March 3, 2014
Q: My son told us he is gay. I’m having a lot trouble dealing with this. What is your advice?
Gary: Any parent tends to be disappointed when his or her child indicates that he or she is gay. Men and women are made for each other; it is God’s design. Anything other than that is outside that primary design of God. I’m not going to explain all the ins and outs of homosexuality, but we need to love our children no matter what. I would suggest expressing to him or her your disappointment for this and your confusion about how it could be, as well as your continuing love for your child. Suggest that he or she do some serious reading or see a counselor as well to try and understand his or herself better. This is the approach I would take.
January 30, 2014
One of the reasons that some people have trouble in marriage is that they grew up with a faulty model or no model at all. A child who grows up in a single parent home has no model demonstrating what a healthy marriage looks like, unless they may have grandparents, relatives, or family friends that provide this model. Those who grow up with both parents will likely replicate in their marriage what they saw in their parents. This can be good, or it can be extremely bad depending on the parental model. What model are you setting for your children? If you’re not happy with your answer to this question, read a book, attend a marriage seminar, seek counseling, do something. If your spouse is unwilling, do it alone and pray that he or she will eventually join you. You owe it to your children.
November 7, 2013
How is it that some couples have four children and are able to maintain a growing marriage; while others have one child and don’t have time for each other? Often the difference is in how we manage our lives. Would you like to take a walk with your spouse after dinner? Then make it happen. Discuss it with each other and come up with a plan. What else would you like to do to keep your marriage alive? Make a list and one by one make time, money, and energy to make the dream a reality. The process itself is exciting. The two of you are a team and working together you can have a growing marriage and be good parents. Your children deserve both. And that is also God’s design for the two of you.
November 5, 2013
If God ordained marriage and if God ordained parenting, do you think we have time to do both? The obvious answer is yes. But why do couples complain, “Since the children came, we don’t have time for sex. We had to stop our date nights. We’re too tired to watch a movie. It seems we just don’t have time to do anything together.” The problem is not time, but how we schedule our time. Some couples schedule time to enhance their marriage while others focus on meeting the needs of the children and hope that some day they will find time for each other. Unfortunately for some that time never comes. What could you do this week to enhance your marriage? Why not put it on your schedule?
October 31, 2013
Which is the greater priority: marriage or parenting? That’s like asking whether water or food should be the priority for the human body. The truth is, they are both priorities. Parents who do not seek to be good parents are delinquent in their responsibilities. One the other hand, couples who do not give priority to their marriage are also delinquent.
A couple who neglects their children in pursuit of their own happiness will live to regret their decision. And, a couple who neglects their marriage while focusing all their energy on their children will also live to regret their choice. Your children desperately need a model of what a healthy marriage looks like. If your children do not learn relational skills they will enter marriage with a huge handicap.
October 29, 2013
How do we keep our marriage alive now that the children have arrived? Children are a blessing from God, but children can also bring on marital neglect. When a couple neglects their own love relationship, they do so to the detriment of the children. Perhaps it is time for you to pause long enough to assess the quality of your marriage. If you see yourselves drifting apart, it’s time to make a course correction. Look each other in the eyes and say, “our marriage is important not only for us, but for our children. Therefore, together, with God’s help, we will find a way to rediscover each other.” If marriage is important, then we must make time to cultivate our relationship. It is time well invested.
October 24, 2013
There comes a time in most marriages when two become three. Sometimes, two become four, five, or six. Let’s freely admit that when children arrive, they greatly affect the marital relationship. One young husband said, “I’ve lost my wife.” “What do you mean by that?” I inquired. “I’ve lost my wife to the baby. Her life is focused on the baby; my life is focused on the baby. It’s like the two of us do not exist anymore.” Can a marriage survive children? You bet, but only if you make marriage a priority. Notice I say ‘a’ priority. Both marriage and parenting are priorities. There is time and energy to do both. However, to sacrifice the marriage is not good parenting.
October 14, 2013
Q: Should a person stay in an abusive marriage for the children’s sake?
Gary Chapman: I think it depends on what kind of abuse we’re talking about. If it’s physical abuse, no. I don’t think it’s a loving thing to stay there and let that happen. Verbal abuse has different levels. If it’s constant verbal abuse, and you’re put down, the kids are put down, again, that’s not healthy. I think there’s a place to say, “I love you too much, I love our children too much to sit here and do nothing.” Sometimes it’s necessary to physically separate yourself and the children from him or her until they are willing to get help with the problem. We’re not abandoning them, we’re loving them. It’s taking tough steps to communicate to the other person, “I love you too much to let you continue with your destructive behavior.”
September 26, 2013
Adolescence is the age of reason. Teenagers are beginning to think logically. We say, they are argumentative. Many parents have said through the years, “I think my teenager is going to be an attorney, he is so good at arguments.” In reality, the teen is developing his mental skills. If parents don’t realize this, they can create an adversarial relationship where the teen does not feel free to flex his intellectual muscles. How do we create a positive atmosphere where we can have meaningful dialogue with our budding philosopher? In one word – love. When the teen feels loved, he still may not agree with parents, but he will respect them; and be influenced by their opinions.
September 24, 2013
Do you ever get frustrated with your teenager? The teenager has a strong pull toward independence and is going through radical physical and emotional changes. They are greatly influenced by their peers. In fact, we often speak of ‘teenage culture’. That culture focuses on music, dress, language, and behavior. This has often created a great divide between teens and parents. So, at a time when the teen most needs moral and spiritual guidance, parents are often rejected. Don’t allow your differences to keep you from loving your teen. Love keeps the door open for your positive influence. Learn your teens’ love language and speak it daily. They never outgrow their need for love.