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Dear Gary-July

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
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July 3, 2021 1:45 am

Dear Gary-July

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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July 3, 2021 1:45 am

This weekend on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, it’s a rare July edition of Dear Gary. This trusted pastor and author will take listener calls about relational struggles—everything from parenting to marriage to the love languages. You never know what issue might come up that you’ll identify with. Don’t miss a July, Dear Gary broadcast on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. 

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Help and hope for your relationships, coming up today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. I've struggled with mental health since the time I was around 13.

But I feel like I'm a mistake from God. My husband never can seem to remember our wedding anniversary. How on earth are we supposed to know what their love language is? Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today it's our July Dear Gary broadcast to make up for the one we missed in June as we feature your questions to counselor, author, pastor, and our host.

That's right. Dr. Gary Chapman is in the house and ready for your questions and comments that have come in over the past few weeks. Gary, here we are at July 3rd with the 4th of July holiday this weekend. I just want you to start here. Say a few words about the experiment that continues, the good old United States of America.

What do you think? Well, you know, Chris, I think anyone that has a sense of history has to look back with deep gratitude at the birth of this nation. You know, I live in one of the oldest villages in the country, Salem.

It was started by, I live in Winston, Salem, but Salem was actually started by the Moravians way back in the 1700s. And so, you know, there's a deep appreciation for history in the town where I live. And I think all Americans look back. And yet at the same time, I think all of us struggle with where we are today. And I think it calls for us to recommit ourselves, you know, to be a land of the free and the home of the brave and ask for God's hand upon our nation. And if anyone's going to lead the way, it's going to have to be Christians. And I think if we can lead the way in terms of loving others and looking for unity rather than divisiveness, which so many of us sense today, we would be moving in the right direction to turn things back to what we dreamed of.

Truly a land of the free and home of the brave. Right. And to celebrate that doesn't mean that we don't look at, you know, the hard times and the mistakes that have been made in the past. We're, you know, that's why the gospel is so important, I think, is because we aren't perfect and we can't make ourselves perfect. But with God's power working in us, we can be a force for good in the world.

Absolutely, Chris. And I think that's, you know, God's desire. I mean, we're here to help people get ready for another world, you know. And we keep our focus on what we're here for because nations rise and nations fall. And we don't want to be a part of our nation falling. But at the same time, our allegiance, our ultimate allegiance is to God. And yes, as a nation, those of us who I think are thoughtful look back and realize, sure, there were mistakes made along the way, serious mistakes made along the way. But, you know, every generation chooses the road they're going to follow. And my prayer is that this generation will choose to look back to the foundations of the scriptures because many of the fundamental principles in terms of the organization of this nation are based on the scriptural principles.

Well, as we celebrate our independence and the freedom that we have, we thank those who've gone before us who have paid the price for that freedom. And may we steward it well. The other thing we do here in the program, Gary, is we feature a resource each week. Today, it's the book that you wrote with Shannon Worden, the Do It Yourself guide, the DIY guide to building a family that lasts. Twelve tools for improving your home life. You can find it at This is basically as practical as you can get, a how-to guide for relationship building, right?

Well, it is, Chris. I teamed up with Dr. Worden, who is a counselor and who has children still at home. And I wanted to write with someone who was right in the midst of all of that because I think all of us want to have healthy marriages and healthy families. And this is a practical book on many, many topics related to that. So I think anyone, especially those who have children still at home, will find this book to be a very practical book. And a lot of practical ideas in terms of how to relate to children as well as to the spouse. You can find out more about that at Again, the DIY guide to building a family that lasts.

Just go to All right, Gary, we have a lot of love language questions for you today on this Dear Gary broadcast. This one tops them all. I think this is going to make you smile. Here's our first caller.

Hi, Gary. I'm a 21-year-old male and struggled with mental health since the time I was around 13. For various reasons, I have trouble expressing my feelings and concerns with my family. And I often resort to secluding myself whenever my emotions run high. Last night, some casual conversation with a few members of my family led to me taking the love language quiz. And through that, I found out that rather than having one primary love language as they do, quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch for me each take around 30% of my results. And because of this, I'm wondering if you could answer what this could mean for me and how one might utilize this information to improve lifestyle.

Thank you. Yeah, well, you know, it's interesting and encouraging that a 21-year-old man who has struggled with mental health through the years is trying to learn. You know, if we have a learning attitude, whatever our disabilities or struggles, we can grow. We can change.

And I think whatever our mental state, we all are humans made in the image of God. And we have a need to feel loved by the significant people in our lives. And wherever we are, healthy or unhealthy, it helps us to understand what are the kind of things that make me genuinely feel loved. So if quality time and words of affirmation and physical touch, if those three are pretty similar for the caller, which is what I gather from what he said, think along those terms. How can you take initiative in having quality time with people?

You know, think of someone that you would really love just to have a lunch with and spend quality time with them around lunch. Or, you know, and seek to speak these to other people. The significant people in your life, if you learn their love language, and it will normally be one will be more predominant than the others, and you start speaking their love language to members of your family, for example, they see you reaching out to them, they're more likely to reciprocate because love stimulates love.

So you can't make people spend quality time with you or give you words of affirmation or affirming touches. But when you reach out to love others, first of all, it engages you in something that's really important. You're helping meet the need of those other family members and as well as friends you may have outside the family. So I'd encourage you to make the most of the concept in terms of reaching out for others. And likely they'll say, what can we do for you? And you can suggest, you know, well, here's my love languages.

These are the three that mean most to me. And chances are you'll find they'll begin to do that and you'll begin to feel more loved. I love it that he saw this too in the context of relationship, you know, so we were talking around this, so I suggested this. So I went and he said, you know, secluding himself is one of the things that he does to kind of cope with this.

So when he secluded himself, he then got online and took this quiz. So there's just a whole lot of hope there and I just want to thank you, 21-year-old who called in, for listening to that and having your eyes open. I just think that's really positive. Yeah, and I think I would encourage him to read the Singles Edition.

If he's single, I assume that he probably is. "The 5 Love Languages" Singles Edition because it talks about how this concept applies to all of your relationships. You know, your siblings, if you have brothers and sisters, your parents, people that you might work with, or friends that you may have at church. I think you'd find it helpful. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Thanks for joining us for a rare July edition of our Dear Gary broadcast. If you go to, you'll see our featured resource, the book written by Dr. Gary Chapman and Shannon Worden. The DIY guide to building a family that lasts, 12 tools for improving your home life.

Just go to Gary, here's a letter actually that came in from a listener who said, I'm a longtime listener, first time emailer. My husband and I have been married for 20 years come August and we are both born again believers. We have done everything biblical to keep this marriage together. My husband has been diagnosed with bipolar manic depression, OCD, with hoarding issues. We got as far as seeking psychiatry, but he refused to take medication. We gave it all to God and we've gone through many friends, pastors, Christian and secular counselors through our years of marriage. I'm very sad to say I'm done. I am numb and I have filed for divorce. My family and friends have been totally supportive and don't understand how I've lived this long with him. My love has died and things he has done and said have been replaying in my mind throughout this stormy season in our lives. What I want to know, Dr. Chapman, is why is mental abuse not considered a cause or biblical reason for divorce?

Could it be that when the Bible was written, mental abuse was not as noticed or accepted as this is today? I pray multiple times a day and constantly ask God for forgiveness that I'm only human. I can't put myself through this abuse any longer. Please help ease my mind to know that I am doing the right thing. I'm making sure that my husband seeks medical psychological counseling, takes his medication that he has agreed to now.

But this is all too late for me. By the way, we have no children together. Respectfully and thankful for you.

What do you say? Well, Chris, you have to identify with the pain of this wife. And through the years, I've worked with many, many individuals. Sometimes it's a wife who has been abused verbally and other ways. And sometimes it's been a husband. Sometimes there's mental problems, which is described here. Sometimes there's not.

It's not a mental issue. I think there does come a point when you're just over and over and over, abused, abused, abused. Whether it's verbal abuse or whether it's physical abuse, there comes a point in which love doesn't simply sit there and receive that kind of abuse. The loving thing is to say, I love you too much to stay here and do nothing while you destroy me. And certainly it doesn't help you to be doing what you're doing. So I understand how you can get to that point of separation. My own feeling is that it can be an act of love to separate from a spouse like that.

And what you're saying is, you know, I've got to take a step here because I can't go on like this. So it's two things. One, it's for your own well-being because essentially you get destroyed yourself. But secondly, it often is the thing that stimulates the other person to get the help they need.

And she said that as a matter of fact. Now that she has decided to move toward divorce, he's willing to go back and see a psychiatrist and take the medication. And the things that she describes, medication can be very helpful in these particular situations that she describes.

So I would just encourage this. Don't rush into divorce. Use the separation as a time for you to restore yourself and get your own equilibrium back emotionally and spiritually and physically. And if indeed he follows through with this and he begins to take his meds and things begin to clear up for him, he can be a different person.

And in six months or a year down the road, you may well find, you know, this is amazing what's happened in him. So I would just say don't rush to divorce. I understand in some cultures separation is essential, is essentially divorce. You know, in our state, in North Carolina, you have to be separated a year before you can get a divorce, which I think is a wonderful law because it gives you time to see what's going to happen in you and in him. So that would be that would be my encouragement.

Certainly, it can be an act of love to separate from a spouse, as you described. But I would just say walk, walk slowly. Don't run to divorce. If you have a question you want to ask of Dr. Chapman or you want to respond to something that you hear on today's program, here's our number. 866-424-GARY. 1-866-424-GARY. The Forgetful Husband.

What do you do? Here's our next caller. Hey, Gary. Been married for 19 years and my husband never can seem to remember our wedding anniversary. How do you suggest I jog his memory?

Left hand. We spoke about it a few days before. Big day and he never acknowledges it.

Thank you. Well, obviously, when a spouse doesn't recognize and honor a wedding anniversary, something's gone wrong. Either he got severe mental problems in terms of not being able to remember, or he doesn't see the importance of it. Now, I know to a spouse that would say, why would he not see the importance of it? But people have different personalities, different patterns of thinking. And we don't always view things having the same significance. But I think you have a valid question. And the fact that you brought it up a few days before and then he still forgets it.

I would say begin with an honest, open conversation with him and say, honey, I don't know. I'm just trying to figure out why you don't ever acknowledge our anniversary. You don't ever want to celebrate our anniversary. Is it that you hate me or is it that you regret that we didn't get married? Or is it that you regret that we got married? I'm just trying to understand this.

I know there's got to be something and some reason for this. You see what you're doing when you take that approach? You're asking him to try to think and try to explain to you why he has behaved the way he has behaved. He may open up or he may not open up. But at least you're making it easy for him to express whatever might be going on inside his mind and heart that he has never shared with you in the past. And so then I would say, having done that and let him have whatever response he has, then you would say to him, honey, do you understand how important this is to me? I understand that what you said, it's not important to you. You don't view it as something super important, but to me it's super important. So could I request that next time we have an anniversary, we actually do something together?

Even if it's as simple as going out and having dinner together. If you take the initiative to do that, and if you want, I'll be happy to put a little sticker on the window. Five days and our anniversary, four days and our anniversary, three days, if that would be helpful to you. But I just want you to understand how important this is to me. And if you don't take initiative to do something, you're really communicating to me that you don't love me.

You don't care about how I feel. So I just want you to understand how important it is to me. So you're really kind of, you're not badgering him, you're just, you're being honest with him. You first have asked his advice, trying to understand him, and then you're making a request and volunteering to give clues to help bring it to his mind, if he would like for you to do that.

To me, that would be the approach. And if he doesn't respond to that, I would say the next step would be, honey, I don't know how you feel, but I'm going to go for marriage counseling. Because I've shared this with you, you know how I feel, and here again, you didn't do anything for our anniversary. So if you want to go with me, I'll be fine. If you don't, I'm going to go for marriage counseling. Because I've got to have help with the hurt that I'm feeling inside.

And the fact that you take that approach, he may well go with you. If not, you let a counselor help you think through what might be your next steps. So in both of these cases, the last, the email that I read, and then this anniversary issue, the wife is taking care of herself in this situation. And I didn't hear in that last call, the anniversary call, a lot of vitriol, or I just hear hurt.

I just hear pain from it. And so by doing what you've just said, she's taking care of herself and she's going to do what she needs to do. With her power, she can't control him, so she's going to do what she needs to do, right? Yeah, exactly right. She can't make him do something that he is not inclined to do, but she can share her hurt with him.

And typically, if a husband really senses that the wife is not condemning him, but that she's simply sharing her hurt and her pain and her deep desire for him to express to her that he cares about her. I wonder if the John Trent, what's the word picture, you know, comes to mind? But I don't want to guilt him. But, you know, it's like, remember the fishing trip that you look forward to for six months that you had planned? And who knows if he, you know, if he selects fishing or the ballgame? Maybe this is a, that's the other question that I had was, this is another thing that happens to him, you know, at work or in the rest of his life that he doesn't remember some of these significant things. He doesn't, you know, he has to have reminders from other people.

I don't know, but I think that's good advice from Dr. Gary Chapman. This is our Dear Gary on July 3rd. Isn't it great we can have a Dear Gary in July? And here's another question, a love language question from a spouse who wants to love her husband.

Hi, Gary. My question is about the love language of quality time, that my husband feels like that is his love language. But it's not really quality, it's more quantity time. And I really struggle with that with busy lives, raising children and that sort of thing. The time we spend together doesn't always feel like it's quality and it's very hard to accommodate. And so that he's happy with the volume of time we spend together, even if it's not quality. And just wondering if there are any ideas to balance that so that he does feel loved, but it's realistic within our busy lifestyle.

Thank you. Well, I'm encouraged that this wife is wanting to express love to her husband, wanting to meet his love need. And she's just struggling with how do I do that in a busy world. And I would say this, first of all, there has to be some quantity time in order to have quality time.

You can't just necessarily sit down for five minutes a week and have real quality time, but no quantity of time. So I would say, first of all, discuss with him. Are there some things that we could do in our lifestyle that would make more time for you and I to have time with each other? That is, let him share ideas and you share ideas.

Maybe get your pencil and paper and begin to write them down. For example, maybe we could get a babysitter to come in one night a week and just sit with the kids for two or three hours while we go out to dinner together, just the two of us. Now, for example, that may really appeal to him.

He may say, I would love to do that. I would be happy to pay for a babysitter if we could do that because that gives you three hours. That's quantity and quality because there's nobody there but the two of you. Neither of you are worrying about the kids because they're well cared for. But there are ways in which even in a busy lifestyle that we can have quality time with each other. And so I would just look for those ideas, write those ideas down, and then begin to try some of them because we all have the same amount of time, 24 hours a day. Obviously, when we have children in the home, they require a lot of that time. But we have time to have a loving, caring marriage. And if quality time is one of the spouse's love languages, we together can make quality time and make enough quantity time in which we can have the quality time.

So I hope that'll be helpful but I think as you throw out ideas with each other, you'll find some things that will allow you to spend more quantity and quality time. So communication is key there, isn't it? And in all of these calls and questions that we've had thus far, to be able to communicate with that other person and get to the deeper level is a really important thing. Now, talk about a deeper level, Gary. You and I have done this program and we've had questions come in through the years.

I don't know that we've ever received this specific question from a listener who is a seasoned citizen. Listen to this. Hello, Gary. But I feel like I'm a mistake from God.

Whenever I say that to people, they interrupt me and say, oh, no, no, you can't be a mistake from God. I still feel that way. I'm a senior citizen, so that's the way it's been all my life. I have a hard time or impossible time Building Relationships with people. It's hard for me to stay focused. My mind wanders constantly. That's why I like doing physical things. I think of life as physical, eating, sleeping, and so forth. Thank you.

I hope to hear from you here on the broadcast. Chris, as I hear her, I wonder how many senior citizens may have similar feelings to this lady, particularly if they're not married. She may be married or she may have been married, but it sounds like she's alone, really. They've lived their whole life and have struggled with having meaningful relationships. Obviously, there are reasons for that. If we could dig back into her childhood and early years and the relationships she had or didn't have with her parents, we might find the root of what she's feeling through her adult life. But relationships are really at the heart of finding meaning in life. First of all is our relationship with God.

Nothing's more important than that. If I were talking with her, I'd like to ask, where is your relationship with God? You and God have a close relationship.

That's the starting place, I would think. If she's kind of fuzzy on that, I would say, why don't you contact a pastor or some Christian that you know, and just let them sit down with you and go over again what it means to have a relationship with God. I think, assuming that there is some relationship with God, the fact that you've had these struggles through the years and have never been able to solve these things indicates that there is something deeply rooted, either in your mental storehouse or your emotional storehouse, that has influenced you through all these years.

Whether there's physical help, whether there's medication that could be helpful for some of that, I don't know. It had to be explored. But I'm glad you called, and I wish I had a more definitive answer for you. But the reality is, there's some unknowns there that make it very difficult for me to speak directly to your situation. I like when she said, she kind of revealed a little bit of her life to say, I'm physical, but my life is physical. And I wonder if, because she feels like she's a mistake, and when I first heard that, that was the very first thing is, no, no, no, you're not a mistake.

And she said, that's what everybody tells me. We want to tell her, but this is the way she feels, so she's in touch with that. I wonder if getting involved in somebody else's life, maybe a young person's life, if she likes gardening or doing something that she could teach or cooking or anything that has that tactile feel of coming alongside somebody else and teaching them how to do what she can do intuitively, if that wouldn't bring some help to her, as well as the younger person or whoever it is that she's helping. I like that idea, Chris, because in giving, we find meaning in life. So she would be giving something of her skills, her abilities to others. And along with that, it might be such things as volunteering to work in some social organization, some religious group in her community that's trying to help people. Because when we feel sorry for ourselves, which is kind of what I hear her saying, that even God doesn't care about her, and we feel cut off and we don't find meaning in life, meaning is found in serving other people.

Even Jesus said he didn't come to be served, he came to serve. And so if she could reach out in her community and find a way that she can serve other people who are in need, I think she'd begin to find more meaning in her own life. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Find out more online at We have some great resources for you, a way to assess your own love language. You can download the Love Nudge app.

Plus, find our featured resource, Dr. Chapman's book he wrote with Shannon Worden titled, The DIY Guide to Building a Family that Lasts, 12 Tools for Improving Your Home Life. Just go to Well, what will Gary say to this caller who just doesn't understand the whole love language concept?

Hi, Gary. I don't, frankly, I just do not understand this love language business. And I certainly don't know how to figure out what somebody else's love language is. You're always advising people to appeal to somebody else's love language. How on earth are we supposed to know what their love language is?

I don't even know what my love language is. And yeah, I have started to read your book and I'm sorry I still don't get it. Thank you. I'm looking forward to your explanation. Thanks again.

Bye-bye. Well, first of all, I would say I'm glad that you started reading the book. And I would just encourage you to read the whole book because maybe by the time you finish, you will get the picture, okay? The central idea is that each of us has one way of expressing love that speaks more deeply to us than the others. In terms of how do you discover somebody else's primary love language, all five of them are good. If you can use any five speaking to anyone, it'll be helpful. But it'll be even more helpful if you know what their primary love language is.

Here's a couple of ways. Observe their behavior. If they're always giving other people words of affirmation, it's probably their language because we tend to speak to others what we would like to receive for ourselves. Or if one of your friends is always giving people gifts, then gifts is probably what she would desire to receive.

And the same thing true with you. How do you relate to people that you care about? Do you give encouraging words or do you give gifts or do you give pats on the back or hugs to people?

You see, just look at your own life and how you express your care and concern for other people. And then secondly, what do you complain about most often? If you're saying to someone else, a spouse or someone else, I just wish we had more time together. I feel like we just don't see each other that much. You're begging for quality time. You're complaining that you don't get quality time.

So what do you complain about? And then what do you request most often of other people? If you're asking people, for example, regularly, can we take a walk together? Can we have dinner together? You're asking for quality time. If you're saying to a husband, for example, could you give me a back rub? You're asking for physical touch. So you put those three things together. Observe your behavior, how you respond to others.

What do you complain about and what do you request of others most often? It'll tell you your primary language. Now when you get to the end of the book, there is a quiz in the book.

You can also go online and take it. It's a free quiz at And you make those choices over two things.

If you had a choice of two things, which one would you choose? And it goes through the love languages. And it will tell you your primary love language, the one that's secondarily important, and the one that's least important to you. So don't give up, okay?

The concept has helped millions of people, so don't give up on it. And when you do discover it and get it and see how it works, you call back and tell us, okay? I would love to be in this studio and hearing that when she calls. Anybody who calls 866-424-GARY and in their question says, How on earth?

We're going to put that on the air because I love it. You're just being honest. Thank you for that. 1-866-424-GARY.

Leave a message. You might hear an answer on a future Dear Gary broadcast. You know, Gary, a lot of couples go through a period of separation in order to reconcile and restore. We talked a little bit about that earlier. Here's our next caller's question.

Hi, Gary. My husband and I have been separated for almost two years now, and we live in separate states. I'm planning on moving into his state to be closer to him and my children. I just want to know what thoughts you have or advice you have for me. He doesn't want to live together. He is intrigued by reconciling, but he doesn't have any desire to do so. Thank you and God bless. Well, I'm always empathetic with couples who are separated because obviously there was a lot of pain and hurt before the separation because we don't just walk away from each other when things are going well.

So I'm always empathetic with that. I also encourage couples to make the most of the separated time. That is individually read books on marriage, read books on separated. I wrote a book, now it's called One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart.

And it deals with separation and how to make the most of separation. That is learn things about yourself. When you look back in the relationship, what did your spouse complain about?

And why do you think they were complaining about that? Learn things about yourself. Look at your communication patterns and say, how did we get to where we were? So if each of you would do that, now the caller seemed to indicate that her husband wasn't willing or even wanted to move toward reconciliation, but if he read some books, now I know some men don't read books and they won't read books, but if he would, even the love language book that we talk about so often on this program, if he would read that, I have an idea he would be able to say to himself, oh, now I see what happened.

Now I see how we got to this point. I think he would find hope in that. So at any rate, you can't make him read a book, but you can maybe ask him if he'd read the first chapter.

And if he gets started, maybe he'll read the rest of it. But I do think it's good that you're moving back closer together so you can spend more time with each other and with your children. Children are extremely important. And when we're separated, we need to make every effort to spend as much time as we can with those children because children need the contact with a mom and a dad. So the more either of you can do to be cordial to each other, to be kind to each other, not to be argumentative, not to put each other down in the presence of the children, but to express love to those children in their love language because the children desperately need to feel love. Separation is a really, really hard time for children. And I would also encourage him, maybe encourage him to get counseling. You can only encourage.

You can't make that happen. But if a friend of his rather than you could suggest that to him and give him the name and contact of a good counselor in the area where he lives, he may accept it more from a friend than maybe from you, depending on how he feels about you at this point. There are some people who would say, no, don't ever get separated. Don't get separated because that's just going to lead you to eventually to divorce.

You disagree with that. So talk to the couple right now. And they've been struggling for a while. And there's one who feels like, I think we need to be apart for a certain amount of time. Under what circumstances do you suggest separation? Well, for one, an easy one is when there's physical or emotional abuse.

You know, it can be very, very helpful. I've worked with many, many couples through the years where one of them has been physically or emotionally, verbally abused over a period of time. And they choose separation as an act of love and say, you know, I love you too much to do nothing. I know I can't change you, but I can't sit here and let you do this to me.

And especially in the front of our children. And so you take that step. It's a loving step. And sometimes it's in that separated time that both of you then will be willing to share a book together or go to a counselor together. And if both of you are willing to go for counseling while you're separated, that would be the ideal. And that's where I've seen the most success is when the couple agrees. We're separated.

We don't know where this is going. But we are at least going to reach out and get whatever help we can from a counselor. Listen, counselors are trained to help people who are struggling.

And I would encourage a Christian counselor because a Christian counselor has biblical perspectives and principles that will help you. And so if you do that, there is a good possibility. You're going to move toward reconciliation. You know, when you're separated, I like to picture it this way. When you're separated, you're in a hallway. And there's a door on either end of that hallway. And over one of those doors, it says reconciliation. Over the other door, it says divorce. And when you're separated, you will eventually walk through one of those doors. And what you do while you're in that hallway will determine which of those doors you walk through. And that's why I encourage people to go for counseling while you're in the hallway. You're far more likely to end up walking through the door marked reconciliation if you're getting help. So that's my encouragement. Which takes us to this question, and this is representative of a lot of people who have called in over the years. So here's our final call for this segment.

Yes, Gary. I wanted to call and find out where there might be some Christian counselors. I started to look through something, but it's always nice to know where the Christian counselors are in this area.

I'd be very grateful. I have a son who it's very difficult for me to communicate with him or him to communicate with me. He's very angry at me.

And I really don't know what has caused it, but I think that there is something going on there. We have grown folks. This is a 50-year-old person that we're talking about. So I just want to go. I finally made up my mind. I needed to go in and see whether or not I can get this issue on the burner and taken care of. Thank you so very much.

Bye-bye. Well, you can feel the pain in that mother's heart. It's always true when an adult child is ostracized from the parent. In terms of locating a Christian counselor, if you will go online to the American Association of Christian Counselors. Maybe even AACC would get you there, American Association of Christian Counselors. On their website, there's a place where you can put in your zip code, and it will tell you the Christian counselors that are in your area. Now, another approach would be to call a church near you, one that you trust, and ask the pastor or the staff whom do they recommend as a counselor in your area.

Because most pastors and church staff, they know who the Christian counselors are in their community, and they would be happy to refer you and give you contact information. I think you are wise to be looking for a counselor because if you can make an initial contact with a counselor and let the counselor hear your story and then say to your son, you know, I want to learn, I'm trying to learn what I need to do, and I'm going for counseling. Would you be willing to see my counselor and give him or her your perspective on how we got to where we are?

Sometimes they will be willing to do that because you're just giving them an opportunity to tell their side. And once the counselor hears both sides of the story, then they will be able to help you, hopefully, if both of you are open, to take steps at reconciliation. So call a church, ask for help, go to the American Association of Christian Counselors website. Focus on the family after doing a lot of work with them also.

They also have a list of places around the country, counselors around the country, that they can give you so you can go to their website or call their number at Focus on the Family. So there are some ideas for you and aren't you glad, Gary, that she called and she asked that question? Absolutely, Chris, because just to sit there, things don't get reconciled with the passing of time. If there's reconciliation, we have to take steps that lead to that. Thanks for listening to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. It's our Dear Gary broadcast for July featuring your calls. If you have a question you want Dr. Chapman to address here on the program, call and leave a message on our listener line. We won't call you back, but if you'll leave your question, we'll try to address it here. Just call us at 1-866-424-GARY, 866-424-GARY. Our featured resource at is the book Dr. Chapman wrote with Shannon Worden. It's titled The DIY Guide to Building a Family That Lasts, 12 Tools for Improving Your Home Life.

Find out more at Now here's a call from someone who's concerned about a situation with her boyfriend. Hi, Gary. My boyfriend and I have been together for about eight years, and before it was like we were having a normal relationship, and now he is more into God. He was into God, but he's more into God, and he feels guilty about us living together, even though it's more of a, per se, brother-sister relationship, and it's like we're backsliding. And now I would like to be, as he was at the time, spiritually married, but he's backsliding now thinking that he's going to hell because of this.

Would you give me some advice? Thanks. Bye.

Well, I appreciate this caller. And let me just say, first of all, according to the Bible, we don't go to hell for doing bad things. The only people who spend eternity away from God are people who reject God. They say to themselves, I'm not going to follow God. I'm not going to learn who God is and what God has said.

I'm just going to live my own life. And God doesn't make us believe in him and follow him. He gives us freedom to walk away from him. And it appears that what's happened is your husband, somewhere along the line, made a choice to start walking toward God. And so his life is beginning to change and he's now taken seriously the teachings of the Bible about human relationships. And the Scriptures are pretty clear that sexual intercourse, for example, is reserved for husbands and wives.

And sexual intercourse outside of marriage is not pleasing to God. So he's trying now to bring his life in keeping with what the Bible teaches. So if you understand where he's coming from, it's really a good thing that he's turning to God.

And I would say that it would be wonderful if you would reach out and talk to a pastor or if you know a strong Christian friend somewhere and just say, hey, can you help me understand what's going on with my boyfriend? Maybe I need to be moving closer to God. Because listen, the deepest satisfaction in life is having a relationship with God. And when both of you have a relationship with God and both of you are asking him to guide your life together, you're going to find the deepest satisfaction.

And it may well lead to your marriage down the road. So I would just say use this crisis, as it were, in your life to think in terms of, am I willing to start moving toward God rather than just like ignoring God? And God's plans are always best. Everything the Bible says don't do, it's because he loves us. And if he says do this, it's because he loves us.

So I would just make this a learning experience if I were you. She used the phrase spiritual marriage. We only be in a spiritual marriage, and I don't know what that means.

To some it means, you know, one thing, I looked it up online and there are a lot of different things from Eastern religions and those types of things that will define that. But is there a, you know, if you have been together for eight years and you're living together, it's, you know, you have been down a long trail together. If both of them were sitting before you, what would you say to them right now? Well, first of all, Chris, I'd like to know the whole background of the story, you know, how they came together, what is the nature of their relationship now, because she said it's more like we're living in the same house, but we're like brothers and sisters, which makes me ask, you know, are they not sexually involved with each other? Are they just living together? So I'd like to know the whole story before I would go very far down the road in terms of, you know, what I would suggest to them. Okay, Gary, let me ask this before we end here today. Let's say there's a couple listening and they're married and they've been married a long time and one of the spouses, they're getting more interested in God, they're moving closer to God, they're doing church more, they're reading the Bible more, and the other spouse is saying, what in the world is going on here?

There's something happening and I don't understand it. What would you say to that person? I would say, first of all, I understand how you would be concerned, because they weren't spiritual, they weren't religious when you're married, and here now, all of a sudden, over a few weeks or months here, they've gotten into, quote, the religion thing.

You know, in your mind, that's what it sounds like and looks like. So I'm very empathetic with the question marks that would be in your mind. But I would just say this, it is crises like that that often helps us turn in a different direction in our lives. And if your spouse is finding a relationship with God meaningful and you're seeing positive changes in their life, which is typically what happens if a person really is walking with God, there are positive changes that are taking place. And if you're seeing that happen, I would say, why don't you explore the possibility? Maybe there's something more for you in this whole spiritual area. And I would begin to reach out and certainly talk with your spouse, let them explain what they're learning, but ask if there's a group in a church maybe for people who have questions. In fact, many churches do have small groups for people who are not Christians, but they're interested in learning what Christianity is all about. So I would try to make it a learning experience, rather than just rebelling against it and say, I didn't sign up for this religious stuff. Maybe keep your heart open to the possibility that there's something here that you haven't discovered. Listen, we didn't determine where we were born and whether we were raised in a Christian framework or not Christian framework. And if we grew up in a totally secular home, then we have an idea that anything religious or spiritual is something we don't want to get involved in.

But the reality is the happiest people in the world, those who make the greatest impact for good in our world, are those who do have a relationship with God. I would encourage you to make this time a time of exploration and just see where it leads you. See, there it is again, the communication, to be able to sit down and simply say, can you explain to me what is it that you are going through? And then listen and ask follow-up questions.

Well, that's our conversation for today. Thank you for joining us, and if you want to add your voice to the program, call the question 1-866-424-GARY. Make a comment about something you've heard today, 1-866-424-GARY, and go to the website. You'll see our featured resource, the book that Dr. Chapman wrote with Shannon Wharton, The DIY Guide to Building a Family That Lasts.

You'll find it at And next week, a fun conversation with my cohost, a conversation about a treasure hunt, a love story, and an old country song. Can fiction help your relationships?

Find out in one week. 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 / 2023-08-21 12:25:02 / 2023-08-21 12:44:05 / 19

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