Marriage is a blessing!
Take a minute and think about when you first met your significant other. You got butterflies thinking about them, you could not wait until you saw them again, you spent hours talking on the phone, you wanted to learn everything about them, their likes, dislikes, favorite food, favorite movie….we could not get enough, we were obsessed by this person!! This honeymoon phase is easy, it’s fun, we enjoy it so much that we think it can sustain us for the rest of our lives, we choose this person to make a commitment and spend the rest of our lives in love!
And then… one day, the things we thought were cute or funny, endearing even, are now annoying, all the habits and mannerisms that drew us to this person now get on our last nerve! We begin to question, “Is it supposed to be this hard?” “If I’m with the right person, should we struggle, every day?” Some days it seems like everything that drew us to this person now annoys us. Too often, people walk away from marriage at this stage. Our nation is all about easy, quick, fast fixes. Marriage is not easy, but it can be fulfilling, you can grow as an individual, as a couple, as a family. If you stay the course, seek help when needed, surround yourself with other couples who have similar values and marriage goals as you and your spouse you can succeed! Your marriage can thrive. In this phase of love, when the butterflies and easy conversation fade, you must be intentional and faithful. Some steps you can take to grow your marriage are communicate, communicate, communicate!
Keep God in the center of your marriage. Pray together, ask God to guide your marriage, yourself, and your spouse in the direction to prosper your marriage and keep your focus on one another. God gives us the gift of marriage and it is our job to nurture it. If we hold each other accountable, pray together, and are intentional about keeping our vows and communicating our needs to God, as well as each other, we can better understand our partners needs. A couple’s devotional is a great way to keep your focus on God leading your marriage. The Bible has plenty to say about marriage, it gives us examples of good relationships and what NOT to do in marriage. Take time to look at scripture about marriage and love, and then talk about what is missing in your marriage.
Almost all couples who are struggling in marriage report they do not communicate in their daily lives. They are so busy with work, small kids, big kids, sports, dance recitals, plays, drama, church, community, household chores, you name it, life gets in the way of our marriage. We hardly see our spouse let alone speak to them. Again, being intentional about taking time to talk about busy schedules, who is going where, talking and discussing family needs and who will cover what event, helps alleviate the stress and busyness. It keeps us connected and working together!
We also need to be heard; part of communication is actively listening to our spouse. So many couples report “I don’t feel heard, so I just stop asking” “We fight about the same things over and over” communication stops and resentment builds. Taking time to listen to our spouse’s needs and taking action to meet those needs is a must in your marriage. Being intentional about communicating, I feel, I need… followed by action keeps your marriage moving forward. Learning conflict resolution skills can help you be a better listener, process your emotions, and come to an agreement or a compromise. It takes practice, your therapist can help you with this skill.
NEVER stop dating your spouse! Date night is a crucial time to laugh, have fun, ask silly questions, be in the moment and make each other feel cherished and loved. Put your phone down, leave your worries for another day, direct all your attention to your spouse and have light fun conversation, reconnect and focus on the love that brought you together.
Communication is the lifeline to all relationships! It nurtures and grows relationships with friends, parents, businesses, and most importantly our spouse. It is the single most important thing we can do, communicate with God, communicate with our spouse, communicate with our family, our business partners, the list goes on… At New Vision we value our own marriages and we are committed to helping you navigate your marriage. I love all things about marriage counseling, pre-marital, couples looking for a little extra help, couples in crisis. We can give you tools and strategies to grow a struggling marriage to a thriving marriage. We trust God to bring you back to one another and teach you how to communicate in a safe, non-threatening environment. The bible has much to offer about marriage, that is our foundation along with therapeutic strategies to foster change and bring long lasting love. We should never question God’s intention for our marriage, he doesn’t want us to take the easy way out. God wants us to stand on the vows we made to him, to each other, and our families. Prepare to fight for your love, enjoy the peaks and talk through the valleys, your marriage is worth it!
It all starts and ends with solid communication!!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7
Peace. We all say we want it, but it seems like so few have it. Maybe you’ve recently heard somebody say, “Please pray for peace,” or, “I just want peace in this situation.” You may have recently nicely (of course) requested from your kids, “Could you just give me some peace?” We all long for peace.
At church we’ve hear or pastor talk about peace. I started this blog with a passage from Philippians that speaks about a “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.” Sign me up for that! What a beautiful thing it must be to have this kind of peace. Have you found it yet?
A lot of us ask the question, “How in the world can we find peace at a time like this?” All the political battles, the mass shootings, illegal drugs being legalized, suicide rates on the rise, and so many other things—peace, sounds nice, but not going to happen, right?
And yet, Paul says in Philippians we can have peace through God, despite everything that is going on around us. Thanks, Paul, but aren’t you asking a little much here? It can feel like that, but I believe Paul is asking us all to find peace amidst the chaos of life, and it all has to do with our approach to life.
I believe Paul is showing us how to have peace in a chaotic world, and below are three steps for finding more peace in life.
First, understand peace is not a destination, it’s a state of mind.
It’s important to remember the context in which the Bible was written. Christians were not liked, and, in fact, often persecuted in brutal ways. If it wasn’t happening to you, you more than likely knew someone that experienced it. This was not a peaceful time for Christians where their biggest concern was what to have for dinner. They were facing major difficulties.
All of this to say that peace was not something they were going to find in their outside world. Paul is teaching Christians that it is not their external conditions that need to change, but their internal condition. The solution from Paul was to develop a peaceful state of mind amidst all the chaos and fear. Focus on God more than you focus on your troubles and you will feel more peace.
Second, commit to the practices that lead to peace.
We must practice peaceful habit to feel peace more of the time. Paul, in this passage, gives steps on what to do in order to feel more peace: prayer, supplication, making your requests know to God. And further, in Philippians 4:8-9 Paul writes, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” In essence, Paul tells us that when we change our thoughts and our focus, we get more peace.
This is not positive thinking or pretending things are good when they aren’t. That would be foolish. What Paul wants you to do is deliberately choose what you think about and focus on. When you take control of your thoughts, you can feel more peace.
Also, committing to the practice does not mean you give it a couple of days, and then when you don’t have a “peace that transcends all understanding,” you just give up. It takes days and days of practice to change the way you think, but as Paul shows, it’s worth it.
Third, continue to give up control to God.
The final step is to live in the peaceful state as much as possible. This calls for a state of trust in God, especially when our expectations of how the world or my partner or my kids should act are not met.This level of trust in God asks us to continually admit and accept that God is in control and we are not. The way to peace is not to take all control and make everything happen the way we want—that leads to destruction and stress and death. The way to peace is trusting in God’s faithfulness and practicing faith and trust in him. It’s not easy, and it’s not a quick fix—two things we love in our American culture—but it is the way to peace. I’ll sum it up with the words of Paul in Philippians 4:12-13:
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Is Christian counseling in Edmond or Oklahoma City your next step to breaking free of fears and finding peace? If so, you can reach us at (405) 921-7776.
By Ben Thompson, LMFT
Marriage brings about many changes and challenges. One such challenge is building a loving and cooperative relationship with your in-laws. Here are three tips to keep the peace and steer clear of relationship pitfalls with In-Laws.
Establish clear boundaries right away.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6 (NIV).
Your home is intended to be one of the pleasant places to establish and develop a family. The home is the space that should feel pleasant, safe, and beautiful. When couples marry, they must determine what their pleasant place looks and feels like. Although healthy relationships with family can be the most challenging to establish and form, healthy boundaries must be established to prevent any disruption to this sanctuary. Couples should discuss boundaries for in-laws before marriage and then communicate these boundaries with the in-laws to minimize conflict. Consider this scripture, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24-25 (NIV). As a married couple you and your spouse will establish values and traditions for your growing family apart from those of your parents and family including childrearing practices. Your in-laws may not agree but you must both present a united front to your families.
Build a Healthy Relationship with Your In-Laws
“Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3
This scripture extends to your in-laws as well. Treat in-laws like you would any other member of your family as they are your family. Love your in-laws and tell them you do. Build a healthy relationship with your in-laws but do not expect to be close right away. Give your relationship the time it needs to grow. Discover ways to connect through shared hobbies or interests as it demonstrates that you are making an effort to know and understand them. Listen to their stories even if you have heard them several times. They can provide a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about life in general or about your partner, which may help you learn more about them. Also, it might make them feel good be listened to as well.
Keep quarrels to yourself
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” II Timothy 2:23-24 (NIV)
Do not complain about your spouse to your parents or in-laws. Hearing complaints will likely cause them to become defensive. In-laws will always take the side of their child, sibling, or family member. Discussing problems or issues in the marriage may make the situation worse. Work out your issues privately with your spouse. Do not attempt to get your spouse’s family involved or make them choose sides.
In a Conflict Between Your Spouse and Your Family, Support Your Spouse.
Your loyalty is to your spouse. It is your duty to support your husband or wife and manage your family in a way that consistently conveys this fact. Again, you must both present a united front to your families, making it clear from the beginning that your spouse comes first. Marital problems typically occur quickly in couples where an allegiance has not been established. A failure to support your partner may lead to bitter disputes and one partner feeling isolated. You and your spouse must agree on how to handle issues as in-laws are an inherent part of your life. A mutual understanding will help nurture healthy relationships with your in-laws.
Be as patient with in-laws as they learn to let go. Don’t complain to others or speak unfavorably of your in-laws. Do not compare your in-laws to your parents or family. Be willing to compromise. Your family may have different values that you feel need defending when you’re with your in-laws but do not take the bait! Offense is one of the most common causes of relationship pitfalls with in-laws. Let go of the need to prove anything. Again, give your relationship with your in-laws time to grow.
On November 12th, Disney debuted its much-anticipated streaming service Disney+.
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it seems as though there is never enough time to accomplish all the things that need to be done. Trying to balance my time and energy with my wife, kids, friends, family, and work seems almost impossible most of the time. I’m one of those whose excitement to share a piece of my childhood with my children has now turned into a way for my family to draw closer to one another. The thought of having an opportunity created to spend quality time with my wife and kids was intriguing to me.
As a Marital & Family Therapist, I’ve helped couples with practical ways to solve problems of disconnect within their family. One of the most common complaints I hear is “We never spend time together”. Often the families and I will search for something they all enjoy doing together (often some past memory holds the key). So, it comes as no surprise that I would turn what we as a family thought would be family time into an opportunity to dig deeper and strengthen our family.
I remember as a child the excitement I felt for Sunday evenings when “The Wonderful World of Disney” would bring our family in front of the television to spend time together. Looking back, as a parent now, I can only imagine the relief my parents must have felt that there was an opportunity for the family to watch something and not have to worry too much about the content of the programming.
This week at home I was able to recreate some of the nostalgia that my childhood had with my wife and kids. We decided to allow one of the children to select any cartoon they wanted from the available movies on Disney+. We then took this as an opportunity to learn more about each other by asking each other questions regarding the movie chosen.
What an amazing opportunity this afforded our family to start a conversation with our kids about who they are and who they want to become as they grow up. Imagine learning that your kid selected a movie because it reminds them of you. Or how about finding out that one of your children selected a movie because they have a desire to be a problem solver like so-and-so in the movie. How cool would it be for your children to ask you the same questions and learn more about who you are?
Often as a parent, I struggle with balancing compassion and connection, with discipline and correction. So many times, as I try to go to sleep, I find myself wishing, hoping, praying that my children see me more like the compassionate connecting parent than the one only concerned with correction and discipline. I also find it more difficult at times to show my wife and kids that they are more important than all the other distractions in our lives. By using our movie time, I can discuss a movie we have watched as a family and use the movie to show ways in which the movie relates to our family.
I have listed some ideas; of the types of questions, you can ask to enjoy quality time with your family.
Questions to ask:
Is there any significance for you in the movie you selected?
With all the different types of movies available, how did you choose this movie?
Do you feel the movie has a lesson to be learned? If so, what would that lesson be?
If you could be one character from the movie who would you be and why?
If you were the one telling the story is there anything you would want to change and why?
What questions can you come up with that might help you connect with your family? Go ahead comment below and let’s see how many ideas we can come up with to help one another out and begin a new routine of family connection.
If you’re struggling to connect as a family, visit our website at www.newvisioncounseling.live and let us help you discover what better looks like for you and equip you with the tools to create it.
-Daniel Edwards is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at New Vision Counseling and Consulting.
The holidays are right around the corner, and usually that’s a time of joy, expectation, and
anticipation of spending time with our family and our friends. But for some, the thought of
celebrating anything this year brings great pain. Maybe you’re one of those people. Maybe life
has changed for you in ways that you never wanted, or never expected. Maybe you’re grieving,
and are dreading the coming months. Maybe you just wish that we could jump past
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day, or that people would just leave you
alone during the holidays this year. Maybe you’re reading this because it’s just what you need.
It has been said that grief is the price of love. The hard truth is that none of us get to go through
life without being touched by grief. In the Bible, Isaiah describes the Messiah as “a man of
sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3). While that may feel helpful when we’re doing
well, it often doesn’t feel very helpful when we’re in the grip of grief. Nothing seems to help.
We typically think of grief as what happens when a loved one dies. That is absolutely true, but
we can also experience grief from other sources, too. Other things that can cause grief are a
divorce, the loss of a relationship, the loss of a job, a difficult health diagnosis, or the loss of a
beloved pet. It can even be an outwardly positive event that can cause a more hidden grief, like
a move, retirement, or becoming an empty nester. Whatever it is that is causing your grief,
know that your feelings are real and they are valid.
We often want a road map to help us understand what to expect, and what we go through while
grieving. It’s important to know that grief is not a neat and tidy experience. There is no time
table, and you may bounce around through different stages on your way through the
experience. Also, contrary to what we may wish, grieving never ends—it just becomes
something that we eventually get used to and live with. We never stop missing those whom we
The Stages of Grief
So what does grieving look like? The most well-known model developed by Dr. Elizabeth
Kubler-Ross describes 5 stages of grief, and includes the following:
● Denial—This is when we are trying to process the loss. We often suppress our feelings, and
are just trying to make sense of what has happened. ex. “This can’t be real. I’ll wake up and
it will be a bad dream.”
● Anger—This is an emotion that hides more difficult emotions to deal with, like pain or
sadness, and is often aimed at an inappropriate source. We may find ourselves exceedingly
angry at the person who died or left, at God, or even at inanimate objects. ex. “How could
God let this happen? It’s not fair!”
● Bargaining—During this stage, we try to regain some sense of control in our life. Even
though it may be irrational, we think of a lot of “what if” or “if only” scenarios. Sometimes we
even try to “make a deal with God.” ex. “God, if you will fix this, I will open an orphanage in
China,” or “If I had/hadn’t done _____, then it wouldn’t have happened.”
● Depression—In the earlier stages of grief, we may find that we are running from our
emotions. In depression, we may become overwhelmed by our emotions. We may isolate
ourselves, have trouble thinking clearly, eat or sleep too much, and cry until we feel like we
have no tears left. ex. “I don’t know how to go on from here.”
● Acceptance—This doesn’t mean that you are happy, or that you’re “okay” now. A better way
to describe it might be to say that you have come to grips with the loss, and have more good
days than bad ones. Although you still miss the way that life was before, you see a way
So what do we do when the holidays come, and we’re grieving? Remember that all of the firsts
will be the hardest: the first Thanksgiving without Grandma’s special dish, the first Christmas
without their special touches, the first birthday or anniversary spent alone. Acknowledge that it’s
hard, and even if it doesn’t feel like it today, know that it will be better in time.
First, be honest about what you’re feeling. You may feel it’s important to pretend to be okay or
happy for others that you care about, but that only makes the pain and loneliness feel more
pronounced. Acknowledge it, and allow yourself to feel the grief. Grief is experiencing our
internal feelings. Mourning is the external expression of that grief.
When we’re grieving the loss of a loved one, some ways that you can externalize your grief are:
● Donate money or time to something that your loved one cared about.
● Say a prayer for your loved one before a holiday meal.
● Share a funny or poignant story about your loved one.
● Plant a tree or flower in honor of your loved one.
● Write your loved one a letter.
● Do something kind for someone else without taking credit for it.
Be kind to yourself. No one else knows what is best for you, even if they think they do. You
have to do what feels right for you this year. If you want to go to the family event, then go, but
give yourself permission to leave early, if you need to. If you want to stay home or go to a
movie, do that instead. It’s okay to take a year off, if that’s what you need. Next year will be
different, and you will be more ready to find a new way to address the holiday season.
Through your grief, remember that God is there with you, even if you don’t feel Him. If you need
to talk to someone who won’t judge you, the counselors at New Vision Counseling would be
honored to walk through this grief with you. Please give us a call today at (405) 921-7776.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are
with me.” Psalm 23:4
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may
not grieve as others who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good and not for evil, to give
you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
*Kathy Gissler is a therapist at New Vision Counseling & Consulting. A place where we help
you discover what better looks like for you and equip you with the tools to create it.
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6 (NIV)
Nearly half of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Some couples often decide to live separately as an initial step towards divorce. Separation has become all too common in American society. This approach seems counterintuitive as the majority of separations typically lead to divorce, which leaves a small percentage of marriages that survive after separation. How do these relationships survive and others do not? Is it possible to save a marriage after a separation? Have you heard of the saying “Time heals all wounds?” I would like to add to that. I believe that healing is predicated on what happens within that time spent apart. I believe that time can heal wounds, if you nurse those wounds. Left alone the situation could worsen. Couples often separate to give each other a “time out” to reflect on their marriage. What you do with this time is vital to the future of your relationship. I strongly recommend that you do not stop working on your marriage just because you have decided to no longer live together. Staying connected with your spouse and working towards common goals will strengthen your bond, which decreases the likelihood of additional marital strain attributable to drifting apart. Experts have coined this approach as therapeutic separation, enhancement separation, controlled separation, and healing separation, just to name a few. The point is whatever the method you decide, be intentional regarding your approach to separation. If you are currently separated, I recommend creating a plan of reconciliation to help you navigate your way through this time apart. You may appeal the help of clergy or a Christian counselor to help with this process. Couples who adopt this approach need to be dedicated to doing the hard work necessary to sound results.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Mutual repentance and forgiveness can be the first step to the healing process. Process what went wrong as it is important to address the problems that led to the separation. No one is perfect. We are to forgive one another as God has forgiven us. Remember, forgiveness is a process. I encourage you to create a space where your spouse feels safe to share and open up without fear of judgment and criticism. The first step to forgiveness is addressing the offense. The Bait of Satan by John Bevere defines offense as one of the most deceptive snares Satan uses to get believers out of the will of God. Pray fervently for your spouse. If they are wrestling with sin, pray for them. Consider this scripture, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1 (NIV)
Effective communication is essential. Prepare to communicate in calm and nonjudgmental manner. Avoid communication traps such as blaming or stonewalling. Avoid “You” statements, which may cause defensiveness. Take ownership of the way you feel. Use “I” statements to minimize defensiveness. Using “I” statements helps you take responsibility for your feelings while tactfully presenting the problem. Use your words and actions to build up your spouse. The book, The Five Languages of Love, by Gary Chapman is a great resource for principles to understanding your spouse’s unique needs, which helps you express your love more effectively.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Be kind to one another. Make a commitment to change and personal growth by exploring your own unproductive and maladaptive behaviors. Practice new skills and ways of relating to each other. Learn practical skills such as problem-solving and conflict resolution that reduce stress in the relationship. Be patient during this process. Change does not occur overnight. Explore ways to practice humility and gentleness towards your spouse. Accept characteristics of your spouse that are unlikely to change that may cause some discomfort but is not damaging to the relationship. New habits take time and persistence.
As you move closer to reconciliation start dating again. Create a safe environment where intimacy can grow and the relationship thrives. Discuss needs and expectations. Keep the focus on rebuilding and strengthening your marriage. I am a firm believer in the sanctity of marriage. I’ll be the first to tell you that it is not easy. Marriage is a lot of work! The word of God is your number one resource for keeping your marriage together.
Is Christian counseling your next step in rekindling your marriage? If so, you can reach us at (405) 921-7776. Or, you can go to our website to explore videos and contact us at newvisioncounseling.live.
By: Donnulette Dulaney, LPC
Every family is different and unique, and we all have our own stories to tell. Some families have one parent, some have two. Some families have children, some are childless. Our family began with two biological children, grew by fostering children, and eventually expanded by adopting three of the children that came to live with us.
Becoming a foster family is not for the faint of heart, and definitely needs to be something you choose to go into with your eyes wide open. For families of faith, it also needs to be a directive from God for your entire family, because it will definitely challenge and change all of you. For our family, we wanted to share God’s love with children by providing a safe and loving home when they couldn’t be with their family of origin.
After following God’s prompting, the first thing that you will want to do is to make sure your whole family is on board with this decision, starting with you and your spouse. Are you both really in agreement, or is one agreeing to it to please the other one? My husband and I prayed about becoming a foster family and discussed it before we ever got married. We agreed that if we wanted more than two kids, or if we were unable to have biological kids, we would foster and/or adopt. After our first two children were born, we wanted to explore becoming a foster family. We talked about it with our kids, then age 9 and 6, and they said they were looking forward to it. I think we all had kind of romanticized ideas of what being a foster family would be like. My biological children thought it would be like having a constant sleep-over with friends. My husband and I thought that it would be hard for a bit, then the child(ren) would adapt to our loving family, and would become a seamless part of it.
The reality was far different from our imagination. We learned that the kids all had a past that didn’t include our values, or our happy memories. Many of the lessons they learned in their life before us were so contrary to anything that we ever experienced. One child thought that it was normal to take whatever you wanted from stores, and put it in their pockets, because that’s what their grandpa taught them. Other children flinched from any touch, even kind and loving touches, because they were so badly abused by the adults in their past. Many of the children lied better than other people could tell the truth, causing a lot of problems in otherwise healthy relationships. These were the easier problems that we had to face. Many families have much more difficult situations with their foster children. This is why is must be a family decision, and must also be a God-prompted decision. When you consistently bathe the decision, your family, and your foster children in prayer, it helps to keep your focus on the ministry of being a foster family, and off of the immediate struggle.
Let me back up a bit. One of the most important things I learned in our foster parent training was to use the word “no” with purpose and with enthusiasm. As a foster family, you get to choose the number of kids you will add to your home, the ages you will accept, and the types of problems you are willing and able to handle. For example, we chose to only take in children that were younger than our biological children. This kept the “pecking order” intact, and proved to be a good choice for us. We also chose not to accept children who acted out sexually, were fire starters, or had physical disabilities that would not allow them to walk upstairs to the bedrooms. Our trainer told us that we should not accept children that were outside of our parameters, as the case workers from the agencies would regularly try to push those boundaries. She said that telling them “no” was not only okay, but it was wise and healthy for everyone. She reminded us that even when we declined a placement, another one that was a better fit would come along sooner than we may expect. It turns out that this was some of the best advice we ever got.
Another thing that we learned was to ask for help when we needed it. Sometimes it came in the form of a listening ear from a caseworker, or counseling for our whole family. Sometimes it was hiring a babysitter so we could go out for a date night. Sometimes it was even asking for respite care during a difficult time so that we could re-group and figure out a better way to deal with whatever the situation was that caused the distress in the first place. Joining a foster parent support group is always a huge help. Getting ideas from others who may have experienced something similar is so beneficial. It really helps having someone to talk to who knows firsthand the pain of loving a child for a time, and being willing to bear the heartache of letting them go when their family is doing better.
One thing that was kind of hard to deal with was the comments from other people about being a foster family. People often make weird comments that are a compliment, but can feel like a backhanded criticism. They say things like, “Oh, you’re such a saint for doing foster care. I could never do it because I love kids so much, and I would never want to let them go.” Umm, so you don’t think I love them as much as you would? Or you think it’s easy to let them go? Then there’s the guilt of knowing that you just yelled at your kids, and this person thinks you’re a saint for doing foster care. It’s hard to say an honest “thank you” when you’re feeling such a jumble of feelings.
The leaving part is almost always hard for the foster family left behind when a child is reunited with their family or moves on to an adoptive placement. You miss the child, and usually never find out how their life turned out. All we can do in those circumstances is to pray for them and trust God for their future. This is also a good time for you, as the foster parent, to seek good counseling to process the feelings of loss, relief, guilt, or whatever it is that you are feeling.
Know that if God has called you to open your home and your heart to love and care for a foster child, that He is the One who will give you the wisdom and strength to do it. And when you have those shining moments when you see your foster child grow or learn to accept love in a healthy way, you have been a part of something holy.
If becoming a foster parent is something that you find interest in and would like some guidance navigating the ropes please consider contacting New Vision Counseling and making an appointment today! You can contact us by calling (405)-921-7776.
By Kathy Gissler, LPC
When we have a goal or desired outcome that we would like to attain, we usually want to skip the process required and go directly to the reward. In our instant gratification society, we cultivate the idea of this misguided method. Yet, in order to enjoy the harvest, there are typically necessary steps to be taken before we can reap the benefits.
There is quite a bit of symbolism attached to the word harvest, which often represents abundance and bounty. Often when we think of the word harvest, our mind conjures images of the reward of farming. We imagine all the fruit of their labor, without giving much thought as to what action it took to get there. If a farmer decides to take short cuts or skip necessary steps, he may find that in the end there is a harvest/crop failure, which means that his crop yield is either absent or significantly less than his expectations. Although the metaphor of farming is being used here, this can apply to any area of our life including financial, professional, relational, spiritual, etc. I’m going to share you with you the essential steps for creating a bountiful harvest.
Groundwork comes first. Scripture has a lot to say about the importance of the condition of the soil in the ability to produce a harvest. The parable of the sower shows us many examples of the outcomes of different types of soil. We can see the result of a shallow, hard, or anxious heart. Where our heart is when we begin things can dictate how things turn out. Understanding what our motives are behind why we’re choosing to pursue what we’re chasing after can help us decide if it is safe to move forward. Is our motive being prompted by the Spirit or by the flesh? If we are doing something just because someone else desires it and we want to gain their approval, or because we are resentful and have a bitter heart, our objective might not turn out the way we hoped. Spending time in prayer to determine what direction God wants you to go before you begin a journey is important. The groundwork towards our goal might require some actual work. Plowing soil is not easy, and the work God calls you to do in preparation may not be easy either.
Sowing is the next step after laying the right groundwork. Sowing requires action. First, we cannot expect that we will receive anything if we are lazy. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about lazy people. It tells us that their “hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth” (10:4). We are called to be diligent in whatever God has called us to do, which requires work and effort. Second, what we sow is important. Most of us have heard the popular saying “You reap what you sow,” which is also in scripture. Galatians 6 explains the importance of what we sow, whether it’s from the flesh or from the Spirit. Depending on what you’re working toward, sowing might include sharing the gospel through words or actions, going back to school, creating a budget or savings account, or setting goals and taking the steps necessary towards achieving them. When you start being intentional in moving towards whatever God is calling you to, you are sowing seeds.
There is still action that needs to be taken once seeds have been sown. Tending can include a number of different activities, but two key elements to note are patience and faith. These two are essential for a bountiful harvest. Having the faith to take the steps necessary when we don’t understand God’s plan is essential. Often God calls to do things that don’t make sense to us. It can be hard to follow through when we don’t understand or see the importance. However, obedience is important (Psalms 128:1). Patience is also crucial in this process. God’s timing is not our timing, and sometimes it seems as if God is running behind. However, it is imperative that we be patient and wait. If a farmer proceeds to gather too early, he may damage his crop. Likewise, if we start making moves before God consents, we may place ourselves outside of what He has in the making and lose out on the harvest that He has planned for us. Tending well requires being content with where we are in the journey right now.
The process required to produce an abundant harvest is important. However, there are times that we do the groundwork, the sowing, and the tending exactly as we believe God has asked us and the harvest isn’t plentiful. As a matter of fact, it may appear to be a complete failure with no harvest at all. If you find yourself in this place, take heart friend. It is not over, and God is there with you. If you find yourself in this difficult season, or perhaps you are already there, it is important for you to find good counsel through your church or a trusted friend. Perhaps you may need some additional help with what you are experiencing, a counselor can help you navigate through this difficult time. Remember, “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5).
By: Misty Tafao, LADC
Learn more about marriage crisis therapy services in Oklahoma County.
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New Vision Counseling & Consulting Edmond
1073 N Bryant, Suite 150, Edmond, OK 73034
We wanted to highlight one of our new vision counselors at Edmond vision counseling. His name is Shawn McGuire. Shawn and his wife Tanda are the founders of new vision counseling. They are also the reason why we are expanding into Edmond Christian counseling. We want to offer you the experience to experience Oklahoma’s highest and most reviewed Christian counseling practice.
Let me tell you a little bit about Sean. He has been a licensed counselor for over 25 years. That means for over 25 years he has been helping people navigate some of the most treacherous and painful seasons of their life. He has seen couples who were on their way to divorce and by the time he was done counseling them they were renewing their valves. He has helped both men and women through overwhelming anxiety. He has helped people bring peace and joy back to their life. He has done premarital counseling for couples who are now have been married for over 20 years. So your question might be can John help you? The answer is yes. One thing that he loves working on people with it is their self-esteem. He helps people get to know the real them and become the best version of themselves. Sean gets to know that you need to you. His therapy and the therapy of his counselors are not a one size fits all kind of thing. Sean and a great prayer into his therapy because he knows that we must rely on the Holy Spirit to bring us further understanding. This allows him to have unique counseling that I’ve sent a part in Edmond Christian counseling. From your very first session with Sean he will be placed in a position to work through the issues that you are facing. This is a place where God uses Sean to help change your life and your relationships. You also have to put in some work. But if you are motivated and ready for something different and something better Shaun is the therapist for you.
Sean has been a licensed professional counselor and has served the Metro area for over 25 years now. He received his bachelor’s degree in Florida from Flagler College. He then went on to receive two masters degrees from the University of oral Roberts in Tulsa Oklahoma. One of his masters degree was in family therapy and one was in Edmond Christian counseling. Sean’s must’ve specializes in areas such as marriage counseling parental support obsessive compulsive disorder anxiety disorders and many more. All of the techniques that Sean uses he filters them through a Christian worldview. Shawn also has experience counseling business leaders. He and I agree it’s life coaching and counseling to help these leaders climb to new heights. Sean is the most passionate about his clients. He loves equipping people with tools and resources to help build their dream life. Sean also is very passionate about his family. When he’s not in the office he loves spending time with them and doing various different outdoor activities.
Another one of our fantastic counselors at New Vision Counseling in Edmond Christian counseling is Caleb Mckean. Caleb is a licensed professional counselor and attended Denver seminary where he received a master of arts and clinical mental health. Caleb met his wife in his masters program and they have been married for over 10 years now. Caleb is passionate about helping people who are looking to have a better life and create a more meaningful relationships. Caleb is passionate about helping people find lasting change that transforms our life.
One awesome thing about Caleb is that he provides many different activities to help his clients get past what they are facing at Edmond Christian Counseling. By this I mean that he doesn’t just sit on the couch and listen to them pour out their stories. Caleb John sent to their stories with them and figures out new ways to keep developing and pushing them to become better. Earlier last week I heard very loud noises coming from Caleb’s office. These noises sound like somebody punching a wall or a punching bag. I also heard quiet excitement and some laughter. I was very confused by the sounds. Later on I realized that Kayla boy is having his clients pop balloons. Tess explained the lies. Once I realize that I thought it was really awesome that Caleb was doing different and new things with his clients. I just goes to show you that the therapist at new vision counseling are not the kind of therapist who are going to sit in a chair across from you on the couch and watch July fall apart. There is no way! They are ready to do whatever it takes to help you work through your situation and meet your goals. In the situations that guy also has to be willing to take the necessary steps to be calm her they want to become.
So why not take a leap of faith to join us in Edmond Christian counseling today? If you already call and book an appointment with us and would be happy to help you get set up with one of her therapists. Want to do this your life will change. So don’t wait for a sign. This is your sign. Don’t wait until your life is in shambles. However, if your life is in shambles we want to help you now. We will get you in as soon as we can and get you started on the path to a better life. Sean and Caleb are just two examples of our amazing therapist here At new vision counseling. If you want to get to know some of the rest of our team go to our website and click meet our team. We cannot wait to begin serving you at admin Christian counseling area and nutrition counseling.
Marriage is hard. When you get into marriage you realize that you don’t just have yourself to think about. Every decision you make affects the life of your spouse. You were also given the responsibility to meet the needs of your spouse. How do you know what are the needs of your spouse? This is a question that many people don’t even get to Best Marriage Therapist Oklahoma City. They get frustrated and get into arguments because their own needs are not met. However, it is our job to put the needs of our spouse before own. If we each do that as spouses then everyone will be taken care of. This is true sacrifice: to put someone else’s needs before your own and value their life above your own.
In the book his needs her needs the author, Dr. Harley, helps teach couples how to fall in love and stay in love. This book is called his needs her needs for reason. In this book he talks about how to make your marriage affair proof. He also discusses why your love bank never closes. Your love bank always requires more Best Marriage Therapist Oklahoma City. It is never filled. Each day we were choir and desire love and acceptance from others. This is especially true with their spouse. One thing that is important to do is to seek this ultimate love and acceptance from Jesus. However it is also human to need acceptance from other people. unconditional love and acceptance from a spouse is vital for a healthy marriage. We know that not everyone is perfect, but we can all give love and try not to expect anything in return.
Another point that he makes in his book is that a woman needs a man to have a conversation with her. This is how she views intimacy. On the other hand, a man of use intimacy through physical intimacy or as Dr. Harley calls it recreational companionship Best Marriage Therapist Oklahoma City. Because men and women have a different view of intimacy each one needs different ways of intimacy.
Another point that he makes in his book is that there needs to be trust between the husband and the wife. They need to trust each other completely and totally. The policy is honesty and openness. If you cannot be truthful with your spouse there is a problem. If you cannot trust your spouse to keep your secrets there is a problem. If you have to hide things from your spouse there is a problem. Again, I say the policy is honesty and open this.
Another point that Dr. Hailee makes is that for both men and women need an attractive spouse. We should strive to become the best version of ourselves for ourselves and for our spouse. This includes our physical attractiveness. Although physical attractiveness may not be a top priority on our list, it should be important. It is OK to want to be attractive to your spouse. If you do not see your spouse as attractive maybe you need to work on your own heart. Focus on the things that drew you to one another it is OK to want to be attractive to your spouse Best Marriage Therapist Oklahoma City. If you do not see your spouse as attractive maybe you need to work on your own heart. Focus on the things that drew you to one another Instead of focusing on all the mistakes. When you focus on the mistakes and their downfalls he will ultimately not see them as attractive. However when you focus on all the good this feeling of attraction will come.
The book his needs her needs also makes the point that she needs enough money to live comfortably and he needs peace and quiet. These are the different needs of the two spouses. This boil down to financial & domestic support. Each spouse needs the support of one another to meet the needs of the home. And also meet their own needs.
Another need that she needs is for the husband to be a good father. She needs her to be proud of him. These two principles basically boil down to family commitment and admiration. She needs him to be committed to the family and he needs her to show admiration for him. I have found this especially true in my own Best Marriage Therapist Oklahoma City. My admiration needs to come in the form of affirming words to my husband. This means I didn’t need inside of him and fills up his love tank because this is his love language.
Later on in the book Dr. Harley goes on to speak about how to repair a marriage after an affair and also how to grow your compatibility. These are not all the principles talked about in the book. At new vision counseling we recommend this book as one of our sources for marriage therapy. It is vital to understand the needs of your spouse to have a healthy marriage. If you do not desire to meet the needs of your spouse you may have to check your heart. Why did you fall in love with your spouse in the first place? You also may have to ask yourself the question why would they meet my needs if I’m not meeting their needs? If you take the initiative to meet their needs, they may in return meet your needs Best Marriage Therapist Oklahoma City. This takes getting past your pride and taking the first step. Somebody has to take the first step.
This is just one of the books that we teach out of new vision counseling. The main book that we rely on, of course, is the Bible, however we use the wisdom of others and the wisdom of professional therapeutic techniques to meet the needs of our clients. Each client brings a special circumstance and a unique perspective. We value each perspective and taking into account when providing therapy. We want to meet their needs and help them create a marriage that lasts a lifetime.
Five Signs that You May Need a “Forced Restart”
Summer Smith, LCSW
We all understand the term “Forced Restart”, because most of us have to engage this function on all of our precious electronics at least once a week! However, did you ever consider that you, yourself, might occasionally (or frequently) need this action as well? Let’s continue with the technology analogy and explore five reasons that your iPhone and your self might need an intentional reboot!
- You’ve got “too many apps running in the background”. How many things are you thinking about at this exact moment? How about now? What about when you lie down to try and sleep at night – how many thousands of “apps” are running in your background at that moment? If your brain tends to remain on overload, attempting to maintain and remember more than a dozen thoughts per minute, it’s time for a clean out! Remember this quote, which is a spinoff of something Einstein once said: “The pen is for remembering, the mind is for thinking.” Use Siri, or phone reminders, or your calendar or to-do lists to help you remember things Oklahoma City anxiety attack. Use your mind for thinking! Practice mindfulness! If you don’t know how to practice mindfulness, Google will help you!
- Your system is operating slowly. This is the absolute worst! I’m in a hurry to finalize that Amazon purchase in time to qualify for Prime, and my system is moving in slow motion behind that little circle of death! Ahh! Guess what? Our human operating system can do the same thing. If you’re sluggish, exhausted, or completely worn out, chances are your mind, body and spirit are moving slowly! (Your battery is trying to run on 2%.) When this happens, it’s time to rest! Relax! Recharge! Do nothing! Go on vacation! Any of those actions can serve as a forced restart for your slow system.
- Your system is frozen or stopped responding. I was kidding about number two. Number three is the absolute worst! But how can a human be frozen or stop responding? Perhaps your frozen in the wrong job, the wrong relationship, the wrong behavior! Maybe you are putting off a big decision that needs to be made or a change you’ve been avoiding for months. (I wonder how long it’s been since you went to a medical check-up or dentist appointment?) If this is your system malfunction, then deciding to decide is your function for recovery! Take the leap of faith, regardless of how scary it may feel, because remaining frozen is even scarier than that Oklahoma City anxiety attack!
- Your system is disconnected from other sources. It’s beyond frustrating when you’ve worked so hard to put the finishing touches on your writing assignment and now your printer has magically become disconnected from your computer. They aren’t communicating at all anymore! Well guess what? If this is happening with your relationships, I can assure you that your heart is frustrated as well. Our connection with other humans is our lifeline! It’s our soul food! Consider if you’re disconnected from anyone who is important to you, and if you are, then reach out today! Schedule a coffee date or a lunch! And if it’s God or your spiritual relationships that you’ve lost track of, then start praying or reading immediately!
- Finally we’ve reached the point of “system overload”. That’s when you’ve reached your breaking point. You might be crying frequently, or having Oklahoma City anxiety attack, panic attacks, or feeling depressed or irritable or detached from yourself. You’ve been going hard for months with minimal self-care and it finally caught up to you. If this is happening in your life, admit that it’s time to pause and restart the system. Tell someone you love or call a therapist. Say no to a few things! Reorganize your priorities and intentionally participate in them, while distancing yourself from (or removing) all the other stuff. You cannot (and should not) do it all! If your system is overloaded – Take a breath and start fresh!No matter what is happening within your system, the most important thing you can do for yourself is NOTICE it! Pay attention to what your mind, body and spirit are telling you. Stop and scan your body for signs of stress, anxiety, fear, pain or overload Oklahoma City anxiety attack. Use this technology analogy to consider what might be going on, and then make that decision for a “Forced Restart”. There is no time like the present to reengage with that healthy version of yourself. As a wise woman once told me, “You can take time now, or time will take you later if you have a oklahoma city anxiety attack!”
My wife and I recently spoke about the difficulties of pervasive thoughts. Currently she is pregnant and many thoughts of anxiety in nature have caused her to doubt what she knows to be true. However, there are times when we have received a negative report that seems to validate the fear that allows anxiety to come in. If you are anything like me, you are longing to have freedom from pervasive thoughts and best way to stop a divorce Oklahoma City. I have worked hard predominately with negative thoughts of rage in my past. I have found ways to break the patterns that leave me feeling hopeless and helpless. Personally, this has only been possible with the Spirit of God that has pushed out all fear. This is hard work and anyone that tells you it is so easy just not to think about negative pervasive thoughts has either encountered a gracious miracle or is not being honest with you. Paul constantly notes the importance of guarding our thoughts. Jesus tells us not to worry.
Here are some ways that my wife and I help each other get out from the pervasive thoughts. We first ask if it is a valid thought. Something can seem so real in our thoughts, but when we speak the fear out loud it can seem really different best way to stop a divorce Oklahoma City. (I use fear concerning pervasive thoughts because most pervasive thoughts are rooted in negative emotions. Neuroscience identifies two basic emotions as fear and love; fear-based emotions show up as toxic, negative thoughts in our nervous systems.) We try to speak out the negative thoughts to each other. It sounds something like this:
I keep having this thought “pop up” in my mind that something is going to go wrong when we drive to the store.
As we have, and continue to work as a team, we know that the statement is said to help the other out. Just speaking the thought out loud can take the power away from a pervasive thought. However, there are times that thoughts can be validated by the world around us the best way to stop a divorce Oklahoma City. Being firmly rooted in the Word of God has been essential for our marriage and family. There have been times that I have thought of horrific thoughts and it flashed into my mind in a split second. The more I think about the thought the more I experience the fear-based emotions. I may even see a story pop up on a banner and it validates what I thought.
So it must be true if I had a thought about something negative and then I see it, hear it somewhere else, right?
Absolutely not! These pervasive thoughts that “pop” into are mind are not necessarily our own thoughts. These can be the best way to stop a divorce Oklahoma City considered intrusive thoughts. Whether on a computer or in your mind, pop-ups are annoying and can lead to destruction. One of the greatest tools that has helped me overcome rage and anxiety is to realize that not all thoughts that run through my mind are my own. I utilize a Christian perspective that identifies a greater depth to life then the simple five senses. If a thought pops up into my mind that does not seem to be good, and seems to come out of nowhere, I tend to think this is not from God and this is not my heart towards others. My wife and I may actually say, “No, that is not my thought!” out loud and think of something that is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy (NIV Phil. 4:8). The verse goes on to say to think on such things.
If you know that there is a Thief that comes to steal kill and destroy (John 10:10), then find out how this Thief does his bidding best way to stop a divorce Oklahoma City. If Fear leaves you feeling less life, then you have had an encounter with the enemy at some level.
This leads to the next awareness. My wife and I experienced a lot of breakthrough in our thoughts, blocking these pervasive images and words coming against our mind, when we learned the power of an agreement. In the business world if someone make an agreement is generally binding by a contract. The contract allows one party access or connection to the other party’s resources or services. In a similar way this is also done at a spiritual level. In Genesis 1:26 and 27 God decides to make humanity in His own image and likeness. He created them male and female. Satan through the serpent challenges Eves identity in Genesis 3:5 telling to become like God she would need to take the fruit and to some extent that God was holding out on her and Adam. This was a direct assault on the truth of how God created Eve best way to stop a divorce Oklahoma City. When offers come into our minds we have the opportunity to agree with God or to agree with a lie. Oftentimes we agree with lies concerning our identity. A lie may come up as simple as, “That doesn’t look good,” as we stare into the mirror. Other offers to agreements outside of God’s truths for our lives may be bolder. These can often be identified with ultimatum words like always and never. The more that we pay attention to the internal dialog in our thoughts the more we can take every thought captive and submitting it to the truth of Christ.
As you take charge over pervasive thoughts you may find it easier to categorize the kinds of thoughts that you have experienced over a day or a week. My wife and I have found tremendous success in our own relationship by identifying these categories of valid thoughts, intrusive thoughts and agreements. When we identify these thoughts and speak them out loud as a petty attack against our thoughts, or agreements offered, we find more freedom from pervasive thoughts best way to stop a divorce Oklahoma City.
I hope this has given you a glimpse into the reality of our lives as counselors utilizing practical techniques to find victory and freedom within our minds. This is the best way to stop a divorce Oklahoma City.
For a therapist in Oklahoma City or Edmond Oklahoma, contact us today at 405-921-7779
By Katie MacDougall, LPC
We’ve all been there. It’s that argument again. You know the one: the one we’ve had one hundred different times. You could recite their points from memory and they can recite your points right back. The argument is never resolved, only closed until it rears its head for the next round marriage counselor edmond.
So how do we stop that argument?
Second Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” If the Spirit of the Lord is in your relationship, then freedom is possible from circular arguing.
But how do we experience freedom circular arguing?
First let’s start with figuring out what empathy is.
Brené Brown describes empathy as “communicating that incredibly healing message of, ‘You’re not alone.’”
Webster’s defines empathy as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”
In relation to circular arguing, let’s break down empathy and how it can bring freedom marriage counselor edmond.
If empathy is communicating “you’re not alone,” it would look like saying:
“I don’t like coming home to the house being a disaster either. The mess overwhelms me too.” Instead of our normal, defensive, “It’s not like I just sit on the couch all day waiting for you to come home!”
If empathy is understanding, it would look like:
“I know when I work late it feels like I don’t want to be here.” Instead of, “Someone has to bring home money, what do you want me to do about it?”
If empathy is trying to experience the feelings, thoughts, and marriage counselor edmond experiences of the other person even when we haven’t actually been in their shoes, arguing would look like this:
“I can’t imagine how hard it is to need physical touch and me not want it.” Instead of, “I’m just sick of you asking for sex. I’m not going to do something I don’t want to do!”
Second let’s figure out what empathy is not.
Empathy is not trying to fix the problem. Simply listening and trying to understand will likely de-escalate the problem, allowing brainstorming and problem solving to happen with more ease after the other person feels more understood.
Empathy is not advice-giving. Advice feels like a slap in the face when you’re not feeling loved. It may feel like you have the perfect advice for that moment or situation, but it will likely not be received well when the person feels unloved. Timing is important.
Empathy is not trying to make the person feel better about the issue. You are not responsible for the other person’s feelings. You are responsible for the way you communicate. When you work to make the other person feel better, you are stepping out of the realm of your responsibility. Instead, work to communicate in a way that feels loving and supportive marriage counselor edmond. That kind of communication will likely help the person feel better without you taking on responsibility that is not yours to take.
If we stop to empathize before getting our point across, our arguments really won’t be arguments anymore. Instead, they will be opportunities to listen, connect, and grow.
How can you empathize instead of argue today?