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Dear Gary

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
May 30, 2020 8:03 am

Dear Gary

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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May 30, 2020 8:03 am

​Once a month the New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages takes questions and comments from his listener line. And on the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, you’ll hear callers from around the country ask questions and give feedback that might help you in your relational struggles. Don’t miss the fun on the May Dear Gary broadcast—coming up the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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People are catching on to "The 5 Love Languages" . We've been talking with Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of the mega successful book, "The 5 Love Languages" . The need to feel loved by the significant people in your life is the deepest emotional need we have. My boyfriend and I read it together and we quickly realized like we are the exact opposite on the love language scale because we took the quizzes. I'm on with the Gary Chapman. I mean love languages and I'm right here in the middle of it.

I don't believe this. Words of affirmation! Need a marriage turnaround?

Have a dating struggle? Find answers and hope today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. I am no longer in love with you, but I love you. I don't feel like we have a very open line of communication about everything.

We have a lot. If I should marry, we should get married or not. But now she's telling me she's no longer attracted to me. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today it's our May Dear Gary broadcast as we feature your questions to counselor, author, pastor, and our host of the program. That's right, Dr. Gary Chapman is raring and ready to go with decades of experience with marriage struggles and dealing with in-laws and conflict over finances. And something addressed in our featured resource today, it's the book you and Dr. Ross Campbell wrote, How to Really Love Your Adult Child. The answer to that question is more and more complex, isn't it Gary?

Well, you're exactly right, Chris. You know, it takes longer to get young people out of the home today. After college, often they come back home for a while.

Sometimes after they've been married, they come back home for a while, divorced, and sometimes even bring children with them. Yeah, it is getting more and more difficult, but the reality is parents do love their adult children, but sometimes they don't know how best to express that love to their adult child. And sometimes parents simply perpetuate a negative journey for that adult child rather than helping them. This book that I wrote with Dr. Ross Campbell, a psychiatrist, who incidentally now is in heaven, but for 30 plus years, he was a psychiatrist. And I think this book is going to help a lot of parents who really want to love their adult child, but are not quite sure how do I best express that to the child.

Yeah. Well, that's our featured resource. If you go to, How to Really Love Your Adult Child.

If you've never read that, we have it linked right there. I want to ask one more question before we start, Gary, and that is, and here callers. We've gone through in the last couple of months of, well, more than that, just this upheaval in the country and it's impacted relationships. There has been, you know, talk about social distancing and all of that. And I wonder when Dr. Kathy Cook was with us a few weeks ago, she talked about grieving well what we have been through. And you agree with her that we need to have a time where we don't just move on and, you know, move forward as much as we can. We really have to take stock of what's happened here.

Well, I think you're right, Chris. And, you know, let's face it, many people suffered in ways that other people didn't suffer through all of this. And of course, those who suffer the most are those who lost family members, you know, in the midst of all of this. So grieving death of a family member is a huge experience for any of us. And the closer you were to that person, the deeper you feel the sense of loss.

And it doesn't go away with the passing of time. And so learning how to verbalize that to others. And if you know someone who has lost a family member during this time, for you to ask them about them or to say not just how are you doing, but to say, you know, I remember one time and you just give an experience where that person who is now deceased said something or did something for you in your life. It's a great encouragement to that person who has lost them.

And so they now open up and begin to talk with you. And one of the best and healthiest ways to process grief is to talk about it. And we're talking whether it's the death of a person or whether it's the loss of a job or maybe even during all of this, a divorce that's taken place. And the kids are grieving, even if they're adult children, they're grieving. So being empathetic with people who have suffered losses during this time is a tremendous way for us to minister to them, to serve them as they walk through this journey of grief. Yeah.

And that continues if we see, you know, what the medical personnel are talking about and the officials in Washington and looking at all this, that process will continue. But the person that I'm thinking of is the person who lost a loved one. And instead of grieving together because of the rules, you know, they've had to do this alone and has had to process this, not with a funeral service and people coming around them, but they've had to do that all alone. So there's just a number of ways that people can get involved in other people's lives. And I didn't want to do this program here today and not at least mention that at some point, Gary. Well, I think it's important, Chris.

I really do. You know, in my family, my wife's brother died during this time. And, you know, the funeral, we just had a small gathering in the house in his home.

And so many people didn't even have any kind of service. And so reaching out to those who have lost a family member during this time is extremely important over the next few months. Well, here's our phone number. If you want to call us and leave a message, leave a note, a vocal note, or if you'd like to ask a question of Dr. Chapman, it's 866-424-GARY, 1-866-424-GARY.

Leave your message. We'll get to your question, hopefully on a future broadcast. Let's begin with a little bit of good news, Gary. Some gratitude from a listener who heard a previous program.

Hi, Gary. I just wanted to let you know I'm one of those people that just looked at the radio just now and thought he's talking to me. My husband told me in January, I am no longer in love with you, but I love you.

And it's been a couple of months and it still hurts. But I really appreciated hearing what he had to say. And the prayer at the end really gave me some peace. So I thank you so much for having him on there to speak to us. And I need to look into that book, definitely.

Thank you. Well, you know, Chris, we never know who is listening to these programs. We do know common problems that people have. And what this scholar identified is one that I've heard so many times through the years where one spouse comes home and says to another, I love you, but I'm not in love with you. It's a way of saying I'm disconnected with you emotionally. And often it's the first step in that person moving toward divorce. It doesn't have to lead to divorce. It can be kind of a wake up call. And if the other person says, tell me about it or let's talk about it or tell me how you're feeling or what brought this on. We can have conversations. It can lead to reconciliation. But this caller is representative of many callers who are going through that kind of experience. But it's glad to know that what we say here on the program does make a difference in people's lives. I always love hearing that. I stared at the radio.

I've had people say I've had to pull over from the radio because you were talking to me here. And obviously we don't know what you're going through. But as Gary said, God knows.

He knows exactly what you're going through. And so maybe something on the broadcast today will make you do that very same things. And thank you for your response. Let's take one more call before our break. Here's a question about the love languages and something that you have addressed through the years, Gary. Here's our next caller. Hi, Gary. Got a quick question. So I read about your five love languages and I wanted to know what your thoughts were about the stability of those languages.

Thanks. Well, Chris, I'm often asked similar questions as this. That is, does the love language change or do they remain stable throughout a lifetime? I think that for most of us, our love language, which really is there really early in life, stays with us for a lifetime.

Like many, many other personality traits. But having said that, I think there are seasons of life and circumstances where another love language may kind of jump to the top. For example, a mother who has two or three preschool children, acts of service may not be her primary love language. But during those years, it probably will jump to the top because she is overwhelmed.

If her husband will jump in and help her with those practical things, she's going to feel loved. Another common experience is if your number one love language and number two are very, very close and you get enough of number one, that is your love tank is full, you may begin to think, I don't know, I think number two has become number one. But if they stop speaking number one, you will quickly say, oh, no, no, no, that's still my primary. So I do think there's situations that it may change, you know, for a period of time. But I think it does stay with us basically for a lifetime. When things get serious in a dating relationship, it's an exciting time. There's a lot of anticipation about what's ahead.

But there are still problems to work through. Here's our next question. Hi, Gary, I'm calling because I'm in a dating relationship that's gotten really serious and I think everything's great.

We've even read your book, Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married. The only concern I have is that he says this himself. He tends to keep things bottled in and I don't feel like we have a very open line of communication about everything. Sometimes it's really standoffish, doesn't really want to talk about things that are bothering him and I have to really pull it out of him. So I just want to know what's the best way to get someone without feeling like you're begging and like desperately urging them to tell you everything.

How do I get us to have a better open communication? Thank you so much. Looking forward to hearing your answer.

Bye. Well, I'm encouraged that you are sensitive enough to see this now during the relationship, rather than being overwhelmed by the in love experience and not even recognizing that this is a phenomena. You know, we are different in personality in terms of talk. Some people I call dead seas.

That is like the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea. They have a larger and doesn't go anywhere. This person has a large reservoir and they can receive things throughout the day, but they have no compulsion to talk about them. And the other personality is what I call the babbling brook. And that's the person that whatever comes in there in their mind, they share it.

They're just totally transparent and open. And these two people usually marry each other. So this this may be a part of what's going on here. And we have to simply recognize and accept each other's tendency. But it does mean that the babbling brook has to slow the flow and ask more questions. And the Dead Sea has to choose to talk more than they would normally talk. That is, they're working at this.

It's hard work for them. So it may just be a personality difference. On the other hand, it may be that there's something deeper than that as to why he isn't sharing with you, particularly if it's things that bother him and he's not sharing them.

What's beneath that? Why would he not want to share those things with you and discuss them with you? There's something there. It may be that he has tried. He shared a few of those. And maybe you've come across negative, or at least he heard you as being condemning of him. So he doesn't want to bring it up because he doesn't want you to tell him that he shouldn't feel that way or whatever. So it could be the way you've responded in the past to his conversations when he's opened up to you. Or it could be something deeper than that. But I would say if you really sense that this is a problem, then in your premarital counseling, I would bring this up with a counselor and let him or her help you discover what is behind his behavior.

Until you can discover that, you probably won't make much progress. And if this is troubling you now in the dating relationship, it will trouble you in the marriage relationship. So it's something you should really deal with and try to find significant growth before you get married. I hear so many people get to have this kind of thing come up. Well, it'll all work out.

And they spike it. And I agree with you. It's so much better to deal with this now that it comes up. Don't push it down. There's something there.

Yeah, absolutely, Chris. And that's often the case that people will... We're just so in love. We don't want to say anything or bring anything up that we think might turn them off to us. And so we move on toward the marriage. And then we eventually come down off the high of that in-love experience. And now it all surfaces. And now we're into something really big and argumentative. And we wonder, what happened?

What happened? This is not the person I married. Well, it is the person you married. But the reality had not surfaced before you got married.

And now it has surfaced. So better to have those things surface and work through them before you get married. There can also be some fear here that if I bring this up, then we're not going to move forward. And I've been hurt in other relationships and I don't want that to happen.

So, you know, that kind of fear can torpedo your own heart, you know, listening to that. But the other thing is that what she has just said is this is one of the reasons why you don't like short time between beginning a relationship and getting married. You need this time to explore, right?

Absolutely, Chris. And, you know, it's not just the time. It's what you do with the time. I was glad to hear her say that they have worked through my book, Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married. And 12 things that I know now that I've known before I got married would have made my marriage much easier.

So that's the kind of thing. Reading a book together, discussing it together, and then going for premarital counseling together is another very positive thing to do when you're in a serious dating relationship. So that's a dating struggle. How about when you're engaged and your future spouse isn't motivated to move forward? Here we go.

Hi, Gary. I've been going out with a person who's 12 years younger than me and we've been out for together for four years. I've been engaged with him for two years, but I don't know for some reason we seem not to make a date or he doesn't seem to worry too much about heading to a wedding or moving on forward.

It's a little confusing. I don't know if I should marry, we should get married or not. Or if you see me as a friend and he doesn't dare to tell me, he seems to answer me the same thing. He says, no, I love you and everything, but he doesn't seem to say it on his own. Only when I ask him, when I come with the conversation. I don't know if it's wrong for me to be with him, even though there's nothing going on. But him coming over here and then we're going out and we're seeing each other as a couple, but respecting each other. I don't know if that's against, you know, if we're offending God with that or we're doing it wrong, that's not good for us. So I would love to have your response.

I'll be waiting for it. Thank you very much. Well, it would be interesting to know how old the caller is. Is she 50 and he's 12 years younger than her? Or is she 30 and he's 12 years younger than her?

Those two make a huge difference. And also what each of them have gone through in the past. Has he been married before or has he never been married? Has he dated other people or is this the first person he's dated? All of those things are important because if this is his first relationship, then maybe socially, maybe there's some things in his mind. Maybe there's some things in his lifestyle that he doesn't want to move to marriage and he's not really interested in marriage. He just enjoys your friendship and likes being with you. If he's been through a marriage before and he has suffered the trauma of divorce, then he's reluctant to jump into another marriage because he knows the pain that divorce creates.

So there's an awful lot of issues there that would be helpful to know in terms of what you should and should not do. I would say, however, if you've known each other four years, you've been engaged for three years, it's time to deal with this issue and find out why he doesn't want to move on to marriage. Why would you want to be engaged and yet not marry? So I would encourage you, if he's willing to go with you for counseling, I would encourage you to do that. If he's not willing to go, I would encourage you to go to a counselor yourself and just share the situation and let them help you make a wise decision about what to do. I don't have enough information to say you should break it off or you should continue. I do think, however, you should surface the issue and reach out for help because there's something behind the reason he is not willing to move on and set a date for marriage. She mentioned something about God not being happy with the situation and it sounded like she was saying that there wasn't sexual intimacy in their dating relationship. But let's pull back from that and just say, let's say there is, let's say there's somebody listening, you've been engaged for three years, you're sexually involved with that other person and they don't want to move forward.

What would you say to that person in that situation? I would say in that situation, Chris, when we give someone the benefits of being married sexually without the commitment to marriage, we set ourselves up for failure. If you're living with the concept that God doesn't matter and God has no plans for marriage, that people just do what they want to do, then this is the kind of thing that develops. And so you're having the benefits sexually of being married but you're not married and you don't have the responsibility of being married and don't have the commitment to be married.

That could go on for a long, long time if you're willing to live with that. But most people really are not willing to live with that. And so one of them, typically the female, is saying eventually, no, if you're not willing to take some responsibility here and make a commitment here, then I'm getting out of this relationship. And Chris, I think that's part of the problem with the new sexual values that we have in our culture, our lack of values, so that sex is just another thing we do when we date people.

And when we do that, we minimize the value of marriage and the importance of marriage. And this takes us to the how to love your adult child because there are a lot of parents who are listening right now who are saying, I don't know how to help my son or my daughter who's in a relationship like that. Our featured resource, if you go to, is how to really love your adult child.

You can find out more again at So a person in a dating relationship without communication, a person who's been engaged three years. Now let's hear from someone who is married and having a struggle.

Hi, Gary. My wife and I have been together since she was 15. We're both teenagers and have three kids together.

We work full time together and have for many years. We've gotten busy at work and things that went off the deep end. And boy, it's hard and seems like every day it's probably not getting better. I will say I'm going to be at fault for that because I have trouble keeping my emotions in. And so when I get upset, she asked me, what's wrong? And I'm like, I don't want to tell you. I don't want to start anything. You know, I don't want this to, you know, I don't I have to keep my emotions in.

And next thing you know, she's upset with me because I tell her that I feel like she's not giving me her attention or that she doesn't care about my feelings. And obviously that's stupid because I know better. But damage is done. Here we are this morning. Woke up.

Good night. I had to sleep on the couch this morning. We had coffee together. And then I dropped that thing when she asked me what was going on, like what was it? Why was I OK? What was I walking around the house and stuff?

I was hopefully saving my marriage. And I know it's going to take effort on my part. Thank you. Well, I do sense in the caller the desire to find an answer to this. And I do appreciate his openness to acknowledge that obviously he's part of the problem.

It's never a one sided thing that one is all right and one is all wrong. But we all respond negatively from time to time in a relationship. Two things that I would suggest. One is I do have a book entitled One More Try What To Do When Your Marriage Is Falling Apart. I think if you could read that together, I mean, that would be ideal. Read it together, a chapter a week and work your way through it.

I think you could probably begin to find some answers. The other thing I would say is with what you describe, counseling would be very, very helpful to you. And in terms of finding a counselor in your area, I would suggest call the churches in your area that you trust and ask the pastor or the staff, whom do you recommend for marriage counseling?

Because typically the pastors know who the local marriage counselors are and they can help you find a person that can be really, really helpful to you. Do something because simply the passing of time is not going to help it. There has to be changed behavior that grows out of conversations that the two of you are having. But typically, when you get to the place which you describe, we can't turn those conversations by ourselves. We need an outside person like a counselor or a pastor who can help us hear each other and hear each other in a safe place where there's someone else there that can help us process our emotions.

So counseling can be very, very, very helpful and I would strongly urge you to find a Christian counselor and let them help you walk through this. Gary, I want to go back to the last caller who had this conversation at breakfast that day, that morning, you know. And she said, what's going on? What's going on? And I heard the, you know, the dating relationship call that the first of in the last segment who were saying, I can't get him to open up. And I think what the married caller was saying was, I'm trying to hold back. I'm trying not to say what's here because I don't want to distance my wife from me because we've got problems. So I'm going to stuff my emotions and I'm not going to say anything and boom, here it is. It came out and he's frustrated. I just want you to address that whole, I've got to hold back. I've got to stuff my emotions. I can't express them to my spouse because of, you know, whatever's going on in the relationship.

That usually doesn't turn out well, does it? Well, it doesn't, Chris, because the only way we can solve our differences is for us to hear each other and what is going on inside the other person. And we don't know that simply by looking at them. I mean, we can tell that something's going on because they're not responding in a positive way. But we don't know what that is. And sometimes we hold back because we're afraid if we start talking, we're going to end up yelling and screaming and putting them down and that sort of thing. And we don't want to do that.

We know that's not going to be healthy. And so we decide, well, I'll just try to hold it in so I won't explode. Or maybe we're holding it in because I feel like if I share what I'm really feeling, they will take it as a put down and then that'll make things even worse.

We'll get into another argument. So obviously there are reasons why we draw back and fail to express what's going on. But what all of us need to learn is how to listen to each other.

And if a couple can learn how to say, you know, honey, if we have a problem, can we just sit down here? If you're struggling with something, can we sit down and you simply tell me what's going on and I will not condemn you. I will listen to you. I will try to understand you.

I will ask you questions to clarify what you're saying. Because if we will learn to listen to each other like that, we can honestly say, OK, honey, I see what you're saying. I can see how you feel that way. And what can we do about it? And you can begin spending your energy talking about how can we make this better rather than spending your energy condemning the other person. But, you know, I say that, but I recognize by nature we are not listeners. By nature, we only listen long enough to come back and say, well, that's not right or no, that's wrong.

And we condemn each other and we get into a conflict situation. We have to learn how to listen and learn how to talk. Communication is the lifeblood of a marriage. It's like the blood to the body. I mean, if we don't learn how to hear each other and share with each other our thoughts and feelings and process them together, then we're going to have struggles.

You know, it can go on forever. So learning how to listen and learning how to share in a positive way, extremely important. And for some couples, that's going to take some counseling for them to learn how to do that. Others can read books and talk to themselves and talk to each other and talk to God and ask God's help.

And they can move forward in a positive way. I think that's why counseling helps so much. For me, that third party forces you to, it's her turn and now it's your turn. And so you get into that, OK, I see.

So much of a conflict is just simply because I'm responding to what I think I hear rather than what is trying to be communicated. So I love what you said in that last segment. Go to the Web site five love languages dot com. You'll see our featured resource, how to really love your adult child.

Again, five love languages dot com. Here's our next question. It comes under the heading of boundaries and how stepping over those boundaries can affect a marriage.

Hi, Gary. I have a question about what the Bible says about a married man talking to an ex-girlfriend. Who's also married about sex and having babies.

Can you help me out with this? Thank you. Well, it would be interesting to know the fuller story of what is going on there. I'm assuming this married man is her husband. I don't know that who's talking to an ex-girlfriend. And she says about sexual matters and having babies.

I don't know what part of having a baby he's talking about. But obviously, it appears to me that this is a wife who is perplexed by her husband's interfacing with an ex-girlfriend, which is fully understandable. I think most of us, when we get married, we don't anticipate that our spouse is going to have a relationship of some kind with an ex-girlfriend or an ex-boyfriend. Whether it's a one-time conversation that you happen to run into each other in the grocery store, that's a different matter. But if it's a matter of having regular conversations with a former boyfriend or girlfriend, and particularly if they turn sexual in nature, that's not a healthy sign. I would say that's a reason for being concerned. But if you bring it up, he will probably say there's nothing to it. There'll be an explanation as to why. And if it is something more than what is appropriate, we all tend to deny the fact that it is anything other than just a casual conversation. So I would not accept it simply and say, well, this is just the way it is.

I would continue to ask questions about why and what is the discussion and why do you feel necessary to be talking to her. But mainly share your own hurt. Share how it makes you feel.

Share what goes through your mind. But not in a condemning way. I mean, if you just simply shoot him for what he's doing, verbally shoot him, then he's going to be defensive and he's going to shoot back. But if you simply share in a kind way how this makes you feel and the thing that really concerns you about it, then if he has any love at all for you, he's far more likely to hear what you're saying and to begin to think through his behavior. Again, we can't control each other, but we can influence each other. Honest sharing of your own perspective is a kind thing to do. And if he responds negatively, that's pretty much to me at least a sign that what he's doing probably is something that's inappropriate.

But at any rate, you are where you are and I would just encourage you not to ignore it, but to try to be a positive influence in that situation. Let's say he's listening and he said, there was nothing to this and I just said having kids is a good thing and it's changed me and you'll be a good mom, you know, or whatever it is. What is a good response rather than it was nothing? What's a good response for him to say to her when she shares, here's how I felt about this? And I'm not saying, you know, here's what you parrot to your wife or the wife parrots to her husband, but I can hear the negative, you know, the defensiveness.

What's the positive thing? I think the response to a wife who shares her pain and her hurt over the reality he's talking to an ex-girlfriend, I think the response is to be honest. If it was just a one-time conversation, then share was a one-time conversation and share how it happened and in what context. But if it's been an ongoing thing that you've been having conversations on the phone or in person on an ongoing matter, then be honest about it. Because we can't live deceitful lives and expect to have healthy relationships. So being honest with the person, even though, yes, it's a matter of if you say, well, if I'm honest with her, then she's going to walk off and leave me.

Well, then, you know, maybe she walks off and leaves you. But we will never have a healthy relationship if we're not honest about what really is going on. And for him to say, I hear you, I hear what you're saying, and I want you to know that's not going to happen again. Yeah.

That would be super positive if he can honestly say that. Right. Yes. Okay. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. We have time for another call before we take a break. Let's get back to the love languages and opposites attract. I've heard Gary say that.

Well, here's evidence. Basically, I'm trying to find a quiz for my love language to better understand my love language as opposed to just reading about it, kind of like how I took a quiz to figure out my love language. And I was also trying to find a quiz for my husband because his is acts of service at the top of the list and mine physical touch, which is like at the bottom of his list. So further guidance on tools to better educate each other on our love language would be awesome.

I'll probably try and go out and buy the book this weekend. Anyways, thank you and have a great day. I love it when she says at the bottom of his list. Well, often it's the case that one spouse will have a love language and that'll be their number one and it'll be number five for the other person. So that's not abnormal. However, it does mean that there's a higher learning curve. You have to work harder to speak the love language. That's number five for you.

Two or three things I would suggest. Maybe she has already taken the quiz online. I get the sense that she at least knows about enough about the love languages to say mine is physical touch and his is acts of service. But there's a free quiz if you haven't taken it at five love languages dot com. There's one for married couples.

There's one for singles and also one for teenagers and children, for that matter. But I would suggest the two of you take that take that quiz. It's free and discuss it with each other.

And what is number one and what is number two and number three right on down the list. That would be a helpful experience. I think another thing, if you would like to sign up for an email that I send out every week, we give you ideas on how to speak these languages.

And these ideas come from people like you who have called in and shared these ideas with us. And so we give additional ideas on how to speak each of these languages. And of course, in the book, you'll also find helpful ideas as well, because in the book we talk not only about the love languages, but we talk about the dialects within each of the love languages. The dialects are different ways to speak that particular language.

So I think those three sources I would suggest to you. I'm glad to see you're interested in the topic because I think learning how to love each other and choosing to speak each other's language is the key to meeting the emotional need for love and keeping love alive in a marriage. Is there hope for a marriage that hasn't experienced sexual intimacy for years? Here's our next call.

Hi, Gary. My wife and I haven't been intimate for years. We did not have good sexual chemistry when we first started dating. But now she's telling me she's no longer attracted to me.

I just need ways to have a solution. Well, let me say, first of all, that the sexual part of a relationship is almost always tied to the other aspects of the relationship. If, for example, a wife does not feel loved by a husband, that is, he's not speaking her love language on a regular basis, she may have little desire to be sexually intimate with him because she doesn't feel emotionally connected to him. Now, men, on the other hand, can have a strong desire for sexual intimacy, even if they don't feel loved by the wife, because his desire is far more physically motivated. And I talk about this in my book, The Marriage You've Always Wanted, the difference between males and females in terms of sexuality.

So I think doing some reading along those lines would be helpful for you. But I do think if we don't have a healthy relationship in other areas of the relationship, we're not likely to have mutual sexual fulfillment and mutual sexual desire. So I would say take a fresh look at your marriage. And one way to do that would be to take a book, any book, one of my books or someone else's books on marriage, and read a chapter a week. At the end of the week, each of you shares with the other one thing you learned out of that chapter.

And just work your way through a book. And what you'll be doing is talking about your relationship. And I'm sure you will talk about things you haven't talked about for years, because the outside voice of the author of the book is coming through and you're having to respond to it. So situations like this do not go away with the passing of time. I mean, it's obvious by what you said, we haven't had sexual intimacy for years.

And three more years is not going to make a difference unless you do something different this year than you did last year. So I just think working through a book would be the starting place. And as you discuss other aspects of the marriage, as you read a book, sooner or later, you'll get around to the sexual part.

And by then, you will have learned some things and changed some things. And I think you'll find that the sexual part of the marriage can change. But it doesn't begin necessarily by focusing on the sexual part.

It begins by focusing on the marriage relationship in the larger perspective. He said something that was interesting, and I wanted to get your take on this, the sexual chemistry. He said, when we first started dating, there wasn't sexual chemistry or there's a problem with that.

And I don't know what he means, and you can't know what he means. But what's your take on that sexual chemistry when they date? Well, you know, Chris, sometimes people are talking about the strong emotional pull they have for each other. You know, we call it falling in love. And in every area, you're just motivated to be with them. And yeah, the sexual desire typically is a part of that. You want to be sexually involved with them. That's why even those who have the guideline, which I believe is important, not to have sexual intercourse before marriage.

Even those people will have the desire to kiss, have the desire to hug, have the desire to hold hands. All of those things are physical in nature and related to the sexual part of the relationship. So what I hear him saying is that even in our dating relationship, we didn't have a strong desire or pull to physically be related to each other. But I don't know if he's using that as an excuse and just saying, well, we were just a mismatch and we shouldn't have gotten married, because that's what many people conclude when things aren't going well in the sexual part of the marriage. And that may or may not be what he's referring to. And maybe they did or didn't have sex when they were dating.

I don't know. But I would say this, those individuals who live together before they get married, thinking that that is going to make things better for them when they get married, research says the opposite is true. Those who live together before they get married or sexually intimate before marriage have a higher divorce rate than those who do not have sexual intercourse before marriage.

You can't improve on God's plan. But please don't hear me saying that if you've had sexual intercourse before marriage, you can never have a good marriage, because that's not true. Listen, God will forgive us of all the things we've done wrong, and he can take two people who have had a horrible lifestyle and walked away from God. But if they walk to God, God can give them a wonderful relationship, forgive the past, heal the hurts and the pains, and give them the kind of marriage that they wanted to have, which is a loving and supportive and caring relationship. God is the God who ordained marriage, and he's the one who can show us how to have that kind of marriage. So I'm hearing you say that there is hope for a marriage that hasn't experienced sexual intimacy for years, but it may not be of focusing on the sexual component of marriage that that fire will ignite when other things are taken care of.

Is that what you're saying? I think that is true, Chris. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't talk about this part. We should, but it ought to be in the broader sense of talking about the whole of the marriage.

If we can learn how to express love to each other in a meaningful way, if we can learn how to apologize when we do hurt each other, if we can learn how to forgive, if we can learn how to talk to each other, and I could go on, but there's a whole lot of things that if we can grow in those areas, we will be far more likely to find mutual sexual fulfillment in the relationship. I'm glad he called. You know, the struggle that he's going through, he's not alone in this, and we've had a lot of women call wives saying that my husband's not interested anymore. Obviously, he is, or he wouldn't have called with that question.

There are other things, physical things that happen, medical things that happen that can prevent intimacy in this way. So that question has a lot of different answers, and we sure are glad that you came for the conversation. If you want to give us a call and maybe ask a question along those lines, our number is 866-424-GARY, 1-866-424-GARY.

Ask a different question or maybe respond to something you've heard today. And if you go to the website, you'll see our featured resource, the book by Dr. Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell, the late Dr. Campbell, titled How to Really Love Your Adult Child, Building a Healthy Relationship in a Changing World. Just go to And next week, if you and your spouse have conflict about finances, don't miss our conversation about thriving in love and money. A big thank you to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Todd. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in Chicago in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-20 21:33:32 / 2023-08-20 21:50:37 / 17

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