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Dear Gary - November

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
November 28, 2020 1:00 am

Dear Gary - November

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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November 28, 2020 1:00 am

You’ve heard that when you get to the end of your rope you need to a tie a knot and hang on, right? Well, if that’s you, tune in to the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. On our November “Dear Gary” broadcast, you’ll hear answers to some deep marriage and family struggles, and words of hope from the author of the NY Times bestseller, The Five Love Languages.

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Find out about the love languages and how to enhance your life by identifying yours today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. I've tried everything. I just keep striking hell. My husband and I just don't get along.

He doesn't seem like he has any characteristics of God in him. I'm reaching out to you, Gary, for some help. We'll do whatever it takes. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, our post-Thanksgiving Dear Gary broadcast, where Dr. Chapman addresses your questions, your feedback, marriage struggles, and more.

And if you have a question, write down the number and give us a call. You may hear that burning issue that you're dealing with on a future Dear Gary broadcast. So call us, leave a message at 1-866-424-GARY.

That's 866-424-GARY. Well, we've just come through Thanksgiving, Gary. And even though this has been a really, really tough year, we do have a lot to be thankful for, don't we?

Well, absolutely, Chris. You know, I think sometimes we can focus on the difficulties and the pain and all that's been experienced by many, many, many families. But in the reality, you know, we're alive.

And if we've lost friends, you know, to death, hopefully they knew the Lord. And if so, they're better off than we are, you know, so we can give thanks for that. So I think there's a lot to be thankful for. I've really encouraged people during this season just to take some time to sit down and reflect and maybe write down some of the things you're thankful for, you know, in terms of people that is family and in terms of things that we have, just an abundance of things that we can thank God for. So, yeah, I hope everybody's had a great season of reflecting on the goodness of God. Our featured resource today is really a fantastic resource that can do that very thing, make you thankful for what God has done for us in the Incarnation. I hope it's going to be on every hearth and in every home this year. So excited about Hosanna in excelsis, hymns and devotions for the Christmas season.

The authors, David and Barbara Lehman, have been married for 50 years. In fact, Gary, December 18th is Andrea and my anniversary and it's their 50th anniversary this year. So we're all going to get together and sing. But they believe in the power of music, the power of Christmas hymns and carols and the deep theology in there, plus the power of singing together.

Yeah, sounds great to me. I'm going to get a copy, love to hear the songs and read the songs and meditate on it. So it really is going to be a great tool, I think, for our listeners during the Christmas season as we move toward that and beyond that. So if you go to FiveLoveLanguages.com, you'll see it right there.

Hosanna in excelsis, hymns and devotions for the Christmas season. It's our featured resource today. And go to FiveLoveLanguages.com to find out more. All right, it's time for our first caller, Gary, and we have a lot of men who have phoned in, which we love. And we have a lot of love language issues that we're going to address today.

So here we go. Hi, Gary, my question to you is, what do you do if your spouse doesn't meet any of the criteria or any of "The 5 Love Languages" ? I found your book inspirational on my side.

I got to know what love language I was. Unfortunately, our marriage is so far gone, I don't believe that there's any hope for it, unfortunately. Although I'm very much in love with a woman, I've tried everything, done everything and just keep striking out. But that's my question.

Appreciate it. Well, you have to be empathetic with this caller, Chris. You know, anytime you have tried and tried in a marriage relationship and things don't seem to be getting better. It's extremely painful because, you know, when we got married, we intended we were going to both make each other happy.

We're going to love each other forever. And when that doesn't work out, it is very, very painful. You know, in terms of the love languages, I have people who say to me, you know, I don't I don't think I have a love language. I don't I don't know that either one of those speaks loudly to me. That comes from two kinds of people. Sometimes it's people who really never felt loved, you know, growing up and they don't really quite know what it means to feel loved. And the other is that people have always felt loved. And their parents spoke all five languages and they grew up feeling loved and they get married and their spouse speaks most of them and they feel loved.

And they don't know which one is more important. They just know they feel loved. But in a troubled marriage like this, one of the things, you know, I've suggested and I don't know how far along this is, but I would say to say to the spouse whose love language you don't really know and they don't know things like, you know, what could I do that would make your life easier or what could I do to be a better husband to you? You know, you're just kind of opening yourself up by asking questions of them on what you could do that would make life better for them. And often their answers over a period of time will really point to one love language more than another. I don't know the nature of this marriage, of course.

I don't know what's happened. I don't know the pain on both sides. And I know that I do know you can get to the place where you feel like there's no hope. You know, I always have hope, Chris, for couples. And I sometimes say, you know, maybe go on my hope for a while because I really believe that any marriage, there's still hope as long as you're alive.

But I know you can get to the place where you feel like there's no hope because you've done all you know to do and there's no change. But I would say asking questions like that to the person. If I could be a perfect husband to you, for example, in this case, what would I look like? You know, those kind of questions, which and maybe they're so far down in the relationship that they'll say nothing you could do would ever make you a good husband for me.

And, you know, that sounds pretty bad. Asking questions to me is one of the best ways to discover really how to love a person. And you might have to keep if it's bad enough, you might have to keep coming back again and again and then not go on the answer to that question, you know, give me a divorce or get out of here, never talk to me again, that kind of thing. You have to wait until it flaws enough to be able to even get an answer.

Yeah, I think I think you're right, Chris. And sometimes too, if you recognize your own part in the relationship, you know, your own failures, and none of us are perfect. And even though it may be, you know, kind of one sided, but even if you go and say to them, you know, I've been thinking a lot about us and I realize I failed you in some ways. And you just kind of apologize, you know, for your part in the failure, because by nature, we see their flaws and not our own flaws. But sometimes it starts with an apology. And even though they don't necessarily respond positively, at least they're thinking, you know, that's different.

I haven't heard that before. So, yeah, I think we are where we are. But the question always is, what other step can I take? You know, and that kind of goes along with a book I wrote once called One More Try.

What to do when your marriage is falling apart. And so I think this listener might find some helpful ideas in that book as well. This is our November Dear Gary broadcast on Building Relationships.

If you'd like to ask a question for a future program, again, our number is 866-424-GARY, 1-866-424-GARY. Next up, a question that deals with love in the midst of pain from the past. Hi, Gary, I have read your book on "The 5 Love Languages" . I'm a senior, I've been married over 50 years and my husband and I just don't get along.

My love language is physical touch and his is acts of service. He has been holding a grudge against me for a long, long time about losing his share of the family business 25 years ago. And he hasn't been intimate with me since because of our family. I really don't want to get a divorce, but I'm trying to find a way to move forward and somehow stay in this marriage. But I'm feeling really, really hurt.

And thank you for listening. Well, again, this is a deeply moving situation, Chris. 50 years married and not getting along. You know, I remember the days we didn't get along, but they were earlier in our marriage, you know, and after 50 years, we're going we're doing well. But, you know, when you've been in a long term marriage and it hasn't been good and it sounds like in this case, at least for 25 years after some event happened that he felt she was the reason why he didn't get part of this family business. I can see, you know, I can see how you just feel hopeless almost. And yet she doesn't want to get out of the marriage. That's positive.

You know, she has a commitment to the concept that marriage is a covenant. And so I'm here to, you know, just trying to find a way to survive in the midst of all of this. I do think to open up a conversation, I know sometimes after that many years, you just feel like, well, we just live in the same house and just each do our own thing and we don't even talk about us anymore. But I think to open up conversation and say, you know, I've been thinking a lot about us lately.

I don't know how you're feeling about us. You know, I just wish we could learn how to care about each other and have some good years in our old age. So I'm asking, what do you think I could do that would make life better for you? You know, rather than asking them to do something for you, you're asking, what can I do for you? And often it'll open up a conversation.

I'm not saying always it will. They may say nothing you can do is going to make things better for me, you know. But I do think we don't make any progress without communication. So somewhere along the line, we have to talk about us.

If I take the approach of what can I do that would make things better for you in our relationship, that's always has more potential for leading somewhere positive than complaining about how empty I am and how hurt I am and how I feel rejected and, you know, all of that. It's far better to take that approach of what can I do. And to me, that's biblical.

You know, Jesus himself said about himself, I didn't come to be served, I came to serve and to give my life a ransom for many. To me, that has potential, Chris. I'm not saying this is the answer, but it does have potential.

Yes. And again, the hope there. It's a long time to have a love language of physical touch and not experience that, you know. So in a lot of ways, it sounds like he's shut down, she's shut down. You know, after 50 years, wouldn't it be something for God to touch a heart and to bring this marriage back to a place? I don't know that you get there without somebody else walking along side you and helping you open up and begin to talk about that, though. Well, that's often true, Chris, and that's why counseling, of course, can be a real, real help. But that means two people have to be willing to go for counseling. I have sometimes said to people, if the spouse won't go, you just say to them, well, I'm going to go because I want to learn how to be a better wife or I want to learn how to be a better husband. So I'm going to go for counseling.

Sometimes the fact that you have someone outside the relationship that you can talk with, a counselor, and help you think about your own feelings and what approaches you may take that have hope for them. So, yeah, always, I don't care how bad a marriage is, if a couple is willing to sit down with a pastor or a counselor and over a period of time, look at the things that brought them to where they are, we're human. We have the potential to change things. And as Christians, we have the help and power of God to change things. So things can be better.

But so I would certainly encourage reaching out for counseling on the part of both would be ideal, but even one would be a step in the right direction. Our featured resource is an amazing devotional, and I didn't have time to tell you about some of the stories they include about the carols and the hymns in this book. If you like it half as much as I do, you'll really be encouraged to go to FiveLoveLanguages.com. Our featured resource is Hosanna in Excelsis, Hymns and Devotions for the Christmas Season. It's at FiveLoveLanguages.com. All right, let's take a question about a relationship that has rekindled or maybe it hasn't.

Here we go. Hi, Gary, me and my ex are in a relationship for about five months or so. Normally, I would be mad at not completing my task for the day, whether that's reading or anything. She normally would feel resentment. She normally would think I would feel resentment towards her because of it. I would like to know how can we move past that and me getting to her with quality time, being in her love language to get her back because she still loves me. I still love her. But in terms of being in a relationship, she doesn't want that. I guess her love tank is empty.

Yeah, just how do I fix that? She still hangs out with me. She still talks to me on the phone.

So how would I fix that? Thank you. Well, I can understand if you have had a good relationship and then you've broken up and one of you is pulled away. And now you're at least spending time together again.

You hope it'll move in a positive direction. And the fact that her love language is quality time and she is spending time with you now, maybe because that does make her feel better. But I hear you saying there's also resentment there.

I think we have to talk about what brought us to the point where we are in a non-condemning way. By that, I mean for you to say to her, for example, you know, I really enjoy spending time with you. And I know that you're hurt. And I know that some of the things I have done in the past have hurt you. Can we just talk about it? Can you just tell me again the things that I've done or haven't done in the past that have really hurt you? And let her share it with you again, you know, and just listen to it.

Don't be condemning. Don't try to excuse yourself, but listen to her and be empathetic. Try to put yourself in her shoes and see the world through her eyes. And maybe you can come to the place when you can then say, you know, honey, what you're saying makes sense to me. And I can see how deeply I hurt you. I certainly didn't intend to do that, but I can see how deeply I hurt you. You know, I want to apologize. And if there's any way I can make this up to you, I would certainly like to do it because I love you. And I would like for us to have a good relationship.

And I'd like to, you know, meet your needs and I'd like to help you become the person you want to become. You know, that kind of conversation in which you're trying to let her share her hurts, even though you've heard it before. But normally you've heard it in a probably a negative fashion about how bad you've hurt her. But if you can be asking her to share that again and listening empathetically to her and coming back with the apologetic spirit, it may well open the door to her getting over some of that pain from the past because resentment doesn't go away unless it's processed. And resentment is processed by conversation, by asking questions and listening to the other person. And when they really feel like that you are understanding them and you're not condemning them for their feelings and they're not condemning them for not getting over it, but you're empathetic with them, they're far more likely to begin to warm up inside towards you. And especially if her love language is quality time, listening to her as she shares her hurt and her pain. And then talking about, you know, how what you might do that would help her come to the place to forgive you for that so you could go forward.

To me, that's the road. Now, again, you know, Chris, you mentioned counseling. And if both of them are willing to go for counseling, I think a counselor could help them understand each other as well.

But that would be my approach in terms of something you can do immediately. Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find out more about it, even take an assessment of your love language right now at Five Love Languages dot com.

This is our Dear Gary broadcast post Thanksgiving, hurtling toward Christmas. And here's another good question about giving and receiving love. Hey, Gary, I'm finding that my love language in terms of receiving is quality time, but in the way that I send love is actually gift giving. And I was wondering if there was any discussion on that or any study on that, because I don't I don't actually see the same love language that I'm giving as what I'm receiving. So just curious about that.

Thanks so much. Well, I'd like to thank the caller because this is a question I do receive when I'm speaking at live audiences and we have a Q&A. You know, about 75 percent of the people who have taken the love language quiz have discovered that the love language they speak most often to others is also the language they want to receive. But about 25 percent of the people will fit in with what you're describing. That is, they will speak primarily one love language, but what they desire, what they want to receive is a different love language. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just understanding that that's the way it is with you. And I think this may be a reason why that happens, that sometimes, like for your example, you said giving gifts is what you do most often. That may be because your parents or one of your parents taught you to give gifts. Maybe they gave gifts and they taught you how to give gifts and always give gifts if you love people. So you're doing what you learn to do growing up. And it's natural for you to do that because they taught you how to do that.

But what you want to receive is a different love language. So that sometimes explains why that phenomena is true. So I wouldn't put yourself down at all for that. I just try to understand it. That's the way it is.

And that's fine. But the important thing in a relationship is for you to discover the other person's love language and you choose to speak their love language, whether it's quality time or gifts or one of the other love languages, because when you are giving love to them in their love language, something deep inside of them is drawn to you because love stimulates love. So in having a good relationship is discovering the primary receiving language of the other person and then speaking that language. We've got another question coming up, but the opposites attracting comes in here. And I wonder if even in the questions that we've had about some of these deep struggles that we've heard so far that there is this, you know, once you are attracted to somebody else and they, for example, physical touch and that's not theirs and it is yours, then the spiral can go down pretty quickly when that need isn't met. Well, that's true, Chris. I think any time we're not receiving love in our primary language over a period of time, we begin to kind of wane emotionally in terms of, you know, wanting to pursue this relationship.

And when we do feel love, conversely, we're drawn to wanting to pursue the relationship. All right. With this next call, we're going to get into some deep weeds, some deep relational weeds about marriage and divorce. And as you'll hear for this caller, it's a really timely question.

Hi, Gary. My mom told me to read your book. Recently, my wife and I have been having trouble. We met with our minister today and was told that she wants to get a divorce after 17 years. We met as teenagers. She had a very rough life growing up. And I was a police officer years ago for about 11 years, and that did have some effects on it.

I haven't been an officer in several years now, but we've worked together full time since 2012. Our trouble is stress at work and stuff is, in my opinion, has caused me to be withdrawn and not be there to communicate with her. And she's got stress going on with her mom and dad and the way she was raised and some recent activities that's happened with them.

Her dad's moving away after with a new wife after promising her a lot. And anyway, I'm just rambling, but I'm scared. I'm reaching out to you, Gary, for some help. We'll do whatever it takes. I was just hoping if there was anything we can do. I know your book says that we can, but she has said she doesn't want to read the book.

And I'm just I'm not asking for a miracle. I love my wife more than anything in the world. And we are each other's best friends up until recently.

And she's still my best friend. But I need your help. Well, I think anyone who hears the story of this caller would be deeply moved. Because here's a I'm going to say young man who's been married only 17 years who is hurting, hurting deeply. And apparently his wife is wanting to move out of the marriage relationship and he wants desperately to save the relationship. Again, there's no magic wand that can be waved that will bring about a reconciliation. I do think it's good that you talk with your minister.

Now, I don't know if you have plans to talk with him again or not. But I think talking with someone, a pastor or a counselor, could be extremely helpful if your wife is willing to do that. You know, sometimes people are locked into the idea that I'm just going to get a divorce and they don't want to talk to anybody about it, especially a counselor. But if she was willing, I would urge you both to go for counseling, because a counselor can help you understand the pain and hurt that the other person's feeling and also help you understand your own feelings and maybe why you're feeling that.

That would be my best advice. Now, apart from that, I do think there are things you can do that have the potential, perhaps changing her heart and her mind. One of them is to apologize for your failures in the past.

And you know what those are. And if not, ask God to tell you and he'll show you what your failures are in the past. And just tell her, yeah, I realize I've hurt you. And I realize that, you know, just talk about the pain that maybe you realize that you have caused her and to say to her, you know, I deeply regret that.

And if there's anything I can do that will make it easier for you to forgive me, I am certainly willing to do it. You know, that kind of approach. And then also, certainly not to criticize her. To criticize her or complain about her response will just simply push her further away. Preaching to her, telling her, well, you shouldn't be thinking this way.

You know, you're a Christian or whatever. That's not going to help. That's going to drive her away. But to say to her, you know, I can see how you would feel this way after you listen to her hurt and hurt. I can see how you'd feel like there's no hope. I believe there's hope with God.

I believe there's hope. You're apologizing and you're opening up to her is not necessarily going to turn her heart. But it can't hurt. It won't hurt. It won't make things worse for you to apologize and for you to say to her, you know, honey, what could I do that would make your life easier? And then you're going to have to talk about what you're going to do at work, because I heard you say that both of you are working together in the same job. At least that was my impression that you were talking about that. So you got a lot of things to work out there. If she's going her separate way, is she still going to work with you? So you have an awful lot to talk about.

And I would say being empathetic with her pain rather than trying to talk her out of it, you're going to make much more progress in that if you take that approach. On our Dear Gary broadcast each month, we take your questions. And if you want to ask one, call us at 1-866-424-GARY. We're not taking your calls live here, but hopefully in the future, you'll hear your question on a Dear Gary broadcast.

866-424-GARY. Now, a love language impasse. Here's our next caller. So my wife and I are an impasse after just finishing the first section of the workbook. We understand that we're supposed to talk in our personal relationships with love language. But what do we do with our love language in our activity? So my example, I am a quality time and my wife is a acts of service. What does she do with her attempts at acts of service now, since my love language is quality time? She'll ask a number of times about dinner or what to do for dinner or what she can do for me.

And that upsets me or bugs me. But she says, well, now that I know I'm supposed to talk in your love language of quality time and spend quality time with you, what do I do? You know, since her acts of service is like her, what does she do with that? Yeah. Does she stop cooking dinner?

That's the question. Thanks. I think one of the things I would say is thank her for fixing dinner unless you want to fix it and see it as an act of love. OK, so it is her language, but she is speaking it to you. And listen, we need all five of these.

All five of them are wonderful. I mean, let's be thankful for what she's doing in terms of acts of service for you. So I would give her I would commend her for that and tell her how much you appreciate her cooking and whatever else she's doing for you. And then, you know, yours is quality time. And I think you need to identify for yourself and then for her, what dialects of quality time are really meaningful to you? Is it sitting down and having conversations with her or is it taking a walk with her or is it doing a project with her? Where do you sense most love coming from her in terms of quality time? Because she may be kind of fuzzy on what you mean by quality time.

If that's number five for her, she may not even understand exactly what you're talking about. Being more specific in terms of what would be meaningful to you will be very helpful to her. And the very fact that she is doing acts of service for you and asking what she could do for you says to me she cares. She really does want to love you.

And that's her way of doing it, that is her natural way of doing it. But she can learn to speak quality time if she understands what kind of quality time is most meaningful to you. And then for you, if acts of service is the one she wants to receive, you need to be asking her, I would say every night, honey, what could I do tonight that would be helpful to you or helpful for you? So what you're doing is asking her for the kind of things you could do for her that would be helpful to her. And chances are, if that's her love language, chances are she'll have some ideas on what you could do that would make things better for her.

And if you start touching her love language and she begins to really sense that you care about her and you're speaking her love language, she's far more interested in learning what your love language is and how she can speak your love language. So don't give up on this. I mean, you're at a good place. You at least are beginning to understand your need for love and quality time, her need for love and acts of service.

It's a matter now of learning how to do that in the most effective manner. So he called it an impasse, but it sounds it sounds more like a litmus test that you've got two people who are committed to each other and who want to love each other, and they just haven't figured that all out. So, I mean, in one sense, when if I do that test on their their marriage, it's like they're moving forward and they're together, even though they're struggling. Yeah, that's what it sounds like to me, Chris, because when he sees what she's doing for him, these acts of service, and he knows that's not his love language, but maybe he's not affirming her for those things. And consequently, if he's complaining, you know, you're not speaking my love language, complaining always pushes a person away. Far better to to focus on meeting their love language and saying things like, on a scale of zero to 10, how much love do you feel from me tonight?

And whatever they say, it's less than 10. You say, what could I do tonight that would make you feel more loved? And you ask her that for a few weeks, you know, once a week or once every other week. She'll start asking you that question just a couple of months down the road. She'll start asking you that question.

And now you're getting somewhere. So focus on meeting her need and discovering what it is. And chances are she's going to come to reciprocate in due time. That's Dr. Gary Chapman. This is Building Relationships.

Find out more at FiveLoveLanguages.com. Now a call about a real deep marriage struggle and a wife who's in a difficult situation. Hi, Gary. My question is I've been married to the same guy for about 20 years now. Recently, a year ago, he passed off and he left the kids and I that's a year. And when he moved, I tried to reach out to him. I reached out to the family to talk to him.

He just refused to talk to everyone. So I'm like, you know what, this man is probably, you know, with someone else. He said he's moving because he's got another job, you know, but everyone else know about him but me. You know, so he treats me. This is how he treats me. It looks like he does not want to be divorced.

I feel like nothing has worked. So it's a long story but in situations like this, you know, what would you do? What would you advise me?

I am like physically mentally exhausted to a point where I don't even talk no more. And again, like I said, he's not interested in a divorce but he doesn't want to be a father. He doesn't want to be a better husband to me.

What would you advise me in this situation? Bye. You know, Chris, I would like to have a little more information. For example, I'd like to know if he's financially supporting her and the children. I'd like to know if he spends any time with the children.

And I don't know what ages the children are or how many children there are. But when a man simply picks up and leaves and has no contact with the children, no contact with the wife, no financial support for the wife, you know, over a period of a year, I would say it's time to take some action to hold him responsible. Because he has a responsibility for helping with those kids and financially, especially helping with the family.

I think it'd be a time for her to say to, I'd say a Christian attorney rather than a secular attorney, you know, what can I do here that can begin to hold him responsible for at least, you know, helping out here because I'm exhausted. The other thing I would say is, your most important role right now is to your children. And so consequently, taking care of yourself and your own physical, emotional and mental health is exceedingly important because your children desperately need you. If this means that you need to be talking with a pastor or counselor or somebody that can help you deal with your own emotions, I would say that would be time well invested.

Because in your hurt, and with all the responsibility that now has been kind of dumped on you, you may be feeling like I can't do this forever. And perhaps you can't, perhaps you need help. And this is where Christian friends and friends from church can sometimes come in and help you with some of the things that you're struggling with in terms of the children. I would say don't walk this road alone. Reach out to friends, reach out to others and let them know where you are and what's going on. People want to help, but they often don't know how to help unless you're having conversations with them.

So that would be my suggestion. It sounds like he will not talk to you, he doesn't want to discuss it with you or with his family. Now, if the family knows more things about him that you don't know, and they would be willing to tell you what they think is going on, it might give you some understanding. So it doesn't hurt to ask family members about him and what they feel about him.

Obviously, you can't make a husband come back and re-engage and reconcile. But he does need to be held responsible for behavior if he's not doing at least something to help you financially. And if he's not abusive, then he certainly needs to be spending time with the children. The children need him.

Those would be my thoughts. And perhaps someone, a counselor or close friend, can help you decide what the next step might be. Well, her grandmother gave her advice. And now this caller wants to know what Dr. Gary Chapman thinks. Here's her question.

Hi, Gary. My grandmother, she thinks that God has told her that it's a man that is the one for me, like it's my future husband. And she felt like God told her that last year. And she's been talking about this guy for so long. You know, she knew this guy in church and I met him, too. But he doesn't seem like he has any characteristics of God in him. When I got a chance to know him, he said he smoked and he drinks and he does so many things and he wanted to have sex outside of marriage.

And so then, eventually, we talked, he said he wanted to get to know me, but then he blocked me. So I wonder, could she really have heard from God or no? Well, what I hear this caller saying, Chris, is that her grandmother apparently had a vision or God told her that this young man was going to be her husband. And so she has spent some time with him, but she doesn't see much of Christian faith in him. And his behavior doesn't exhibit that he's a Christian. So she's wondering if her grandmother really heard from God.

Well, let me say this. Grandmothers and grandfathers, and I am one, I'm a grandfather, they don't always have the word from God on who you should marry. We all have ideas and we see a person and we know enough about them to think that they would be a good person for our grandson or our granddaughter.

But we don't know everything about them. And what you discovered is some things that I would say are huge red flags waving, saying don't go down this road very far with this person unless there's some radical changes. Because what you're observing in his life now, as a single adult, it's not going to be fixed just by getting married.

It gets worse typically, these kind of patterns you're talking about. I would just say if he's blocked you as a friend, I'd be looking somewhere else. And I'd be asking God, you know, Father, lead me to a godly man my age who would have an interest in me and whom I would have an interest and who we can build our lives together following you.

So I would, if you're not already involved in a church that has a group of Christian singles that meet and study the scriptures and try to encourage each other, I'd certainly urge you to find a church like that and get involved in a church like that. Because you don't want to pursue the marriage relationship with someone with whom you have these huge disagreements on. So yeah, I wouldn't feel that you're bound by what your grandmother said, okay? And maybe if your grandmother is really pushy, I would tell her some of the things you've discovered about this young man. And your grandmother may say to you, honey, I think I heard the wrong voice.

Okay? I like that answer. And a lot of times on the program we talk about, you know, the wisdom of your parents and the people who love you a lot. And your grandmother probably really loves her and wants the best for her but, you know, didn't understand, didn't have the whole thing.

Let me, one other follow up to that then. What if it's the person that comes to you? Let's say this guy had come to her and said, God told me you're the one. How do you respond to that as the person on the other end that God hadn't told you that? I think I would say, well, I'm open to hearing God.

So you want to go have lunch? And you know, the purpose of dating in our culture is to get to know the other person and to find out if this is God's person for you. I think God seldom, I don't know, I'm not going to say what God can and can't do. I don't think God seldom tells somebody, you know, that's your wife. And he goes and tells her that you're my wife and God told me so without giving the other person some idea that this is a deed of God.

But I think dating in our culture at least leads us to understand the person and find out if we have enough in common, if we're marching to the beat of the same drummer. You know, both of our hearts are marching with God's heart. And these are the kind of things that lead you to decide ultimately to marry or not to marry. It's not a vision somebody said they had from God. It's a you're getting to know them and then seeking God's wisdom about whether to pursue this or not to pursue this. Final call today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a wife who is married to a difficult person.

Here we go. Hi, Gary. I'm married.

I'm a Christian, I think. But the thing is, I'm not sure because the way I mistreat my husband, because he is a barbarian. And over the years, he's gotten worse. I'm just I busted in my screaming and my begging to please do certain things.

And, you know, it's frustrating. He just doesn't want to comply and resist women telling them what to do, pray about it, plead about it. And I'm not happy with the way I treat him because he's just uncouth.

My selection, my choice, but it's like I said, it's gotten worse over the years. And I just feel like maybe I'm not even a Christian because the way I speak to him, I don't know what to say. Well, I hear in the voice of this caller, she thinks she's a Christian, but she doesn't act like a Christian. And that bothers her. But at the same time, she's asking herself, how do I deal with this husband who's a barbarian? Now, I don't know what else she means by that term, Chris, but obviously it's not a good picture that she has of him.

And apparently she has told him and she says, I've mistreated him. Let me first of all say that whether we are Christian or not a Christian is not determined by how we treat people. It is whether or not we have faith in Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross for our sins. And we confess our sins and ask him to forgive us and invite him into our lives and let him be our savior and our Lord. You see, it's by faith in Christ that determines whether we're a Christian or not a Christian. Now, we can be a Christian and mistreat other people.

None of us are perfect after we give our lives to Christ. But when we do mistreat people, we're bothered by it because it's not just our conscience. It's the Holy Spirit saying to us, you shouldn't talk that way. You shouldn't treat him that way. So God convicts us of our wrongdoing. And so I think the first step is to confess your own wrongdoing. Lord, you know, I've mistreated him.

You know, I speak to him harshly and mean and in a non-Christian way. So I'm asking you to forgive me and I'm asking you to fill my heart with the attitude of Jesus. And Jesus' attitude was to serve people. You know, the scripture said he was God, but he became a man. And when he got on level ground with us, he stepped down in humility to serve us. And that's the attitude God wants to build in our lives, that we're here to serve people, even people that don't love us.

I mean, let's face it, the Bible says God loved us while we were sinners and sent Christ to die for us. So you confess your own failures. You accept God's forgiveness. You ask him to pour his love into your heart and let you love an unlovely husband. You won't do that naturally, but you can do that with the help of God. You see yourself as a channel of God's love to your husband.

And whatever his love language is, you speak that love language. You are God loving him through you. And you don't have to have feelings to do this.

You know, you don't have to have positive feelings. You have to just open your heart to the love of God and let God use you as a channel. Now, I'm not going to say that he will turn around quickly when you start doing that. But I can tell you this. There's nothing more powerful you can do than to confess your own failures to God first and then to your husband, and then to love your husband in the power of Christ, to love your husband in his love language. Nothing more powerful in influencing him in a positive way. And I've seen many, many men, as well as many women, when their spouse takes this approach in due time.

I'm not talking about three weeks, I'm talking about six months, eight months, nine months of this. They began to reciprocate and many of them turned their lives over to Christ. And now they are no longer barbarians.

They're now children of God. And you can have a great relationship when both of you have committed your lives to Christ. So that would be my prayer for you. And you can't make him change his behavior, but you can certainly with God's help change your behavior.

And you become an instrument of positive influence rather than an instrument of negative influence on your husband. I love her honesty too, Gary, of saying, I must not be a Christian because, you know, here's how I fuss and I fume. And look what that did. It got us to the gospel and it got us to grace. We are not Christians or we're not going to heaven because we do everything right and we respond in a Christian way every time. We are in Christ because of his grace and his love and his mercy. And we're kept by that grace in him. So that's really good news today. And I'm glad you called.

If you have a question for Dr. Gary Chapman, here's the number 1-866-424-GARY. We'd love to hear from you. And don't forget to check out our featured resource, Hosanna in Excelsis, Hymns and Devotions for the Christmas Season by David and Barbara Lehman. You'll find out more at FiveLoveLanguages.com. Well, Chris, next week, we're going to take a fresh look at motherhood without all the rules.

Find out what that means in one week. Looking forward to it, Gary. Well, 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 association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-21 02:47:07 / 2023-08-21 03:05:26 / 18

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