The MAGIC Ratio…
You know those couples that you look at and think, “Those two really have it all together!” You look at their family and the kids are all well behaved, they seem to always be smiling, you never hear either of them speak negatively about the other. For a second you think that they probably never argue and that nothing negative ever happens in their home. This is where John Gottman, a marriage counselor and researcher would disagree. According to him ALL couples have negative interactions. Without defining exactly what that is (because different individuals perceive what negative is differently) he says what makes these “perfect” couples different is not that they never argue. Its not that life hasn’t ever dealt them a bad hand and definitely not that they just avoid their problems. Gottman says that these couples are different because the positive interactions outweigh the negative by five to one. For every negative comment made, there are five positive comments. Does this ratio seem too impossible for you and your family? You have probably never actually tried counting but what if you did? What would your family life look like if for every negative thing that happened, five positive were there fighting to make you “The perfect family.” Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Taking It Home
What would your positive to negative compliment ratio be? 1 to 1? 5 to 1? 1 to 5?
The writer of Proverbs 15 uses pretty harsh language saying that heartache crushes the spirit. Has someone in your family had their spirit crushed by negative comments made without consideration of the consequences?
Having a 5 to 1 compliment ratio does not automatically fix the negative things said. How might it make you more aware of the comments being made on a daily basis around the home?
I certainly am not going to assume that I know what women think. When I hear men claiming that they know just what women think and want I shake my head and run away. However, after several conversations I have had recently I have made a conclusion. In some form or another, every woman wants sincerity. I have a hard time imagining a wife or mother who would willingly say they could do without sincerity. Can you think of a wife who doesn’t wish their husband was more passionate than her when it comes to his relationship with God? Can you think of a mother who wishes the father of her children was a little less interested in his children? The problem is, that as men, we settle for mediocrity. We make excuses for our insincerity and assume that our families will take the hit lying down. What would it look like in our families if our Husbands and Dads had as their number one priority their own spiritual health? Men who are in pursuit of a sincere relationship with God have no choice but to let that passion seep down into their other relationships, specifically their family. The challenge to increase sincerity in the hearts of our congregation’s men is not impossible. Let’s examine our hearts and see if we have allowed insincerity to characterize how we do our family relationships. If you find yourself allowing yourself to settle for mediocrity, fight back by being more intentional. Be in “hot pursuit” of God and you will find that the chase does not leave you breathless but instead drawing closer to Him.
Taking It Home
Women: In what ways have I become “okay” with a lack of sincerity in my husband’s relationship with God?
Men: What would my relationships be like if I were more passionate about my own relationship with God?
Here are some statistics I found on George Barna’s website, www.barna.org.
79% of adolescents feel safe when they are at home
69% say their family eats together at least five nights a week.
64 % say they can trust their parents to do what is right for the child.
91% of adolescents get punished by their parents for using bad language
74% said their parents enforce a strict curfew.
67% said the amount of T.V. they are allowed to watch is limited by their parents.
Not So Good
38% of young people said that churches have made a positive difference in their life.
34% said that prayer is very important to them.
43% rejected the notion that they would rather be popular than do what is morally right.
56% of children believe they will have a great life.
57% contend that they look forward to spending free time with their family.
35% of pre-teens said they find it easy to talk to their parents about everything that is happening in their life.
What does all of this mean? It means that parents are, in general, active in the lives of their children. The exception to this is when it comes to spiritual matters. These stats reflect that when it comes to their children’s faith, parents are much less influential.
Taking It Home
Just one question this week:
Are you ok with these statistics?
Isn’t it amazing that VBS is already here? It seems like I just started working with Mesquite a few weeks ago. The theme for this year is all about trusting God. I hope as a family you will take the opportunity to talk with your kids about trust and even more importantly, live out your trust in God as an example to them. Think about how often your children see and hear you worrying about things. Do your children hear more about how tight the finances are than how much you rely on God to meet your needs? Do your children see how you pray when there are difficult decisions to be made? God feeds the birds of the air and He dresses the lilies of the field (Matt. 6). He will meet your needs as well. He has a course set out for your family and he is not going to require you to set sail without providing the wind. Sometimes trust in God requires an enormous amount of faith. Jonah thought God was crazy for sending him to Nineveh. Elijah knew his God could torch an altar soaked in water. The disciples interrupted Jesus’ nap not trusting that even though he could feed 5,000 he could not save them from a storm. Different people respond to worry in different ways. God calls of us all to trust. I hope God will teach you and your family this week about dependence on him during challenging situations.
Taking It Home
What are the times when it is most difficult for you to trust?
Read Matthew 6:25-34. When Matthew says, “Each day has trouble of its own” what does he mean?
What are some of the troubles that you have experienced in the last 24 hours?
How have you trusted or not trusted God when it comes to these problems?
Pray as a family about the specific things you deal with and ask God to help you trust in him more.
We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Do these words ring a bell? If not, I would encourage you to go online and read a document called, “The Declaration of Independence.” Written by a man named Thomas Jefferson, this document holds within it the basis for our independence as a nation. Its interesting that each year we celebrate the 4th of July and rarely call it “Independence Day.” Whether we celebrate the day or not, all who live in this country benefit from the freedom provided by others, whether present or past. In our nation’s 231 year history since it was written, we have seen in action how, “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” As Christians, we kick things up a notch. Our responsibilities to each other are not simply the result of our citizenship in America but also our citizenship in Heaven. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1). Our freedom in Christ carries with it the privilege of mutually pledging our lives, our talents, and our integrity to each other. I hope you will take a chance to read the Declaration of Independence this week, and also reflect on our Freedom in Christ and the heavenly citizenship it brings.
Taking It Home
Ask your children what freedoms they have living in America.
Talk with them about the cost of freedom. “Freedom isn’t always free!”
Ask one of your children to read aloud John 8:34-36. Ask what it would be like to be a slave.
So what does it mean to be a slave to sin?
What does it mean that Christ has set us free from our slavery to sin? (Younger children may not fully understand this. It’s ok! You are laying a foundation)