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Posted 6/16/14 at 8:46 AM | Book Stop

Marriage Month Tip Of The Day from Shaunti Feldhahn: Boss Your Feelings Around

(Photo: Shaunti.com)


Marriage Month Tip of the Day from Shaunti Feldhahn:

One of the greatest secrets to a happy marriage is to learn how to change your feelings. Don’t simply “exercise control” over negative feelings – instead, when you want to “think negative,” find and focus on the positive things that your spouse does and you’ll often end up feeling like the negative ones weren’t such a big deal after all.

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Welcome to Marriage Month! From June 5 to July 4, join us here in the Book Corner as I share my top findings on the little, eye-opening things that make a big difference in creating great marriages and relationships. Today’s post is one of a series on what makes happy marriages so happy, based on nationally-representative research with more than 1,000 couples. FULL POST

Posted 6/12/14 at 7:01 PM | Book Stop

Marriage Month Tip Of The Day from Shaunti Feldhahn: Keep Score

(Photo: Shaunti.com)

Marriage Month Tip of the Day from Shaunti Feldhahn:

In almost every marriage, there are things your partner does that are worth noticing and make you want to “give back” – you just have to see those things first! So instead of noticing the negative, keep score of what your mate is giving and you’ll find it creates a healthy cycle of gratitude in both of you!

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Welcome to Marriage Month! From June 5 to July 4, join us here in the Book Corner as I share my top findings on the little, eye-opening things that make a big difference in creating great marriages and relationships. Today’s post is one of a series on what makes happy marriages so happy, based on nationally-representative research with more than 1,000 couples.

Secret #4: Keep Score

According to the 1 Corinthians 13:5, love is not self-seeking and keeps no record of wrongs. FULL POST

Posted 6/9/14 at 3:56 PM | Book Stop

Marriage Month Tip of the Day from Shaunti Feldhahn: Go to Bed Mad - Why Sleeping on it Might Be Smarter After All

(Photo: Shaunti.com)

Marriage Month Tip of the Day from Shaunti Feldhahn:

If the two of you are having an emotional conflict late at night, you’re exhausted and angry, and trying to resolve the issue is only making it worse, be willing to reaffirm that “we’re okay,” then sleep on it and resolve it in the morning.

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Welcome to Marriage Month! From June 5 to July 4, join us here in the Book Corner as I share my top findings on the little, eye-opening things that make a big difference in creating great marriages and relationships. Today’s post is one of a series on what makes happy marriages so happy, based on nationally-representative research with more than 1,000 couples.

Secret #3: Go to Bed Mad- Why Sleeping on it Might Be Smarter After All

“Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” “Don’t go to bed mad.” Most of us have heard this advice all our lives and have tried hard to apply it to our relationships. It may be late at night, and we may be tired, anxious, and emotionally drained from a marital – um – “discussion” getting more and more contentious… but we don’t want to break a cardinal pre-marital counseling rule! Not to mention one that many of us think of as a biblical command.

“No, we can’t just go to bed!” We tell our spouse, with a slightly hysterical edge to our voice, “We have to resolve this!”

Finally, one person snaps, caves, or says something they don’t mean just to stop the argument and get some sleep. And instead of feeling relieved, the other person falls into bed with hurt feelings, an anxious heart, or the sneaking suspicion that things aren’t really resolved as they seem.

Does any of this sound familiar?? Welcome to the club! Jeff and I have certainly experienced this dynamic ourselves, and from my research it is clear that most other couples have too.

Except, it turns out, for the most happily married couples. And it’s not because they don’t have conflict; the happiest couples have times when they are upset with each other, just like anyone else! Instead, these couples have discovered the beauty of “going to bed mad”… and finding that it is much better and/or easier to resolve in the morning.

I learned some amazing things as I interviewed couples for The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages. And one of the most surprising was that although the happiest couples usually advise young couples to “not go to bed mad”, they don’t keep their own advice! Instead, if it is late, and things are getting nowhere, they sleep on it… and their relationships were strengthened because of it.

Before you think I’m ignoring the Bible, let me share something else I found.

The famous Ephesians 4:26 verse says: “Be angry, yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” It turns out, the Apostle Paul is actually quoting Psalm 4:4. Which says: “Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it and remain silent overnight.”

You might want to read that again.

It turns out, the bible never says “don’t get mad” or even, “don’t go to bed mad.” The key is not to sin in our anger; to never let anger get the best of us and cause us to hurt someone else.

What the happiest couples have found is that if you are so tired or upset that it makes a peaceful resolution unlikely, putting an unresolved issue on hold overnight is not a sin. Please note, though: that action is a very, very different thing from trying to not address an issue and stomping off to bed, holding on to fury at your spouse.

The counselors I have consulted with all agree: Sometimes the stress of work, family, and finances simply leave spouses too drained to work things out fairly. In fact, the pressure to resolve it right now may actually be even less fair on a husband who, like most men, may need a bit of time to process what he’s thinking and feeling so he can truly feel heard….and so both of you can get to a better resolution (and better communication) the next day.

And that, it turns out, is the key difference between the happiest marriages and those that are struggling: Highly happy couples sometimes go to bed with the issue unresolved, but if that issue is still a concern the next day, they deal with it. By contrast, one of the reasons for the unhappiness of troubled couples is that they are far more likely to just ignore the issue the next day and hope it goes away.

So the next time you’re up late, bleary-eyed and weary from trying to bring closure to an issue with your spouse, don’t feel guilty about getting a little shut-eye. Chances are, you’ll see more clearly in the morning. There’s even a good chance that, come morning, that major issue won’t seem so major to you anymore.

Join us tomorrow for Tip # 4, where we tackle whether there is a way to keep score well.

From Chapter 3 of The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, by Shaunti Feldhahn

(Photo: Shaunti.com)

Shaunti Feldhahn is the best-selling author of eye-opening, research-based books about men, women and relationships, including For Women Only, For Men Only, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages and her newest, The Good News About Marriage. A Harvard-trained social researcher and speaker, her findings are regularly featured in media as diverse as The Today Show, Focus on the Family, and the New York Times. Shaunti speaks regularly at churches, conferences, and corporate events. (Inquire about Shaunti speaking, or visit www.shaunti.com for more.)

Posted 6/6/14 at 5:12 PM | Book Stop

Marriage Month Tip of the Day from Shaunti Feldhahn: When You are Hurt, Believe the Best

(Photo: Shaunti.com)

Marriage Month Tip of the Day from Shaunti Feldhahn:

When you’re hurt, believe the best of your spouse’s intentions, rather than the worst. Instead of thinking, ‘He/she knew how that would make me feel, but said it anyway,’ try this: ‘Yes, that hurt, but I know they care about me, so they must not have known how that would make me feel or they wouldn’t have said it.’

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Welcome to Marriage Month! From June 5 to July 4, join us here in the Book Corner as I share my top findings on the little, eye-opening things that make a big difference in creating great marriages and relationships. Today’s post is one of a series on what makes happy marriages so happy, based on nationally-representative research with more than 1,000 couples.

Marriage Secret #2: Believe the Best

As I was watching the second Hunger Games movie with my 13-year-old daughter, I was reminded – of all things – of something I saw during the last few years of researching marriages. Something that I now believe is one of the most important keys to a happy marriage.

Anyone who has entered the dystopian Hunger Games world knows the cruel irony of the phrase used in the story: “May the odds be ever in your favor.” The whole series is about those who live under – and struggle to break free from -- a cruel and unjust dictatorship where the odds are never in their favor. Their lives are full of pain because the Hitler-like dictator cares nothing for the citizenry.

So here’s what struck me. When someone causes us pain in a relationship, we tend do – often without realizing it -- ascribe the same exact motive: They hurt me, therefore they don’t really care.

You had the perfect romantic date planned last night, but your husband worked late and you missed your dinner reservation.

You can’t wait to surprise your wife after spending all day Saturday repainting the bathroom - she’s been asking for a while now. But when she walks in, she bites her lip and says the walls were supposed to be Silver Sage not Sedona Sage.

He doesn’t care. She doesn’t appreciate me. Those thoughts are so subconscious we may not even realize that’s what we’re assuming – but that is why we’re hurt. As one wife put it after experiencing the romantic-date-that-didn’t-happen: “It wasn’t even missing the date that hurt the most – it was what missing the date meant. It meant that he cared so little about me, that he couldn’t even tell his boss ‘no, I have to leave’ instead of agreeing to take a long client call at 6 pm.”

What I discovered in my surveys though, is that in the vast majority of real-life marriages those assumptions are completely wrong! Unlike evil Hunger Games dictators, the vast majority of people -- even in the most troubled marriages – deeply care about their mate and want the best for them. Just because they sometimes do boneheaded or hurtful things, doesn’t mean they don’t care. Only a tiny fraction of people (one half of one percent) didn’t care about their spouse anymore.

It turns out that one of the main things making people unhappy in marriage is allowing themselves to believe the “he/she doesn’t care” lie that just isn’t true.

By contrast, I saw in the research that the happiest marriages are so happy because the spouses refuse to believe that lie! Sure, these people felt hurt, disappointed, or angry just like anyone else; but they made the choice to believe the truth: that their husband or wife had their best interests at heart regardless of what their emotions (or their sore painting arm!) might be telling them at the time.

So, now you know that the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor and that your mate almost certainly cares about you greatly, what does that mean, and how can that knowledge improve a marriage?

Well, if we believe the worst about our mates, we will inevitably be quick to spot the worstin them—and you can guess what a bad cycle will be started by that predisposition! But thankfully, the exact opposite is also true. If we assume that our mate had good intentions, our default will be to think “I know he didn’t mean to hurt me that badly.” And what I found in the research was that the next step is that you don’t end up feeling quite as hurt! Which means less conflict, more grace, quicker forgiveness, and much more delight in the home.

It sounds so simple, yet it profoundly improves a relationship once you realize that in real life and real marriages, that the odds really are in your favor.

Join us on Monday for Secret # 3, and learn how some common advice can actually hinder communication with your spouse.

From Chapter 3 of The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, by Shaunti Feldhahn


(Photo: Shaunti.com)

Shaunti Feldhahn is the best-selling author of eye-opening, research-based books about men, women and relationships, including For Women Only, For Men Only, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages and her newest, The Good News About Marriage. A Harvard-trained social researcher and speaker, her findings are regularly featured in media as diverse as The Today Show, Focus on the Family, and the New York Times. Shaunti speaks regularly at churches, conferences, and corporate events. (Inquire about Shaunti speaking, or visit www.shaunti.com for more.)

Posted 6/5/14 at 2:53 PM | Book Stop

Marriage Month Tip of the Day: Do the “Little Things” That Matter Big Time



Marriage Month Tip of the Day from Shaunti Feldhahn:

Every day, do the few “little things” for your spouse that nearly always matter to men, or to women. For example: wives, notice what he does and say “thank you;” and husbands, put your arm around her in public. These daily little actions look minor but build confidence that 'my spouse cares about me'--which helps protect the marriage.

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Welcome to Marriage Month! From June 5 to July 4, join us here in The Book Room as I share my top findings on the little, eye-opening things that make a big difference in creating great marriages and relationships. Today’s post is one of a series on what makes happy marriages so happy, based on nationally-representative research with more than 1,000 couples.

Marriage Tip 1: Do The “Little Things” That Matter Big Time – Every Day

One of the simplest things that happy couples tend to do differently is easy to miss: the husbands and the wives tend to do the same few day-to-day “little things” that always tell a woman or a man that “I care about you.” And it turns out, these are important regardless of the person’s love language!

Some of the most impactful things we can do to make our spouse feel cared for are so small we tend not to do them because we don’t realize they matter so much to the opposite sex. But if you as a husband or a wife will do these few little things day-to-day it makes your spouse believe in a deep-down way that you care about them. It almost creates a protective cocoon around your marriage, that makes it difficult for other issues to hurt the two of you.

On the survey, five stood out for each gender, but since we don’t have space to reference all of them, here is just one for men and one for women (see Chapter 2 of the book for more).

Women: Notice the little day-to-day things your spouse does and say “thank you”. I discovered that saying ‘thank you’ to a guy is the emotional equivalent of when he says ‘I love you’ to you! “Thank you for putting the laundry away,” “Thank you for mowing the lawn even though it was so hot outside,” “Thank you for putting the kids to bed. You’re such a good dad.” Sincerely say thank you several times a day and you will transform your marriage.

Men: Take your wife’s hand when you are walking across a parking lot, or put your arm around her when you are sitting together at church. Regardless of what their ‘love language’ is, those gestures deeply please the vast majority of women on my survey, because it says some important things like, “You’re mine,” and “I would choose you all over again.” Yes, it seems so simple, but that day-to-day reassurance is priceless.

These things seem so simple it is easy to discount them – but DON’T. They are small but powerful. And what I found in my research is that they really can begin to transform a relationship even if only one person does them! If you are skeptical, just try these and the other “little things” every day, and what you will see bubbling up in your relationship as a result will be the best possible incentive to continue.

Join us tomorrow for Secret #2, and learn what to do differently when your spouse does something that hurts.

From Chapter 2 of The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, by Shaunti Feldhahn

Shaunti Feldhahn is the best-selling author of eye-opening, research-based books about men, women and relationships, including For Women Only, For Men Only, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages and her newest, The Good News About Marriage. A Harvard-trained social researcher and speaker, her findings are regularly featured in media as diverse as The Today Show, Focus on the Family, and the New York Times. Shaunti speaks regularly at churches, conferences, and corporate events. (Inquire about Shaunti speaking, or visit www.shaunti.com for more.)

Posted 6/2/14 at 10:50 AM | Book Stop

Dealing with a Dying Church with Dignity

(This article was originally posted in The Book Room - The Christian Post's new section for book enthusiasts and authors.)

When church attendance is dwindling, the church leaders have two options: seek God’s help to rebuild or accept that it may be God’s will for their church to die. This choice shouldn’t be taken lightly, but prayerfully decided.

If it is God’s will for your church to die, here are four responses to consider taken from Thom Rainer’s book Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive.

1. Sell the Property and Give the Funds to Another Church - This approach, Rainer writes, will ensure that your church’s death will help another church live.

2. Give the Building to Another Church - “New Churches are starting by the thousands every month in America. One of their greatest challenges is to find a place where they can meet,” explains the author. FULL POST

Posted 5/28/14 at 11:39 AM | Book Stop

The Inspirational Words of Maya Angelou

(This article was originally posted in The Book Room - The Christian Post's new section for book enthusiasts and authors.)

News reports surfacing Wednesday morning report poet and author Maya Angelou died at age 86. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines told North Carolina's WFMY News 2 that Angelou was found death in her home.

Angelou overcame racism and rape to become an American poet laureate. The noted literary figure was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and 3 Grammy Awards according to the biography on her website. She is well known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Here are some Angelou's most famous words as they are illustrated on Pinterest.

On Faith:

(Photo: Pinterest)

On Circumstances:

(Photo: Pinterest)

On Creativity: FULL POST

Posted 5/27/14 at 1:48 PM | Book Stop

Four Steps to Rebuilding a Dying Church

Book cover for Autopsy of a Deceased Church

(This article was originally posted in The Book Room - The Christian Post's new section for book enthusiasts and authors.)

When church attendance is dwindling, the church leaders have two options: seek God’s help to rebuild or accept that it may be God’s will for their church to die. This choice shouldn’t be taken lightly, but prayerfully decided.

If God is leading you as a pastor, elder or church steward to re-establish your failing church, here are four responses taken from Thom Rainer’s book Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive.

1. Admit and Confess Your Church’s Dire Need: Rainer writes “Most Churches move towards death because they refuse to acknowledge their condition. Sometimes a single leader will be used of God to move the church in this positive direction.”

2. Pray for Wisdom and Strength to Do What is Necessary: “The Change will not be easy,” he sums, which leads into Point 3. FULL POST

Posted 5/23/14 at 4:37 PM | Book Stop

Ugandan Chess Champion Shares How the Game Blessed Her Life, Inspired Others

Book cover of The Queen of Katwe
(Photo: Amazon.com)

(This article was originally posted in The Book Room - The Christian Post's new section for book enthusiasts and authors.)

WASHINGTON – During a recent a recent trip to a Washington, D.C. school, Phiona Mutesi, the subject of the 2013 book The Queen of Katwe: One Girl’s Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion, thanked God for the game that plucked her out of the Ugandan ghettos, gave her a second chance at life and has made her a source of hope to girls around the world.

She told the students and faculty members of the Dorothy I. Height Community Academy Public Charter Schools Tuesday “I thank God that he brought me chess because I got that opportunity of going back to school.”

Not only is the Ugandan teen back in school after her mother struggled for years to pay her tuition, but Phiona has caught the attention of the Bill and Malinda Gates foundation. The foundation paid Phiona’s airfare to fly to the United States and speak at its Seattle headquarters April 24. She is now touring schools, churches and local chess clubs sharing her inspirational story. FULL POST

Posted 5/21/14 at 2:53 PM | Book Stop

Six Things Churches Can Do to End Human Trafficking

Book cover of Justice Awakening

(This article was originally posted in The Book Room - The Christian Post's new section for book enthusiasts and authors.)

Boko Haram's kidnapping of over a hundred school girls and the subsequent #BringBackOurGirls movement has brought international awareness to human trafficking. But what can the church do to help end this blight on society?

Pastor Eddie Byun is on the front lines of the human trafficking trade in South Korea. In this list adapted from his book Justice Awakening: How You and Your Church Can Help End Human Trafficking, Byun shares six things churches can do to take on this growing crime commonly committed against women and children.

1. Unleash the Intercessors: “Ending human trafficking begins with prayer” writes Byun. Gather a team to pray for the breaking down of spiritual strongholds such as greed, lust and pride that are connected to human trafficking. The team can also pray for victims, perpetrators, and locations where trafficking occur. FULL POST

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