Relationship and Marriage Building

One of the difficulties in married life can be facing the reality that we ALL enter marriage relationship with preset expectations and life experiences.  These ways of relating act like an operating system on our computer’s hard drive.  We know an operating system helps run all the other programs on our computer.  Our expectations and experiences help us “run things” in life and relationships.

If couples are experiencing arguments that are difficult to resolve, or if the tension mounts because there is a lack of understanding; what follows are some helpful steps in working towards growth and change in a Christian marriage relationship.

First, James 5:13 asks this question, “is any one of you in trouble? Pray.”  Make time alone with the Lord a primary consideration in your marriage relationship and the issues that are of concern.

Next, seek out what God says about the problem.  Search the scripture . . . access online websites or concordances to help you find a fitting verse to help gain understanding of the Lord, yourself and relationships.  Heb. 4:12-13 says the Word of God is living and active . . . put the Word to work in your life as you memorize, meditate and pray the scripture for your situation.  Also, this same verse in Hebrews mentions the motives of our heart.  Ask the Lord to search your hearts as you both look to Him for help with relationship issues.

Be willing to invest in relationship with another Godly couple from your church fellowship.  Philippians 3:17 mentions the benefits of “[joining] with others in following [Paul’s] example and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.”  As you spend time in relationship with Christian couples, they can share wisdom from their own experiences and how they have changed and grown in marriage.  Also, practice what they teach you and be vulnerable and accountable to them when necessary.

Lastly, if problems persist then be willing to discuss marriage difficulties with your pastor and seek out pastoral care.  Philippians 4:9 quotes the Apostle Paul saying “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.” Seek a pastor’s counsel and then be willing and patient as you do the work of putting that counsel into practice.  Remember, when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we receive the Holy Spirit who provides wisdom, comfort and peace.  In Christian marriage, we have someone who lives inside of us and who comes along side of us during difficult times, the Lord Himself.

When we come to marriage with expectations, at times we consciously choose to do things the same way or purposefully do things differently than what was modeled for us in our growing up years.  All relationships prior to marriage impact our marriage, whether positive or negative.  There can be areas of wounding that we hide from ourselves or from others.  If the above referenced steps don’t seem to be working and the problems  persist, it might be the right time to seek professional help.

Warm regards,

Marcie Scarrow, MS, LLC

Licensed Professional Counselor

Certified Biblical Counselor

Angry! Now what?

I’ve always considered anger a “kick-in-the-pants” emotion; not good or bad, just motivational!  When I feel angry about something, I usually can determine I am really uncomfortable with a current interaction, situation or circumstance.  But what to do with the anger?

Years ago social scientists thought it would be great if people let all that anger out on whomever or whatever they were mad at.  Unfortunately, rather than healing relationships or changing circumstances, these types of interactions damaged friendships, children, marriages and future job potential for some.

Anger is a valid emotion usually triggered by another feeling under the surface.  In the heat of the moment, call a verbal or mental time-out and process the experience (I usually need to arrange a time to discuss what is going on when I have calmed down).  Generally speaking, individuals feel one of the following emotional responses:

1. Frustrated (closely tied to anger)

2. Hurt

3.  Embarrassed

4.  Afraid

Remember: talk about those feelings when the time is right! Trying to work things out in the heat of the moment requires a great deal of verbal self-control.  Think about waiting until the anger has subsided.

Some people need an outlet for anger.  Many activities that come naturally to individuals, will help serve as a way to alleviate strong physiological and mental responses.  For example, physical exercise/exertion, artistic expression or writing,  prayer or meditation can be helpful to some people.

Anger is a valid emotion meant to motivate for change.  When angry, ask “why” instead of  “now what”?.   Next steps in close relationships involve working to reconcile differences and encouraging change if necessary.   More on this later!

Matthew 18:15

Eph. 4:15; Eph. 4:25-26

Warm regards,

Marcie Scarrow, MS, LPC, LLC

Christmas Trees, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day

Christmas is my favorite time of year.  I remember being enthralled with the tree, the lights and the presents as a child, then as I entered into adolescence being impressed with the need to remember Jesus’ birth and the love of God in giving such a precious gift. As a parent, I reveled in seeing Christmas through my own children’s eyes and sharing the Christ-child story.  A love story . . .

The New Year prompts individuals to desire a fresh start, set professional goals, or reminds us to make changes, hopefully for our own personal betterment.  All of these can be great aspirations for the coming year. What if we simply chose to love better, to be kinder than necessary in 2012? Nothing too full of flash or sparkle here, just people choosing to act with kindness and care towards the individuals they encounter.  Perhaps choosing a better quality of love towards the ones we hold close.  The scripture speaks of love as being the greatest gift of all.

Victor Frankl, in his book entitled “Man’s Search for Meaning” describes the realization that despite life’s tragedies and sufferings, human love has aspects of the eternal.  Dr. Frankl survived being imprisoned in a concentration camp during World War II.   The memories of his wife and children, their shared affection and their times together brought about the realization that his love for them would not die.

Christmas, despite all the stress, is a beautiful season full of fond memories.  I keep Christmas around as long as I can, and generally try to pack everything away on Valentine’s Day.  My family patiently endures this romantic fondness for the holiday.  St. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and helps me cling to the hope, joy and love of Christmas a little longer.

By choosing to love better in 2012, the gift of love and the memories shared can have aspects of the eternal for all of us.  Our own love story  . . .

1 John 4:7

Warm regards,

Marcie Scarrow, MS, LPC, LLC