Marriage can often be overwhelming for many. That is why I so much appreciate the initiative being taken by Dr. Gil Stieglitz in bringing new hope to marriages. Through his years of study and practical interaction with many couples, Gil has discovered that there are only five problems in any marriage. This insight is helpful, especially for men. It helps us get a handle on the challenges that we face in developing intimacy, that there are only five problems in any marriage.
Dr. Gil summarizes the five problems of marriage as
1) Needs or Roles
2) SSSAAADDD Behaviours (when our needs are not being met)
3) Temperament Differences
4) Relational Drainage
5) Past Baggage
He has seen phenomenal breakthroughs when couples begin to address and work on these five key areas. To assist marriages, he has developed a six-part DVD series , with accompanying books, which walk couples through each of these five areas.
Dr. Gil, who pastored a congregation for many years, believes that churches can make a big difference in helping strengthen marriages. After all, God both invented and is deeply committed to the ‘institution’ of marriage. During the thirty-one years that I pastored on the North Shore, I have seen many outwardly successful people whose inner lives were crumbling because of relational challenges. Sometimes it takes a major crisis, like a marriage struggle, before we are willing to cry out to God and admit how much we need him. Many men that I have known are totally baffled when their wife finally packs up and leaves.
Dr. Gil believes in being very practical in the help that he offers to men and women. So he has developed two acrostics that assist us to build marriages of great joy. For men, he has developed the acrostic: H.U.S.B.A.N.D. which identifies the fourteen top needs of our wives. (Honour, Understanding, Security, Building Unity, Agreement, Nurture, Defender). Love, says Dr. Gil, is meeting needs. The first letter “H” (Honour) has been most helpful for me personally. Dr. Gil teaches that women do something every day that many men don’t. They give an informal ‘computer test’ to their spouse to see where they are in the structure of his priorities: “Are they above his work or below his work, above the children or below his children, above his hobbies or below his hobbies?” If the wife does not win that computer test, guess who loses. The husband does, because the wife cannot blossom and respond to him from the depth of her being. Every day, the husband needs to honour or add value to his wife in practical, specific ways.
Many men know how to be men, but not husbands. The word ‘Husband’ actually comes from the term ‘Husbandman’, which means ‘gardener’. We as husbands are called to ‘garden’ our wife, to nurture her, care for her, and put her first under God. You can find out more about the ‘H.U.S.B.A.N.D.’ acrostic by checking out Dr. Gil’s book ‘How to Be a Godly Husband’ .
For Wives, Dr. Gil and Dana Stieglitz have developed the acrostic ‘R.A.D.I.C.A.L.’ which identify the top fourteen needs of one’s husband (Respect, Adaptability, Domestic Leadership, Intimacy, Companionship, Attractiveness, and Listening). Along with the Marriage DVDs, Gil and Dana Stieglitz have co-written a book “Building a Marriage of Great Joy” which explains how to be a ‘RADICAL’ wife
Gil and Dana teach that respecting or acknowledging the strengths of one’s husband meets a deep need, but is not always easy for women to do. In the same way that wives want their husbands to give them unconditional love, husbands need their wives to give them unconditional respect. As the Good Book puts it in Ephesians 5:23, “Husbands, love your wives and, Wives, respect your husband.”
I am so pleased about Dr Gil’s book Marital Intelligence that brings together all of this material into one helpful book. My prayer is that those hearing about these resources will not just be hearers of the word but doers of the word who put this into practice in their own marriages.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier
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