Is it possible to have a healthy, happy marriage (or any committed relationship) without respect? What does it mean to "honor" your significant other? Isn't it enough to be physically present and meet my spouse's physical needs (like food and shelter)?

These are the important questions. At least I believe them to be.

I'll start with respect. What I see in public...and sometimes in my a glaring lack of respect between committed partners. I'm not simply referring to the holding of a door for another or basic manners like "please" and "thank you". What I see is blatant and harmful disrespect. I see couples, sometimes with small children in tow, that have nothing nice to say at all. These same couples often treat total strangers with more respect than their own life partner. Where does this disrespect come from? Is it possible to reverse this behavior?

I believe it comes from the absence of "honor". Allow me to define honor as I understand it. When we honor someone, we attach high value to that individual. Honor, therefore, is the belief that our intimate partner is worthy of our respect. Allow me to illustrate. If the Queen of England was to ring your doorbell, what would you do? Would you invite her in? Would you address her with kind words? Offer her a beverage or something to eat? Oh, you don't like the Queen of England? Then pick someone of stature...the Pope...the US President....your favorite actor or sport figure?

My point is that if we are in the presence of someone "important" then we most likely will be on our best behavior. We might even gasp at the sight of them. That's often what we do in the presence of someone important, right?

Chances are, you sleep in a bed next to the most important person in your life. When's the last time you rolled over in the morning and gasped at the very sight of him or her? I can almost hear the comments at this pint..."If you saw my wife/husband first thing in the morning you would gasp too. Bed head makeup..." you attach high value to your intimate partner? Do you look forward to being in their presence? Do you speak and listen to them respectfully?

Isn't it enough that I go to work, make money to pay the bills, shop for food, prepare food, clean dishes, cut grass take out the trash. Isn't that enough?


Thomas Livernois


September 4, 2018

Ever thought about the importance of establishing and enforcing boundaries for our children? Some may call them rules. I call them boundaries. Here’s why.

The human brain is perhaps the most complex and fascinating thing on earth. Its development is complex and multi-faceted. In its earliest stages of development (following birth), children carefully observe the world around them. To say they are impressionable is putting it mildly. By the way, this development continues until approximately 25 years of age.

Research and anecdotal evidence show that a child’s greatest need is to feel safe and secure. What makes a child feel safe and secure? There is no simple answer, however, I propose that an important factor is the boundaries that we establish and enforce.

Suppose your pre-teen son knows what is expected of him because you have made it clear in a way that he understands. He is expected to clean his room before he is allowed to play video games or play in the park. Let’s assume your son ignores the boundaries established on at least one occasion. What do you do? One option is to move the boundaries. Maybe you alter your expectation so that he is expected to follow the rules 70% of the time. Perhaps that becomes the new boundary. Is that where it will stay? Of course not. Where does the negotiation end and the enforcement begin?

If you will allow me, I will return to the child’s greatest need: Safety and security. Our boundaries, arbitrary as they may be, should be lovingly rigid. Here’s why. I believe a child that “pushes the boundaries” does not do so because he/she wants us to move the boundary. He/she pushes the boundary to make sure the boundary is still there. They seek safety and security…and find it in consistency and predictability. They push (consciously) and hope (subconsciously) that mom and dad will do what they say they are going to do. Therein lies safety and security.

This is not the end-all, be-all of safety and security, however, I believe it is a vital piece. So next time little Johnny is pushing the boundaries…be the mom and dad that gives them what they need (safety and security) and deny or delay what they think they want (instant gratification).

Remember: Their brain is still developing. Yours should already be.

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