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You Can Do It!

It has been said,“The only perfect thing about marriage is the air brushed wedding photo.” Many couples believe they are going to have a great marriage, and why not! When we were dating everything seemed to go so well: no trust barriers, no communication problem, or lack of time together.  “But what when wrong?” you ask,  “What happened to that person I married?”

This is what happened…we both became selfish and started to blame the other person When we saw that we were not getting our needs fulfilled;  we decided to have it our way.  In other words, our true self appeared and our marriage was more work than fun!  Welcome to the world of marriage!  Isn’t it awesome!

Marriage is awesome as long our priorities are kept in order! During the first few months or year many couples will say that they are living on love. As time passes, spouses become busy prioritizing  other things over their marriage and  begin to neglect one another.   Yes, it takes time, work, and consideration for a marriage to be awesome but it is worth it!  Below you will find 3 ways to either jump start your marriage or keep it in great condition.  Have fun!

  1. Changing your attitude from negative to positive.

Listen to the news on TV.  Its content is mostly negative, with a few good stories scattered in the mist. It’s full of killing, stealing, cheating, and the lack of responsibility.  I have listened to many individuals explain as married individuals they just can’t seem to get along any longer. When they are both negative about life and each other, there is no room for the another person. It is easier to look at what is going wrong in your marriage and never see what is going right. Here is an activity that Deb and I have done and you will be  amazed how it can change your perspective on life.  You and your spouse block some time off where you can write down the different things that you are thankful for in your marriage. It could be your children,(name them)  your home (name the things in it), your job…you got the idea. Name each thing individually that you’re grateful for and say why. Your goal is to come up with 100 things. You can start with 25, however, I challenge you to do a hundred. See if your outlook on things changes!  It may take a day or two, so don’t expect immediate changes. Good luck!

  1. Strengthen you relationship by getting to know each other again.

Remember those times when you were dating! We couldn’t find enough time for each other. We would talk and listen to each other for hours about anything and everything. It seemed like the well of information would never run dry. Then we got married. We stopped talking and began giving advice. We didn’t listen anymore! Important things being creeping into our lives such as: work, children, me time, and everything else except our spouse. Soon we find that we are just roommates living in the same house. What happened! The well went dry!

What do I do now?   Get to know your spouse like you did before you got married. Things like: Who are the people in your spouse’s  life? What are the important events, in your spouse’s life? What are your spouse’s stress and worries?  John Gottman calls these questions the Love Maps. You can find these Love Maps and more at Gottman.com relationship blog.

    3. Spend quality time together as a couple.

On average, married couples with no children spend an average of one hour of quality time a week.  If a couple has children, the average quality time spent together drops to zero hours per week. People having an affair spend an average of 15 hours of quality time a week getting to know each other. When I say quality time I am talking about getting to  know each other. You can’t do this watching football or texting at dinner. We all know the old saying, “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” I like it put this way, “The grass is greener on the side we water.” Which side are you watering? Keeping your marriage alive and well takes work and a lot of water. Here are a few ideas which can help you stay in tune to your spouse. When you take a walk invite your spouse to come along and listen to what she/he has to say. Do not interrupt or talk for your spouse. Go on a date once a week and make sure you give your spouse your undivided attention. That means no social media. Listen to what your spouse is saying and acknowledge that you understand. “Your spouse needs a listening ear; not your advice on how to fix it.”   Let your spouse know that his/her feelings make sense to you. It has been said that God gave us two ears but only one mouth because He wants us to spend twice as much time listening as talking. Others claim it is because He knew listening was twice as hard as talking.  You married each other  because you love your spouse.  So listen, you may learn something.

Ron Smart

Christian Life Coach

It’s All About Me!!!

We have all heard the question in different forms. “What is the number one problem that married couples face?”  This answer varies among experts.  Many individuals say the answer depends on the situation that the couple is going though. Others say it is communication, trust, or time spent together.  While all of these issues are a part of our marriage difficulties, there is still a much deeper problem that lies beneath the surface. According to some experts, “Selfishness” is the greatest problem hindering marriages!

As I think about whether selfishness is the core of most marriage problems, I must agree that it ranks at the top.  Mankind has always had a huge problem with selfishness.  When we were very young our favorite words were “That is mine!” or “Give me, give me”

Today these words are a huge part of our live, but said differently.  Deep down we say, “I want it my way!”  Remember when you found that someone who would make you feel all tingly and they were always on your mind.  That person probably said things like “I will do anything for you” “I will give you my life” and we swallowed it hook line and sinker.  We were caught and we were in love.  Our words are easy to say, but hard to keep.  Listen! We are by nature selfish and believe that getting what we want is what life is about.  Marriage is not 50-50 but 100-100.  It is all or nothing.  If you are not willing to give your whole life to your spouse then you had better do some hard thinking.   

We must ask ourselves, “Could this little word selfishness rule most of my life?  Is it really a major part of my life today?”  The honest answer comes echoing back, “Yes it is a major part of all of our lives, and it is not going away by itself!”

The next question we ask ourselves is “How do I get rid of selfishness?”   If you are like most people you could say, “Just get over it!”  Now that really solved the problem, didn’t it?  Remember what Proverbs 30:15 says “The leech has two daughters “Give! Give! They cry.”

 Here are some steps to take control of your selfishness 

1. If you really want to get well you must admit that you have a problem.  Many people go through life emotionally sick and blaming their problems on other people.  You must admit you have a problem and be willing to turn your life around.   

2. We must be willing to get to the root of the problem and deal with it.  After you have admitted you have a problem you must do something about it. Just deciding to pray to God and ask Him to remove it does not work. God will help you but he expects you to take control of your actions and do something about the problem.  I think that’s called work!!!  Selfishness is an area we all battle with. The truth is we are all selfish from birth!!  We never get over it.  We are so selfish that many times we expect our desires to be met before meeting the needs of our partner. It’s all because of self-centeredness.

3. We must have love. Many people do not show love in their marriage.  Some partners have never loved their spouses. Other stopped loving their spouses a long time ago, but their behavior shows great evidence of self love. Many confess that they do not love God. The two most important commands in scripture are “Love God with all your might and love your neighbors as yourself.”  When we love God and show love to our spouse, selfishness begins to take a backseat.   We shouldn’t always be thinking about ourselves and only what we need!  We should walk in love, unselfishly thinking of others and their needs more than our own. When we walk in love and bless others, we can expect God to take care of our needs.  Don’t squeeze the life out of your marriage by always seeking to get and never give.   Jesus gave his life for us!  What can we give for him?   Does our spouse expect love from us?  I hope you answered Yes.  Then what are your waiting for?  If you neglect your marriage it will go away!

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get–only with what you are expecting to give–which is everything.
– Anonymous

Ron Smart: Christian Life Coach

The Bridge Counseling and Coaching

The Marriage Puzzle

Marriage is like putting a puzzle together. The more we grow together the more each piece of the puzzle comes together.  The question is, are you adding the pieces to your marriage puzzle or taking them away by what you are currently doing?  Are they the right or wrong ones? When we add the wrong pieces we force them together or try to make them fit.  Wrong move!!!  This is when troubles begin. The puzzle looks strange and senseless. Have you ever put together a puzzle and tried to force the pieces together? Of course not! Because you know if the pieces don’t fit then the puzzle won’t look the way it is supposed to.

As we journey through our marriage we try to find the correct pieces that will form a beautiful picture.  Sometimes we search for the right pieces when they are actually right in front of us the whole time. Many times we seem to be hunting in faraway places, asking others, reading books, and seeking advice from our friends. We try to figure our marriage out our own way but this never works.

King David believed he could have a wonderful time and not hurt anyone. One day he saw a beautiful woman taking a bath and he wanted her. David knew what he wanted but what was he thinking? He wasn’t! We all act before we think and that gets us into big trouble. Many times we think of our own needs and what we want. David was being selfishly. He was married and if that was not enough he had a one night stand with Bathsheba. Big mistake! She got pregnant! Something David was not expecting. David ends up killing Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. Wrong move? Then he marries Bathsheba. I don’t have time to finish the life of David but it can be found in 2 Samuel 11 through the end of the Book. What does David’s life have to do with marriage? When we decide to work our marriage out our way we run into trouble. We call this type of behavior selfishness or self-centeredness. There are a few words in the English language that would make life a lot more easier if they were not there. O well! Many times selfishness takes front stage in our marriage.     

The problem is that we have our priorities all mixed up. Let God work things out in the first place! He has the picture of the puzzle already finished. God is just waiting for us to get our priorities together. Our priorities usually pertain to our wants and needs. If we ask most people how you would find success. They would name-the right job, plenty of money, a home that is the best on the block, and healthy children as their top priorities. We have a problem Houston! Our first question must be “Where do we rank God and our Marriage?” We have forgotten the two main ingredients in the mix. If you put God first and your marriage next everything else will fall in place. That’s right! Try it you’ll like it.

There is no perfect marriage and we all go through struggles, but without God in your marriage the picture will be incomplete. I know many of us have taken a puzzle piece that didn’t quit fit and forced it. We do the same with marriage if we try to manage it on our own and don’t allow Christ to take control of it. It is true that some marriages without God may be ok. But if you are looking for a complete and well rounded marriage that has total commitment and intimacy, God has to be your main priority.

There is no way you can wholly solve your marriage issues without the help and knowledge of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 3:20 it says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen! We read in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “A cord of three stands is not quickly broken.” 

I challenge you to put God first in your life and marriage. I challenge every couple and individual that passes through our doors at “The Bridge Counseling and Coaching” to embrace God as the top priority of their marriage or life. The ones that put God first in their life and marriage are happier, their problems are not as enormous, and life is much fuller.  Make God your third strand today!  What are you waiting for!!!  Who is first in your life or marriage?

Ron Smart
Certified Christian Life Coach
The Bridge Counseling and Coaching

Our Past isn’t our Past if it is Infecting our Present

In John 5:1-11 Jesus heals a man at the pool called Bethesda.  “Jerusalem near the Sheep  Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesdaand which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.  Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.   When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:1-6) 

Sitting beside a pool sounds relaxing, but not being able to get out of bed for 38 years is unbearable.  This man was alone and horribly crippled.  He probably had twisted feet, pencil thin legs, and withered muscles.  He was in a terrible shape.  Why was he at this pool?  It was believed that the pool had some miraculous powers.  An angel would stir the waters and the first person to enter the pool would be healed.  Now this pool was fed by an underground spring that posed minerals.  The minerals would bring some healing.

As Jesus enters, he walks over to this man.  He lowers himself and asked a very interesting question.  Do you want to get well?”  The man gives an answer similar to one that most of us would give.  He begins to explain to Jesus why he can’t get into the water when it is stirred.  “I can’t get up when the waters are stirred and there is no one to help me into the water.”   His answer affirms that he had hit rock bottom.  His answer said, “Jesus I cannot do it on my own.”  It was one of discouragement and despair. 

Without further hesitation Jesus did the unthinkable…He said, “Get up, take you mat, and start walking.”  This man was healed on the spot.  He did not have to wait several days before he could go home!   He did not have to wait for the High Priest to see if he was okay to walk.  No!  He picked up his mat and began to walk. (John 5:1-9)

Jesus is asking us today-Do you want to be healed?   He wants to heal us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Too many times we answer Jesus that we have everything under control and we don’t need his help.  But our pain is deep.  The hurt has been lodged deep in the heart of our soul for some time and hopelessness beings to fill our soul.  Many people say I want to get better but are content living in their misery.  They want to be healed but like the life they are living.  Healing starts when we want to get better.  Healing starts with a choice.  Do you want to get well?   Jesus is knocking at the door of your life; you must let Him in if you want to get well.   Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”  (Rev. 3:20)   

I Like to Live Alone, but it is Crowded Inside

In 1995 the movie Se7en was released and On the soundtrack was atrack by an unknown band at the time named Gravity Kills, that song was titled  Guilty.

The band’s first album was self-titled and featured Guilty as the leadoff song on the album (after the intro track). Seven tracks later was Never,
which started with the lines: “I like to live alone, but it’s crowded inside sometimes.”

When I first heard the song at 17/18 it blew my mind. I was like, wow… for some reason it just seemed to fit. This was years before I
became acquainted with mental illness. I’m not suggesting that I have more than one person living inside. But maybe I am. Let me explain.

I am almost a month into an counseling internship. The clients that I see are homeless or the next best thing to it. They are single mothers, single dads, and families whose lives have taken a drastic turn in a direction they did not expect or want. As I have been counseling these clients, I have been reminded of something I realized sometime ago. Whether we suffer from mental illness or not,  we all have multiple persons that live inside us.

We all live daily with at least 3 persons inside us:We live with the person that we want to be. This is the DREAMER. This is the embodiment of our dreams, hopes, passions, aspirations… everything that excites us, gives us reason to get out of bed in the morning. This is the person that we want to be. This is the person that we  want others to view us as being. This is who we define ourselves to be. This is the person that thrives in our dream world. This is the person who wants us to succeed more than anything else in life. Unfortunately, this person often doesn’t get to be the primary reflection we see in the mirror. This person often gets drowned under the other persons. he also live with the person that the voices in our minds tell us we are. No, we don’t all hear voices, but we do hear lies that we tell ourselves about ourselves. This is the LIAR, because they rarely tell us the truth about who we are. This is the person who wants us to fail. This is the person who is actively trying to make us fail. This is the person who never has anything good to say about us. This is the person who constantly beats us down, only focuses on our failures and weaknesses. This person has a very loud voice. The third person that lives inside is the person who is just making it through the day. This is the PRESENT. This is the person who has succumbed to the weight of the world and everyday life, this is the person who just wants to survive. This is the person who has almost given up on dreaming… because they can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel… they don’t even realize they are in a tunnel, they believe they are in an endless cave. This person lives with the constant stress and pressure of life. They feel the weight of it every moment of every day. They are almost defeated… many times they are outright defeated. herein lives the struggle. Deciding which person is going to be our reality. It is possible to hear the voice of the person we want to be and not be the person we want to be, yet let their voice be
the loudest calling us, urging us, forcing us to move forward, to make difference to change our circumstances to be the person we want to be. Too often, we settle to hear the vice of the liar or of the present and we don’t listen to the voice of the dreamer.  We don’t let the dreamer excite our passions.

We have settled.  We don’t dream.  We don’t get excited.  This can be a sad, depressing way to amble through life.  There is another way out…Christ.  This may not solve all the dilemmas of our life, but Christ does provide peace.  He does provide a truth.  He does provide acceptance and LOVE.  He allows us to dreams and encourages us to dream big. He shows us that the voice of the liar and the present don’t have to be our reality. He holds us close until we realize we were meant for more.

We are WORTH more. We have infinite value to a God who loved us enough to die for us.  It is difficult to drown out the voices of the liar and the present by ourselves. It is much easier to do when we are wrapped in a passionate embrace by Christ our Savior and God.  Who are you going to listen to? Are you going to let the liar and the present keep you from being the dreamer that God designed you to be?

Eli
(We appreciate this insightful post  from our guest writer, Eli Westfall.  Eli is a Graduate Student Counselor Intern at Webster University working as an intern at Catholic Charities of Central Florida.)

There Is Great Hope!

There are two kinds of hope that can be found  in this world;  false and biblical hope.  In this world, Satan can have us gain false hope and dependence on power, money, prestige, beauty or other things that bring success in our life.  False hope affords one the opportunity to find satisfaction or success for a momentary time.  When we are misled by false hope, the ugly face of hopelessness raises itself within us!

I was talking to a lady several months ago who had been referred to talk to me about a problem she had.  This lady is a believer in God; however, she was going through a difficult time in her life.  She could see nothing but hopelessness in her life.  She believed  her life was useless.  She believed that God did not care about her any longer and she saw her life as a piece of junk.  I like the famous quote of Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, “The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Biblical hope is the hope we have in God.  This hope reaches out by serving one other, encouraging hope to others, and looking upward not downward.  The first thing that comes to my mind when hope is mentioned is found in  Eph. 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”  With todays problems coming at us from every direction we all experience some form of hurt and discouragement.  We must not feel defeated.  We must be encouraged and rely on the hope we find in God. We must hold and support each other during times of hurt, discouragement and defeat.  To me this is Biblical Hope!   1 Corinthians 13:13 says,  “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Ronnie Smart                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Certified Life Coach

Accelerated Resolution Therapy

Are you suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, sexual abuse trauma, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, addictions, grief and job or relationship issues? Do you want to find relief?  Please check out the information below on ART (Accelerated Resolution Therapy®).

I am so excited about a recent emerging therapy developed by Laney Rosenzweig.  Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) holds great promise for giving you amazing relief for the conditions listed above.   I am trained in this revolutionary therapy and am excited about the potential of helping you.   Take a chance on finding the relief you need today.  Read the information below that I have taken directly from the ART website.

The ART of Rapid Recovery

Founder: Laney Rosenzweig MA, LMFT

Imagine, if you can, what it feels like to carry a terrible burden for years and then all of a sudden to let it go – years of trauma gone in a flash – during a single session with a therapist. You give the therapist a look of disbelief – but you have just experienced this amazing relief. That this can happen may seem unbelievable, but it does happen consistently with the use of Accelerated Resolution Therapy.

ART has been used to treat adults and children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, sexual abuse trauma, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, addictions, grief and job or relationship issues. ART reprograms the brain and makes positive changes for these conditions. The limits of ART have yet to be explored.

How ART Works

In ART, the eye movements are thought to be conducive to sorting out problems quickly through increasing the integration of activities in the left and right sides of the brain. These movements also seem to help the client process information by producing a deep feeling of relaxation. Yet ART is not hypnosis. During REM our brains are quite active and the brain waves are similar to those when we are in an awake state.

ART is directive. The therapist focuses the client’s thoughts through interventions, most of which are unique to ART, such as Voluntary Memory Replacement / Voluntary Image Replacement (VMR/VIR). These interventions by the therapist actually empower the client. It is the information provided by the clients as they process their problems that leads the clinician in directing the session.

Laney explains that “the experience is much like a regular talk session with the eye movements added to help clients quickly process the information they need to resolve their issues. Clients leave feeling that a weight has been lifted and a wonderful change has been made. They usually find healing in as few as one or two sessions in which the rapid eye movements are used – and it is a drug free therapy.”

Visit the ART website below to learn more about the therapy.  Make sure to check out ART In The News and ART: What People Say for more information:  www.acceleratedresolutiontherapy.com

My own testimony to ART’s effectiveness

When I attended the ART training for therapists, I saw amazing results happen for other therapists! Think about what I just said…!  Better than that, I experienced amazing results with my own anxiety!  I have worked with several clients using ART. They have found same day relief.  If you would like to give ART a try to see if you can find this same relief, please call today.  Please give me or another certified ART therapist a call.  Several certified therapists are listed on the website. I am located in St. Cloud, Florida. I am in easy driving distance from many areas in Brevard, Osceola, Orange, and Pinellas counties.

Debbie Smart, MA, LMHC

The Bridge Counseling and Coaching

1401 Budinger Av. Suite D

St. Cloud,  Fl   34769

 

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