Category: General

Marriage was Designed for Intimacy

Marriage was designed for intimacy. God’s response to Adam’s loneliness was the creation of Eve, and the institution of marriage. Then God said, the “two shall become one flesh”. At the very heart of marriage is this idea of oneness, or unity. As God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One, so in marriage the husband and wife are to be ‘one’. We thought we were ‘one’ before we got married. We sat
close to each other. We talked freely. We did things for each other. We both felt deeply loved. But now, we have lost our ‘oneness’. We often disagree. We say hurtful things, and may even wonder why we got married. Can intimacy be restored? Yes, and it happens one step at a time.

Do we ONLY need to speak the child’s primary love language?

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.

What do your children request most often?

What do your children request most often? Listen to their requests and you will discover their love language. If your child says, “Does my dress look nice?” Or, “Did I do a good job on my homework?” Their love language is ‘words of affirmation.’ If on the other hand, a child says, “Mommy can I help you set the table?” Or, “Can I help you make the bed?” Then, ‘acts of service’ is likely the child’s love language. Listen to the requests of your child and you will discover what makes them feel loved. Discovering and speaking your child’s love language is the most effective way of keeping the child’s love tank full. A full love tank makes a child more responsive to instruction and correction.

Verbal Abuse

We hear a great deal about physical abuse, but what about verbal abuse. The scriptures say that “life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Verbal abuse destroys respect, trust, admiration, and intimacy – all key ingredients of a healthy marriage. All of us sometimes say harsh cutting words that we later regret. But, if we are mature, we will express sorrow and ask forgiveness.

The verbal abuser, on the other hand, seldom asks for forgiveness. Typically, the abuser will blame the spouse for stimulating the abuse. “She got what she deserved” is the attitude of the abuser. And don’t think it is always men who abuse. Male or female, verbal abuse must not be accepted as appropriate behavior.

When Your Marriage Seems Hopeless

Does your marriage seem hopeless? Does Your relationship feel desperate? As a marriage counselor, I find many individuals who have given up on their marriage.

I’m empathetic with their hopelessness. I know that when you do everything you can to stimulate change and nothing changes, it’s easy to lose hope. However, we can, and do change every day: for better or for worse. It’s true, we cannot make our spouse change, but we can influence our spouse. When we lose hope, our influence is negative—we become a part of the problem, rather than a part of the solution. When we refuse to ‘give up’ we become a positive influence, and that positive influence has the strong potential for changing the emotional climate in your marriage.

Fostering Your Married Children’s Independence

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.

Taking Advice From 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.

Honoring Your Father And Mother

“Honor your father and your mother” is one of the ten commandments. It is not rescinded when we get married. We are told to ‘leave’ our parents, but that does not mean that we stop honoring them. Our parents gave us life. We are deeply indebted to them. Even if they were not the best of parents, we would not be here without them.

One way we honor parents is by keeping in touch: by phone, visits, or e-mails. Letting them know that we still love them and want them to be a part of our lives. Failure to communicate with parents is saying in effect, “I no longer care.” Honor means that we speak with kindness and respect. We look for things we can do for them, remembering what they have done for us.

Leaving Means We Are Building On A Foundation

The scriptures say that when we get married we are to ‘leave’ our parents and ‘cleave’ to each other. What does this leaving and cleaving look like in daily life?

It means that we no longer ‘lean’ on our parents, but on each other. It means that we do not allow parents to dominate our lives. We show them respect by listening to their ideas or suggestions, but we make our own decisions. We do not run to them with a list of our spouse’s failures. Parents are not in the best position to be our counselor.

Leaving means that we seek to be financially independent from
our parents as soon as possible. We are grateful for their contribution to our lives, but now we want to make our own way. Leaving means that we build upon the foundation which they have given us.

Leaving AND Honoring Parents Are Biblical Commands

For better and sometimes for worse, our parents and in-laws are a part of our lives. God designed it that way. We are told to honor our parents so that life will go well for us. We are also instructed to leave our parents when we get married.

This ‘leaving’ means a change of allegiance. We must see ourselves as a new unit after marriage. The husband is committed to his wife and she to him. However, ‘leaving’ does not mean that we abandon our parents. Rather, we are to honor them. The word honor means to show respect. It means treating parents with kindness and dignity. Leaving parents and honoring parents are both biblical commands.

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