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Dear Gary Christmas!

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
December 25, 2021 1:00 am

Dear Gary Christmas!

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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December 25, 2021 1:00 am

Hope for your relationships and guidance for life! This Christmas Day edition of Dear Gary is our final broadcast of 2021. You’ll not only hear responses to calls, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of a very special celebration that happened in North Carolina in October. Don’t miss the encouragement for your relationships as we wrap up and put a bow on 2021.

Featured Resource:

Life Lessons and Love Languages: What I've Learned on My Unexpected Journey (Northfield Publishing) — https://www.5lovelanguages.com/store/life-lessons-and-love-languages

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Today on a Christmas edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. After an abusive situation, is it doomed?

Is that something that can be fixed? Maybe you could have some examples of where the woman needs to change. I'd like to hear from you because then maybe my wife will hear from you. It's our Christmas day and final broadcast of 2021, our last chance to talk with Dr. Chapman before we move into 2022.

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, as we celebrate Christmas day and look forward to a brand new year, we present new calls, new questions, but the same rock solid biblical encouragement that you've come to expect. And we have a special treat for you today. We're going to go to church with Gary and we're going to have all that and more straight ahead.

Our host is the one, the only Dr. Gary Chapman. Merry Christmas, Gary. How are you? Well, same to you, Chris. I am doing wonderful. I hope that things are okay out there in Arizona.

That's the weird thing. You're in North Carolina. We're in Arizona.

Steve is in Chicago. And then we're taking calls from all around the country. So we're all together here on this Christmas day. And our featured resource at FiveLoveLanguages.com is your memoir. We've talked about this here, Life Lessons in Love Languages, what I've learned on my unexpected journey. And I wonder if you would look back in your, look over your shoulder, tell me about a Christmas morning or a Christmas day in your childhood.

Anything come to mind about that? You know, Chris, what I remember I think most pointedly is going out into the woods with my dad and cutting down a Christmas tree. In those days, we always cut our own tree down.

And it was not on our lot. We just went in the woods. Everybody did it, you know.

Go in the woods and find you one. That's what we did. But that was a memory, you know, something my dad and I did together. Of course, that was before Christmas day, of course, because on Christmas day we were eager to get up and see what presents were there under the tree for us. It was a very exciting time.

My childhood in terms of Christmas was always a positive experience. Did you have lights and tinsel? Did you have popcorn around it? What did the decorations look like? Yeah, it was tinsel and lights and all of that. But now I do remember, and some of the older folks remember this, when one year we got an artificial tree, and I don't mean green, it was aluminum, silver aluminum. And it had a colored light at the bottom that rotated, so the color of the tree would change as it rotated. So I don't remember how many years we kept that, but it was it was a couple years and I think all of us decided, ah, we like the green tree. Seemed like a good idea at the time though, didn't it?

It did, yes. And here's the other thing, if you went out and cut the tree, when you say cut the tree, did you have an axe or a hatchet with you or is it a saw? We took a saw, yeah, took a saw and just cut it off, you know, near the ground and then drug it home. And we had to go over the railroad tracks to do that, so it was it was carrying the tree for a good way. So we didn't get huge trees because we had to get them home, you know.

I can smell the creosote along with the fresh pine smell right now. So if you go to fivelovelanguages.com, we have that book linked right there. It's a great read. Life Lessons in Love Languages, what I've learned on my unexpected journey.

Just go to fivelovelanguages.com. All right, Gary, on this Christmas day we're going to let you hear some calls and questions. And the first one is about a new book idea for you. See what you think of this.

Hi, Gary. I was calling because I first of all wanted to thank you for the book that you wrote, "The 5 Love Languages" . It's not only helped me, but it's helped other people close to me learn how to communicate and kind of figure out where the miscommunication is coming in, in terms of our relationships with others. And if we don't feel appreciated, that it might not be what we think. It's just a different form of communication. And what that did was it broke everything down so simply into such fundamental ideas about how we need to understand our spouse and our loved ones.

And what I wanted to know is if you have any books, in particular, any books that you're thinking about coming out with, that would be something similar, but in terms of fighting. Like what are the five languages of fighting within couples? If people have, you know, different ways of going about why they are being upset with each other. Like what are those fundamental ideas of doing that and how you could combat it to maybe help you better understand what somebody else is saying and what steps you could take from there. Because even the most basic things in "The 5 Love Languages" helped me so much learn to break everything down so much more intricately. So I would love to see something like that similar in terms of when you're arguing with your spouse or your loved one. Like where does the disconnect come in that and what are the main, you know, maybe five main psyche processes that people go through that causes that miscommunication. Thank you so much, Dr. Shatman.

I really appreciate all your work and you have helped so many people. Bless you. Well, you know, Chris, this is a fascinating question. I've never thought of it in terms of "The 5 Love Languages" of fighting. But I do deal with this concept of how do we process our differences. Because every couple has differences, but not all differences are conflicts. You know, conflict basically is I feel strongly, you feel strongly, and we disagree on this. And so we've got to find a meeting place here.

And I deal with that in The Marriage You've Always Wanted and really in my anger book as well. I think the first step is we call a time out. And we breathe deeply. We maybe take a walk around the block just to cool off, and then come back. And then I suggest that we take turns talking. For example, you take five minutes and tell me your side.

And then I'll have five to tell my side. And then we can have as many turns as we like. But we don't interrupt each other. Because one of the problems in solving conflicts is we tend to interrupt each other. You know, we listen for 15 seconds. And then we say, well, that's not right.

And then we start a fight. So if you take turns talking, you're less likely to fight. And then while the other person's talking, you must focus on listening.

Trying to understand their perspective. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Look at the world through their eyes so that you can honestly say, you know, honey, now that I'm listening to you, I think I understand what you're saying. It's not the way I was seeing it, and not the way I'm thinking or feeling, but I can see how that makes sense. And then they listen to you so long enough that they can say that. Now we're not enemies.

We're not going to fight. Now we're accepting the fact that humans think differently, humans feel differently. Now we can focus on how can we solve the problem. And you spend your energy finding a meeting place rather than spending your energy trying to win the argument.

So I wouldn't call it love languages, but it is an act of love when you are respecting the other person's ideas and the other person's feelings. Yes. Listening for understanding. Boy, there's a lot there. And maybe, you know, here on Christmas day, if that's when you're hearing our program, there's something that's happened in under the tree or with the present that you didn't, that you thought you're going to get, that you didn't get from someone in the family. And there's been an argument over something, maybe real little. Listen and apply that today. Before we take a break though, let's take one more call. This is from a listener who's been in a long-term marriage. It's a real hard struggle. Here's our next question.

Hi Gary. I've been married for over 40 years. It has now been sparked by abuse, which has led to seeking a divorce. And I just wanted to know, my question is, after an abusive situation, is it best to leave the relationship or is it doomed to abuse? Is that something that can be fixed?

Thank you. I'm sure that many of our listeners can identify with this call because abuse, whether it's physical or whether it's verbal, is much too common in our culture. I think the question of, do I leave? Do I stay here?

What do I do in that situation? I believe that there is possibility of change. Yes, I believe an abuser can change, but not without help. And it will not go away simply with the passing of time. That is why often what we sometimes call tough love can be a step in the right direction.

And here's what I mean by that. That you say to that spouse, I don't know how you feel about me, but I love you very much. I love you so much that I cannot sit here and do nothing and do nothing while you abuse me in front of our children, if you have children. And therefore, I'm going to move in with my mother for a while or whatever plan you have. And I'm not abandoning you. If you are willing to get counseling for the problem, when you and the counselor think that we're ready for marriage counseling, then I'll be happy to join you. And hopefully we can work out this situation.

But I love you too much to sit here and do nothing. So that kind of separation can be an act of love. And it can be the thing that God uses to touch the heart of the other person because they realize they're about to lose something important to them. So I hope that's helpful to the caller. I hope it's helpful to those who are listening.

Now, it's much more effective if before you make that decision for tough love, you give tender love. Because here's what happens often when we're being abused. We will fight back verbally with them. We put them down. We condemn them. We tell them how awful they are. And then if we decide to do what I've just described, they will say, well, I'm glad you're leaving.

I'm tired and sick of you anyway. But if you have spoken their love language over a period of time, an extended period of time, in spite of the fact that they're not being lovely to you, with God's help, you're loving them, then you take that tough love approach. They're far more likely to be touched to get help because now they realize they're about to lose someone who's important to them, someone who has been loving them in spite of the fact that they've not been very lovely. So it's much more effective if it's preceded by what I'm calling tender love, then the tough love. Our program is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman and this is our Dear Gary broadcast for December, Christmas Day, and our last program of 2021.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Moody Radio. If you have a relationship question, call our number 1-866-424-GARY. This is not a counseling line.

We can't call you back. But if you'll keep your question as brief as possible, we'll try to address it here on the program. So call today and leave your message at 1-866-424-GARY. Our featured resource is Life Lessons in Love Languages, What I've Learned on My Unexpected Journey.

It's Dr. Chapman's memoir, and you can find out more about it at 5lovelanguages.com. All right, here we are on Christmas Day, final program of the year. I couldn't resist, Gary. There was a little event that happened back in early October at the church where you have served for 50 years now. That was a special night, wasn't it?

Well, it was, Chris. Folks came from many years past who were in our college ministry, our singles ministry, our adult education ministry when I directed all those things at different stages, came from all over the country, came back to celebrate this time. So yeah, it was kind of a reunion and a kind of encouragement. It was really a fun evening.

All right, well, for the next nine minutes or so, we're going to kind of pull back the curtain and hear a little of what was on Dr. Chapman's heart that night. I'm going to share three points with you. This is my last lecture that they call my last lecture, but it's not going to be my last lecture.

Let me just say this. I'm not going anywhere. The church is going to let me keep my office. And my assistant, Anita Hall, is going to still be working with me. And Pastor Will knows I'll do anything he wants me to to help. And I'll just, I'm going to keep on doing it.

I officially retired the 31st of July, but I've been in here every single day and I'm going to continue being here because this is my family. And so I just, you know, but let me share three points with you. And those of you that are note takers, I want you to write down three things because here are things, three things I wish you'd remember.

If you don't take notes, you can look at it again on the screen later on. Number one, don't ever forget that the Christian life is a relationship, not a set of rituals. Folks, every major religion in the world is a set of rituals. If you do these five things, then you'll be accepted by God or you get to heaven or Nirvana or whatever. That's not Christianity. Christianity is a relationship with a living God. Listen to these words that Jesus gave. This is, this is John 14, verse 23. Jesus said, if anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. Listen, my father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.

Imagine that the living God, he will come and make your, our home with him. You see, we seek to obey the teachings of Jesus. Yeah, not, but not to get to heaven. No, but because God loves us and we know that everything he said in the Bible, don't do this or do this. It's because he loved us. And that's why we seek to obey because we're the children of God and we have a relationship with him.

So I want to make this statement. The daily Christian life is basically hanging out with God. It's basically hanging out with God all day long. And if you want to make that a reality, I believe it starts by having a daily sit down and listen time with God. I first learned that at Moody Bible Institute in those days, we called it a quiet time, but I call it now a daily sit down and listen time with God.

It's a simple thing. Every day you take a Bible, you open it up. If you haven't done it before, start with the gospel of John. And before you read the chapter, you say to God, I want to hear anything you want to say to me.

And you read the chapter with your pen in your hand and you underline anything that jumps out at you. And then you go back and talk to God about what you underlined. Maybe you're confessing a sin. Maybe you're asking God, I want to do this.

Give me courage to do this. Maybe you're asking him a question. You're saying, I don't get this, God. You're just having a conversation with God. If you have a daily sit down and listen time and then talk to God about what you heard, then you can talk to God the rest of the day. You don't hang out with God all day long.

And that's what the Christian life is, is hanging out with God. So second thing I want to say is this. Don't expect to understand everything that happens in your life. Don't expect to understand everything that happens in your life. Why would I say that? Because how many times have I seen through the years when something happens in a person's life, I'm in a Christian's life, that they don't understand and they say to themselves and sometimes to others, how could God do this to me?

How could God let this happen in my life? If you're old, you've got something in your life. You probably remember that. I remember things that happen. I just fully didn't understand them. God, I don't understand why this would be. And if we took time, everybody could probably stand up and say, here's one that in my life, I just didn't understand. Folks, we're never going to understand everything that happens to us. But what happens tragically is that sometimes, because people don't understand what happened or why God allowed it, they run away from God. They give up on God. Folks, you give up on God, where are you going?

There's nowhere else to go. No, you run to God, not away from God. But when you read my memoirs and you're going to find there's a number of things in my life that I didn't understand. Now, a few of them I've come to understand later.

Some of them, I still don't understand. It'll have to wait till heaven. But you remember that song that we used to sing along the way, when you can't see God's hand, trust his heart. Never forget the first time I heard that song. I was in Hawaii.

It was a morning out by the lake. And this guy got up and sang this song. And I could hardly wait to get upstairs and tell Carolyn, so Carolyn, you got to hear this song.

You got to hear this song. When you can't see God's hand and what happens in your life, you trust God's heart that he's the God who loves you. See, we live in a sinful world and things happen. And sickness is a reality. And death, untimely deaths is a reality.

And accidents on the highway are all these things. But here's the thing, God takes everything that happens, even the bad things that happen in our lives, even the evil things that happen. We are affected by other people's decisions. God takes it all and works good. Romans 8 28, we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

So don't expect to understand, but trust his heart. And the third thing I want to say is, remember, we are here to serve others in the name of Jesus. Peter said of Jesus, he went about doing good. Acts chapter 10, verse 38. If you want the one sentence summary of the lifestyle of Jesus, that's it.

He went about doing good. And Jesus said about himself, the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. Matthew chapter 20, verse 28. We're not here to be served. We're here to serve others in the name of Jesus. We're his representatives, and God wants to take everything that happens in our lives to make us more and more and more like Jesus.

And we're here to serve others in his name. God's given us different abilities and different talents. We're not all called to be the same. Don't ever say, well, I want to be like them. No, you want to be like the person God made you. And take the talents and God has given you, and you use them for his glory in serving others.

We turn our lives over to him, and we trust him to guide us. Someone asked me, Gary, and I think I said this the other day to some folks, what's on your bucket list? And I said, I don't have a bucket list. If you mean I want to go to the beach, or I want to go to Florida, I want to go to, you know, I don't have a bucket list.

I said, if you want me to have one, I'll give you one. I want to accomplish everything that God has in mind for me. Amen.

I close with this. You know, I grew up in a Southern Baptist church where every Christmas we took an offering for missions, and we have done that here through all these years. And for years it was called the Lottie Moon Christmas offering.

Lottie Moon was a missionary to China, and they named this offering for her because all the money was going to missions. And I had heard of Lottie Moon all my life. And one day I was in a little town in Virginia where she was born and where I heard she had been buried. And so I asked around and found the cemetery. And I said, I'm going to go to her grave. And I was thinking, you know, because she's just so famous in the Southern Baptist world, I thought, man, this is going to be a nice big tombstone, you know. And when I got there, it was a little tiny stone, about like that. And it had her name, Lottie Moon, and the days she was born and the day she died. And then it said, Faithful unto death. And I wept. And I said, God, that's what I want.

That's what I want. It's not how long we live, folks. It's what we do with the life we have. So for myself and for you, my prayer is that we will be faithful unto death. And when we do, everything's going to be great. And I want to give you permission since you've come tonight, you don't have to come to my funeral.

Okay. Whenever that happens, you don't have to come. I just love that your heart just came through in that. And this is our Christmas present to our listeners today.

I wanted you to hear that. What runs through your heart as you listen to that, Gary? Well, tears came to my eyes again, to be honest with you, Chris, because I remember that day I stood in the cemetery and looked at that tombstone and had that experience. And, you know, because isn't that what we all want, to be faithful unto death, not get off on the wrong track, you know, toward the end of the journey, but just be faithful to God till he calls us home.

There's a lot in there, too. You know, at the beginning you say, I'm going to be here at the church. You're not employed there anymore, but there's space for you to do what you've been doing the last 50 years, in a sense, right?

Yeah, absolutely, Chris. You know, I'm still seeing people. I think I'm not going to do long-term counseling now. I'm going to do short-term counseling.

And if they need extended counseling, we've got counselors that I can refer them to here in the city. So I think that's going to be about the only difference. Other than that, I'm doing what I've always done.

Yeah. You're still going to do the radio? Yeah, I'm going to do the radio, and I'm going to still speak at conferences and stick with Moody and those marriage conferences we do every Saturday.

Well, not every Saturday, but 15 Saturdays a year. I'm going to continue to write if God puts things on my heart to write about. So yeah, I just want to continue to walk through the doors that God opens, you know, and try to invest my life in helping others. Is age more in the mind than it is in the outward? I mean, there are things that are different now than they were 20, 30, 50 years ago. But inside, there's really not a whole lot of difference I can see in your life.

I think you're right, Chris. I think it's not so much age as it is health. If you're healthy, you know, at 85 or 90, you can keep going. If you're unhealthy at 50, you know, there are things you can't do because of your health.

So it's not so much the age as it is the degree of health that we have. Well, I want to share that today. Again, as our gift to you, just a peek behind the curtain at Gary's church.

Before we go to another break, let me read a question that came in to us. Dr. Chapman, I have two beautiful girls. They're 13 and 18. They love the Lord. They serve his church. They respect their mother.

I am divorced. They are loving, empathetic, creative, kind, and good students. I have every cause to rejoice, but for the condition of their bedrooms. Honestly, I am a good and reasonable housekeeper. However, I sometimes think the Lord has delayed his coming due to the piles in their rooms left to my own devices.

I could have their rooms whipped into shape in 12 hours. My parents and friends tell me, shut the door. Help, I am losing my mind over this.

What do you say to this listener? I say, think again about what's really important in life. Does it really make a huge difference where the clothes are piled, whether in a closet on a hanger or in the bedroom on the floor or the bedroom? It's a matter of priority. I don't want you to lose your mind over this. If it makes you feel better, go ahead and spend 12 hours and clean it up. But I would warn you that will not last because in another 24 hours, it'll probably look just like it did before. I would suggest this, however, if they start dating and are seriously in a dating relationship, be sure that their boyfriend sees the room so that he knows what he's getting into.

And that may sober her up a bit and think, oh, maybe I should clean my room up a bit. But all the positive things, focus on the positive things and don't worry about the things that really ultimately are very unimportant. This is our Christmas Day edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, New York Times best-selling author of "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find simple ways to strengthen your relationships right there at FiveLoveLanguages.com. Plus, find out about our featured resource, Dr. Chapman's book, Life Lessons and Love Languages, What I've Learned on My Unexpected Journey.

Just go to FiveLoveLanguages.com. Gary, this next question is time-sensitive and I think the event probably has already happened, but the caller is going through one of your books and has a concern, so I want you to hear his question. Here we go.

Hi, Gary. I'm here to get married next weekend and I'm going through your book, Life Promises for Couples. But one thing is, is that a lot of the examples I always talk about with the woman, you know, has problems with the man, you know, those when reading the first part of it. So hopefully, as I continue on in it, that maybe you can have some examples of where the woman needs to change. But what I'm reading starting out is only showing where the woman has a problem with the man and what the woman wants him to change on. But it works both ways. So hopefully, as I get further in the book, that that'll be helpful, you know, for both sides to see.

Thank you so much. Well, that's a good observation, you know. He's reading the illustrations in that book, Life Promises, and he's saying the illustrations seem to be the wife is always having problems with the husband, you know, he needs to change. I think as he reads further, he'll find there are illustrations that are reversed where the husband's thinking, you know, the wife needs to change.

Because let's face it, by nature, that's the way we all perceive things. If we have a problem, the problem's not me, the problem's the other person. And so I think we have to realize differences and conflicts in a marriage are going to be normal. And there's sometimes that he thinks she needs to change, and times that she thinks he needs to change. In fact, I deal with in another one of my books, the whole thing of how do you share the things that irritate you? Because if you don't have a plan for sharing them, you just share them when the when you're emotional, you know, you're kind of upset about it, you just lash out at them about something. Well, that doesn't motivate change.

They become defensive. But if you have a plan, for example, what if you agree in the early stages of your marriage, or it could be anytime really, what about if this week, you tell me one thing that you would like for me to change, something I need to start doing or stop doing, that would make life better for you. But before you tell me that one thing, tell me three things you like about me. And then tell me the one thing you'd like me to change. And then next week, what if you give me a chance to tell you one thing I'd like for you to change. And I'll tell you three things I like about you.

And then I'll ask for one thing if you can make change. If you agree to this, it gives you a plan for sharing these things. And you'll share them not when you're upset and angry about it.

You'll share them as a normal flow of things. And the fact that you share three things that you like about the person opens up the possibility that they will make that change. Because all of us want to be better. And if I feel like you appreciate what I'm already doing, and you're now making a suggestion on how it can be better, then I'm far more likely to do that. And again, we're not going to force the person to change. We're simply requesting that they change. And so you'll find they will change a lot of things. But I don't want to give you false hope to think they'll change everything. There'll be some things they either cannot change, or maybe they just choose not to change.

And some of those things we come to accept. You know, the fact that they misplace their car keys every three days, and they ask, you know, where are my keys? Some people aren't wired to keep up with car keys.

And you can give suggestions, would you just hang them on the clip, you know, out in the garage. But the chances are, they won't do that. So some things you have to accept, just get you three or four sets of keys and say, honey, use these. We'll find the others. And you will, yeah.

Change what can be changed, but accept the things that they choose not to change. Yes. I just looked this up. And that book was published in January of 2012. So it's going to be next week at this birthday, 10-year-old birthday, life promises for couples, God's promises for you and your spouse. So this is basically scripture that you can hang on to in your marriage, right? Yeah, it is.

It's just brief little sections on basic things out of scripture that will enhance your marriage, because our relationship with God will always enhance our relationship with our spouse. Well, I'm glad you called with that question. And if you would like to call 866-424-GARY, even though it's Christmas Day, you can leave a message right there.

And Dr. Chapman may answer your question on a future Dear Gary broadcast, 1-866-424-GARY. So Christmas Day, everybody seems happy. All of those, you know, the glow and the eyes and the love and all of that. But in the middle of this day, Gary, you know, as well as I do, there are a lot of people who are struggling. And this next call showcases that. Hey, Gary, I have seen you in person. And I had a question. Me and my wife have been married for 23 years, we had a heck of a commercial relationship. It's abusive. And I just wondered, should I stay with it?

The gentleman at church, the elders told me I should stay, but it's bad. I would want to know what to do. I'd like to hear from you, because then maybe my wife will hear from you.

Thanks. Well, you know, Chris, the caller doesn't share what kind of abuse this is, and how long it's gone on. So you know, there's a lot of loose ends there in my mind as to what he's dealing with. But I would say this, before you make a decision to get out of a relationship, for whatever reason, go for counseling. Chances are, you do not have a problem that other couples don't have similar problems. And counselors deal with this every day of the week. So reach out for help. And I would encourage you and her, if she chooses not to go with you, then you just tell her, I'm going to go for counseling, because I've got to have help on how to handle this.

I want you to go with me, but if you don't, I'm going to go by myself. Chances are, when you take that step, she will go with you, because she wants the counselor to hear her side of the story. And as you do that, and you share with the counselor, God can use that outside person, that outside voice, to help both of you understand each other, and what's happening to the relationship.

And hopefully it'll be a Christian counselor who will also have the spiritual dimension, and talk about, you know, what would God say here? What is God's answer to this relationship? Listen, the worst of marriages can be healed when we're willing to reach out for help, and willing to make some changes.

Emotionally, we don't feel like it many times. We've kind of lost hope, and we don't feel like working on the marriage. So the question is not, do you want to work on the marriage?

The question is, will you work on the marriage? You know, the real positive here, he mentions the elders at his church, so he hasn't kept this to himself. This is not, I mean, he may feel isolated, but he's letting other people in on this, and he's getting other counselors, an abundance of counselors involved. That's a good thing to do, right?

Absolutely, Chris. We should always be reaching out to friends, to pastors, and to counselors whenever we're struggling with a situation, and not simply try to handle it on our own. Because listen, most of us didn't get instruction on how to have a good marriage. We didn't get help on how you solve conflicts. We didn't get help on how to respond to someone.

Someone's really putting you down verbally, and so forth. And these things are common, and they're people who can help us work through those things. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find out more about that at our website, fivelovelanguages.com, as well as our featured resource, Life Lessons in Love Languages, What I've Learned on My Unexpected Journey.

Again, go to fivelovelanguages.com. Gary, one thing I know about you, and that is you have a heart for those who serve in the military, who serve our country, and we want to remember you on this Christmas Day. Maybe you're listening to this program in some far flung place, spot on the globe, and you're hearing the encouragement and the phone calls. Our next caller asked that we not listen to his voice on the radio, so I'm going to read his question to you.

Hi, Gary. I've been in the military almost 20 years. I did three tours to Iraq. I'm married more than 10 years. I'm currently isolated in a remote assignment. My family is back in the States. I could really use your help. For years, I've suppressed my affection because of either trauma from deployments or childhood.

I don't know which, or it could be both, but I'm working on myself in therapy. My wife and I are on the brink. And right then, the phone call kind of ended, his question kind of ended. So we don't know a lot about the situation, but in that far flung place on the globe, what would you say to him today?

Well, first of all, Chris, I would just express my own empathy for him because it's tough. It's tough. Military lifestyle is tough.

The deployments are tough. And when the marriage is not, when you haven't learned how to support each other, it can be on the brink, as he put it. And so I would say, first of all, I am encouraged that the caller is reaching out for therapy.

It may sometimes start with a chaplain on the military base, but there are also people there in counseling who are trained with various mental difficulties. So reaching out for help is the first step, and you've taken that step, and that's wonderful. The other thing I would say is if you haven't read the military edition of "The 5 Love Languages" , I think you would find it very, very helpful. And I would also suggest that maybe your wife read it, even though you're not together physically, she reads it and you read it and see how if you had had the information in that book, how things would have been different. And if you can get that picture, then you can say, it's not too late.

We can still make some changes. We can still learn how to stay connected while we're deployed. And so I think the two of you reading a book together, even though you're separated by distance, and maybe discussing as you have a chance what we learned out of that chapter, and then you continue with your therapy and encourage her to reach out to a chaplain on where she is, or to someone else for help. And together, even though you're long distance, you can make progress on a marriage if both of you are getting the help you need. And again, if you're listening today and you'd like to ask a question or maybe follow up, maybe you're in the military and you want to encourage this person who called in, here's our number, 866-424-GARY.

Is there really hope for a military marriage that's strained and you have such a gulf between you, both relationally and distance? Love to hear from you, 1-866-424-GARY. Now here's a practical, I love practical questions that include financial and marriage questions all at the same time. This one came in recently, Gary.

Listen to this. So I am a widow after 25 years of marriage, and I'm engaged, and I have a macular degeneration issue with my eyes, and so I utilize the Veterans Administration for my medical insurance. My question is, if I was to get married, I lose that benefit, and it's not covered under most health insurances because it's pre-existing.

If we were to get married in the eyes of God in church and not do a marriage certificate for the state, is that considered against God's will or would being married in a church be sufficient so that I'm not being married without it, I mean, being with Him without being married? Thank you very much. All right, Gary, now before you answer, I have a confession, all right? When this phone call came in, I knew that we weren't going to get it on the air until now, you know, Christmas Day, and so I wrote her back because I have her phone number. I texted her. I said, hey, Chris Fabry here. I received your voicemail.

Dr. Chapman's going to answer this, but it may be a while before he gets to that. Here are my thoughts. So can I tell you what I told her, and then you tell me if this is good advice?

Okay, go for it. I said, my thoughts are, if you're getting married and you are telling the state that you're not married, there is an element of deception there. I totally understand why you would want to keep the benefits, but if you're married, you're married, and it seems to me that you have a certain amount of fear of whether God is going to take care of you or not, and that's a valid fear. I'm certainly not in your situation and wouldn't pretend to understand fully.

I think your main question is, do I really trust that God is going to provide for me through all of this, or do I need to somehow control it so I feel better? My guess is if you go around the state and pretend you're not married to them, this will eat at you down the road. And then I added, if you totally disregard this advice that I'm giving, I'm still going to love you and wish the best for you and your marriage. This just seems to be an issue of personal integrity that you're dealing with, and I'm guessing that's why you called about it.

I hope that helps. God bless you, friend. And she wrote back and she said, well, before I tell you that, what do you think about that advice? I think you nailed it, Chris. I mean, I think the real issue here is, am I going to trust God to take care of my financial needs for medical expenses in the future, or do I have to finagle this and make something different from what it's designed to be just because I want to get that medical benefit? I think you hit the issue.

Well, she responded to that and said, I fully understand. And my next thought is, why do I not trust God when he has brought me through so much? Praying about this, that God will provide wisdom in this area.

Thank you. And I think that's a good question, too. Why, after God has brought me through all of this, why do I not trust God here? And you see that story again and again through Scripture, from the Old Testament to the New. God does these great things. It's a struggle to trust him, isn't it?

Well, I think it is, Chris, many times, because we tend to rely on ourselves and be self-reliant, especially in our country. We've emphasized that through the years, and we feel like we have to work everything out. Well, you know, there's some things we can't work out.

They're beyond our control. And if we walk with God and believe God, the Scriptures are very clear. You walk with God, God will take care of you. So I think it is a matter of coming back and affirming, admitting my emotions, admitting her emotions, how I'm struggling with this and all of that, admitting that to God. But Lord, I'm going to put my trust in you. Trust is a choice.

I'm choosing to put my trust in you. And I think she's going to feel better about the whole thing if she can totally trust God. And then the other issue I bring up is, let's make sure that this is a person you really want to spend the rest of your life with. Get some premarital counseling. I mean, she's been a widow for a number of years, and second marriage is not always all that easy. So get some premarital counseling on other issues as well to make sure that this is the person that God wants you to be married to in the future. The last thing I said to her was, you have a really good question, but don't beat yourself up for asking it or feeling it. Seems to me, God is doing something inside because many people wouldn't even ask this question.

They would just go do what they want to do. My stock phrase for this is struggle is not a sign of failure. Struggle is a sign of life.

And that's what's happening on the inside. God is bringing these. So don't look at this question and the struggle that you're having as a sign that, oh, I failed God that I'm even asking the question.

This is a sign that he's at work. Do you agree? Absolutely, Chris. You know, Chris, I see your empathy for this lady in this situation, and that's good, you know, because she is struggling with something that's a common struggle, and she shouldn't put herself down for having the struggle. It says we want her to come out at a place that's going to honor God and going to be good for her. I hadn't thought of that, I hadn't thought of that, though, what you just mentioned.

Maybe there is something in the whole marriage contract with this other person that she's not mistrusting God or have a lack of trust in God. But is this the right thing? So I think that's a good topic to bring up. I have one more question for you then before we end, and it's something that you just touched on a minute ago. Here's our final call.

Hello. I'm just wondering what might be some good named counselors that are like yourself. I'm in the Ohio area, but I'm really looking for some premarital counseling.

You got any advice on that or appointment in the direction to go? Let me know. I appreciate it.

Thanks a lot. Well, first of all, I'm glad that he's looking for someone with whom they can do premarital counseling. If we spent more time preparing for marriage, we'd be more successful in marriage.

You know, let's think about it. In your vocation, you're likely going to spend at least four years getting ready for your vocation. Maybe that's why you're more successful in your vocation than we are in marriages.

You know, so man, I want to commend him for looking for that. Here's what I'd suggest in terms of finding someone who can give premarital counseling. First of all, call the churches or a church in your community that you trust and ask the pastor, you know, do you do premarital counseling? Or is there someone on your staff that does premarital counseling? Or can you recommend a Christian counselor for me in our area?

Because we want to do everything we can to prepare for marriage so that we can have a successful marriage. Typically, the pastors either do or they can point you in the right direction for that. You can also go online and Google American Association of Christian Counselors, American Association of Christian Counselors, and find their website. And when you go there, there's a place where you click for counselors in your area. And you put in your zip code, and they will send you a list of the counselors in your area and their contact information. And then you can call those individually and find someone that would be really, that this is their specialty, that this is one of their specialties, is premarital counseling. So it's not that difficult to find someone.

So let me just encourage you in what you're pursuing. You could also ask a couple that you know who, you know, are a little further down the road and they live in your area, hey, where did you guys go for premarital counseling? If they did, you know, and you can get a referral that's personal as well.

Or as you said, the AACC, American Association of Christian Counselors, that's a great resource as well. Gary, before we conclude today, I want to give your number again, because we've dealt with a lot here on Christmas Day. And if you're listening to the podcast, you may say, I've got to call and ask Dr. Chapman a question. Here's the number, 1-866-424-GARY, 1-866-424-GARY for a question, or maybe a comment about your relationships in the new year. We'd love to hear from you. Don't forget to check out our featured resource at the website, Life Lessons and Love Languages, What I've Learned on My Unexpected Journey, written by our very own Dr. Gary Chapman.

Just go to 5lovelanguages.com. And next week, Robert and Nancy say, you can trust God to write your story. Don't miss a conversation with Robert Wagemith and Nancy DeMoss Wagemith to start the new year. A big thank you to our production team who worked so 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 Merry Christmas.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-05 03:40:41 / 2023-07-05 03:59:50 / 19

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