November 7, 2013
How is it that some couples have four children and are able to maintain a growing marriage; while others have one child and don’t have time for each other? Often the difference is in how we manage our lives. Would you like to take a walk with your spouse after dinner? Then make it happen. Discuss it with each other and come up with a plan. What else would you like to do to keep your marriage alive? Make a list and one by one make time, money, and energy to make the dream a reality. The process itself is exciting. The two of you are a team and working together you can have a growing marriage and be good parents. Your children deserve both. And that is also God’s design for the two of you.
November 5, 2013
If God ordained marriage and if God ordained parenting, do you think we have time to do both? The obvious answer is yes. But why do couples complain, “Since the children came, we don’t have time for sex. We had to stop our date nights. We’re too tired to watch a movie. It seems we just don’t have time to do anything together.” The problem is not time, but how we schedule our time. Some couples schedule time to enhance their marriage while others focus on meeting the needs of the children and hope that some day they will find time for each other. Unfortunately for some that time never comes. What could you do this week to enhance your marriage? Why not put it on your schedule?
November 4, 2013
Q: How can I encourage my boyfriend to speak my love language, which is words of affirmation?
Gary Chapman: You can’t make someone speak your love language, but you can influence them. The most powerful way to do so is to speak their love language. If you speak his love language on a regular basis, then you can say to him, “You know what would really make me happy?” and tell him something in step with your love language. Because he’s feeling your love, there’s a good chance he will speak your love language. There’s something deep inside of him that wants to be nice to you. Then when you make a request or share an idea that would make you happy he’s very likely to do it. We can’t control people and we can’t make them speak our language, but we can influence them and the greatest influence is loving them in the right love language.
October 31, 2013
Which is the greater priority: marriage or parenting? That’s like asking whether water or food should be the priority for the human body. The truth is, they are both priorities. Parents who do not seek to be good parents are delinquent in their responsibilities. One the other hand, couples who do not give priority to their marriage are also delinquent.
A couple who neglects their children in pursuit of their own happiness will live to regret their decision. And, a couple who neglects their marriage while focusing all their energy on their children will also live to regret their choice. Your children desperately need a model of what a healthy marriage looks like. If your children do not learn relational skills they will enter marriage with a huge handicap.
October 29, 2013
How do we keep our marriage alive now that the children have arrived? Children are a blessing from God, but children can also bring on marital neglect. When a couple neglects their own love relationship, they do so to the detriment of the children. Perhaps it is time for you to pause long enough to assess the quality of your marriage. If you see yourselves drifting apart, it’s time to make a course correction. Look each other in the eyes and say, “our marriage is important not only for us, but for our children. Therefore, together, with God’s help, we will find a way to rediscover each other.” If marriage is important, then we must make time to cultivate our relationship. It is time well invested.
October 25, 2013
Q: I’ve been dating for two and a half years and no longer feel the tingles of being ‘in love’, though I am committed. Is this normal?
Gary Chapman: We have discovered that the average life span of the ‘in love’ euphoria is two years, so if you’ve been dating for two and half years it’s not abnormal that you have come down off that high. The important thing is that you learn to speak each other’s love language so that you keep emotional warmth in the marriage. If you had not come down off the high while you were still dating, you would come down off the high after you get married; everyone does. So really you have an asset here. You have a chance to learn how to love each other, keep emotional warmth in the marriage, and process life in a rational way, seeking God’s guidance. I think you’re at a good place in your relationship.
October 24, 2013
There comes a time in most marriages when two become three. Sometimes, two become four, five, or six. Let’s freely admit that when children arrive, they greatly affect the marital relationship. One young husband said, “I’ve lost my wife.” “What do you mean by that?” I inquired. “I’ve lost my wife to the baby. Her life is focused on the baby; my life is focused on the baby. It’s like the two of us do not exist anymore.” Can a marriage survive children? You bet, but only if you make marriage a priority. Notice I say ‘a’ priority. Both marriage and parenting are priorities. There is time and energy to do both. However, to sacrifice the marriage is not good parenting.
October 22, 2013
“Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together” Psalm 34:3. One young man used this verse to propose marriage to his girlfriend. I like that. From a biblical perspective, the purpose of life is not to accomplish our own objectives. The purpose of life is to know God and to bring glory and honor to His name. For most people, marriage enhances the possibility of achieving this objective. Yet, in the pressure of daily life we often get more concerned about paying the bills, mowing the grass, and getting clothes for the children than we do about bringing glory to God. However, these very things, if done “as unto the Lord” do honor God. As you serve your family, you are serving God.
October 11, 2013
Q: How can I help my fiancé discover his Love Language?
Gary Chapman: Well, I think you can probably discover his language if you do three things. First, observe his behavior: How does he typically respond to other people? If he’s giving them verbal Words of Affirmation, that’s probably his language because we speak our own language. Secondly, what does he complain about? Because the complaint reveals his love language. If he says to you, “We’re not spending enough time together,” he’s telling you that Quality Time is his language. And then thirdly, what does he request most often? If he often says to you, “Could you give me a back rub?” he’s telling you that Physical Touch is his language. So you can discover his language and then communicate it to him.
October 10, 2013
In spite of the widespread acceptance of divorce, a recent poll of never-married singles, ages 20-30 found that 87% planned to marry only once. Many of these young adults have seen their parents divorce and that is not what they want for themselves. However, most of them have had no training on how to have a life-long marriage. I believe that one of the best things churches can do for the next generation is to teach relationship skills to young adults before they get married. Romantic love alone is not enough. They must learn how to express love, how to resolve conflicts, how to share hurts in a non-condemning way, and how to apologize when they fail. Who is better equipped to teach these skills than the Christian church?