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Archive for the ‘Communication’Category

Simply UNSHAKABLE

I have been thinking and praying about what it means to live UNSHAKEN, I can’t help but marvel at how God has come through for us this past year, which has  been one of the most challenging in our 37 years of marriage. It is common for couples to have at least one very strenuous season of life and this year has been our turn. Bill’s folks are 87 and are showing signs of aging physically, emotionally and socially. Bill also discovered an unfortunate trend in his family. It turns out that couples in his heritage tend to break relationship with their parents shortly after they get married.  Bill and his brother, however, came to Christ as high school students and were the first of their family to follow Jesus. Part of God’s work has been to maintain a relationship with his folks guided by appropriate boundaries and deliberate interactions. The result today is my wonderful husband has chosen to be the main caregiver (we are the only ones who live in So Cal where mom and dad reside). It is inconvenient, however, since we live 3 hours from them! After making this trip too many times, we decided to relocate to protect Bill’s health and better care for his folks. It sounded very simple. We would  sell our home, downsize significantly and move nearer. But the sale of our beautiful San DiegoRollercoaster home was been an eleven month rollercoaster ride of offers that have fallen through for one reason or another. We have both wrestled with the stress, dealt with the disappointment and pursued a partnership rather than blame each other. We know that many couples fracture their relationship during these seasons of high stress and we wanted to use this time of life to grow closer and more in love.

Simple Skills golden ruleWe found the “SKILLED” acrostic from 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping it All Together  to be of great help in remaining UNSHAKEN during  this midlife mayhem.

Steadfast – When we focused on being RELIABLE, trust would be built and doors of opportunity were opened. While we waited to see what God WOULD DO for our future we CONTINUED TO DO what we knew was his will, which included writing books and blogs, articles and advice for social media. Here is a note we received on our Facebook page:

Hello from Costa Rica

My name is J….  a young boy who has read your book, I’m 20, and I want to thank you for sharing with us that important information about the Waffles and Spaghettis. As a testimony, I didn’t grew up with my father, and it was difficult for me to understand how to be a real man and why I have to take my role and responsibility on the relationship. I was frustrated because my girlfriend was doing things that I couldn’t understand. I was feeling  dumb, but one wise pastor who came from USA to my church was talking about your book, so I did it.  I’ve read it and my whole life has changed. I admire you guys, all what you do and how God uses your knowledge to bless people like me. I love my girlfriend so much. Thanks to you I can understand her better and we are hoping to get marriage in the next 2 years.

Knowledgeable – We made it our goal to  become a little WISER each day so we could make sound plans that would render positive results.

       Over these difficult few years, I began a new quiet time tradition of what I call “Creative Biblical Expressions” or others call Bible Art Journaling. I dig into a passage, then draw out its meaning in my journal or Journaling Bible. This new spiritual rhythm has helped me relax and recharge, as well as memorize the verse and meditate on how to best apply it to my life. In my Bible is a bookmark with this quote: ”It is never too late to become your best self” –   George Eliot. (Maybe pick up a copy of the men’s or women’s Simple Skills book to help become your “very best self.”)

Intentional – As we chose to be PROACTIVE, we  stopped waiting for life to happen and became more active in creating the future we dreamed of.

Each Monday morning, Bill and I have a “marriage meeting” and we use our “weekly worksheet” to set goals, an action plan and pray. This “meeting of the minds” has kept us closer and unified in a season where circumstances could have pulled us apart.

Likable – We made a priority of being RELATIONAL. We deliberately practiced relationship skills we share with others to form healthy friendships, work relationships, dating/ marriage partnerships and a strong family.

Because of our priority of trying to live out the golden rule of “Treat others the same way you would like to be treated”. (Luke 6:31 NASB)  Many people have extended their prayers, support and practical help. In addition, mixed in the mountain of responsibility has been a little fun. For example, to celebrate the release of our “anniversary” expanded and updated edition of Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti this year we are doing our own version of a foodie show as we visit Waffles places and Spaghetti restaurants in each city we visit—often eating with friends and having iron sharpens irons conversations over the meal. (If you have a great breakfast cafe or a wonderful pasta place in your city, email us and if we are in your area and we decide to go, we might just invite you along! Email: info@love-wise.com )

WS_RevisedCover

Lively – Maintaining HEALTHY habits of exercise and disciplined eating has given us the energy, drive, and power to live out dreams.

Bill and I workout together most days. We also look for fun active dates like a beach walk, biking, hiking, kayaking, or paddle boarding. There are MANY benefits to physical exercise: releases happy endorphins to lift the mood, keeps you heart healthy, and it even raises the libido (important for the authors of Red Hot Monogamy).

Effective – We have always enjoyed being PRODUCTIVE because it provides the tools to move dreams into reality and deliver tangible fruit for hard work.

I have enjoyed being an editor, then writer, for a new Bible study to be released with Harvest House in 2017. “Discovering Hope in the Psalms” is co-authored by our long-time friend, Jean E Jones and a favorite artist, Karla Dornacher. A powerful verse that has given us hope is Psalms 73: 26, “My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my life and my portion forever.” If you look up the definitions of key words, one could read this as: My body and inner person may perish, Elohim (the God above all gods) will be my sure STONE MOUNTAIN, my SOLID ROCK,  of my inner person and my territory (my reward and my victorious booty) through all eternity. 

Bill has enjoyed writing a series of Relationship Bible Blogs for believe.com. A favorite one that not just encouraged the audience, but Bill too is: How To Recognize God’s Blessings In Your Family History.

Decisive – When we chose to be DECISIVE, life seemed easier, emotions calmer, and efforts more efficient in living out our goals

We have used every single one of the many “decision-making” tools and tips in Simple Skills, including the Rubber-Band method (to decide to stay or go) and the Eisenhower Grid (to decide priorities and when to schedule them) .

One solid decision we have made is to keep making time for our “far flung” family. Yes, we are there for mom and dad, but our hearts are lifted as we travel to spend time with our three leader sons, their godly wives, and our 4 fun grandkids. Each time we are with them, we are reminded of God’s faithfulness to us as a family—and focusing on God’s faithfulness helps us all live UNSHAKEN.

Join us on the journey as we all become more SKILLED. Praying God will help you and your family live unshaken too!

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalms 16:8)

Pam and Bill

17

04 2017

Sunsets, Long Walks on the Beach and Romance

Couples who travel together enjoy more “Red Hot Monogamy” according to U.S. Travel Association. “In fact, 28 percent of those surveyed said their sex lives improved after traveling together, and of those, 40 percent said their sex lives are permanently better since traveling”.

2017 cruiseOne of our favorite romantic vacations has been speaking for cruises on the open sea. There is just something romantic about breath-taking sunsets, the fragrance of fresh air, dancing under the stars, walking the beach, eating exotic dinners by candle light and long, relaxed heart to heart talks. And the best part is the TIME alone to reconnect, recreate, romance and have RED HOT MONOGAMY!

In Red Hot Monogamy, we encourage couples to plan regular getaways to fan the flame on the 8 areas of intimacy:

  • Social
  • Financial
  • Recreational
  • Vocational
  • Parental
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Sexual

splash rebecca pam billYou can focus on just ONE of these areas and plan a getaway to make forward movement (we have ideas on how to do this in Red Hot Monogamy). Or, you can schedule a marriage weekend (see our calendar of options at www.Love-wise). Better yet, you can lengthen your time away with a weeklong Marriage Cruise (We have one coming January 7-14 2017).

No matter WHERE you are going to get away or what goals you have for your time alone together, you two will maximize your time away if you include a few simple activities:

Prayer: So you can hear God’s voice leading you louder than anything else.

Rest: Take a nap before you dig in and discuss. Then take a nap as a reward before you come home and face real life again.

Good food: Cook together or eat at a favorite romantic spot when you begin and end a getaway. (Research says men are happier after they eat. At the same time, the place in a woman’s brain that controls eye sight is stimulated.  She becomes more aware of her life and he is more willing to engage. So if you have a tough topic to discuss, enjoy a great meal,  enjoy “red hot monogamy”, then engage in strategic interaction!

A little activity: Couples who exercise release happy endorphins (and they also have a higher rate of enjoying “red hot Monogamy”). Do something simple–a 20 minute walk, bike or swim will clear your brain and replenish you.

10 sunset profileRed Hot Monogamy: Set an amount of time that you will work on talking about, writing down and processing your goals and work discussion. Reward yourself with s*x by each selecting something off the Red Hot Romance Idea list (200 ideas in Red Hot Monogamy and even more ideas in Red Hot Romance Tips for Women).

Couples who “Come AWAY do NOT come APART”.

Come away, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains. (Song of Songs 8:14)

Set sail with love,

Pam and Bill

  1. If you register for the Marriage Cruise, please use this link so we can have a special gift for you onboard and registering through this link benefits Love-Wise ministries.

07

04 2016

Creative Conflict Resolution

Q: What is the most creative advice you know to calm a conflict or keep an argument from escalating?

A: In our book, 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make, we tell a 10 Best Couplestory of a visit to the home of some newcomers to our church, Frank and Kendyl. After being in their beautiful, stylish home just a few minutes, I began to notice small bowls of baby sized Snickers bars all over their home. Curious, I asked Kendyl, “Why so many snickers? Does someone really like them?” snicker

Frank and Kendyl grinned at each other and with a twinkle in his eyes, Frank laughed and then explained that he and Kendyl were both first born, so early in their marriage they had many conflicts because they both always thought they were right. Sometimes anger flared, or word were spoken out of frustration that they each regretted so instead of counting to 10 to calm down, one of them decided that the time it took to chew and swallow a fun-sized “Snickers” TM was the perfect amount of time to  regain serenity and unity.

frank kendylFrank and Kendyl were married for decades — Then recently, Frank was ushered into heaven. Frank and Kendyl have been our friends, mentors, prayer warriors, advocates and partners in ministry.

When a saint dies, heaven’s great gain is this earth’s great loss- but our legacy lives on! 

And Frank and Kendyl’s legacy of love lives on. Their influence is securely planted in the lives of thousands.

Each couple who knows Jesus and has been married much time at all has some wisdom to share. We encourage couples to get involved in couple’s Bible studies, grow deeper in their own walk with God, and closer in their own marriage—then mentor other couples to help them gain God’s enrichment, encouragement and equipping to live “Love-Wise” too.

Thanksgiving with family is a terrific time to influence others. The best ways to do that is to be other centered. Look for those you can comfort, care for, have conversation with and LISTEN to. Then naturally share how God has impacted your life, or things you are thankful God has been or done for you.  Pray and ask God who in your world He wants you to influence this holiday weekend.

“…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” (James 1:19)

23

11 2015

Q: We want to avoid marital crisis. So how can we know how we are doing as a couple?

A: Each January, the President of the United States  gives a state of the Union address pointing out things that are going well and some suggested areas of improvement—then the debate, discussion and dialogue begins. In similar manner, Bill and I meet each January to review the state of our union.

In our book, Red Hot Monogamy, we walk a couple through 8 vital areas of life that create marital intimacy, harmony and unity. Set a date this week and rate yourself 1 to 10 how you are doing in each area: (Download State of the Union: Red Hot Relationship Date Night worksheet)

  • Social – Are you enjoying friendship with each other and those in your life?
  • Financial – Are you stable now and do you have a plan you are working for your future?
  • Recreational– Do you have a plan you both are working to stay healthy and happy?
  • Vocational– Do you have a plan in place to help both of you grow and move forward in your career (education; volunteer work)?
  • Parental– Are you on the same page as parents; do you have a plan to help you children reach their God- given potential?
  • Emotional– Are you both calm, peaceful, stable, and enjoying strong mental health?
  • Spiritual– Are you both growing in your walk with God?
  • Sexual– Do you enjoy regular intimacy, closeness and sexual expression?

Together set a goal in each area and move your life and love forward. (Download State of Union worksheet)

Setting goals is Biblical:

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?  . . . Luke 14:28-33 ESV

 A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

BestYearGoalDownload Your Best Year Yet Goal Worksheets for Couples. (This will help you each set goals (a sheet for a husband and a wife), and it will help you talk through your life from a broad, global perspective. Change is possible! If you set one goal a month, in a year you will have moved your love and life forward! Or choose one area to focus on in the following year to laser movement in a problem area.

 

RHMBuy Red Hot Monogamy and set aside 8 weeks to move your life and love forward in all 8 areas of intimacy—and this book has 200 red hot ideas to fan the flame on your intimate life, so there can be great rewards for all your hard work you are doing as a couple! It is a built in red hot love incentive plan! (Even God gives incentives for wise choices, “Great is your reward!” (Matt 5:12) In this case, a red hot love is its own reward!

03

02 2015

Question: Do men and women learn differently. Seems like I(wife) like to read books but my husband would rather listen to an audio book or watch a video. Or sometimes I am sharing a story and ask, “Remember, honey?” and he looks at me with a blank stare. Is this just us or do men and women learn and retain information differently?

Answer: “One of the reasons men and women approach the work place differently is that they learn differently. We think remarkably similar and are able to learn the same information, but we process it differently. ‘Men, for example, tend to think more in terms of principles, while women think more in terms of relationships. Men generally learn on a less personal level, while women tie thoughts to emotions.’ This is why ‘On achievement tests, men score higher on math and spatial concepts, while women outscore men in areas of language.’
“As a pastor, I see this in operation all the time. Men are consistently talking about the principles of the Bible and how to apply them to our lives. Women are more concerned about the well being of the members of their families and the spiritual motivation of the ones they love . . .
“The fact that women tie knowledge to their emotions is also why women usually have better memories than men. Women attach the events of their lives to their emotions which makes the memory stronger. When it is time to recover the memory, it is easier to remember because it was more intense for her than for him. Men go through life one activity at a time and usually do not attach it to a vivid emotion. As a result, the memory of the activity is rather bland. In my relationship with Pam, this is a pretty consistent frustration. She often says to me, ‘Don’t you remember?’ The problem is, I don’t. She has such vivid memories of times we have spent together that at times I wonder if I was really there.” (excerpted from Chapter 7 of Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti)

06

03 2013

Some couples seem strong enough in their marriage to be asked for advice, mentor other couples or teach marriage classes. How can we create a strong marriage?

You are to be commended in your desire to have a strong marriage. Our son, Zach, is a Strength and Conditioning Performance Coach at a Div. 1 University. He and his new bride, Caleigh, as an engagement photo, chose the word STRENGTH to represent their goal for the future. Their wise choice impressed us because we know it is God’s goal for each of us to be emotionally, physically, relationally, and spiritually STRONG. Look at how clearly God states this desire in Psalm 27:14, ” . . .be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” We have been asking ourselves the question, “How can we partner with God to gain a strong life?” Here is what we discovered:
• “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. (Joshua 1:7) – Diligently Obey God’s Word
• “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” (Rom:1:11-12) – Use your gifts to encourage others and let others encourage you.
• “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Cor 16:13-14) -Be vigilant to stand firm in your core beliefs and do it in love.
• “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph 6:10-11) – Wear God’s armor (which is the WORD)
• “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say.” (2 Tim 2:1-2) – Obey the Word you have heard.
• “I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you.” (1 John 2:14) – Let God’s Word live in you.

Getting stronger is not a mystery. The more you practice the better you get. The more “reps” an athlete performs, the stronger and more skilled he becomes. In the same way, the more “reps” you perform in the spiritual disciplines, communication skills, decision-making and intimate interaction, the more skilled you will become in the areas that matter most to you.
Make it your goal to do some spiritual circuit training: pray, read your Bible, memorize scripture, praise God for His goodness, and share the good news with others. Your marriage will be stronger, your children will be stronger and the influence you leave for those around you in your workplace, church and community will be stronger too. Pump some iron for Jesus!

02

02 2012

What is the Goal of Marriage? (#2)

The conversation began as a friendly interaction but the issues grew intense. She put more energy into the discussion while he got overwhelmed and clammed up. In frustration, she pushed harder to reach some kind of resolution which only resulted in more stonewalling. “We need to learn to communicate” has become a motto in most modern relationships because this scene has played out so many times. The primary purpose of marriage is to help you reach your potential in influencing others but you can’t impact others if you can’t communicate what is important to you. Since you are married to someone who is very different than you, the challenge to communicate is always there. Your spouse thinks, reacts emotionally and evaluates life different than you. Pam and I have been married for 31 years but we still have “potholes” in our interactions. If Pam ever starts a sentence with “we need,” or “you need,” I pull back immediately. If I ever begin a discussion with “I am disappointed,” Pam instantly grows reluctant to share. We both know we shouldn’t do this  and we can trace our reactions back to significant events of our past. We just can’t make the reactions go away. As a result, we have to learn to state our convictions, ideas and preferences in new ways. Every time we reword our ideas for the benefit of the other, we grow in our ability to explain important principles to others. As they grasp what is important to you, they are given the opportunity to grow in their understanding of life and make better decisions.  

01

12 2010