Friendship – Curious about Communication?

As we have all experienced, human communication and relationships are so complicated and quite fascinating really, whether it is at work, with friends or in marriage.

I was reading a friend’s blog, and she has been thinking through some things specifically to do with her personal friendships but she also posted a couple of links to interesting articles- one is ‘The Illusion of Transparency’ about how sometimes we expect or assume people know what we are thinking, and another is ‘The Spotlight Effect’ , about how we feel like others notice particular things about us and makes us feel overly self-conscious.

These struck a chord in me as I struggle with these issues myself!  Thought to share them as maybe this will also be some food for thought for you today.

Sarah – Fit 4 Life Staff


Faith – Some helpful resources

If you’re like me, it can be overwhelming the amount of information available on Christian interest subjects – from theology to parenting.

I thought I might share some of the resources I have found helpful to me in different areas of faith and life.

General Faith/Theology

One Year Bible (easy-reading and systematic so good for daily reading) 

Answers to Tough Questions– Josh McDowell (this was good for helping me understand the Bible, God and other slightly confusing things)

Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Josh McDowell (this is another great resource for answering questions about Christianity)

Marriage/Romantic Relationships:

His Needs Her Needs – Willard Harley (an essential for all marrieds, young or old)

Love Busters – Willard Harley (this book is amazing and great for all kinds of relationships, though it is written for marrieds)

For Women Only – What you need to know about the Inner Lives of Men – Shaunti Feldhahn (really important book for women to read)

For Men Only – A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women – Shaunti Feldhahn (really important book for men to read)

Personal Growth:

Changes that Heal – Henry Cloud (an awesome book that helps provide tracks to run on to see personal growth happen and to become more emotionally healthy)  

Personality Plus – Florence Littauer (all time favourite book)

Everybody’s Normal till you get to know them – John Ortberg (great read and helpful too!!)

No More Christian Nice Guy – Paul Coughlin (this is a MUST read for Christian men and a great read for Christian women too)

Parenting:

Personality Plus for Parents – Florence Littauer (great read to help you help your child grow in their temperament)

Raising Great Kids – Henry Cloud (this was a really balance book on parenting. I didn’t feel like the world’s worst mom after reading it. :))

Passport to Purity – Family Life  (this was a great tool to use to help my daughter understand becoming a teenager, purity, dating etc. Very balanced and fun)

For Parents Only – Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa Rice (this book was so helpful as I began the adventure of parenting a teenager)

There are tons more resources out there so keep looking!! Some of these are also available to read in the coffee area of Fit 4 Life so come on down, grab a coffee and enjoy reading!!

Christy – Fit 4 Life Staff

Friendship – Love Languages

This week’s blog is on friendship or relationships.  When I sat down and thought about what I could for the blog the first thing that came to my mind was a book.  I am not big on reading non-fiction but I have found this book very useful in my marriage but also in my other relationships.  The book is “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  It is written more focused on marriage relationships but I think a lot of the concepts in the book can be related to other relationships as well.

It basically talks about how each one of us feels loved in different ways.  The book narrows these into five things – words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.

I found it very helpful to learn how I feel loved and also to learn about the other ways so that I could better love others – my wife, my family and my friends.

If you are hanging out at Fit 4 Life there is a copy of the book in the book rack, feel free to take some time out to have a read of it.

Jason – Fit 4 Life Staff


Finance – My Little Stash of Cash

In marriage, money is something that can become a sticky topic.

One thing I’ve appreciated about our budget is that it contains a weekly allowance for both Jason and I. This gives us each a bit of freedom to enjoy some small treats and prevents quibbles about, “Why are you buying that, do you need it?” kinda stuff. (My kind and generous husband even decided to allocate me double of what he gets in our weekly allowance! :))

Because I’m the more ‘dangerous’ spender between the two of us, I have a separate account for this allowance, so it is limited to what’s in it. I know, if you see the bank statement you will laugh because it is a separate little account for not very much cash! You don’t have to do this, but it helps me. (And probably helps Jason feel safe haha.)

This means that every week I have some money to do ANYTHING I want with- a magazine, a random coffee, a piece of clothing or other fun things. I love this as I don’t feel guilty buying something that I may not necessarily need once in a while and don’t get worried that it will eat into our budget. Even though it is not a massive amount, it is still great, as I can accumulate or save up enough to buy larger items over months.

The tricky part would probably be defining what kinds of things would go under ‘allowance’. (Oh and the word ‘allowance’ might sound funny/childlike to some. You can call it something else if that word doesn’t work for you.) It is probably wise to agree on a clear definition together.

For us, the point of an allowance is to give us a bit of a breather to spend on unimportant-but-fun things we each desire, but as the amount is limited, there are boundaries that protect our overall finances. Please note that this is a minor category in the whole realm of budgeting, but I feel that this has helped us reduce some stress in handling finances within marriage.

hmmm. I initially thought to write about something a bit more exciting, like how to spend money! But I think I’ll leave that for another day…

Don’t forget though that members of Fit 4 Life can receive free financial planning so sign up today for your appointment!!!

Sarah – Fit 4 Life Staff

Friendship – Six tips on being a great husband!!!!

I’ve been married for 21 years now and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes as a husband along the way, but I’ve also done a lot of things right too. So here’s my list of the top six areas that I have worked on to make my marriage survive and even thrive!!

  • Communication

There are two specific areas I have had to learn about in my communication with my wife. They are:

  • Honesty – I’ve had to learn how to be honest in sharing with my wife.  Not that I have ever lied to her, but in the earlier years of our marriage I often wasn’t really sharing the entire truth about how I was feeling. I often didn’t share how my wife was really making me feel because I didn’t want to hurt her or make her cry.  That was a big mistake and now I (we) have learned to really express truth to one another. PS Sharing truth is not a licence to be brutal! You have to choose your words very carefully, but learn to speak honestly about what you are thinking or feeling.
  • Not denying emotion – I’ve learned that I need to express my emotions (fully) to my wife which often involves sharing the good, the bad and the ugly! Again, it can be easy to be brutal in the delivery, but you must work to share how you are feeling – without making the delivery destructive!
  • Fun

About 12 years ago my wife and I were going through a very rocky patch in our marriage. After talking about it, one of the things we identified was that we weren’t having any fun together. We created a regular date night and began making it a priority for us. We’ve kept up the practice for many years now. Often we go to the movies or out for dinner and laugh together, and remember what we like about each other. This keeps our relationship fun and gives us something to look forward to each week. Marriage often involves kids too, so in our family we have a lot of fun with our kids and do special things together, like having a family night once a week where we play games or do an activity and connect. We also try and eat meals together as much as we can and laugh a lot. That really helps to make life enjoyable.

  • Affection and Romance

All wives need romance and affection. Neither of these two things are natural to me –  or perhaps not even to most men(!) – but I’ve learned that my wife feels insecure if these things are lacking in our marriage. Hugs, kisses, notes, texts, emails, phone calls, making cups of tea all communicate affection to my wife. Romance doesn’t always have to be expensive or time consuming, just thoughtful. I am still working at this after 20 years, but there have been some special things that I have done for her. At least once a year we take a weekend and to go away together (without the kids!) This getaway is really important to her and for romance!! I’ve also arranged some very creative dates for her, like creating a restaurant in our home with candlelight, a table for two and a fancy meal that I cooked for her.

  • Admitting Mistakes

This is definitely not natural for me!! I have had to learn to admit when I am wrong and sincerely apologise to my wife. I definitely don’t take the blame all the time – my wife doesn’t want me to either; sometimes she is the one who is in the wrong and I’ve had nothing to do with it! But usually it takes two to tango and both of us have to contributed something to the conflict. So while its hard to admit my fault in any disagreement or conflict, I have noticed what a difference it makes in conflict resolution when I make the move to apologise first and admit I haven’t done some things right.

  • Providing

In his book “His Needs Her Needs” author Willard Harley talks about how one of the top needs for women is that they feel financially secure. I have tried to make sure my wife and our family feel financially secure and provided for even when we didn’t (or don’t) have much money. Making the choice to move into Christian work 15 years ago was a big decision for me and my wife. Most people – including us – know it’s not the path to achieving great wealth! Having less income than when we were employed in our secular jobs (and with no kids back then either!) made me rise to the challenge of finding intelligent ways to generate the finances we needed. Some of the decisions I made along the way are now also enabling us to create new ministry opportunities like Fit 4 Life which is very fulfilling.

  • Commitment

At the end of the day a marriage is a commitment. In the majority of marriages both the partners start off making some very holy and solemn vows to each other, but the ravages of time and life make us forget what we promised to do. Sure there are days when I have been frustrated and angry in my marriage, or my wife and I are having conflict again over something that’s come up; there are days when I wonder if we made a mistake. But then I get my head right and seek to come back and  talk to my wife and work it out.

If you base any relationship solely on feelings you’re eventually going to bail-out of it because feelings come and go. The bottom line is that I am committed to my wife, and we hang in there and work things out when it’s not going so well. And then after we have worked it out we fall in love (feelings) again.

In today’s society for many it’s become the easy option to bail out of marriage, but this has proven and documented long term negative consequences on your emotions, your finances, your children’s emotional and psychological health and wellbeing, and the fabric of our society is weakened by the huge number of marriages that have fallen apart through choice of one or both partners to go separate ways. My wife and I have had to work through some very tough and complicated issues in our marriage, but we’ve persevered through them all and are better people today because of it. (I know that I certainly am!) So even if it seems dark right now for you, hang in there and give it your best shot to make your marriage work. It’s worth it!!!!

Here’s to becoming a better husband!!!

Bryce – Fit 4 Life Staff