August 9, 2016
I was giving a lecture on the five love languages of apology. At the break, a man approached me and said: “For the first time in my life, I understand the value of apologizing. My father’s philosophy was that ‘apologizing gets you nowhere. Do the best you can and never look back.’ That’s pretty much the way I lived until my wife committed adultery.” “So, what would it take for you to forgive her?” I asked. “I want her to admit that what she did was wrong and to promise me that she will never do it again. If I knew that she would never do it again, I think I could forgive her.” This husband was demonstrating the necessity of apologies. There are no healthy marriages without apologies and forgiveness.
July 11, 2016
Q: Gary, what is the proper way to confront someone if you suspect them of cheating?
Gary: First of all, you have to be honest but you want to do it in a positive way. You want to say to them, “Honey, I hope you know that I really love you, and I’m having some feelings and thoughts going through my mind. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have to ask the question: Are you involved with someone else?”
You’re just straight forward with it, but you do it in a kind way. Not in an angry way, not with an angry voice, but with a lot of kindness that communicates to them that you love them. That’s why you’re confronting them. That’s why you’re sharing with them your thoughts. Keep in mind that your feelings and your thoughts may be wrong. And I believe that, at least initially, you should accept what they say and then wait. If they say, “no no no,” then you wait. Because if they are, it will become obvious.
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.
August 25, 2014
Q: I suspect my husband of cheating on me on the internet and he gets upset when I ask to see his account. How do I deal with this?
Gary: It’s difficult to deal with that, but you cannot accept a husband who is hiding part of his life from you. I think you have to tell him very lovingly that you love him too much to let him block off a part of his life from you. Does he want an intimate marriage with you or does he want to live with the internet? I think when you push him to make that kind of choice you will discover the truth, then you can deal with the truth. I also suggest you need someone to walk with you through this journey. I suggest you see a Christian counselor or pastor.
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.
September 17, 2013
Must I continue to forgive when a person hurts me again and again? Jesus once said, “If a person sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” (Luke 17:4) The important word is the word repent not the word seven. Peter later asked Jesus, “seven times in a day?” And Jesus said, “70 times 7”. It’s not the number that’s important it is the repentance. We forgive as often as people repent. If they don’t repent, we turn them over to God. God will bring punishment to the unbeliever, and discipline to the believer. It is not our place to seek vengeance. We release our hurt and anger to God and we put the person in His hands.
September 12, 2013
Why is it so hard for us to forgive? I think it is because we are made in God’s image and we have a deep concern for justice. Forgiveness did not come easy with God. That is what the cross of Christ is all about. Because Christ paid the penalty, then God can forgive us and still be just. How do we experience God’s forgiveness? We confess our sins and accept what Christ did for us. So, when others sin against us, forgiveness is not easy. Our sense of justice demands that they pay for their sin. We want to be reconciled, but we do not want to ignore wrongdoing. However, when they confess, we remember that God forgave us when we confessed, and we choose to forgive others. Love is always ready to forgive.
August 1, 2013
A man who has been divorced from his wife for three years recently said to me. “If I wrote a book the title would be: Divorce: The Living Hell.” Thousands of individuals can echo his sentiments. The emotional scars that come from divorce are never removed. The hurt that is indelibly printed in the minds of children will never be erased. Our whole society has been deeply infected with the “throw-away” mentality. When you are no longer excited about it, get rid of it. No wonder children are so insecure. No wonder there is so little trust in marriage. I am not suggesting that the road to reconciliation is easy, but rather that it is right and that the results are worth the effort.
July 30, 2013
One of the sad realities is that many married individuals have allowed themselves to be pulled into an emotional or physical relationship with someone else. They reason, “I know God hates divorce, but this relationship is so loving. We are able to communicate with such freedom and understanding. It feels like we were meant for each other.” So, they divorce their spouse and marry their new lover.
What they do not know is that 75% of those kind of marriages will end in divorce. Their children are devastated and they have complicated their lives forever. Research indicates that people are not happier five years after divorce and re-marriage. Why not choose God’s way and seek reconciliation?
July 3, 2013
Q: “I’ve been married to my best friend for 10 years. I’ve never had a wandering eye but I’m suddenly finding myself drawn to a new co-worker. Is my marriage in danger?”
Jennifer Thomas (co-author of When Sorry Isn’t Enough): You’ve asked an important question. We know that it takes 100 or more steps to begin an affair. Avoid taking the first steps and you’ll prevent a world of pain. Simply ask anyone who has lived through an affair and they will tell you it is unspeakably tragic and regrettable. Be on guard for these earliest signs of an affair:
- Noticing a magnetic pull towards someone who is not your spouse
- Daydreaming about them
- Spending extra time with them
- Sharing confidences with them
- Devaluing your own spouse in your mind if not also in action
If you notice these signs of a crush, take note. You are on the road to an emotional affair. First, do not mention your attraction to your co-worker. To do so would multiply your risk because he or she might also be feeling the spark. You must FLEE and seek support. Take steps today to re-focus on your spouse and make sure that you are speaking each others’ love languages. This is the only way to keep your love tank full. Read our Practically Speaking newsletter for useful tips to speak any love language while having fun!