July 11, 2014
Q: I feel more like a mother to my husband than a wife. He is unwilling to change. What should I do?
Gary: There are many couples who are in a situation similar to yours. Part of it has to do with personality, but sometimes a husband doesn’t take initiative because when he has in the past his wife has condemned him. If she does so verbally and his love language is Words of Affirmation, this is extremely painful to him. From there, he decides that it’s better to let her make the decisions. Whether or not this is your situation, ask yourself why he is not taking initiative in the relationship. Ask him directly. You may discover that you need to change the way you respond to him when he takes initiative.
July 8, 2014
Teenagers are like tender plants that need to be nurtured. To nurture is ‘to feed’ the inner spirit. The opposite of nurture is abuse. Hostile, cutting, harsh words from parents kill the teenager’s spirit. Slapping, shoving, pushing, and beating will almost always produce a rebellious teenager. Nurturing parents are encouraging: looking for the positive things their teenagers do and say and commending them. I do not mean that you sit idly by and let them do things that will be destructive. The nurturing parent says, “What you did was wrong and you must suffer the consequences. But I want you to know that I believe in you. I don’t think that this behavior reflects the real you. I think you are a caring person. I love you and want to help you.”
July 3, 2014
In order to feel loved, teenagers need to feel accepted. The opposite of acceptance is
rejection. Research indicates that almost all violent teenagers feel rejected by their
parents. But how do you communicate acceptance, when you don’t like their behavior?
God is our model. We are “accepted in Christ,” even though God is not always pleased
with our behavior. The message we seek to communicate is “I love you because you are
my child. I don’t always like what you do, but I will never reject you. I will always be
here doing what I believe is best for you. I will love you even if you don’t follow my
advice, but because I love you, I must give you my advice. I love you no matter what.”
July 1, 2014
We’ve heard a great deal about the importance of bonding between parent and infant. What we haven’t heard is that bonding is no less important for the teenager and his parents. Bonding requires time together spent in a positive atmosphere. The opposite of feeling connected is the feeling of abandonment. The teen who feels abandoned will have emotional struggles. Emotional connectedness requires communication. Where do you talk with your teenager? I’d like to suggest a radical thought. Have at least one meal a day with your family, and share what is happening in your lives. A second thought: Do something with your teenager at least once a week. Follow these suggestions and your teen will likely feel connected.
June 30, 2014
Q: My husband only wants our teenage daughter to have Christian friends. What do you think?
Gary: Teenagers are going through a very dramatic stage of life. They’re changing physically, emotionally, and intellectually, rethinking their spiritual values; it’s such an important time. Yes, I think we need to be friends with Christians and non-Christians but be very careful whom your teenager spends time with. If they spend time with non-Christians who have a non-Christian philosophy of life, they may well get pulled into that lifestyle. I think both of you have legitimate concerns. Continue having conversations with your child about what is going on in their life. Don’t back away from them this is a time during which they need parental guidance.
June 27, 2014
Q: My primary love language is physical touch. I am not currently in a dating relationship, and I live far away from my family. How can I best seek out fulfillment of my primary love language in a casual or platonic manner?
Gary: A lady once said to me, “You know why I go to that church? Because people hug me there. It’s the only place all week long that I get hugs.” And I do believe the church is a good place to be hugged. I mean this in a positive way. Christians are loving people, often reaching out with handshakes and hugs. If you’re going to a church that doesn’t, I suggest you look for a different church. I believe the church is one of the best places to meet the need for love in a casual relationship.
June 26, 2014
A mother recently said to me, “I don’t know if I’m ready for my children to become teenagers. It seems like all teenagers are having sex, using drugs, and carrying guns to school. Is it really that bad?” The answer is no. It is true that 10% of teenagers are troubled and get into trouble, but most of them were troubled children. Good kids don’t suddenly go bad in adolescence. When teens are secure in the love of their parents, they will have confidence to face the negative influences in our culture. In my opinion, nothing is more important than parental love. The teen wants to feel connected, accepted, and nurtured by parents. When this happens the teen will move through adolescence in a healthy manner.
June 24, 2014
If you’re married and your spouse has disappointed you again, don’t despair. Couple’s often have different ideas of what a marriage ought to be. Sit down today and make a list of the things you wish your spouse would do. Then, make a list of the things you appreciate about your spouse. Thank God for each of these positive traits. Then thank your spouse. Speak your spouse’s love language at least once a week. Then once a month share with your spouse one thing you would like for them to do. Make sure it is a request, not a demand. For example, “Do you think it would be possible for you to vacuum my car one evening this week?” If they respond positively, then express appreciation. Don’t worry about the 10 things he did not do. Thank him for the one thing he did.
June 23, 2014
A husband: Gary, I recently discovered The 5 Love Languages concept and have tried to speak them all to my wife. I just wanted you to know that it has had an amazing impact on our lives. Thanks.
Gary: I’m so encouraged by the way The 5 Love Languages has helped so many couples connect on a deeper level with each other. I had a soldier from Afghanistan write an email to me. He said, “The 5 Love Languages is the simplest and most profound book I’ve ever read.” I like that. It’s a simple concept that we have different love languages and to be effective we have to speak the other person’s. And it doesn’t hurt to sprinkle in the other four for extra credit. I hope other couples who haven’t read The 5 Love Languages will do so also.
June 20, 2014
Q: How can a man say “I love you” but still seem to be distracted by other women?
Gary: Let’s face it; the words “I love you” can be cheap. If a man is involved with someone else but still says these words to his wife, he’s fooling himself. Love does not violate a covenant. Marriage is commitment to each other. Saying “I love you” while having interest in someone else is not love. Our hearts get divided; we are all sinners. The hope is always that a person will repent, come back, and truly affirm their love, having made the hard decision to reconcile.