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Enjoy Valentine’s Day—Avoid the Blues

© Fred R Lybrand, Author of Glaen


Jeremy visited a florist’s shop which showed a large sign that read, “Say It With Flowers.”  “Wrap up one rose, please,” Jeremy demanded of the florist’s assistant.  “Only one?” she enquired frowning.  “Ah yes just the one,” Jeremy replied.  “I’m a man of very few words.”

Market researchers deduced from their survey that eight million Americans send Valentine’s Day gifts to themselves.


Valentine’s Day is a day of amazing impact.  Almost everyone who plays up the day experiences the “Blues,” you know, feeling sad about a loss or failure.  Blues music grew up as a way to cope with the plight of such feelings and literally tries helping the Blues listener to “feel good about feeling bad.”  Unfortunately, nothing takes the Valentine’s Blues away except time and the hope that next year will be better.

So, what are the Valentine’s Blues and how can we avoid them?  The Valentine’s Blues come because of disappointment in one of two ways.

The first kind of blues comes when you don’t have a Valentine on Valentine’s Day.  It starts in early February, building up to the “big day”—hitting rock bottom on February 14.

No matter how you pitch it, it makes you feel left out and unloved on some level if everyone else is getting flowers, going out for the evening, or being treated special.  It stinks to feel left out.  No wonder eight million Americans send themselves a Valentine’s Day gift.  However, it doesn’t seem so bad on February 15th once the stores move on to Easter decorations.

The second kind of blues comes to those who celebrated Valentine’s in a big way, only to start clutching the disappointment the very next day (and the days to come) because it’s back to life as usual.  When it comes to love and romance, “usual” is not what we want.

The blues can be worse for the second group because they’re long-term.  We’ve all experienced it in some way or another: the excitement of Valentine’s Day, the romance, and the presents, similar to Christmas, but all about romantic love.

We humans like to feel special, and on that special day there is nothing more exciting than the build-up to the event—one incredible evening, just you and that one person.  The two of you in love and enraptured with all that special day could offer.

Fast forward to the next day or two.  How do you feel?  The next day you are smiling for a moment at the memory of a day when his/her attention was only on you.  But now, back to work, and a lurking feeling of sadness is peering over the fence at you.  Will it be a whole year before you have another night like that?

You try to be logical and sober-minded, telling yourself that it was a good memory to bask in, and yet you know deep down something is amiss.  Something is wrong.  Finally, you scream inside (and try quickly to forget it), “Why can’t we be in love all year-long?”

The Cure for the Valentine’s Blues

The blues you experience are invented, because the Day itself was invented.  It’s marketing, that’s all.  Yet, with Valentine’s Day there is something more—it is a day built on romance.  Oddly enough, romance often works counter to true love.

Consider what romance is in reality.  My friend Robert Fritz observed that, “Romance is the suspension of the norm.”  Think about it this way: romance is where we clean up (don’t smell like ourselves), dress up (don’t look like ourselves), and go somewhere special (and don’t act like ourselves)!  None of this is bad as long as you realize it is not real, that it is just a game.  Okay, it’s a fun game, but it is still just a game.  True love happens in the “norm.”  It happens in the real world of your daily experiences.

In reality, I don’t believe there is much “real” about romance as it is commonly pitched.  In truth, it damages both our dating relationships and our marriages to make romance itself the goal.  The romantic standards can get so high that we can’t appreciate the real things right in front of us.  Romance can be an equal opportunity destroyer—harmful for both men and women.

I’ve known men whose romantic standards were so high they would never go out on dates, or they wouldn’t ask the woman out again.  I’ve also known women who live for the fairy tale wedding, but in time divorce to seek out the wedding-fantasy all over again.

The cure for the Valentine’s Blues is to simply recognize that it is a made up day.  If you don’t have a special someone in your life on one particular day, why should it feel different than the day after?  If you want to play the romance game, then play it, but remember it really is just a game.  Pretending the Day itself proves or influences the love in your life, however, will really suck you into despair most of the time.

If you have a special someone, it is far better to find the love in every day.  The day-to-day normal world is with you all the time in terms of work and laundry and colds and tragedies and funny moments.  This is where true love grows and binds and matures.  If you seek love in the suspension-of-normal world of romance, then you can only experience the diminishing return of, “But what have you done for me lately?”  Each experience must top the last one when you fall into a quest to escape from life.  True love is not an escape; it is nourishment to see us through the mundane parts that make up our daily lives.

Pause for a moment and notice that a love relationship is about building a life together.  Tell the truth, both the good and bad, and work through it together.  If you want to play the game, then dress up and go out!  Pretend you are rich, or just met, or just got back from being a contestant on Survivor.  It doesn’t much matter because you are playing a game that you take for what it is; it’s merely Valentine’s Day.  A day brought to you by the card and candy industry…with some hope that you will find a special moment, made better by a special purchase!  Make it great, but make it important!  You’ll thank me in the morning.

-FRL

Free Audio on Love & Relationships: www.glaen.com

*************

 

Author Fred Lybrand takes an in-depth look into relationships and dating, plus offers a little common sense for the real day-to-day world, in his book, Glaen. Lybrand wants others to know the freedom that can be found in relating to others truthfully and without pretense. In his presentation of thought-provoking ideas, Lybrand first uncovers the lies of a secular world-view and then counters those lies with the truth of God’s design for the marriage relationship.

The life-changing principles found in Glaen are the gems Lybrand wants readers to take and experience in their own lives and relationships. The book serves as a great teaching tool for parents to use with their children as well as for church leaders guiding couples who are seeking a more satisfying marriage relationship. The Glaen Small Groups Study Guide is now available as a free download at www.glaen.com.

For review copy and interview information, contact:

Audra Jennings

Senior Media Specialist

The B&B Media Group

1-800-927-0517 Ext. 104 -  ajennings(at)tbbmedia.com

Visit us on the web at www.tbbmedia.com or our blog at www.tbbmedia.blogspot.com

We are also on Facebook and Twitter (audrajennings and TBBMediaGroup)!

“A Media Communications Company”

109 S. Main -  Corsicana, TX 75110

Fax: 903-872-0518

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Many of you know my book Glaen: A Novel Message on Romance, Love, and Relating came out this year.  As a special promotion, the EBOOK is available for FREE until January 9, 2011.  This special promotion gets you in line for the free Small Group Study that accompanies the book.  Of course, the hope is to get the ‘buzz’ to pick up even more for the book…and to get small groups using the material.  Glaen is a novel that takes on a Christian re-thinking of dating, courting, relating, and marriage…in the format of a novel.

Here is a note I received this week:

Hi, Mr. Lybrand!I actually finished Glaen the first day I started it! I believe I finished it in about 2 hours or so. I took notes, re-read it again a day or so later, and will re-read it yet again soon. I loved it.I loved the method for finding deep truths, even if they aren’t that incredibly hard to think of or understand. I gave a mini teaching of it/ discussion with my girls (youth group girls that I’m partly in charge of mentoring and leading) at 3:00am on New Year’s morning. (We were having a sleepover.)The next day when we were having lunch at Culver’s, I noticed that some of the girls at a table near me were having an argument on a tough subject that was bringing frustration and not really cutting to some of the core of the issue. I put to use many of the truths from your book, and the argument was resolved. Mostly what was needed were “just definitions” and a bit of love. I had been learning just before reading this book that I needed to know the exact truth opposite of the lies. Knowing the lies themselves isn’t good enough. This was a huge help! When I thought about it, it was as if I had known these truths in part, but since I couldn’t define them for myself, I couldn’t particularly focus on living them out better, or pray for help on living it.

I have seriously seen a change in myself since reading this book, and I can’t wait to see the change in others. I am so excited about learning more and more truths, now and all throughout the rest of my life!

Thank you!

Blessings,

~ Rachel E. Payauys

Honestly, there are just a few days left…so please go to the site www.glaen.com and sign up.

Also, feel free to pass this along.

God bless,

Fred Lybrand

www.glaen.com

P.S.  Most of all…I’d like your feedback after you’ve read it!

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Cedric Miller of Living Word Christian Fellowship laid down the law in an effort to help marriages thrive.

Here’s the USA Today article link: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2010/11/pastor-worried-about-infidelity-tells-church-leaders-to-quit-facebook-or-resign/1

When I first saw this I thought, “Jeepers creepers.  What will we ban next?”

However, as I pondered a little more I began to appreciate exactly where Pastor Cedric Miller was coming from…and I don’t blame him at all.  As a pastor myself for 24 years (I retired from my Northeast Bible Church, Garden Ridge, TX, in January to speak and write more), I know what he is talking about.  I, too, have counseled with folks who have reconnected with old flames through Facebook.  It makes sense that if they didn’t reconnect there wouldn’t be a problem.  Unfortunately, faithfulness in marriage involves a little more than being careful to not make a place for temptation.

The monastic life is the extreme…steal yourself away from the world and being righteous will be easier.  Even as I type these words the news of Tony Parker and Eva Longoria getting a divorce is all about the web (apparently Tony cheated…I guess: http://www.hollyscoop.com/eva-longoria/source-tony-parker-begging-eva-for-forgiveness_25783.aspx).  I live in San Antonio, so it’s a local heartbreak too!

So, what’s the answer?  Commitment for sure.  Building a solid relationship, definitely.  Staying away from temptation, of course.

Yet, there is a bigger word we need: FREEDOM

This is the heartbeat of what the book Glaen: A Novel Message on Love, Romance, and Relating is all about.  Freedom means that we learn to honor one another and completely get off the doomed path of trying to control everyone around us, especially the person we love in a couples-kind-of-love.  When we start putting controls on the relationship (any relationship), we are simply engaging in MANIPULATION.  All manipulation does is cover up true love.

While the goal is understandable, making it a law is not.  ASKING his leaders to volunteer abandoning Facebook is quite different from demanding it.  We will never RULE sin out of people, nor will we create enough rules to force someone to love us and be faithful.  It’s this crazy GOLDEN RULE (rule = principle here) that will make the difference.  Be faithful and grow love because that’s what you’d want!  Does that guarantee success?  No, nothing guarantees success.  But, don’t you want someone to be faithful to you because he WANTS TO?  If everyone HAS TO behave, then it isn’t real or authentic.

I know this is an incomplete answer, but we live in an incomplete world (the next one will be perfect!).

If you’d like to hear a free audio message of these wild ideas about true love and authentic relating, then please click here to get it:

http://bit.ly/a1DBm5

Having someone love you because she wants to is awesome.  Loving someone because you want to is awesomeX2.  Trying to make yourself or the other person ‘behave right’ doesn’t cultivate this kind of love…only FREEDOM does!

God bless,

Fred Lybrand

http://www.glaen.com

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The Seven Fatal Mistakes of Dating

This is part of 7 blogs through which I want to introduce you to the fatal mistakes in dating that GLAEN introduces to the reader.  If you have a friend or an older child who is making mistakes (or wants to date with a little more wisdom), then these videos are for you to share far-and-wide.  I’d also love your comments…and go get a copy of GLAEN at your local bookstore, amazon, or www.glaen.com

FATAL DATING MISTAKE #6

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The Seven Fatal Mistakes of Dating

This is part of 7 blogs through which I want to introduce you to the fatal mistakes in dating that GLAEN introduces to the reader.  If you have a friend or an older child who is making mistakes (or wants to date with a little more wisdom), then these videos are for you to share far-and-wide.  I’d also love your comments…and go get a copy of GLAEN at your local bookstore, amazon, or www.glaen.com

FATAL DATING MISTAKE #5

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The Seven Fatal Mistakes of Dating

This is part of 7 blogs through which I want to introduce you to the fatal mistakes in dating that GLAEN introduces to the reader.  If you have a friend or an older child who is making mistakes (or wants to date with a little more wisdom), then these videos are for you to share far-and-wide.  I’d also love your comments…and go get a copy of GLAEN at your local bookstore, amazon, or www.glaen.com

FATAL DATING MISTAKE # 4

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I just read an article called “Dating for a decade? Young adults aren’t rushing marriage” http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-06-22-10yearcourtship22_CV_N.htm?csp=usat.me

Frankly there is much to commend and much to correct in the article.

The basic idea is that couples are living together for a long time, sometimes breaking up and then getting back together— all as a strategy for making sure marriage works.  The most commendable thing in the article is the reference to up-to-date research that shows cohabiting has no noticeable effect on the marriage success of couples.

Couples who live together before marriage and those who don’t both have about the same chances of a successful union, according to a federal report out Tuesday that turns earlier cohabitation research on its head (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-03-02-cohabiting02_N.htm?csp=obinsite)

There are two problems with the article I do want to mention:

1.  The chief examples they give of those trying this ‘new’ approach are of the rich-and-famous (royalty in particular).  I don’t see how the record of the British / European royalty should be an example to the rest of us for much of anything about life (no offense meant at all, they just live inside a different kind of world).  Their record is dismal, but to their credit they are trying something new!

2.  There is nothing new under the sun.  The article claims that people are now ‘waiting’— lots of people were waiting 30 years ago.  The article claims people aren’t rushing in…of course they are!  Every person reading this article already knows many couples who got married quickly (i.e. rushed in).

THE REAL PROBLEM

The real problem, which is fully explained in the book GLAEN, is that people are trying to create guarantees where there are no guarantees.  The truth is that realizing there are no guarantees helps the relationship!

Relationships are lived in the moment (not in the future) and they are best lived by sound principles rather than control strategies.  Let me share one of my favorite turning points in my 28 year marriage.  For many years my wife (Jody) would mention to me that she was having a fear that I would leave her (usually in about 2 weeks in her mind).  My first strategy was to assure that I would never leave, but the problem kept showing up.  After some time I started my second strategy; I got mad.  I mean, come on, where is the evidence?  We have 5 children together, I come home every night (and stay), and we do everything together.  “It’s not fair that you don’t trust me,” I’d gripe.  As you might guess, that strategy didn’t work very well either…

THE REAL SOLUTION

After more time, Jody one day said, “I’m just afraid you are going to leave me (in about 2 weeks).”  But I had grown a little, so I told the truth to the both of us.  “You know sweetie, I don’t know the future.  I might leave you in a couple of weeks or a couple of years.  I really don’t know.  I don’t think so.  Yet, here is what I do know—I’m not leaving today.  Would you like to have some fun today?  Would you like to be married and in a relationship with me today?”

Oddly enough, that cured it!  Jody will tell you now that she KNOWS I’m not leaving (I don’t know how she knows…I think she thinks I’m too lazy to leave).

You see, it is really not that complicated.  The article is saying that the trend (the article says the trend is to avoid the mistakes of Baby Boomers…which isn’t clearly explained) looks like this:

MEET => FALL IN LOVE => GO SLOW TILL YOU THINK YOU KNOW FOR SURE => LIVE TOGETHER  => DECIDE TO GIVE MARRIAGE ITS DUE => MARRY => HOPE FOR THE BEST

Allow me to offer a different pattern that will give you an even better shot at a long and successful marriage:

MEET => FALL IN LOVE => COMMIT TO THE MARRIAGE => MARRY => BUILD A LIFE TOGETHER AFTER COMMITTING => KEEP YOUR COMMITMENTS

You see, if commitment to the marriage itself isn’t there, you are statistically doomed.  People change.  If you are committed to that person, then you can convince yourself you are off-the-hook when that person is ‘no longer the person you married.’  Yes, love them and cherish them and commit to them…but committing to build a life with that person through the commitment  of marriage is an even greater calling.  In GLAEN, it’s called “marrying for keeps.”  Isn’t that what you really want?

“Richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part”

Notice how the guarantees are absent and the commitment come first?

God bless,

Fred Lybrand

www.glaen.com

P.S.  I know there are exceptions.  I know there are innocent parties sometimes in divorce.  I know that we can’t guarantee things on this earth.  All I’m sharing is that you can put the odds in your favor…but doubtfully by putting “building a life together” AHEAD of The Commitment.

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Glaen shares a number of lies and countering truths about marriage, romance, and relationships in general. I’ll share a few of these from time to time. Here’s a very strategic one:

Lie #3
If you will follow the right process, you
will be guaranteed a good marriage.

Why is this helpful? Well, simply put, it keeps you away from the temptation to manipulate others. Think about it…do you like to be controlled? Nor do I (or your boyfriend /girlfriend/etc. Control is largely a function of being afraid of outcomes we’ve ‘imagined’ will happen. This is a lot of the motivation behind trying to force behavior in kids (we want them to turn out OK). Yet, this is also why we feel treated like ‘kids’ by others…and they are only doing it for our own good :-)

Relationships are destroyed because people are trying to force things to work. When you are busy forcing change or behaviors you think will ‘help’— you are actually getting far away from the good principles that will lead you along.

You might as well face it (apologies to Robert Palmer)…your addicted to control.

But this will mostly go away if you can just own up to the fact that you really don’t know the future! You can’t guarantee it. You can’t force it to happen. But, what you can do is learn to live wisely. Inviting change and co-work on the relationship is wise. Making the other person behave right…is stupid (if you want a real relationship).

It really is that simple. People don’t stay in relationships where they are controlled all the time, though they will stay in a relationship if they think they are the one doing the controlling.

Just give up on knowing the future for the next week…and watch the delight in your life as you chill in your relating.

Grace,

Fred Lybrand

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Fresh off the press:

“We are announcing today that after a great deal of thought we have decided to separate,” the couple said. “This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together, following a process of long and careful consideration. We ask for respect for our privacy and that of our family, and we do not intend to comment further.”

This is the joint statement of Al and Tipper Gore.

I think we are all taken aback, friend and foe alike, for one reason and one reason alone— We thought they were real.  They kissed on stage for the convention and claimed some role in the forming of “Love Story.”  What happened?  Are they hypocrites?  Are all marriages doomed and teetering on the brink of failure?

Well, judging matters we know nothing of is both silly and wrong.  Who knows?  They may not even exactly know.  Yes, we may find out there is an affair afoot or they just drifted apart.  It really isn’t a moment to speculate as to why the Gore’s don’t see themselves as a match.  It is, however, a moment for us to look at our own relationships.  How long do you want it to last?  What are you doing to increase your odds?

In Glaen, there is a simple understanding of what happens for relationships to last.  The two little words are “basis” and “chemistry”—both are important, and both help the long term prospects.

I’m going to tip my hand and tell you that a marriage only has for “outs”—

1. Divorce

2. Suicide

3. Murder

4. Mental Illness

When it gets down to it I believe we are simply to marry ‘for keeps’.  I have lots of divorced friends, and many of their marriages are awesome.  Yet, in my crazy, conservative, and bible-based existence…it all seems like God’s second best to me…and, the third marriage is still a second-best to the second marriage (sorry for the confusion…it means stay in the marriage you are in).

I can only tell you that I have married for keeps…Jody may leave me…but she’ll have to leave me (I won’t quit).  But there is something else here…I won’t quit working on BASIS and CHEMISTRY.

Basis is about what we share as a couple (do we have a basis to build a life together?)…chemistry is about whether we ‘do it’ for one another on a subtle and human level.

Starting with a good basis and a good chemistry is the way to go…run away if one or both aren’t there and you’ve made no commitment.  And yet, please don’t quit if your are in a marriage.  Build on it…work through the issues…offer a cool heritage to your kids and everyone watching.

I suppose that’s my grief with Al and Tipper.  We can’t know anything about what happened with them…all we know for sure from their announcement is that they both quit.

Quitting, at least on the surface, is a Convenient Choice.

Too bad for so many,

Fred Lybrand

www.glaen.com

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