Tips for Your Tiff

By Ron & Ann Mainse

 

In our almost 33 years of marriage, we’ve had a few tiffs! In the process, we’ve learned a thing or two about each other. While resolving conflicts in a marriage is very personal to each couple, we want to share a few tips that have helped us in working through them.

The first is to identify exactly what the real problem is. She may think it’s one thing while he’s focused on something completely different.  Try to boil it down to its lowest common denominator and what basic need is really at issue. For example, while he may think she’s upset because he hasn’t fixed the bathroom faucet… YET… What she really may be communicating is, “I need to know that it’s important to you when something bothers me and if you’re able to do something about it, you will.”

And wives can misunderstand husbands too. While she may think he’s upset because she’s usually running late, it could be…well actually that one is true… I (Ron) am just upset because she’s usually running late! : ) The point is, first you simply need to take a step back and clearly identify the problem.  Ask God to help you see it as something separate from your relationship.  It’s an issue that you both, together, with God’s help, need to resolve.

Picture it this way… instead of the issue being in the middle and each of you coming at it from a different side (and hurting each other in the crossfire)… picture the issue on one side of the table and the two of you, together, facing it on the other side. You are removed from it so that your relationship is safe, and the issue you are dealing with together is “over there.”

It’s important to deal with one issue at a time. Don’t bring up last week’s issues and connect them to this conversation.  I know for me (Ann), sometimes my memories are like spaghetti… each one touching another one. As women, we need to commit that we will stick to the one issue on the table and deal with it alone.

Be sure to watch your tone of voice.  It’s tempting for one of you to adopt a parent-child posture in the conflict, making the other feel condescended to and disrespected. Also, watch out for “the battle mode.” You know when the temperature of the conversation starts heating up to an unhealthy point, so agree beforehand that if that happens you’re going to call a “time out” and “step away from the table” until things cool down.

Remember, the goal is to have a win-win for your relationship.  If there’s a winner AND a loser, that means you’ve both lost because of the damage done!  Part of that win-win needs to be an apology…which doesn’t mean someone has lost.  It means that “pride” has been taken out of the way, leading to a healing atmosphere.

A great way to wrap things up is to pray together and thank God, the great Healer, for helping you get safely to the other side of that conflict, for what you’ve learned about each other, and for actually strengthening your marriage in the process.

Those are just a few ideas you can use to successfully navigate your way through those inevitable times of conflict.

And remember… closer to God means closer to each other!

Until next time,

Ron & Ann 

Make It A Habit!

By Ron & Ann Mainse

 

 

We all know that good habits can help us feel better and live better…and that’s especially true in marriage!  Things we do consistently every day can be like a daily dose of vitamins for a marriage, just what the doctor ordered for a long and healthy relationship.

There are probably hundreds of little habits that can help to strengthen your marriage, like picking up your shoes or replacing the toilet paper roll, but let’s just focus on some of the biggies…

Saying “I love you” goes without saying (meaning, it’s a given that you should say it regularly).  But what about saying “thank you” (and meaning it!).  That may not seem like much, but when your spouse feels valued and appreciated on a regular basis, the groundwork is laid for deeper intimacy. 

I know it means a lot to me (Ann) when Ron thanks me for even the little things like doing the laundry and putting it away.  It means a lot that he noticed. How about complimenting your spouse in front of others (especially your kids). When you point out something that you appreciate about your spouse in front of other people, it not only builds their self-worth but encourages them to keep it up.

Also, stay in touch during the day.  One of the quickest ways to lose intimacy in a marriage is to stop communicating.  These days it’s so easy for us to stay in touch with our spouse.  Text each other… often!  Send “one line” insights into what’s going on in your day.  Find an emoji that has a special meaning for the two of you and text it to her for no reason. We have friends who went on a cruise for their honeymoon, so sometimes, when life gets stressful he’ll text her an emoji of a cruise ship, and that brings back lots of good memories. 

Another great habit is kissing – and we’re not just talking about a “quick peck”.  Marriage researcher, John Gottman, recommends a 6-second kiss every day, or as Gottman calls it, “a kiss with potential.”  Sure, life gets busy but isn’t it time for us to take the kissing experience from the parking teenagers and put it back into its rightful place as an official symbol of marriage!

Here’s one that you were probably pretty good at early on but may need a little reminder – flirt with your spouse!  I think Hollywood has pretty much drained all of the romance out of marriage and given it to the singles (what’s up with that!).  But when you’ve been married for awhile, you know each other pretty well and you know the things that make her blush.  Use them…often…and just see where that leads!

And the best habit any couple can form is to pray together.  Research shows that couples who pray together have only a 1 in 10,000 divorce rate!  As you get into the habit of beginning your day humbled before God, you’ll be amazed to see how much more focused, calm, content and loveable you are!

So to recap these good marriage habits… say thank you, give public compliments, keep talking, keep kissing, keep flirting…and pray together! 

And remember… closer to God… means closer to each other.

Ron & Ann 

ARE YOU LISTENING?

By Ron & Ann Mainse

 

It’s been said that the first duty of love is to listen.  For many who struggle in marriage, communication is one of the first things to break down.

As we know, listening is a big part of communication.  But sometimes, especially after a conflict, the “silent treatment” kicks in and each of you is left guessing what the other one is thinking.  As a result, your feelings get bottled up and the pressure on the cork increases.  Taking the time to calmly talk – and carefully listen – goes a long way in releasing that pressure and demonstrating that you place a high priority on your marriage.

Professor of Marriage Counseling, Dr. David Augsburger, said, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”  That’s a pretty remarkable statement… and begs the question, “How can I be a better listener?”

For me (Ron), I have to make sure I’m giving focused attention.  To be honest, this is something I’ve struggled with.  Ann lovingly calls me a “multi-tasker wannabe.”  It’s hard for me to focus on more than one thing at a time.  So while she starts talking it’s easy for me to slip into “nodding my head mode” while my mind is a million miles away.  You guys know what I’m talking about!  And Ann usually doesn’t realize what I’m doing until I ask her a question about something she just said (and you can probably imagine her reaction to that!).

Consequently, I (Ann) have discovered that chattering along mindlessly, confident that he’s hanging on every word, simply doesn’t work.  Because he’s not.  And that’s ok.  As I’m talking, I’ve learned to tune into him, make sure he’s engaged in the conversation, and quite often gently ask him, “Are you listening?”  That one question usually jars him back to the present, and then I know he’s truly engaged in what I’m saying.

But if we’re totally honest with ourselves, we all have the ability to tune out.   Like having a radio on in the background, we can hear voices but don’t really listen.  At times like that, we have a choice to make.  Because your spouse gives off the most important frequency around you, you need to choose to tune in!

Giving focused attention to your spouse is only one of many important lessons we’ve learned on this intricate dance called marriage.

Until next time, remember… closer to God means closer to each other.

With you in discovering marriage as God intended,

Ron & Ann

P.S. We’d love to hear some of YOUR communication tips or comments on this blog!  Click on the "COMMENT" button below.

The Real Enemy

The REAL enemy
By Ron & Ann Mainse

Over the years Hollywood has done its best to portray the life of a married couple – the ups, the downs, the fights and the making up.  With a couple of notable exceptions, most of the time Hollywood has gotten it all wrong.  The movie, War of the Roses, wasn’t really about Mr. and Mrs. Rose and Sleeping with the Enemy actually had little to do with who’s lying next to you.
 
Oh, every marriage has an enemy, make no mistake about it.  It just might not be the enemy you imagine.  Your enemy is NOT your spouse!  This enemy has plans to destroy everything beautiful in your marriage, and he will do that by whatever means it takes.  Some of his ways are subtle, while others are in-your-face bold.  But no matter how you slice it, his end goal is the death of your marriage. 
 
Jesus said in John 10:10 that the “thief,” your enemy, Satan, wants to “steal, kill and destroy” your life… and that includes your marriage.  He will stop at nothing to make that happen.  But the good news is that we can see what he’s up to and we are not powerless against him.  Jesus finished that sentence about the thief with these words… “But I have come that you might have a full and abundant life.” We need to tap into God’s power available through Jesus!
 
In fact, if we really think about it, we can identify some of the strategies that are like wedges the enemy drives into marriages to split them apart.  One of his favourite wedges is the lie: “There’s no hope for us.”  Once you give into the “hopeless” mindset, your enemy is going to feed it… and taunt you with it… and bring people into your life that will reinforce it… and before you know it, it’s no longer just a lie you believe but a death sentence to your marriage.  You each need people in your lives who are in favour of your marriage.  Don’t believe the “hopeless” lie.  If there is breath in your body and God in your life,there IS hope!
 
Another wedge the enemy uses is “busyness.”  It’s been said that good is the enemy of the best.  Work is good.  Taking care of the kids is good.  Connecting with friends is good.  But doing any of that at the expense of your marriage is BAD.
 
Re-evaluate your priorities:  1. God.  2. Spouse.  3. Kids.  You may have to re-visit them every day until it sinks in.  And then do it again.  The enemy of your marriage knows that we tend to gravitate to those things that take the least from us and give the most to us.  The easiest, most self-fulfilling option is always the most tempting, and maintaining proper priorities takes work. Don’t let your enemy pull you away from the most important things in life.  Your marriage is worth it!
 
Finally, there are so many more wedges we could mention like selfishness, secrets, anger, criticism, pornography, neglect… and the list goes on.  You know the wedges that the enemy might be driving, right now, into your relationship.
 
Remember, you are NOT helpless. When you’ve done heart business with God and received Him into your life, you have access to all the power you need to defeat the enemy and render him powerless against what God is building in the two of you.
 
Grow in God… spend time with Him in prayer… read His word… have the support of a church family… talk to a trusted friend who knows the power of God.   With God’s help, be the first one in your marriage to take steps to push out those wedges.  As you do, you will begin to discover marriage as God intended.
 
Remember, closer to God… means closer to each other.
 
 

HAVE FUN!

February-Newsletter-Image-Heart-to-Heart-Ron-and-Ann-Mainse

HAVE FUN!

By Ron & Ann Mainse

We all know that marriage has its challenges and usually having fun is not even on our radar.   During this Valentine’s month we thought it would be a good idea to remind you of the importance of having fun in your marriage.

Did you know that the average child laughs about 300 times a day and the average adult laughs only 15 times a day?  We need to get the fun back!  In his book, “Blueprints for a Solid Marriage,” author Dr. Steve Stephens writes, “Couples who know how to play and have fun together develop a bonding that can carry them through the most difficult of times.”  So “having fun” is VERY good for your marriage!

When you think back to your dating time, “fun” was a huge part of your time together. You were always thinking of ideas of how to have fun.  When we were in university in the states we used to go roller skating (or in Ron’s case, roller-dancing ... ya, he was stylin'!)   :-). 

But the years go by and with the daily grind of life, that creativity often flies out the window…and stresses from finances, work and kids fly right in!  The question of “what can we do for fun?” gets replaced by “how can we just get through another day?” 

We’ve ALL been there!  So now it’s time to do something about it, and we want to help you do just that. So here are a few ideas…

  • First of all, you have to make time for fun.  A date night once a week is a great place to start.  Put it in your calendars – and even set up fun alerts as reminders of this “very important” appointment!
  • Take turns planning the night and get creative!  Dinner and a movie are nice but can get expensive.  How about buying a carton of your favourite gourmet ice cream (you know, the kind you don’t have to share with the kids!) and find a favourite movie on Netflix… or light some candles and watch your wedding video.
  • What about dusting off your favourite card game or board game… or learn a new one!  And don’t be afraid to “personalize” the rules!  The winner gets BLANK… and YOU fill in the blank! (And you know what… those blanks can be fun too!) 
  • A few more ideas… dance in the living room… play hide-and-seek… Or… go sledding or hiking… or go out for a coffee and plan your ideal dream vacation.
  • And don’t forget your friends!  Sometimes a double-date with another couple helps to rekindle the fun side you thought you’d lost.

Whatever you do, remember that the idea is to have fun!  So, do something today to play your way to a healthier marriage!

And always remember… closer to God means closer to each other.

~ Ron & Ann 

December Newsletter

December-Newsletter-Image

Merry Christmas from Heart to Heart Marriage & Family Ministries

As you enjoy this Christmas season, I trust that God will give you a joyous time celebrating our Saviour’s birth with your family and friends. Your interest in Heart to Heart Marriage & Family Ministries is so appreciated!

The need is great for this marriage ministry in Canada, as 41% of marriages end in divorce before reaching their 30th anniversary. The emotional pain caused by a marriage break up also has a devastating ripple effect on the children.

At Heart to Heart, our vision is to see every marriage become a loving union that creates a safe family haven, building a legacy of hope for future generations. The good news is that every marriage has a 100% chance of success when done God’s way! So our mission is to establish, enhance and equip strong marriage and family relationships by sharing life-changing Biblical truths in creative and engaging ways using a variety of events and media.
 
As we seek to highlight marriage as God intended, one of our priorities is to bring awareness to the spiritual battles that are taking place in every home. The simple truth is that every marriage is under attack. As Jesus tells us in John 10:10, the “thief” is out to “steal, kill, and destroy,” and this includes our marriages. In ministering to couples, we feel compelled to identify who the REAL enemy is (not our spouse!), where the REAL battlefield is (our minds), and expose Satan’s subtle schemes to ruin relationships! Also, we have the privilege of sharing the hope of Jesus, who concluded that same verse with, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (New Living Translation).
 
Would you consider a monthly donation to strengthen the Heart to Heart ministry? Your support enables our Heart to Heart team to be “marriage missionaries,” bringing hope into a mission field where there is such a great need with so many hurting couples. We are excited about greatly expanding our impact in 2017, but we can’t do it without your help.
 
You can make a monthly or single donation on our website by clicking “Donate Now" at the bottom of each page. If you prefer to mail a cheque, you can mail it to Heart to Heart Marriage and Family Ministries, Box 5100, Burlington, Ontario, L7R 4M2.
 
Thank you for being a big encouragement to Ann and me as we follow the Lord’s calling on our lives in marriage ministry.
 
Have a Merry Christmas!
 
With you in discovering marriage as God intended,

Rev. Ron Mainse
President, Heart to Heart Marriage & Family Ministries
www.h2hliving.ca
ron@h2hliving.ca
 
P.S. If you or someone you know would like to receive personal marriage coaching, our team members, David & Wende Butcher, would be happy to schedule an appointment with you. They are Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coaches and do a tremendous job of helping couples walk through difficult relationship issues. You can call (905) 592-1605 or email wende@h2hliving.ca.

P.P.S. Plan now to join Ann and me to cap off your Valentine’s Week with LOVE & LAUGHTER…a special couple’s event featuring comedian Leland Klassen and recording artist Dan Macaulay. It’ll be a fun night out, including gourmet desserts and a silent auction in support of Heart to Heart Marriage & Family Ministries. Mark your calendar now for February 18, 2017, at the Crossroads Centre in Burlington, Ontario. Order your tickets today at h2hliving.ca.

September Newsletter

Dear Friend of Heart to Heart,

Fall is in the air and we are so excited about what’s on the horizon at Heart to Heart Marriage and Family Ministries! 

This year so far we’ve had a number of opportunities to bless marriages and families and the calendar is filling up fast for the future. We are particularly excited about an event Ann and I are hosting at the Crossroads Centre on October 22nd. It’s an all-day Saturday seminar series called Heart to Heart Day Apart: Your Marriage as God Intended

Twentieth century author and evangelist Vance Havner once said, “If you don’t come apart, you will come apart!” These words are based on Mark 6:31, where Jesus said, “Let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” The King James Version uses the words “Come apart...” The idea is to get away from the everyday grind and focus on what’s most important in life. And that’s exactly what we plan to do!

At our “Heart to Heart Day Apart” event, Ann and I will be ministering, along with Dr. Grant and Kathy Mullen. Dr. Mullen is the author of Emotionally Free and has often been a guest on 100 Huntley Street to share on vital topics like depression, anxiety and mood swings. Ann and I will share on “The Heart of Marriage” and Grant and Kathy will tackle key issues affecting marriages, such as our emotional health, moods, and forgiveness.

This is sure to be an eye-opening day and we hope to see you there…and please share this event opportunity with your friends and family! The registration fee of $89 per couple covers the entire day, including handouts, lunch and refreshment breaks. Perhaps you might consider covering the registration for a couple whom you know could really use this kind of day apart. What a huge blessing that would be for them! (to register, click HERE)

Please remember to pray for Ann and me, and our team members, David & Wende Butcher. In addition to prayer, please also consider supporting us financially. Your gift would be so appreciated and will enable us to fulfill our vision…to see every marriage become a loving union that creates a safe family haven, building a legacy of hope for future generations. Donations can be made online HERE. God bless you!

With you in discovering marriage as God intended,

Ron Mainse
President
Heart to Heart Marriage & Family Ministries