Newsletter #4; March 17, 2015
In This Issue:
- Happy St. Patrick's Day - Thoughts From Dave
- "Resistance to Change" Explained
- Treasured Relationships Update
Happy St. Patrick's Day - Thoughts From Dave
Here is a relationship lesson from history: One of the largest groups of immigrants coming to America was people from Ireland. When they arrived, those who were already here often looked down on them and in many cases treated them badly. Because of this, the Irish tended to stick together in large Irish neighborhoods. This helped them to retain certain parts of their heritage instead of mixing quickly into the mainstream of the culture. Despite their hardships, by sticking together they were able to overcome adversity; and soon it was widely believed that they were generally lucky. The expression "the luck of the Irish be with you" was born!
A true believer is conscious that life in Christ is not a life filled with luck, but is a life filled with faithfulness and daily blessings. The world around us is looking for the lucky break, the winning ticket, and anything that will satisfy that void in their lives. In contrast to our society, we know that it is only a relationship with Christ that can quench the thirst we all have. As we live in Christ and seek to understand His Word, He blesses us more than we can measure. He fills us with His love so that we may go out and be a blessing to others.
We read in numerous places in the Bible that the relationship god has with us through Christ is similar to the relationship that is supposed to exist between husbands and wives. We could spend all day digging into those scriptures, and that study would be both fascinating and enlightening. It is very clear that God intends to bless marriages for the good of the couple, the families they co-create with God, and the entire society. But this process is so often blocked by us choosing to "do marriage" our own way instead of the way God designed it. By doing this we often choose to block God's blessings.
Luck can't give us God's gracious and compassionate protection. Luck can't give us God's guidance. Luck can't make God's face to turn toward us and give us peace. It isn't the "luck of the Irish" that the world needs, it's His blessing.
"The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26) If you want to dig a little deeper, here are some suggestions: Numbers 5:11 - 6:27; Luke 2:1 - 20; and Proverbs 7:6 - 20.
Resistance to Change Explained (or at least a start at explaining this phenomenon)
l'm going to attempt the nearly impossible task of explaining a problem that has plagued mankind since creation, and do so in a very short article (that's the impossible part). I am not going to delve into all the research about this subject: this is a short article, not a book! However, sometimes a very short summary can be enlightening, while dealing with the issue thoroughly can be overwhelming. I will follow this brief article with 3 more, one in each of the next 3 newsletters. Taken together, these 4 articles will reveal several key truths about how we can make one logical shift that will "open the door" to help a couple develop a truly radical Christian marriage. So here goes...
Most of us realize that living a great life is highly dependent on making really good decisions. And yet, we often choose to blame problems we face on things outside of ourselves so that we can deny responsibility for our circumstances. The reality is that what we choose to do has a direct impact on our lives.
And yet, even when we know this, we have a very hard time giving up old behaviors and choosing to do things differently. It has been my experience that most people will not make simple behavioral changes unless or until there is some sort of crisis in their lives. And I'm about to tell you why this is.
Humans resist change. We tend to stick with something we are familiar with, even when there is an easier way or a way that leads to better results. When I was growing up, I remember my Aunt Thelma cooking "Sunday Dinners" (a fine Southern tradition) for the whole extended family on her wood stove. She had a nice new electric stove, and there was a gas stove on the back porch that she had refused to use much prior to getting the electric stove. Which do yo
u think was easier to use: the electric stove, the gas one, or the one that required splitting wood and building a fire? But she resisted changing. She loved her old wood stove because that was what she grew up using. And she didn't want to use those new-fangled stoves, even if they were easier and did just as good a job. Aunt Thelma was comfortable with the old way of cooking.
We may laugh, but the same principle applies in the way we do all sorts of things - including our relationship skills! This includes communication skills, problem solving patterns, male and female role expectations, ways they express love and affection, ways they handle power issues... The list goes on and on. Even if we know there is a better way, we tend to resist change simply because we are comfortable doing it the way we always have.
The bottom line problem here is fear. We fear the unknown. We fear what we see as unpredictable. This may seem crazy, but we will resist doing something that is likely to help us in the same way that we will resist something that is likely to harm us. This is why we get "cold feet" and either want to back out or actually do back out when we have a great opportunity. Think of how you felt when approaching your wedding, taking a new job and leaving the old one behind, or getting promoted to a leadership position at work. It feels like you are about to fall off a cliff, doesn't it? Being afraid of something very positive is not crazy. It is normal. There are times when we need to acknowledge our fear and step out boldly in spite of the fear. If it is a real cliff, your fear is warning you of real danger. Go the other way. If it just feels like a cliff, and it is actually a great opportunity that is activating your fear, go forward.
In the next 3 newsletters, I'll talk about the 3 voices that we must listen to when faced with the possibility of change. It will all make sense, I promise!
In closing, I want to affirm that "miracles" take place just outside the edge of your comfort zone. So long as we keep doing the same things we've always done, we will keep getting the same results. Change does not have to be bad at all, but it probably will always have an element of fear in it.
Treasured Relationships Update
Progress and Plans:
We continue to be on schedule and building the Treasured Relationships program. Tomorrow evening will be "week 4" of a 7-week class for teens at College Acres Baptist Church in Wilmington. When that class completes, I'll be leading a class for couples at the same location for another 7 Wednesday evenings. Any class I lead is open to people from the community, not just that particular church. The teen class is titled "How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk (or Jerkette)", and the couples class will be weeks 1-7 of my new training program (with the remaining 5 weeks given online, all for free). I've also got an upcoming class for students at UNCW, though we keep bouncing dates around and don't have that locked in yet. We are also in the process of enrolling some couples to start a group coaching program in the near future.
Work continues on developing the Treasured Relationships LLC website. This thing has been my greatest challenge to date. I've got over 40 years experience working with couples, and am a complete novice at the website. I've not given up, but today I committed to pay for professional assistance, starting on April 1st. Please don't make any jokes about "April Fool's Day!" The team I have hired will teach me how to make the website function as it should. So I am still in the learning mode, and their assistance will certainly move me forward.
The other really big project is the new faith-centered marriage enrichment training course I've developed. This is an exciting development, and the plan had been to release it by the end of March - through the website. Well, that's not going to happen this month. the trick at this point is working out the automated delivery of recorded training, workbook, and interactive forms. It is going to be a very helpful program for those who participate in it fully. I'm not waiting for "perfection" to launch this program, but it does have to at least work with a minimum number of "glitches" to iron out. Some of those "glitches" will be unknown until we actually put it into operation.
The goal with the online training course, which addresses relationship skill building and provides the scriptural directions for a Biblical marriage, is to make this widely available at an extremely reasonable price. My mentor and business coach say I should charge no less than $200 for the course and give people online access for 4 months. I have decided to charge $97 and give online access for 6 months. For my couples in coaching, it will be a no-additional-charge element of the program and will enable us to do the training portion of the program online, with a completely flexible schedule. By doing this, my 1-on-1 time with clients can be devoted to coaching them instead of spending much time training. The two main goals are convenience and effectiveness. This is going to be a huge improvement and will enable me to help more people. That is the bottom-line goal: to make a difference for as many people as possible.
The plan all along has been for phase 1 of setting up the program to focus on marriage enrichment and coaching couples. The plan for phase 2 has been to add more for singles, such as mate selection, relationship building, and coaching single adults. I have gotten a lot of positive response from singles. So I am actually implementing some of both phases in these early months of establishing the program.
, and will be leading "How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk (or Jerkette)" twice in the next few months. My passion is both to help marriages and to help singles make great premarital choices as they build relationships that may lead to marriage. I am open to the possibility of coaching just a few single adults while still getting the program established and before adding to the leadership team. Once we increase the staff, which is in the plan, we can do even more on both fronts. Please pray with us about this!
February 26 - April 8: Wednesdays at 6:30 at College Acres Baptist Church, Wilmington, NC - - Equip Class for Youth (High School): "How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk (or Jerkette)"
April 15 - May 27: Wednesdays at 6:30 at College Acres Baptist Church, Wilmington, NC - - Equip Class for Adults: 7 sessions of the Treasured Relationships Training Course. (Participants will be given online access to the entire course for 6 months.)
Date and time not yet certain: "How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk (or Jerkette)" for students at University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Please tell others about Treasured Relationships! If you know anyone who might be able to benefit from this ministry, ask them to check up out on the website. They can also schedule a free, no-obligation, 1-hour "strategy session" with me right on the website by clicking on one of my available time slots in my calendar. Then I will send them the details about how we can "meet" in real time via the telephone or internet. The days of having to drive across town for appointments are over, and we have embraced technology that makes this more effective and more convenient at the same time.
Welcome to new members of the Treasured Relationships community! We send the Treasured Relationships newsletter to you twice each month. I hope you will stick with us, and that you will find the content beneficial. I also hope that you will allow us to help you as needed, and encourage those you know to get plugged in with us as well. I personally answer all email, so send me your questions, thoughts, concerns, suggestions, whatever. But, of course, you can unsubscribe at any time and we will honor your request.
Treasured Relationships LLC: "Helping couples relate well, build fulfilling relationships and experience marriage as God designed it to be!"