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Dear Gary-May

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
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May 29, 2021 4:30 am

Dear Gary-May

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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May 29, 2021 4:30 am

Dr. Gary Chapman is known for the 5 Love Languages. But he’s not afraid to tackle the real life struggles you’re facing. On this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, questions from you about marriage difficulties, family conflict and abuse in marriage. You might hear an answer to something you’re going through.

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Need a marriage turnaround?

Have a love language struggle? Find answers and hope today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. I tried to tell her my husband's abusive.

You know, they say, oh but he's so nice. But she decided she wants to move out of the house. She wants to find herself.

I'm just trying to figure out how I can save my relationship. 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 in the house and ready for your questions and comments that have come in over the past few weeks. And coming up, we are going to deal with the issue of abuse in marriage.

More about that in just a moment. Today's featured resource is a book by Dr. Chapman and Jen Mickleboro. We talked with her about that here. It's titled You Get Me, Simple Romantic Ways to Speak "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find out more about it at the website, And basically, Gary, this is a little book with a list of ways you can employ the love languages, right? Yes, along with original art by my co-author.

She lives in England and she's an artist and so it's these practical ideas on how to speak each of "The 5 Love Languages" along with the her original art pieces. So it's a great little gift to give someone as well as something to use yourself in terms of other ideas on how to express the love language of your spouse. And that's what you want.

You really want your spouse to say, hey, you get me. You understand what makes me tick, right? Absolutely. That's why we use that title because, you know, people often say, you just don't get me. Yes. And they're right. You're not getting them if they're saying that. But if they're saying, hey, you get me, then you know you're doing the right thing. Yeah. I like, I like your inflection there.

Yeah. You know, that's, you don't, and hey, well, if you want that from your spouse, perhaps this will help you. Get me. Simple romantic ways to speak "The 5 Love Languages" .

Just go to So, Gary, there's a theme in a lot of the responses this month and I don't know what this is about. I don't know if it's, you know, with the pandemic and with people kind of isolated now that there is more instance of abuse. Part of me thinks that in some of the calls that we received over the last few months, it's kind of given people permission to say, well, this is really what's happened in my life or here's what I think about that. We're not going to play all of these back to back today, but there's a thread that will, you'll hear running through the calls.

And I want to begin with a question that came online. Let me read you this listener's words. I feel like my husband overrides me and bulldozes me all the time.

And then the scripture talks about how we're supposed to die to self. So I feel like I'm a doormat. He doesn't listen to me financially about savings and planning for the future. He's in his sixties. I'm in my fifties and he wants to spend money we don't have. He has not done any of the things that I've asked that we take care of in almost the four years that we've been married.

He is all about him and I usually just let it be that way because I'm supposed to die to myself. Does it really matter that I enjoy having a clean house and would like for him to clean up after himself? That would show love to me. Does it matter that I would really like for him to save money?

That would show love to me. He makes plans with his son who moved here a few months ago and it's all about his son and plans in the future to buy land and build a house because he wants to have something nice to leave his boys or grown men. I don't have access to his bank account but his two sons do. If I say something to him he turns it around on me and constantly throws up divorce. So we read that book when we first got married, "The 5 Love Languages" , and he seems to think it's a joke that the things that means so much to me, not one of them, are done. So where does that leave me?

I just don't know really what to do. Well, you know, Chris, as I hear you read that, my heart goes out to this lady. Obviously it's a second marriage for both of them. I'm assuming for both of them and they will have been married four years and he's 60 and in her 60s and she's in her 50s. Which leads me first of all to say that when there is a remarriage, particularly as adults when you both have children, grown children, and so forth, there's a whole lot of things that really should be discussed before you get married. And you know, how are we going to handle money? How are we going to relate to our kids?

And just a whole lot of things that people often overlook. And you know, that's why I wrote that book with Ron Deal on how the love languages applies in a second marriage, because it's very different. And the more preparation you do for this before you get married, the less likely you are to get in this situation where she is now. But her question is certainly a legitimate question.

It's what am I supposed to do? And she's toying with two things. One, the hurt, the disappointment, the fact that he seems more committed to his sons, his adult sons, than he does to her. And then the biblical concept that we're supposed to die to ourselves, we're supposed to take up her cross and apologize.

And she's wrestling with both of those things. And certainly, there's no question about it, the Christian call for lifestyle is a life of service. I mean, Jesus himself said, I did not come to be served, I came to serve. And obviously for him to give his life a ransom for others. So serving our spouse is certainly a biblical concept, and certainly should be a part of a marriage.

So there's two things that come to my mind. One is, there is a place for focusing on your speaking his love language, even though he thinks the concept is foolish. But if you know his love language, there is a place for you to say, God, for the next several months, I want to focus on speaking his love language. And I want to see what happens if I'm consistently speaking his language. You don't have to feel positive feelings for him to do that.

You just have to make a decision. With God's help, I'm gonna be God's channel for reaching out and loving him in his love language. Many times, you will get a positive response, and he will begin to treat you differently, because you're meeting one of his basic needs, and that is the need to fill up. So that is certainly a very positive approach.

But that's not necessarily the answer to everything. You may do that, and he may still treat you exactly the way he's treating you now. But you will be able to look yourself in the mirror, and look God in the face, and know that you did the most powerful thing you could possibly do to influence him to become a person of love. Because when he's receiving love, love stimulates love. And when you're loving him unconditionally, you're speaking his language, even though he is not committed to you in terms of speaking your language, you're influencing him in a positive way. He may respond positively or negatively, but you're having a positive influence, and you can feel good about yourself. And whatever decision you make at the end of the six months, or five months, or however long you choose to do this, you'll be making a more intelligent decision, because you will know he resisted even unconditional love over a period of time in his love language, and he still resisted.

So at that juncture, I think you need to talk to a pastor or a counselor, and let them help you decide what do I do now. Those are my thoughts. Is it a red flag when a spouse constantly brings up divorce, like she says that that he does?

It is. It means that in his mind, he is thinking divorce might be better for us. And that may be because he's heard a lot of criticism from her. You know, she keeps harping about this, and this, and this.

In fact, it's his perspective. She's on my case, on my case, on my case. So you know, divorce may be the better thing for us.

Maybe we made a big mistake. So that's likely what he's feeling, and that's why I said there's the possibility that if she can, with God's help, communicate love to him unconditionally over a period of time, he may change his own mind and realize, man, I don't know what happened to her, but I like this. And then if she has to go to tough love because he's not responding to her, he's going to have the sense, I'm about to lose something here that I, that I like.

And he's far more motivated at that point to turn and work on the marriage and work on his own response to her. Well, maybe you have a question for Dr. Chapman. You can call us now and leave a message on our listener line. 1-866-424-GARY is our number. 1-866-424-GARY. And if you go to, you'll see our featured resource today, You Get Me, simple romantic ways to speak "The 5 Love Languages" .

Again, go to I mentioned earlier in the program that there is a thread of abuse that will run through the different calls that we have today. And in this section, I want to go to a caller who brings up that difficult subject of abuse.

I was inspired by the woman who just called a few minutes ago. I was married for years to a husband who I think I just found out, just realized about a year ago that what he had was schizophrenia because his eyes would get beady and he would get super strength and he would try to harm the children. If I tried to rescue them, he would give me a good backhand. I had many, many, I saw many stars in many colors. Anybody that I tried to tell, even my sister and I tried to tell, well my husband's abusive, you know they say, oh but he's so nice and yeah he could be so nice and other times and when this would hit him, he would kill.

We were married for 23 years and I have a very bad neck. And I finally learned however to avoid the backhands across the side of the head and all the colors that go along with it because I learned to run fast, rescue my child and run. I tried telling people in the church, they would say, oh but you know, you know they say the same thing, you know.

I asked the minister once for something and the minister said, I can't help you. Okay, that's all I have to say. Bye. Well, it wasn't clear in my mind whether she actually left that husband or whether she was saying she picked up the kids and ran and she was saying that literally. But my guess is that she probably left and got out of that situation.

I don't know that to be a fact. It is unfortunate, I think Chris, that many times when people go to a pastor or a trusted church leader and share something about abuse in their marriage, either the pastor or the other person just doesn't want to get involved and say, I don't have anything to say about that. Or they give what they believe to be a biblical response and that is, you need to stay there and be submissive to him. So I think as pastors and Christian leaders, we have to be aware that this is a real issue in many, many marriages. And we have to be empathetic with the people who are taking this abuse and recognize that the loving thing is not simply to stay there and be abused. The loving thing is to say, I love you too much to sit here and do nothing.

And therefore, I'm going to do and you tell them what you're going to do. And when you're willing to get help with this, then I'm willing to engage in marriage counseling and we can try to rebuild our marriage. So it's a matter of what is the loving thing to do. Now she mentioned at the very beginning that he was schizophrenic, which is a mental problem. And that person is likely not going to change unless he gets severe help and long-term help and stays with that help. So it's not just a matter of him being abusive, it's a matter of him having a mental illness. And that has to be taken into account, you know, in this kind of situation. But on her side of things, she's feeling abused by him, not just feeling it, she's experiencing physical abuse by him. And the children are there in the midst of all that too. So, you know, for her own safety, for the safety of the children and for his good, for her to move out, to move out from that situation, whether it leads to divorce or not, we hope it wouldn't lead to divorce.

We hope he would get the help he needs and then they could have counseling and the marriage could be restored. But separation itself can be a very loving act in a situation like that. And she mentioned the stars that she saw and that, you know, her neck. I still have neck problems. And then she kind of laughed and I don't think she was laughing laughing, but it's just that incredulous feeling that, you know, I let this go on and I took this and kind of the, I can't believe that I had to go through that, you know. And I think there may be somebody listening, maybe this program right here, will give someone the permission to say, you know, I don't have to take this anymore. I don't have to keep going through this. Let me then go to, when one person calls, it generates somebody else calling. And as I said, this abuse topic this last month, for whatever reason, has been a huge struggle. Here's our next caller.

Hey, Gary. I just wanted to respond to the lady that's talking about abusive husbands. Sometimes I've been in those relationships. Sometimes it is not a good idea to tell that person you're going to leave.

If I had done that, I would not have lived. Don't always advise that person just to tell him, I'm going to leave. A little confused there, Chris, whether she's saying, better just to leave and not say anything. Or it seems like the last statement she made was, you just tell him I'm leaving. I think her point was, if I had told my husband or whoever it was that I was going to leave, he would have killed me.

Yeah, yeah. And so it's better not, sometimes it's better not, you know, when you can't reason with somebody else like that. Well, and that makes sense, you know, if you're in a situation like that and he's threatened to kill himself or kill you if you leave, then certainly you don't say I'm leaving.

Go get your gun, you know. You just leave, but you need to think your way through on where you're going, what you're going to do, and have it lined up so that you can make, as it were, a safe escape from that situation. But yeah, so yeah, it's not always that we say, I love you too much to stay here, I'm going to leave. It all depends on the nature of the person and what kind of mental state they are in. Yes, and knowing the relationship too, because even in the the caller before this, there was this, you're going to the pastor and the pastor says, I can't help you.

And how many times has that happened? I think part of the struggle here is that, what I'm picking up, is that the church has not done as good a job with this issue on the whole. We can't, you know, how could we know all the situations? But the response that I get is, the church has been inadequate in helping, especially women, dealing with abuse in their marriages. Can you talk about that? Well, I think that is true by and large.

There are exceptions to that, of course. Here's what I would suggest, Chris. Every pastor is not a counselor, okay?

I understand that. But every pastor of a church should know who the Christian counselors are in their general area. And even if it has to be 30 miles away, they should know where their Christian counselors are who deal with this kind of issue, so that he can say, you know, that's not my field of expertise, but here is the contact information on the counselor. And if for any reason you're not financially able to, you know, pay a counselor, the church has a fund that we can assist you in that, so that you're removing, you know, all the barriers.

You're giving information and removing any barrier, so that for her to get that kind of help. So if every pastor was equipped with that kind of information, and many of them are, then they can be a help to the person, even though they're not the one who's going to be doing the counseling. And that brings up then the question, if you're in an abusive situation and you want your spouse to come with you, you know, and go to counseling, that's probably not going to happen. It's probably going to set the other person off knowing that you're going to be telling the secrets or telling things that I don't want. So that can even, when you reveal that, you know, because you've said a lot, if you're in a situation in your marriage and your spouse won't go with you, you go to counseling. But if you're in an abusive situation, then that changes the dynamic, doesn't it? Well, it does, Chris, but it is often almost impossible to go for counseling and they not find out and not know that you're going. Because the counseling is not just going to be a one-term thing, it's going to be several weeks that you're going to be meeting with this person as they help you walk through these emotions. So, yeah, there is a place just to go and not tell them, but if they ask, you know, there is a place also to tell them.

And then be ready. Just know that if they do become explosive, then just immediately you just take a walk, you just get out of the situation, and then perhaps they calm down. You can talk about it, but if they don't calm down, then of course, you know, you've got to escape from that. Yeah, and then the children are involved here, too. I wonder if in all your years of counseling, if you ever experienced that, you know, digging beneath the layers and found out that there was physical abuse that's going on or emotional verbal abuse that was going on, and were any of those relationships repaired or were they beyond repair?

I don't think they're beyond repair, Chris. Now, obviously, if it's mental illness, it's much more difficult, and if they're not willing to get help, it's almost impossible. They're not going to just change on their own without help, and some without medication, depending on what the problem is. But there are people who have an explosive temper and who do say abusive things, whether it's physical or just verbal, who when they understand the dynamic and where they're coming from and why they're pronged to do this and dig into that and find some healing from their past that they've gone through. Because, you know, the common saying is abusers abuse. When you've been abused, then you tend to abuse, and you'd think you'd never do it because when you've suffered so much yourself. But the reality is that that model tends to repeat itself.

So certain situations, depending on whether it's a mental illness or whether it's simply a learned pattern, but there can be healing in most of these situations if they're willing to reach out for help. Let me give you our number if you want to respond to any of these calls that we have today, or you have a situation in your marriage or your relationships with a parent or a child. 866-424-GARY is our number. You can leave a message right there. You might hear an answer on our next Dear Gary broadcast.

1-866-424-GARY. We'll probably come back to this abuse question a little bit later, but now a question about an emotional affair in the marriage. Is it real and how do you handle it?

Hi again, Gary. I was just curious about this concept of emotional cheating on your spouse. I was talking to my pastor the other day. He described it as longing to spend time with someone other than your spouse or significant other. I wondered if that was like a legitimate thing and how to best go about combating it, whether that's just being open with your spouse about it or if there's some other strategy that someone can more personalize. That's it.

Thank you. Well, I think there certainly is the experience that is commonly called emotional attachment or emotional attraction to another person when you're married. There's something about the way that person looks, the way they talk to you, the way they emote to you.

In fact, recently I heard a lady say that when I'm with him, someone other than her husband, when I'm with him, our personalities flourish and it's just such a joy. That is an emotional attraction to another person. You know, the word I use is the emotional tingles. We get this internal emotional thing. It's the whole in love thing. It's the beginning stages of the in love experience and you can have those feelings for someone who's not your spouse and especially if things are not going well in the marriage and then you meet someone at work or you meet somewhere else and you begin to have these feelings for them and you're thinking more about them than you are your spouse. In fact, one man said, I was just hoping that my wife would just go ahead and die so I could then go with this person. Yeah, well, that's a pretty strong attraction even to think such a thought but those are the kind of thoughts you persons may have when they're emotionally attracted to someone else.

It's a very, very dangerous thing and I think not just pastors and counselors must be aware of this but any Christian must be aware of this and if you have the least sense that you're being attracted to another person like that, you best remove yourself from the situation. Don't feed it. Don't think it'll go away or don't think we can handle this and not do what's wrong here. We just be friends.

No, no, no. It will get stronger and stronger and eventually you're either going to have to break it off abruptly or you're going to end up leaving your spouse and going off with them and this is the way many divorces happen. You know, the marriage isn't going well or the marriage is just kind of blase, you know. We're just kind of roommates now. Not much going on with each other. We just kind of avoid each other and now I have this other person that I have these feelings for and so the least little thing then triggers me to say, well, I don't love you anymore and I'm going to leave and so this is the birthplace of many, many divorces so we've got to be aware of this and choose not to walk down that road and the best place and easiest place to make that choice is when you first feel that attraction.

But if you're already down the road and you're already have this emotional attraction for the other person, you've been feeding it by having lunches together and talking together on the phone, etc. It's a death mark to a marriage if you don't break it off and yes, it's hard to break it off because emotionally you're pulled in that direction but biblically, if you're a follower of God, then you want to come back and say, God deliver me. Satan has taken my heart and my mind and pulled me off in another direction. I need your deliverance and you'll have the deliverance of God if you turn to him and he will give you the ability to break that relationship off and to come back and rebuild your marriage because God doesn't intend you just to have a marriage that where you're just roommates.

God wants you to have a marriage where you're loving and supportive and caring for each other and you can have that even after you've had an emotional affair but you have to break off the affair. We've talked with Dave Carter about this issue and he said that there are many times when you'll be singing in the choir or you're doing something at church or at the soccer field and you meet another parent that is there and you had that kind of connection, that it can be in some very innocent places that will happen at work obviously or in the neighborhood. But I want to know what you would say to the person listening right now and they're saying, you know what, that's happening in my life. I have this emotional connection with somebody that's not my spouse.

What do you do with that? Do you tell your spouse about it? Do you reveal that to them and what could that do to the relationship? Well, I think, Chris, it depends on where it is and how long it's gone on because if it's gone on a while, your spouse probably knows it and other people know it. They may not be talking about it but they know it because they've observed that your behavior around that person is not really what it should be. But I think the easiest thing, if it's just starting, is you can break it off without telling your spouse.

You don't have to say, I had this strong attraction for this later today and da da da da da. No, you tell God that and you ask God to help you break it off. You don't have to tell the spouse if it's a beginning thing. But if it's been going on a while, she's already wondering what's going on with him. He's cold. He doesn't respond to me.

What's going on with him? He already knows. She already knows something's going on. If you're going to make a clean break and make a restart on your marriage, then yes, you have to share it. Yes, it will be heartbreaking to them but you can, that you and they can overcome that. So, and I think we have to be authentic.

If it's something that's been going on for a while, be honest and but there has to be a clean break as well. 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 and you can download the Love Nudge app. Plus, find our featured resource, Dr. Chapman's book he wrote with Jen Mickelboro. You get me simple romantic ways to speak "The 5 Love Languages" . Just go to What will Gary say to a husband who has heard some really bad news from his wife?

Yeah, hello Gary. Me and my wife are going through some hard times. A year ago, my wife decided, we've been married for 15 years.

We have an 11 year old. My wife turned to me a year ago to say that she doesn't have the feelings for me anymore that she used to and we're still living together. I love her very much. We haven't had a relation, a sexual relationship for a year now. She went to look for counseling. We went together for the first time and then she kept on doing on her own every week, but I never went to do my counseling that that the counselor advised for us to do it separately, but I never went. But she decided she wants to move out of the house because she wants to find herself. She wants to find out if she still have any feelings for me, but I really don't believe that by doing that it's going to resolve the problem. I think it's going to be worse if she leaves the house. What do you think, Gary, that I should do?

I really, really love this woman and I am lost, completely lost. I love your program. I listen to it every Saturday and you are an amazing pastor, an amazing writer, an amazing counselor.

Maybe you can help me. Thank you so much and God bless you. Chris, unfortunately this situation is repeated over and over and over in our country, and it grows out of this belief that the main thing in life is for me to be happy. And if I'm not happy in this marriage, then I'm going to get out and try to find what will make me happy. It's a false assumption because life's meaning is not found in happiness. Life's meaning is found in a relationship with God. Nothing will ever satisfy the human heart but a personal relationship with God.

And when we have a relationship with God, we take seriously what God teaches about marriage. But this is very, very common. What she's saying is, I lost all those love feelings that I had early in our relationship.

The reality? All of us come down off of the emotional high that we typically call falling in love or being in love. We come down off that high. It's a normal thing. It's a natural thing. Then, if there's been arguments in the relationship, if there's been other things in the relationship that's kind of turned her off emotionally, she not only came down off the high, she now has negative feelings toward him. But often the way it's expressed is, I just don't love you anymore, or I just don't have love feelings for you anymore. Perfectly normal, perfectly natural. But if we interpret that to mean that I've got to go out now and find, quote, find myself and find happiness either alone or with somebody else. I've got to find something that will make me happy. We're operating on a false assumption and we're headed for more trouble.

So I agree with him. Moving out on that basis and thinking that things will get better is, it's probably not going to get better. It's probably going to get worse. Because chances are, she will find someone else in a few weeks or a few months that she will be attracted to. And she'll have those feelings again. And she'll think, oh, now I finally found the right one. What she doesn't realize is, that the divorce rate in second marriages is higher than the divorce rate in first marriages. Because, so she's moved out. She's found this new lover. She's going to divorce now and get married to somebody else. Then she's going to come down off the high again in typically two years. And she's going to find out he's not Mr.

Perfect. And the scenario is going to go over and over again. So it's a very unfair, unwise thing for a person to follow their emotions and let that determine what they're going to do in a marriage. But if they follow the biblical principle of love, love is an attitude, not a feeling.

But if she would follow the attitude of love and say, I'm married to this man. At the moment, I really don't even like him. And I don't have positive feelings for him. But I'm going to ask God to teach me how to love him. And this is where the love languages can become so helpful. I'm going to speak his love language and see what happens. And chances are, she's going to touch him in a deep way. He's going to begin to respond to her in her love language. And they're going to rediscover the emotional part of love. There is an emotional part of love.

But once you've come down off the high, it doesn't start with a feeling. It starts with a choice. I'm going to choose to love them. Now from his perspective, because he's asking what can he do, if he knows her love language, the best thing he can do is speak her love language on a regular basis, no matter what she says and what she does, to speak her love language on a regular basis. And if he has failed in the past, and probably he knows if he has, because she's probably told him and complained about it, then I apologize for those things. And not just, I'm sorry, but you know, I don't want to do that again. I don't ever want to do that again.

And help me. Let's get a plan so I won't do that again. That is, there has to be a sincere apology in turning away from his past failures, if indeed that's that's part of the problem. Because when we have genuine repentance, and then the person chooses to forgive, then we can rebuild our relationship. So it's not a matter of one person being a hundred percent right, the other person being a hundred percent wrong. We all have failed, and we have to deal with our failures. But we also have to choose not to be controlled by our emotions or our lack of emotions in a marriage relationship. He mentioned that they went to counselors separately, and I think he said that he didn't go.

That she went, but he didn't. Is that a good thing for him to do now? To get with a counselor and work on some of his his things?

Absolutely, Chris. It's never too late to improve yourself. And probably the reason the counselor suggested that they get individual counseling is because he realized that this gentleman has some issues that need to be dealt with before he can really do serious marriage counseling. So I think it's unfortunate that he didn't follow through and get individual counseling, because he may be at a different place if he had.

But it's not too late to do that now. And to share with the counselor, you know, what his wife complains about. That kind of gives a clue as to his part of what the issue is. It strikes me when he said, you know, you're a great counselor and all of that, that he was doing what many of that you've talked about in the past of couples that have come into your office and they don't have hope. And you have said, hang on to the hope that I have for you. I think that's what he was looking for.

I want you to give me a little bit of hope here in a situation that feels hopeless. Yeah. And Chris, you know, the issue of he can change himself and going to counseling is a beginning step in changing himself. So that whatever she's complained about about him, he can deal with those issues. And he's going to be a better person, whether she chooses to stay or not to stay. But the fact that he does go for counseling at least says to her, well, he's getting serious. Yeah, he's taking a step.

Oh, okay, this is good. So that would be my advice to him would be to go for individual counseling and deal honestly with the issues that your wife may have brought up to you in the process of this. Let's just stop right here and thinking about him and then anybody else who's listening who has that same thing. Your spouse has said, I don't love you anymore. I'm leaving basically. Would you pray for those relationships right now?

Sure. Father, you know what we're talking about. And you not only know not only this gentleman, but you know the others who are listening today who are in similar situations. And I pray, Father, for both individuals. I pray for the one who has said, I just don't love you anymore.

That your Spirit would help them discover the truth. That yes, we do lose love feelings, but that doesn't mean that we cannot find answers and restore those feelings and open their hearts and minds to that reality. And then for those who are in his situation where his wife is announcing that she's going to leave because she doesn't love him and he's very concerned because he does love her.

He still has feelings for her. Father, give him wisdom on the steps he can take, what he can do to begin to improve himself and understand himself better and become a better person himself. So whatever happens to her, he's going to be better. And Father, give those who are in that situation wisdom to do that. In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.

Amen. You know, Chris, one of the books I've written that deals with that is called One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. I don't know if she'd be willing to read it or not, or if he would be willing to read it or not, but certainly it would be a step in the right direction. It's called One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. Thanks for listening to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. It's our Dear Gary broadcast for May, featuring your calls. If you have a question you'd like Dr. Chapman to address, call and leave a message on our listener line. We can't call you back, but if you'll leave your question, we'll try to address it here on the program.

Just call us at 1-866-424-GARY. Our featured resource today at is the book Dr. Chapman wrote with Jen McElbero. It's titled You Get Me Simple Romantic Ways to Speak "The 5 Love Languages" .

Find out more at And I can't emphasize enough how much we covet your calls. Let us hear from you today. Maybe you disagree with something Dr. Chapman said, or you agree wildly, or you have a question about something.

Nothing is outside the pale. Just give us a call. 866-424-GARY. Here's a call from a listener, Gary, and I don't know, I think she's kind of in the same situation as our previous caller, and she wants a little bit of hope. Here's what she had to say.

Hi Gary. I'm just trying to figure out how I can save my relationship. I have a one-year-old and I'm engaged and a lot going on.

I just don't know what to do. I'm praying and that's all I can do. Well, she doesn't say whether she's married or not, but it sounds like probably not.

But she does have a one-year-old child, but whether she's married or whether this is simply the father of the child and they have a dating relationship. Of course, not knowing, Chris, more than she has shared in terms of what's going on, but the general question is we've got a problem and how do we solve it? And problems are so different that it's hard to give a blanket answer to a question like that. But I would say this, the first step often is to ask God to show you where you have failed or are failing in the relationship. You know, Jesus said before you try to get the speck out of the other person's eye, you deal with the beam in your own eye. And so even though you may think that the other person is 95% of the problem, you just say, God, you know what I'm... you know them, you know all their problems, but what I want to know is where have I failed in this relationship? And God will answer that prayer because the Holy Spirit's job is to convict us of our wrong and He'll bring it to your mind. You write them down and you confess them to God. Then you go to your spouse and say, I've been thinking about us and I actually asked God to show me where I have been failing you and He gave me a pretty good list and I've asked God to forgive me. And if you've got time, I'd like to share these with you and ask you if you could possibly forgive me. And you share those things and I don't care what the situation is, the other person is going to walk away thinking to themselves, wow, never heard that before. They've criticized me and told me what's wrong with me.

I've never heard them apologize. See, God can use your step, your first step, in touching them and they may well begin to think, I need to apologize for some things. And if they do, now you're you're ready to start the journey together because we have to tear down the wall between us before we can rebuild love in a relationship.

So that would be my thoughts, just simply knowing the little bit of information that I have. I think always this is a good step for each of us to take in our relationship. In fact, even if we're not having a lot of problems, wouldn't be a bad thing to ask this periodically of God, show me where I'm failing and God will bring those to your mind and then deal with them.

And then you can start speaking their love language, that's the positive side of it, and now you're creating something positive and positive feelings inside of them, which always helps the marriage. And she said at the end, I guess all I can do is pray. You know, it's one of the most powerful things you can do is bring this to God and also include others.

It sounds like maybe she's a little bit isolated and she doesn't have those relationships around her. Find some other people that can pray with you in that situation that you're in. I hope that encourages you today, wherever you are. We have one final call, so we started with the abuse topic.

It has filtered through today. Here's our final call. Her husband is one person in public, he's different at home, and this wife wants to be done with the marriage.

Hi, Gary. I have been married to my husband going on 13 years. It started off as a rough marriage. The dating was fine, and two, three months into it, then I seen another side of him to the point where he's yelling, him slamming a door in my face, and knocking a plate out my hand because it took too long to get vegetables.

He called the police on me, he ended up going to jail. So we've had a lot of stuff going on in our marriage to the point where I've left several times, but I came back because of the children. We have three children, two of them by him. He's been rude to my oldest son to the point where it's just frustrating, and now I'm done.

So my oldest will be 22, and my younger two by my husband are six and nine, and I just want to be done. But I've been struggling with the leaving process because I was unsure. Like, I know God doesn't honor divorce. I've tried counseling four or five times. He goes as long as the counseling sessions are free, then he doesn't go anymore, or if we get to his childhood, he stops going. Everybody thinks he's one put away. His mother, everybody around the church thinks he's one way, but really he's mean and nasty at home, but nobody sees that but us.

So it looks like it's always us. And I'm already looking at the summer, moving into a place with my kids, my daughter who's nine, and my oldest son who's 22, they've been done with this marriage because they've been through a lot. And the youngest, he's seen some things, but he hasn't seen as much, but they've been a part of some of his attacks and verbal attacks.

He's never hit me, but it's just verbally abusive, degrading, everything that happens in his life is because of me. And I'm just tired, and I just want to move on. And I'm struggling. I've already gone to see places financially.

It's going to be tight. I probably don't want to do child support, but I know I can't do it without child support and my income, my own job, but I'm debating should I do this or not. So what should I do, Gary? Well, she mentioned that they had gone for counseling four or five times, and he would go as long as it was free, I guess, or someone else was paying for it.

He didn't go after that. I would say the decision you're about to make, you really ought to be talking to a counselor while you make that decision and when you make that decision, because you need someone who can walk with you through the journey. And the counselor you've been talking to may be the right person, or you may feel like you need somebody else, but I do think if you continue with counseling, as you make this hard choice of, you know, moving out of the situation, and I don't know whether he's still in prison or not, she mentioned he went to, maybe she just said jail, maybe he's not in prison, but you don't know how he will respond either if he isn't still in the home. You don't know how he's going to respond when you choose to move out. So you need to be, you need to have someone that can walk with you and help you handle the emotions that you're going to have, and to handle however he responds to this. Because if he's been verbally abusive and lashes out and hits plates and slams doors and all that sort of thing, chances are he's not going to take this well.

And you may see him at his very, very worst. So I would say if he's still there in the home and you make this move, you let him know that if he's willing to get counseling for what he's doing and his behavior, that you would be willing someday to join him again in counseling. But right now, you can't do that because you can't continue in this situation. To me, that would be a loving approach, that would be a tough love approach, and it is approach that leaves the door open to the possibility that he can change. And the fact is, all of us can change. With the help of God, we can change. And so what he needs is to get the help he needs from God and from a godly counselor to make some changes so that you can even talk about a restoration in the relationship.

And as earlier callers said, that might be a letter to him rather than the face-to-face if you fear the abuse. And it sounds like she, at least I hope she has help, that she's not doing this alone, that there are other people, we've talked about this before, that when you decide to move out, she says financially it's going to be really, really tight when they move out, that this will be something that there would be other people around her that are walking alongside her, right? Absolutely, Chris. Life is always better when we are part of a community, and there are people that genuinely care about us and our well-being. And in most churches, you can find that kind of community.

And perhaps she already has that, I certainly hope so. Well, that's our conversation for today. Thank you for listening. If you want to add your voice again, here's our number. Ask a question, make a comment, 1-866-424-GARY, 866-424-GARY. And if you go to the website, you'll see our featured resource by Dr. Chapman and Jen Mickleboro, You Get Me, simple romantic ways to speak "The 5 Love Languages" . You'll find it at And next week, if you're spiritually stuck and you feel like you will never change, don't miss author and teacher, Chip Ingram. He says you can change. 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 10:49:24 / 2023-08-21 11:08:30 / 19

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