Why Beautiful Relationships Come From Positive People

Why Beautiful Relationships Come From Positive People

We all have that person we dread to see coming.  We know what will happen as soon as they get there.  Negativity.  Everything that comes out of their mouth is a downer.  Most people I know try to avoid these people if they can like going a different path through the office to avoid their area.

Why Beautiful Relationships Come From Positive People

 Nobody wants to be around negative people all the time, but what would our spouse say about us? Many people who avoid the “negative” person at work ARE the negative person to their partner and don’t realize how much damage they are doing to their relationship.  So, I want to tell you why beautiful relationships come from positive people.  (more…)

3 Authentic Reasons You Should Brave Church

3 Authentic Reasons You Should Brave Church

This weekend is Easter, and more people will attend church than any other weekend. I know some of you are  reading this a bit anxiously.  White knuckled and bracing for a ‘preachy’ tone.  It’s not here.  I am trying to persuade you to try church, but no scare tactics or guilt involved.  I know of lot of you go to church already, but many do not.  There are a lot of good reasons not to go to church and this post is not trying to make you feel guilty or preachy, but in case you were wondering about what really happens in most Christian churches this weekend, I wanted to give you 3 authentic reasons you should brave church.

Authentic Reasons you should Brave Church
I did not attend church as a kid.   My family was too busy in education and intellectual pursuits.  We were not anti-church, we just didn’t see the need to go.  Interestingly, almost all of my family attends regularly now.  I would attribute that to we all discovered in our own unique timing, that it is important for our families. That is why I want to share with you: (more…)

Ways to be Encouraged.

The Sun does come up, even when you or your relationship is struggling!

Sometimes life is hard.  No matter what you do, everything seems to fail.  It’s very easy to get exasperated, but you need a professional encourager.  Have hope! I am here to help! I want to give you some ways to be encouraged.

Ways to be encouraged
I had a rough one last week, but I was given a surprise.  I took this picture with my wife Mary taking her to work because our car was acting up. 
Psalm 19 says “The Heavens declare the Glory of God.”
Wow!  What a beautiful sunrise!  It was as if God said, “here you go.”  My wife and I both needed that smile.
We were talking about all of our issues and problems, which I won’t list here (cue violin music), but this made them go away for a while!  It made what we were dealing with so trivial and small.

Welcome to my NEW platform! Making Better Relationships, At Home, At Work, In LIFE!

Making Better Relationships, At Home, At Work, In LIFE!


Making Better Relationships

Hi, and welcome to my new platform on Making Better Relationships.  It is designed with YOU in mind!  I hope this becomes your MUST STOP website for the latest in helping you in making better relationships, at home, at work, and in life!  I have posted many of my old blogs, some new quotes, a couple of new radio shows, a question or 2, and other great content.  Please check for a New Podcast, Blog, and Tips every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


How to Give the Best Gift EVER

A young, energetic man walked up to me the other day as I was leaving a store and tried to hand me a card and tell me about his opportunity.

Let me tell you about how to…...”  he said.

Cutting him off I replied “Not today……

Now usually, this is enough for most engagements like this.  Girl Scouts selling cookies, volunteers collecting for very worthy causes….. BUT not this guy.  He quickly replied with even more urgency:

Then how about tomorrow, or the next day, or any day next week?”

I responded with a smile and a dismissing wave:  “I’m not from here.

Satisfied I had used my amazing communication prowess to once again vanquish anyone who would try to puncture my Teflon veneer to engage me in a sales “opportunity”, I turned again toward my car, secretly feeling victory.

I was wrong.
Where do you live? My company is in 90 countries, surely we are somewhere near where you live?” he shot back with laser quickness.

Master of language.  Slayer of excuses.  This guy was good.  REALLY good.
I know that a lot of you like me have prepared a defense for door-to-door salespeople, street beggars, and even really cute cookie sales kids. You know you don’t need those cookies, but you can’t pass up the big eyes and unison robotic “Will you buy some Girl Scout cookies?”  I have gone back the car for the last dollar to buy those Thin Mints I don’t need.

But how many defenses do you use on the people you love the most?

I want to talk about how you do this to the most important people you love.  The people you take pictures with every holiday.  The people you say you would sacrifice for.  The people you even share your bed with.  I’m guessing you, like me, are pretty good at deflecting the needs of the very people who want you the most. So, whether you need to invest more in your spouse, partner, children, or parents.

Here is the blunt truth:

You don’t GIVE the most important people in your life the things they need.

You know it, deep down.  You have a list of excuses and like the above story, phrases you have prepared to get them off your back.  You have important things to do, like checking Facebook, playing balloon pop, watching San Acorn State play Popcorn U., or some other time taking option.

What does it mean to give to the people you love the most?

I already wrote about this in general sense in my blog here:


but, I want to give you some specific ways to give to the people you love the most.  Maybe some of these  you haven’t tried or thought of before.  You can’t buy them at a store, they are a mindset that you must create in yourself if you want to deeply connect to the people you love the most.

  The 3 things that REALLY matter to the people who need us the most are;  TIME, PRESENCE, and ACTION.

So let’s unpack them one at a time.

1. GIVE the gift of TIME.

We live in such a high-energy society that takes so much time to just keep up.  We never seem to have enough time, and yet this is exactly why we need to give it.  There is a direct correlation between a person’s socioeconomic status and free time.  The very wealthy and the very poor have a lot of free time, but everyone else falls into the truth – the more you make, the less time you have.

How do you find time?  Schedule it FIRST.  When I was a pastor I told my assistant the nights I had reserved for my wife and family.  When someone wanted me to come to something the assistant looked at my calendar and said, “I’m sorry, but he’s already booked that night.”  This kept me from pushing the most important people in my life, my family, to the end of my line.  I always made those soccer games, Friday night dates, and dance recitals.

When you schedule the people you love FIRST, your priorities will follow.  I have known far too many people who succeeded in their professional life, but lost the people they loved the most because they didn’t give the gift of time.

Get this one right, and the rest of your life will make a lot more sense.

2. GIVE the gift of your PRESENCE.

We have all experienced talking with someone who isn’t focused on us.  It is very frustrating.  I have never met a person who meant to do this, but we all have.  If you have a habit of being present physically but your thoughts are somewhere else, let me help you change your focus.

When we are not fully present, we are really saying that something else is more important right now, but I am “obligated” to be here.  Like a dog can sense fear, humans can sense when you are not completely available.

While we have become so “connected” with our technology, when we don’t leave work behind when we are with others, we cheat them of our best, and they know it.  Learn to find ways to give all of yourself to the people you love the most.  They will cherish it.

Start by finding times to unplug from things outside of your personal time.  Leave your phone at home on a date.  Walk away from the email at 5 o’clock.  Learn to never answer your kids questions with “uh-huh” but give them a full answer.   I have decided to NEVER answer my phone when I am talking with someone face to face (emergencies excluded).  You might find you need the time away from your work as much as your family needs you.

3. GIVE the gift of ACTION.

The quickest way to my wife’s heart is at the sink….doing dishes.  Words that say we love someone that are not backed up with solid, demonstrated action are hollow.  I must admit, while I can be pretty good at the first 2 on this list, I am still learning to serve through action.

Action is about showing someone you love them.  Go with them to an event they want to go to you don’t.  Do the chore they hate the most.  Bring them flowers for no reason.  Grab your husband by the hand and take him to the bedroom and lock the door.

Action speaks louder than words they say, so go ahead and move!  You might be surprised at the positive effect.

These 3 gifts are not things – they are deeply connected to your soul.  The wisdom I have gained in 28 years of marriage, parenting and teaching has shown me that giving my time, presence and action to the people I love the most gives them the best of me and that is what they deserve!

Now, GO love somebody!


Please remember to go back to like and share this post on Facebook.  It helps us reach even more smart people like you who want to improve their relationships! And like our page for more relationship ideas!

Soon, my website MikeHattabaugh.com will house all of my blogs, courses, and ebooks.  Make sure you check the website to keep getting helpful information to make your relationships the best they can be!

How Some People overcome Anger and Gain HUGE Benefits in Their Relationships


Deep inside of us a huge rock of anger is buried that drives us to be revengeful.  When our partner touches that deep spot in us, we react emotionally much like the jolt we get from something cold hitting our teeth.  It is sudden and dramatic, and we don’t know where it came from.

What if you could overcome that anger?  What if you could react in a different way?  The KEY to overcoming that anger is forgiveness. Forgiveness is something we all talk about, but most of us don’t do very well.  I want to dig a bit deeper into how to be forgiving and the amazing impact it will have in your life.

Let’s think about our reaction to anger.  Many people make fists with their hands as a natural reaction to anger.  This very physical act shows our reaction to anger is about getting smaller.  We make our hand smaller and harder. We pull back from relationships.  Even our heart shrinks when we hate.

What is the antidote?  Forgiveness.  Forgiveness stretches out your arms and desires a hug.  Forgiveness leans into our partner.  Forgives grows our heart.  Dr. Suess said it well about the Grinch when he forgave his “small heart grew three sizes that day.”   Forgiveness causes 3 benefits to happen in our relationships that couldn’t happen until we forgave.  The benefits are peace, rest, and reunion.

1. The Benefit of Peace.


The first benefit is peace.  When we forgive we end the war.  There is nothing left for someone else to push on.  We lay down our weapons.  We fight no more.  This is a very powerful thing to do in relationships.  We are conditioned to think everything is a battle.



My wife of 28 years and I have come to realize there are some things we will NEVER agree on.  When I forgive the bitterness I have about some of these things like how to raise our children or spend our money, I don’t say “You win – I lose.”   Forgiveness says we will figure this out together.  We can do this better than my way or your way.



Let go of your need to win. Forgive, and find the peace you need to fight life’s bigger battles.



2. The Benefit of Rest


The second benefit from forgiveness is rest.  While closely related to peace, I want to make a slight difference in how we see the word.  Peace is calmness.  Rest is healing.



When we pull a muscle, it needs “rest.”  When we have been holding anger and hostility toward our partner, we have created stress.  When we forgive, we create the opportunity to become healthy.  Only after a season of “rest” we call winter does the plants begin to blossom.



I am a first born married to a first-born.  We want to be in charge.  When I forgive and let go my selfish desires, I create an opportunity for our relationship to be renewed.  When I apologize and let go, I plant new seeds in our ability to love each other.



There are some things you just need to let go of.  Forgive them AND forget them.  Move on.  You will find springtime will come and you will wonder why you didn’t do this sooner.



3. The Benefit of Reunion.


Most people know the story of the prodigal son in the Bible, but most people don’t realize it was actually about the older brother and his unwillingness to forgive.  While the father forgave his wayward son, the older brother held a grudge, and it destroyed his relationship with both his brother and father.



A few years ago I had a disagreement with someone I loved.  I won’t give you the details, but I will say that I felt lied to.  I came to realize that the relationship was more important than the issue, so I traveled to see them, not to find agreement, but to ask forgiveness.  We still disagree about the issue, but our relationship is restored.



Many of us have ruptured the relationship with the most important people in our life than can be reconciled if we choose to forgive.  It takes swallowing our pride sometimes, but the relationship is too important not to move back to a growing and happy place.



So, be brave!  What thing has your partner done that you need to forgive?  How can you tell them in a humble way?  Take the time to clean the slate of past hurts and you will find a new springtime in your relationship will arrive in an incredible way!



If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.                                                 – Mother Teresa

Please remember to go back to like and share this post on Facebook.  It helps us reach even more people with relationships! And like our page for more relationship ideas!  Soon, my website MikeHattabaugh.com will house all of my blogs, courses, and ebooks.  Make sure you check the website to keep getting helpful information to make your relationships the best they can be!

The ONE Thing about Relationships Everyone Says on Their Deathbed


How do you want to be remembered?  I have talked with many people at the end of their life, some had lived great lives, some were much too short, and others had been wasted on selfish pursuits.  I heard this from all of them.  The one thing they have all said was: “I wish I had spent more time with someone I loved.”

It’s a new year, and I’m guessing you are charging into it with hopes and dreams.  Don’t miss the most important piece of your life.  Love somebody.  We all talk about love, but do you really know what actions you need to fully love someone?  Here are 3 actions you should do in order to love someone this year: Forgive, Give, and Bless.  Do these 3 things to show your love and I promise regardless of the year you have financially or career wise, you will be content.

1.      FORGIVE

Grant them the space to make mistakes and grace to be forgiven.  Forgive them when they don’t listen to you or respond in a way you don’t like.  Forgive the pain they have caused you.  We all end up hurting each other, and while sometimes boundaries need to be put up with those we love, we can always forgive them.  Uncover the past hurt they have made and let it go.  Most of our pain is spilled milk, with no lasting wounds. Forgive and forget this.  The wounds that left scars need healing to.  While the scar doesn’t go away, it does heal. Forgive the person for the scars you have from them.

Forgiveness is the antidote for bitterness that will bring the sweet spot in your relationship back. It will never be what it was, but it can be even more meaningful when we forgive.

2.      GIVE

Give them the opportunity to spend your time the way they want to.  Don’t demand they do what you want first.  Give.  Give them your heart.  Give them the BEST you have even if you feel like you don’t have much to give.  Give them the time to get to know you.  Give them words that build them up.  Give them thoughtful gifts that you choose not because of their value, but because it reminds you of them.

Give them space to be themselves.  Give them the opportunity to find the things that make them feel successful and alive. Give them an opportunity to discover their world and then the time tell you about it.

Give them your ear, listening to the things they want to say without interjecting your judgement or fixing their mistakes.  Give to them by serving them.  Do the things they dislike before they even ask. Give them joy by finding out what makes them happy and doing it with them. Give without expecting anything in return. Give because you love, not because you want to be loved.

3.      BLESS

Blessing is choosing them over others.  Unmerited favor.  Bless them by accepting them as they are and seeing them for what they can become.  Tell them you find them lovable when they can’t love themselves. Tell them they are your favorite lover, friend, shopper, traveler, worker, or mate.   Give them the very best things you can give – Time.

Bless them when they are struggling.  Celebrate them when they are doing well.  Bring them flowers ‘just because’.   Take time off from your job or hobby and give it to them.  Make sure everyone at their work knows you LOVE them.  Bring them lunch.  Embarrass them with your love (as long as it doesn’t make them upset).  Make sure everyone at your job knows how much you love them. Talk about them to your friends in ONLY positive terms. Then, when they meet them, they will tell them how much great things they have heard about them.

Be their bank for not only things, but encouragement, focus, empathy, respect, and love.  Let them have unlimited withdrawal slips.  Be the ATM for their heart.

For some of you guys this sounds a bit touchy/feeling.  It is! Your partner doesn’t expect you do all of it, but try some of it.  Emotions are what make us different from machines.  You were created to have them and express them.  You effort is usually more important than the skill you have doing it.  Ask them to help you find the ways that connect with them.

Start with your spouse. If you don’t have a spouse then your children.  Choose wisely, but choose quickly.  You have been granted today, but tomorrow comes much faster than you think.  We often treat strangers better than the people we say we love them most.  Forgive, Give, and Bless the person you love the most and I promise it will be the best investment you can make this year.

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A surprising secret that will improve your relationship TODAY.


Silence on Sea

I can’t believe I said that!  We’ve all said stupid things to our partner.  I once said, “Hey, do plan on wearing these dirty clothes, because they’re dirty.”  Dumb. Sooner or later your partner is going to say something to you that will hurt your feelings or make you mad.  I want to give you a secret that will DRAMATICALLY improve your response and make your relationship even stronger.

Ready?   Nothing. Say NOTHING.  Walk away, remind yourself of the stupid things you said in your past and give them a pass.  When our emotions are peaking we say things that hurt others.  That is life.  I’ve done it, my wife has done it, if you are breathing, you’ve done it!  So, why not give your spouse a break for once?

I know, you might be thinking, but Dr. Hattabaugh, you don’t know how ugly my partner can be!  Maybe, but I know you being ugly back is not going to positively improve your relationship. The damage you do when you continue to “snipe” is considerable.  Pretty soon, you don’t even remember who started it and the walls go up.  Sometimes the first comment is a joke, but if it is sarcastic, it cuts.

“But I get so angry when he says that.”  Yep, why walking away is even more important.  When you walk away, you take out the front “leg” of their comment, they in essence “fall forward”.  They are stuck with their words instead of yours, keeping their comment in front and hopefully ending the battle.  Whether this is a major battle or a small skirmish, silence can create a long enough truce to build bridges of apology.  It doesn’t always, but at least you have created the time for that to happen.  Immediately responding does not develop the opportunity for positive change.

I know that there is a time to stand up to something your partner says, but imagine how great your relationship would be if you stopped arguing over everything.  This creates that opportunity.  Would you be happier in your relationship if you didn’t fight?  I hear that all the time from people.  This is the ONLY quick method of dealing with constant verbal attacks. I hope you can see that trying this will create a space in your relationship to truly hear each other’s hearts.

So, how are you going to make yourself try this?  It might be helpful to tell your partner.  Even better, if you have a habit of over-responding, you might start with an apology.  Yes, an apology.  Tell them you are sorry for always reacting to what they say, even if they say something stupid (don’t tell them that!).  Tell them the next time they do, you are going to walk away.  Then do it!  You may find that most of the time they don’t even realize how hurtful their words were, and maybe giving them a moment to realize this, they will retract them. They may not, but your job is to make your relationship the BEST it can be.  So try silence, it may change your life!

contact me @ [email protected] or on facebook @ drmikehattabaugh

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A Surprising Fact about Veterans

A Surprising Fact about Veterans.

Today is not just Veterans day, it is the Birthday of the US Marine Corp!  I want to share something different many don’t know about American soldiers.  I heard it last night on a new documentary about Iwo Jima.  The only surviving Japanese soldier who came to the memorial this year, Tsurji Akikusa, who was saved by a Marine, is interviewed and says: (rough quote from memory) “I don’t think our soldiers would have saved Americans like American soldiers saved me.  They would have left them to die.  There was something different about the American soldier that makes them truly special – they showed mercy.  For that I am grateful.”

I have heard the same story from French families waiting in line at the US cemetery in Normandy, just above Omaha Beach.  The US soldier, with rare exceptions, showed human decency.  They didn’t pillage the local villages, they didn’t rape the local women like other armies.  They were known for their Hershey candy bars they gave to children.  We are grateful for their sacrifice.  We should be just as grateful for their treatment of people who often didn’t deserve it.

I hear Americans aren’t “exceptional”.  I beg to differ.  The greatest men who ever walked this planet went to Hell in WWII, and brought not just peace, but a different way of treating people.  For that,  American Veterans,  thank you for keeping my family safe, and thank you for showing the world 70+ years ago that we can choose to love our enemies.  I hope we learn that lesson soon from the dying generation of heroes, because I see way too much hate for our fellow man in the current generation of Americans. To my Father in Law, Brother in Law, Grandfather, Uncle, friends, and everyone who has every put on a uniform, Happy Veterans Day!