- Read more
It’s important that we teach our kids how to resolve conflict and at the same time how to grant and receive forgiveness.
When my brother and I were growing up, if we got in a fight, my mom would send us each to our own room for a half an hour.
When the time was up we would come out and start fighting again. We were never taught how to resolve conflict.
It wasn’t until we were actually adults that we learned how to work things out, and today, my brother and I are close friends.
When Carol and I would catch our kids in a fight they would both be sent to the couch. Preferably the loveseat.
They were not allowed to get up from sitting there until they worked things out. One would have to say, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.” Then the other would say, “I forgive you.”
Did I just lose you? If you are thinking that would never work with my kids, that’s what we spent a lot of time thinking when we first started the “loveseat” thing.
Yep, I get that. We thought it was an okay idea but we got to the point where we thought, they are never going get this on their own.
We dug in. We did it consistently. We did it every day. Every time they fought we sent them to the loveseat. And of course, we had to be right there working with them and coaching them, especially early on. And it wasn’t just saying the words “Please forgive me” and “I forgive you” but really working through the problems and getting to the root of things. Almost always, selfishness was the root.
We kept digging in. We stuck with it even when the kids were so doggone stubborn that we thought we would lose our minds.
Then one day it happened. Carol and I were talking at the top of the stairs when we heard two of the boys fighting over a game below. I looked at Carol and said, “Tag I’m it, I will take care of this one.”
However, we both froze when we heard one of the boys say, “Hey, you know we are just going to end up in the loveseat. Please forgive me. My bad.” And the other one said, “I forgive you, let’s keep playing!”
Carol and I looked at each other, jaws hanging open. Then Carol cleared her throat and said, “Okay, that’s what I’m talking about!”
Kids almost never feel like working things out.
We worked hard to teach them that love is not based on how we feel, but it is rather based on a commitment to love each other even when we don’t feel like it. A big part of it was teaching them to move beyond how they felt and to do the right thing.
Our kids are grown now. One of my sons told me last week that he is grateful that he is friends with all his siblings and that it makes for great times when we are all together.
There is no guarantee that siblings will be friends when they grow up.
However, teaching them how to resolve conflict and forgive one another points them in the right direction and is priceless for their future relationships.
- Read more
On our wedding day, Carol and I vowed to do life together.
Then we made a commitment to each other that we were not ever going to be one of those couples who sit in a restaurant at the same table never saying a word to each other.
Are you getting in this rut? Can I make a few suggestions that have really helped us?
First, and this may sound a bit cheesy but hang with me because this was great for us: Do you have a hobby that you do with your spouse? Yes, I’m serious. Here me out.
Carol and I live in Michigan.
Because of the Great Lakes, Michigan has a large number of lighthouses. Over 100.
We started visiting Michigan lighthouses and have kept going with the goal to see all of them that we could get to by car. Some are on islands and some are private.
We have filled up scrapbook after scrapbook of selfies we have taken of us at these lighthouses.
When we got close to finishing Michigan, we moved on to lighthouses on the Great Lakes that are not in our state, like the lighthouses on Lake Erie in Ohio.
We truly love doing this together. We both love photography. We both love to Shutterfly. I love to drive. She does her two favorite things in life while I drive, she reads and takes naps. Then in-between naps we tell stories and catch up. This has really been a good thing.
We love it.
We went 26 years of marriage living in Michigan never thinking about lighthouses.
Consider taking a look around in your life and if you and your spouse don’t have a hobby that you share, see if you can hunt one up.
Second, have you been to a Weekend To Remember Marriage Getaway? Some of you are saying, “Yes because that is how we met you Brett Ray in the first place.” If you have never been, there are getaways in almost all 50 states and they are powerful.
Have you been to one but it’s been awhile? Consider going again. Couples say they discover all new things their second and third time around.
I have been to over a hundred of these Weekend to Remember events and I can honestly say I have learned something new at every single one. Different speakers, different stories. Very Powerful.
Find your Weekend To Remember Getaway Here
And third, Carol and I really believe in Marriage Counseling.
Watching a good counselor counsel is like watching a gifted painter paint. God has given certain people the gift of counseling for the purpose of helping to heal. Good, God blessed counseling has touched my life in countless, very powerful ways throughout the years of my life.
Don’t shy away from counseling, if you find the right person, God can use him or her in a very gifted and healing way in your life.
Get the conversations going again, like when you first got married.
Lord Jesus, please bless the couples who are reading this who are in a rut. Please help them to talk to each other and please bless their friendships. I love you Lord, Amen
- Read more
On game night, at family dinner, during your family TV show or a favorite movie, have a spot where everyone puts his or her phones and electronics until you’re done.
Did I just hear a 7th grader who is accidentally reading this gasp for air? Mom check him and make sure he is okay.
We will all survive.
“But Brett, your kids are all grown and you don’t know what it’s like these days.”
A few weeks ago my kids were all home for a few days. We did a family event and my wife Carol asked our five adult children to put their phones away for the evening. They did and it was great.
Take a break from the phones, tablets, laptops and electronics and…