Life Connection Counseling | jessemdowd
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Author: jessemdowd

"Your life is boring. You're sick of your job. Your relationship is stuck in a rut.These thoughts are circulating through many people's minds, says Nick Gould, a therapist with Midtown Family Therapy. But they don't have to be. A new year is a perfect time for people to reinvent themselves, experts say." - Nour Habib

It’s that time. The stores are having the biggest sales of the year! Television commercials show us everything that our loves ones desperately want for the holidays. Hallmark, telephone companies, and even coffee companies show us how perfect the holiday is. They show happy families that do anything just to be with each other for the this season. Unfortunately, for some of us, that doesn’t reflect our reality. Holidays can be an extremely painful time either because we don’t have family or because we do have family!! Here are some tools to help prepare and help make the holiday season as pleasant as possible:

God is comfortable with process. In the first chapter of Luke it says John the Baptist “grew and became strong in spirit.” In the second chapter of Luke it says “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” Our culture seems to have lost the concept of growth and process. We want to be able to just “be there” or “arrive.” How many times do we sit in counseling with people who are frustrated because things aren’t changing as quickly as they would like them to? Yet, as much as we would like to see progress and change happen quickly in our lives and relationships, I have to believe that God allows some slow growth for a purpose.

One of the greatest stressors of life is managing our money. A study I read a few years ago said that 90% of couples who were divorcing said that money was their number one problem. However, the average income of those couples was significantly above the poverty line. This suggests that it’s not necessarily how much we bring home, but how we manage it that’s the problem.

A good friend called recently and the words I heard were familiar…”A family member of mine is addicted to pain medication.”  Whether it’s pain medication, alcohol, some other drug or substance of abuse, the pain in the voice of the caller is always the same.  In fact, in my years as a counselor I have come to realize that no situation is scarier than when someone in the family becomes addicted.  Everything in the lives of those affected suddenly is up for grabs.  One day everything seems normal and okay with your loved one, the next they seem to have been replaced by an unknown stranger. Addict photo

In our years as marriage counselors, one of the things that grieves us over and over is how many wonderful, well-meaning couples do things that sabotage their marriages. They can be praying and believing for all the right and best things for their marriage, but their behavior actually works against all that they are praying for. We talk a lot in our marriage seminars about how to build our marriages, but if we are tearing them down at the same time, it’s a little like bailing water with a leaking bucket. Here are a few of the things that we see that are counterproductive to our marriages:

Divorce and separation are difficult situations not only for the adults but also can be devastating for the children involved.  Divorce is the break down of the family system as the children have always known it to be.  Webster defines breaking as “to separate into parts with suddenness or violence, to destroy unity or completeness of”.   Children can feel a sense of this suddenness and disunity when one night their parents are together and the next they are not. It is true that children are resilient and can work through issues of divorce with help from counseling however ignoring or downplaying how divorce impacts the child can be devastating and smaller issues grow into larger problems if not addressed.  The worst thing for parents to do is to not discuss the divorce or separation with the child or only brush over it with a one-time discussion about how things are going to change.  Both parents need to discuss these changes with the child(ren) and the changes will need to be addressed multiple times. It is important to recognize some signs of concern for the child and bring them in for help:

R. Brent Sharpe, M.S. is a licensed and ordained minister who received his Master’s Degree in Family Relations and Child Development from Oklahoma State University. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Oklahoma. He is a...