Category Archives: Family

Communication is the Key to a Successful Marriage

A recent poll of 100 mental health professionals found that communication problems were cited as the most common factor that led to divorce (65 percent), followed by couples’ inability to resolve conflict (43 percent).  Those statistics are no surprise to Grant R. Hasty, CEO, Counselor and founder of Renewed Life Christian Counseling Center.

“In my years of counseling married couples, communication problems are at the top of the list,” he says.  “Often times people are quick to forget the vows they made on their wedding day.  When you stand before God and promise to love, honor and cherish your spouse until death do you part, that should mean something.”

Hasty believes that when men and women realize they communicate differently, they are making an important first step in learning how to resolve conflict and understand each other’s feelings.  “Women will use verbal and nonverbal language, while men will most often just use their words.  The secret is to understand how your spouse communicates, and listen carefully to what they are really trying to say.”

When couples realize that no one is perfect and there will always be a disagreement or two down the road, it makes the communication and understanding process go 100 percent smoother.  “One of the most powerful concepts I have see in changing the way couples communicate is understanding soft emotions vs hard emotions.  If a couple commits to never using the hard emotions and only soft emotions in ALL their communication, even when they disagree it will transform their marriage,” says Hasty.

Hasty offers some tips for married couples to help them learn to communicate more effectively:

  • Listen to each other – When your spouse is talking, make sure you give them your undivided attention (and put down that Smartphone!).
  • Keep calm – Only use soft emotions of kindness, gentleness, show love, patience, peace. Never use hard emotions for there is no reason to yell, rant and rave when you are having a disagreement with your spouse.  This will just lead to the other person responding in the same manner, both will become defensive  and in a few moments, chaos will continue to escalate.
  • Think of the other person – Whenever you are having a disagreement, try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes for a few minutes. Often times this will help you understand where your spouse is coming from, and what they need from you.
  • Make sure you are on the same page – Often times when there is a disagreement between married couples, they assume their spouse understands what they are trying to convey. But in reality, the exact opposite may occur.  If you do not understand what your spouse is trying to say, calmly ask them to please clarify it.
  • Use a different communication method – Some people find it easier to write down their feelings and frustrations than verbalizing them. If that is the case, take a few moments and send an e-mail or write a note to your spouse.  In some cases this makes the entire communication process a breeze!
  • Take five – Or ten, or fifteen minutes and walk away. Time-outs are good. Make sure you time out has a clear time-in. If you find yourself getting nowhere and you are frustrating each other, take a break.  Revisit the communication issue when each of you has had time to think and breathe.

“Effective communication is essential for a successful marriage,” says Hasty.  When you learn how to communicate, everyone is a winner.”

 

Renewed Life Christian Counseling Center exists as a ministry to provide professional, faith-based, Christian counseling to all of Delaware and surrounding states in order to address mental, emotional, and spiritual health needs.  They are trained to provide counseling services to children and their families in need of help around all school needs. They believe that solid professional mental health practices, integrated with clear Biblical Christian principles, will help people be restored to healthy relationships with God, self and others. It is their mission to help people live out the meaningful abundant life that God has designed for them to live weather at home, school or in place of employment.  For additional information, please visit rlccc.org or call 302-464-0515.

Holiday Stress and Young Children

The holiday season is upon us, and for many people that means decorating the house, baking cookies and shopping at the mall. The sound of Christmas music can be heard everywhere you turn. But if you listen carefully, you’ll hear more than just Bing Crosby dreaming of a white Christmas. Those other sounds you hear are children who are suffering from stress associated with the holiday season.

”Families want their holidays to be special and happy for everyone, especially the children,” says Grant R. Hasty, Founder and Counselor and owner of Renewed Life Christian Counseling Center.  “But what many parents fail to remember is that the holiday season can be a time of hustle and bustle — and a never-ending whirlwind of stress for their children.”

Think about it. Because children are especially vulnerable at this time of the year, it’s important to remember that they need to find some time to relax and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. “But how can parents expect children to relax when they are running around like crazy, shopping, baking, decorating, and becoming stressed at the thought of blowing the holiday budget after just one trip to the mall,” says Hasty.

He says you can help your children beat the holiday stress beast by following these tips:

  • Limit TV and video games — It’s very easy at this time of the year to allow the TV and video games to become the baby sitter. But children who are stressed need some type of physical activity or exercise.
  • Remember routines — For parents of small children, this is especially good advice. During the holidays children will find their routines disrupted. They are often dragged along on shopping expeditions or taken to events over which they have no control. And when a routine is broken, stress can result.
  • Nutrition — Ever notice the lines at the fast food restaurants as it gets closer to the holidays? They are getting longer because parents typically are too busy to go home and cook a nutritious meal. And factor in all of those sugary holiday treats, and you end up with a stressed out, hungry family. Plan at least one healthy meal as a family everyday. And don’t forget to toss in a healthy snack while you’re visiting the mall.
  • Family traditions — Many people fail to underestimate how important traditions are to themselves and their children. Family traditions offer great comfort and security for children when everything in their lives is being disrupted by the holiday season. Perhaps your family would enjoy creating an Advent calendar together, or baking cookies and delivering them to a local nursing home or soup kitchen. Serving together in some compactly is a great way to show your Christmas spirit.
  • Attitude check — Both children and their parents need to have an attitude check before the holiday season begins. Take a deep breath, and have everyone in the family pledge to make the holiday season a time of joy and peace. Remind everyone that with the right attitude, that goal can be met. Remember the reason for this season, the birth of Christ bringing peace and good will to everyone.
  • Rest and relaxation — Everyone, especially children, needs to take a “time out” over the holiday season to rest and relax. For parents of younger children this is especially good advice, because a well-rested child will be much happier on a trip to the mall than one who is in desperate need of a nap. Schedule some R & R time for everyone in the family.  While relaxing be sure to read the Christmas story together as a family from the Bible in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 2:1-35
  • Laugh — Laughter is still the best way to beat stress and change everyone’s mood from bad to good. Take time to read the comics to your children, or find a holiday joke book with family humor at your bookstore or library.

The holiday season doesn’t have to be a time of stress and exhaustion. Make sure you do your part to make the most wonderful time of the year live up to its reputation. You and your children will be glad you did.