By Ronda Nissley
Encompass Co Director
Well not really…. But the problem I have with Valentine’s Day is the emphasis on singling out one day a year to celebrate an inferior type of love with gifts, flowers, candy and goofy cards – things that have little to do with Real Love. (Unless your love language is gifts.)
In last week’s blog, Lavern highlighted three characteristics of real love as a way to recognize counterfeit love. Real, true love is unconditional, others-centered, patient and kind.
In contrast, counterfeit love looks quite different...
By Kermit Rowe
Encompass Relationship Facilitator
I’ve pastored for 18 years here in Springfield and ministered to couples as part of the Encompass Connection Center ministry for the past five. I’ve seen and witnessed the best and worst of intentions, passion that is both inspiring and misdirected, and communication that ranged from respectful to downright rude.
I’ve seen hundreds of couples come through our doors in my time here, and thousands have come to us for help. And I’ve noticed they fall into three major categories...
September's theme for our social media and blog posts is devotion/faithfulness. Kermit Rowe, one of our Relationship Facilitators shares about the skills needed for a lasting marriage, that many times are in short supply.
Devotion and faithfulness seem to be in short supply in our culture these days. So, when you see these two qualities alive and well in a lasting marriage, you’ve got to wonder what that couple has that about 50 percent of the couples who enter into holy matrimony don’t.
The September theme for our social media and blog posts is devotion/faith. Gina Craun and her family experienced the ultimate loss, but through it all maintained their faith and devotion to each other and to God. See where it's brought them in the following blog post by Gina.
This was my 3 year old daughter's bold and unquestioning response when I asked her what she learned in her class while I was in service one Sunday. I laughed and asked her what she meant and, without even looking up from the sucker she was trying desperately to unwrap, she informed me, “They said that Jesus lives in my heart… so I think right now He’s cookin’ in there.”
And you know what… I can’t disagree.
When our oldest son, Cainan, was 2 years old he was playing on the floor with his cars and seemed a bit sluggish. When I felt his body burning up again, with yet another fever that month, we took him to our family doctor to get some antibiotics. Little did we know that within 24 hours we would be packing overnight bags and be admitted to the closest children’s hospital. Within hours, our world was turned upside down and the word “leukemia” entered our daily vocabulary. Because of the strength his specific type of leukemia possessed, chemo alone was not going to be enough. We began prepping for a bone marrow transplant. A transplant that our oldest son at 2 would be receiving and our youngest son, at 11 months old, would be donating bone marrow for.
During this time I began an online journal. It was my goal to find God’s plan and purpose in each day and each step of our journey and share that hope and light with others. I found such encouragement in this because… you see what you look for. And I wanted to see what God was cooking up for our family through this.
By: Joe Kowalski
Owner/CEO Empowered Community Services
Most everyone can remember the panic, sudden jolt, and jarring pain of hitting the ground after their friend jumped off the teeter totter when we were kids.
Or that time when you were in a hurry to get home with the groceries. You’re late, it’s raining, and instead of making three trips into the house with the groceries in the rain, you try to carry all 37 bags at one time, only to slip on the pavement sending a week’s worth of groceries all over the garage floor.
What about this one? You are up against a deadline at work, going on 4 hours of sleep and you get a call at 5:30p from your spouse demanding “where are you?” With everything going on, you forgot to update your calendar with the kids’ recital that you are now going to miss.
These lessons on gravity, imbalance, and regret are hard to forget. Unbalanced objects, whether they be playground equipment, people, or the expectations of others, will always fall.
My wife and I have four children (3 high schoolers still at home,) a new grandson, 3 dogs, and I run my own small business. The demands on my time are many and balance becomes more and more difficult to maintain. By my own admission, I have a lot of work to do when it comes to balance in my life, but the following are a few pieces of advice I’ve come to cherish on this exceedingly difficult subject.
By Kermit Rowe
Encompass Relationship Facilitator
It really doesn’t make sense, does it? Couples will spend $10,000+ and a year or more planning their wedding but spend nothing to prepare for their marriage. This could be a dangerous and potentially destructive oversight. For this reason, from the start of our organization (in 2005) we asked local pastors to sign a pledge that they would not marry a couple unless they had premarital counseling or coaching. We, and many area pastors as it turns out, feel it is THAT important! So, as we dive deep into our theme of preparation for this month, looking at the advantages of premarital counseling and coaching is as natural for us as it is foundational.
By: Abby Glaser
Encompass Community Advocate
Spring is a time for new birth and new growth…and at the Encompass office it’s a time when we start getting calls from engaged couples preparing for their weddings! After fielding one of those calls recently I found myself thinking about what things I wish I would have been told before getting married. There were many misconceptions my husband and I had that we quickly found out were wrong! After 25 years together, I can confidently debunk the following ones!
By: Cindee Johnson, Encompass Relationship Coach
Chatting recently with a new bride, she was in awe to learn my husband and I are celebrating this month our 33rd anniversary. “Wow, 33 years! What’s your secret?” she asked.
If you have been married for any length of time, how would you respond to that newlywed’s question? Is the secret simply falling in love? Is it compromise? Having patience? Saying you’re sorry? Showing respect? Appreciating each other? Offering forgiveness? Laughing together?
By: Kermit Rowe, Encompass Relationship Facilitator
As a pastor who has performed countless wedding ceremonies, I’ve witnessed close-up the divine beauty of starry-eyed, committed couples making loving vows to each other and God that they intend to keep for a lifetime. It makes for lots of warm fuzzies and even more happy tears. However, working with struggling couples as a relationship coach for Encompass Connection Center, I’m convinced that they have been struck by a dreaded mental deficiency called “vow amnesia.”
It strikes without warning, often brought on by the onset of heated and/or unresolved conflict, difficult life challenges, situational disillusion, or flat-out bad moods. Momentarily taking leave of the macro view of their marriage, they give into the not-as-important-as-it-seems current disagreement. This leaves one wondering “Did I really say ‘I Do’ to ...”
Each week in November we'll be sharing stories from grateful couples who have seen their family trees forever changed through growing in relationship skills. This week we hear from Darnell and Bekah, participants in the RINGS Experience course for couples.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.