The New Power Couple

I have a friend who dreams of finding the right guy. She longs to be part of a team that helps others and makes a difference in life. It’s her lifelong goal to be half of a power couple.

This is a common desire for both men and women in the early stages of healthy dating. We always want to dream of our future and picture our teammate helping to make sure our dreams come true. And most of us want to reciprocate.

But in many marriages, one of the two individuals bring a critical eye to the relationship. Most of the time the couple takes turns being critical of the other.

For instance, one might be a neat freak and the other sloppy. The sloppy person gets criticized in hopes that they will one day mature and pick up after themselves. But alas, that person has a mental aversion to putting things away.

The table turns on the couple when it comes to finances. The person that leaves their socks on the floor happens to be great at investments and has doubled the couple’s money every seven years. But, the neat freak spends every extra dollar they get.

If you want to turn your marriage into a power couple or dream team, consider these four steps to empower a healthy marriage.

Affirm Away the Critical

We can never change the other person. But the more we affirm the right actions, the more likely they will choose to do similar things in the future. When we’re critical of each other, we want to spend less time together. But when we hear our spouse praise our actions that make the marriage work, we tend to repeat those behaviors more often.

I did something similar with my kids as they grew up. I’d keep a keen eye on them so the moment they did something helpful for the family, I’d bath them in praise. That positive affirmation improved our family. Everyone wanted to see the family succeed.

This team atmosphere empowered us to do some remarkable things. We made a radio drama that aired on WGN Radio as a part of a family competition. where we received an all-expenses-paid vacation to Disneyland. We made an animated cartoon and our family story got published in a Chicago newspaper. We also did more local things including building a cardboard boat and competed in a boat regatta. And, we took first place for most original float one fourth of July.

Brag on Your Spouse in Public

Every time you praise your spouse in public, you strengthen your marriage. That positive energy lifts our spouse and solidifies in everyone’s mind that you two are a team. This works even better when your spouse overhears your comments.

Great compliments are about your spouse’s character traits, actions, and giftings. The key is to be authentic and not force the topic. The positive comment must fit the conversation. If it comes out of the blue, it seems disingenuous.

Back when I was married, my wife had a goal of writing a magazine article for a major magazine. She was a wonderful writer and the competition was intense. When she got her breakthrough, I understood what a joyous moment that was.

I couldn’t help but share it with friends and throw her a surprise autograph party. I got enough copies of the national magazine featuring her article so she could sign a copy for everyone. While she didn’t like being in the spotlight, everyone knew that I was proud of her.

Care for Your Spouse’s Overzealous Strengths

I was once taught that our giftings are both a blessing and a curse. For instance, the person gifted with perseverance might come across as stubborn. We love that their perseverance will help us all to succeed, but we can’t stand it when they won’t take a break at times.

Some of my friends love my diverse background and eclectic knowledge. But there are times when they can see my mental wheels turning and wish that I’d turn off my brain for a time. Some have gotten upset to the point of calling me a know-it-all.

A great spouse and team player would signal me when my sharing gets over the top. After all, I can get caught up in the moment and over-share at times. A good teammate can help us navigate our zealousness.

Divvy-up Bad Chores

In all relationships, we learn that both individuals hate certain chores. At that point, we have to discuss who will take on what issues so our couple-ness can prosper.

I remember a time when I was married, my wife made it clear that she was not able to pick up after the dog barfed. She could handle dirty diapers, but animal vomit that turned her green.

At that moment, we decided that I’d be the primary cleaner when one of our dogs got sick. In turn, she wanted to be the primary diaper changer. Over our 23-year marriage, we both handle both types of clean-up. When we were both available, we took care of our primary functions to keep us moving forward.

Build Your Power Couple Dream Team

Keep an eye out to find your spouse doing something right and give them praise. When given an open door in conversation, take time to brag about your spouse in public.

Don’t let your spouse’s overzealous passions separate you. Instead, keep them in a healthy zone using signals. And, learn what chores your spouse can’t stand and lighten their load by picking up what you can handle.

By focusing on these things daily, you’ll guide your couple’s dream team into a new world of leadership. Many people are desperate for a healthy marriage role model couple. It’s time for you to practice these steps and help those around you do the same.

Copyright © 2021 by CJ Powers

Intelligent Snowflakes and Tears

Photo by Wilson Bentley

Photo by Wilson Bentley

Man has failed to make snowflakes. His poor attempts at developing an ice process to replicate snowflakes continue to fail. The theory of evolution has also failed to make a new snowflake structure through “descent with modification” or “natural selection.” Snowflakes are still hexagon in nature and it will never change. Why? Could it be intelligently made?

I was fascinated by reading Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley’s work and looking at pages displaying his lifetime of snowflake photography. After viewing several hundred snowflakes, all of which were incredibly beautiful, I couldn’t help but conclude that none of the snowflakes were a mistake or randomly tossed together.

The closer you look at a snowflake, the more detail and beauty rises from its precisely crafted form, making it clear that it could not have been arbitrarily made. This coupled with the fact that the closer you look at something manmade, the uglier it gets with the imperfections showing through, makes my perspective easy to support.

Regardless of your beliefs, the theory of evolution can’t be proven using scientific guidelines:

  1. Testing the theory and the adequacy of alternative theories using questions that can be investigated empirically (experientially) through carefully designed and implemented observation.
  2. Link Research to Relevant Theory
  3. Use methods that permit direct investigation of the question.
  4. Provide a coherent, explicit chain of reasoning.
  5. Replicate (repeat the experiment) and generalize (repeatable by others) across studies.
  6. Disclose Research to Encourage Professional Scrutiny and Critique.

Since it can’t be scientifically verified, evolution is classified, not as fact, but as an unproven theory.

Intelligent Tears

Tears of Redemption

Photo by Rose-Lynn Fisher

The body does some pretty incredible things that we fail to appreciate. One of those things is the production of tears. We produce tears for various reasons including fear, joy, remorse, gladness, grief, and hope. Most of us understand the difference between those emotions, but we don’t typically know that the design of our tears varies based on the emotion behind them.

In The Topography of Tears by Rose-Lynn Fisher, the series of duotone photographs of captured tears is eye-opening. The photos were shot using a glass slide. Teardrops of various emotions were captured, placed on slides, dried, and then photographed through a high-powered microscope to see the differences.

The images shot of joy-based tears were beautiful. The once shot of anger produced tears were dark and haunting. The actual makeup of the tears correlated to the emotional reason the tears were generated.

The complexity of our lives during a major change was reflected in the tears of someone experiencing a life-altering change. The image was just as blocky and complex as the person’s life. The person experiencing hope produced tears that reached outward. The most beautiful tear structure was that of redemption. The second most beautiful came from compassionate tears.

Our tears are not accidental or random. Thanks to the photographs I saw, I can say that our tears reflect exactly what we are going through. Even the tears produced by a person peeling an onion showed a significantly different pattern than those produced from an emotional experience.

Ordered Lives

After reflecting on the unwavering order in snowflakes and our tears, I’ve concluded that our lives should also have order. However, while intelligence beyond our ability was involved in the creation of snowflake and tear order, we are the intelligence that determines the order of our lives. Our daily order is determined by our choices.

To develop a healthy life order, we must first know ourselves. We must learn what makes us happy and what disciplines we need to alter our chaotic path and turn it into a straight, narrow path that leads to our success.

I’m a creative person who draws in all kinds of disparate information, then uses it to produce some form of entertainment that causes others to reflect or emote. Over time, I’ve realized that I’m most creative in the morning and an order of life that can facilitate creative expression would be best scheduled early in the day.

I have a friend who is very analytical. In fact, he gets more detailed oriented as the day progresses. He sets all of his meetings early in the day when he is less critical, for the sake of his team members, and schedules all of his analytical work in the afternoon when he is at the top of his game.

How we order things is not limited to schedules. Sometimes our order of importance plays a big role in relationships. How we organize our closets or make our bed every morning also plays a role in the order we give our life. Whatever the order is that we face, the discipline it takes to fulfill our order drives our success. Without order and the discipline to enforce our order, we fall short of our goals.

I’d like to encourage you to take time this week to review the order in your life. Whether it’s how a room is organized or to make sure your personal priorities aren’t being trampled on by others, establish an order that you’d like to try for the next 90-days to see if you become more successful. I’m doing it—join me this quarter and let me know how it goes.

Copyright © 2020 by CJ Powers

 

 

 

The Christmas Truce of 1914

Christmas_Truce_1914.jpgA bullet split through the frozen ground and ricocheted into the trench. The British soldiers shifted position, their feet stirred the sloppy straw-laced mud as they found their footing to return fire. None of the World War I soldiers wanted to spend their Christmas Eve dodging bullets. They preferred thinking about their loved ones back home and the traditional celebrations handed down through previous generations.

Lifting binoculars to his eyes, Captain Sir Edward Hulse kept a keen eye on the Germans. The 350-400 yard no-man’s-land between the British and German trenches reduced the number of casualties and made any form of pursuit suicidal. Captain Hulse knew the battle would be drawn out and slip into Christmas Day.

When the British soldiers stood for arms at six o’clock that prominent morning, the number of shots taken were greatly reduced from the previous day. By eight o’clock, only a few scattered, single shots could be heard off to the side where the border patrol stood watch. The main fighting zone held a natural truce that was neither dictated by the British or the Germans. The eye’s of the soldiers reflected a sense of peace that morning, allowing each one to ponder gratitude for the good within the lives of their families.

Germans Extend Grace

Captain Hulse was startled by movement out of the corner of his eye. He lifted the binoculars and spied four Germans who had climbed out of their trenches and headed toward the British.  None carried weapons. He watched as they slowed to a stop in the middle of no-mans-land, making sure not to cross into British territory.

Captain Hulse wondered what message they might have carried and quickly ordered two men to meet the Germans in the middle unarmed. None wanted to take such a risk on Christmas, forcing Captain Hulse to climb out of the trench and traverse the frozen ground alone. The walk felt longer than it was, knowing that 100,000 or so men from both sides were watching every step he took.

The Captain was greeted by three privates and a stretcher bearer. One German shared how they felt compelled to wish the Captain and his men a happy Christmas. The four Germans had put their lives on the line, trusting the British to keep the unstated truce. The German spokesperson shared that the men personally had no feeling of enmity against the British, but they were soldiers who had to obey their superiors.

The conversation became complex as the Captain and soldiers discussed the terrible wounds made by the rifle bullets. They all agreed that the high-velocity bullets with a pointed nose were designed to inflict wounds at short range. They also agreed that the old South African round nosed bullets made a cleaner hole. The conversation continued for a half hour, at which time a German, who saw great similarities between men, suggested that both sides return unarmed in the afternoon to the no-mans-land to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas Party for All

Later in the afternoon, a large group of unarmed Germans entered no-man’s-land. One of the German snipers led his fellow soldiers in the singing of Christmas carols, while they watched the unarmed British move toward them. Soon they sang a chorus or two of O Tannenbaum and the British joined in with the English translation of O Christmas Tree. The men marveled at their unified ability to sing the same song with different words. Laughter and handshakes followed.

The party lasted a couple hours and many exchanged gifts, based on what they had on them at the time. Some exchanged pipe tobacco, cigarettes, pens, pins, alcohol, and other small paraphernalia. Everyone had a merry time.

A 19-year-old private named Henry William Williams smoked a pipe during the party that was given to him by Princess Mary. In the pipe was German tobacco gifted to him from one of the enemy soldiers. They had met after a joyous chorus, shook hands and exchanged gifts or souvenir trinkets. Both gifts were heartily received.

When the day grew short, Captain Hulse ordered his men back to the trenches.

An Extended Truce

The Germans promised that they would maintain the truce indefinitely. Captain Hulse said that the truce had ended, but the Germans persisted that they would not continue the fight unless the British fired first. The Captain clarified the end of the truce and continued walking back to the trenches. A short time later a few British soldiers took plum pudding to the Germans, received thanks, and returned to their trenches. Not a single shot was fired for the rest of the evening. Neither side wanted to fire on the men that they had met personally.

The night watch hours were also silent. Not a single weapon was raised against the opponent. The men were comfortable in the aura of peace that had befallen all soldiers. Several men wrote letters to their mothers during the still of the night, speaking highly of the men they had met and the miracle truce that transpired. Those writing letters never fathomed how their letters, years later, would testify to the Christmas miracle—thanks to World War I historians that documented the war efforts.

Not a single man was willing to break the miraculous gift of the truce that surpassed their understanding. They embraced the silent night with thankfulness in their hearts.

Relieved

Quietness filled the wore-torn battlefield late into the evening. The Grenadiers arrived and relieved the British soldiers. By first light, the Grenadiers stood and fired upon the Germans. A new battle had broken out and thousands of lives were lost. But the miracle story of the truce was remembered and retold every year by those who understood the power of Christmas and the joy of those who participate.

Copyright 2018 by CJ Powers

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