Building a Strong Marriage

A great marriage is not when the “perfect couple” comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences. Dave MeurerEach year, more than 2 million couples marry in the U.S. While most couples say they are madly in love, some really wonder if they have what it takes to make their marriage last over time.

Whether you’re married now or planning to, you’ll want to know about a Life Innovations survey of 21,501 married couples from every state. It identified not only the top 10 strengths of happy marriages, but also the top 10 problems in marriage.

The top 10 strengths are as follows:

  • Partners are satisfied with communication.
  • Partners handle their differences creatively.
  • They feel very close to each other.
  • Spouses are not controlling.
  • Partners discuss their problems well.
  • They are satisfied with the affection they show and receive.
  • There is a good balance of time alone and together.
  • Family and friends rarely interfere.
  • Partners agree on how to spend money.
  • Partners agree on spiritual beliefs.

Additionally, the research found that the strongest couples have strong communication skills, a clear sense of closeness as a couple, flexibility, personal compatibility and good conflict resolution skills.

Strong marriages have a balance between separateness and togetherness. These couples prioritize togetherness, ask each other for help, enjoy doing things together and spend most of their free time together.

Also, some of the common factors in the relationship roles in strong marriages include both parties:

  • Are equally willing to make necessary adjustments in their roles,
  • Reporting satisfaction with the division of housework,
  • Working hard to have an equal relationship, and
  • Making most decisions jointly.

The happiest couples said they were happy with the way they communicate, it was easy to express their feelings and found their partner to be a good listener. They especially noted that their partner doesn’t use put-downs.

Obviously, conflict management/resolution skills are crucial. In strong marriages, both partners say that their partner understands their positions. They feel free to share their feelings and ideas; they take disagreements seriously and they work cooperatively to resolve conflicts.

According to the survey, the top 10 problems in marriage are:

  • Problems sharing leadership.
  • One partner is too stubborn.
  • Stress created by child-rearing differences.
  • One partner is too negative or critical.
  • Feeling responsible for issues.
  • One partner wishes the other had more time.
  • Avoiding conflict with partner.
  • One partner wishes the other was more willing to share their feelings.
  • Difficulty completing tasks.
  • Differences never get resolved.

For example, some common stumbling blocks are when one person feels most responsible for the problem, avoiding conflict and having serious disputes over minor issues. Sadly, relationships with unresolved differences can get into trouble. As a result, stumbling blocks become walls instead of stepping stones to build up the marriage.

Finally, no matter how in love you feel, bringing two personalities and their families together and learning how to dance can be challenging. So don’t just prepare for your wedding – take time to prepare for your marriage. Learn how to build on your strengths, creatively address differences and work together for the best interests of your marriage. It will probably be the best wedding present you can give to each other.

 

First Things First Chattanooga

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Do Small Things with Great Love…Giving Love and Service

Do Small things with Great love - Mother Teresa

Giving Love and Service – it is rarely easy and virtually never convenient. Yet, it can make all the difference to those we love and to the strangers around us.

I believe we all have a story to tell of someone who has done something small for us – an act of service that did not require great sacrifice. Yet, those acts born of thoughtfulness and concern are some of our most meaningful and cherished moments.

I remember a time in my life shortly after I had graduated from high school. I was working in a pizza store. I wasn’t happy with where my life was and was feeling like nobody cared. One night a couple that I knew casually from my church came in. I was working the counter that night and did not wait on the couple but I said hi as I saw them walk in. After their meal, the man deliberately walked up to the counter and gave me a silver dollar. I don’t remember his exact words but he conveyed to me that he believed in me and that I was important. This man did not know me well but he had taken the time to notice me, think about me and then give me words of encouragement. He gave me a priceless gift that night. He gave me hope in myself and he helped me to believe in my worth. The silver dollar was a sweet gesture on his part but it was his words of encouragement that made all the difference. His kind act still impacts my life today.

Remembering moments like these in my life helps me to understand the profound difference small acts of service and kindness can make in the lives of those we come in contact with. I think today’s story shares perfectly the concept that we all need help from time to time. It is through the kindness of strangers that God most often answers our prayers. Are you meant to answer a prayer for God today?

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African-American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her – generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away.

Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read:

“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”
Sincerely,
Mrs. Nat King Cole

Story shared from the following website: http://www.motivateus.com/stories/five.htm

 

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Unity…The Art of Building Bridges

Individually, we are one drop Together, we are an ocean Ryunosuke Satoro

The Bridge

Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side. They had been sharing machinery, trading a labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference which exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on elder brother’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I am looking for a few days of work”, he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?”

“Yes!” said the elder brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor, in fact, it’s my younger brother and we don’t get along. Last week he dug a wider passage for water into his farm. But he ended up creating a very wide creek in between our farms and I am sure he did it just to annoy me. I want you to build me something so that we don’t have to stand and see each other’s face from across.”

The carpenter said “I think I understand the situation. I will be able to do a job that will please you.” The elder brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.

At sunset when the elder brother returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The elder brother’s eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped. It was not what he had even thought of or imagined. It was a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, beautiful handrails. And to his surprise, his younger brother across the creek was coming to meet him with a big smile and arms wide open to hug him.

“You are really kind and humble my brother! After all I had done and said to you, you still shown that blood relations can never be broken! I am truly sorry for my behaviour”, the younger brother said as he hugged his elder brother. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. “No, wait! Stay a few days. I have a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother.

“I’d love to stay on”, the carpenter said, “but, I have many more bridges to build!”

Moral: There is no shame in accepting your mistake or forgiving each other. We should be kind and humble. We should try to stay together as a family and not break away from it over the petty arguments.

Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website: https://www.moralstories.org/the-bridge/

 

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The Most Useful Asset We Have…A Heart Full of Love

The most useful asset of a person is not a head full of knowledge but a heart full of love, with ears open to listen, and hands willing to helpThe story that I share today is fairly long. My intent is to always inspire and share those lessons I learned as a result of my near-death experience and other life experiences in which God has guided me.

Therefore, I will keep my part brief today and just encourage you to find a tissue! I love today’s story and I love that it shares what a circle life is. We all need help from time to time and it is true…we really are our brother’s keeper!

Please enjoy today’s story!

Kindness

One day a woman was walking down the street when she spied a beggar sitting on the corner. The man was elderly, unshaven, and ragged. As he sat there, pedestrians walked by him giving him dirty looks They clearly wanted nothing to do with him because of who he was — a dirty, homeless man. But when she saw him, the woman was moved to compassion.

It was very cold that day and the man had his tattered coat — more like an old suit coat rather than a warm coat — wrapped around him. She stopped and looked down. “Sir?” she asked. “Are you all right?”

The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like that she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before. “Leave me alone,” he growled.

To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling — her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. “Are you hungry?” she asked.

“No,” he answered sarcastically. “I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”

The woman’s smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. “What are you doing, lady?” the man asked angrily. “I said to leave me alone.”

Just then a policeman came up. “Is there any problem, ma’am?” he asked.

“No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”

The officer scratched his head. “That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”

“See that cafeteria over there?” she asked. “I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile.”

“Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man resisted. “I don’t want to go in there!” Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. “Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”

“This is a good deal for you, Jack,” the officer answered. “Don’t blow it.”

Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived. The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by the table. “What’s going on here, officer?” he asked. “What is all this. Is this man in trouble?”

“This lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.

“Not in here!” the manager replied angrily. “Having a person like that here is bad for business.”

Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. “See, lady. I told you so. Now if you’ll let me go. I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”

The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. “Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?”

“Of course I am,” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”

“And do you make a good profit from providing food at the weekly meetings?”

“What business is that of yours?”

“I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.”

“Oh.”

The woman smiled again. “I thought that might make a difference.” She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?”

“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”

“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”

“Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice.”

The cafeteria manager turned on his heel. “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.”

The officer watched him walk away. “You certainly put him in his place,” he said.

“That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.” She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently. “Jack, do you remember me?”

Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes “I think so — I mean you do look familiar.”

“I’m a little older perhaps,” she said. “Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.”

“Ma’am?” the officer said questioningly. He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.

“I was just out of college,” the woman began. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.”

Jack lit up with a smile. “Now I remember,” he said. “I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”

“I know,” the woman continued. “Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over, I saw you put the price of my food in the cash register. I knew then that everything would be all right.”

“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.

“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered.” She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. “When you are finished her e, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office.” She smiled. “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet And if you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you.”

There were tears in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you,” he said.

“Don’t thank me,” the woman answered. “To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus. He led me to you.”

Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. “Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.

“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And… And thank you for the coffee.”

She frowned. “I forgot to ask you whether you used cream or sugar. That’s black.”

The officer looked at the steaming cup of coffee in his hand. “Yes, I do take cream and sugar — perhaps more sugar than is good for me.” He patted his ample stomach.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“I don’t need it now,” he replied smiling. “I’ve got the feeling that this coffee you bought me is going to taste as sweet as sugar.”

Author Unknown

Story shared from the following website: https://great-inspirational-quotes.com/kindness.html

The most useful asset of a person is not a head full of knowledge but a heart full of love, with ears open to listen, and hands willing to helpSave

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Change the World With a Smile!

Peace Begins with a Smile. Mother TeresaHeaven showed me that change in this world does not need to be complicated – a gesture as small as a smile will do the trick.

Mother Teresa understood the power of a smile when she said, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

There are times when we all need a smile!

Today, I share a story about the power of a smile! I hope you enjoy and that you will commit to changing this world for better by sharing your smiles today!:

Key to Happiness: The Power of a Smile By Maura Sweeney

Want a sure fire way to brighten your day? Consider a smile!

A few weeks ago, my husband and I enjoyed a relaxing Caribbean cruise filled with service-minded staff. But it wasn’t until we disembarked that I truly experienced the power of a smile! As a proponent of living happy from the inside out, I considered this experience one worth sharing.

It was an early Saturday morning when we stepped off our ship. As some of the first to disembark, we joined a small group of passengers in the Miami Cruise Terminal to await the arrival of our luggage. While many passengers remained groggy and not yet awake, my happiness radar unexpectedly engaged.

Dozens of workers caught my attention as they filed into the cavernous building, ready to start their day. Suddenly, the atmosphere began to turn pleasantly and progressively electric.

Burly guys slapped one another on the shoulder while exchanging familiar, funny remarks. Smiling women awaited welcome hugs from fellow workers, some jesting that they hadn’t yet received a hug or a kiss. Despite the industrial work environment, the climate conveyed a sense of family and friends happily gathering for a reunion.

The bantering continued as employees readied themselves for what would become a massively busy work day. All were in motion but recognized and acknowledged everyone in their wake with a happy remark and a ready smile.

Initially, I considered these pleasant faces and genial interactions a corporate anomaly. Yet wherever I gazed, it was the same. Regardless of uniform or rank, smiling employees greeted passengers — and each other — with a pleasing confidence, welcome and warmth. The effect was tangible and powerful.

These people weren’t just happy to be around each other. They were happy to be at work.

“Do you credit this positive work atmosphere to your senior management?” I asked a few porters. They smiled at each other, evidently happy to hear that someone noticed.

“No one tells us to smile. We’re just happy to be here,” offered one of the men. Then he suggested, as if pleased to share the glory, “Can we introduce you to our manager so you can tell him, too?”

Within moments, I was introduced to the supervisor who soon introduced me to his manager, a jovial and outgoing woman. Each employee seemed to carry his or her own joy, a happiness that spread as each one extended it to others.

Here are a few things I’d learned about the power of a smile at the Miami Cruise Terminal that day.

Smiles don’t need to start at the top.

There was no corporate directive to be happy at work. Employees brought their own happiness with them and, as they shared it with each other, they created a happy and joyful atmosphere starting in the trenches.

Smiles make heavy work lighter.

Saturdays are long and stressful days at the Miami Cruise Terminal. Workers convey thousands of passengers, suitcases and supplies on and off several ships — all within the confines of compressed time frames and nail-biting deadlines. The uplifting power of a smile helps employees carry out the high levels of strength, coordination and cooperation required to successfully execute these herculean tasks.

Smiles fill our cup.

One worker offered me a secret to the joyous atmosphere I’d been observing. “Each day, I come to work with just a little in my cup. I share the little joy I have and, by the end of the day, my cup is completely full. There’s a lot of us here who work the same way. We leave feeling better than when we came in.”

A smile is a powerful key to living happy from the inside out. The next time you’re feeling weak or heavy-laden, remember to ask yourself: What’s in my cup?

May you discover your own smile, then multiply it by sharing it with the world!

Story shared from the following website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maura-sweeney/key-to-happiness-the-powe_b_6340868.html

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