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Dear Gary

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
December 28, 2019 7:03 am

Dear Gary

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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December 28, 2019 7:03 am

​The questions are in, your messages have been received, and it’s time for answers on the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Each month the New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages takes questions and comments from his listener line. And this week, it’s the last broadcast of 2019 featuring great questions about marriage struggles, the love languages and more. Don’t miss the December Dear Gary broadcast on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

52 Uncommon Family Adventures

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

I mean love languages and I'm right here in the middle of it. I don't believe this. Words of affirmation! Today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

I know how easy it is for someone to portray another person. I have a question about dating. What I want to do is get a divorce and start all over. She doesn't really care.

She doesn't want to go to counseling. I don't want to give up. That's all. It's our final program of 2019. The last chance to talk with Dr. Gary Chapman before we move into a new decade. That's right, it's time for Dear Gary. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today on the cusp of 2020 we present new calls, new questions, but the same rock solid biblical encouragement you've come to expect. Our host is the one, the only, that world traveler and love language aficionado, Dr. Gary Chapman. Well, Chris, I don't know where you're coming from, but I'm glad to be on the program. You know, I really enjoy doing the Q&A programs, and I appreciate our listeners who call in periodically and ask questions.

So I'm looking forward to what's going to happen today. It seems just like last year, though. You know, yesterday we were doing this year-end program, and here we are saying 2020 instead of 2019. It goes so fast. Well, time does fly, Chris. You know, and I think the older we get, you've heard this one, the older we get, the faster it goes. But it does seem that way to me. I used to hear that and say, no, it's the same thing about, you know, when we had our children were little, you know, they grow up so fast. It's like, yeah, you know, no, they grow up the way they grow up. But I look back and it's like, boom, it's gone.

I just can't believe it. So here we are staring at 2020 in the face and making resolutions. We've talked about that on the program before, but today I want to mention our featured resource. It's 52 Uncommon Family Adventures, Simple and Creative Ideas for Making Lifelong Memories. I think this is one of those resources that can really help a family, not just say, well, we'll make a memory somehow. Really choose to do that.

Choose to do some kind of adventurous thing. What do you think? You know, Chris, I'm into adventures as a family. And in fact, I wrote the introduction to this book.

Randy Southern wrote the book, but he has a lot of great ideas in there. And some of them reminded me of things we used to do with our family when they were little. And what I like about this book is its ideas for different age children. You know, one of them I remember was building a tent in one of the rooms of the house and letting the kids spend the night in the tent, you know. And I remember doing that when our kids were little.

Those kind of things. And as they get older, then there are other adventures that we do with our kids. This is one of the things that I really, really enjoyed about parenting was doing things with our children that were different from time to time. Going into the woods and building a tent in the woods.

I only did that once, but it was an adventure, you know. So I think this book is going to help a lot of families who want to keep adventure, but maybe they're running a little dry on ideas on how to do it. And the book gives you not only the idea, but also talks about how you can plan to do it. Because parents have to be the ones that make the plans to have the adventures in the family.

Well, maybe just us saying that will start to spark something in your mind as a mom or a dad. And thinking, or even a grandparent too, how can I make a memory? How can we do something that we plan? And you know what happens when you plan something?

Something unplanned happens. So go to We have it linked right there. 52 Uncommon Family Adventures. Simple and creative ideas for making lifelong memories. Again, go to All right, time for your questions and we begin with a single listener who's a little cautious about a relationship. Hi, Gary.

Thank you for your program. I'm convinced that it's so desperately needed and why would anybody get in a relationship and expect it to last without really getting some solid work behind yourselves and to know that you have the tools to actually follow through and be there for each other. That's why I've chosen not to be in a relationship that could lead to... Well, and to be in a relationship because I want them to lead to a godly resolution of marriage if that is what God wants for people when you're intimate. So I've avoided that for a period of years because I know how easy it is for someone to betray another person. I don't think I could take it. I don't think it's fair. My talents and my love for somebody could be just discarded like it was missing. I just don't want to go there yet. I may make a choice tomorrow to change, but I don't think I can.

Thank you. You know, Chris, I'm finding more and more younger adults, younger single adults who are expressing similar feelings and thoughts as this caller. That perhaps they've seen their parents go through divorce and sometimes even more than once. And they've seen their friends who get into relationships and get involved sexually before marriage. And then they're dumped by their partner down the road.

And they just don't want to do that. And I can understand that. At the same time, we are made for each other. And that doesn't mean that every single person should get married.

But it does mean that is God's basic plan for humanity. So I think with our fears, we come to God and ask him, Lord, you know who I am. You know who you've made me to be. And you know whether a long-term relationship in marriage is what you have in mind for me. Please keep me from relationships that would be detrimental, that would pull me away from your plans for my life.

But please bring into my life that person who would compliment me and I could compliment them. And we could do more together than I can do alone. It's a tricky world. And there's so much deceit and, as she mentioned, tossing relationships away.

I can understand the feeling. But I do think that if we reach out to God, he will lead us to relationships that can be healthy. And the other factor is that once we're in a relationship, we want to keep our boundaries and we want to communicate them to the other person so that we don't allow ourselves to get into a deep physical relationship with someone outside of marriage. I mean, the biblical pattern is clear.

And we hurt ourselves and others when we violate the biblical pattern. Here's our second call. And here in our first segment, another single who has a really good question for Gary Chapman.

Hi, Gary. I have a question about dating and getting appropriate advice about dating because all of the advice out there seems to be about dating without regard to the sanctity of marriage. And that's not the way that I want to go about things. I'd like to know, you know, where can someone who wants to get good dating advice but also wants to do that within the bounds of what God designed go to get that perspective?

Thanks. Well, I really appreciate the spirit of the caller wanting to do what is proper and right and good and healthy in dating relationships. We all know that dating is not practiced in all cultures. There are cultures where parents choose the person that you're going to marry.

It's been interesting that many of those marriages work out well. But in our culture, dating is a part of the process. And I see the purpose of dating as getting to know the other person to the degree that you can make a wise decision about whether this relationship should move to marriage or not move to marriage. And the most productive way to do that is to have boundaries, biblical boundaries in terms of what we do and don't do in the dating relationship. And as we've mentioned earlier, even in our first call, the Bible is very clear that a sexual relationship outside of marriage is not God's plan for us. If we make that commitment in our own mind and then early on in the relationship, we share that commitment with the person we're dating. And then if they want out, fine, let them out. It's obviously not going to lead to marriage.

But you will find people who will agree with you on that. Then you share life by doing things together, talking about your histories, talking about your visions for the future, talking about the nature of your relationship with God. It's in that dating context that we get to know each other and we can make a wise decision about whether this dating relationship leads to marriage or whether we come to the place where we both agree, you know, I think we best go our own ways.

This has been good for us. I think we both learned some things from each other, but it's not going to go to marriage and I think it's probably best for us to go our own way. And most people do date more than one person before they get married. What is unfortunate in our culture is that many times they date several people and the focus of all those dates is the sexual part of the relationship, which to me is tragic and does not prepare the person for marriage.

We all know that people who are sexually active before marriage are far more likely to be sexually active outside the marriage when they do get married. So if God says don't do it, you best not do it. If God says do it, you do it.

You follow what God laid down because all of his commands are given out of his love for us. And one of the great resources out there, Gary, we've talked with Lisa Anderson and folks on the family of the Boundless podcast and the materials that they have online, That's a great resource for people to plug into.

Absolutely. That's a good resource, Chris. Thanks for sharing it. Our featured resource is 52 Uncommon Family Adventures, simple and creative ideas for making lifelong memories.

Great resource for the new year for the whole family. Find out more at Could there be a new love language? Let's see what Gary thinks. Here's our next caller.

Hi, Dr. Chapman. I'm reading your book, "The 5 Love Languages" . It seems to me you may have overlooked one language, which is the language of reconciliation, of learning to acknowledge wrongs and apologizing. And the other dialect to that is the language of forgiveness. Those are two very difficult dialects of language to learn.

I'm just wondering, have you considered those? Thank you very much. Well, I appreciate this call, and I fully agree that to apologize and to forgive are loving acts. And as a matter of fact, I often speak on the topic, the two essentials for long-term healthy marriage relationships, or any relationship for that matter. The first essential is that the individuals in that relationship feel loved and appreciated.

And that's where "The 5 Love Languages" come in. The second essential is that we deal effectively with our failures. And that's where apology and forgiveness comes in. I don't see them as another love language, though certainly it takes a loving attitude to apologize and a loving attitude to forgive.

But I do see them as essentials to having long-term healthy relationships. And the reason I say that apology and forgiveness is an essential is because none of us are perfect. And because we're not perfect, we're imperfect. And when we hurt the other person, we put an emotional barrier between us. And the barrier does not go away with the passing of time. It goes away when we're willing to apologize for our failure, and the other person is willing to forgive us.

And then the barrier is removed, and now the relationship can continue. So that's the way I see these two important things of apologizing and forgiving. And you have thought a lot about that. And you and Dr. Jennifer Thomas have written about that as well. And that's another great resource, isn't it? Yes, the book is called When Sorry Isn't Enough. We talk about how to apologize effectively, and then what forgiveness does and does not do in the relationship. Yeah, great resource.

And you can find more about that at This is our Dear Gary broadcast for the end of 2019. Can you believe 2020 is right around the corner? And we've had some difficult questions this year. Here is a caller who is in a really hard situation and has several struggles with her husband. Hi, Gary.

How are you? My husband and I are not together right now. When we got married, I found out he was a drug addict.

He was very abusive verbally, mentally abusive. And I found out that he's a Muslim. We just got separated.

He moved to another state. I just don't know if I should just stay in prayer to see if we can get back together or just divorce him. But at the same time, I still love him unconditionally. I mean, regardless of everything he has put me through, I do love this man. But at the same time, I think I love myself more to the point where I'm, you know, sane and my kids are OK. I do have an older son that's 14 years old.

That's not his son. What I want to do is get a divorce and start all over. It's been less than three months since we've been married and he's gone.

So that already shows me that it's not going anywhere. People tell me to pray, don't divorce, keep praying and fast and see where it goes and he'll change. But I'm at a point where I just, you know, just want to forget it and just divorce him and start all over because I know it was my mistake. I know it's a lot, but thanks again. All right.

Bye bye. Well, I can identify with the pain and the struggle of this caller. You know, the Scriptures ask the question, can two walk together if they're not agreed?

The obvious answer is not very well and not very long. The reality is when we have different worldviews, that alone can create a chasm that is so wide it's difficult to bridge. When you add to that drug addiction and verbal abuse, it makes it extremely difficult to live together with any sense of harmony.

So, you know, I don't tell people what they should do in terms of divorce or not divorce and what the next step should be. You mentioned prayer and you mentioned that you are a follower of Jesus. Prayer is always proper and it is a method that God uses to accomplish purposes.

The Bible says we often have not because we ask not. So it's great to be asking God to work in his heart, to do a transforming work, to bring him in contact with someone who is a follower of Jesus, who can help him see the light and give his life to Christ. Because when you talk about addiction, a person doesn't break addiction in their own power. I believe that God alone can deliver people when they're fully addicted to drugs.

This is why I think Alcoholics Anonymous has been so helpful that through the years they've always pointed to what they call a higher power, what I call God or Jesus. Certainly to invest some time in praying for him is time well invested. And giving yourself time to heal from what you've gone through. So what I would say is please don't get involved with someone else, even in a dating relationship. Give yourself at least a year to work through the trauma and the pain and the hurt of what you've gone through.

And let God be your partner during this year in raising your children. And then trust God to guide you through the pain and the hurt. I wouldn't rush to divorce. I mean, you're already separated, you're already living as divorced.

I wouldn't rush to that, but I certainly would encourage you not to get involved in another dating relationship until you've had time to heal from what you've gone through. And the word that I keep thinking as you're talking, Gary, is that surrender. Again, just like you were talking with the single caller, there is a certain sense of surrender. If God wants to do a miracle in this guy's life, she's down for the struggle. She's ready for that.

That's okay with her. God, I'm surrendered to you. And if you live a surrendered life step by step, then good things happen as you go through that. Not that all the hard things go away, but good things generally happen to you as you follow closely on that trail. And I've kind of set you up here, Gary, because I chose that call and then this one that is to follow because they're very similar, though they contrast. You'll know what I mean when you hear our next call in this difficult situation, and part of the situation is about religion.

Hi, Gary. We've been married for almost two years. We're both in the military. And he's been distant and asked for divorce about a month ago.

And I've been trying to ask him how I can be a better wife because I would like for us to still be together. I have not been very religious. I'm not Christian.

I'm Muslim. But I do find myself a lot of times feeling very discouraged, mostly by other people's advice. I remember reading that I can't change him, but I can influence him. That does feel hard because he's been on deployment since May. He hasn't answered the question I asked if he still loves me, which gives me some form of hope. But I feel like it's dwindling. Reading your books has given me some form of hope and understanding of his behaviors and what his primary love language would be. What do I do to keep this hope alive? And what can I do on my part to basically be that positive change?

I don't feel like love would be the way, but it possibly might be. I've been to therapy, group therapy. I'm still going for therapy, but individual.

I was also thinking of writing him words of affirmation because I figured that might be his primary love language, from what I've read and from what I've noticed in the past and the questions I've asked myself. Thank you for writing those books. You've given me a glimpse of hope. Thank you very much.

Bye. I don't know if the caller has read two other books that I wrote, particularly for people in this situation. One is called One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. The other is Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away.

Both of those offer what I believe to be a lot of practical help on how to do what she mentioned, and that is have a positive influence on your spouse. Everybody agrees we cannot change the other person, but we often fail to recognize the power of influence. And the reality is with every relationship and with every contact that this couple has with each other, even though he's deployed now, the contacts are minimal. Every contact, whether it's a letter, an email, a phone call, will either have a positive influence on him or a negative influence on him. So I think she's right in thinking that she wants to speak his love language, which she's assuming is words of affirmation. So giving him words of affirmation, if that's his love language, certainly is a way of having a positive influence on him. It doesn't mean that you agree with him on everything. It doesn't mean that he will automatically be drawn back to you. But love has a powerful influence on a person. So I think you're walking down the right road when you're thinking along those lines. I would suggest that if you haven't read the military edition of "The 5 Love Languages" , you might want to read that.

Maybe you have. Because it talks about how to speak these love languages when you are deployed and gives you practical ideas on how to do that. She doesn't mention what his religion might be. I have no idea whether he's Muslim, as she is, or whether he's Christian, which of course would make a difference. But the situation she is in, I think we have to remind ourselves that one person cannot create a marriage or cannot keep the spouse in the relationship.

We are free individuals to make decisions, even if those decisions are poor decisions. So I think she wants to do all that she can. But at the same time, she must recognize that only if he responds and is willing to work on the marriage will there be reconciliation.

I'm glad to hear that she is getting therapy. I think that's very positive because you ought to use this time while he is away to grow yourself in self-understanding and learning the principles that make a marriage work. So that if he does decide to return and work on the marriage, you'll be at a different place and be far more likely to have a successful experience in reconciliation. We are so honored that you called and that you left that message for Dr. Chapman. And I have to say, it sounds like there's more going on here. I don't know what's going on in your heart.

It sounds like God is moving in some ways. And again, we just thank you for giving us a call here today. A resource for our last program of 2019 is 52 Uncommon Family Adventures.

Simple and creative ideas for making lifelong memories. And you can find out more at All right, this is our third call from a single. Yay!

In one program. We love hearing from singles, by the way. Call us, 1-866-424-GARY. This one is about a long distance relationship.

Hi, Gary. I am a single adult, never married. I'm 30 years old, no children. And I'm having a little trouble in my long distance relationship with my boyfriend. He is a pastor and we are having some trouble with communication. It's really hard on me because I know my love language is words of affirmation. Secondary love language is quality time. I believe his love language is quality time, but he hasn't really told me or looked into it, so I'm going to get him your book. But it's really hard.

We're having a really, really tough time. And I just really would like to know any suggestions you may have for a long distance relationship. He is younger than me. I'm 30.

He's 26. So I don't really know if that factors into it, but just hearing from the way you've helped relationships and couples, I'd really appreciate anything that you'd have to say to get us back together. I just really hope he hasn't given up on our relationship. As I said, I'm not giving the words of affirmation, so I just really don't feel – I feel like my love tank is pretty empty right now.

So anything that you could offer would really help. Again, I'm going to get him your book. Thank you so much for all you do. God bless. Well, Chris, when I heard her say that her relationship is with a pastor, I'm thinking, oh, no, pastors don't have problems with communication.

No, no, no, no, no. We're communicators. We're not always listeners, however.

Well, I'm very empathetic with this call. She seems like a very sincere young Christian lady who really wants to have a godly person with whom she has a relationship and ultimately marriage. And certainly you would think that a pastor would be a good prospect for that. So if you have those strong feelings toward him, it's certainly worth continuing to try to rebuild or continue the relationship. I do think it would be helpful if he will read the book "The 5 Love Languages" and take the profile and then share with you what his primary love language is because it may well be that he's not feeling love from you because he's not receiving love in a meaningful way for him. So that would be a very positive step if he's willing to do that. Now, you can't make anyone read the book.

You can't make them take the profile, but you can give it to them and you can request that they do that. So I think that is a positive thing. The other thing I would say is that whatever contact you have with him, and I don't know what that is, it appears that you're living in different cities, I think you want to make the contacts positive, whether it's by phone or whether it's by email or text. You want to make your communication positive. Certainly you don't want to be critical of him.

None of us respond well to criticism. I like to think in terms of it's fine to make requests of someone, but don't make demands of them. Don't say, if you don't do this, then I... No, no, no. Here's something that I would really like if you could find time or if you want to do it. This is something that would be very, very meaningful to me.

You're making a request, not a demand. And then also asking the question, what could I do that would enhance our relationship? Or what part of our relationship have you found difficult? Asking those kind of honest questions, which give him an opportunity to share with you what he is feeling, because I don't know where he is in his own mind as to whether this relationship is going forward or not. But asking those kind of questions, if he's open and honest, will give you information that you need to make a wise decision. Last thing I would say is, keep your eyes on Christ. He's the one who will guide your life if you are surrendered to him on a daily basis and you're asking him to give you guidance and asking him to control the outcome of this relationship. If it is of him, he has the ability to work it out. If it's not of him, then you don't want it, even if he is a pastor. You want what God wants for your life.

And if that is your attitude, God will lead you to discover that. You know, it strikes me, Gary, with all the technology we have, the distance isn't as great as it used to be. You'd pick up the phone and call, and that cost an arm and a leg.

You'd write letters. But the distance has shrunken. It shrinks when you use the technology that we have. So that can be a good thing to draw people together. And then you don't have as much of the physical nature and the temptation, though that can be in there as well. But that can be a plus to a couple having a long-distance relationship. Oh, I think so, Chris.

No question about it. You know, when I was dating, I couldn't afford a phone call. I mean, phone calls are expensive. And no such thing as cell phones and none of the other technology. So it was letters. It was handwritten letters.

That was it. And sometimes you can't communicate. You can't see their face.

You don't know what their facial expressions are. So letters don't always communicate the whole story. So, yeah, it should be much easier in today's world to have a positive long-distance relationship. Of course, obviously, if it's going to lead to marriage at some juncture, you'll need to be face-to-face with each other.

But you can't pick up and move from your city to another city until the relationship is moving in a positive direction at least. Well, we love hearing from singles, marrieds. We talk about, if you've ever listened to a Dear Gary broadcast, we have parents asking questions about kids, kids asking questions about parents. So if you have a question you want us to answer in the new year, Dr. Gary Chapman to answer, call us 1-866-424-GARY. And I love it, Gary, when somebody picks up "The 5 Love Languages" concept and thinks, hey, I wonder if... That's where our next caller is coming from.

Hi, Gary. I was curious after listening to the audible love languages. I've not completed it yet, five love languages. It appears you could apply it to work and how you can relate and communicate with your staff and team and figure out what motivates them. Have you ever done a book, not found it yet, but anything that a leader of a company could share with his team, his leadership team to help them understand how to better understand their team and communicate better and how to motivate them? It would be interesting because it sounds applicable, but if you gave them a love languages book, like for couples, it's not going to quite apply in their thinking and be interesting the application of love languages for the workforce. Thank you.

Well, Chris, as you know, the short answer to that question is yes. I have written a book for the workplace. I wrote it with Dr. Paul White, a Christian psychologist, 20 years experience in business. The book is entitled The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, and we are literally taking the love languages to work. We're calling it appreciation because the relationship is different in a work setting than it is in a family setting, but it's the same emotional need. It's that need to be valued as a person, and I'm not just a cog in the machine, I'm a person. And we discovered and what really motivated us to write this book is that 70% of the people who have a job in this country say they feel little to no appreciation coming from the people with whom and for whom they work. 64% of the people who leave a job and go to another job say they left primarily because they didn't feel appreciated where they were.

So this is a huge issue, and yes, any person in a work setting, it really doesn't have to start with the manager or the supervisor. It can start in just a small work group of four or five people that work together every day. Read the book, and with the book, you get a code that gives you a free, what we call motivation by appreciation inventory.

You take that inventory. It tells you your primary appreciation language at work, your secondary, and your least important. So it is a very helpful book, and we've had tremendous response in the workplace. Dr. White has gotten into many large companies and small companies and just seen tremendous results. When people feel appreciated, they are more dedicated to the mission of the organization.

So thanks for calling, and give me an opportunity to share the good news. Gary, it also explains things in the workplace, you know, why one person responds this way to the Friday pizza or being able to wear, you can't go casual on Friday, and other people, you know, it doesn't make that big of a difference, but something else does. It explains our, you know, you can't play armchair psychologist, too, to every person in the next cubicle, but it just explains why people are acting the way they are in a lot of ways.

You're exactly right, Chris. You know, most of the managers that we interviewed would say, oh, I appreciate my people. I tell them all the time I appreciate them. And our response is, well, you're hitting probably 40% of your people because probably 40% have words of appreciation as their language. You're missing the other 60%. You're sincere.

Yeah, I believe you do appreciate them, but 60% of them won't feel appreciated because you're not speaking their appreciation language. Well, what happens when one spouse gives up on the marriage? What can the other spouse do? Here's our next caller.

Hi, Gary. My wife wants to get divorced. I separated and then divorced, and there's absolutely nothing I can do to stop her, nothing I can say to change her mind. She's read "The 5 Love Languages" . She pretty much just, like, quit trying.

I recently just read it, which I should have read a long time ago, and I changed about everything. She doesn't really care. She doesn't want to go to counseling. I don't want to give up at all.

Thanks. Well, you know, Chris, often this is the case. A wife will get to the point of desperation in a relationship. It could be a husband also, of course, and she expresses her desire to give up, and then the other person picks up and reads "The 5 Love Languages" . They've probably been asked to read it five years ago, and now they see, you know, what's happened, that they feel unloved, the spouse feels unloved because they've never spoken the language. And so now they try, and they start speaking the language, but the other person has already given up in their mind and consequently doesn't want to work on the marriage. Now, there's another possibility, and that is that this wife is already involved with someone else, at least emotionally. Not always true, but many times true, when they say, I'm not interested anymore.

I don't care what you do. I'm not going to work on the marriage. Often they already have an emotional attachment to somebody else. So I'm not saying that's true here, but that's certainly a possibility. That makes it much more difficult for them to turn around because when they are obsessed with someone else emotionally, it is such a high emotion that it's difficult for them to go against that emotion. Can they?

Yes, they can, and I recommend that in all of my books. The book One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart, deals with that very issue. But the question our caller is asking is, what can I do? He's already trying to speak her love language.

He's trying to use what he's just discovered, and he's asking, what else can I do? Because she's saying she's not going to work on the marriage, and she's asking to separate and divorce. Again, I think the book I just mentioned would be helpful for this husband to read One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart, because I talk about some practical things that you can do. As I said to an earlier caller on this program, you can't make her stay. You can't make her work on the marriage. You can't make her go to counseling.

What you can do is request, and what you can do is to acknowledge your own failures. Not only the failures of the past, which certainly need to be acknowledged, but also failures in perhaps the way you respond to her on a daily basis. If she hears you condemning her or preaching to her, saying things like, you know you're a Christian, you know this is not God's will, you know the Bible is against this, that sort of thing just drives her further and further away, because you're condemning her. She doesn't need condemnation. She already feels that she's not acceptable to you in the past. So if you have those kind of speeches to her, you need to go back later and apologize for that, because that's not a loving thing to do. The more you can identify with her pain, the more you can ask her such things as, Honey, can you just share with me how you think you got to this place?

What are the factors that led you to this place? And then listen as she talks. Don't try to say, Oh no, that's not right.

Listen as she talks to you and shares with you how she got here, and then express understanding. Honey, I can see what you're saying. I can see how my behavior... The lights are coming on for me.

I am so, so sorry for what I've done to you. You listen, you affirm her thoughts or feelings. I can see how you would feel that way and don't attach a sermon to it after you say that and just express your regret for what you've done. That's kind of the prelude. If she begins to sense that you understand how she could be there and you're not condemning her for being there, she's far more likely to be responsive then when you do speak love in her love language. Again, it doesn't mean she's going to turn around, and I doubt that she'll turn around quickly even if she does turn around. But at least she senses that she's being understood by you and you're hearing her and you're affirming her thoughts and her feelings. So that's the basic approach.

I think, again, the book One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart, you would find to be very helpful. And then three words, tell me more. Tell me more about that. This is not a manipulative thing, Gary. You're not saying, okay, so you listen 30 seconds longer than you used to or a minute or two minutes or an hour so that then you get what you want her to turn around. No, you really are mining her heart for what you've done and taking responsibility for that and showing her, if you are, your own brokenness so that she sees the depths of your love for her rather than, I'm going to do these 10 things, and if you don't turn around and love me and forget the divorce, and I'm not saying that that's what the caller is saying, but you can get into that quid pro quo thing that we've been hearing a lot about, where if I do this, you've got to do that, and you have to move past that.

Absolutely, Chris. It has to be a sincere desire to understand the hurt that has brought your spouse to this place. Whether they turn around or not, you want to understand how this happened.

It needs to be a learning experience for you, but when they see that you're sincerely interested in them and their pain and their hurt and how they got there, it at least is a first step in the possibility of there being any reconciliation down the road. My guess is, Gary, there's somebody listening right now. It might be a husband, it might be a wife who's in that same situation who their spouse has given up.

They've quit trying, and they just want to know what to do. Would you pray for couples like that around the country today? Father, you know what we're talking about, and you know the couples that are listening today who identify with this caller. I do pray that your spirit will touch their spirits, that you would give them wisdom, that they would reach out to you for wisdom, that they would examine their own heart and their own life and ask, you know, Lord, where do I need to change?

What do I need to do differently? And you'll give them a listening ear that reaches out to ask questions of the other person in terms of how they came to the place where they want to give up. Father, I know that you're in the business of reconciliation. I know that's your desire for couples. But I also know that unless people respond to you, that by nature we are selfish, and our way is the right way, and we will condemn the other person.

Father, work in the hearts of those who are listening who may be struggling at this juncture in their relationship so that they can see things from your perspective. In the name of Christ. Amen. Amen. Well, before we conclude today, I want to give you our number where you can leave a question for Dr. Chapman.

Maybe we'll get to it in 2020. What do you say? You can make a comment as well and respond to something that you've heard today. 1-866-424-GARY is our number.

866-424-GARY. If you have a question or a comment about any relationship, we'd love to hear from you. Let's start the new year out with some great questions from you. And don't forget to check out our featured resource.

We've talked about a lot of different resources today. Go to You can find out more about 52 uncommon family adventures, simple and creative ideas for making lifelong memories.

Again, go to Next week, you have to hear Sarah May's story of struggling to forgive her alcoholic mother. Don't miss a conversation about loving even when it hurts. A big thank you today to our production team who worked hard all year long, 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, and happy new year.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-20 18:02:21 / 2023-08-20 18:19:25 / 17

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