November 4, 2016
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.
October 27, 2016
Would you like to put the past behind you and start over? I’m talking about in your marriage. Many couples have so much pain from past failures that they have a hard time moving ahead. Time alone, will not heal hurts. Healing comes when we are willing to confess our failures and change our behavior. Some of us would like to leave out the confession part and just focus on being different in the future. However, confession is essential to the healing process. Even God requires confession before He forgives. I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Confession means that we admit to our spouse that what we did is wrong. We accept responsibility for our failure and request forgiveness.
September 29, 2016
Most of us will admit that we are not perfect. From time to time we say and do things that are not loving, kind, or helpful. In a marriage these failures build into walls of separation. If you would like to remove past failures, you must first identify them. Get pen and paper and ask God to bring to your mind the ways you have hurt your spouse in the past. Now, go to your children individually and ask them to tell you times when they have seen you being unkind to your spouse. Get ready, because children can be brutally honest. Then ask the same question to close friends who have had opportunity to observe your behavior. This process can be painful, but it is the first step in dealing with past failures.
August 16, 2016
Do you know how to apologize? Chances are you do what your parents taught you, but that may not be enough. Dr. Jennifer Thomas and I discovered that people have different ideas on what it means to apologize. In fact, there are five languages of apology. If you don’t speak the right language, you are not likely to have a favorable response. If you aren’t sure how to apologize, consider saying this: “I value our relationship. What do I need to do or say in order for you to consider forgiving me?” Their answer will reveal their ‘primary apology language.’ Express your apology in that language and you will likely receive forgiveness.
August 11, 2016
Do you have a relationship that is presently broken or fractured? What would it take to heal the relationship? I’d like to suggest two essentials: apologizing and forgiving. When we have hurt someone, it is time to apologize. Don’t let your pride keep you from admitting that you were wrong. When someone has hurt you, it is time to confront. Jesus said that if someone sins against you, then you should tell them, and seek reconciliation. Don’t let fear keep you from confronting the person who has hurt you. Healthy relationships must be authentic. You cannot suffere in silence and hope things will workout. Apologizing and forgiving are two essentials for healthy relationships.
August 9, 2016
Q: Gary, my new husband doesn’t want to talk and just wants to be with his friends. How do I show him that it’s not too late to start over?
Gary: It sounds like he’s withdrawing from the relationship and there must be a reason for that. Either in his efforts to talk he has felt put down by you and consequently doesn’t want to talk. On the other hand, I’m wondering, if he wants spend all of his time with his friends, why did he get married? So I think I would ask him, “Can you help me understand why you don’t want to spend time with me?” There has to be a reason. I don’t know what it is, but something is going on if a newly married husband doesn’t want to spend time with his wife.
August 8, 2016
Q: Gary, should I be concerned if my boyfriend refuses to take the Love Languages quiz? How can I determine what his language is?
If someone refuses to take a positive step in helping the relationship, yes, it’s a red flag waving because they’re not likely to be open to other things you request. In answering your second question, you determine his love language by asking yourself, How does he respond to others?” Observe his behavior. Is he giving pats on the back, is he giving words of affirmation, does he spend time talking to people? The second question is what does he complain about? The complaint reveals his love language. And then, what does he request of you most often? That also reveals his love language. So you can determine his love language even if he won’t take the quiz. But don’t overlook the fact that he’s refusing to do something you’re requesting.
August 4, 2016
What do you consider to be a sincere apology? What does the person need to say or do that will make it possible for you to forgive them? I have discovered that there are five ways that people typically apologize. I call them the five languages of apology.
- Expressing regret. “I’m sorry for what I did.”
- Accepting responsibility. “I was wrong.”
- Making restitution. “What can I do to make things right?”
- Genuine repentance. “I don’t want to ever do that again.”
- Requesting forgiveness. “Will you please forgive me?”
Which of these is most important to you? That is your primary apology language. Why not share this information with your family and friends so they will know how to apologize to you.
August 3, 2016
I grew up in a family that understood anger as a threat to relationship. As such, raised voices or certain vocal tones got us a ticket to our bedrooms where we were supposed to magically get over it. Only we didn’t…
…The unfortunate conundrum is that unless humans pathologically detach, we cannot avoid anger. If you are awake and paying attention, there’s actually a lot going on around the globe to inspire this threatening emotion. Thankfully, God does not call us to be emotional agnostics. Anger is one of many appropriate responses to atrocities, particularly those that end in premature death. When Lazarus died and Jesus faced his grieving sister, Scripture tells us “a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled” (John 11:33). Because of his connection to God the Father, Jesus didn’t sin in his anger. As Paul referenced in Ephesians, we occasionally do.
How are we to respond honestly without hurting others when the inevitable anger rises up within our marriage?
Continue reading article by Dorothy Greco >>
July 26, 2016
Are you a doormat or a lover? A doormat is an inanimate object. You can wipe your feet on it, step on it, kick it around, or whatever you like. It has no will of its own. It can be your slave, but not your lover. When we treat our spouses as objects, we preclude the possibility of love. No person should ever be a doormat.
We are called to be servants. Jesus said about himself, “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” That should be our attitude. “What can I do to help you?” reveals a loving attitude. “You do this or you will regret it.” is the language of slavery. There is a vast difference between being a servant and being a slave. The servant acts out of love. The slave lives in response to fear.