Category: Marriage

Hope for Your Marriage

Bob and Janice have been separated for three months. The only contact they have had is when they met briefly with a lawyer to discuss the terms of legal separation. Is there hope for their marriage? Not until someone seeks to penetrate the silence. But let me remind you that one person can break the silence. It takes both to communicate, but only one to initiate the process.

Have you been standing off, refusing to give in and call, waiting for your spouse to make the first move? Jesus said, that if your brother sins, you are to confront him in private and seek to be reconciled. You can’t make him reconcile, but you can seek reconciliation. If your spouse refuses, you have lost nothing. It is worth the effort.

Q&A: A husband trying to come together with his wife on choosing a church.

Q: Gary, my wife and I attend separate churches because of our differing opinions of what a “good” church is. It feels awkward sometime, but I just don’t know how to come together on this.

Gary: I have known couples that have gone to separate churches for over thirty years. I don’t, however, think it is the healthiest thing. Sometimes, one individual is so “married” to a particular church that they are unwilling to budge at all and this becomes inevitable.

It’s much healthier for your marriage to find a place you can go together. My suggestion is to challenge your spouse to visit another church with you, at least once every month or two—not her church, not your church. By doing this you open the possibility of finding a church you both feel good about.

Deadlock vs Wedlock

Most counselors agree that one of the greatest problems in marriage is decision making. Visions of democracy dance in the minds of many young couples, but when there are only two voting members, democracy often results in deadlock.

How does a couple move beyond deadlock? The answer is found in one word—love. Love always asks the question, “What is best for you?” Love does not demand it’s own way. Love seeks to bring pleasure to the one loved. We are called to be lovers. When I love my wife, I will not seek to force my will upon her for selfish purposes.

Q&A: A wife struggling to recover from her husband’s emotional affair

Q: Gary, I discovered emails between my husband and someone from his past. They have been in touch throughout our marriage. He met her for dinner on a business trip out of town 5 years ago. He ended the contact; we did counseling. But, I’m still angry and so hurt.

Gary Chapman: It’s understandable that one would be hurt and experience the emotion of anger when a spouse has stepped out of line. What is fortunate is that, in this case, your spouse ended that relationship, the two of you went for counseling, and, I’m assuming, you processed that rather thoroughly.

I would suggest that even though the hurt and the anger may come back you take these emotions to God. Say, “Lord, you know what I am remembering. You know what I am feeling again. But, in spite of this, I thank you that my husband repented and I’ve forgiven him. Now help me to do something good today.”

Don’t allow the emotions that come from the past memory destroy today.

A Mark of a Loving Person Is Courtesy

One of the marks of a loving person is courtesy. The popular conception of courtesy is to be well mannered. However, the word courtesy is much richer; it means to be ‘friendly minded’. To treat everyone as though they were a friend. Courtesy is rooted in the belief that behind every face is a person worth knowing. If we believe that every person we meet is valuable, courtesy will be inevitable. In my book: Love As a Way of Life, I explore what courtesy looks like in a marriage, or in the grocery store. Everyone we encounter gives us an opportunity to extend courtesy. Today, initiate every conversation as though the person you are talking to is a friend.

Q&A: Husband Kissed Other Woman While Engaged

Q: I have been married for 7 years and recently my husband revealed that he kissed another woman while we were engaged. He insists that nothing else happened, but just wanted to be honest with me about it, but I am still heart-broken.

Gary: You were engaged and not married, and there’s a difference between the two. If I were you I would thank him for sharing this with you even though you find it painful. Because, he’s trying to build an authentic relationship with you; he’s trying to be totally honest with you. So I would thank him for sharing that— let him know it hurts you deeply—but let him also know that you choose to forgive him because you love him and you’re not going to allow one event in the past to mess up your future.

Q&A: Astrological Signs and Compatibility

Q: If my and my significant other’s astrological signs are not compatible, will this cause problems in the long run?

Gary: There are people who put a lot of stock in astrological signs, I am not one of them. I believe that our relationship with God is the thing that really impacts our relationships with each other more than anything else. If you seek God and you seek to follow His Word, and you build your relationship on the principles of scripture, then you’re going to have good marriage regardless of what your signs might be.

Q&A: Can God Bless My New Marriage after a Divorce?

Q: Three years ago I had an affair that broke up my marriage and we’ve both since remarried. Can God still bless my new marriage?

Gary: Let’s face it, all of us are sinners. We may differ in what we do, but we are all sinners. And God is the great forgiver. Now forgiveness does not remove all the consequences. And where there’s been affairs, divorce, and then remarriage; there are consequences to that. And we have to live with those consequences. There’s scars personally in our lives. And the effect of children is also there. So can God bless a second marriage, a third marriage, a fourth marriage? God can bless us wherever we turn to Him. He can give us a good relationship with that person but we must continue to live with the scars of our choices.

My Husband Is a Daddy’s Boy

Q: My husband is a Daddy’s boy and confides in him more than me, what can I do?” 

Gary: There’s nothing wrong with having a good relationship with your father. Often, if you’ve had a good relationship with your father,  you will often turn to your father for advice in your marriage. There is nothing unhealthy about that. But what I do hear this wife saying is, “I feel like he’s not open to my opinion; he’s not asking me for my input; he’s relying more on his father than he’s relying on me.” That of course is not a healthy thing in a relationship. First verbalize it to him, let him know how you’re feeling. But also affirm him, that he’s man enough to reach out for advice and not try to make decisions simply with his own wisdom.

A Friendship with a Female Online Gaming Partner

Q: My husband seems to be pursuing a “friendship” with a female gaming partner online. He says there is nothing going on, but it makes me uncomfortable.

Gary: I think many wives can identify with this question. Let’s face it, most affairs do not begin with the affair. It begins with interaction with another person, often online, and bit by bit it develops into something. So, maybe there is nothing really going on that’s improper here. But, the very fact that you’re concerned and you’re sharing that with your husband, which I think you should share it with him. It ought to trigger in him a desire to please you and be willing to draw back from that. So, pray that God will touch his heart and make sure that he knows you’re not happy with this.

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