Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Golden Rule

Sydney Harris, the syndicated New York columnist, wrote many years ago of accompanying a friend to a newsstand.  The friend greeted the newsman courteously.  However, he received in return a gruff and discourteous service.  Accepting the newspaper rudely shoved in his face, the friend smiled and politely wished the newsman a nice weekend.  As they walked away, Harris asked, "Does he always treat you so rudely?"  "Yes, unfortunately he does."  Harris was puzzled and inquired, "Are you always so nice to him?"  "Yes, I am" replied the friend.  Pressing the issue, Harris asked, "Why?"  The friend responded, "Because I don't want him or others to decide how I'm going to act."

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Some Lessons From 53 Years of Marriage

On Tuesday, August 16th, Judy and I will celebrate 53 years of marriage.  During these many years we've learned some things about marriage.  We've learned those things from the hard knocks of experience as well as being facilitators with the Association for Marriage Enrichment (ACME).  We've also learned much from other couples who have shared with us or let us share with them.  Some of those things we've learned are:
1.   You aren't nearly as great a "catch" as you may think you are.  Most of us "married up."
2.   When God deals with a couple, God will give half the answer to one spouse and the other half of the information to the other.  In this manner God is working to make two individuals become one.  Or, in other words when you are so certain about what God is doing in your family, you might be half-right.
3.   Don't take yourself too seriously.  Have some humor about yourself, your ideas, plans, feelings, thoughts, etc.  Be able to laugh at yourself.  We really are funny folks who say silly things and do comical stuff, especially when we are trying so hard to be 'serious.'
4.   Have fun with each other, especially in the privacy and intimacy of your house.  Just make certain that the blinds are closed. 
5.   Remember that compromise means that neither spouse gets what they want--yep, neither one!
6.   Watch your language.  No, your spouse is not "just exactly like her mother or his father."
7.   Learn to say, "I'm sorry" and mean it.  However, If you are saying "I'm sorry" a lot of times then you may need the discipline of learning how to change a behavior or your spouse may need to learn how to give up the need for control.  Too much control is about anxiety and it is a 'pain' for everyone.  Realize that you aren't in control of nearly as much as you think, wish you were or pretend that you are.
8.   When you have disagreements, the goal is the preservation of the relationship--not to prove whose right and whose wrong.  Losing means that you've won the argument,  "proved" that you were right but, the relationship ends or is significantly diminished  There are a lot of "losers" who are certain that they are "right."
9.    Learn to "get over yourself."  When things aren't going like you want, learn to "get over it" and move on.  No one wants to be around someone who is sulking and/or passive aggressive; this is the attitude that says, "Okay, I'll go to the party, but you can't make me have a good time."  Usually, their behavior gives amply evidence of one's spirit--so, get over yourself.
10.  At least once a day, eat together at the table and talk about the day.  You didn't marry the television, your phone, the computer. newspaper, etc. so turn them off.  Your spouse's day, thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc. are more interesting and important than what's on those devices. 
11.  Some things are not to be shared with your close friends, parents, children or in-laws.  Learn to share in such a respectful and trusting attitude so that you can work things out with your spouse.  If you get stuck, find a therapist and the therapist isn't you mother.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Gyroscopic Personality

Dr. Gardner Murphy, a Psychologist, describes a gyroscopic personality as the ability of an individual to remain stationary when his or her environment is revolving.  It is termed gyroscopic because a gyroscope spins and stays balanced despite the pitching and rolling of the ship or plane in which it is located.  It is the ability to stay upright despite the circumstances.  Too frequently our circumstances overcome us and send us spinning off in a strange direction of thoughts, feelings, attitudes, behaviors, etc.  I don't really know how the gyroscope works.  I do know that it is important for stability.  I believe that faith, in a personal God who loves and cares, can help an individual develop a gyroscope personality.  A personality with stability regardless of the circumstances.  Perhaps this was what Paul meant when he wrote, "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances." (Philippians 4:11)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

But Don't Get Caught

I frequently hear folks talking about what's "right" and what's "wrong" as if their main sense of morality is to have a good time and enjoy life, but don't get caught.  I'm not against having a good time.  If some of these folks did get caught doing some of the activities about which they speak, they might become better persons.  I don't like the concept of a God who seems to be snooping and eavesdropping in order to keep us from having a good time.  I don't think that is a Biblically accurate concept of God.  God isn't out to "get me" or prevent me from having an enjoyable life.  How I behave will not change God; therefore, to keep my sense of wholeness and peace I can be satisfied with nothing less than my best--whether or not I "get caught."

Monday, August 1, 2016


One of the clues to discover what is important to a person is to watch those things that makes them angry.  Some thing is important to a person or else their response would be indifference, not anger.  We become angry about those things that are important to us.  Anger is a strong emotion and we spend it upon matters that are significant for us.  Jesus never became angry over personal affronts.  He didn't get angry when he was belittled or misunderstood.  Even during the time of public humiliation and death, his prayer was "Father forgive them, they don't know what they are doing."  He did, however, become angry when he saw people mistreating others; especially when that mistreatment was being done by religious people.  What does your anger reveal about yourself and what's important to you?