YOUR MARRIAGE AND THE STOCK MARKET

What do the stock market, the Psalms, and your marriage have in common?

They are all full of highs and lows, ascents and descents.

Those drops are supposed to be there,  so persevere, my friend!

My dad is a money guy and as I took a winter mall walk with him, he started talking about people’s reaction to the stock market:  It rises, and people want in.  When it drops, people want out.

He assessed that people  are hopping in and out reactively at the opposite time they should be. 

He has seen people pay premium dollars for rising stocks.  And when the value of the stock goes down, they freak out and exit, leaving with the inferior dollar.

The stock market is supposed to go up and down.

If you ride the highs and lows, invest more when things are low, you will reap the benefits of a net positive return. 

That’s just how it goes.

This reminds me of the Psalms cadence of ascents and descents.

The writer, often David,  expresses low lows.  If you are down, the grievances meet you where you are, but then they take you to a higher place. The writer’s emotions ascend as he reflects on  the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord.

The Psalms mirror the writer’s life, but they mirror our life too. He goes to low places, but never stays there. 

This is normal living. 

The good and the bad. Neither is a permanent state.

It is just how it goes. 

If your marriage is like mine and the many couples  with whom I have done therapy, the norm of marriage is a series of highs and lows.

When your relationship hits a bump in the road, nothing is wrong.  Its normal to feel less connected at times.  It’s normal to have conflict and differences.  It’s normal to have transitions.

When we think our problems shouldn’t be happening is when we create a crisis, resist and overreact. 

I remember a research finding where couples who were on the brink of divorce but decided for whatever reason to  persevere, found themselves happily married 5 years later.  These former unhappy couples now ranked their level of marital satisfaction very high.

Wow! What if they had missed out on that?  At one point, they were so ready to call it quits, but 5 years later so glad they rode out the hard season.

If you are in a low, press on my friend.  Your marriage may just be in a season of change and you can grow with your relationship.

LOVE WHAT YOU HAVE [PLACEHOLDER TITLE]

Emotional Childhood is a when we stay stuck in a place of wanting to blame other people for problems.  If you are stuck in this state,  you might find yourself complaining frequently about circumstances and people.  You feel helpless in regards to the results you are getting.

An emotional child recalls all the ways she was wronged: the weather that ruined her plans, the friend who hurt her feelings, the toxic people who absorbed her energy, and a husband who did not live up to her expectations.

Don’t feel bad. This is a normal and natural part of our human condition.  It’s part of the sinful nature and results from the fall.  Shifting blame started early on with our sister Eve and Adam followed suit. 

Most of us are stuck in this childish state. It is a rare person who actually moves into a state of full emotional adulting.

Unfortunately, as emotional children, we feel very powerless.  The center of control for our life is always outside of us.  It is as though we have given the proverbial car keys of our life to other people and circumstances.

And yet the car is ours. 

The great thing about emotional childhood is we are always a victim. The not so great things is, well, we are always a victim.  And yet, the reality is, other people are responsible for the choices they make AND we are responsible for the choices we make.

On the other hand, those who do emotional adulting take full responsibility for their feelings, actions and the results of their life.  They don’t feel powerless and at the mercy of circumstances.

Emotional adult’s drive their cars and stay in their lanes.  They don’t spend their energy complaining about other bad drivers and they don’t give the bird to someone who swerves in front of them. 

Yes, someone else might cross over the line or make a decision that impacts your life, but emotional adults don’t use this as a reason to quit taking responsibility and ownership of their inner and outer world.  They don’t give away all their power just because someone threatened them. They know they still own their own life.

It is totally fun to be an emotional adult.

Yes, I won’t lie, it is work.  It is showing up and being responsible which isn’t always a cake walk, but the good news is,  it isn’t always a cake walk!  Who likes to walk in a boring circle and hope you win a cake? 

Emotional adults get to feel all sorts of feelings. They get to dream. They get to fail (and fail often).  And they get to keep driving.  They get to get their own food and not wait for someone to put a bib on them and feed them. They get to go to bed when they want to go to bed.  They get to go to work if they want to go to work.

AND they get to live with all the consequences of their choice with no one to blame.  It is so amazing.

However, there is an awesome SECRET to emotional adulting.  (It almost feels like a cheat!) You are going to LOVE it.

YES, you need to grow up. YES, you need to quit blaming other people. YES you need to quit indulging in overwhelm, blame, confusion and despair.

But you are never alone.   YOU HAVE A SECRET POWER PARTNER.

Jesus is your Father; you are His Daughter.

He is your King; you are his Beneficiary.

He is your Authority, you are his Follower.

He is your Savior; you are His Redeemed.

God gives us freedom.  We are free to choose or reject him.  That is our adult and human privilege.  In this sense he does not control, nag or parent us.

He is also the Lord of all circumstances and all people. He is Lord of the storm and Creator of the seas.

He made you.  He knows you.  He loves you. 

He has made you in His image. Like him, you get to create and rule over parts of creation.

AND, He wants us to engage with Him as we engage in life.

He calls us to action and decision and freedom and choice, AND He wants to live inside us and be our power partner.

In this sense when you make an adult decision (from a place of choice and freedom) you get continue being  a child!  But in the best way possible.

You get to  depend on Him. You are never really alone. The burden is never fully yours.  Isn’t that awesome?  You still get to adult, but you have the one who is sovereign over all creation living IN you. 

Engage with him. 

He is redeeming a fallen and painful world.  In your pain, he provides a bridge.  He wants to redeem all that is broken and hurting. 

You are never a powerless child lost in the world.  You have an anchor.  You have a friend.  You have a GOOD Father. 

This is the secret to emotional adulting.  There is a place you can throw your hissy fit, have a good cry, ask your questions, and seek wisdom and direction. 

If you have invited him (your free choice) he lives inside of you.  The Holy Spirit is your partner as you navigate your marriage and all aspects of your life.  You get to consult him, ask him for help and wisdom.

You have the world’s smartest brain and counselor living inside of you, available whenever you need a consult.   

You can be like Eve, blame the snake and hide, or you own your stuff and bring your life into the light and depend on him. 

You are never alone in adulting my friend.  It’s a hard job but it can be totally fun  and you can experience a power-filled life. With a power-partner living inside you, adulting has never been easier.  

BEING A GROWN-UP (CHEAT WITH THIS LIFE HACK)

Emotional Childhood is a when we stay stuck in a place of wanting to blame other people for problems.  If you are stuck in this state,  you might find yourself complaining frequently about circumstances and people.  You feel helpless in regards to the results you are getting.

An emotional child recalls all the ways she was wronged: the weather that ruined her plans, the friend who hurt her feelings, the toxic people who absorbed her energy, and a husband who did not live up to her expectations.

Don’t feel bad. This is a normal and natural part of our human condition.  It’s part of the sinful nature and results from the fall.  Shifting blame started early on with our sister Eve and Adam followed suit. 

Most of us are stuck in this childish state. It is a rare person who actually moves into a state of full emotional adulting.

Unfortunately, as emotional children, we feel very powerless.  The center of control for our life is always outside of us.  It is as though we have given the proverbial car keys of our life to other people and circumstances.

And yet the car is ours. 

The great thing about emotional childhood is we are always a victim. The not so great things is, well, we are always a victim.  And yet, the reality is, other people are responsible for the choices they make AND we are responsible for the choices we make.

On the other hand, those who do emotional adulting take full responsibility for their feelings, actions and the results of their life.  They don’t feel powerless and at the mercy of circumstances.

Emotional adult’s drive their cars and stay in their lanes.  They don’t spend their energy complaining about other bad drivers and they don’t give the bird to someone who swerves in front of them. 

Yes, someone else might cross over the line or make a decision that impacts your life, but emotional adults don’t use this as a reason to quit taking responsibility and ownership of their inner and outer world.  They don’t give away all their power just because someone threatened them. They know they still own their own life.

It is totally fun to be an emotional adult.

Yes, I won’t lie, it is work.  It is showing up and being responsible which isn’t always a cake walk, but the good news is,  it isn’t always a cake walk!  Who likes to walk in a boring circle and hope you win a cake? 

Emotional adults get to feel all sorts of feelings. They get to dream. They get to fail (and fail often).  And they get to keep driving.  They get to get their own food and not wait for someone to put a bib on them and feed them. They get to go to bed when they want to go to bed.  They get to go to work if they want to go to work.

AND they get to live with all the consequences of their choice with no one to blame.  It is so amazing.

However, there is an awesome SECRET to emotional adulting.  (It almost feels like a cheat!) You are going to LOVE it.

YES, you need to grow up. YES, you need to quit blaming other people. YES you need to quit indulging in overwhelm, blame, confusion and despair.

But you are never alone.   YOU HAVE A SECRET POWER PARTNER.

Jesus is your Father; you are His Daughter.

He is your King; you are his Beneficiary.

He is your Authority, you are his Follower.

He is your Savior; you are His Redeemed.

God gives us freedom.  We are free to choose or reject him.  That is our adult and human privilege.  In this sense he does not control, nag or parent us.

He is also the Lord of all circumstances and all people. He is Lord of the storm and Creator of the seas.

He made you.  He knows you.  He loves you. 

He has made you in His image. Like him, you get to create and rule over parts of creation.

AND, He wants us to engage with Him as we engage in life.

He calls us to action and decision and freedom and choice, AND He wants to live inside us and be our power partner.

In this sense when you make an adult decision (from a place of choice and freedom) you get continue being  a child!  But in the best way possible.

You get to  depend on Him. You are never really alone. The burden is never fully yours.  Isn’t that awesome?  You still get to adult, but you have the one who is sovereign over all creation living IN you. 

Engage with him. 

He is redeeming a fallen and painful world.  In your pain, he provides a bridge.  He wants to redeem all that is broken and hurting. 

You are never a powerless child lost in the world.  You have an anchor.  You have a friend.  You have a GOOD Father. 

This is the secret to emotional adulting.  There is a place you can throw your hissy fit, have a good cry, ask your questions, and seek wisdom and direction. 

If you have invited him (your free choice) he lives inside of you.  The Holy Spirit is your partner as you navigate your marriage and all aspects of your life.  You get to consult him, ask him for help and wisdom.

You have the world’s smartest brain and counselor living inside of you, available whenever you need a consult.   

You can be like Eve, blame the snake and hide, or you own your stuff and bring your life into the light and depend on him. 

You are never alone in adulting my friend.  It’s a hard job but it can be totally fun  and you can experience a power-filled life. With a power-partner living inside you, adulting has never been easier.  

STUCK IN EMOTIONAL CHILDHOOD

I remember learning about Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis in my Psychoanalytical  Method and Theories course in grad school.   It provided a way of evaluating human interactions.   The Parent-Adult-Child  Model was one of those paradigms that floated to the top for me and I have found it relevant in working with couples over the years.

Berne proposes we have 3 states (Parent, Child and Adult).  This state is reflective of our mindset.

The Parent is the voice of our actual parents and authority figures in our life. It is the voice of right and wrong and the proper way to do things.  It is intentional and mindful.

The Child state is more spontaneous, pleasure-oriented, impulsive and unintentional.

The state of the Adult mediates between the Parent and the Child.  It is not correcting nor controlling, nor is it indulging or reactive. 

We relate to our self from these states, but we also relate to others from one of these states.  In watching couples it is interesting to see the dynamics that marriages take on.  

The husband who comes home from work parking himself by the television for hours with a six-pack while his wife cooks the dinner and wrangles her small children in-between loads of laundry and cleaning, is operating from the state of his child. 

He is taking no real responsibility for what is going on in his home or the lives of his kids at that moment in time.  He is not stepping up and being a partner to his wife.

A wife will respond to her husband from her child, parent or adult state. 

The child in her would throw a tantrum or slam things and huff and puff. The nagging parent in her would correct and criticize` him. 

Ideally, she would go into an adult state which would not throw a fit nor nag nor correct.  An adult would share honestly and make a request without demanding.  An adult would continue to take mindful responsibility but not in a way that was judgmental or superior.   An adult would set boundaries where appropriate without trying to control.

Interactions may also start with parenting behaviors on one partner’s behalf.  Sometimes wives act childish and sometimes wives are parenting. 

We talked about a childish husband in this scenario, but in other couples its the husband barking orders and correcting his wife, who then might respond as a rebellious teenager, resisting,  overspending, overeating, indulging in social media or complaining. 

Although we want to blame our response on our partner, all of our feelings and behaviors start with what we are thinking. We are each responsible for our own thoughts, feelings and actions. We are not responsible for the other person’s actions.

We like to justify our actions by how our partner is behaving when really it is our thoughts about our partner’s behavior that determines how we feel.  We cannot change our partner, but we can change our thoughts, thus our feelings and actions in our relationship. 

The next time you think your husband is acting childish, consider what you are telling yourself about his behavior. 

Does that thought come from the voice of your inner parent, child or adult?  

Consider how you might respond to a co-worker or another adult acting the same way.  How do you want to think about your husband in a given situation?  Is your current thought serving you?

 

WHAT FEELING DO YOU CHOOSE TODAY?

If you can feel any emotion you wanted to in your marriage TODAY what would it be?

There are so many incredible feelings available to us that we can choose.

And yet, so often we choose bitterness, resentment, annoyed, or angry.

We have good reason.

He is acting stupid.

He never helps me.

He is always telling me what to do.

This is no fun.

Yet, the thing is, when we choose a thought that creates an unwanted feeling, we ONLY HURT OURSELVES.

Resentment and bitterness strangle the person having the feeling.  They choke you.  You quit thriving.

Anger and hurt drain. They steal. They don’t produce great results.

The person these feelings hurt is the person feeling them. Not the person being hated.

You can choose to feed any thought or feeling you want in your relationship, so why not choose love?

Love never fails.  It’s always a win. Love feels good.

You may think you are withholding love from another person, but really you are holding out on yourself. 

We can love someone no matter what. 

Even if they do not love us back. 

When we love someone, we get to experience that feeling.  The other person gets to experience their own feelings.

When you hate someone, that is an experience you are creating for yourself.  You experience it alone. 

What if you just loved on purpose?  Regardless if someone deserves it or wants your love? 

Love never fails.

YOU ARE THAT GIRL

Who doesn’t want to feel secure?

To know that everything is going to be okay and that you have all you need?

Sister, that security you long for…it is totally yours.

As a believer, the essence, the core of who you are is ALWAYS safe.  You are always provided for in abundance.

What in your mind do you value most? What consumes your energy and your time? Where is your hope?

What you feed in your heart is what grows within you.  Where your treasure is, there is your heart.

What thoughts and feelings are you feeding?  Is appeasing your flesh your priority or do you fuel the spirit residing inside of you?

When our treasure and heart are on things above, we experience the full joy of our salvation and what Christ has done for us.  We position ourselves to receive.

In this place, moths cannot destroy. Thieves cannot steal.   Waters cannot drown.  Pests cannot devour. Fire cannot consume.  Man cannot harm. 

Nothing and no one can rob you of your inheritance.  You are the daughter of a king. That is your identity.  It’s who you are. 

Secure.

You are loved.  You are chosen. God has plans for you.  He sees you.  He longs to prosper you and not to harm you.

When we know this is true, we can relax.  We can live in peace and joy.  We can love from a place of abundance.

Stay close to your Good Father.  Focus on Him. Ask him for wisdom and He will show you what to do. 

Man and circumstances may be unreliable, wavering and disappointing, but you have a constant, steady and reliable foundation. Sometimes we just lose sight of that.

TO HAVE A BETTER MARRIAGE YOU MUST BECOME A DIFFERENT PERSON

If you have been stuck in “relationship let down,”  indulge your imagination a  little bit.  Imagine your marriage as more satisfying and fulfilling than you currently believe it is. 

When we imagine a happier marriage, it will bring up all the obstacles that are currently blocking us from having it.

What comes up for you?

For most of us, what comes up is the things outside of our control.

  • Who are husband is (or isn’t).
  • The things he does (or doesn’t do).
  • How different we are from our spouse.

The first rule in creating a happier marriage is not to put your spouse changing as the result you are seeking.

That never works.  Believe me, I have tried and it only leaves you feeling helpless, powerless and frustrated.

The obstacles to your dream marriage are your feelings and actions, as well as the thoughts about your husband and circumstances.  What are you making his behavior mean?

Simply put, to be happier,  I must become a different person.  It is in this process of becoming that the real treasure is found. Even more so than the achieving of a happier marriage.

This, in and of itself,  is why I think we should aim for better relationships and lives.

Aspiring requires us to become the type of person who is willing to be exposed. 

Humility is required. 

Honest searching is in order.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns.  See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the way everlasting. ” (Psalms 139:23, 24).

When we aren’t puffed with pride or hiding in justification, we become free.

We step into  “redeemed”.

We are refined. 

The process of heart examination anchors us to depend and trust in our Creator and Redeemer.  We surprisingly find security and love as we volunteer our hearts.

We are no longer bracing ourselves or resisting others around us. That feels so amazing!

Additionally, moving toward a better relationship gives our brain structure and supervision.

Our brain is in many ways like an unsupervised child operating from a place of default.  When we are intentional in our pursuits, however, that deliberate concentration tells our brain what to do. 

When we move toward greater love, peace, and joy, we begin to do so from a place of abundance recognizing all that we already have.

The cool thing about pursuing a happier marriage in this manner is that you will become a better person in the process. It’s a win-win.

DOES YOUR MARRIAGE KEEP REPLAYING THE SAME GROUND HOG’S DAY?

The reason we stay in a marital rut is simple. It is because we repeat the efforts that are getting us our current experience.

The reason we keep repeating those efforts  is because of  how we feel.

And because of a sentence in our mind, we feel the way we do.

When we DO take action to get out of the rut, it is because of a new result we want to have.

We think we want something new and believe we can create it.

That thought creates a feeling which then drives our action or inaction.

If you are unhappy in your marriage or life and not taking action, it’s because of your current thought. 

Stop right now and find that thought.  What is it?

Now, what feeling is that thought causing?

You want to think your husband is causing that feeling, but it’s not true.

How you feel is ultimately determined by what you choose to think.

So how do you get unstuck? 

You change your thoughts.

You cannot change your thoughts if you are not even aware of what you are thinking.  And until you start paying attention, your thoughts will unintentionally run the show. 

Would you give a toddler a knife and let him run around the living room while you went to work?

Of course not!

Yet, that is what we do with our thoughts when we don’t manage them. Unintentional thinking starts running the show and then we act like we have no choice but to feel the way we are feeling. 

What do you want to feel? What would you need to feel to take action?  That feeling is yours. 

There are so many thoughts available to you. You get to manage the thoughts running around in your mind. 

Find the thought that creates the wanted feeling that leads to the desired action and that my friend is how you get out of a marital rut. 

10 Reasons To Rejoice No Matter What

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Who are you trying to please?

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What if you REALLY believed?

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True Confidence

We are drawn to confident people.  They seem to have something we all want. Self-confidence impacts how we explore the world and how we show up in our life and relationships.True confidence is based not on what you do, but who you perceive yourself to be and what you perceive yourself to possess.  Identity  is at the base of this confidence. And from that sense of identity comes the action you take or don’t take.  Its all about how secure you feel or don’t feel.&n […]

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This is the part where…

If your life was your favorite book or movie you would value every part.  It is each chapter and scene that make the story.You love a story not because it is linear, but because it has dimension.  It has ups and downs. It has a climax.  Drama. Humor. It has a scene where you think there is no hope, but then things take a twist.Lets start and fast forward through a classic movie and bullet point some notes:This is the part where she is struggling and takes desperate measures […]

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Nothing Has Gone Wrong

​I just got off a call with a client. She thought something was wrong with her because of persistent negative feelings about her marriage. She understood her thought perpetuated the feelings, and yet it felt dismissive the way she was applying that knowledge. She thought it meant she should just change her thought and feel better about things. She felt shame for the way she was feeling and the ways she was thinking. She wanted to perfectly manage her mind and for her marriage to be […]

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Why not Choose Unconditional Love?

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Rituals of Connection

Monday my husband and I will celebrate our 19th anniversary and take a 2 day stay-cation in the middle of a work week.  It isn’t  a long time and we have little planned, but we will be together. Our birthdays are 2 days apart in November, six months after our anniversary.  It has become our bi-annual ritual that we can count on. Every six months we send the kids to family or friends and take a short trip or keep it simple and stay in town.  Rituals of Connect […]

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The Process to Believing

Sometimes we get stuck in negative thought loops.  We know we are in one when we keep getting the same unwanted results over and over again.  This is part of the flesh, or the old man referenced in Romans 7, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”Sometimes we behave as though our actions “just are.”  In default mode, we never consider that our thought is the first domino in a series. When we start to believe new things, we change the results we get.& […]

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How to Think New Things

We can look at all our marriage problems in terms of thoughts, feelings, and actions. There are HERS. And there are HIS.   In a relationship, we each assess the other person’s actions based on our own thoughts. It is in our mind that we experience the other person.  The relationship is actually a figment of how you think about it. In this sense, the relationship exists independently in each of your heads. It feels great when your thoughts and feelings match up with som […]

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