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Archive for the ‘Exodus’ Category

Rise in remarriage

If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights. Exodus 21:10 (NKJV)

 

According to report by the Pew Research Center[i], in forty percent of marriages begun in 2013, one or both partners had been married before, and close to one-quarter of all currently married adults have previously been married to someone else.  It is of interest to note that both figures have risen sharply since 1960, when just 13 percent of married adults were on their second (or later) marriage.

What is also interesting is that while a growing number of adults have never been married, and more of those who had been married are divorced or widowed, those who had been married are not less likely to remarry.   That is to say that those that have never been married see marriage as less desirable than those whose marriages have ended, regardless of the circumstances.

The report also shows that formerly married seniors have become more likely to remarry, whereas their 25- to 34-year-old counterparts have become less likely to do so. While men have become less likely and women more likely to remarry, men are more likely than women to actually marry again.

According to W. Bradford Wilcox, American Enterprise Institute visiting scholar and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, research suggests that, on average, couples who remarry are more likely to divorce than those who marry for the first time.  One of the factors that determine whether the new marriage will last is the presence of children, but another important one is whether “the same orientations or vulnerabilities or vices that may have led to earlier divorce — whether depression or drinking too much or something else — can be carried over to the second marriage. For that reason, we see they are generally less stable than intact first marriages.”

While some people are very intentional about not making the same mistakes they made in a first marriage, it is “not always possible to realize those good intentions, given the challenges of new relationships.”

 

Father, help me work as hard as I can to make this marriage last.

[i] http://family-studies.org/the-rise-of-remarriage/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=9b4102a4cb-Newsletter_107&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-9b4102a4cb-104541745

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Face-to-face vitamins

So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Exo. 33:11, NKJV)

According to new research, if you’re feeling depressed, hanging out with friends or loved ones face-to-face is better for your emotional health than a phone call or sending an email.  Linda Carroll[i] writes about this research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Monday, to compare how the different types of social contact affect our mental health.  According to the study’s lead author Dr. Alan Teo, a professor of psychiatry at the Oregon Health & Science University and a core investigator at VA Portland Health Care System, calling and emailing did not seem to have the same kind of protective effect.

It’s not that emailing or calling on the phone is bad or that you should cut them out of your life. Instead, Teo says, “the message is that they are no substitute for face-to face contact, which acts as a sort of vitamin for depression prevention.”

Teo believes that while the study only looked at people who were 50 and older, the findings might apply to younger adults as well.   On a more personal application, Teo’s own behavior has changed.  As he explains, “I am trying to make sure I am spending time face to face, having nice long conversations at a café, because I really think meeting up with someone brings something special, something magical, for our mental health.”

“Email is good and does help in reducing social isolation,” says Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a professor in-residence at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the late-life mood, stress and wellness research program at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. But we are communal animals. We are meant to be in society.”  She also points to the tons of research showing the health benefits of attending church and suggests that at least part of those benefits may come from being in the society of others.  “It’s a very powerful effect,” she says.

Spend time, face-to-face, with the people you care about; it’s good for them, and it’s good for you.

Father God, help me to make time for personal interaction with others.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/face-face-interaction-may-be-vitamin-depression-study-suggests-t48101

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When you should seek help – 4

You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. Exodus 23:2 (NKJV)

Another time Kristen Kansiewicz suggests you should consider seeing a professional Christian counselor is when conflict becomes repetitive or escalated.  As she explains, the sad thing is that “too many couples or families wait until things have fallen apart before seeking counseling. Some only go to counseling as a last-ditch effort or to prove that they ‘tried’ to make things work.”

You should not wait until you are at the end of your rope; seek counseling when you notice conflict that is repetitive, cyclical or it is escalating.  When it seems like you continue to argue and fight about the same thing every day for days, weeks, or months on end, it’s time to see a professional who can help you uncover the root of the conflict, teach you new communication strategies, and guide the process of rebuilding trust.

Continual family conflict can develop into such things as depression or anxiety, so it is important to get help before the conflict takes over your emotional life.

Anytime You Just Need to Talk.  Kansiewicz says that “there is no ‘right time’ to go to a professional counselor, and if you are thinking about seeking help it may be a sign that now is a good time to do it.”  We all have those times when we get “stuck” and just need someone to help us see ourselves from a different perspective.  Sometimes friends can help, but sometimes your problems can go beyond what friends can give.  Look for Christian counselors in your area (for instance, the NAD family ministries website has a list around the North American Division.   www.NADfamily.org).  You can also ask your pastor or friends if they know a good therapist.

You don’t have to try to be brave and try to figure things out on your own.  We would be better off by humbly step into the counselor’s office so we can begin to experience healing and freedom once again.

Father God, there are some things I just can’t deal with all by myself.  Help me and guide me to a good counselor who may show me the way toward health and healing.

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Daycare time – 1

At once the baby’s older sister came up and asked, “Do you want me to get a Hebrew woman to take care of the baby for you?” Exodus 2:7 (CEV)

School is beginning or about to begin for many children.  For those who are too young to attend a school, their parents may be faced with the decision to take them to a daycare facility during the day.  For many parents, even though it may be necessary to do so, leaving their children in daycare, particularly the first time, can be heart-wrenching. . . as it may be for their children.  Rose Gordon Sala, writing for TODAY Parents[i] shares 8 tips to make it easier for both parent and child.  Here are a few for the child:

  1. Bring something familiar. Anything that smells like home, like a blanket or mom/dad’s t-shirt, would be best for the youngest of children. Any reminder of home, like a laminated family portrait that an older child can hold onto, will make those first few trips to daycare a little easier and provide comfort on difficult days.
  2. Create a goodbye ritual. This ritual could be giving a high-five, saying, “I love you,” or a kiss on both cheeks — whatever feels natural to the parent and child. A great ritual is to have a short devotional time and prayer either at home or in the car before the child is dropped off.
  3. Talk it through. Even the youngest children will benefit from a conversation about what the plan is, what they can expect, when they will be picked up, etc. If you maintain a calm attitude you will help your child feel more at ease with this new experience.  You can also read them a book about going to daycare and also sharing a picture of the teacher or classroom.
  4. Try a gradual start. See if it’s possible to let your child ease in to daycare with a part-time schedule. You may also go with them for an hour one day, and the next day leaving them for 20 minutes to play while you go get something to drink; you can increase that time to half a day.  Perhaps you can start them on Thursday, instead of Monday, so they don’t immediately plunge into a five-day-a-week, full-time schedule.

Father, bless me as I help my children during this transition in life.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/8-tips-easier-daycare-drop-both-parent-child-t35421

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Caregiver burnout – 2

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 (NKJV)

An article in WebMD[i] provides some steps you can take to make sure you don’t get burned out while taking care of a love one who may be ill or aging.  Here are a few more ideas:

Set aside time for yourself.  Even if it’s just an hour or two, it’s worth it. Remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury, it’s a need.  This is one of the reasons it’s important to gather around you a support team so you can take some time for yourself.

Talk to a therapist, social worker, or clergy member. They’re trained to listen and provide you with advice on a wide range of physical and emotional issues.

Use respite care services. They can give caregivers like you a temporary break. The help can range from a few hours of in-home care to a short stay in a nursing home or assisted-living facility.

Know your limits. Make sure you do a reality check and don’t push yourself too hard.  Getting sick or experiencing burnout will not be good for you or the loved one you are carrying for.

Educate yourself. The more you know about your loved one’s condition, the better care you can give.  Ask questions to their medical personnel, research online, find others dealing with a similar situation to learn different options you may have.

Emphasize the positive. Remember to lighten up when you can. Use humor to help deal with everyday stresses.  Think of the positive opportunities caring for your loved one is providing you.

Stay healthy. Eat right and get plenty of exercise and sleep.

Accept your feelings. It’s normal to have negative feelings such as frustration and anger. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or a bad caregiver; you’re just simply being human.

Join a caregiver support group. Share your feelings and experiences with others in the same situation as you. It can help you manage stress, locate helpful resources, and stay connected with others.

Father God, strengthen and encourage me as I care for those I love.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/caregiving-insights-15/care/avoid-burnout?page=2

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No vacations hurt the family

And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 (NKJV)

It appears that people are taking less vacation time than ever, and evidently it’s hurting their relationships.  Maybe you’re thinking about skipping vacation to catch up at work, or postponing taking time off because you don’t have enough money.  Well, you’re not alone.  According to Meghan Holohan, writing for TODAY,[i] “a survey of 1,200 adults by the U.S. Travel Association found that Americans are taking fewer vacation days than they did 15 years ago (16 days per year) with many people not taking all the vacation days they earn. And eschewing vacation time for more work can be damaging for relationships.”

Holohan quotes Dr. Sue Varma, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center, who said that “When it becomes a pattern, you start to burn bridges with key relationships in your life.”

The paradox is that even though people regularly miss important family events, 73 percent realize that spending time with family makes life richer and more meaningful; and yet, they fall short of creating a good work-life balance.  People look at money as a resource to be used, but they see time in the same way.

Of course, many people still make vacations a priority and see that making time for each other strengthens their relationship.  Varma said vacations and time together bolsters relationships. She sees in her practice what happens when people fail to take time away from work.  As she states, “The biggest fallout of not taking your vacation time is losing your key connections in your life and those connections are going to support you for years to come.”

If you struggle to plan a vacation, sit down toward the end of the year and plan your vacation time for the following year.  If you don’t work obligations and other responsibilities will take over your calendar, your life, and your relationships.  And by the way, putting down the electronic devices during family time will make the time together more meaningful and memorable.

Father God, help us to make time to rest and vacation as a family.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/americans-are-taking-less-vacation-time-ever-its-hurting-their-t32371?cid=eml_tes_20150716

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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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