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Q+A: Desperate Marriages

Q: Gary, after 15 years of marriage, we are contemplating separation. We have had many battles over the years, one being depression. Walls have been built and the fear is that I can’t break the wall again. I feel I’m done. Is there hope? Is separation just prolonging the inevitable?

Gary: I believe that there is always hope, even when you have lost hope. And I understand how you can get there, because I have been there myself. There are two books I would recommend to you: One is called Desperate Marriages. It specifically deals with the whole depression issue and living with someone who is depressed over a long period of time. The other one is called One More Try: What to do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. I believe either or both of these books will help you as you struggle to know what to do next.

Handling Your Anger

Do you have a plan for handling anger in your marriage? Let’s begin by admitting that all of us experience anger. Your spouse treats you unfairly, or they fail to do something that you expected them to do, so you feel angry. In a healthy marriage, the couple has an agreement: that when you feel angry, I want you to tell me. I can’t help you with your anger until I know what you are angry about. And yet, this is a new idea for many people. One wife said, “You mean I’m supposed to tell my husband that I am angry that he washed his car and did not wash mine.” “That’s right,” I said, “unless you want to have a dirty car the rest of your life.” Sharing your anger is the only way to process your anger in a positive way.

A Thankful Home is a Happy Home

Bigger is better, right?

Doesn’t that often seem like the motto in America? We are always thinking about the next bigger or better thing we “need” to buy.

When I find myself always wanting more in any aspect of life, I stop enjoying the blessings that currently surround me. My heart turns from a thankful heart to a never satisfied heart.

Continue reading article by Rachel Bohanan >>

Marriage Makes Me Angry

I don’t ever remember getting angry until I got married. Maybe I have a faulty memory, but one thing is certain: six months after the wedding, I found myself angry with my wife. Why? Because she did not live up to my expectations. Incidentally, she was angry with me for the same reason. In those days, if you had asked me, “Are you angry?” I would have said, “No, I’m just disappointed. I’m hurt.” I had been taught all my life that anger was sinful. I didn’t want to sin, so I gave my anger a different name. The first step in learning to process anger is to admit: “I’m feeling angry.” You can’t deal with it, until you are honest enough to admit that you have it.

Q+A: Is this Ordained?

Q: Gary, my girlfriend just told me that God spoke to her and said that I was to be her husband. I’m not feeling the same thing. What do I do?

Gary: Well maybe God spoke to her, or maybe she just had pizza for dinner last night. But I think if it’s God’s plan, both of you will know that. Another factor may be timing. Right now you’re not sure that she is the person God has for you. But if you continue developing the relationship, 6 months from now, you may also agree that God is leading you into this relationship. So give it time. Don’t make a snap decision, and don’t condemn her for the sense she has that God has led her to you.

Q+A: Controlling Spouses

Q: Gary, my husband is very stingy with ‘our’ money and doesn’t let me spend anything on my own. I feel like a prisoner!

Gary: My guess is you also feel like a prisoner in other areas of the marriage because what you’re talking about is a controlling personality. In this case, it happens to be money, but when a spouse has a controlling personality they make all the decisions. The other person feels like a prisoner or a child that has to ask for every nickel. I think I would discuss this openly with him, share your feelings with him. If he’s not willing to think with you about it, I would say to him, “I’m going to counseling because I can’t continue to live with this kind of pressure. I would encourage you to come with me.” If he does, wonderful! If not, you go and chances are you will have the support and help of a counselor in how you might take further steps to help him recognize what he’s doing to the relationship.

Forgiveness is Always the Christian Response

So, your spouse has failed you. But now, they have confessed their wrong and are seeking to change their behavior. What are you to do? In the Scriptures, forgiveness is always the Christian response to confession and repentance. Remember, forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision to lift the penalty and declare the person pardoned. Forgiveness means that you will no longer hold that failure against your spouse. Human forgiveness is based on God’s forgiveness. Christ paid the penalty for our sins. When we confess and repent, God forgives us. The same principle applies in human relationships. There are no healthy marriages without confession, repentance, and forgiveness.

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