Category: Dating

The Purpose of Marriage

Q: I’m dating and always getting ultimatums for things from my girlfriend. She says I value friends and family above her.

Gary: Recognize the purpose of dating is to get to know each other and to decide if this will lead to marriage or not. Many times the dating relationship does not lead to marriage, rather it helps us understand this person well enough to know that we are not meant for each other. I would be encouraged by the fact that you’re having conflicts in the dating relationship. And if you can’t resolve those things while you are dating, it’s a pretty good sign you’re not going to make it in marriage. Because if one person has to have their way all the time and you’re always condemned on the other side, that doesn’t lead to a happy marriage. 

Q&A: Balancing Grad School and Getting Married

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.

Q&A: Friends Tell Me That There Is Something Wrong With Us

Q: I’ve been dating for several years but my best friend tells me that something’s not quite right. What should I do?

Gary: Listen to your friends. I don’t mean that you should necessarily break up. What I do mean is that you should listen to what your friends are saying. It’s not uncommon to have blind spots. Your friends see things that you don’t see. You need to find out what their concerns are and then address the issue. If you don’t, you’re likely to wake up married and realize that your friends were right. Don’t assume just because you are in love you should get married. It’s highly possible to fall in love with someone you should not marry. If you want a practical guide as to what you should consider before deciding to marry, you might want to check out my book, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married.

Q&A: A Partner Who Refuses to Speak Your Love Language

Q: What do you suggest to do if your boyfriend is unmotivated to speak your love language? 

Gary: I think it’s probably time to get out of the relationship. People are typically at their best when they are dating. If you’re dating someone who knows your love language but refuses to speak it, it should indicate to you that your partner is selfish. He is into himself but not into loving you. If that’s what dating him is like, imagine what being married to him is like. If upon breaking up with him, he radically changes, maybe give him another chance.

Q&A: Finding a Christian Man

Q: How does a Christian woman find a quality husband? It seems so many men are selfish and only wanting physical intimacy.

Gary: I do believe the quality men you are looking for are out there. You are far more likely to find them in the church rather than out of the church, especially if they’re involved beyond mere attendance. If they’re in a small group, if they’re going on missions trips, if they’re helping the poor, these are good indicators that the person is truly committed to Christ. Pray and ask God to bring that kind of guy across your track.

Q&A: How Long to Wait for a Proposal

Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for three years post-college. He says he wants to be married but he’s not acting on it. How long do I wait?

Gary: The important factor is why he is waiting. Many times people say they want to be in a better financial state than they currently are. Sometimes people are afraid of breaking off a long-term relationship, even if they don’t see it leading to marriage because it is still meaningful them. Some people never intend to marry. If you feel that it will never lead to marriage, you need to express that and back off the relationship. If he’s really sincere, you may warm his cold feet by doing so.

Q&A: Time Away in a Dating Relationship

Q: My boyfriend has asked for some time away from me because of the amount of physical temptation. How do I relate to him during this time?

Gary: My first question is, is that the only reason he’s backing off? Maybe he feels that the relationship isn’t leading to marriage and wants some time to evaluate this. In terms of how you relate to him, it’s up to him to decide what would be appropriate. If he’s taken the initiative to back off, you need to know what kind of contact he wants. Does he want to have no contact during this time, or is he OK with limited contact? Work together to decide what the relationship should look like in terms of where to go next.

Q&A: A Common Idea of God

Q: Is it really important for you and your partner to have at least a common idea of God before getting married?

Gary: What you believe about God affects everything else in life. You see, if you believe that the biblical God exists, and that he is the creator of the universe and of life, that affects everything because the Old and New Testament scriptures tell us how to live life and what is most meaningful in life. However, if you discount that concept of God, or you’re not sure what you believe about God, that too will affect the way you live your life because you’re not inclined to take seriously the teachings of Jesus. Take time to dig deeply and find out whether you and your prospective spouse have a spiritual foundation on which to build a healthy marriage.

Q&A: When the Feeling Wears Off

Q: How can I know that I’m still ‘in love’ after the feeling wears off?

Gary: Typically, we use the phrase ‘in love’ to talk about the euphoric feelings in the early stages of the relationship. Those feelings fade, but emotional love we really don’t call being ‘in love.’ Emotional love can continue throughout the years if we speak our partner’s primary love language. If you only do for him or her what you think will make you feel loved, he or she will likely not feel loved and the warmth of the relationships will die. But if you learn to speak his or her love language, you can keep emotional love alive even after you come down off the ‘in love’ high.

The ‘In Love’ Euphoria Pt. 2

The euphoric experience of ‘falling in love’ gives us the illusion that we have an intimate relationship. We feel that we belong to each other. We feel altruistic toward each other. One young man said, “I can’t conceive of doing anything to hurt her. My only desire is to make her happy.” He believes also that she will make him happy. Such thinking is fanciful. Not that we are insincere in what we think and feel, but we are unrealistic. We fail to reckon with the reality of human nature. By nature, we are ego-centric. Once we come down off the ‘in love’ high, we begin to assert ourselves. Without the help of God, marriage will become a battlefield. It’s time to pray; to read; to listen.

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