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Showing posts from January, 2019

Play’s The Thing!

Paul: Anyone who knows us, knows that we’re not going to go down in history for our sense of spontaneity and silliness. We’re serious people. But some years ago good friends of ours encouraged us to take a break from the consistent seriousness and make time for play. They said playfulness in our marriage can help us keep some perspective when the trials of daily life get us down. Steph: This was an eye opener for us. Play? Really? I wondered how exactly were we supposed to become more playful?   What would that look like? We decided to start by being more intentional about our playfulness.   Here are some of the things we came up with. Paul: We began playing more board games as a family. While things can get competitive, more often than not we wind up laughing and teasing about the sculpture or drawing one of us made during a round of Cranium. In fact, our kids now buy us board games as gifts so we can play them when we are together.   And we enjoy playing them when it
Good Grief Learning how to grieve as a couple has been a process.   Ten years ago, we stumbled through intense grief together for the first time when Mel’s Dad died.    Together we learned to navigate the memories, tears, and the occasional meltdown. When Mel’s Dad passed, it was a tough time.   While I was sad to lose my father-in-law, we weren’t especially close and my grief was nowhere near as intense as Mel’s.   Seeing my wife frequently break down into uncontrollable tears was so difficult.   There was very little I could do to help, and trying to console her surely didn’t make everything better.   I realized Mel needed to grieve in her own way.   All I could do was be there for her when she needed me: to listen, give a hug, buy groceries, make meals, etc.   Mel was really hurting and I was ready to carry the load for the two of us.   It was painful to see my usually bright, vibrant wife in such a dark, dismal place. Dad had died the week before Christmas, so I (Mel)

Lovemaking in the Context of Healing

A wonderful aspect of our lovemaking is the emotional bonding that is such a gift to our relationship. This intimate bonding can enable healing after conflict and even in the midst of conflict.  Lovemaking can be like a dance, one may pursue while the other hesitates.  Often I find lovemaking opens me to intimacy while Mary Frances finds she needs to experience intimacy to be open to lovemaking.  The "dance" is meeting enough in the middle that this mystery can continue to enrich our marriage. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pendleton Lovemaking is especially touchy when we are emotionally distant or when there is hurt in our relationship.  Even though we clearly valued the advice in our last post, we managed to get tangled up in the hectic pace of the holidays and the craziness of the season.  I thoroughly enjoyed time with family, but after they left I began to feel lonely and out of sync with Tom.  Our usual rhythms were upset and the stress of returning to work complicated

Is It Wrong To Feel This Way?

Have you ever felt a certain way and felt guilty about it? Before condemning ourselves, we have to acknowledge one thing: feelings are neither right nor wrong. Feelings have no morality, they just happen spontaneously, like a sneeze. If I feel angry or jealous or whatever, having the feeling  is not the problem. It's what I choose to do with the feeling (my actions) that can be right or wrong. Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash    Here's one example: It was Friday night after a very long week, and I (Ken) had planned to kick back, relax, and watch a movie. That day, Janine had talked to some friends and arranged to get together. When I found out that my evening of relaxation was not going to happen, I felt angry. (There's my feeling - it's not right or wrong. It's about what I choose to do with it.) Usually, this would lead to an argument, but I stopped myself. I thought about what Janine had done and why she had done it. She wanted to encourage and support