February 22, 2013
Q: My husband is a very “social” person and seems to flirt with other women. It’s driving me crazy and I don’t know how to deal with it.
A: If there are certain things that your husband is doing that causes you discomfort, I think those need to be shared with him (not in a condemning way). That is, you’re saying to him, “I know this is probably not what you have in mind or your intention, but this is how I feel when you do this…” Rather than just saying that he flirts with other women, be specific about what it is that stimulates feelings of discomfort inside of you. You have to reveal your own emotions so that he comes to understand how his behavior is affecting you. You can’t make him stop but if he understands how deeply it’s hurting you, he may likely be motivated to stop.
February 15, 2013
Q: We have friends who got married years ago because of an unplanned pregnancy. After 20 years they are now talking about divorcing. Is there still hope for them?
A: I don’t think it has to do with the fact that they got married because she was pregnancy. I think it has to do with the fact that they have not developed their relationship over these 20 years. Yes there’s hope for them. If they’re willing to read a book, go to a marriage conference, or go to a marriage counselor, they can rebuild their marriage. Any marriage can be enhanced and there are certain fundamental things that we can do that will enhance the marriage relationship. I would encourage this couple to take constructive action. Their can be renewing of their relationship.
February 5, 2013
One mother said, “Our son needs our help. He is not capable of making it on his own. But my husband wants to kick him out. I just can’t do that.” Both the mother and the father want what is best for the child. They just happen to disagree on what is best. Both of their thoughts are legitimate. The child probably does need help, but the child also needs to be moving toward independence. Therefore, whatever help you give should lead to greater independence. Support a child financially as long as he/she is getting training for a better job.
January 21, 2013
Q: How does the Love Language concept work in a relationship where the spouse has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and depression?
A: Whatever our mental state, depression or otherwise, we need to feel loved. It’s one of the most fundamental needs that we have. And I think, because of that, the love languages apply fully as well when your spouse is bi-polar, suffering from depression or some other difficult mental struggle. We can’t think of the love languages as something that’s going to cause all mental struggles to disappear. But I would say, don’t give up on loving the person in their love language even though they don’t seem to be responding to that. Let the doctor and counselor deal with the depression and bi-polar situation but you continue to love in their love language.
January 3, 2013
Winter, Fall, Spring, and Summer: which best describes your marriage? Over the years, I’ve spent time in all four seasons. But I personally prefer Spring and Summer. I like it when my marriage is filled with hope, excitement, peace, and we both feel connected. How do you create that kind of marriage? When I wrote my book: The Four Seasons of Marriage, I discovered seven strategies for spending more time in Spring and Summer. One of those strategies is choosing a winning attitude. As long as you say, “There’s no hope. It’s gone on too long.” You stay locked into a winter marriage. When you look for the positive, and put your hand in the hand of God, Winter can melt into Spring.
December 24, 2012
Q: How can I communicate my love language of acts of service to my husband when he is overseas for long periods of time?
A: Here’s what I suggest, if your husband’s love language is acts of service and he is overseas and, consequently you can’t do acts of service for him physically, then in your emails or phone calls to him you say, “I just want to let you know, I’ve been loving you today. I took the garbage out, mowed the grass, mopped the floor…” Tell him the things you do for him that he appreciates, that when you do those things you’re thinking about him and about how much you love him. He’ll get it and emotionally he will feel your love.
December 21, 2012
Q: Every year my wife and I butt heads on whose family we’d prefer to be with. If we can’t visit both, how do we resolve this?
A: Well, you’re talking about a common holiday problem in the early years of marriage. But it sounds like you haven’t gotten it solved yet even though you’ve been married for a few years. Here’s my suggestion: decide that one year you ‘ll go to her parent’s for Thanksgiving and your parent’s for Christmas and then next year you’ll switch it. That can be a final solutions. Parents will live with that and you can learn to learn to live with it. We don’t have to be at both parents’ homes every Christmas but I think if we’re fair about it and we do it on an equal basis, you’ll find your in-laws will accept it and the two of you can accept it.
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.
November 26, 2012
Q: I left my husband 2 years ago, but still love him. Is it too late to repair the relationship?
A: In my opinion, it is never to late to seek to restore a relationship as long as the other person has not remarried. So, if he is unattached it’s not too late. I would suggest that you make contact with him, maybe invite him to dinner. If he comes at least there’s an opportunity to sit down and talk. Share your heart, share your desires and ask him if he thinks there is a possibility. If so, then begin a dating relationship: go to movies, take walks, do anything that the two of you enjoy doing together. Bit by bit, begin to surface the things that led to your separation and talk about how you might do those differently if you got back together. It’s a process but I think reconciliation is always possible.
November 20, 2012
Over the years, I have counseled many couples who were contemplating divorce. The one scripture that always comes to my mind is Gal. 6:7. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” God gives us real freedom, but we are never free from the seeds we plant. The pain and brokenness of divorce follows us and our children for a lifetime. When the Bible says that “God hates divorce,” it’s because He knows the pain that divorce causes. I know that you cannot make your spouse reconcile. But you can reach out for help. Call a pastor, a counselor, a friend or read a book. Discover your options and don’t forget that God is the God of miracles.