Power of Gratitude

It isn’t just for the Thanksgiving holiday

The power of gratitude seems to be well known these days. However, gratitude is seldom practiced. Why do so many people neglect this simple practice when it has so many benefits?

Gratitude has been proven to increase happiness, health, productivity, relationships, and so much more. Gratitude isn’t exactly a magic pill easily taken with a glass of water, but it is rather simple to practice. In this article, I’ll share with you a few of the many benefits of gratitude and how you can easily incorporate gratitude into your daily life.

Let’s first talk about the benefits.

098 – 4 Ways To Maintain Your Marriage

A well maintained marriage is a happy marriage

Welcome to episode 98 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss how to properly maintain your marriage.

My dad was a mechanic, so proper maintenance of anything with an engine was simply non-negotiable. As I matured through my teenage years and into driving, Dad taught me all in details needed to properly maintain my car. I hated it, but it has turned out to be a very valuable skill over the years.

Marriage isn’t really any different than an automobile when it comes to maintenance. Every marriage requires proper maintenance. In today’s podcast, I share with you 4 ways to properly maintain your marriage.

Also in this episode – email question
From: Dennis

I recently listened to podcast episode 75 regarding communication. I was hoping you would address how to communicate when one spouse doesn’t want to talk. I often ask my wife if everything is ok and she simply replies with fine. I know something is wrong, but she doesn’t want to talk about it. How would you suggest I handle her response?

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6 Reasons She Is So Stressed

And how you can reduce it

I violated my own advice and wisdom I’ve supposedly learned from past bad experiences. I opened up the subject at the exact moment we were lying down in bed. A good night’s sleep was just about to slip through my fingers and, worse, I was about to ensure Jennifer didn’t sleep that night as well. For some stupid reason, I opened up the subject of Jennifer’s stress level right at bedtime.

The argument that ensued and the awkwardness in our relationship over the next few days caused me to consider the reasons for my wife’s stress level. Over our twenty-three year marriage, we’ve dealt with high stress on several occasions. My self-reflective nature kicked into high gear as I considered the reasons for Jennifer’s stress.

I’ve identified six areas of our relationship that I’ve contributed to Jennifer’s high-stress level. I’m certain there are more areas, but let’s just start with these six. I share these from experience, not hypothetical conjecture.

I’m going to speak in a very direct manner in this article for the sake of clarity for my male readers. Guys, I’m not trying to be rude or judgmental. I’m just trying to be clear, because “to be unclear is to be unkind.” -@DaveRamsey

Your wife is so stressed because…

097 – Real Men Connect

Interview with Dr. Joe Martin

Welcome to episode 97 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss how real men can connect with other real men.

I’m honored to share with you an interview I had with Dr. Joe Martin. Dr. Martin is an award-winning international speaker, author, educator, and certified “man builder.” He’s authored or co-authored nine books, including Are you the Man: 201 Lessons I Wish My Dad Would Have Taught Me, The Real Man Spiritual Leader Blueprint, and Gifts & Handkerchiefs: A Lesson in Servant Leadership. Joe has spoken to more than 750 businesses, organizations, churches, colleges & universities, and K-12 schools/districts, and he was voted “National Speaker of the Year” by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities. He’s also the host of “Real Men Connect,” the #1 top-rated podcast on iTunes for Christian Men. To find out more about his remarkable story of redemption from abject poverty, abandonment, abuse, and addiction, visit him on the web at www.RealMenConnect.com.

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096 – Should A Christian Drink

My personal story

Welcome to episode 96 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss the question of should a Christian drink.

This isn’t my typical podcast episode at all. You will notice the difference from the very beginning. I know it’s a touchy topic that offends many, but I hope you’ll listen to my personal story and know that I share it with love – not judgment or condemnation.

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7 Steps to Forgiveness

Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it is possible

Forgiveness is always more difficult than an apology. It seems so unfair, but in addition to being hurt, the offended spouse is responsible for the most difficult aspect of restoration – forgiveness.

While having breakfast with a mentor, we entered into a discussion about alcohol. I don’t recall how we got onto the subject, but I certainly remember how it ended. During the discussion, he asked me about my thoughts or feelings about should a Christian consume alcohol. I gave him the same answer I’ve offered probably hundreds of times.

“I’m a total abstainer. I believe I have biblical grounds for such a stance, but more practically I avoid alcohol because my dad is an alcoholic and it scares me.” As usual, this response invoked a few more questions about my dad and my biblical support for abstinence. But it was the final question my mentor asked that haunted me for months. “Have you forgiven your dad,” he asked.

“Umm, well… I think I have,” was my sheepish answer.

It took me months, but I was finally able to work through these 7 steps of forgiveness. This forgiveness has enabled me to begin rebuilding a better relationship with my dad. These steps of forgiveness will certainly help you restore your marriage relationship as well.

095 – Marriage Expectations

Unrealistic and Unmet

Welcome to episode 95 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss unrealistic and unmet marriage expectations.

Shortly after the honeymoon, every couple begins to encounter the unrealistic and unmet marriage expectations they brought to the wedding. The expectations are seldom recognized as unrealistic. Therefore, they become destructive to the marriage relationship as they continue to go unmet. This podcast will cover many of the common expectations we have about marriage, debunk them, and share how you can keep them from hindering your relationship.

Also in this episode – email question
From: Steve

How do you ensure you don’t bring work home with you?

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Complete Apology

Final elements of apology

So many apologies inside a marriage fall short. Maybe the apology is sincere and unconditional, but that isn’t enough. A complete apology establishes a restoration of the relationship, not just expresses remorse or sorrow.

In many of my opportunities to apologize to my wife, I’ve often fallen woefully short of completing the apology that results in restoration of our marriage relationship. It’s important to understand every offense creates a division in the marriage relationship. The offense may be small, therefore the division is small, but over time the relationship can really struggle from death by a thousand cuts.

A complete apology is the only resolution to the divisions created by offenses. Time can enable us to somewhat forget about offenses, but time will never remove the divide created by an offense. These divisions in a marriage relationship can only be removed by an unconditional and sincere apology that includes these final three elements.

094 – The Reason For Every Marriage Argument

Eliminate arguments from your marriage by understanding this root cause

Welcome to episode 94 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss the root cause of every marriage argument.

Every marriage experiences arguments. Some marriages are plagued with constant and severe arguments.

There is hope for an argument free marriage. Couples can begin the process of eliminating arguments from their relationship by understanding the root cause of their arguments.

In today’s podcast, we will identify the root cause of marital arguments and help you remove the constant arguments from your relationship.

Also in this episode – email question
From: Tim

How do I convince my wife she needs to make time for herself? Rather than devote everything to our children.

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Art of Apology in Marriage

Apology is becoming a lost art, especially in marriage

I’ve done it so much in our twenty-three-year marriage you’d think I’d be an expert by now. However, I still struggle with genuine apologies in my marriage. Unfortunately, an apology is an art, not a science that can be repeated with predictable results.

In one case, I found myself in the situation that I owed Jennifer a sincere apology. I had messed up big. My mistakes had put her in a lonely and stressful situation. I was grossly neglecting my responsibilities as a husband. Additionally, I was abdicating all parenting activities to her. She was in the all too common position of having a negligent husband and absent father.

It took a pivotal moment and gut-wrenching conversation with Jennifer to open my eyes to my mistakes. I had made the mistake of putting other really good activities before my family. The church became my stumbling block. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not suggesting church is a bad thing. My mistake with the church was allowing it to so infiltrate my personal calendar that I had no time or energy remaining for my marriage or family.

That pivotal and gut-wrenching conversation with Jennifer came at a time I was trying to commit to even more activities within the church. Through her tears, Jennifer was finally able to get me to understand how badly I was failing as a husband and father. She didn’t call me a miserable failure, but I finally realized the mistakes I was making and how badly they damaged my family. I felt like a miserable failure.

Upon this realization, I really had only one option. Apologize. Let me share with you the elements of a proper apology. The elements won’t turn an apology into a science, but they will remove much of the mystery in the art of apology.