responsibility

Your Body: Friend or Foe?

Your body can be a touchy subject (no pun intended). Is your body friend or foe to you? Many if…

How Your Mood Affects Your Spouse

The honeymoon is over. You’ve settled into the routine of life. Small irritations and disappointments seem all too common. Life,…
Spouse is Negative

When Your Spouse is Negative

Keeping a positive outlook on life brings many benefits – both to your own experience and to your marriage. But…
Digital Diet Causing Anxiety

Is your Digital Diet Causing Anxiety?

Feeling overwhelmed with life. Distracted without a sense of purpose. Overstressed and overanxious. Lonely, without close relationships. Unable to focus,…
reconnect with your spouse

How to Reconnect with Your Spouse

You are feeling seriously disconnected from your spouse, and it’s just plain awful. You’ve determined you will no longer ignore,…
creating a new marriage

Creating a New Marriage

Every marriage experiences mess-ups. It’s easy to get caught up in shame, blame, and misery. But taking the necessary steps…
All Belongs to God

It All Belongs to God Anyway

God’s in charge, right? Then why do bad things happen? We can’t fix things ourselves! But God has given humankind…
Husband frustrated that wife doesn't want sex

What To Do When Your Wife Doesn’t Want To Have Sex With You

I’ve heard from husbands of my patients, blog readers, radio listeners, and others about how frustrated and even angry a man can become when repeatedly rejected sexually.
Rather than feeling sorry for yourself, or looking outside your marriage for satisfaction, here are five questions to consider, and some practical things you may do, that have a good chance of improving the sexual connection in your marriage.

submission in Christian marriage

Submission in Christian Marriage

Hear the words “submission” and “marriage” in the same sentence and you may feel something visceral rise up in your…
Mother and daughter doing pushups

Love is not Wimpy

Say love and chances are your immediate mental picture is soft, squishy, and colored in pastels. If you’re over 40…
Man praying

God Doesn’t Always Fix You

By that I mean, God doesn’t always fix you in some magical single moment. In the ultimate sense God always…
Child with Bible

Positive Thinking and the Bible

Is it magic? Is it “mind over matter?” Does faith mean white-knuckling it with positive thoughts and affirmations? What do you…
Wood fence

The Blessing of Limitations

We love stories of people who overcame limitations. There’s Harriet Tubman – escaped slavery as a young woman, then became…

Women In Charge!

Women have a difficult time in this world. We always have. It’s not that men always have it easy, but…
Doing the next right thing

Doing the Next Right Thing

You’ve probably heard the adage, “Just do the next right thing.” In the midst of confusion or overwhelm, it’s a…

Christians, Christianity and War

“Christianity and war” seems like an oxymoron. But unless you’ve been in the jungle with no means of communication with…

4 Keys to Good Mental Health

Struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or the like? Would you like to have good mental health? There’s more you can…

When You Feel Like a Failure

Let’s just admit it. We’re not perfect, and we know it. But sometimes the not-perfect-ness gets really old. Your head…
Studying Bible

God Help Me! I’m Broke!

Bring up the topic of money, and everyone has an opinion. The government should do more – or is doing…
Woman alone

For the Christian in a Bad Marriage

There’s plenty of marriage advice out there: pre-marital counseling, marriage seminars, sermons and books proclaiming the magic of a marriage…

Anxiety can be Good for You

Anxiety is a very unpleasant feeling. Your heart may race. Your stomach may be in knots. You may have trouble…

How Shall We Then Live?

Yesterday we celebrated Easter in remembrance of when Jesus rose from the dead, never to die again. The historical evidence…

How to Study Your Spouse

One of the two best pieces of advice I heard prior to getting married was this: Study Your Spouse! I…

When Love Goes to War

What have you done in the name of love? Stayed up all night nursing a sick child – over and…

Getting Over A Bad Attitude

A bad attitude isn’t all in your head. Sometimes it’s very much in your body as well. A bad attitude…

What the Bible Says About Health

I often see honest Christian people who are not at all healthy. Sometimes they become frustrated and discouraged, even wondering…

The Gospel Is Not For Wimps!

Sometimes we think the message of the Gospel offers good people a way to become better, get over their hangups…
Quiet and listening

What To Do When You Want To Hear From God

I need God to speak to me. But I’m not hearing anything from Him at all!”
Have you said anything like that? Those of us who care at all about our relationship with God would love to have a way to know exactly what God was saying. But too often it seems like a game of, “Can you hear me now?”

Free From the Gold, the Girls, and the Glory

With painful regularity yet another preacher gets caught in a scandal. Donated funds have been diverted to personal use. An inappropriate sexual relationship is discovered. The “ministry” has become focused on someone’s personality rather than God’s work.
One more of God’s servants has fallen to the lure of the gold, the girls, or the glory.

Happy couple

5 Ways To Keep Your Husband Stuck To You Like Glue

“Nothing you can say, Can tear me away, From my guy. Nothing you could do, ‘Cause I’m stuck like glue, To my guy.”
Thank you, Smokey Robinson! Even though it’s been 50 years, you expressed what many women would love to be able to say today.
It’s one thing to be stuck to him. But it’s another thing entirely when he’s stuck to you more like a Post-it note instead of glue. Something, or more likely someone, comes along that feels a little stickier, and he sticks there instead.

The Message Of Your Life (Or, Why Nobody Likes To Eat With Me)

It’s almost become a joke: nobody likes to eat with Dr Carol! Almost without fail, when eating around me people comment about how they should be eating healthier, and try to convince me how they really are trying. I don’t breathe a word about healthy eating when we’re in public. I order what I want, right off the menu. And I don’t think they really believe him when Al tells them (truthfully!) that he’s lost all his weight without dieting once, or missing a meal.

In Charge

10 Things God Has Put You In Charge Of

Try to take charge of what is in God’s hands, and you will become frustrated and anxious. Neglect to take charge of things God has placed in YOUR hands, and you will become depressed.
I’ve gotten confused over the difference many times, and perhaps you have too. Understanding the difference can change everything about your happiness, peace, and success in this world, and more.

What You Should Learn From A Bad Day

Bad days will come. You have them, and so do I.
I’ve had a couple bad days recently. And I’ve come to realize that having a bad day can be very useful. Through the experience of having many bad days (who hasn’t?), I’ve come to understand that there are many things to be learned. And some of those things really cannot be learned on a good day.

Wealth or Poverty Is A State of Mind

Wealth, generosity, and poverty are not concepts primarily defined by your bank account, adjusted gross income, or zip code.
Wealth, generosity, and poverty are defined by your state of mind.
Are you a giver or a taker? That question is the best way to determine your state of mind when it comes to wealth or poverty.

When to NOT Discuss Things With Your Spouse

You are supposed to communicate together as husband and wife. And that’s a good thing. But there is a difference between communicating and dumping.
However, some women (and a few men) use the principle of communication to unload on their spouse. That may place a burden on your spouse that is not their place to carry.
Communication lets your spouse see and touch the difficult things in your heart. Dumping tries to force your spouse to carry what is yours to own.

Why It Matters Who Is In Charge Of Your Life

“Who’s in charge around here?” That’s a very good question. For any endeavor to succeed, someone must take responsibility.
If your life is a project, or an expedition, or a book, who’s in charge? If you are playing a part in some great drama, who’s directing? It makes a difference.
There are three basic choices when it comes to who’s in charge:

The Exhilarating Freedom NOT To Care

Have you ever come to the point where you don’t care? It’s one of the most powerful places you can be. And it’s exhilarating!
This is about getting rid of the chains that your own fears create in business, personal relationships, and even your spiritual life.
It’s possible to care too much. Becoming too invested in the outcome puts you in a very vulnerable position, clouds your perspective, and removes all your negotiating power.

6 Things That Wear You Out That You Can Stop Doing

If you spend your time and energy trying to do something you can’t do, you’ll only experience frustration, fatigue, and failure. How much better to understand where you can make a difference, and where your efforts are useless. Then you can spend your valuable time and energy in the right place.
Here are six things you might as well stop doing. All your time and effort will just be wasted:

25 Small Things That Make A Difference

Small changes in direction may make a huge difference in your destination. You know that. But it’s easy to fall into a routine and end up some place you would rather not be.
So many areas in life follow this principle. Here are some things where very small actions may make a huge difference down the road:

Managing Your Mental Health

The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that at least one in four adults suffers from a diagnosable mental illness during any given year. Sure, there’s controversy over whether the one-in-four number represents an over-diagnosis. But what is absolutely certain is the pain and loneliness many of those affected struggle with.
There are a number of things you can do on your own to maximize your mental health. You don’t have to accept emotional or mental problems as your destiny. Here are recommendations that will make a difference in managing your own mental health:

Disappointed

When You Are Disappointed in Your Marriage

You expect certain things of your spouse. But sometimes you want more. You believe your spouse loves you, but it’s not enough. You crave something you’re not getting. You want adventure, intimacy, emotional connection, time, trust, help around the house, more money, children, support, more sex – something more.
The only way to keep “wanting more” from coming between you and your spouse is to address the problem head on. If you feel you want more than you are getting from your spouse, here are the steps you can take:

Why You Should Care About Your Health If You’re A Christian

Some Christians have been criticized for not caring enough about their health in the here-and-now. You know, being “so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.” It seems Christians on the whole do not have a very good track record for being healthy.
While not the deciding factor in your eternal salvation, doing all you can to maximize your health leads to increased effectiveness in what God has given you to do, allows you to hear God’s voice better, helps you experience God’s restoration now, and more.

10 Things To Look For In Your Friends

The people you align yourself with will determine your future, good or bad.
It’s important who your friends are. You become increasingly like the people you hang out with. Your attitudes, behaviors, and values naturally move closer to those of the people around you. It’s possible to know much about your future by looking at your friends.

How Do You Handle Stress?

In preparation for being part of a group I hope to work with, I underwent a behavioral interview this week. A behavioral interview focuses on such things as how you deal with people, how you handle situations you dislike, what excites and energizes you, and how you handle stress.
How DO you handle stress?
There are many different ways of handling stress. Here are a few:

What Two Little Girls Running to School Can Teach About Spirituality

Two little girls were walking to school. It was a beautiful spring morning, and they took some time to enjoy the flowers and the fresh air.
Suddenly they realized that they had taken so long enjoying the flowers that they were going to be late for school. Soon the bell would ring, and they’d be marked tardy. Not wanting to get in trouble, the first little girl said to her friend, “Let’s kneel down right here and pray.”

5 Actions to Take With Almost Any Problem

If it wasn’t one thing it was another. The very professional woman broke down in tears, hoping for some help from me as her doctor.
I explained to Linda how inter-connected a women is in her body, mind, and soul. And we talked through these action steps that I’ll share with you. When faced with almost any problem, here’s what to do.

birth control pills

Should I Use Birth Control? A Christian Doctor’s Answer

When I think of contraception, a number of images come to mind. Talking about contraception is often an emotionally charged issue. The debate really has nothing to do with birth control. The debate has to do with sex.
If you’ve read this far, you want to know how I deal with these issues, and what I tell patients. As a Christian, as a gynecologist, as a minister, what’s the RIGHT thing to do?

Body

Women and Hormones: No Excuse!

A woman is beautiful, complicated, fascinating, strong, and loving. Much of a woman’s fascinating, complicated nature comes down to a woman and her hormones.
As a gynecologist, I see women at some of the most intimate and challenging times of their lives. And I’m honored to help. I’ve also seen some women use their hormones as an excuse for bad behavior.
Here are a few suggestions I make to women struggling with their hormones, and the men who love them:

2 Lessons to Guarantee You Will Have a Positive Impact

Part of you really wants to make a difference. You want your life to count for something. But how do you do that? In the middle of a busy life it can seem like most of what you do is fruitless.
So here are the two lessons that will guarantee you will have a positive impact on those who come after you:

7 Things I Would Say To You As My Patient

You’re tired, you don’t feel well, and you want some help. You come to see me in my office, hoping I will have an answer.
How I wish I could fulfill your hopes! I wish I could fix you. That would make your life, and mine, so much easier. Most of the time it’s a matter of you and me figuring things out together. Here are a few things I’d like to tell you:

Why Miracles Don’t Happen In a Day

God can do amazing things. He just might step in and part the Red Sea for you. I’ve seen God do it. And it can be exhilarating! But what if it doesn’t? What if you wait – and wait, and wait?
It may well have taken a long time to get where you are now. And it may well take time to make things different.

Baby and father alseep

Sleep – Good for Your Body, Mind, and Soul

I’ve never especially liked going to bed. There’s so much to do.
We all know that our human bodies need sleep and rest. But that’s not all. Your mind, emotions, ability to handle stress, and how you relate to your children, spouse, God, and others are all affected.

How to Make Your Doctor Happy

One of the most common question I hear from most patients is, “Does my insurance cover this?” But why should some group of number crunchers on the other side of the country decide what happens between me and the woman sitting in front of me? It’s just wrong!
It’s a very different experience for me and my patient when there is no middle-man.

Do’s and Don’ts for Husbands on Making God First

I don’t presume to understand all the ways God works in your male hearts.
But I do know some of the things women feel when men use spirituality to crush them, ignore them, control them, or put them down. Your wife is a treasure from God. If you want your own prayers to be answered, treat her with the same loving care with which Christ loved – and loves – the church.
A few do’s and don’ts to put things in perspective:

Growing Up Without Regrets

Growing up has never been easy. But in today’s culture young people have more challenges to face than ever before, especially in the area of sexuality. The basic issues may be no different, but the speed of life and the multiple pressures teens face make the risks even greater.
A few sobering statistics:

things to be angry about

5 Things to be Angry About

It’s good to be angry! If you are not angry at intolerable evil, you will never have the motivation to do something about it. It’s good to be angry! If you are not angry at intolerable evil, you will never have the motivation to do something about it.
Here are some things I hope each of us is angry about:

7 Benefits of Healthy Living Beyond Being Healthy

For many people, lessening the risk of disease or living longer is a rather boring, un-spectacular motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Understanding more of the “other” benefits of healthy living can help us find more of the motivation necessary to actually make those healthy lifestyle choices. Here are some of those benefits.

Who is Your Role Model?

Suppose you had to choose a role model among contemporary Christians. Who would it be?
Take “Christian” completely out of the equation for a moment. Who would you choose to be your role model?
Now what is it you admire about these potential role models? We have too often equated being weak with being godly. And nothing could be farther from the truth!

What Your Lifestyle Can – and Can’t – Accomplish

Going to extremes is only human, but it’s not healthy. Many people have a difficult time finding a healthy balance in lifestyle choices.
On one extreme are those who throw caution to the wind. On the other extreme are those who wouldn’t eat a piece of bacon or a candy bar if they were starving. And then there are those who jump between those two extremes – with no better results.

The Journey From Being Squeezed to Thriving

We don’t like being squeezed! Just the thought of it is uncomfortable.
When some people get squeezed they become bitter, angry, and isolated. And other people take those times of being squeezed and leverage them into an opportunity for growth. What makes the difference?
Here are some critical steps that can take you from being squeezed to thriving on the other side.

What Do You Want?

It’s one of the first questions I ask a patient who comes to see me: “What do you want us to accomplish together?” So much frustration, misunderstanding, disappointment, and upset feelings can be avoided by getting this clear up front.
Clarifying what you want dramatically increases your chance of getting it. Even Jesus followed this when talking with people.

Asking Your Input: What Changes You?

Change is fascinating. The basic message of the gospel is one of change.
I’d like to know from your own experience what changes you. Perhaps your comment will be helpful to someone else.

5 Things I Know For Sure

Some days are definitely better than others. When things are frustrating, painful, difficult, or confusing, it helps to have some things settled – those things you know for sure.
Here are a few things I have settled for good, things I know for sure:

People talking

5 Thoughts Before You Speak Harshly

Words can hurt! It takes real emotional and spiritual maturity to pause before speaking, and to consistently use our words for good and not for ill.
Thoughts affect words. The thoughts you think when your spouse frustrates you can dramatically affect what comes out of your mouth. Here are some questions to think about in that moment before speaking harshly.

The Ethics of a Christian Doctor

As an OB-Gyn physician I come face-to-face with the ethical edges of medical care perhaps more often than most.
Here are some principles I take seriously, and use when faced with challenging ethical decisions.

What God Will NOT Do For You

There are a few things God will not do for you. We human beings sometimes presume on God’s grace and think that will excuse our bad behavior.
So don’t be angry with God when you experience some “natural consequences.” Do seek God for His grace in changing your character.

Hands reaching

An Entitlement Mentality in Church

Our Western culture has incorporated an entitlement mentality into much of our lifestyle. I want to talk about how this entitlement mentality displays itself in the Christian community.
The entitlement mentality can show up in church when we feel “It’s all about me!”

The Gift of Your Transformation

There is real joy in giving. When someone we care about is in trouble it’s natural to want to help.
But your own transformation is the most powerful gift you can give to someone in trouble.

Space between you

The Space Between You and Your Spouse

When your relationship began you probably felt you couldn’t get close enough.
Then life happens. Things change. Something comes between you and your spouse. You start to wonder what ever drew you together in the first place. How did this happen?
Al (my husband) and I have made a commitment to keep the ground between us clean.

Being REAL or Being Helpful

Do I share my feelings completely? ALL the time? Will it hurt other people if I do? If I don’t, will keeping secrets hurt me – or them? If I know this, shouldn’t I share the information?
So how can you know if this is a “secret” you should keep or not? Maturity, wisdom, counsel, and prayer are all very necessary for some of these tough decisions.

5 Tips for Getting Past the Drama

Just coming through the holidays, you may have experienced some family drama – as a couple I saw in my office had just been through. These tips may help you keep your sanity in crazy-making situations.

Hands of trust

The Fragility of Trust

Trust takes a long time to build. And it can be lost in a moment.
Sitting in the airport not long ago, I couldn’t help overhearing one side of a phone conversation.
We were witnessing a young man in real torment.

Run – or Pray?

As a physician and a minister I see both extremes: I see those who live an unhealthy lifestyle become frustrated, angry, or depressed when they experience the physical or emotional consequences of those behaviors, but they often seem empty spiritually.
I sometimes see others who try to live a wholesome lifestyle – natural foods, exercise, manage their stress, etc.,

5 Steps to Staying Present

There’s more than one way to leave. And we do it all the time.
Whether it’s a job, parenting, church, or marriage, being present is a first step to anything good. You’ve got to show up! And that means showing up with more than your physical body.
Here are five steps to challenge that leaving, and stay present.

5 Laws You CANNOT Make

One would think that legislators couldn’t come up with any more laws regulating anything else. Until they do!
Everything we do, every activity we touch, has laws controlling it.
Those laws, rules, and regulations we’ve become accustomed to. But then we get to some laws that are truly pushing the edge of sanity.

Thanksgiving

When You Feel Anything but Grateful

Our world is messed up! And for that I’m NOT grateful. And you shouldn’t be either.
This week we will all see and hear everyone talking about what they are grateful for.
For some, the holiday season is only painful. Once in a while it helps to put our gratitude against the backdrop of what is truly dark in our world. Here’s a short list of a few things I’m NOT grateful for:

The Benefits of Anxiety

Anybody out there want to be anxious? Probably not.
Anxiety is a very unpleasant feeling. Your heart may race. Your stomach may be in knots. You may have trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating.
But there IS something very positive about anxiety. And that comes in the process of change.

7 Things to Do Intentionally Every Day

Do you remember learning the classic laws of thermodynamics, perhaps in seventh grade science class? The basic idea goes something like this: any system will seek equilibrium where the least amount of energy is expended.
Doing something on purpose makes the difference. So, for myself, here are some things I must do intentionally:

Doctor, Doctor: Your Family of Origin

You can’t choose your parents. Or your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. If your family of origin was reasonably healthy you probably don’t think much about how you choose to relate to them.
But not all families are so healthy. It seems some significant measure of dysfunction is the norm in most families. Where you come from affects you.

Married – and Lonely

My heart has been breaking. I’m sure it’s nothing new, but I’m hearing it a lot lately. Middle-aged and older women who are married – and desperately lonely.
As a gynecologist I’ve heard these sad comments from women I’ve seen just in the past couple weeks.
Don’t let that happen to you! Here are a few suggestions:

Things growing

5 Tips For Growing Up

Have you ever grown up in some significant way when everything was easy?
Probably not.
There’s the cliché that says, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” I don’t believe that’s always true. Sometimes trauma can stunt our growth: child abuse, rape, severe poverty, and others.
I DO know that the times when I’ve grown the most have definitely been some of the most difficult.

Dealing with Desire: Sex and Spirituality

“It” has been the vehicle for some of the best experiences human beings can have, and also some of the most traumatic and painful.
You’d think with all the downsides sex has brought, all the trauma, shame, guilt that so often have accompanied sex, that we’d shy away from it. But for the most part we keep going back for more.
If our desires are built in and divinely created, then it’s what we make the object of those desires and how we try to go about trying to get them met that can be at fault.
So what do we do with our desires? I offer these thoughts:

Doctor, Doctor: Are You Addicted?

Alcohol. 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.

Doctor, Doctor: Your Mental/Emotional Health

Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes I feel strong, and sometimes I feel very small. Sometimes I get anxious and upset. Sometimes I feel so happy I can’t imagine ever having a bad day ever again. Sometimes I feel like I could change the world, and sometimes I feel like nothing I do makes any difference.
Life has emotional content, and that’s a good thing. One of the best signs of psychological health is the ability to experience the whole range of human emotions.

It’s Not Their Fault: Taking Responsibility

The young man who drove me to the airport this afternoon was like a breath of fresh air. We shared a wonderful conversation about life, culture, the upcoming elections, and personal responsibility, and it made me think.
Arturo moved to this country from Mexico not that long ago, legally. He’s working very hard here – legally. He’s married, not yet with any children. “We’re planning to wait until we have a little more money before having children.” I’m already becoming impressed.

Olympic Rings

Faster, Higher, Stronger: Your Gold-Medal Run

The 2012 Olympic Games in London have just come to an end. For these two weeks every two years I spend more time watching sports on TV than probably the entire two years between them.
Names like Michael Phelps, Usian Bolt, Gabby Douglas, Missy Franklin, Oscar Pistorius, and others are now household words around the world. There’s something about the Olympic Games that draws us in.

Why is Health Care So Expensive?

The United States has the dubious distinction of spending more money on health care for every man, woman, and child than any other country in the world. Just check the graph at the right.
And yet we are far from being the healthiest.
Why is it so expensive? We want to be healthy, but our spending doesn’t seem to be getting us there. Some of the major factors driving costs are:

Did You Build Your Health?

President Obama stirred up some strong controversy last Friday when he stated in one of his speeches, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” While the politics of that statement have occupied a great deal of the airwaves over the past few days, I have a different take on this controversy. What about your health? Who is responsible for your health or the lack thereof?

HALT: Five Ways to Stay Filled Up

We human beings are needy. It seems like we are always leaking and in need of getting filled up.
Our souls need communication, intimacy, encouragement, challenge, hope, meaning, depth, joy, and love. And when we don’t experience these, we go looking.
And it’s in the LOOKING that we can get into trouble.

Declare Your Independence

Today we celebrate American Independence Day, the day our Founding Fathers declared their independence from the British Empire. And it…

I Can’t Change Your Life

Sometimes you hear someone say, “You changed my life!” Perhaps you’ve said it to someone yourself. But mostly that’s a…

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