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Archive for March, 2010

“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost” – G. K. Chesterton

“We’re on loan to each other” –Robert Fritz

Sometimes we get caught up in the frustrations of the moment and miss the picture.  I still remember the day my dad and I visited my mother in the hospital.  She was on a respirator and was unconscious (maybe from medication).  I was 18 years old…quite aware of the nature of relationships.  I knew mom and dad where having struggles…which later turned into a painful divorce and a divided world for my brother, my sister, and myself…but I saw something else I’ll always treasure.

I watched my dad, with great tenderness, caress and and cry for my mother.  She looked close to death (but she’s still with us today at 74), and that was like magic.  In one pristine moment I watched my dad fail to control or hide his love for my mother; I saw him set aside so much for love.  I know they divorced, and I know he’s no longer on the planet.  But, I know something else— I know my daddy loved my mommy, at least for a time.  Why is that special?  I suspect it means we kids weren’t a regret…or…maybe that he showed me his heart and it made for a great moment, and example.

What I especially know is that we often miss the forest for the pine-needles.  Who are you struggling with?  What if he or she were just about gone—just hanging on by life support?  Doesn’t that refresh your perspective?  Is your current demandingness of life (and that person) really worth clinging to?

Robert Fritz points out that we are on loan to each other…that is quite true.  Isn’t it interesting how we care for things loaned to us in different ways than we often care for things we ‘own’?

God’s best to you,

Fred Lybrand

Have You Read Glaen Yet?

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I’m borrowing this insight from another world I live in (www.trimtabsolutions.com) because it so matches what Glaen is all about.

As I’ve looked for strategic things that make a difference, I’ve found nothing really succeeds better than doing the activity you want to succeed in. For example, golfers actually can improve by playing golf, tennis—tennis, public speaking—public speaking. Of course, there are no guarantees (there are in fact very few of those in this world), but isn’t that how you’d bet? When people write a lot they tend to get better (The Writing Course), and when they read a lot they tend to be well-read.

Doesn’t this make sense with communicating? Don’t you think the more you talk with someone the better shot you’ll have at really understanding them (and being understood)? We love the technologies we have learned, developed, and teach (like the course I teach called Think on Your Feet); but when you get right down to it, there is nothing like just hanging in there & communicating for the real magic to happen.

Here’s a quote from a fine book by Sam Carpenter, called Work the System

The sense I have developed over they years is that quantity of communication is a direct determinant of the quality of communication. (By the way, I am referring here to sensible discourse between two parties. It is no good if one party spews enormous amounts of useless information while ignoring the other side.) Quantity of communication connects directly to any success or failure…More communication leads to better efficiency, stronger cooperation, and deeper trust. Between two people—or between two nations—if silence reigns, problems will arise in the relationship, or there will be no relationship at all. Of course, if one party is crazy, communication can become worse than a waste of time; it can be damaging.”

It really does make sense that there is a certain kind of QUALITY to QUANTITY. You know that frustrating situation you are having with someone else? You know how you’d be tempted to dash down the other aisle if you saw that person in Wal-Mart? Go talk with him or her.

If you need a starter kit, then say this—

I feel tension with you

I want the tension to go away

I want to understand your view on what’s happening

Then, and only then, would I like to share my view

And…just keep talking until you’ve really communicated! If they are crazy, you’ll never get anywhere, but at least you know you tried. If you are crazy, then you might get to find out exactly how you are crazy…which means you might be able to start climbing out of it!

Peace this week,

Fred Lybrand

P.S.  I’d love to see your successes posted here!

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From GLAEN, p. 26

Relationship Field Book Journal

Theory 2: Courting
…An old-fashioned prelude to marriage being
re-popularized by some Christians. Courting is
defined by Webster’s as, “to engage in social
activities leading to engagement and marriage.”

At first blush the idea of courting makes a lot of sense.  Doesn’t it make sense to take interacting with the opposite sex as something a little more directed than just having fun till the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard?

Unfortunately, the way it is played out reminds me of my dad’s words of wisdom, “Son, if you are in the ditch, and get out of the ditch and cross the road to the other ditch…you’re still in the ditch.”  Well, many times going from serial dating to courting turns out to be a ditch-to-ditch phenomenon.  I personally have been connected to courting disasters…all well meaning.

The challenge with courting is that it somewhat requires you to ‘commit before your commit’.  In other words, since you are entering the relationship with both eyes (or all four) on marriage, you really need to know that the persons involved are a match for marriage.  The problem is that they rarely really know each other.  So, in the process of getting to know each other they may discover it isn’t a ‘match’ (Glaen gets you started on how to find out if it is a match or not)— but, the wedding invitations have already been bought and mailed.  Well, you get the idea.

Of course, stopping at any point before marriages happens with all kinds of strategies.  But isn’t that sort of the point?  We can tend to elevate the idea of being married (successfully I might add) over actually being committed to (or yea, even love) the person we are considering marrying.

Is there a better way?  I think so… and we might as well call it the ‘way of truth’.  If we follow the truth, and are true to ourselves; we wind up being very attractive to someone who likes who we really are (since we aren’t putting on an act or trying to make something work).  We might want to face it someday— relationships are a gamble; but being true to yourself and finding someone who is the same way is a good a shot at bliss!

Billy Joel penned these words for the song ‘Just the Way You Are‘,


Don’t go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don’t imagine you’re too familiar
And I don’t see you anymore
I wouldn’t leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I’ll take the bad times
I’ll take you just the way you are

Don’t go trying some new fashion
Don’t change the color of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care

I don’t want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are.

Of course, Billy Joel wrote these words as a birthday present for his now-divorced-from first wife (he split with his 3rd wife in the summer of 2009)…so, as we all know both ‘singing it’ and ‘pulling it off’ can be quite a challenge.

While the words might make some sense at the start of a relationship, they do have two inherent problems:

1.  What if you actually do want someone who is clever in conversation?

2.  Isn’t the person now obligated to ‘never change’ because that is the condition of love the singer established?

Seriously, new hair, new fashions, clever conversation, and complaining that he don’t talk enough will drive the guy singing the song up the wall!

We all tend to grow (we hope) which means you actually may need to renew your commitment and love many times as you build a life with another person.  Being genuine and truthful gives you a much better shot at ‘guaranteeing success’ in a relationship than either serial dating or the premature commitment that often comes with courting.

What to here more?

Go to www.GLAEN.com

Blessing,

Fred Lybrand

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From GLAEN, p. 25

Relationship Field Book Journal
Dating:  “having a good time getting to know each other” (referring to guy & girl)
–Jennah

So, here is a journal entry from Glaen out of the mouth of one of Annie’s best friends, Jennah.  Jennah is caught in what we might think of as ‘serial dating’— you know, going through relationship after relationship (like a serial killer, etc.)

Most of us think this is the way to go, but you can tell by the methodology is isn’t very like to help you find a long-term mate if that is what you are wanting in life.  A long-term relationship has some foundational component of commitment, where ‘serial dating’ is really quite throw-away in its approach.  It is amazing how your definition will determine so much (remember my last blog!).  If dating is all about ‘having a good time’ then that can easily turn in  a funny direction.  This is probably why there is an old joke or two out there about a girl you’d like to date vs. a girl you’d like to marry (or guy…).

There is something important in DTR (defining the relationship), but if it were defined better from the beginning you wouldn’t have to stop in the middle of it and break up!

Start here: What am I up to?

Yes, what are you up to in dating?  What are you up to in the relationship?  Are you ready to be committed and get married?  If not, why are you in a short-term committed relationship?  Jennah’s definition isn’t too bad since it is good to get to know others.  But frankly, it quickly turns into a set of expectations about marriage, children, growing old together, etc.

Why not just be honest with others?  Where are you?  What are you ready for?  If you are not ready, why are you playing like you are?

Some people have sought to conquer the issue with something called ‘courting’—which is all about commitment.

So, on one extreme, Cheryl Crow weighs in with words from her music:
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard

On the other side there is Art Garfunkel’s remake hit of 1975:

You are here
So am I
Maybe millions of people go by,
but they all disappear from view.
And I Only Have Eyes For You.

Where is a real relationship?….see you next time!

Fred Lybrand

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“JUST DEFINITIONS EITHER PREVENT OR PUT AN END TO DISPUTES” – Emmons

from GLAEN (page 17)

Want to quickly stop a fight?  Get all the definitions on the table.

Why would clear definitions end disputes?

It seems easy enough—it’s because you’ll both know what you are talking about.  It is quite striking that people get into arguments by simply misunderstanding one another.  What an easy thing for us all to do; to assume we know what the other person is talking about!  I remember a silly event that got me so mad at the age of 13 that I couldn’t see straight.  My Scout Master (boy scouts) one day said to me that a man is not an animal.  Preposterous!  We aren’t plants or minerals, what else could we be?  We argued about it until I got one of my merit badge books out that showed man was an ‘animal’.

Well, if I had been older and wiser I could have avoided all of that conflict (which I never won anyway).  I could have asked an unusually insightful question:

What do you mean by _____________________? (in this case, ‘animal’)

Well, my dear Scout Master (we called him Old Gray for completely apparent reasons) would have said something like, “God made mankind in His own image and gave us dominion over the animals.  So an animal is really a brute beast and doesn’t have a soul in the same sense we talk of human beings.”

Then I could have said, “Oh, no, man is not an animal like that.”  Instead, he meant one thing and I meant another…so we battled.  Of course, he like my dad, love to watch me get mad [glad I have no issues from it!] because I was ‘funny’ when angry.

I experienced a similar debate about ‘interpretation’ with a friend and mentor named Robert Fritz.  It didn’t take us long because we knew of the value of the question WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY…. ? Robert was talking about artistic interpretation (as with a singer’s interpretation of a song), while I was talking about the science of discerning the meaning from a sentence / passage of literature.  Once it was clear we were fine.

How about you in relationships with friends, lovers, or loved ones?  Do you ever ask what do you mean?  I mean, of course be nice about it.  But just simply getting to the point of defining terms is life-changing.  Start getting this question in your lingo and you’ll find magic happens!

In fact, you can also go so far as to ask someone, “Hey, could we define our terms here?” They shouldn’t mind…and soon, if you disagree at all, you’ll know exactly what it you are disagreeing about without the fluff!

For Relating,

Fred Lybrand (on behalf of Glaen)

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