Category: Relationships

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.

Returning Good for Evil

Do you have a relationship that you would like to see improved? Then, why not decide to do something for that person that she/he would not expect. I mean an act of kindness that would fall in the category of ‘returning good for evil.’ That’s what Jesus taught. You’ll never go wrong while following the teachings of Jesus. I know it’s not natural. We tend to return evil for evil, but that has never been God’s way. When Jesus was on the cross, he prayed for the forgiveness of those who were killing him. Our attitude is always to be one that seeks reconciliation. We don’t overlook wrong, but we stand ready to forgive. Genuine love is the most healing of all medications. You’ll never know the power of love until you love someone who has hurt you deeply.

Actions that Demonstrate an Apology

If you have been hurt deeply by your spouse or a close friend, you have probably asked this question: “How could they do that if they really loved me?” So, they come to apologize and say, “I’m sorry, I should not have done that. I was wrong.” But you are still asking: “Do you really love me?” That is a legitimate question. Jesus asked that question of Peter three times: “Do you really love me?” When Peter said, “Yes,” Jesus said: “Then feed my sheep.” He gave him something to do to demonstrate his love. Words can be empty. Actions show your sorrow and say to the other person: “In spite of my failure, I really do still love you. I want to make things right between us.” This is the road to lasting relationships.

Making Restitution

When we hurt someone, we know immediately that we have placed an emotional barrier between us and that person. The relationship is now fractured. Time alone will not heal the hurt. It’s time to apologize. But how do we apologize? What do we say or do? Some people simply say, “I’m Sorry.” But for most people, that’s not enough. Many are waiting to hear you offer to make restitution. “What can I do to make this up to you?” is an excellent question. Their answer will help you know how to put teeth into your apology. If you seek to make restitution, they will see your sincerity and likely forgive you. And isn’t that what you want? You want to see the relationship restored. Making restitution is an important language of apology.

Emotional Creatures and Love

We are emotional creatures and one of our deepest emotional needs is the need to feel loved. When we ‘fall in love’ we think we have found the answer. It is heavenly while it lasts. Our mistake is in thinking that it will last forever. It was not meant to last forever. It is only the introduction to the book. The heart of the book is a love that is far more rational, and volitional. This is good news for those who have lost the ‘in love’ obsession, and are back in the real world. Now you can choose daily to do something that will be helpful to your spouse; to give them affirming words and tender touches, to buy them a small gift and to look into their eyes and say, “I love you.” When you do these things, warm feelings return.

Real Love is not ‘Falling in Love’

Some researchers have concluded that what we call ‘falling in love’ is not love at all. This conclusion was reached because of three reasons: (l) Falling in love is not an act of the will or conscious choice. It just happens to you. (2) Falling in love is effortless. We do outlandish things with no effort at all. (3) The ‘in-love’ experience does not encourage us to help the other person grow. We view them as perfect; no need for growth. In the Bible, real love is a choice, requires effort, and seeks the well-being of the other. It may start with euphoric feelings, but when these fall aside, real love will continue. Real love doesn’t walk away when the feelings subside. Real love is the foundation for life-long positive relationships.

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.

The ‘In Love’ Euphoria Pt. 2

The euphoric experience of ‘falling in love’ gives us the illusion that we have an intimate relationship. We feel that we belong to each other. We feel altruistic toward each other. One young man said, “I can’t conceive of doing anything to hurt her. My only desire is to make her happy.” He believes also that she will make him happy. Such thinking is fanciful. Not that we are insincere in what we think and feel, but we are unrealistic. We fail to reckon with the reality of human nature. By nature, we are ego-centric. Once we come down off the ‘in love’ high, we begin to assert ourselves. Without the help of God, marriage will become a battlefield. It’s time to pray; to read; to listen.

The ‘In Love’ Euphoria

Falling in love is a euphoric experience. We become emotionally obsessed with each other. We wake up thinking about them. All day long they are on our minds. The person who is in love has the illusion that his beloved is perfect. Her mother can see his flaws, but she can’t. His friends will say, “Have you considered…?” But he hasn’t and he won’t because he is in love. What no one has told us is that this euphoric experience is temporary. We have been led to believe that if we are really ‘in love’ it will last forever. The fact is, it will last for about 2 years. Then you will realize that what your mother said was true. What your friends tried to tell you was real. Why can’t we listen before we leap? Family and friends are God’s gift. Accept the gift.

The Alternative to Forgiveness

Basically, there is only one alternative to forgiveness: a demand for justice. “You sinned against me and you will crawl on your knees until I feel like forgiving you. If you ever pay me back for this, then I will forgive you!” This is an immensely destructive approach. A better choice is to forgive the offender. He or she has sinned against you and you are hurt, but you say to that person in your own words, “You hurt me deeply, but I want you to know that I forgive you because God has forgiven me. I will treat you as though you did not sin.”