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How to Love Your Partner at their Worst

How to Love Your Partner at their Worst

Contributed by
Dr. Charlie and Elizabeth Woehr

There is an old Western movie starring Clint Eastwood, titled: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Well, we humans can be like that. In fact, within every person, even you and your partner, there is the potential to at one time or another exhibit actions or attitudes that could be classified as good, bad, and even ugly!

It is easy to love a partner who is showing their good side. It is a bit harder to love a partner who is showing their bad side. It is much, much harder to love a partner who is showing their ugly side—at their worst.

To be able to LOVE your partner when they’re at their worst, you must develop, from the beginning of your relationship, a solid foundation. Here are the four elements you must integrate into that foundation, that will prepare you to LOVE in all kinds of situations:

 

L – Laugh often with your partner. Laughter has been called “the best medicine,” and there is a reason for that. Laughing together means sharing fun times, silly times, creating this way memories that will be the glue for when the tempests of trouble hit your relationship, helping to keep things from collapsing around you.

O – Open your hearts to each other; share your inner thoughts and feelings. Talk about the dreams you each have for your relationship. By opening your hearts to each other you are trusting each other with your deeply valuable thoughts and feelings. Being comfortable with each other is a prerequisite to wanting to support each other in those more difficult moments, when things are not as you would like them to be. If you have learned to open your hearts at times of vulnerability, this will create both a desire and need to get closer to your partner in difficult times, which will counter the natural tendency to move away from each other when things get tough.

V – Value the strengths each of you have and learn to expect those to be brought into play when things are not going so well. Is one of you a forgiving person? That will be brought into play when things are not going well. Is one of you a deep thinker? Value the analysis that will bring to reflection about where things have gone wrong. Your strengths will need to be known and brought to bear in difficult times.

E –  Expect to recover from difficult times you will face. Avoid generalizing by thinking to yourself that this “always” happens, or that this “will last a long time” or that “this will never end.” Rather think of positive outcomes and expect that your partner will react and come around, will ask forgiveness, and seek to restore any painful times caused by their worst moments. Expect that when the years go by these difficult moments will have made your relationship stronger. Expect is really to exercise FAITH: believing in the ultimate healing and restoration that will come, after the valley of pain or misunderstanding.

 

Want to love your partner at their worst? Start loving them at their best and put the L.O.V.E to work for you, as you prepare to weather the most challenging storms that inevitably come on the sea of life as a couple. Down the road of life, as you look back on these difficult times, you’ll be very glad you did!

How have you and your partner gotten through tough times in your relationship? Share with us in the comments area below.

For more tips on life and relationships, follow us on social media @familybridges.

What Comes Your Way

What Comes Your Way

By Mike & Debbie Henderson

If you have received bad news or have gone or are going through a difficult experience, you may be wondering how you are going to get through it.

The morning of September 11th 2001 was different for so many people in so many ways, but for my wife and I it was a life changer. The news of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers was dominating the news and our office calls. It is a day we will never forget.

In all of the craziness of the day and for all its meaning, I will never forget the phone call from my wife. It was around 11:00 AM on that somber morning. My wife called and said. “Mike, the doctor just called, I have breast cancer”. As the tears welled up deep inside, all we could do is cry.

There were a lot of things we didn’t know. We didn’t know how bad it was and we didn’t know if it was life threatening, so we just cried. Those moments seemed like eternity for both of us. Inside my world was crashing down.

The news around the world shook me and caused me to wonder what was going on, but the news of my wife’s cancer was more devastating than anything either of us had ever faced before. It was during our conversation on the phone that my wife and I had determined that we both wanted answers.

I sat in my office chair trying to comprehend the news of my wife and cancer. I prayed and I prayed and then I would cry some more. My wife, at home, was doing the same thing. We were stunned. We both struggled inside.

I remember feeling inside that I had to let my wife go…a very difficult thing to do. As I was contemplating releasing her over to the Lord, a sinking feeling overwhelmed me. I remember praying, “Lord I don’t understand and I don’t know why but I give my wife to you. I don’t know what you have in mind but I am going to trust you for this moment.” I opened my bible and this verse jumped off the page at me. It is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (The Message Bible),

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”

It was comforting to me to realize that others have had to face this same problem also, and in some cases, so much more, and they came through it okay.

The days and months passed. I was at my wife’s side the whole time as she went through six months of chemotherapy and three months of radiation treatments. Admittedly, some days were harder than others.

I remember one day in particular when my wife had her third chemo treatment. She was lying in bed, hurting and unresponsive. She said, “Mike, I can’t do this anymore.” I could sense her desperation, so I laid down next to her and said, “Honey, let’s look at the clock and let’s try to make it just five minutes.” After we had made that first five minutes, we would do it all over again. We must have looked at the clock some 20 times that day. HE helped us get through a very difficult day

The 1 Corinthians 10:13 verse that jumped out at me hung on our refrigerator door for over a year. It was always there as a constant reminder to us the Lord Jesus was with us. It was so comforting to know that He promised we will never let us be pushed past our limit, even when everything inside says you are.

Today, my wife is cancer free. Praise God! I thank the Lord for her and for what HE has done in our lives and in the lives of my children. What we as a family learned during that difficult time has changed all of us.

About Mike & Debbie Henderson

Mike and Debbie have been married 41 years, have two children and four awesome grandchildren, ages 7,4,3,and 1. Mike, with the full support of Debbie, has been the Senior Pastor for the K-LOVE and Air1 radio networks for 17 years. They are listener supported ministries with 10 associate pastors on staff responding to our listeners’ needs all around the country and the world.

To learn more, visit www.Klove.comwww.air1.com and www.crisisresponse.org

Mike and Debbie Henderson
HopeInYourHands-FrontCover

30 Day Devotional

This resource can help you and your family encounter Scripture together and make deeper connections with God and each other. This has been designed to be used during the month of July, but you can use it at any time. We suggest you begin Day 1 on a Sunday because some activities are designed around the weekend and Sunday worship. God bless you!

Family Bridges App

Books too “last century” for you? This customized app will give you access to resources to manage your own growth or even take the journey with a group of friends. What are you waiting for?

Resolving Conflict

Resolving Conflict

By Bill Ferrell

Where are you in your marriage/significant relationship? How are you at resolving conflict? Do you move towards one another in a healthy way in order to address issues, or do you avoid conflict?

I picked my wife up from the airport as I did every Thursday night. She travels for her job and this was part of our weekly ritual. This reunion was always a highlight for both of us.

As we drove through Chicago to our home, we reconnected. She told me about her day and I told her about mine. I described a conversation I had with the neighbor. It involved a rabbit and a rotten oversized tomato. She laughed. I laughed. We felt connected. Ah – life is good.

Once we got home she went to the pantry to get some Trader Joe’s biscotti. She loves their biscotti. She swung the doors open, looked in and suddenly a perplexed expression crossed her face. She looked at me and asked, “Did you buy the biscotti this week?” “No,” I said.

She looked back into the pantry and stood there for a minute. Silently. As quickly as we had connected earlier – it felt like we were suddenly disconnected. Without saying another word, she walked up the stairs and to our bedroom.

I was confused. What happened? Why the sudden shift? I may be a little slow but I have been married long enough to know that something was not quite right. I traced back the order of events since I had picked her up. We had hugged, talked about our kids, discussed the weekend ahead, I told her the rabbit and tomato story, we came in, she looked into the pantry, and then that’s when it happened.

The sound of silence.

That was my first clue. Actually, it was my only clue. But that was enough. No biscotti. I know she loves her biscotti, but it couldn’t be that. Or could it?

I stood in the kitchen and looked at the clock. It was 10:30 p.m. I had a decision to make. Do I go upstairs and try to work this out with her tonight – whatever “this” is? I know from experience that it will take time and work.Or do I follow her lead, keep quiet, shut off the lights, and go to sleep? I knew the answer before I even seriously contemplated the question.

I went upstairs and waded in. It took a few questions to get to the core issue of her upset. And it wasn’t the lack of biscotti. No real surprise there. That was just a “trigger” for feelings she had experienced in our marriage for years – feeling neglected and unloved.

So I sat on the bed and listened. I worked at not being defensive or critical. The end result was that she felt loved and valued and we re-established the connection we had before. But it was actually even stronger.

Previously, I had spent too many years of our marriage avoiding conflict, which had damaged our relationship. I had been fearful of what might happen if I had addressed difficult issues head on. So I had chosen the path of least resistance. The result was a marriage that lacked true intimacy.

One day while reading the Bible, God spoke to me about how I had been in my marriage from this Scripture passage:

Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

God was encouraging Joshua to be the leader He had created him to be – and not to fear. There was no need to be afraid because God was with him.

This is not your typical marriage verse. And yet it was exactly what I needed to hear. I needed to be strong and courageous in order to be the husband God had called me to be. I needed to reject passivity and take the initiative to resolve conflict.

In the last six years we have worked hard on our marriage. It has required trusting God through some very honest and difficult discussions. There has been a lot of pain – but it has been pain with a purpose.

Along the way I have constantly been encouraged to be strong and courageous because God is with us. The result is a marriage that is far greater than anything we ever could have imagined.

About Bill and Leslie Ferrell

Bill and Leslie have been married for 31 years, have 2 children and 2 adorable grandchildren: ages 1 and 3. Bill has been in vocational ministry his entire adult career and is currently the Executive Director of Pinnacle Forum – a ministry to marketplace leaders. Leslie is the CEO of Big Idea, Inc., the makers of Veggie Tales. And she does love her biscotti!

Bill and Leslie Ferell
HopeInYourHands-FrontCover

30 Day Devotional

This resource can help you and your family encounter Scripture together and make deeper connections with God and each other. This has been designed to be used during the month of July, but you can use it at any time. We suggest you begin Day 1 on a Sunday because some activities are designed around the weekend and Sunday worship. God bless you!

Family Bridges App

Books too “last century” for you? This customized app will give you access to resources to manage your own growth or even take the journey with a group of friends. What are you waiting for?

Budgeting for a Baby

Budgeting for a Baby

Contributed by
Freddie Beckley

Congratulations – you’re having a baby! Now get to work! … Just kidding. You may only have a few short months to get ready for that bundle of joy, but this time should be fun, pleasant and downright enjoyable. Not just for you and your spouse, but for the baby too. Studies have shown that newborns are heavily affected by their parents’ stress levels. Even when they’re in the womb, a baby can hear what’s happening around them, and you don’t want them to hear you arguing or stressing. So, with the emotional wellbeing of your child in mind, below is a list of easy things you can do to alleviate one of the most stressful parts of being a parent – finances.

1. Wait before Buying in Bulk

When my wife and I were preparing our home for baby, we wanted to have enough of everything. We didn’t want to be without baby Tylenol or a thermometer or a diaper in the middle of the night when we needed it most. As a result, we bought a lot of things up front, and we had to donate or get rid of some of it. A great example of this is the pacifier. We bought about a dozen and were gifted another dozen more. The only problem is, our baby doesn’t use a pacifier. Oh well, at least we have little baby shower gifts for our friends over the next few years…

Bottom line: there are certain staples that will never expire and you can never have enough of, for instance baby wipes or formula, but a lot of items are time sensitive. Diapers and clothes, for example, won’t always fit. Be wary of overbuying every little item just because you want to feel prepared. Buy enough for the first month, and then once you have a better sense of your needs, continue to shop.

 

2.  Bottle it Up

We were concerned that our baby wouldn’t take a bottle unless it was the exact right shape and size, so we bought about 9 different types. This wasn’t a bad idea, but it was a little overkill. We’ve come to find that our daughter doesn’t care what kind of bottle she drinks from, and we actually prefer the cheapest one on the market because it fits with my wife’s breast pump.
Bottom line: grab a few different kinds of bottles to be safe, but wait to see what your child prefers before buying more.

 

3. Learn to Share

I was SO excited to become a dad that I started stocking up on my gear immediately. I bought my own diaper bag and filled it with blankets, a changing pad, baby shampoo, ointments, etc. My wife did the same, and now we have 2 fully-stocked diaper bags. This sounds good in theory but, since we don’t have twins, we only ever take 1 diaper bag out at a time. The other one sits at home.
Bottom line – communicate with your partner to share the essentials. You don’t need 2 of everything.

 

4. Shop Early and Shop Often

My wife is brilliant. Let me tell you why. She started shopping for clothes as soon as we got pregnant, up to 12 months. When our daughter was born, she had all the shirts, pants, onesies, mittens, hats, jackets, sweaters, socks, and swimsuits she would need until her first birthday. Because we spaced it out over 9 months, we only shopped in the clearance sections of baby stores. Did you know winter outfits are 60-90% off in the Spring? Now you do.

Bottom line – Go ahead and buy the clearance clothes 6-12 months early and not only will they be much cheaper, but chances are your baby will be the only one with that cute Christmas outfit since they stopped making it. #win

P.S. Look online for items too. We buy formula and baby wipes in bulk online and end up saving a pretty penny.

 

5. Find the Free

I looked it up, and the number one financial regret of newborn parents is wasting money on toys and presents the baby can’t appreciate. Avoid the same mistake! If you want to give your baby a 6-month birthday present, give them a box. If you want your baby to have an awesome experience, don’t take them to Disneyland. Take them to the park. It’s free.

Bottom line – find all the free things you can and live it up with baby. Many libraries and bookstores have story time. A place in our neighborhood offers a free music class for babies. As your children grow up, they may want more and more expensive things. Enjoy this sweet time when they have no idea what’s going on.

 

6. Baby Swap

Not that you don’t love your baby, but there will come a night when you and your spouse need a night out. When that time comes, don’t waste money on a babysitter. Find a friend or family member you trust to watch your child for a few hours. It’s even better if they have a baby themselves. That’s why I like to set up Baby Swaps. Take turns with other parent couples watching each others’ babies. When you and your spouse are watching your friends’ baby, your baby will get to work on their social skills. When you and your spouse want to go on a date, you’ll be more comfortable leaving your baby with a trusted friend than a hired hand.

Bottom line: babies always seem to come in waves. In the last year, 8 of my close friends have become pregnant. Find those friends with a child about the same age as yours and ask if they want to trade off with you.

What’s been your experience when budgeting for a new baby? Share your experience in the comments section!

For more tips on finances and relationships, follow us on social media @familybridges.

The Credit Card Debt Payoff for Beginners

The Credit Card Debt Payoff for Beginners

Contributed by
Melanie Lockert from brightpeak financial

Want to pay off your credit card debt? Learn more about the six steps you need to take to become financially free.
It might have started off innocently enough: charge a little here, charge a little there — and suddenly you find yourself deep in credit card debt. What seemed small and manageable has become an overwhelming burden. If you’re feeling stuck in credit card debt, you’re not alone. In fact, U.S. citizens owe a total of $747 billion in credit card debt according to a recent Federal Reserve report. 

Luckily, there is a way out. Here’s the credit card payoff plan for beginners.

 Step 1: Know what you owe

Denial is a powerful factor when it comes to debt, but to get out of debt, you have to face the numbers, no matter how gruesome they are. Log into all of your credit card accounts and tally up the total. Write down the final balance on a piece of paper and keep it in your wallet. Post it on your bathroom mirror. Facing the facts can be tough, but you need to see the numbers to create a plan.

Step 2: Check your interest rates

Interest is what makes paying back debt a pain. It’s the extra fee charged for the convenience of borrowing money. Credit card interest rates may vary, but typically they can be fairly high. If you have multiple credit card balances, write down your interest rates next to your total balance for each loan. It’ll come in handy with the next step.

Step 3: Choose a debt repayment strategy

After tallying your total balance and knowing the interest rates on your credit cards, it’s time to choose a debt repayment strategy. There are two tested methods that can help.

The debt avalanche method focuses on paying off the highest interest debt first. During this time, you pay the minimum on your other credit card balances. This strategy saves money on interest, but it may take longer to chip away at the balance.

The debt snowball method pays off your smallest balance first, while paying the minimum on the rest. This method is effective as it offers quick wins and doses of motivation at the start. The downside is you could pay more in interest.

Step 4: Calculate how much you can really put toward debt

The minimum payment on your credit card can be a trap. After all, it’s just the minimum, which makes it hard to climb out of debt. If you’re serious about tackling credit card debt, look at your income and expenses to see if there is any wiggle room to cut back. For example, consider reducing some of the “wants” in your budgets like going out for lunch or overpriced movie dates. If you prioritize paying off credit card debt over everything else, how much can you realistically put toward debt each month, while still paying your bills? You want to create a plan that helps you get out of debt faster, while also managing your day-to-day expenses.

Step 5: Earn more money

Cutting back on your expenses is a great initial strategy, but to overhaul your progress, you also want to focus on earning more money. This can help you become debt-free sooner. Consider getting a job on nights and weekends. Using the sharing economy, there are many ways to quickly earn more money. Let your friends and family know you are willing to help out and that you’re looking for gigs. Ask for a raise at work. Adjust your tax withholding if you typically get a tax refund. There are many ways to earn more — the key is to get started.

Step 6: Put the credit cards away

The solution to your problem isn’t the thing that created the problem. In other words, you don’t want to use credit cards while you are trying to pay off credit card debt. It’s too easy to get back into bad habits rather than focus on paying off balances. Put the credit cards away and start using cash and a debit card. This can help you spend what you have and detox off of credit.

You can do it

Using these six steps, you can eliminate credit card debt. It’s not an easy task, and one with a lot of ups and downs, but it’s totally doable. Once you’re debt-free, your money will be yours and your hard work will pay dividends. Ready to get started? Download our Illuminate app to rock your budget and pay down debt.

This post is originally from brightpeak financial, an organization that helps couples and families get on track financially.  You can read the original post here.

Reasons to Refinance

Reasons to Refinance

Contributed by
Ashley Reed

What kind of debt do you have? Car loans, student loans, mortgage? If you have any of the above, chances are that you can shorten your loan period and decrease your total payment to your lender by refinancing!


Refinancing helps you out by reducing your interest rate and the total amount that you pay towards your loan.


An example: Let’s say that you buy a car for $15,000 with a 7% interest rate, with a loan term of five years. If you don’t refinance, you will end up paying a total of $17,821 towards the vehicle, which is over two thousand dollars more than what you originally paid for it! Let’s say that after one year paying 7% interest, you have put $3,564 towards the principal and interest of your auto loan. You still have $11,436 due, and want to lower the amount that you pay towards interest. So you refinance your  loan and secure a 2% interest rate. With this new interest rate, you will end up paying a total of $11,909 towards your remaining loan.


Let me break it down visually:


Original Loan

7% Interest Rate

$15,000 Loan

5 Year Term


If you stick to the same loan term and interest rate, you will pay $17,281 for your car over the course of five years.


Let’s say that you stick with the loan for one year, paying $3,564 towards the balance and interest. You then decide to refinance the remaining $11,436 that you owe on your car.


Refinanced Loan

2% Interest Rate

$11,436 Refinanced Loan

4 Year Term


If you add what you paid towards your car during the first year to the refinanced loan balance and interest paid over the course of four years, you will have paid a total of $15,473 towards your car! If you didn’t refinance, you would have paid almost two thousand dollars more for your car; that is enough extra cash to take a nice weekend vacation!


If you aren’t sure how your interest adds to your balance over it, check out Credit Karma’s loan calculator.


Have you ever refinanced a loan before? Share your experience in the comments section!

For more tips on finances and relationships, follow us on social media @familybridges.

How Values-Based Budgeting Changed our Relationship

How Values-Based Budgeting Changed our Relationship

Contributed by
Diana Kerr from brightpeak financial

Do you have a hard time agreeing on spending priorities, or getting on the same page? For some couples, values-based budgeting can help. Here’s one story.

Brian and Nicole Crangle, both 29, have big goals for their finances. Together, the Orlando pair have focused on values-based budgeting to help achieve those goals.Values-based budgeting is the idea that how you spend reflects your values. Those values could include starting a family, traveling, tithing, going debt-free — there’s a host of values to focus on. Instead of, say, relying solely on the advice of a single financial advisor, the goal for couples on value-based budgeting is to assess what values are important to them, and then budget accordingly.

The early years

Brian and Nicole are working on growing their own business Victory Development, a mentorship and leadership development program. Brian also works in admissions for a flight school, while Nicole works in leasing for an apartment community.

They married in 2013, and settled into financial habits without much thought. They owned their home and splurged on conveniences such as a home delivery dry cleaning service. Nicole had student loan debt, but they kept up with the monthly payments and didn’t worry about it paying it off faster.

A couple years into their marriage, some friends introduced them to values-based budgeting. Brian and Nicole admired the intentional life their friends had built and decided to give it a shot. The couple started by identifying their values and goals: Leave their jobs to work on their business, have a family, make an impact, and pursue freedom in time and finances.

What they changed

With their values in mind, the Crangles decided to spend less in many areas and more in a few strategic areas.

Brian cancelled his dry-cleaning service, and Nicole traded expensive salon visits for $20 haircuts and at-home manicures with $2 nail polish. Nicole asks for clothes for her birthday and avoids the mall unless she needs something specific.

It’s not always comfortable or convenient, they say. However, they’re able to allocate more money for giving, savings, debt repayment, and expenses they value.

Opportunities to grow themselves and their business are a top priority for them. For example, they recently attended a leadership conference, opting to spend the money they used to spend on groceries on the conference instead. Nicole’s also investing in a personal trainer because she values her health.

The couple’s budget changes as their life changes. They record each purchase and check in weekly to see how they’re doing or make adjustments.

How their relationship changed

Brian and Nicole are enthusiastic about values-based budgeting because they say it’s changed nearly every aspect of their lives.

They say they now get excited about money and fight less because they agree on how they want to prioritize their spending. They’ve learned how to work together, communicate well, and navigate tough conversations about how to reach their long-term and short-term goals.

And, Nicole is leaving her full-time job soon to focus on their business, thanks to their budgeting.

Start the values conversation today in your own marriage today. For help, check out the tools from TogetherTM, brightpeak’s financial platform designed just for couples.

This post is originally from brightpeak financial, an organization that helps couples and families get on track financially.  You can read the original post here.

It’s not OK

It’s not OK

Contributed by
Sarah Pichardo

If you ever wonder what’s wrong with this world and this generation, just read a Cosmopolitan article, watch an MTV show, or take a look at Snapchat’s featured stories. I came across an article today titled, “I Love Dating My Married Boyfriend”. I kid you not. That’s the actual title…and that’s exactly what the article was about. Please, world, tell me that it’s not just me that sees something devastatingly wrong with that.

Here’s the thing. I know that there is a small percentage of people who think this is perfectly fine and that the rest of you do agree with me and do see something wrong with that.  And that we are just over here like, “For real though? What’s wrong with you?” That’s the bright side of this blog/rant. The not so bright side is that this is what media outlets are shoving down everyone’s throat – ALL THE TIME.

We’re becoming a desensitized people. Because the more you push the boundaries and limits, the more common and acceptable something becomes…the more you have to keep pushing boundaries until there’s nothing left to push.

Nothing is off limits. Everything is acceptable. There is no such thing as right or wrong.

When is enough, enough? I’m a bit saddened and concerned at where our culture will be in 20 years. A place with no moral objectivity.

There is no one who can influence your children more than you. Take advantage of it while you can. Talk to your kids about your beliefs and about what you expect from them. Teach them about right and wrong. Talk to them about relationships, sex, drugs, politics, religion, life. Don’t assume they will learn it on their own. If you don’t talk to them, they will learn things from their friends, from school and from what they read online and see on TV. And don’t just talk to them about it, but show it in your daily actions.

Not everything is OK. And it’s OK to say so.

For more blogs, tips and ideas about life and relationships, follow us @familybridges.

Soulmates? I Think Not

Soulmates? I Think Not

Contributed by
Ashley Reed

So a few weeks ago Eddie shared his Journey To The Altar. So as the second engaged person on Family Bridge’s staff, I am writing a similar post, but from a bride’s point of view.

I am going to start off my series with an unpopular opinion: I never have believed in the concept of “soulmates.” The idea that I am a broken part of a whole in need of another piece in order to be complete has always sounded ridiculous. With billions of people in the world, there are a lot of guys out there that I could be attracted to, compatible with, and share interests with. However, I am choosing to stick it out with one guy.

I don’t believe in a higher power guiding me towards a romantic partner like some kind of North Star. I believe in the simple mathematics of being attracted to someone, evaluating their personality/attitude/family, and deciding whether or not to commit to a relationship with them.

Marriage is scary. The person to whom you say “I do” will change over time. Both of you will change. However, the idea of commitment is that you will do your best to love each other unconditionally and accept each other’s changes as life goes on. That doesn’t always happen though. One person might fall through on their vows, choose to walk out, or decide that they made a naive decision by walking down the aisle. You might wake up one day and realize that you are sleeping next to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. (or Mrs.) Hyde incarnate. Marriage is not only a commitment, but it is also a gamble.

However, thousands of Americans say “I do” every year. Some gambles are just worth the risk, especially when it comes to the potential of having someone to share your life with. When it comes to my current engagement, I am under no delusion that I have found a missing piece of myself. Instead, I have just found someone who feels like home, who makes me laugh, who takes care of me when I am sick – all of that mushy stuff.

For my next few posts in the #whymarriage series, I will be writing about the process of reconciling a family with a partner that has a totally different worldview, and the many pros + cons + worries of marriage (and why I think walking down the aisle is still a good idea).

Thanks for reading!

For more tips and ideas about marriage and relationships, follow us on social media @familybridges.

Create a Vision Statement and Stick to It

Create a Vision Statement and Stick to It

Contributed by
Dr. Alicia La Hoz

If you have seen the Disney movie Tangled, you’ll recall when the lively and curious Rapunzel and the charming rascal Flynn Rider are at a near death experience after being chased by villains. They find themselves cornered into a cave which is quickly filling up with water from a broken damn, and their effort at to break free seems futile as they are unable to see underwater since the cavern is pitch black.  After what seems like a few eternal seconds of despair, hope breaks through as Rapunzel remembers that her golden hair illuminates when she sings.  Right before the water engulfs her, Rapunzel saves the day as she gets enough chords in for her hair to light the way, allowing them to find a small opening that led to their freedom.

Bill Hybels defines a vision as a picture of the future that produces passion.  In the scene just described, Rapunzel and Flynn almost give in to despair as they anticipate the ill fate they see unfolding before them.  Seeing the tiny shimmer of light from Rapunzel’s hair seems to infuse them with the needed energy to struggle even while under water.  The light helped them break through. The light in the cavern is like having a clear vision; It gave them the energy they needed to figure out how to survive, and it ultimately led them to freedom.

A clear vision gives us the power we need to stay on course, to stay motivated even when we may feel as if underwater.   Organizations that are highly successful over time have clearly defined vision statements. It allows everyone to know why the operations are the way they are and serves as a north star where employees can chart strategic plans without getting hijacked by other ideas that are irrelevant or the work. Think about some organizations you have heard about and their vision statement. For example, Habitat for Humanity’s vision statement is, “A world where everyone has a decent place to live,” and Family Bridges vision statement is, “Strong families with purpose driven children, leaders of their generation, committed to their communities.” These two examples show how a vision statements are inspiring and serve as propellers that move everyone forward.

Just as organizations have successfully adapted vision statements for the lives, families and couples can do the same. A couple of years ago, my husband and I did this same thing for our family. We knew we would have many challenges and even differences in our parenting styles but if we would agree on a vision for our family, that would help us chart a pathway forward whenever friction occurred.

How do you create a vision statement for your family?

  1. Gather everyone for a family meeting. Get some yummy munchies and explain to everyone what the purpose of the meeting is – to create a vision statement.  Explain what a vision statement is so everyone understands what it is and why everyone is taking the time to develop one.
  2. Get a legal pad or newsprint paper and let everyone chime in with ideas. First ask everyone to come up with words that they feel currently define the family. Then have everyone come up with words or phrases that paint a picture of they would like to be in the future. Ask the question, where do we want to be 10, 20 years from now?
  3. Sculpt and Define. Delegate to the word smith in your family or work together on taking the words and sculpting them into a sentence that captures the essence of where you want to be 10-15-20-30+ years down the line.
  4. Frame it. Once we had our vision statement we included it in the family album we created that year. Find a creative way to feature it something you cherish and that can serve as a reminder of it for you and yours. Vision leaks so it is important to go back to it frequently. See it, read it, internalize it so when you are under water you can have an anchor to help you swim back to the surface.

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