Understanding the 5 Stages of Grief from Loss

Hello and thank you for joining me. Today I want to talk about loss and grieving. Loss comes in many forms; a loss of a relationship, a loss of a job, a loss of a loved one, a loss of a pet. Loss is an extremely difficult feeling to get through and if you are not allowing yourself to grieve over the losses in your life it will take a toll on you until you are ready to confront the loss, accept it and put in prospective so that you can move on.

The 5 Stages of Grief

1. DENIAL –
At first it feels like it’s not real. It may be a shock that it even occurred. Sadness comes and goes and you feel like you’re dazed in disbelief.
2. ANGER –
Anger happens when you have come to the realization that it’s happened. You feel helpless and angry and want to know why.
3. SADNESS & WITHDRAWAL –
Sadness leads to withdrawing from your life. This is the time that you will cry more as you allow yourself to come to grips with what’s happened. Things are more serious with you for now.
4. REORGANIZATION –
Overtime, (and everyone’s different, there is no amount of time to give someone who is grieving) the important thing is that they do grieve. The light at the end of the tunnel comes back and your are almost ready to move on, but sometimes people don’t want to forget that person, that pet, that relationship –when there were happier days.
5. LETTING GO
The final stage is when you’re ready to return to your normal life. You may have tears from time to time but you’re over the hurdle of sadness. You are ready to move on. You have come through the storm. If you have God in your life you can be sure he helped to heal your broken heart and he will continue to be there with you on your journey through life.

Even after you have gone through the grieving process I tell people to come take your time with making any major decisions, at least a year. Don’t rush ahead of yourselves and do something you may regret. Take your time.

Thank you for joining me this time, I hope you will be checking back for the next blog when I challenge a certain group of people to do the right thing. God bless you and remember to; stay close to God.

Four Relationship Hurdles to Avoid at All Costs

Thank you for joining me for this months blog. The blog is about the four relationship hurdles to avoid at all costs. These relationship hurdles can often lead to conflict and tension in a marriage. If you do not currently have a good method in place to resolve conflict, that can lead to major issues down the road.  So this is a warning in advance, along with the suggestion that both of you, husband and wife, sit down together to discuss some of the better ways to handle conflict.  Having a plan in place will make both of your lives easier.
The four relationship hurdles are:
  1. Blame  – It’s true blame can keep a relationship stuck.  Constantly bringing things up from the past, can sometimes be used as a weapon. When someone is hurt, they will often recall the past again and again, and that can create further issues. Instead of continuously using the past as a weapon, it’s better to resolve the things of the the past, then agree that they are resolved, and then allow those things to stay in the past. Then, both must agree to stop mentioning the past during current disagreements. Blaming someone for something that happened years ago is just going to make them resent you if they don’t already.  Remember what Gods word says: If we want to be forgiven, we have to forgive others. But don’t forget, forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things. After forgiving the other person, both must work to reconcile issues and rebuild trust.
  2. Sarcasm – While sarcasm is sometimes tolerable, it is also a hurdle that can devastate a marriage.  Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who keeps making silly sarcastic remarks?  At first it starts out funny but then when you realize that this isn’t funny anymore things can get sticky.  A far and simple comment to make is: “Can we please be serious for the next few minutes so we can discuss some serious matters?”  But if that doesn’t work “holding back the laughter” just may help them to realize that there is a time and place for everything. Sarcasm is hurtful and unhelpful in serious discussions.
  3. Defensiveness – Being defensive sometimes happens when a relationship is struggling.  Years of feeling attacks from your partner can make you feel that you want to deflect the focus back to them, or attack them in return for the discomfort that you feel. Nobody wants to feel attacked. Nobody wants to feel hurt. Mutual pain can lead to two sided defensiveness. This is where simple apologies help a lot. Simply saying “I’m sorry for the pain and frustration my actions have caused to you” can really help. This is a time to realize you are on the same team. There are no winners when both sides cannot offer an apology from a place of love.  Often times defensiveness can put you in a state of turmoil until you resolve the “why” behind the feelings of defensiveness.  It may take some time but it can be overcome through prayer and by being sensitive to one another’s needs as well as by being tender-hearted and compassionate to the person you love.
  4. Digs – When I say digs I mean hurtful comments that are throw around carelessly to hurt or destroy the person you vowed to love till death do you part.  Hurtful comments, especially comments about specific things that are sensitive to the other person, are dangerous and downright cruel. Saying these things are often unfair attacks, meant to cause further damage and pain. In fact, serious digs can be a form of emotional abuse. It’s important to be able to recognize when your partner is offering constructive criticism and an honest opinion of something, versus saying destructive things to cause pain and frustration. Honesty from your partner should be appreciated. Digs should not be appreciated. There is a delicate line, and instrospection is important to knowing where that line is.
My advice to those that are utilizing these four forms of attacks, is to remove them from all areas of your life.  Take the time to look at yourself in order to remove these things one step at a time. It will probably be difficult for you, because growth and self improvement is challenging. However, it will transform your life. You can slowly remove these toxic behaviors from your life by learning to improve your communication about your feelings. Also, knowing the power of a simple apology is an incredible strength that will help you. Sometimes people view apologizing as a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s the opposite. It takes a lot of courage and strength to apologize.
Thank you again for joining me.  I invite you to join me for my next blog. Until next time, God Bless You and remember to keep God in your heart!

Keeping the Peace in Your Family Throughout the Year

Hello and thank you for joining me again!

The key to keeping the peace throughout the year is by showing love and kindness to your family members. This also applies to couples without children. Love and kindness, as well as always showing respect and consideration to the perspective of your partner, helps to instill a sense of unity.

What happens when couples decide to have children? You can utilize the same principle. Unity in a family requires mothers and fathers to maintain their communication with each other as well as to maintain a united front in front of the children. Teaching your children to love one another shows them that all members of the family matter. That is the key to having a happy healthy family.

When you do things as a family, that reinforces the fact that family always matters. Remember “a house divided will fall”. With love, communication, having respect and consideration for others, these things will keeps unity and peace in the family all year long.

A few suggestions on keeping family unity:

  • Work at keeping God at the center of your marriage.
  • Pray together as a couple/family.
  • Do a couple/family devotional together daily.

Another good suggestion is, at dinner time go around the dinner table and find out what everyone is thankful for. This alone will be one of the fondest memories that you all will appreciate for years to come. Ensure that everyone’s voice is heard so that everyone feels included.

Join me next time when I tell you the Four (4) Relationship Hurdles to Steer Clear Of.

Thank you for reading!

Family Origin and Managing Relationship Expectations

Hello and thank you for joining me again! Today’s blog is about Family Origin. So what is Family Origin? Family Origin refers to how a person was raised and the circumstances surrounding a person’s upbringing with his or her parents and siblings. Examples would include questions like:

  • What was the daily run of the house like?
  • What tasks did your mom do in the home?
  • What was your father’s contribution to the household?
  • Was he the sole bread winner of the family?
  • Who did the yard work?

The origin in which you were raised is possible for what may or may not take place in your own home once you settle down. What happens in your future home is completely up to you. Being mindful of the effects of your own “family origin” is something good to be aware of. You can choose to take the good parts and leave behind the not so good parts. It is up to you to be aware of the impact your childhood had on you and whether or not they are something you want your family to experience.

A discussion with your future spouse about each of your upbringings will help to shed light on the childhood experiences that you may want to share and even discuss the ones that you would not want to be a part of your family. Whether you were raised with both parents in your home or in a single parent home the traditions and the nontraditional moments have the ability to be brought both knowingly and unexpectedly into your future marriage/family relationship.

Managing Expectations In Your Own Relationship

Without realizing it, we often have internal expectations of our partner. A wife might assume that her husband will manage the finances and handle the trash removal from the home. A husband might assume that his wife will buy family Christmas gifts and cook for the family. Or maybe both have different expectations in how children will be raised. Having a conversation about these things is very important in order to prevent future conflict. Expectations can be dangerous, especially in our modern times where many traditional roles have changed.

Being married and having a family requires equal contribution. Contribution comes in many forms, such as:

  • Maintaining an orderly home
  • Overseeing the children
  • Financial contributions
  • Organizing family events
  • Planning future vacations
  • Cooking and cleaning
  • Home repairs and upgrades
  • Yard maintenance

We sometimes think that it’s already understood who will automatically which tasks in the home. However, when one person feels that his or her partner is lacking in contribution, it might mean that expectations are not aligned properly. Pre-marital counseling or marital counseling can help a lot with these issues.

The families we create are often similar to that of our childhood. We all have some wonderful childhood memories that we cherish. The memories of wonderful traditions that have been passed down with every generation are the ones that are so special that you promise yourself they will be a part of your own family once you marry and have children.

The impact of your “Family Origin” can be a positive part of your life passed down to your own children for years to come.

Thank you for reading I hope you find this blog helpful. Join me next time for “keeping the peace in your family throughout the year”.

A Simple Method For Couples To Work Through Difficult Issues

Hello and thanks for joining me! In today’s blog I will share my simple step-by-step method for helping you as a couple to work through those difficult issues in your marriage.

For starters, postponing a discussion that has been difficult is acceptable but brushing issues under the carpet, as a means to make it disappear, will not make the issues go away. It will need to be discussed and resolved sooner or later. In order to help you succeed in your efforts, here are some suggestions on how to help that conversation along.

First, let me start with what not to do. Do not approach someone with that difficult conversation when they have just walked in the door after a long day of work. Why? Because it will not feel like a discussion to them. It will feel more like an attack. When people feel attacked they often withdraw completely and they usually have a lot more difficulty focusing on the discussion. Forcing someone to discuss an issue that is important to you is not the way to handle it. The best way to handle it is by giving someone time to prepare for the conversation. This not only will bring a sense of calmness to the discussion, but it will also be appreciated and it is beneficial to both people in the long run.

I recommend the following methods to help resolve delicate issues:

  1. Make an appointment with your spouse by agreeing on a specific day and time for the converation.
  2. Mark the calendar and be sure both people are aware of that this appointment is a priority. Ensure that you set aside enough time for the discussion so there is no pressure to resolve the delicate issue quickly.
  3. Prior to the appointment, pray together. Pray for your marriage and for unity on solving this issue.
  4. Also, prior to the appointment, read scripture on marriage, anger and the fruits of the spirit.
  5. Prepare for this appointment. Write down your questions and/or answers prepared, along with any concerns that you have. Think about your perspective and what you think is the perspective of your spouse. Understanding each others perspectives will be vital in finding a solution that makes both people happy.
  6. When the discussion day arrives and you are speaking together, feel free to take a few minute pause if the discussion gets heated. Taking a moment to breath is healthy. Don’t walk away or make split-second decisions. Take your time with the conversation.

Remember, you are two people that love each other. You both want to be happy. Be kind and loving to one another. Think of the issue as the enemy, not each other. You are a team working together to overcome this issue.

Thank you for reading I hope you find this blog article helpful.

Join me next time for “How your upbringing can impact your marriage”.

Ensuring The Good Times Outweigh The Difficult Times

Thank you for joining me again! Today’s blog is about “Making sure your good times
together, as a married couple, outweigh the not so good times”.

As I mentioned in my first blog, date night is a must. You as a married couple should have a date night once a week to go and do something special together. It is a night just for the two of you, where the main focus is on spending a wonderful romantic night together, making memories and reconnecting with one another.

A word of caution, date night is not a time to discuss any, what I call, “Red topics”. Red topics are topics that usually end up cooling down the evening. They are topics that never end well when they are discussed, and usually have the ability to cause tension for hours on end. Two things that will ruin your evening so stay away from these on your special nights out and any other time you are trying to have an enjoyable time together.

Remember, this is your time to spend reconnecting with one another. Be mindful of the importance of keeping things problem free. Remember you are in control of what transpires. Here are some suggestions on reconnecting.

  1. Put the effort into making it special. We get so involved in our everyday lives that we lose touch of nurturing our marriage relationship. This is why date night is so important as well as keeping God at the center of your marriage.
  2. Use your words. This is a time to speak encouraging loving words. We can show outward display of affections like holding hands. Be mindful of the fact that this is your time to reconnect.
  3. Find out each other’s love language. Make sure that you are showing the person you love just how much you love them by using their own love language. Find out what each of your love languages are. Visit:  https://www.5lovelanguages.com
  4. Listen carefully to each other. We can all hear someone speaking to us, but listening requires your undivided attention. There are times when we hear what people are saying but we miss out on the message because we aren’t actively listening. When we truly listen then we hear what is being said.
  5. In a rut? Try the 5 to 1 Ratio. For couples that are struggling with getting out of a rut try the 5 to one ratio; for every 1 thing you do or say wrong to your spouse, fix it by doing or saying 5 kind things. The 5 to 1 ratio is by John Gottman. This method is referred to as the “Magic Relationship Ratio”. This is one way of flushing out the memories of the bad times by adding an overflow of good gestures.
  6. One last important reminder: In all of our relationships it is always a must to remember to “forgive” when someone has wronged us. For if we forgive others our Heavenly father will also forgive us but if we don’t neither will we be forgiven.

Thanks for reading my blog. Join me again when I tell you step-by-step a solution for discussing and resolving difficult issues.

3 Areas Of A Marriage Relationship Not To Ignore

The marriage relationship is a very delicate one. It is one that needs nurturing much like every other area of our lives especially if we want it to thrive. Things that often get in the way or take our focus off the marriage are as simple as raising children, or being more concerned with our professional life, traveling, time away from our spouse instead of time with them. When couples don’t put the effort into the marriage then it starts to suffer. So what am I talking about when I say “no effort is going into the marriage”? I am talking about you as a married couple are not giving you as a couple in love the time and attention you both need in order to feel the loving bond you as a married couple should feel. Intimacy is one way that we connect directly with each others most inner needs. Spending time together and making it a priority tells us that we are passionate about our marriage, the love we have for each other and how committed we are to the vows we made in the presence of God.

So knowledge is powerful when it comes to ways of preventing our relationship from getting off course.

Three areas we want to give close attention:

  • Our intimacy: How intimate are you as a couple?
  • Our foundation: How committed are you to the vows you made before God.
  • Our friendship: Would you say you have a friendship with your spouse?

Our intimacy? Because you as a couple need to be able to express to each other the love you have in your hearts for each other. Intimacy doesn’t always need to be sexual contact but showing outward affection to one another where you both feel loved is extremely important. Being respectful verbally and considerate to one another all help to play apart of showing the love you have for one another. The expression “actions speak louder than words” is very true in this case.

Our foundation? When our intimacy is in question or the lack there of, it often comes down to how solid is the foundation of your relationship. If it is a Christian marriage with Christian values then I would think it to be strong. That is why putting God at the center of your marriage is so important and when we have a solid foundation it is less likely that if your intimacy is lacking that the entire marriage relationship will come into question. Yes, it will need help getting back on track but it will not mean that the “D” word need to ever be brought up.

If a husband or wife is not feeling loved because no effort is going into the relationship where love should be expressed, one could misinterpret it as meaning the love is gone. This can be harmful to the marriage relationship and threaten the marriage, when no interest is being shown toward your spouse it maybe sending them the very wrong message. So be mindful of what is happening in your marriage. This brings me to the friendship part of the marriage.

Our friendship? If you were friends before you were married then that will show an established set of reasons why you may have decided to marry in the first place. Maybe you were friends because there was a trust that you had for each other along with a mutual respect where love grew. Whatever the case may be as a married couple especially a Christian married couple having a close friendship as husband and wife is a wonderful blessing all it’s own. An established friendship with your spouse is important because you are life long partners and a friendship shows you value each other on many different levels. You have a genuine concern for one another outside the ties of marriage, there is a bond and a trust that is long established when there is a friendship. For couples that don’t feel they have a friendship I would say work on it. The closer you get to each other the stronger your bond is as husband and wife will be.

So there you have it the three areas to pay close attention too. If you think your marriage is suffering from the lack of nurturing I recommend getting things back on track with the simple suggestions from blog one and blog two. If you have any additional questions or concerns you can email me at dr.dnoorali@oceanlifechristiancounseling.com

I hope you will join me for my next blog where I offer some simple suggestions on “making sure your good times as a loving married couple, out way the bad times.”

5 Changes For a Stronger Outlook on Your Christian Marriage

Welcome to our Blog. It is a Blog that will offer you what I call “tid bits” of useful information to help you strengthen and “stir up” your Christian marriage.

Why do I use the words “stir up” you ask? Well, because once the honeymoon phase is over we all have a tendency to settle back in our marriages where we think from here on out its all about “cruise control” until well, death do us part.

So by “stirring up” your relationship, it will help to revive it. Often time we go day to day going through the motions never realizing by making some small changes we could bring boring to scoring a grade A marriage where ordinary could never describe your relationship. It will become blissfully exciting without a trace of ho -hum.

I am here to tell you (5) major changes that will bring about a whole new outlook on your married life and also bring you closer together as husband and wife.

  1. Put God at the center of your marriage. Our heavenly father views you and your spouse as one. The most beautiful relationship in the world is one where God is at the center of it offering praise and worship to our heavenly father regularly . When we put God first place in our lives we can be sure he will bless us with a happy, healthy, loving marriage.
  2. Pray together. As husbands and wives there is a bond shared between us and when we go to prayer in our oneness we are showing our heavenly father that we cherish our unity as husbands and wives. The family that prays together REALLY DOES stays together.
  3. Read a Christian devotional together. I believe that it keeps us on track not only in our Christian walk but also in our bond as husband and wives. Its can also help to hold us accountable with the constant reminders that it can offers us.
  4. Be apart of a Bible Based Church. As Christians we need to feed our spirits regularly with Gods written word. Hearing, reading, and fellowshipping helps us in our every day lives to stay fruitful, faithful, and focused on our Christian walk together.
  5. Having a regular priority date night as husband and wife. A special night with your special loved one where the focus is on just the two of you. It’s a time to shut out everything negative and to focus on being kind and loving to one another. Making it special. Get lost in the love you have for each other.

Well there you have it. The (5) changes that can help to put your marriage relationship back on track by putting God at the center of your marriage.

Join me again when I do a new blog called Make these (3)areas count. Where I tell you about (3) major areas of a marriage relationship that should NOT be ignored.