Category: Marriage

Whose Money?

Remember when we were kids and our parents told us to share? Why was that so hard? Well if we thought it was hard to share our toys it’s even harder to share our money. When you get married it’s time for a change in the mentality of, “Mine!”

When you get married, it is no longer, “your money” and “my money,” but rather “our money.” Likewise, it is no longer “my debts” and “your debts,” but rather “our debts.” When you accept each other as a partner, you accept each other’s liabilities as well as each other’s assets.

A full disclosure of assets and liabilities should be made before marriage. It’s not wrong to enter marriage with debts, but you ought to know what those debts are and agree on a plan for repayment.

Marriage is two becoming one. Applied to finances, this means that all our resources belong to both of us. One of us may be responsible for paying the bills and balancing the checkbook, but this should never be used as an excuse for hiding financial matters. Full and open discussions should precede any financial decision. Marriage is enhanced by agreement in financial matters.

If you’re the “bread-winner” of the family how do you maintain humility and remember that it’s not YOUR money? If you have a lot of debt in your name, do you ever feel blamed by your spouse for that? We can lift one another up if we remember that all we have belongs to the Lord anyway.

How do you work out finances in your home, and remember the “OUR” rule?

Knowing Your Needs

After dispelling some of the myths about dysfunctional marriages, you may have been left with more questions than answers. The problem is we all have needs and sometimes it’s hard to know what they are.

What are the inner needs which motivate much of our behavior? Let me mention three.

1. The first is the need to love and be loved. I feel good about myself when I am helping others. Conversely, I feel significant when I believe that someone genuinely loves me and is looking out for my interest.

2. A second inner need is the need for freedom – the desire to order my own life and not be controlled by another. Free to have thoughts, desires, and feelings as a person.

3. A third need is the need for significance – to feel that my life counts for something.

It should be clear that if we don’t understand the inner motivation of our spouse’s behavior, we will likely misjudge their behavior and hurt them deeply. It is worth the effort to try to discover the inner motive behind your spouse’s behavior.

One of the inner needs which motivates our behavior is the need for peace with God. That is why religion is a universal phenomenon. If your wife is attending a weekly Bible study and you are complaining that she is getting too religious, you are going to stimulate her defensive mechanisms, because you are striking at one of her inner needs. Far better to encourage her pursuit and ask yourself, “Which of my needs is going unmet that motivates me to get on her case about her Bible study?” Chances are, you’ll find your answer.

When you share your need with her and she is open about her own needs, you can find a way to meet both of your needs. It should be apparent that in order for this to happen, you must both be in touch with your own inner needs and respect the needs of the other. You are there for each other. This is God’s design.

How can you share your needs with your spouse? What support system do you and your spouse have besides each other? How does it help you both maintain your relationship with each other?

Dispelling the Myths about Dysfunction

Unfortunately, many people in desperate marriages base their lives upon commonly held myths. This week I want to expose some of these myths and challenge you to take constructive action in your marriage.

Myth #1
The first myth is the idea that my state of mind and the quality of my marriage is determined by my environment. “I grew up in a dysfunctional family, so I am destined to failure in my relationships.” This kind of approach leaves one helpless.

Our environment certainly affects us, but it does not control us. You can keep a positive spirit even in a bad marriage, which will affect your emotions and your actions. God can give peace of mind even in the worst of situations.

Myth #2
You’ve probably heard this one: “People cannot change.” This myth fails to realize the reality of human freedom and the power of God. History is filled with accounts of people who have made radical changes in their behavior. From St. Augustine, who once lived for pleasure and thought his desires were inescapable, to Charles Colson, the Watergate criminal who repented and began an international agency to offer prisoners spiritual help, the record is clear: People can and do change, and often the changes are dramatic!

Don’t give up on yourself or your spouse. God is in the business of changing lives. Begin with prayer, and believe that God can and will change you and your spouse.

Myth #3
“When you are in a bad marriage, there are only two options: be miserable for life, or get out.” This myth limits one’s horizons to two equally devastating alternatives.

But there is always something you can do to improve a marriage. You can be a positive change agent in your marriage. Being miserable or getting out are not your only options, and there are loving solutions even in desperate marriages.

Myth #4
“Some situations are hopeless.” Have you said those words? Have you believed them? The person who believes this myth usually also concludes, “My situation is hopeless. Perhaps there is hope for others, but my marriage is hopeless. It has gone on too long; the hurt is too deep.” This kind of thinking leads to depression and sometimes suicide.

God is the God of hope. When you put your hand in His hand, He will lead you through the valley of despair into the plane of hope. With God no one and no situation is hopeless. Focus your eyes on Him rather than your situation.

You Complete Me

Sure it’s a cheesy line from a movie, but how often do we actually feel this way about our spouse? There should be in any marriage a oneness that is evident in all areas of life.

When God said of Adam and Eve, “The two shall become one flesh,” he was not speaking only of physical oneness. In marriage, all of life is to be shared, and communication is the vehicle by which we attain this kind of intimacy.

If we don’t feel that oneness with our spouse maybe we aren’t communicating with them the way we ought to be. We cannot read each other’s minds. If your spouse is to know your thoughts, feelings, and desires, then you have to communicate them. A marriage without communication is like trying to win a million dollars without lifelines.

It may seem silly but even talking about the mundane can improve communication. The easiest level of communication is simply sharing day-to-day events. You are one! Don’t you want to know what your other half did that day?

Questions are so important for communication. If a husband comes home and his wife doesn’t simply ask, “How did things go?” she may communicate, “I don’t care how things went.” If her husband never inquires about her day, she may feel rejected or unloved. Asking questions about the day-to-day events is the easiest and best place to begin. And, it will make communicating easier over all, especially when it comes to discussing important things.

What are some other questions that you could ask besides the age-old, “How was your day?”

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

“Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the Church…”

In the contemporary world, perhaps nowhere has confusion reigned more than in the area of the husband’s role in marriage. On one extreme there’s the dominant husband who makes all decisions and informs the wife as to what they are going to do. On the other extreme is the husband who expects the wife to support the family and make all the major decisions. But, there’s a healthy middle—the husband is a responsible, dependable, leading but non-domineering. A husband who is deeply committed to his wife and family.

Leadership means communication, not control. The husband is to love and provide for his wife as Christ loves and cares for His Church. But how can the husband do that if he doesn’t know her needs? We must take the initiative in asking questions and listening in order to “know” our wives and thus be able to meet their needs. If God invites us to come to Him with our needs, and make our requests known, why shouldn’t the husband do the same?

Being a loving leader requires us to serve whomever we lead. To put them at the top of our priority list. So, the husband who loves his wife will make his wife his number one priority. Throughout the day he will ask himself the question: What can I do for her that will enhance her life? He will pray for her daily and commend her for her accomplishments. Last week Gia commented that to show love for her husband meant that she prays for him. It is equally as important for husbands to be lifting their wives up in prayer as well.

As Christ intercedes for us and showers us with daily blessings, so the husband as a loving leader will shower his wife with actions and words which say, “I love you.” And she? She will follow his leadership.

Today there are two sets of questions:

For the Men-
What ways have you been a loving leader, and what are some ways you want to improve in this area? What could your wife do to help you be a better loving leader?

For the Women-
Submission is a taboo word, why does it bother you so much? What does this word look like in your marriage? What ways do you need to improve in submitting to your husband, and how could he help you with that?

Wise Men Say…Only Fools Fall in Love

Falling “in love” feels foolish sometimes. When young couples come to me for pre-marital counseling, I often ask, “Now let’s see, why do you want to get married? Whatever else they tell me, they always give me the big reason. “We love each other.” Isn’t that sweet. Then I ask a very unfair question, “Now what do you mean by that?”

What does it mean to “fall in love?” It all starts with what I call the “tingles.” Before long, you’re obsessed with them. They are the most wonderful person you have ever met. In your mind they are perfect. But this is hardly the bedrock for a healthy marriage. Why? Because its average life span is only two years.

In the textbook of marriage, the in-love obsession is the introduction. The heart of the book is rational, volitional love. This is good news to the married couple who have lost the “in love” feelings. The fact is, we can learn to meet each other’s emotional need for love.

How has your love in your marriage matured? What ways did you transition from the “in love” feelings to real love?

Better to Give….

When was the last time you gave a gift to your spouse for no reason at all? The last time you just showed them appreciation for who they are?

Gifts are visual symbols of love. Most wedding ceremonies include the giving and receiving of rings.

The person performing the ceremony says, “These rings are outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual bond that unites your two hearts in love that has no end.”

This isn’t just meaningless rhetoric. It is a significant truth – symbols have emotional and sentimental value. Visual symbols of love are more important to some people than to others. That’s why when you give a gift to some people, they cry or get really excited. It speaks more deeply than words, quality time, physical touch or acts of service.

Is your spouse a gifts person? Give them one gift this week that will make their day, something small that will speak to them. Then encourage others with your story, post a comment telling what you gave them, and how they responded.

The Marriage Turnaround

On last week’s Building Relationships…

Are you a hard worker? How about in your marriage?  This week we learned that the key to the turning your marriage around is a willingness to work!

Dr. Chapman and guest Mitch Temple, Director of the Marriage Department at Focus on the Family, give their insight into how to keep struggling marriages alive.  And not just that make it thrive.

In his counseling office, Mitch noticed certain patterns of attitudes and thinking within failing marriages. He discusses common marriage myths, and how changing your attitude can change your marriage.

Mitch gives a fresh perspective to the myopic marriage. The tips in his new book, The Marriage Turnaround, can help resuscitate a dying marriage. This book teaches a couple how to end their destructive patterns and practices–to discard the old myths and embrace new truths.

January "Dear Gary" Episode

On this past week’s Building Relationships

Our January “Dear Gary” broadcast!

We kicked off the show with a caller whose wife had just passed away. The caller ecouraged husbands to love their wives and care for them as God has called them to. Gary expanded on this thought by encouraging spouses to remember that the loss of a loved one can come at any moment. He urged listeners to live in a way that would allow them to end as Brian and his wife did, on a positive loving memory.

[Click here to listen]

We also learned the details on the 2009 Building Relationships Valentine’s Day Contest! Interested? Here’s the deal:

To enter, you must have seen the movie Fireproof.

Call our listener line at 1-866-424-GARY and tell us your story about how the movie made a difference in your marriage relationship-how it clicked with you, or how it gave you a vision for your marriage.

Your voicemail message must not exceed two minutes, and don’t forget to leave your name and phone number. The deadline to call is Tuesday, February 3rd. What you say might even make it on air for our Valentine’s program! The grand prize is a trip for you and your spouse to Gary Chapman’s “A Growing Marriage” conference of your choice, a copy of Fireproof, and a copy of The Five Love Languages. Runners up (15 total) will receive a copy of Fireproof and a copy of The Five Love Languages.

Thanks for listening to Building Relationships radio! Tune in Saturday, February 14 to hear the results of the contest.

Please, one entry per couple. Conference trip expenses will be covered up to $1,000. Winner agrees to pay additional costs. Deadline for entries is Tuesday, February 3rd. Winners will be notified by phone.

January “Dear Gary” Episode

On this past week’s Building Relationships

Our January “Dear Gary” broadcast!

We kicked off the show with a caller whose wife had just passed away. The caller ecouraged husbands to love their wives and care for them as God has called them to. Gary expanded on this thought by encouraging spouses to remember that the loss of a loved one can come at any moment. He urged listeners to live in a way that would allow them to end as Brian and his wife did, on a positive loving memory.

[Click here to listen]

We also learned the details on the 2009 Building Relationships Valentine’s Day Contest! Interested? Here’s the deal:

To enter, you must have seen the movie Fireproof.

Call our listener line at 1-866-424-GARY and tell us your story about how the movie made a difference in your marriage relationship-how it clicked with you, or how it gave you a vision for your marriage.

Your voicemail message must not exceed two minutes, and don’t forget to leave your name and phone number. The deadline to call is Tuesday, February 3rd. What you say might even make it on air for our Valentine’s program! The grand prize is a trip for you and your spouse to Gary Chapman’s “A Growing Marriage” conference of your choice, a copy of Fireproof, and a copy of The Five Love Languages. Runners up (15 total) will receive a copy of Fireproof and a copy of The Five Love Languages.

Thanks for listening to Building Relationships radio! Tune in Saturday, February 14 to hear the results of the contest.

Please, one entry per couple. Conference trip expenses will be covered up to $1,000. Winner agrees to pay additional costs. Deadline for entries is Tuesday, February 3rd. Winners will be notified by phone.