I was watching Dancing With the Stars this week. I had not watched it for the last couple of seasons, but for some reason I was hooked as I watched the three couples perform. It was amazing to me how good these non-professional dancers were. I realize they are matched with a Pro, but they knew their stuff.
As I watched this it hit me that learning to dance is much like learning how to have good relationships with other people. In marriage especially, learning to dance is important. I am not talking about actual dancing, although that could be really good for your marriage. Just doing something together is often a good first step. What I am talking about is learning new dance steps for your relationship.
You see each of us has some dance steps we have learned from other people growing up about how relationships or marriages should work. We develop certain attitudes, expectations and mindsets on our relationships.
Most of these dance steps are flawed or outright wrong, and so we stumble along trying to dance with someone instead we step on each others toes and sometimes even fall down. Many times instead of learning new better dance steps we just try harder with to old ones and make it worse.
I am officiating a wedding on Saturday and I will be sharing some new dance steps for this couple to work on as they start a new life together. I want to share one of those steps.
The first dance step is to from Proverbs 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”. Words are powerful and dangerous. Your words can hurt, tear down and destroy a relationship, but your words can also encourage, lift up and bring life to your relationship. The first dance step is to choose your words wisely. Words like; please, thank you, I am proud of you, you did a great job, you look amazing, I love you, your the best and on and on.
Sincere words of encouragement bring healing to a relationship. Start practicing this dance step in all your relationships. It is the beginning of a beautiful dance.
Do you know how to relax?
Our lives can be so busy and full that we seldom have time to relax and slow down. There are many reasons for our busyness. Tonight when I got home from work my awesome wife Vikki had supper ready for me. We had rice with broccoli and cauliflower and pasta salad. It was good and healthy. We usually sit on the back patio to eat supper. After supper I went on a short walk, about two miles. It took my ipod and listened to the Goo Goo Dolls and The Fray, two of my favorite bands. I walked by a field of goats and watched them eating and running around. There had to be 30 goats. Vikki and I have one goat.
When I got back I sat on our back patio and continued to listen to some music and relaxed. I didn’t think about work or what I needed to do next, I just sat there. I actually fell asleep for about 15 minutes. I woke up took a shower and got online to blog and read blogs.
I don’t do that every night, but tonight I relaxed. It helped me to see the world around me the one that God created. When was the last time you just sat and watched the birds and the grass?
God and Paint
I love it when God makes things happen. God brings people across our paths for a reason. It is our job to pay attention.
Butch & Juliene Price are leading a group of people down to the Eight Days of Hope mission trip to Louisiana. They stopped by my office to give me an update on how some things were going. As we talked they mentioned that a guy from Canton that owns a paint store (Harrison Paint) wanted to donate a truck load of paint for the relief effort. They gladly accepted this generous gift, but were unsure how to get it down their.
I remembered that at the last Group Link here at NewPointe, I met a guy named Jerry Weaver. Jerry owns a trucking and he mentioned that if I ever needed anything shipped down south for the relief efforts to let him know. So, I called Jerry and within a day he made arrangements to ship 26,000 pounds of paint to two locations in Mississippi and Louisiana. God is Good all the Time.
A big thanks to Jerry Weaver, Butch & Juliene Price and Harrison Paint. If we each do our part amazing things can happen. Yeah God.
Everyone defines success a little differently, it depends on your filter or how you view the world. In marriage success can mean many things as well. To some a successful marriage is not getting divorced or maybe not fighting too much. To others it may be having a family and a house and two cars. To someone else it may be a close friendship with their spouse. Think about what a successful marriage looks like to you.
I thought I would talk about what good marriages have in common. If you don’t know what a strong healthy marriage looks like you can’t work toward it. In a landmark twenty-five year research project that studied 14,000 families around the world, Dr. Nick Stinnett, a marriage expert, found that strong families have at least six major things in common.
1. Commitment: trust, honesty, dependability, faithfulness
2. Appreciation and Affection: caring for each other, friendship, respect for individuality, playfulness and humor
3. Positive Communication: sharing feelings, giving compliments, avoiding blame, compromise, agreeing to disagree
4. Time Together: quality time in great quantities, enjoying each other’s company, simple good times, and sharing fun times
5. Spiritual well-being: faith, compassion, shared ethical values, oneness with mankind
6. Ability to cope with stress: adaptability, growing through crisis together, openness to change, resilience.
This information came from a book by Dr. Greg Smalley “The Marriage You’ve Always Dreamed Of.”
I want to focus on two of the most important factors for a successful marriage.
The first is spending time together. Most of the couples I talk to that are struggling in their marriage are not spending much if any time together. When you are not spending time together you quickly fill your time with other things and people. Soon your needs are being met without your spouse and over time you feel you don’t need your spouse around. You are doing your own thing and she is doing her own thing and you are no longer a team. Between work schedules and children and other busy stuff you don’t find time for each other. It becomes easy to not talk or go on a date or schedule a time to get away. You cannot become intimate with someone if you are not spending significant time together.
Think back to when you were dating. You spent a lot of time together. You talked on the phone, went on dates and spent every free moment together. When you got married that began to change. If you stop spending time together you don’t communicate about money, children, faith, work, family and most everything else. Time together is a big deal in successful marriages.
The second thing I want to mention is this; In the most successful marriages learning about each other is a high priority. Dr. Smalley surveyed 10,000 couples and the second thing on their list behind time together was “getting to know each other on a deeper level”.
I call this being curious about your spouse. Trying to figure out what makes them tick. Discovering what their love language is and what their top 5 needs are. Talking about your past, your childhood, your dreams, your hurts, your fears, your core beliefs, your goals, sex, religion. Basically everything and anything that will help you gain a better window into the soul of your spouse.
That sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? You are exactly right. Every couple I meet with I tell them they are going to have to put in a lot of work because a lot of damage has been done to get where they are at. If you don’t work on things for years you need more than a tune up, you need an engine overhaul. You can’t fix it in a month or two. You need to dig down into the relationship and rebuild it. That is why it is so important to start working on it today. Don’t wait for the right time to make changes in your marriage, don’t wait for your spouse to change. It starts with you and your willingness to change and grow.
Remember your wedding vows: I, Chad take you, Vikki, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death us do part, and thereto I pledge you my faith.
Are you keeping your vows? Are you loving and cherishing? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to build a successful relationship with your spouse?
On Friday we hosted approximately 160 business & Church leaders at the Maximum Impact Leadership Simulcast. This live event from Atalanta GA was a great event. The speakers were top notch. John Maxwell is a legend in leadership teaching and he kicked the day off talking about talent. The title of his new book is “Talent is Never Enough”. Tim Sanders followed him and hit a home run. He talked about balance in your life and how important relationships are in our lives. I have read two books by Tim Sanders.
The speaker that really got my attention was Bill Strickland. This guy is amazing. He started an art institute in Pittsburgh for poor kids and welfare mothers. He has branched into all kinds of training and outreach to help the less fortunate. Now he is building similar institutes across the country. He has a great ability to get things done. I would love to meet this guy and talk about changing the world. That is what he is trying to do.
Anyway, Terry Bradshaw was a hoot. Very high energy and very funny. I don’t know if he made a point other than be passionate about what you do and have fun. The theme of the day seemed to be to find what you are passionate about and gifted in and pursue that with all your heart. Malcolm Gladwell spoke about his book “Blink”. How we make quick judgements based on our experience and knowledge. It is also a great book. Can you tell I like to read.
I should be getting these speakers on DVD in a month or so if anyone wants to borrow them. Also be thinking about next year and how you can be involved on this day. Either as a volunteer or participant
A couple of cool stories from Friday include 7 students from Dover High School. The teacher that brought them told me he really thought this was great for students. He wants to bring more next year. More students need to be exposed to leadership and how to develop as a leader. I also heard a couple of people say they planned on coming to church this weekend.
It was a full day, but very rewarding to see and hear how people enjoyed the teaching and atmosphere. I have to give a huge thank you to the 17 or so volunteers that came out and helped all day long. Some of them took vacation days to come. Without them this event would not have been as successful. To Bryan German who stayed after the event and helped me clean up and tear down the tables and chairs I say thank you brother.
A huge thank you to these folks:
Franscene Davis, Diane Painter, Mary Low Crowe, Dana & Heather Foster, Tom Troyer, Ken Engstrom, Cherri West, Carol Miller, Peggy Peoples, Terry Royer, Brent & Jess Davis, Tom Miller, Mike Finley, Michael Harrow, Gene & Vina Hensel, Max Weaver, Dave Beachy, Wilma Mast. I hope I didn’t forget someone.
Pictures from Mississippi
These pictures are of the outside of Camp Victor. Local artists came and did murals on the side of the building. That theme is carried over to the inside with many drawings and names on the walls.
Baptism and Communion
Today at NewPointe two people were baptized. It was a great service! Both testimonies from Miriam Hershberger and Paula Beans were very powerful and real. John Bunn’s message about baptism was very clear and inspiring. I think it cleared up a lot of questions that people have about baptism. Way to go John! I recommend buying the CD if you missed it or to have on hand if someone questions you about baptism. The music was great and inspiring as well, good job to Danny and the team.
On Wednesday night Pastor Dwight talked about communion, which also answered a lot of questions people have. This was a great week of discovery and experiencing God. I felt the presence of God at these two services. It was really a week of remembrance. Remembering what Jesus Christ did for us and how much He loves us. Remembering his sacrifice and suffering through communion and then identifying ourselves publicly with Him through baptism.
I want to encourage everyone to talk about the Lord’s supper/communion and baptism with your friends. Now that you have heard what the Bible says about them you can speak about it with confidence.
Our next baptism is scheduled for July 8th. My prayer is that we will have so many people that want to be baptized that we have to do it every weekend in July. Wouldn’t that be awesome? God is working in the hearts of His people and expanding His kingdom.
We serve communion at every First Wednesday service. Come and experience a time of worship and remembrance and celebration. If anyone has questions about either baptism or communion please contact me, I would love to talk with you about these two symbols of the Christian faith.
As promised here are some thoughts about marriage. I do some marriage counseling and it has forced me to examine my marriage and work on my marriage as well. On May 27, 2007 my wife Vikki and I will celebrate 18 years together. It has gone fast and we have learned a lot. I have made so many mistakes in our relationship, but each time we work through the issue as best we can. I have to say that when I started being less selfish is when our relationship began to improve. I knew I had to change before our relationship could change.
Ever marriage will have some tough times. Some of those are brought on because we make bad decisions or are selfish. Other times it is out of our control, like a tragedy, sickness or accident. Part of life is facing the hard times, and as a married couple you do that together. God created marriage for us, to be a team; Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Becoming one flesh means you are a team, two people acting as one. You are still distinct individuals and have to make your own choices, but you are also connected to your spouse in a relationship like no other human relationship. It is like two pieces of paper coming together, the marriage is the glue that bonds the two together. Have you ever tried to separate two pieces of paper that are glued together? You can’t without ripping and tearing it apart.
Part of working together as a team means training. Many marriages start without any training, we fall “in love” and think that is all that matters. Wrong! Love is not all that matters feelings come and go, love is up and down. Some days I don’t feel like I am in love with my wife. It takes more than love to make a marriage work. That is why it is so important to put the work in before you get married. Couples that go through a mentoring program before they get married have a much lower divorce rate than those that do not. At NewPointe we require couples to go through mentoring before we will marry them. It has been very successful and we have received great feedback from the mentors and the mentee’s. Call me if you want to know more about premarital mentoring.
But what if we are already married and are having problems now? Well there is hope, I believe that nearly all troubled marriages can be saved and healed. God has given us the tools we need to develop strong solid marriages. It may take some time and some real work but it is doable. The greatest counselor in the world is God and HE is the one that can work a miracle in your marriage.
It all starts with your relationship with Jesus Christ. Can you sit down with your spouse or a friend and share your story of salvation? Can you share with them the exact moment in your life that you made the decision to believe and follow Jesus? If you can’t, then maybe you have not truly experienced salvation. That is step one for most people or at least beginning to explore who Jesus is and discover what He has for you. When your relationship with God is right, your heart begins to change as you become more like Christ. You treat people differently and your attitude is different because you have a new perspective on life, people and eternity.
If you are a born again Christian then working on your marriage is not an option, it is a requirement of marriage. Begin that process of talking with your spouse about how you can improve your relationship, maybe it is getting help from your pastor or a Christian counselor. Maybe it is committing to read a book on marriage together. Whatever it is start today. Even if your spouse does not want to work on it you can. You can begin to make changes in yourself and seek help for yourself.
Begin to pray for your spouse daily, not that he or she will change, but that you will change and that your spouse will grow spiritually and emotionally. Pray for God to give them wisdom and courage and that God will bring the right people along to influence and encourage both of you along the way. Then start praying together, as a couple and a family.
Next time I will talk about the five love languages and the love bank and how you can win back your spouse before its too late.