My World (Feminine Style)

Thoughts about love, liberty, disco

Relationship Rules… #4 October 25, 2010

Filed under: Relationships,Uncategorized — katiereich @ 7:00 am
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#4 NEVER make fun, or joke at your spouses expense.

I know that this may sound simple… well, actually, it is, but I am always surprised at how many couples joke at the other’s expense. It is almost like they are too afraid to talk through something, or they don’t even know they are doing it… what if instead of tearing down your spouse in front of other people you tried building them up. What may be “just joking” to you, most likely has some truth to it, which is why it hurts your spouses feelings.

 

Relationship Rule #3: What are you talking about? September 23, 2010

Filed under: Relationships — katiereich @ 7:30 am
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#3 Learn what you are really talking about. Communication is key.

*Warning: Personal Story* I don’t know why I gave you a warning; other then I thought it would be funny! Josh and I are imperfect people, and this was no more apparent then when we were engaged and during our first year of marriage. I will speak from my perspective, because that is the only perspective I have. When Josh and I got engaged, God was really doing a number on my heart and life, He was replacing my views with His, and a heart transplant is never easy. I came into our marriage with a lot of hurts, hang-ups and silly expectations. Josh was probably expecting me to be more like him, read that emotionally stable! The first year of our marriage was filled with tears… what we realized was that when I was reacting out of proportion to the situation at hand, I was really reacting to a lie I believed about myself, or a past hurt that had not healed.

Pause here to think through the last time you withdrew or blew up and the situation did not warrant the response. Why? What were you responding to? What hurt is plaguing how you feel about yourself, or the people around you? Now ask God to work in your life to heal that hurt, and know that you are not alone, God is walking, no, carrying you through it.

We started to realize that the faster we could decode our anger or hurt the faster we could move on and really know each other.

Typical couple argument: (This is totally made up)

Female: (exasperated tone) Why are your socks on the floor next to the hamper, instead of in the hamper?

Male: (somewhat distracted by the tv) Isn’t that close enough for you. (note the sarcasm)

Female: Well, it is obvious by the way you do what I ask you to, that you only see me as a maid…

Male: (now fully engaged) A maid, huh? Well, I wouldn’t pay you to keep up with the house like you do. Would you just get off my back?

Female: (starting to get indignant) If I stopped doing what I do then the house would look like a frat house.

Male: Now those were the days, no ball and chain…

Decoding the Female: She probably is frustrated by the little things that her spouse does or doesn’t do, but what is going on below the surface? Control maybe her thing… She maybe reacting to a situation in her past that she had no control over, also, she is probably questioning her worth, calling herself a maid.

Decoding the Male: First, he probably doesn’t want to be bothered while watching tv, but he is probably hurt because she is not approaching him in a respectful way, as well as nagging him, which will of course remind him of being scolded by his mother. He already has one, and does not want another.

One of the hardest things for me to overcome was the tape (cd/mp3) that played over and over in my head that said, “You are not worth anyone’s love, outside of what you can earn. You are not enough to love on your own merit, and you are too much to deal with because of your baggage. You are not lovable and will never be able to give or receive love.” Most of my adolescence and into adulthood, I was looking for myself, but believed that to find myself it needed to come out of someone else’s love and expectations for me. You can see how this would taint any interaction that I had with Josh, at the drop of a hat I believed that if he was frustrated with me, it was because I was too much and he did not love me. Thankfully, by the grace of God, that tape has slowly changed, I still fall back into some of those beliefs every now and then, but that is not my normal. My new tape reads more like this: I am a beloved daughter of God, and because of His infinite love was adopted into His family. My worth lies not in what I am or what I do, but who He is in me. I am whole and complete in Him. I am whole in Him…

My soapbox and prayer is that you can find yourself fully in Him. That the lies you believe can be replaced by His truth. Like I said yesterday, you will be paralyzed until you find healing.

Side note: In order to communicate well, you need to figure out how you both argue and then work with it. Josh normally likes room and space to think before we have a discussion, where I just want to talk it out. So sometimes we talk it out right there, and sometimes we wait. I have also learned that there are better times to bring up issues then others. It is extremely hard for me, but I try to wait until an appropriate time to bring up something that is bothering me.

 

Relationship Rule #2: Deal with your Junk. September 22, 2010

Filed under: Relationships — katiereich @ 10:08 am
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#2 Deal with your Junk.

Josh and I realized very quickly that if we did not deal with the past hurts and hang-ups in our individual lives, we would never be able to move forward in our relationship. We would always be playing with a short deck.

You have to know yourself, but for that to happen you have to be okay with who you are and what you bring to the table. You cannot continue to live out of the expectations of others, or a desire to please anyone, outside of Jesus. Healing in Christ allows you to see yourself as whole in Him, and when we are able to do this then you are freed to give yourself unselfishly to your mate and those around you.

If you are harboring past hurts then you will always react out of those wounds (more on this tomorrow). Josh and I watch people and relationships all of the time, in an effort to learn what to do and not to do in relationships and life. A specific couple comes to mind: they got married very young, to escape their family lives, and then moved around frequently because of the military. After we met them it became apparent that they still treated each other like they were wounded 19 year olds, although they had high school age kids. They were not on the same page, and frequently would back bite each other in front of us. They took out their frustration with each other on those in leadership around them. They were not able to deal with conflict, and either blew up at it (the husband) or would pretend that it was not there (the wife). They kept their lives SO busy with good things that they did not have time to sit and deal with themselves. They used the relationships around them to give them meaning and fill their wounds.

The sad thing is, you will NEVER reach your full potential if you are paralyzed by the lies that you believe about yourself or those around you. Shake off those chains, and find freedom in Christ to become yourself.

 

Why teachers have sex with students, and relationships don’t last… September 17, 2010

Filed under: Family,Relationships — katiereich @ 10:11 am
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My neighbor just told me that a former middle school coach, in our school district, was accused of performing a sexual act on a 15 year old student. Earlier this summer a high school English teacher was arrested for having sexual contact with a student. Is there a way to prevent this?

What about the numerous relationships that end because of unfaithfulness? or porn addiction? or jealousy?

The answer: Boundaries…

Whenever Josh performs a wedding, we meet with the couple and do a series of premarital counseling sessions. This process is usually fun because it allows Josh and I to look back at our relationship, as well as help the couple we are working with get started on the right foot. Of course we always share our “Relationship Rules”. These are a list of unofficial Rules that Josh and I have put into place over the course of our marriage to help safeguard our relationship, and help to make it run more smoothly. So I thought that I would put together an unofficial list of “Relationship Rules”, these are by no means meant for everyone, or should be applied across the board, but hopefully they will help you to think through your relationship or non-relationship and help you to think through what boundaries you should have in your life. Enjoy!

“Relationship Rule ” #1: No (or limited) relationships with people of the opposite sex.

First and foremost severe contact with all past flames and boy/girlfriends. If you are in contact with one, my first question would be why. What do you gain from continuing a friendship with them? It will probably make your spouse jealous, even if they say they aren’t, and they will always appear better then your spouse. You call the old flame and vent about an argument you just had with your husband, that person will tend to side with you, and be a listening ear, which will put a wedge in between you  and your spouse. Not worth it.

There really does not seem to be an upside… So delete all past flames from your facebook, email and skype. Wish them well, but put all of your energy into making your current relationship as amazing as it can be.

This will be a series of posts… so buckle your seatbelt and watch for more. If nothing else you will be amused.

 

Exiting gracefully. February 24, 2010

Filed under: Relationships — katiereich @ 3:50 pm
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Let me start out with a confession: I have not been a great friend. In the past I have used friendships for selfish gain, usually so that I did not have to eat lunch alone at school, and especially so that I could escape the pain that I was feeling in my own bones. High school is such an awkward time, especially when like most teenagers, you are not sure of yourself and the world is only reinforcing your bad thought patterns. As I got older my goals in relationships got a little more noble, but were still selfish; someone to have fun with, laugh with, a relationship that I could learn from, and grow from.

I know that many of the relationships that I have had, added so much to me in that specific season of life, but I wonder, “How do the people feel on the other side of that relationship?” Have they left our time together feeling encouraged or drained, feeling heard or used… Learning to love myself has been a LONG process, and learning to REALLY love other people has taken even longer. I know how to love my kids, and my husband, but how do you exit a relationship gracefully?

You move and so you keep in touch for a while, but then the communication becomes less frequent.

You are friends with someone because it is convenient, you are in the same stage of life, or you participate in the same activities, but then things change.

And worst of all there is a misunderstanding and then a breaking of that deep connection, you may or may not see each other, but the essence of that relationship is gone.

Does that mean that the relationship was not important? No… but how do you keep those cherished relationships and times in your heart if they are not active in your life? and more importantly how do you let the people in those relationships know that you care for them deeply, even if you do not do a good job of keeping in touch?

I have no answers just a deep feeling that I am missing a part of my Christian walk because I do not understand it in the context of community. I have been reading through 2 Corinthians very slowly and the other day I stumbled across a passage about prayer. It made me wonder if someone in my life did not receive a blessing from God because I did not pray for them, or we did not pray for them… How can a man be healed because of his friend’s faith?

I want to live in a community of believers who sees themselves as true brothers and sisters in Christ. Who pray for each other, encourage each other and keep each other accountable. I know that it will be a little messy, aren’t all families, but in doing that I think that I will be able to hold onto some of the relationships in my past. Giving grace to those who are where I was.

Thank you, for the MANY people who intentionally or not poured into my life to help me take on the character of Christ. So many of you were constants in my searching. Thank you for walking the early stages of my marriage with me, helping me to find freedom, wholeness, and most importantly myself in Christ.

Do you have someone you need to thank, or reach out to?

 

A call to helpmate… after your husband’s sexual addiction October 28, 2009

Filed under: Family,Relationships — katiereich @ 7:30 am
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A few weeks ago I started a series of blog posts based off of a sermon that Josh Reich preached at Revolution Church, you can listen to it here. I started to read, Every Heart Restored: A Wife’s Guide to Healing in the Wake of a Husband’s Sexual Sin, By: Fred & Brenda Stoeker, and because of the message, and the questions that I got from other women in our church, I felt the need to blog through most of the book. If any of these posts have hit a cord with you, I strongly urge you purchase the book and read the whole thing. I am not promising that it will be easy reading, but I am sure that it will jumpstart a journey into healing and restoring your heart and hopefully your marriage.

The previous posts are as follows:

Is Porn or Sexual Addiction a Problem in Your Marriage?

Understanding your Man’s Sexuality: Eyes

Understanding Your Man’s Sexuality: He Feels Love in between the Sheets

His Sexual Addiction is NOT about You!

His Sexual Addiction is NOT about you! Part two.

Rebuilding Your Marriage after His Sexual Addiction…

How do you keep your heart and role as helpmate during the road out of your husband’s addiction? That is a great question and one that we will dive into here, on our last blog post from Every Heart Restored.

I would like you to take one more good look into your heart’s mirror and ask yourself this question: How am I doing in my role as helpmate? It is in this roles as helper where most wives make their biggest mistakes in marriage. Let’s return once more to Genesis and review why we were created as women:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care if it… The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”… For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:15, 18, 24)

Why was it not good for man to be alone? I can assure you it was not because Adam needed some help hanging vines or running a backhoe in the garden. And it was more than Adam’s needing someone to talk to or have sex with.

God know what sin was about to do to Adam and to all who came after him. He knew the wounds that would be meted out on innocent bystanders through the sin of friends, families, and even churches. He’s even seen ahead to the days when Internet porn would enslave millions of men. He had to have known all this was going to happen, because that’s what being omniscient means. Given that He knew what the future would bring, He knew it wouldn’t be good for Adam (and his future male offspring) to be alone.

As we’ve said, the word helper in Genesis comes from a Hebrew word that means “a help as his counterpart.” So what does a helper do? Fred explains it this way: as a helper, a wife’s role is to help lift up her husband-boost him, assist him, encourage him- to Christian greatness, whatever that may entail. This isn’t an easy role to fill, even when your husband is asking for your help. 

It is hard to play our helper role when our husbands are asking for help. But what are you supposed to do int that role when your husbands are not asking? What happens then?

It can be confusing, and most of that confusion revolves around the choice between these two courses of action:

1. When your husband needs your help, but he obviously can’t see it, should you simply be quiet and pray for his insight to improve, submitting in silence for the sake of peace?

2. Or should you bravely speak up directly and forcefully in the face of his blindness to challenge him to Christian greatness? What is your role?`

Maybe it would be useful to step back and take a look at the roles your husband should be playing alongside your own. It can be enlightening to see howe interrelated our roles as husband and wife really are.

Each of us has two major roles in marriage. Fred plays the headship role and is the overall leader in the home. He’s also been called by God to be the high priest of our home, the spiritual leader responsible for building a normal Christian home.

As his wife, I play the parallel submissive role to Fred’s leadership at home, and the parallel helper role to prod, lift, and strengthen him to carry out his roles as head and high priest.

Not how God expects the husband and wife to play essentially the same spiritual role for the other spouse. As a high priest, Fred is to lead me into Christian greatness. As a helpmate, I’m to work alongside the Holy Spirit to lift Fred to Christian greatness. Sadly, we’ve noticed that both of these roles are routinely ignored in Christian homes these days, although for different reasons.
It is so vital that we both play our roles well in marriage because sin is rampant everywhere, and the percentage of folks in our pews with little Christian heritage is growing rapidly. Most of us just don’t know what normal looks like anymore.

Brenda knew what normal was, and she love me enough to fight on until I could see it for myself. As my Christian sister, Brenda had a right and a duty to speak out truthfully(and even sharply) to me when I was still living in the futility of my thinking, darkened in my understanding and separated from full life in God because of my ignorance of normal Christianity.

And when it comes to your husband’s sexual sin, you have every right to stand up and help him win. To be a helpmate means that you will never allow your husband to drift to his lowest level. Instead, you’ll help him be great.

 

His Needs: Admiration October 26, 2009

Filed under: Church,Family,Relationships — katiereich @ 5:27 am
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Two Saturdays ago, Josh and I taught together in Part 4 our series I Want a New Marriage. We used the book His Needs, Her Needs as the framework for our talk. This week as a way of following that up, I’ll be doing posts through that book, some of the things we said, how to figure out if this is a need your spouse has, how you are doing at meeting that need and how this applies to your relationship.

You can listen to it here.

I’ll be looking specifically at his needs and how a wife fulfills those needs. To see her needs and how a husband fulfills those, check out Josh’s blog.

Need #5 Admiration:

I purposefully waited until today to post this blog about admiration until after Saturday’s message, “From this Moment“, to give it some context. Unlike women, men do not speak or listen in the language of LOVE, instead they speak in the language of respect and admiration. Early in our marriage, Josh and I attended a conference by Emerson Eggerichs called Love and Respect, this changed forever how we communicated and dealt with each other. If you have ever read Wild at Heart you know that a man’s deepest desire is to be used and found worthy of a great adventure. This is one of the reasons that they like to do things at 500 miles an hour and love adventure and risk. So what does this have to do with Admiration? Well, I am so glad that you asked:

  • Your husband needs you to be proud of him. If you fail to give the appropriate words of affirmation to your husband he feels like a fake, and regardless of his true value, will begin to believe that at any moment someone will realize that he is not worth his salt and kick him off the team or fire him from his job or if taken to the very end… will start to look to other women to fulfill this need in their lives. Which will end up with disastrous consequences.
  • Willard states, “Honest admiration is a great motivator for most men. When a woman tells a man she thinks he’s wonderful, that inspires him to achieve more. He sees himself as capable of handling new responsibilities and perfecting skills far above those of his present level. That inspiration helps him prepare for the responsibilities of life.” “For some men admiration also helps them believe in themselves.”
  • For the most part men know that you love them, they do not need the atmosphere of affection that we as women do to feel constantly reassured of our man’s love. But the thing that will speak to him will be words that edify, respect, admire, and lift up your husband. He wants to know that he is worthy of the adventure that is calling, and he can overcome the obstacle that is staring him in the face.
  • “An environment of carping and criticism is dangerous to your mental health. Those who support and encourage you bring out your true potential and spark your genius.”
  • “Never fake your admiration. The first step in learning how to express admiration it so learn how to feel admiration. When you achieve that, you can express these feeling.”
  • For me learning to feel admiration was not something that came easy at the beginning of our marriage. It took practice and an intentionality that I did not think would be necessary. Don’t feelings of love and respect come naturally in the arms of a committed relationship? Unfortunately, the answer for me was no. When Josh and I got married God was working on my heart in a huge way, but it took a few years for God to take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. In the mean time I decided to write down all of the little things that Josh did that should have sparked the feeling of Love and Respect in me. After the exercise of writing things down, I was able to more naturally recognize and then express my appreciation and respect toward Josh.
  • Willard says, “Therefore her admiration depends on his ability to meet her basic marital needs.” This statement at the outset may ring true, but it rubs me the wrong way. In Eph. 5:33 we as women are told to respect our husbands. There are no qualifiers to it. Josh says you respect him until he becomes respectable…
  • Willard goes on to endorse an activity to communicate to your husband what you admire and what destroys your admiration for him. I would strongly caution you about taking the step to list out all of the things that destroy your admiration for your husband and give it to him unless it is done in a clinical setting. From the depth of my toes, I believe that this could really destroy your man emotionally. Can you imagine, oh, by the way here are all of the things that I hate about you? Please NO! I would suggest thinking and privately journaling those things that bother you about your husband and try to figure out if there is a common thread throughout. Is it his lack of responsibility with the kids, or time away from the family or you? Next, make it your mission to find him doing right things in this area, if he shows a hint of moving in the right direction notice it, mention it, praise him for it, throw a party about. Also, you should be having those iron sharpening iron conversations where you are pointing out sin and areas that he can improve in his life/walk, but those conversations should not be how you always talk to him.
  • Work on developing an attitude of respect and admiration for your husband. Let him know this week how much you appreciate him working and bringing home the bacon. How much you love the man he is and the man that he is becoming. Start with pointing out those things that he does that communicate love to you and how much you appreciate it. That will go a long way in expressing your admiration for him.
  • In the book Whale Done, they discuss that in order to train a killer whale you have to affirm the things that he is doing well or on track with to encourage more like behavior. I think that the same principle works here, affirm your husband in the things that he is doing that you already like, so you can see more of those same behaviors.

All quotes are taken from Willard F. Harley Jr’s book His Needs Her Needs.