Category: Relationships

Coercing Love

One of the five love languages is “acts of service.” For some people, this is their primary love language. However, people sometimes make the mistake of demanding acts of service from their loved ones: “If you loved me you would help me around the house.” true love, however, is a choice and cannot be coerced. Criticism and demands tend to drive wedges. With enough criticism your spouse may do what you want, but it will not be an expression of love. You can give guidance to love by making requests: “Would you please mow the grass?” But you cannot create the will to love. Each of us must decide daily to love or not to love. If acts of service is the primary love language of your spouse, then mowing the grass will be loves loudest voice.

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.

 

The Blinding Light of Being “In Love”

Before marriage, we are carried along by the emotions of the “in love” obsession. After marriage, we revert to being the person we were before we “fell in love.” This reality has implications for the single who is contemplating marriage. Before you marry, you had best find out what your potential souse was like before the two of you “fell in love.” Ask parents, siblings, work associates and friends, but by all means ask them questions. Did they have an anger problem? Where they depressed? Were they friendly or selfish? Dependable or irresponsible? Did they have a problem with alcohol, drugs or other addictive ? Get the facts. Don’t let the “in love” experience blind you to the truth.

Q&A: Confronting Someone you Suspect of Cheating

Q: Gary, what is the proper way to confront someone if you suspect them of cheating?

Gary: First of all, you have to be honest but you want to do it in a positive way. You want to say to them, “Honey, I hope you know that I really love you, and I’m having some feelings and thoughts going through my mind. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have to ask the question: Are you involved with someone else?”

You’re just straight forward with it, but you do it in a kind way. Not in an angry way, not with an angry voice, but with a lot of kindness that communicates to them that you love them. That’s why you’re confronting them. That’s why you’re sharing with them your thoughts. Keep in mind that your feelings and your thoughts may be wrong. And I believe that, at least initially, you should accept what they say and then wait. If they say, “no no no,” then you wait. Because if they are, it will become obvious.

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: Trust Issues

Q: I have serious trust issues from a past relationship. How can I keep it from creeping into my new relationship? 

Gary: This is a very common problem. We often reach back and bring the fears of that past relationship into the new relationship. Acknowledge the reality that this is very common–that these thoughts and feelings come back to you. But, you choose not to let those thoughts and feelings control your behavior. And you say to this new person, “Here’s what I’m feeling, here’s what I’m fearing. I don’t want to bring that into our relationship and put that between us. I’m choosing to trust you.” Obviously, if they are untrustworthy, you will be hurt again. But you choose to trust, it’s a choice we make in every relationship.

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.

The Purpose of Marriage

Q: I’m dating and always getting ultimatums for things from my girlfriend. She says I value friends and family above her.

Gary: Recognize the purpose of dating is to get to know each other and to decide if this will lead to marriage or not. Many times the dating relationship does not lead to marriage, rather it helps us understand this person well enough to know that we are not meant for each other. I would be encouraged by the fact that you’re having conflicts in the dating relationship. And if you can’t resolve those things while you are dating, it’s a pretty good sign you’re not going to make it in marriage. Because if one person has to have their way all the time and you’re always condemned on the other side, that doesn’t lead to a happy marriage. 

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