Archive for ‘relationships’

October 27, 2010

We’ve Moved!

Sharon's New Home

After much planning and restructuring, the reservoir has now moved homes. We now have our own domain and we’ve moved to a self hosted site. Searching the web, I discovered that ‘reservoir’ was taken so I tried ‘the reservoir’ and guess what? Yep, you guessed right. Taken! What is even funny is that it was taken after I started this blog. Like I’ll pay more than what a domain name should cost for that. Ish. So anyway, I got my creative juices to work (not that it needed that much juice) and came up with a new name. Click the picture above to visit my new home.

Thank you for keeping up with me as I’ve blogged my way through life. I look forward to ‘seeing’ you all at the other end – that is, the other blog 😉

September 28, 2010

I’m Going to Get into Your Business! – Guest Post

On Friday I shared a comment from a reader that really has me thinking. The commenter shares about her spouse:

He would announce he was the head of house (I had told him that) he would tease my new faith in public; all the while I would smile and not correct him (thinking it was not my place).

I can assure you, this scenario is commonplace within unequally yoked marriages. As Christians, we can mistakenly believe we must turn the other check and virtually become a doormat within our marriage in order to convince our spouse of our faith, hoping they will come to Christ.

Women misguidedly believe they are demonstrating love to their mate by going along with their every whim and decision. They also think they are not conforming to Biblical principles when standing up to her husband’s ridicule of her faith and thus allow his disrespect of who she is as his wife. Men who are married to unbelieving wives are desperate to model Christ’s love and therefore give into the demands of their wife hoping their display of sacrificial love will win her over.

Now hear me on this. There ARE times when we need to check our selfishness at the door and support our spouse’s decisions. There are also times when the health of our marriage demands we draw a line in what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Again I refer you to Friday’s post for some suggestions to discover what a healthy marriage relationship looks like.

A few weeks ago a friend shared with me that she was struggling with the way her husband was speaking to her. I decided to share with her how I handled this common conflict in marriage and now I think it’s time for me to tell this story here.

Let me preface this account with a few facts. I am a passionate person. So is my husband. We both came into our marriage with some solid beliefs that are diametrically opposite. This is still the case today. However, the way we handle our disagreements when our conflicting moral issues arise has changed over the years.

In the early years, my husband and I could get into a major shouting match discussion over some random thing that was actually more reflective of our differing worldview. As we would begin to talk about this “small thing,” our passions would fire. Then we became desperate to defend our “truth.” As we would raise the intensity in our discussion and the decibel level of our voices, we would risk stepping over the line and take our conversation to a disrespecting and hurtful level.

I am sure many of you can relate to this scenario. Passions flare. Words fly. Hearts are hurt. Now I’m not a saint by any means and I have said my share of hurtful words but I am going to share an example of how I handled conflict when disrespectful words erupted from my husband.

There were times when I knew my husband had crossed the line and said something that was hurtful and went way beyond what a man should speak to his wife. At those moments I would pause in the conversation, look directly at him, then with a firm determination in my tone say something like this:

“Do NOT, (pause) speak to me that way.”

“It is absolutely out of line to talk to me like that. I don’t speak to you like that and I expect the same from you. I don’t use words like that and I will not allow you to say those things to me.”

I would be so firm and so unyielding that my husband knew he had gone too far. Now I preface this example with the fact that I am careful about how I speak to my husband and can tell him that he can expect the same respect in my language that I am expecting from him.

Another area where I believed I helped my husband grow up a bit was to point out to him that my faith isn’t always the bane of all arguments. Conversations went something like this:

“Even if you take religion out of this, the way you just spoke to me is out of line even in a nonspiritual marriage.”

Or, “The way you just treated me is was out of line even in a nonreligious marriage.”

It is right to receive respect. It is right for us to give our spouse respect. Without mutual respect, marriage is doomed.

I discovered that with many men, especially those who don’t know Christ, they will push their wife at times. Whether it’s fair or not, their respect grows when their wife stands up to him and can voice her opinion. Sometimes they need to be told they are out of line and need to grow up.

On the flip side, these scenarios also apply to wives. We need to listen and discern when we are immature and need to grow up.

Now I’m really going to get into some people’s business with what I’m going to share next. But the kind of conflict I’m about to describe is common in marriage.

If your spouse is addressing you with an obscenity (bitch/bastard etc.) it is not okay. Likewise, if you are using similar language, stop it today.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

There are many behaviors that are not okay and conflict is necessary to maintain a healthy marriage.Remember Jesus’s life was a life of conflict. It still is today.

Matthew 10: 34-36 (NIV) Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.

Stop back on Friday and I will share with you how my husband and I work through conflict now after a few years of marriage. I hope this approach will be of benefit to you and your marriage. Be Blessed, Lynn

June 10, 2010

Fighting Fair: The Rules of Engagement

Many people go into marriage (and relationships) expecting it to be conflict free. They have some utopian concept that love is some hazy, rose-coloured affair where both parties live in eternal euphoria. Without a doubt, they wake up sooner or later; sometimes much sooner than later.

Any sort of relationship involves conflict. As long as there are different kinds of people with different opinions and expectations about things, there is bound to be conflict. Now, conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. If it is handled well. Depending on how it is handled, a fight can either tear you apart or bring a closer level of intimacy. In the words of Dr. Phil

How you argue — especially how you end an argument — can determine the long-term success or failure of your relationship.

A primary requirement for any fight is to maintain control. You do not have the license to be childish, abusive or immature. If you have legitimate feelings, you are entitled to give a reasonable voice to those feelings in a constructive way. (That includes not being self-righteous or taking yourself too seriously.)

That is the crux. How well do you manage conflict, especially in your relationship? Do you have rules of engagement? One major thought bear to in mind would be to choose your fights. Not every fight is worth fighting. You might indeed have a legitimate case but you need to be clear about what your goal is when you go into a fight.

Are you fighting just to prove you are right? To score one? Or are you trying to foster understanding by setting clear boundaries and ironing out the relational wrinkles? Keep that at the back of your mind when next you are tempted to start (or participate in) a fight.

If you are in a long term relationship, it might be important to get together and set your rules of engagement. This will help when conflict arises. Below are 10 rules to get you started. They could be more (or less). . .choose what works for you.

1. Listen. Let the other person speak and really listen to what they’re saying.

Listening is not just an art, it is a mandatory skill in any relationship. Yet it is the one skill people often find difficult to implement. It takes a lot to quietly sit and listen to what another person has to say, especially in a conflict situation, and not get defensive. defines being defensive as being excessively concerned with guarding against the real or imagined threat of criticism, injury to one’s ego, or exposure of one’s shortcomings. That can most definitely stand in the way of actual listening.

Recently, I read an article about the different types of non-listeners. The article was written by Darren Hardy, the publisher of Success Magazine, and in describing the characteristics of people who do not listen, this particular description caught my attention:

The Blockheads. They spend the conversation thinking about what to say rather than listening at all. They will scan the conversation, lock onto a point they want to make and shut off hearing you at all so they don’t lose their mental point—making it obvious with their facial expressions and body language that they are impatiently waiting for you to (finally) take a breath or end your (dang) sentence. They then respond, and you realize they didn’t listen to you and missed the point completely.

He also mentioned the Offenders, the Intruders and the Egoists. Find out what sort of listener you are and if you fall into any of these categories, make a decision to really listen.

2. Acknowledge the other person’s hurt.

Sure, you are hurt too. But the other person is probably as (and in some cases much more) hurt than you are. Once you accept the fact that whoever you are in conflict with is also hurting, it becomes a little easier to know that it is the hurt that is speaking and not necessarily that person. We tend to say so many things, some of which we do not mean, when we are hurting.

3. Do not call names

Never, never, call names. As soon as that begins, what could have been a simple, resolvable disagreement quickly spirals out of control and goes downhill.

4. Don’t use abusive language;

Agreed, it might be somewhat difficult to be respectful while in a conflict situation but that is no excuse to use abusive language.

5. Do not walk out.

As much as possible, stay and see the fight to an amicable conclusion. I have heard advocates of the ‘walk out’ technique say it enables them calm down when the situation gets heated. Maybe. However what walking out usually tends to do is a) give you enough time to ruminate and then get madder or b) enable you to successfully suppress the anger, which is not healthy at all as suppressed anger generally has a way of rearing its head in the most unimaginable ways. What that serves to do is prolong the drama. What could probably have been resolved with 5 minutes of talking takes a whole day because one person walked out. When there is a fight, try not to prolong it. Talk it out.

6. Never use something told to you in confidence;

This is very important. The bedrock of any relationship is trust and using against a person, something told in confidence is a violation of that trust. In all relationships: lovers, parent/child, friends, teacher/pupil, the need for emotional security is paramount. You need to know that you can trust this person with your heart and your secrets. When that is absent, the relationship suffers and fights turn ugly.

7. Do not refer to a past fight which has already been settled. Don’t dig up old dirt!

If you keep bringing up issues which have already been resolved, you will not move forward.

8. Take responsibility for your feelings and your actions.

Sure, you cannot help how you feel about something or about what someone has said BUT you need to know that regardless of the catalyst, your feelings are yours and yours alone. You feel because you are alive, not because someone else is alive. Stop blaming others for how you feel or for the anger you feel deep inside. You can do something about it therefore you need to own it!

Instead of saying ‘you made me angry’ or ‘you hurt me’, say ‘I was angry because of ….’ or ‘I felt hurt by …..’. Stop the Blame Game!

9. Do not forget that it takes two to tango – therefore admit to yourself that you are partly responsible for the fight.

If you refuse to participate, there can be no fight. Of course, refusing to give expression to your feelings cannot be healthy either. The goal is to do so in a way that will minimize conflict. There might still be conflict but it does not have to be the bridge-burning type.

10. Have enough courage to apologise.

A lot of people have a problem with this. They know they are wrong and maybe they are even sorry. Saying it is like trying to swallow a huge horse; it just does not go down well. Some people are more comfortable showing that they are sorry, which is fine if you are dealing with someone who understands you. However just saying the words sometimes goes a long way to soothe and to heal a possible breach in the relationship. Try and practise it once in a while. It is not hard, look the person in the face and say I am sorry. And mean it.

If you have any more tips for successful conflict resolution in relationships, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

This was originally posted on this blog on May 27th, 2008 as Tuesday Tips: How to Fight Fair. This is a re-worked version.
May 30, 2010

Making Good Impressions

50 first dates Pictures, Images and Photos
This dare reminds me of the movie, 50 First Dates. The movie is about this commitment phobic guy who finally met the woman he felt he could settle down with. Only she had a weird kind of amnesia; when she woke up in the morning, she could not remember anything that had gone on before. What a challenge because no matter how hard he tried to impress her, she woke up the next morning remembering nada.

I remember wondering as I watched it, what it would be like to have to make a first impression on the same person time and time again; not to get to the state of taking for granted. That state we get to, of easy familiarity where we no longer bother to try making an impression or going out of our way?

That, I believe is the point where a woman no longer bothers about how she looks for the man she married 10 years ago, or the man stops watching his rum paunch and turns into a couch potato. OK, these are extremes but you know what I’m talking about.

Then again, there has to be a level of comfort where we become more comfortable being seen without makeup (for those who cannot abide leaving the house without the war paint 😉 ). So how do we find a balance?

I do not have an answer to this one. So I am asking: How do we make good impressions on our loved ones and still be comfortable with who we are?

It is a constant tug of war for me. I want to make a good impression on him all the time but I do not want to compromise on who I am inside, I never have. I am lucky because he loves everything about me (well, almost everything), but even then…

So I am asking because of the next dare*

LD 9

Greet your man invitingly, ladies. Make it a point to greet him in a way that says you missed him and you’re glad he’s there. Be consistent with it. On the phone and in person. Make him feel wanted.

Bible Verse: Greet one another with a kiss of love – 1 Peter 5:14

* I have been doing the Love Dares and blogging about it too.

May 29, 2010

Love Dare 8 – Commitment

I think a lot of people go into marriage expecting it to be easy. Maybe they’ve seen too many movies. Marriage isn’t easy. Family isn’t easy. Close friendships aren’t easy. The best plan is to expect problems, stay committed, and develop a strategy for getting through the rough times.

John Maxwell

John says it like it is the easiest thing to do – stay committed. Then again, he does say that we should not expect it to be easy. I was discussing with some friends of mine and we were examining the fact that it was difficult to see a young person stay 5 years at one job; the grass is always greener somewhere else. Not to say those who job-hop are not committed, I suppose in their own way they are committed to their welfare. But that is not what I am talking about here.

Commitment here is in relation to someone or something other than oneself. To understand it better, I checked the meaning:

The state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or to another person or persons. –

    • a consignment to a penal or mental institution
    • the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled

That is the thing with commitment, it is not a natural state for man. It goes against the grain. Our first instinct is self seeking. That is, we hold on to someone or a cause as long as it is for our personal benefit. Once we cease to benefit from that quarter, it is time to move on.

Commitment says, regardless of if you are benefiting or not, STAY! Hold on. Believe. It is crazy! That is why I love the highlighted definition a consignment to a penal or mental institution. It takes a person who is not normal in the way we view normal to keep holding on to what appears a lost cause. And in a way, choosing to be committed despite every indication to be contrary is a sort of prison…you are bound.

Which is why careful thought and consideration is needed before making a commitment. Expect problems; think, what is the worst that could happen, and prepare for it. Of course, that is easier said than done, we never really know exactly what can go wrong in a relationship of any kind. But if you know in your heart that things could go terribly south then at least you will think twice about making that commitment and if you still choose to make it, there is no going back.

Marriage is a commitment – a romantic relationship is not (most of the time). That is when you get to decide if you really want to make the commitment. Like everything else, there are exceptions. This goes for friendships too. Make a decision to choose your friends and not to just fall into a friendship. True friendship is a commitment to doing and being the best for that person.

Commitment says although I know you are not perfect, I am your biggest fan. Even when I see stuff I do not like, I will not turn away from you. Instead, I will encourage you and pray for you to be the best that you can be.

LD 8:

The list of negatives from yesterday… burn it ladies. Instead of harboring jealous thougths, fueled by all his faults flaws and failures, we are going to intentionally be their biggest fans. Burn that list and tell him how proud you are of him, how much you appreciate him, how deeply you value him. Decide inside that you are going to be his biggest cheerleader. Build him up and openly embrace his victories as your own.

May 20, 2010

What Are You Willing To Invest?

Where do I start? Today’s dare has left me feeling very indignant. I am not pompous or proud (usually), and I certainly do not think of myself as better than others. But I must confess that I do have a generally good opinion of myself and a reasonably high self esteem. That is why this is considerably harder than the previous two dares. In fact, I am tempted to say that it is the hardest dare but I have not seen the rest; so only God (and Rosheeda) know what is coming next.

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, it is not so much the dares as the state of the heart while doing them. Without that heart-state, it is merely going through the motions. At this point, I am not sure I mind going through the motions too much. I think that is why God sort of took time out to pass a message across today, in the busy city of Kuala Lumpur.

Pavilion - Kuala Lumpur

My mum and I, driven by my brother decided to visit the heart of Kuala Lumpur. We went sight-seeing and generally hung out at the mall. On the way back, I brought out my phone and decided to do some catch-up listening to the Daily Audio Bible podcasts. The reading was from Joshua 10 and it was about the deception of the Gibeonites; when they tricked the Israelites into signing a peace treaty with them. When they were finally found out, they agreed to become servants of the Israelites (Let’s take a minute to note the word servant. OK).

What struck me about that passage though was the next part when one of the nearby kings heard about this peace treaty. His reaction was noted in Joshua 10:2 (NIV) –

He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters.

I tried to understand why such men who were reputed to be ‘good fighters’ and who had the strength of numbers on their side would surrender even before battle. Why would they rather be servants than try their luck at the battle field? I did not get it. I was particularly entranced by the humility displayed by this people.

I knew there was a message but I could not seem to streamline it into coherent thought. So I shared with my mum and she gave me this Hausa proverb:

He who is patient will cook a stone and drink it’s broth.

Wow. What sort of patience will it take to not only cook a stone until it is soft but to also extract broth from that stone? Anyway, she further broke it down a bit. She said although the Gibeonites could have taken their chance on the battle field, there was a great possibility that they would lose and if they did, what would happen to their families? So they decided to humble themselves and make a treaty. They even agreed to become servants; they displayed great patience. Then she said something; that when you are patient and you know what you want, you will get it eventually. That struck a chord. I will get back to this.

As part of the reading, I also listened to a passage from Luke and this was what it said:

Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'” Luke 17:9-10 (ESV)

I went to check out the meaning of servant and this is what I found (Forgive the many quotes but this is important):

  1. One who expresses submission, recognizance, or debt to another
  2. a person in the employ and subject to the direction or control of an individual or company

So how does this all tie with the Love Dares (LDs) and relationships? Let’s start with the Gibeonites. It did not matter that they were a strong lot and had many seeming advantages over the Israelites, they looked at the long term plan and decided they wanted to preserve their cities (their homes). So they agreed to become servants (submissive and subject to the direction or control) of the Israelites. They practiced patience.

What I gleaned from all this was that in doing the LDs, I would have to have the heart of a servant towards my husband. The Luke passage says that a servant is not thanked for doing what is commanded and even after the doing, his thought is one of unworthiness. So I am to have this heart towards my dh in patience because I have a goal, which is to preserve and build up my home. The man may not be all I want him to be right now. Matter of fact your man may be irresponsible and generally fall short of what a man should be. But if you bear the heart of a servant towards him and serve God by serving him patiently, you will eventually see the results you are praying for. Nobody said it was easy.

The LDs certainly are not easy. Yesterday’s dare though came in an unexpected way. Showing kindness at 5:30 am in a country where the sun does not rise till 7am is cruel and unusual punishment. But somehow, I was able to. In order to understand the grace factor here, you have to appreciate the fact that I am a morning person. NOT. I know the same grace will be made available for LD3.

The Verse:

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor. Romans 12:10

The Breakdown:

  1. Be committed to one another
  2. in unrestircted loyalty and unwavering commitment to what best serves another, as is natural and becoming of those related by common ties and interests,
  3. displaying the value and affection in which one is held,
  4. always acting as to protect the interest of another;
  5. give one another superiority in rank, position and privilege,
  6. with respect to the RIGHT to demand and to receive satsifaction of your commitment to another.
  7. Do these things as evidence that you hold eachother in a high postion and attribute to them special worth.

I said earlier that I was left feeling indignant; that line in red was the fella responsible for that feeling.

The Dare:

GO SHOPPING! That’s right. Go shopping. Make an investment in your man. It doesn’t need to be big or extravagant. Just get him something that says ‘I was thinking of you and want you to know’. (The first time I did this, I literally bought an extra candy bar because I knew Sweetheart would enjoy the treat; we like the same kind of candy, so giving him the extra bar was a sacrifice of a treat for MYSELF the next day. It cost me a dollar.) And if you can’t afford to really shop, invest your time. Make him something. Write him a quick note on pretty paper. Cook a nice meal. Just do SOMETHING to just to show him you love him – no matter where you are in your relationship or how you feel toward him right now.

I am still feeling indignant as I write this, but it is just surface indignation. What I am really feeling is overwhelmed. I am just a woman who is trying to get from one day to the next and make a positive impact in the process. I promise, I do not have a secret cape hidden somewhere. God is going to have to come through for me on this BIG TIME!

In our present cultural awareness as citizens of the world, do you think it is at all possible to have the heart of a servant towards your partner/spouse? Share your thoughts, let me know what you think. Are you doing the Love Dares or have you done them before? Please let me know; leave a comment.

This has been an extra-ordinarily long post. If you read till the end, thank you.