My book on marriage is now in paperback

In 28 Days to A Better Marriage, Dale handles a variety of topics in a direct way to expedite the healing and empowerment that so many marriages need. The twenty-eight chapters are brief, enabling the reader (husband or wife) to glean useful information in short steps, moving both spouses towards a better understanding of one another and of themselves. Through Dale’s experience as a marriage counselor, he has learned that most couples in distress make the same mistakes. Twenty-Eight Days holds within its pages the knowledge and tactics that marriages need to thrive.

Men: 3 Reasons You Trade Your Family for Your Job

Dads like to stay busy, but they often miss out on a lot of things. Ball practice, field trips, and those special moments right after school or daycare just to name a few. This is the sacrifice men make in many homes because he and his wife decided purposefully, or just by how their work schedules played out, that she would be the one to do most of what many call, “running around with the kids.” 

Men, if we are not careful, we may miss out on much more. Here are three ways we often trade our job for our family. 

1. You work late. While more money makes us all happy, it doesn’t necessarily make our homes happier places or even provide lasting joy. Maybe you have the drive to work more than 40 hours per week. That is fine, but there must be a cap at some point.

2. You think that you only contribute to the family by working. This is a fallacy. While men may feel a great deal of accomplishment by working, they can do so much at home with their kids to ensure they grow up right.

3. You consistently say yes to your employer and no to your family. How have you spent your time during the last week? Keep a log of how much you devote to your job and how much to your kids. You may be surprised. It is sometimes easy to put our families off because they can’t fire us as easily. However, by not doing a good job at home, you definitely lose your influence there.

The solution?

1. Discuss with your wife a reasonable work schedule. Maybe you work late two times a week or maybe only once. In any case, make a plan so that everyone knows when to expect you. Otherwise, you may set yourself up to be a consistent disappointment.

2. Know your family’s schedule. There are many shareable calendar apps that make it easier to know what is going on. Show up to things because they are important to your kids.

3. When you are not at work, be totally engrossed in the moment with your family. Make a big deal about being with your kids, and always make time for your bride. 

You’re away from your other job. Be present in your most important one.

Parenting Effectively

After the Affair

After an affair, the betrayed wife will often take on too much of the blame because the husband has possibly said, “if you paid more attention to me, I wouldn’t have to look elsewhere.” While this order of events may be true (she ignores and he seeks) it was his choice to cheat. It may have been his choice to act in such a way that she had to ignore him. Also, if it was her behavior, he could have chosen to discuss the issue or seek marital counseling. She didn’t “make” him do anything.
Regardless of how the affair occurred, there is a post-affair emotional path the wife may take.  She may slip into this pattern after resolving to reconcile with her husband. Having been devastated by his actions, she will understandably have her guard up. She will say things like, “I’ll never let him do this to me again. I don’t want him to make a fool of me.” This is a precarious position as she has already let her guard down so much that were he to cheat again, she wouldn’t know until it is too late.
When we marry, we give our hearts to another person in the hopes that he/she will care for it, and when they commit a heinous act such as adultery, it all but kills us. By recommitting, the wife submits her heart once again to her husband. This automatically opens the wife back up for hurt, but such is the risk she takes for her self and her children. Divorce isn’t always the best answer.

In post-adulterous situations we see the powerful forgiving love of Christ. The husband, wanting to reconcile, returns to his wife smelling of hogs, and she, like the father in Luke 15 welcomes him back for another chance. Why not? They have built so much and have so much yet to live for. 
To the wives I say, be wary. He has cheated once and it can  happen again, but if you see sincerity in his actions, allow time to heal you and your relationship. 
For the husbands I would like to reference William F. Harley’s love bank principal. When you do good for your wife, you make a deposit. When you do bad by your wife, you make a withdrawal. Well, an affair burns the bank to the ground and now you have to rebuild it. Also, realize what you almost lost. You loved her once, love her again. 

Contact me about my marriage seminar, “Eden Again” and let me help you bring paradise back to your marriage.

Or, click the image below for a great at home program.

A TV In Your Car Can Save Your Marriage

My two children (ages 8 & 3) are just like me. They like to talk. Well, they like to talk a lot, and when you have three people in a car all yelling at the same time, “I’M TALKING! I WANT TO SAY SOMETHING! MY TURN!!!” it can be a bit un-nerving and unproductive. So, we have developed hand signals of acknowledgment in order to let the wanna-be speaker know that he/she will have his turn. This simple act cools the jets of an over-anxious conversationalist who must say his piece. 

The second part of this story goes as such. I enjoy long, uninterrupted conversations with my wife and one of the best places to do this is in the car, but this can be difficult (see first paragraph). So, when we bought our SUV a few years ago, we installed a DVD player with wireless headphones and a wireless video game system. Now, I am the first to say that kids need to watch less TV, but if there is a time and place for it, it is in the car that involves any trip over twenty minutes.

Please don’t think I’m a terrible father. I’m actually a pretty good one, but I also want to be a good husband. It’s much easier to turn the TV off at home than in the steel-cage death match known as the car as we travel to Gatlinburg or Hilton Head. 

I am anecdotally convinced that couples stop talking to one another because the kids (if they’re like mine) do not allow them to talk. You must make time to talk to your spouse. It will ensure a good marriage which is what your kids need to see even if they see it with the head phones on while they watch that DVD for the thirtieth time.

Parenting Effectively

Mama Ain’t Happy

We’ve all heard the expression, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” This is always good for a laugh and it makes for a funny sign to purchase at Cracker Barrel. Also, there is some truth to it. Mothers are often the driving force of morality and civility in a home. They are the embodiment of a home’s comfort and warmth. They are the central figure regarding love and compassion. Yes, if mama ain’t happy, something is terribly wrong and somebody else in the home is doing something wrong.
However, there is an ugly side to this aphorism. What if a mother (or father for that matter) is controlling? What if their wishes are the only one’s that matter? What if this person does not guide with a loving and pious hand but rather rules those beneath her with guilt and the threat of a difficult evening if things do not go exactly her way? Then, nobody’s happy because mama (or daddy) makes everyone miserable.
Maybe it is biology, or as we may say in the south, maybe he is just plain ornery. In any case, someone who is constantly in a bad mood (causing everyone else to be miserable) has some deep soul searching to do. Scripture encourages men to be leaders in their homes and it encourages women to be a source of wisdom and trust (Proverbs 31). If a story was written about you, what would it say? At your eulogy, will the preacher have a wealth of positive, or will he pronounce you deceased and a sigh of relief echoe over your family?
“Someday you’ll be nothing but a memory. Make sure it’s a good one.”

Can You Maintain A Good Marriage?

When I speak to young married couples on the verge of divorce, (the average age of a divorcing couple is 30) it is plain to see that they just don’t know how to maintain a good marriage. Why? 

First, they may not have seen a good marriage before. Having possibly come from a dysfunctional or divorced home themselves, they do not have a history with the behaviors of a good husband or good wife. So, the default action is also the second reason why couples cannot maintain a good marriage; selfishness.

1 Corinthians 13: says that love, “does not seek its own.” Stop worrying about yourself and begin worrying about how you can make that other person happy. Two people who look out for one another is much better than two people looking out for themselves. 

When we think only of ourselves (not of loving the other person) we grow apart. “That other person” in your house is causing you to not get that fishing boat because she’s a nag, or live in that big house because he doesn’t make enough money. “I deserve it” you tell yourself and by your own lack of vision for what a family should be, you wreck possibly dozens of lives because a divorce involves much more than just two people.

While you might not be labeled self-centered, maybe you’re doing everything else EXCEPT working on your marriage. There are so many distractions in today’s world that we end up doing everything else but eating dinner together, talking over coffee, and cuddling in bed; all things that bring you closer as a couple. When person needs aren’t fulfilled at home, people begin looking elsewhere. I see it happen a lot.

Ask yourself: 
  • What does my spouse like to have for breakfast?
  • What is his/her favorite dinner spot?
  • If I could do one thing to make him/her happy, what would it be? 
If you struggle with these questions, you’ve got some work to do.

Marriage is like bowling. The goal (like the pins) is far off, but if you set your throw up just right, you’ll score BIG.

How to Treat Your Wife

There are secrets you should keep from your wife. 
They are called surprises, not affairs.

There are words you should speak to your wife. 
They are called understanding, not contemptuous. 

There are actions you should commit towards your wife. 
They are called kindness, not disappointments.

There are feelings you should have towards your wife. 
They are called love, not resentment.