A Poem in Honor of Our Three Winners

This crime was different.
It’s woken us up.
An entire nation has risen
to say enough is enough.

Hate crime or not,
we may never know
but it’s brought an issue to light
that we can’t afford to let go.

This tragedy touched many
It could’ve been me, you, or him.
The guy in line behind us
or the girl at the gym.

When we focus on differences
all of us lose.
Black, white, or grey
We all could improve.

We ought to be stopping
those who perpetuate hate.
The issue only gets more urgent
until it is too late.

We must stop the media
who pits us against them
and the psychotic extremists
who really just need a friend.

See, not one of us knows for certain.
All we have is our beliefs
and they’re as precious as jewels,
even to faithless thieves…

Who try to steal our homes,
our loved ones, and our rights.
Peace or domination,
both are worth the fight.

But when you strip away religion
all that’s left is the Truth.
Our God is your God
and Love is our proof.

10 Ways That Happy Couples Argue Differently

Every couple argues. The difference between a happy couple and an unhappy couple is the way in which they argue. In fact, according to Relationship Expert John Gottman, the single strongest predictor of whether or not a relationship will succeed or fail lies in the way the couple deals with conflict (Gottman, John Mordechai, and Nan Silver. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. New York: Crown, 1999 Print). Thus, in order to grow and be successful in our relationships, we must adopt healthy coping strategies for the difficulties that exist in them. Compatibility is not always key, but dealing with incompatibility is. Here I list 10 ways that happy couples argue differently.

  1. Commit to dealing with the problem. Often it can be easiest to run from conflict, especially if you’re a conflict avoidant person. But remember, this isn’t about you or whether or not you feel like dealing with the problem. It’s about what your relationship needs; so put those needs ahead of your own. Both partners must be fully committed to tackling their problems because running from conflict, won’t make it go away.
  2. Attack the problem, not the person. You have to remember that your partner is on your team. Always support one another, even when you don’t see eye to eye. Don’t take your frustrations out on the other person. Keep your focus on the problem and attack it together. When it comes to relationships and being right, always choose your relationship over being right.
  3. Practice intentional listening. Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Even if you don’t understand where they are coming from, you can still respect it. Intentional listening means devoting your entire self towards the other. Turning your body towards them, looking them in the eyes, turning off the TV, and putting away your phone. These are all characteristics of intentional listening, which will ease the defensive barriers between you. It demonstrates that you actually want to hear what your partner has to say and breeds the sort of supportive environment that’s necessary for conflict resolution.
  4. Encourage honesty and transparency in communication. You can’t bite your partner’s head off for voicing their opinion and then expect them to continue to be honest with you about their feelings. Both verbally and behaviorally, encourage them to be honest and transparent with you. You do this by making them feel safe, with your words and actions. By letting them know, I will love you anyway.
  5. Get all of the facts. Nothing can be more damaging than jumping to conclusions without first getting all of the facts. Don’t waste your time or energy attacking the wrong problem. And before you go searching for a solution, make sure a problem actually exists. Check and double-check your facts.
  6. List all of the options. Approach your relationship problem just as you would one at work – objectively. Make a list of what your options are. This helps to keep emotions in check, personal bias out of the equation, and keeps your focus centered on the solution. While it might feel a bit silly, it’s never harmful to form a list of your options. It helps to clarify that the two of you are on the same page and demonstrates your commitment to finding a solution.
  7. Choose the best solution together. As you begin to decide on a solution, remember that you’re a team. Tackle this problem together; the two of you vs. it. Prioritize your relationship over being right and strategically choose a solution that benefits you both.
  8. Look for the positives. It can be easy in an argument to start focusing on the negative. Choose instead to look for positives. What can you learn from this situation? How can you grow from this conflict? In every challenge, there’s an opportunity. Find it.
  9. Let the other person save face. Even if you are right and your partner is dead wrong, you only destroy ego by causing another to lose face. You have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. After all, what matters most is not what you think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Always preserve the dignity of others. In an argument, always let the other person save face.
  10. Never withhold love. No matter how bad things get, never withhold love from your partner. Of course, you can tell them how you feel and express yourself, but make sure your love underlies it all. Love is the single most powerful change agent on the planet. So if you want to make some changes in your relationship, you’d be wise to never withhold it.

Arguments

In an argument, have patience.

Imagine if someone were to come at you with their fists doubled, surely you would double your own just as fast.

But now, imagine someone comes to you asking to sit together, hoping to understand your point of view and exactly why yours differ. In this instance, you may find that you are not so far apart after all…that the points on which you differ are few and the points on which you agree are many.

In arguments, if only we can possess patience, and a desire to get together, we will get together.

An Old Proverb

By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.

Why It Hurts to See You Fight (A Poem on Divorce)

Why It Hurts to See You Fight (A Poem on Divorce. From the child within me.)

It hurts me to see you fight.
I wish there was something I could do.
Anything to stop the war
Silently waging between you two.

The silence is what hurts the most.
You pretend everything’s fine.
Telling me it’s just an argument,
When it happens every time.

But I can see the bitterness
behind the words you say.
Using your tongues as weapons,
Piercing all that’s in your way.

So every time I watch you fight
I get hit with daggers too
They soar to my left, wrong, and right
Because I’m standing between you

It’s a heavy weight to hold,
Your parents’ wounded love.
It feels my urgent duty
To protect what I’m a product of.

When you fight I choose no side
As I feel for both of you.
I don’t notice who is wrong or right,
I only look for truth.

And the truth is that you’re both amazing,
just the way you are
I’m overwhelmed with love each day,
I love your flaws and all.

I wish you could see eachother
The way that I see each of you.
Some days they seem forgotten-
The countless attractions of you two.

Maybe if we focused hard
On all the good in us,
We’d forgive all of the little faults
And see things like Jesus does.

Where is God in Suffering?

A year ago, my world fell apart as the ground on which I stood was snatched from beneath me. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the ground taken from underneath you, but I pray that you do.
When you lose the ground you stand upon, you find the Rock that you can rest upon. The only true solid ground that exists. And you experience His grace in ways you never thought imaginable.
 It takes a while to see it from this perspective, and you may never totally understand His ways but I can assure you, you’re suffering is not in vain. God’s calling you to know Him more, while a million other things are trying to distract you. But if the goal is to know Him, to really experience Him, then whatever it takes to get your full attention  is worth it. Even if it’s painful, and my God is it painful…