Monday, January 23, 2012
Hubby JR and I have been married for 22 years.
A while back, hubby JR and I headed to church for a marriage enrichment workshop--or as JR referred to it, "the marriage thing."
Guess which one of us signed up, served on leadership planning, devloped the workbook and theme for the event, purchased the giveaway products, met with the speakers in advance AND guess which one of us dragged into the "thing" with resignation and furrowed brow?
It was scheduled the night of the Cotton Bowl. Guess which one of us attended Kansas State and was looking forward to watching the game AND guess which one of us was looking forward to exploring what makes a strong marriage tick?
Guess what happened? We were pulling out of the church parking lot following the first session and, yup, the tension turned to a fight.
JR and I don't really fight frequently and we do fight differently (which we knew, but following the session we had the technical terms for our "conflict buttons"). I won't burden you with the details, I hope you are correctly assuming that I was mostly in the right, but given the bowl game situation JR was vulnerable. That's how I remember it.
However, the great thing about our absurdity is we had very fresh material to apply to the teaching the next morning, and it brought some clarity. The speaker made a great point that when we are aruguing, we are dealing with emotionally fueled states such as-need to be in control, need for afirmation, a feeling of failure or inadequcy--and that is what the teacher called a button. The button takes over the conflict and crowds out the actual issue. When we are in conflict our instict is to tend to the button, not so much the issue. He also made the point that as long as I am working on the button (emotion) I will never really resolve the issue.
It was the classic helpful instruction--taking something familar and important and pointing to a way to make make modification which improves the circumstance. I wonder how long we would have been stuck without tending to the actual issue.
We both agreed and appreciated that the event was also full of some real humor, which kept us laughing both at the jokes, videos and most certainly at ourselves.
A post script: K-State lost badly, so our time together watching the game was sure to be abbreviated. All's well...
Posted by Carol at 7:39 PM
Monday, January 9, 2012
What is it about getting to church that creates such atmospheric disturbance?
First, there is the logistics of all of us arriving at one place, at one time with teeth brushed. While we are up earlier during the week, our departure is staggered, which helps, I think.
There is also the tension of who wants to linger and when--the girls tend to linger in the bathroom getting ready for church. I tend to linger at church visiting and catching up with my friends when the service or event is over and there is a chorus of sighs or hubby JR hand on the small of my back nudging me. It's mutually annoying.
But, there is still the odd reality that why does attending one of our favorite places bring out the crabby? We don't snarl on our way to grab a fro yo or pizza? We don't sigh and nudge as we pack up to leave a movie or game?
Some have suggested this universal tension is the devil's handy work. I think instead it's more our approach.
Do we over commit to church programs? Sometimes. In church world most everything is good, so how we determine what is wise needs to move beyond whether or not it's good.
Do we try too hard to present ourselves as pleasant, happy and put together at church that we are exhausted by the the time we get there in trying to achieve a state of false put together? Possible.
Do we forget where we are going and why we are going? Yes--it's not that we don't know why we love church or why it's important, its that we forget to remind ourselves of those basic things.
I really don't have an action plan or dedication to some new intentional direction, it just amuses me that more often than not, the process of getting to church creates a need to be there! Maybe this is all God's sense of humor, inrony and humilty.
Posted by Carol at 7:05 AM
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The daily devotionals are concise and not provocative, but they are honest, personal and good reads—vignettes. I recommend this for those who seek a short interruption or start in the day with a good word. It’s perfect to keep in a purse or car to read while waiting. It would be great for a quick glance during a coffee break. The scripture references are brief, and somewhat of an accessory—not tied to the story.
There is a random quality to the collection, which I enjoyed but the inconsistent tone of each writer might frustrate some readers. The cover and binding of the book are beautiful; it would make a nice gift. It offers some lovely, relevant touches.
I write independent reviews as part of the Booksneeze program of Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Posted by Carol at 9:17 AM