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Dewitt 2012 Couples Retreat Visitors ….

Notes from Retreat

We decided to not post the letter from Rafael until some rewriting has been done.  But here are the other details that some of the couples asked for.  Again, we thank  you for your inspiring presence at the retreat.  (Sorry for the awkward  formatting of the notes – I’m not sure how to correct it.)

Forgiveness:

Third, to get more dedication commitment into our lives, we choose – as often as needed – to forgive our spouse.  Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or pretending that no hurt has happened. We may still experience pain or a sense of loss after forgiving our spouse, but that is natural and doesn’t mean that you haven’t forgiven.  Forgiveness is the decision to:

  1. forego any compensation, “payback,” or revenge for the “offenses”, and
  2. give up the chance to use the “offenses” as justification for one’s own negative behavior, and
  3. not withhold myself from my spouse because of the “offenses”, and
  4. commit to a process of reconciliation and healing after I forgive.

What is there to forgive?  There are two kinds of things.

1.  Hurt because of foul play  This is the case when we or our spouse does or says something that a reasonable panel of observers would say is “foul play.”  The scope of foul play is broad, from extramarital affairs to behaviors like criticizing, blaming, name-calling, ignoring our spouse, and dishonesty.

2.  Hurt without foul play   We may, however, have experienced hurt even though there has been no foul play.  That happens, for example, when we or our spouse acts on the basis of different, but legitimate, expectations for some aspect of our life, and one or both of us are hurt as a result.

There are as many examples of this as there are expectations: who does what work around the house, how to we spend holidays, relationships with in-laws, how to raise the kids, how to manage money, our sex life, and so on.

Many spouses struggle with seeking forgiveness for this category of hurt, simply because they do not consider what they did to be “foul play.”  Similarly, many spouses don’t forgive this kind of offense, and develop lasting resentments and unforgiving attitudes about their own hurts because they consider even unspoken expectations to be “obvious” “needs.”  Remember that it’s up to you to check your expectations to be sure they are reasonable, to kindly make them clear to your spouse, and to talk through any disagreements about them.  Again, avoid “right fights.”

Contrasts of immature love with mature love.   This illustrates some of the differences.

 

 

Immature love Mature love
1. my needs and wants are urgent and desperate and should get priority. 1. I put my wants and needs in perspective and trust that I can meet them with the help of God and spouse.

 

2. my spouse is an extension of myself and should give me what I want. 2. my spouse and I are both whole, not extensions of each other.

 

3. I fear abandonment 3. I am secure in myself & don’t fear losing myself in my spouse.

 

4. I need constant reassurance that I am loved, and need proof of it 4. I trust that my spouse loves me; I don’t need to test it.

 

5. My emotions dictate how I interpret my spouse and treat my spouse 5. My emotions are my servant, not my master, and I use them to enhance my relationship

 

6. I am dependent on my spouse for my emotional security & self-esteem 6. my spouse and I are inter-dependent: whole in ourselves & cooperative.

 

7. I need my spouse to meet my high standards.  My standards are MY standards.

 

7. I accept my spouse with imperfections and ask the same of him/her.  My standard is Jesus Christ.
8. I live in the past and the future

 

8. I live fully in the present
9. My spouse must change before I do 9. I will change for the good of our marriage and our salvation.

 

10. Marriage should be like a permanent vacation 10. Marriage is a permanent vocation

 

 

Hidden Issues

Often, when deep needs are involved, couples with intimacy deficits find themselves spinning their wheels in the same old arguments, blowing up over seemingly trivial things, or avoiding discussions altogether.

When those things happen, we can be sure that the conversations are being controlled by “hidden issues.”  Hidden issues are those concerns that lurk beneath the surface of our arguments about common issues such as spending, child-rearing practices, sex, outside interests, housework, and so on.  Researcher Scott Stanley and associates have identified six particularly common hidden issues.

1.  power – who has what status or control?  Whose wishes carry the most weight?  Who has the say in decisions?

2.  caring – do you really care about me?  More than about other people or things?  Can I trust you to have my well being at heart?

3.  recognition – do you value me?  Do you recognize what I contribute to our relationship and our home?

4.  commitment – will you be with me for the long term?  Can I count on you to support me when I need you?

5.  integrity – do you respect my integrity?  Or do you hold my feelings, words, deed, and motives suspect?

6.  acceptance – can I trust that you respect me for who I am and cherish your connection with me?

Hidden issues come to the surface openly only when your spouse feels safe and valued and knows that you will respect his/her needs. Otherwise they come out in disguised form, as arguments about the credit cards, the in-laws, or any other issue that allows unhappiness to be expressed.

 

 

 

Acorn Yummies

Free snacks from the shore of Lake Michigan – acorn sautee and acorn flour. Leaching and drying take a lot of time, so it’s not a quick meal.  Worthwhile nevertheless.  Hey, Minnesotans from 12 mile, you should try this on the next trip to the bush.

Arizona trip, part 2

No audio here.

Arizona, Part 1

About 7 minutes long, with 2 brief sound portions.  This and part 2 summarize two months and about 7,000 miles.

Cottonwood, AZ

Wifi at the “A New Spin” laundromat in Cottonwood.  There are way too many stories and pictures to post in the time it takes the clothes to wash, so I’m thinking I’ll put them on a cd for family and anyone else who wants one once we get back.  but here ar some of the places we’ve been.

The pulloff on forest road 119 in Coconino national forest was home for relaxing and base camp for exploring.  Love it.  Before we found it, we stayed for free at the petroglyph site by Gila Bend.  From “camp 119” as we came to call it,  we went to an amazing petroglyph site called the “V bar V” site.  Besides hundreds of petroglyphs, it has a 12 foot high solar calendar that told the Sinagua people when to plant various crops, hold certain ceremonies, and even explain their spiritual origins to the young ones.

then to Montezuma’s Well (1 1/2 million gallons of water flow per day) and Montezuma’s Castle.  Neither has any connection to Montezuma – some self-appointed expert made the mistake in the late 1800’s.  Gotta go for now.

Sinaguan solar calendar

Sunset over the petroglyphs near Gila Bend.

Montezuma's Castle, a sinaguan hi-rise. Must have liked climbing ladders.

Some new animal friends

One of the first new friends we met is the Gambel Quail. (foto)  They are the desert busybodies, perfect matches for the town gossips in a

Gambel Quail.

Victorian novel, complete with dowdy hats.  They bustle around calling “Where!?” to each other, pursuing the latest tidbits.  They never seem to find anything, but never tire of calling “where!?” and scurrying off somewhere else to snoop.  Eventually they quiet down and go home, content that their watchful ways have kept the universe in order.

In contrast, the Roadrunner would not fit into any Victorian novel.  It comes straight out of the swash-buckler genre.  (foto)  They strut right into the alehouse with a “Move over.  What’s for lunch?” attitude.  If not served immediately, they issue a short, gargled “Ooooh!”

The swashbuckling Roadrunner.

as if to demand an explanation.  Their beak is a stout cutlass which they roguishly brandish within inches of the hapless bar-mate whom they’ve graced with their display of bravado.  Not even Errol Flynn was as fast, nimble, or daring.

The most dramatic of our new friends is the Vermilion Flycatcher.  His aerial acrobatics humbles the most

Vermillion Flycatcher; Santa Catalina Mtn.

advanced fighter jets.  He can fly eight feet straight up, instantly stop and hover, and then dive through tangled mesquite branches to perch and show off his colors.  No bragadoccio here, though.  He’s simply the beauty of the neighborhood, and is gracious enough  to pause a moment so you can admire him.  Oh, a suitable movie set?  Maybe Disney’s Fantasia.

I can’t end the bird section without mentioning the dove, or “paloma” as we say down here.  What the many species here lack in showiness, they make up for in number and hospitable gentleness.  If our other new bird

La Paloma

friends are symbols of the desert, the dove is the emblem of human settlement here.  Every other street and housing development name includes the word “paloma.”  Multi million dollar homes are built to look modest and unobtrusive – just like the dove.  Even the grocery stores reflect it’s earth-kindly nature – any sign that contains the words “natural,” “whole,” or “holistic” is bound to be a food store.  If I had my say-so, the dove would be the state bird of Palomizona.


Puma; Sonora Desert Museum.

Bobcats watching their next meal; Sonora museum.

The rare Arizona Ocelot; sonora museum.

Gray Fox (really can climb trees!) refusing to pose at Sonora museum.