Restoring an Estranged Father Son Relationship

4 reasons for restoration

My children know little more about their grandfather than his name. That’s because my father and I have been estranged for many years. Years of anger and bitterness have allowed me to convince myself it’s best we part ways. However, parenting my own children convicts me of the need to restore our father son relationship.

Restoring an Estranged Father Son Relationship

An addiction to alcohol has driven a wedge between the two of us that has caused us to live completely separate lives though we live only a forty-five minutes’ drive from each other. I’ve witnessed the incredible influence and hold alcohol can have on a person. I don’t understand the addiction to alcohol, but I know it is real. I’ve lived through the abuse an alcohol addiction can inflict on family and friends.

Protected somewhat by my parents’ divorce at a young age, I’m one of the lucky few capable of breaking the generational cycle alcoholism tends to exhibit. I live my life in total abstinence from alcohol; primary because it truly scares me. I could likewise become a nonfunctioning alcoholic. Additionally, I believe the Bible offers very serious warning and commands to stay away from “strong drink.”

However, a major downside to my defiance against alcohol is the divide I’ve allowed it to cause in my relationship with my father. Now, I’m certainly not saying abstinence from alcohol is a bad thing. Rather, I’m saying I never should have let this separate my father and me. Likewise, I’m not saying I condone my father’s abuse of alcohol. We can have a good relationship regardless of our differing opinions regarding alcohol.

But I mentioned that my children brought about this conviction related to my relationship with my father. What do they have to do with it?

079 – 6 Friendships To Eliminate Quickly

And how to eliminate them

Welcome to episode 79 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will discuss how to identify the friendships you need to eliminate from you life.

6 Friendships To Eliminate Quickly

Friendships can be a very positive aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, they can also be negative influences on us. Today’s podcast will help you identify six different friendships that will influence you in a negative manner. It is critical that we identify these friendship and remove them from our life.

Ending a friendship may seem like a bad thing, but not these friendships. Whether we recognize it or not, these types of friendship are bad for us. In many ways, these friendships hold us back or lead us down paths we never would have otherwise taken. While it may be difficult, ending these friendships are for the best.

Lastly, we’ll discuss exactly how to eliminate these friendships. Again, it’s difficult, but it can be done in a loving and gentle way.

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Your Greatest Need In Marriage

It isn’t what you think

I’ve been told that a person’s greatest need is to be loved. I’ve even been told that being loved is the greatest reason to endure the struggles of marriage. Maybe you’ve heard similar statements. Maybe, like me, you’ve felt those statements were lacking in some way. It’s because they aren’t true. Your greatest need, especially in marriage, isn’t to be loved. Your greatest need in marriage is actually the exact opposite.

Your Greatest Need In Marriage

I’ve discovered a biblical truth I believe the church has led me astray from. Now in fairness, the church usually describes a person’s need to be loved in regard to their need for a loving God. In the context of a person’s soul, certainly their greatest need is for a loving God to extend grace and forgiveness of sin for the purpose of salvation. But does a similar need to be loved extend to our marriage?

For years now, I’ve lived my married life under the assumption I have this great need to be loved. If I felt our marriage relationship wasn’t what I wanted it to be, it must be because my wife wasn’t loving me appropriately. She wasn’t sharing love with me according to my love language. Or she was simply too busy with the kids to devote time to me.

Trouble is, I still feel a lacking in our relationship even when she is intentional to devote time to me and love me according to my love language. If my greatest need is to be loved by my wife, why do I still feel like something is missing when I know she loves me?

It’s because I’ve been missing my greatest need in marriage for all these years. My greatest need, and your’s too, isn’t to be loved.

078 – Determination To Avoid Divorce

It isn’t the same as a determination to stay married

Welcome to episode 78 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will discuss the difference between a determination to avoid divorce and a determination to stay married.

Determination To Avoid Divorce

Married couples may exhibit a tremendous commitment to the marriage. But is that always a good thing? At times the commitment is solely based a determination to avoid divorce. Obviously, avoiding divorce is a good thing. So how could this determination be bad?

I see a growing number of couples that are fully devoted to keep their marriage out of divorce court. However, they are completely miserable in their marriage relationship. This seems to happen more among church going couples. It seems the pressure to present as a wonderful marriage and family forces them keep the marriage together.

This commitment to avoid divorce is completely different from a commitment to stay married. A commitment to stay married drives a person to do whatever it takes to make the marriage relationship better. Dedication to stay married motivates a person to do whatever it takes to increase the happiness and oneness within the relationship.

While a determination to avoid divorce is good, a determination to stay married is better. You don’t have to live in misery. No matter what has happened in the past, you can have a marriage that makes you both happy. Episode 78 of the podcast will further define the difference and equip you to stay married. Enjoy.

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Is Marriage Worth It?

8 reasons marriage is worth the hassle

I’ve been there. I’ve thought to myself on multiple occasions; “man, this marriage thing is difficult. Is marriage worth it?” Every marriage will face this question at some point. Unfortunately, many will determine the answer to be no.

Is Marriage Worth It?

I’ll spare you the details of what got me to the point of asking myself if my marriage was worth the hassle. The details don’t really matter. It could be a huge argument, a series of small arguments, pet peeves with your spouse, or something as serious an infidelity. Whatever gets you to the point of asking if your marriage is worth it, the answer is a resounding yes.

The actions needed to re-establish a happy and healthy marriage are very much dependent on the details. A physically abusive relationship requires entirely different steps for restoration than does a couple with unresolved pet peeves. This article isn’t intended to give you steps to restorations, but rather to convince you that it’s worth taking whatever steps necessary.

077 – Marriage Or Kids First?

Overcoming the conflict parents have about top priority

Welcome to episode 77 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will answer the question of which is more important, your spouse or your children.

Marriage of Kids First?

Married couples are often told the marriage relationship must be the top priority in their lives; aside from a relationship with Christ. There is typically no problem with this until that couple has children. Parents find themselves conflicted when it comes to making the marriage a priority over there children. Quilt trips like loving your children less, neglecting their needs, or not providing opportunities other kids have will plaque even the best of parent. The Bible does tell us to prioritize our marriage over our children. But what does that really look like. We’ll discuss exactly how that should play out in today’s podcast episode.

We’ll cover the notion that loving our spouse more means we love our children less. We’ll also explain why placing the marriage as priority over your infant child isn’t the same as neglecting their needs. Finally, providing your teenagers with everything that every other teenager has or allowing them to do what all the other kids do doesn’t have to take priority over your marriage. If the children have robbed your marriage of its priority, tune in today to find out how you can get your marriage back where it belongs.

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How To Get Off The Marriage Roller Coaster

Roller coasters are fun at the amusement park; not in marriage

We stood in line for our specialty ice cream near the conclusion of a spectacular date night. It was there Jennifer made a statement that delivered a significant sting. “Tonight has been great, but I’m not real optimistic that it will last,” she said. She expected that the marriage roller coaster would quickly bring us down from the happiness high we were experiencing that evening.

How To Get Off The Marriage Roller Coaster

That particular date night, Jennifer and I were able to honestly and calmly discuss the current state of our marriage relationship. The calm discussion allowed both of us to better understand the other’s viewpoints on issues. Likewise, it offered the opportunity to make plans that could eliminate some of our relationship challenges.

However, the harsh reality was identified in Jennifer statement. We were able to have a meaningful discussion while enjoying a great dinner, a peaceful environment, absent of kids and parenting duties. What would happen when we returned home? What would happen after the weekend; when the rigors of work and school consumed so much of us?

The stress free and meaningful dinner represents the short, calm pause at the top of a roller coaster. There you can see clearly across the amusement park. There you can feel the cool breeze even on the hottest of summer days. There you can actually feel the adrenaline course through your body in preparation for all the excitement soon the follow. Roller coasters are fun at the amusement park; not in marriage.

After the short pause at the top, the roller coaster plummets back to the earth with speeds that locks your head against the head rest. If you’re lucky, the roller coaster will navigate the following peaks & valleys without giving you whiplash. All that violent up and down is considered fun by so many.

The marriage roller coaster, however, often damages more than just your neck. The marriage roller coaster impacts your heart. The drastic shifts between highs and lows in a marriage relationship create a discouraged heart. Ups and downs in a marriage relationship are inevitable. Let’s consider how we can modify the Goliath sized marriage roller coaster into the smooth and consistent carousel.

What To Do When Divorce Is Imminent

And well before divorce is close at hand

I recall asking my wife if she ever considered divorcing me. Her answer was all too quick, all too certain, and all too negative. “Oh, yes. I was ready to divorce you during my pregnancy.” Now years removed, I knew we had difficult times. But I didn’t realize we came so close to divorce. Upon reflection of her answer, I had to ask myself a question. What should I do when divorce is imminent.

What To Do When Divorce Is Imminent

My wife was referencing her second pregnancy that would deliver our third child. A third child that would be born before our oldest child turned three years old. To be clear, our first child is biological and our second is adopted. Very soon after the arrival of our adopted son, we discovered we would soon be a three child family.

I could easily chalked up her divorce response to the hormones raging in her body, the discomfort and lack of sleep she experienced during pregnancy, and the chaos of balancing career with two small children. However, that would be a mistake on my part. Yes, those things contributed to her feeling the need to escape her life situation at the time, but it was my lack of care and nurture that exacerbated her feelings of despair.

Discovering I can so close to divorce, I forced myself to evaluate my performance as a husband and father. I forced myself to pretend divorce was yet again imminent for us. By acting as if my wife was prepared to sign papers, I had to become very intentional with my actions to win her back. Now several years later, I’ve had to play this game of pretend on a few occasions just to ensure we don’t venture that close to divorce again.

So what did my self evaluation uncover? What should I do when divorce is imminent?

076 – Why I Stopped Trying To Fix My Marriage

And why you should stop also

Welcome to episode 76 of the REAL Men Podcast. This podcast will challenge, encourage, and equip us to be God’s man at home. In today’s episode, we will discuss why I stopped trying to fix my marriage.

Why I Stopped Trying To Fix My Marriage

Every marriage has struggles and challenges. Every spouse would like to make changes to the relationship and the other spouse. We spend tremendous effort to make changes and fix our marriage. But maybe we’re doing it all wrong. Maybe we should just stopy trying to fix our marriage.

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5 Techniques To Overcome Offenses In Marriage

If you are offended, that’s your problem

Have you been offended by your spouse? I know; you need me to qualify that question a bit. Okay. Have you been offended by your spouse this week? Offenses in marriage can be a harsh reality. This article will describe 5 techniques to overcome offenses in marriage.

5 Techniques To Overcome Offenses In Marriage

It is often the case that those we love the most hurt us the most. The pain we feel when offended by a spouse in usually magnified as a byproduct of the love and devotion we have for them. A harsh word that offends us will hurt very differently if it comes from a coworker, for instance. Our spouse can use the exact same word and it hurts so much more.

I pride myself on having thick skin and being difficult to offend. When introduced to new people, they will often ask me if I prefer to be called Michael or Mike. My response is always the same. “Either is fine with me, I’ve been called much worse than both.” You just don’t navigate the basketball court, football field, baseball diamond, and US Marine Corps without receiving a little disparaging name calling.

From a 6’6” center that outweighed me by fifty pounds to drill instructors that enjoy emphasizing the impact of their words by pounding the brim of the campaign cover against your forehead, I’ve received many offensive comments. But none hurt like offensive comments that come from my wife. Those quickly penetrate the thick skin and erode my inner manhood.

When offended by our spouse, we experience heightened levels of reaction to the offense. Anger boils to the point of eruption. Emotions swirl to the point of hysterics. Pain lingers to the point of isolation or depression.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s look at five techniques to overcome those times we are offended by our spouse.