April 3, 2014
Almost all parents love their children, but not all children feel loved. Often the difference lies in the way parents talk to their children. Words of affection, praise, and encouragement communicate “I love you.” They fall like gentle rain on the soul of the child. They nurture the child’s inner sense of worth and security. Conversely, cutting words, spoken out of anger, can hurt a child’s self-esteem and create doubts about his abilities. Children think we deeply believe what we say. The Hebrew proverb did not overstate the reality when it said, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Words are spoken quickly, but are not soon forgotten. A child reaps the benefits of affirming words for a lifetime.
March 25, 2014
Can emotional warmth be reborn in a marriage? I believe the answer is ‘yes,’ and it begins with loving actions. If you simply wait for warm emotions to return, you may wait in vain. But, if you choose loving actions, you set in motion the cycle which stimulates warm emotions. I have seen many troubled marriages restored by loving actions. You may ask, “What kind of loving actions?” That depends on your spouses’ love language. In my book: The 5 Love Languages, I talk about Words of affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. If you want to know the love language of your spouse, listen to his complaints. The complaint reveals what would really make him feel loved. Speak his love language and you touch his heart.
March 20, 2014
The world is filled with love and hate. The wise person says, “I choose the road of love because its potential is far greater than the road of hate.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” I believe he was right. Some will say, “But she doesn’t deserve love.” If we do not choose to love people ‘more than they deserve,’ then few of us will ever express love. Love is a choice we make every day. It is the choice to be reflectors of God. The Bible says, “God is love.” That is His nature. As His children, we become His voice, expressing His love whether people deserve it or not. It is love that draws people to God and to us. Look for an opportunity to express love to someone today.
March 18, 2014
Love is the most powerful weapon for good in the world. However, many husbands and wives think of love as an emotion. In reality, love is an attitude with appropriate behavior. Love is the attitude that says, “I choose to look out for your interests.” Love asks the question, “How may I help you.” Then love is expressed in behavior. The fact that love is action rather than emotion means that I can love my spouse even when I do not have warm feelings toward him or her. If I do or say something that is helpful, my behavior stimulates warm emotions inside my wife. She may not reciprocate immediately, but my loving act has made life better for her. That is what love is all about.
March 11, 2014
She was sitting in my office visibly upset. “I’m sick and tired of his apologies,” she said. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” “That’s all he ever says. That’s supposed to make everything all right. Well, I’m sorry, but when he yells and screams at me and calls me names, that doesn’t make it all right. What I want to know is ‘does he still love me, or does he want out of the marriage? If he loves me then why doesn’t he do something to help me around the house?” In that brief statement she revealed to me that her primary love language is “Acts of service” and her primary apology language is “Making Restitution.” How I wished her husband understood this. Learning your spouse’s love language and apology language could literally save your marriage.
February 20, 2014
We are emotional creatures and one of our deepest emotional needs is the need to feel loved. When we ‘fall in love’ we think we have found the answer. It is heavenly while it lasts. Our mistake is in thinking that it will last forever. It was not meant to last forever. It is only the introduction to the book. The heart of the book is a love that is far more rational, and volitional. This is good news for those who have lost the ‘in love’ obsession, and are back in the real world. Now you can choose daily to do something that will be helpful to your spouse; to give them affirming words and tender touches, to buy them a small gift and to look into their eyes and say, “I love you.” When you do these things, warm feelings return.
February 18, 2014
Some researchers have concluded that what we call ‘falling in love’ is not love at all. This conclusion was reached because of three reasons: (l) Falling in love is not an act of the will or conscious choice. It just happens to you. (2) Falling in love is effortless. We do outlandish things with no effort at all. (3) The ‘in-love’ experience does not encourage us to help the other person grow. We view them as perfect; no need for growth. In the Bible, real love is a choice, requires effort, and seeks the well-being of the other. It may start with euphoric feelings, but when these fall aside, real love will continue. Real love doesn’t walk away when the feelings subside. Real love is the foundation for life-long positive relationships.
February 17, 2014
Q: How can I know that I’m still ‘in love’ after the feeling wears off?
Gary: Typically, we use the phrase ‘in love’ to talk about the euphoric feelings in the early stages of the relationship. Those feelings fade, but emotional love we really don’t call being ‘in love.’ Emotional love can continue throughout the years if we speak our partner’s primary love language. If you only do for him or her what you think will make you feel loved, he or she will likely not feel loved and the warmth of the relationships will die. But if you learn to speak his or her love language, you can keep emotional love alive even after you come down off the ‘in love’ high.
February 13, 2014
The euphoric experience of ‘falling in love’ gives us the illusion that we have an intimate relationship. We feel that we belong to each other. We feel altruistic toward each other. One young man said, “I can’t conceive of doing anything to hurt her. My only desire is to make her happy.” He believes also that she will make him happy. Such thinking is fanciful. Not that we are insincere in what we think and feel, but we are unrealistic. We fail to reckon with the reality of human nature. By nature, we are ego-centric. Once we come down off the ‘in love’ high, we begin to assert ourselves. Without the help of God, marriage will become a battlefield. It’s time to pray; to read; to listen.
February 11, 2014
Falling in love is a euphoric experience. We become emotionally obsessed with each other. We wake up thinking about them. All day long they are on our minds. The person who is in love has the illusion that his beloved is perfect. Her mother can see his flaws, but she can’t. His friends will say, “Have you considered…?” But he hasn’t and he won’t because he is in love. What no one has told us is that this euphoric experience is temporary. We have been led to believe that if we are really ‘in love’ it will last forever. The fact is, it will last for about 2 years. Then you will realize that what your mother said was true. What your friends tried to tell you was real. Why can’t we listen before we leap? Family and friends are God’s gift. Accept the gift.