September 28, 2013 Newsletter
- Set aside time to spend only with your spouse. Balancing the needs of your children, school, and work can make life quickly grow hectic. We’ve seen many busy couples who focus so intensely on maintaining the household that by the end of the week they’re so exhausted they take no time to spend with each other. Focusing solely on household duties can quickly deplete romance from a marriage. Whether you set aside time for scripture reading every evening or a special date night once a month, having that alone time free of kids and household duties to connect does wonders for a couple’s happiness.
- Make your spouse your priority. If your spouse asks you for your time, make sure to give it. Placing other needs before those of your spouse is dangerous for the emotional health of your relationship. Don’t take the other for granted—you would expect your spouse to be there for you when you most need him or her, so be there for your spouse.
- Learn and grow together. Don’t assume that your spouse today is the same person you married. On your wedding day, you both agreed to a covenant with God that you would learn and grow together with his guidance. Every day brings new challenges, which shape our experiences and character and result in changes and hopefully, growth. Sharing those challenges will lead to a deeper relationship and a growing closeness. Ask your spouse questions. Discuss your thoughts and fears. After all, you’re in this together.
- Be affectionate. While you’re hastily pulling dinner out of the oven and trying to get your kids ready for soccer practice, affection might be the last thing on your mind. But don’t let it slip away permanently. Humans are affectionate creatures, and touch connects us deeply. Affection is one aspect of intimacy, but one that is just as important as sex. Showing affection to our spouse helps affirm our love for him or her, so make sure to spontaneously show affection throughout the day.
- Learn something new together. Learning is deeply essential to our progress as humans, and sharing that experience with others cements deep bonds between us. Proverbs 1:5 asks us to “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” Perhaps you and your spouse are both interested in taking a cooking class? Or learning a language together? Learning is enlightening, eye-opening, even a little embarrassing, and there’s no one better to share that experience with than your spouse. Years down the road, you’ll be able to laugh and reminisce about the one time your husband burned the soufflé or your wife slid down the ski hill.
- Do your spouse’s favorite thing. Even if you hate swing dancing or gardening, taking time to do your spouse’s favorite thing shows you care about your spouse and his or her interests. Appreciating what makes someone tick goes beyond tolerance. Be an active participant in your spouse’s joy. Plus, being open to new experiences expands your horizons and helps you learn more about yourself.
- Compliment your spouse. As we grow accustomed to our daily routines as spouses, we begin to take things for granted. When your spouse looks nice or does something wonderful, tell him or her that. We tend to be very hard on ourselves, so hearing words of affirmation from our spouse or partner does wonders for our self-esteem. And remember that compliments said with sincerity and love are God’s words—“ Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17
- Show gratitude. Saying thank you, while it seems simple, is one of the easiest ways to strengthen a relationship. Your spouse enjoys doing kind things for you and appreciates your recognition of his or her efforts. We are bestowed with so many blessings for which we need to be thankful. One of the greatest of these blessings is our spouse’s love, which is reminiscent of 1 Corinthians 13. Many of us heard these beautiful verses of love as we prepared to say our own vows, and we need to actively embody this love in our daily lives.
- Serve together. Service is one of the most fundamental of Christian virtues. Whether you volunteer at a homeless shelter or undertake mission work in a developing country, service is a deeply humbling experience that reminds us of our blessings. 1 Peter 4:10 commanded “ Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
Often we see lists of ideas to strengthen our marriage and fully agree these are great suggestions but feel overwhelmed at where to begin. Each family situation is unique and has unique challenges. At Advance Counseling we provide a personalized approach to marriage counseling, helping couples explore their challenges in a constructive, non-threatening manner. Contact Advance Counseling today for a free initial phone consultation.
While many of us experience healthy fears in our daily lives which protect us from danger, a phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no real danger.
There are many specific phobias. Acrophobia is a fear of heights. Agoraphobia is a fear of public places, and claustrophobia is a fear of closed-in places. If you become anxious and extremely self-conscious in everyday social situations, you could have a social phobia. Other common phobias involve tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, animals and blood. Although phobias tend to start during childhood or teen years, left untreated they are likely to continue into adulthood. This unnatural fear restricts the joy we were meant to experience. John 10:10 tells us, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
People with phobias try to avoid what they are afraid of. If they cannot, they may experience
- Panic and fear
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- A strong desire to get away
This unhealthy fear is debilitating and feels impossible to overcome. At Advance Counseling , we can help guide you toward overcoming your fear in order to live a healthier, happier life. Remember that in God’s hands, you need know no fear. Although life seems to be full of obstacles, He has a plan for you. Give your life to Him and feel the weight of fear lift away. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4.
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” (Exodus 14:13)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can Man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)
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