BETA

Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for September, 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WHY OUR MARRIAGE REALLY WORKS AFTER THESE 43 YEARS! (Part 1 of 4)

Recently I was asked to speak on why I am still nutzoid over Ruth, my wife of 43 years. Here are five reasons :

1) We learned how to mutually accept each other as uniquely designed by God: During the first five years of our marriage, we both tried to change each other into our image. Behind that drive lay the invalid perception that we were not being served, and that our “rights” were being violated. God revealed to us that:

Marriage is not about us, but about sacrificially serving the other person: “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me… For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many…Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (Lk. 9:23 – Phillips; Mark 10:45; Jn. 15:13)

Individual differences in two people do not necessarily mean that one right and the other is wrong. Tim LaHaye’s book, “ The Spirit Controlled Temperaments” taught us that often “it’s not wrong; just different.”

Prayer must play a central role, as we look to God, rather than ourselves to make the changes in our spouse.

Example is a powerful agent that affects change: “People will learn at the school of example, and they will learn at none other.” (Edmund Burke) We learned that we needed to model the qualities we wanted to see developed our spouse.

We need to deal with our own issues, and allow God to deal with issues in our spouse. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:1-5)

QUESTION: Are you truly accepting your spouse? Or are you still trying to change him or her? If so, why? One suggestion: Identify the most critical aspect of your spouse that you find difficult to accept. Commit before the Lord to pray regularly (1) for a change in attitude from one of a critical spirit toward one of love, and (2) determine that if he or she is to be changed, it will be God who does it. Not you.

This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

FOUR ACTIONS MEN TAKE TO KILL COMMUNICATION IN THEIR MARRIAGE:+

Good Morning!

#1 WITHDRAW: That is, they,
Try to avoid the conflict by pulling away. “Turn off”. View their wife’s comments as nagging.
#2 ESCALATE the conflict, rather than try to resolve it. They,
Get angry or defensive. Turn negative, telling their wife her comments are nagging.
#3 INVALIDATE their wife by,
Putting her down. Engaging in name calling or character assassination.
#4 INTERPRET the situation negatively. That is, they,
Tend to read more into the issue than was intended. See what they expect to see in their wife.
This is not the way God intends for us to live as couples, “…Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.’” (I Pet.3:8a-11)
FOUR ACTIONS MEN CAN TAKE TO HELP RE-ESTABLISH MARITAL COMMUNICATION:
#1 CALL A “TIME OUT”:
Wait until both parties have cooled down before broaching difficult issues. Schedule the discussion of “hot” topics apart from meaningful family times together.
#2 CARVE OUT FUN TIMES where both parties agree to refrain from known areas of conflict.
#3 LEARN HOW TO LISTEN:
Practice James 1:19, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Develop the discipline of allowing one person to speak at a time until they are finished. Learn how to ask questions for clarification.
#4 DEVELOP A CONSTITUTION or CONTRACT that will allow the two parties to come to an agreement on basic ground rules as to how they are going to function as a couple.
My prayer is that you are having a great week!

R. Dwight Hill

+Main ideas drawn from a radio broadcast of “Focus on the Family” in late 1999

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

MORE QUESTIONS COUPLES CAN ASK EACH OTHER TO HELP IMPROVE THEIR MARRIAGE

Good Morning!
Again, a word of caution: As you proceed through these questions with each other, keep in mind that “the tongue has the power of life and death…” (Pro.18:21) So choose and use your words carefully!
What do you most want right now in our marriage? What three areas of your life need the most attention from me right now?
What room in my life do you have the hardest time getting into? Why is that?
In what ways do we keep score?
What do you have the hardest time asking me for (or about) sexually? Why is this difficult or uncomfortable for you?
What in our marriage must be torn down before we can build something new in its place?
When is physical affection most satisfying for you? When is it least welcome?
When we argue, do you usually think I am more interested in winning or understanding? What do I do that makes you think this?
When do you have the hardest time saying, “I love you”? When do you have the hardest time saying, “I’m sorry.”?
What are the words you most regret saying to me? What are the words you most value hearing from me? Why?
In what ways does your happiness depend on changes I need to make?
If you were to write one golden rule for a happy, healthy marriage, what would this rule be?
In what ways are we a perfect match? In what ways do our differences create friction? What can we do to capitalize on our differences so they enhance our marriage?
What other couple’s marriage do you most admire? Why? What is it about their relationship you wish we had more of in ours?
E. Stanley Jones once said, “O Christ, do not give me tasks equal to my powers, but give me powers equal to my tasks, for I want to be stretched by things too great for me.” Where do you want to be stretched for greatness in your personal life? In our marriage?
Do you ever feel that no matter what you do in our marriage, it is never good enough for you? For me? If so, explain why you feel that way.
My prayer is that you are having a great week!

R. Dwight Hill

+Questions drawn from “201 Great Questions for Married Couples” Jerry D. Jones, NavPress

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

QUESTIONS COUPLES CAN ASK EACH OTHER TO HELP IMPROVE THEIR MARRIAGE

Good Morning!
A word of caution: As you proceed through these questions with each other, keep in mind that “the tongue has the power of life and death…” (Pro. 18:21) So choose and use your words carefully!
When do you find me most irresistibly attractive?
At the heart of many of the world’s love stories is an obstacle – something that threatens to keep the lovers apart. What have been our obstacles? Have they increased or decreased our passion for one another?
Excluding touch, what is it about me that brings you the most pleasure?
Researchers believe that a primary cause of stress is things left incomplete in a person’s life – the more things left incomplete, the more stress. What are the “incompletes” in our life together that are causing you stress?
Where do we need more originality in our marriage? In what ways could this add sparkle and jazz?
If you were to write one golden rule for a happy, healthy marriage, what would this rule be?
Where are you most tempted to want to change me? Why? How does this impact our relationship?
What are at least three things that have a potential of becoming a wedge between us? In what ways can we protect our marriage from these wedges?
When do you feel most supported by me? When do you feel most respected by me?
When do you feel most listened to by me? Describe a recent time when you felt this. When do you feel least listened to by me?
When do you feel most cherished by me? When is it that you feel least cherish by me?
What are three things you need to hear me express more often?
How do we establish priorities for our marriage? What are your top five priorities for us?
What is the greatest rival you have to fend off to attain the kind of loving relationship with me you desire?
What are your expectations about a marriage partner that I am not fulfilling? In what ways are these expectations realistic or unrealistic? How essential are they to having a happy, fulfilling marriage?
My prayer is that you are having a great week!

R. Dwight Hill
+Questions drawn from “201 Great Questions for Married Couples”, Jerry D. Jones, NavPress