Category: Marriage

Summer Vegetables and Summer Marriages

Summer vegetables and summer marriages are both delightful. In a summer marriage life is relaxed. You have a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and connection. There is trust and communication. Couples who have a summer marriage realize that they must keep the weeds out of their garden. So, they read books and share ideas. They attend marriage seminars and workshops. They pray for God’s wisdom and seek to speak each other’s love language. They recognize that marriage was God’s idea and that the attitude of Christ in us, is what makes marriage work. Two selfish people will not have a summer marriage. Love – looking out for each other’s interest – is what keeps the weeds out of the garden of marriage.

Q&A: My Wife Never Apologizes

Q: My wife never apologizes, how can I help her with this?

Gary: We are to forgive others as God forgives us. So how does God forgive us? The scriptures say, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins.” Jesus gave us clear instructions in Luke 17 verse 3: If your brother or wife sins against you, confront him or her. If they repent, forgive them. Eventually, if they don’t repent we are to treat them as a pagan. How do we treat pagans? We pray for them. We love them. We return good for evil. It is unconditional love that often touches the heart of the offender. You will need God’s help to follow God’s plan. But it is the most powerful thing you can do when someone refuses to apologize.

Q&A: Balancing Grad School and Getting Married

Q: How do you suggest my fiancé and I handle getting married as well as going to Grad school?

Gary: My first suggestion is postpone the marriage. If you are 20 years old and already applying to graduate schools you must be exceedingly smart. So use your smarts, don’t get married till you both have been accepted into graduate schools and have part time jobs. This will give you a realistic idea of how much time will be left over for your relationship. You have plenty of time for marriage. Why not finish graduate school before you get married. If, however, you decide to get married while still in school, I can tell you from experience that you will have minimal time for each other. I got married at 23 while in graduate school and we had some very difficult years. Before you get married, talk with at least two couples who got married while in graduate school. They will give you realistic advice.

The Four Seasons of Marriage

Some time ago, I wrote a book entitled, The Four Seasons of Marriage. It’s not the idea that you get married in Spring and when you are old you end up in Winter. Rather, I use the seasons to describe the quality of the marriage. It has nothing to do with how long you’ve been married. So people go from Spring to Winter on the honeymoon. Yes, Spring marriages are exciting. We have plans, we are optimistic. We love each other. Most people get married in Spring. On the other hand, a Winter marriage is cold, harsh, and bitter. We’ve stopped talking because we don’t like to argue. If you would like to move from winter to spring, you need to confess past failures, and give love a second chance.

Q&A: Staying Positive after a Job Loss

Q: My husband recently lost his job, how can I help him to stay positive?

Gary: Here are three things I suggest: (1) Speak your husband’s love language. The deepest emotional need we have is the need to feel loved. When your husband’s love tank is full, life is much easier to process. He may not have a job, but if he has you and feels that you really love him, he can go on looking with a positive attitude. (2) I suggest that you look for volunteer jobs at your church or in your community. Getting involved in doing something worthwhile is a big deterrent in getting depressed. Often it’s in the context of volunteering that you make new friends and sometimes even find a new job opportunity. (3) Ask your friends to pray for you. That’s what friendship is all about. Don’t walk it alone.

Learn to Listen Empathetically

If you are married and you take pride in being reasonable, and you see your spouse as being unreasonable, you are in the process of destroying your marriage. The person I’m talking about is calm, cool and collected. He believes that if you will listen to his arguments, you will be forced to agree. Any sane person could not disagree. “Let me explain this to you one more time.” The implication is that if you will just listen, you will understand and thus agree. This person makes no room for emotions. All that matters is logic. But I remind you that God made us emotional creatures and if you don’t allow for emotions, you will never create an intimate marriage. Learn to listen. Treat your spouse as a person of worth. Ask for their opinions and be empathetic with their feelings.

Q&A: My Husband Is Spending Way Too Much Time with His Parents

Q: My husband spends a lot of time with his parents and not with me. What can I do about it?

Gary: This is a question that many young couples can identify with if you live in the same town as your parents. The scriptures say that we are to leave our parents and to be joined to each other. What that looks like may differ with each couple, but the principle is clear. It appears to me that you think he’s spending too much time with his parents, and that may be true. What I’d like to know is what is he doing when he goes to see his parents? What motivates him to go there? Is his mother demanding that he come to see them? That’s unhealthy. Or is he helping his father with a work project? That’s different. Is he sharing his marital problems with his parents? That’s not good. Find out the motivation, and then seek a pattern that demonstrates that the marriage is priority.

How to Get over a Past Physical Relationship

Q: I’ve had past physical relationships and I want to get over them now that I’m getting married. What do I do?

Gary: You are identifying one of the major scars of premarital sex. Sexual intercourse is not simply the joining of two bodies. It is a deep, emotional and spiritual experience. It was designed to bond a man and a woman together for a lifetime. It is very difficult to erase the memories because the two of you bonded. My suggestions include: confessing your sin to God and to your wife, then picture the blood of Christ flowing over your sin and hiding it from your sight. It happened but it is now covered by his blood. That is the way God sees your past and that is the way he wants you to see it. The blood of Christ is the most effective medication for healing the memories.

Q&A: Jealousy Issues

Q:  I have jealousy issues toward my wife. We are newly married, but I struggle with her having other guy friends. How can I deal with this?

Gary: Some jealousy is normal, particularly in the early years of marriage. We cannot, however, smother our spouse and not let them have friends. If it’s simply friendships with simple conversations, then no problem. But if indeed she has hidden (or not so hidden) feelings for these friends and there are some romantic elements involved, that’s not permissible in a healthy marriage. Be honest with her about your feelings. She in turn needs to be honest with you about the nature of these relationships. Marriage is designed to be exclusive and this conversation will help set that standard.

Money Saving Tips

Saving money is good stewardship. One way to save money is to spend less. One way to spend less is to do “seasonal shopping” This is especially helpful when buying clothing. Shop at the end of the season sales. I don’t mean the first day of the sale. I mean after the items have been reduced two or three times. My wife recently came home with a $399 outfit that she purchased for $59.00. I love that kind of shopping. When it comes to food and household items, don’t forget
“discount shopping.” In most towns there are good stores that sell cheaper than others. Why not buy your groceries there? Their bananas come off the same boat as the bananas at the more expensive store. And by using manufacturer’s coupons, you can save even more.

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