Thursday, January 29, 2009

National Marriage Week

National Marriage Week is February 7th - 14th. It is an opportunity to recommit to figuring out how to make your marriage work. If it is bad it can get good again and if it is good it can get better. In their book, One Good Year, Dave and Janet Congo suggest committing to live one good year of marriage with your LifeMate using these 12 commandments:

I commit on a daily basis to be an encouraging partner.

I commit to make intentional choices that enrich our marriage.

I commit to forgive and to be aware of my need for forgiveness.

I commit to practice awareness of my LifeMate on an ongoing basis.

I commit to protect the boundaries of our marriage.

I commit to connect in healthy ways on a daily basis.

I commit to making joy and laughter part of our relationship.

I commit on a daily basis to be a team player in our relationship.

I commit to making our spiritual relationship my highest priority.

I commit to making our sexual relationship satisfying, sensual, and spiritual.

I commit to establishing balance in my marriage.

I commit to leaving a significant and eternal legacy.

Consider what could happen in your marriage relationship if you commit to living by these commandments for a year.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Have You Loved Your Spouse Today?

People usually make it a point to celebrate birthdays, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day, but when it comes to celebrating marriage, somehow it just doesn’t show up at the top of the list. Marriage is like anything else in life….cars, plants, or your body, if you don’t do preventive maintenance a major overhaul could be on the horizon.

Unfortunately, instead of understanding that marriage has its ups and downs, many couples make the decision to throw in the towel during the low points when, in reality, their marriage could not only be saved, it has the potential to be really great. According to research conducted by Dr. Linda Waite from the University of Chicago, almost 80 percent of couples who were “very unhappy” in their marriages and agreed not to divorce described themselves as “very happy or quite happy” five years later. According to this research, permanent marital unhappiness is surprisingly rare among the couples who stick it out. For some couples asking for help feels like failure. Spouses often talk about pride getting in the way of seeking guidance or help. Yet going through with a divorce often makes people feel like the ultimate failure.

How many times have you heard a child say “I can do it myself!” as you stand off to the side thinking, “If only he would let me help, it would be so much easier.” Today we have a wealth of excellent resources from mentors to books, videos, enrichment classes, marriage friendly counselors and marriage retreat weekends. It is hard to comprehend why anybody would indignantly say, “I can do it myself!”

Friday, January 23, 2009

Inauguration Day

Our daughter just returned from the inauguration. While she described it as an amazing experience, I can tell you as the mom it was a bit nerve wracking. She arrived in Washington on Saturday, along with 16,999 other students. Her plane landed at 2 pm. Imagine my surprise when she called me at 6 pm and said she was still at the airport. At this point I decided to take action and started trying to communicate with the leadership of the group. At 8:30 I was fit to be tied. When I finally got a real live person on the line they acted shocked that she was still at the airport, but my daughter assured me that almost everybody was still at the airport and these people didn't have a clue.

Long story short, she finally checked into her hotel at 1:15 AM.

I say all of this to make the point that I do not consider myself to be a helicopter parent and I totally recognize that in just a couple of years our little girl will be off to college living somewhat independently of her parents. However, that did not stop me from thinking about the fact that if the arrival in DC was this disorganized, what will Inauguration Day be like when she is in the midst of more than a million people? Can I tell you my mind started running wild???????

This experience re-emphasized for me the importance of preparing our kids for these types of unexpected situations. If we had consistently solved problems for her she would not have been prepared.

So for all the times we have let her make mistakes and learn from those mistakes - even though it was hard not to step in and make things okay -it was worth it. Especially when we see her handle a situation like the inauguration trip where instead of freaking out, she kept her head about her and made some really good decisions.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I recently wrote an article about women who talk badly about their husbands behind their back to other women. I honestly was shocked at the response I received from men all over the world. Here is the part that seemed to resonate with them:

I honestly don’t think women spend much time thinking about how they treat their husbands.

One man wrote, "I really don't think we are as selfish and incompetent as our wives make us out to be. We just don't do things exactly the way she thinks they ought to be done.

I interviewed therapist and author Michele Weiner Davis for this article. She agreed that this is a huge issue in many marriages and cited this example:

A few years ago she was facilitating a group of women who wanted to improve their marriages. As the evening progressed she noted that it started to feel like a male-bashing session. Wives were saying things like, ‘I feel like I have another child.’ ‘My husband never does anything to help.’ After listening for a few minutes she asked these ladies this question, ‘If your husband were here and you weren’t, would he say you are more complimentary or critical of him?' Weiner Davis said it was as if a light bulb went on for many of the wives. One woman said she recently returned home to see that her husband had mowed their 3 acre spread and her only comment was, ‘you missed a spot under the tree.’

Wouldn't it be nice if we were intentional about talking about all of the things husbands do right? Sometimes it is really easy to get caught up in petty stuff and that can wreak havoc in your marriage.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Championship Fathers

I am sooo excited about hearing Carey Casey, CEO of the National Center for Fathering speak at our Championship Fathering event next Thursday. He is mesmerizing when he speaks. He is not only a father, but a ferocious advocate for children and fathers. You can so clearly hear this man's heart when he speaks about the importance of fathers being involved in the lives of their children. I consider it an honor to call him friend and a co-laborer in our work to build strong families.

I hope you will encourage the men in your life who are involved in the lives of children or will be involved in the lives of children, to attend Championship Fathering. This is an event they will not want to miss! Guaranteed!!!!

For more information visit

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Involved Fathers

Did you know that there are 65 million fathers in America and many of them are not involved in the lives of their children. Studies indicate that 27 million children will go to bed tonight without their biological father in the home.

Growing up I was such a Daddy's girl. He could say "jump" and I would ask, "How high?" I often wonder if Dads really know how much they impact their children when they are engaged in their lives.

Imagine what it would be like if all dads were intentional about being involved in the lives of their children. Research commissioned by The National Center for Fathering showed three key fundamentals of a Championship Father: loving, coaching and modeling. To truly make a difference in our culture, fathers also need to encourage other children, and enlist other dads to join the Championship team.

I recently heard someone say that women take their relationship with their father to the grave. In other words, following up from my last post, fathers parent, they don't babysit. The relationship they have or don't have with their children impacts the lives of their children forever.

What can we do to help more fathers be engaged in the lives of their children?

Monday, January 12, 2009


Do fathers parent or babysit?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tough Economic Times

So here's the biggest thing I have noticed about not having television. I don't walk around all day worrying like Chicken Little that the sky is falling. It seems like everywhere I turn people are talking doom and gloom about the economy and what is going to happen. It is like folks have been brainwashed and that is all they can think about. Are things bad? There is no question we are going through a tough time, but we have all been through tough times before. But, if we are constantly thinking about how bad it is and operate out of a state of fear, how does that help us or anybody around us?

Maybe this is the time to reflect on the fact that we are so blessed compared to the rest of the world. Our children have the opportunity to go to school. We have access to so many services and it is often times like these that bring out the generosity of even those that seemingly have nothing left to give.

One of my favorite sayings is "Garbage in garbage out" The more I let myself take in a bunch of unfiltered junk the more my mind gets weighed down thinking about all that junk. So I have made a conscious decision to stay informed about current issues BUT on my terms.

I have spent time talking with people who experienced the Great Depression and one of the themes I hear over and over again was it brought us together. We had to work together to survive. I'm thinking that isn't such a bad thing!

If these hard economic times bring couples and families closer and create an environment where friends and even strangers learn that we can depend on each other then that would be a really good thing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Time Together

Okay - so you might think that we did nothing, but watch television when we were home, but that is not true. We actually watched very little television, which is why I think all of us were so shocked at how much additional time we had on our hands when we turned off the television.

So what exactly did we do with all this extra time?????

We spent a lot more time doing things together as a family - like talking about current events, taking the dogs on a walk, working outside in the yard or reading the same book and then discussing it. I even noticed that I actually enjoyed the quiet instead of the background chatter while I was cooking dinner. Yes, I do cook most nights. Surprise, surprise!

Studies indicate that today's young people spend more time watching television (15,000 hours) than they do in school (11,000 hours). During an average year, American youth are exposed to:

-More than 14,000 sexual references
-Between 1,000 and 2,000 alcoholic beverage commercials
-More than 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence
-Approximately 20,000 commercials

I think that most of us don't even realize the things that tend to rob us of real quality time with our spouse and kids. This television thing was a real eye opener for me. I am curious to know other things you have identified that rob us of family time? Any thoughts??

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Turning Off Your Television.....

Last January we accepted a challenge from a family friend to turn off our television. I think all of us had our doubts about how this was going to go, but ultimately were very surprised. Initially I missed having the television on in the background while getting ready for work or cooking dinner. After a few weeks I was honestly amazed at how peaceful our home was.
I realized I was hearing birds outside my window in the morning as I was getting ready for work instead of news of rape, murder, war, the election and other tragic events that were repeated at least five times. Instead of starting out the day feeling bogged down about all that was bad in the world, I felt positive about life. I was shocked at the difference in how I felt.

We have had our television off for a year and I am pleased to report not only have we survived, we have actually enjoyed it.

People tell me all the time how crazy their schedules are and how disconnected they feel from family members. I wonder what would happen if they took a time out from television or even limited the amount they watched? My daughter was shocked at how much more time she had on her hands.

At the end of six months we had a family meeting about turning the television on again. Our daughter’s response was, “I think we should keep it off until I graduate from high school. I have too many other things I need to do.” Sweet!

So you may be wondering if we are going to turn the television back on in 2009. If our daughter and I have our way the answer is No! However, some people in our household -no names - would like to watch sports.......

Are you up for the challenge?