What’s your Balance?

Our core expectations for close relationships are affected by all of our previous close relationships, whether with parents, siblings, former spouses, lovers or friends. At certain periods in our life significant people, or even life itself through specific events that affected us, ran up a series of debits or credits in terms of what you needed. Time passes, we walk through life’s revolving door, marry and hand our bill balance over to our spouse. Our spouse gets a credit or a debit for what others did or did not do. Have a Positive Balance If my account has many positive […]

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Pain Pursues Pleasure

We all have emotional needs, and when our emotional needs are met, we feel loved. When our needs go unmet, we feel pain. When we feel pain, we pursue pleasure, and often our pursuit of pleasure takes us to places that ultimately bring us back to pain. Question: If you’re hungry and you eat rat poison, will you still be hungry? Answer: No, your stomach is full whether with rat poison or steak. You experience a sense of pleasure because of the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released in the brain, giving us a sense of pleasure. So, if […]

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Communication, the Daily Temperature of Your Marriage

Winter in South Florida is likened to paradise: a refreshing temperature of Sunny and 72, a cool breeze that caresses our face and sunshine that captures the colorful splendor of creation in high definition. Fall in South Florida is very different: sweltering heat, the air is thick, the breeze is still and the sky is more white than blue. The temperature often determines our mood, clothing, activities and even what we eat. Think about it… a bowl of chili is less appetizing in the heat of summer.  Like the weather, our marriage has a relational temperature that determines mood, appetites […]

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Our Christmas Family Trees

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition by the 16th century when sources record devout Christians bringing decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if the wood was scarce. It is widely believed that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. According to a common version of the story, walking home one winter evening, Luther was awed by the stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and decorated its branches […]

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Maintaining Marital Satisfaction Through the Seasons and Stages of Life

I was recently blessed to renew a friendship from 40 years ago. Some of my most hilarious moments were with this person, but over the years we had lost touch with bits of news from mutual friends. I was looking forward to connecting personally, but I needed to see a pic on social media to recognize them. I called their name, and even then, I wasn’t sure it was them. I looked at them, searching for the face, eyes or smile I knew so well decades earlier. Not even a glimmer! I was listening for anything that reminded me of […]

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How Well Do You Know Yourself?

Working with marriages and families over the past twenty-plus years has been illuminating for me. I’ve found that most of us don’t know ourselves well. Like others, we know things about ourselves, our favorite colors, our taste in food, where we were born, what we like to do, who we hang out with, what we do for work, and what our talents are, but if someone asks us what our core beliefs and values are, we might have to pause.  As a Christian, I could answer without hesitation that I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born of […]

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Multiple Marriages with the Same Person

Marriage relationships expand, contract, ebb, and flow with seasons of joy and pain. It brings out the best and worst in us. It exposes our weaknesses and our strengths. It matures and refines us. As we age and transition within the stages of life, our marriages evolve. The person we married in our younger years may not have the same carefree and adventurous spirit after children, but they may have grown in kindness and patience. Let’s look at some of the stages of marriage. Some scholars say there are many more stages than I’ve mentioned, but I consider these primary.  […]

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Marriage and Money

The ministry of marriage and families allows us to share the best and worst times with couples. Typically, most couples experience the same challenges framed through different stories, but what is increasingly common is the lack of pre-marital counseling/ preparation. Couples tend to believe they know one another well and are madly in love and don’t have the foresight to pursue a class, program, or counselor to walk them through what needs to be addressed after the honeymoon living. Couples are often distressed because they didn’t have meaningful conversations before marriage. Money is in the top ten issues of couples […]

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What Are You Saying?

We’ve all heard and spoken the idiom “Actions Speak Louder than Words.” Its origins are traced back as early as 1200 in a sermon by St. Anthony of Padua, and it continues to be a popular sermon in the Catholic church during Pentecost. The essence of the sermon is that the person filled with the Holy Spirit speaks different languages in the way we witness for Christ. In some moments we speak with humility and patience because we reveal ourselves through the fruit of the spirits or lack thereof. The sermon goes on to say that we are cursed just […]

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The Known and Unknown Sower

As many of you know, I don’t consider myself a writer, so every month I ask God to show me what He wants me to write about. I always need Him to show me because I don’t have chapters of quality thoughts rolling around in my head. This was particularly true for me this month. He responded with the same message, the Sower of Seeds.   A simple invitation Live the Life South Florida hosted our Happy & Together Hoedown this past weekend, and at the end of the evening, someone spoke up about the number of people the ministry […]

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