March 21, 2013
A common question I hear in my office is this: “I want to honor my parents, but they are constantly trying to give us advice. How do I let them know that we need to make our own decisions?” Three things are important when you are dealing with parents who give advice too freely. First, you must understand that their intentions are good. Second, there is a good chance that your parents have more wisdom than you. Third, it is true that your parents should not control your life after you are married. So, I have four suggestions: (1) ask for your parent’s advice before they give it. (2) Give consideration to what they say. (3) Pray for God’s wisdom. (4) Make the decision that you and your spouse think is best. This is honoring parents, but not being controlled by them.
March 8, 2013
Q: My fiancé has struggled with homosexuality in the past but says God has changed him. I’m still nervous about marrying him. Can you help?
A: There are certain individuals who have same sex attraction. Does God have the power to change that? I believe He does and there are many who give testimony to the reality of that. But there are others who have not experienced that change and still have the same desire. I would encourage both of you to get counseling and to work through the dynamics as to where he has been in the past and to what the future can look like for the two of you. I wouldn’t go into marriage without first getting counseling.
February 28, 2013
In my book, Love as A Way of Life, I talk about the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice to lift the penalty and let the offender back into your life. Their actions or words hurt you deeply, but they apologized and you extended mercy instead of demanding justice. That is exactly what God has done for us. The justice of God was settled on the cross. He can forgive us and still be just because the penalty has been paid by Christ. We can forgive others for the same reason. Forgiveness does not remove all of the hurt, but it does open the door to the possibility of reconciliation. Forgiveness removes the barrier and allows you to even return good for evil. This is love as a way of life.
February 26, 2013
The Bible views marriage as a covenant. However, covenant marriages are not perfect marriages. Perfection is reserved for God. There are no perfect husbands. There are no perfect wives. When we join in covenant marriage, we agree to love each other. That is, look out for each others interests. But we also agree to hold one another accountable to our covenant. Lovingly confronting your spouse when they hurt you is a part of our covenant. Confession on the part of the one who has sinned, and forgiveness on the part of the one offended, are both necessary in a covenant marriage. Forgiveness is a willingness to lift the penalty and continue a loving growing, relationship. Covenant marriages require confronting and forgiving.
January 10, 2013
If your spouse sins against you, it’s time to get angry! Even God gets angry when people sin. He reaches out in love to convict, discipline, and correct. Should we do less? God’s purpose for anger is that it motivates us to lovingly confront. We dare not sit idly by and make no effort to help our spouse turn from sin. When I say ‘lovingly confront,’ I’m not talking about yelling and screaming at your spouse. I’m suggesting you say something like this: “I’m deeply hurt by your behavior. I’m concerned about you and about us. Please, can we talk about this?” If they are unwilling to talk; you pray and try again. Love does not accept sinful behavior.
December 28, 2012
Q: I’m having a hard time separating from thoughts and feelings from past relationships. I’m dating seriously now and want to be able to focus solely on her.
A: This a common problem. Everything we’ve experienced in the past is recorded in our brain. And when we’ve had intimate relationships in the past, sometimes even involving sexual activity, all those memories are still in the mind and they come back from time to time.
So, what I suggest is this: you take those things to God and say, “Lord you know what I’m remembering and you know how troubling it is to me. Would you let the blood of Christ flow over those past memories so that they are not so sharp in my mind, so that they become dull in my mind, and I can focus on the relationship that I”m in now.”
There has to be healing in those memories before we can go forward.
December 20, 2012
I know of no spiritual discipline more important than a daily quiet time with God—reading the scriptures with an open heart to hear the voice of God and responding with my questions, my praise, my thanks, and my requests. As a marriage counselor, I know of no marital discipline more important than a daily sharing time with your spouse—sharing the highs and lows of your day; your victories and your struggles; thanking each other and making requests. A time to listen and talk with God; and a time to listen and talk with your spouse—what could be more important? God is always ready, and your spouse may be, if you ask.
December 18, 2012
Do you have a daily quiet time with God? How about a daily quite time with your spouse? Most of us believe that a daily quiet time with God keeps our relationship with God vital and genuine. I believe the same is true in the marital relationship. Couples who have an intimate marriage are those who stay connected. A daily sharing time with your spouse is an easy way to make that connection. So, what do you talk about in this ‘daily sharing time?” Here’s my suggestion: tell each other three things that happened in your life today and how you feel about them. If three seems overwhelming, then start with two or one, but set a time to share. Life is lived one day at a time and must be shared the same way.
December 11, 2012
In the early years of my marriage, I didn’t know much about serving. I knew what I expected of my wife and I was disappointed when she did not live up to my expectations. I’m sure she must have been just as frustrated with me, because I know that I did not meet her expectations. Sadly, we had approached our marriage with a non-biblical attitude. When I finally learned that love and service is the hallmark of a Christian husband, it did not take my wife long to change her attitude toward me. Once we learned to serve each other the emotional climate of our marriage changed dramatically. Having the attitude of Christ is the key to a successful marriage. He came to serve.
December 4, 2012
We hear a lot about dysfunctional families, but what about functional families? What does a healthy family look like? The most fundamental sign of a healthy family is an attitude of service. The husband serves the wife and she serves him. Together they serve the children and children learn to serve parents. Does that sound like your family? You don’t have to possess warm feelings for your husband in order to serve him, but you do need an intimate relationship with God. God does not want you to serve out of duty, but out of a heart that has been touched by His love. Through you, God’s love flows to bless your family. It all begins with a prayer, “Father, give me the attitude of Christ toward my family.”