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    Smalley says married couples can make love last forever


    In a fast-food, live-for-the-moment society that hasn’t made any plans past tomorrow’s hair appointment, Gary Smalley dares to suggest something permanent. In his new book, Making Love Last Forever, Smalley presents the secrets of his “love guarantee” and shows that “til death do us part” isn’t an unattainable goal..

    At the heart of Smalley’s promise is a method he calls “drive-through talking.” Told that people don’t always get what they order at the drive-through window, Smalley says that is exactly his point. “I will demonstrate that the same thing you do at McDonald’s can keep your love alive. When you give you order at the drive-through window, they have a method they almost always apply — they repeat back what you say. When you do that, it unleashes some powerful things in a marriage, and can eliminate many of the causes of divorce.”

    “Drive-through talking” can help resolve disputes that could otherwise grow into major sources of marital discord. Smalley says that while men desire a good marriage relationship as much as women do, they often lack the relationship skills that come naturally to women. One result is that men often withdraw to avoid fighting with their wives. “For men, all of our combat is by rules. Football has rules — even war has the Geneva Convention. Marriage is one of the few things we’re involved in where there is combat but no rules. We give couples rules, ropes around the ring, rules for where you can hit and where you can’t.”

    Men are showing a growing interest in building strong families, says Smalley. For instance, of the millions of relationship videos Smalley has sold through television infomercials, 30 percent have been purchased by men — three times what Smalley would have expected a decade ago. Promise Keepers is another example of men seeking out information on being better husbands.

    There’s a sense in which good marriages are hereditary — if your parents have a good marriage, chances are good that you will too. But Smalley emphasizes that bad marriage models can be overcome. “Men learn best by watching another man love his wife,” Smalley notes. “If you watched your father love your mother, you picked up some things you are able to transfer into your own marriage. But if you came from a poor parental relationship, you can get ‘re-parented’ by joining a loving support group.”

    Sharing a faith in God also helps couples build strong marriages, says Smalley. “Christian couples have the continual support of their local church, the availability and power of God in their lives, and the examples and models of the biblical writers and Christ.”

    But Christian couples may face special challenges as well, notes Smalley. “Often in the church we are encouraged to deny that we have a problem. We’re not supposed to be having problems — it’s not acceptable. When couples get divorced we treat them like they have leprosy. People are afraid that if they reach out to people who are hurting from divorce they will be condoning divorce. In reality, we need to be comforting and loving one another, finding out what causes divorce, and fighting it through the church.”

    — E.P. News

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