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Dear Gary | May Edition

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
May 28, 2022 1:00 am

Dear Gary | May Edition

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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May 28, 2022 1:00 am

Dr. Gary Chapman is known for The 5 Love Languages. But he’s not afraid to tackle the real-life struggles you’re facing. In this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, questions from you about marriage difficulties, family conflict, and more. You might hear an answer to something you’re going through—join the conversation on the May edition of Dear Gary.

Featured resource: Things I Wish I Known Before We Got Married

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What's your family mystery?

You know, that unresolved issue nobody dares bring up? I decided to talk about mine and let you eavesdrop on the journey. My name is Brian Dolan, and in a brand new podcast called The Grandfather Effect, I dust off the skeletons in my family's closet to determine why my grandpa stopped speaking to us. On the journey, I ended up discovering something else entirely.

Listen now on the Moody Radio mobile app, or wherever you get your podcasts. It was just earlier this year that I told my husband that I wanted a divorce. He's good to me, he does everything, there is just no intimacy at all, and it just, it breaks my heart. He does have narcissistic personality tendencies.

Once he starts becoming frustrated, it seems to spiral out of control. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, it's our May Dear Gary broadcast as we feature your questions for this counselor, author, pastor, and host of the program. That's right, Dr. Gary Chapman is in the house and ready for your questions and comments. And coming up, we're going to hear a phone call that every married person with children needs to hear.

When I first heard it, it tore my heart out. Today's featured resource is a book by Dr. Chapman titled Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married. You can find it at

Click on the Moody Radio icon there and you'll see it, Gary, you and Carolyn have been married now for how many years? 60 years. Carolyn says she doesn't know how that's possible because she's only 49.

Yeah, 60 years. That's a retroactive anniversary then. Okay, so the book, Things I Wish I'd Known, I've always thought that it's for those couples who are engaged or maybe they're newlyweds and they're dealing with things.

That's not true, is it? Actually, I think the concepts I share in that book are not only for married couples of any age or couples who are engaged to each other, but even for single adults. In fact, when I speak on college campuses, I say this, the time to prepare for marriage is not after you get engaged. The time to prepare for marriage is now. And I say to them, you know, maybe you're not even dating, but if you ever think that someday you'll get married, read this book now.

It'll help you. If you start dating, read it again. You get serious, read it again.

You really get serious. The two of you work through it together. And I would say the same thing really applies to couples who have been married for 10, 15 years, but things aren't really going that well. Go back and just ask yourself, what are things I wish I'd known? It's never too late to learn the kind of things that I talk about in this book.

And if you want more information, just go to the website You'll find Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married, our featured resource today. Before we get to that call I mentioned just a moment ago what every married couple with children needs to hear. We did not have time for this email last month and I want to read it to you here today and see what you have to say.

Dear Dr. Chapman, I've been listening to you on many different venues for a long time and I have a few of your books. My problem is I've made some bad choices and decisions in my life and I'm now unsure what to do. The most recent is taking my husband of 21 years back after a six month separation. He is a hoarder. His hoarding is what led me to separate as it became very unhealthy for me and ultimately ruined our marriage. I lost my family, this is killing me the most, and it aches my heart terribly which leaves me depressed each day. Through many Christian counselors, which include pastors, we are told now by a Christian counselor that we need to separate again or even go through a divorce at the current time. She doesn't believe that my husband is willing or is trying enough for us to live together any longer.

This is affecting my health as we are now living in a brother-sister relationship. So many losses have left me feeling hopeless. Not only the loss of my home, but the loss of my daughter, granddaughters, and mother have really made me depressed. I've been told that I need to stay in this marriage for God, but I'm running out of human effort.

Gary, what do you say? I'm deeply empathetic with this wife. When you live in a situation that adversely affects you emotionally, physically, spiritually, and you're a Christian and you know that God ordained marriage and God's desire is that we are married for a lifetime, it's hard to know what to do. You know, what am I supposed to do?

Stay here and die an inch at a time? Or is there something more constructive that I can do? And we've said for a long time, you can't change your spouse. You can't make your spouse change. And so sometimes separation can be a positive step. And the attitude of that separation is, I love you too much to sit here and do nothing, while your behavior destroys my life and hurts our children or perhaps other people.

It needs to be seen as a loving act, not as an act of desertion. And sometimes in that separated time, things can get better, but not simply with the passing of time. If they get counseling and you get counseling, both of you can come to understand yourself better and how you're responding to what's going on and hopefully come to understand the other person better and begin to make some changes. Because time alone is not going to solve the problem.

It's what you do with that time. So my suggestion is, if this wife is now back in the same house, which it sounds like she is, I would first of all encourage her to get personal counseling. And perhaps she is, because she's saying that a counselor has advised her to separate again. But if she separates, she needs to continue the counseling. And if her husband is serious about the relationship, he will get counseling. Again, she can't make him do that. But I think the question is about her children and the extended family and why she is now separated from them.

And I don't know the dynamics of that as to why they are kind of stepping back away from her. Which leaves her really isolated, which is not a good place to be. So I think if she has friends who are not counselors, but just friends that she can share with, and this is the value of being in a church, in a small group in a church where you have people that care about you, she needs someone to walk with her through this, so that it's not simply left up to her own emotions at the time.

And if she doesn't have friends, then I would say again, reach out to a Christian counselor, a pastor, someone who can hear her pain and help her think about what might be the most positive thing she can do at this point. The phrase, I've been told, I need to stay in this marriage for God, almost is a, I'm going to twist your arm and you've got to stay right there. Almost in a manipulative way that can I not deal with some of the feelings that I have. It makes me feel more depressed when I hear God is frowning at me for even thinking about separating or separation or divorce.

Yeah. And I think that's, Chris, where the dogmatism of you stay in a marriage no matter what's happening is not a loving thing to do. If a person has destructive behavior, the loving thing is to try to do something to influence them in a positive way. And sometimes a separation that's done with that attitude and that spirit of wanting to help them can be a positive step and a positive influence. In fact, I've seen many times when a wife or a husband takes that kind of loving step, the other person does reach out for help and they realize I'm about to lose something here that's really important to me. But I do think it's important that we take that step as an act of love and not simply as an act of, you know, I've just got to get out of this situation for my own benefit. Though that certainly can also be a positive thing if there's physical abuse or just constant verbal abuse that's emotionally tearing the person down. Because when you move into depression, for example, you don't have much energy now to try to do anything positive.

Far better to take a step like that before you get into depression so that you and God can pray and work together on how to influence that person in a loving and positive way. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Thanks for joining us for our Dear Gary broadcast for May. Our featured resource is Dr. Chapman's book, Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married. Go to and click the moody radio icon.

That's All right. It's short, it's from the heart, and there is so much going on in this caller's voice. Hi, Mr. Gary. So I'm 14 years old and my parents are, their relationship is really strained and I don't want to know if you could please tell me what can I do to help them and help them with their marriage. So I understand you get a lot of questions, but I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me please.

Thank you, Mr. Gary, and have a wonderful day. So if listening to that, some of the words went by, here's basically what she's asking. I'm 14 and my parents' relationship is really strained. What can I do to help them in their marriage?

What would you say to a 14-year-old asking that question? Well, first of all, I have a lot of empathy for the caller. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the caller, a child whose parents are struggling and it's obvious to her that they're struggling and deeply concerned about them.

It's wonderful that she has a concern for them. I think the first thing I would say to her is pray. I mean, listen, ask God to give you wisdom on how you as a child might have a positive impact on their lives. And I think if you pray that prayer, God will bring some ideas to your mind. Now, in terms of what are those kinds of things, I think one is sometimes just to have an honest conversation with your parents. Say in your own words, you know, Mom and Dad, I don't know how you all feel about things, but I'm really hurt and troubled when I see you all arguing and saying hateful things to each other.

And surely you all can find a way to work through your problems. Have you considered going for counseling? Listen, God sometimes speaks through the mouth of children to parents.

So an honest conversation like that with both of your parents might just be the thing that God uses to stimulate them to reach out and try to get help. The other thing I would say is realize that you're not the problem. You know, the child is not the problem. The problem is between the adults. And so don't try to take it upon yourself and say, well, if I were a better child, my parents wouldn't be having these problems.

No, they have the problems because of decisions they're making and the attitudes they're choosing toward each other. So don't feel guilty about the problems they're having. I think the other thing would be perhaps to reach out to, if you know some of their friends and have an opportunity to share with them. You know, Mom and Dad is having struggles. Do you think there's anything you could do to help them? Or maybe even to say, if you're in a church, to say to one of the pastors of the church, you know, my Mom and Dad are having real struggles in their marriage. Do you think you could help them? At least what you're doing there is trying to reach out and bring other adults or some other adult into the situation that might reach out to talk to the Mom or the Dad depending on their relationship and encourage them to get help.

Those are the things that come to my mind, Chris, as I hear the voice of that teenager. Here's the thing that really troubles me. There are literally thousands of children who live in homes where Mom and Dad are struggling and are saying harsh things and bitter things to each other, yelling and screaming and all that sort of thing.

And the children are hiding, as it were, under the blankets at night, finding it hard to believe what's going on. If parents realized the impact of their treatment of each other, the impact that has on their children, I would think they would want to wake up and say, God, help us. Help us find an answer to our problems.

Teach us how to process our anger and our hurt with each other and then reach out for help. If anything would motivate a parent, to me it would be the cry of a child reaching out and saying, I'm hurt because of what I'm hearing, the way you treat each other. And maybe God will use a phone call from a 14-year-old in a tough situation to reach into the heart of another married couple and listening today, maybe you have a 13-year-old or a 10-year-old and you'd never thought about what is my child, how are they feeling about the struggles, the relational problems that we're having, and start to deal with them rather than to shove them under the rug or it'll get better or with time or the kids aren't being that hurt, they're resilient, you know, all those things, you hear those things. The thing that really strikes me, Gary, is the feeling of responsibility of a 14-year-old that I need to do something in order to fix my parents' relationship. And you and I both know, you've said it's not her fault, this is not your fault, but she cares enough and she cares so much about her parents and the situation that she's in that it's just a cry for help, isn't it?

Yeah, absolutely, Chris. And I do hope that listeners who have children and are struggling in their marriage will hear the voice of this 14-year-old because this could well be the voice of your child trying to speak to you, please get help, please get help. And here's the reality, Chris, help is available. In our country, help is available.

There are Christian counselors available anywhere in this country and there are pastors who have an open heart and an open door who will help couples who are willing to reach out for help. And if you need some help, we have a website called There are simple ways to strengthen your relationship that you can find right there at Speaking of that concept, how about a positive call about "The 5 Love Languages" ?

Here we go. We just wanted to let you guys know that "The 5 Love Languages" have helped us so very much. It was just earlier this year that I told my husband that I wanted a divorce.

We are having a rough time in our relationship. Thank you. So Gary, calling from the car, husband and wife together, I think they were when they made that call, just to tell you, thank you, it's turned things around for us. What do you think of that? Well, Chris, it's always encouraging when people share the impact that the concept of "The 5 Love Languages" has had on their marriage. And I have people on a regular basis say to me, you know, we were next door to divorce, which she mentioned in the call, and someone gave us your book and we read and discovered, oh, that's what's happened. We're missing each other emotionally because we're not speaking each other's love language. And then they take the quiz and discover each other's primary love language and they start trying it. They start speaking it. And the love tank, what I call the love tank, begins to fill up. And now they're moving in a positive direction.

And a couple of weeks or months down the road and they're thinking, wow, this has made a huge change. And so I understand when people say this saved our marriage, because it really does. You know, our deepest emotional need, at least one of those deepest emotional needs, is the need to feel loved. And if you're married, the person you would most like to love you is your spouse. And if you speak each other's language on a regular basis, you meet that need and you both feel loved by each other. Then everything else in life is much easier to process because you feel loved. You feel secure. You feel like they're here for me. They want to help me. So I think that's why the book has made such a radical difference in so many people's lives. And I would say to any couple who's struggling, if you haven't read "The 5 Love Languages" and taken the quiz and learned each other's language and then asked God to give you the ability to speak their language, I don't know any one thing that would have a greater positive impact on your marriage than learning to speak each other's language.

And you can do that. You can take the free assessment online there,, or find out more about that if this is the first time you're hearing about it. Now here's the truth, Gary. The enemy of our souls loves to take something that's good and twist it for his own ends, you know, to kill, steal, destroy. Can the love languages be used in a nefarious way? That's what our next caller wants to know.

Hi, Gary. I wanted to call and ask about abusive relationships and how manipulative abusers tend to use your material after they know somebody's love language and they tend to use it against their targets. I was just wondering if you have resources that actually discuss this and if you have a way to shed light on this, expose this, and ultimately to condemn the practice of this. Okay. Thank you.

Take care. I do think that there are people who read "The 5 Love Languages" and see the concept and they use it as a way of demanding that their spouse speak their love language. You know we read that book, you know we took that quiz, you know what my love language is, and you're not speaking my love language. And so they're condemning the other person because they're not speaking their language. We are by nature self-centered and unless we deal with our selfishness, that is the whole world revolves around me and your goal in this life is to make me happy, unless we get over that and allow God to pour his love into our hearts, that we're here to love the other person.

We're here to meet their needs. Anytime someone's demanding that their spouse speak their love language, they're moving in the wrong direction. You can't make somebody love you and there's no value in condemning them because they're not speaking your language. The question we need to all ask is, first of all, do I know my spouse's love language?

And secondly, am I speaking it on a regular basis? That's the most powerful thing you can do for that person on an emotional level. And they're far more likely to reciprocate and begin speaking your language if you're speaking their language because love stimulates love. You know, the Bible says even about God, we love God because he first loved us. We simply respond to the love of God and the same principle is true in a marriage. So if you're not being loved and you don't feel your spouse is speaking your language, you focus on loving them and speaking their love language. Even though they're not meeting your need, you're going to meet their need. That's the most powerful thing you can do to influence them because love stimulates love. But when you condemn them and put them down because they're not speaking your love language, you're not helping the situation.

You're simply pushing them away with condemnation rather than drawing them to yourself by communicating love in a meaningful way. That is a great question to ask and I thank you for calling. If you have a question or a response to something we're talking about here today or a situation in your family or a positive thing that's come about because you read "The 5 Love Languages" and you want to tell Dr. Chapman, call us at 866-424-GARY.

Leave your message. We can't call you back. But you might hear your question or comment here on the program on a future Dear Gary broadcast. 1-866-424-GARY. A long-term marriage is in trouble because of intimacy issues. Here's our next call.

Hi Gary. I'm calling regarding I've been married 30 years and in the last five to seven years does not want to have anything to do with any intimacy and I just want to leave and walk away but I don't feel like I biblically can because he wants me there. He wants me to stay. He's good to me. He does everything. There is just no intimacy at all and it just breaks my heart and I love him.

Have you got any suggestions? Thank you. I assume that the caller is talking about sexual intimacy. We sometimes use that word in a broad sense but many times it's on a more specific sense and I assume that's what this caller is talking about. I would say the first question is to find out why because typically if there's not an interest in sexual intimacy in a relationship, there is a reason why. I would encourage her first of all to initiate a conversation which she's simply asking why. There are many reasons why he could be having an affair with someone else. He could be involved in pornography and that's his way of releasing his sexual energy. There could be a physical problem which a medical doctor could discover that and perhaps help with that.

But the question is to find out why because you can't deal with the problem if you don't know what the problem is. I would encourage her first of all to start with a conversation with him about why this is true rather than just rocking on day after day and not even talking about it. The second would be then for her to approach a medical doctor or a counselor and let them explore with her what the possibilities might be that are behind his behavior. If they're a part of a church, I would challenge her to talk with a pastor or some Christian leader in the church about having a conversation with the two of you together to discuss this issue because sometimes a person will hear an outsider when they won't hear their spouse.

But there is a reason behind the behavior and chances are things will not change until you discover what the reason is and then the person is willing to deal with that. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Find simple ways to strengthen relationships at We have some great resources for you, a way to assess your own love language. You can download the Love Nudge app plus you can hear today's broadcast there. Go to Now here's a question from a dad in a blended family.

Hi, Gary. I have a nine-year-old autistic stepson who has been discovering his voice a little bit more. As he develops and matures, he's become very receptive to a lot of the teachings that him and his mother work toward. But one of the things I'm struggling with is something that was sparked by your anger book. And you talk about when you consume two swallows of Pepsi and screw the cap on and shake it up is the emotions you're dealing with when you suppress a child's inability to express emotion. My struggle is with the autism spectrum, we are dealing with the inability to stay focused.

And so we end up trying to redirect him back to where it is. And that can cause frustration in itself. And once he starts becoming frustrated, it seems to spiral out of control. So my question is, as somebody that has special needs, where would you draw the line or how would you approach that situation? Well, I think anyone who has a special needs child, whether it's autism or some other special need, struggles with how do we relate to this child in a positive way, whether it's dealing with anger or some other behaviors that we feel like are inappropriate.

So I'm really glad for this call. I don't think there's any one answer to what do we do in terms of the anger situation. I do think, however, that anger is sometimes tied to whether or not that child feels loved. Because an autistic child and other special needs children have an emotional need to feel loved. And if they don't feel loved, they're far more likely to experience anger over various things in the relationship. So I would first of all encourage you to think in terms of how can we effectively meet this child's need for love. I wrote a book with Jolene Filo called Sharing Love Abundantly in Special Needs Families or with Special Needs Children.

And I think you would find that book to be extremely helpful because how do you identify their primary love language and then how do you speak that language in a meaningful way. Because if that child feels loved, they're going to be less inclined to be angry. So I think that's one approach that could be very, very productive for you. I think another approach would be to realize that all children are going to experience anger. It's a part of human nature. And so we have to demonstrate for them, first of all, how to handle anger by our own handling of anger. If we get upset with them and lash out with a harsh voice to them when they're angry, we're demonstrating for them this is the way you process anger and they're going to lash out at us. So I think, first of all, examine how we're handling our own anger. And then secondly, let's together, husband and wife, make an effort to teach the child how to express anger in a positive way.

And that can be difficult. But what we're looking for here is an answer that will help the child have a positive way to process their anger. And if we can help them do that, then anger is not the problem.

It's the expression of anger. It's the mismanaged anger that causes the problem. So those two things, I think, the love language part and then also modeling for them a positive way to respond to anger. I love the heart of the stepdad, too, who's aware of what's going on. And it sounds to me, and I don't know the situation any more than you do, Gary, but it sounds to me he's not just looking at this as a problem to solve.

This is a relationship that is give and take. And he and his wife are probably learning a lot that they may not have wanted to learn about their own anger and other things that their son, his stepson, and her biological son are teaching them things about themselves and how to deal with this. And I'm glad that you mentioned that book, Sharing Love Abundantly in Special Needs Families. The subtitle is "The 5 Love Languages" for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities. You can find it at Just go to Gary, here's a loving family member who wants to help someone but just doesn't know how.

Hi, Gary. I'm calling on behalf of a family member. I've tried to help her, but I really don't know the best advice and I could use your help. So she is in, she's married. Her husband only works like two days a week. He has been unfaithful to her in the past, but she felt that God laid it on her heart to stay with him. She's growing very weary because she finds it hard to honor her husband when he's not leading the house spiritually or financially. She has told him how she felt, but he's really hard to talk to.

I think it hurt his pride whenever she opened up about the financial situation and needing help to support their family. She hasn't seen any action steps thus far, but she's grown very weary and discouraged and she worries that God won't hear her prayers because she has become somewhat bitter towards him. She really needs some advice, some encouragement, Godly counsel. I've encouraged her to go to a counselor, but any feedback you could have for her would be so helpful.

Thank you. Well, I think any listener who hears that story would have a desire to help that wife. Often, when we're in that situation, we're so hurt and we do allow bitterness to develop in our heart toward that person. And when we allow bitterness, it later becomes hatred. That's why the Bible condemns both bitterness and hatred. The Bible does not condemn anger.

Anger is the result of being hurt, of being treated unfairly, and so anger is a legitimate emotion. But if we hold anger inside, it turns to bitterness, it turns to hatred, and then we end up doing destructive things toward the other person. Or sometimes just abandoning, just jumping out of the relationship because we feel like we can't do anything positive.

I would say this. There is a place for tough love, but tough love should always follow tender love. And when a person is in a relationship and has a lot of hurt and bitter feelings inside and holding anger inside, it is not natural to think in terms of loving them.

We focus on our own hurt and our own anger and our own bitterness. But love is a powerful force of influencing people. So I would say, for example, and I've done this experiment with many people, if this spouse would learn the primary love language of the husband, in this case, and ask God, let me be your agent for meeting their need for love by speaking their love language for six months, do a six-month experiment, loving them unconditionally, speaking their love language unconditionally for six months, if there's no change in their behavior when you begin to make requests of them after you've been loving them and there's no change in their behavior, then is the time for tough love in which you say to them, I've been giving a lot of thought to us, and I feel like that over the last six months I have loved you in the best possible way I know. I hope you feel my love. But I have to say to you, I don't sense that you have any concern about me and my need for love. So if you're willing to go for counseling, I'm willing to go with you. But if you're not, then I'm going to have to take a step out of love and move out because I realize my loving you is not helping you.

My speaking your love language is not helping you. I'm not abandoning you, but I am going to move out and I'm challenging you if you want our marriage to work. Here's the name of a counselor.

Here's the phone number. If you will see them and when you and the counselor feel like that you're in a position for marriage counseling, I'll be willing to go with you to marriage counseling and we can have the kind of marriage we both want to have. You see, when that kind of tough love follows tender love, many times that person wakes up and they realize, I'm about to lose something that's important to me and they're motivated to reach out and get help. Whereas if you don't have the six months of tender love and you finally, through all those six months, you've criticized them and you've talked about them and you've said things to them and then you talk about leaving and they're thinking, good riddance. I'm glad you're leaving. I can't take you anymore anyway. So you see, tough love doesn't have a positive impact if it's not following a time in which you have loved them unconditionally.

So I would challenge you to try that experiment and see what happens. Thanks for listening to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. It's our Dear Gary broadcast for May featuring your calls. If you have a question you want Dr. Chapman to address, call and leave a message on our listener line. We can't call you back, but if you'll leave your question, we'll try to address it here on the program. Just call us at 1-866-424-GARY. Our featured resource is the book by Dr. Chapman titled Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married. Find out more at We've had several programs in the last few months where we dealt with questions about narcissists. And here are a couple of calls in this last segment that deal with that topic.

Hi Gary. I'm calling from Cleveland, Ohio, and I'm in a very desperate situation with my sister, who fraudulently took title to our house and is trying to now evict me now that she's living with her boyfriend. She is what therapists tell me is a malignant narcissist, which I don't want her to be. But anyway, I'm praying for her salvation, and I need your help.

I need your guidance. Thank you. Well, Chris, of course we don't know the details of this particular action that this sister has taken to get title to their house. And now trying to force her out of her own house.

How that could happen, I don't know. But obviously it's a huge bone of contention between the two of them at this point. A lot has to do with the kind of relationship they had before all of this happened. If it was a bad relationship, a distant relationship, then this is simply one more step, you know, in the process. But if there was a good relationship, and this has happened, they've got something to go back to. So that if she appeals to that sister and say, honey, you know, we had such a good relationship, I think you know that I loved you and you love me.

Let's not allow this to destroy our relationship. You see, if they have something to go back to, there's a motivation to that. But if there hasn't been a good relationship for years, then the present is simply a continuation of the past. Much more difficult to deal with. It's hard to believe that a person would actually do that, gain somehow the title to the house that your sister owns, and then force her out of the house so you can live there with your boyfriend. That in a sense is even more than being narcissistic.

It's being totally, totally, totally irrational in my opinion. But what can she do? If her sister's taken legal action, then I would say she needs to, first of all, have an attorney examine how all this happened and see if there's any way that can be undone.

I don't know how it happened in the first place. But she needs legal advice, first of all. Because if there is a way that legally she can regain the ownership of her own home, then that certainly needs to be done. The other thing I would say is, I would encourage her, the sister who's concerned, to talk with a Christian counselor. Because obviously she's deeply, deeply troubled about this. And she needs someone who will have a listening ear and be able to help her think about what the next steps might be in this process.

Yes. And she's mentioned, I'm praying for salvation, having prayer warriors walk with you through this and not be isolated. I can see her kind of isolating herself because it's such an extreme situation. Well, I don't want to burden other people with this. No, don't do that.

Stay in relationship with other people and bring them alongside you. But I was wondering about that, I was going to ask you about the legal side of things. She can't feel bad about standing up legally for her own rights.

That this is somehow going to push her sister away when her sister is the one that sounds like, at least from this side, has been the instigator in this. So I think that was really good counsel. And I wonder what you'll say to the next caller. Our final call is from a mom who's concerned about an upcoming wedding. Hi, Gary.

Thank you for taking my call. I have a son who's in his mid-30s and he's going to get married for the second time this fall. He does have some narcissistic personality tendencies and I love him very much and I love his right to be. I'm concerned for her. I don't want to just dump all my concerns on her, but I want to know some positive ways I can help her know about my son's issues without making him look like a bad guy.

Because he's a great young man. He does not know the Lord and she does not either. Just trying to find some good tips. I am considering offering to pay for some premarital counseling for them if they're willing to go. Thank you for your input.

Bye-bye. Well, I appreciate the concern of this mother. I think it's a legitimate concern and I think the idea which she expressed of offering to pay for premarital counseling for them is also an excellent idea. They may or may not accept that offer.

I certainly wish that they would accept that offer and it's certainly worth making. The other thing I would say would be to put in their hands books that might be helpful. One of the books that I wrote is called Things I Wish I Had Known Before We Got Married. It's a book that's designed for people who are thinking about getting married and will help them look at 12 different things that I wish I had known before I got married. If they work through that book, chances are some of these issues may well surface in the process of working through the chapters and discussing their answers to the questions at the end of each chapter. It certainly will not hurt if you simply give them a book with that title because it would be an expression of love on your part. Things I Wish I Had Known Before We Got Married.

But those two things, the one you already mentioned and the one I'm mentioning now, to me would be two positive steps would at least be exposing them to two things that have the potential of helping them deal with this particular problem. Is there a place, ever a place, for a mom or a dad who has a concern about their own offspring, you know, getting married, is there a place to go to that, in this case, the daughter-in-law before they're married and say anything? Do you keep that to yourself?

What do you do with that? Well, that's a hard question, Chris. A lot has to do with the relationship that the mother, in this case, has with what would be her daughter-in-law. If they've spent a lot of time together, which I encourage in the book that I mentioned, they spend time with each other's family members. If she has that kind of relationship, then yeah, I think there is a place to say, you know, honey, I just want to share a concern with you. If, however, she has no relationship or little relationship with the person that her son's about to marry, then that would likely not be accepted. She would feel, well, you shouldn't be telling me that kind of stuff, you know. So that all depends on what kind of relationship they have. The other thing that you do is you can build a wedge then when your son hears that mom thinks I'm a narcissist, you know, then the relationship can be fractured down the road.

You won't see your grandkids, that kind of thing. So yeah, you have to put a toe in that water gently, don't you? I think so.

I think so, Chris. That's why I think it's often better just to offer premarital counseling or to put a book in their hands as you think would be helpful for them. You know, any couple that's getting married really needs to spend time with each other's parents and get to know because we're marrying into a family. You know, I wish I had known that. We're marrying into a family.

And when you get to know each other better, then you can have open conversations about many things that will not come across as being condemning. That is our featured resource by Dr. Chapman, Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married. If you go to, you can find out more.

Again, And if you'd like to call and ask a question to Dr. Chapman, maybe respond to something you've heard here today. 1-866-424-GARY is our number. Again, 1-866-424-GARY. And next week, two unlikely friends join us. Don't miss Walker Hayes and Craig Cooper in one week. A big thank you to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Todd. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in Chicago, in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-12 09:47:01 / 2023-04-12 10:03:35 / 17

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