Category: Family

Q&A: What does it mean for a husband to be a spiritual leader?

A: I sometimes ask the wife, “Does he work? Bring home money? Pay the bills?” That’s a huge part of being a spiritual leader because God said the husband is to provide for the family. But most of the time they are thinking such things as reading devotional material together with her and the children, initiating prayer at the table, helping and being excited about going to church with the family.

Those things are what most wives have in mind when they talk about their husbands being a spiritual leader. So, I would say, ask yourself, “Which of these am I doing and doing well and where do I need to make improvements?” One step at a time. We become spiritual leaders when we do things that turn our family toward God.

Q&A: Why doesn't my husband like that I go out with friends?

Q: I love going out with my friends on weekends for a break from the kids but my husband doesn’t like it. What do you think?

A: The question is: why doesn’t he like it? My guess is he may not feel secure in your love. He may feel like you’re drawing your emotional support from your friends rather than him—that you’re neglecting him because you’d rather be with your friends than with him. Whenever a person, male or female, resists what their spouse is doing, it’s often because their own emotional needs are not being met. I suggest you make sure you know your husband’s love language and give him heavy doses of that love language. When he feels secure in your love, he can give you the freedom to have an evening with your friends.

 

Q&A: My wife’s father died suddenly last year. How can I comfort her?

A: I’m glad to see that as a husband, you have a desire to comfort your wife and not just ignore the fact that she has lost her father. Ask her questions about her father. It is in talking about the person who has died that we work for our grief. Typically it takes about two years to work through the death of a close relative. So be patient with her, ask her questions, listen carefully when she talks, let her know you understand when she cries, give her hugs and affirm her. Don’t tell her, “you’ve got to snap out of this and get over this.” Give her time.

Speak All Five Love Languages to Your Child

Some parents have asked me, “Do we only need to speak the child’s primary love language or do we need to speak all five?”

My answer is that the children who fare best in life are the children who learn to give and receive love in all five love languages.  First, make sure you are speaking the child’s primary love language regularly. Then speak the other four.

What are the five love languages?: words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time and physical touch. Most of us did not grow up in homes where we learned all five languages of love. Our parents were sincere but may not have spoken our love language at all. As adults, we have the opportunity to learn how to give and receive love in all five languages. This will greatly enhance our parenting.

Q&A: I feel guilty for not having patience with my in-laws. Can you help?

Q: Gary, my husband’s parents live close to us…too close in my opinion. They are involved with my family almost every day. I feel guilty for not having more patience! Can you help?

A: The Scriptures say we are to leave our parents and cleave to our spouse. The two of you might want to work through a little book I wrote called In-Law Relationships. It deals with how to be friends with your in-laws. That involves having conversations with them, understanding their history and background, as well as making specific requests of them, such as, “If you’re going to come over, call before you come because we might be in a situation that it won’t be convenient.” So, I think if we’re open and learn how to talk, we can have good relationships with our in-laws.

 

Is Verbal Abuse a Problem in Your Family?

Here’s a reality that may help you. Behind every verbally abusive tongue is a person of value. If you believe this, then you can say to the abuser. “I’ve been thinking about us. I’ve been remembering how kind you were to me when we were dating. I remember the kind words, the smiling face and the fun we had in those days.

I guess that’s why I believe in you so strongly. I know the good qualities you have inside. Sometimes, I lose that vision when you scream at me, but I know the kind of man you are and I believe in that man. I know that with God’s help and your desire that man can live again.” Such a statement does not solve the problem, but it does plant a seed.

Q&A: I feel guilty for not having patience with my in-laws. Can you help?

Q: Gary, my husband’s parents live close to us…too close in my opinion. They are involved with my family almost every day. I feel guilty for not having more patience! Can you help?

A: The Scriptures say we are to leave our parents and cleave to our spouse. The two of you might want to work through a little book I wrote called In-Law Relationships. It deals with how to be friends with your in-laws. That involves having conversations with them, understanding their history and background, as well as making specific requests of them, such as, “If you’re going to come over, call before you come because we might be in a situation that it won’t be convenient.” So, I think if we’re open and learn how to talk, we can have good relationships with our in-laws.

 

Honoring Your In-Laws

If your father-in-law gave you a really good suggestion that would save you much time and make your life much easier, would you accept it? Or would you reject it simply because it came from your father-in-law? If you follow the biblical example of Moses, you would accept it. Let’s face it, your parents and in-laws are older than you. It’s possible that with increased age they have increased wisdom.

Why not take advantage of their wisdom? I don’t mean that you must always do what they advise, but why not give them a good hearing and then consider the merits of their idea. If it looks good to you and your spouse then go with it remembering that it is your decision.

When Your Children Get Married

Do you have children who are getting married? The scriptures say that they are to ‘leave’ you and ‘cleave’ to each other. What are the implications of that for you? You must make it easy for them to leave. Don’t demand that they call you daily and keep you informed. Give them time and space to start their own lives.

If you want to give advice, wait until they ask for it? Or, at least, ask if they would like your opinion. If you want to give them money, ask if it would be helpful. And don’t give your money in such a way that they become dependent upon you. Let them know that you love them and are willing to help but want only what is best for them. You make it easy for them to honor you when you foster their independence.

Q&A: I’ve observed that Christian parents aren’t reinforcing the truth that women ought to dress modestly. Do you have an opinion?

Well I must confess that I sometimes have the same feeling when I simply walk around in public places and see young ladies or teenagers dressed in ways that are very provocative. I want to take this question as an opportunity to say to parents: Please understand the difference between males and females. Men are sexually attracted by sight and the way a woman dresses draws the attention of a man toward her or he simply sees her and respects her as a woman. How she dresses makes a huge difference in how he responds. So I hope parents will hear what we’re saying and will take this seriously and have honest conversations with their young daughters about this.

 

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