Best on the Worst or Worst on the Best?

I volunteered in Noah’s 3rd grade class the other day. As our time came to a close, ten minutes remained in the school day. It wasn’t enough to begin a big project so the teacher gathered the kids in a circle in front of her and pulled out a stack of cards that had random questions on them. She read this question to the kids…

Would you rather be the best player on the worst team or the worst player on the best team?

The kids took turns going around the circle, answering the question and randomly she’d ask a kid to give a brief reason why.

“I wanna be the best player on the worst team because I want to have the most home runs!”

“I’d be the best player on the worst team because I want people to cheer for me.

We Don't Agree, But I Love You

I recently heard two people say this: “I don’t get along with _____ because I don’t agree with him.”  You might find this to be entirely natural, and I can say there is a part of me that understands this well because I’ve thought it myself.  But just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good.

We might think that the basis for a friendship or a relationship of some kind should rest upon common experiences or common beliefs.  And to some degree, this is true.  We do tend to gather with others who are like-minded, which is how we get clusters of people in a religion, or a club, or a denomination,

There is something deep within us that brings us close to one another, and this same something gives rise to our greatest conflicts.  This something is our system of beliefs—beliefs about life, and God, and morality.  If none of us believed anything, then we’d probably get along more easily.  It’s the differences that separate us.

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nine woes...part 9

woe to those who sacrifice unity on the altar of criticism:  will we bend toward other generations?

I'm in between. A mom to the learning generation. A daughter to the leading generation. It's a good place to be.

But from here, in between, I fear that the bridge is still out.

I've sat on committees and heard elders say, "This generation, where is their commitment?" I respond, "Actually, they may just be the most committed generation the planet has ever seen--but their commitment does not manifest itself in allegiance to forms and fixtures."

I've sat in think tanks and coffee shops and heard twenty-somethings say, "That generation, they just don't get it. Why can't they make room for the artist? Why can't they embrace our uniqueness? Why can't they focus on the stuff Jesus focused on?" I respond, "Actually, the stuff they do 'get' has eternal strength. The opportunities open to us today are the fruit of their prayers and tears."

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Brother to Brother: Can't We At Least Be Cordial?

“My brother and I fought like cats and dogs growing up. I’m one year older than he. I don’t know if it was a fight for superiority or something else. We’re both grown now, but we still don’t have a very close relationship. If I needed help, I wouldn’t turn to him,” Steve told me.

“Do you want to have a better relationship?” I inquired.

“I do,” he said. “We’re brothers. Shouldn’t brothers at least be cordial to each other? I’m not looking to be ‘best buddies’ or anything, but I do wish we could be closer.

“Mom and Dad are getting older, and we’re going to have to deal with taking care of them a few years down the road. With our relationship like it is, I don’t know that we could ever agree on anything. I feel like he still resents me, and I don’t know why. I never tried to lord it over him.”

I agreed with Steve that it was time for him to make an effort to improve their relationship. I talked with him about the importance of emotional love and that all of us have an emotional love tank: “When the love tank is full and we genuinely feel loved by family members, we tend to have positive, growing relationships. But when the love tank is empty and we do not feel loved by family members, barriers tend to develop between us. We tend to view each other in a negative light and can sometimes even be hostile toward each other.”

Moving in the Right Direction

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The Right Language

By nature, we tend to speak our own love language. That is, we express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not the primary love language of your spouse or friend, it will not mean to them what it would mean to us.

This is why thousands of couples are frustrated. Sam, a divorced single, said about the woman he is dating: “I don’t understand her. She says she feels like I don’t love her. How could she feel unloved? Every day I tell her that I love her. I also give her compliments every day. I tell her how pretty she is. I tell her what a good mother she is. How could she feel unloved?”

The problem is that her love language is acts of service, not words of affirmation. She’s thinking: If he loved me he would do something to help me. When he comes over, he watches television while I wash the dishes. He never helps me with anything. I’m sick of his words “I love you. I love you.” Words are cheap. If he really loved me, he would do something. I do everything for him; he does nothing for me. This scenario is repeated in thousands of relationships. Each person speaks his own language and does not understand why the other does not feel loved. If we want the other person to feel loved, we must discover and learn to speak his/her primary love language.
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The Three Ingredients to Emotional Unity

Because of the euphoria of the “in love” experience, many couples feel like they have genuine emotional intimacy. As one person said to me, “This is the strongest part of our relationship. We really connect emotionally.” However, when the euphoria subsides, some couples discover that the foundation for emotional intimacy is extremely weak. They experience feelings of estrangement and distance. “I don’t know how I could have felt so close to him six months ago when today I feel like I don’t even know him,” one recent bride confided.

What is emotional intimacy? It is that deep sense of being connected to one another. It is feeling loved, respected, and appreciated, while at the same time seeking to reciprocate.

To feel loved is to have the sense that the other person genuinely cares about your well-being. Respect has to do with feeling that your potential spouse has positive regard for your personhood, intellect, abilities, and personality. Appreciation is the inner sense that your partner values your contribution to the relationship. Let’s explore these three ingredients to emotional unity.

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