Keys to Successful Marriage Therapy

Keys to Successful Marriage Therapy

Healthy Living

Why do some couples benefit from marriage therapy while other couples do not? My work has led me to the following conclusions.

The most important factor is a faith-based foundation of the marriage. I have tried to provide therapy to spouses who were not devoted to God; the results were not good. Here’s why:

  • A person with little or no faith likely will enter into a marriage with the goal of finding happiness through the relationship. This is an inherent problem. God wants each of us to find joy and peace through Christ; the spouse should be a help to that goal, not a substitute for that goal.
  • In marriages not based in faith, typically, one’s own happiness is the top priority. This seems perfectly natural, but God calls us to rise above our nature and to live a life of sacrifice. When I give to a couple the homework assignment, “Each day, find a new way to demonstrate your love for your spouse,” the faithless couple returns and reports to me that they only made a slight effort to do the homework. Why? Because, as they display in our discussions, each spouse is chiefly focused on what he or she isn’t getting from the marriage rather than what he or she isn’t giving to it.

In addition, it is important that the therapist is of the same faith as the clients. I’m reminded of an individual client who came to me for an initial session even though she was already engaged in therapy with another psychologist. She told me that when she asked the other psychologist whether she and he could incorporate spirituality into their work together, he had replied, “We can talk about religion some if you want, but I don’t want it to get in the way of our work.” In the way? If your spirituality has the importance that it should have in your life, you don’t attempt anything without it; and you certainly can’t expect to improve your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without it.

To explore the opportunities to participate in online therapy in our practice or to explore the opportunities to attend our Marriage Bread workshop, please visit our website at www.crosswalknow.com, call our office at 334-744-3694, or email us at office@crosswalknow.com.

-Dr. Thomas Maple

Dr. Maple is an Alabama-licensed psychologist and the founder of Crosswalk Psychological Services, LLC.  His clinical background includes work in private practice and in university clinics. Born and raised in the Birmingham area, he resides in Auburn with his wife and his two daughters.

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5 Steps to Handling Finances When Your Spouse Has Died

5 Steps to Handling Finances When Your Spouse Has Died

Money Matters

Losing a spouse is a stressful transition, and the added pressure of having to settle the estate and organize finances can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make dealing with these matters less difficult.

  1. Notify others. When your spouse dies, your first step should be to contact anyone who is close to you and your spouse, and anyone who may help you with funeral preparations. Next, contact your attorney and other financial professionals. These professionals can help you prepare to contact life insurance companies, government agencies, and your spouse’s employer for information on how you can file for benefits.
  2. Get advice. Getting expert advice is essential. An attorney can help you go over your spouse’s will and start estate settlement procedures. Your funeral director may help you obtain copies of the death certificate and applications for Social Security and veterans benefits. Your financial advisor or life insurance agent can assist you with the claims process.
  3. Locate important documents and financial records and keep them organized. Before you can begin to settle your spouse’s estate or apply for insurance proceeds or government benefits, locate important documents and financial records. You may need to obtain certified copies of certain documents. For example, you’ll need a certified copy of your spouse’s death certificate to apply for life insurance proceeds. To apply for Social Security benefits, you’ll need to provide birth, marriage, and death certificates. Having all of the information you need when you need it is important. Start by organizing all the documents by topic area, setting up a file for each. For example, you may want to set up separate files for estate records, insurance, government benefits, tax information, etc. Store your files in a safe but readily accessible place.
  4. Evaluate short-term income and expenses. When your spouse dies, you may have immediate expenses to handle, such as funeral costs or credit card debt. If you expect money from an insurance or estate settlement, it may take time for this money to arrive. Don’t panic- you have several options. If you are a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, you may be able to get the life insurance proceeds soon after you file or ask the insurance company if they’ll give you an advance. In the meantime, you can use credit cards for certain expenses, take out a cash advance against a credit card, or negotiate with creditors to allow you to postpone payment of certain debts for 30 days or more, if necessary.
  5. Avoid hasty decisions. Don’t think about moving from your current home until you can make a decision based on reason rather than emotion. Don’t spend money impulsively, or loan money to others without reviewing your finances first. When you’re grieving, you may be especially vulnerable to pressure from salespeople or others. Finally, don’t make quick decisions about your investment portfolio. Take time to create a financial plan to fit your new life and make sure you are comfortable with the amount of risk you are taking. This may change over time.

Mike Mungenast, Sr. Vice President, Senior Advisor 

Vision Financial Group 

4505 Pine Tree Circle, Birmingham, AL 35243

205-970-4909, www.vision-financialgroup.com

 

 

Prepared by Broadridge Communication Solutions, Inc.

Investment advisory services offered through Investment Advisors, a division of ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.  Securities offered through ProEquities Inc., a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC.  Vision Financial Group, Inc. and West Alabama Bank are independent of ProEquities, Inc. Securities and insurance products offered are not bank deposits, have no bank guarantee, are not FDIC insured, and may lose value.

 

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Money Matters: Vision Financial

Money Matters: Vision Financial

Investing as a Couple: Getting to Yes

In a perfect world, both halves of a couple share the same investment goals and agree on the best way to try to reach them. It doesn’t always work that way; disagreements about money are often a source of friction between couples. How can you bridge that gap?

Define your goals. Making good investments decisions is difficult if you don’t know what you’re investing for. Make sure you’re on the same page- or at least reading from the same book- when it comes to financial goal-setting. In some cases you may have the same goals, but put a different priority on each one or have two different time frames for a specific goal. Coming to a general agreement on what your priorities are and roughly when you hope to achieve each one can greatly simplify the process.

Make sure the game plan is clear. Making sure both spouses know how and why their money is invested in a certain way can help minimize marital blowback if investment choices don’t work out as anticipated. Making sure that both partners understand from the beginning why an investment was chosen, as well as its risks and potential rewards, may help moderate the impulse to say, “I told you so” later.

It takes two. If only one person makes all the decisions- even if that person is the more experienced investor- what if something were to happen to that individual? The other spouse might have to make decisions at a very vulnerable time. If you’re the less experienced investor, take the responsibility for making sure you have at least a basic understanding of how your resources are invested.

If you’re the more conservative investor…If you’re unfamiliar with a specific investment, research it. Though past performance is no guarantee of future returns, understanding how an investment typically has behaved in the past or how it compares to other investments could give you a better perspective. Consider whether there are investments that are less aggressive than what your spouse is proposing but that still push you out of your comfort zone.

If you’re the more aggressive investor…Listen respectfully to your spouse’s concerns. If you don’t have the patience to educate your spouse, a third party might be better at explaining your point of view. Concealing the potential pitfalls of an investment about which you’re enthusiastic could make future joint decisions more difficult. Remember that you can gradually make changes in your portfolio.

What if you still can’t agree? Consider investing a certain percentage of your combined resources aggressively, an equal percentage conservatively, and a third percentage in a middle-ground choice. Or use separate asset allocations to balance competing interests. Finally, a neutral third party with some expertise and a dispassionate view of the situation may be able to help you work through differences.

-S. Joey Elmore, Vision Financial Group 

4505 Pine Tree Circle, Birmingham, AL 35243

205-970-4909, www.visionfinancialgroup.com

 

 

 

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2016. Investment Advisory Services offered through Investment Advisors, a division of ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.  Securities offered through ProEquities, Inc., a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA & SIPC. Vision Financial Group, Inc. is independent of ProEquities, Inc.

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Special Feature: Dale & Jena Forehand

Special Feature: Dale & Jena Forehand

ONE: A Marriage Calling

Marriage is hard, isn’t it? Navigating through all the seasons of change can be very difficult; especially when you and your spouse perceive, respond and react to them very differently. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple formula to follow that would make your marriage the most fulfilling relationship you could ever experience next to your relationship with God?

The truth is there is no formula. Instead, it is a coming together, a locking of arms to navigate through all the seasons of change. Jesus knew how important that would be. So much so, that He prayed, “Father, make them ONE, so the world will know that You sent Me.” Wow. Jesus could have prayed anything for His Bride: “help them agree; make them alike; help her to stop nagging; help him to not be so passive”, and yet, Jesus prayed for us to be ONE.

Why would He pray such a prayer? Because oneness is expressed through a common love. Our oneness proves to the world the love of God the Father to send Jesus to die for the world. What a love God the Father and God the Son have for us! Paul even said that our marriages represent Jesus the Bridegroom and the Church as His Bride. What an honor to get to represent that loving relationship!

ONE.  It’s more than a number; it’s a calling that God has for every marriage. When couples discover the “one” element to their marriage, it unleashes the unity, the closeness and the passion they long for. If you want to know how to develop this kind of oneness in your marriage, join us for Together at the Springs, March 3-5, 2017. At this Shocco Springs weekend getaway, you will discover some of God’s richest blessings and promises for your marriage.  To find out more, visit www.togetheratthesprings.org.

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-Dale and Jena Forehand 

Founders of Stained Glass Ministries, www.daleandjena.com.

 

 

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God Can Restore Struggling Marriages


screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-8-53-10-pmNewly
released 30 Days of Hope for Hurting Marriages is filled with honest reflections from a Birmingham couple’s own marriage and near divorce. Each devotion contains Scripture, questions to consider and discuss, and a glimpse into the emotions couples may experience during crisis. Written by husband and wife Randy and Melody Hemphill, the devotional is the sixth in New Hope Publisher’s “Gifts of Hope” series and has received high praise from local church leaders like Shades Crest Baptist Church Senior Pastor Brian Lee. “30 Days of Hope for Hurting Marriages offers practical and God-centered guidance for couples who are struggling or just want to improve their relationships. Randy and Melody understand the inner dynamics that contribute to marital breakdown. More importantly, they know that healing comes from facing difficult truths and deepening one’s relationship with God…” Senior pastor of Double Oak Community Church Adam Robinson adds, “These devotions will give you solid marital advice from a biblical perspective that can truly heal your marriage.”

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-8-23-19-pmThe Hemphills have been married for more than 20 years and are parents to four children. They are the founders of Birmingham based LIFE Ministries, a counselinministry passionate about the restoration of men and women’s hearts. Randy holds a doctorate of ministry specializing in men and marriage and is a Peer Pastor Leader for Beeson Divinity School, an adjunct professor, and seminar director for enrichment and marriage resources. Learn more at www.lifeministriesnow.com. †

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The Power of Prayer in Marriage

A question we ask all couples when we meet is, “Do you pray together?” The answer we almost always receive is no. A survey at a recent FamilyLife marriage event indicated that only 8% of couples attending pray together.

Why don’t couples pray together? We think it has much to do with our common enemy, Satan. He understands very well just how dynamic prayer is and does everything he can to keep couples from experiencing the awesome power of prayer. Years ago Welsh Revivalist Evan Roberts said, “Prayer is the secret of power.” If we realized how mighty prayer really is we would want to do it all the time. In a nine month period during the Welsh revival, Roberts led 100,000 to Christ. Now, that’s power!

Couples often say they’re not comfortable praying out loud because one feels their prayers are less eloquent than their spouse’s. However, prayer is simply a conversation with God. He wants us to honestly pour out our hearts before Him. In the Psalms, David did just that with surprising transparency.

In marriage, intimacy is the Holy Grail and prayer is without a doubt the most effective way to increase intimacy with our spouse. The openness and heartfelt nature of prayer bonds couples together. It is the meaning of “two becoming one.” One of the best ways to begin praying together is to use a method called “popcorn prayer”. Couples take turns praying short, one or two sentence prayers. For example: (Him) “Lord, show me how to better provide for my family by being more productive and strategic in the workplace” (Her) “Holy Spirit, show us a better way to understand, communicate and relate to one another.” Over time, you’ll find this form of prayer to be very effective. The more you practice this dialog together, the more comfortable you become. It is also a great idea to write down your prayers, recording how and when God answered them.

This is how it worked for us as we began praying together. We would know we were making the right decision when we both had peace. Our faith and intimacy increased as we shared with one another. We experienced exciting and powerful prayer encounters together, a three way interaction between husband, wife and God’s Spirit. Why pray? It’s how God shows us His power, His love for us and that He is at work in our lives.

 

marr.enrich.Alan and Jamie Wood, Authors of Power Marriage and Third Cord Secret, www.thirdcordsecret.com and marriage pastors at Inverness Vineyard Church in Birmingham.

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Marriage Builder Romance Weekends

deer runDeer Run Retreat offers intentional intimate weekend retreats for married couples in all seasons of life. The goal is to give couples an opportunity to focus on each other without interruptions and without to-do lists. Each weekend is limited to 15 couples who enjoy private rooms at The Lodge, nestled within 100 wooded acres of beautiful rolling hills near downtown Franklin, Tenn. The weekend includes cozy fires, relaxing couple time, valuable speaker sessions, relationship building activities, a romantic dinner, picnic basket lunch and more.

 

The Deer Run Fall Romance weekend is November 18-20 and will feature session speakers Bruce and Marlina Martin of Huntsville speaking on the topic, “LORD OF THE RINGS: Fighting for Your Marriage.” Married 32 years, the Martin’s relationship has endured dishonesty, betrayal, infidelity, infertility, depression and near bankruptcy. They have been involved in marriage counseling and enrichment for more than 20 years and consider it a great joy and privilege to help other couples navigate their own struggles and learn to love each other well. Deer Run will also host a Valentine Romance Weekend February 10-12. Learn more at www.deerrun.camp//events or call 615-794-2918.

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10 Quick Tips for when your Marriage is Struggling

  1. Be honest. Instead of dismissing or denying the pain, choose to open up to your spouse about any struggles. Your honesty with your spouse may be the starting point for a journey of healing.
  2. Wrestle with God. You may or may not feel like praying right now. Engage God with honest prayers. Wrestle with Him through Scripture reading and prayer.
  3. Remember. One of the words used throughout the Old Testament is “remember.” God knew that His people were prone to forget and rely on feelings in their circumstances. There was a time when the marriage was alive and growing. Take time to remember.
  4. Focus on your own field. One of the most common toxins for tough times in marriage is to blame. “If he would just . . . ” “If she would stop . . . ” “Maybe I should have . . . ” Blame is our way of trying to make sense of the difficulty or assign “payment.” This only widens the marriage divide. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, “What can I do to grow through this?”
  5. Do not make any hasty decisions. When emotions run high, this is the worst time to make major decisions. Hasty decisions can be regretful decisions. Slow down and take small steps.
  6. Fight the enemy, not your spouse. Though you may feel like your spouse is an enemy, you have one enemy and his name is Satan. With a deep hatred of God and the institution of marriage, Satan wants to destroy your marriage and family. Funnel your anger toward him.
  7. Surround yourself with wise counsel. You need a few trusted companions who will listen and offer sound advice.
  8. Develop community in a local church. Churches are intended to be safe places for hurting people. You need a community of brothers and sisters who will love you through this season.
  9. Guard your heart and desires. A hurting marriage can be the perfect storm for an affair or addiction. Instead of moving toward your spouse, the temptation is to find validation from another. Guard your heart.
  10. Write a new chapter. God desires to use this season in your life and marriage to usher in something new. Turn the page, take up the pen, and ask God to write a new chapter.

 

marriage enrich.-Randy and Melody Hemphill 
Authors of the soon to be released marriage resource,
30 Days of Hope for a Hurting Marriage (New Hope Publishing) and founders of Birmingham based LIFE Ministries, a counseling ministry passionate for the hearts of men and women to be restored. Randy is also a Peer Pastor Leader for Beeson Divinity School.

 

 

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Marriage Builder Romance Weekends

Deer Run Retreat offers intentional intimate weekend retreats for married couples in all seasons of life. The goal is to give couples an opportunity to focus on each other without interruptions and without to-do lists. Each weekend is limited to 15 couples who enjoy private rooms at The Lodge, nestled within 100 wooded acres of beautiful rolling hills near downtown Franklin, Tenn. The weekend includes cozy fires, relaxing couple time, valuable speaker sessions, relationship building activities, a romantic dinner, picnic basket lunch and more. The Deer Run Fall Romance weekend is November 18-20 and will feature session speakers Bruce and Marlina Martin of Huntsville speaking on the topic, “LORD OF THE RINGS: Fighting for Your Marriage.”

deer Married 32 years, the Martin’s relationship has endured dishonesty, betrayal, infidelity, infertility, depression and near bankruptcy. They have been involved in marriage counseling and enrichment for more than 20 years and consider it a great joy and privilege to help other couples navigate their own struggles and learn to love each other well. Deer Run will also host a Valentine Romance Weekend February 10-12. Learn more at www.deerrun.camp//events or call 615-794-2918.

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