November 11, 2016
Q: Gary, after 15 years of marriage, we are contemplating separation. We have had many battles over the years, one being depression. Walls have been built and the fear is that I can’t break the wall again. I feel I’m done. Is there hope? Is separation just prolonging the inevitable?
Gary: I believe that there is always hope, even when you have lost hope. And I understand how you can get there, because I have been there myself. There are two books I would recommend to you: One is called Desperate Marriages. It specifically deals with the whole depression issue and living with someone who is depressed over a long period of time. The other one is called One More Try: What to do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. I believe either or both of these books will help you as you struggle to know what to do next.
November 10, 2016
Do you have a plan for handling anger in your marriage? Let’s begin by admitting that all of us experience anger. Your spouse treats you unfairly, or they fail to do something that you expected them to do, so you feel angry. In a healthy marriage, the couple has an agreement: that when you feel angry, I want you to tell me. I can’t help you with your anger until I know what you are angry about. And yet, this is a new idea for many people. One wife said, “You mean I’m supposed to tell my husband that I am angry that he washed his car and did not wash mine.” “That’s right,” I said, “unless you want to have a dirty car the rest of your life.” Sharing your anger is the only way to process your anger in a positive way.
November 9, 2016
Bigger is better, right?
Doesn’t that often seem like the motto in America? We are always thinking about the next bigger or better thing we “need” to buy.
When I find myself always wanting more in any aspect of life, I stop enjoying the blessings that currently surround me. My heart turns from a thankful heart to a never satisfied heart.
Continue reading article by Rachel Bohanan >>
November 8, 2016
I don’t ever remember getting angry until I got married. Maybe I have a faulty memory, but one thing is certain: six months after the wedding, I found myself angry with my wife. Why? Because she did not live up to my expectations. Incidentally, she was angry with me for the same reason. In those days, if you had asked me, “Are you angry?” I would have said, “No, I’m just disappointed. I’m hurt.” I had been taught all my life that anger was sinful. I didn’t want to sin, so I gave my anger a different name. The first step in learning to process anger is to admit: “I’m feeling angry.” You can’t deal with it, until you are honest enough to admit that you have it.
November 4, 2016
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.
November 3, 2016
So, your spouse has failed you. But now, they have confessed their wrong and are seeking to change their behavior. What are you to do? In the Scriptures, forgiveness is always the Christian response to confession and repentance. Remember, forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision to lift the penalty and declare the person pardoned. Forgiveness means that you will no longer hold that failure against your spouse. Human forgiveness is based on God’s forgiveness. Christ paid the penalty for our sins. When we confess and repent, God forgives us. The same principle applies in human relationships. There are no healthy marriages without confession, repentance, and forgiveness.
November 1, 2016
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.
October 31, 2016
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.
October 28, 2016
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.
October 27, 2016
Would you like to put the past behind you and start over? I’m talking about in your marriage. Many couples have so much pain from past failures that they have a hard time moving ahead. Time alone, will not heal hurts. Healing comes when we are willing to confess our failures and change our behavior. Some of us would like to leave out the confession part and just focus on being different in the future. However, confession is essential to the healing process. Even God requires confession before He forgives. I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Confession means that we admit to our spouse that what we did is wrong. We accept responsibility for our failure and request forgiveness.