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Dear Gary - October

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
October 30, 2021 1:00 am

Dear Gary - October

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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October 30, 2021 1:00 am

Part of the fun of listening to a “Dear Gary” broadcast on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, is anticipating his answers. What will he say to the discouraged parent, the struggling husband, or the wife who’s lost hope? You can’t always predict his response, but you know it will be biblical and loving. Hear the October edition of Dear Gary today.

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Not licensed in Alaska, Hawaii, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah. 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. It's time to open the phone lines and hear your questions about the love languages, your marriage, singles issues and more today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. I'm in a very hard situation right now. He is very verbally abusive towards me. One of my daughters has an explosive personality.

What does the Bible say about marrying someone that is an atheist? Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, it's our Dear Gary broadcast for October, complete with new questions from our listener line. Oh, we have a huge backlog of questions for Dr. Chapman that have come in in recent weeks. And we're going to get to those today.

Before we do that, though, each week we have a featured resource. And today it's Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Child Became a Teenager. It's by Dr. Chapman and you can find out more about it at Gary, tell me about this project. You know, Chris, this grew out of my reflection on my own life. You know, I wrote the book originally, Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married, and then Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Became Parents. Well, this is kind of a natural outgrowth of that because looking back on it, there's a whole lot of things I know now about teenagers and what they're going through mentally, physically and spiritually that I didn't know then.

And had I known it, I think it would have made things much easier for me. So I'm just trying to help parents who are anticipating the teenage years. You know, they've heard people say, wait till they get to be a teenager.

Well, there's something behind that, you know. So this book, I think, is going to give really practical help to those whose children are moving into those teenage years. And coming up in a couple of weeks, we're going to spend the whole hour talking about that. But I wanted to let you know, if you go to, you can find out more. If you have a child who's 10, 11, 12 years old and you're anticipating, or you're right in the middle of the teenage years, I think it'll be helpful to you. Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Child Became a Teenager, just go to All right, for our dear Gary here at the end of October, I want to start with an email. And this is a little long.

This came in to Moody Radio, but I want to hear your response to this, Gary. The email says, I'm 45 and a full-time single mother of two. I received no child support. I'm on state rental and food assistance. I work part-time. I've been single and dating for six years. I attend a Christian church. I've been online dating and every Christian guy I meet is fine with premarital sex. My financial situation is complicated, which makes getting legally married complicated.

I can't get any state assistance once I'm married. I've had a number of men talk about getting married non-legally. I really hope and pray for a normal life, mom, dad, kids, nice home, regular legal marriage, but it's looking impossible. I made some mistakes in dating and had sex with some men who have convinced me that it's fine to do that before marriage in a committed relationship. And then I break up with them because I don't want to live in sin. What I wonder is if it's impossible for me to get legally married, then does that mean I'll never have sex again? I pray for a husband. I wonder if I need to consider a non-legal marriage because of financial reasons. My kid's dad and I had a non-legal marriage and I had to leave him because he was violent and unstable and unsafe, but I was hoping not to have that kind of marriage again. But I feel like this teaching I've received from every Christian pastor that I've talked to about not having premarital sex is keeping me alone.

And she goes on to talk a little bit more about that. She says, I've prayed with multiple pastors about this and they say I don't need a husband and God is my provider. That may be true, but I still feel like I wasn't created to be alone and I want a supportive man in my life and a healthy marriage.

Relying on the state financially isn't a good feeling or how I wanted my life to be. Gary, what do you say about all that? Well, I think, Chris, there are a number of our listeners that likely are identifying with what she's saying if they are single adults. Because this is a huge issue in our culture today. Tragically, many Christians have the same attitude toward premarital sex that non-Christians have. You know, it's just a part of a dating relationship or, quote, a committed relationship. You know, it's all based upon our own natural desires, you know, to have intimacy in a relationship without the commitment of marriage. Because marriage is a covenant. It's a commitment to each other. And so many, many times those who have premarital sex do break up before they ever get married.

And those who get married, the divorce rate is higher for those who had premarital sex than those who did not. So I think we have to come back to the basic issue. Are we going to take seriously the teachings of the Bible or are we going to go along with modern culture and modern ideas about this part of life? And that's an issue we have to settle.

Are we going to be followers of Jesus or followers of men? Now, I'm empathetic with the longing for a deep intimate relationship. You know, she says she longs to have a marriage, you know, for her and kids and all. The financial part, I understand that because single, she's having a hard time. She's basically living, you know, government support. But I think God's original plan was that the husband would be basically the financial provider. Now, I know that's not true in a lot of cases, and I'm not making an issue of that at all. But I would say in her case, she's got two children.

I don't know what ages they are, but she's got her hands full right there. And I would say, look for a man who's godly, who's walking with God, who wants to have a committed biblical marriage, who is willing to work a full-time job and support you and the kids. Listen, you can live on one income.

You know, you can do it. We can all lower our standard if we have to. But she's living on a lower standard already financially. So yeah, I would just say don't mark off the clear teachings of the Bible in order to satisfy the loneliness that you feel in your heart and your desire to have this kind of relationship. There are Christian men out there who are single, who are committed to following the biblical model.

And I would just say, walk that road with the one of those men, but not those who say, well, if you love me, or we are committed to each other, so let's have sex. You're going to end up in a much better place than where you've ended up thus far. And that comes back to the question of, you know, you really need to trust God, you know, and to her, that sounds like spiritually kind of patting her on the head. But there is that, you know, there is that idea from deep down inside. I see it in her email. I want to trust God.

I'm just having a hard time, you know, help my unbelief. Yeah, yeah. And I understand that, you know. I mean, you hear what she said about herself and where she is and the relationship she's had, and you can see the loneliness, the deep desire to walk with God and have the ideal marriage. So she has the right longing, you know.

It's just a matter of taking the right road to get there. Yes. All right, let me follow up then with another caller who left a message and said, don't play my voice on the radio. I want to be anonymous. But let me read.

This is a lot shorter. Gary, I'm in my forties. I've never had a date. I've never had a boyfriend. And the world makes me feel like a loser. I feel like a loser at times.

How do I stand strong and remember that God will provide at the right time? Well, again, I think many single adults who are Christians and seeking to follow God can identify with what she's saying. And the reality is, there is within all of us, or at least most of us, there is that desire to have a deeply committed marriage relationship. But let's face it, there are people who they don't get asked out on a date, and here she is, 40 years old. She's never had a date. She doesn't have a meaningful relationship with someone of the opposite sex, which is what she longs for.

I think this. Remember, there have been significant people in the world who've made a tremendous impact on the world, and they were single. Foremost, Jesus. Now, I know we say, yeah, but I'm not Jesus. Okay, I get that.

I get that. But listen, the Apostle Paul was single at least a great deal of his life. Now, whether he was ever married and, you know, his wife died, we don't know about that, but he was single the bulk of his life.

And he made a tremendous impact, still impacting us by following God and allowing God to use his life. So I would say this, focus on serving God by serving people. Now, I don't know what your profession may be at this juncture, but hopefully it is a profession where you realize that you're helping people.

Most professions are. It's there. If you look for it, we're helping people. And so serve. Remember, you're serving God when you serve other people.

Jesus said, as often as you do it to the least of these, you do it to me. So I would say focus your life on serving others. And if God wants you to have a spouse, God can bring that person and will bring that person across your path at whatever age. You know, my son didn't get married.

He was 34. And people would say, when are you going to get married? He said, well, when you grow up in the home of a marriage counselor, you're very careful. But he did get married and God gave him a wonderful wife. And so if God wants you to be married, you can count on him. He will bring the two of you together.

It's not a big deal with God. He can do it in the right time. Our program is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and this is our Dear Gary broadcast for October. If you have a relationship question you'd like to ask, call our listener line at 1-866-424-GARY. Keep your question as brief as possible, and we'll try to address it here on the program.

That's 1-866-424-4279. Our featured resource today is Gary's new book, Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Child Became a Teenager. You can find out more about it at our website, Gary, here's a question from a wife who's in a marriage struggle. This came in several weeks ago, but I want you to address the struggle as it came in, as she described it. Here we go.

Hi, Gary. I recently left my husband of the year. We do not have any children together.

We've been together for two years, married for one. I left him about a week ago, well, two weeks ago, and he is very verbally abusive towards me, well, towards our whole family. I reached my breaking point where I had enough. We'd suffered verbal abuse every day, and it took its toll on me, and I'm sure it took its toll on the children, and I decided I prayed myself, prayed with the children, and we decided to leave the house.

Coming will be two weeks since we've left. We've been communicating through via email. We attended the same church, so he's been reaching out to God and our pastor. I started my walk with the Lord in 2015, and I've been chasing after God ever since. It's only by His grace I'm actually sitting here and calling you, but I wanted to ask you, is it okay after I feel in my hearts of hearts that God has finished teaching me a lesson? I've been in this place before, Gary.

My history or past is repeating itself. Back then it was way more severe than it is now, but, you know, is it okay to be patient, wait for the Lord, and wait for Him to answer to see if staying in this marriage is a place I belong? Is it okay for me to take that time to allow God to finish His perfect work in me, which you'll never finish, but is it okay to take time away on my own, spend time with the Lord, and be at peace? I haven't felt this much peace in two weeks than I have in about nine, ten months, but I just want to know, is it okay for me to take time to be with God and find out which duration He wants me to go? I know God is a God of restoration, you know, for our marriage and, you know, our family, but is it okay for me to take the time from my everly abusive husband who's been trying to do better the past two weeks? Is it okay for me to say, I need some time to hear from God? Is it okay for me to do that? I'm not sure I wanted to ask your opinion.

Thank you so much. Well, Chris, you have to identify with what she's saying. When a person is verbally abused over and over and over again, it's a daily experience. There is a breaking point emotionally, and physically for that matter, and separating from that situation can be an act of love.

It obviously depends on our attitude, but love would say to that person who is abusing you, I love you too much to sit here and do nothing and let you destroy me and just hurt our kids and really hurt yourself because I know you can't be happy with what you're doing. And so, I'm going to move out, you know. Now, I want you to know, I'm not abandoning you. This is the attitude of love. I'm not abandoning you. If you are willing to get help, I'm talking about going for a Christian counselor, let them help you break this habit of just constantly abusing me verbally, then I'm willing to go for marriage counseling and we can see what God can do.

But I love you too much to do nothing because I know you cannot feel good about yourself. So, that's kind of the attitude of love when you move into a separation. So, whether she had that attitude or whether she was simply trying to just exist, and I understand that too, what she suggested at the end is really the right path, I think, and that is, shall I pray that God will guide me in terms of whether this can be reconciled or whether this is going to be a permanent separation. I think God's plan always in marriage is that there be reconciliation. But to be reconciled, there has to be change.

And so, this is what you're trying to do with a separation is to say, if you really want to have our marriage or willing to deal with the problem, then we can talk about our marriage and get help and get started again on the right track. So, to me, that's a healthy thing. And she says she felt freer the last two weeks. That's always true when you get out of an abusive situation.

It seems much more peaceful. And that's why sometimes people are not even willing to think about reconciliation because they can't imagine it could be any different. But God can change people, and God can change destructive patterns. So, I would say yes, and I would really encourage you not to get involved with dating someone else. Give God a year or two and just see what happens.

If your husband really is serious, he really digs in, and he gets to discover himself and why he does what he does and how that can be broken, and then the two of you get some marriage counseling and learn how to have a loving, caring marriage, you'll be glad you waited. So, that's my suggestion. There's also, though, the past that she's dealing with. And she said this has happened before. You know, I've made this mistake before. So, there's almost a little bit of guilt that it sounds like that she's experiencing that, oh, I did this again.

It's my fault. You know, and when you're abused, you can kind of feel like that. You could feel like, well, you know, it's my fault for putting myself in this situation.

How do you counsel somebody who feels that way? Well, I think we have to recognize that we are all, our emotions are influenced by our past behavior. And yes, when you've gone through a marriage where apparently she was physically abused, or not physically, verbally abused, and she says it was even much worse in that first marriage, you can see how when it happens again, you think, how could I be so foolish as to get into this situation? Well, listen, all of us, none of us are perfect. We don't always know when we get into a relationship that it's going to be like this. I'm sure you didn't.

If you had known it, you wouldn't. So, I think we just have to recognize, you know, yes, this is what I'm feeling, but I'm not going to put myself down. I'm not going to, you know, feel like it is my fault and be willing to just kneel and go back into a relationship that is abusive. So, and I think God can help you because you've got the right track when you say you're going to seek God. You're going to seek God.

You seek God, yeah, you'll come out the right place. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman and our dear Gary for October. If you'd like to respond to what you've just heard today or ask a question from your own life, your own relationships, 1-866-424-GARY is our number, 1-866-424-GARY or go to You can see our featured resource, Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Child Became a Teenager, All right, Gary, here's a question about creating a crisis in a marriage and the possible ramifications of that down the road.

Hi, Gary. I have a question about creating a crisis. I think might be the term telling your spouse that you love them too much to continue living the way you are and therefore you are planning to separate and hoping then that that would bring the other person to the point where they'd be willing to talk about the issues, go to counseling, whatever it might mean. However, it's been brought to my attention that in that situation a spouse may find himself or herself down the road with a situation where if there's young children involved or older children too that need to come under a custodial situation where one or both spouses have custody of the children, this separation could be held against the spouse who separates and leaves because it could be classified as abandonment and could give a very strong advantage to the remaining spouse who remains in the home with children. So I was wondering if you could address that situation. Is it good to take the chance, so to speak, to separate or is it better to try to stay thinking that it would help as far as getting at least partial custody of children should the relationship move into a divorce situation down the road?

Thank you. Let me address the legal aspect first. Different states have different rules in terms of custody, but the more common thing is that it's going to be joint custody, like 50-50. Not always exactly the same amount of days, but both of you have custody of the children. Even in a no-fault divorce situation, even when there's a fault, it's the same thing, but you'd have to check with your state to find out about that possibility. Let me go back to the issue, though, of separating as an act of love.

To me, this is the key issue. It's not just separating. It's separating as an act of love, which is what she described here in the call. That kind of separation is always more effective in influencing the other person when it has been preceded by several months in which you have loved them unconditionally, speaking their love language on a regular basis, even though they weren't responding and weren't treating you very very lovely.

When you do that, of course, you're following the model of God, because God loved us while we were yet sinners, the Bible says, and sent Christ to die for us. So with God's help, you can love an unlovely spouse, speak their love language on a regular basis for several months. Then, if there's no change, you take the step of separating as a loving act, and they're far more likely to wake up because of the way you have been treating them. They realize they've got something to lose here. They're about to lose this person that's been loving them unconditionally, and they're far more likely to wake up and get the help they need. If, however, before you take that separation step, you have just criticized them, put them down, told them how awful they are, complained to them, and this has gone on for six months or maybe a year or whatever, then you leave and they say to themselves, good riddance, I'm tired of this anyway, and you're not influencing them in a positive way. It's an influence in a negative way. So you alone know what it's been like before you came to make the decision to separate, but that's the idea.

What I've just described is the ideal, and the separation is going to have much greater opportunity of influencing them to take a positive step if it has been preceded by that unconditional love. Is that term creating a crisis a good one? That describes it pretty well, doesn't it? Yeah, I don't know that I've ever heard it called that, but yeah, it does because you are creating a crisis. And again, if all the things I've talked about are done, it can be a positive thing.

God can use it in a positive way. Now to Texas we go for another question I don't think I've ever heard in the history of Building Relationships. Here we go. Hi, Gary. In taking the five love language quiz, I saw nothing there for widows.

There was no quiz for widows. That should be a person brought up. A widow is not a single person, and a single person is not a widow. Thank you, Gary. Well, you're right, Chris.

I don't know that I've ever heard that. It's a suggestion, really, she's making. A love language quiz for widows. She says that widows are not single persons, and I understand that a widow is different from a person who's never been married.

I understand that fully. It does seem to me, though, I'd really like to go back and look at that quiz again, but it does seem to me that the quiz itself would help either of those. Whether you're single, never been married, or you're married, or whether you're single again because of the death of a spouse, you're still single. So I'll go back and look at that and see, but in my mind, the quiz would help either of those identify their primary love language. Now, obviously, it's different from a married couple because whether you're a widow, whether you're never married, you don't have that other person deeply committed to you. And this is where, however, friends and family become extremely important, and that they know your love language. So that when they want to help, and friends and family do, they want to help, they know how best to do it. When they want to express to you, we really love you, we really care about you, they need to know what's the best way to do that, and knowing your love language will help them do that.

It gives them good information. You're not demanding that they do it, you're just saying, if you ever want to know, here's my love language. And in it also, as a widow, think in terms of the people and significant people in your life, and learn their love language, because you want to give love as well as receive love. That's the ideal, where we're loving others and others are loving us.

When that happens, you're in a good place, whether you're married or whether you're single, because one of the deepest needs on the human level is that need to feel loved by the significant people in our lives. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Find out more online at We have some great resources for you, a list of seminar locations coming up for Dr. Chapman. You can hear a podcast of the program and find out about our featured resource, all at

It's Dr. Chapman's new book, Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Child Became a Teenager. Just go to And do tell a friend about the program that they can ask a question if they want to. Our listener line for your calls is 1-866-424-GARY. This is not a counseling line. We can't call you back.

But if you want to leave that question for us, for Gary Chapman, we'd love to hear from you today. 1-866-424-GARY. Turn the radio off in the background when you call us. Make sure there's not noise in the background. Or if you're driving, pull over and stop.

Sometimes we can't use a question because of the background noise. 1-866-424-GARY. Does the Bible say anything about dating someone who's not on the same page with you about God? Here's our next caller.

Hi, Gary. I'm calling because I have a question about growing up, I was always told that you never date someone that doesn't share your same beliefs. And I've had a friend, I've been dating for three years now, and he really wasn't sure about the existence of God. But recently he told me that he was an atheist. And I was just calling to inquire about what does the Bible say about a Christian dating or potentially marrying someone that is an atheist.

Thank you. Well, Chris, I don't know that I've heard that question before, but it's a good question. Yeah, the Bible raises a question itself in the Old Testament. It says, can two walk together if they're not agreed? It's a thoughtful question. It's the same question she's asking.

And the answer is no, not very far, not very long, not very well. You see, especially our belief about God, everything in our life is impacted by what we believe about God. And if you are a Christian, which it sounds like she is, and you're seeking to walk with God, you believe that God revealed himself through Christ supremely, that he paid the penalty for our sin, that God wants to forgive us and make us his children when we put our faith in Christ. And then God also revealed himself in the Old and New Testaments, which show us how to live life.

If that's the kind of Christian you are, and he doesn't believe in God, how can you have an intimate, deep relationship? Because everything in his life is influenced by his disbelief in God. So when you choose to disbelieve God, you're left to whatever you happen to think is good or right in the world. Now imagine if everybody lived like that, if everybody did whatever they wanted to do, because there's no God.

We're just animals. And so it doesn't make any difference really what you do. You know, that kind of, if you follow, if you follow atheism to the nth degree, that's where you are, because there is no standard.

There is no right or wrong, except those that we decide are right and wrong, and everybody disagrees on that. So I think you get the gist of what I'm saying. The Bible is very clear that a Christian who is walking with God should not marry someone who doesn't even believe in God. So I think this is a warning sign. It's a sign to say, you know, I like you, I've enjoyed our time together, but I realize that when we don't agree on the most important thing in life, there's no hope for us to have a marriage. So that's where I am, and I just have to tell you, I'm gonna have to walk away.

Now who knows? I mean, God may work in his heart, he may be touched by the Spirit, he may be drawn to Christ. God has redeemed many atheists, so keep open to that, and certainly pray for it.

But I think you have to take a step at this juncture to kind of back off from that relationship. There are people who, listening right now, who have a spouse who's an unbeliever, but when they married, they thought they were, or that that spouse, that person has become a believer themselves, and they are unequally yoked unequally yoked now. You're not saying for people to jettison that spouse and go find a Bible-believing Christian, right? Absolutely, Chris, and thanks for clarifying that, because the Bible says marriage is a covenant, and when you make a covenant, you stay with the covenant. Now obviously there are times you have to withdraw if there's physical abuse, extensive verbal abuse, and that sort of thing, but just because your spouse has now revealed that they're not a Christian, and they said they were, that's not grounds for divorce, because God can use you. In fact, that's what the Bible says. If you have an unbelieving spouse, you, by your godly behavior, God uses you to touch their hearts and draw them to himself. So yeah, that's your role if you're married already to that person. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Thank you for tuning in today. If you go to, you'll see our featured resource, a book that Dr. Chapman recently released called Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Child Became a Teenager. I'm going to have an extended conversation about that in a couple of weeks, but if you want more information, go to Here's a question from a mom about her daughter. I can't wait to hear how Gary's going to answer this listener.

Hi, Gary. I have six kids, and my, one of my daughters has just an explosive personality. You can't talk to her. She causes problems. She won't agree to talk to you when you don't agree with her. She gets angry.

She's 32, and she's been doing this a long time. For a while, we tried to just make peace with her, but now she just is ruining the family dynamics with all of her bad behavior, and she's coloring our lives. She was married up until a year ago. She's no longer married, and we, the whole family, we're all Christians, and we really didn't support her through her divorce. She wanted it, but anyway, if you could give us any, any way to respond to her when she, when she's just terrible to talk to, she won't talk to you.

She, she plays the victim. She's angry if you call her out on anything, and she cancels us, and she slams the door in our face and hangs up the phone, and she won't talk to us. Is there anything we can do to build a relationship with her?

Thanks for all your help. You have to be empathetic with a parent like this, because listen, all of us, we raise our children. We want to have good relationships with them as adults, and when it doesn't happen, and the relationship is fractured, like this mother describes, very, very painful, and those parents are asking the same question she's asking. What can we do?

What can we do? Let me just remind you of one thing in the New Testament. The story of the prodigal son who asked his father to give him his inheritance, and he left the farm, and he went out and wasted all of his money, and made all kind of poor decisions, and ended up destitute, actually ended up in a hog pen feeding hogs. The father did not go after him.

I don't know if you've ever thought of that. The father did not go after him and say, I got to go find this son and bring him back. He let God and normal consequences of wrongdoing bring his son to the end of the rope, or the end of the road, and his son woke up and said to himself, here I am with nothing, eating with the hogs, and back in my home, there are people that love me, and he went back. Now the father welcomed him when he came back, but the father did not go out trying to convince him to come back, and I think in the situation you described, I think this has relevance, because you've reached out, you've tried, you knock on the door, you send her messages, you call her on the phone, and every time she just ignores that, and closes the door. So I would say, invest your time and energy in the rest of your family. Pray diligently for her that God will work in her heart, and that God will bring people into her life that might lead her, encourage her in the right direction. But when she does reach out to you, be open, be loving, welcome her, whatever moves she makes in your direction, tell her how glad you are she stopped by for the weekend, or she stopped by for the day, be positive, don't be condemning of her. Look, she's an adult, and we're free, all of us are free to make decisions, and yes she's made poor decisions, and she would likely make some more poor decisions, but if and when she comes she comes back home and says, can you help me, be there for her, let her know you love her, that you've loved her through this whole time, and yes you will love her, and you will help her right now where she is. So in the meantime, put her in God's hands, it's like you're going to release her to God, and say, Lord I'm asking you to work in her heart, you know that I've done everything I know to do, I'm going to put her in your hands and pray that you'll work in her heart and in her mind. And you kind of emotionally release the hurt and the pain, and just know she's there, and you're praying for her, and you're willing to forgive, and you're willing to reconcile, and you're asking God to work in her heart and make that possible. That's really interesting, as you were talking Gary, I was thinking of that word, release, you're just releasing her into God's hands, and that's not going to take the anxiety and the worry, all of that, away from a mom or a dad who's caring about a son or a daughter, but it does say I'm not trusting in my ability to get her to see, I'm trusting in God's power to work in her life, right? Absolutely, because they've already done everything they know to do, you know, they already reached out in every way they can, and she's just not responding. And we can't make a person, even our children, we can't make them respond to us and treat us with dignity and respect and so forth, they are where they are, and they can decide to walk away from us.

And so when we release them to God, we're putting them in good hands, because God loves them, but God also will often use the consequences of their poor decisions to bring them to a place of brokenness, where they do reach out to God, and ultimately reach out to the family. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Our featured resource today is Dr. Chapman's latest book, Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Child Became a Teenager.

You can find out more at, that's Well, we talk a lot about marriage struggles here on the program. I want you to hear this husband's voice and the struggle that he's going through right now.

Hi, Gary. I'm in a very hard situation right now. Yeah, my marriage is about to be done. I read your book, and I understand a lot of stuff, but how can I reach a person who doesn't want to listen to me, to not hear me?

We're separated right now, but I really want to reach for her, and I've been praying hourly, and I'm trying to get some ideas, but maybe you can give me some advice. Thanks. Well, obviously, he is speaking out of a broken heart and a broken relationship, and if you care, which he obviously does, then you want to know what can I do. You know, I wrote a book some years ago. The original title was Hope for the Separated, Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed. The new title to that book is One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. I think you'd find that book helpful.

I can't cover everything that's in that book here in these few minutes, but I would say this. Sit down with God, and just ask God, Lord, you know my wife. You know where she is, and you know all that she's done, but what I want to ask is where have I failed in this marriage? Just let God bring things to your mind, and write them down. Just make a list of them so that you can confess those things to God, because listen, none of us are perfect. Even if your wife is 95% of the problem, that would leave 5% for you. So let God bring to your mind the 5% that is your failures, and you confess those to God, and you accept his forgiveness. Then you go to your spouse, as you have an opportunity, and say, I've been thinking a lot about us, and I know that I've been on your case.

I know that I've put you down. I know that I've said you're the problem, and whatever else you've said to her, but I asked God to show me where I have been failing in our marriage, and he gave me a pretty good list, and I've asked God to forgive me, and I would like to ask you, if you can find it in your heart, to forgive me for the way I have failed you. Now, chances are she'll listen to you.

She'll let you read the list. She may or may not forgive you, but she's going to walk away from that experience thinking to herself, wow, this is different. He's been preaching to me before about what I need to do, what I need to do, what I need to do, but now he's confessing his failures. God can use that first step on your part. You see, Jesus said, you get the problem out of your eye before you try to get something out of the other person's eye, okay?

It's always start with yourself rather than starting with the other person, and this is a practical way of doing that, and God can use that. Whether she forgives you or not, he can use what I've just described to touch your heart and to say, maybe I should take a step back toward him. The worst thing you can do is preach to her and tell her, you know, you should come back.

You know, we can work this out. You need to give us another chance, or to preach to her about what the Bible says, marriage is for a lifetime, and it's not the time to preach. You know, when she has become so unpleased and frustrated in the marriage that she chooses to leave, not the time to preach, it's the time to begin.

First of all, acknowledge your failures and then ask God to work in her heart to open the door to another chance, and if any juncture she is willing to go for marriage counseling with you, you go with her and begin the process of restoring the marriage. That's Dr. Gary Chapman, and we have time for one more question, and your answer just then leads perfectly into this final question today, Gary. It's a positive note. Listen to the heart of this caller who was listening to our program a while ago. Hi, Gary. I'm just responding to your half hour program today. I was deeply hurt by my dad. I was never explained, like you finally explained tonight about forgiveness.

I just grit at my teeth and forgave them. So thank you for your program. I really, really appreciate the information. Thank you again.

Bye. Well, that's interesting, Chris. Always interesting to see how God takes a thought, a word, and touches a person where they are and helps them take a step that's going to be helpful for them. You know, the whole thing of forgiveness in the Bible is big. You know, Jesus came preaching repentance and forgiveness. He wants to forgive us if we're willing to repent. And if another person is willing to acknowledge their failure, we need to be ready to forgive them. And forgiveness is not a feeling. Forgiveness is a decision. I'm going to remove the barrier that's been created by this offense. I'm going to pardon you.

I'm not going to make you pay for this for 18 more years. And when we are willing to do what Jesus does for us, which is pardon us and remove the barrier between us, when we follow his model, we reap the benefit of that. So forgiveness can be a step toward reconciliation. Forgiveness doesn't restore trust. Trust has to be regained by the person being trustworthy in the future. But it opens the door to the possibility that trust can be reborn in our relationship.

So yeah, apology and forgiveness. I believe that those two things are essentials to having long-term healthy marriages or any other relationship for that matter. And the reason I say it's an essential is none of us are perfect. You know, if we were perfect, we wouldn't have to apologize and we wouldn't have to forgive anyone. No, none of us are perfect.

You don't have to be perfect to have a long-term healthy marriage. But you do have to deal with your failures. And that means learning how to apologize and then choosing to forgive those who apologize to us. I love the way that she put it, you know, I just gritted my teeth about my dad, you know, and perhaps, you know, her father died a long time ago and she's, it just, you know, it felt like that.

I just have to grit my teeth. But there is what you mentioned a little earlier, that releasing and when you do that and when you give it to God, then you can rest in Him rather than your own ability to forgive somebody who maybe has passed away. Absolutely. And that's why I say it's a choice, you know. It's a choice to release them and release the hurt to God and say, Lord, I want to put all that in your hands. Because God is a just God. He knows the other person far better than we do.

He knows what their motives were or what their motives were not. And you can do that and you put them in God's hands, you put them in good hands. If they repent, God will forgive them. If they don't repent, He will hold them responsible at the judgment. The Bible says after death, there's a judgment. And so we don't have to be the judge.

We let God do that. We hope something you've heard today has been encouraging to you in your relationships. If you go to the website,, you'll see our featured resource, the new book by Dr. Chapman, Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Child Became a Teenager.

Again, find out more at And we'd love to hear your feedback or maybe a question that you have for Dr. Chapman. The number is 1-866-424-GARY. Leave your message. You might hear an answer on a future Dear Gary broadcast. Again, 1-866-424-4279. And next week, a couple of callers ask this question.

How should a Christian date? Our guest next week says it's not as complicated as you think. Don't miss the conversation with Eric Demeter in one week. A big thank you to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Ton. 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 / 2023-07-29 19:10:05 / 2023-07-29 19:28:45 / 19

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