Thursday, April 18, 2013

How Is Your Marriage?

How Is Your Marriage?
Step 1: Self Evaluation

“How am I really doing in my marriage?”
If you were to grade yourself on how responsive and loving you are in your marriage what would that grade be?
Rate yourself with an A–B–C–D–F scale, (feel free to use “+” or “–”).
What grade would you assign for YOURSELF in each of the following areas of your marriage?

___ How affectionate are you?
___ How romantic?
___ How physically desirable?
___ How generous?
___ How trusting?
___ How kind are you?
___ How much fun are you to be around?
___ How emotionally present are you around your mate?
___ How physically present are you around your mate?
___ How sensitive and compassionate are you to your mate’s feelings?
___ How good a listener are you with your partner?
___ How emotionally nurturing are you?
___ How physically nurturing?
___ How financially nurturing?
___ How much of a friend are you to your intimate partner?
___ How in control of your negative emotions are you, such as anger,
       volatility, insecurity, jealousy, anxiety, fear and mistrust?
___ Showing your mate that you value him/her.
___ How affectionate and physically tender are you?
___ How affectionate and physically tender are you without ulterior motives?
___ How responsive and accommodating are you to what your partner says
      she/he wants or needs?
___ How financially responsible and accountable are you?
___ How respectful are you of your partner?
___ Overall, how much effort do you give to your relationship?
___ Your level of commitment to the relationship.
___ Your flexibility and receptivity to other ways of seeing or doing things.
___ Your willingness to address difficult issues or deal with conflicts
___ Your willingness and ability to engage in a disagreement wisely and
___ Your overall attitude in the relationship.
___ Your sense of humor.
___ The division of chores, roles, responsibilities, duties.
___ Behaving, thinking and planning as a couple rather than as two
___ The time, attention, effort, skill and patience you bring to parenting.
___ How you operate as a team player in the relationship.
___ Your ability and willingness to make up after a fight or a disagreement.

Step 2: Humble Yourself

Take the questions you just answered and ask your spouse to grade you as a marriage partner using the same questions.
Then schedule 1-2 hours where they share their answers and you simply listen.

This might just be the most difficult and most rewarding exercise you have ever done.
Step 3: Intimacy Survey

Intimacy is never about the absence of conflict. It is about the presence of a deep connection emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.
Take this quiz to find out:

Do you get angry a lot with your mate, even over small things?

Do you tend to be mistrusting, only to discover that your mistrust is largely groundless?

Are you frequently sarcastic?

Are you having an affair, or do you have a history of affairs?

Do you tend to focus on your mate’s shortcomings or bad traits more than his/her good traits?

Do you berate your spouse for making mistakes, and do you use mistakes as leverage against him/her?

Do you have the tendency of pushing away intimacy and closeness when it’s offered to you, but then wanting it when it’s not offered?

Have you been accused by your partner—or by a previous partner—of being emotionally unavailable or remote?

Are you insecure?

Do you have a difficult time trusting?

Do you tend to be emotionally hidden in your relationships, fearing that you’ll be discovered as somehow inadequate or fraudulent?

Do you not have close friends other than your spouse or family?

Do you have a fear of being controlled, of losing your identify or your “selfhood”?

Do you have a fear of getting rejected, abandoned or betrayed in a relationship?

Do you tend to put your mate in second or third position a lot?

Are you very critical or judgmental?

Do you take constructive criticism from your mate poorly?

Do you have a strong fear of being negatively judged or criticized?

Do you have a fear of being too vulnerable in a relationship?

Has your mate ever described you as emotionally standoffish, armored or hard to be close to?

Do you have a history of repeatedly getting involved with emotionally standoffish, disapproving or angry people?

Do you tend to get mean, punitive or vindictive when you’re upset?

Do you tend to give money or sex to show your love, instead of compassion, friendship or emotional closeness?

Do you have a pattern of not emotionally risking a lot or of not giving your intimate relationships a whole lot of effort?

Do you have a pattern of withdrawing or emotionally withholding yourself a lot?

Do you tend to put work above all else?

Do you drink too much, watch too much TV, worry too much or have an addiction to any substances, including food?

Do you sometimes push your partner away because you don’t wish to be dependent or beholden?

Do you have the vague sense that you repeatedly sabotage love?

If you answered “yes” to 10 or more of these questions, you are emotionally walled off.
If you answered “yes” to more than 15 of these questions, your wall is so thick and impenetrable that the chances of you having a close loving relationship are dramatically diminished.

All of these questions are designed by marital research expert, John Gottman, Ph.D.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Thank you to St John's Lutheran Church Wauwatosa

  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
- Philippians 4:6

  No one will care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

bulletTheme For This Week's Readings

        Text: John 11:25-26
        Theme: Easter = Contentment

For the people of God, the Festival of the Resurrection of our Lord needs little introduction. This morning we gather to hear the glorious news that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. Because he lives, we will live…forever. And because our Lord has triumphed over the grave, “alleluia” makes a triumphant return to our worship today after a six-week absence during Lent and Holy Week. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

THE FIRST LESSON: Isaiah 12:1-6
Isaiah leads us in an Easter song of praise. We sing to the LORD
with joyful and contented hearts because of what he has done for us this day.

THE SECOND LESSON: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
St. Paul gives an excellent summary of our Christian faith. Christ Jesus lived, died, and rose again for us. He appeared to many people, proving that he had indeed risen from the dead and is our Savior.

The first witnesses of the empty tomb were the women who went to anoint Jesus’ body with spices. The angels announced to them the great good news: “He is not here; he has risen!” They, in turn, told the disciples – who were not immediately convinced that Christ had indeed risen.

(numbered hymns are from "Christian Worship" unless otherwise noted)

                        156 - Awake, My Heart, With Gladness
               341 (v. 3) - Crown Him with Many Crowns
                        160 - This Joyful Eastertide
                        158 - I Am Content! My Jesus Lives Again
   152 (vs. 1,2,6,7,8) - I Know that My Redeemer Lives

Readings for the Week of Easter

M       Acts 10:34-43
          Luke 24:13-35
T        Acts 13:16a, 26-33
          Luke 24:36-47
W       Acts 3:12-20
          John 21:1-14
TH      Acts 8:26-40
          Matthew 28:16-20
F        1 Peter 3:18-22
          John 20:11-18
S        1 Peter 2:1-10
          John 20:1-9

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday
March 30, 2013

Write down your thoughts about the verses:

Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24_________________________________________

Psalm 31:1-4 ______________________________________________
1 Peter 4:1-8____________________________________________________

Matthew 27:57-66__________________________________________

Holy Week invites us into a world full of betrayal, abandonment, mockery, violence, and ultimately death. Those three sacred days which constitute one unfolding liturgy, call us to experience communion, loss, and the border spaces of unknowing. In my opinion Holy Saturday is a personal invitation for the believer while at home to make a conscious passage through the liminal realm of in-between.
The wide space of Holy Saturday that lingers between the suffering and death of Jesus and His  For me, Holy Saturday evokes much about the human condition—the ways we are called to let go of things or people, identities or securities and then wonder what will rise up out of the ashes of our lives. 
The suffering that we experience because of pain or grief or great sorrow and we don't know if we will ever grasp joy again. Much of our lives rest in that space between loss, hope, and that awesome gift of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.