Opposites DO Attract – 10 Ways To Not Attack

Photo by Cherie Werner

Photo by Cherie Werner

For better or worse…. That’s what we agreed to.  I had no idea that many of Jon’s endearing and quirky differences I once appreciated while we were dating would become the same things that drive me crazy.  I’m sure he feels the same about me 😉

Recently in preparation for the couples group we lead, Jon and I sat down to discuss and listed out some of the ways we are different.  Too often, differences can tear a marriage apart but sometimes they can actually bring couples closer together!  We’ve come to realize that while frustrating at time our differences are the very thing that keeps our marriage exciting and well balanced.

JON CHERIE
Optimistic Pessimist
Idealist Realist
Carefree Organized & Structured
Adventurous Cautious
Night Owl Early to bed
Lives to eat Eats to live
Avoids conflict More direct
OK not doing anything Looks for what needs to be done
Views movies as an escape & relaxation Movies are a waste of time
Get things done when they need to be done List maker and multi-tasker
Record keeping not as important Record keeping very important
Shops for what he likes = higher end items usually. Shops for bargains
Enjoys the snow & skiing. Not a big fan of sand. Enjoys the beach, sun & water sports. Not a fan of the cold.
Humorous & light hearted Much more serious
Reads for entertainment Reads to grow
He’s an ENFP – “An Inspirer” She’s an ESFJ – “A Caregiver”
Physical touch is his #1 primary love language. Physical touch is her lowest love language.
Appreciates nice, fast cars Appreciates safe, mom mini-vans
Risk taker Cautious

Etc…..

We are all probably familiar with the old concept and expression “opposites attract.” Research by Columbia University says, “couples who agree with each other all the time may find they are actually too close for comfort.”

After being together for almost thirty years we’ve come to realize that most marriages tend to go through stages in regards to differences.  Starting with the first date, then through engagement and being newly married, couples tend to be enchanted with one another.  However, after several years of togetherness, those same differences that were once admired in each other often became irritants that annoy.  Therefore, we must allow God to change us so we can see and appreciate the valuable traits we each bring to the marriage relationship.

If we see our differences as gifts verses hindrances, we are drawn towards greater acceptance of each other. As I reflected on many past upsets, I realized I was often judging Jon’s behavior as annoying, ridiculous, or a waste of time rather that trying to understand his perspective. I also know it’s not my job to change my husband; I’ve tried without much success.  I can only change myself and how I choose to view these annoying behaviors.  We’ve learned that it’s best to communicate annoyances so they don’t escalate.

So if you and your spouse are struggling because of annoying differences, here are 10 suggestions to stay on the same team:

  1. Focus on the irritating behavior and not your spouse as you can’t change people.
  2. Find time to communicate about the problem calmly rather than getting upset and stonewalling.  Change can’t take place without both of you sharing and listening.
  3. Carefully choose the best time to share.  I have learned that it’s best not to share in the moment especially if you are upset.  Once words are spoken they can’t be taken back.  Also consider what your spouse has going on.
  4. Sandwich your concerns by first finding something positive to share about your spouse. Then calmly explain the issue. Finish up on a positive note.
  5. Don’t use the words “always” or “never” as your spouse will probably feel attacked and get defensive and discount what you are sharing because of the one time your statement wasn’t true.
  6. Discuss ways to bring about change or share benefits of changing.
  7. Acknowledge any growth and cheer your spouse on.
  8. Be patient as change takes time.
  9. Find 2-3 positive traits to balance out each negative one.  Consider memorizing Philippians 4:8 then practice it.
  10. Pray for your spouse and ask God to give you grace to be more accepting.

Back in the 90’s Focus on the Family’s published the insightful video, Vive La Difference. Actors Paul and Nicole Johnson present a humorous yet poignant skit that illustrates a couple going through the metamorphosis of recognizing their differences. As you watch the video clip identify the various differences that annoy them.  Notice how she tries to get her husbands attention when she wants to talk. Notice how he chooses the wrong time to communicate.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER after watching the video.

  1. What are some of the differences that first attracted you to your spouse?  Why do you feel you were attracted to those qualities?
  2. How do you view these differences today? Are they still attractive or do many of them drive you crazy? Is you perspective helping or harming you relationship?
  3. The couple struggle in four areas: in-laws, finances, flexibility, and communication.  Which of these areas do you tend to struggle the most with?  Maybe there is another area of contention between you. If so, what is it?  How can you work through these issues?
  4. When there is a disagreement about an issue (family, finances, work) that each of you views as important, how do you find a compromise?
  5. As a couple, how do you handle conflicts when it comes to your differences?  Do you discuss them calmly, argue about them or ignore them? Which method do you think is the healthiest emotionally? Why?
  6. Read 1 Corinthians 12  What does the passage tell us? Do you think the same applies to our marriage relationships? We should work together; emphasizing the various gifts that each of has to contribute to the good of the marriage.  Has your goal as a couple been to find sameness or oneness?  How can you work to find oneness by allowing your differences to complement your relationship rather than destroy it?
  7. How about you?  Have you learned to allow God to change you by helping you to see and appreciate the valuable traits your spouse brings to the marriage?

Blessings

Using Books to Instill Character

character

I giddily look forward to the first Wednesday of each month, because I have the privilege of sharing life with a group of amazing women. Recently, we have been reading through Love As a Way of Life by Gary Chapman. Essentially, this book has taken us through seven character traits including: Kindness, patience, forgiveness, honor, humility, generosity, and honesty. When these character traits are put into action, it naturally demonstrates authentic love. This is something that everyone can benefit from.

Character training starts at home and should begin early.

One of the best ways to teach character is to surround your children with good literature. Simply put, read to your kids. When you read to your children, it opens the door for conversations to ensue. Stories have the ability to teach, motive, and inspire our children to dream bigger.

There are so many wonderful books that can help teach our children about love, honor, respect, fairness, caring and responsibility. Below is a resource, that I compiled, to help you discover some great websites and books.

TEACHING CHARACTER Through Books

Character is the inward values that determine outward actions; the mental model used for making decisions; the moral compass that guides your choices; who we are when no one else is watching.

Below are numerous resources regarding character that has somehow benefited my family and me.  Please know that while I have enjoyed these resources I do not necessarily agree with ALL content presented. While some authors may be extremely conservative or liberal,  I read seeking what I feel the Holy Spirit has convicted me to implement for the Werner family and I trust you will do the same.
Character First This is one of my family’s favorite resources especially as my girls began school. I continue to use the character booklets.
Doorpost
  • Instruction for Righteousness is a topical reference guide for biblical child training.
  • Polished Cornerstones
  • The If-Then Chart
  • The Blessing Chart
  • The Go To The Ant Chart – understanding diligences and laziness.
  • The Brother Offender Chart – teaching children conflict resolution in a Godly way.
  • Be sure to check out the package deals.
Character in Action I have not personally used this website but I did look it over and it has great content.
Family Ministries   by Reb Bradley You will find many available products so I have listed below the resources that have personally benefited me.

  • Child Training Tips What, I wish I knew when my children were young.
  • The Delightful Family
  • Managing the Mouth: Victory over complaining, arguing, and other poisons of the tongue.
  • Motives of the Heart.  A biblical study on pride and humility.  This seriously was life changing.
  • Teaching Children to Love One Another
  • Creating A Strong Family Identity
  • God, TV, and Your Family
Family Life Today Encouragement and practical help for you personally, for your marriage, and raising your parenting. So many great articles and resources.
Focus on the Family
  • Kids of Integrity tools for growing Godly character.
  • Kids Clubhouse
  • Adventures in Odyssey
  • Focus on the Family has lots of wonderful family resources.  Catch their daily message via the Internet.
Institute in Basic Life Principles
Lamplighter Publishing The mission of Lamplighter Ministries is “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord, by building Christ-like character one story at a time.” This is a wonderful resource for parents on Character Development born out of 25 years of research and personal experience. They carry many old and rare books highlighting various character traits.
Whole Heart Ministries Clay and Sally Clarkson I am bias as I adore this ministry given Sally has been my mentor from afar since 1997. Five years ago she became my real life friend 😉  My husband and I serve on the board of WHM and recommend all of their resources Whole Heartily.

 

CBDAmazon Other Misc. books and resource titles I’ve enjoyed. I usually shop at CBD, Amazon, and Half Price Books.  Keep a list of resources you desire as you can find really good deals at Goodwill, yard sales, home school used book sales, etc…

  • Wise Words for Little People by Kenneth Taylor (preschool age)
  • Big Thoughts for Little People by Kenneth Taylor  (preschool age)
  • Berenstain Bears  (preschool age)
  • Jungle Jam and Friends The Radio Show (listen free weekly) or buy CD’s (all ages)
  • Adventure in Odyssey Radio Talk Show by Focus on the Family (elementary age)
  • Veggie Tales (videos) (all ages)
  • Uncle Arthur’s Story Time These are classic stories that help children develop positive character traits and Christian values.  Hard to find but worth having.  Children as young as 2 will listen to and enjoy the Story Time.  Stories can be shorten.
  • Choice Stories for Children by Ernest Lloyd I am not sure if you will be able to find it.
  • Day by Day Devotion by Karen Henley
  • A Hive of Busy Bees 5-10 by AB Publishing
  • Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character… In You and Your Kids by Scott Turansky
  • While They are Sleeping: 12 Character Traits to Pray for Your Child by Ann Arkins, Gary Harrell
  • God’s Wisdom for Little Boys by Elizabeth George
  • God’s Wisdom for Little Girls by Elizabeth George
  • Young Peacemakers Series by Corlette Sande   FORGIVENESS Recommended for grades 3-7
  • Proverbs People: Book 1 and 2 by Rick Boyer
  • Books That Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories by Robert Coles.
  • A Child’s Book of Character by Ron Coriell
  • Read For The Heart, Whole Books For Wholehearted Families by Sarah Clarkson  (A Great Resource when decided on books to read and purchase.≠)
  • A Little Book of Manners for Girls by Emily Barnes
  • A Little Book of Manners for Boys by Emily Barnes
  • Wisdom and the Millers by Mildred A Martin

Using Biographies and books about Christian hero’s to teach Character.

  • Hero Tales volume 1, 2, & 3 by Dave & Neta Jackson
  • Trailblazer Series by Dave & Neta Jackson
  • Christian Heroes, Then & Now by Janet & Geoff Benge (YWAM Publishing)
  • The Sowers Series

Please share books and resources that your family has found helpful.  If you would like a PDF of the recommended resources leave me your email and I will send it to you.

 

 

Purity Guide for Your Eyes – Navigating Our Sexually Saturated World

picmonkey_imageTelevision, Video, Music and Movie Helps

  • Screen It  Would you like to know more about movies before heading to the theater or renting them? Find Out Exactly What’s in the Movies Your Kids are Watching,  Screen It is  $7.95/month or $47/year
  • Family TV  Family movies that teach family values/character.
  • Family Safe Media Providing parental control solutions for families concerned about the profanity, promiscuity and violence in today’s media and entertainment.
  • Kids In Mind  Provides parents and other adults with objective and complete information about a film’s content so that they can decide, based on their own value system, whether they should watch a movie with or without their kids. Cost $25 /year
  • Spiritual Cinema Circle A monthly DVD club dedicated to bringing you and your loved ones inspiring, heart-felt films.
  • Christian Answers  Reviews and ratings are from a strictly biblical perspective, with emphasis on the Ten Commandments.
  • Plugged In  is a Focus on the Family Reviews current and new movies, television shows, games, videos, and music. Colossians 2:8. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
  • Common Sense Media Seeking to know the scoop on the latest entertainment and tech so YOU can make informed decisions on what’s right for YOUR child?  As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, Common Sense Media seeks to provided helpful info. Be sure to check out their SHOCKING FACTS page.
  • Raising Media-Wise Teenagers PDF by Bob Waliszewski

Internet Filter Providers

  • Covenant Eyes Monitors all websites, newsgroups, and most file sharing visited on your computer.  Reports are always stored on our servers so they cannot be erased Pricing starts at $8.99/month for the first Accountability user, with additional services at a greatly discounted price.
  • Bsecure Online (tamper-proof, reporting of usage/history): $49.95
  • Accountable2you: $4.99 / month is software that monitors all computer activity allowing you to be fully accountable to your partner(s). Accountable2You is specifically designed for people who want to be accountable.
  • K9 Web Protection: FREE Internet filter and parental control software for your home Windows or Mac computer. K9 puts YOU in control of the Internet so you can protect your kids.
  • Safe Eyes: software that protects your family from harmful content and other dangers on the internet.  $49.95 or $69.95
  • X3Watch: $7/month records questionable sites and sends to accountability partner.
  • Net Nanny: $39.99  is the #1-rated parental controls software that protects your family from pornography, online predators, cyberbullying, and much more.
  • Safe Kids and Safe Teens-Digital citizenship, online safety & civilityDigital citizenship, online safety & civility
  • PC’s N Dreams Protection against predators, scams, sexual content, etc.$99.95

Wireless Providers

  • Sprint offers a free Parental Controls service to block websites deemed inappropriate for minors.
  • AT&T offers a $4.99/month Smart Limits service to control access to inappropriate content. Or, request all Internet access to be blocked for free by calling 611.
  • Verizon Wireless offers a $4.99/month Usage Controls service to control what content can be accessed from the phone. Or, request all Internet access to be blocked for free by calling *611.

Additional Resources

  • Parent Television Council A non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. what’s happening in the fight to improve entertainment
  • Safe Kids and Safe Teens-Digital citizenship, online safety & civilityDigital citizenship, online safety & civility
  • Parent Further provides insightful information to help parents become wise media consumers.

Internet Lingo & Text Messaging Shorthand

prayerpurity