Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Married Couples List: Ways to Reduce Stress

 We experience stress daily.  Stress may result from school, work, relationships, or children, but there are ways to deal with stress as it enters our daily lives.  Managing stress doesn’t have to be an individual thing and would be easier done with some support. 

Marriage is about supporting one another, right?  What better support than that of a spouse.  If you notice you or your spouse is stressing then try some of the activities below.  Remember you want to do these things together.

Exercise.  The endorphin release after a workout is the perfect solution for your problematic stress load.

Go on a walk.  Getting outside and taking in some fresh air can have a calming effect.  This light form of exercise will help you both escape from your minds momentarily as you begin to notice nature.

Take the dog on a walk or to the dog park.  Dogs are always so glad to see you, no matter how long you’ve been away.  Can you even think of a time when your dog didn’t put a smile on your face?

Do some light yoga.  Try out the eagle pose, which is known to help relieve tension in the body.

Take deep breaths.  Close your eyes and count to three as you inhale and exhale three times each.

Try aromatherapy.  Bring out the essential oils, put a little in a carrier oil, and apply the mixed oils on each other.  Remember to use caution when applying these oils responsibly, due to their effects.

Watch a comedy.  Turn on the TV to watch one of your favorite sitcoms or movies and enjoy a laugh … or two.

Watch a funny video that’s gone viral. When you don’t have time to watch a movie or a TV show you can improvise by watching a short video clip on YouTube.

Give each other a neck or foot rub.  Slowing down to give and receive massage can be great way to relieve stress in the body.

Give each other a bear hug.  Hugs from loved ones have the effect of making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside; who doesn’t like this feeling?  A hug may even decrease stress levels and blood pressure.

Write about it.  Just getting it out there and off your chest can do wonders for someone under a lot of stress.  In some ways it can be therapeutic to write down what is bothering you and allows you to reflect on the stressful situation.  Share with you spouse what you wrote about.

Read your scriptures.  Whatever you faith, pick up your holy book and take turns reading aloud to one another.

Have a make out session.  Kissing releases chemicals that fight stress hormones in both men and women, though effects are higher in men.  Kissing is also a way for husbands to transfer testosterone in their saliva to their wives, which could lead to the next activity.

Have sex.  If one spouse is in the mood and the other is feeling up to it, then why not allow the endorphin release after sex help you feel less stressed.

Have a chewing gum war.  Chewing gum helps reduce cortisol levels, which are the result of stress and can cause weight gain.  Who knew you could prevent weight gain and stress with a piece of gum?

Try mindful eating.  This might be a different experience for many of you, but it will definitely pull you out of your head long enough to really enjoy what you are eating.  Notice the details about your food before you take your first bite, including: color, texture, smell.  Next take your first bite and notice how it feels in your mouth, then start chewing.  Chew slowly as you take into account its flavor and aroma and lastly swallow.  Continue slowly eating your food and together discuss what you’ve notice.

Buy a house plant.  Being around plants may cause a relaxation response in individuals.  Maybe it’s because plants remind us of nature and being out in nature tends to be relaxing for many individuals. 

Take a nap.  Sleep allows your body to combat cortisol, the stress hormone.  When you feel like you’re tired during the middle of the day cuddle up to your spouse and get some zzzz’s in.

            Maybe, you haven’t done some of the above activities yet or at least not with your spouse.  Doing novel things with your spouse may increase your love and marital satisfaction.  That is reason enough to try doing these activities together in my book.

-Couples Activity:

1. Choose one of the activities from the above list and complete this activity with your spouse.

2. Tell each other about the effects or changes you noticed after completing this activity.

By Tawnya

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Infertility: Dealing with the Loss of a Pregnancy

Children are blessings.  We hear this saying all the time, so what does infertility, a miscarriage or the loss of a child mean?  Are these curses?  No, of course not!  Miscarriages are not meant to be punishments.  I don’t believe infertile individuals and couples are cursed; they are definitely not cursed because they have miscarried.  Today, we now know that miscarriages occur due to biological reasons.

            Though, I can understand how feelings of helplessness and hopelessness could lead someone to believe they are cursed because they can’t carry a pregnancy to term.  I can also understand why people are changed by a miscarriage, especially those dealing with infertility.

            Miscarrying after experiencing the illusion of becoming parents is extremely difficult for infertile couples.  When fertility treatments do their job it can seem unfair to end up losing the baby in the end.  Experiencing a miscarriage or miscarriages can cause grief and pain, along with feelings of bitterness and anger.

Couples, who miscarry, often experience the five stages of grief, which include: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.  It is typical for one spouse to experience these stages at higher levels than the other.  Typically this is the wife, but not always.  It is important that couples support one another as they journey through their shared grief.  If you are the stronger spouse during this time, then prepare yourself to catch your spouse when they fall.  You are stronger collectively than individually, so grieve together, not alone.

Watch for marital conflict or emotional withdrawal.  A miscarriage is an experience that changes individuals and couples.  Be aware of any changes in yourself and your spouse that might create conflict or distance you from one another.  Miscarriage often times can lead individuals to pull away from their spouse.  Don’t allow this to happen to you and if it does take the necessary steps to stop it from affecting your marriage.  To avoid feeling more distant from one another try grieving together or supporting your spouse, who may be experiencing these feelings to a greater degree than you?  Engage in mutual sharing of feelings to help create intimacy and help reduce intensity and reverse the negative effects of these feelings.

Allow your body to rest for a while after a miscarriage.  Your body needs time to heal from such an event.  It’s okay to wait a while, at least until your period returns, to start fertility treatments or decide what your next step will be.  Husbands can be supportive by thinking of relaxing and restful activities to do with their wives as they heal.  Together, you could give and receive neck or foot rubs, do light yoga, go on a walk, or even take a nap.

Eat a healthy diet, especially after a miscarriage.  Miscarriage places many demands on the body that require the right nutrition.  Consult your physician as needed concerning your diet, risk of infection, and supporting your uterus and liver.  Husbands can also be supportive of their wives healthy lifestyle choice by eating healthier with their wives.

            Seek assistance from your fertility clinic.  Husbands can be supportive by accompany their wives to the doctor’s appointment when finding out the reason behind the miscarriage and to receive immediate testing.  If you’re worried about your miscarriage affecting your chances of conceiving, then get a professional opinion on the matter.  Your doctor can be a great support, who can inform and educate you on your health concerns.  Remember your fertility doctor is there to help prepare you for your next step, whatever it may be.

Tap into faith.  Pray when you feel weak, because there is strength in God.  Together, pray for peace and to be strengthened as a couple to handle what you are experiencing.  Practice faith in His healing power, so that you may move forward.  Move forward with your life knowing that God created you with the ability to cope, because he knew what you would face in your lifetime.  YOU possess the ability to get through this painful experience; that is proof of His love.  He equipped you before your miscarriage to cope with the pain and stress it would cause, knowing that coping through this crisis would make you stronger. 

Life after a miscarriage will likely never be the same for couples, especially those already experiencing infertility issues.  This difference in life can be a positive one, if these couples take conscious steps to help this tragedy create intimacy rather than conflict in their marriage.  Remember that you are not cursed and that hope exists.

-Please watch the following videos and answer the questions below with your spouse:

What to expect when you’re expecting: Rosie’s miscarriage

Beyonces miscarriage story

1. Write about your experience with a miscarriage. Be sure to include how you’ve adapted and adjusted so far.  

2. Now write about what you learned from this experience. (This may not come to mind immediately; ponder what you gained from your crisis)

By Tawnya

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Challenges Couples Face When Dealing with Infertility

Infertility, just like any other challenge, has the ability to pull couples apart.  It also has the ability to draw couples together and strengthen marriages.  The decision to lean toward independence or dependence is up to the individuals involved.  There are common challenges among couples dealing with infertility, but there are ways to overcome them.

1. Having to listen to insensitive comments or unsolicited advice

Individuals and couples dealing with infertility are sometimes asked to personal of questions by family, friends, or even strangers.  For example, someone might ask you if you or your spouse is the one who is infertile.  They might assume you don’t know what you’re doing or that you’re doing something wrong.  You may be told to just relax and not think about it or reassured that it will happen when it’s meant to happen. 

To draw closer to one another: Realize that most people are well meaning in their advice or comments.  Meaning is always in the person and not the word, right?  We all take things differently and it’s important to let these things go.  Though, there words might not bring comfort to you try and remember that they most likely said it because they care and want to support you.  When you need to or feel like it open up to your spouse and listen to them.  Don’t allow yourself or your spouse to believe any insensitive comments or advice concerning your fertility.

2. Finances involved with infertility

Treating infertility isn’t cheap.  In fact for many couples it is the difference between saving for the future and spending their money for a chance to become parents.  Some insurance plan cover infertility treatment, but this coverage varies among policies and is often not enough to cover all expenses or treatments.  The out of pocket expenses or not covered treatments can lead to fights or resentments if spouses disagree on cost effectiveness or either is pressured to go through with costly treatments.

To draw closer to one another: Talk about what your individual goals are for “your” money.  Don’t assume that your spouse wants the same things you do and discuss these differences.  Come to an agreement on what you both are willing to spend in order to become mother and father, along with what treatments or procedures you are willing to endure.

3. The possibility of fertility treatments failing or the possibility of never having children

Infertility can be treated and many times fertility treatments are successful.  Couples get pregnant with the help of fertility treatments all the time, but these successful cases don’t necessarily mean that you will have the same results with treatments.  Nor do unsuccessful cases affect your chances of getting pregnant.  Infertility is different for each couple and it may even take several treatments or cycles for a couple to conceive.  In other cases couples may go through several treatments or cycles without success or stop treatments due to the physical and psychological toll.  This can lead to feelings of hopelessness or helplessness and may even cause issues in the bedroom.

To draw closer to one another: Decide together when to end treatment or express when you need to take a break to your spouse.  If you feel like you have reached your limit regarding treatments, then decide with your spouse how you will move forward.  Specifically, determine whether you will pursue adoption or accept that you will be childless.  Also, don’t allow infertility to create intimacy issues.  Share your true feelings with your spouse.  View sex beyond procreation and understand that its purpose goes beyond this single goal; it bonds couples and strengthens marriages, so don’t let fertility issues stop you from expressing your love to your spouse.  Seek counseling when you feel like you need professional help dealing with these issues.

4. Feeling left out or lonely because your friends and family already have children

            You might feel isolated as you compare yourself to all of your family and friends who are parents.  It’s a lonely feeling not having someone in your daily life that can relate to what you’re going through.  Reproductive issues are not commonly brought up or put out in the open for everyone to see.  It is a personal matter and in many cases it may stay private due to an individual or couple feeling ashamed and embarrassed or fearing of judgment. 

            Though I think it’s safe advice, at least here in the U.S., to get rid of any fear of being judged by others and to avoid feeling ashamed about an issue that is not your fault.  I hope you feel safe enough to share your struggle(s) with those closest to you and even in situations you feel comfortable telling others.  They may not always know exactly what you’re going through, but at least they will understand why you might skip a family function every now and then.  You may find that joining an online support group removes this isolation, so go try it out if you’ve thought about it.

To draw closer to one another: Tell your spouse when you experience feelings of loneliness or shame.  Comfort and listen to your spouse when they confide in you.  Avoid comparing yourself to others and instead focus on the future.  Live your life!  If you don’t feel up to attending a family gathering or your friend’s baby shower, because it’s too much that day, then don’t.  Explain to family and friends, if needed, your reason behind skipping out occasionally.

5. The side effects of fertility treatment drugs, hormones, and injectables. 

Fertility medications have been known to cause irritability, mood swings, sleeping interruptions, depression, mania, thinking problems, and anxiety.  Though, it is sometimes difficult to identify the true cause of these psychological reactions when dealing with infertility and fertility treatments. 

To draw closer to one another: Practice forgiveness in your marriage, especially during treatments.  Be understanding and considerate when you notice that your spouse might be on edge or getting upset.  Communicate when you’re feeling like you’re no longer in control or grumpy for no reason.  This sometimes helps the forgiveness process, as well as dealing with the side effects.  Breathe deeply and practice other relaxing techniques to help conquer these unwelcomed emotions. 

6. The emotional cost to individuals and couples. 

Infertility often is an individual diagnosis, but it affects the entire couple.  One spouse may be affected by the fertility problem more than the other, but together they bear this burden.  The hardship of not being able to bear children or not being able to carry a baby to full term takes a toll on its survivors.  The roller coaster of emotions comes with episodes of depression and anxiety. 

To draw closer to one another: If you’re experiencing these trying emotions, then lean on your supportive spouse, who can acts as the temporary strength through these trying times.  Get comfortable feeling vulnerable with your spouse.  They are not there to judge you; they are there to help you through life’s challenges.

            It can be challenging to desire parenthood, but be unable to have children naturally.  Remember that there is help out there and the options go beyond what you realize.  It may take time to overcome the challenges that come with infertility, but together you and your spouse can draw closer together.

By Tawnya

Monday, October 20, 2014

For Couples Dealing with Fertility Treatment Stress

Dealing with infertility is stressful enough, but adding fertility treatments to the situation only increases a couple’s amount of stress.  This is why it is so important for couples to be aware of what to expect as a result of receiving fertility treatments.

Fertility treatments may require that women or men take hormones to treat hormonal infertility.  Examples of hormonal imbalances that might lead to infertility problems include hypothyroidism (low thyroid function), luteal phase defect (low progesterone levels), and hyperprolactinemia (high male hormone levels).  Some of the injectable hormones used to treat infertility include Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), and Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (hMG).  Fertility treatments like these change hormone levels to help improve the odds of couples getting pregnant.

While hormone treatments may improve a couples chances of getting pregnant they also make the receiving individuals feel crazy at times and drive the spouse crazy other times.  So it is always a good idea to open up about the challenges you face while receiving fertility treatments.

Let your spouse know how you are feeling, maybe even others that are close to you, to create an understanding of why you might be snapping at them.  It’s always easier to forgive someone if you know that they are not necessarily in total control over their body and mind at the time.

Ask your doctor about what your chosen fertility treatment means for you.  Find out what you will likely experience during treatment.  Knowing what treatment cycles are typically like will prepare you for the road ahead of you.  You will no longer have to wonder why you agitated one moment, happy the next, and then feeling anxious a couple minutes later.  Maybe you’ve heard it before but having knowledge truly is power and helps for peace of mind, especially when your hormones are influencing your emotions.

Avoid putting yourself in situations that might already push you to your limits.  For example, don’t volunteer to have Thanksgiving dinner at your house during treatment, if you know it stressed you out last year when you weren’t receiving treatment.  Concerning stressful meetings just ask to postpone and reschedule them at a time when you are between or after treatment cycles.  This isn’t always possible, so when you are unable to deal with these situations later remember to keep breathing deeply to combat the stress.

Don’t dwell on the negative thoughts and instead seek out support during these times.  You may feel happy one moment and sad the next while receiving fertility treatments.  This is normal and to be expected.  What you’re dealing with is never your only option, so keep in mind that there are always other options out there for you.  You might not be aware of them yet, but if this route fails remember that there is another waiting for you.

Take care.  The stress levels will fluctuate during treatment cycles.  On the days that stress levels are highest schedule some YOU time.  Maybe go grab some frozen yogurt at your favorite place or make an appointment for a relaxing massage after a procedure.  Try to manage your stress with little breaks away from your “to do list” for the day.  Take care of your emotional health during treatments and give yourself the time you need to escape from your worries or enjoy something you like.

Seek out ways to lower your anxiety and stress levels with a little help from friends, your faith, counseling, online support groups, or your spouse.  Lowering your stress levels will keep you healthier and happier during this already stressful time in your life.

Don’t allow your fertility problems as a couple stop you from date night.  You will be main supports to one another during this difficult process, so don’t forget your relationship.  Do something fun together each week to strengthen your bond and draw closer to one another.  Life isn't meant to be all stress; it is meant to be lived.  Live a little and recharge your batteries with a dose of miniature golf and dinner or whatever you both enjoy.  After all you want to have a child with your spouse and not on your own.  Remember to avoid neglecting your relationship; instead continue to pay attention to your marriage as you experience this path to parenthood together.

            It may become difficult to function at times during treatments, but you decide how you will manage under all the stress.

- Watch the video below and then answer the questions below with your spouse:

A story with a happy ending

Are you as focused on your marriage as you are on getting pregnant?  If not, what is one thing you could do differently or start doing to help strengthen your marriage as you try to get pregnant?

By Tawnya

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Coping with Infertility

People often get married so that they can start having children.  It sounds like the perfect plan.  Providing a stable relationship for a future child helps provides a safe and healthy environment every child deserves.  Though, things don’t always go according to plan.  Sometimes we can want something, but not get it or at least not get it how or when we expected it.  Infertility often falls under this common reality for couples who want children, but cannot conceive. 

            Infertility is becoming increasingly more common among married couples.  Especially, since more and more people are putting off marriage and delaying having children.  How do couples cope with an emotional roller coaster ride like infertility?

            It can be difficult to deal with the uncertainty of getting pregnant.  It is important to be realistic in your expectations.  If you expect things to work out the first time or even the first months of trying, then you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.  At the same time if you don’t remain hopeful then you may stop trying or even allow it to weaken your marriage.  Yet couples continually endure this trial without letting it destroy their life or their marriage.  So what are these couples doing right?

Most importantly don’t blame yourself or your spouse for the fertility problem.  Avoid thinking negatively of your spouse and yourself.  Accept that it isn't yours or their fault and focus on ways to improve your chances of conceiving.

Seek support.  I consider having a support system a necessity for life in general.  You never know what life has in store for you.  With life come trials, in all shapes and sizes, and all too often we find out that we are never prepared enough for them.  These are times when family and friends come in handy to help us get through them.  You could also seek out online communities, which offer infertility support groups.  And most importantly rely on your spouse and seek their comfort as needed.  Don’t let this personal struggle push you further from the one person you are meant to cling to.

Share your burden with your spouse and maybe even someone else you can talk to.  It may feel like it’s your burden to bear alone, but this feeling would be a lie.   Avoiding telling others, especially your spouse, about what you are experiencing is a recipe for disaster.  Rather than turn you toward one another, keeping your real feelings and thoughts hidden from your spouse will slowly push you further apart.  So don’t hide your struggles.  I’m not saying to go tell the whole world, but you shouldn’t feel that it needs to be kept a secret.  You should feel free to talk about the issue with family and friends who you are comfortable discussing this issue with.  It isn’t until you open up to others that you discover they’ve had similar experiences.  With infertility issue becoming more common you may find out that your friend had complications conceiving their little one too.

Determine how much you are willing to spend trying to conceive or if you are willing to adopt.  Also, agree on what you are willing to go through in order to get pregnant.  Setting limits can prevent you from regretting the cost or suffering you endured from fertility treatments.

Get rid of frustrations.  Infertility comes with many disappointments and may even make some individuals and couples angry at times.  Don’t let these feelings discourage you from moving forward in life or thinking of alternatives options for your particular situation.   You can combat these reoccurring or constant frustrations with massage, exercise, yoga, or a hobby.  Managing frustrations will prevent them from turning into stress, which is the last thing you need.  Stress will only work against you when it comes to fertility, so start a habit of relieving stress.  Ultimately, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Educate yourself on the issue.  The more you know about infertility and the options for those who suffer from infertility issues the better off you’ll be.  There is hope out there, as well as help.  Seek out this information, so that you can take advantage of the current and most up to date options that exist. 

Involve God in your struggle.  It is faith in God that enables individuals and couples to face adversity with a willingness to learn from the experience.  Faith can be a powerful thing when you’re struggling.  It can take us from a place of weakness to a place of strength.  It may be difficult to continue hoping and praying for a miracle, but it is important to remember God’s timing.  We need to trust in His timing and ask for the strength to endure the trial when we feel abandoned.  Remember that you are never alone.

By Tawnya

Handling Conflict Effectively in Your Marriage

With marriage comes conflict.  No two persons are alike and this is a good thing.  You might otherwise find your marriage rather boring than the growing experience it is meant to be.  If you think of conflict as an opportunity, then you will more easily enjoy its benefits.

First, define what you want from conflict that will arise, along with what you don’t want.  For me, I do not want conflict to slowly destroy my marriage; I want conflict to help us become aware of any problems, change our bad habits, understand one another, clarify our goals, and ultimately grow together, as well as individually.  Keeping your goals in mind during conflicts will allow you to see more clearly and act intentionally, instead of just reacting.  I have noticed in my own marriage that as I remember my main goal, “to strengthen my marriage”, that I am calmer during our disagreements.

            Conflict management also requires that the appropriate communication style be identified for the situation.  This could include: avoiding, obliging, compromising, or collaborating.  You will only want to avoid a conflict if you don’t care about the issue.  You oblige when it is more important to give up what you want for what your spouse wants or again you don’t care about the decision.  You compromise when you cannot come to an agreement, but instead give a little to get a little.  My favorite is to collaborate because it is win-win, but it definitely requires some creativity to come up with a solution that you and your spouse agree on.

            Stop doing the following: start a discussion with a harsh criticism, criticize their character, deceive, compete, get defensive, “stonewall”, display contempt, be passive aggressive, be rigid or inflexible, allow negativity to escalate, become dramatic, and especially complain to others about the problem instead of your spouse.

            Start doing the following: care about your spouse and you, actively listen, empathize, validate feelings (not behavior), admit responsibility, apologize, make “repair” attempt, express anger in moderation, forgive past wrongs, and most importantly express positive things much more than negative things.

            I cannot say that I have ever enjoyed conflict, but I can admit that I have enjoyed some of the benefits as I manage the conflicts.  Though, one thing I still catch myself using is “you” statements when I know I should be using “I” statements.  I have messed up repeatedly, but I still want to improve and so I continue to work on replacing my tendencies with healthy habits.  When I realize I have started a conversation harshly I use a “repair attempt”, which is to apologize and then rephrase the problem more sensitively.  For example, instead of, or even after, saying, “You never turn off the lights when you leave the room!” you might say, “I’m sorry I shouldn't have said that.  Do over! I really just wanted you to turn off the light.”

Managing conflict is a skill that we must learn; it is certainly not in our genetic makeup.  The promise like with anything else is that with effort and practice it will get easier. 

Like me, you will most likely mess up and that is okay because the real goal is persistence.  Persistence is what will improve your marriage and bring the individual growth you desire.  So I challenge you to manage your next conflict more effectively.

-Watch the short video clips below and then do the activity below with your spouse.

I statements                

Repair Attempts


1. Identify at least one of the items from the Stop list above (paragraph 4) that you have a tendency of doing. Next identify at least one of the healthy habits from the Start list above (paragraph 5) that you would like to replace this bad habit with.
2. Practice rephrasing “you” statements with “I” statements with each other. 
Ex. “You always leave your wrappers everywhere!” = “I would really appreciate it if you would make sure that your wrappers end up in the trash once you leave an area.” 
3. Practice “repair attempts” and “requests” with one another.

Ex. “You never do anything around the house.” = “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to say that.  May I start over?  I would appreciate some help around the house every once and a while.” Or “Will you do the dishes tonight?”

By Tawnya

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Practicing Forgiveness in Your Marriage

            Has anyone ever hurt you?  Does your spouse come to mind when answering this question?  It happens all too often, BIG and small, right?  Learning how to forgive is one way to deal with these mistakes that occur in marriage, or any relationship.

            Let me first define “forgiveness” so that you can better understand what it is and what it is not.

FORGIVENESS IS: letting go of past hurt and negative feelings, changing our attitude concerning a wrong, and wishing the offender well.

FORGIVENESS IS NOT: approval of the wrong, forgetting the wrong, allowing the offender to wrong you again.

Have you ever hurt your spouse?  I cannot imagine that you feel good about the pain you caused your spouse.  In fact I imagine that you feel sorry for the pain your spouse felt or feels because you hurt them.  YOU are human and what you have done and what you feel now are common in marriage.  We all make mistakes, even when we know better.  So, I am asking you to please forgive your spouse and YOURSELF.

If you have ever been in need of forgiveness, then do not withhold forgiveness.  Instead follow the tweaked golden rule: “Forgive others as you would have them forgive you”.  Your spouse might not “deserve” forgiveness, but forgive anyway.  There is every need for you to release the negativity and feel love again. 

You may want to argue that some things are unforgivable, which is not the case.  All is forgivable and nothing is unforgivable, regardless of what the world says.  We should never withhold forgiveness and forgiveness should be automatic, even if this is easier said than done. 

Withholding forgiveness will always punish you more than it will ever punish them.  It will only prolong the pain and hurt.  Hating your spouse will slowly change you into a hateful person.  This is why it is so important to decide now that you will not allow any more negativity into your life.  We can only control ourselves, so do not give someone else that power over you.  Accept what you can control and let go of what you cannot.  You cannot change the past, but you can change the present and even the future. 

Forgive for you.  After all it’s not about them, it’s about YOU.  Forgiveness is meant for you!  When you forgive someone for something you can become who you want to be, move on in with your life, not let “it” define you, and come back to love.

I cannot say that I am the best example when it comes to forgiving others, but I can honestly say that I want to be better.  I hope that you share this same desire.  The desire to improve ourselves is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our marriage.  One of the greatest gifts we can give to our spouse is forgiveness.

The journey to forgiveness is often a difficult one, but getting to that point is worth every second you devote to it.  The growth that comes with forgiveness is worth the sacrifice and that same growth strengthens a marriage so that it will last.  A lasting marriage is built on a strong foundation, which includes forgiveness.  We must build up that foundation by doing what is required of us and forgiving our spouse seventy times seven times.  

Know that it may not be instantaneous, but with time and great practice you will find that you feel better and closer to being the kind of person you have always wanted to be.  As long as you have the desire to forgive and don’t give up, your persistence will reward you.


-Please watch at least two of these video clips and then answer the questions below.

·         story of forgiveness – murder

·         story of forgiveness – death

·         how to: forgive the unforgivable

·         madea on forgiveness

1. Is it easy for you to forgive your spouse?  If not, why is it difficult for you?

2. Think about what steps you need to take in order to forgive your spouse.  Choose one thing that you need to forgive your spouse for.  Write about it.  Start working on forgiving them.  In one week write about it once more.  Reflect on how you feel and any improvements or why nothing has changed just yet.

By Tawnya