Posted in Accountability, Happiness, Health, Life, Love, Marriage, Relationships, Sharing, Sports, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Uncategorized

Your love of tennis means nothing

It seems in these trying times we live in that it is getting more difficult to navigate our relationships. One would think that we all needed therapy as sometimes it seems that we can’t do anything right.

Either we are not working together or we’re going in two different directions. Or we are being to critical or not critical enough. We are too self-fish, too demanding, too righteous, too lazy … well you get the picture. I want to share a concept with you that may shine some light on how we are supposed to get along and how we can gravitate toward the positive and benefit both parties — and we do this with tennis.

Now I’m not asking you to go play or watch tennis. What I want to do is borrow a few concepts to make a point.Imagine your troubled relationship as a doubles team in tennis. To play doubles in tennis you have to know a little bit about the strengths and weaknesses of your partner. Not only do you have to know them, but you have to use their strengths and protect their weakness. Did you catch that? I said you must use their strengths and protect their weaknesses.

Some tennis players are slow moving to their weak side. Others might have a strong right hand, but a horrible back hand. When you learn these weaknesses and strengths you are able to set up your partner in a way that they are going to look like a pro. So if my partner is not as strong going to her left, guess who will play on her left side? You got it. Now, if I don’t play on her left side once I figure out that this is a weakness for her, shame on me!

If my partner has a strong right hand, then my job when I serve is to place the ball so that when it returns, it comes to her right side. Of course, it’s impossible to make this happen every single time, but you can manipulate that serve enough that it happens more than enough to win.

Why would I want to do that you ask? Well if I view my partner as truly being my partner, I have her best interest in mind. If you are not sure of this, you need to have a heart-to-heart with your partner and see if she or he feels that you hold their best interest. What a wonderful opportunity life provides if the significant other feels that you don’t have their best interest. Take this challenge and honor your mate by letting him or her know that you admire their strengths and you promise to protect their weaknesses. Humility will make them say it back to you. Where as love means absolutely nothing in tennis, it means everything in true relationships.

Tennis anyone?

Posted in Divorce, Happiness, Life, Love, Marriage, Relationships, Sharing, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family

The whole equals the sum of it’s parts?

In some instances the whole does equal the sum of it’s parts. But there are other instances when the whole is either greater or less than the sum of it’s parts. Why does this matter, you ask? Well, to fully understand the scope of any relationship it’s important to know what each participant in the relationship believes about the whole.

Aristotle is first credited with saying the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. In theories of proximity the whole is equal to the sum. In relativity, Einstein is credited for saying the whole is less than the sum of it’s parts. His logic was that the sums are greater by themselves than they are with a whole. Think for instance about the Miami Heat. LeBron James makes less money being one of the stars as opposed to being “the” star. As an individual he is worth more than he is playing with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

So when it comes to relationships, there are some people who believe that the whole is greater than the sum. There are others who believe that the whole and the parts are equal. And still others who think that the whole is far less than the sum of the parts. If you are in a fulfilling relationship then it makes sense for you to believe that the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts because you and your mate both contribute to the relationship and sacrifice to make it work — for the greater good (the whole).

Someone in a not so good relationship may feel that the whole is not worth the parts. Many who have gotten divorced have already arrived at this conclusion. If you have a lazy partner, or one who does not handle his or her business affairs properly, it makes it difficult to keep focused on the big picture (the whole). If you are the one that handles everything, makes all the money, takes responsibility, manages all the problems and you view your partner as simply another mouth to feed, then your whole is definitely less than.

If you have recovered from a bad relationship and are on the rebound, you are now looking for balance in your life and relationships. You now begin to search for a relationship that will be equal to the sum of it’s parts. This new relationship is where the parts are “equally yolked” and you see your partner as an equal partner working in concert with you. You two are like-minded in thought and action and you share the same values.

We find ourselves in various types of relationships. Right or wrong should be determined by the views of both parties in the relationship. If you are struggling in a relationship, I encourage you to seek counseling. EVERYTHING YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED CAN BE FIXED, IF YOU REALLY WANT TO FIX IT. All fixes take time. And if you both have a desire to allow the whole to be greater than the sum of it’s parts, then commit to making it work and seek professional help now.

Posted in Free Will, Jesus Christ, Marriage, Relationships, Religious Freedom

Leave marriage out of this

I have been having a hard time with gay marriage.

It’s not that I mind that people of the same sex come together. I believe that since I don’t trust our government to tell me what to do, I don’t think our government should try and tell others what they can or cannot do. Morally I have issues with it because I believe the Bible to be the absolute truth. But the key phrase that I said was, “I believe.” I’m not trying to force my religious beliefs on anyone.

I’m the type of Christian that if you want to know what the Bible says, I stand ready to give you the answers. I’m not going to club you over the head with my Bible,  nor am I going to try and convince you to follow my Bible. The reason is because my Bible says you have to believe and obey from the heart.

The God I serve is pro-choice. Pro-choice in the sense that He allows everyone freewill. He would never do anything to prohibit your freewill and your freewill doesn’t checkmate His perfect will. Basically, you choose to do what your heart really desires and His judgment will reign in the end.

With that said, I am bothered by the use of the word marriage.

I know what a marriage is and I know that gays wanted their significant others to be able to get medical benefits and such. I totally understand that. To make this happen, the insurance industry practically forced them to seek marriage instead of just allowing them to appoint the people who are able to get benefits.

Should it matter who gets benefits?

To greedy insurance companies, the answer is yes. They were trying to avoid allowing us to designate who we want to give benefits to.

I said all that to say this:  instead of gays entering into a “marriage,” why couldn’t we just call it a “union?”

Doing it this way allows the true intention of marriage to stay pure and its defining elements to remain intact. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them in the beginning made them male and female.” (Matt. 19:4) This is what He meant when He said,”…what God has joined together (a male and a female), let no man separate.”

The use of the word “union” would be generic enough to allow any two things to come together: a chicken and a cow… a pig and a frog…peanut butter and chocolate – and even two men or two women.

Let union ring!

Posted in Discipleship, Forgiveness, Generosity, Giving, God, God's Promises, Happiness, Jesus Christ, Love, Marriage, Relationships, The Family

Part 2: Unconditional Love???

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul made a really big deal about the gift of love. He says:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”

Whenever I have heard this passage (1 Corinthians 13:1-8) taught, it’s used as an absolute definition. I believe that the intent of this passage is to give you the results of practicing unconditional love, not simply define it.

Unconditional love has nothing to do with the person being loved. It has everything to do with the person who is giving the love. Unconditional love seems to refine the giver. We dwell on the benefits to the receiver, but the giver of unconditional love benefits the more.

Let’s say that I have an anger problem, but I choose to love unconditionally. As my anger is kindled, I am faced with the choice of whether to honor unconditional love or follow my anger. If I allow love in, it will not only conquer my anger, but solve the reason why I am angry in the first place.

Or say that I am faced with a person who has the reputation of being incapable of love, what are my choices? I could choose to stay away from that person which is what most would choose, or I could choose love. Now, this doesn’t mean that we allow people to run over us. It means that we will love them enough to do what others would not and that includes telling them what they really need to hear instead of enabling their behavior.

When you truly love someone, you don’t give up on them. This is why God said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” When you truly love someone, when they are at their weakest, you are the strongest. This is why it was “while we were without strength, Christ died …”.

When you truly love someone,  you become a benefit to them that they can see. You enhance their life so that it’s worth living. This is why Christ said, “I came to bring you life and life more abundantly.” The greatest part of loving someone is doing something for them that they could not do for themselves. This is why “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever shall believe on him shall not parish, but have eternal life.”

Love is something for the mature, not the immature. If you are trying to love someone and “self” keeps getting in the way, you’re not ready for the commitment of unconditional love. But if you would allow this love to have it’s way with you, all of your insecurities, fears, quirks and impurities would pour out of you.

Remember, mankind requires a condition,but  God never did. Who do you believe will be left standing in the end?

Posted in Jesus Christ, Love, Marriage, Relationships, The Family

Part 1: Unconditional love?

Love is probably the most overused and misrepresented word in the English language.

I say this because of the condition of the world. How many men use this word love to lure innocent woman into sexual relationships? How many children were conceived to teenage mothers under the idea that it was love? How many people have been betrayed by people who claimed to love them?

Love is NOT something you fall in, something that finds you or something that you feel. Love is something that you know, it is taught and those who know what it is, practice it. It is a by-product of experiencing Jesus Christ or people like Him. It is expressed in many ways. Clearly, it is a way of life.

By the way love is done in our country, we will never understand it the way it was intended. Love is conditional in America. People practice it conditionally and place expectations of the people they are loving. Love is distributed based on whether or not you meet the lover’s expectations.

This explains why a young woman searching for love will give herself sexually because she understands love as conditional. Men have long made sex a condition for their love. After all, that fits the love economy we have here so people just run with it.

This also explains the divorce rate.

Fifty percent of all marriages will end in divorce. That number goes up 20 percent for law enforcement and fire fighters. Why? Conditions were just not met.

We have played with this concept long enough. Next week I will show you a more excellent way.

Posted in Love, Marriage, Relationships, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Uncategorized

Thoroughbreds and Jackasses

I’ve been looking at breeds of horses and similar animals and it dawned on me how much the dating world mirrors these breeds.

Women have a very tough time in this world because it really seems that fairy tales and dysfunctional families have finally taken a toll. As little girls they begin to have expectations based on what they have been told.

Most every little girl grows up believing that she needs to be saved!

They believe that there is going to be some knight in shining armor coming around to “rescue” them from whatever the impending danger is. This guy would make them feel secure, happy, he would take care of them and they would never have to worry about working outside the home – he had it all covered.

Just like dad?

How many ladies today grew up in a dysfunctional family where if there was a live-in father, he could never really be anyone’s “savior”? Too many men run from the responsibility of parenting. Despite the fact that they have donated the sperm to create a child, these fellows aren’t looking forward to the family life.

Well, what does all this have to do with thoroughbreds and jackasses? It seems that in our society the choices of men follow the same classifications as our four-legged friends.

First, in the Equus ferus caballus family is the foal, sometimes referred to as the suckling and is generally less than a year old. For a man, this is the stage where he thinks he is ready to play house, but not ready to “support” a house. It’s at this stage where he believes that he is a man, but still needs the help of his parents – especially mom (place sucking sounds here). These “mama’s boys” – no matter how cute they are – are not ready for a serious, adult relationship and should be left alone.

Next we fast forward to the Colt. This is a young male horse under the age of four. For adult males, these years symbolize college or the first couple of years in the workforce. This guy is not ready for a family, but is always mistaken for being ready. He will rant and rave about being an adult, but has not yet mastered the growth to equally challenge the responsibility of being in a committed relationship. I must mention that even though he’s on his way, this young man needs time to develop before being taken out to the track (of life).

A stallion is up next and this would refer to a non-castrated male horse that is over the age of four. As a man, this level is crucial because just as the stallion is powerful and ready to ride, he is equally as playful and will say he wants to go to the track, but he’s really just looking for a rider. These animals love to be ridden and you’re a great rider if you can tame one of them. If you can’t, it’s best to walk away. You have to be willing to regroup and not throw all your eggs in one basket. Remember, just because you were not the right rider for one, doesn’t mean you can’t learn to ride another.

When we begin to discuss Thoroughbreds (Tb) we are talking about a distinct breed of horse. Many modern Thoroughbreds can trace their pedigrees to three stallions originally imported into England in the 17th and 18th centuries. Everyone wants a Thoroughbred. Nowadays, we are so quick to call someone a Tb. It’s like if he stands bipedal, he’s a Tb! In actuality, Tb are men who know exactly how to “handle their business.” These are the real dudes that day in and day out deliver. There is no second guessing in their relationships. Unfortunately, they have become the “needle in a haystack” for the dating world.

Now a Jackass is a domesticated member of the horse family and in our society, men in this category are a little less domesticated. They are arrogant, liars, selfish and stubborn. They seem to be the only ones who can’t see that they are like this. Their failures are always someone else’s fault. They are quick to tell you what’s wrong with you and could care less about your feelings. They will suck dry your energy, resources and emotions if you let them and it’s impossible for them (in their current state) to replenish anything. The hardest part of being in a committed relationship is thinking you have a Tb when you actually have a Jackass — but only a codependent woman would think that a Jackass was a Thoroughbred – and there is nothing more devastating than realizing you’ve been waking up next to a Jackass.

Posted in Jesus Christ, Love, Marriage, Relationships

Happily ever after

by guest columnist Hope Seavers

“Happily Ever After,”  we’ve all heard the phrase, but what does it mean and how does one get there?   Does it mean that once you get married something “magically” happens or are there other factors involved?   I’ve worked with several couples who, after 20 plus years, are considering divorce because they are no longer happy…they’ve grown apart.  More accurately, one member of the dyad has grown and the other has remained stagnant.  The stagnant member proclaims, “I haven’t changed…I don’t understand what happened!”  It’s human nature to change and grow, otherwise, how could one mature through the various stages of human development?  It stands to reason that in a marriage it’s necessary, for both husband and wife, to grow and change as well.

Let’s take a moment to look at marriage as it relates to Christianity.  On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached a very powerful sermon, teaching that repentance and baptism are necessary to receive forgiveness of sins and to be added to the church (Acts 2:38 – 41).  So, once the baptism takes place, does that mean that the once wayward individual has arrived…that there is no more need for growth and maturity?  Not according to 1 Peter 2:1-3, which says “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking,  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”  It’s clear from this passage that change must happen in order to mature in Christ.

Just as each Christian must continue to grow in knowledge and faith, so must each individual of the marital union.  The lives of Paul and Peter are excellent examples of how the “not so righteous,” through faith and obedience, matured into servants for the Lord.  What is the parallel for the husband and wife of today?  First of all, each individual needs to be “one whole,” before the dyad can truly function on all cylinders.  Now, it would be great if “wholeness” could have been achieved before the marriage, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case as evidenced by the climbing divorce rate in the United States.  In our society, the alternative for most is to just suffer through it as the traditional wedding vows dictate, “…for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”  Come on now…who wants that, really!?!  Suffering through it produces relationships where the husband and wife are, at best, roommates and, at worst, just counting the days until the other one leaves (by any means necessary if you catch my drift).  This is the antithesis of what God intended for marriage to be.  God expects each individual to study His word regularly and apply it to their lives (I Timothy 3:16 – 17).  Through this process, some cognitive and behavioral changes will take place, that manifest themselves in the putting away of unfruitful habits (i.e., nagging, uncontrolled anger, passive aggression, idleness, gluttony, poor stewardship etc.)  and adopting new more profitable ways of being (i.e., congruent communication, long suffering, working toward a meaningful goal, healthy eating and exercise, self-control,  etc.) (Romans 12:1-21).  This process is not about placing blame on or trying to change the other, but rather putting the onus on self to be the best that God intended.  When our lives are aligned with God’s will, the result is always “Happily Ever After”.