8 Ways to Thrive (not die) with Family

As we continue our series on conflict, what an opportunity many of us will have this Christmas. 🙂 Yes, we all know family is a blessing and wonderful, but quite honestly, most of us know it can be very stressful as well.

Here are a couple of reminders as we enter what should be restful, sweet, good, memory making times.

1. Take a deep breath – Is what your mother, brother, or sister-n-law said, or going to say really worth ruining the sweet time you have? I know that words are extremely powerful, but for many of us, we need to learn how to ‘give them less power.’

2. Watch your tongue – As you have heard and will hear many times, An OUNCE of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If most of us would just take a deep breath, relaxe ONE moment before we speak, we would either say less damaging things or when someone says something Potentially damaging to us, we choose not to react.

3. Stop thinking of the past all the time. This is huge in family. Whenever someone in our family makes a comment to us, we see it in light of the previous 20, 35, or 50 years. It’s time to forget some of that (I know it’s hard, but it’s necessary). A short memory can be quite helpful in these situations.

4. If your comment does not build someone up, then keep it to yourself. Many times in family, we think it is our job to ‘share all the difficult stuff.’ You know what, unless you have an active, ongoing, close relationship with a family member, chances are ‘more critique’, or ‘less positive’ opinions should be shared by a person’s friend, not a family member.

5. Unsolicited advise is almost always received as criticism, not help.

6. We only have a few days together. Let’s be friends:) Friendships are positive. Let’s let our family times be positive.

7. Christmas is about Christ’s generosity of Spirit, not a spirit of negative, stress, hurt, history. If we will slow down enough to get the right perspective on our eyeballs, then He will gives us what we need to make it much more enjoyable.

8. Don’t stay too long!  Proverbs says,’Don’t stay too long in your brother’s house.’  That’s from the wisest man who ever lived.  Amen.

Remember this week, God is with you.

Merry Christmas from all of us here at The Hub!

By |December 22nd, 2009|Conflict, Hub Thots|2 Comments

Both Parties Feel Harmed: Conflict Series Part VII

Conflict occurs when both parties feel in some way wronged, denied, misunderstood, or unappreciated.  We find a perfect example in the conflict between Solomon and his bride:

I sleep, but my heart is awake; It is the voice of my beloved!
He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one;
For my head is covered with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.”
(Song 5:2)

She speaks back in Song 5:3:
I have taken off my robe; How can I put it on again?
I have washed my feet; How can I defile them?

Solomon had been working late.  After a long day in a hard world, he longed to come home to some tenderness and appreciation.  She, on the other hand, had pretty much given up on his coming home at a reasonable hour and had gone to bed.

Keep in mind that in those days, a man and a woman often had different bedchambers so he was knocking on her door in hopes of joining her.  Her response, in modern-day terms, might be, “I have a headache.”  She says poetically, “Not tonight, I’ve already taken a bath and am in bed.  Yet you want to have sex now?”  They’re thoughts and desires are definitely not on the same page and they are set up for conflict.

We’ll see both of their reactions to this situation next week.

My Question For You: Are there any situations you face that you know will lead to conflict?

My Challenge For You:
Conflict is inevitable.  Are you willing to prepare for it and set yourself up to learn from it?

By |December 17th, 2009|Conflict, Hub Thots|0 Comments

The Six Stages of Conflict

The inevitability of conflict is addressed in the Song of Solomon.  Nearly two chapters are devoted to a “fight” between Solomon and his bride.  The result of the conflict was a deeper and better marriage, and therefore, we are going to take a close look at the six stages of their conflict.

  • Stage One: Both Parties Feel Harmed
  • Stage Two: A Change of Heart
  • Stage Three: Reaching Out to Make Amends
  • Stage Four: Communication
  • Stage Five: Forgiveness
  • Stage Six: Greater Closeness and Joy

We’ll dive into each one of these stages over the coming weeks in order to gain a good understanding of how to handle conflict.

My Question For You: Are you currently experiencing conflict in your relationship?  Is it based on a new problem or something that has been lingering?

My Challenge For You: Think about all the important relationships in your life.  Is there any current or unresolved conflict that you need to see resolved?

Leave us your feedback below.

By |December 9th, 2009|Conflict, Hub Thots, Tommy Nelson|1 Comment

Conflict During the Three Phases of Marriage

Conflict Series: Conflict During the Three Stages of Marriage (Part 5)

Conflict usually is minimal during the first stage of a marriage, which is the honeymoon period. Honeymoon literally refers to a “sweet month.” It marks the period from one stage of the moon to the next time that stage of the moon occurs. In a marriage, the honeymoon period is the period of sweetness and kindness between two spouses, a time when all things seem new and fresh and exciting—about thirty days.

The next stage of a marriage, however, is often called the disillusionment period—when illusions about the person you have married disappear. A woman thinks she has married Ozzie Nelson, and he turns out to be Homer Simpson. A man thinks he has married the girl of his dreams and awakens to hard, glaring reality.

After the disillusionment period comes the wonderful and long-enduring phase of commitment, when you discover your mate fully and, at the same time, commit to loving your mate in a biblical manner for the rest of your days.

Both the disillusionment and the commitment phases are going to be marked by conflict, and since they are by far the longer periods of time for a marriage, partners are wise to anticipate these periods prior to their wedding and set their minds and hearts to enduring the disillusionment period in anticipation of the commitment phase. At the same time, refuse to shy away from conflict during your dating, courtship, and engagement periods. Keep your discussions and conversations lively. Don’t “stuff” your emotions in fear that you will damage your relationship. Learn to fight fair.

My Question For You:

What are your expectations about conflict in your dating or marriage relationship? Are you disillusioned or prepared to work through conflict?

My Challenge For You:

Think about the three stages of marriage. If you are married, which one are you in and are you handling conflict correctly? If you are single, are you confronting conflict in your relationships as you date?

Please leave us your thoughts below. Looking for other articles from the Conflict Series? Click Here.

By |December 2nd, 2009|Conflict, Hub Thots|3 Comments

Tommy Nelson: Marriage is Worth Some Conflict

Conflict Series – Part IV

One of the strangest verses in the entire Bible must be Proverbs 14:4: “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes by the strength of an ox.”

This verse means that if you don’t have any oxen, you will obviously have a clean manger or feeding trough.  You may be happy to have a clean trough, which doesn’t require any work, but on the other hand, you are likely to be much happier if you have oxen in your stable.  Strong oxen enable much work to get done—many acres plowed, cultivated, and harvested.  Strong oxen lead to a great increase in the field.  You will probably desire to have a “dirty” trough and its related work because the presence of oxen means more prosperity down the line.

The same principle holds true for a marriage.  If you aren’t married, you may very well have less conflict in your life.  But if you want the deep joys of having a spouse and children, you will gladly endure conflict as part of the price for having a family.

My Question For You:

Is your relationship a clean or dirty trough?

My Challenge For You:

Be willing to put the effort into your relationship so that it will be strengthened through the resolving of conflict.

Please share your thoughts with us below.

By |November 25th, 2009|Conflict, Hub Thots|12 Comments

Tommy Nelson – Conflict Denied

Conflict Denied: Conflict Series Part III

Newly married couples need to expect conflict, although I am not advocating that they should look for it.  Picking a fight just for the sake of having a fight is not the goal.  At the same time, a husband or wife should never shy away from conflict in a spirit of denial—either denying oneself full expression of opinions and ideas, or denying that certain situations within the marriage need resolution, repair, or readdressing.  Those who live in denial live in a false peace.

It is far better to get differences of opinion out in the open than to keep them stuffed inside for the sake of perceived peace.  Such peace is going to be fragile.  Feelings of anger and hurt are likely to go underground and build to an explosion point at a later time. Too much pent-up emotion related to any issue can cause a situation to be blown far beyond the proportions warranted by the initial behavior or circumstance.

One person I know said this about his marriage of twenty-five years to a wife he adores: “Neither of us is good at silence.  We vent our feelings frequently.  We are quick to state our opinions and quick to resolve our differences.  We don’t let anything negative brew and build between us.  If we ever let things build up in us over time, we’d likely blow ourselves up in the process of blowing off steam.”

In my opinion, this couple has a very healthy attitude toward conflict.

My Question For You:

Do you express your feelings, opinions and ideas to your mate, even when they are difficult, or do you hold them inside?

My Challenge For You:

Make your relationship a safe place for both you and your mate to discuss your feelings, both good and bad.

Share your thoughts with us here.


To those of you who were recently added to our mailing list we want to say Welcome. Many new additions are from our recent conferences in Austin – Hello Austin!

If you missed the first two devotionals on conflict, read them here:

By |November 18th, 2009|Conflict, Hub Thots|12 Comments

Tommy Nelson – Every Marriage Has a Conflict

Conflict – Part 2

No marriage is without conflict. Frankly, a marriage without any conflict would be very boring. There likely would be a lack of deep or meaningful communication.

Such a marriage might as well be a butler married to a maid, each of whom is reluctant to express his or her personality, dreams, desires, goals, or spiritual giftedness.

A truly vibrant marriage is going to be marked by discussion—at times lively. Healthy disagreements arise naturally because both individuals maintain their unique perspectives, ideas, and opinions. Debate is common about which course of action to take, since each person has individual preferences and reasons for holding them.

Discussion, disagreement, and debate, however, do not need to degenerate into a cold war or an ongoing atmosphere of dispute. Discussions should reach a conclusion, disagreements should resolve into agreement, and debates should come to a decisive course of action. Marriages without conflict aren’t healthy and growing.

All married couples, therefore, face the challenge of learning to fight clean and fair, with a positive outcome that is genuinely harmonious, not merely strained and silent.

My Question For You:

Is your relationship characterized by discussions, disagreements, and debates?

My Challenge For You:

Seek to have conclusions to your discussions, agreements out of your disagreements, and a course of action derived from your debates.

These devotionals are from the Song of Solomon series by Tommy Nelson. For more info on that series click here.

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By |November 11th, 2009|Conflict, Hub Thots|6 Comments

Tommy Nelson: Are you Pressing for a Victory or Resolution?


Back in the early 1980s, my wife, Teresa, and I were in Oklahoma City where I had been invited to conduct a wedding ceremony. The morning after the wedding, I went out for a jog. It was hot and humid, and by the time I finished my run, my t-shirt was soaked with sweat. I came back into our motel room, stripped off my t-shirt, and threw it in a nearby paper bag—which is obviously where I thought such a garment ought to go. My wife reacted instantly without thinking.

She whopped me with her hand on across the middle of my back and said, “Don’t do that!” Bam! I was stunned by her reaction and just as quickly turned and said sharply, “Cut that out!” My harsh words caused tears to well up in her eyes immediately. I felt wronged, and she felt wronged by being yelled at. I didn’t know that she had put a new dress that she was sewing into that paper bag, and she didn’t know that I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

And there we were, just hours after my performing a ceremony of holy matrimony, getting into our car and driving toward Texarkana in angry silence. We drove five hours without a word between us, and then neither of us could stand the silence any longer. We began to communicate about what had really happened and why each had felt wronged. By the time we finally arrived at our destination, we had forgiven each other and were ready to kiss and make up.

All couples fight. Good couples fight clean. Bad couples fight dirty.

Good marital conflict leads to resolution and greater closeness. Bad marital conflict presses for victory, which leads to alienation and the potential for revenge.

Stayed tuned over the next several weeks as we discuss conflict and how to resolve it within your relationship

My Question For You:

What kind of conflict do you have in your relationship? Do you fight clean or dirty?

My Challenge For You:

The next time conflict arises in your relationship, think about whether you are pressing for a victory or for resolution.

By |November 4th, 2009|Conflict, Hub Thots, Song of Solomon, Weekly Devos|2 Comments

What Are You Feeding Your Spouse?

You Become What You Give

A very important aspect of a truly good marriage is that a couple bring out the best in each other, each person being the type of person he or she would also like to be. Your spouse should be one of your heroes!

It is up to a spouse to determine what type of emotional “nourishment” will be given in a marriage. Will you feed your mate unkind words, bitterness or negativity? Or will you feed your mate encouragement, value and genuine compliments? In this case, it is often true that you give what you get. Someone who receives bitterness and negativity will likely express bitterness and negativity to others. Likewise, someone who receives unconditional love and appreciation is likely to give the same to others. – Tommy Nelson Song of Solomon

My Question For You:
What are you feeding your spouse?

My Challenge For You:
If you’re not feeding your spouse encouragement and support, you might try changing your diet!

By |October 20th, 2009|Conflict, Hub Thots, Song of Solomon|10 Comments