Category: Relationships

Q&A: Relationships and Age Difference

Q: How much does age matter in a relationship?

Gary: It depends on how old you are. If you’re 16 and he’s 26—then yes, age should be a deal breaker. You’re too young to be involved with someone 10 years older than you. You have high school and college ahead of you. A person who is 26 and wanting to date you is revealing his own insecurity and may even be a predator. On the other hand, if you are a widow of 46 and dating a man who is 56, age difference is less important. You’re both old enough to be mature. There may be other factors that would indicate you should not get married, but age would not be that significant. The general principle is that the younger you are the more important age difference becomes.

Q&A: Jealousy Issues

Q:  I have jealousy issues toward my wife. We are newly married, but I struggle with her having other guy friends. How can I deal with this?

Gary: Some jealousy is normal, particularly in the early years of marriage. We cannot, however, smother our spouse and not let them have friends. If it’s simply friendships with simple conversations, then no problem. But if indeed she has hidden (or not so hidden) feelings for these friends and there are some romantic elements involved, that’s not permissible in a healthy marriage. Be honest with her about your feelings. She in turn needs to be honest with you about the nature of these relationships. Marriage is designed to be exclusive and this conversation will help set that standard.

Love Stimulates Love

Love is a choice.

We can request love, but we cannot demand love. We cannot make our spouse speak our love language. However, though we can’t control our spouse, we can control our attitude and our behavior.

The good news is that love stimulates love. And though the object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love, it is a fact that when we receive love, we are far more likely to be motivated to reciprocate and do something our spouse desires.

Try this…

Choose an attitude of love. Learn the love language of your spouse and speak it on a regular basis. Then, three months down the road, you can say to them,

‘On a scale of zero to ten, how much love do you feel coming from me?’

If they give you a seven, eight, nine, ten—you’re at the top. Or if they say anything less than ten, you say,

‘What can I do to bring it up to a ten or bring it up to a nine?’

They’ll probably give you a suggestion. To the best of your ability, you do that.

Repeat this process every two weeks by simply asking your spouse what you can do to love them better, and taking their answer to heart.

There’s a good chance that, before long, they’re going to say, ‘Well, wait a minute here. I’m turning this around. On a scale of zero to ten, how much love do you feel coming from me?’”

Before you know it, they’ll be working to love you as well as you have loved them.

And that is exactly how love stimulates love.

*This article is one of many featured in Marriage Hacks: 25 Practical Ways to Make Love Last by Tyler Ward.
To find out more, or to download for free, CLICK HERE.

Investing Your Life

“It’s not how long you live, but how well you live.” You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. But, it’s really true. Ultimately, age has little to do with success. It is not how many years we have to live, but how we use the years that we have. My sister died at age 58. I have a close friend who died at 52. Recently, a 24 year old graduate student in our church died. As I listened to the eulogies, I realized that he had accomplished far more in 24 years than many people accomplish in 80.

The key is to invest life one day at a time. Do something kind for someone every day. When you do, any day will be a good stopping place. It was said of Jesus, “He went about doing good.” We are called to follow His example. He said, that we are to love one another as He loved us.

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.

Accepting Your Past

The prophet Jeremiah asked: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?” (Jeremiah 13:23).  The obvious answer is ‘no.’ Some things are unchangeable. Perhaps the most influential unchangeable factor in your life is your history.  Your parents, good or bad, dead or alive, known or unknown, are your parents. That fact cannot be changed. Your childhood, pleasant or painful, is your childhood. Our history is not to be changed, but accepted. We waste our time and energy when we ponder on what might have been. Admit your failures, accept the failures of others, and ask God to help you do something good with your future. No matter what has happened in the past, you can have good relationships in the future.

Holding Things In

Do you tend to hold things inside instead of sharing your thoughts and feelings? One wife said, “He came home one day and told me he was leaving. I could not believe it. I had no idea that it was that bad.” How does this happen in a marriage?  Or, in a friendship? It happens when we fall silent. No one can read your mind. Once we share our thoughts and feelings we can work on a solution. No one can work on a solution until he is aware of the problem. Often, we don’t talk because we are afraid of how the other person will respond. In that case we are in bondage to our fear. Break the silence and give your relationship a chance. Honesty is the foundation for authentic relationships.

Your Attitude Towards Life

What kind of person have you become through the years?  Has your spirit been negative or positive toward life? One wife said, “My husband is so negative that when he wakes up in the morning he either says, “Oh, no, I over slept!”  or, “Oh, no, I woke up too early!” Thousands of people choose to live life with just that attitude. Something is always wrong with everything. Would you like to change? You can! Repeat this scripture aloud every morning: “This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24. If you proclaim this truth to yourself, you will begin to see God’s hand. And, your relationships will improve.

Feelings of Superiority

Feelings of superiority often lead to broken relationships. It all began in childhood. Few rules were enforced. The child grew up feeling the world owed him a living. He became demanding and impatient with others. As an adult he is domineering and self-righteous. If there are problems in the relationship, he blames the other person. The first step to recovery for the “I am superior” personality, is to admit that you are human. No one is perfect, so stop playing games. Step down from your pedestal and join the rest of us. You don’t have to be perfect to be important.  People will respect you more if you will admit your weaknesses. In fact, you will find that confession is the road to good relationships.

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.