All’s Fair in Love and War?

Helen of TroyThat cliche “All’s fair in love and war” brings up thoughts of intrigue and deception, giving the impression that no one can be trusted in such emotionally charged situations.

I’m not sure that’s a reasonable conclusion all the time, but it certainly too often rings true. Yes, we will do just about anything for love. (I don’t know as much about war, at least not in the “usual” sense.) I know some of the things I did “for love” when Al and I were getting to know each other. Pretty crazy when I think about it now.

If you had to think of a picture illustrating love, what would you choose?

  • A mother nurturing her baby?
  • A young man on one knee asking his lady for her hand?
  • Feelings of well-being while in your loved one’s embrace?
  • Jesus holding out his hand, saying, “I forgive you”?
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Step-Parenting for Adults

MemoriesParenting is forever. Sure, the details change through the years. And for the most part the load often gets lighter. But children are always on your heart. You will ALWAYS be a mom or a dad.

And the same goes for step-parenting. Some of those realities have become especially clear to me recently. I married late in life – I was 48. My husband had two adult sons with families of their own. I became a step-mother under perhaps the easiest of possible circumstances. And yet there was still a very real process of adjustment in becoming a family.

I had it easy. My husband was very clear about where I stood in his heart, and I never felt I had to compete with his boys for his affection. His sons and their wives welcomed me gladly into the family, and we never felt any resistance from them about our marriage. There have been no fights with an ex-spouse, no shuffling kids back and forth between two parents, or any of the other painful dramas many step-families must address.

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Wisdom to Know the Difference

Praying HandsSeptember is Recovery Month. That means something to millions of people who have been or are part of a 12-Step program of recovery from some type of addiction/dysfunction, or many related programs. If you’re one of them, it’s almost certain you know – and probably can recite – the Serenity Prayer:

“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Don’t we get into trouble when we neglect any of those three points? When we fight against those things we cannot change we only wear ourselves out. We become miserable to be around. We become frustrated, anxious, and often angry and bitter. Getting into a negative emotional rut is almost certain. And if you’re fighting an addiction, all that misery certainly sets one up for a relapse.

When we shrink from doing what is within our power to change we are no less miserable. Waiting for anyone, even God, to do for us what we CAN do for ourselves leaves us feeling hopeless and powerless, while becoming weaker all the time. You wonder why things seem to work out for everyone else but not for you. And again, if you’re fighting an addiction it’s a setup for a relapse.

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Doctor, Doctor: Are You Addicted?

PillsAlcohol. Drugs – legal and illegal. Tobacco. Those are the “usual suspects.”

But there are a whole lot more: food, pornography, sex, gambling, internet/tech use, exercise, and more.

Is addiction a physical problem? A mental health issue? A spiritual matter?

Yes, yes, and yes. It’s all those. And if you struggle with any addiction and you don’t address each one of these areas, you are very unlikely to experience any real healing or relief. As with most things, it’s a matter of body, mind, and soul.

A whole movement has come about convinced that addiction is a disease. Calling addiction a disease does emphasize some things that are true about any addiction.

Being addicted is not a matter of weakness.

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Five Daily Choices in your Relationship

Happy CoupleLet’s be honest – sometimes we just don’t feel like it. We don’t feel like being kind, or loving, or healthy, or spiritual, or much of anything else. Sometimes it feels easier to just snap! Or pout. Or go away somewhere.

Yes, there are times we all feel like binging on self-pity, or anger, or negativity. It may feel just as appealing as binging on potato chips or ice cream. And just as damaging!

There are a few basic things we each need to pay attention to in preserving our mental health and keeping our relationships strong. Most of us need enough sleep, reasonably good nutrition, and a measure of physical health. We need to be in relationship with other people who care about us and are supportive when we need them. We need mental stimulation, spiritual nurturing, and a growing relationship with God. The more of those factors are missing in our lives the more emotionally vulnerable we will be, and our relationships will most certainly suffer.

But even though we may feel like acting badly, we have a choice. And that is never truer than in our closest relationships.

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