Category: Q&A

Q&A: Why is there a 5LL for Men and not for Women?

Q: Gary, why do you have a “Men’s” edition of the 5 Love Languages and not a “women’s?”

Gary: Well, the original edition of The 5 Love Languages was written for women and for men, but I discovered that men need a little extra help. For that reason, I wrote the Men’s edition so that I could give them additional ideas for how to speak those love languages. I also have a chapter in there on how to handle anger and how to apologize effectively, which are two issues that I have observed men often struggle with more than women.

 

Appropriate Age Difference in Marriage

Q: Gary, what are appropriate age differences in marriage?

Gary: It all depends on if you’re thinking of a 16-year-old marrying a 30-year-old, or whether you’re talking about a 30-year-old marrying a 50-year-old. The question is much more important in the early years of life. The differences between people are colossal in those years. After 30, 35, 40, the differences are not as important or prevalent. So, while I don’t think there’s any arbitrary answer to this question, I would say that I think you set yourself up for problems if you’re 16 and marrying someone whose 30.

How to Love the Unlovely

Q: Gary, I’ve heard you say that we are to “love the unlovely” as Jesus did. But since Jesus is God and perfect, He can do anything! How are lowly people expected to do what only God can do?

Gary: Well the scriptures say that the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy spirit, and that’s how a Christian can love an unlovely person. You’re exactly right: by nature, we are not lovers. We are self-centered and self-righteous. But by God’s help, we can be his agents of expressing his love to an unlovely person.

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: Love Languages and Dating

Q: Gary, should I be concerned if my boyfriend refuses to take the Love Languages quiz? How can I determine what his language is?

If someone refuses to take a positive step in helping the relationship, yes, it’s a red flag waving because they’re not likely to be open to other things you request. In answering your second question, you determine his love language by asking yourself, How does he respond to others?” Observe his behavior. Is he giving pats on the back, is he giving words of affirmation, does he spend time talking to people? The second question is what does he complain about? The complaint reveals his love language. And then, what does he request of you most often? That also reveals his love language. So you can determine his love language even if he won’t take the quiz. But don’t overlook the fact that he’s refusing to do something you’re requesting.

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.”

Q&A: Long-term Gift Giving

Q: Gary, how is it possible to fulfill my spouses’ “Gift giving” language every day?

Gary: Well, I don’t think you have to give gifts every day to a person whose love language is receiving gifts, but I do think you should do it periodically. The other thing I would say is: don’t think in terms of expensive gifts all the time. It can be a flower you picked out of the yard, it can be a red leaf in the fall, it can be a feather you found while you were taking a walk, it can be a candy bar, it can be anything small. It’s really the thought that counts. And for the person for whom gift receiving is their love language, these periodic gifts that are given out of a heart of love speak deeply to that person.

Understanding Anger

Q: My Spouse has had serious anger issues for a long time and knows how to hide it very well. How do I deal with it?

Gary: Well, mismanaged anger, or anger that is held inside (which is not a good way to manage anger) is not going to go away with the passing of time. people have to learn how to manage anger. In my book Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion, I talk about such things as where does anger come from? Understanding why you get angry, what makes you angry, is the first step in processing anger. And the second step is learning how to control it for a moment while you think about “What would be a good way to handle my anger?” Really, anger is a gift of God! When we understand that, we stop fighting anger itself and ask how can we use it for good purposes in our lives.

Q&A: Can I Trust an Unreliable Spouse?

Q: Gary, my fiancé is a bit undependable (paying bills, chores, being on time, etc.). How can I Trust him with bigger things if he doesn’t take care of the small things?

Gary: Excellent question, and a question that should always be asked and answered before you get married, because whatever patterns are there before you get married will follow into the marriage. That’s why these things need to be discussed openly, you need to share your concerns, share your thoughts. If a person can’t grow in these areas before marriage, then they’re not going to grow in them after marriage. So these are the kind of things that need to be settled before you get married.

Q&A: Addapting to Love Languages

Q: Gary, is there a way to change my love language to accommodate my spouse better?

Gary: I don’t think we change our love language, but I think we can come to appreciate the other love languages better. Let’s say your spouse is not a “toucher” and physical touch is your language. They didn’t grow up in a touchy feely family, and therefore, it’s difficult for them to reach out and touch. But if they give you words of affirmation, you can come to realize that they’re speaking love in their way, and you can give them credit for it. I think coming to accept love in any of the languages can begin to fill the love tank, and if you’re positive about their responses to you, rather than negative (“You don’t ever touch me!”) they’re far more likely to come to speak your love language.

 

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