September 5, 2014
Q: I have jealousy issues toward my wife. We are newly married, but I struggle with her having other guy friends. How can I deal with this?
Gary: Some jealousy is normal, particularly in the early years of marriage. We cannot, however, smother our spouse and not let them have friends. If it’s simply friendships with simple conversations, then no problem. But if indeed she has hidden (or not so hidden) feelings for these friends and there are some romantic elements involved, that’s not permissible in a healthy marriage. Be honest with her about your feelings. She in turn needs to be honest with you about the nature of these relationships. Marriage is designed to be exclusive and this conversation will help set that standard.
August 20, 2014
Let’s be honest, many of us have never learned to handle anger positively. Our responses to anger in the past have always made things worse. Some people deny that they have an anger problem. Margaret was a screamer. She prided herself in “speaking her mind”. She justified her tirades until the day her daughter left her the following note. “Dear Mom, I won’t be home tonight. I can’t take your screaming anymore. I don’t know what will happen to me, but at least I won’t have to hear all the nasty things you say to me when I don’t do everything you want.” Margaret read the note, cried, and called her pastor, who in turn helped her find a Christian counselor. Don’t wait until you get a note – reach out for help.
August 12, 2014
Saving money is good stewardship. One way to save money is to spend less. One way to spend less is to do “seasonal shopping” This is especially helpful when buying clothing. Shop at the end of the season sales. I don’t mean the first day of the sale. I mean after the items have been reduced two or three times. My wife recently came home with a $399 outfit that she purchased for $59.00. I love that kind of shopping. When it comes to food and household items, don’t forget
“discount shopping.” In most towns there are good stores that sell cheaper than others. Why not buy your groceries there? Their bananas come off the same boat as the bananas at the more expensive store. And by using manufacturer’s coupons, you can save even more.
May 9, 2014
Q: My friends are telling me that I need to take a break from my spouse to refresh our love for each other. Is this healthy?
Gary: We all need time alone, but marriage consists of more than refreshing ourselves; it has to do with building intimacy between the two of you. Separation may give you some temporary relief from arguing, if that is happening, but you don’t win the battle by retreating. You win by staying on the battlefield and finding ways to solve the problems that are destroying your marriage. So, I cannot recommend separation as a means for enriching your marriage. That comes when the two of you engage with each other in a deep and meaningful way.
April 18, 2014
Q: I’ve verbally abused my wife for years but I want to change. How can I show her?
Gary: Verbal abuse strikes at the heart of the person abused. Even if you confess this, recognize that it is wrong, and stop speaking harsh words, it will take time for your spouse to realize that you are sincere. How can you regain her trust and belief in you? I would say by your behavior. If you turn the harsh critical words into loving caring words, you will demonstrate that you have radically changed. If you will also learn her primary love language and speak it to her on a regular basis, chances are that overtime she’ll begin to see that you sincerely and honestly love her.
March 28, 2014
Q: My husband and I are in counseling because of an affair he had in the past. Is it still right to be intimate with him during this process?
Gary: When a spouse has been unfaithful to you, it takes time to work through the pain of betrayal. Your husband must understand this. There has to a measure of healing before sex can be a part of the relationship again. However, when you come to the place where you can be intimate without feeling used, it is a positive part of the healing process. All healthy marriages have a sexual aspect.
March 27, 2014
The first step in improving a difficult marriage is learning to speak the love language of your spouse. I know you would like for your spouse to apologize for all the hurt they have caused. But you can’t wait for an apology to start loving. Jesus taught us to return good for evil. It’s important how you express love. If your husband’s love language is Words of Affirmation, then nothing is more important than looking for things he is doing right and express appreciation. On the other hand, if gifts is your wife’s love language then Words of Affirmation will seem empty. She may respond, “Cut the words. Where are the gifts?” Speak the right love language and you create a positive atmosphere where you can then deal realistically with your past failures. Give love a chance.
February 28, 2014
Q: My husband has a very bad temper. What things can I do to help with this?
Gary: Mismanaged anger causes problems in many marriages, and also children’s relationships with parents. Most of us do not know how to handle anger in a positive way. I wrote a book a few years ago called Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way. I suggest you get it for your husband. He may not go for counseling, but he may read a book. The two of you could discuss each chapter and talk (in a non-accusatory way) about how he could improve in this area. This could greatly assist him in processing his anger healthily.
January 28, 2014
One of my books is titled Desperate Marriages. What is a desperate marriage? It is a marriage in which one or both of the individuals is involved in an activity that is extremely detrimental to the relationship: alcohol or drug abuse, verbal or physical abuse. Today I want to talk about the controlling spouse. These are the people that seek to dominate the relationship. This type of spouse is not mean-spirited, but he or she determined. In his or her mind, what is best is obvious. His or her attitude is, “Any sane person would agree with me.” Eventually, the other spouse feels like a child and feels no value in ideas of his or her own. If this sounds like your marriage, Desperate Marriages is for you.
January 21, 2014
We live in a society that is saturated with sex. Why do so many couples struggle in this area of their marriage? One reasons is that we fail to communicate; your wife will never know your feelings, needs, and desires unless you express them. Your husband will never know what pleases you unless you communicate. I’ve never known a couple who’s gained sexual oneness without candid communication about sexual matters. Make a list containing suggestions for your spouse to make sex better. If you would like to read a list made by other husbands and wives, see my book The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. Communication is the road to finding mutual sexual fulfillment in marriage.