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Always Tell

Recently I picked my 6th grade son up from school. As we talked about the day he told me one of the kids in his class said he wanted to kill himself. Both my motherly and my therapist instincts kicked in. I asked a few questions and we turned the car around to go back to the school. As we readied ourselves to go inside and speak with the Principal my son asked if he had to tell. “Yes,” I replied. He said, “What if he didn’t mean it?” I asked him, “Do you think he was serious?” My son thought for a moment and said, “Yes. I’m not 100% sure, but he sounded serious. You’re right. I have to tell.” Oh, how hard it is for a 6th grader to tell what he/she heard from another student! They think, “Will the other person be mad? What if they didn’t mean it?” Middle school is a formative social time. The social pressures are high. Telling can seem like the hardest thing in the world! In this day and age we are trained to report a threats agains others. See a suspicious bag? Report it. Someone say they want to do something violent at school? Report it. But do we train our kids to report when someone says they want to die? Or when a friend lifts a sleeve to reveal cutting or other self injuries? Maybe it gets a passing nod, but often it gets slipped under the rug. It’s an uncomfortable conversation. What if the kid is just emoting and being brash? What if the kid doesn’t mean it?...

Dual Parenting & the Role of Humility

Around 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. It’s a statistic we all know really well, but there is an aspect of this statistic people don’t often consider. Often there are children involved. There also are many couples who have never married and have children before going their separate ways. When kids are involved and the relationship ends, families are tossed into the pool of learning how to parent in a whole new way. Unfortunately, couples who couldn’t see eye to eye in a relationship often don’t see eye to eye in parenting. So what is a parent to do? How does one parent survive the other parent’s vastly different parenting style or ideals? The answer is found in humility. Humility is a churchy word to some, but what it really means is setting aside your agenda for the good of someone else.In this case, it’s the good of your children. Humility is not weakness. It takes a ton of bravery to be humble. Whether you like them or not, your ex is still your child’s parent. Your kids should never, ever have to choose between the two of you. Ever. In the middle, being made to choose allegiance, is a horrific place to put a kid. The kid didn’t cause the relationship to end. It’s already hard enough for kids to go between houses with different rules. Don’t make it harder for them by asking them – overtly or covertly – to choose between you. Here is what humility looks like practically. Do not ever, under any circumstances, talk poorly about the other parent. I know this is easier said...

How to Ask for What You Need

We all have needs. It’s part of being alive and human. We often hope our partners, friends, or family will somehow notice a particular need and meet it without being asked. Unfortunately, that is not a realistic expectation and sometimes we need to ask for our needs to be met. So how does one do that? Below are some simple steps to help you ask for what you need.   Admit you have needs. This seems to go without saying, but so many of us function like we don’t actually have needs. We think, “I’ll just take care of it” or “I don’t want to put anyone out” or “I don’t want to be a burden.” While need is a four-letter word, it’s not that kind of four-letter word. It’s okay to have needs. It means you’re actually human. Admit you can’t meet the need yourself. In the west we’re a very self-sufficient society. We believe we can handle stuff on our own. However, that simply isn’t how we were designed to function. We were designed for community – which means we need other people. If I’m having a horrible day I need one of my girlfriends or my partner to tell me it’s going to be okay and remind me that I’m deeply loved. Sometimes I need practical help, like someone to offer to watch my kid while I run an errand. Admitting I need help allows people to step into my areas of need and meet them. State exactly what you need to those in your life that can help you meet it. This is especially true...

The Best Foreplay Ever

There is no doubt about it. Sex is an important topic, especially for intimate relationships! Typically one partner likes sex more frequently than the other. So the question is – what is the best foreplay to get both parties, regardless of sexual drive, in the mood for some lovin’? Our bodies are designed to have pleasurable reactions to certain touch and stimulation. It feels good! Some couples, though, have trouble getting interested enough to get to that point. Physical touch is only part of the equation for a healthy sexual relationship. Foreplay actually starts well before the physical aspects. I love John Gottman’s definition – “Foreplay is everything positive you do in a relationship.” No one wants to have sex with someone they don’t like. You may do it from time to time out of a sense of duty, but it won’t be the intimate coming together of souls sexual intercourse is designed to be. Will duty sex feel good? Probably. But physically feeling good isn’t enough to sustain a relationship for a lifetime. I think riding a roller coaster feels good, but I don’t want to be in relationship with it the rest of my life. They key to the best foreplay ever is to be great friends first. Couples who are great friends are able to connect better with all levels of intimacy – both emotional and physical. Here are a couple tips to deepen (or even develop) your friendship, which is the best foreplay ever. Catch your partner doing good. This is something we do as parents with our kids all the time, but something we forget to do...

Tips for Navigating the Holidays with an Eating Disorder

Facing and overcoming an eating disorder is tough no matter what time of year it is. This time of year, however, can seem especially overwhelming because there is food everywhere. People bring in cookies, cakes, and lunches of all sorts to our offices. We have parties and church events, and family dinners to think about. It can seem like we are being haunted by enemy number one for weeks on end. We do, however, have what it takes to be successful during the more challenging moments. Here are just a few ideas. Prioritize recovery. This is hard enough to do in a normal season, but it is what will get you through all the bumps no matter when they happen. Why are you in recovery? Take some time to reflect on that during this season. Recovery is worth it. It’s worth the hard work. Remind yourself of that. Often. Especially when you don’t feel like it. Acknowledge it’s tough. When you’re recovering from an eating disorder holidays where food is the focus can be really, really hard. This is a great time to engage your support group and share how you’re feeling. Is there a work party coming up and you’re anxious about what will be served and how you’ll do? Is there a family dinner and maybe your family is one, giant trigger? Tell those you’ve enlisted to help you. Asking for support is strong and courageous and will help you get through those tough moments. Stick to your meal plan. ED seems to yell the loudest when we try to stick to meeting our needs and not using...

Recommended Books

Here are some books I typically recommend.   For couples: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by John Gottman, Nan Silver (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1GMWEIc) Divorce Remedy: The Proven 7-Step Program for Saving Your Marriage, by Michele Weiner-Davis (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1Iv7x0E) Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, by Harville Hendrix (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1GLsSRd) The Sex-Starved Marriage: The Couple’s Guide to Understanding Mismatched Sexual Desire and Boosting Their Marriage Libido, by Michele Weiner-Davis (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1Ap5iVM) The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1GLt5nA) After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful, by Janis Abrahms Spring (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1EVrZrR) NOT “Just” Friends, by Shirley Glass (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1EzQjwh) How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To, by Janis Abrahms Spring (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1Je8U1O) Family First: Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family, by Dr. Phil McGraw (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1E1yliB) The Good Divorce, by Constance Ahrons (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1EVshPw) Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends, by Bruce Fischer and Robert Alberti (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1Ap6JDK)   For individuals: TrueFaced, by Bill Thrall and Bruce McNicol (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1GMXGUI) Classic Christianity, by Bob George (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1bJvofZ) Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1DOWf1G) Addictions: A Banquet In the Grave, by Edward T. Welch (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1DOWgmt) The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse, by Dan Allender (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1GLu6fr) Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction, by Mark Laaser (buy it here – http://amzn.to/1Ap7Gf7)  ...