Speaking The Right Language

Imagine if you and your loved one spoke different languages. How would you communicate? Initially, you’d probably use a lot of hand gestures, charades, and facial expressions. But beyond a lot of smiling and nodding, you’d likely struggle to form a close bond. To really get to know each other and build intimacy, you’d need to learn to speak the other’s language.



Most of us don’t realize that we and our loved ones come into a relationship with different perspectives on love. In fact, we tend to assume that the absence of our preferred signs of love means our partner is deliberately withholding love from us. In reality, the problem isn’t our partner’s lack of affection, but rather, our unawareness of our differences.


The Five Love Languages is a powerful framework for couples because it teaches that intimacy comes when we and our partner are able to learn how each other gives and receives love. While all love languages have their appeal, only one or two will feel the most like love to us.


These five love languages are:

Words of affirmation

Quality time


Acts of service

Physical touch

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On March 23rd, 2019, Tyndale Family Life Centre will be hosting Dr. Gary Chapman, bestselling author of The Five Love Languages. If you have been looking for an opportunity to grow in deeper intimacy with your partner or loved one while learning more about yourself, join us for this event.


Register through the Tyndale Family Life Centre website: https://www.tyndale.ca/events/day-with-gary-chapman
Or, register through BuzzTix: https://tickets.buzztix.com/event/a-day-with-relationship-expert-gary-chapman

When Being In Love Isn’t Enough

Love is everywhere.

Our culture bombards us with the idea of love, from music and movies about falling in love to articles teaching us how to make someone love us. The usual premise is that once we are ‘in love’ our problems will be solved and life will be grand! But what if being ‘in love’ isn’t enough. What if there is more to love than just the butterflies in the stomach, or the flowers on Valentine’s day?


What do we do if those fleeting ‘in love’ experiences aren’t enough to keep us going?

First let’s acknowledge how important love is. We know from psychological research that emotional intimacy is a basic human need, helping us feel connected and valued. We also recognize that how our families showed love when we were growing up is often the basis for our understanding of love. If our parents attended every soccer practice or parent teacher conference the chances are we felt loved by their presence during important moments. In the same way if one of our parents often travelled for work and brought us small gifts when they returned, we most likely felt loved through that. It is clear that love is both something to be understood in the mind as well as a feeling in the heart.  

So if love is all we need why is being ‘in love’ not enough?

Why is it that we have more couples marrying for love than ever before but the divorce rates are still high? Well according to Dr. Gary Chapman there is a difference between being ‘in love’ and choosing to love. In his book “The Five Love Languages” Chapman describes the difference.


Chapman says the ‘in love’ feeling can last up to two years and with this experience comes an infatuation and idealization. Dr. Chapman presents three reasons why the ‘in love’ experience isn’t even real love. The first is that when we fall in love it rarely is a choice. Falling in love often happens at inopportune times and with unexpected people. Secondly, falling ‘in love’ is effortless, with a willingness to do outlandish things for the person we love. Lastly, the ‘in love’ feeling isn’t concerned with the other person’s growth or helping to foster it.    

Where we often get confused is thinking that the ‘in love’ experience can fulfill our emotional need for love, when in fact they are two different things. Real love takes discipline and effort. The ‘in love’ obsession doesn’t last forever and we run into issues when we think that it will sustain us. The good news is that if love is a choice then couples who have lost that ‘in love’ feeling are not a lost cause.

So what sets the ‘in love’ experience apart from choosing to love?

The objective of choosing love is doing something for the wellbeing of the other person rather than focusing on yourself. When we frame love as an attitude and a choice, then we desire to truly understand how to provide emotional love and support for our partner. To some this may seem unexciting but understanding how to love and support our partner can open up new doors and can become an exciting new chapter of growth and opportunity.


One of the best ways to begin to act on love as a choice rather than an obsessive and fleeting feeling is to learn your love language and the love language of your partner. Understanding the love language your partner speaks can help you change the emotional climate of your relationship. Here are some ways you can begin to identify your love language.  


What is your love language?

What are the things your partner, friends, or relatives do that make you feel most loved? One way to find out is to ask yourself these three questions.

  1. What does your partner do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts is probably your love language.
  2. What have you most often requested of your partner? The thing that you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.
  3. In what way do you regularly express love to your partner? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.  

Find your Love Language – https://www.5lovelanguages.com/

Gary chapman


Join us on March 23rd 2019 as Dr. Gary Chapman himself will be in Toronto talking about the five love languages and more. This might just be what we need as a society to regain the spark in our relationships by actively choosing to love our partners well.


Read more about all of this and more in Dr. Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. Northfield Publishing, 1992 ISBN: 1-881273-15-6


Abandoning Versus Accepting Emotions


Many people come to me for counselling to deal with fear in their lives. Susan was one such client (her real name is protected for confidentiality). Susan suffered from fear of rejection, a feeling she tried her best to keep tucked away where no one could see. She experienced so much fear around her sense of abandonment that she would freeze whenever she tried to talk about it. If she was interested in a relationship, she pretended not to be and talked herself out of pursuing it any further.

As a result, Susan never understood her fear. Instead, she developed a core belief that her fear of rejection and abandonment was too painful and scary, and thus best left hidden and unattended.


Why We Ignore Negative Emotions 

Most of us will agree that we ignore our less comfortable emotions out of fear. We’re afraid we’ll be stuck with the unpleasant emotion forever unless we ignore it. We imagine once we uncover a deeply hidden emotion, it might swallow us whole.

A common misconception most people have about emotions is that they’re static, which means addressing them will get us stuck in them. But the truth about our emotions is the exact opposite!

Emotions are fluid. They come, go, and evolve.


Let me give you an example. Your sadness can evolve into a deep sense of loss, bitterness, or anger if it is ignored and bottled up. Alternatively, it can develop into relief, comfort, and even springs of renewed joy.jeremy-wong-298986

Yes, that’s right! You don’t have to get stuck in your sadness. You can influence its transformation into something either more positive or more negative. Let me explain how you are actively involved in the process.



Transforming Your Emotions Through Acceptance

You can influence your emotions in a more positive direction by allowing them to come and go without judging them. In other words, you don’t have to label your emotions as “wrong,” “shameful,” or “unacceptable.” Instead, you can warmly invite them to come and stay with you, like you would a good friend.

What’s the benefit? Your difficult emotions will most likely melt into something soft as you learn to befriend them.

Abandoning vs Accepting Infographic

Two Ways to Handle Difficult Emotions

Let’s contrast two different ways of dealing with our emotion: abandoning versus accepting.

Let’s imagine sadness comes to visit you. You have a choice to ignore your sadness or to welcome it. Imagine what would happen to your sadness in each scenario. Depending on how your sadness is being met and attended to, you’d find that your sadness evolves into something different, becoming either lighter or more hardened.

Abandoning our emotions allows them to fester; accepting them transforms them into something more bearable, and eventually we reach an equilibrium.entrepreneur-593358_1280

In my sessions with her, Susan learned to accept her emotions by inviting her feelings of fear and allowing them to have a voice. She was encouraged to stay with her fear, like a good friend would, and let it express itself. She was then able to listen to her fear and gained a better understanding of what her fear needed: protection, assurance, and safety. As she gained a better understanding of how to care for her fear, she noticed the size and intensity of her fear began to shrink.



Author Bio 


Bonnie Kim is a Registered Psychotherapist at Tyndale Family Life Centre. Bonnie has always taken a special interest in working with teens, young adults, and young couples, helping them to be deeply rooted in who they are and fully confident in their ability to cultivate healthy relationships and lifestyles. Ultimately, Bonnie desires to help people be restored as the people who God created them to be. Bonnie Kim can be reached at bkim@tyndale.ca.


Amy Francis

Amy Francis is a freelance writer and contributor to the Family Life Centre blog. www.amyhopefrancis.com


If you or someone you know is interested in counselling contact us at flc@tyndale.ca Or visit our website www.tyndaleflc.ca

On Befriending Your Emotions

photo-1451156351305-d4f9bff58036“Come on, don’t be a sissy.” “Stop crying!” “Shake it off and move on.”

Society constantly teaches us to suppress our emotions, especially if they are negative in nature. You’ve probably noticed that being emotional is treated as an undesirable quality, particularly if you’re a man. The old saying, “boys don’t cry,” reflects this taboo.

The truth is, many people come to believe emotion is a troublemaker, and avoiding it is the best way to fend off drama. As we grow older, we learn to cope with our fear, sadness, anger, disappointment, and other emotions that have been labelled as negative, by ignoring them, shaking them off, bottling them up, judging them, or numbing ourselves to them.


But Is It Working?

Most of us have trained long and hard to master the art of suppressing our negative emotions. We push them down, neglect them, and try to forget them in hopes they won’t bother us anymore.


Have we really gotten rid of them?

I think not. In my experience as a therapist, I have never met someone who could solve their problems or heal from woundedness by suppressing their emotions. Here’s why society’s method of dealing with emotions doesn’t work.


The Cost of Ignoring Our Emotions

Eventually, we will be faced with something that doesn’t sit well with us, and we’ll be forced to wrestle with new emotions. Or, new problems will bring to the surface some buried emotions from the past. The more life throws at us, the more we will have to stuff down.

beth-tate-188119As we pay close attention, we notice that as we become numb to our negative emotions, we also lose touch with our positive emotions. As a result, our life feels quite dry, dull, and emotionless.

In other cases, the struggle to contain and numb ourselves to our emotions becomes too overwhelming. This results in one of three things: we explode, we close up, or we simply lose touch with ourselves.

What we have to recognize here is that emotion itself is not the problem. It is how we attend to our emotion that can become problematic.


How to Befriend Your Emotions

It may seem ironic, but negative emotions don’t lose their power over our well-being until we let them come to the surface and hold them in our awareness.

So, the next time you experience uneasy emotions, try this: invite your emotions to your awareness and see what they’re trying to say. The following are steps you can practise to begin to befriend your emotions and actually benefit from them:


  1. When emotion arises, invite it in and allow it to express itself (let your sadness be sad, let your happiness be happy, etc.)
  2. Listen to understand your emotion without judging or censoring
  3. Let it come and go, or stay with you as long as it needs
  4. Be a comforting presence for it
  5. Observe how it evolves
  6. Know that you are not your emotion. You are one who invites your emotion to be in your warm presence


One of the common misconceptions we have about our emotion is that difficult emotions are permanent and never change their nature. The truth is, emotion is never static. Emotion comes and goes and it evolves depending on how it is attended. What’s the benefit of attending to your emotion, then? Your raw, intense emotion will shrink and soften as you befriend it.



Author Bios Bonnie_cropped_final

Bonnie Kim is a Registered Psychotherapist at Tyndale Family Life Centre. Bonnie has always taken a special interest in working with teens, young adults, and young couples, helping them to be deeply rooted in who they are and fully confident in their ability to cultivate healthy relationships and lifestyles. Ultimately, Bonnie desires to help people be restored as the people who God created them to be. Bonnie Kim can be reached at bkim@tyndale.ca.

Amy Francis

Amy Francis is a freelance writer and contributor at the Family Life Centre blog. www.amyhopefrancis.com

Caring for Our Aging Loved Ones


What do we do if those who once took care of us can no longer look after themselves? When they start to lose their independence, it can put a lot of new responsibility and anxiety on our shoulders. If you worry about you and they will handle this unsettling transition, you are not alone.

Role Reversal

According to a Stats Canada report from 2007, 75% of eldercare was provided by adults between 45 and 64 years of age. In addition, approximately one in four of those caring for the elderly, had senior status themselves.  Many Boomers, on top of the changes brought on by retirement, have their own health concerns to be concerned about, even as they are helping to raise their grandkids, even while perhaps living with their grown-up children.

Caring for the increasing needs of an aging family member is a challenging undertaking, involving often disorienting role-reversal and potentially conflicted attempts at collaboration with siblings.

Adjusting to A New Parent-Child Relationship

A notable sense of increased vulnerability and decreased ability to be able to cope could be triggered by an unexpected occurrence such as an accident, death of a spouse, or an emergent lapse in physical or cognitive abilities. Caring for an aging loved one is complicated, and becomes even more complex when medical, financial, and care-giving decisions must be made as a team amongst siblings and in-laws.



Facilitating Decision-Making Among Siblings 

Determining how best to care for a family member often becomes a family affair, and every member brings a different perspective on how best to provide that care. That means decisions are rarely clear-cut or conflict free.

This is why it’s a good idea to arrange an in-person meeting with your siblings and other pertinent family members in order to process difficult thoughts and feelings and to establish collaboration by asking questions like:

  1. To what degree can we include our loved one in decision making about their care?
  2. Who will research support programs to assist with elder care?
  3. Who is going to be responsible for what?
  4. Who will speak with and report back from meetings with medical personnel?
  5. How will expenses be paid and costs shared?
  6. Who wants to be kept informed on a regular basis?
  7. Who wants to be involved in decision-making from the beginning? Who wants to defer decisions to others?


It’s always a good idea come prepared with questions, and a notepad to record important points.iStock_000031635814_Double.jpg


Knowing and Setting Boundaries

Frequent visits, check-ins, running of errands, and bearing the brunt of our parent’s frustrations all take their toll on our physical and emotional energy. Due to feelings of guilt and a sense of duty, it may be hard for us to admit our exhaustion at first and we may not be aware of our options.

The first step to prepare well for this new caregiving role is to ask the right questions. So, it’s important to take the time to set expectations with your aging loved one and determine their exact needs. Here are some suggestions of conversation-starting questions:


  1. How much involvement do your parents expect from their children?
  2. How often will they want visits? Phone calls?
  3. Will your parent(s) feel comfortable asking for help?
  4. Will they need help getting groceries? Making meals?
  5. How do they feel about having support staff assist them rather than family members?
  6. Do your parents understand that you will need a break from time to time and that caregiving tasks will be shared among the siblings?
  7. Can you expect financial support from your parent(s)?


In addition to setting expectations with your loved one, make sure you are taking time to tend to your own health and well-being. That includes getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, engaging in regular spiritual nurture, and seeking moral support from others..

When is the best, most effective and respectful time to get involved to help with the needs of someone that you love as they age? Watch for the following signs from Canada.com to help you to know when to step in:huy-phan-100866

  • Difficulty walking or climbing stairs
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Forgetfulness or confusion about familiar things
  • Sudden mood changes or irritability
  • Signs of depression
  • Unpaid bills


If you or someone you know is having a difficult time adjusting to their new role as care giver or if you have a loved one that is having trouble adjusting to their new life style and role we want to help.

Contact us at flc@tyndale.ca and we can provide a counsellor to help walk you or someone you love through this transition.




Amy FrancisAuthor Bio

Amy Francis is a freelance writer and contributor at the Family Life Centre blog. www.amyhopefrancis.com

6 Ways to Get Through a Big Life Transition


Life Transitions Title Page

Autumn reminds us that transition can be both beautiful and hard. While the fall brings us breathtaking scenery as the leaves change colour, not everyone is excited about the weather getting colder and the days getting shorter. Life transitions are like that, too.

Whether it’s moving to a new city, or adult children moving out; a promotion that presents a new set of responsibilities, or the loss of a job; big changes can take their toll on our minds, emotions, energy level, and relationships.

The good news is, there are resources to handle these challenging times in our lives. Here are six that can help anyone going through a major transition.

 1. Expect to feel unsettled and uncertain at first

Most change comes with a sense of loss if not actual loss. To move into something new, we had to leave some things behind, including a sense of security we get from a situation that is familiar. Grieving for the good aspects of what we left behind is a normal part of any major transition in life.

When left unchecked, our feelings of uncertainty and discomfort can affect the way we handle relationships and responsibilities in our lives. We might lose some sleep thinking about things, or snap at our kids, coworkers, or a loved one. Being aware of how the stress of transition is affecting our mind and mood can go a long way towards keeping our emotions in view and in check.

2. Accept and embrace the change

ross-findon-303091This is a new chapter of your life and that’s a big deal! As such, it probably feels a little scary. Even though some aspects of this new season are uncomfortable right now, we can still learn to accept our situation and acknowledge its reality. Embracing change can help us see things more clearly, preventing us from getting into a mental rut over what we wish would happen or think should happen.

3. Be curious and comforted about how God will work through this time of transition 

With every change comes a fresh start, and a new opportunity to see God’s hand in the midst of it all. This is also a chance to re-frame the transition. How do you see God’s comfort, guidance, or affirmation through this experience? What are you learning as SONY DSCGod walks with you?

4. Be patient with yourself

Change can be stressful, which means you may find yourself in an up-and-down state of mind. You will have some days where you feel affirmed in the new change and others when you regret a decision, or miss the way things were. That’s okay. It’s a natural part of the process of chance.

And change is a process. Usually, it takes longer than we expect or want before we reach a state of stability or normalcy (e.g. to feel confident in a new job, make new friends, or feel at home in a new place).

5. Take time for self care 

It can be easy to stay in action or planning mode all the time. But pressing pause on all activity will ease stress while bringing about clarity and comfort. So, schedule some time throughout the week to shut off email, work, or the phone lines. Get out in nature, spend quiet time in prayer and meditation, grab lunch with a good friend. Engage in activities that make you feel centered and grounded.


6. Reach Out for Support

That support could come from a friend or loved one, a small group, or a professional counsellor or therapist. Find someone who will be there to listen, encourage, and provide the perspective of someone on the outside looking in.

A professional counsellor here at the Family Life Centre, Elizabeth Boom, put it this way:

“In some cases, when we’re struggling or feel overwhelmed, it helps to have supportive people around us to cheer us on in our successes and to help us find new ways to look at our situation. Counselling is a place where you can find help to grow, cope with transitions, and create strategies in finding new ways to think and live, and celebrate each new step.”



Author Bio

Amy Francis


Amy Francis is a freelance writer and contributor at the Family Life Centre blog. www.amyhopefrancis.com

A Snapshot of Mental Health in the Canadian Workplace

eloise-ambursley-355862Imagine it’s Monday morning, and you find yourself nauseous, too weak to get out of bed, and running a high temperature. You call your workplace to explain you’ve got the flu and will be taking the next couple days off. But instead of affirming your choice to prioritize your health and ending the call, your supervisor says this:

“Everyone has their off days. You just need to push through it.”

It might sound crazy, but this is often how people with mental health problems or illnesses are treated by their coworkers, colleagues, and bosses.

The Stigma Around Workplace Mental Health

October 10 is World Mental Health Day and the theme of this year is “Mental Health in the Workplace.”

If you’ve been following the Family Life Centre for any length of time, then you’ve probably heard us talk about ending the stigma around mental health. We host certification courses twice a year that teach people how to respond to a mental health crisis or problem in youth and adults. And for good reasons.paul-bence-395888

For example, did you know:

  • Canada spends more than $50 billion annually on addressing mental health problems.
  • Mental health problems or illnesses account for roughly 30% of short- and long-term disability claims in Canada.
  • According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), mental health problems and illnesses cost Canadian employees more than $6 billion in lost productivity from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover in 2011.


In a recent study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), 38% of workers say they would not tell their manager if they were diagnosed with a mental health issue. Among this percentage, more than half of people worried that telling their employer would negatively affect their careers.

A major factor contributing to the stigma around mental health seems to be organizational culture. The MHCC states that 70% of Canadian employees are concerned about the psychological health and safety of their workplace. 14% don’t think their workplace is healthy or safe at all.


What You Can Do to Support Mental Health in the Workplacerawpixel-com-330233

Since most adult Canadians spend the majority of their waking hours at work, addressing issues of mental health in the workplace is of vital importance for individual health and our economy.

The MHCC has training tools for individuals and work teams wanting to be equipped to handle mental health problems and crises in the workplace. The Family Life Centre hosts these training courses twice a year:

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) helps employees and managers increase their awareness of the signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems. It also gives participants the know-how to help if a colleague begins to experience a mental health problem or crisis.

Our next training session is happening  Friday and Saturday November 17th & 18th 2017. We are offering training for adults who interact with adults and you can sign up right now for the courses by going to our event page, here.



Author Bio

 Amy Francis

Amy Francis is a freelance writer and contributor at the Family Life Centre blog. www.amyhopefrancis.com