Q&A: Fighting Fair

October 31, 2014

Q: Fighting in my marriage has really affected me. How can I be more patient and tolerant?

Gary: Fighting in a marriage is never healthy, unless we fight fairly. And most of us have never learned how to fight fairly. So we lash out at each other, we say harsh and mean things to each other, and consequently it creates a barrier between the two of us. I think we should always be willing to confess our failures and reach out and ask for forgiveness. Then, we have to learn new patterns of relating to each other. One of those patterns is to call a time-out. When you realize you’re about to get into a fight, simply call time-out and say, “I’ve got to take a walk, we’ll talk about this later.” If you do that, you’re more likely when you come back to have a civil conversation rather than a fight.

Praying for Our Enemies

October 30, 2014

Many people say that the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth. Whatever our limitations we have been greatly blessed of God. This nation has faced many crises in the past. Today we face a growing and illusive enemy that seeks to destroy America in the name of religion. Ours has been a land of religious freedom. We allow all religions to practice their faith freely. As we thank God for our history, let us pray for His wisdom in the present. Let us stand firmly on the side of freedom and pray for our enemies. As Abraham Lincoln noted, our concern is not whether God is on our side, but that we are on God’s side. The nation that exalts God will be blessed. Whatever others do, let us seek God and His Kingdom.

Positive Influence

October 28, 2014

Children are greatly influenced by parents. We want to make sure that the influence is positive. First, we love our children. Then, we train them. Training involves having rules and setting consequences. Never make a rule without also telling the child what will happen if they break the rule. Then, consistently apply the consequences. If you don’t put your bicycle away at night, you loose the privilege of riding the next day. Setting the consequences will keep the parent from over-reacting in the heat of the moment. Kindly and firmly applying the consequences will teach your child responsibility. Make life easier for everyone: have clear rules and reasonable consequences.

Q&A: Can God Bless My New Marriage after a Divorce?

October 27, 2014

Q: Three years ago I had an affair that broke up my marriage and we’ve both since remarried. Can God still bless my new marriage?

Gary: Let’s face it, all of us are sinners. We may differ in what we do, but we are all sinners. And God is the great forgiver. Now forgiveness does not remove all the consequences. And where there’s been affairs, divorce, and then remarriage; there are consequences to that. And we have to live with those consequences. There’s scars personally in our lives. And the effect of children is also there. So can God bless a second marriage, a third marriage, a fourth marriage? God can bless us wherever we turn to Him. He can give us a good relationship with that person but we must continue to live with the scars of our choices.

My Husband Is a Daddy’s Boy

October 24, 2014

Q: My husband is a Daddy’s boy and confides in him more than me, what can I do?” 

Gary: There’s nothing wrong with having a good relationship with your father. Often, if you’ve had a good relationship with your father,  you will often turn to your father for advice in your marriage. There is nothing unhealthy about that. But what I do hear this wife saying is, “I feel like he’s not open to my opinion; he’s not asking me for my input; he’s relying more on his father than he’s relying on me.” That of course is not a healthy thing in a relationship. First verbalize it to him, let him know how you’re feeling. But also affirm him, that he’s man enough to reach out for advice and not try to make decisions simply with his own wisdom.

Developing Responsibility

October 23, 2014

If we want our children to become responsible adults, we must teach them when they are young. Requiring a child to ‘make his bed’ or vacuum her floor are first steps in developing responsibility. And what of good manners? Corporate America is now hiring ‘etiquette trainers’ because employees don’t know the simply rules of courtesy. If as parents we believe that ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ are better than ‘gimmie’ and ‘yuck,’ then we have rules that teach such manners. Rules must be clearly explained to children. Unspoken rules are unfair rules. In most cases, parents are older than children. So, they have the responsibility to make rules that will protect and guide the child.

Discipline Is Not a Negative Word

October 21, 2014

The word discipline is not a negative word, nor is it to be equated with spanking or yelling at children. The word discipline means literally “to train”. Without positive discipline children will self-destruct; they cannot train themselves. Training begins with love, followed by a clear statement of the rules. There are some things we do and some things we don’t do. Rules should always be reasonable. Some rules keep children from danger. “Look both ways before crossing the street.” Some rules protect property. “Never play baseball in the back yard.” Some rules teach children responsibility. “Always put the football in the garage when you finish playing.” Simple rules develop character and responsibility.

A Friendship with a Female Online Gaming Partner

October 20, 2014

Q: My husband seems to be pursuing a “friendship” with a female gaming partner online. He says there is nothing going on, but it makes me uncomfortable.

Gary: I think many wives can identify with this question. Let’s face it, most affairs do not begin with the affair. It begins with interaction with another person, often online, and bit by bit it develops into something. So, maybe there is nothing really going on that’s improper here. But, the very fact that you’re concerned and you’re sharing that with your husband, which I think you should share it with him. It ought to trigger in him a desire to please you and be willing to draw back from that. So, pray that God will touch his heart and make sure that he knows you’re not happy with this.

Q&A: Helping My Child with a Bad Attitude

October 17, 2014

Q: My son continually has a bad attitude. We would like to help him with it, what can we do?

Gary: Make sure your son feels loved. I know that you love him, the question is does your son feel loved? Sincerity is not enough. The deepest emotional need a child has is to feel loved by the parents. When that need is unmet children often experience anger, which shows up in their behavior. Dr. Ross Campbell and I wrote a book that has just been updated and released called The 5 Love Languages of ChildrenIt shares information on how to identify a child’s primary love language and how speaking this language interfaces with the child’s anger, learning, and with discipline. Many parents have shared that when they started speaking their child’s love language they saw a dramatic change in the child’s behavior.

Conflict over Disciplining the Children

October 16, 2014

One of the most common conflicts between husbands and wives is how to discipline the children. “He’s too harsh,” the wife says. “She lets them get away with murder,” the husband says. The conversation goes down hill from there. Their arguments leave them wounded and resentful. The basics of child rearing are not difficult to understand. The first fundamental is that children need to feel loved by mom and dad. Understanding the five love languages has helped thousands of parents learn how to love children effectively. If children don’t feel loved, they are far more likely to rebel against almost any form of discipline. Get on the same page. Make sure your children feel loved.