What Ingredients Are Needed to Create a Thriving and Fruitful Marriage?

Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I am a 28-year-old single male, but I recently proposed to my girl. I want to get married fairly soon. I have been following you and you often talk about unconditional love in your articles. I know that love is needed to develop and sustain a marriage, but I am pretty sure that there are other things. You also talk about trust, respect and effective communication.  But besides these things, what else is need to make marriage work? I want my marriage to start off on the right foot. What ingredients are needed to create a thriving and fruitful marriage?

Single, But Ready for Marriage

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Adulterous and Abusive Wife: Do I Have Grounds for a Divorce?


Good afternoon Dr. Buckingham,

My wife and I have been married for 19 years. I will admit the marriage has been on rocky ground from day 1, with the exception of the birth of our children. My wife has been verbally abusive the majority of the marriage; she yells and screams at our kids and rarely apologizes when wrong.

A few years ago, I read a text message my wife wrote to someone whom I considered a friend. The message read, “I know old girl is over there, I’m not mad.” I immediately questioned what was going on and received a response of “nothing” and “oh, we are reading each others text now?” Because I couldn’t prove anything, I didn’t confront the issue further. I just let it fade away, but deep within, I struggled dealing with it.

People had made certain statements around me to make me think she had cheated, but I would always say not my wife (but I always did have some doubt). Oh, did I mention that early in our marriage a man called my house (I could hear clearly), and she said “girl, yes” as if a female was on the phone. When asked why she did it, she said she didn’t want me to think anything.

So recently, I finally asked my wife if she loved me or was in love with me. She turned the question over to me without answering. I then asked if she had cheated on me in our 19 years of marriage. And she admitted she had on two occasions (with different people) within the past seven years. She admitted the affair with the friend, but told me it happened during a time she didn’t know if she loved me and wanted out.

At first, I thought I was not ready to give up on my family, and I’m ready to fight to save it. But now I’m not so sure. I really have a problem with infidelity. I know I can forgive her because that is what Christ requires of us, but I can’t get over the fact she put the family through so much over the years, while cheating in the process. Nor can I get over the fact that she allowed a friend to invade what I considered to be mine. Now she wants to make things right. I am now her ROCK, her man, her lover and her friend. This is the first time I have heard this from my wife in 19 years. My plans are to leave, but my children are priority.

Based on my wife’s behavior do I have grounds for divorcing her?

Signed, Husband in Doubt

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Should a Wife Have the Right to Snoop Through Her Husband’s Phone?


Hi Dr. Buckingham,

I have been married for six years, and my husband and I grew up in different countries (I in the U.S. and he in the Caribbean). He was very honest with me from the beginning about his extensive sexual past. I was a virgin when we married. He keeps in contact with a lot of people from his homeland via social media. And I recently found out he was speaking to someone he used to sleep with (but didn’t consider to be a girlfriend); she was reminding him of the intimate times they had together and sending naughty pictures, and from what I saw, he didn’t tell her to stop. I told him I was uncomfortable with it, and he told me it was nothing serious, he was just “joking around” with her; he has since blocked her on all his social media accounts.

The problem is I found this out by going through his phone (I know it’s wrong). To be honest, I’ve done that on and off since we got married. Because I don’t know all his friends from his home, I felt this was a way to get to know who he was speaking to and what kind of relationships he had with them (male or female). This time though, the issue with this girl really threw me into a dark hole of insecurity, and I am continually pestering him about it. He didn’t change the passcode on his phone. But he has demanded that I stop going through his phone because he feels like he’s constantly being watched when he’s home and because he feels I’m hurting myself more than him when I do that.

I really do want to stop going through his stuff because it has caused other problems in the past. My question is: how can I feel comfortable to trust his word again fully when I feel he is now so overprotective of his phone? My biggest concern is that he will unblock this girl and start talking to her again now that he knows his wife won’t be going through his phone anymore.

Do I have a right to snoop or does my husband have a valid point—Should there be privacy in marriage?

Thank you,

Mrs. N

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What Does It Mean to Be “Good” in Singleness for a Christian Woman?


Dear Dr. Buckingham,

My boyfriend and I constantly argue and fight about what it means to be good in singleness. He believes that being good in singleness is about how he conducts himself in church and in the community. I disagree. We have sex on a regular basis, and he does not view this as being problematic. In his mind, he believes he is good in his singleness.

Because we are bombarded with sex in so many different ways daily, my boyfriend like others have become desensitized and believe it’s just the way things are today. Although I am guilty of engaging in premarital sex, I was raised to know and do better. Before I discuss this with my boyfriend again, I wanted to know if you could share your thoughts about this topic from a Christian perspective. Please help!

What Does it Mean to Be Good in Singleness?


Good in Singleness

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As a Single Man, What is the Best Thing I Can Do to Find a Wife?


Dr. Buckingham,

I am a successful young man who wants to have a wife and children in the near future. A few years ago, I relocated from the South to D.C. with the belief I would have better prospects. I am approaching my mid-30s, and I feel discouraged about my prospects. I meet women who appear to be good for me, but things just never work out.

I have not been able to identify my problem. I can admit I have some unresolved personal issues, but I truly do not believe that I am the problem. I attend social gatherings, church functions and business events with the hope I will find my wife. I have searched high and low for my future queen and have had very little success. I decided to write you because I do not want to go too far down the discouragement path and give up on finding love.

As a Single Man, What is the Best Thing  I Can Do to Find a Wife?


Husband Material


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3 Benefits of Seeking Professional Premarital Counseling


Hello Dr. Buckingham,

I have been dating this guy for a few years now and we are talking about marriage. I read a lot of your articles about relationships and most of them have a common theme. You often recommend that people seek professional counseling. I want my marriage to start off on the right foot, but I do not get the counseling thing. My fiancé has some fear and commitment issues and can be cold and detached at times, but overall he is a good guy. I believe that we are in love, but sometimes I wonder if we are rushing toward marriage out of lust. I am interested in learning more about my fiancé and myself, but as an African American female I was raised to keep my business private.

What Are the Benefits of Seeking Professional Premarital Counseling?


Ms. Private

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3 Steps to a Happy Wife and Happy Life


Hi Dr. Buckingham,

My wife and I have been married for two years, and we are hearing a lot of negative talk about marriage. We both come from broken homes and are afraid our pasts will impact our marriage. We are young, in love and work hard to remain positive about our marriage. My wife and I have a 1-year-old daughter, and I want to do everything in my power to keep my wife happy and family together. I believe in the saying, “A happy wife, a happy life.” What advice do you have for me?

How can I keep my wife happy?

Thanks in advance,

Young and Married

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I’m Smaller Than Average: When Should I Bring Up My “Penis Situation?”


Hello Dr. Buckingham,

I am a man and have a smaller than average penis. Not just length, but girth as well. This has often caused issues in romantic relationships. Sometimes, the women I have dated will attempt to “act” in the opposite with a lot of wild talk, only to reveal that they’ve never had to deal with this and didn’t know what to say or how to have a conversation. Currently, I am leery of pursuing anyone for fear of getting to the sexual element of the relationship.

I’m Smaller Than Average: When Should I Bring Up My “Penis Situation?” Before sex, after the first time or at the beginning of the relationship?


Physically Challenged

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Should I Give My Fiancé his Ring Back and Move On?


Hello Dr. Buckingham,

I just read a few of your articles and thought God must’ve sent me in your direction. I am currently dealing with infidelity in my relationship and am having a hard time getting through it.

Here’s my story:
I’ve been dating my now fiancé for 2 1/2 years now. We became exclusive a year ago. I just recently found out that he had been cheating on me throughout our whole relationship (exclusive and dating). Not only had he been cheating but he fathered a child who will soon be a year old. He never told me about this, she reached out to me recently, she also told me that she believes she is currently pregnant by him as well. Well I just had a child by him and we recently became engaged. I’m completely heart broken and shattered. He came clean, apologized and swears he does not love her, care for her or want to be with her. He has never seen the child, which she confirmed and he only continued to have sex with her because she threatened to make his life miserable. He went to see a counselor, we then went to counseling together but stopped because I recently had our child. We have been trying to work things out since. (I found all of this out the end of August 2015). He vowed to never see her again and to be truthful and honest from now on.

So here we are still working on us 3 months later and bam, now I just recently found out he’s been flirting with a woman (and other women) via social media throughout this whole ordeal. This one particular woman was one of the women he was seeing while we were dating. I am so hurt and confused all over again. I confronted him, he admitted he flirts but only because she had low self esteem and he was trying to make her feel better about herself smdh. He’s had no recent physical contact with her but he has gone out with her in the past and he claims they never had sex. I knew he was a flirt because that’s how we started talking but I didn’t think he flirted with others especially once we became serious. I love him, I know he loves me but I now have all of this constantly on my mind. I want to work it out for the sake of our child but I have no trust for him at all. I can’t live with this feeling of not being good enough, him possibly having 2 kids on the side, and now emotional infidelity via social media. I’m so confused and hurt, I don’t know what to do. What would you suggest? Can he be trusted in the future? Should I Give My Fiancé his Ring Back and Move On?

Sleepless in Charm City

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My Husband Abandoned Me, What Should I Do?

Dear Dr. Buckingham,

My husband left me after a big disagreement. But here is the kicker, we were only married for four months and we have a baby together. Now, it has been a year since he left.

At the time, he wanted me to kick my cousin and godsister out of our house. I’m from another state, and they were my only close family. I told them that they both had a year to find jobs and get their own place, but my husband could not wait. Since he left, he has been staying at his cousin’s house in the basement. He takes care of our daughter and pays my bills when he feels like it. We see each other once a week, but I am in school now and work part-time. I’m just getting tired and growing frustrated because he hasn’t move back in yet. When he left he gave me a list of things he wanted me to do before he would come back home. I completed them and moved into a new house away from the little bit of family that I do have, and he still has not moved back home.

My husband abandoned me; what should I do?

Signed, Mrs. Abandonment Read more