’s attachments are disconnected from each other, the child can’t orient to both his parents and to other adults who serve as the parents’ support system. This also makes it more likely for the child to attach to other children instead of to adults, and then look to these children for direction.  This influences how we pass on our values and ideals to our children, both when they are young and even more so when they are teenagers. It is not true that teenagers need to separate from their parents in order to find their individuality, and well-meaning adults easily assume that teenagers need friends more than their parents.

What she means is that parents need to be the compass point for their children.  She suggests parents can do three things to reclaim their rightful place in the lives of their children:

  1. Assume responsibility to be your child’s compass point, their guide, their comforter, and their safe home base. You don’t have to have all the answers, but it is more important to believe that you are the answer for your child, because no one cares as much as you do.
  2. Provide your child with secure and deep attachment, and continue to protect and nurture this relationship during all the years your child is growing up. This will give them the context they need to internalize your values while they develop more maturity and find their own reasons to believe in these values.
  3. Make room for your child to express their own thoughts, ideas, opinions, questions, and feelings. This will give them the room they need within the relationship to become their own individuals. Listening to them without being judgmental will open discussions that give you a window into what they are exposed to and what they think about it.

Your children need you to be the compass to your children need as they cross the bridge from childhood to adulthood.


Father of love, you are our compass, our true north.  May we play the same role to our children during their growing up years.

[i] http://attachmentparenting.org/blog/2015/01/28/parents-need-to-be-the-compass-point/

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Now therefore, listen to me, my children; Pay attention to the words of my mouth: Proverbs 7:24 (NKJV)


Evidently when it comes to learning honesty, it seems boys may be getting a different lesson than girls.  Parents are more willing to lie in front of their sons than their daughters, according to a recent analysis published by the National Bureau of Economic Research as reported by TODAY.[i]  Why parents seem to be much more careful to teach honesty to girls than boys is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps they value it more in girls or maybe they believe girls might pay a bigger penalty for lying than boys when they’re adults.  “Perhaps it’s socially more accepted when men are dishonest, but not women,” says Anya Samek, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and one of the authors of this study.

The findings are based on a simple experiment involving 152 parents and their children, each 3-6 years old. The parents were asked to flip two coins, each with a green and a blue side, and jot down the results. If both coins landed green side up, they would win a small prize. Any other outcome meant no gift at all. Some parents were left completely alone in the room during the coin toss. Others were allowed to take their child along. The experimenters made clear they would not observe any of the results.  The probability of winning a prize was 25 percent, but the parents often self-reported much higher rates of winning — almost 60 percent in some cases — which is how the researchers knew some of them were cheating.  As expected, the adults were more honest when their child was in the room. What surprised the researchers was when the parents were in the room with their daughters, they reported a winning coin toss close to 25 percent of the time, or just as would be expected if they acted honestly, but when they were left alone with their sons, they “won” more than 40 percent of time, a significant difference.

Samek’s advice to parents:  Modeling good behavior is important because kids do pay attention to how you act — whether girl or boy.


Father God, help me to be a good example to my children, not just through my words, but most importantly through my actions.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/parents-lie-more-front-sons-not-daughters-why-2D80487813

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