How to Make One-on-One Time with Your Child Special

You may have heard me say…your kids spell love T-I-M-E.  And spending one-on-one time with them individually is a critically important way to communicate love.  Great conversations can happen while you’re folding clothes or cooking a meal together.  When you’re driving them to an after school activity, turn down the radio and strike up some conversation.  Or get out of town for an overnight trip.  Your time alone with them will surely create some lasting memories for you both.  The important thing is to just spend time together with your child. For more ideas on How to Spend More One-on-One Time with Your Children., go to my blog at MarkMerrill.com.

Fight for Your Marriage, Not Your Pride

In his book, Uncommon Marriage, Tony Dungy shares why couples often fight harder for their own pride than for the good of their marriage.  He says “it goes against our human nature” to apologize when we think we’re right and our spouse is wrong.  It may not be easy to take the high road, but here are 3 steps to fight for your marriage rather than your pride.  First, identify what the conflict is really about.  Fighting for your pride will seem more important until you realize what the heart of the issue really is.  Second, realize what is worth fighting for: being right or being loving.  For more ways to fight for your marriage, visit my blog at MarkMerrill.com.

New Research: Teach Gratefulness by Giving Your Kids Less

Unfortunately, our culture constantly tells our children they need more and more.  And most of the time, that “more” has to come from us.  As parents, we like to make our children happy.  But recent research cited in the Wall Street Journal says our children would be much happier if we didn’t give them everything they wanted. So, here are a few ways to give your children less. Instead of just feeding your children, have them help with the cooking as they get older. Instead of just buying them things they want, give them work around the house so they can earn money to buy those things.  For more ways to give your kids less, check out my blog at MarkMerrill.com.

3 More Ways to Help Your Marriage Feel Less Stressed

Here are 3 ways to help your marriage feel less stressed. First, help more with the kids.  If you’re the kind who constantly delegates parenting responsibilities to your spouse, step up your game…whether that means helping your son with his science project, washing your daughter’s uniform before soccer practice tomorrow, or attending a parent/teacher conference.  Second, be your spouse’s teammate in parenting. Make sure you support your spouse when one of your kids is disrespectful or defiant. Third, create margin in your schedule. Don’t overbook. Few things create more stress in marriage than constant busyness and weariness. For more on how to help your marriage feel less stressed, check out my blog at MarkMerrill.com.

Are You Sure You Can Make Medical Decisions for Your Child?

Recently, a friend asked a small group of us that question. We all had unmarried adult children. She explained to us that if our any of our children were incapacitated and needed someone to make healthcare decisions on their behalf, and see their personal health information, a signed Designation of Health Care Surrogate was necessary. Without it, we did not have legal permission to make decisions or receive information regarding our grown children’s medical lives.  So I encourage you to learn more about the importance of having a document that names you as your adult child’s designated healthcare surrogate and then take action.  For more on how to make sure you have the right to make medical decisions for your child, go to my blog at MarkMerrill.com


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