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Archive for the ‘Psalms’ Category

Teens and marriage

Both young men and maidens; Old men and children. 13Let them praise the name of the LORD, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven. Psalm 148:12-13 (NKJV)

 

Americans now seem to be leaning toward the idea that marriage is more of an option instead of a milestone on the path to adulthood.  It is interesting to note that although the mean age at first marriage has shown an overall increase, the timing of marriage still varies by sex, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background.

According to an article by Kelly Roberts, Daniel Hubler, and Kate Kirk[i], Oklahoma has one of the nation’s youngest ages of first marriage as well as one of the highest divorce rates.  Their research team set out to gain greater clarity about how cultural niches might impact adolescents’ attitudes about marriage.  Here’s what they learned:

How groups were similar.  When asked about their general attitudes about marriage, most students agreed that it “takes work” and that it is “for life.”   They were more specific about the types of daily life and relationship skills needed to have a healthy marriage and they listed such things as communication, “not fighting,” learning to cook, getting a job, “commitment,” etc.  Overall, each group seemed to have given a great deal of thought to the issue and considered the notion of marriage seriously.

How groups differed.  One of the focus groups used their grandparents as their reference group.  One of the students made the comment, “I think it’s just our parents’ generation that messed up. I’ve seen my grandparents, and they’ve stuck together.”  Students in other groups spoke about their parents’ marriage in positive terms.

Students in the alternative school group said the ideal age for marriage was 18-22, while students in the suburban group said 25-30 is best.  And finally, when asked whether or not they could successfully navigate a marriage the responses also varied.  One student in a high-income group observed, “Every friend in my group has parents who have been divorced at least once.”  A strong, intact, healthy marriage is still the best lesson for our kids.

 

Father, bless our marriage and may it be a positive lesson for my kids

[i] http://family-studies.org/teens-attitudes-toward-marriage-vary-widely-across-oklahoma/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=63a7bf26ba-Newsletter_108&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-63a7bf26ba-104541745

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They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, And fought against me without a cause. Psalm 109:3 (NKJV)

 

According to MSN Lifestyle[i], here are eleven early warning signs divorced people say they should have acted on—but didn’t. (We’ll explore them in the next few days)

  1. I let other people take priority over my husband. This is how Valerie Jones, of Glen Allen, Virginia, tells her story: “My ex-husband and I never made sure we had date night, private time, or special moments. Our careers and our children became the priority.”  She then adds, “A decade later we realized we weren’t even friends any more. We were roommates who raised children together. A couple of years before our divorce, I forgot about our anniversary, which was totally unlike me.”  Another wife says she put her kids first, her career second, and helping anyone else who needed her third; her ex-husband came in dead last by default.  As she says, “I remember one time he asked me to stop writing an email and come watch a movie with him.  I said I had to write an email because our friend’s father had just died. My husband’s response was, ‘Someone is always dying.’ And it was true. I’d been to six funerals that fall. Helping someone through a tragedy is obviously a great need, but I was helping too many people. Sometimes you can destroy the things that are the most important to you because you put everyone else first.”
  2. I ignored my gut. Courtney Klein’s boyfriend, “treated me as a ‘trophy’ girlfriend, then wife, pressuring me to dress sexily so he could show me off.” She continues, “I felt very vulnerable and because I didn’t have a support system overseas, I allowed myself to become totally dependent on him. In retrospect, I should have left before we got married.”  As she looks back, she admits on their wedding day, as she walked down the aisle, her gut told her to run, but she ignored it.  She explains, “It was more than just nerves. It was a gut feeling that I was making an absolutely huge mistake.”  Of course, it would be better to recognize this sign before saying I do than afterward.

Recognize any of these signs in your relationship?  Seek help.

 

Father, help me to find professional help before my marriage ends.

[i] http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/relationships/11-early-warning-signs-of-divorce-most-people-miss/ss-AAayKrG#image=1

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Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret–it only causes harm. Psalm 37:8 (NKJV)

 

According to MSN Lifestyle[i], here are eleven early warning signs divorced people say they should have acted on—but didn’t. (We’ll explore them in the next few days)

  1. He couldn’t communicate. As a wife said, it was during their divorce proceedings that she realized that the whole marriage revolved around him. As she explained, “Those first arguments and signs of immature, selfish, controlling communications were big red flags that I was too young to recognize.”

Good communication is a skill that anyone can learn, you’re never too old to learn it, and it can change your life and your marriage.

  1. He had a bad temper. Laurie Lyons, of Pasadena, California, tells her experience: “Soon after we got married, my ex’s tone changed and he was quick to anger.  If I gave him an answer he didn’t like, he would just repeat the question louder and louder to try to intimidate me.”

Christian psychologist, Willard Harley, refers to anger outbursts as one of the “Love Busters,” those things that damage and even destroy relationships.  Anger is an emotion, but one that we need to learn to control.  The apostle Paul teaches, “Be angry, and do not sin” Ephesians 4:26 (NKJV).  The point is not to never be angry but rather to never sin while we are angry.

  1. I made excuses to not go home. As Harley states, “Domestic support involves the creation of a peaceful and well-managed home environment. It includes cooking meals, washing dishes, washing and ironing clothes, house cleaning and child care. If you have the need for domestic support, when your spouse does some of these things, you feel very fulfilled, and when it is not done you feel very annoyed.”[ii] Some people, who don’t have this type of domestic support often will do all they can to stay away from home. They work long hours, volunteer to help others, go out with friends, anything but being part of the home atmosphere.

 

Father God, open my eyes that I may be aware of anything that may be causing damage to my marriage and make any changes for the better.

[i] http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/relationships/11-early-warning-signs-of-divorce-most-people-miss/ss-AAayKrG#image=1

[ii] http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi3340_dom.html

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They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, And fought against me without a cause. Psalm 109:3 (NKJV)

 

According to MSN Lifestyle[i], here are eleven early warning signs divorced people say they should have acted on—but didn’t. (We’ll explore them in the next few days)

  1. He put me down. Honorée Corder of Austin, Texas, author of If Divorce is a Game, These are the Rules, speaks of her experience: “My ex-husband belittled my appearance, goals, and ambitions, and thought nothing of checking out other women in my presence.”  If your spouse puts you down on a regular basis, he/she compares you to other people – in words or actions, it could be a sign there are some problems in your relationship that need to be dealt with.
  2. He went out all the time—without me. Some of us enjoy spending time with our spouse, but it is appropriate to spend some time apart. The problem is when your spouse spends more time away, with other people, than he/she does with you.  What they do with others does not necessarily have to be inappropriate, unethical, or immoral.  It is not being present with you enough time to strengthen your relationship.  The message they’re sending you is that time with you is not important, therefore, you’re not important.
  3. We fought about little things. As a therapist help her client realize, “we often act out in some form instead of calmly discussing the root of what’s actually bothering us.” People that have problems in their relationship often make mountains out of molehills and argue incessantly about meaningless things.

Everyone experiences conflict at one time or another. The issue is with petty fights about things that are inconsequential and which lead to great unhappiness and the eventual breakup of the relationship.  Those could well be a sign that your marriage is in trouble.  “These crises come also in the life of husband and wife, who, unless controlled by the Spirit of God, will at such times manifest the impulsive, unreasoning spirit so often manifested by children. As flint striking flint will be the conflict of will with will.”[ii]

 

Father God, help me to recognize any sign that our marriage is in trouble, and to take any positive steps to find a healthy solution.

[i] http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/relationships/11-early-warning-signs-of-divorce-most-people-miss/ss-AAayKrG#image=1

[ii] White, E.G. Counsels for the Church, p. 142

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Over thirty and unhappy – 2

Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the LORD! Psalm 144:15 (NKJV)

 

Psychology professor, Jean Twenge, listed three possible reasons for the happiness pattern change over time.  Yesterday we talked about the first one – fewer stable relationships:

  1. Economic realities. It is not unusual as a teen to imagine having great wealth when you start working. But after you start working and try to make ends meet, you may soon realize that what you earn is not enough to provide a comfortable lifestyle, much less the wealth and riches you dreamed off.  As Twenge writes, “People who are young might still think they’re going to make it, and then your average person over 30 is starting to realize that they’re not going to make it.”  She added, though, that if the economy improves a lot, then happiness among adults will probably go up as well.
  2. High expectations. People seem to have increasing unrealistic expectations about jobs, relationships, income and status. Twenge says, “What happens when high expectations collide with reality? (People over 30) are realizing that their dreams are not going to come true.”

Here’s where the rise of social media may also play a role.  Sites like Facebook, with their endless images of parties, vacations, and date nights, are wonderful times for friends and families.  At the same time, all the pictures and positive status also lead people to compare themselves to others and feel inadequate, which may bother you more as you get older.

Instead of comparing ourselves with others, or constantly dreaming of wealth and riches, we may be better off learning from the apostle Paul who even in the worst of circumstances he could write: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” (Philippians 4:11, NKJV)  It doesn’t mean you accept your condition and do nothing to improve it.  What it does mean is that being thankful for what you have helps you to not be envious for what you don’t that others do.

 

Father God, thank you for your generosity with me.  Help me to remember all you do and all you give me each day and thank you.

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Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. Psalm 5:2 (NKJV)

 

Yesterday we shared what Kathy Cannon, an adoptive mother, says are the three most important things she and her husband didn’t learn in foster/adoption classes.[i]  The last of these three lessons is:

  1. You haven’t prayed enough yet. As all the changes that come with becoming a parent begin to take place, remember to pray for your marriage. The addition of children bring lots of joys but also lots of challenges to any marriage.  That is also true, maybe more so, when the children are adopted.

Pray, also, for the children already in your home.  Their lives are also changing regardless of whether they also were adopted or not.

Pray for great babysitters who will know what they are doing, who will “get it” – that is, what an adopted child needs, and one who will be there to help you and will be there for you.

Pray for the social workers surrounding your child’s case.  Many of them carry a very heavy load of cases and they want to do what is best for each child.  Pray that they will find the way to help you through this process and find the child that will benefit from being in your home, one you will love and care for, and one who will enrich your life and family.

Pray for the birth parents and extended families to find peace and Jesus.  For whatever reason, they have made a decision to not keep this child.  At least they have not made the horrible decision to abort or abandon their child to die.

Pray for foster parents who are caring for children with their entire hearts only to feel those hearts ripped apart when placements occur.  That is a special calling and they deserve a special blessing.

Pray as you never have before; God is your best ally.  Trust God for the rest.  Remember these words: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).

 

Father, help me to be a good, worthy parent to my children.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/The-Three-Most-Important-Things-We-Didn-t-Learn-in-Adoption-Classes/

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Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. Psalm 25:6 (NKJV)

 

When we repeated our marriage vows, on our wedding day, we pledged to be together, and take care of one another, “in sickness and in health.”  We don’t have any difficulty with the “health” part, and most can deal with the minor aches and pains, colds, and sniffles, headaches and stomach aches of our spouse.  But many have had to deal with very serious and even terminal illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.

You can help support your loved one with Alzheimer’s by learning more about how the condition unfolds.  WebMD[i] provides a list of the seven stages Alzheimer’s patients go through.  Please understand that these stages don’t always fall into neat boxes, and the symptoms might vary, but they can be a guide and help you plan for your friend or relative’s care.

Stage 1: Normal Outward Behavior.  Chances are that when your loved one is in this early phase, he/she won’t have any symptoms that you can spot.  The only way to make sure the brain is working properly and there are no signs of deterioration is to have a PET scan which is an imaging test of the brain.  As he/she moves into the next six stages, your loved one will begin to notice more and more changes in his/her thinking and reasoning.

Stage 2: Very Mild Changes.  While you still may not notice anything amiss in your loved one’s behavior, he/she may become aware of small differences, things that even a doctor doesn’t catch.  For instance, he/she may begin to forget a word or misplacing objects.

At this stage, subtle symptoms of Alzheimer’s don’t interfere with his/her ability to work or live independently.  Of course you need to keep in mind that these symptoms may not to necessarily be signs or symptoms of the disease at all, but simply the normal changes from aging.  Just be aware of these things increasing in frequency and severity, make sure they consult with their physician, and keep track of the changes taking place.

 

Father God, as we age we have more challenges to our health and wellbeing.  Please help us and bless us with your protection.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-disease-stages

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