Category: Marriage

Q&A: A Loveless Marriage

Q: After 25 years of marriage,  I just don’t love my husband anymore. How can I stay in this marriage?

Gary: We have to be where we are but we don’t to stay where we are. Essentially, love is a decision and an attitude that says, “I’m married to you, how can I enrich your life?” Don’t wait on your emotions; choose to love in the power of the Holy Spirit. We have God’s help to love an unlovely spouse. When you love them in the right love language, there’s a good chance they’re going to reciprocate and emotional love can be reborn in the marriage. It won’t happen overnight, but there’s nothing more powerful you can do than to love an unlovely spouse.

Q&A: Getting a Husband to Help Around the House

Q: How do I get my husband to help around the house?  I feel like his mother more than his wife.

Gary: Perhaps your love language is Acts of Service and you’re really feeling unloved because your husband is not helping out around the house. It makes sense that you feel more like a mother than a wife, but you need to express this to him very clearly; he needs to understand that you want him to help out around the house. You should also learn his love language and speak it on a regular basis, because your love for him will likely stimulate his love for you.

Q&A: How Long to Wait for a Proposal

Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for three years post-college. He says he wants to be married but he’s not acting on it. How long do I wait?

Gary: The important factor is why he is waiting. Many times people say they want to be in a better financial state than they currently are. Sometimes people are afraid of breaking off a long-term relationship, even if they don’t see it leading to marriage because it is still meaningful them. Some people never intend to marry. If you feel that it will never lead to marriage, you need to express that and back off the relationship. If he’s really sincere, you may warm his cold feet by doing so.

Q&A: Sexual Intimacy During the Reconciliation Process

Q: My husband and I are in counseling because of an affair he had in the past. Is it still right to be intimate with him during this process?

Gary: When a spouse has been unfaithful to you, it takes time to work through the pain of betrayal. Your husband must understand this. There has to a measure of healing before sex can be a part of the relationship again. However, when you come to the place where you can be intimate without feeling used, it is a positive part of the healing process. All healthy marriages have a sexual aspect.

Improving a Marriage

The first step in improving a difficult marriage is learning to speak the love language of your spouse. I know you would like for your spouse to apologize for all the hurt they have caused. But you can’t wait for an apology to start loving. Jesus taught us to return good for evil. It’s important how you express love. If your husband’s love language is Words of Affirmation, then nothing is more important than looking for things he is doing right and express appreciation. On the other hand, if gifts is your wife’s love language then Words of Affirmation will seem empty. She may respond, “Cut the words. Where are the gifts?” Speak the right love language and you create a positive atmosphere where you can then deal realistically with your past failures. Give love a chance.

Restoring Emotional Love

Can emotional warmth be reborn in a marriage? I believe the answer is ‘yes,’ and it begins with loving actions. If you simply wait for warm emotions to return, you may wait in vain. But, if you choose loving actions, you set in motion the cycle which stimulates warm emotions. I have seen many troubled marriages restored by loving actions. You may ask, “What kind of loving actions?”  That depends on your spouses’ love language. In my book: The 5 Love Languages, I talk about Words of affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. If you want to know the love language of your spouse, listen to his complaints.  The complaint reveals what would really make him feel loved. Speak his love language and you touch his heart.

Q&A: A Common Idea of God

Q: Is it really important for you and your partner to have at least a common idea of God before getting married?

Gary: What you believe about God affects everything else in life. You see, if you believe that the biblical God exists, and that he is the creator of the universe and of life, that affects everything because the Old and New Testament scriptures tell us how to live life and what is most meaningful in life. However, if you discount that concept of God, or you’re not sure what you believe about God, that too will affect the way you live your life because you’re not inclined to take seriously the teachings of Jesus. Take time to dig deeply and find out whether you and your prospective spouse have a spiritual foundation on which to build a healthy marriage.

The Power of Love

Love is the most powerful weapon for good in the world. However, many husbands and wives think of love as an emotion. In reality, love is an attitude with appropriate behavior. Love is the attitude that says, “I choose to look out for your interests.” Love asks the question, “How may I help you.” Then love is expressed in behavior. The fact that love is action rather than emotion means that I can love my spouse even when I do not have warm feelings toward him or her. If I do or say something that is helpful, my behavior stimulates warm emotions inside my wife. She may not reciprocate immediately, but my loving act has made life better for her. That is what love is all about.

Q&A: A Spouse Having Ex’s as Facebook Friends

Q: My wife is friends with two past boyfriends on Facebook and it makes me feel comfortable. What is your advice?

Gary: I think most husbands would feel uncomfortable with this situation; your feelings are valid. If in sharing these feelings with her she says that they are just keeping up, don’t assume that she is being disingenuous. However, even if she is being honest she should still be respectful of your feelings and wishes. Be open about your feelings about it. Don’t demand that she unfriend them, but sincerely request it.

Love Languages & Apology Languages

She was sitting in my office visibly upset. “I’m sick and tired of his apologies,” she said. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” “That’s all he ever says. That’s supposed to make everything all right. Well, I’m sorry, but when he yells and screams at me and calls me names, that doesn’t make it all right. What I want to know is ‘does he still love me, or does he want out of the marriage? If he loves me then why doesn’t he do something to help me around the house?” In that brief statement she revealed to me that her primary love language is “Acts of service” and her primary apology language is “Making Restitution.” How I wished her husband understood this. Learning your spouse’s love language and apology language could literally save your marriage.