Category: Q&A

Q&A: Developing Communication Skills

Q: What would be some good ways to develop communication skills in marriage?

Gary: One way would be to read on communication, such as my Now You’re Speaking My Language. It has nothing to do with the love languages. It’s a book on communication and intimacy. How do you build positive communication patterns and how do you build intimacy into a marriage, intellectually, socially, spiritually, and physically. Reading through and studying a book like that is an easy, organized way to learn communication skills for marriage.

Q&A: Languages of Appreciation at Work

Q: How can I discover and speak the love language of my boss at work without coming across as creepy? 

Gary: Most of the time in the workplace we call the languages the languages of appreciation instead of love for propriety’s sake. However, even in the workplace the languages speak to an emotional need because all of us want to feel appreciated. I think if you know your boss’ or your colleagues’ appreciation language speaking it may seem creepy to you, but probably not to them because you’re speaking the language that makes them feel appreciated. Don’t worry about how you feel but speak the language that you know will make them feel appreciated.

Q&A: A Child Identifying as Gay

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.

Q&A: Handling Anger in a Healthy Way

Q: My husband has a very bad temper. What things can I do to help with this?

Gary: Mismanaged anger causes problems in many marriages, and also children’s relationships with parents. Most of us do not know how to handle anger in a positive way. I wrote a book a few years ago called Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way. I suggest you get it for your husband. He may not go for counseling, but he may read a book. The two of you could discuss each chapter and talk (in a non-accusatory way) about how he could improve in this area. This could greatly assist him in processing his anger healthily.

Q&A: Multiple Love Languages

Q: I scored almost equally on all five love languages when I took the online quiz. Is this fair to my spouse who has only one primary language?

Gary: In a sense it actually makes it easier for your spouse; his or her speaking of any of the languages will make you feel deeply loved. You have only one choice as to which language will make him feel loved. I would ask yourself one question however: “If I had to give up one of these languages being spoken to me, what would it be?” Repeat this until you’re down to one. Chances are you’ll find that one or two really do stand out. If so, be sure to let your spouse know.

Q&A: Physical Touch and Distance

Q: My fiancé’s love language is physical touch and I travel a lot. Do you have any suggestions?

Gary: It is true that you cannot put your arm around him or hold his hand when you are not physically present. However, all love languages can be expressed long distance. You can say, “If I were with you right now, I’d give you a big hug and a big kiss that you’d never forget.” He will likely get it emotionally, even though you’re not present with him physically. You’re thinking about his love language and you’re verbalizing what you’d do if you were there. I think that at least on short trips away, you’ll find this helpful.

Q&A: When the Feeling Wears Off

Q: How can I know that I’m still ‘in love’ after the feeling wears off?

Gary: Typically, we use the phrase ‘in love’ to talk about the euphoric feelings in the early stages of the relationship. Those feelings fade, but emotional love we really don’t call being ‘in love.’ Emotional love can continue throughout the years if we speak our partner’s primary love language. If you only do for him or her what you think will make you feel loved, he or she will likely not feel loved and the warmth of the relationships will die. But if you learn to speak his or her love language, you can keep emotional love alive even after you come down off the ‘in love’ high.

Q&A: Getting Someone to Attend a Marriage Conference

Q: Gary, I really want my husband to attend one of your marriage conferences with me. Can you help me convince him it will be helpful? 

Gary: I wish I had a secret to do that. Many wives are more open to attending marriage conferences than are their husbands. I don’t know all the dynamics in that, but I think I would just be very straight-forward and say something like, “Honey, you know something that would make me very happy? If you would go to that marriage conference with me.” You’re just asking; you’re not demanding, you’re not being belligerent, but you’re making a simple request for something that would make you feel loved. He is far more likely to respond to a request than he is to a demand.

Q&A: Valentine’s Day and Love Languages

Q: What are some good love language suggestions to speak to my spouse this Valentine’s day?

Gary: On Valentine’s Day as well as any other day we should try to speak our spouse’s primary love language. What speaks most loudly to your spouse is when you speak love to him or her in a language he or she understands.  Flowers are great for some people, but will means very little to others. Remember that there are five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. One of these languages will speak deeper to your spouse than any of the others this Valentine’s day.

Q&A: Memories of Past Sexual Experiences

Q: Will having a sexual past affect my upcoming marriage now that I am a believer? 

Gary: The short answer is yes. All of our past failures will have an effect on our future. I was recently talking with a man who had been married for twenty years and he said to me, “Gary, the fact that my wife had sexual relationships with two other men when she was in college still comes to mind when we are intimate.” Either spouse having a sexual past will affect the marriage, but there can be healing. I suggested to the man that he ask God to let the blood of Christ cover his knowledge of his wife’s sexual past so that it becomes a blur. For you, I would ask God to have the blood of Christ cover the memories of your past sexual experiences. Healing is always possible.