Category: Engagement

Q+A: Are We Ready For Marriage?

Q: Gary, how long would you recommend dating before considering marriage?

Gary: Typically you don’t continue dating very long unless you have some idea that this might be the person you want to marry. I do think you need to give it significant time, however. I can’t set an arbitrary time, one year two years, I can’t really say that. But I do think you need to give it significant time. What you do in that time is far more important than how long it is. Are you reading a book on marriage that is looking at the different aspects of marriage that you ought to be looking at? Are you being honest with each other about your background? Are you working through the struggles that might be there with your family and extended family? I wrote a book called Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married. I think you might find it helpful.

Q+A: Am I Still in Love?

Q: Gary, if I am in a dating relationship which has moved out of the “tingly” love stage – how do I know that I am still in love with this person as we transition into the love languages stage?

Gary: When you come down off the high of the in-love experience often we feel like “I’ve lost it. I just don’t have it. It must not be the right person.” So we often break off the relationship rather than speaking each other’s love language. I would suggest reading through my book The 5 Love Languages, discussing the whole concept of love languages. Because that will keep emotional warmth alive in the relationship. It’s not the high of the in love experience, but it is emotional love. Then you can look at all the other aspects of life and ask, are we really compatible? Do we have what it takes to have a life-long relationship? Then you can make a wise decision, really a better decision, now that you’ve come down off that high.

Q+A: Sexual Temptation During Engagement

Q: Gary, do you have any suggestions for dealing with sexual attraction and temptation during our engagement?

Gary: All of us are sexually motivated and in a dating relationship we’re dating because we have an attraction to each other. The sexual part of life is just that, a part of life, so it’s very natural that you would have a sexual attraction. I just think the key is setting boundaries. You decide on the things you feel like are going beyond the realm of where you should go in this juncture of your relationship. And you talk about these boundaries and set them with each other and you don’t press the other person to go beyond these boundaries. That is the safest way, I believe, to keep the relationship focused on other aspects of development so that you can make a wise decision about whether this relationship will lead to marriage.

Q+A: Is He the One?

Q: Gary, how do I know He is the one? Friends have their opinion & so does family….but How do I decide for myself if this is the person for me? The pressure is there of not choosing someone outside of the will of God but how does one really accomplish that?

Gary: “How do I know if this is the one?” Isn’t that the question that everyone asks when they’re single? How am I going to know if this is really the person? I would say you need to listen to your friends and listen to your parents because they see things that you don’t see. Don’t discount what they’re saying to you. Sometimes we fall in love and we overlook a lot of red flags that are waving because of our feelings, but our parents and others are sometimes able to see things we don’t. Listen to what they’re saying, ask questions, and read my book Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married. It’ll help you make that decision.

Getting Good at Love

After five years of marriage, the question remains as essential and poignant as the night years ago in the car: Am I loving well? Although the answer stings at times, it is a trustworthy means of clearing the debris from the path to intimacy.

 

Continue reading article by Sarah Siders >>

Appropriate Age Difference in Marriage

Q: Gary, what are appropriate age differences in marriage?

Gary: It all depends on if you’re thinking of a 16-year-old marrying a 30-year-old, or whether you’re talking about a 30-year-old marrying a 50-year-old. The question is much more important in the early years of life. The differences between people are colossal in those years. After 30, 35, 40, the differences are not as important or prevalent. So, while I don’t think there’s any arbitrary answer to this question, I would say that I think you set yourself up for problems if you’re 16 and marrying someone whose 30.

Q&A: Can I Trust an Unreliable Spouse?

Q: Gary, my fiancé is a bit undependable (paying bills, chores, being on time, etc.). How can I Trust him with bigger things if he doesn’t take care of the small things?

Gary: Excellent question, and a question that should always be asked and answered before you get married, because whatever patterns are there before you get married will follow into the marriage. That’s why these things need to be discussed openly, you need to share your concerns, share your thoughts. If a person can’t grow in these areas before marriage, then they’re not going to grow in them after marriage. So these are the kind of things that need to be settled before you get married.

Q&A: Addapting to Love Languages

Q: Gary, is there a way to change my love language to accommodate my spouse better?

Gary: I don’t think we change our love language, but I think we can come to appreciate the other love languages better. Let’s say your spouse is not a “toucher” and physical touch is your language. They didn’t grow up in a touchy feely family, and therefore, it’s difficult for them to reach out and touch. But if they give you words of affirmation, you can come to realize that they’re speaking love in their way, and you can give them credit for it. I think coming to accept love in any of the languages can begin to fill the love tank, and if you’re positive about their responses to you, rather than negative (“You don’t ever touch me!”) they’re far more likely to come to speak your love language.

 

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: 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.

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