Hearing Problems

An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the man to hear at 100 percent capacity.

The gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, “Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.”

The man replied, “Oh, I haven’t told my family I can hear yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations and act like I can’t hear a thing. So far, I’ve changed my will three times!”

The real test of character is that we say to others the same thing we say about others. What you say when you don’t think anyone is hearing you says a lot about your integrity.

Listening is always a good idea. The book of James tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. It’s amazing how much we can learn when we simply quit talking and listen to what everyone else is saying. Just ask the elderly gentleman.

The Perfect Mate

A young lady visited a computer dating service and requested, “I’m looking for a spouse. Can you please help me to find a suitable one?”

The matchmaker said, “What exactly are you looking for?”

“Well, let me see. Needs to be good looking, polite, humorous, sporty, knowledgeable, good at singing and dancing. Willing to accompany me the whole day at home during my leisure hour if I don’t go out. Be able to tell me interesting stories when I need a companion for conversation and be silent when I want to rest.”

The matchmaker entered the information into the computer and, in a matter of moments, handed the results to the woman.

The results read, “Buy a television.”

There is only one perfect mate in the universe, and I married her. For the rest of you, be aware that you won’t find a perfect spouse, but you can try to be one. That’s what love is all about – giving, not taking.

Or you can just buy a television.

Happy to Be a Guy

A friend recently sent me something called “Happy to Be a Guy.” It is a pithy article that lists dozens of reasons a man should be happy to be a man. I will condense the list a bit. Enjoy 18 reasons “I’m Happy to Be a Guy.”

  1. I can do phone conversations in less than 30 seconds.
  2. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
  3. I can open my own jars.
  4. I can go to a public bathroom without a support group.
  5. I don’t have to learn how to spell a new last name.
  6. I can leave the hotel bed unmade.
  7. I can kill my own food.
  8. Wedding plans take care of themselves.
  9. Three pairs of shoes are plenty.
  10. Car mechanics tell me the truth.
  11. Same work . . . more pay.
  12. I can sit with my buddies and not say a word.
  13. Gray hair and wrinkles only add character.
  14. Wedding dress – $2,000. Tux rental – $150.
  15. I don’t mooch off others’ desserts.
  16. I can drop by to see an old friend without bringing a gift.
  17. Belches are tolerated.
  18. Christmas shopping can be accomplished for 25 relatives, on December 24, in 45 minutes.

The Rushmore Report: 25 Secrets to a Happy Marriage

Twenty-five couples were asked to give their secrets to a happy marriage. These couples are from all over America and from many different backgrounds. They have been married for anywhere from 15 to 50 years. These real-life couples have been in the marriage trenches and they are still laughing, smiling, and having fun. Here is their advice to making marriage last for the long haul – the #1 idea from each couple.

  1. We’re best friends.
  2. I gave up the home décor I had brought into our relationship.
  3. We made a pact to never fight about money.
  4. We never discuss sensitive subjects when hungry or tired.
  5. I follow this advice: always treat your husband as an honored guest in your home.
  6. We purposefully sit next to each other on the couch each night.
  7. We always find things to laugh about.
  8. We have separate bathrooms.
  9. We follow this mantra: women want to be loved and cherished; men want to feel respected.
  10. We never bail on date night.
  11. We seek to do good for the other person, instead of fighting over ‘what about me?’
  12. We face adversity together.
  13. We plan forward and look back only to the good times.
  14. We remember why we got together in the first place.
  15. We believe that divorce is not an option.
  16. We’re both left-handed.
  17. We’re passionate, supportive, and accepting of what the other person is doing in their personal life.
  18. We prioritize each other.
  19. We truly knew ourselves before we got married.
  20. We dumped friends and family members who had a negative effect on our life and marriage – and we expected our spouse to do the same.
  21. We mind our manners.
  22. We’re as different as a couple can get.
  23. We take a lot of trips without our children.
  24. We share a common dream.
  25. We’re in it for life.

The Rushmore Report: Seven Principles that Make Marriage Work

John Gottman has provided seven principles that make marriage work in his latest book by the same name. The book seeks to debunk a number of what it calls myths about marriages and why they often fail. Gottman thinks outside the norm, offering suggestions you won’t find anywhere else. Along with his companion book, What Makes Love Last? this work gives hope to millions of couples struggling in their marriages.

These are Gottman’s seven principles to make marriage work.

1. Enhancing love maps

A “love map” is that part of one’s brain where one stores all the relevant information about one’s spouse, such as his or her worries, hopes, and goals. The map also goes into the spouse’s history and feelings. Gottman says happily married couples use their love maps to express not only their understanding of each other, but also their fondness and admiration as well.

2. Nurturing fondness and admiration

This involves meditating a bit on one’s partner and what makes you cherish him or her. The book suggests exercises such as thinking about incidents that illustrate characteristics one appreciates in the partner. There is a focus on happy events.

3. Turning toward one another

This brings connection with the spouse. It means being there for each other during minor events, and responding positively to the spouse’s bids for attention, affection, humor, or support.

4. Accepting influence

Accepting influence means sharing power and making one’s spouse a partner in one’s decision-making by taking their opinions and feelings into account.

5. Solving solvable problems

Gottman’s model for conflict resolution involves softening the start of the discussion, learning to make and receive repair statements, and compromise. This is done while accepting each other’s faults.

6. Overcoming gridlock

According to Gottman, gridlock occurs when a conflict makes one feel rejected by the partner. Each spouse becomes entrenched in his or her position. To the contrary, successful compromise means exploring hidden issues that are really the cause of the gridlock.

7. Creating shared meaning

Gottman describes shared meaning as a spiritual dimension to marriage that has to do with creating an inner life together – a culture rich with symbols and rituals, and an appreciation for the spouse’s roles and goals.

About the Author

These excerpts are taken from John Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Gottman has written other books, including What Makes Love Last?

Heal Thyself!

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “I am fully convinced that the soul is indestructible, and that its activity will continue through eternity.”

Philosopher Teilhard de Chardin said it like this: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

The ancient Hebrews did not draw a sharp line between the physical and the spiritual. They understood the interplay between the two. Modern medicine is coming to the same conclusion.

A study by Purdue University found that people who practice their religion regularly develop only half as many medical problems as nonbelievers. “We have recently completed a systematic review of over 1,200 studies on the effects of religion on health,” the study concluded. “The vast majority of these studies show a relationship between greater religious involvement and better mental and physical health, and lower use of health services.”

This confirms what most of us already knew. Believers are happier, more at peace, and healthier. So if you are unhealthy, I suggest you visit the Great Physician.

The Rushmore Report: How We Survived Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma put 18 million Floridians under a Hurricane Warning – a record. Irma was a Category 4/5 storm for four days – a record. Irma forced the evacuation of 6.5 million people – a record. Four million have been left without power – including my wife and me. I have been through six hurricanes in my lifetime. This is the first one that has displaced my family from our house. But as of Day 4, we have survived. Here’s how.

1. My family decided who is in control – before the hurricane.

Habakkuk, the Old Testament prophet, said it like this: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18). In other words, we have decided that our dance with peace is determined by relationship, not circumstance. We are at peace because we know the One who is there before, during, and after the storm.

2. We didn’t have much to lose – during the hurricane.

They said the winds in Bradenton, Florida would hit 130 miles per hour. Our house was not built to that standard. So, we knew there was a reasonable chance that, after we evacuated, despite boarding up everything, our house might be turned to rubble in just hours. So we made the decision to fill our cars with everything we owned that really mattered. Surprisingly, that was not a difficult task. I put 57 years of life into the trunk of my Miata. How? Because my real life was in the other car, driving our Sonata. My wife was safe. My son was safe. My dog was safe. So life would be okay.

3. We knew we’d still have a home, no matter what – after the hurricane.

The storm could wipe out our house, but it could not touch out home. The psalmist said, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1). God did not build the structure sitting at my physical address. Man did that. I don’t know the men who did that, but I do know the Man who built our home.

So we did what millions did – we left. We are blessed to be a part of a wonderful church and to have incredible friends. A family in our church took us in. We had one big, long, windy hurricane party. We even went out in the midst of the hurricane late at night. I recorded a 72-mph wind gust on my anemometer. We really had a blast. In fact, I am writing this from the guest room of their house, because our house still has no power.

But that’s okay. Our house is without power, but not our home. Our home has a Power that no hurricane can ever touch.

And that’s how we survived Hurricane Irma.

Family Tree

The great American novelist Mark Twain said he spent a large sum of money to trace his family tree and then spent twice as much trying to keep his ancestry a secret.

He was like the family that reportedly wanted its history written up, so they hired a professional biographer to do it, but they were worried about how the document would handle the family’s black sheep. Uncle George had been executed in the electric chair for murder.

“No problem,” said the biographer. “I’ll say that Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution. He was attached to his position by the strongest of ties, and his death came as a real shock.”

We can’t do much about our ancestors, but we influence our descendants greatly. I have often commented that I will change the world more by the way I pastored my son than by the way I pastored my three churches.

Even if you could change your ancestry, would it matter? Spend your time where you have the most influence, with your family. The seeds you plant today will bear fruit tomorrow. The Bible says your greatest inheritance is your kids.

Larger Steak

One night at the dinner table, the wife commented, “When we were first married, you took the small piece of steak and gave me the larger piece. Now you take the larger one and leave me the smaller one. You don’t love me anymore.”

Her husband responded, “That’s nonsense, darling. You just cook better now.”

Successful marriages have two qualities: a man who is quick on his feet, and sacrifice. In this story, we see only one of the two.

When God created man and woman, he said they are to be one. That means that as husband and wife, we are to put one another first. We are to give before we receive and listen before we speak. We are to keep the holy triangle in place: God, husband, and wife. We are to put our husband or wife first.

And if, along the way, the wife becomes a better cook, well that’s okay, too.

Are Dogs Better than Women?

I’m just asking the question. I am offering no conclusions. But we need to approach these things with open minds. That is all I’m doing. I have no bias, as I am both happily married and a satisfied dog owner. I have split my time almost evenly: living 35 years with my wife and 38 years with four different dogs.

Today, I have both a wife and a dog. And I take them both for a walk two times a day. Beth is the best wife anyone ever had and Heidi is the best dog. It’s not even close – on either count.

But again, we must ask the question. Which is better – a wife or a dog?

Because wives can speak for themselves, I will present the case that dogs would make if they were able to type or use a computer. This is the evidence dogs everywhere would want us to see.

Why dogs are better than wives . . .

  1. Dogs never criticize.
  2. Dogs don’t expect gifts.
  3. Dogs don’t want to know about every other dog you’ve ever had.
  4. Dogs don’t hate their own bodies.
  5. Dogs don’t let a magazine article guide their lives.
  6. You never have to wait on a dog; they are ready to jump in the car 24 hours a day.
  7. Dogs don’t cry.
  8. Dogs love it when your friends come over.
  9. A dog’s time in the bathroom is confined to a quick drink.
  10. Dogs don’t expect you to call when you’re running late; the later you are, the more excited they are to see you.
  11. Anyone can get a good looking dog.
  12. Dogs don’t mind if you give away their offspring.
  13. Dogs don’t notice if you call them by another dog’s name.

I’ll add one more – on a personal note. At this very moment, as I am working on my computer, my dog is in my lap. My wife? She is over 1,000 miles away, visiting friends.

My dog would never do that to me.