The Tapestry Blog

  • When Mom Needs a Break

    In today's podcast, Jeff talks with Sarah Collier and Stace Huff about the challenge of being a young mother and the importance of knowing when Mom needs to give herself a break. On the surface, “self-care” sounds like selfishness, but I think that as you listen to Stace and Sarah talk you’re going to see how self-care is critical to loving your children and spouse well.  Stace and Sarah have some great insights, as well as a wealth of practical suggestions for young Moms.

    When Mom Needs A Break!

  • Communication in Marriage

    Today Daniel Peeks hosts a conversation with Bev Elliott about communication in marriage. They’re going to probe into those issues that precede communication breakdown and then provide some practical thoughts on how to improve the communication in your marriage.

    Communication in Marriage

  • Welcome to the Tapestry Podcast

    Because today is our very first podcast, everyone from our team is here to tell you a little bit about Tapestry, our new podcast and what we think is going to make the Tapestry a podcast a unique and valuable resource for our listeners.  In this introductory podcast, we’re going to address the value of Christian counseling, as well as the importance of dealing with those hard things in life we all tend to avoid.

    Download

  • Recovering From Divorce #2: The Blame Game


    We’re cogs in a machine, to put it one way.  We go about our lives spinning away, connecting with other cogs, disconnecting from others.  Along the way our cogs and the cogs of others get worn, some even get chipped or broken if the relational coupling was traumatic.  The point is, when two cogs couple for life, they are not pristine, perfectly machined, perfectly lubricated workers.  Rather, they come together in a miraculous coupling of imperfection.  The goal is to spin together for life, but for some reason or another, about 40-50% don’t (APA, 2016).  Coupled cogs that collide rather than spin complimentarily through relationship are going to fail.  Some catastrophically.


    Blaming the other cog for the relational problems that led to the divorce is common.   Which cog is to blame?  Well, obviously it is the one that’s the most broken and screwed up, right?  Those believing its the other’s fault adjusted more positively post-divorce, according to one study.  Those who take responsibility for the marriage failing have a more negative view of themselves post-divorce (Amato & Previti, 2003).  Well, if that cog wasn’t so jagged and screwed up, why did the “pristine” one decide to marry it?  Why did the “broken” cog decide to couple with the “pristine” one?  Well, obviously, the broken believed they could be healed by the pristine.  Or is that what the pristine one thought?  Maybe the broken one doesn’t even realize they’re broken.  But it’s so obvious, isn’t it?  What if the pristine one really isn’t all that pristine, but rather quite broken, too?  What if the broken cog is actually spinning more smoothly than the pristine cog?  What if the pristine cog’s expectations were set so high that the broken cog, regardless of its true condition, could never meet those pristine expectations?  What if the broken cog is just broken and will never spin smoothly in conjunction with another regardless of the circumstances?  Which cog is to blame?  Enter divorce: it doesn’t matter.


    If relationships are viewed as cycles of interactions, then there is no real beginning and no real end.  Where does the water cycle begin?  Where does the astronomical cycle begin?  Relational cycles follow a similar pattern of no real beginning and no real end.  In relationships, trying to pinpoint who is to blame is only a distraction from the real problem—the cycle itself is to blame.  Some cycles are more likely to fail and do.


    For those struggling with divorce or who have gone through a divorce, the blame game is probably something you’re very familiar with.  The blamer and the blamed have a rough life ahead of them if they believe the faulty thinking that someone is to blame for the failed marriage.  There are definitely some overt actions or behaviors that led to the divorce: an affair(s), drugs, alcohol, abuse, neglect, or work.  All of these actions or behaviors, however, did not occur in a relational vacuum.  The cycle of interaction led to many of these behaviors.  Many of them were brought into the relationship prior to the marriage, but they were maintained or exacerbated by the relational cycle.


    The hardest lesson to learn from a divorce is that the marriage was a cycle of interactions and for every action there is a reaction.  For every relational need unfulfilled is an attempt for it to be filled.   In other cases the need simply gets muted, only to fuel resentment and contempt.  Some attempts at fulfillment were way outside the marital bounds and others were so armored in anger that they got lost in the escalating arguments.  We communicate our feelings and needs in the best way we can given the emotional circumstances.  Often our best isn’t good enough.  Our abilities as husband and wife are often overwhelmed by the cycle.  When there seems to be no other way out, enter divorce.  


    The good news is the cycle doesn’t have to repeat itself.  The cycle, though it destroyed one relationship, can be reconditioned to aid in new ones.  Cogs don’t have to hammer away at each other but can be realigned and smoothed out so that they spin together in harmony.  That process begins with self awareness: understanding how you interact in relationship with others.

    Ultimately, it’s our brokenness from being fallen beings in a fallen world that results in circumstances such as divorce.  Brokenness will be the focus of my next installment.

  • Boundaries: What's Mine and What's Yours


    What do you first think of when you hear the word “boundaries?” Lines? Fences? Walls? As a helper and recovering people pleaser that word tends to feel cold and mean to me. I visualize separation and loneliness. My whole life I’ve struggled with where to put that line with people to be genuine and intimate but also guarded and appropriately cautious. I’ve been guilty of having too many walls which led to loneliness and isolation and I’ve also been guilty of not having enough walls and letting go of too much of myself and being taken advantage of. I’m only just learning how setting proper boundaries with everyone in our lives is not just not mean, it’s the most loving thing we can do for others and ourselves.

    We are wired for intimacy, but what is intimacy actually? It’s the knowing and sharing of yourself and receiving that of the other. The only way we can truly know others and ourselves intimately is knowing where we end and where others begin. That line is different for everyone and it can evolve over time. We have to define what makes us who we are, who we are uniquely called and created to be by God, what our identity is, what’s ok and not ok; defining where our control lies and doesn’t and what our choices are. By knowing how separate we are from others, we are then able to see where we fit with others.

    Reading the book “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend was the first step to me truly having my eyes opened to this concept. My mind was opened to the concept that having appropriate and responsible boundaries with others and myself is the most loving and freeing thing. It allowed me to find true intimacy with others and also to stand up for what’s not ok. Boundaries also led to opportunities to teach others how to be in relationship with me, equipping them to know me more.

    I learned to assess my thoughts, feelings, actions, behaviors, choices, desires and values and see what belonged to me and what didn’t. I learned that I was not responsible for others’ thoughts and feelings and they are not responsible for mine. Understanding that took so much pressure off of so many confusing interactions and took away the guilt and turmoil I felt when I owned too much. I realized when I take ownership of someone else’s thoughts or feelings, I’m actually crossing their boundaries.

    Sometimes, when a friend asked something of me, I would said yes begrudgingly because I felt responsible for the disappointment I anticipated I would cause them to feel if I said no. This would only lead to frustration and resentment on my part, while my friend was left thinking that all was well. In so doing, I would cheat both myself and them of a more honest interaction. I would miss an opportunity to show that person what I’m actually able to do or not do and equip them to know what to ask of me in the future. And if that person felt upset that I said no, then that is their issue to grapple with, not mine.

    When I thought about boundaries initially, it seemed like the opposite of the way we’re called to be as Christians. It seemed unkind and selfish. But the more I dove in, the more I realized it’s the best way to be a Christ-like example. We demonstrate loving ourselves and others properly and honestly, when we stand up for what’s ok and not ok, we keep our word and speak clearly, we equip others to connect to us, we do not take control of something that is not ours to control and we are not slaves to the fear, guilt and anger that comes when we are irresponsible with boundaries.

    When is a time where your boundaries were crossed? 

    Where have you crossed someone else’s without realizing it? How did it feel to discover it later?

    Why is it so hard to say no and be honest with what’s ok and not ok?

    How can you grow in being more free and honest with others and yourself?

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