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February 7, 2012
In this issue:
  • Update from Leslie
  • Article:  Where Are You?
  • Leslie Answers Your Questions:

    How can I revive a wilting marriage?

  • What's New?  Webinar Series Package

  • WHOA Magazine Offer

Update from Leslie

Hi Friends,

 

This past week I did my very first webinar on Does God Really Want Us to Be Happy. It was exciting to venture into this new opportunity to teach more of you and reach a wider audience. We had over 400 people in attendance from across the world and got great feedback from those who participated. You still have time to join in on the next three sessions. If you're interested to know more, see the box on the right.

 

I'm also planning to develop a new webinar series this year on The Emotionally Destructive Marriage so be sure to stay tuned to future newsletters for more details.

 

In addition, I'm opening up five (5) new coaching spots after February 15th. If you're interested in an application, please contact me at leslie@leslievernick.com.

 

Where Are You?

I'm reading through the Bible this year and have pressed pause at the passages where God asks someone a question. I'll be writing about a few of these heart penetrating questions throughout this next year in my newsletter, but to start I'd like us to focus on the very first one. In Genesis, God asked Adam and Eve after they had eaten the forbidden fruit, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9).

 

God did not ask Adam and Eve this question because he didn't know where they were. He knew exactly where they were: hiding out in the bushes, naked, ashamed, and afraid. He asked them the question so that they would know where they were. Adam and Eve weren't only hiding from God, they were hiding from themselves.

 

Self-awareness is an essential skill we must learn if we want to grow, change, and have a good relationship with God as well as others. The folly of fools is deceit - including the deceit of one's own self. The prophet Jeremiah says that our heart is deceitful above all else and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We can't even know our own heart entirely apart from God and other people's help.

 

The writer of Proverbs tells us that "the wisdom of the prudent is to understand his ways" (Proverbs 14:8).

 

Last month I invited you to think about who the truth tellers were in your life. I hope you asked a few people to be honest with you. People who will let you know when their experience of you is different than you think it is. Having truth-tellers in our lives is one way we can keep from being self-deceived.

 

Here are two additional ways we can learn to be more self-aware so that when God (or anyone else) asks us where we are, we know and have an answer.

 

Self-Reflection - "Give careful thought to your ways" (Haggai 1:7)

 

There are many individuals who come up blank when asked the question "What are you feeling?" or "What do you think about that?" or "What do you really want in life?" Simple questions such as, "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" often cause someone to feel anxious because they really don't know their own selves very well.

 

It takes time to reflect about who you are, what you think, how you feel and what you want. Some people think those questions are self-indulgent and self-centered. However, it's important that we understand that we can't let anyone else know who we are or where we are unless we ourselves first know. Selfishness isn't characterized by knowing how you feel or what you want, selfishness is when you demand that other people always cater to your feelings, your wants, and your needs.

 

To grow in self-reflection, ask yourself "what" questions. Don't just swallow what everyone tells you, but ask yourself what you think about a certain topic or current event. When something painful happens, ask yourself what feelings are coming up inside. Are you scared? Sad? Angry? Shamed? Do you know how to tell the difference? Men tend to have a more difficult time identifying their feelings or even admitting to having them, but it's a crucial skill if we are going to have an intimate relationship with someone and good emotional and spiritual health.

 

Journaling is a good way to reflect upon your day's experiences. Don't just write what happened, but write about how you thought about what happened and what you felt and even what you wanted. That will give you good practice in getting to know yourself.

 

Self examination - Plato said, "A life unexamined is not worth living."

 

The word examine means to study or scrutinize something more closely. The apostle Paul tells us to examine ourselves before partaking in communion so that we will not be careless or reckless with this most sacred sacrament (1 Corinthians 11:28). Most of our self-examination questions begin with "why" such as when the psalmist asked himself, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?" (Psalm 42:5)

 

Once you become aware, for example, that you have a certain feeling, ask yourself why is it here? What purpose does it serve?

 

Our emotions are meant to inform us, not rule us. Our emotions always serve a purpose like the warning lights on a car dashboard. Ignoring them doesn't make them go away and often ignoring our feelings only makes the problem worse. For example, if we refuse to admit to ourselves that we're angry or depressed, jealous, or sad, shamed or excited, then we can't take the next step of deciding what (if anything) we want to do about those emotions.

 

Recently one of my coaching clients became aware of some inappropriate feelings that she was experiencing toward a professional colleague. Once she admitted her feelings to herself, she asked herself why they were there. As she reflected and examined what was going on, she recognized she was vulnerable and her marriage needed some CPR. This awareness not only helped her to guard her own heart against sinful acting out, it helped her turn her attention toward working more intentionally on strengthening her marriage.

 

"Why" questions that help you get to know yourself better might be, "Why do I feel this particular emotion right now?" or "Why is that so important to me that I'm willing to fight with my co-workers or spouse in order to get it?" or "Why am I acting this way right now?" (Whether it be angry, shy, controlling, rude, impatient, etc.)

 

Let me close with a ditty Daniel Goleman wrote in his book, Vital Lies, Simple Truths.

 

The range of what we think and do

   is limited by what we fail to notice.

And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice

   there is little we can do to change.

Until we notice how our failing to notice

   shapes our thoughts and deeds.

 

If you need help in becoming more reflective or more aware and need someone in your life to ask you the right questions, you may want to consider working with a coach to help you grow to the next step.

 

What's New?

 

It's not too late to register for my upcoming Webinar Series which starts February 15th.

The Webinar will include three in-depth training sessions as follows:

 

February 15th - Session One:  Let's Get Rid of Stinkin' Thinkin'

 

February 22nd - Session Two:  Tools to Manage Your Negative Emotions

 

February 29th - Session Three:  Building Healthy Relationships

 

Click here for more information or to register

 

WHOA Magazine Offer

 

WHOA Magazine is offering a discount for new subscribers.  For a limited time, get $4 off the yearly subscription price of $16 by entering the coupon code lesliev4 at checkout.  

 

Click here for more information or to subscribe

 

UPCOMING EVENTS
  
 March

 

Mar 3  AGLOW Breakfast, Sheridan Jetport, Allentown, PA

 

Mar 9-11  Morning Star Friends Church, Middlefield, OH

  

April

 

Apr 12-14  Marriage America Conference, Orlando, FL

 

Apr 26-28  Wonderful Counselor Conference, Flower Mound, TX

 

June

 

Jun 23-24  Women's Event, Solid Rock Church, Portland, Oregon

Thank you for your clean, straight forward communication and teaching style and for sharing illustrations with some personal vignettes of your own life.
 
We who attended the retreat are inspired about what we learned; and now face the challenging work of change, taking the information you shared, employing it and stepping into transformation.
 
Renee Hessler
Calvary Chapel of Central Bucks

 

Leslie Welcomes

Your Questions:

 

Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness.  Send your questions about dealing with difficult people, stress, or relationship issues to:

 

Leslie@LeslieVernick.com

 

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

 

Note:  Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.

 

 

If you'd like to invite Leslie to speak at one of your events, please contact us at

 

1-877-837-7931

 

or

 

leslie@leslievernick.com

 

www.leslievernick.com

 

Like me on Facebook

 

Follow me on Twitter 

 

View our videos on YouTube

 

View my profile on LinkedIn

 

 

LESLIE ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS

 

How can I revive a wilting marriage?

Question:  My marriage isn't terrible, but it isn't great either. I often think I married the wrong person and that I would be happier with someone different. How do I learn to love the person I married instead of always dreaming of what might have been?

 

Answer:  Believe it or not, your situation is not all that uncommon. I've talked with many women who do not have a bad marriage but are unhappy with the person they are married to. The love they once felt toward their husband, they no longer feel. Or, as they look back, they realize that they married their husband for the wrong reason like wanting to get out of their parent's home or to have children.

 

That said, you are married, so what do you do? You have a couple of choices, none of which may feel very appealing to you right now. One is you can continue to regret your choice, live in "what if" and be unhappy. Sadly, if you continue to do that, your marriage will get worse. You cannot change the past. You cannot relive your decision. Living in regret is a waste of time and energy. You did it, it's done. Move on.

 

That brings you to your next two choices. One is to give up. You can choose to end your marriage. I don't say that lightly nor do I believe that is the best choice, but it is a choice. God allows us free will even if we choose poorly. But divorce is not an easy decision and is not without serious consequences relationally, spiritually, emotionally and financially.

 

I'm glad your question is really about the third choice. How might you learn to love the person you married? I have some friends who are in an arranged marriage. When they married, they were virtually strangers. But they have learned to love each other. It is probably not the Hollywood, romantic version of Valentine love, but a deep trust, a safe harbor type of love which endures over the ups and downs of family life.

 

Here are some things you can do which will help you come to better love the man you're married to. I call them the five A's of relationship revival: Acceptance, Attention, Affirmation, Admiration and Affection.

 

1.  Acceptance:   No one has a perfect marriage or perfect spouse. Learn to be content with the person you married instead of trying to remake him into the person you think he should be.

 

You said that it is not a bad marriage. What's good about it? Is your husband faithful? Good with the children? Does he provide for your well-being financially? Is he handy with house repairs? No one gets all 52 cards in the deck when they marry. All of us have strengths and weaknesses, and the things that bug us the most after marriage are often the things that we loved the most while dating. For example, I love that my husband enjoys doing things with me and talking, however he's not crazy about tackling work around the house. I can focus on what he doesn't do, but when I do that I feel more and more upset, lose sight, and forget to give thanks for all the good things he does do.

 

2.  Attention:   In all of life, what you don't maintain deteriorates. This is true with your nails, your body, your home, your car, and it's true with your marriage. Make time for your husband and marriage. Take the time to talk, to play, and to have romance together. Even if you're not always in the mood, being intentional about giving attention puts the structure in place to build on the other things in your marriage. When you were dating, you probably spent lots of quality time together. That's what helped bond you together. When you don't invest the time, don't expect to get the results.

 

3.  Affirmation:   Think about the things that drew you to him in the first place. Was he a strong leader? Perhaps he was very kind and generous, funny, or a good money manager. Let your mind remember his good qualities. When he gets home, tell him how much you like or appreciate those qualities in him.

 

4.  Admiration:   Affirmation is more external, it is something we do. Admiration is more internal. It is something that we feel towards another person. But our feelings are linked to our thoughts, and so we must train our mind to give thanks and dwell on our husband's good points, not his weaknesses. The apostle Paul tells us to think on the positive things in life, not the negative things (Philippians 4:8). In this passage, Paul's not pretending that there aren't negative things, but if we dwell on them we will make ourselves unhappy.

 

5.  Affection:   Every human being needs touch. Put your arm through your husband's arm during a movie or church service. Hold hands. Rub his back. If you're wary that you'll be giving your husband the message you want sex, (and do not) then do it in a more public place or at a time when more romance is not possible. However, good sex is a way to improve marital intimacy. Remember, talk and touch are the primary ways we build intimacy.

 

I challenge you to faithfully work on doing these things. Let me know if your feelings toward your husband and your marriage improve.