Archives For Relationships


April 25, 2014 — 4 Comments
STOP TEXTING! by Joe Wickman

STOP TEXTING! by Joe Wickman

Stop texting if…

  1. You’re angry.
  2. You’re not sure what their text meant.
  3. Your question cannot be answered with a yes, a no, or a number. (i.e. I’ll be there at 8:00)
  4. You value the relationship.

Look, texting is great, but only for a few things. My thumbs can sail over the surface of my iPhone keyboard. Texting is one of the modern conveniences I don’t know how I’d live without. It works great for shooting a quick question or note.

But there’s also a downside. People mistake texting for actual communication. It’s just not. Texting in order to communicate important, complex ideas is like trying to describe your favorite movie via email. It doesn’t work. It’s not the right method.

At best, a text is a short, limited message. It’s like talking on a telegraph. Type. Send. Wait for response. It’s stripped of all the rich verbal cues that color in a phone conversation. And even a phone call misses the all-telling body language that brings life and meaning to a face-to-face talk.

At worst, texting is the most easily misconstrued way to transmitting actual ideas. And forget about feelings. That’s why texts are often confusing.

I cannot tell you how many times I have told people, “STOP TEXTING!”

  • Husbands and wives text instead of calling or talking face to face, and can’t understand why they’re misunderstood.
  • Friends fight about stupid stuff that could be solved with one conversation if they just put in the effort.
  • Business people text instead of calling, and wonder why they’re losing money. (This numbs my mind.)

Seriously, people. We’ve GOT to get better at communication.

The next time you’re angry, or confused, or questioning someone’s motives, kick the communication up a notch.

Instead of texting, call. 9 times out of 10 you’ll solve your problem. It’s amazing what gets cleared up when you can hear the tone of someone’s voice. It’s like wiping the fog off your mirror. Suddenly, you can see clearer.

If a call doesn’t work, get face to face. Expressing complex thoughts and feelings, as well as listening, happens best when people are within 6 feet of each other.

It’s not rocket science. It’s just common sense. But I see people screw it up all the time.

Do you need to stop texting?

If you value your relationships, maybe you’ll use texting more selectively.

For more relationship help:  “Winning at Relationships

Do you know someone who texts too much? Share this post with them.

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What Makes a Good Friend? My Top 20 - by Joe Wickman

What Makes a Good Friend? My Top 20 – by Joe Wickman

Do you have a good friend?

Would you know a good friend if you saw one?

I’ve been thinking about some of the people who I count as friends. They enrich my life. I’m just better off for knowing them.

What makes a good friend? Here’s my top 20 list:

  1. They know you.
  2. They still like you.
  3. They get you.
  4. They assume the best about you.
  5. They tell you when you’re wrong.
  6. They tell you when they’re wrong.
  7. They value your relationship more than they value being right.
  8. They’re quick to forgive.
  9. They’re quick to listen.
  10. They pray for you.
  11. They hurt when you hurt.
  12. They love the people you love.
  13. They care about what matters to you.
  14. They help you.
  15. They have your best interests in mind.
  16. They warn you when you’re drifting off course.
  17. They make you laugh.
  18. They help you relax.
  19. Their presence fills you up, rather than drains you.
  20. They know how to handle a chainsaw, a pistol and a 4-wheeler with equal ease.

Okay, maybe that last one only applies to me and my friends.

But this list leaves me thinking, “Am I a good friend?”

What’s on your list? (Leave a comment and tell us!)

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,

but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

(Proverbs 18:24)

Marriage Done Right

June 7, 2013 — 1 Comment
Marriage Done Right

Marriage Done Right

I am blessed with a great example of marriage done right.

On June 4 I called my Grandma. I wished her a “Happy Anniversary” and thanked her for sticking together with Grandpa for so long. They’ve been married for 64 years now, through thick and thin, raising 4 kids along the way. Their marriage has endured.

Growing up just 6 houses away from Grandpa & Grandma, I’ve observed their life over the course of decades. I don’t have to guess what keeps them together. I know. Christ has been the glue that keeps their family together.

As a child I will never forget visiting them at breakfast time to find them seated at their kitchen table, Bible open, having just walked through another day’s dose of God’s Word. Their daily walk with the Lord, their love of Him, has blessed more than just their generation.

  • Their four children are still on their first marriages.
  • Their grandchildren have always known they are loved.
  • Their great grandchildren have met, known and loved them.
  • They have been covered in prayer and influenced by a godly example.

Generations have been, and will be, blessed by their faithfulness to the Lord and to each other.

Today Kelcy and I celebrate our 16th Anniversary.

We are young. We are in the thick of raising our 4 kids. It’s been a rough week with busy schedules and sick kids.

But our love isn’t fragile. It’s durable because it’s built on a foundation of loving God. So we have the kind of hope that is more than wishing. It is a bright hope, a strong confidence, that 48 years from now our children will capture a picture of us on our Anniversary.

To God be the glory.

Hi Everybody!

I hope your New Year has gotten off to a great start.

I’ve got a question for you:  Have you ever made a “Relationship Resolution”? Here’s how you can:

I wrote this article for “Start Marriage Right“. I hope you like it!

(Click the image for the article.)

Relationship Resolutions That Work

Relationship Resolutions that Work 

I’ve also written these posts on relationships:

  1. Relationships Require Risk

  2. Winning at Relationships – 5 Priorities for a Successful Life

  3. Relationship Rescue: 10 Steps to Put Out the Fire

  4. Pull the Plug: When You Should Kill a Relationship


Holiday Survival Guide

November 21, 2012 — 1 Comment
Holiday Survival Guide

Holiday Survival Guide

Do the holidays ever stress you out?

I wrote a Holiday Survival Guide to help you stay sane and enjoy the season.

Check it out!

Other articles I’ve written for Start Marriage Right:

  1. “Too Broke to Get Married?”
  2. “The First 100 Days”

Are the holidays stressful or peaceful for you?

Holiday Survival Guide Start Marriage RightHoliday Survival Guide Start Marriage Right

How has that changed through the years?

Leave a comment below to share your tips for making the most of the season.

3 Reasons Not to be a Cheating Cheater

3 Reasons Not to be a Cheating Cheater

Lance Armstrong took us all for a ride.

For years he lived out an all-American comeback story. Defying death by surviving cancer,  he rode to victory in the Tour de France 7 times, dominating his sport. He established the LiveStrong foundation, raising millions of dollars to battle cancer. His life inspired millions.

Unfortunately, the hero has fallen.

The United States Ant-Doping Agency released a 1,000 page report documenting his team’s abuse of steroids. Their deceit is being called, “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

Tremendous consequences have been leveled against the former hero:

  • He’s been stripped of his titles.
  • He’s been banned from the sport.
  • His legacy is now marred.

It’s easy for us to look and say, “Wow. That’s ugly! I would never do that.”

The truth is we’re tempted to cheat on a daily basis. Whether we’re tempted to cheat on a test, our taxes or our spouses, we face the same decisions Armstrong did. Once we tiptoe into deception, we find it harder and harder to get out. Lies have a way of growing bigger and bigger until they blow up in our face. What once seemed innocuous grows into a terrifying beast. Then it turns on us, and we’re shocked to suffer the consequences.

You and I may be tempted to lie about a small thing. We may be tempted to embellish to make ourselves look better, or to cut corners in order to get ahead. It’s never worth it.

Here’s 3 Reasons not to be a Cheating Cheater:

1)  “Your sins will find you out.”

(Numbers 32:23)

Nothing stays hidden forever. Haven’t we seen that played out again and again with politicians and athletes?

Perhaps more real painful are the stories that hit closer to home. You discover you friend has been cheating on their spouse. You learn your trusted business partner has been cheating you. You find out your kid has been lying to you about where they’ve been spending their time.

What was meant to be kept hidden will eventually be exposed. We can be sure that, eventually, the truth will surface. When they come to light, these discoveries are like a bombs going off, exploding relationships.

2)  Trust is fragile.

It’s also valuable. Once you break it, you might not be able to put it back together. Lance Armstrong is 41. No matter  what he does from here on out, he will never erase the stigma that has now been attached to his name. People will never be willing to extend him the trust he once had. That’s gone forever.

The ties that hold our relationships together can be snipped in a snap. The good news is that repair is possible through forgiveness and the rebuilding of relationship. But that takes time. It takes effort from both parties. And it’s a process that may not land you back in the same spot you started in.

3)  Cheating never gets you where you want to go.

Nobody wakes up and says, “Today I’m going to begin implementing a plan to embarrass myself and let down everyone I love.”

But when we take even one step in deceit, we’re stepping in that direction. We arrive at our ultimate destination after thousands of footsteps in the same direction.  If we’re not careful, we’ll eventually reap the consequences of our multiple missteps taking us somewhere dark. Be careful where each day’s steps take you.

It’s time for us to reassess our own integrity.

  • Are walking in truth?
  • Is there any deceit in us?
  • Are their any lies we need to get out of before they consume us?

Do it now. Take action. Confess. Have that awkward conversation and begin rebuilding trust.

Start brand new today. You’ll sleep better tonight.

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise.” (Ephesians 5:15)

For more help:

  1. Relationship Rescue
  2. Life Without Worry
  3. Pull the Plug:  When You Should Kill a Relationship
  4. Nuclear Fallout:  Life After Relational Death

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Young couples face many obstacles when headed toward marriage.

Start Marriage Right

Start Marriage Right

I just wrote an article for Start Marriage Right addressing one of the most common reasons for not getting married (yet).

Check it out here!

For more Marriage Help:

To follow my blog, just enter your email address on the top right of the page and click “subscribe”. Thanks! – Joe

Wildfire spreads fast.

Wildfire spreads fast.

Relationships can go up in flames in a heartbeat.

Ever get burned by relational conflict? It spreads like wildfire. The longer it goes unchecked, the more difficult it is to stop. Use these 10 steps to douse the flames, and you’ll save numerous relationships throughout your lifetime.

1)  Stop it before it starts. Sometimes all it takes is a spark to ignite a raging fire. Put the matches away.

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”(Proverbs 17:14 NIV)

See also:  (Proverbs 20:3 NIV) (2 Timothy 2:22-25 NIV)

2)  Mind your own business. Seriously, if the conversation isn’t directed to you, butt out of it.

“Interfering in someone else’s argument is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears.” (Proverbs 26:17 NLT)

This used to be common sense. With the advent of facebook, it’s gone right out the window. If you like getting bit, then by all means, yank on that dog’s ears. But if you’re tired of bleeding, leave that dog alone.

3) Don’t make a bad situation worse.

“In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold..” (Ephesians 4:26, 27 NIV)

Being angry isn’t necessarily a sin. Sometimes anger is appropriate, even good. But when you do something stupid and hurtful because you’re angry, you’ve just thrown gasoline on the fire. Get ready for a flare-up. Try taking a step back before something stupid and explosive comes out of your mouth.

4) Deal with the source of the problem.

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.” (James 4:1-2 NIV)

At root, our relational problems are spiritual problems. The heart is where things get goofed up. Knowing that empowers us to do something about it. Now you can go to God, ask Him to change your heart, and start covering some ground. If you don’t like what’s in your heart, ask Him to begin the process of transforming you.

5) Root out the Resentment. Unless you like being bitter, this is a necessary step.

“Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.” (Job 5:2 NIV)

Resentment is focused, sustained anger. It’s acidic, and left unchecked, will corrode away and hollow out a heart. This is the perfect example of something we need supernatural help to change. God can change our perspective, help us gain resolution, and even forgive those who have hurt us. Ask Him to root out the resentment. You’ll breathe easier soon.

6) Lose the Pride. The world does not revolve around you. (Shocking, right?)

“Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” (Proverbs 13:10 NIV) See also:  (Proverbs 16:18 NIV) (James 4:6 ESV)

Humility, the opposite of pride, is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less. Give it a try.

7) Stop caring about what others think.

“The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.” (Proverbs 29:25 The Message)

I’m not saying to ignore all others. Just don’t build your life around others’ opinions of you. Care more about what God thinks. Otherwise, you’ll never be satisfied.

8) Prioritize others. It may seem risky, but isn’t this just how Jesus acted?

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV)

9) Learn how to get along.

“Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement.” (Philippians 4:2 NLT)

Not every relationship you have is going to be pleasant, easy and natural. Some people’s personalities grate against your every nerve. Don’t worry. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re not everybody’s cup of tea either. No one is. Not everyone has to be your best friend, but you do have to learn how to play nice. Welcome to adulthood. Figure it out.

10) Reverse the flow. Change today will reap benefits tomorrow.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8 NIV)

The sooner you change the content of what you’re building into your relationships, the sooner you’ll enjoy the increased peace that results. Keep yourself in check, and go back to step 1 whenever you’re tempted to ignite another fire.

BONUS:  Overwhelmed? Count on God’s help when you take steps to heal and preserve relationships.

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.”

(Romans 15:5 NIV)

Some more thoughts on relationships:

(10 Ways to Keep a Conflict Going)

(Pull the Plug: When You Should Kill a Relationship)

(Relationships Require Risk)

10 Ways to Keep a Conflict Going

10 Ways to Keep a Conflict Going

Let me guess. Recently, somebody you know said something stupid to you. Or hurtful. Or untrue. And you’re ticked. Your feelings are hurt. You feel let down or betrayed. It happens.

We all know how a conflict starts. But only those of us who have plenty of practice know these tried and true ways to keep a disagreement or argument going.

CAUTION: Disregarding these instructions may lead to forgiveness, reconciliation and even peace.

That said, here’s 10 Ways to Keep a Conflict Going:

  1. Make sure you get “the last word”, preferably by texting. Face-to-face communication is too risky.
  2. Make it your mission to hurt them worse than they hurt you. That always works.
  3. Run your mouth to your “friends” on facebook. Puking your problems all over the internet is a fool-proof way to keep the pain flowing. Plus, it’s entertaining for those of us with too much sense to do so.
  4. Replay the hurt over and over in your head. It will never fail to anger you again… and again… adding constant fuel to the fire. If you don’t do this, you risk forgetting about it altogether.
  5. Make a mental list of all the injustices you’ve suffered. Better yet, write them down. No offense is to small. Commit them to memory so you can cherish them forever.
  6. Convince yourself that you deserve to be miserable. “I worked hard for this bad mood! Think I’m letting it go? Heck no!”
  7. Rationalize your way out of responsibility for any part of the conflict. “Of course I’m completely, 100% innocent! Pshh!”
  8. Minimize the hurtful things you’ve done. You walk on water, don’t you?
  9. Do NOT ask for forgiveness in any way, shape or form for your own bad behavior. It’s a sign of weakness. Hold out for an unconditional surrender form them. That way you can gloat later.
  10. Do NOT pray for God’s help in patching up your differences. There’s too high of a chance He’ll point out the “plank in your own eye” before you remove the “splinter” from their eye.

Proverbs 26:20 says, “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.”

Keep working this list, and you’ll never run the risk of that conflict dying down. You can thank me later.

Got your own suggestion to add to the list? Add it in the comments!

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Why Porn is Killing You

Why Porn is Killing You

In “Porn by the Numbers” I highlighted a few stats collected by our friends at . No matter what slice of information you sample, the numbers are staggering. More pornography is available today, and viewed by more people, than any time in history.

As access to pornography has proliferated, so has cultural acceptance of it. What was once a “dirty secret”, stashed away shamefully, is now much more out in the open. It is referred to and made light of in popular culture. Along with the widespread acceptance has come a new tolerance of what was once considered too sexual. What was once acknowledged as “soft core porn” now permeates magazines, advertisements and almost every surface that can be covered by an image. Sex sells, and apparently, business is booming.

Here’s the tricky part. No matter how accepted porn becomes in our culture, it is still corrosive and destructive at the core. Do not be fooled, porn is not a natural part of our sexuality. It is a distortion of it. The viewer of porn is harmed by it in more ways that one.

Why Porn is Killing You

It’s guaranteed to never satisfy:  The progressive nature of porn exposure ensures that we will never be satisfied with viewing the same amount of porn as we used to. This progression, similar to other physical addictions, ensures that a constant pursuit of more and more graphic content is the norm. In order to achieve the same “high” from porn tomorrow as we did yesterday, we must consume more of it, or more graphic versions of it. Sexuality, being an appetite, is influenced and distorted out of its intended shape by the consumption of low-value, high-volume “foods”. The result is growing dissatisfaction with porn itself, as well as the authentic sexual relationship God has designed for us.

It kills our chances of real sexual intimacy:  Consider this, if you are single, and a consumer of porn, how in the world could your spouse satisfy you on your wedding night, or any other night for that matter? If you routinely fantasize about, and in fact view, fake and distorted sexual acts that can be changed at the click of a button, then how could a real, live human being ever match up? They can’t. And they shouldn’t. Attempting to fulfill our sexual needs with anyone other than our spouse is going to lessen the chances of our spouse being able to fulfill us sexually. Did you get that? Let me rephrase it. The more we consume porn, the less satisfied we will be with a real sexual relationship with our spouse. Want a better sex life now or in the future? Ditch the porn.

It kills our closeness to God:  God has designed the sexual relationship of a husband and wife to involve much more than physical pleasure. The physical pleasure is best and most fulfilling when it falls under a life-long commitment of two people who are intimately familiar with each other’s needs within and without the bedroom. God knows exactly how we are wired. He designed us!  His plan always leads to the greatest fulfillment, not emptiness.

When Jesus said, “anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28) he was holding out for a higher standard than what was popular at the time. He highlighted the state of the heart, even if it didn’t result in acting out physically. If you’re a Christ follower, you understand that the cycle of guilt and shame involved with viewing porn can become so overwhelming that you want to walk away from your faith altogether. When we’re losing the battle with lust, we don’t exactly feel like we can approach God. The truth is, sin becomes a wedge that drives us further and further away from Him. Darkness always flees from the light, and if the darkness within us is growing, we tend to shy away from the very One who can cleanse and heal us.

There is good news. This cycle can be broken. Stay tuned for the next installments in this series.

Read the Whole Series:

  1. Porn by the Numbers
  2. Why Porn is Killing You
  3. Telling God about your Porn Habit
  4. Telling your Spouse about your Porn Habit
  5. Telling your Trusted Friend about your Porn Habit
  6. How to Get Help: Quitting Porn for Good