Category: Marriage help

Q+A: Controlling Spouses

Q: Gary, my husband is very stingy with ‘our’ money and doesn’t let me spend anything on my own. I feel like a prisoner!

Gary: My guess is you also feel like a prisoner in other areas of the marriage because what you’re talking about is a controlling personality. In this case, it happens to be money, but when a spouse has a controlling personality they make all the decisions. The other person feels like a prisoner or a child that has to ask for every nickel. I think I would discuss this openly with him, share your feelings with him. If he’s not willing to think with you about it, I would say to him, “I’m going to counseling because I can’t continue to live with this kind of pressure. I would encourage you to come with me.” If he does, wonderful! If not, you go and chances are you will have the support and help of a counselor in how you might take further steps to help him recognize what he’s doing to the relationship.

Becoming the Person Your Spouse Deserves

You don’t have to be perfect to have a good marriage. But, you do need to deal effectively with your failures. Otherwise they sit as barriers to a growing marriage. How do you get rid of past failures? First, you identify them – write them down. Second, you confess them as wrong – to God and to your spouse. Third, you repent – change your behavior. To confess this week, and then repeat the same behavior next week, does not remove barriers. It makes things worse. God is in the business of changing lives. Why not sign up for God’s rehabilitation program. Let Him give you the power to break old habits and replace them with acts of kindness and love. You can become the person, your spouse deserves.

Q+A: Are We Ready For Marriage?

Q: Gary, how long would you recommend dating before considering marriage?

Gary: Typically you don’t continue dating very long unless you have some idea that this might be the person you want to marry. I do think you need to give it significant time, however. I can’t set an arbitrary time, one year two years, I can’t really say that. But I do think you need to give it significant time. What you do in that time is far more important than how long it is. Are you reading a book on marriage that is looking at the different aspects of marriage that you ought to be looking at? Are you being honest with each other about your background? Are you working through the struggles that might be there with your family and extended family? I wrote a book called Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married. I think you might find it helpful.

Q+A: Marriage Preparation

Q: Gary, my fiancé and I are engaged to be married next Spring. What kind of conversations should we be having and what questions should we be asking towards building a strong and godly marriage?

Gary: You know I can give you a short answer that will take you a little while to read, and that is my book, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married. I would encourage you to work through that book. Read through the 12 things that I know now that had I know it then, would have made my marriage much easier. And I think it will help you make a wise decision about getting married.

Dealing with finances, sharing, and conflict. These are just some of the topics of Gary’s book, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married.

10 Fun, Cheap Date Ideas for You and Your Spouse

Christi and I maintain a date night once a week. With little kids, it’s necessary for us to stay connected with one another beyond “business talk” or “kid talk.”

However, like most couples, spending money on a babysitter and the date itself can get pretty expensive over time. That’s why we’re creative in what our date nights often look like.

Need to stick to your monthly budget?

Here are 10 fun, cheap date ideas for you and your spouse this summer:

Continue reading article by Joshua Straub>>

Q&A: Commitment vs. Love

Q: Gary, my husband says he’s in the marriage now more for the commitment that he made rather than love for me. How can I stay married to him if he’s only committed, but not in love with me?

Gary: Many many people are where your husband is, they’re just not ready to admit it. The reality is that all of us come down off the high of the emotional experience of being in love and if we don’t learn how to speak each other’s love languages, then we may be staying there out of commitment. Thank God for commitment! Because that gives us an opportunity to learn how we can advance our marriage. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to read and discuss a book like the 5 Love Languages and then look over the past and see what happened and how you missed each other. Life can be different, I assure you, if you make changes.

An Autumn Check-Up

How about a little Autumn check-up? Has it been a good year for you so far? Some of you would say, “Well financially, it hasn’t been a good year.” Others would say, “When it comes to my health, no, it hasn’t been a good year.” Unfortunately, many would say, “For my marriage, it hasn’t been a good year.” Some things are beyond our control. That’s true in the area of finances, health, and relationships. But always we choose our attitude. Will we curse the darkness or will we light a candle? Will we trust God, or rail out in anger? Why not decide to finish this year trusting God, and asking Him for wisdom in how you can best respond to your present situation. Life with God is always better than traveling alone.

Selfishness is the Problem

Do you have a conflict that you have not been able to solve in your marriage? May I make a suggestion? Why not write out all the possible solutions that you can think of. Ask your spouse to do the same. Then sit down and compare your lists. Perhaps in at least one of the solutions, you both agree. Why not try it and see if it works. Conflicts are going to always arise because of one simple reality. We are human. Humans don’t always have the same thoughts and feelings. Conflicts are not the problem. Selfishness is the problem. When I insist that my way is the only ‘right’ way, I’m condemning my spouse. Condemnation does not lead to a good marriage.

Q&A: Husbands That Don’t Want to Talk

Q: Gary, my new husband doesn’t want to talk and just wants to be with his friends. How do I show him that it’s not too late to start over?

 

Gary: It sounds like he’s withdrawing from the relationship and there must be a reason for that. Either in his efforts to talk he has felt put down by you and consequently doesn’t want to talk. On the other hand, I’m wondering, if he wants spend all of his time with his friends, why did he get married? So I think I would ask him, “Can you help me understand why you don’t want to spend time with me?” There has to be a reason. I don’t know what it is, but something is going on if a newly married husband doesn’t want to spend time with his wife.

Q&A: Is it Possible to be Forgiven?

Q: Gary, my spouse is having a hard time forgiving me after years for hurtful depression from me. Is it possible to be forgiven?

Gary: Forgiveness is always a possibility, but so is resentment. The biblical pattern, though, is always to forgive. When people express to us an apology for a pain they caused us, we must be ready to forgive. That’s the model of God, and that’s to be our model. On the other hand, we can’t demand forgiveness. We can’t make our spouse forgive us. You can say, “Honey, I understand and I see how difficult it may be for you to forgive me with all the pain I’ve caused you through the years, but I hope you do forgive me because I want to have a good life with you in the future.”

Categories