By Kermit Rowe
A recent daily email for married couples from legendary marriage ministry FamilyLife called “I Do Every Day” posed a question that caught my attention. It asked: “How good are you at listening to your spouse?”
Huh? (just kidding, LOL)
Seriously, if we’re honest, most of us would answer that question by grading how good we think we are at listening to our other half. And our answer would probably be more favorable than the actual truth.
The truth is that listening to our spouse is hard work, and the more we put into it the more we will get back. Getting in the way is our overbearing desire to be heard, to a point where it drowns out what our spouse is saying while we are focused on formulating what we are going to say next.
The fix? The power of the extra question!
By Lavern Nissley
Practical jokes and pranks are what April 1 is known for. Kinda fun to lure people into thinking something unbelievable is true, and then exclaiming, "April Fools!" One comes to expect good-natured pranks on this day, but what if we shifted the terrain a bit? What if we could identify some pretty foolish things, and then NOT do them in April? What if we narrowed the list of foolish items to relationships? Maybe this is what would emerge . . .
By Tessa Stump
We’ve all been there.
It’s 3 o’clock.
You’re sitting in the office, and that turkey sandwich you had for lunch has long since worn off. Your tummy is grumblier than Winnie the Pooh without his honeypot. Then you see it…the vending machine. And inside that giant metal box of empty calories is the Pop Tart.
Normally you would never go for that Pop Tart. It’s just not good for you. It’s full of sugar and artificial flavors, it has no substantial energy source, and let’s face it – they don’t even taste that good. So, why do you want that Pop Tart so bad?
By Abby Glaser
It’s hard to believe we’re nearing a year of life in a pandemic! What started for many of us as a temporary adjustment has become a new way of life. This is especially evident in the distribution of labor for many couples with children! With our children doing virtual school, I became responsible for overseeing the education of our children while trying to work from home. I began to burn out quickly, lashing out in frustration at everyone in our household. I wasn’t alone in that. Research shows that women are three times as likely to report suffering from significant mental health consequences due to covid. Women also account for 80% of those who have left the workforce in the past year. We quickly realized that how we had always done things wasn’t going to work and we had to start from scratch in the division of labor. Here are a couple of ways we have done that!
By Kermit Rowe
The finale of Encompass Connection Center’s recent Valentine’s Day virtual Gala, attended by 126 supporters and beneficiaries of our 16-year-old relationship ministry, featured staff member Jenny Hamilton and her husband, Mike, doing a touching rendition of the wildly successful worship song “The Blessing.”
It led me to think deeply about the blessing of holy matrimony, and what the Bible says about it. Obviously, the blessing of having my wife Nancy in my life the past 40 years quickly came to mind. She has been a constant blessing. But I also know that the word “blessing” is used so loosely in today’s culture, that its true meaning can easily be cheapened or even lost.
By Lavern Nissley
In early October of 2020 as a client couple was wrapping up the final session in the RINGS course, the husband asked an intriguing question: "Do you have a RINGS quick reference guide to help us remember all of the skills and insights we've learned. We don't want to forget what we've just completed."
"What a great idea!" I responded. Since its launch in May, 2007, RINGS has been experienced by thousands of couples. And this was the first time such a request had ever been voiced.
What could we develop for completing couples to post on their refrigerators or bathroom mirrors? What you'll see below is the final outcome - with much appreciation to Joe Candio for the initial idea.
By Jenny Hamilton
I might be odd, but I like the new normal of meeting with people virtually! I’m an introverted, shy techie who enjoys trying new ways of doing things! I also enjoy people but am most comfortable being alone. Virtual fits me perfectly! (Yes, my poor husband often has trouble getting me to connect with him when we’re “in person”.)
So what’s the status of my “in-person” relationships? I think they’re getting better! Why? Because, believe it or not, during my virtual encounters I’m often reminded of some very important truths about relationships. Here are some favorites of what I like to call …“My Virtual Presents."
By Kermit Rowe
I like to call it “The Flip.” It is as unnatural as it is powerful. But if a couple can make “The Flip,” then the future growth of their relationship and happiness takes an upward trajectory.
What I am speaking of is a change of focus in our relationship. If we are honest, when we enter a relationship with a significant other, we do so with the expectation that this person will make us happier in our life. We love them, but a big component of that love often is how that person makes us feel. But what if we changed our approach, turning to a divine truth to transform our relationship and home?
By Lavern Nissley
So, how’s that for a blog post title just over a week before the day of love? Yet, it truly reflects my heart on the emphasis of singling out one day a year for an inferior type of love that has a truly bizarre origin.
Go ahead, please click through to hear me out. Then watch the brief video at the end about a Virtual Date Night we're planning for couples February 14, 7-8 pm.
By Cindee Johnson
“We need to register for this marriage workshop,” I told Dave as I handed him a RINGS brochure. “Not because WE need it,” I confidently assured him. “I just don’t feel right referring couples in my congregation if we haven’t attended ourselves.” Dave nodded in agreement.
And, we both were wrong.
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.