By: Davida Brown Halloween is fast approaching. With the day falling on a weekend, there seems to be even more excitement in the air. My daughter is over-the-moon, waiting for the opportunity to wear her princess outfit and transform into someone completely different, at least for one evening. As I listened to the various radio personalities talk about the upcoming masquerade parties in the area and unique costume ideas, I started thinking about masks. Sure, they’re fun to wear for a night, or for a special event, but what about the masks that so many of us wear day-to-day as we go about our daily activities? What about the masks that we wear in our marriage, keeping us from being the best spouse we can be? A mask is defined as “a covering worn on the face to conceal one’s identity.” But isn’t it really more than that? Yes, a mask can cover one’s face, but can’t it also cover one’s heart, one’s emotions, one’s thoughts, keeping them hidden from a spouse? And if so, how do we (1) recognize that it’s there and (2) get rid of it. Recognize it: This seems easy and intuitive, right? We generally know when we’re putting up a front, or hiding behind our thoughts and emotions. But what about those instances when we don’t proactively decide to wear a mask? You know those times when the mask sort of develops and takes shape over time due to life experiences that we don’t address…
By: Davida Brown Before I married, I would dream about my husband, what he'd look like, his personality, how he'd treat me. I'd think about all the kids I wanted us to have, the lessons I’d be sure to teach. Growing up with married parents, I learned so much about the institution of marriage from them. Watching them, I figured out that marriage isn’t perfect, that everyone has a job to do to make sure the marriage works, that you have to compromise at times for the greater good. I can’t tell you when I discovered these truths. Did I understand this at 5, 10? Maybe it was close to adulthood. In any event, I vowed that my husband and I would teach our kids about marriage, how to have a successful one, and not through words, but through how we lived our lives as a couple every day. I never imagined in a million years that a child 5-year old, my daughter to be exact, would start to figure out some of this married stuff so soon. I recently let Simone have a sleepover at my mom’s house so Derrick and I could have some intense quality time together, if you catch my drift. When I buzzed my mom the next morning, she shared a very interesting exchange she had with Simone. My mom asked her to do something (for the life of me I can’t remember exactly what it was), and she responded, no. Simone went on to…
By: Davida Brown Have you and your spouse ever disagreed about an issue, with no resolution in sight? You are on one end of the spectrum and your spouse is on the other. You can’t fathom why she or he thinks that way, and no matter how many times you explain your rationale or blow holes in their rationale, the needle doesn’t move AT ALL. Seemingly, no matter what you do, you can’t move beyond the issue. So what do you do? Well, don’t fret. This is common. At some point in every marriage, spouses will fundamentally disagree on something important to them individually. When this happens, both want their way, because they truly believe that their way is the right way and best for their marriage and family. If you’re in this situation, here are some tips to navigate these tricky waters. Is it really a Big Deal? When I coach couples in conflict over a particular issue, I often ask each spouse to answer one or more of the following: (1) on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is the issue to you?; (2) why is this issue so important?, (3) is this issue of vital importance to your marriage, such that holding your ground and refusing to budge is in the best interest of your marriage? Often, they discover that, when it’s all said and done, the issue really isn’t that important. The disagreement is more about getting their way. This is understandable. The values…
By: Abigale Hassel One of the things that has become abundantly clear to me as I have counseled numerous couples is that so many people enter into marriage without a clear vision of what they hope marriage will be like. Unhappy couples sit in my office completely unable to identify why they are unhappy with their spouse. As we peel the layers, much of the time, they are blaming their spouses for their unhappiness when the source stems from something within them. When I ask what their vision of marriage was before they entered into this covenant, they have a very difficult time expressing it and many never even had a clear picture of what they expected. Not having a clear vision of marriage is like trying to assemble and intricate piece of furniture without directions. Some people have a natural ability to put things together, but some people truly need detailed instructions to help guide them in building that beautiful piece of furniture. Here are 3 reasons why having a vision of what you want your marriage to look like is so important: 1) If you don’t know what you want to be happy, how will your spouse know? Too often, we look to our spouses to make us happy. Sometimes, one partner can try so hard, but still never please his or her spouse. He or she is frustrated because it feels as if nothing is ever good enough and/or his or her spouse is too critical. If…
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