Marriage Tip: Don’t Be A Spouse Pleaser

Yes, I know that this is strange advice and most likely contradicts the latest marriage book you read but it doesn’t work in the long run.  Sure you can get great results in your marriage by always trying to please your spouse short-term but sooner or later you run out of steam especially when the gesture is not reciprocated to your satisfaction level.  Pleasing your spouse ranks right up there with pleasing others which should not be the focus of your life.

What is wrong with pleasing your spouse or others?  The standard for pleasing others is constantly changing and therefore is not a foundation upon which you can stand firm.  However, going to the opposite point of view which is pleasing yourself is selfish and an equally troubling foundation for a marriage.  Pleasing others elevates their feelings, beliefs, and standards as more important as your own.  Pleasing yourself elevates your feelings, beliefs, and standards as more important than others.  Neither is good.

There is only one to please, one to praise, one to worship, one to follow, one to hope, and one to love.  God.  His standard is unchanging, unwavering, and full of grace all at once.  By setting your sights on pleasing God, you will naturally please others and yourself but not because one is elevated above the other.  Rather, you will be  more focused on His ways of grace, mercy, love, patience, kindness, order, and structure.  This is the best foundation for your marriage.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Tip: Forgive Your Spouse for the Little Things

It’s the little things that count.  Too often the big things in a marriage get the most attention while the little things go unrecognized for lack of importance.  However, if you can begin the practice of forgiving your spouse for the little things, then when the big things come up it will be a much easier task.  It’s like running a race.  You train for the race gradually, increasing your speed, intensity, and distance with each practice.  Eventually you are prepared to run the race at your best because of the practice even if you didn’t feel well that day.  Yet, if you were to run the race cold, even with the best intentions at heart, you would not do as well as if you practiced a little every day.  It is the same with forgiveness.  Practice forgiving the little things each day and when the big things come along you will have your training in forgiveness to fall back on even when you don’t feel like forgiving.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Tip: Be Intentionally Grateful to Your Spouse

Try it.  Don’t talk about it, think about it or put it off.  Just be intentionally grateful about something, anything will really do, which is far better than nothing.  Even if your spouse misunderstood your last comment, argued with you over something meaningless, made a thoughtless remark, or turned a casual comment into a lecture opportunity, show gratitude in a way that matters to them.  It is not about finding the right moment, because it will never come.  It is about creating the right moment in the mist of wrong moments to be grateful.  You can be grateful by making a positive comment about your spouse not a passive aggressive sarcastic remark.  You can be grateful by doing something for your spouse not doing something that you have asked them repeatedly to do and it still is not done.  You can be grateful by giving something to your spouse not by giving them something that is really for you.  You can be grateful by spending time with your spouse not by demanding your spouse spend time with you.  You can be grateful by gently squeezing your spouse’s hand not by yanking their hand.  So what are you waiting for, go be grateful to your spouse.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Could My Child Become a Violent Shooter?

Hulk (comics)

Hulk (comics) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, no and maybe.  Remember the Hulk?  A normal looking man who turn into a green monster in a matter of seconds.  As a man he seems kind, understanding, logical, sympathetic, and systematic but given the right opportunity, he becomes unreasonable, angry, aggressive, spontaneous, and violent.  In a very simplistic way, this illustration clearly describes what happens to a violent shooter.  Yes, there are personality profiles, addictions, disorders, environments, and relationships that all contribute to the likelihood that a person will become a shooter but the bottom line is there is still a willingness to become the monster that lurks deep inside.

Who does this happen to?  Be honest for a second and recall your last monster like appearance.  Were you ranting and raving about something meaningless, were you throwing something across the room, were you crying uncontrollably, or were you wishing harm on someone?  If you can honestly assess your own monster like tendencies than you have the ability to discern your child’s monster like tendencies.  Everyone has this, it is just a matter of degree and triggers.

How does this happen?  It is like the flick of a switch.  One moment everything seems fine and then the switch is flicked and things are out of control.  Behind the switch however is a trigger that provoked you or your child into becoming the monster.  So the key is to know your own switches first and then you can more clearly see your child’s.  After all, some of your switches are likely to be the same or at least similar areas of frustration.

Why does this happen?  Well, within all of us lies an evil nature that if properly provoked could result in behavior uncharacteristic of you or your child.  Yes, it is hard to believe that your sweet innocent child might have some evil lurking inside but there is only person to be born without an evil nature and subsequently die without committing a sin and it is not your child.  Accepting the reality is far better than living in a fairytale land and pretending that your child is incapable of any harm.

What can I do to stop it?  Once you have accepted the possibility that your child could cause harm to others and learned their triggers, then you are in an excellent place to discern what type of care or treatment is needed.  If your child has numerous violent video games, talks about killing people, is easily angered into rage, has a history of causing harm to animals, or shows great disregard for authority, then your child needs immediate help from a trained professional.  If the reaction is less severe, then modeling proper behavior is the best place to start.  Your child will learn far more from how you act rather than what you say.

So yes, everyone is capable of evil.  No, this does not mean that your child will become a shooter.  But maybe, through good modeling in keeping your parent monster in check, you can teach your child to keep their monster from coming out and harming others.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Tip: Pray for Your Spouse Daily

During times of tragedy, it is easier to remember to pray for and be grateful for your spouse’s safety, job, health, relationships, and good will.  As tragedy has a unique way of highlighting not only the sufferings but also the blessings as there seems to be no shortage of extremes.  Yet it is much harder to be consistent with prayer for your spouse during the good times; after all, your spouse may not seem as much in need as others.  But these moments are precisely the times when prayer is most needed, when it is least expected because you never know when tragedy will strike.  Pray for wisdom in decision making, discernment in associations, solid friendships, strength to endure trials, patience in work, keen focus, and understanding heart.  Praying for your spouse is not about praying that your spouse agrees with you on a decision rather it is about praying for character traits and asking for protection realizing that in the end God is in control even during a tragedy.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Tip: Never Leave Your Spouse Behind

There is a saying in the military, “Never leave a man behind” which should be applied to a marriage.  There will be times in your marriage when you are growing or moving faster than your spouse for a variety of reasons.  However, if you keep your spouse in the dark or leave him or her behind then resentment has the opportunity to grow and take over your marriage.  You will then find a new resentment for your spouse for not appreciating your growth and your spouse will resent you for leaving him or her out of your growth.  As you learn more about yourself, include your spouse in your understanding and if needed help your spouse to grow with you.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Tip: You are Married So Act like It

Have you ever run into someone and was surprised to find them married because he or she just spent the last few minutes flirting with you?  This is a recipe for disaster in a marriage.  Married people should act like married people meaning that when you are away from your spouse, you are a partial representation of a whole package.  The whole package is the combination of you and your spouse together where two separate people become one united in marriage.  Apart, you are representing your commitment to your marriage, not your commitment to your own selfish desires.  If both parts treated the marriage with such care and commitment then it will be a light to others around.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Is Your Child Becoming Like Their Narcissistic Parent?

Woman Holding Blank FrameIt can’t be.  While the narcissistic parent is insensitive and uncaring, your child seems overly compassionate, caring, and highly attuned, almost to the point of compulsion, to needs of others.  Your child fails to see anything wrong with the narcissistic parent and believes the parent to be near perfect.  Gratitude and praise flow off your child’s lips as such a welcome change from the demoralizing comments emanating from the narcissistic parent.  So your child couldn’t be narcissistic, right?  Wrong.

There is a budding type of narcissism known as the inverted narcissist and is occasionally seen in children of narcissistic parents.  Basically it works like this.  The child idealizes the narcissistic parent to the point that he or she gets satisfaction out of pleasing the parent who is difficult to please.  Your child gives the narcissistic parent an unending supply of adoration and admiration which the parent in turn craves.  Because the child supplies the narcissist’s needs with excessive praise, the parent then becomes possessive and dependent as an addict is to a drug in an unhealthy manner.  Your child figuratively becomes the mirror which the narcissistic parent uses to view their inflated ego.

What can you do?  There really is no use in identifying all of the flaws of the narcissistic parent because it will only serve as a point of contention between you and your child possibly ending in alienation.  Instead, don’t burst your child’s bubble about the narcissistic parent but don’t lie by agreeing with your child either.  Rather listen to your child’s point of view and don’t take advantage of your child’s giving nature.  This will naturally set you apart from the narcissistic parent.

What can you say?  As the non-narcissistic parent, you might not be in the best position to bring clarity to your child’s opinions about the narcissistic parent.  More than likely you will be too emotionally involved to think clearly and present an alternative opinion.  In addition, you need to focus on non-manipulative communication with your child avoiding such pitfalls as guilt tactics or bribery.  So find a safe adult person that your child can confide in to discuss any issues related to the narcissistic parent.  This person should have a full understanding of narcissism and not be subject to the same idealization as your child.

Will it get better?  Yes but not without some hurt feelings along the way.  Eventually the narcissistic parent will disappoint the child because the facade cannot be maintained for too long; however it may not happen until adulthood.  In the meantime, don’t do anything to destroy your relationship with the child; your child needs a strong parental bond because the narcissist is not empathic.  Your child may want to spend alone time with the narcissistic parent and naturally you will want to protect your child from potential harm.  Yet, this alone time may just be what is needed to bring about clarity for your child in the difference between the two parents.

Narcissism is hard to deal with by itself.  If you are struggling with it, imagine how hard it is for your child who does not have the life experience to tell them something is wrong.  At some point in adulthood your child will confront you about the narcissistic parent so be prepared to be honest about your own struggle and successes in dealing with narcissism.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Tip: Stick-up for Your Spouse

Attacks in on a person can come from everywhere: family, friends, co-workers, media and even church.  But you don’t have to give into the peer pressure to pick on your spouse just because someone else’s marriage is not working well.  You should have your spouse’s back at all times regardless of how you feel your spouse treats you.  This is not about keeping score and if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.  Rather it is your responsibility to honestly protect your spouse because most attacks happen when he or she is not there.  This is not about having rose-colored glasses where your spouse can do nothing wrong, that is equally damaging as seeing everything wrong.  Rather it is about having your spouse’s back in public and if necessary confronting him or her in private.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Tip: Value Your Spouse’s Advice above Others

The usual response is “You won’t say that if you knew the kind of advice my spouse gives”.  Ok, so maybe you are right but consider this possibility.  You still can place value or importance on a piece of advice without following through on the advice.  The way you show value to your spouse’s advice is to listen to it without complaining or assuming that you already know what he or she is going to say.  If you chose not to take the advice, that is your decision but you can still listen and give your spouse’s opinion the weight it deserves for your level of commitment.  The point is simple, by valuing your spouse’s advice you are demonstrating that your spouse is the most significant person in your life and their input is important to you.  This is a show of intentional commitment to one another.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.