Building joy means getting closer to God and to people. While it is a very authentic process that cannot be fabricated, there are some “joy-building” ideas to first practice with our families and then extend it to a wounded community.

  1. Smile whenever you greet those you love with sincere voice tones.
  2. Ask questions that invite others to tell you how they are doing, and what they are thinking. Listen intently without interrupting.
  3. Take a sincere interest in really knowing the other person. Work hard to understand the other’s fears, joys, passions, talents, and pain.
  4. Treat each other with dignity and respect. When ending a discussion, try to make both people feel affirmed.
  5. Use appropriate touch; hold hands, link arms, give hugs, and physical connection.
  6. Discover what brings joy to others. (each person has a love language to which they respond well
  7. Give little surprises that cause their eyes to light up. The joy builds as the glances go back and forth.
  8. Cherish babies and children; authentically acknowledge that you are “glad to be with them”

Taken from “The Essential of Christian Living from The Life Model” by Freisen, Wilder, Bierling, Koepcke, Poole: Shepherd’s House. Pasedena,Ca.1999.


All couples will have disagreements and differences. Studies have shown that the amount of disagreements is not directly related to marital happiness as much as how they are handled. Happy couples do not avoid disagreements but they resolve them while remaining respectful of each other. The following is a Ten Step Model that is simple but effective way to resolve conflict while avoiding destructive and common patterns.

  1. Set a time and place for discussion
  2. Define the problem- be specific
  3. Each person list the ways that they may have contributed to the problem.
  4. List past attempts to resolve the issues that were not successful.
  5. Brainstorm- pool together your new ideas and try to list10 possible solutions to the problem. Do not judge or criticize any of the suggestions at this point.
  6. Discuss and evaluate each of these possible solutions. (Be objective.)
  7. Agree on one solution to try.
  8. Agree how you will each work towards the solution.
  9. Set up another meeting to discuss your progress.
  10. Reward each other for progress.

Taken from Prepare/Enrich couples workbook.

Stress Management

All stress is not bad. It actually can initiate change. At times it helps to focus on the task at hand by alerting senses and giving an adrenalin rush that can sometimes save lives. A buildup of stress can release too many chemicals in the body can cause loss of concentration, too much cortisol that produces belly fat or result in physiology change such as cellular structure and even cause loss of life.

Controlling Stress:

  1. Control your thoughts and attitudes. Negative thinking will result in negative attitudes and that will put your body into stress reaction. One way to find out if you have negative thinking is to use a journal. Journaling every day will reveal any patterns and will give you the opportunity to change your thought into a positive one.
  2. Know who you are and what you do to the best of your ability. Being able to know your strengths and weaknesses will present your challenges as areas of growth.
  3. Talk through your emotions with a mentor. Find someone you can trust who would be willing to share their life’s experiences with you as you go through similar things.
  4. Get enough sleep. Sleep is vital for being on the top of your game. It provides rest for your body as well as for your brain. During sleep your body repairs and regenerates so that you can be all that God has planned for you to be.
  5. Play and laugh. Taking time out to do what you enjoy to doing will give you a sense of renewal. It helps the body to relax and well as allow for the heart to experience joy. During laughter, endorphins release feel good chemicals that help give an overall sense of wellbeing.
  6. Eat properly. Eat balanced meals that will help your body with sugar levels, provide vitamins and nutrients to supply energy.
  7. Exercise daily. Your body can fight stress better because it is an active relief from stress hormones.

Healthy Living

  1. Be active every day. Do whatever you enjoy doing.
  2. Take pleasure in eating. Taste and savor your food when eating well balanced meals. Eat at regular times whether it is mini-meals or 3x times a day along with snacks.
  3. Celebrate and enjoy your unique self. Identify and build upon your strengths and learn that your weaknesses are challenges for growth.
  4. Spend time with the Lord. When you are in Christ, know who you are and act accordingly. Renew your mind every day to include the promises that you have been given in the Bible. His love for you has never changed.
  5. Take time to forgive, pray, praise and rejoice that you have a loving God.

Setting Goals


  1. The goals you set must be within your reach. You need to own them for yourself not through someone else.
  2. The goals must be attainable. They need to be realistic, achievable and manageable. Set priorities which will alleviate a sense of being overwhelmed. It will also bring direct attention to the most important ones.
  3. The goals need to be clear, specific, observable and measureable. Write down your goals putting dates, times and amounts beside each one. As each one is accomplished, it will bring a sense of achievement.
  4. The goals are to be focused one at a time. State each goal with a positive statement. Self- talk needs to be positive to ensure positive results. This helps you to stay motivated.