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.

Summer Vegetables and Summer Marriages

October 14, 2014

Summer vegetables and summer marriages are both delightful. In a summer marriage life is relaxed. You have a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and connection. There is trust and communication. Couples who have a summer marriage realize that they must keep the weeds out of their garden. So, they read books and share ideas. They attend marriage seminars and workshops. They pray for God’s wisdom and seek to speak each other’s love language. They recognize that marriage was God’s idea and that the attitude of Christ in us, is what makes marriage work. Two selfish people will not have a summer marriage. Love – looking out for each other’s interest – is what keeps the weeds out of the garden of marriage.

Q&A: My Wife Never Apologizes

October 13, 2014

Q: My wife never apologizes, how can I help her with this?

Gary: We are to forgive others as God forgives us. So how does God forgive us? The scriptures say, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins.” Jesus gave us clear instructions in Luke 17 verse 3: If your brother or wife sins against you, confront him or her. If they repent, forgive them. Eventually, if they don’t repent we are to treat them as a pagan. How do we treat pagans? We pray for them. We love them. We return good for evil. It is unconditional love that often touches the heart of the offender. You will need God’s help to follow God’s plan. But it is the most powerful thing you can do when someone refuses to apologize.

Q&A: Balancing Grad School and Getting Married

October 10, 2014

Q: How do you suggest my fiancé and I handle getting married as well as going to Grad school?

Gary: My first suggestion is postpone the marriage. If you are 20 years old and already applying to graduate schools you must be exceedingly smart. So use your smarts, don’t get married till you both have been accepted into graduate schools and have part time jobs. This will give you a realistic idea of how much time will be left over for your relationship. You have plenty of time for marriage. Why not finish graduate school before you get married. If, however, you decide to get married while still in school, I can tell you from experience that you will have minimal time for each other. I got married at 23 while in graduate school and we had some very difficult years. Before you get married, talk with at least two couples who got married while in graduate school. They will give you realistic advice.

The Four Seasons of Marriage

October 9, 2014

Some time ago, I wrote a book entitled, The Four Seasons of Marriage. It’s not the idea that you get married in Spring and when you are old you end up in Winter. Rather, I use the seasons to describe the quality of the marriage. It has nothing to do with how long you’ve been married. So people go from Spring to Winter on the honeymoon. Yes, Spring marriages are exciting. We have plans, we are optimistic. We love each other. Most people get married in Spring. On the other hand, a Winter marriage is cold, harsh, and bitter. We’ve stopped talking because we don’t like to argue. If you would like to move from winter to spring, you need to confess past failures, and give love a second chance.

Unhealthy Patterns of Communication

October 7, 2014

Unhealthy patterns of communication can destroy a marriage. However, you can’t correct them until you identify them. Here are four common negative patterns: (1) The Blamer, “It’s your fault.” No matter what it is, you blame your spouse. (2) The Peacemaker, “Whatever you want is fine with me.” Even if you have opinions you don’t share them, because you don’t want to start an argument. (3) The Professor, “Let’s be reasonable.” You see yourself as a person of logic. You explain it as you would to a child. And, that’s exactly what your spouse feels. (4) The Statue. You don’t talk. “Ignore her and she will go away” is your philosophy. Want some help? The book is entitled: Now You’re Speaking My Language.

Q&A: Staying Positive after a Job Loss

October 6, 2014

Q: My husband recently lost his job, how can I help him to stay positive?

Gary: Here are three things I suggest: (1) Speak your husband’s love language. The deepest emotional need we have is the need to feel loved. When your husband’s love tank is full, life is much easier to process. He may not have a job, but if he has you and feels that you really love him, he can go on looking with a positive attitude. (2) I suggest that you look for volunteer jobs at your church or in your community. Getting involved in doing something worthwhile is a big deterrent in getting depressed. Often it’s in the context of volunteering that you make new friends and sometimes even find a new job opportunity. (3) Ask your friends to pray for you. That’s what friendship is all about. Don’t walk it alone.