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Dear Gary March

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
March 26, 2022 1:00 am

Dear Gary March

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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March 26, 2022 1:00 am

Marriage struggles. Parenting problems. Singles issues. It’s all up for discussion on this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Once a month we open the lines for your questions for this trusted author of the New York Times Bestseller, the Five Love Languages. The problems discussed may help you with a struggle you’re facing. Don’t miss the questions and answers!

Featured Resource: The 5 Apology Languages: The Secret to Healthy Relationships - Gary Chapman & Jennifer Thomas

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Today we open the listener line for your questions on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. It's one of the most anticipated conversations of the month. When we open the listener line and hear from you as you pose questions for trusted pastor, counselor, and author, Dr. Gary Chapman. And we have some great questions today on our March edition of Dear Gary. And it's our hope that something you hear today will help you maybe in your marriage or your parenting, your singleness.

If you go over to fivelovelanguages.com, you'll find more simple ways to strengthen your relationships. You can call and leave a question for an upcoming program. Here's the number, 866-424-GARY. Again, 1-866-424-GARY. Leave your message. We'll try to get to it on a future broadcast.

Now our featured resource today is by Dr. Jennifer Thomas and Dr. Chapman. It's titled The Five Apology Languages, The Secret to Healthy Relationships. This is one of the main struggles, I think, in all of our relationships, Gary, and that is to communicate a real apology.

Well, I think you're right, Chris. For one reason, none of us are perfect. We all do things and say things or fail to do things and say things that cause friction in a relationship. And if we don't learn to apologize, the emotional barrier that we create with those failures creates a wall between us, an emotional wall between us. But if we learn how to apologize and choose to do it in a meaningful way, that is, communicating our sincerity to the other person, we make it easier for them to forgive. And when we apologize and they forgive, it removes that barrier and now the relationship can go forward. So yeah, it's just an important book. It can make all the difference in the world.

And it's the same thing with "The 5 Love Languages" . I'm showing you I love you. I mowed the yard yesterday. If her love language is words of affirmation, you can mow the yard all day long. And I suggest you do that, depending on what time of year it is.

You know, blow the snow off the driveway. But she won't feel that love or he won't feel that love from this thing over here. And the apology is the same thing.

There's a blockade there. Yeah, I gave you a perfect example of that, Chris. A lady said to me the other day, said, Dr. Chapman, it was in a counseling session. She said, Dr. Chapman, every time he says, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. She said, it means nothing to me.

It means nothing to me. She said, he never, ever, I ask, what can I do to stop doing this? See, her idea of a sincere apology is, help me, I want to get a plan.

I don't want to keep doing this. That communicates to her heart. I'm sorry doesn't touch her. You see, she doesn't think it's a sincere apology. He may be sincere. He may be sorry, but it's not communicating to her. And that's why learning your spouse's apology language, that is what communicates to them, is going to help you communicate your sincerity.

Yes. And that is what you're going to encounter in this featured resource today. Again, go to fivelovelanguages.com. The five apology languages, the secret to healthy relationships.

Again, fivelovelanguages.com. Now to your calls. First up, Gary, I'm so excited about this. This is a marriage question that I have never heard before because there's a grammar struggle. Here we go.

Hi, Gary. I have a question about a relationship between two people who were brought up on opposite sides of the track, so to speak. And the one party has very poor grammar, and the other party is very turned off with this grammar. The first party can't seem to correct the grammar, even after several years of trying.

What would you have to say on this subject? Thank you very much. Okay, Chris, I've never heard that one either, but I understand it. I'm from the South, you know.

I knew you would. Listen, all of us grow up in a culture that has certain dialects and grammar, and some of it is what we would call proper grammar. This is not proper grammar.

I understand the difference. To be very honest with you, I'm not sure you're going to get him or her to change that poor grammar. You said he's been working on it, and he hasn't been able to change it. It would be nice, you know, maybe if he could enroll in a class or get a tutor to just help him get some of the fundamentals down, especially the ones that bother you the most.

Sounds like he is open. You said he's trying. But if that doesn't work, and he really can't pick it up and make the changes, I think this is one of those things you'll have to learn to accept. Oh, yes, there's a place to accept things that your spouse either cannot change or will not change, and I don't know which it is.

You know, maybe he's tried sincerely, and he really can't, he just can't bring it back to pass. Rather than let it be a divisive factor, once we try to negotiate these things that irritate us, and they just don't change, there comes a time in which we say, I'm going to accept that. That's a part of who they are, and I'm going to accept that. I'm not going to put them down.

I'm not going to criticize them. I'm going to try to understand them when they're talking to me, but I'm going to accept that. See, for me, it was accepting the way my wife loaded a dishwasher.

You know, she loaded it like she was playing Frisbee. And so I had to accept that, and just realized she doesn't have the ability to load a dishwasher the way it ought to be loaded, okay? For yours, it's a grammar problem.

It's worth effort, and you've already invested some time, so maybe get a tutor if he's open and try it again. But if not, somewhere along the line, you have to come to accept it, rather than letting it divide the two of you. I think for her, it's probably, and we're assuming it's her that she has the correct grammar and her husband doesn't. For her, it's so egregious and so evident.

And for him, it's like, I didn't even hear, you know, when I use bad grammar with subject and verb and all that kind of stuff. It's almost like she's trying to, if he were left-handed, trying to get him to be right-handed. So for her, it sounds like, no, it's not that way at all.

It's just changing a few words. But for him, it may be more of a struggle for something that he's grown up in that he can't break out of. And if she sees him as kind of struggling that way, it probably can soften her a little bit toward his struggle. Do you agree?

I think you're right, Chris. Putting yourself in his shoes, kind of looking at the world through his eyes as he grew up. And he learned this growing up, you know, it's a part of his culture. And so trying to put yourself over there and recognize that, it still irritates you. I mean, anyone that has proper grammar is going to be irritated by someone who doesn't. It's going to be an irritation.

It's a matter of whether he can make those changes or will make those changes or whether you're going to have to come to accept them. But one other thing, too, that she says that this is a struggle for her is a good thing to see. It's like, that shouldn't bother me because he's a good provider or he loves me and he uses my words of affirmation or whatever her love language is. She's not spiking that. She's seeing that this bugs her. Now she needs to come up with a plan to figure out how do I do this, right? Yeah, yeah. She has to learn how to accept it if he's not going to change rather than letting it continue to bug her. But I think there's still that sense that she will be irritated by it.

But you can live with irritation, you know. All right. There's our first ever grammar question about the love language is now a caller with an honest question about addiction programs. I appreciate your program, Dr. Chapman.

I have a quick question. Can a Christian go to 12-step programs? Like, for instance, Alcoholics Anonymous does not profess Jesus Christ and him crucified, even though there are biblical principles that are utilized in those programs. But they just speak God as a higher power, as providence, and they kind of leave it there. They don't tell you, you have to believe anything. And a lot of the stuff in the Bible is found in there, from what I understand. So that's just my opinion, just my question.

Thank you. I think the 12-step program can be helpful to a Christian. As a matter of fact, it was really produced by a Christian. The fact that they refer to a higher power is simply their effort to try to include non-Christians as well, who do need help with addiction as well. But as a Christian, if you take that 12-step program and you, in your heart, in your mind, you replace God with the higher power, the things that they're teaching in that program can be very, very helpful to someone who has an addiction. Now, you know, there are other programs that are more overtly Christian. One of those is Celebrate Recovery.

You might Google that and get a picture of that, but it is overtly Christian. It has some of the same things that you would find in a 12-step program, but it's overtly Christian. And there will likely be a church in your community that offers Celebrate Recovery. Our program is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and this is our Dear Gary broadcast for March. 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.

Also, be sure to turn down any music or the radio in the background. Call us today, 1-866-424-GARY. Our featured resource is the book by Dr. Jennifer Thomas and Dr. Gary Chapman, The Five Apology Languages, The Secret to Healthy Relationships.

Find out more about that at the website again, FiveLoveLanguages.com. After a spouse has an affair, what needs to happen? Here's our next caller.

Hi, Gary. I have a question for you regarding life after infidelity, life in marriage after infidelity. And I've just listened to Finding Hope for Your Desperate Marriage with Yourself on Focus on the Family, an interview from 2019. And speaking about adultery and infidelity, your first recommendation for the unfaithful spouse is to cut off that relationship that was the betrayal, cut off the infidelity.

So, this is what's happened to myself. My husband has strayed. He has betrayed our marriage. Although he says that the affair has ended, he wants to maintain a friendship with this person, the affair person. And he thinks that because now that the sexual component of their affair is over with, the romance is over with, that it's perfectly legitimate. And in fact, a godly thing to do to maintain a friendship with this person.

I am of the opposite opinion, and I would really like some guidance in this because I just need some sort of confirmation about or some sort of advice about this position on the friendship. I maintain that it really should not be. There should be no more contact with this person. And that was my initial reaction when I found out.

I said, you've got to cut this off. And he keeps maintaining that, no, he's going to have a friendship with this person because it's an innocent friendship now. And I just don't see how that can be. And his position is he will not shun her. I don't think that he has to be mean about it. I don't think he has to call her names or anything of that nature.

But I think he needs to make it clear to her that their relationship has to end if his marriage is going to survive. And maybe that sounds like an ultimatum. And I did hear you mention that sometimes an ultimatum is the thing that needs to be stated clearly so as not to enable behavior that is detrimental.

And I would really appreciate hearing a response. So thank you for considering my question. Chris, I don't often take sides immediately with couples who have a problem, but I'm going to take sides. I agree with her fully.

If there's been a sexual affair and it's gone on for six years, you cannot reconcile and remain, keep a friendship with this other person. Now, I'm identifying with her and her pain and the answer. But here's another aspect to it. You see, with her pain, with her hurt and with her position, with which I fully agree, the tendency is that she will simply harp on this. You know, and just over and over and over telling this has got to stop. This has got to stop. This has got to stop. And the marriage one is not going to be reconciled. But if she does, what I suggest in a book that I have entitled Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away. And that is this.

Do a little experiment. Ask God to help you for the next three months, four months, five months. You decide how long you want to set a goal that you're not going to mention this, but you're going to speak his love language, whatever his primary love language is. You're going to speak it regularly. Every week you're speaking his primary love language to him.

So that he sees you, not pressuring him, not pushing him, not condemning him, but he sees you loving him unconditionally, which is the way God loves us. Then at the end of that three or four months, you say to him, I don't know how you feel about our relationship. I have really sought to love you 100% over the last several months. I haven't mentioned the affair and your friendship with this lady. But I don't know if you care about our marriage as much as I do. But if you're not willing to break off this friendship with her, I'm going to take a step to move away from you.

I cannot go on with the pain inside of knowing that you have a friend with the person that you had an affair with for six years. So I'm going to go for counseling. I would certainly invite you to go with me if you wish. But then I'm going to have to take some steps to remove myself from you. I'm not going to abandon you. I'm not saying I'm going to divorce you.

I'm just saying I cannot live in the same house with you. You can make the decision if you want to go to counseling with me. Or you can make up your decision whether you want to break up this friendship or not.

But that's where I am. So that's tough love at that juncture. But the reason tough love often changes the person's decision is because they have been loved by you unconditionally.

No condemnation for three or four months, but totally loving them. Now when you take that stand, they've got something to lose. And they're going to say to themselves, man, you know, I got to do something here. But if you simply criticize and press the issue, you know, it's six months now you've been going through this already. Chances are you've been bringing it up rather regularly to him. So you do that and he feels condemned by you. Then you do the tough love thing.

He's going to say to himself, good riddance. Now I go back to my friend. Tough love is far more powerful after a series of tender love. So let me just suggest that.

And if you'd like practical help, pick up that book, Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around not just his positioning of, you know, she's just my friend. There's nothing going on. Let's say that's true. Let's just, for sake of argument, say that's true. Your wife says to you, your relationship with her means that I'm no longer going to be in your life. And he's saying, I want the marriage to stay together. I can't fathom why he would continue the friendship then. And I guess we'd have to have his side of the whole thing here.

But I don't understand that. No, I think you're right, Chris. I think any time a man chooses to say I want to stay friends with them, chances are they're still involved. You know what he says. And not necessarily.

But no, you're right. If he wants the marriage, his wife should be first in his life. And if he sees how deeply this is hurting her, he should have enough compassion and love for her to break up that relationship. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and our March Dear Gary broadcast featured resource is The Five Apology Languages, The Secret to Healthy Relationships.

You'll find that at the website, fivelovelanguages.com. I just love the openness and the honesty of this next caller who says in her marriage, she feels alone a lot. Hi, Gary. I am married for the second time after being married to my high school sweetheart for 38 years.

I was single for 10 years and met somebody and we've been married five years. He's a baby Christian. He doesn't go to church with me.

He does pray. He does go to church when I want him to. But he works 12 hours, so he doesn't really go to church anymore unless he's watching it online, which most of the time I have to tell him to. I also deal with him not being very affectionate. So I'm not acknowledged at my birthday or Christmas or he's not affectionate physically with me.

And that's kind of one of my love languages. But yet I've put up with it and kind of like made it OK because he works so hard. He works 12 hour days. He works six on Saturday and he's off on Sunday. So I let him sleep a lot. And the money has been a big factor in just trying to keep up with our mortgage and all our bills. I just want to know what I can do to appreciate him and love him the way I should, because I feel like I resent him and I feel alone. I feel alone a lot.

Thank you. Chris, it's interesting that I deal with this same question in the book I mentioned earlier, loving your spouse when you feel like walking away. It's being married to a workaholic, married to someone who works all the time. And there's no relationship. He's into the work, but he's not into the marriage. And what she's feeling, that she's unimportant to him, is a normal feeling. You just feel like, I can't keep doing this.

I'm just going to walk away. And yet it's obvious she really wants to have a healthy marriage. And she's asking, what can she do?

And I think the answer there lies in the basic approach that I shared with that last question. And that is, if she's not familiar with "The 5 Love Languages" and doesn't know his love language, then I would say, if he won't read the book, if he'd read the book, that'd be ideal. If he would read it and discuss it with you. But if he doesn't, if he would at least go online and take "The 5 Love Languages" quiz, it's a free quiz, and so you would know what his primary love language is. And then you ask God to help you to speak his love language on a regular basis over a period of time, a few months. And I think in the process of doing that, often a spouse who's been unattended to you will begin to turn to you and say things like, what could I do for you? Then you can teach him how to speak your love language by your answers.

See, someone has to take the initiative here. Now, I don't know why he wouldn't be affectionate to you. I don't know if there's something else going on there in terms of sexuality. But typically, when a person is loved, who in their mind, they know they don't deserve it because they're not responding to the other person. But they begin to feel that you're loving them. Then if they don't respond, you take the tough love approach. But often I think they respond beforehand.

Another approach would be this. You say to him, if he hasn't read the love language, you say, you know, here's a book that's helped millions of couples have a really good marriage. Would you be willing to read chapter one this week?

And then we talk about it at the end of the week. And then you ask him for chapter two and chapter three. Don't ask him to read the whole book.

Just take it chapter by chapter. It will give you something to talk about that relates to the heart of this marriage. And if he's willing to do that, you may well see some change in his relationship to you. If not, then you say to him, you know, I'm pained enough about our relationship that I'm going to go for counseling. And I'd like for you to go with me. But if you don't, then I'm still going to go.

I've got to have some help. Now, if he's working six days a week, 12 hours a week, you'd have to find somebody that would see you on Sunday afternoon late. But a pastor, a pastor might do that for you. Don't just sit there. Take some action because your action will influence him.

And if it's positive action, it will influence him in a positive manner. You know what I hear in her voice? It's almost like she's upset that she's upset, you know, that why can't I just focus on all the good things that happen here? And then at the end she says, but I just feel alone. That means there's really not that intimate relationship. She wants a better marriage is what she wants, right?

Yeah, absolutely, Chris. She's crying for that. She appreciates all that he's doing in terms of working to help pay the bills and all of that.

And yet she feels alone. She feels like we're married, but we're just living in the same house. You know, we don't really have a marriage. And that's a normal feeling because marriage is not designed to be that way. Marriage is designed to be an intimate relationship. We're sharing life with each other. We're encouraging each other, helping each other, expressing love to each other. And that's what she's longing for.

And here's the other good thing. If his work means that he's on the road a lot, you could get the audio version of the book and let him listen to it that way. And then he's doing this, you know, when he's going to work or doing whatever, he can listen to that chapter, you know, 15 minutes or so, and then you can talk about it when he gets home. That'd be another approach, especially if he's not a reader or doesn't feel like he has time to sit down and read.

Yeah. This is our Dear Gary broadcast for March, and we would love to hear from you if you have a question or maybe a follow up to something you hear today. Here's the number 1-866-424-GARY. Leave a message and we may use your question here on the program.

1-866-424-GARY. Dr. Chapman has connected the love languages to the spiritual life. And here's a comment from a listener about that connection. I was just listening to you today and I really appreciated everything that you said. In particular, you mentioned your book, God Speaks Your Love Language. I had not realized until hearing your comment that my love language is physical touch. I had totally taken control of my life and my tongue. I raised my hands. I crazed with my voice and my hands up in the air.

It was quite ecstatic. And I didn't realize until now that that was indeed God touching me in a unique way because I am a person who really does need and enjoys physical touch. I'm going to do further research on this and I thank you so very much because it was very insightful as always.

I have many of your books. I greatly appreciate your ministry and how you connect the psychological with the spiritual with the physical. And it certainly does and has enriched my marriage these many years.

I've been married for 41 years. So, Godspeed to your team and may you continue to live a long life and continue to glorify God through this wonderful ministry that he has given you. Blessings. Take care now. Bye. Well, Chris, I'm going to accept that affirmation from her.

Yes. You know, it's been very encouraging to me to see the way people who have read the book, God Speaks Your Love Language, to look at their own life and their own conversion experience and see that God was actually speaking my love language. If it was words of affirmation, it was certain words in the Bible or the preacher gave that just God used to speak to their heart, that there's forgiveness, there's eternal life, I love you. It's a moment like she had.

Oh, that's why it happened like that. God was speaking my love language. And of course, the rest of that book I talk about, once we become believers, we just by nature express our love to God in our love language. So, if it's physical touch, yes, we raise our hands when we sing. You know, we sometimes get on our knees when we pray.

Our body is involved in this relationship with God. So, yeah, that's a fascinating study. I really enjoyed writing that book and doing the research for that book. So, I'm glad that she found it helpful. I think that's the first, I mean, you've got a lot of affirmation over the last few years, but that's the first blessing that came from a caller who said, God bless you and give you a long life. And she mentioned the team that works with you. So, thank you for those kind words that you said about Dr. Chapman and all of us here at Building Relationships. If you go to the website, you'll find out more, FiveLoveLanguages.com. It's FiveLoveLanguages.com. All right, Gary, this next call is a little difficult to hear. There are some children, there's noise in the background, a lot going on in that room, and there was a lot going on in this caller's heart.

Hi, Gary. I'm at a point in my marriage where my husband is seeking divorce. He says he's no longer in love with me. He doesn't like who I am. And just that we have hurt each other so much throughout the marriage that he doesn't see change possible or even worth it. I asked him to try counseling and he says he does not want to. He just doesn't love me anymore and he doesn't think that will change because he says I won't change and who I am is someone who he just does not like. He does not think that I would change who I am and he's not going to change who he is. So, he thinks that our only option is divorce.

I've been reading your books, Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away, and One More Try, and as I'm reading, I'm inspired to take a step towards acting better in our marriage on my part and, you know, do positive things, do positive actions and attitudes despite my feelings, despite my emotions. Currently, right now, we are living apart. We are...he is in the military and I moved back home to be with family during this time because I am pregnant and I needed, I guess, more emotional support here. I spoke to him about coming back, you know, for us to go back to reconcile and he made it adamant, no, he plans to file almost immediately. We are waiting for me to give birth and then he says that he's going to file. So, my question really is, do I continue to be this person where I am fighting for my marriage and I am fighting for reconciliation even if he's already filed? Like if he's filed already and we are divorced, do I continue to be this person where I fight for my marriage or is it over at that point?

Am I no longer able to fight for my marriage if he's already put in for divorce, filed, and it went through? Well, Chris, I'm deeply empathetic with this caller and I appreciate her spirit, her attitude that she wants to work on the marriage. I do think that the approach she's taking right now is the right approach to take. That is, she's trying to be kind to him, trying to express love to him even though now they're at a distance because apparently he's deployed. I think that is the right approach and if he does, in fact, spurn all of that and continue to move to divorce and does file for divorce, she cannot put the marriage together. One person cannot make a marriage.

It takes two people for that. I think at that juncture, she has to accept the reality that he has rejected her, he has divorced her. Now, here's something she did not talk about and I could be wrong here, but most of the time when a man gets to the place that he says to his wife, I don't love you anymore, I don't like you anymore, he's already involved with somebody else. I'm not saying he is in this case, I don't know. But I do know that many, many times he overtly communicates that to his wife because he's already found someone else that he's involved with. That being the case, he's not likely to turn around because he's experiencing all the euphoric feelings that come with a new romantic relationship and he thinks that he's probably found the one now that's going to make him happy. What he doesn't know is he will come down off that high and the other person will turn out to be human and they probably won't make him happy either. But that has nothing to do with her.

I'm just saying, in my opinion, that's likely what's happened here. But I think she will never regret being kind during this time, treating him with dignity and respect and kindness and love. She will never feel badly about having done that, even though he rejected it and he walked away. So I would suggest that she continue that approach until the divorce is finalized. And when that happens, then she says, OK, you've made the decision and there's nothing I can do to keep you from divorcing me. So I'm going to seek God. I'm going to ask him to guide my life and see what God has for me in the future.

I would give this warning if that happens. Don't get involved with someone else romantically anytime soon. Because many times when a person does, they make a very, very poor decision out of their loneliness and their hurt. Take time to mature. Spend time with God. Get involved in a church if you're not already. And develop friendships and even get counseling for yourself to work through the pain that you're feeling. And make the next year a year of personal growth in your own life with God and with them, with friends.

And then see what God has for you in the future. The double-edged sword here is the pregnancy and him saying, as soon as the baby's born, we're done. You know, that just tears your heart out.

Yeah, it does. And I don't know if she has other children. I mean, there were children in the background, you know. So maybe there's other children as well that she has. So I'm glad she's with her parents. It sounds like that's what she's meant. She's with her parents so that she does have some support and that's good.

And then the emotional ups and downs of just the pregnancy, too. I mean, you factor all of this in and it's just a storm that she's going through. So maybe the best thing that we could do just here, right here, is to just pause and would you pray for her? Would you pray for him? And all that's, you know, we thank him for his service to this country and what he's doing. But just for God to be in the middle of this whole thing.

Sure. Father, you know this situation. You know everything about him and about her. I pray that your spirit will minister to her in her deep pain. I thank you for her desire to work on her marriage.

I thank you for her commitment to you. And I pray that during this time your spirit will minister to her and bring into her life friends and pastor or counselor that can encourage and help her and walk through this painful time. I pray for him. You know where he is with you. You know what's going on in his life. And I pray that your spirit will touch his spirit and open his eyes to the truth and let him see the situation as you see the situation. You alone know how to touch his heart and open his eyes. And that's what we pray for. In the name of Christ.

Amen. 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 book at our website, FiveLoveLanguages.com, as well as our featured resource, The Five Apology Languages, The Secret to Healthy Relationships.

It's written by Dr. Jennifer Thomas and Dr. Chapman. Again, go to FiveLoveLanguages.com. Gary, I want you to hear from a single caller today. And thank you singles for asking some really good questions. If you want to join us, here's our number, 1-866-424-GARY. Ask any question that you would like of Dr. Gary Chapman, "The 5 Love Languages" , 866-424-GARY. Now, what is he going to say to this question?

Hey, Gary. I've been in and out of the church many, many times. I've served in the church and I've been apart from the church. I'm trying to find my foot, I guess, where I belong and what that really means to me. I know my love language is touched and I also know for sure, without a doubt, that my biggest weakness is also lustfulness.

And I know a lot of that can help from a conversation with God and how you go about things in your daily life and what you perceive, what you take in. But any other advice on how to handle that a little better of lustfulness? Appreciate it. Thank you.

Goodbye. Well, let's face it. As humans, we have natural sexual desires. And as a single person who is unmarried, lust can be predominant. It can control your mind and your thoughts. I do think being involved in a church would be very, very helpful for you, especially in a group of singles in a church, I think can be helpful.

A church that has a program for singles is demonstrating that they care about single adults. And I think in those places where there's some teaching from the Bible, as well as a relationship and friendships with each other, it would be very helpful to you. That doesn't necessarily answer, however, the temptation to lust. I think there are things that you can do that will help you control the lustful desires you have so that they don't lead to sinful behavior.

One of those, of course, is challenging and deciding what you're going to observe, what you're going to look at. Because we know that the male is stimulated sexually by sight, so that would mean no pornography. I don't mean pornography once every six weeks.

I mean no pornography. Because pornography is an unreal world. It denigrates women.

It makes women an object. It is never, ever right and never, never helpful. And that will be difficult if, in fact, you've been involved with that.

It will be difficult. But with God's help, you can make that decision. And you burn the bridges where you've been reaching out in that manner.

Burn those bridges so that you don't fall back into that. I think another helpful thing would be to reach out for Christian counseling. So that you have someone who has an understanding of human nature and our emotional struggles that you can talk with, that you can be open and honest with. Christian counseling is simply a Christian who has a heart for helping people. And to simply share with a friend who may not know much more than you do about the situation is one thing. But to have conversations on a regular basis with someone who's trained to help you walk a Christian life would be most helpful.

So those are the two things that come into my mind right away that I think will help you with the problem of lust. He mentioned at the beginning, I'm trying to find my place in the church. And I think that was very interesting. And it sounds maybe that he'd been hurt at one point in the church or kind of moved away from it for one reason or another. A lot of people fall into that category. But the answer is to not move further away from God's people.

It's to move toward them. And you mentioned counseling. Men's groups as well can be really, really helpful, I think.

Absolutely, Chris. And I would certainly encourage that to get in a men's group. Because many men deal with this. Let's face it, it's a common problem with men.

So yeah, I think a Christian men's group would be very, very helpful. Thank you again for your call today and your honesty and your openness. There was a caller we had, oh, it's been a few months ago, who asked a specific question about receiving forgiveness from God for sexual sin in his life. And I think I just want to kind of encapsulate what he was talking about. He was specific about what had happened earlier in his life. And he said, I'm so sorry, I'm so repentant about what I participated in back then. But his main question was, how do I fully repent of that and know that God has forgiven me? And it sounds like every time he prays or he is going to church or whatever, these thoughts from the past come back haunting him or accusing him.

How would you counsel him? Well, Chris, I think the work of Satan is to condemn us for every wrong thing we've ever done. And so if in our earlier years we did something that we knew was against the plans of God, and we realized that and felt guilty about it, if we genuinely, honestly repent of that, the word means, repent means to turn away from, to walk in the other direction. We repent of that, and we acknowledge to God that we failed. And we thank God that Christ has paid the penalty for our failures, and that we want to be forgiven, and we're asking him to forgive us. The Bible says when we repent of our sins and confess our sins to God, he does forgive us. That is the central message of the Bible, that Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins so God can now forgive us.

So I think understanding the Scriptures that are very, very clear about that is the first step. And obviously, at least it seems obvious to me, he has repented, he has asked forgiveness. But when the memory comes back, the pain, the guilt comes back.

Here's what I would suggest. When the thought comes back and the guilt comes back, you say to God, Lord, you know what I'm remembering, and you know what I'm feeling again. I'm feeling guilty again, but I thank you that you have forgiven me. See, the Bible says that he will no longer hold our sins against us. God does not hold your sins against you. And if a holy God does not hold your sins against you now that you've been forgiven, then you must choose to forgive yourself. So you just say, Lord, you know what I'm remembering, you know what I'm feeling, but I thank you that this is false guilt. The enemy is trying to destroy me by bringing back the memory of these things that I've done in the past. And so I just want to thank you that I'm forgiven. And I pray that you will drive the enemy away from my heart and away from my mind, and let me experience the freedom of knowing that I am forgiven by you.

So to me, that would be my suggestion to you. And you may also want to talk to yourself. Stand in front of the mirror and say, self, yes, you did a horrible thing. And yes, you've suffered a lot emotionally from this and spiritually from this. But you have asked God to forgive you, and God has promised that he forgives all who turn to him in repentance. So God has forgiven you, and self, I'm going to forgive you.

You're talking to yourself. You've forgiven yourself. I'm going to forgive you.

I'm not going to hold this against you. And then you say now, Lord, help me to accomplish your purposes in my life from this day forward. And now you find ways to invest your life in serving God by serving others. Listen, look at the Bible and all the people who did horrible things, and yet when they repented, God forgave them and God used them. As long as you're alive, God has a purpose for your life and plans for your life, things he wants to do in you and through you.

So focus on the future now rather than on the past. In a way, it kind of dovetails with the apology languages because one person could say, I'm sorry, and the other person says, well, I don't think you gave an apology. This person is giving the apology to God but still doesn't feel that. And I think you're exactly right. When you trust in his forgiveness in your life and you claim that, you know, you've renounced the stuff that you've done, you claim that in your life and you say, I'm clothed with the righteousness of Christ.

You know, you go down Ephesians, the passages. Then that can change your mindset and can really set you free. And that's a great answer to that, Gary. I want to give the phone number if anything we've talked about here today causes you to say, I wonder what Dr. Chapman would say about this in my life. It might even be grammar, 866-424-GARY. That's the number for our listener line. Leave your message, 1-866-424-GARY. And if you go to FiveLoveLanguages.com, you'll see the book that was written by Dr. Jennifer Thomas and Dr. Chapman, The Five Apology Languages, The Secret to Healthy Relationships. Again, just go to FiveLoveLanguages.com. And next week, how do you rebuild your life after you lose someone you love? Don't miss an important conversation about breathing well in one week. Before we go, let me thank our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Todd, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman as a production of Moody Radio in Chicago, in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-15 11:24:15 / 2023-05-15 11:41:51 / 18

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