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Monday, October 30, 2023

Marriage Roller Coasters HELP: I WANNA GET OFF!!!

Monday, October 30, 2023 @ 3:54 PM

I recall years ago going on trips to Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Back then that was a big deal, especially the anticipation of what was considered the most exciting roller coaster ride of that time, “The Cyclone”. For some reason anticipating tumbling from the top of a huge hill at record speed made the heart race, and actually doing it caused even more heart palpitations. I remember as that huge machine went creaking slowly up, what seemed like, an insurmountable hill. There was a deluge of thoughts that ran through my mind, from “Oh Lord this was a mistake”, or “Why did I let them talk me into this” or What if this thing gets to the top and I go flying off” or literally whispering prayers of repentance, just in case. Needless to say, this was always the anticipated and also dreaded ride of my life, but at the end I would utter a sigh of relief knowing ALL WAS WELL!!!
Over the years, the marriage union has been taking a severe bashing, as marriages go up and down a roller coaster ride. Marriage is under siege and the idea is to eradicate the family and bring complete destruction. Most research indicates that the marriage roller coaster ride is violently going up and down and the family is taking a beating on every relationship turf, starting with marriage. As a result of the ride, the Christian therapist bent on finding healing answers, stands on the sidelines waiting for couples to get off, take a deep breath, and put their hands in the air as they make their way down hill screaming HELP!!!
As one of those therapists waiting on the sidelines, when those seeking my help decide to schedule an appointment with me, my first question is usually “how can I help you”? That simple, yet riveting question, has managed to reap a colossal array of responses, one of which is usually “how can I save my marriage? I think my husband/wife hates me.” This response is most times followed by whimpering and sobbing from being on the ride of their lives for so long, as they try to figure out what they did wrong and why they ever got on the ride in the first place. The response to this ongoing ride is mind boggling, sometimes even for the therapist, bent on helping to repair the emotional and verbal bumps and bruises already suffered. While the desire is always to see the glass half full, some scars are very deep.
The hurt, discouragement and rejection that is felt during this life changing ride leaves one’s heart in a fright that is second to none. However, all should not be lost knowing there is an answer on the horizon that brings comfort and healing on every downward slope. It is up to the therapist to prescribe tools that bring comfort and release, especially when the ride seems unending. There is a remedy for this Gaslighting (form of emotional abuse) that has the potential to cripple one’s dreams, desires and hopes.
What or who is the answer that brings lasting hope?
Where can the couple find lasting peace when all they see is chaos?
Should the couple be seeking happiness or joy and where does this lie?
How can one find comfort in a devastatingly uncomfortable situation?
The voice of hope, peace, joy and comfort, beckons to the man/woman questioning why his/her husband/wife hates him/her, letting him/her know there is an everlasting love that can be realized even when all hell has broken loose in the once loving home, that was at ease on the upward slope. Despite the anguish that this ride sometimes causes, there is healing to be embraced as the victims, release themselves and victoriously scream as they get to the bottom of the ride ALL IS STILL WELL!!! “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3
Submitted by:
Dr. Sharon Arrindell

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

What's In Your Wagon?

Tuesday, October 24, 2023 @ 7:00 PM

On the corner of my desk sits a little red, Radio Flyer wagon - a miniature version of the real thing. Inside the wagon are several individually wrapped candies of various sorts. Some are sweet; some are tart or bitter. They differ in color, size and shape. What the candies have in common is that they are all in the wagon, seemingly competing for the limited space. On top of the candies rests a chubby stuffed squirrel that by all accounts, is out of place. After all, when have you ever seen a squirrel sitting in a wagon full of candy? So now you know what is in my preverbal wagon - sort of.

My first question for you is this, what's in your wagon? Before answering the question, we first must define the term "wagon". Very simply, the metaphoric wagon refers to a person and his or her life. All of us have a wagon. Assuming we are discussing your life and your wagon, each candy in the wagon represents your different thoughts, healthy and unhealthy emotions, cherished experiences as well as heart breaks and trauma, stressors, loyalties, relationships, cares and concerns, responsibilities, and debts. It includes your likes and dislikes, passions and biases, insecurities, failures, potential, your faith or the lack thereof, and most importantly - your accurate and inaccurate beliefs about God, yourself, others and the world around you.

If you were to inventory the contents of your wagon, replacing individual candies for nuggets of reality, what would you find? The second question is similar to the first: does it (whatever you found) belong in your wagon? Or does it belong to someone else? For example, suppose you have a relative who spends his paycheck on really stupid stuff and then comes to you with a sob story and crocodile tears. Does he put you on a guilt trip until you acquiesce and grudgingly place his house payment into your wagon? Do you assume responsibility for his mortgage? In reality, his behaviors and his mortgage belong to him and therefore belong in his wagon, not yours. You have the right and responsibility to manage your own life - to determine what goes in your wagon and what doesn't, what remains in the wagon because it legitimately belongs to you and what is unceremoniously removed from the wagon. When we unnecessarily assume responsibilities for others, we often times place unbearable and untenable weight in our own wagon. Eventually the extra weight will cause the axles to falter or the tires to flatten; in other words, something inside of our being stops functioning as it should. We become stuck somehow; just worn out with nothing left to give ourselves or others.

The same thing can happen when we ourselves make stupid or haphazard choices, like choosing to drive drunk or marrying a person twenty-eight days after we meet them on line (or in person). Sounds romantically Hollywood, doesn't it? Perhaps, but it doesn't require deep thought to appreciate the perils of impetuous decision making. Yet, some people carelessly complicate their lives by placing such things in their wagon. As we all know, it's much easier to fill up the wagon than it is to empty it - and all God's people said: AMEN to that!

Let's not overlook the fact that we contribute good things to the wagon also. We choose the right spouse at the right time, start a family, pursue a career, make investments, buy a house, or engage in ministry. Many things in our wagon are wholesome and welcomed - the results of reasoned decision making coupled with blessings from God.

So far we have introduced two wagon content categories. The first is 'from others', and the second is 'from self'. There is another content category: the unrealized. The origin of some things we discover in the wagon cannot be explained. We have no idea where it came from - an illogical or self-defeating belief about God or self, for example. Often times it really doesn't matter how we acquired a dysfunctional belief or habit or how it got into our wagon. What's important is that we recognize it now for what it is. The next step is to remove it immediately. That may be easier said than done but it can be done. Depending on the depth of the dysfunction, effective professional counseling may be helpful with that endeavor.

The last wagon content category is the 'unexpected' circumstances that flip our lives upside down. What sets them apart from the norm is they are seemingly huge and unmanageable. It is likened to the chubby squirrel sitting in my wagon - only he's not really sitting. He is a menace wreaking havoc by running all over everywhere complicating every other aspect of our lives with little relief in sight. If you've ever experienced a wild squirrel running loose in your garage or attic, you understand the metaphor perfectly. As with most things in our lives (or in our preverbal wagons), we normally have some level of influence over it. In a wild squirrel situation, it seems we have no control. Instead, we are relegated from an active role to a reactionary posture. Multiply the stress level if we have multiple squirrels running around the wagon simultaneously. In some situations, our negative or fatalistic attitude IS the squirrel; sometimes not. Either way, we need to figure out the best way to manage our wagon.

Herein lies a few questions. When and how do we discover the wagon's content? And what should we do about what we find? Short answer: seek to discover the contents now, this minute. Begin by making a list of all of your duties, responsibilities and obligations followed by your past and present emotional experiences that still affect you, your worries, and anxiety producing thoughts and beliefs. Include everything that comes to mind, both negative and positive. Next, decide which things on the list belong to you and which do not. Decide which things may belong to you but are either not true, or unhealthy for you to maintain. Lastly, choose what to do with each one. For example, if something clearly belongs to someone else, give it back to them. If they don't want it, leave it at their doorstep anyway. When you consider things that legitimately belong to you, assume adult responsibility for it. Take appropriate action. If something is yours that you no longer want to carry, let it go. For example, a misstep you made 20 years ago that you can do nothing about now - it's time to let it go; choose not to think about it; focus your thoughts and energy on today.

The above paragraph is merely a snippet. It is not intended to walk you through the entire process but instead, to remind you that there is hope for you and your situation. You don't have to continue life pulling a wagon whose tires have gone flat from excess weight. You can choose to do something about it - now! So, do it!

Our phone number is 817.812.3021. Call us if we can help.

We offer Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Seek Christian Counseling when your marriage needs help!

Thursday, October 5, 2023 @ 2:11 PM


Title: Blog: Seek Christian Counseling when your marriage needs help
Written by: Dr. Donna M. Marshall

I encourage all couples to seek counseling if their marriage is in a place where they feel they just can’t seem to move past this point in time. Tension and stress will only get worse. It is difficult when there is not unity in the marriage. When you feel like the only thing you have in common is disagreeing that is a big red flag. You have snippy answers for each other instead of trying to work together to resolve your differences. Being able to realize that someone has to bend in order to move beyond where you are is important. Often times no one is willing to bend and digging your heals in only makes matters worse. If it’s been going on for so long that you start to wonder if it will ever get better this is a time your beginning to realize that without bending it won’t just go away. Your worry about whether it will ever get better is a legitimate concern.
I want to tell you that there is a way of moving past this point in time. But it will take going to counseling. I recommend Christian Counseling and here is why. Christian Counseling helps couples to reunite by keeping a hope for the future focus. It’s about forgiveness and letting go of the anger and resentment so you can apologize sincerely and move forward. But it doesn’t end there. Now the work begins. That’s right I said work. Because it will take time to learn how to communicate effectively without letting anger or resentment take the reigns. It will be about being mindful and intentional with your words. And it will be about taking your time with each other and learn how to interact being respectful and kind to one another.
Gradually, you will come back to a place where you appreciate each other again. You will look forward to spending time together and you will value each other. So again I do encourage counseling because it is the right thing to do to get back on track but not just any track, the right track which will lead you to a place of peace and unity in marriage.
If you need counseling consider Christian Counseling with me Dr. Marshall of Oceanlife Christian Counseling. I hope this blog encourages you and has offered you a new hope.
God bless you.

Dr. Donna M. Marshall