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Dear Friends,

Welcome to our July CFI newsletter. For many of you, the summer may be defined partially by the number of weddings you attend, plan, celebrate and survive.  This edition of our newsletter discusses a number of issues related to weddings, relationships, and strengthening marriages in all seasons.  Also, Dr. Tim Doty has an article on suicide prevention  featured this month with Tony Cooke Ministries.  Check it out here

Featured Articles:

  1. Mrs. Sally Sutmiller shares how to lean on faith as a means of strengthening your marriage.  This is the first in a series of Faith, Fellowship and Fun.
  2. Mrs. Lois Trost helps mothers-of-the-bride transition to becoming mothers-in-law.  She provides suggestions based on her recent life transition.  
  3. Dr. Bill Berman reminds us that while popular culture may bemoan the loss of the feeling of love, that marital therapy can help couples regain passion.
  4. Links to CFI Author Resources.

The Honeymoon is Over- Now What? Part One: Faith

honeymoonI'd like to say that honeymoon never ends, but that might create unrealistic expectations.  Since unrealistic expectations are responsible for a lot of newlywed angst, I'm going to focus on some ways to build a solid marriage based on reality, not expectations.

What follows is the first installment of a three-part series emphasizing three broad areas:  Faith, Fellowship, and Fun.  Each contributes much to everyday marriage and perpetuates the bond you began to build during that wonderful honeymoon.

As a Christian, I believe that everything rests on faith, so let's start with that.  My faith is in God, the creator of all things and in Jesus, the "author and perfecter of faith" (Hebrews 11:3 and 12:2). This faith informs the way I live my life as an individual and as a partner in marriage.

How does this work?  The best thing I do for my marital satisfaction is to nurture my faith by being in close relationship with God, the creator of marriage.  The more closely I follow Him, through individual Bible study and prayer time, the more I feel loved by Him and am able to extend that love and grace to others-especially my spouse.

I learn that God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness rebellion and sin (Exodus 34:6-7); so, I extend compassion and grace, I make effort to be slow to anger, to abound in love, and forgive the sins against me (Matthew 6:12, 14-15).

I learn that Jesus is at God's right hand making intercessions for me (Romans 8:34); therefore, when I think my spouse is off base, I am before God interceding for him.

I learn that I'm to be thankful in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18); so, I thank God for my spouse even when I'm not happy with him.  It keeps the balance.

I learn that love, as described in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:4-8), is about what I do, not how I feel; therefore, I concentrate on showing love, rather than feeling love.
As you cultivate your faith as an individual, there are also things to do, as a couple, which will cultivate closeness between you.   These are just suggestions, feel free to add to the list.  As you grow individually, share that with each other.  Find a church body you both feel comfortable with-worship together and serve.  Share with each other the joys and difficulties of service.  Go on a mission trip together. Join a small group with like values where you will be loved and supported as a couple.  Spend some time studying and praying together.

I want to end by saying that our faith is to strengthen and encourage us, not to be used as a weapon of warfare against each other.  So, be diligent to cultivate your faith as an individual and as a couple.  The benefits are great.
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Salley Sutmiller, M.S., LMFT

Becoming a Mother-in-Law
tandem couple
The wedding is over, the bride & groom begin adjusting to their life together, and the parents are doing a fair share of adjusting as well.  Parents go through numerous transitional periods with their children - adjusting to their birth, beginning school, driving, dating, off to college and eventually marriage. 

For me, there was a dim finality when our daughter married and her bedroom was packed up and moved into "their home".  The marriage of a child is one of the last separation stages parents and children experience, and the right attitude toward it can be key to maintaining a good relationship.   The way I handled changes taking place in my daughter's life would influence the future closeness or distance I would have with the new couple. Here are a few  attitude changes that I found helpful to make:

  1. Sensitivity. Be sensitive to the fact that the primary relationship of your child is now with their spouse.
  2. Flexibility. Be flexible when sharing the couple's time with the other in-laws. 
  3. Privacy.  Allow me to be blunt:  Don't meddle in their business, don't visit too often, and don't overstay your welcome.
  4. Let Go.  This process should have begun in the teenage years, teaching them responsibility and independence. 
In 1961, Ernie K-Doe's song, "Mother-in-law", was a big hit.  It painted a picture of a woman giving unsolicited advice, asking how much the husband made, and stating "if she'd leave us alone, we'd have a happy home".  Forty years later and in the mother-in-law role, I still appreciate this song but for its instructional message instead of its humor......I can leave the newlyweds alone and bike ride with my husband at the same time!  (Read more of Mrs. Trost's suggestions at our blog).

Lois Trost, M.S.W
Lois Trost

You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'
Passion and romance are not constants in a love relationship.  If it were not for the constraints inherent to most marriages (e.g., financial, spiritual, impact upon the children, etc.) many marriages would not endure long enough to restore the reasons why the marital commitment was made in the first place.  That is why the commitment factor is so predictive of marital survival.

The loss of passion and romance is such a common phenomenon that song writers have capitalized upon it as a theme that is highly marketable. Consider the list of contemporary songs below as a sample.  See if you can think of others.  Just remember that normal doesn't necessarily mean healthy.  Marital therapy is designed to assist couples in recovering those lost feelings and preventing them from slipping away again.

"You've Lost That Loving Feeling"
-The Righteous Brothers
"You Don't Send Me Flowers Anymore"
-Neil Diamond & Barbara Streisand
"The Thrill Is Gone"
-B.B. King
"Where Has Our Love Gone?"
-The Supremes
"Total Eclipse Of The Heart"
-Bonnie Tyler
"Home Ain't Where His Heart Is Anymore"
-Shania Twain
"I Don't Care Anymore"
-Phil Collins/Genesis
"Now That The Magic Has Gone"
-Joe Cocker
"How Do You Like Me Now?"
-Tobi Keith
"Where Is The Love"
-Black Eyed Pea

William B. Berman, Ph.D.

CFI Author Resources

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Dr. Dale Doty, Ph.D.
Personality Disorders in the Church
(2 CDs) $12.00

If we can be of service, please contact CFI to set up a time to consult with one of our counselors.  We also provide psychological assessments and evaluations for ADHD and educational needs as well as pre-marital evaluations and counseling.  To view our full range of services, please visit
Timothy Doty, Psy.D. on behalf of
Christian Family Institute

Our Staff includes:
Dale R. Doty, Ph.D.
William B. Berman, Ph.D.
G. Bowden McElroy, M.Ed.
Eric L. Clements, M.S.
Jill E. Butler, M.S.
Salley Sutmiller, M.S.
Lois K. Trost, M.S.W.
Jamie Brandon, M.S.
Amber R. Sherrell, M.S.
Timothy D. Doty, Psy.D.
Stephen Harnish, M.D.

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