Newsletter #5; April 3, 2015
In This Issue:
- Thoughts From Dave - I'm a Grandpa!
- Article: "Resistance to Change" Explained, part 2 of 4
- Article: "Marital Happiness is Mostly a Choice"
- Treasured Relationships Update
Thoughts From Dave - I'm a Grandpa!
I'm sending this newsletter out from Wake Medical Center in Raleigh, NC, where we've been camped out for quite a while. Our daughter, Keri and son-in-law, Derek have just welcomed a perfect little girl into the world! Her name is Mariella Inez Ayscue, weighing in at 6lbs, 15 ounces; and 20.5 inches long. Mom and baby are doing great! Celebrate with us!
Resistance to Change Explained: Decision Making (Part 2 of 4)
In my last article, I explained how any significant change one faces always has an element of fear attached to it. In this article, I will build on that and introduce you to three “voices” we all have inside us. These voices are often in conflict with each other. And when you learn how to resolve these conflicts, you are suddenly on your way to getting more of what you really want in life.
When you understand these 3 “voices” and how to interpret them together, you will almost always make the best decisions for your life. So today’s article it is all about decision making!
That first “voice” is the “voice of fear” and it is usually the loudest and most active of the three. The “voice of fear” may show up as anger, feelings of insecurity, believing oneself to be inadequate, etc. When the “voice of fear” is in control, you probably say things like:
“I’m upset because…”
“I Should…” or “I shouldn’t…” or even “You shouldn’t…”
“I’m stressed out because…”
“I’d like to do that, but…”
While each of the statements might be rational at times, most of the time they are indications of some hidden fears taking charge. There is some sort of inner conflict between your three internal voices. This may sound disturbing, but it is actually great news! Once you learn to hear those three internal voices properly, you are amazingly empowered.
In no way is this discussion about “Multiple Personality Disorder” or any other form of mental illness. It is actually very healthy, normal, and indeed essential for us to have the three internal voices, and to learn how to recognize and interpret them appropriately. If it sometimes feels like there are several voices arguing within your head, you are not crazy. No, you are awake and are paying attention enough to realize something profound is taking place.
Voice number two is not loud inside us, like the “voice of fear” is. This voice is a still, small voice that is often referred to as the “voice of intuition.” This is where you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit leading you, for those who are in touch with the reality of God indwelling within us. Freud, Jung, and essentially all other psychologists recognize this voice within us, though they give it different names and attempt to explain it in different ways. This “voice of intuition” is within every person, whether they are a believer or not. For unbelievers, it may be described as a “God-shaped hole” that needs to be filled. This voice is very real as well as very important to listen to whenever you need to make an important decision. The “voice of intuition” may speak softly, but it is also persistent. God doesn’t easily give up on us when we fail to listen to the Holy Spirit’s direction the first time. You will keep hearing the message, so tune in!
The third voice is the “voice of reason”. It is not at all emotional or loud, like the “voice of fear” is. Neither is it tuned in to the Holy Spirit like the “voice of intuition” is. This is the voice of pure logic. It is all about rational thought, analysis of positive vs. negative possibilities, and it helps us make rational decisions. The job of the “voice of reason” is to be right, to find the correct answers, and to make the best choices.
You have these three voices, we all do. This is normal and healthy – so long as there are not a bunch of additional voices as well.
The “voice of fear” is found in your body. It is your basic “fight or flight” response and triggers all sorts of chemical and hormonal responses in the body. Sometimes fear-based decisions seem to be irrational, but they are actually pre-rational. Fear comes before reason. We instantly react with fear, before we get a chance to engage the brain.
The “voice of reason” is found in your brain. Specifically, it is left-brain, logic-based intelligence. I sometimes go there and stay for hours at a time, because I am a natural-born researcher. I study what works and what doesn’t, what helps build healthier relationships, how to help others improve without having to teach them all the stuff I’ve learned through the years of my journey. Then I emerge and try to explain stuff in a way that makes sense to everyone else. I hope it’s working right now.
The “voice of intuition” is found in your spirit. Where the “voice of fear” is pre-rational and the “voice of reason” is rational, the “voice of intuition” is trans-rational. This voice speaks from beyond reason, and shows up sort of like a GPS within you. It helps you determine whether or not your decisions are on course. Another way to say that is that the “voice of fear” worries, the “voice of reason” analyzes, and the “voice of intuition” resonates.
I could go on, and am tempted to do so. However, I have promised to keep this article short and to tell you something significant about decision making. And I will be digging a little more into this in the next article. So, on to decision-making guidance:
Let’s say that your “voice of intuition” says this thing you are considering doing is not in alignment with the course your life should be on. And your “voice of reason” says you are crazy for even thinking about doing this. And your “voice of fear” says to run the other way because that decision would put you in a dangerous situation. This would be a “no”, “No”, “NO!” Don’t do it, regardless of what it is.
However, not every decision is so easy to make. For example, let’s say that your “voice of intuition” says this thing you are considering doing is not in alignment with the course your life should be on. And your “voice of reason” says it is not at all crazy to do it. And your “voice of fear” must be OK with it, because it is silent. In this situation we have a “no”, “yes”, “yes”. Don’t do it, regardless of what it is. It is not dangerous and it makes sense, but it is not what you should be doing.
Without going through all the possible combinations here, you certainly get the point. We are looking for an agreement between the three voices, right? Actually, no.
If you want to experience the very best things that life (and God) has in store for you, there needs to be a “NO!” in the last answer block. Because the really big decisions, that take you into the arena of incredibly positive results, are going to be frightening! Change is scary. Huge opportunities are terrifying. The “voice of fear” is going to be shouting NO!
Here’s the bottom line on decision making, and it is guidance to use every time you have a big decision to make. Instead of only listening to the “voice of fear”, tune into the other two voices as well. When the “voice of intuition” says that this is what you are supposed to be doing; and the “voice of reason” says that it is a great idea and a very logical choice; meanwhile the “voice of fear” is screaming “NO!” in spite of the fact that there is no actual danger present… Do it every time!
Let’s dig deeper, and see how this relates to building great marriages and other significant relationships. In about 2 weeks. That will be part 3 of this series of articles. I’ve laid the foundation for that discussion.
As always, I welcome emails from you with your comments, questions, etc.
Marital Happiness is Mostly a Choice
Marriage researcher and author John Gottman, Ph.D., has been a leader in the field of strengthening marriages and families for many years. I have a bunch of his books on my bookshelf, with many corners turned down, passages highlighted, and notes in the margins. On several occasions at “Smart Marriages Conferences,” I had the privilege of being in classes and workshops that he led. Here is a quote from one of his books (Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, page 183):
"The bottom line is that you need to become the architect of your thoughts. It's up to you to decide what your inner script will contain. You can habitually look at what is not there in your relationship, at your disappointments, and fill your mind with thoughts of irritation, hurt and contempt. Or you can do the opposite. . . . This really comes down to viewing the bottle as half full rather than half empty-the classic choice between optimism and pessimism."
To a great extent, the reality is that we choose how happy we are, or are not, in our marriages. We can decide if we want to look at our partners with appreciation or contempt. The more we focus on the positive things about our partners, the more we will naturally see them in that way. And our perception actually helps to modify reality as well. Therefore, the more positively we see our partners, the more positive they will become. By having a more positive outlook, we bring out the positive characteristics in our mate.
But the reverse is true as well. When we choose to view our mate negatively, we sway them in that direction. For example, when we choose to complain about what our spouse is doing or not doing, we might think that this will help the situation. But the reverse is true. Let’s say that a wife complains that her husband puts the dishes in the dish washer the wrong way. She may think that doing this will teach him to load the dishes the way she likes it done. But he hears this as if she were saying that he can’t get anything right. As this continues, he soon believes that he just can’t manage to be good enough for her. Chances are that he will quit even trying, thinking: “What’s the point, since no matter what I do it will be wrong?” It could just as easily be the husband complaining to his wife about something, the dynamics work out the same.
Everyone gets irritated with their partners at times. When we get married, we are instantly in a relationship with differences. We view things differently, do things differently, and think differently. Instead of choosing complaining and negativity as our response, we can choose to look for the good.
So, in the example of the husband who put dishes in the dishwasher “the wrong way”, the wife can focus on the fact that he is trying to help in the kitchen, and be appreciative of that. Then if something is turned so that it will not get cleaned, she would likely say something like this: “Honey, I really appreciate you helping with these dishes. You know, I’ve noticed that our dishwasher does a better job at getting stuff clean when we turn the plates this way.” It might be a subtle change, and just choosing better words while still using the wrong tone probably won’t help. But with a tone and attitude of appreciation, this can make a huge difference.
We can all help prevent negativity by building a list of qualities we appreciate in our mates. Another idea is to keep a written list of great times you share together. Then, when irritation bites you, you can take a deep breath and think about the good things in your relationship. Irritation can remind us that we need to be noticing and appreciating the good.
Therefore, we can choose happiness over discontent in marriage by manifesting those things we want most. If you want more romance, be sure to notice those things your mate does that are romantic as well as being romantic yourself. If you want more intimate conversations, open up with vulnerability and let your spouse know you treasure them by listening intently to their needs, wants, fears, desires, etc. The more positively you choose to view your relationship, the better it will become and the more happiness you will find. It’s amazing what a huge impact can be triggered by making a minor shift!
Treasured Relationships Update
Progress and Plans:
Treasured Relationships continues to progress and make a positive difference in the lives of individuals, couples, and families. Next Wednesday we will conclude the "How to Avoid Falling For a Jerk (or Jerkette)" class at College Acres Baptist Church in Wilmington. The very next Wednesday, I'll kick off a 7-week class for married couples. The title is "Biblical Marriage" and it will be a study of what the Scriptures say about marriage; and how applying these teachings in practical ways leads to stronger marriages with greater: commitment, communication, intimacy, romance, physical connection, and solid families.
All classes I lead are open to people from the community, not just that particular church. That works well for those of you who are in or near Wilmington, NC. I would love to see you join us if possible! The upcoming couples class will be the first portion of my new online training program that will be available online through the website.
We are still working on the details for an upcoming singles class for students at UNCW, so I'll give those details later. And finally, we are also in the process of enrolling some couples to start a group coaching program in the near future.
As I mentioned before, I'm getting some professional assistance with the website. We will start at the top and go through each portion of the website, optimizing it as we go. I'm glad that I have taken the approach of struggling with it individually before bringing the experts on-board. I've learned a lot this way and will be able to administer it myself. Somewhere along the way we will discover the "glitch" that has slowed me down in my attempt to deliver my new training course online. No doubt it is operator error!
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!"