August 13, 2012
Q: I love going out with my friends on weekends for a break from the kids but my husband doesn’t like it. What do you think?
A: The question is: why doesn’t he like it? My guess is he may not feel secure in your love. He may feel like you’re drawing your emotional support from your friends rather than him—that you’re neglecting him because you’d rather be with your friends than with him. Whenever a person, male or female, resists what their spouse is doing, it’s often because their own emotional needs are not being met. I suggest you make sure you know your husband’s love language and give him heavy doses of that love language. When he feels secure in your love, he can give you the freedom to have an evening with your friends.
August 10, 2012
Q: I feel like my wife and I are growing a part and are very different. What are some things we can work on to bring back the closeness?
A: Well, let’s face it, we are different. Consequently, if you don’t feed and nurture the relationship, you grow apart. If you want to come together you have to put your oars in the water and start rowing. That means you could do such things as: Read a book together—Read a chapter per week and share with each other one thing you learned about yourself in the chapter—or go to a marriage enrichment class that might be taught at your church. You also might reflect on what you did when you were dating that you both enjoyed. Try it again. It might make a huge difference in your marriage.
August 7, 2012
Hear the words of Paul the apostle, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4). Put that concept into your marriage and you will be well on the road to success. Two selfish people will never have a good marriage.
Two people who are looking out for the well-being of each other will find harmony. Decisions will not end in a battle if your attitude is “What would be best for you?” Of course, if this is one-sided, where one does all the giving, it will lead to resentment. Mutual respect and mutual love are the keys to a successful marriage.
July 26, 2012
The husband-as-dictator style has destroyed the creative spirit of many wives. The mother-superior attitude has made children out of many husbands. Neither of these patterns is biblical but many Christians have accepted them as normal.
Marriage is meant to be two persons who are members of the same team. God is the coach and the husband and wife are teammates. Successful teammates cooperate. “How can we help each other?” is the question asked by members of a winning team. The first step in making wise decisions is to see each other as friends to be helped, not enemies to be punished.
July 24, 2012
Sometimes separation is an act of love. Love says, “I love you too much to help you do wrong. I will not sit here and let you destroy yourself and me. Therefore, I’m moving out. If you want to make our lives better, then I am willing to go to counseling with you. But I won’t continue to be a part of your destructive behavior.”
This is tough but it’s also love—Love seeks the well-being of another. In marriage love is doing whatever is necessary to help your spouse break sinful patterns. When separation is viewed as an effort toward redemption, it is indeed loving. For more on this topic, you may want to read my book, Hope for the Separated: Wounded Marriage can be Healed.
July 20, 2012
A: Try getting very quiet when he’s yelling. Don’t say anything in response and let the silence speak to him. If you do that a few times, what happens is when he’s not angry he’ll say, “I noticed you never respond when I tell at you.” You say to him, “Honey, I’m trying to help you understand you don’t have to yell at me. You can say it softly and I’ll hear it even more loudly. You’re teaching him to share his frustration in a calmer way rather than yelling.
July 19, 2012
A lady once asked me that question. She then said, “My husband physically and verbally abused me for eight years. He refused to work. I supported the family for 7 years. Then I got sick. Even then, he refused to get a job. I just got tired of it, so I left him. Was I wrong to stop loving him?”
“I’m not sure you stopped loving him,” I said. “This may be the best loving you have ever done. He may even get a job.” “Oh, he’s already promised me that he will get a job and be kind to me if I come back.” “Then let’s see if he follows through,” I said. “If he does, and is willing to get counseling, you can rebuild your marriage.” Sometimes it is tough love that brings a spouse to genuine repentance.
July 12, 2012
When physical abuse, sexual unfaithfulness, sexual abuse of children, alcoholism or drug addiction persist in a marriage, it is time to take loving action. In fact, one is not loving when he or she accepts such behavior as a way of life. This behavior is destroying the individual and the marriage.
Love must confront. In the Bible, confronting is always seen as redemptive. Jesus said that if someone sins against us, then we are to confront them. If they listen and repent we are to forgive and the relationship is healed. If they do not repent we are to take additional steps of tough love. The purpose is not revenge but redemption. That’s tough love and that’s real love.
July 3, 2012
If you have lost the intimacy in your marriage, it’s time to call in the wrecking crew. That’s right, it’s time to demolish the wall between the two of you. And the most effective tool for demolition is—confession. Oh, I know it’s not all your fault. But no one is perfect. So, put the sledgehammer of confession to your part of the wall.
You might say, “I’ve been thinking about us and I realize that I have not been the spouse you deserve. I asked God to show me my failures and He gave me a pretty good list. I’d like to share these with you and ask you to forgive me. I want to make the future different.” You have taken the first step toward renewed intimacy.
June 28, 2012
“I just don’t understand it,” she said. “Before marriage, I felt so close to Rob. We shared everything. He was so kind, tender and understanding but now all of that is gone. I just don’t know him anymore. He is not the man I married.”
What happened to the intimacy between this husband and wife? The answer is as old as creation itself.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve were both naked and felt no shame—total intimacy. However, they were soon sewing fig leaves together to cover themselves. What happened? They disobeyed God’s commands. Sin always separates. So if you have lost your intimacy ask yourself: Which of God’s commands have I broken? I think you’ll find more than one.