32 posts categorized "Communication"

Reaction Mode

Are you in reaction mode in your marriage?

Reaction mode is this highly destructive and very draining place where you and your spouse are walking in your marriage more like adversaries than partners. Every comment is scrutinized under suspicion and communication has completely broken down.

Years ago I was in this place in my marriage and I will tell you that I was the heart of the problem because my heart wasn’t in a good place. Years of resentment toward my husband and unmet expectations had created this barrier between us.

Though not always true, I find this often starts with women. We stop communicating out of unforgiveness and resentment. Or, like me, we never learned to communicate in a healthy manner.

The saddest part of reaction mode is that it leads to contempt toward your husband. And where there is contempt, respect no longer exists. The two cannot coexist. Then our husband reacts back to us because they’re not receiving their deepest desire, which is to be respected. They retreat, leaving us feeling unloved when our deepest desire is to be loved.

Do you see this vicious cycle? That’s the first and most crucial step to breaking reaction mode—seeing this pattern in your marriage. Whether you are male or female, this pattern will not stop until you make the first move. What does this change look like?

1. Control the Mouth.
You know, there were times that I realized my reactions to my husband bordered on the behavior of a sarcastic teenager. Not a pretty sight but very convicting when recognized. We’ve talked before here about how our words have the power to build or break down. If you’re inclined to speak without thinking first, stop right now and ask God to help control your mouth. This is a biblical principle and He will help you. Trust me on that.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. — Proverbs 15:1

2. Dwell on the Positive.
It’s easy to fall into this place where we think our spouse has an ulterior motive to his or her words. Even simple requests can turn into a battleground because we’ve somehow fallen into the lie that our spouse intends to harm us. This suspicion perpetuates the reaction mode and is its fuel. Suspicion can also be fueled by lies, so the best way to combat this is to counteract with the truth. What does your spouse do well? Make a list. My husband is great about making sure the garbage goes out every week. I appreciate this even more when he’s out of town and I have to do it. Yuck! He’s also great about going grocery shopping with me, and he’s quick to show his love and affection. Start with small things and your list will grow. Then study it whenever you fall into thinking those negative thoughts.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. — Philippians 4:8

3. Love Her Despite Herself.
Let’s face it, sometimes we women can be downright unlovable. We get worn out from the demands of our work (inside and outside of the home), taking care of our families, and then feeling like we’re expected to be some kind of superwoman in the midst of it all. Add some hormones and you have one volatile mix of emotions. We’re not always at our best. This is when we need our husband’s understanding. You’d be amazed how these words, “Honey, you’ve had a rough day. What can I do to help?” will bring her to tears, appreciation, and a complete attitude reversal.

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, ... — Ephesians 5:33a

4. Respect Him Even When You Don’t Want To.
Ladies, I want to get serious here with you. I see this happening so much and I have done it in my marriage too. Stop emasculating your husband. That’s about as bold as this nearly six-foot, soft spoken woman can be about it. Our men need to know we will still stand by them when they mess up. And they will mess up, just as we do. We need to extend that hand of grace and acceptance, just as we want it extended to us. I’ve never seen anything quite as destructive to a marriage as contempt. And it is subtle in its presence. This goes right back to number one in how we use our words. Add to that how you sound. What is your tone? Are you speaking in a way that solicits cooperation or are you condemning and accusing? This was the biggest area that I needed to change, and I know I could not have done it without God’s help. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that our tone and words hurt those we love. Pull out that list you made and go over it again. When it’s hard to show respect to your husband, find the things you can respect and show it to him. Then watch him bloom under your praise.

… and the wife must respect her husband. — Ephesians 5:33b

5. Keep a “We” Mentality.
Isn’t this really the truth we forget? We enter in to marriage as two “I’s” and suddenly have to figure out what it means to be a “we.” This means putting our spouse first, this means loving and respecting even when we don’t feel it, this means seeing our marriage truly as a team effort and pulling our weight even when our spouse isn’t. Don’t quit the team. Be the one who stands strong and keeps Christ in the middle, even if your spouse isn’t a believer. Whatever issues you’re dealing with, remember that you and your spouse are a team. Blame solves nothing. Teamwork always gets the job done.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and they will become one flesh. —Genesis 2:24

Finally, remember that we can’t make these changes on our own. We need God’s help. Start with prayer and trust that God really can work in you, in your spouse and in your marriage to bring change and healing. It takes time, but when we desire God’s will for our marriage—a partnership built on love and respect—He will give us the desire of our heart (Psalm 37:4).

Praying and believing,

When Should I Speak Out About My Faith?

Ahem, well, some of you know that through a series of circumstances, distraction and stupid moves, *blush,* I blew away all the files on my laptop hard drive two weeks ago. 


The video file of the September broadcast of The Intentional Marriage, with both Dineen and me, was a casualty. 

Double grrrrrrr. 

With that said, I still think the question we addressed is a common issue in an unequally yoked marriage. Today I’m going to share with you my thoughts. Here is the question from Sue Tipler. She posted this question on August 2nd on our Facebook Page. If you aren’t part of this fantastic support community, you are missing out. The conversation is more casual and personal. Post a question, add content you think would encourage others and become friends with others on this path of the “uniquely yoked" marriage. Join us at Spiritually Unequal Marriage –Facebook

Sue Tipler

I have a question for you: how much do you talk about God in front of your spouse? I feel like I'm supposed to, but I don't want to offend. Thoughts? Comments?

Like ·  · August 2 at 5:14am 

Spiritually Unequal Marriage: Sue, we are going to use your question and one other one from a reader for an upcoming Intentional Marriage program. August or September. We'll post details on the blog to let people know when. It's a great question. I hope you don't mind if we use it. Hugs! ~Dineen

August 9 at 1:04pm · Like ·  1 person 

Sue Tipler I don't mind at all! Please go ahead & use it! Hugs back :)

August 9 at 1:09pm · Like


Great question Sue. In my own marriage, this single area has been an enormous point of contention between us. In the early years, ANY discussion of faith was met with hostility. Those were painful years and I would retreat, almost stunned, at the venom that came from the mention of something I believed was good and was a very real part of me. 

I can understand if speaking about faith, especially using the name Jesus, can cause conflict in your home. And there is a time to speak up and a time to remain silent. The confusion is discerning these two. 

I will share with you a couple of thoughts. First, I pray daily during my prayer time for wisdom and discernment. GOD’S wisdom and discernment. I can attest the Lord has helped me see past the surface of things to allow me to know when to speak up and when to shut up. This applies not only to my spouse, but my kids and living life in general. 

I can walk into a situation and something in me (the Holy Spirit) puts my hackles up. Something just isn’t right. Or, I get the impression there is more going on than what is apparent. Then I pray harder to see it. This kind of discernment also gives me some insight into people, hmmmm, how do I describe this. People who appear “dark” to me. They have an evil in them or about them. (That’s a post for another day.) 


Second, there is a time to stand your ground. You are an equal partner in your marriage. You can make choices for yourself and your spouse doesn’t agree. However, because he doesn’t agree does not give him license to silent you. I say this with caution because preaching and hounding our man, backfires. Only the consistent love and gentleness of a spirit surrendered to God is going to impact our stubborn spouses. This plays out differently with different personality types. I’m confrontational and would often have a pointed discussion with my spouse. There are times we can and need to coach our spouse to better behavior and the same for us. 

There are also personality types who avoid conflict at all costs. They need to pray for courage and the right words to speak and then talk with their spouse. Remember we are partners in this marriage. 

What does increasing my faith and faith-talk look like in real life. Well for me, I slowly, slowly found myself playing praise music whenever I could. Sometimes he turned it off. Sometimes he didn’t. I slowly began to hang a few faith-based decorations around. I would pray for God to give me opportunities to say something about faith in a passing and non-threatening manner.  Sometimes while in the car, watching television, with the kids. (read those posts here and here

I was consistent, relentless, patient and the more I loved Jesus, the more “out loud” I became. 

Today, I’m a Jesus freak. I can’t stay quiet, even in front of my man. 

Yep, and he is well aware I won’t be silenced. In fact, in an unexpected twist, he is proud of me and how I have lived out my faith over the years. Go figure. I hope that one day he will tell me what it was like to watch my faith grow in our challenging mismatch. Perhaps a conversation we will have in heaven. 

Sue, it simply takes time. It takes God given courage to speak out and it takes a ton of prayer, seeking discernment when to stand up or shut up. Mostly but simply, just love Jesus. Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. 

Let me encourage you Sue, and everyone who struggles in the “speaking up” part of your faith journey. God LOVES your desire to want to share. He sees your heart and He will continue to work in you to give you Godly courage, strength and a heart for this lost and broken world. 

Then you know what???? 

You can be a Jesus freak like me *grin.* Love you Sue and all of you who are traveling this journey with me. Have a great weekend, Hugs, Lynn 

PS. Hang your flag. 

Mark 12:30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and

with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Prince Charming Is.... The Average Joe

Good Morning Everyone. Today’s post is just for the ladies. Sorry guys but if you read on I hope you feel affirmed.

Girls, yesterday I was listening to a radio program where the host was interviewing an author of a book titled, Average Joe.

This interview brought into sharp focus some facts that we, as wives, conveniently forget. The interviewer asked a question, “When you were a little boy, what did you dream about becoming when you grew up?”

“I dreamed like most boys, of spaceships, moon walks, of fighting fires and rescuing puppies, to be a doctor or policeman.”

Like many of our men, this author turned out to be “just” an Average Joe. A man, who loves his wife, dotes on his kids and pays bills regularly. On weekends, you'll find him fixing the leaky sink or helping the neighbors.

He surrendered his dream because he wants to do the right thing and provide for his family. He gets up every morning and pulls on his big boy pants and heads off to an average job where he feels unchallenged and unappreciated. He works hard and finds little satisfaction in his work.

He comes home and instead of appreciation and respect for this life he is living, we as women have our Cinderella Complex in overdrive and look to him to give extraordinarily more of himself. We expect him to meet every need and be the perfect parent and perfect lover and perfect “Prince Charming.”

Ladies today I want you to do what I did when I heard this interview. Put your Cinderella Complex in check. Truly look at your husband. See him through the eyes of God. Your husband loves you and the kids. He’s not perfect but, he is honest and he is trying. Trying hard.

Cut him some slack and tell him how much you appreciate what he does for you and the kids. Tell him you know he works hard and how he has sacrificed his dreams to do the right thing.

As the interviewer said…. We call him an “Average Joe” ... but God calls him extraordinary!

From one Cinderella in recovery to another, love on your husband with the love of Christ. It’s irresistible.

Be embraced by the King, Hugs, Lynn

The Intentional Marriage - Stand Up or Shut Up???

Welcome to our video broadcast of The Intentional Marriage. We are looking at how to sift our marriage conflicts, failures and questions through a small but powerful passage in the Bible.

18 minutes of power. Take a listen. Lynn



The Intentional Marriage Show March 2011 from Lynn Donovan on Vimeo.

Also, find Dineen today over at Laced With Grace where she shares: Parenting Struggling Teens.

Glee and Other Thoughts - The Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

I hope you read the comments from my Monday post, Television and Our Kids. There are some very wise parents who offered their thoughts and reflect on some of their past interactions with regard to their children and the media.

I am deeply troubled over the direction television programing is headed. It is reflective of the fact that the return of Christ is imminent and near. But as we wait, we must continue to live in this world, to be the salt and light, especially to our kids and to our spouse.

AND THAT is the tricky part.


So, I'm going out on a limb again today and share a peek into our life here with the Donovan Clan.

I know I can get riled up about Skins and two dozen or more other television programs I think should be cancelled yesterday. But, I will share with you that my daughter and I began watching the series, Glee on Fox when it premiered three years ago.

This is a show about a high school glee club. I recognize this show is highly controversial and is absolutely offensive. The episodes are scripted and deal with matters such as homosexuality, teen pregnancy, bullying, underage drinking and a few others I can't remember right now.

I asked my daughter, "Caitie, Glee includes content of teens drinking, having sex and homosexuality. How is this different than Skins."

"Mom, I haven't seen Skins but I can tell you that the way it's presented is very different. For example the most recent episode of Glee was about teen drinking. Mom, at the end of the program the teens learn something. They learned drinking wasn’t worth it and they signed a pledge to not drink. They always learn something."

So, here I am a parent, what do I do with this?

I will tell you that I have watched the episodes with my daughter and we have literally put the show on pause in the middle of the broadcast to have discussions about gay students in her school, we have talked about sex, the temptations, the curiosity of teens and every manner of morals and Biblical teaching with regard to abstinence. Glee actually opened up a wide door of communication about very real issues that are present in my daughter's life.

I will tell you that last year, as a freshman in high school, she saw a lot. A friend came to school high, one drunk, a girl hit on her in math class, bazaar clothing and every kind of tattoo and piercing, smoking, drinking...... And that was just the first month of school.

I want to shield my daughter from these things but I also realize that she will encounter them, almost daily, in her high school. Watching this program together with her has given me the chance to bring up the subject matters, provide her with solid thoughts on how she can make a decision today to do the right thing when she finds herself faced with temptation or what seems to be actually happening is that her friends are struggling and have little guidance from home. My daughter is often the voice of descent.

So, I'm trying to find the balance. I want her to feel safe to talk to me about these issues and to allow her some personal freedom of choice. I don't want to be so ridged that she feels she must rebel. Yet I want her to know the truth about what God says on these very real and controversial issues she and her friends face. I want her to choose to do the right thing not for my sake but for hers and mostly I want her to choose to do what God wants. It’s that kind of thinking that will stay with her for a lifetime long after my parenting influence is over.

My ultimate goal is that she chooses to honor God’s desires for her life.

I have more to say on this and more about how we balance television viewing with an unbelieving spouse.

I’m curious about how you find the balance and how you help your kids navigate the moral challenges they face in this lost and broken world. What has worked for you? Be blessed, Lynn

Next post: Do we have any influence over our spouse’s media choices??

Television and our Kids

So I’m bugged.

And I’m going to have to chat about it.

I’m opening up a bucket of worms in controversy. But if we as believers don’t talk about some of this stuff how are we going to help one another?

Television So I’m bugged about television.

On several levels.

I may not have all of my facts in order but I do have my heart in order on this subject so here we go.


MTV’s new racy show "Skins" is everywhere. Not only did its premiere episode attract more than 3 million viewers, it's been written about in hundreds of newspapers, magazines and blogs. That's because advertisers are dropping like flies; Shick, Wrigley, and today, Subway, all pulled the plug. That makes seven so far. The sexually charged show features high school students who routinely have sex, drink alcohol and do drugs.

The show is rated TV-MA and includes the appropriate disclaimer in the beginning of each show. That rating means that it may not be suitable for teens under 17. But still, kids as young as 12 years old are watching the show. And many of the actors are under the age of 18. ~From PIX 11 online. 1/24/11

In my research about this show I discovered a quote from one of the cast:

Sofia, 18, defends the show, saying, "It's what teens are doing. It's the way teenagers believe, I think, especially you know in certain situations when you come from home lives where your parents don't really support you or really listen to you. That's what most of these kids are going through."

Okay, so now I’m really bugged.

I have a teen daughter, 15 ½ years old. I asked her today about this show.

“Caitie, have you heard of the TV show, Skins?”


“Do you know what it’s about?”

“Ya, it’s kids smoking, drinking, having sex and doing drugs.”

“Yes, that’s what I heard it was about too.”

I want to set the tone of this conversation with you. I’m not approaching my daughter with a tone of accusation, but one of I’m really curious about what teens are thinking and what is really happening out there. And she knows I write about some of this stuff. So, I went on with my questions.

“Cait, have you watched it?”

“No, mom.”

“Do you want to? Do you want to see what it’s all about?”



“It’s inappropriate.” Her real answer.

You see she could watch this if she really wanted to. I wouldn’t know. Any teenager is going to watch what they really want to through the internet, a friend’s house, etc.

Our conversation continued, “Do you agree with one of the stars who said that it’s what teenagers are doing. Are your friends doing this stuff?” Now remember my daughter attends a large public high school in Southern California. (Ya, she’s already exposed to stuff in high school I wouldn’t have dreamed could be possible even 10 years ago.)

But my daughter responds, “No Mom, my friends and most of the kids as a whole aren’t doing this stuff. But there are always a group of kids who have a crappy home life that are into it.”

So why am I sharing this long and weird conversation with you? Because most of us here in this community are parents. AND we are parents who are raising kids in a spiritually mismatched home. And we are parents who have kids that watch television.

But we can take a moment of hope here.

I'v realized today that now as my daughter is age 15 ½, all those years of pouring myself and my faith into her are showing their fruit.

It hit me, she is choosing for herself to reject Skins as a program she doesn’t want to watch even though it’s all the talk at the High School.

Parenting in a home where two different world views exist is challenging, especially when it comes to television choice. Our spouse may not be watching Skins but they might be viewing something else that is bordering on inappropriate wickedness.

Okay, so my thoughts on television are just getting going but this post is already too long. So we are going to take this conversation out for a long walk until we have all found some truths to add to our parenting arsenal and some suggestions on how to handle conflict with our spouse when it comes to media choices including, television, movies, books, etc.

This seems to be a very real irritant in our skins and an ongoing conflict in our marriages that spills over to our children and parenting. (Do you agree?)

So today, I’m greatly interested in your parenting efforts as it relates to television. Is it really THAT big of a deal what they watch? What is age appropriate? What do you do if Dad/Mom says it’s okay and you know it’s not? Tell me how you are leading your children in their viewing choices.

I hope I’m not as bugged tomorrow about television but I bet I will be. I have much more to share as we walk this road. Looking forward to some “real and honest” conversations here so we can help each other with this very issue. Be blessed, Lynn

I’ll be checking in and adding to the conversation in the comments.

My Husband Doesn't Listen To Me

Internet Cafe and Marriage Monday

If you have been a reader here for very long, you might have discovered I believe one of God greatest gifts to humanity is..... drum roll.........a steaming cup of coffee.

I am pouring today at the Internet Cafe. I am behind the counter, The Marriage Counter, dispensing a hot brew and sharing a story. Please pull up to the counter and let's chat. After all women have a great need for conversation. I heard they speak on the average of 16,000 words a day?

But, what happens when that need is not met in their marriage? It happened to me. Join me for the whole story and I pray you will discover a secret to contentment in conversation.

My Husband Doesn't Listen To Me.

Also, it's Marriage Monday. And we have an opportunity to share a story from our Marriage. So this story at the Cafe is perfect. I love it when God works these things out.

So, join me at the Cafe and connect at Chrysalis for Marriage Monday. BIG hugs, Lynn