Have You Hugged Your Child Today?

Have you hugged your child today? Or, if you’re married, have you hugged your spouse today? How long has it been since you kissed each other? Physical touch is one of the five love languages. Some people grew up in homes were family members seldom touched each other. For these people, learning to speak the love language of physical touch will take effort. The good news is that you can learn to touch. I remember the father who said, “I know that my son’s love language is physical touch because he’s always touching me. But, I have a hard time touching him. My father never touched me, so it doesn’t seem natural to me.” My advice? Learn, one touch at a time. Begin with one finger on the shoulder. Every time you touch, will make the next one easier.

Physical Touch

Physical touch is one of the five love languages. For some people, it is their primary love language. If you want them to feel loved, then give them a hug, or a pat on the back. This is true for children as well as adults. If a child’s love language is physical touch and you seldom hug the child, the child will grow up feeling unloved. I remember a prison inmate who told me that he grew up feeling unloved by his mother. When he read my book: The Five Love Languages, he discovered that his love language was physical touch. “But, my mother never hugged me,” he said. “The first time I remember her hugging me was the day I left for prison.” How tragic. Don’t let that happen to your child. Hug them every time they leave the house and when they return.

‘Touch’ is Fundamental

A while ago, I met an old friend whom I had not seen in a long time. Immediately, we hugged each other. Why? Because ‘touch’ is fundamental to who we are as humans. We speak of the ‘five senses’. One of the five is touch. It is one of the ways in which we experience life. What parent does not know that toddlers like to touch? We may say, “No, don’t touch that,” but touch is one way a child experiences life. The same is true with adults. All cultures have appropriate affirming touches when they greet each other. When you touch me in an appropriate way, you affirm my worth. When you touch me in a harsh way, you demean me as a person. Make sure that today, all of your touches are affirming touches.

Sharing Desires Without Making Demands

We are creatures of desire. That is, we want certain things. Desires are usually expressed in terms of “I want…, I wish…I hope… or I would like… In an intimate marriage couples can share their desires without making demands. If my wife tells me that she would like a new dress for the party, then perhaps I can make it happen. If she doesn’t tell me, I have no way of knowing her desire. I don’t mean that any of us can have everything we desire. But if we share, then we can discuss the possibilities – is it realistic or not? If so, then what steps need to be taken? Helping fulfill the desires of your spouse is one way of expressing your love. Love always wants what is best for the spouse.

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.

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