Q: My husband and I have faced a lot of challenges the past couple of years. We're trying to dream together about our future, but it's a struggle to see past our current situation. Do you have any suggestions?
Jim: It can (and should) be fun and energizing to think about the future. But there's a lot to be said for reflecting on your past, too – especially if you feel stuck.
Reminiscing is a valuable activity for couples to engage in from time to time. People form bonds from sharing experiences together, and that's especially true for husbands and wives. Your past is much more than a collection of random memories. It represents the journey you and your spouse have taken together, infusing your relationship with richness and meaning. And it's the launch pad for your next mission of discovery.
That's why reminiscing is helpful for those who have been married for a long time. Remembering the good times you've shared -- and the difficulties you've faced and overcome together -- is a healthy exercise. The reminder that you can make it by working as a team helps provide encouragement to hope for good times ahead.
But reminiscing is also for new couples. Obviously, newlyweds don't have many years' worth of shared experiences to reminisce about. But you do probably have a lot of good memories together from the months or years before you got engaged. Reflect on those times, even if they weren't that long ago.
Intimacy doesn't just magically develop in the newness of a relationship. It's cultivated over the miles you travel together through life. So, take time to share and enjoy memories about when you first met, your first date or other key stories from your relationship. These crucial building blocks form the foundation of your future.
Q: My daughter is obsessed with doing everything perfectly. How do I help her overcome her perfectionism?
Dr. Danny Huerta, Vice President, Parenting & Youth: It can be so easy to fall into the trap of perfectionism. Appearing like you have it all together might feel good in the moment but can quickly lead to feeling drained emotionally and mentally.
For our kids, the pressure to be perfect comes from a few different directions. They might crave affirmation and approval from their friends. Or children can feel like they need to change who they are to be accepted by their family.
Here are a few ways that you can help your child overcome the pressure to be perfect.
1. Look at your relationships.
Combatting perfectionism in your home begins with examining the central relationships in your child's life, especially the ones they observe the most often. That's why it's important to look at yourself and your relationship with your spouse. Are either of you perfectionists? How might your perfectionist tendencies influence your children? What can you do to overcome these moments in your home?
2. Reframing failure.
In your child's mind, her failures can signal the end of the world. Failure is usually associated with absolutes like "never, always, and forever." But it's important that you model how failure can create opportunities for perseverance, as well as to show genuine love to others.
3. The role of love.
Kids are quick to notice their imperfections and shortcomings. But they're not as quick to focus on the positive parts of their personality and talents. Your commitment to showing genuine, unconditional love -- especially when your child feels imperfect -- is critical to help them learn how to resist allowing perfectionism to rule their life.
To explore more about overcoming perfectionism in your home, go to FocusOnParenting.com.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.
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