Category: Marriage

The Key to a Happy Marriage

If I were asked to give the one key that unlocks a happy marriage, I would say, “an attitude of mutual service.” When both the husband and the wife are asking the question, “How may I serve you?” needs will be met. Now, it must be mutual. A submitting, serving wife and a tyrannical, demanding husband will never produce a happy marriage. A domineering wife and a passive husband will also fail to find marital fulfillment. The husband must learn to serve his wife “as Christ served the church.” The wife must serve her husband “as unto the Lord.” Mutual service brings mutual joy. Tennis players spend hours each week improving their serve. Shouldn’t you do the same for your marriage?

Q&A: A Spouse with Depression

Q: My wife struggles with depression, and it’s hard to deal with, especially with our young children. What do you suggest?

Gary: Depression will not go away simply with the passing of time. There are many kinds of depression and many ways to approach it. The most effective approach with severe depression is both counseling and medication. That combination has been the most successful treatment for depression. Don’t sit idly and hope it goes away; get her to a medical doctor, get her to a Christian counselor, and get the process moving so that she can discover the source of the depression and the answer to that depression.

Serving your Spouse

What would happen in your marriage if you were a true Christian? The word ‘Christian’ means ‘Christ-like.’ The central theme in the life of Christ was service to others. He said, about Himself, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” For some people it will take a radical change of attitude for them to become servants. Our society has trained us to be assertive, not to be servants. Servanthood is not a favorite topic for seminars, though it ought to be, for it is the only road to greatness. Here’s an idea: make a list of several things you know that your spouse would like for you to do. Do one of them today, and another tomorrow. The more you become like Christ, the happier you spouse will be.

Greatness in Marriage

In a good marriage, there is no king or queen shouting commands, only servants looking for ways to meet the needs of others. Jesus said to His followers, “You know that those who are rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them…Not so with you. Instead whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” History illustrates this truth. The truly great men and women of any age are those who serve others. Thus, the greatest husbands are the greatest servants. The wife who finds greatest fulfillment is the wife who learns to serve. Let me make it practical. Make a list of the ways you served your spouse yesterday. Based on this list, “How great are you?”

Q&A: Still Attracted to Other Women

Q: I’m newly married but I’m still attracted to other women. How do I turn these feelings off?

Gary: I’m wondering if you were involved with women before you got married. I’m also wondering if you had a pornography addiction. Often, either of these two things make marriage difficult because they pattern your mind for changing persons. I think you have to turn to God and ask him to deliver you from your past and give you a biblical commitment to your wife. Don’t allow the enemy to keep you in bondage to past experiences.

Q&A: Quality Time amongst Busyness

Q: What are some ways to show the love language “Quality Time” when my husband works so much?

Gary: When you work more than ten hours a day, it can be very difficult to make time for Quality Time. However, if this is the primary love language of you or your spouse, the two of you must find a way to work it out in your schedules to have time together. Consider having lunch with him where he works, or cluster time together on the weekends. Everyone has time to make a living and have a healthy marriage.

The Road to a Great Marriage

The key that unlocks the door to a happy marriage is learning to serve your spouse! Most of us would admit that we entered marriage with lofty visions of how happy our spouses would make us. When they did not perform, we experienced disappointment, hurt, and anger. So, we made verbal demands designed to make them feel guilty. Have you ever said this, “I don’t understand how you could do that. You know how it makes me feel.” With such statements we try to manipulate their behavior. We try to get what we want. This approach is totally opposite of what Jesus taught. “Whoever wants to be great must be your servant.” Is this not the theme of the Christian life? Learning to serve your spouse is the true road to greatness.

Q&A: I’m Social, but my Spouse Isn’t

Q: I’m a very social person but my husband isn’t. Is it wrong for me to pressure him to do more?

Gary: What you have to realize is that it’s a personality difference. Those who are extroverted get energized by being around other people. Those who are introverted get energized by being alone. So, it’s not wrong for you to pull him in, but it’s also not wrong for you to let him pull you out. There needs to be a balance; don’t stop inviting him, don’t stop asking him to go with you to things. You will pull him into experiences he would never have had if he were not married to you. Give him a good time and expose him to things that he will enjoy. Just don’t badger him about it, and give him the freedom to not always go with you.

Q&A: Taking a Break from Your Spouse

Q: My friends are telling me that I need to take a break from my spouse to refresh our love for each other. Is this healthy?

Gary: We all need time alone, but marriage consists of more than refreshing ourselves; it has to do with building intimacy between the two of you. Separation may give you some temporary relief from arguing, if that is happening, but you don’t win the battle by retreating. You win by staying on the battlefield and finding ways to solve the problems that are destroying your marriage. So, I cannot recommend separation as a means for enriching your marriage. That comes when the two of you engage with each other in a deep and meaningful way.

Q&A: Speaking a Person’s Love Language and Getting Nothing in Return

Q: Where do I find strength to show my spouse love in their love language when I get nothing in return?

Gary: The bottom line is that your strength comes from your relationship with God. God loved us before we loved him, while we were still sinners. God pours his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. By the power of God, we can love a spouse who is not loving us. There’s nothing more powerful you can do that to speak the love language of your spouse in the power of the Holy Spirit, regardless of whether they respond or not. Nothing is as powerful as Godly love.