Friday, 17 August 2012

Does Time Heal All Wounds?

Steve Arterburn does not think time will heal all wounds.  In his book Healing is a Choice, he states, “what is true of physical pain and the body is true for emotional pain and the soul…if time does not heal all physical pain, it’s not likely to heal emotional pain.”

Any number of people that I have counseled over the past several years have been plagued by wounds that were inflicted when they were relatively young and those wounds are still being felt.  In addition to the ever present pain, the wounds of the past are affecting their marriage.
In the chapter dealing with “time” being a healer Arterburn offers the following self-assessment to help you determine whether or not you have been deceived by this old bromide.

1.    Explore your ungrieved losses.  Try to be specific regarding the issue(s) troubling you.  In this case Arterburn suggests that you experience the grieving process just as you would for someone who died only the loss is not a person but it could the loss of a “childhood”, affection, encouragement, love, touch, etc.

2.    How does the problem continue to impact your life?  For example if you were physically abused is it affecting your ability to enjoy the intimacy of marriage?

3.    Is there collateral damage?  The pain has caused you to be untrusting, or isolated or misunderstood, etc.

4.    Are you stuck in your memories?

5.    Are your emotions failing you?  You can no longer cry even though that would be the proper response to a given situation.

6.    How is your anger impacting you?

7.    Have you taken the first steps toward forgiveness?

8.    Have you reached the core issue?  It could be the loss of innocence, a loss of childhood, a loss of feeling wanted and loved, etc.

9.    Have you grieved?  Have you gone through the same process that one experiences when losing a loved one?   You must grieve your loss and then eventually put it behind you just as we do when we someone we love dies.

10. Do you sense that you are recovering?

Arterburn follows up by saying, “It is important  to ask yourself where you are in each of those stages.  Time doesn’t heal wounds, but the exchanged wounds are usually bitterness, hatred, denial, rejection, and a cold absence of emotions…If you are stuck in the same place with the same thoughts and the same patterns and the same behaviors  your results will be the same.  Either you begin a proactive healing process or hope that time will cure you – it won’t.”

This is an issue of the heart and only the Holy Spirit can perform the kind of heart surgery you need so desperately.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Definition of Crazy

It has been said that the definition of crazy is to do something over and over again, the exact same way you have always done it, but expecting different results.

For example, I love the game of golf and I am terrible.  One of my bad habits is what is referred to as picking up.  This means that as I am swinging down to hit the ball I am looking up as though I had already hit it.  I have been playing golf for longer than most of you have been alive and never once have I looked up and hit a good shot.  That qualifies as crazy.

Unfortunately something similar can be said of many married couples.  They get in a rut; they do marriage the same way they have always done it.  Well almost always, in the early years it was different.  For now they have stopped communicating about hopes and dreams.  They seldom go on a date.  They rarely laugh together.  They spend little quality time together, as though time spent together in front of the TV watching the same inane programs counted as intimacy.  At some point, be it at the tenth year, fifteenth year or thirtieth year they come to the realization that they do not know one another.  That too is crazy.

These are the same couples who, prior to marriage, spent countless hours talking, laughing, and thoroughly enjoying one another’s company.  They found a way to have fun even if they had almost no money.

So what’s the point?  We as married couples can continue to argue about the same things over and over again, expecting a different outcome.  We as couples can spend little quality time together and wonder why when the kids are gone we have nothing in common.  We can continue to do life as we have done it for the past twenty years and ask ourselves why are we not happier as a couple?  And you are crazy if you think things will get better if you do nothing to change your routine.

So grab your partner and head off to Starbucks or Baskin and Robbins if you would prefer.  Order a Chocolate Carmel Cluster Frappe with double whipped cream and with paper and pencil ( or iPad and Dragon) each of you make your bucket list, i.e. those things you really want to do before you “kick the bucket”.  Set a time table and start on your lists.  Determine to sit together to do nothing but talk for a minimum of 30 minutes a week about nothing related to running the house.  Try to recreate your favorite date.  Find a couple who has a fabulous marriage and invite them over for dinner and ask them for the secret to their success.

Some crazy can be good!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Ever Get the Grumpies

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

I literally got up on the right side of the bed this morning; at least according to a study commissioned by a U-K based premier hotel chain and therein lies the problem.  The side from which one exits the bed is determined by laying on one’s back. Exiting from the left side of the bed focuses one’s energies toward logical left brained thinking as opposed to right brained thinking which is associated with emotion and stress.  But I digress.

As a general rule I am a reasonably positive, composed, even keeled person.  That is until something doesn’t go according to my plan.  So in accordance with the U-K study I began to panic when I realized that the gremlins in charge of the unexpected decided to pay me a visit.  Our internet connection had failed for some reason.  This started me down the treacherous slippery slope of the grumpies.  I mean after all this is life threatening, this is a catastrophe of gigantic proportions; at least I was acting as if that were the case. 

Fortunately my wife, who had the grumpies yesterday, got up on the wrong side of the bed, that would be the left side when laying on one’s back.  Such an exit allowed her to address this mood altering unexpected event with a positive attitude and clarity of thought.

I do not get the grumpies all that often but when I do, one of the many things I have come to appreciate about my incredible wife is that she has a formula for snapping me out of my foul mood.  She gets in my face.  She says,” give me a hug”; then she says, “give me a kiss”; then she says “get over it!”   Ninety percent of the time this works.  However this morning it did not work.  Then I saw a mean streak in her which I have not seen before.  She said something like, “You’re whining because we don’t have an internet connection. Think of the Christian political prisoners in China…”   It was a low blow but it did the trick.

One of my many character flaws that I have been asking God to help me overcome is my impatience. As husbands and wives we are called upon by God to help one another grow to become more like the Son.  Speaking the truth into someone’s life must be accompanied by love. This morning was a perfect example of how God is using my wife to speak into my life in such a loving way that hopefully I will become more patient when life’s little, insignificant circumstances jumps up and grabs me by the throat.