September 15, 2014
Q: How much does age matter in a relationship?
Gary: It depends on how old you are. If you’re 16 and he’s 26—then yes, age should be a deal breaker. You’re too young to be involved with someone 10 years older than you. You have high school and college ahead of you. A person who is 26 and wanting to date you is revealing his own insecurity and may even be a predator. On the other hand, if you are a widow of 46 and dating a man who is 56, age difference is less important. You’re both old enough to be mature. There may be other factors that would indicate you should not get married, but age would not be that significant. The general principle is that the younger you are the more important age difference becomes.
September 12, 2014
Q: Are married people obligated to have children?
Gary: God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” In the Bible, children are viewed as a gift from God. However, I don’t think this means that every Christian couple is obligated to have children. If a couple decides not to have children, their reason for such a choice should clearly be understood and should not be rooted in selfishness. Some good reasons for not having children might include: physical and mental disabilities, poor relational skills, or ministry for Christ. Selfish reasons might be: the desire to travel, not willing to accept responsibility, or wanting to be free to follow personal interests. Make sure that your choice is based on a genuine desire to follow God’s plan for your life.
September 8, 2014
Q: What’s the best way to deal with substance abuse in marriage?
Gary: My approach is to see yourself as a positive change agent. The process is two pronged—first, tender love and second, tough love. By tender love I mean learn their love language and speak it daily no matter how they treat you. Then, 6 months into this process you make the request that they seek treatment. Keep loving them. Next, apply tough love. You might say, “I love you too much to sit here and do nothing while you destroy yourself. If you don’t go for treatment, I am moving in with my mother.” Finally, move out. Since you’ve loved them in a meaningful way for six months they now have something to lose. Typically they respond to this. After treatment you can get marriage counseling and rebuild your marriage.
September 5, 2014
Q: I have jealousy issues toward my wife. We are newly married, but I struggle with her having other guy friends. How can I deal with this?
Gary: Some jealousy is normal, particularly in the early years of marriage. We cannot, however, smother our spouse and not let them have friends. If it’s simply friendships with simple conversations, then no problem. But if indeed she has hidden (or not so hidden) feelings for these friends and there are some romantic elements involved, that’s not permissible in a healthy marriage. Be honest with her about your feelings. She in turn needs to be honest with you about the nature of these relationships. Marriage is designed to be exclusive and this conversation will help set that standard.