April 18, 2014
Q: I’ve verbally abused my wife for years but I want to change. How can I show her?
Gary: Verbal abuse strikes at the heart of the person abused. Even if you confess this, recognize that it is wrong, and stop speaking harsh words, it will take time for your spouse to realize that you are sincere. How can you regain her trust and belief in you? I would say by your behavior. If you turn the harsh critical words into loving caring words, you will demonstrate that you have radically changed. If you will also learn her primary love language and speak it to her on a regular basis, chances are that overtime she’ll begin to see that you sincerely and honestly love her.
April 17, 2014
Most of us tend to either under-estimate or over-estimate our value. We perceive ourselves as either useless failures or as God’s gift to the world. How you perceive yourself greatly affects your relationships. Inferiority often stems from a childhood where parents told us that we were dumb, ugly, or clumsy. How do we overcome feelings of being inferior? Speak truth to your heart. What is the truth? You are made in the image of God. You have a mind, emotions, and the ability to make decisions. You are gifted by God with special abilities. You have a unique role to play in his kingdom. No one else can take your place. Tell yourself the truth and behave accordingly. Then, watch your relationships flourish.
April 15, 2014
All children need to hear words of encouragement. The word ‘encourage’ means “to instill courage.” We are seeking to give children the courage to attempt more. We do a great job of this when the child is learning to walk. If the child falls, we say, “Yea, try again. Try again.” And the child tries again. Don’t forget this principle as the child gets older. The greatest enemy of encouraging our children is anger. The more anger present in the parent, the more anger the parent will dump on the children. The result will be children who are both anti-authority and anti-parent. If you have an anger problem, let me recommend my recent book, Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way. It may make the difference between encouraging or discouraging your child.
April 14, 2014
Q: How can our distance relationship last if we both are not touched by Words of Affirmation?
Gary: If you scored low on Words of Affirmation, that is, Words of Affirmation are not very important to either one of you, then what are your love languages? The good news is that each of the 5 love languages can be spoken long distance. In a recent edition of The 5 Love Languages we address this for those in the military. In it we talk about speaking the love languages when your partner is deployed. If you are in a distance relationship, it may be helpful to you even though you aren’t in the military.
April 11, 2014
Q: How do I get my husband to help around the house? I feel like his mother more than his wife.
Gary: Perhaps your love language is Acts of Service and you’re really feeling unloved because your husband is not helping out around the house. It makes sense that you feel more like a mother than a wife, but you need to express this to him very clearly; he needs to understand that you want him to help out around the house. You should also learn his love language and speak it on a regular basis, because your love for him will likely stimulate his love for you.
April 10, 2014
Can you praise children too much? I think you can. First, let’s distinguish between words of affection and words of praise. Affection focuses on who the child is, “I love you. You are so beautiful. I love the color of your hair.” These are words of affection. Praise focuses on what the child does–something over which the child has a degree of control. “Good catch. Great job.” These are words of praise. Children know when praise is deserved and when it is given simply to make them feel good. Random praise will come across as insincere. When you can’t praise the performance, praise the effort. “You worked hard at that, and I’m proud of you.” Certainly you want to praise your children, but make sure it is true and justified.
April 8, 2014
Long before children understand the meaning of words, children receive emotional messages. The tone of voice and the gentleness of mood communicate emotional warmth. All parents speak to their infants, and what the baby understands is the look on the face and the affectionate sounds, combined with physical closeness. Young children don’t understand the meaning of the words, “I love you.” They can’t see love as they can see a toy or a book. But they begin to associate the words “I love you” with the hugs and tender touches you give them as you say the words. It’s the tone of voice that they hear and they associate it with the words, “I love you.” Affirming words communicate love even before the child understands the words.
April 7, 2014
Q: My husband spends more time playing video games than he spends with me. I’m tired of it and I need to know if there’s anything I can do.
Gary: It sounds to me like your love language is Quality Time and your husband is not giving it to you. I would first suggest that you make sure you know his love language and that you speak it on a regular basis. Do not ignore him because you feel ignored; doing so will accomplish nothing. Love stimulates love; if you speak his language you can then make requests for him to speak yours. He’ll be far more likely to respond positively because he feels your love.
April 4, 2014
Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for three years post-college. He says he wants to be married but he’s not acting on it. How long do I wait?
Gary: The important factor is why he is waiting. Many times people say they want to be in a better financial state than they currently are. Sometimes people are afraid of breaking off a long-term relationship, even if they don’t see it leading to marriage because it is still meaningful them. Some people never intend to marry. If you feel that it will never lead to marriage, you need to express that and back off the relationship. If he’s really sincere, you may warm his cold feet by doing so.
April 3, 2014
Almost all parents love their children, but not all children feel loved. Often the difference lies in the way parents talk to their children. Words of affection, praise, and encouragement communicate “I love you.” They fall like gentle rain on the soul of the child. They nurture the child’s inner sense of worth and security. Conversely, cutting words, spoken out of anger, can hurt a child’s self-esteem and create doubts about his abilities. Children think we deeply believe what we say. The Hebrew proverb did not overstate the reality when it said, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Words are spoken quickly, but are not soon forgotten. A child reaps the benefits of affirming words for a lifetime.