Why Do We Treat Strangers Better Than Family?

It’s common behavior, but it doesn’t have to be

I’ve watched it happen in our family numerous times. We are caught up in a heated argument among ourselves one second, then smiling, shaking hands, and cordially greeting near strangers the next second. As I’ve witnessed this behavior in our family, I ask why do we treat strangers better than family?

Believe it or not, this is a common and explainable phenomenon. Every marriage relationship will eventually experience the reality of being more polite and pleasant with strangers than the spouse. Parents will tend to be more patient and caring of other children over their own.

Let me share a couple quick examples in my own life. Consider the Sunday morning routine in our home. Church for us begins at 9:30 am. No one in our family is particularly high maintenance and require exorbitant amounts of time to get ready for church. Yet, we often find ourselves rushing across town to get there on time.

I have no patience for being late. Well, let’s revisit that statement in just a moment. My frustration with running late leads to a fierce argument on the drive to church. I’m barking orders at the kids to hurry to their respective areas of the church. Jennifer and I have begun a downward spiral of harsh words that only mutual repentance and forgiveness can help.

But then we arrive at the church. As we stroll across the parking lot into the church, we smile and ever so pleasantly greet everyone we encounter. I even cheerfully great those couples that arrive late to our group Bible study. Clearly, my impatience with tardiness only applies to my family. Similarly, I find myself listening intently and conversing deeply with small children I hardly know. I then rise to my feet and give the command to my own children, “get in the van, it’s time to go!”

The explanation of this common behavior is rather simple. It isn’t that our spouse or children have so drastically changed over time that we now loathe them.

093 – Overcoming Negative Beliefs

What they are, where they come from, & how to overcome them

Welcome to episode 93 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss overcoming negative beliefs in your relationships.

Negative beliefs can go unnoticed, but they can hinder good communication in any relationship. In today’s podcast, we will identify what they are, discuss where they come from, and most importantly how to overcome them.

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Also in this episode – email question
From: Anonymous

You seem to believe that divorce is non-negotiable. Why do you insist that those absolutely miserable in their marriage stay married?

Accepting Expressions of Love in Marriage

Don’t make expressing love a risky endeavor in your marriage

It was Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages that finally helped me understand my wife’s rejection. Her love language isn’t gifts, therefore every bouquet of flowers and box of candy fell short of garnering the response I’d hoped. She wasn’t really rejecting me, but it sure felt like it. She simply misunderstood the importance of accepting expressions of love in marriage.

I recall recognizing my wife had struggled through a few rough days and thought I would cheer her up with a bouquet of flowers. So I stopped on my way home from work to grab the best-looking bunch of roses I could find. I bragged to myself the entire ride home. “I’m such a good husband to buy flowers for my wife. She will be so appreciative. It will make everything all better for her.”

The kitchen scene

When I arrived at home, I charged into the house to find my wife deeply engrossed in homeschooling activities with our three kids. The kitchen table was littered with school books, papers, and pens. A serious conversation was taking place between my wife and our youngest son regarding his attitude toward school work.

Undeterred by the chaotic scene and her obvious preoccupation with the mountain of schoolwork to accomplished, I bolted across the kitchen to present her with the flowers I had so thoughtfully selected. As she took the flowers from me, I lifted my head high and awaited the accolades that were sure to follow.

The reaction

Instead, I received only a weak “thanks” and she placed the flowers among the papers on the table as she returned to math homework with our son. I was demoralized. Luckily, the words didn’t come out of my mouth, but they certainly went through my mind. “That’s it? I bust my [bleep] at work all day, but still find time to get flowers for you. And all I get is ‘thanks’!” Boy, am I glad I didn’t actually say that.

In her defense, she was very involved in the important activity of school with our children. Additionally, gifts would be considered Jennifer’s last love language. Those flowers didn’t speak love to her at all. Now, if I’d sat down to help my son with his math or made dinner for the family while she continued school, that would have spoken her love language.

The rejection

But enough about her, let’s get back to me. Let’s examine the rejection I felt. Though I know she wasn’t rejecting me or even rejecting the gift of flowers, it sure felt like it at the moment. I moped away from the kitchen table like a little boy that had just lost his puppy. I felt as if I couldn’t do anything right for my wife.

The importance

Why is this little exchange in our marriage so important? It’s important because, unbeknownst to me, the experience shaped how I attempted to show Jennifer love. More specifically, it caused me to be more cautious about showing her love. Feeling rejected hurts, so expressing love just became riskier.

It happens so subtly, even unconsciously; we shy away from expressing love in various ways because we fear rejection. Inside our marriage, we stop offering acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, or gifts because we fear it won’t be well received.

The conclusion

You must recognize and cheerfully accept expressions of love from your spouse. It might be contrary to your love language, but it is nonetheless important to your spouse. In fact, the expression of love they offer is likely their love language. This makes your rejection all the more painful.

Don’t make expressing love a risky endeavor in your marriage. Accept them cheerfully, no matter how menial or small they may seem. The best way to accept an expression of love is to reciprocate with words of affirmation. This frees your spouse to express their love in deeper and more meaningful ways without fear of rejection.

092 – One of God’s Greatest Gifts to the World

An Interview with Stephen Buckner - Part 2

Welcome to episode 92 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we have the opportunity to hear from my good friend, Stephen Buckner regarding one of God’s greatest gift to the world.

Stephen and Debbie Buckner are passionate about strengthening marriages because it’s one of God’s greatest gifts to the world.  They’ve been married for over 21 years and live in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
 
Stephen and Debbie’s primary mission is to help local churches build ongoing, comprehensive marriage ministries.  They believe the church is the Body of Christ and the hope of the world; therefore if the dream of marriage is going to be restored, it will happen in, and through, local churches.

They are also seasoned speakers with a presentation style that is fresh, unique, and honest.  They’ve been through more than their share of tough times in marriage, and they are not afraid to talk about it.

Stephen and Debbie founded Hot Marriage, Inc., an organization committed to strengthening individual couples by partnering with churches to build ongoing marriage ministry.

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The R&R of Marriage Sex

R&R no longer means rest & relaxation

Ninety-six. It’s the favorite number of any member of the United States military. Getting a ninety-six means you are getting ninety-six hours (four whole days) off duty. The Lieutenant of my Marine platoon had a dismissal routine that included the phrase “some much deserved R&R.” Lieutenant Bland meant rest and relaxation, but R&R takes on an entirely different meaning in marriage sex.

Over our twenty-three year marriage, I’ve read countless books, listened to endless podcast and radio episodes, worked through multiple Bible studies, and attended hours upon hours of mentoring sessions, but none of them really cracked the code of balancing sex drive in our marriage. I’ve followed every piece of advice offered – everything from “sex starts in the kitchen, so start with washing dishes” to “she’s a crockpot that has to simmer for long periods, so start early.”

Now in full disclosure, I’m the higher desire partner in our marriage. So naturally, marriage advice and topics related to marriage sex have always captured my attention. I credit Michael Smalley of Smalley Institute for helping me understand the R&R of marriage sex. R&R wasn’t the main topic of his podcast, but one sentence mentioned resonated with me and helped me uncover a secret about marriage sex that most couples miss.

By the way, you can find Michael Smalley and many other great marriage resources in my marriage resource guide. Get it here…

So, R&R in marriage sex? What does it mean? What is this secret so many married couples miss?

Well, R&R is related to rest and relaxation, but there is an added dimension that can lead to great marriage sex.

091 – One of God’s Greatest Gifts to the World

An Interview with Stephen Buckner - Part 1

Welcome to episode 91 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we have the opportunity to hear from my good friend, Stephen Buckner regarding one of God’s greatest gifts to the world.

Stephen and Debbie Buckner are passionate about strengthening marriages because it’s one of God’s greatest gifts to the world.  They’ve been married for over 21 years and live in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

Stephen and Debbie’s primary mission is to help local churches build ongoing, comprehensive marriage ministries.  They believe the church is the Body of Christ and the hope of the world; therefore if the dream of marriage is going to be restored, it will happen in, and through, local churches.

They are also seasoned speakers with a presentation style that is fresh, unique, and honest.  They’ve been through more than their share of tough times in marriage, and they are not afraid to talk about it.

Stephen and Debbie founded Hot Marriage, Inc., an organization committed to strengthening individual couples by partnering with churches to build ongoing marriage ministry.

Listen to the Audio

Podcast: Download

Subscribe on iTunes

How To Be A Good Parent

One simple responsibility of a good parent

Every parent faces these questions at some point. How can I be a good parent? What do I do to raise my children well? I’ve struggled with these and similar questions. Parenting is tough. However, parenting isn’t as scary or mysterious as we make it out to be. That is if we understand the most important responsibility of every parent.

Many parents don’t wrestle with questions of fear and uncertainty until pregnancy forces them to face reality. I, however, had to face these questions long before Jennifer and I were able to conceive. Facing my fears of being a good parent started about nineteen years ago as Jennifer and I were discussing the possibility of adoption.

As we talked through the potential of adoption, we both faced the obvious questions of loving a child that wasn’t biologically ours. Immediately after settling those adoption questions in our hearts and minds, questions regarding our qualifications to be good parents flooded our thoughts. Specifically, I asked myself this question – if I’m going to bring a child into this family, what makes me think I can be a good father to him or her?

What makes for a good parent?

In all transparency, I never really settled on a good answer to these questions before we brought our adopted son, Jacob, home. I wasn’t even able to identify what makes a good parent prior to the birth of our two biological children. However, now with three teenagers and sixteen years of parenting experience behind me, I now understand the one most important responsibility of a good parent.

090 – Who Is First Priority In Your Life

It needs to be you

Welcome to episode 90 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss the importance of placing yourself at the top of your priority list.

Husbands and fathers tend to put work and family before everything else in their lives. Wives and mothers tend to place kids, extracurricular activities, and family at the top of their priority list. With all the different aspects of life tugging at every moment of our day, it’s no wonder we so struggle to make time for ourself.

In today’s podcast, I’ll share with you the importance of putting yourself first. Ok, I acknowledge the right Christian answer is to say God is first priority. I’m not going to argue this point, but we must recognize placing God first in our life requires we push aside the other influences mentioned to allow us to spend time with God. A closer relationship with God becomes possible when we make ourselves the priority – He just becomes a part of our taking care of ourselves.

Also in this episode – email question

From: Anonymous

You seem to believe that divorce is nonnegotiable. Why do you insist that those absolutely miserable in their marriage stay married?

Listen to the Audio

Podcast: Download

Subscribe on iTunes

 


Podcast Sponsor

This podcast episode is sponsored by the Call to Me Prayer Journal by Jeannine Moffitt. 

How can Christians transform the daily call to prayer, with all of its challenges, into a purposeful, organized, and enjoyable routine?

Call To Me provides an easy to use prayer journal that helps keep individuals on track and allows them to see their entire week of prayer at a glance. They can organize prayer requests, concerns, and praises into labeled columns across a spacious two-page spread. With plenty of room to journal, they can reflect on answered prayers, continuing requests, or even the impact of certain verses, all in one convenient location.

Along the bottom of each spread, Call To Me includes scriptures speaking to everyday topics that help spark prayer life. The journal’s creator, Jeannine Moffitt, has provided example spreads to nudge hesitant individuals past the starting line until they settle into their own rhythm.

With its beautifully laid out design, many find Call to Me a user-friendly tool for combined journaling and prayer. By taking care of the organization, it allows Christians to focus on the prayer itself and truly enjoy an enriched prayer life.

Jeannine is a wife, a mother, sister, mother-in-law, grandmother, friend, recent cancer survivor, speaker and author. Her husband is a pastor, so she can relate to other women who are also pastor’s wives and all that that brings! She is a woman with a lot of life experiences!  She’s worked in the corporate world and legal field as a certified paralegal. She’s worked in the Christian realm and non-profit arena. She (and her husband) homeschooled for 12 years. She is a recent cancer survivor and understands the difficulties and challenges of dealing with cancer. She can identify with women from varied backgrounds, various ages, and all stages of life.  She likes to use her sense of humor and quick wit to drive home truths that may be difficult to hear and even more difficult to apply!  She enjoys speaking to women and encouraging them to reach their God-given potential and become all God intended for them to be.

No matter where you’ve been—fatherless, abused, abandoned, or divorced—or where you are presently—sick, a single parent, addicted, in financial trouble—you can become the person God intended for you to be.  Jeannine will tell you that our past does not dictate our future. God has a plan for our lives regardless of our circumstances. We have a choice in what we do, and that first, critical choice is to trust God with our lives. He promises when we give our life to Him, He will show us how to live victoriously each and every day.

Jeannine has a passion for prayer and created this journal with that in mind, to help others have a deeper prayer walk with Jesus.

089 – Killing The Entitlement Mentality

Allow your children to fail

Welcome to episode 89 of the REAL Family Podcast. This podcast offers real help and hope for every family. In today’s episode, we will discuss how to eliminate the entitlement mentality in our children.

We hear all sorts of talk about the participation trophy, entitled youth, and the links between the two. We are quick to blame the sports programs for creating the entitled attitude in the youth of today. But what about us parents? Are we contributing to the entitlement mentality?

The entitlement mentality is rooted in the attitude we don’t have to work hard for what we desire. Furthermore, if we fail to achieve what we desire, entitlement causes we give up and demand someone else give it to us.

If parents teach their children to overcome failure, the entitlement attitude will be eradicated – regardless of the trophy policies of local sports and recreation departments. This is why it’s so important we allow our children to fail.

Also in this episode – email question

From: Khaldoun

Does your wife approve of all your blog posts and podcast episodes?

Listen to the Audio

Podcast: Download

Subscribe on iTunes

 


Podcast Sponsor

This podcast episode is sponsored by the Call to Me Prayer Journal by Jeannine Moffitt. 

How can Christians transform the daily call to prayer, with all of its challenges, into a purposeful, organized, and enjoyable routine?

Call To Me provides an easy to use prayer journal that helps keep individuals on track and allows them to see their entire week of prayer at a glance. They can organize prayer requests, concerns, and praises into labeled columns across a spacious two-page spread. With plenty of room to journal, they can reflect on answered prayers, continuing requests, or even the impact of certain verses, all in one convenient location.

Along the bottom of each spread, Call To Me includes scriptures speaking to everyday topics that help spark prayer life. The journal’s creator, Jeannine Moffitt, has provided example spreads to nudge hesitant individuals past the starting line until they settle into their own rhythm.

With its beautifully laid out design, many find Call to Me a user-friendly tool for combined journaling and prayer. By taking care of the organization, it allows Christians to focus on the prayer itself and truly enjoy an enriched prayer life.

Jeannine is a wife, a mother, sister, mother-in-law, grandmother, friend, recent cancer survivor, speaker and author. Her husband is a pastor, so she can relate to other women who are also pastor’s wives and all that that brings! She is a woman with a lot of life experiences!  She’s worked in the corporate world and legal field as a certified paralegal. She’s worked in the Christian realm and non-profit arena. She (and her husband) homeschooled for 12 years. She is a recent cancer survivor and understands the difficulties and challenges of dealing with cancer. She can identify with women from varied backgrounds, various ages, and all stages of life.  She likes to use her sense of humor and quick wit to drive home truths that may be difficult to hear and even more difficult to apply!  She enjoys speaking to women and encouraging them to reach their God-given potential and become all God intended for them to be.

No matter where you’ve been—fatherless, abused, abandoned, or divorced—or where you are presently—sick, a single parent, addicted, in financial trouble—you can become the person God intended for you to be.  Jeannine will tell you that our past does not dictate our future. God has a plan for our lives regardless of our circumstances. We have a choice in what we do, and that first, critical choice is to trust God with our lives. He promises when we give our life to Him, He will show us how to live victoriously each and every day.

Jeannine has a passion for prayer and created this journal with that in mind, to help others have a deeper prayer walk with Jesus.

Following Dad’s Footsteps

My very personal challenge to you

This past Saturday I spent several hours sitting atop my father-in-law’s tractor. I’ve worked hard, along with his two sons, to maintain the farm after his passing a couple years back.

But Saturday was very different for me.

As I sat atop my father-in-law’s tractor, it hit me the date was the fourth anniversary of my own dad’s passing. I mentally and emotionally recreated the days immediately following dad’s death, including the eulogy I delivered at his funeral. It forced me to examine if I’m following dad’s footsteps.

In transparency, I’ll say publishing this transcript is very difficult for me. This is the transcript of the eulogy I delivered at my dad’s funeral. Though it is difficult, I believe publishing this transcript is the best way I can challenge you to live the Christian life in such a way that at your memorial service, someone will be able to stand and say “their footsteps led me to Jesus.”