Tag Archive for forgiveness

Book Review: Forgiving Fathers and Mothers

A mature adult life and healthy marriage begins with leaving home. I don’t mean simply moving out and living in a different house, paying your own bills, and maintaining your own social and vocational life. Many 16-year-old teens can do that. To truly become a mature adult who can contribute to a healthy marriage, we must leave home on a much deeper level. We must leave home emotionally. For some, the task of leaving home emotionally is relatively simple. For others–those who have experienced neglect, abuse, or abandonment–this task can prove monumental. Leaving home emotionally necessitates that we face the realities of our childhood, forgive our parents for any shortcomings they might have exhibited, and embrace the love they did share with us during our life. Forgiving our Fathers and Mothers by Leslie Leyland Fields and Dr. Jill Hubbard provides a tremendous map for doing just that. The guidance they offer in their book guides the reader out of the prison of pain, bitterness, and resentment that traps many who grew up in abusive homes. It is filled with courageous stories and insightful strategies to help lead the  reader out of the common behaviors used to run from the pain, “reclaim the past,” and enter into a “land of freedom.” The stories are inspirational yet tempered so we can all learn the lessons they offer. The insights are wise and practical. The way to freedom, though filled with ups and downs, pain and healing, struggles and victory, passes through forgiveness and into the land of peace and wholeness. If you have experienced trouble leaving a traumatic childhood behind, Forgiving our Fathers and Mothers offers hope and practical guidance. Following the strategies offered in this book will lead you into the freedom of a whole life and a fulfilling marriage.

Changing the World: Families Sharing Grace

Watching the news today saddens me. The world is troubled. Vengeance, power grabbing, and insecure self-obsession have reached an all-time high. They have hit the streets in our communities…and our communities have become more dangerous and isolated as a result.
They roam the halls in our schools…and our children suffer, even going from class to class in fear and isolation. Even more insidious, vengeance, power grabbing, and self-obsession are broadcast across social media…creating anger, bitterness, and hurt within our families and friends. I fear that these attitudes have even infiltrated our families and our relationships, tearing us apart at the seams. Vengeance, power grabbing, and insecure self-obsession have left our world, our communities, even our families, desperately troubled. We need a change and that change begins with YOU practicing one small word in your daily life and family: GRACEbusinessman holding gift

Grace simplifies life by filling us with an awareness of unconditional acceptance. Acceptance within the family creates a sense of security. It communicates that each family member is loved “no matter what.” It builds loving bonds and intimate relationships out of which appropriate behaviors like respect, honor, helpfulness, and kindness blossom and bloom. Make it a point to show acceptance to your spouse and children today and every day. Set aside your own plans for a time so you can spend time with your family, learn about their interests, and let them know you love them.

 

Grace frees us from the crushing weight of anger and bitterness, releasing us from the burden of vengeance. One way grace does this is by promoting forgiveness. Forgiveness strengthens marriages. It creates secure parent-child relationships. It restores loving sibling connections that last through the good times and the bad. Forgiveness replaces bitterness and other hurt emotions with greater understanding and happiness. It replaces the desire for revenge with love and compassion, restoring broken relationships. It replaces walls of division with bridges of long-term intimacy.

Grace liberates us from the entanglements of narcissism by teaching us how to serve and sacrifice for one another. In Fighting for Your Marriage (For a more thorough review of this book, click here), the authors state that “research suggests some degree of sacrifice is a normal, healthy aspect of a solid relationship. In the absence of an attitude of sacrifice, what do you have? You have a relationship in which at least one of you is in it mostly for what you can get. That’s not a recipe for satisfaction or growth.” I would go further to say sacrifice is not only normal but necessary for a growing healthy relationship. Seize the opportunity to give up your own momentary interests to learn about the interests of your spouse and children. Capitalize on the opportunity to give up your right to sleep in so you can invest time in your children. Snatch the chance to watch the movie your spouse chooses and even enjoy talking with her about it. Wash the dishes. Help with homework. Clean the bathroom. Serve one another!

 

Our world is troubled, no doubt. Changes our troubled world begins with changing our families. Model grace toward your family. Teach grace in your family. Practice grace as a family. Let it overflow into your community…and watch how grace can point our troubled world toward change.

For at least 50 practical ways to share grace in your family, go to The Family Bank of Honor: Gifts of Grace…and have fun sharing grace!

The Top 6 Components of an Effective Apology

Let’s face it; we all make mistakes. We all do things in and to our families for which we need to apologize. It could be something as simple as forgetting to pick up the milk or as complex forgivenoteas feeling unloved. Whatever it is, an apology is in order. But, not just any apology will do. Research out of Ohio State explored what makes an apology effective. The study’s lead author, Roy Lewicki, completed two studies involving a total of 755 people and found an effective apology consists of six components. In each of the two studies, participants read a scenario that included an apology for a wrong committed. In both studies, the apologies containing more of the six components were considered more effective. At the same time, not all components were equal. Participants considered certain components more important than others.  So, for the top six components of an effective apology:

  • Number six and the least important component is…a request for forgiveness. Not surprising. After all, asking the other person to forgive me means I’m still thinking about myself. So, if one component is left out, this might be the one.
  • Numbers five, four, and three tied for third place in importance. So, the components of forgiveness landing in third place of importance are…expression of regret, an explanation of what went wrong, and a declaration of repentance. These components remain very important but are not enough by themselves. They need more. They’re all talk—expression, explanation, declaration. We need the component deemed number two in importance to move the apology to a new level and make it more effective.
  • Offering a repair. The second most influential component in an apology is offering to fix the wrong, to undo the damage. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. The offer to repair the wrong moves the apology into the realm of action.
  • And, finally, the number 1 component of an effective apology is…acknowledgement of responsibility. Clearly stating you made a mistake, accepting fault, and taking responsibility is the number one component of an effective apology. Avoid blame. Offer no excuses. Just accept fault and acknowledge responsibility.

These six components of an effective apology could help resolve disagreements in our family. And, thankfully, you can teach these skills to your family. Encourage one another to accept responsibility for wrongs committed. Help one another consider ways to make repairs for wrongs committed, whether committed unintentionally or intentionally. Perhaps the best way to teach these six skills is by example. Model the six components in your own life. Model, model, model…and model again.

4 Marital Weapons of Mass Destruction

Father and BridePeople often enter into marriage armed with weapons of mass destruction. (We also possess tools to help our marriages flourish. Read about them in 4 Tools for a Happy Marriage.) These weapons will sink your marriage if you do not disarm them. Unfortunately, many people do not know the potential danger of these weapons. Many do not even know they carry such dangerous weapons into their marriages. As a result, they accidently discharge them with their spouses and sink their marriages. To avoid the dangers these weapons present to your marriage, you must become aware of them and disarm them. What are the weapons of mass destruction in your marriage? Let me briefly describe four.

  • Disrespect can blow your marriage apart. Disrespect does not appear all that dangerous when seen one “tiny” incident at a time. However, these “tiny” incidents add up. Words and actions of disrespect, no matter how small, accumulate. Your spouse may ignore disrespectful words and actions for a time, even laugh them off. Still, those disrespectful words and actions are not forgotten. They lodge deep within your spouse’s heart and mind. Like a time bomb waiting to explode, they build up pressure and move forward in a silent countdown until…they blow your marriage to smithereens from the inside out. Disarm this dangerous weapon with respect.
  • Passivity will destroy your marriage as well. A lack of involvement in the practical, day to day activities of nurturing and maintaining your marriage will leave an emotional emptiness in your spouse. As you give away your responsibility to care for your marriage, the emptiness in your spouse will grow larger. If you do not become actively involved in nurturing, caring for, and growing your marriage, the emptiness in your spouse will become a vacuum. Nothing can fill that vacuum but your active involvement in your marriage. If you do not step in and become actively involved, that vacuum will grow until your relationship implodes. The foundation of commitment and trust will disappear as the walls of love collapse inward into an empty abyss of darkness. Prevent this collapsing vacuum from destroying your relationship by becoming actively involved in your marriage.
  • Resentment will also sink your marriage. Any anger you harbor against your spouse or parents will grow into resentment and bitterness. That resentment will distort your vision. It will interfere with your ability to see your spouse’s positive contributions. Instead of recognizing acts of love you will perceive self-seeking benefits. Instead of admiration you will see manipulation. Instead of cooperation you will see nagging demands. I know it’s hard to believe, but resentment and bitterness will distort your vision dramatically. Eventually, you will blindly fire this resentment at your spouse like a torpedo. You will repeatedly fire torpedoes of resentment into your spouse’s loving, admiring, collaborative efforts and sink your marriage in the deep waters of bitterness. There is only one way to disarm resentment—forgiveness (read 5 Steps for Forgiving Family).
  • Pride will also devastate your marriage. Pride will render you insensitive to the needs of others. An exaggerated sense of your own self-importance blinds you to the needs of others, makes you disinterested in their pains and their joys, and leaves you insensitive to their needs and desires. You will trample on your spouse’s feelings while focused on your own needs and desires. You will crush opportunities to connect as you revel in your own sense of importance. And, as you do, your marriage will experience nuclear devastation. Avoid this nuclear devastation by humbly seeking your spouse’s best interest.

These four weapons of mass destruction can destroy your marriage if left armed and unattended. Take the time now to disarm them. Humble yourself. Forgive those you need to forgive. Get involved in your marriage. Show your spouse deep respect. In so doing, you will save your marriage and build a great, lasting joy!

4 Tools for a Happy Marriage

Did you know you possess a “mini-toolkit” for building a happy marriage? You received it free of charge a long time ago. The tools in this kit may have sat dormant for years, but each one can help your marriage grow. When you start to effectively use these tools, you will build years of security, intimacy, and joy into your marriage. Review them carefully and use them often.

  • Dancing CoupleRespectful words tighten up loose connections with your spouse. Polite saying like “thank you,” “please,” and “I’m sorry” will bring a level of closeness to your marriage you never imagined possible. Add in respectful actions like holding a door open for your spouse, accepting your spouse’s opinion, or speaking well of your spouse in public will bring even tighter connections.
  • Forgiveness, on the other hand, loosens bolts of resentment. Every spouse needs to practice forgiveness to let go of the hurt of accidental miscommunications and misunderstandings, statements made in anger, and insensitive actions. The wrench of forgiveness has freed many a marriage from the rusted “bolt-grip” of resentment and anger. Use this tool often.
  • Active involvement allows each spouse to drill into “the thick of things” and fully participate in a growing marriage. Your active involvement in your relationship will help you know your spouse more intimately and enable you to show your spouse the depth of your love. No one wants a giant paperweight, a slug, for a spouse. We want a spouse who jumps in, gets involved, participates in decisions, and helps with the tasks of growing a marriage and family. Pull out that drill and drill into “the thick” of your relationship.
  • Blessings act like a vice to secure your individual lives into an intimate bond. When you bless instead of curse your spouse’s heart will soften. You will experience a growing intimacy in response to blessing. You can bless your spouse with compliments, encouraging words, gratitude, and affirmations. Each time you offer a blessing, you strengthen the intimacy of your relationship.

 

These four tools—respect, forgiveness, involvement, and blessing–will tighten connections, loosen resentments, reveal deeper love, and strengthen secure intimacy in your marriage. The greatest news—you already possess each of these tools. All you have to do is start using them. So, pull out that toolkit and start working on your relationship today!

The Hardest Word–A Testimony

I agree with Elton John when he sings, “Oh it seems to me that sorry seems to be the hardest word.” Still, I have to say it. My actions and words have driven a wedge between my forgivenotewife and me. I have torn at the fabric of our relationship. I acted inappropriately. No, that sounds like a therapist. I was just plain wrong. I yelled for no reason. I hurt her with a harsh tone and angry words. I was wrong. I have to tell her I’m sorry.  So, why is it so hard to apologize, anyway? Nobody likes to admit they were wrong, especially me. And, apologizing makes me feel so vulnerable. But, I have to take responsibility for my offense.

 

Where is she? There she is, in the living room. I hope she accepts my apology. Our relationship rests in her hands, the hands of the one I hurt…and still love. That’s the point. I really want a relationship with her. I hope my actions have not damaged our relationship. There is only one way to find out…apologize. I sit down on a chair near her. I know that my apology will open the door for her to tell me the depth of pain I caused.  I hate that I hurt her.

 

“Ummm,” I hesitate…eyes to the ground. “I’m sorry I yelled. I was wrong. I should not have said the things I said.” I want to add a “but you” or “If you wouldn’t have.” I want to defend my action, justify it in response to what she did. But I’m not going to. Benjamin Franklin was right, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” Besides, I was wrong…regardless of any excuse or rational, I was wrong. I have to acknowledge that. “I feel bad. I don’t want to hurt you.” There, I said it…. And, it’s true. I do feel bad. I am sorry. I was wrong. I slowly look up at my wife. “Next time I won’t yell. I’ll take a deep breath or something and think before I yell.” What else could I do different. I know…”And, if I think I might yell, I’ll take a time out or something.”

 

For the first time, a small smile begins to form on my wife’s face. “Will you sit in the time out chair?” She was referring to the miniature chair we had seen the “Super Nanny” use the other night. She chuckled. “I’m just joking,” she said. “But maybe it would be better to take a break for a few minutes when we get that way.”

 

It is good to see her smile. “You’re right. I’ll do that. And I’ll look at those crazy repair statements for something to say.” We both laugh a little as I walk toward her. I hold out my hand and she takes it in hers. I help her to her feet as we embrace one another. “I really am sorry,” I repeat.

 

“Me too,” she replies. “I’ll try to not ask so many questions when you’re upset.”

 

She does understand! “Thank you. I love you.”

 

A sincere apology strengthens relationship and restores trust. It communicates how much you value the other person and our relationship with them. By apologizing we also accept responsibility for our actions…no excuses, no defending, no blaming. We simply accept responsibility for our actions and our words; we take the log out of our own eye. Doing so opens the door for change. Sorry may be the hardest word to say, but it communicates and restores respect, dignity, and love to the relationship.

Finish Your Family Business

“Shave and a haircut, two….” I hate it when things are left unfinished. Anything left unfinished sticks with us; we long for someone to finish it. “A, B, C, D, E, F….” Feel that desire to finish Unfinished bridgeit? You may have already finished both of these unfinished phrases already. Chances are you will finish each of the following phrases before you can even stop yourself:

  • “Think outside the ….”
  • “Subway, Eat….”
  • “Tomorrow, tomorrow. I’ll love you….”
  • “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for….”
  • “Toto, we’re not in….”
  • “Elementary, my dear….”

 

We could list more, but I need to finish this blog. Unfinished business sticks in our craw; it keeps us on edge. Unfinished things are not forgotten. They roll around somewhere in our mind consuming our mental energy. Psychologists call this the Zeigarnik effect. Bluma Zeigarnik studied this tendency to remember unfinished business after noticing waiters recalled unpaid orders better than orders already paid for. In further studies, she found that participants completing simple tasks in a lab were about twice as likely to remember interrupted, unfinished tasks than a completed task.

 

Families are filled with unfinished business. Some good…most I’d like to forget. Our spouse, our parents, or even our kids might do something that hurts our feelings, offends our sensibilities, or just makes us angry. If we do not find a way to resolve that offense, it will stick in our craw. It will keep us on edge. That unresolved offense will just roll around in our mind, bump up against all our thoughts, and suck up our energy and joy. It will continue to rob us of happiness and intimacy until we find a way to resolve it—finish it, pack it up, and remove it. That’s the Zeigarnik effect, the tendency to remember unfinished business until it is completed.

 

So, for the sake of your happiness and your family intimacy, finish the unfinished business of hurt feelings, offended sensibilities, and anger. Practice forgiveness and teach your kids to do the same! Forgiveness does not forget or excuse the behavior that offended you. It simply allows you to think about the incident objectively, counts the cost of the offense, and then graciously release the desire for revenge. It catches the ruminating thoughts of revenge and transforms them from bitterness to compassion. It helps you recall the positive characteristics you have witnessed from the offender on other occasions. Ultimately, forgiveness allows you to let the offense go and finish the unfinished offense. It allows you to regain the freedom to live your life well, to finish with grace.

 

Don’t let your life get stuck in an unfinished merry-go-round of anger and bitterness that robs you of intimacy and joy. Take a lesson from Zeigarnik, finish the offensive business…forgive! Your family will love you for it.

You Can’t Unfriend Family

I remember a saying I heard when I was 9-or 10-years-old: “You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.” All the boys laughed and the TuneaPianoButYouCantTunaFishgirls let out a loud “Ewww” in chorus. Still, we all got the implicit message: there are certain things you do not do. A few years later, REO Speedwagon (a rock band popular in the 70’s and early 80’s) came out with an album (you know, those 10-12 inch vinyl discs, grooved on both sides, that, when rotating under the needle of a record player, produced music) entitled “You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish.” Well, today we need a new saying along those same lines…and I think I have one. Here it is: “You can unfriend people on Facebook but you can’t unfriend family from your life.” I know, it needs a little work. It lacks the pizzazz and flair of the “picking your friends” thing and the whit of “tune a piano-tuna fish.” But, it does communicate an important truth. You cannot unfriend family. They go with you wherever you go. Any anger we harbor toward family will follow us into other intimate relationships. Apron strings left uncut by “Mamma’s boy” or tied to tight by “Daddy’s little princess” turns into a choke-leash that holds us back from intimacy with others. Unrealistic adorations of our perceived “perfect family” or fairy-tale expectations of an elitist family will only set us up for disappointment, hurt, and failure in future relationships. Each of these aspects of our family will follow us wherever we go. You can’t unfriend family. Instead, you have to emancipate (unravel) family. Here are 3 essentials to emancipating family relationships.

  • The first step in unraveling family is acceptance. Realize that you cannot change your family or anyone in your family. You are not responsible to make any family member feel or behave a certain way. All you can do is accept each person for who they are…warts and all. Accept them in their weaknesses, their mistakes, and even their irritations. Accept their love for you, even if it is miscommunicated or lost in translation. You may increase your acceptance of each family member by considering things you like about them. Take time to recall things they have done or said that you admire or appreciate. Realize they have strengths as well as weaknesses and recall those strengths often. Learning more about their life may also increase your acceptance of each family member’s idiosyncrasies. Consider where these idiosyncrasies may have come from? How they suffer as a result of them? And, what their idiosyncratic behaviors cost them? Unraveling family begins with acceptance.
  • Second, forgive. If any family member has done anything to hurt you in any way, forgive. I’m sure some of you are saying, “There is no way I’ll forgive them. What they did was too much to forgive!” Granted, some people suffer unbearably at the hands of family. However, when we do not forgive we continue to suffer at their hands. Our anger becomes a leash that keeps us from holds us in a family prison yard of anger and prevents us from finding greener pastures. Bitterness grows and engulfs our heart like kudzu engulfing and eventually killing a tree. Let go of the bitterness and entrust God to work out the justice. Begin to pray for the other person and develop empathy for how they have been hurt by their actions. Forgive.
  • Third, define yourself. After you have accepted each family member for their uniqueness and forgiven them, letting go of the anger that binds you to them, you can define yourself. Discover your interests and priorities. Investigate what you want in a healthy life and relationship. Learn the practical daily habits that will allow you to live the life you desire. Take the steps to begin to build a healthy life! One step toward healthy living is reading good books on family life—here are a few books we found helpful. Another crucial step includes finding good counsel and supports, people you trust and who model the kind of family you desire.

 

You can’t unfriend family from your life, but you can unravel family. As you do, you will find that you can love your family in spite of shortcomings. In fact, you may find your family is actually pretty nice in many ways. And, you will continue to grow an even stronger and more intimate family of your own!

Jesus Did It For His Family. Will You?

way to the GodThe religious leaders had determined to kill Jesus several months ago, right after He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:53). Months before that, Jesus had begun telling His disciples that He would be crucified and buried. Now the time had come. The leaders had paid a traitor to identify Jesus in the garden. They had arrested the Son of God and tortured Him in preparation for His crucifixion. More than enough time had elapsed for Jesus to grow bitter in response to the constant traps, manipulation, and name-calling; but, He did not. He could have allowed resentment to rise up in His heart in response to the lies, the mockery of a trial, and the total disregard for His life; but, He did not. When they mocked Him, beat Him, and spit on Him, He could have blown up in a righteous rage, called down ten thousand angels to exact a righteous judgment and stood in victory over the defeated rubble; but, He did not. Instead, Jesus, an innocent, appeared to be broken before His accusers—beaten and bloodied, surprisingly humbly, and silent.

 

We would understand it and even been sympathetic if He had muttered curses at the people who watched Him carry His cross; but, He did not.  He could have cried out against the character of those contributing to His death, cast an angry glare at those yelling hateful names and cursing epithets at Him; but, He did not. I would have expected somebody in His shoes to harbor a silent desire, for revenge and carefully contemplate how to execute a host of malicious acts upon His enemies after His resurrection…but, He did not!

 

No, Jesus did not respond with anger, wrath, bitterness, or harshness. Instead, He revealed kindness and compassion. Rather than utter threats, His speech revealed kindness and truth to the one man who had the power to crucify Him (John 19:11). When soldiers beat him, He said nothing. He simply accepted their hate and committed Himself to “the one who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). When a convicted criminal recognized the justice of his own punishment and repented, Jesus responded from a tender heart of compassion and promised him, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). As Jesus’ mother stood nearby weeping in the arms of a disciple, Jesus did not think of His own pain and isolation but offered words of comfort and care to His mother—”Woman, behold your son” and to His disciple, “Behold your mother.” In the midst of personal pain and suffering, He saw the pain in His mother’s heart. He reached out to her in compassion and assured her needs would be met. Jesus even looked with compassion at the crowd that mocked Him and spat upon Him; and, rather than condemning their actions He prayed for their forgiveness: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

cross against the sky

Even while enduring the humiliation, pain, and despair of crucifixion, Jesus acted in way that put flesh and blood to Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

 

He gave us an example of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness to follow in our own lives. He showed us how to do it under the worst of circumstance…during the absolutely worse day of anyone’s life! Following this example begins in the home…in relation to our spouse and our children. Just as Christ showed us kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, we need to show our family kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.  You will have days that seem to go from bad to worse in your family. Your family will have disagreements and arguments in which you or some other family member will make harsh comments. A curse word may slip out. Bitterness may threaten to rise up in your heart or anger lash out in your speech. Temptations to say something harsh about your spouse’s character or your children’s intention will arise. Your children may even slander your character. This is the perfect time to follow Christ’s example…to “be kind and compassionate…forgiving…” Jesus did it for His family. Will you?

6 Tips to Fertilize Your Marital Lawn

My friend says the “grass is always greener on the other side.” I don’t know. I’ve found that the grass is always greener when I fertilize. My grass stays green through the summer and fall when I take care of the lawn. Trouble is…some summers (like this summer) I get too busy to take care of my lawn. It gets overgrown with weeds and turns brown earlier in the fall. My neighbor fertilized this year and I didn’t. He still has a beautiful lawn…mine is burned out and full of weeds. So, next year I fertilize (well, at least that’s the plan). After all, the grass is always greener when I fertilize.

The same is true in marriage. The best marriages belong to those who fertilize, who take care of their own marital lawn rather than looking at someone else’s. In fact, if you look at other couples and think the grass is always greener on the other side, you definitely need to look at your daily lawn care and use a little marital fertilizer. To help you get started toward a beautiful marital lawn, here are a couple of marital lawn care ideas.


·   Get rid of the weeds that threaten to choke out the healthy growth in your marital lawn. Forgiveness is great for getting rid of deep-rooted weeds like anger and resentment.


·   Time management skills help to eradicate those pesky weeds that seem to pop up all over the place and multiple like dandelions. Time management means learning to say “no” to those activities that might interfere with your marriage and making time to spend with your spouse. Without time management, weeds of busy-ness will grow like dandelions and destroy your marital lawn.


·   Get rid of the grubs and other pests that eat the roots of your healthy lawn. The best way to keeps grubs and pests out of your lawn is to utilize a secret lawn care ingredient made up of equal parts admiration, affection, and acknowledgement. Take the time every day to think about the attributes you admire in your spouse. After you have thought of these attributes, tell your spouse. In other words, tell your spouse at least one thing you admire about them every day. Follow that acknowledgement of admiration with a show of affection…like a hug, a kiss, a stroke of the cheek, a holding of the hand…you can use your imagination to think of others.


·   Water your marital lawn every day with a healthy shower gratitude and kindness. Show your spouse how much they mean to you by doing kind deeds for them every day. Express gratitude for the kind deeds they do for you.


·   Keep your marital lawn well-irrigated with politeness as well. Let “thank you,” “please,” “after you,” and “excuse me” flow freely through the soil of your marriage. 


·   Put some extra fertilizer on your garden. The three ingredients of this fertilizer will keep your marital lawn healthy, green, and plush—it’s the 20-2/6-3 fertilizer

   o    A 20 minute conversation each day to talk about what happened during the day and upcoming plans.

   o    At least 2 hugs a day, each lasting 6 seconds or more.

   o    Share at least 3 kisses each day–one when you say good-bye, another when you return home, and a third when you go to bed.     

If you utilize these marital lawn care practices, you will have a fresh, green lawn free of weeds and pests…and your marriage will prosper. Indeed, the grass is always greener for those who fertilize!

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