What it Takes to be Married 25 Years


 Two Imperfect People – Perfect for one another

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 NIV

As I write this I am keenly aware that some of you have heartbreaking stories of a marriage that has not gone the way you planned and perhaps has ended way before you dreamed.  I do understand that marriage can be a battlefront.   Arguably, marriage is the most intimate and vulnerable relationship we can have with a person.  Marriage requires humility to trust that the covenant made at the Altar will be equally valued to our spouse – no matter the circumstances: “for better or for worse”.  Perhaps we need to start spelling out the possible “worse” case scenarios so that we are more equipped to work toward reconciliation when those days arrive.

If you have had a failed relationship, this article is not intended to shame you, but rather to encourage you.  If you are struggling – it is intended to refocus and strengthen you; if you are in a good place in marriage – to commend you.  It takes work to be married!  Paul even says, “So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows–it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am.” 1 Corinthians 7:8  But for those who must marry, it is important to know that the marriage will be a journey of “for better and for worse”.  There will be glorious, blissful days and there will be heart-crushing difficult days.

When our spouse strikes a chord in us, if we let our minds – our creative, active, image-making brains – take over:  we will be taken far away from the Truth in the Philippians 4:8-9 admonition to meditate on truth.  We will let doubt and lies creep in and our husband (wife) will be hung without a jury.  And even if we don’t say anything to him about it, we will have an edge to our voice, we will have resentment in our heart, because in some odd, twisted way we believe what our mind has made up.

Advice for staying married:

Be Forthright – our brains have a need to fill in the gaps.  Do not leave information out or your spouse will fill in the blanks with all matter of possible negatives.  Because in his/her mind, if it were positive – you would have shared it!

Extend Grace – do your very best to think positive thoughts of your spouse, until given concrete evidence, even if you have a history. If there has been progress-extend grace, as much as possible.  Study Exodus 11-17, take note of the forgetful, grumbling, ungrateful Israelites and their persistent, merciful, grace-filled God who continued to lead and provide and did not strike them down.

Empathize. How would my spouse respond to me if the circumstances were reversed?  Does he/she have a different love language or personality style?  Is this conflict a misunderstanding due to our differences versus a conscious breach of trust?

Do something you don’t like to do JUST because your spouse likes it.  This goes a long way to show that you care about her and you are willing to sacrifice on her behalf.

Talk it out.  When there is a cloud of doubt, talk it out.  Ladies, this does not mean ‘whenever’ you feel like it.  Your husband may process things differently than you and may need some time to go to his man-cave to let off steam or to process.  But as you pray you will sense a leading to know when to bring up the soreness and humbly approach your husband.  Men, don’t just stuff it and move on!  Your wife needs to know that you care!  How will she know if you seem like it is ‘no big deal’ – that translates to her that SHE is no big deal.  Talk it out.  Seek first to understand the other person’s perspective and then seek to have your side understood.  Be sure to engage in genuine empathic listening and to reflect what you are hearing.

Pray – there is no greater marital strength than prayer.  I know there is evidence of marriages that make it without prayer, but I know from first hand experience that prayer has been the most powerful ingredient to bring joy and cohesion than any other element in our marriage.

My prayer for you:  Lord, thank you for your provision and leading to pair imperfect people in the perfect way.  Thank you that you use the good and the bad for your glory, and help us to rely more on your strength than our own weakness.  Lord, I ask that you bless each marriage represented by each reader and their extended families.  I ask that you impart humility and grace upon the hearts and minds of each spouse and that your Holy Spirit will unite these loved ones and that you will provide a protective Shield over each marriage keeping the enemy at bay and your powerful grace-filled, love at the center of their hearts and mind’s for each other. Lord, I also believe with those who are estranged from their spouse, that you are able to do immeasurably more than we can imagine – fill each one with faith and hope in You. Amen.

Wise Wednesday Brain Byte: Wide Waist Warning

Unfortunately, a wide waist is not just bad for your belly’s belt line, and your self-image: research shows it is hazardous to your brain.

University of Michigan scientists studied 1350 people and found that those with the thickest middles were 90 percent more likely to have mental-processing slowdowns and memory gaps than those with the slimmest waistlines.

French researchers gave word recall tests to over 2200 women and men, aged 30 to early 60s and then repeated the test ten years later.  The people with the wide waistlines performed 35 percent worse than those who were svelte.

Kaiser Permanente researchers in Oakland, California tracked the health of more than 6,000 adults for 30 years and found that those who had the biggest waists in middle age were 65 percent more likely to develop dementia 30 years later than those with trimmest waists.

Take Action:

Get moving

Add strength-training

Banish bad fats

Add good fats

Eat more fiber and fewer refined carbohydrates

Soothe stress

For more information, see No More Brain Drain, Proven Ways to Maintain Your Mind and Memories by Reader’s Digest.

Whole Brain Writing

Writing Inspiration

Welcome to those of you who are joining me from the Compel website for writers!  I hope you will explore this blog for more tools to equip you with your writing endeavors.  If you are not familiar with Compel and are in the market to sharpen your writing skills you may wish to visit www.CompelTraining.com

My passion is to help people use their whole brain in everything they do.  Research shows that the more we use all parts of our learning-brain, the cerebral cortex, the more likely we are to increase our memory and creative thinking.  Surely, your writing will benefit from both memory and creativity!

The more you add in all of the senses, the more you will involve your reader to connect and participate in a more memorable way to your writing.

The most comprehensive whole brain writing tool to date is the Mind Map.  The Mind Map is a tool to organize your thoughts that engages all of your cortical (brain) skills – automatically!  You will find helpful resources and more information on Mind Maps at my website at www.Blooming-Brains.com  You will find a direct link to it on the right side-bar menu also.

As you explore this blog more, I do hope you find facts, tips, inspiration, and much encouragement for your personal and professional endeavors.  Here is one post from my guest spot on WomensMinistryNet:

How to Make the Most of Your Mind, a five minute video http://wp.me/p1tgzO-7a

Thanks again for stopping by, and consider signing up for weekly emails to keep you focused on growing your brain.

Also consider leaving a question or a success story with using your whole brain for the writing wow-factor.  Thanks!



Wise Wednesday Brain Byte: Non-Conscious Mind

Research shows that 90 percent of what takes place in your mind is metacognitive, or at your sub-conscious level.  This leaves only ten percent of conscious activity of the mind.

 brain scan

According to Neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, the non-conscious metacognitive level is where your unique metacognitive mix comes in, giving your individuality.  This is where memory building and all its electrochemical and electomagnetic reactions actually occur.

Dr. Leaf goes on to say, “your individuality implies and carries with it the taking of responsibility for your actions; you must consciously force the metacognitive and cognitive levels to interact.  You can do this by consciously thinking about what is in your mind which allows you literally to access the psychosomatic (body-mind) network where the memories are stored and redirect it.

She gives an example of detoxing your old, negative memories by recalling them and then creating a new positive thought pattern (memories) ‘over’ the old. This is Detox Step #4 – Take Responsibility and Take Control – in her book Who Switched Off My Brain.

In other words, think of an unhealthy habit: this brings it to your conscious mind.  Next, think upon a new and WISER choice; take action based on what you believe to be right, using God’s Word as your guide. What does God say about this unhealthy habit and what thinking should replace it?  You may need the help of a trained Counselor, prayer partner, Pastor, or trustworthy friend – all depending on the depth and destruction of the negative thought pattern.

“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. (‭I Chronicles‬ ‭28‬:‭9‬ NKJV)


Hassle-Free Holidays? Read and See


This year, get Christmas all done without coming undone!

My friends, Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer, wrote a practical 7-day free email resource to help you do just that. It is called 7 Days to a Hassle-Free Holiday.

To sign up, simply enter your email address at http://mad.ly/signups/122324/join

And for the next 7 days you will receive ideas and encouragement for taking the hassle-out of the holidays in your cleaning, decorating, cooking and baking, gift-giving, and traditions. You’ll also be given some great out-reach ideas to help your family focus on giving and serving rather than getting and “stuff”. And finally, as an added bonus, Karen and Glynnis share 25 easy and delicious recipes as a PDF that include:

Holiday get-together (or take on the road) dishes

DIY food gifts

Quick and easy dinners for those crazy-busy holiday-prepping days

Fun foods to make with kids

Retro Christmas cookies

Finally, a way to have a holy and hassle-free Christmas!


Brain Byte for Better Relationships: Celebrate Special Dates

This may seem like a given:  remember your loved ones birthdays, so that they know how special they are to you.

Birthday Pix

But I know is is NOT a given.  I have a WONDERFUL family, and yet special days come and go without acknowledgement from those nearest and dearest to us.  If given too much time to ponder upon the oversight–emotions take over. Feelings of sadness, lonliness….of being less important in the lives of the ones we hold dear.  Of course, the reality of the matter is probably no where near the emotions, most likely the offenders are busy with their own responsibilities of life.

Walking with a wise woman this summer, she explained, “I learned years ago to be sure to remind all of the people around me via email or casual conversation that my birthday is coming.”  She gave some funny examples of how she did this in a joking way and that this helped others to be thoughtful on the day of her birthday, so that she did not have to be left feeling sad that no one remembered!

So, for those of you who are in the habit of forgetting the birthdays, anniversaries, etc. of those you love and end up feeling guilty later: Take charge and mark your calendar now with all of the birthdays for a full year out.  If you are unsure, check Facebook or other online sources for your friend’s birthdays — REALLY, it is NOT.THAT.HARD.  Upload them into your Google Calendar or on your Smartphone.  One simple step that will take you less than 30 minutes will fuel positive feelings within the relationships that matter most.

Happy Relationship Building this year!

Brain Breaks for Better Brainpower

Phrenology1Recall during learning dramatically falls when a brain is not expected to get a break from information gathering for hours at a time.

The optimal time spent learning something new is twenty to fifty minutes.  After this, do your brain the favor of a break and it will return the favor by increasing your ability to assimilate and recall the information you are learning.

When you take a break, get up and walk around to get the oxygen flowing and to give your body a new position to relieve any tension from sitting or standing.

Break for five to fifteen minutes.  Less than five minutes is not enough time for your brain to get the relief it requires and more than fifteen minutes is so long that you begin to move away from short term recollection of what you were learning.

At work you are not always learning something new, but it will benefit your brain to break at least twice during the day for some well needed physical movement.  This helps your brain to refocus when you return and perhaps even create a little more enjoyment to your job than just sitting still for hours without a fresh view.

Expectations of the Marthan Runner Married to the Walker

brain - knows what you want to say

Expectations.  Spoken.  Unspoken. We all have expectations.  The problem is that we do not always express these expectations to our spouse appropriately.

And even more importantly, we do not always have realistic expectations.

Why?  I believe it is because we think that we think more alike than reality.  We are oblivious, or overlook the fact that our spouse has a different personality type, learning style, or strengths.  So we impose our own personality, learning style and strength upon our unsuspecting spouse.

The results: mismatched EXPECTATIONS.

The result of mismatched expectations  = conflict.

Ask yourself is my expectation of my spouse fair?  Is it based on my needs and strengths/skills or his?

If you are a marathon runner and your husband is a walker, you would not expect that he would keep up with you when you run.  So why is it that the self-controlled/disciplined spouse expects her addictive personality husband to track with her in the same way she operates?  Overcoming addiction is a process. One step at a time.  If you are the self controlled spouse frustrated with your partner disappointing you one choice after another, I suggest you work hard to find each victory – no matter how small, and be sure to celebrate the victory.  Help your spouse to reinforce this small victory once again; and once again; until he/she is ready to take the next step on the road to recovery.

Help her to walk a little faster before she must begin to jog, and then a little faster until she picked up the jogging pace.  The a pace will take a great deal of time, effort, discipline and continued patience on your part to help her/him to get to an higher level than first begun.  However, not everyone has a desire or the determination to become a marathon runner.  And not every spouse has the same goal to accomplish the same level of accomplishment as his/her spouse in EVERY area.

You must give allowance to your spouse for his personality, learning style, and God-given strengths.  If you do not, you certainly will be setting him up for failure and yourself up for severe disappointment and frustration.


brain - knows what you want to say

Wise Wednesday Brain Byte: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat to Recall

John Medina’s Brain Rule #5 = Repeat to Remember for short term.

In addition, you can improve your chances of remembering something if you reproduce the environment in which your brain first accessed the information.

For more information, check out Medina’s book, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School.





Wise Wednesday Brain Byte: Linearity

Lines. Lines. And more lines.


Creative use of lines: A mini Frisbee golf basket

Linearity is a left brain cortical skill. Yet lines are commonly used by artists in brilliant fashion.

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