Find myself in another failed relationship, it was all over once.
What can I do to prove to her, show that I genuinely care and I'm trying to make amends. People are so different, you can't categorize them. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today it's our Dear Gary broadcast for October, time to open the phone lines and hear your questions about the love languages, your marriage, singles issues and more.
Well, I'm excited to hear you present your questions to Dr. Chapman and we're going to get to those in just a moment. Before we do that, each week we have a featured resource and today it's A Couple's Guide to a Growing Marriage, a Bible Study. Gary, tell me what you hope happens as couples go through this resource. Well, you know, Chris, I would encourage them to use this with a group so that everybody's doing this Bible study every week and then coming together and discussing it. So if a person's listening today and you're a group leader in your church with married couples, this would be a great, great resource.
But of course it certainly can be used just by the couple themselves just working through it. And my hope is that as they see the scriptures and see the principles that grow out of the scriptures and begin to apply them to their marriage, they're going to see growth in their marriage. You know, Chris, I've often said marriages are either growing or regressing.
They never stand still. And I've encouraged couples at least once a year work through some kind of study on marriage. And here's one that is actually a Bible study that pulls the principles out of the scriptures and applies them to marriage. And you know what happens when you get into a group like that? You realize you're not alone in your struggles. You know, when somebody else says, we're going through this, then it just, it almost lightens the load because a lot of times you feel like, well, I'm the only one or we're the only couple going through hard times. Yeah.
I just have found Chris in my own life in the past, the times I have grown the most is when I was in a small group, you know, working through material of some kind. It's always healthy to work with others because what you said is exactly true. You realize other people are struggling and we're struggling. Okay. Let's help each other. Let's encourage each other.
Let's listen to each other's stories. Well, if you go to fivelovelanguages.com and click resources and then Building Relationships, you'll see this resource we have for you, a couple's guide to a growing marriage. Again, go to fivelovelanguages.com.
You can also subscribe to the podcast right there at the website, fivelovelanguages.com. Okay, let's begin with a love language question. It seems appropriate, Gary.
This has taken years to uncover. So here's our first caller. Hey, Gary, I'm curious. I remember when I first read your book back in the 90s, one of the things that you had said, if you're having trouble figuring out your love language, I think this was before there was a test. And you said, if you're having trouble, think of the opposite. At the time, I was in kind of a relationship that was emotionally abusive that basically shut me off from the other person. I thought that I was words of affirmation. In later years, when I take the test, it shows that I'm actually, quality time is like 33%, physical touch is 30%, and then words of affirmation is 17%.
But I found myself in 2022, another failed relationship. It was all over words. What I realized was that this person had said some things to me that I really couldn't get past, and at that point, I didn't really want quality time with them or physical touch with them. So I know sometimes we can take a test and kind of fool ourselves into thinking that we're one thing that we're not, but I don't feel like I'm the person that needs a lot of praise. I mean, I do love hearing I love you from my loved one, but I'm not somebody that needs to hear. I think you're great, or I'm proud of you, or I appreciate you. So I'm just curious what your thoughts are on that.
Thanks. Well, you know, the scriptures say, life and death is in the power of the tongue. And when you say what I think you said, that this person with whom you were trying to build a relationship and they verbally abuse you, they put you down, it's death. Whatever your love language is, when you give people critical words, then you are in the process of trying to kill them.
I don't mean you're thinking I'm going to kill them, but you are killing the relationship. So I don't think it necessarily has anything to do with your love language. It's just that positive words, build people up, negative words, tear people down. But the very fact that you said, uh, quality time was your language. When you are a quality time person, then you want to be with someone who is loving you, who wants to be with you and who is having positive conversations with you. But when they start the negative put downs, then it hurts deeply because what you want in quality time is to share life with each other. You share your thoughts, your feelings, they share their thoughts, their feelings, and you love doing things together with them. But you see those negative words can destroy all of that, all those positive feelings. So I wouldn't say that, uh, your love language has changed. I would say it's quality time, but you know, words are important to all of us. And is it something how, when I'll say words to the wife of my youth, I can just see it's like when you scratch a cat's back, you know, the, the back kind of goes, there's just something that happens.
And the negative of that is also true. So I think our, our callers is touching on something really important here. You're listening to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.
If you'd like to ask Dr. Chapman a question to be answered on a future Dear Gary broadcast, call 866-424-GARY, 1-866-424-GARY, like our next caller who is single and is struggling with a what if question. Hi, Gary, if you've had a relationship that's gone on for almost two months and then suddenly the feelings are gone, even though you, you felt that fiery passion in the first month or so. And then it started to go downhill on both sides. Is that natural? Does that happen often? Could we not have worked through it, I guess is my last question.
Thank you. I think the positive emotional feelings that we have in the early stages of a relationship come because there's something about that person that we find attractive. It may be the way they look, the way they talk, the way they emote, and we're kind of drawn to them. But those feelings can easily vanish rather soon as you get to know each other better and you find out things about them that don't really thrill you, things that maybe turn you off. And yes, those, those feelings just begin to dissipate. You know, for most people, the average of the, what we typically call falling in love, and I wouldn't necessarily say that what you're talking about is falling in love is just the beginning stages. But when you really get obsessed with the other person and you really have those strong feelings that we say, you know, they're in love or we're in love, the average lifespan of that experience is two years. Everybody comes down off that high.
We don't, we don't stay with that high all of our lifetime. And that's why "The 5 Love Languages" really comes in and it's really important. So when you come down off that high, you've learned each other's language, you're speaking it and you're still meeting their need for love. But in a relationship, like you describe, which is very, very brief and you lose the positive feelings, I would just say those are red flags waving saying probably this relationship is not going to move toward marriage. Part of the reason for dating in our culture is to discover each other and learn about each other.
And as you do, they're going to be people that you're going to learn. No, this is, this is not for me. This is not meant to lead to marriage. And so that relationship breaks up and there's nothing wrong with breaking up a relationship. You follow the signs that are obvious that we're not marching to the beat of the same drummer, certain things about her or him that I know I just, I just can't commit myself to this relationship. So his last question at the end there, kind of this lament, could we have worked it out, you know, could we have made it further through this? You're saying that it's a gift to see that and then to respond to it, not that you hate that person, you just don't move toward them in a forever love relationship in marriage, right?
Yeah, that's right. And I think, listen, there's nothing wrong with dating people that you don't know, well, we don't know each other when we start dating. Typically, I mean, you know, my wife and I grew up in the same church, so we knew each other, but we didn't know each other till we started dating and really didn't get to know each other till we got married.
But no, I think you let dating serve its purpose and often that purpose is, you know, we had a friendship, it was kind, we're going to be kind to each other, but it doesn't need to lead to a romantic relationship and later to marriage. Our program is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman and this is our Dear Gary broadcast for October. If you have a relationship question you want to ask, call our listener line at 1-866-424-Gary. Keep your question as brief as possible and we'll try to answer it here on the program.
That's 1-866-424-4279. A featured resource today is Gary's book, A Complete Guide to a Growing Marriage, a Bible Study. As I mentioned, you'll find out more about that at the website, 5lovelanguages.com.
Like Resources and Building Relationships and you'll find it right there, go to 5lovelanguages.com. So many of our questions come from something we hear someone else say and we wonder, oh, that's really true. Here's a simple question from our next caller. Hey Gary, just wanted to know, I just heard that when you get married you should be in love. Is that always a lasting relationship that you're in love? Well you often hear people say, don't get married unless you're in love. Well in my mind, that all depends. If you've been dating for three years and you're no longer quote in love, doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't get married because the in love experience only has a two year lifespan.
That's the average, some a little longer, some a little less. So it's not the foundation for marriage. It's not abnormal. If you meet someone, you fall in love, you have these euphoric feelings, you're obsessed with each other. It's incredibly wonderful to be with each other, but if you date long enough before you get married, you may well come down off that height before you get married. But if all the other signs are good, you know, in terms of your same interests, you're both committed to Christ, you're growing together, you like things about each other, doesn't necessarily mean you ought to break up just because you've lost those feelings. Because if you had gotten married earlier, you would still lose those feelings. So it's not the foundation for marriage. It is the euphoric stage that often brings people to the point of marriage, but it's not the thing that's going to give you a long term healthy marriage.
Wait a minute. I'm thinking there's somebody listening who's going to say, I heard Dr. Gary Chapman tell, say that, you know, you don't have to be in love to be in marriage. So you need to marry me. You're not saying that, right?
I am not saying that at all. You know, sometimes a person is in love and the other person is not in love and the one who is in love will often press the issue and to say, you know, well, you know, you don't really have to feel the same thing I feel, uh, da, da, da, da, and they try to pressure you into something you're not comfortable with. So, you know, I certainly think we ought to fall in love.
We ought to have love feelings for the other person because that's the emotion that attracts us to each other. Uh, but it's not something that we can build the marriage on. It's highly possible, Chris, to be in love with somebody and they're not a good mate for you because you're so different in other things, you know, so very different in other things. And I've seen this many times a Christian will end up marrying a non-Christian because they fall in love with them and they're a kind person. You know, they have positive traits about them and they marry them and they're marching to the beat of a different drummer, you know, one's following Christ and one's not following Christ. And the scriptures say, don't be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.
So don't allow the euphoric feelings of it being in love cause you to make a decision that is against the basic teachings of scripture. Yeah. I'm glad you called with that question. Thank you. And if you have a question you want to ask of Dr. Chapman, 1-866-424, Gary, is our number number. It's not a counseling line. We can't call you back, but if you want to leave your message, we'll try to get to it and address it here on the program. And your question might help somebody else down the road, 866-424, Gary. Some marriage struggles are dealt with quickly.
Others linger for a long time. And that's where our next caller finds herself. Good afternoon. Hi, Gary. I want to know how long do you stay with an individual who is definitely narcissistic? It's been 40 years and he is so out of touch. I want to honor God as always, but it's 40 years and we are definitely separated in any type of communication. We cannot communicate.
Any time they say something, he just boils off. So I'm just wondering, I love the Lord and I want to honor the Lord, but I'm just wondering how long do we stay in a marriage if someone is just completely out of touch with the marriage? Thank you so much. Have a great day. God bless. Well, Chris, 40 years is a long time. Yes, it is.
You know, that's the question obviously I can't answer in terms of, you know, two more years or one more year or anything like that. I'm identifying with the pain of this caller because when you're in a marriage and you're not connected to each other emotionally, you don't sense love. You sense that they are into themselves and doing what they want to do with their lives and really not into you. It's very difficult because marriage was designed by God to be an intimate relationship, sharing life intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically, spiritually, a very intimate relationship. And what she's describing sounds like the opposite of that. I've written two books that I think might be helpful to this caller. One is called One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. The other is entitled, Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away.
And I think she's at the point. And in that book, I deal specifically with the kind of things she's talking about. Married to an addict, married to someone that is narcissistic, married to someone that won't talk to you, and other really heavy duty issues. I think I would suggest that book for this particular caller. I think if you'll read it, you'll get the concept of how to be a positive influence on your spouse. We can't change our spouse to be sure, but we can influence them. And I would say, before you give up, read that book, take the challenge that's in that book, and see what happens. What do you say to the person who says, but Gary, 40 years, he ain't gonna change. Or Gary, 40 years, she's not gonna change, you know, whatever the situation is.
Are you saying don't go on the outcome? Don't look at the expectation of hope that, you know, that spouse will change. Go look at yourself, look at you and this relationship, and allow God to do what he's gonna do in the next weeks or months. Yeah, I would say, Chris, the key issue is, before you give up, out of desperation, and then feel badly about yourself as a Christian that you gave up, why don't you try the most powerful thing in the world? And that is the influence of love.
Remember God loved us when we were dirty rotten sinners and sent Christ to die for us? What if we open our heart to him and say, Lord, you know how I feel about my husband, and emotionally I'm just hurt and in pain, but would you pour your love into me and teach me how I can love him? God will do that. He'll answer that, give you the power to love someone who's not loving you. And love is the most powerful influencer in the world. So yes, you can't change your spouse, but that doesn't mean your spouse can't change.
As long as we have life, there is potential for change. And so it's a matter of whether we're gonna try to have a positive influence and see what God can do, or whether we're just gonna give up because we hurt, and we're so empty in the relationship. Wouldn't you say, though, and we've talked about this before with guests and just you hear that a person who is really a full-fledged narcissist is one of the most difficult situations that a marriage can be in?
That is true, Chris, but God can break through in the most difficult situations. Now, if you follow the challenge of that book that I'm talking about, Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away, at the end of six months and you see no change at all, there is a place to say, I love you too much to sit here and do nothing. For 40 years, I have lived with your attitudes toward me and toward life. And the last six months, I've dedicated myself to try to meet your need for love. It appears to me that you have no desire in building our relationship.
Therefore, I love you too much to sit here and do nothing. I'm going to move in with my mother or whatever you choose to do. If you're ever willing to go for counseling to deal with this problem, here's a counselor and here's their phone number.
If you get counseling and you can deal with this issue, I'm willing to go with you for marriage counseling. But until then, I love you too much to stay here and do nothing. There is a place for that kind of tough love.
But you see, that love is much more likely to impact them if it comes after six months of unconditional love. Because for 40 years, if the last several years, all you've done is live in the same house and once in a while you tell him what's wrong with him and once in a while he tells you what's wrong with you. And then you say that you're going to move out. He's going to say, good riddance, sick and tired of you being here anyway. But if you've been loving him in the right love language for a period of six months, then you make the tough love approach. He's far more likely to wake up and say, hey, I think I better get some help here.
So we can't change them, can't guarantee what will happen. But you will be able to look yourself in the mirror and look God in the face if you have tried unconditional love for an extended period of time. And again, the title of that book is loving your spouse. Can you feel like walking away? And you can find out more about that at fivelovelanguages.com.
Click under resources there. Anger can be devastating to a marriage. How can you prove you're overcoming a problem like anger? Here's our next caller. Hi, Gary.
I have a question for you. My wife and I are in the middle of a separation and she feels that because we've had trouble over the years with my anger outbursts, that she can no longer deal with it. And we're separating. I'm currently in counseling and we've been separated with first week of separation. She wants to try it for three or four weeks. I guess the question I have is, how can I prove to her when we talk again, because she wants to communicate with me in two or three weeks to see how, just to kind of see how she feels and things are going. But how do I prove to her, also saying, I'm sorry, and genuinely apologetic about my actions towards her and the way I can behave when I get angry with her. What can I do to prove to her, other than just time, to show that I genuinely care and I'm trying to make amends and show her, because I don't want to be separated, obviously, but if she needs that space, I understand that as well. I just want to know what I can do in this situation just to prove to her that I am sincere and I plan on continuing to be as sincere as I can and try to love her as Christ loves the church and to love her selflessly and sacrificially for the rest of our marriage.
We've been married 16 years this year also. Thank you. Well, I think for this caller, I would say, first of all, she's come to the point where she feels like she has to be separated for a while. That can be positive. I'm glad that you're getting counseling.
That would be the first thing I would suggest to you. And I would say stick with the counseling because until you understand where your anger is coming from and you understand how to process anger in a positive way, because the emotion of anger itself is not a sin, but it's what we do when we are angry. And as you said, you lash out at her and give her harsh words and all of that. So a counselor can help you understand the source of your anger, where it's coming from, and also how to handle it in a positive way. All people feel angry, but not all people are controlled by their anger. You see, we are to control anger. Anger is not to control us. So I don't think it will necessarily be a fast fix that you go to counseling for a month and then everything's going to be okay.
I think you need to stick with a counselor for a period of time, which will be communicating to her. You really are trying to work on this. You're trying to get help on working on with this issue. And I think you've got the vision. You talked about wanting to be a loving person and like the Bible talks of husbands serving his wife like Christ serves the church. You've got the picture in your mind of what a healthy marriage should be like. So I would say, give her the three weeks, have a time together if she wants to talk with you then, it sounds like she does. Have conversations, let her know that you are really taking this seriously and you're trying to learn about yourself and anger and how to handle anger. Don't force her to make a quick decision to come back. That's often a mistake because until you have come to grips with this and made some progress with understanding it, it'll be the same thing happen again. And then let's say she comes back and you've been there a week or two and then you have an angry outburst again. And this time she says, I'm through. So far better to let the separation continue for a while if that's what she chooses.
And I think it's what would be best for you while you're working on this problem. Then begin to have time together, begin to, as it were, date each other again, begin to be around each other again. And let's see if in fact you have grown in terms of how to handle anger and you're not having outbursts with her when you disagree with her. And it will be that process that will help her come to the place where she knows God is really changing your heart and your mind and you are learning. And there'll come a point at which the counselor and you and her can begin to have marriage counseling then and process the anger and anything else that might be there under the surface and make it a growing time in your relationship.
Then when the counselor and the two of you feel like it's time to come back together, that's the time to move back in. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Find out more online at 5lovelanguages.com. We have some great resources for you, a list of seminar locations coming up for Dr. Chapman. You can hear a podcast of the program and find out about our featured resource, all at 5lovelanguages.com.
It's Dr. Chapman's book, A Couple's Guide to a Growing Marriage, a Bible Study. Just go to 5lovelanguages.com. And do tell a friend about the program and that they can ask a question if they'd like. Our listener line is 866-424-GARY. We can't call you back. This isn't a counseling line, but if you want to leave a question, we'd love to hear from you.
It's 1-866-424-GARY. Here is a practical question, Gary, about a specific book, a specific translation. But then on the end of that question, there's a question about a family member with a broken heart. Dr. Chapman, do you have the 5Love Language book in Spanish?
I have a nephew who got married three months ago, but his wife left him, and he is by himself a broken heart, and I'm trying to help him, and I would like to know what I can do beside praying for him. Thank you. Well, I'm glad to see the interest and the desire on the part of this caller to help her nephew. The book is in Spanish, to be sure. It has sold really a few million copies in Spanish, so it shouldn't be hard to locate just the 5Love Languages.
It's just in Spanish as it is in English. In terms of what you might do to help your nephew, I think that book often has helped people understand what happened in the marriage, because when they understand that they have a love language, the other person has a love language. If you're not speaking their language, or if you are giving them the opposite of their love language, for example, if their love language is words, and you're giving them negative words, it's like a dagger in their heart. The fact that they've only been married a brief time, it may well be that some of his behavior has struck her deeply, and that's why she's left him. That book can open the eyes of the reader, and it would be ideal, of course, if she could read it and he could read it individually and separately, and then come together and talk about that. So I don't know what the issue was.
I don't know what motivated her to move out so soon in the marriage, but something's there that has to be dealt with if there's going to be healing in the relationship. I think the 5Love Languages would be a good place to start. Love's 5 Languages del Amor. And just so you know, I took French and German and not Spanish. I wish I had taken Spanish.
I wish I had. But yes, the 5 Languages of Love Spanish edition is out there, and you can find out more. Probably go to 5lovelanguages.com and click Resources.
You may find it right there. But Gary, she mentioned other than prayer, and I wonder what you would say about that, because I think her prayers for her nephew and his wife are really important. Is there anything specific that you would pray for a family member who's brokenhearted going through this? Yeah, I would say, you know, you pray that God will open their eyes to reality, whatever that reality is, that has helped them identify what the problem is, and also that the Holy Spirit will work in their hearts to show them what needs to be done. And again, you know, the Bible says if you lack wisdom, ask for wisdom. And so we're actually praying that God will give wisdom to them.
They may not be praying for it, but we're praying for it, for them. Because there's always something that can be done to improve and heal a relationship. It says that often people are isolated, they don't know where to go for help, and so consequently one of them decides, this is too bad, I can't stand this.
See, maybe she's learned some things about him, I don't know what they would be, and it just led her to say, no, I'm not going to stay in this relationship. Well, those things need to be identified and need to be dealt with. And the marriage won't get better until they are identified. And so that's why it's helpful if people in that setting can read a book or go to a counselor or, you know, get some outside voices speaking into their situation. Yeah.
All right. There is friction in a marriage over the love languages. Have you ever heard that?
You ever hear of couples fighting because of the love languages? Can Gary help in that friction? Let's find out. Here we go.
Hi, Gary. My wife has said that she doesn't believe in the love language because she thinks that people are so different that you can't categorize this. There are ways that I can test her myself to try to determine independently of what she's telling me, what her love language is. Thank you.
Bye. Well, first of all, I understand what his wife is saying. There are people that will not take a personality test.
They won't take any kind of test because they don't want to be pigeonholed. And I understand that. And I think your approach, the caller's approach is a wise approach. That is, how can he discover her love language without her taking the quiz?
And here are three practical ways. Number one, observe how she treats other people and how she treats you. If there's anything positive she's doing towards you, for example, if you hear her giving encouraging words to other people, maybe on the phone, chances are words is her love language because we tend to speak our own language. If she's always giving gifts to people, that's a clue that receiving gifts may well be her language. If she's the kind of person that likes to spend an hour and a half at lunch with a friend and just talk and share life with each other, quality time is probably her language. So observe her behavior and how she relates to other people.
Second clue is this. What does she complain about most often? Her complaint reveals the love language. If she says to you, I can't ever please you, she's telling you that words of affirmation is her language and she's not hearing any words from you. All she hears from you is complaints. And so if she says regularly, honey, can we take a walk after dinner or could we get a weekend away or she's asking you for quality time? Or if she says periodically, honey, could you give me a back rub?
She's asking you for physical touch. So what does she complain about or what does she ask for? Those two things together, complaints and requests often reveal what their love language is. If you put those three things together, observe her behavior, how she expresses love to others, what does she complain about? And then what does she request most often? Those three things will pretty much clue you in on what our primary love language is.
And if you figure it out, the last thing you want to do is say, see, I told you so. What you want to do is just simply start speaking her love language. There is one other approach and that is for one week you focus on one of the love languages. So say one week you give her affirming words, just almost every day you say something affirming to her. Next day, next week you give her a gift. Next week you ask if you can give her a back rub.
Next week you ask if she would go out to dinner together. And so you just go through the five languages focusing on one each week. On the week that you hit her primary love language, you will see a difference in her behavior.
So that's another option for you. But once you learn it, you don't even have to tell her that you've discovered her love language. I would just say you start speaking it, you just start speaking it because she doesn't have to want to take the test and she doesn't have to take the test for her to feel love by you. If you can figure out her love language and you choose to speak it on a regular basis without even discussing it, you're going to see a change in her behavior. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times best seller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Our featured resource today is Dr. Chapman's book, A Couple's Guide to a Growing Marriage, a Bible Study. You can find out more at FiveLoveLanguages.com. That's FiveLoveLanguages.com. We receive calls from listeners who say, don't put my voice on the radio.
And we welcome those. If you say that, then we'll just read the question here. That's what I'm going to do right now for you, Gary. The caller said, our son passed away a few years ago. In their marriage, his wife seemed to be in control or want to be in control of when they visited or when they got together, what they would do. And the caller says, the daughter-in-law has hardly let us see the grandchildren since their son's, her son's death. She says, she asked if the grandkids want to see us or not. The last few times they came, it feels like they're afraid to talk in front of her, the daughter-in-law. I just wondered if you had any advice for me.
Thank you. Well, first of all, I can sense the pain and the grandparents here being a grandfather myself. It's really painful, of course, first of all, to lose your son to death. But then when his wife seems to be reluctant to let the children spend time with you and she's asking the children if they want to before, you know, she even brings them over. And then they seem reluctant to speak and talk to you and ask questions in front of her. It's a rather awkward situation. Now, I don't know the age of the children.
That would have something to do with, you know, what you might do here. But I think I would certainly be positive with the mother. And when she does bring the children over, I would say I would thank her for letting them come and spend some time with you. It appears that when she does bring them over, she stays so that she's there.
And you may well be right. They may well be something that she's afraid of that you all might do or say to the children that would be hurtful to the children. So maybe she's trying to be protective of the children.
I have no idea what that would be or if there is in fact, anything there, but that could be a possibility as to what's going on. I don't know what kind of relationship you had with the daughter-in-law before your son died. If it was strained before he died, then it's logical that it would be strained after he died because she's going through the grief of losing her husband, two children are going through the grief of losing their father. And she didn't feel comfortable with you beforehand, perhaps. And so now she feels even less comfortable being around you.
So that certainly could be what's going on. Depending on the age of the children, I would try to do something when the children are with you. I wouldn't complain that she doesn't bring them often enough.
I would just try to make the most of the time they do come. If they're little children, I would have times reading books with them. Even if they're just small children, be sure you have some books that are designed for children that age, read them to the children while she's there.
Let's have a reading time and then let's go have a walk time or let's go have a game time. And you do things like that, that the children will enjoy when they're with you. And she can go and observe or she can do whatever she chooses to do. But you're trying to do things with the children. If they're older, then you look for things that would be appropriate for that age child and you engage with them when they are there. You see, simply having grandchildren over and just kind of sitting there and talking to each other, they haven't learned how to do that yet, depending on their age, of course.
And it can be difficult. So there needs to be more than just trying to have conversations. Try to find out things that you think would be interesting to them and give them experiences while they're there. Maybe you can go out for ice cream or you can make something that they especially like, but make it a pleasant time so that the kids do want to come. They do want to go to grandmothers and grandfathers. I think that, in my mind, would be the most positive thing you can do. You don't know what's going on in the mind of your daughter-in-law and why she may be reluctant to relate to you more often. There are reasons.
That's just, I don't know what they are. But you can give the children a positive experience when they're there. And that's where I think you could spend your best energy.
Would a good idea be to talk with the mom, the daughter-in-law, and say, do you have any suggestions on things we could do or places we could go with the grandkids or, you know, things that you see that they like to do that we could, you know, so you're giving the daughter-in-law that opportunity to suggest something even though she, because it sounds like she feels like she likes to control things, this would make her feel more comfortable. Oh, well, you know, what about this? Would that be a good idea? It would certainly be worth a try, Chris. I don't know how she would respond, but it never hurts to reach out in a situation like this and ask advice of the other person.
So yeah, I think that would be a positive thing to do. She may say, you know, no, la, la, la, la, la, you know, she may be very negative. But on the other hand, she may have an idea, and that means if she is a controlling person, she has a controlling personality, that would certainly appeal to her, that you're asking her for things that you might do when the children are there and are things that you might do for the children, you know, just long-term. Is there something that she feels the mother feels the children need, that maybe she can't afford, you know, to say if there's something ever something that you think that they need and would be good for them, and you need, you need help. Now, if she doesn't need help, there's certain you wouldn't bring that up. But if you make that available, if it's needed, then she could be grateful for that.
Darrell Bock Yes. Well, and I just want to say to grandparents, this is not an isolated incident or instance, and there's an awful lot of loss in that question, in that call. But there is hope. You know, I've talked with other grandparents who've had this happen, or kids who've been – grandkids who've been kept from them because of spiritual reasons. I don't want you to talk about Jesus, you know, that kind of thing. And sometimes those situations remain the same.
Many times, they lessen with time, and to give that daughter-in-law a little more time, I think is a real gift. And maybe you have a question along those lines, 866-424-Gary is our number, 1866-424-Gary. Our final call today is from a man concerned that he might have moved on too quickly, and the most important part of the question, I think, is the man's last four words. Here we go.
Hi, Gary. I was kind of concerned, man. I was married a few years, and I called my wife Chief, but at that time, I forgave her at that point, and I kept forgiving her for a whole year trying to make it right. I moved out of state, and for another year, I tried to get her to come with my kids, tried to start over, but it wasn't happening. So I kind of moved on with my life and had an outside trigger. Would that hurt me, or is there a way that I can go on?
How can I manage that? Would God forgive me? Well let me say this. God has a forgiving heart, and God is always willing to forgive people who repent of their sins, who acknowledge that what they did was wrong, and ask God to forgive. And God forgives us on the basis that Christ paid the penalty for our sins. That's the central message of the Bible, and God sent Jesus to pay for our sins so he, God, could be just and righteous because God is holy, and sin always has to be punished. But Jesus took the punishment for us, therefore God can forgive and God will forgive. God always wants to forgive. So I think when you realize that you have made wrong decisions, that when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, the Bible says, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So yes, God will forgive anything we do that is wrong. Now, that doesn't mean that the consequences of what we did will go away.
And I don't know what the consequences are here. It seems to me that this caller was saying that he has gotten involved with someone else and had children with someone else. Well, you're still going to have those children, and you still have a responsibility to those children, and your wife, I don't know what's happened in her life, and what you did has hurt her. But it doesn't remove all the consequences of sin, nor does it mean necessarily that we will be reconciled. You can forgive someone, you can forgive her, she can forgive you, but it doesn't necessarily mean reconciliation. I mean, if you are involved with someone else, which is what I understood, and perhaps have had children with someone else, it doesn't mean that your wife will receive you back and you can be reconciled to her. But it does mean that you can have a right relationship with God and then ask God to guide you in the future of your life and help you make wise decisions that will be for your good and for God's glory. This is a really complicated call, you know, and it's a complication of decisions that have been made on different parties. But I hear his last four words, well, can God or will God forgive me as being the crux of that?
And then everything flows from that. So if he does say, you know, God, forgive me of these wrong things, show me the wrong things that I don't even know that I've done, you're saying God will make it clear the next steps that he needs to take in his relationships. Absolutely, Chris, what forgiveness does, what God's forgiveness does, is he pardons us, which means he's not going to make us pay for that the rest of our lives. Now, we may suffer consequences to be sure of the rest of our lives, and he's going to remove the barrier between himself and that person. In fact, the Scriptures say that he will remember our sins against us no more. He will not hold them against us, and now we have a right relationship with God. And the rest of our life, we can live in fellowship with God.
God receives us in God's forgiveness. Now, let's see what God has for you the rest of your life, and let's ask God to help you make wise decisions with the rest of your life. As long as we have life, God has purposes for us. And so what we want to do is make wise decisions, and God can give us wisdom so that we can in the latter part of our lives, and I don't know how old this caller is, how much longer he'll live.
None of us know that. But at least God wants to help him make the most of whatever time he has left on earth. Darrell Bock Well, thank you, Gary, for those answers to questions for the – if you're listening here today, we give Gary a list of the questions and just like one or two words, he has no idea what's coming every week. And I marvel at that sometimes, Gary, in a way that you are able to go, you know, on a three-point plan or just, you know, with the answers that you give. If there's a call that you'd like to make to Gary, a question that's burning on your heart after today's program, 1-866-424-GARY is our number, 866-424-4279, and if you go to FiveLoveLanguages.com, you'll see our featured resource there, A Couple's Guide to a Growing Marriage, a Bible Study, just go to FiveLoveLanguages.com. Darrell Bock And next week, you'll hear Joshua's story about his harrowing journey to America and how immigrants and refugees strengthen the church. Announcer Don't miss the conversation in one week. A big thank you to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Backing, 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.
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