Brain Power!

For our brain, there's no difference between reality and imagination. Our brain reacts to every thought and cannot tell a fact from a fantasy. This is why people looking at the world through rose colored glasses feel happier, and this is why our body accepts a placebo as a real pharmaceutical product. 

The tree trunk speaks!

Just Say No! 

Just Say No! 

When it's even carved into tree trunks, you have to pay attention! Say no to the wrong things - the time grabbers, the people who leave you feeling sad and bad, or keep you dependent on them.

You'll then have the energy, passion and self confidence to say yes to risk, growth and things you love

Five Tips for Summer Fun

Five Tips For Summer Fun

    The Potter's House of Denver's staff and leadership team recently filmed a promotion for the upcoming all-church Summer Blast, an event with food, games, and ministry opportunities.  Our pastor emphasized this was to be a time of joy and laughter, and the video needed to demonstrate that.  

    Under the TV Ministry’s direction, we released balloons, squirted each other – and the pastor - with water pistols and super-soakers as well as water balloons.  We acted like kids at a water park and sure enough, we had great fun!  We also experienced joy, laughter and a true spirit of camaraderie as we worked together to show people having fun together.    

    You might not undertake something so elaborate, but you can easily and inexpensively find ways for your own family to spend time together laughing, learning and creating warm memories.

    Here are some ideas:

  • Have your own water fight – you can buy a few water pistols, splash in the pool or spray each other with the garden hose.  Kids especially love to drench mom and dad, and laughter is guaranteed.

  • Become a tourist in your own state.  My husband grew up in Arizona but never visited the Grand Canyon until he moved away.  We live in Colorado, but it was our friends from Texas who introduced us to some fantastic mountain scenery.

Hanging Lake by Glenwood Springs CO

Hanging Lake by Glenwood Springs CO

       

  • Create memorable moments.  I’ll always remember the Sunday morning we were traveling with a group of church friends and stopped by the side of the road overlooking Ouray, “The Little Switzerland of Colorado.”  We shared a loaf of bread and bottle of grape juice as we participated in communion.  Memorable?  You bet!  It just took a little planning and stopping by the grocery store.  

  • Give the gift of an experience.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear that my young niece preferred going with her mom for a manicure and pedicure than to receive the normal “birthday present.”  When you offer an older child the choice of a gift or an experience, you might be amazed yourself when they choose a new adventure.    

  • Learn  and play -  A day with mom or dad learning how to prepare dinner or ride a bike is a wonderful treat for both the adults and the kids.  Little girls love to play “grown-up,” go to the grocery store, get all the ingredients for a meal and then fix it, messes and all.  And my grown son still remembers as a boy how his dad spent one summer teaching him how to throw a football, practicing again and again until he got it right.  

  What can you do this summer to ensure you have lots of laughter, fun and memorable moments?  You don’t have to take a world cruise or go to Disneyland; have a water fight in your own backyard!

 

                                    


 

Do you hang on to known misery rather than reach out for unknown happiness?

Do You Hang On To Known Misery Rather Than Reach Out For Unknown Happiness? 

                During July, I watched “The Sons of Liberty,” historical stories about a group of men fighting in the American Colonies for freedom.  It brought to life figures like John Adams, John Hancock, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, those US founding fathers we usually see depicted as older, bewigged and solemn as they’re signing the Declaration of Independence.  

  This series, however, shows young, courageous and seemingly fearless men determined to break away from a far-away king’s rule, British corruption and “taxation without representation.”  They were called “The Sons of Liberty.”  

In the TV depiction Samuel Adams, cousin to the more well-known John Adams, is a hero who found his calling as colonial activist, motivating and inspiring others to rebel against the British.  While admiring his dashing acts of bravery, I was struck by this thought:  today, we might not be physically fighting for our freedom, but we often wage war in our minds.  We need freedom; we metaphorically cry: “give me liberty or give me death!”  We can relate to Samuel Adams and The Sons Of Liberty.

  •          Like us, I imagine Samuel Adams often thought, “I can’t,” “why me?” or “this isn’t fair!” 
  •         Samuel was unsuccessful as a businessman in colonial Boston.  Who among us hasn’t faced defeat in a business opportunity or lost a job?  At those times, we might mumble as perhaps Samuel did, “I tried it and it didn’t work.” 
  •         Samuel experienced dissatisfaction with his life in general.  Perhaps, like us, he woke up one morning to discover he had turned into the wrong person. 
  •         Samuel was driven by desperation – he was broke – when he took on the unpopular task of tax collector for the British.  Although it’s been almost 250 years since the Sons of Liberty spearheaded the cause for liberty, I think at one time or another we all find ourselves feeling desperate.  I know I have.  I remember times filled with hopelessness, anxiety and despair when I was ill and jobless or when I was facing a life without one of my legs.

However, something interesting happened as Samuel Adams reluctantly collected taxes; he began to see a clear pattern of British corruption that did not sit well with him!  That immense dissatisfaction and sense of outrage ultimately led to his playing a significant role in “The Boston Tea Party,” and “The American Revolution.” 

Almost 150 years later, Oswald Chambers penned words that Samuel Adams would undoubtedly have embraced and that we identify with today: “We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our every-day life with its trivial tasks.”  Sometimes, like Samuel Adams, we just need a purpose.

In the war of our minds, we also experience times of overwhelming situations and wonder, “what on earth are you doing, God?”  We ask, “what possible good could come from such a horrible break-up, loss of a job, or devastating illness?”  If we’re honest, we get mad at God, upset with the world and are disappointed with ourselves for getting into such a mess. 

With the advantage of hindsight, we’ll later say things like, “Oh! That’s why I got so discouraged!”  Or, “Now I see what God had in mind; it was better for me to go through that situation.”   But usually, the first insight comes as we, like Samuel, start to dislike the way things are.  From that uncomfortable place, when we’ve had enough, we’re ready to do something different. 

That’s the beginning of the battle in our minds.  We long to step out of our comfort zone and react differently or try new things. But the part of our brain which seeks familiarity; which hangs on to known misery rather than seek unknown happiness, demands comfort, not challenge. 

      The first skirmish is the decisive one.  We struggle with how it’s always been, what we’ve always done and who we’ve always thought we were.  But when the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the fear of change, we are ready to brawl. There may be more battles to face, more obstacles to conquer, but we’re on the way. 

And just as Samuel Adams and “The Sons of Liberty” brought freedom to our land, we can bring freedom to our minds. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               

 

True Love, Marriage Advice and Wisdom of the Years

My nephew and niece's daughter (does that make her my grand niece?) is getting married this month and I was asked to provide some marriage advice for the newlyweds.

In my years as a counselor, teacher and married woman myself, I thought this would be good to pass on:

To The Groom: Remember to step up and speak up; it's important to say what's on your mind, whether that's how much you love her or how much something is bothering you. Both pay off in the long run! It's also important to keep doing the things which made her fall in love with you, so if you need to set a reminder on your calendar for 6 months or 6 years from now, you'll still be planning special occasions, or sending flowers or whatever it is you do!

To The Bride: For most women, we have to remember to shut up! Because of the way we're wired, we tend to look for what's wrong and what needs to be fixed and point that out -- and keep pointing it out! But men will begin to shut down and not talk about real things if they feel whatever they say will be criticized or whatever they do is never enough.

Here's wishing you will both experience many years of love, happiness, respect and honor.

#truelove #marriageadvice #wisdomofmanyyears

Compliments Guys Are Secretly Dying To Hear

Hello!
 

I got married in June many years ago and will be celebrating my anniversary later this month. So June becomes a Love Month - for me anyway!  In honor of that occasion, here's some wisdom I've learned over the years.
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Earlier this year I was featured in an article in "The List" talking about "Compliments Guys Are Secretly Dying To Hear" and thought you would enjoy this reminder of what guys really want to hear!
To read this, simply click on the link below.

For the married folks, a reminder to you wives; for the single folks, you can use this to catch a guy! :)  More secrets about the gals later!

Enjoy and please share with others, post on your facebook pages and send any comments my way. 

Thanks!  Barbra

: http://www.thelist.com/46326/compliments-guys-secretly-dying-hear/?utm_campaign=clip

Victim to victory - a safe place to heaL

Victim to victory - a safe place to heaL

 "Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for you ......."   Jeremiah 32:17

            “I am stronger, I am more confident, and I am beginning to get my voice back.” 

Those triumphant words are declared today by Andrea, a sexual-abuse survivor and graduate of PHD’s Life Group, “Victim to Victory.”

Victim to Victory is a support group for women ages 13 and up, survivors of childhood sexual abuse, incest and rape.  In a time where sexual abuse is still often a shameful topic to address, The Potter’s House Church of Denver has stepped up to provide women a safe place to heal emotionally and spiritually.

iStock-174264799.jpg

 

After completing this 13-week group, Andrea went on to say, “I have grown so much in such a short amount of time.  After taking this class, I can finally see how my abuse impacted other areas of my life.  I have a new mindset and my life has been changed forever!”

Those are indeed powerful words.  Even more exciting is that Andrea’s triumph is not just a singular incidence.  Other members of this dynamic group report similar victories:

  • ·         “I never realized how sexual abuse affected me, and I felt I was to blame, like I deserved it.  This class has helped me know that is not true.  I can receive healing and comfort, God is guiding me and I am growing in my faith.”                                                                                                                      
  • ·         “This is the first time I’ve ever attended a group like this.  I’ve been amazed at the ability to deeply identify truths from past occurrences I didn’t fully understand.  All the growth I experienced is because of the substance and tools I received in this class.” 

Such testimonies speak to this certainty:  people within the church body experience the same hurt and trauma as the population at large.  When we have spirit-filled trained believers willing to walk alongside such hurting individuals, the Church is truly an outreach to the unsaved, a hospital for the wounded, and a resource to the community.,  

Barbra Russell, MA, LPC - Director, Counseling Ministries

Transition and Stress

      Everyone will experience change, a transition, at one time or another.  

There is nothing so consistent as change

                During a time of transition, people normally experience stress because our brains and entire beings seek homeostasis, a survival mechanism.  We want things to stay the same.  here are some helpful tips to deal with transitions and the accompanying stress. 

                 We can help others – and us – by doing three things:

1.  Normalize This Time – People are not crazy; it’s normal to feel a whole range of emotions during this time.  From depression, anger, sadness, & disappointment to confusion and triggers which remind us of previous trauma and loss; it’s all normal

2.  Grieving The Loss – We all go through the stages of grief because in transition, we always lose something.  As in the death of a loved one, the stages apply here as well:  Shock and denial, anger and depression come and go as we grieve.  Just when we think we’ve successfully navigated one stage, we find ourselves back in the same feelings.  Again, that’s normal.  Grieving is crazy-making!  We eventuallymove to acceptance with sadness for the loss.

3.  Process The Feelings – It’s important that people don’t stuff all that grief and emotions but rather have opportunity to process, or talk about, the change in a healthy manner.  We can help by using the following skills:

  •  Create Safety – Provide confidentiality; knowing what they share with you won’t go any further.
  •  Listen without judgment – paraphrase the content and feeling; they will feel understood.  “i.e.,  “I hear you saying you feel pretty angry about this.” 
  • What NOT To say: 
     
    • Just trust God
    • Look on the bright side
    • I conquered it this way
    • Just read and pray more
    • Or any other “advice-giving” statements.  Unsolicited advice is like chopped liver – not appreciated. 

Adversity is Difficult but Good

I recently tweeted this:  "Adversity is difficult but good - it makes you develop muscles and resources you didn't know you had."

A reader commented:  "Yes.  My "muscles" are almost on bodybuilder level.  (smile) It's all working for my good though."

I thought that's an excellent way to look at this process -- because bodybuilders are tough, they're toned, they're usually preparing for a contest.  

We daily enter a contest we call life -- the more times we go through adversity and exclaim, "Whew!  Made it," we're usually a little wiser, a little tougher and more prepared for the next challenge in this experience we call life. 

 

We married, then started dating

We had our first real date on Valentine's Day, he proposed a month later, 3 months later got married then started dating😃😊😳💕❤. While I don't recommend that as a usual practice, it did set the stage for us to keep learning about each other and we were determined to make it! 2 helps? Learning about and respecting personalities and using gender communication humor- "that's my female brain talking" and "that's just my male brain that forgot." No sitting in rockers on the porch for us - nope, working, playing and making a difference- that's the Russell Plan. 

What are your helps to stay married?

What are you plans for your future? 

Would love to hear from you:  barb@barbrarussell.com

The Meltdown

            It was August, and an idea hit me, like lightning striking a lone tree on a hilltop.  I would put on a women’s conference!  And I’d do it in two months!   After all, as one of my favorite authors, Jim Rohn, said: “The time to act is when the idea is hot and the emotion is strong.”    

            I gathered a team around me and we set out to bring that idea to life. The “Highly Effective Women’s” conference was set for October and all worked feverishly to make sure it happened. 

            Chapter nine of my newly completed book, Yes! I Said No! clearly spelled out the steps to “Dream Big; Think Small.”  That was me, right?  If I wrote it, I’d better practice it!  This seminar would be a Joyce Myers, Christine Caine, Beth Moore event, all wrapped in one! 

It was the week before the conference when the meltdown happened. 

            Like hot lava spilling out from an erupting volcano, disturbing thoughts burned my mind, leaving tears and hopelessness in their wake.  “Who do you think you are to do this?  You are definitely not those famous women you admire; you’re just the Great Pretender.”   

            You can’t entertain such thoughts without suffering severe side effects and I spent the day wallowing in self-pity and despair.  The next day, however, the stern schoolmarm part of me stepped in, saying:  “Get a grip, Barbra!  You’re going to do this thing!”  And I set out to do it, to complete the job.  After the “Highly Effective Women’s Conference” was held in October, the participants, the team and I all declared it a success.

            Why do I tell you this story?  Because I bet I’m not the only one who has dreamed a dream that seemed too big to accomplish, not the only person who has doubted their ability to make it all the way to the goal line.  Perhaps you too have heard the echoes of doubters from your past wickedly whispering in your ear, “You never finish what you start, you quitter!”  I bet I’m not the only one who has ever felt those qualms of inadequacy; not the only one who has suffered a meltdown. 

            A few weeks after the conference, I was reflecting on what happened.  Why on earth did I experience that day of panic?  It had been a while since that happened, even though I remembered other times when such mind-attacks would put me in a depressive funk for weeks or maybe even months. 

            This truth then hit me – Even though I had had a bad day, I must be further from the volcano of self-doubt, insecurity and lack of confidence in myself.  Yes, only one day of feeling discouraged equals progress for me!

            When you encounter the inevitable setbacks, discouragement and doubts which beset purpose-driven people, instead of repeating a well-rehearsed mantra such as “well, I can’t do this,” look at the progress you’ve made.  All too often we assume an “all or nothing” attitude.  We look at things as black or white; success or failure.  We need to recognize the shades of gray which represent progress. 

            I imagine if today you carefully measured the distance from your particular volcano of obstacles, you’d see yourself further down the road than you were years ago, months ago or even weeks ago.  Because it’s a fact that if you keep getting up after you fall down, you are going to succeed.  If you keep trying, you will learn and grow.  And if in the process you have a meltdown, you will discover, as I did, that it wasn’t as bad and didn’t last as long as before.  Keep on dreaming those dreams; continue taking action when the idea is hot!   

meltdown.jpg

Barbra Russell, MA, LPC

Counselor/Writer/Speaker

www.BarbraRussell.com

             

"If Barbra can do it, I guess I can too"

Yes I Said No.JPG

           “Well, if Barbra can do it, I guess I can too!”  She was talking about my writing the book, Yes!  I Said No! which will be published soon.  It’s my first. I’m also leading my first-ever women’s conference and promoting a new web site, www.barbrarussell.com

            Whew!  When I stop to take a breath and think about those “firsts,” and her statement, I realize that’s what my life’s purpose is all about – encouraging, inspiring and challenging people to believe they can do more, have more and be more.  And maybe they’ll start by saying, “Well, if Barbra can do it, I guess I can too.”   

            But for a long time, Barbra didn’t do it.  Through the years I’ve parroted a line of excuses I called reasons to excuse my inaction.  “I’m not famous.”  “I’m too old to start something new.”  “I don’t have a gazillion contacts on social media.” 

            But after her comment, I realized something.  Wouldn’t it be terrible if I let those excuses stop me?  What if one day I hadn’t gulped and said, “even if….. Here we go.”  Perhaps there will be many people whose lives are helped and changed because they read my book.   

            And wouldn’t it be terrible if she let her own doubts stop her?  They sound like this:  “I don’t have a degree.”  “I don’t know if I could do that.”  But what if she leads a class or writes a book and someday hears those same words, “if you can do it, maybe I can do it too.”
            And wouldn’t it be terrible if you keep justifying why you don’t follow your own dream? 

            What small step could you take to start moving toward your passion?  Perhaps it’s finally saying out loud what you’ve been secretly imagining for a long time.  Maybe you could start researching what it would take to make your dream come true.  What would happen if you recorded a demo?  How much money would it really take to go back to school?  Could you qualify for a scholarship? 

            I don’t remember now what made me decide to start writing a blog.  That was my first step; I wasn’t thinking of writing a book; I wasn’t even sure I could write well, and I wasn’t sure what I’d write about after the first three articles, but somehow the ideas kept coming, and I kept writing. 

But one day, a thought crossed my mind.  “I could write a book if I expanded on some of those articles I’ve already written.”  That thought, combined with the next small step, (jotting down some possible chapter titles) was the beginning of a new adventure, the writing of Yes! I Said No!     

 And if I can help you start on a new journey, if one day you say, “Well, if Barbra can do it, I can do it,” we will both be winners!       

 Barbra Russell, MA, LPC   www.BarbraRussell.com

Counselor/Writer/Speaker

 

 

SOAKING IN A HOT TUB

Soaking In A Hot Tub

            “Is it ok to go to Barnes & Noble and look around sometimes?”  Brenda, a long-time counseling client, asked rather plaintively.  “Or maybe take a long soak in a hot tub?  When I do something just for me, it feels wrong.  There’s always so many other things I need to be doing.”       

            “Oh,” I responded, “you must have been raised like me – idleness makes you feel guilty and you’re not quite sure you’re worth some pampering.” 

She and I are not the only ones who feel this way, I know; many people struggle to take time for themselves.  In fact, in today’s culture, staying extremely busy is praised.  If you work overtime, chauffeur your kids around from dawn to dusk and go, go, go 24/7, you’re considered a winner.  Our world tells us: “Busy, stressed-out people are the ones who succeed.  Go and be like them.”

Of course, this message isn’t new; my parents replayed it as well.  The words may have been unspoken, but the principle was clear:  “Work hard!  Don’t play!”  It seemed like my parents worked all the time; I can’t remember their ever taking time for themselves.  I recall when they drove all the way from Oklahoma to Colorado to see us, and I was really looking forward to showing them around and just relaxing with mom and dad.

But you know what they did?  They brought bushels of apples with them and the next morning they got up bright and early to begin peeling and preparing those apples!  They spent their vacation making applesauce and canning apples for me.  I couldn’t believe it!  But I think it was one way they showed love; and it seems my parents’ work was their play.  I used to believe they worked so hard because they lived through the Great Depression, but now I’m beginning to wonder if that core value didn’t come over on the Mayflower!  It’s like “The American Way.”

I hasten to add it’s not bad to work hard, and citizens of the US are justifiably proud of our country and its work ethic.  However, rigidly adhering to a “work all the time” philosophy makes it hard to rest and relax.  And the Bible instructs us to take one day and keep it holy, a Sabbath day of rest.  That’s only 24 hours out of 56; yet often we fight to find one hour to break away, to relax, to do something just for us.  

Here’s what I told Brenda: “It’s not only ok to take time for yourself; it’s crucial!  That doesn’t mean you’re lazy, vegging out on the sofa, eating bon-bon’s or playing computer games all day.  No, it’s finding a healthy balance of work and play.  That’s Self-Care – simply taking care of yourself.  You’ll feel rested and relaxed, ready to do what needs to be done.  Go to Barnes & Noble; in fact, start jotting down things you enjoy.”     

ped pals.JPG

I’ve made such a list; on it is something I call “pedi-pals.”  My friends and I go together to have our feet pumiced and polished; we enjoy a pedicure while we visit. Then we might go to lunch while we’re out!  An afternoon with the girls is definitely one way for me to recharge.

Here’s something else to remember:  The busier you are, the more you need to schedule a break for yourself.  So here’s an assignment:  Take a pen and paper or go to the computer and start making a list of activities you enjoy.  Think of things to do when the weather is nice, other activities you’ll enjoy when you have to stay indoors, interests and hobbies, people and places you’d like to visit. 

Keep the list handy and pull it out when life seems a little crazy, when you have too much on your plate.  Pick something you like and voila!  You’re on your way to what psychologists call a “healthy self;” you know how to self-soothe. 

Join Brenda and me as we prepare for life’s busyness.  You’ll be better equipped to face challenges and stresses after you’ve planned for some down-time.  You might even schedule time to soak in a hot tub!     

      

 

 

Want to Live to be 100? Live in a House With Stairs!

  Barb on stairs Want to live to be 100?  Live in a house with stairs!

As you can see, I’m standing on the stairs of our house.  Well, I love our home and I’ve come to love our stairs.  But it wasn’t always that way.  When we were looking for a house, we weren’t looking for a house with stairs.  We were looking for a rancher!  We were thinking, “Oh, as we get older, we want things to be flat, on one level.  We don’t want any problems, and we certainly don’t want stairs!”

But before we came to look at this house, our realtor said, “Do you know what people who live to be 100 have in common?  They all live in houses with stairs!”  Hah!  Smart realtor, huh?

But that made me stop and think about it.  I said to myself: “Hey!  Let me look at this a little differently!  You know, I could maybe run up and down these stairs, or at least walk up them!  And if that keeps me in shape, I could go for living to be 100!”

And that’s when it hit me—that’s how we are in life.  We want no obstacles, no problems.  We want smooth sailing, we want ranchers!  But that’s not the way God made us to live, as evidenced by the fact that I bet not one of you has escaped having problems in your life!

Rather, when He made us, he designed us to grow, to become better today than we were yesterday.  The bad news, if you want to look at it that way, is this simple fact:  we need difficulties to overcome, we need fears to face and we need to figure out obstacles.  Because, as Romans 5:3-4 says:  “…..tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope.”

I think the writer was basically saying, “yes, you’ll have problems, but it’s going to create some good things in you!”   So, from that point of view, it’s really good news, even though most of us don’t “consider it all joy when we face trials,” as James wrote.

However, as we tackle those difficulties, and we don’t give up in spite of being afraid or discouraged, little by little, we learn and we grow.  As a result, our faith and confidence grows.

Every time we learn something, every time we’ve grown a bit, we become more of who God has designed us to be.  And remember, we’re the ones who win when we become the person we’re designed to be!

So I encourage you today—don’t be afraid to take that opportunity just because it has challenges.  Don’t be afraid of the obstacles in your life; just look at them in a different way.  Say to yourself, “these are the stairs that are going to keep me going, that are going to help me in many ways.”

And hey!  Let’s live to be 100--We just have to look at stairs a different way!

“What Did You Mean By That?”

couple design over white background vector illustration
couple design over white background vector illustration

What did you mean by that?”  Bob’s question took Susan totally by surprise because he had never asked her that before.  But his tone was so respectful, with a genuine “I- really- want- to know” attitude that she quickly recovered and they began to discuss an earlier conversation.  As they talked, both realized he had misunderstood her meaning and intention.

It was a good thing he asked the question.

After a few minutes’ discussion, the confusion was resolved.  They both exclaimed, almost at the same time: “Hey!  This is way different from what we’ve done before! ”

That prompted Susan to inquire, “How did you think to ask me that, Bob?  It was so helpful.”

“I decided I’d do things in a healthy way, too” he answered, referring to her new-found skills discovered through counseling.  They discussed what they previously did when there was such miscommunication between them.  They’d either fight, or go to their respective “corners” and not talk at all for days, both reeling from hurt feelings and misperceived motives.

This interaction between them inspired Bob to try that phrase at work as well.  It wasn’t long before he had an opportunity to ask a co-worker, “What did you mean by that?”  They found a solution by first discussing the issue with his co-worker, then the supervisor.

Once again, a potentially ugly or explosive situation was resolved.  Bob just shook his head as he reflected on how things often happened at work.  Guys wound up leaving their jobs or remaining miserably unhappy and feeling trapped, all for the lack of using six words.  “What did you mean by that?”

I recently heard a respected speaker utter this well-known phrase:    [bctt tweet=" “I wouldn’t be divorced today had I known then what I know now.” " username="@BarbERuss"]

One of the things he said is that he, like Bob, needed to let his wife know when he was unhappy.  In that first marriage it seemed other things he tried never worked.  So, one day in hopeless despair, he left.  He had come to a lot of conclusions about the futility of things changing and didn’t know at that time how to even bring up the subject.

All too often, guys feel they must just “suck it up” when they are displeased with what’s going on, whether at home or at work.  They’re fearful of the confrontation that will likely follow.  And just as often, wives or bosses don’t make it safe to say anything when they look for what’s wrong and criticize more than they compliment.

We have a long history in the West of the strong, silent man.   For many years, guys have absorbed this mantra:  “Real men don’t eat quiche, they don’t ask for directions, and they certainly don’t ask for help!”

daniel boone
daniel boone

Daniel Boone declared, “I was never lost but I was powerfully bewildered once for three days.” As goes the Pioneering Western man, so goes the Modern man!"

So what are men and women to do?  I, of course, always suggest counseling to couples but often men don’t like that idea.  It doesn’t fit into the creed that “Real men don’t eat quiche, they don’t ask for directions, and they certainly don’t ask for help!”  One very creative approach is this web site:  http://mantherapy.org/ which talks about therapy done “the manly way.”  I laughed when I checked it out.  It’s definitely done with humor. Click on the link to see what you think.  Men do things a different way!

Bottom line: "Ask the question – “What did you mean by that?” It could save your marriage; it could save your job"

And gals, if you want a better relationship with your man, here's some things to think about. We women have a tendency to look for what’s wrong and we’re not usually hesitant to bring that up.  Plus, we also like to talk and talk!  So, sometimes we’ll take an opposite point of view with men just to keep a conversation going.  But that can quickly backfire when he feels disrespected and judged.

A common complaint I hear from married men is this:  “No matter how hard I try, I can never do anything right.”  If he helps with the dishes, she informs him they’re not put in the dishwasher correctly.  When he offers to do the laundry, she instructs him to divide the clothes differently.  Usually, she means to help, but he perceives those “orders” as critical complaints.  And perception is reality.  That’s why I say:  

"Compliment more than you complain!"   

and

"Appreciate more than you argue!"

When you make it safe for him, he won’t be afraid to ask:  “What did you mean by that?” 

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