Archive for the ‘Doc’s Corner’ Category

Doc’s Corner: Is Your Marriage a Covenant or a Contract?

May 6, 2013 Comments Off on Doc’s Corner: Is Your Marriage a Covenant or a Contract?
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 A contract is a legal agreement that may be broken. A covenant is to never be broken, as it is a binding agreement, to love unconditionally and sacrificially to the end of one’s earthly life. A covenant vow is a covenant promise, foundational to a covenant marriage.   A covenant marriage is the unique one-flesh relationship of a man and woman joined together by God in a union that He wills to be both permanent and exclusive, binding the couple to each other in a life-long companionship of common life and sacrificial love. Your covenant vows and marriage are not meant to be broken.  They are a promise of a lifetime.

Vital Signs of a Covenant Love

 

·         Covenant love is a sacrificial love.  There is a cost for covenant love– the giving of our lives.

 

 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10-11

 

·         Covenant love is a love full of tender mercy, grace and forgiveness.   It is where you are loved unconditionally and where you can count on that love even when you least deserve it!

 

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-23

 

·         Covenant love is a love that serves one another. Couples are mutually committed to each other. It is  not a  50/50 deal, but it is each giving 100 percent.

 

 “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

 

·         Covenant love is a love of choice.  It is choosing to love and not relying solely on our feelings of love. 

 

 “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” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

 

·         Covenant love is a love of restoration.  Couples are committed to resolving hostility, and to work things out among themselves. Couples are restless when they realize something is wrong between them.  They seek reconciliation with God and strive to be reconciled and restored to each another.

 

 “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:25-27

 

·         Covenant love is a love of being the best friends for life!

       “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 1:18; 22-24

 

How do you see your relationship contractual or covenant?   

 

How is this displayed?

 

What can you do to get it your relationship more covenant?

 

 

 

Doc’s Corner: The Covenant: A Biblical Model for Empowering Your Marriage

April 30, 2013 Comments Off on Doc’s Corner: The Covenant: A Biblical Model for Empowering Your Marriage
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In our society there appears to be tension between a covenant framework and a contractual framework for marital and family relationships.

 A contract can be broken, but a covenant is to never be broken, as it is a binding agreement, to love unconditionally and sacrificially to the end of one’s earthly life.  In our society, many get married based on the contractual conditions to satisfy “self”.  It’s living to get and not to give. If these needs are not met or there are difficulties or disappointments, then by virtue of contractual living, one has the right to break their contractual vows.  A contract is based on mutual and bilateral terms.  If one or the other defaults the contract is broken and is no longer binding.

 On the other hand, a covenant is based on a unilateral, unconditional love and commitment.  If one or the other defaults, the covenant remains intact through the faithfulness to covenant vows. Contractual living diminishes any depth to one’s commitment level in a marriage.

 Vital signs of a covenant love

 

  • Covenant love is a maturing love.  It reconciles the illusions of romance and disenchantment in a way that opens our relationships to a vast range of possibilities. This love emerges through the difficulties and challenges of one’s life and marriage, deepening the love and commitment to one another.  No matter how difficult the situation, couples will not give up on each other.            

 “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
 James 1:4

 

  • Covenant love is a love based on God’s unconditional love

   “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:16, 19

 

  • Covenant love is a committed love. Commitment becomes a structure in and of itself which maintains a line of action that makes it difficult to discontinue the commitment even if the other person’s commitment declines. It is an unbroken loyalty regardless of any change, disappointment or conflict that may occur. Covenant love and commitment are non-negotiable. 

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

 

  • Covenant love is an affirming love.  The ability to freely communicate our thoughts and feelings in our relationships that is contingent upon not fearing one another. It puts self aside in an effort to be a blessing to the other. The marriage is meant by God to be an intimate environment where we can be ourselves without fearing rejection.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18

 

Is your marriage a covenant or a contract?

Love in Action Series: Expressing Love in Your Spouse’s Language

January 7, 2013 Comments Off on Love in Action Series: Expressing Love in Your Spouse’s Language
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Dr. Gary Chapman, in his bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, identifies several primary love languages that can be expressed in a marital relationship.  They are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and meaningful touch. I have added sexual expression and spiritual affirmation to the list of the “languages” that we use to express love to our spouses.

When you discover your spouse’s “love language” you need to “speak” it to them.

Words or phrases of affirmation.   One way to express love emotionally is to have your partner use words or phrases that build up, compliment, encourage, show appreciation and support for you.  One way to determine whether or not this is your primary love language is how you feel when these statements are not communicated to you.  Some people need to hear these more often while others may not need this as much to be affirmed.

Which of these statements of affirmation are important to your feeling loved?:

  •   I love you!
  •  I need you!
  •  I believe in you!
  •  I appreciate you!
  •  You are special to me!
  • Thank  you!
  • Other __________________________________________________________________

 

What kinds of statements or affirmations would be helpful for strengthening your marriage and how often?

1.______________________________________________________________

 

2.______________________________________________________________

 

3.______________________________________________________________

 

Quality time.  A central aspect of quality time is togetherness.  Togetherness has to do with giving focused attention to another. It means that you are sharing time and/or activities with your partner and giving them undivided attention.  If this is your primary area for experiencing love, and it is not being met you will experience loneliness and loss in your relationship.  

 

List three ideas or activities that you want your partner to share with you and how often?  It is doing something with your marriage partner that helps affirm and strengthen the marriage.  It’s building good memories!

1.______________________________________________________________

 

2.______________________________________________________________

 

3.______________________________________________________________

 

 

 Receiving gifts.  Gifts are visual symbols of love and visual symbols of love are more important to some people than to others. These are gifts or items such as flowers, cards, personal items that come in all sizes, colors, and shapes, often when least expected.  For the individual whose primary love language is receiving gifts, the cost of the gift will matter little unless it is greatly out of line with what can be afforded..  It is a gift from the heart saying, “I love you. You are very special to me.”

 

List three gifts that you would like to receive and how often?

1.______________________________________________________________

 

2.______________________________________________________________

 

3.______________________________________________________________

 

 Acts of service. This is doing things you know your partner would like you to do for them.  You seek to please your partner by completing tasks and finalizing projects for your partner.   An example of this may happen in the home itself.  When the items around the house never get taken care of or completed it may contribute to a wife feeling like her husband doesn’t love her.  When we say we are going to do something but fail to deliver, it can hurt!

List three tasks or projects that you would like your marriage partner to do or to complete for you.

1.______________________________________________________________

 

2.______________________________________________________________

 

3.______________________________________________________________

 

Meaningful touch. This is a powerful vehicle for communicating marital love.  This is an important love language for most marriages.  The lack of meaningful touch in your relationship may lead to feelings of unimportance or neglect.  It is continual touch that communicates you are loved.

 

Which of these are important for you to experience meaningful touch and how often?

  • Holding hands__________________________
  • Being hugged __________________________
  • Getting kissed__________________________
  • A pat on the back or shoulder _________________________________
  • Touching of the arm ________________________________________
  • Other___________________________________________________________________

 

Sexual Expression.  Dr. Chapman had included this expression with meaningful touch, but I separated it because I believe it is a different expression of love.  This love language expresses itself through romance, sexual foreplay and intercourse. It is an expression of love, through which there is sexual touch and intercourse that communicates love to your marriage partner.

 

Sometimes our response in this area can be unrealistic and demanding.  This may be based on what we think is normal, as well as, our own experiences in relationships prior to marriage.  If one has been sexually abused this may lead to an inhibition of sexual activity with their marriage partner or an exploitation of one’s sexual activity.

 

I would highly recommend for couples getting married and for those who are married the resource, Getting Your Sex Life Off to a Great Start by Dr. Cliff & Joyce Penner.

 

  • Do you feel your sexual relationship is healthy?
  • How important is this love language for you in your relationship?
  • Do you feel it is being neglected or abused?  If so how does this make you feel?
  • What would you like to be different?

 Spiritual Affirmation.  Your faith is important to you, so much so, that without the spiritual affirmation and support from your marriage partner you experience a distancing and a loss of closeness.  It is experiencing spiritual affirmation that communicates love and support.

 

  • How would you describe your relationship and faith in God?
  • What is your partner doing that affirms your spirituality?
  • What could your partner do to show more affirmation and support of your spiritual convictions?

 

Dr. Chapman gives this advice when it comes to expressing love in your partner’s love language: “When we discover the primary love language of our marriage partner we choose to speak it whether or not it is natural for us.  We are not claiming to have warm, excited feelings.  We are simply choosing to do it for our partner’s benefit.”

“When an action doesn’t come naturally to you, it is a greater expression of love!”

“Love doesn’t erase the past, but makes the future different.  When we choose active expressions of love in the primary love language of our spouse, we create an emotional climate where we can deal with our past conflicts and failures.”

 

May I add: All couples need to understand that no individual can totally or completely meet all the needs of another person. The bible tells us that God is love and that He is the ultimate source of our love.  Seek to cultivate your relationship with God to improve your capability of truly loving one another.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.  I John 4:16a

 

by: Dr. Dale Goodman

Love in Action Series: Learning Your Love Language

December 18, 2012 Comments Off on Love in Action Series: Learning Your Love Language
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           There are specific ways that individuals can express and experience love.  Through years of counseling and research, Dr.Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, identifies several primary love languages that can be expressed in a marital relationship. 

          I believe all of these love languages need to have some consistent expression for couples to have a significant marriage. Yes, there may be a stronger emphasis on some, but all of these have their place of importance.  Often couples miss it when it comes to empowering love and intimacy.  Yes, we think we know how to love another, yet it is clear, we are failing. 

 Most likely your primary love language will be different than your partners.  Your attempt to express love may not line up with the way your marriage partner receives love. This can result in frustration and eventually become destructive to your marriage. Therefore, it is vital to understand these primary love languages, as they can make all the difference in empowering a fulfilling marriage. 

 Could you be missing the mark? In the following information you will be able to identify several love languages.  When you finish these, proceed to identify yours and your partners love languages.

 

Identifying Your Love Language

Now it is time to identify your love language.  Which of these characteristics helps you to experience love?  There may be anywhere from one to three languages that you identify for yourself and your partner. 

 

  1. Which of these do you feel are being neglected in your relationship?
  • Words of Affirmation        _____
  • Quality Time                      _____
  • Receiving Gifts                  _____
  • Acts of Service                  _____
  • Physical Touch                  _____
  • Sexual Expression             _____
  • Spiritual Affirmation         _____

 

  1. Number in order what you think is your primary love language(s).
  • Words of Affirmation        _____
  • Quality Time                      _____
  • Receiving Gifts                  _____
  • Acts of Service                  _____
  • Physical Touch                  _____
  • Sexual Expression             _____
  • Spiritual Affirmation         _____

 

3.   Number in order what you think is your partner’s primary love language(s)?

  • Words of Affirmation  _____
  • Quality Time                   _____
  • Receiving Gifts               _____
  • Acts of Service               _____
  • Physical Touch              _____
  • Sexual Expression        _____
  • Spiritual Affirmation    _____

 

What are your primary love languages?

 

Self                                                                   Partner

1.                                                                      1.

2.                                                                      2.

3.                                                                      3.

 

 

Taking Action!

Which of your partner’s love languages have you been fulfilling and how?

 

 

 

Which of your partner’s love languages have been neglected and what will you do to be more responsive with their love language?

 

 

 by: Dr. Dale Goodman

Love in Action Series: Making the Grade

December 10, 2012 Comments Off on Love in Action Series: Making the Grade
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Love is an active word that is reflected in this historic statement on love:

“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…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Exam time!  – Grade each item, first, yourself then your partner and share with each other.

A+ (Excellent)

A (Good)

B (Fair)

C  (Needs attention)

D (Needs major overhaul)

F – (Failing)

 

Self   Partner

 

___  ____  Patient – long suffering, willing to sacrifice; perseveres without grumbling

____  ____  Kind – showing good will, tenderness, wants to make others happy

____  ____  Forgiving – willing to forgive and not to hold the past against others

____   ____ Truthful  – lives with integrity &  honesty

____  ____  Protecting – caring, concerned; overseeing

____  ____  Trusting – believes the best in others; willing to place confidence in

____  ____  Optimistic – confident expectation; prospect of some good to happen

____  ____  Persevering seeks to resolve conflict; does not give up on the relationship

____  ____  Committed –  always seeks to honor the relationship; gives partner top priority

____ ____   Envious – to covet; feeling discontent with the blessings of others

____  ____  Boastful –to brag; to exalt oneself

____  ____  Arrogant – conceited; gives no credit to others

____  ____  Rude – harsh, insensitive

____  ____  Self-Seeking – seeking one’s own interest; selfish; controlling, demanding

____ ____   Anger – easily irritated; upset; bitter; resentful   

 

Did you recognize any need for some “love” improvement?  Don’t feel guilty if you had some areas that are in need of repair.  None of us are perfect and we’ll have times and seasons when we are failing to love.  We all can do better. We all could use some “love” improvement.  Love is a decision! Be decisive!  Take the appropriate steps toward a better love. 

Taking Action!   What specific things will you do to improve your love?

My goal: ______________________________________________________________________

Action steps How will you strive to accomplish your goal?

____________________________________________________________________________________

By: Dr. Dale Goodman

Love in Action Series: Love is a commitment

December 3, 2012 Comments Off on Love in Action Series: Love is a commitment
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Marriage is a lifelong commitment to cherish each other. Cherish means to treat with tenderness and affection. It means to give warmth, ease or comfort; to hold as dear; to encourage growth by protection, aid and attendance.

 Neglect is a killer of most marriages. I often see it in my counseling office. Neglect almost always leads to infidelity. We need each other. We need to be there for each other. If we don’t, someone else will. We need to make a commitment to cherish and value each other in our marriage.

 Marriage is a lifelong commitment to remain the best of friends. Remain means to continue unchanged; not to be lost; not to be forgotten. Best means having qualities in the highest degree; the utmost; highest endeavor. Friendship is key to marriage, but so often we fail to develop our friendship. We need to have times of fun and laughter and make time to get away as a couple.

 How would you describe your friendship in the early years of your relationship? What are the qualities that brought you together as friends? Which if any of these qualities are missing from your relationship today? What could be done to improve your friendship?

   Marriage is a lifelong commitment to enjoy your sexual relationship. Sex is an emotional and physical union. Talk about your sexual relationship with your partner. What do you enjoy about your sexual relationship? What are some things that hinder your sexual relationship? What are some ways your partner could help you to have more enjoyment in this area?

 Commit yourself to cherishing, remaining best friends and enjoying sexual intimacy with your spouse.

 

By Dr. Dale Goodman

Love in Action Series: Learning, Observing, Valuing, Encouraging one another

November 26, 2012 Comments Off on Love in Action Series: Learning, Observing, Valuing, Encouraging one another
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The following acronym on love will help you to take another look at love and become more knowledgeable in being better at loving your partner.

 

Learning: to gain knowledge; to acquire by study.

Learning develops intimacy—the ability to be known and to know another.

 

How well do you know your marriage partner? What do you think would help you to know them better?

 

Observing: to take notice of; to be attentive.

With the busy schedule of life, work and family the marriage relationship can become neglected.  We fail to observe the warning signs and often end up hurting each other. We need to keep constant attention toward building a strong, healthy and fulfilling marriage.

 

Is your relationship being neglected? If so, what are some of the signs of this? What do you think are the causes of this? What can be done to revitalize and restore your relationship?

 

Valuing: to esteem; to honor; to place importance

Do you feel valued in your relationship? We have so much potential to hurt one another. Sometimes we just don’t realize how much we knock the wind out of our love for each other.

 

Encouraging: inspiring with hope and confidence

Are you encouraging to each other? We need to be constantly encouraging each other. Constant discouragement can become a silent killer in relationships. Could you be more encouraging? How does your partner inspire your hope and confidence in your life and marriage? Is there anything your partner is doing that discourages you? What could they do to become more encouraging to you?

 

Love is Learning, Observing, Valuing and Encouraging one another. Let these be the foundational ingredients for your marriage.

 

 

by: Dr. Dale Goodman

Love in Action Series: Love is more than a feeling

November 19, 2012 Comments Off on Love in Action Series: Love is more than a feeling
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photo courtesy of Thomas R. Stegelmann

Love is more than a feeling
by: Dr. Dale Goodman

 

Love is a curious word.  How would you define it? We all have different definitions and possibly, this is where so much confusion lies with couples.  The way you define love may be totally different than your partner.

 

 This may not be a problem for you, but for many couples this lack of understanding on how to give love and receive love can become detrimental. We set each other up with unrealistic expectations on love and we fail each other.  It does not need to be this way.

 

What is love? This is a question many have asked.  One dictionary defines it this way:

 

Love, n. – to care for, to be committed to, to have affection for; to extend good will; to be best of friends

 

 In the context of a marital relationship, the bible reveals three types of love.

 

Phileo: Being best friends

Eros: Enjoying sexual intimacy

Agape: Staying committed for life

 

You will not always feel like loving your mate.  Love is more than a feeling word it is an action word.  It is choosing to step over the line of hurt, anger, indifference, selfishness and pride to care, to listen, to forgive and to be willing to serve each other.

 

 Become a decision maker! Love is decisive! Love is determination! Love is diligence!

 

So often we stumble over our feelings of love. We start out on a honeymoon high, but soon the honeymoon is over and we begin to come back down to planet earth.  Our feelings of love begin to wane and we begin to question our love.  We often think something must be wrong.  Where have all the loving feelings gone?  The good news is that feelings are feelings and not the ultimate determinant for love.  It is in our actions that true love is revealed. 

 

One man came for counseling.  He said that right after his marriage his feelings of love had disappeared toward his wife.  This was of course very concerning for him.  Even though this is unusual, there probably is a little bit of truth in this for all of us.  We can often lose some of those mountain peak feelings of love and we need to know it is okay.  It is part of being normal.  We can’t always stay on the mountain peaks of life or love forever. 

 

What is important here is to recognize that feelings come and go.  When we base our love primarily on how we feel we are setting ourselves up for failure.  This is not to say that we are not to have feelings, but it is when we place our total weight on our feelings that we can get into trouble.  We begin to question, to doubt and to slowly give up on our marriage partner.

 

Remember: Love is not easy. Love takes effort. Love requires sacrifice. Love is not a feeling. It is an action.

 

 

Doc’s Corner: Foundational Principles for a Healthy Marriage

September 17, 2012 Comments Off on Doc’s Corner: Foundational Principles for a Healthy Marriage
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A strong foundation is critical for any building. The foundation supports the structure. Every part of the building depends on the foundation. If you are building something, you have to start with a solid foundation.

The same is true with marriage. Building a healthy and vibrant marriage will not be easy, but having a proper foundation will make it more possible. 
These foundational principles will help you build a strong, healthy marriage. Read, reflect and correct any cracks in the foundation of your marriage.

Foundational Principles for a Healthy Marriage:

  1. Your marriage will not always experience happiness, but it can be fulfilling.
  2. Your marriage will not be perfect, but it must be progressing.
  3. Your marriage will experience times of conflict. Expect it and learn from it.
  4. Your marriage will have disappointments. Take it as an opportunity to trust God.
  5. Your marriage will take work, but it is worth it.
  6. Your marriage will require personal and corporate growth; change is vital for survival.
  7. Your marriage will become no greater than your relationship with God.
  8. Your marriage will require a covenant commitment, a love without conditions.
  9. Your marriage will be a blessing to others, a window into heaven.
  10. Your marriage will need laughter to lighten the load. Learn to chill out, daily!
  11. Your marriage will need balance. Time together and time apart.
  12. Your marriage will require grace, mercy, and forgiveness to heal its wounds.
  13. Your marriage incorporates two sinners in need of a redeeming Savior.
  14. Your marriage is a refining tool in the hands of a holy, loving and redemptive God.

Question: What principle or principles do you need to shore up in the foundation of your marriage?

 

 

   by: Dr. Dale Goodman

Doc’s Corner: Preventing an Affair: Don’t Neglect Your Marriage

August 6, 2012 Comments Off on Doc’s Corner: Preventing an Affair: Don’t Neglect Your Marriage
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 by Dr. Dale Goodman

 

 

One of the greatest enemies to marriage is neglect.  It is, at times, very difficult to detect, yet over time it can undermine and derail any potentially good marriage.  Are you neglecting your marriage?

For most couples, it is truly a matter of priority that holds your marriage at a high level of honor, care and commitment for the lifetime of your marriage.  There are plenty of reasons for you to end up in an emotional or sexual affair. However, most of these reasons hold very little weight.

These reasons could be found in the job, children, friends, sports, hobbies, in-laws, unresolved issues of hurt, loss, anger, depression, betrayal, and bitterness.  It could even be from the toxic poisoning of your past that is silently and secretly seeping into your marriage.  This toxic poisoning may often come from the reservoir of pain in your heart and mind due to abuse you experienced from your parents, family members, friends or others. 

 If you are neglecting your marital relationship then you may be part of the problem that could cost you your marriage.  You cannot neglect your marriage partner and think it may not undermine your marriage.  The following are just a few suggestions toward affair proofing your marriage:

  • Make time for each other – When was the last time you went out on a date?
  • Talk to each other – When was the last time you truly talked with each other?
  • Laugh with each other – When was the last time you laughed together?

Question: What do you want in your life and marriage?  What do you believe God wants for your life and marriage? 

 

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