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Archive for Just for Her

Oct
18

Fallout From Divorce: The 4 Fs

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No, heart-brokenthis isn’t about final grades, although I know we’re close to the end of the school year.

This blog is about the Fallout From Divorce. So, I’m going to talk about divorce in a marriage blog. Weird, huh? But as I’ve talked to so many people over the years, I’ve learned that is is actually quite good to talk about divorce in order to strengthen one’s marriage. Let me explain.

Most unhappy people think something like this: “I’m unhappy in my marriage; I’m tired of my husband. No one else has it as bad as I do.” So, they entertain the thoughts of leaving, of divorcing their spouse. They may or may not try counseling. And that counseling may or not be ‘successful.’ They start the divorce proceedings. They break the news to their family: The first F.

People do not have any idea how their family or their in-laws will respond to their announcement. Sometimes they think “It’ll be fine; they know how much we fight. They’ will understand where I’m coming from. It’s no big deal.” What they don’t realize is is that it will change their Family’s structure, how they relate to one another. People usually shy away thinking they don’t want to take sides and all. So they inadvertently ignore you. You stand to lose 2 families! Your great sister-in-law may now feel obligated to withdraw from you, especially if you’re the one initiating the divorce. Blood is thicker than water they say, and weddings, funerals and divorces will attest to that in some cases. If there’s kids from a previous marriage involved, what happens to them? Am I now called “my ex-stepmother”?

Holidays will be difficult.

The 2nd F: Your friends, or at least, couple friends will also change. You’re the odd woman out now. You’re divorced so it’s awkward to go to a party where’s there’s only couples.You may even NOT get invited, so as to spare you the pain of rejection. But it’ll still be painful and lonely sitting at home alone. Work parties where spouses are usually invited are now difficult. Our culture is still built on traditional family: husband, wife, and children. Read More→

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Oct
11

What Kind of Farmer are You?

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I farmerhave been seeing too many couples lately, who have been married 25+ years, and who are ready to divorce.  The problems have been there for a long, long time.  They are reaping what they have knowing or unknowingly  sowed. It is a bit hard to think that they did not know what they were doing, but in my office, the sad but truthful facts are right there. Painful and in plain view, for us to see.  I am no farmer, but I do know that if I plant lettuce, I will not reap tomatoes!  If I sow beans, I will not grow corn!

How do they not know? you might ask me.  My guess is that

1. they (or one spouse) saw and ignored it;

2. they tried once or twice to uproot it;

3. they thought it was NBD (No Big Deal) at the time;

4. they lied to themselves about #1-3.

Denial is part of the problem usually.  Deception is right up there, beginning with myself:  I deceive myself, I think its NBD.  I tell my clients that that is a Red Flag Waving!  Jeremiah 17:9 states: “The heart is deceptive above all else; who can know it?”  Another Red Flag is when you start a sentence with, “It’s just a little problem” or “He’s just like that/he’s always been like that”. Or some version of that.  You can’t say, “she’s just a little pregnant”.  You look the other way.  You don’t want to deal with it now.  Later, you tell yourself.  You work around the problems, hoping they’ll “just go away”.  Resentment begins to build.  You begin to pull away or turn away from your husband.  You tell yourself lies and make adjustments and concessions.  “I’m taking care of the kids! They need me more!”  “It’s only for a little while, just til I get my business up and running, then we’ll take that weekend getaway”.  “It’ll get better after the kids ___________”.

Galatians 6:7 warns us that we “reap what we sow”.  Are we sowing words of affirmation into our husbands’ soul?  Are we sowing kind deeds?  Are we answering harsh words with a gentle response as Proverbs 15:1 tells us?  Am I going regularly to the Lord asking Him to cleanse my soul, so I don’t deceive myself?  What seeds am I watering today that will bring forth good fruit and not bad fruit?

Read More→

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Oct
05

Everybody is a Rock Star

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Do HiRes-superwomanyou remember the movie, “The Incredibles?”  It’s one of my favorites.  A few things stand out about that movie:

#1  When the bad guy, Syndrome (Buddy Pine), says to Mr. Incredible, “If everyone is Super, then no one is”.  I think he was really hurt when Mr. Incredible told him (when he was young) that he works alone (“Sorry kid, I work alone”). So, he grows up and becomes a genius inventing super powers that he can control.  It seems that nowadays, everyone can do that too:  We can ALL become a Rock Star with a little help, of course,  from Garage Band, iTunes, You Tube, etc.  We can all self promote, self publish, and get a million hits on our website.  We can all be bloggers too! We all are in effect Rock Stars now.  I wonder, then, are we realy?  My answer to that is, yes and no.  On the one hand, I believe that for those of us who follow Jesus, yes, we are His beloved little Rock Stars.  Just like when my sons put on a Superman  Cape, they ‘were’ Superman.  They were my little Supermen, running around, jumping off couches & trying to fly, saving the world from the bad guys.  They were cute to watch and I smiled a lot.

I also knew, as their loving mom, their limitations: I knew they weren’t really going to fly, or always catch the bad guy in real life.  Jesus loves me just as I am, warts and all.  My crazy schemes to help marriage improve, to  save the world or whatever.  I know He loves me as the child I am: cute, funny, immature at times, distrusting at other times, and usually wanting to please Him, my loving Parent.  Just like my sons were when they were little rock stars in my eyes.  {They are now just bigger, older, but they’re still my little big rock stars!}

On the other hand, we are all NOT Rock Stars.  We all put our underwear on the same every morning.  At the end of the day, we all go to bed, hopefully surrounded by loved ones.  As a wonderful friend pointed out to me, “at the end of the day, what does it matter if I am a Rock Star?  My husband, children are what REALLY matters, not being a famous Rock Star.” Read More→

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Sep
28

The Flintstones teach BOUNDARIES IN MARRIAGE

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I’ve couplebeen thinking a lot about the sanctity of marriage. I’ve thought about friendships with the opposite sex and how that has changed over the past decade or so.

Having friends while married is a good thing I believe, for both men and women. I think of the cartoon, The Flintstones, and watched it while growing up.

Fred’s best friend was Barney, who he could to talk to, go to the lodge with, and go bowling. Wilma had Betty to chat with, cook with, and to watch Pebbles if she had to go to the quarry.

It was healthy.

They lived life together, played together and were around one another a lot. They were also separate: two different marriages with four unique but different individuals.

But I don’t recall Fred ever going somewhere alone with Betty, nor Barney with Wilma. Why not? Well, for one thing, I believe they, cartoon characters notwithstanding, respected each others’ spouses and the boundaries inherent in a healthy happy marriage.

Trouble will come when one spends too much alone time with the opposite sex. Even if you are their best friends.

Lest you think I am from the dinosaur age, I am not! However, when I hear of a spouse spending more time away from home, away from their spouse, I start to hear “Danger, Danger!” (from Lost in Space series-another old favorite of mine). Danger can and often does come.

So, consider these warning signs and ask yourself these questions:

* Would you want your spouse to __________ {whatever you’re doing with a member of the opposite sex, texting, talking, having weekly or often coffee/lunch/meetings, etc.} ?
* Would you advise your best friend to do what you’re doing?
* Are you spending more time with your spouse than __________ ?
* Would your grandmother approve of your behavior/speech/thoughts?
* Would your pastor/bible study leader counsel you to keep doing ___?

If you’ve answered no to those questions, be forewarned! Trouble has arrived at your doorstep. Reconsider now!

If you answer yes to these 2 questions, you are seriously in deep doo-doo:
* Do you find yourself thinking of him often during the day, wondering what he’s up to?
* Do you go out of your way to call or text him or go to the gym, when you know he’ll be there?

Now is the time to flee this temptation!

Read More→

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Sep
21

LEAN ON ME

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pam-leanonI was listening to my favorite oldies station today and “Lean on Me” was playing. Here are some of the lyrics for those who don’t know the song (by Bill Withers, 1972):

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on…

It has a nice beat to it and I think a good message too. We all have pain, we do all have sorrow at some in our lives. Sometimes it’s in our childhood, sometimes later in life. Marriage is the ideal place and our spouses are the ideal people we could lean on during those tough times. But sadly, it may not be the case for many. Perhaps we’re very independent so we go through life with the attitude of “I’ll do it my way, I don’t need anyone”. By most people’s definition of marriage, marriage is not the place to live out and practice that idea. Singlehood is. Read More→

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Sep
14

Love Never Gives Up

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerI ampam-never sitting here enjoying my fresh cup of coffee and wondering about a recent conversation I had with a man who is deeply in love with his girlfriend.  His depth of love is quite impressive, as is his perseverance and genuineness.  He so wants his beloved to be healthy enough to accept his love; but alas, she does not appear able to.  

She seems to have too many demons and ghosts from her past that she cannot get rid of.  

He reminds me of how God is always faithful to us, even when we can’t or won’t accept His love. God never gives up on us, on me, or on my husband.

It also reminds me of Jacob’s love for Rachel back in Genesis 28-31 and how he worked for her  for 14 years!  Talk about perseverance!  I don’t know about you, but that speaks love to me!  The patience, determination, and drive of Jacob’s  love drives him to work, sweat, and never give up.  Even though he was cheated by her father several times.  All for her, his beloved.  “…But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.”

While I am writing this, I am listening to Wendy Swanson’s song, My Love Goes On, {album Sole Desire} playing in my head.  It’s a song about, I think, how God searches for us, finds us, then loves us, even though we chase other gods, other idols.

One line in particular  jumps out: “I have loved you thru the good, the bad; I will love you thru winter til spring”.  She lists Hosea 3, 11, and 14 after the title, which is is worth reading.

All my thoughts also remind me of that great love that Paul speaks about in 1 Cor 13:4-7:  “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.

It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Tell me what your thoughts are on perseverance in marriage.

I know that it is easy to say and very hard to practice!  I don’t think many of us can hang in there relying only on our own strength.  Especially when the bad winter times hit us; it’s quite easy to love when things are going great.  My hope and prayer is that you feel God’s strength and presence during your winter spells of marriage.

Read More→

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Sep
07

Too Little Too Late?

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pam-toolittleI was thinking about my previous post about perseverance in marriage. I was pondering a situation where a husband has neglected his wife, and now she is done with him. She’s endured him telling her how she feels, what to think, what to do, etc. for too long now. She’s wants a divorce. He’s surprised to say the least, but wants to save his marriage.

So, now he’s trying and he’s going over the top. With everything: More compliments in one week, than in the last 10 years. More gifts, cards, and flowers than ever before. You can see he is desperate.

But I can’t help but think he is trying too much.

It’s like not watering your garden for 10 years, and then figuring out it’s bone dry, and pouring Niagara Falls on it, trying to save it. But what you ended up doing is flooding it. Killing it. Nothing can grow (I think) in 3 feet of water. {Perhaps, rice? A farmer I am not!}

So, is he loving her too much? Or is it a case of negligence? Lack of attention to the state of affairs in his own marriage? Is he going to be another number in the category of “Too Little Too Late?” Perhaps, it will be “too much” in his case, I dunno. What I do know, is that it is a good idea to pay attention to your marriage, your health, and your children. Please don’t say, “I know I should, but I’ve been busy” or “I’m too busy”. If you say that often enough, you too, may end up in that sad category. Read More→

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Aug
31

Mammograms and Marriage

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pam-mammogramNow there’s a snappy title!  Seriously, I thought of this while at the doctor’s office this morning.  I was getting my annual mammogram.  Now, say “Ouch” all together with me ladies! Yes, it hurt as usual, but with practically 80% of all the females on my mother’s side of the family tree having had breast cancer, I have to.

Because I am still here, I get to go, so it really is a blessing to  get the mammogram done.  I’m not complaining.  I heard of a co-worker (from 20 years ago) that breast cancer recently claimed. I’d like to stick around a bit longer, all selfish reasons of course if at all possible.

So, during the exam, the nice young Asian attendant (forgive me, I don’t know what her title was-tech? nurse?) and I chatted about stuff.  It turns out, she is going to be married this summer.  She asked me a few questions about marriage and I was happy to oblige her.  She was surprised when I told her I’ve seen lots of older couples (married 25+ years or more) who want a divorce.

I said, “we take care of our cars, get job reviews, and get yearly mammograms, but we don’t take the time to check the state of our marriages”.  She agreed with me, I’m guessing because it’s a true statement.  But we can check on it.

We can go for a “yearly marital checkup”.  There’s even a website: www.coupleheckup.com that we can access.  For the price of a modest dinner we and our husbands can take an electronic check up on our marriage.   It’s quite easy, somewhat painless, and the results can point out any possible budding problems.  Just like my mammogram will do. I will be getting a letter in 1-2 weeks saying that all is well.  Or all is not well, and an ultrasound will be the next step.

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Aug
24

The Family Dinner

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pam-dinnerI’ve spoken to a number of people and I am surprised to hear, all too often, that they “don’t sit down for dinner as a family”.  Why, I ask. “we’re too busy, ya know, Joey has basketball and Susie has volleyball”.  They also state they “eat out a  lot too” because of all the running around and busyness.  This is a sad state of affairs.

Is the family dinner becoming a relic of the past?

Not to bore you with some stats, but I did google this and here’s a little sample what I found online:

http://www.thescramble.com/family-dinner-challenge-statistics/

A poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health found that:

  • Busy family schedules are cutting into family dinners together—46 percent of those surveyed said eating together is difficult to do on a regular basis.

  • Fewer than half the parents surveyed admitted that they had eaten together six or seven nights out of the previous week.

…But research shows that dining together is more important than you might think!

According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, kids and teens who share family dinners three or more times per week:

  • Are less likely to be overweight

  • Are more likely to eat healthy food

  • Perform better academically

  • Are less likely to engage in risky behaviors (drugs, alcohol, sexual activity)

  • Have better relationships with their parents

More frequent family dinners are related to fewer emotional and behavioral problems, greater emotional well-being, more trusting and helpful behaviors towards others and higher life satisfaction.” –Journal of Adolescent Health, April 2012.

Children and adolescents who share family meals three or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those don’t, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.

24 percent of teens want more frequent family dinners.

Families who eat dinner together with the television off eat more fruits and vegetables than those who eat separately or with the television on, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Read More→

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Aug
17

When to Say “I’m Sorry”

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sorryI was listening to my favorite oldie station again and the song, “Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?” by Anne Murray came on.  I sang along.  Right after that song came, “I’m sorry” by Brenda Lee.

At first, I thought how ironic. But then I realized it was perfect together:  I want to dance with my spouse for the rest of my life and that will include saying “I’m sorry” several times!

I will step on his toes.  He will step on my toes, too.

We will hurt each other, disappoint one another, and through it all love (and dance with) each other for the rest of our lives.  Well, at least that’s my plan! Wait, let me check with him….yep, he says it’s his plan too! So we’re good.

But seriously, we have said “I’m sorry” to the other many, many times over the years.  {I was the one who usually would say it because I’m the one whose tongue would get her into trouble!}.  We agreed early on to keep short accounts.  That means we don’t wait and hold onto things.  We check with each other often.  We clear up any wrongs, slights, sins, etc that do occur.  We practice forgiveness.

We have created a safe, healthy, good environment in which to do so.  It didn’t happened overnight.  I certainly brought a few extra suitcases of “leftover childhood baggage” along for the first 10 years! That didn’t help, but it is very common.  He brought a little overnight bag with him.:-)  It takes effort and hard work, as well as lots and lots of patience.  Do you have the patience  to work with, and not against, your spouse in unpacking your suitcases? Helping him unpack his?

I worry about our ability to persevere these days.  I can’t tell you how often simple concepts seem foreign to my sons.  Take for example, “studying”.  To most of us over 35 years old, that equals “reading the chapter, taking notes, re-reading them again, going through flashcards”.  Actually doing something.  My sons don’t always get that.  My opinion is that since they can (and the teachers encourage them) and do retake tests, redo papers, there’s really no logical reason to study in the first place.  Just redo it. No big deal.  They don’t receive a big fat “0” like I did when I didn’t study!  Nothing bad really happens. So, why study in the first place? Where’s their motivation? Read More→

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