September 3, 2013
I wish I were a perfect husband: always kind, thoughtful, understanding, and loving. Unfortunately, I am not. I am sometimes selfish, thoughtless, and cold. In short, I fail to live up to the biblical ideal for a Christian husband. Does this mean that my marriage is destined for failure? Not if I am willing to admit my failures and my wife is willing to forgive. God is our model. The scriptures say that God is always willing to forgive if we are willing to confess and repent. Confession is an admission that we are wrong. Repentance is the desire to turn from our sinful behavior. Forgiveness opens the door to reconciliation. It is essential if we are to have a growing marriage.
August 20, 2013
Why is sexual intimacy so illusive for many couples? I believe it is because we have separated it from intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual intimacy. Intimacy is that sense of closeness that comes when we share life deeply with each other. But it cannot be limited to the sharing of our bodies. When we are critical, demanding, and verbally abusive, and then try to have sex we will not experience intimacy.
Sexual intimacy flows naturally from a loving marital relationship. If you want greater sexual intimacy then focus on building closeness in the other areas of life. Spend time together, give affirming words, pray together, apologize for your failures. This is the road to sexual intimacy.
August 8, 2013
We often hear couples talk about emotional intimacy; but what does that mean? Essentially, it is the sharing of emotions in an accepting atmosphere. All day long, life is filled with feelings. You put your dollar in the drink machine and receive no drink (and no change). You have feelings. You are informed that the company is going to ‘downsize.’ You have feelings. Emotional intimacy is that sense of closeness that comes when you choose to share your emotions with each other in an effort to know each other more deeply. For this to happen, we must create an atmosphere of acceptance. “I can see how you might feel hurt by that. Is there anything I can do to help?” Such a response encourages emotional intimacy.
August 6, 2013
Intimacy between the husband and wife is one of the characteristics of a healthy marriage. The problem is that we have different ideas as to what it means to have intimacy. For some husbands ‘intimacy’ means ‘sex’. For most wives ‘intimacy’ is something far more emotional and relational. In fact, without emotional closeness, sex may be meaningless. What is intimacy? It is that sense of closeness that comes when we share our lives deeply with each other. We spend time together. We share our opinions, desires, and feelings. We do things together socially. We let each other in on our spiritual journey. We pray together. And yes, we have sex together. Intimacy involves sharing all of life. That is what marriage is all about.
August 5, 2013
Q: “My son has recently told us that he is gay. I’m having a very hard time dealing with it. How can I help him with this and still show love?”
Gary Chapman: Disappointment is a common emotion when a parent hears one of their children indicate that he/she is gay. Men and women are made for each other—it is God’s design. Anything other than that is outside of that primary design of God. Now I’m not going to try explain all the ins and outs of homosexuality, but what I will say is this—we love our children no matter what. Express your disappointment and/or your lack of understanding, but make it clear that you love them and that you will continue to love them no matter what. I would also encourage you to ask your child to do some serious reading and/or talk to a counselor to try to understand him/herself better while continuing to affirm your love.
July 30, 2013
One of the sad realities is that many married individuals have allowed themselves to be pulled into an emotional or physical relationship with someone else. They reason, “I know God hates divorce, but this relationship is so loving. We are able to communicate with such freedom and understanding. It feels like we were meant for each other.” So, they divorce their spouse and marry their new lover.
What they do not know is that 75% of those kind of marriages will end in divorce. Their children are devastated and they have complicated their lives forever. Research indicates that people are not happier five years after divorce and re-marriage. Why not choose God’s way and seek reconciliation?
July 19, 2013
Q: “My husband and I are in our 50’s and he refuses to be intimate with me physically. My love language is touch and it hurts me when he stays away. Is there anything I can do?”
Gary Chapman: First things is to inquire “Why?” — Does he not have the physical ability? Or, is he involved with someone else? Or, is he involved with stimulating himself privately? There are many reason why a spouse might refuse to be intimate, but since it is serious to the health of your relationship you need to inquire about it. You see, if you can get to the root of the problem, then you can look for an answer. But without understanding why he doesn’t have that desire, it is most likely not going to resolve itself.
July 3, 2013
Q: “I’ve been married to my best friend for 10 years. I’ve never had a wandering eye but I’m suddenly finding myself drawn to a new co-worker. Is my marriage in danger?”
Jennifer Thomas (co-author of When Sorry Isn’t Enough): You’ve asked an important question. We know that it takes 100 or more steps to begin an affair. Avoid taking the first steps and you’ll prevent a world of pain. Simply ask anyone who has lived through an affair and they will tell you it is unspeakably tragic and regrettable. Be on guard for these earliest signs of an affair:
- Noticing a magnetic pull towards someone who is not your spouse
- Daydreaming about them
- Spending extra time with them
- Sharing confidences with them
- Devaluing your own spouse in your mind if not also in action
If you notice these signs of a crush, take note. You are on the road to an emotional affair. First, do not mention your attraction to your co-worker. To do so would multiply your risk because he or she might also be feeling the spark. You must FLEE and seek support. Take steps today to re-focus on your spouse and make sure that you are speaking each others’ love languages. This is the only way to keep your love tank full. Read our Practically Speaking newsletter for useful tips to speak any love language while having fun!
May 27, 2013
Q: Gary, my boyfriend and I have been intimate together and I feel guilty about it. I am always the one who is re-setting the boundaries and don’t feel like he is being a leader in this area. Can you help?
Gary Chapman: What you are observing is good—that is, you are recognizing a lack of leadership on his part in this part of the relationship. Maybe he doesn’t feel as strongly as you do about this, but that also should give you a clue as to where he might be in his thinking and his commitment to Biblical standards. You are observing the kind of things that need to be observed. You can’t make him be a leader in this area. You want a young man that who is strongly committed to Biblical principles and who is also applying them in a practical way to the sexual part of the relationship. If he can’t want to get on board with you in this area, you may want to consider this a red flag and possibly a deal breaker.
May 3, 2013
Q: “Gary, what’s wrong with being physically intimate before marriage? Isn’t the wedding just a formality?”
Gary Chapman: The reality is that marriage has always been a public thing. It’s not simply an agreement between two people. It’s recorded in human history and society recognizes the couple as being married—something that doesn’t happen when a couple is simply living together. I know it’s popular today to be sexually active and/or live together prior to, or in place of, getting married. However, the wedding is important. Marriage is important. When we downplay the marriage covenant by living together and become sexually active prior to marriage, we increase our chances for marital problems. In fact, research indicates that a sexually active couple who lives together is far more likely to divorce once they do get married. The reality is that you cannot simulate marriage. It’s far better to wait to come together sexually until after you’ve made that lifelong commitment to the other person.