Looking back and reviewing the topics shared on this blog, I realized the very first post back in October was about being intentional in our relationships.
The following quote from "The Word for You Today? (Canadian edition ? November 1, 2011) reminded me of the importance of this topic. It says, "Often our marriages are damaged not by big things like infidelity, abuse or abandonment ? but little things like criticism, lack of respect and taking each other for granted.?
Most of us can remember a time when we couldn't stop thinking about our loved one. Our long distance phone bills were out of this world! We knew everything about how their day went and what they were feeling.
As new parents we waited with great anticipation to see our children take their first steps and say their first words. But the newness and novelty fade and so often we forget. Instead, as we go about our days, we begin to slide into a pattern of apathy and carelessness. We stop listening ? really listening - not just to the words our spouses or children say, but the feelings and hopes behind those words. It is so easy to stop being mindful of the needs, disappointments and dreams of our spouses and children. It is equally easy to stop sharing our own hearts. As the above quote says, it isn?t the big things that break up families, but the slow and steady erosion of everyday life. How many times have you heard the words "I don?t know, we just grew apart,? by someone describing a break-up?
Sometimes we all need a reminder. Some of us need a wake-up call that happy families don?t just raise themselves. With February being the month of love, I would like to challenge you to really show and tell your love this month. Here is the challenge:
1.Put down the remote, the computer, the laundry or the telephone long enough to really ask your spouse or family how they are doing? Intimacy takes time and attention.
2.Don?t let your family members slide through life beside you. Engage them. Invite them to do things together ?even if it is just getting a hot chocolate or going for a drive to the lake. If this doesn?t work right away, be at their games, events and activities. Show them you want them IN your life, not just alongside it.
3.As parents, part of our role is to correct and discipline. However, it is not to critique, criticize, be-little and nag. If you have fallen into this habit, see it and change it. Discipline always goes hand-in-hand with un-conditional love. You can?t speak into someone?s life if they have tuned you out.
4.Ditto for your spouse. Criticizing and nagging your spouse in a manner that makes them feel small or stupid; especially in front of other people is not a great way to build a loving marriage. It is our job to build up and encourage our spouses. That?s what families are for.
By: Sharon Osvald in collaboration with Winnie Visser
Principles for Real Living:
I am responsible for my own attitude
My attitude affects my actions
I can not change others, but I can influence others
My emotions do not control my actions
Admitting my imperfections does not mean that I'm a failure
Love is the most powerful weapon for good in the world
Desperate Marriages by Gary Chapman, Northfield Publishing, Chicago 1998, 2008