Winnis Chiang Newsletter
  Personal Note from Winnis
  Feature Article - Things to Say Before It's Too Late
  Real Life Story - Joni Eareckson and Ken Tada
  Free Training and Announcements - Marriage Enrichment Group
February 11, 2014
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Hello,

Remember I wrote that I yelled at James, "I am not going to play (Blokus) with you!" when he kept on blocking my moves?

Instead of walking away (like he used to do in our earlier days) to avoid conflict, he actually sat there and listened to my feelings, thoughts and needs. When I calmed down, I said sorry but I thought we might never play that game again.

So I was surprised the next day when James asked, "Hey, can we play a game of Blokus?" and added, "I promise I will not think too much." I said yes, giving him the benefit of the doubt.

When we started playing, I noticed how deliberate he was trying to match my pace. It was not easy for him, but I could tell he consciously stopped himself from thinking too far ahead. With him speeding up and I slowing down, we were able to play that game every day. We had fun, but I grew curious how he still kept on winning. When I asked, he patiently explained the tricks of the game. I was amazed by his insight and how gentle he was to avoid overwhelming me with too many details. As soon as I got it, our games were different—now, sometimes I paused to think instead of just using my intuition. Imagine my joy the first time I won. Both of us were satisfied. As the saying goes, "When my wife is happy, I am happy!"

I thanked him for teaching me the game. A few days later, it dawned on me that just like it was hard for me not to feel, it was very difficult for him not to think. I shared that insight with him, and we appreciated how God has designed us differently yet joined us together. We are quite a match, and now we complement each other.

I think about other couples we know who inspire us. Again Joni came to mind. At the luncheon for "Women in Ministry" last year, she was wheeled onto the platform by her husband Ken. Watching them sharing warm exchanges, I wondered how that Asian-American man and Caucasian quadriplegic woman made their marriage work.

Do you yearn for communication and connection with people you love? Try listening so that they will talk, and talking so that they will listen. Take a risk to share from your heart instead of putting on a facade to protect yourself. Starting here and now, try these Things to Say Before It's Too Late listed in the feature article.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Winnis
Featured Article
Things to Say Before It's Too Late

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

Too often, communication between long-term couples can devolve into the logistics of life: Can you pick up the dry cleaning? Did you take out the trash? Loving relationships need -- and deserve -- so much more.

Deeper communication may require an intentional shift or willingness to expose vulnerability. But isn't your happiness -- and your relationship -- worth the risk? Here are some ways to begin:

Thank you for... Everyone likes to be acknowledged and appreciated for what they do. Thank your partner for more than just what you asked him/her to do. For example, you might thank him or her for being a great parent, for always making time for the children.

Would you please... Expecting your partner to read your mind is expecting the impossible. Say what you want and need. When you articulate your wishes clearly, resentments don't have time to build up, and you can also work together to find win-win solutions.

How do you feel about... Ask, and then listen to your partner's response, withholding judgment or any need to change or fix the feelings.

I feel... State your feelings and tell the truth. Notice the difference between "I think" and "I feel" statements. Learn to use different feeling words (e.g. disappointed, hurt, frustrated, worried, appreciative, excited, etc.).

I'm sorry... Admit your mistakes and apologize for them. You may feel vulnerable, but your honesty is likely to inspire the same in your partner and open the door for closer connection.

I forgive you... Accepting apologies for mistakes your partner makes is a way of letting go of resentments, and that frees you both.

I appreciate your... Shine the light on your partner's qualities. You'll create an arena of goodwill that shines back on you.

What I hear you saying... Listen, really listen, and let your partner know he/she has been heard.

I agree with you because... Validating your partner's point of view and perspective helps him/her feel heard and understood.

What are you reading? Open up communication on an intellectual level and you may feel the warmth of common views -- or sparks of difference—that drew you together in the first place.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Listen to your partner's vision, and then share your own. The question may inspire a new, shared plan or uncover the need to build a bridge between your dreams.

I love you... Find your own variations on the words; you can't say them too often. Don't be shy or afraid to express your love!

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications

Real Life Story
Soon after I spread the news that the song Alone, Yet Not Alone performed by Joni Eareckson Tada was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Original Song, I heard that the Academy rescinded its nomination. Indeed there are controversies. Debates will go on as long as there are two sides of the story! But whatever the outcome, I still like that song, and I hope you will listen to it HERE on Youtube.

If you are interested in the truth about love in a fallen world, check out the book Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story.

Of course I bought that book and got Joni's autograph! You can find this book on Amazon with this introduction:

"This is the true love story of Joni and her husband of 30 years, Ken Tada. A love story showing what it truly means for a man and a woman to live in love... in sickness and in health. Even the honeymoon wasn't easy. Did Ken realize what he was getting into when he proposed to Joni, a quadriplegic woman? As their marriage years moved on, Ken became increasingly overwhelmed by the never-ceasing demands of caring for Joni, who begins to experience chronic, extreme, nightmarish pain. Ken sinks into depression, and the couple find themselves on parallel tracks in life, married and living under the same roof but drifting apart emotionally. But as they fight for their marriage and find their way through the mazes of depression and pain, they wrap their two lives around their rock -- Jesus. During Ken's denial of Joni's diagnosis and Joni's thoughts of how wonderful a quick exit to heaven would be, they experience a personal visitation with the savior you will never forget."
I am planning to offer a group program for relationship enrichment. If interested, please e-mail winnis@parentingabc.com by 11:59 p.m. on 2/15/14 (Saturday) for a chance to win a full scholarship for the program. Please indicate your preferred language(s) among Mandarin, Cantonese, and English.
about
Winnis Chiang Winnis Chiang is Founder and CEO of Parenting ABC, a company dedicated to teaching and coaching Chinese Christian parents from around the world how to make a difference in the lives of children, youth, and young adults. Her passion is fueled by the new life she received when she found Christ in 1989 after her marriage and parenting were no longer working. She specializes in helping Mandarin and Cantonese speaking parents to get along with, enjoy, and influence their American Born Chinese children.

Winnis is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in California. She holds a M.A. degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling from Western Seminary and a B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley. Her former careers include being a software engineer, development department manager, stay-at-home mom, counselor of kids and teens at public schools, and children's minister.

Winnis and her husband (now a pastor) have been married since 1975 after only three months of dating. They enjoy their son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren!

Winnis Chiang, M.A., LMFT

www.ParentingABC.com

925-806-8600

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