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Dear Gary | September Edition

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
September 24, 2022 1:00 am

Dear Gary | September Edition

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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September 24, 2022 1:00 am

Dr. Gary Chapman is known around the world for The 5 Love Languages®. But he’s not afraid to tackle your real-life struggles. On this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, questions about marriage difficulties, family conflict, and more. You might hear an answer to something you’re going through. Don’t miss the questions and answers on the September edition of Dear Gary.

Featured resource: Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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My whole life, I've never felt loved by my father. What exactly is a healthy marriage? Everything was pretty good, the dating years, and then after we got married, things changed.

I need some more help. Be the man she wants me to be. Get ready for some challenging questions about marriage, the single life, and the love languages. Coming up today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . This is our September edition of Dear Gary. And remember, if you'd like to call and ask a question for a future broadcast, today's a great day to do that. Call us at 1-866-424-GARY.

1-866-424-GARY. And maybe you'll hear an answer to your relational conundrum on a future broadcast. Featured resource today is a book by Dr. Chapman that he wrote along with Dr. Shannon Worden, Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Became Parents. You can find out more about it at moodybooks.org. Gary, I think this is a book that could really help young couples who are planning to have children or who already have children in the home.

Do you agree? I do, Chris. I wish I had had this book before we had children. So I'm reflecting, and I wrote it with a co-author who has three children still at home because I wanted to kind of zero in on someone who still had children there to work with me on this. And so we're just trying to share things that we wish we had known before we had children. So I think if a person is thinking about or maybe already pregnant, expecting a child, good time to read this book. Or if you have young children still at home because I'm giving practical ideas of things that I learned the hard way, that I could have learned beforehand if I had simply had someone or something that could have brought these things to my attention. Again, if you want to find out more Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Became Parents, go to moodybooks.org. All right, let's begin the conversation today with a son who has a struggle with his dad. Can the love languages help?

Hi, Jerry. My whole life I've never felt loved by my father. He is very critical and he is very sparse in the positive affirmations that he uses. He knows that my love language is words of affirmation, but he just doesn't use them. More recently, I've been trying to connect with him. I read your book and I asked my father what his love language is and he wouldn't tell me. Then I asked him to take your quiz and tell me his results and he wouldn't. I'm trying to, you know, feel loved by my dad and I want him to feel loved by me. He just is not cooperating and I don't know what to do.

Thank you. Well, you know, Chris, first of all, this raises emotions of sadness in my heart because every son deserves to have a father who loves them in a meaningful way. This father may, in his own mind, love this son, but obviously he's not expressing it in a way that's meaningful to this son. I would suggest this, and that is an approach that's a little different, and that is ask your dad some questions about his life growing up. Things like, Dad, what was it like growing up on the farm or growing up in a factory or, you know, whatever his background is? And in conversations like that, what did your father do?

You know, you're asking him, what did your father do as a vocation? Asking about his father and those kind of things. He may be reluctant to answer these things because maybe there's things in his past with his father that he's kind of buried and doesn't want to talk about. But I think to ask him questions about his history, not just about his father's relationship with him, but what life was like.

What was it like in middle school for you or in high school for you? The more he will talk about those things and sense that you really want to know and learn from his experiences in the past, often that kind of approach will begin to open up his heart so that he will be thinking and going back and reliving some things in his past life. And the fact that you're interested in knowing those things, it may make an emotional tie with him that maybe is not there right now. There's reasons why a father does not respond positively when a son asks him, you know, would you be willing to take this quiz?

Sometimes, I mean, there's different things. You know, sometimes a father will say, in his mind, he'll say, I don't want to go to the quiz, you know. So I wouldn't write it off just because he won't take the quiz. But if you have any clue as to what his love language might be, I would definitely speak it. You don't have to have warm feelings toward him in order to speak love because love begins with an attitude. I'd like to enrich my dad's life. I also would say, in spite of the fact that he's very critical of you, I would look for some positive things in his life which you can affirm.

And perhaps you're already doing this. But, you know, letting him know how much you appreciate the fact that he has supported the family through the years, if he has. Or if he helped you in high school or college. Or anything else that you see him doing that you really appreciate that. So what you're doing is giving him words of affirmation that may or may not be his primary love language.

But, listen, everybody likes to hear positive words. And to say also to him, Dad, is there anything I can do for you that might make your life easier? And he may come up with an idea. And if he does, then to the best of your ability, I'd do it.

That question, what can I do to make your life easier? If his love language is acts of service, he will respond to that. And when you do those things, he will begin to sense, man, my son's got a, I don't know what happened to him. He's got a new twist here. He's offering to do things for me.

So I would take some of those approaches and just kind of see what happens. When I heard that question, I thought, you know, the son is in pain with his father. But it felt like the father was in some kind of pain too. That he was pushing his son away and there was something back there that kind of has him trapped and not able to express love. And so if you see your dad as kind of, you know, a wounded animal, and we don't know this, I've just taken it from the question. If you see your dad as wounded, then you may have a little more empathy for him and in moving toward him that would allow some of that. You know, you to be open to anything that he has to say might turn the spigot on as they say where I come from, Gary.

Yeah. I think that's true, Chris. And as you said, we don't know anything about his father's background. But often, when a father is critical of his son, his father was also critical of him. And maybe growing up, he said, I'll never do that.

But it was so ingrained in him that he's following the model of his father. But I think what we've talked about, trying to have conversations with him and look for ways that you can enrich his life, those are the places I think to start. Our program is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman and this is our Dear Gary broadcast for September. We'd love to hear your question for Dr. Chapman. Call today and leave your message. The number is 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. Call 1-866-424-GARY. Our featured resource is the book by Dr. Chapman and Dr. Shannon Worden, Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Became Parents.

You can find out more at moodybooks.org. We had a caller, Gary, who asked to remain anonymous, so you're not going to hear her voice. I've transcribed the question and that's a good reminder. If you have a sensitive question and you don't want people to hear your voice, call, leave your question. Make sure you tell us, you know, don't transcribe this for us, but we'll transcribe it. I'll ask it.

And the number again is 1-866-424-GARY. The question is this. I'm a single woman in my 40s. I have a guy in my life who's interested in me romantically. We've been out several times, but I don't have romantic feelings for him. He's a stable, church-going Christian with a good job, and we definitely share similar values and belief systems. Given that people fall out of love in about 18 months, I wonder if it's worth it to move ahead with the relationship with him, with the intent to marry, even if I don't have romantic feelings, knowing that those ultimately go away anyway. I noticed he's a good man, and I know my chances of finding someone who I could fall in love with is becoming increasingly slim at this point. I honestly don't want to grow old alone. I would love to hear your thoughts about entering a relationship with the intent to marry, even in the absence of romantic feelings. What do you say? First of all, I think it's a very insightful question, and I think there are individuals who have asked that question along the way.

I don't know that we've had it on our program here, but I certainly have had that question along the way. I'm glad that she has read enough about romantic love to know that the in-love experience, the euphoric feelings, do have an average lifespan of around two years, and we do come down off that high. Marriage cannot be based on those romantic feelings.

There has to be more than that. And the kind of things that she's talking about here are the kind of things that really ultimately are far more important when she's saying we have common commonalities and our belief system and similar values and all that sort of thing. Now, I'm not saying she should marry him just because they have those commonalities.

I do think this. The more time she spends with him, dating him, and processing life with him, maybe even doing some things that he enjoys doing. I don't know if he's into car races or whatever. Go with him to those things.

Imagine what it would be like to be married to him in that context. You're sitting there with him, something you're not interested in, maybe. Or maybe you're in the symphony or interested in the symphony.

He's not. But he's willing to go with you and see how he responds to the symphony. Because we tend to be different after we get married than we are before we get married. So I think doing some things like that together and discussing some things maybe where you don't agree on. You have some commonalities, but there's likely a number of things that you would disagree on.

And see how well you process conflicts together and whether he's open to your ideas or whether he's always right about whatever the position is or whatever the argument is. But I'm not in a position to say yea or nay as to what you should do. I'm just saying I wouldn't necessarily write it off, the possibility of marriage, simply because you don't have those euphoric feelings. But I certainly would discuss the love language concept and discover each other's love language. Because ultimately, this is the kind of love that's going to have a positive impact on a marital relationship. So maybe you didn't have those romantic feelings beforehand. But if he knows your love language and he's speaking it on a regular basis, and you know his love language and you're speaking it on a regular basis, you do feel emotionally connected. You do begin to feel they care about me.

They would be there for me, whatever happens. And it's that kind of love really that's going to carry you through in a good marriage. That's why in my book, Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married, I say I wish I'd known that romantic love has two stages.

One is the euphoric stage, and most couples do have that before they get married. But the second stage is far more important, and that is love as an attitude. I'm in this relationship to enrich your life, to help you. I want to express love to you in a meaningful way.

I want to do whatever I can to help you. He has that attitude. You have that attitude. And in a dating relationship, you're exhibiting that. It seems to me that the time will come when you will know in your heart whether this should lead to marriage or not. So the lack of tingles at this point is not a reason to run away from the relationship, or say no to the relationship.

The tingles might come later on, deeper tingles than just the surface ones, right? Yeah, I think it's time to go deeper, not necessarily just to write it off, because you don't have romantic feelings. And maybe you've never had romantic feelings.

I don't know. Or maybe you've dated in the past and had romantic feelings in the past and don't have them here. Or maybe there are certain things about him that kind of turn you off emotionally.

And that would be a red flag waving. If there are certain things about him, you think, I just don't know if I want to live with somebody that does that or talks like that. So I would look for those things that in your mind would appear to be difficult if he's going to be like that the rest of his life.

And those are the kind of things that I think that would lead you to the place where you say, no, I don't think this should lead to marriage. Again, if you want to respond to what Gary just said, 866-424-GARY, we'd love to hear your perspective on that question or maybe your experience as well. 866-424-GARY. Here's our next caller. What is a healthy marriage?

Hi, Dr. Chapman. I was listening to you. You were talking about removing walls between the husband and wife or relationships in general. But husband and wife here, it was all well and good.

It was interesting stuff. But I was wondering, I was thinking when you were saying that, when you were talking about that, that it was mostly taken for granted that we're dealing with two reasonably healthy people to start with. And then towards the end, you mentioned that this is the sort of thing that has to happen in a healthy marriage. I wonder, could you expand a little bit on what exactly is a healthy marriage or conversely what is not? I'm thinking someone that has very strong narcissistic tendencies would not be included in a healthy relationship and how to recognize that or how to handle that. I would appreciate something on that.

Thank you. Yeah, it's a good question. I've written some books that deal with that topic. It's hard to bring it down and be concise about it, but I do think I would say this. In a healthy marriage, there will be an attitude of service between the husband and wife. That is, this is Ephesians 5, husband, love your wife like Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. In a healthy marriage, the husband will have that attitude.

The wife will submit to her husband, serve her husband. So it's a mutual attitude of service in a healthy marriage. He's doing everything he can to enrich her life.

She's doing everything she can to enrich his life. So there's an attitude of service. I think there will also be intimacy in a healthy marriage. And by that, I'm not talking just about the physical part of the marriage. I think there will be intellectual intimacy. They will share freely their ideas, their desires, their thoughts. There will be emotional intimacy. They'll share their emotions, not just talk about what happened today, but how I felt today. They will have social intimacy.

They will enjoy doing things together outside the house. Again, there will be, yes, physical intimacy, but there will also be spiritual intimacy. We'll be sharing our journey with God, with each other. I'm talking about a healthy marriage now. Also, I think we will be meeting each other's need for love.

We will be speaking each other's love language so that that deep need that all of us have to feel loved will be met in the relationship. And then along with that, I think, yes, there will be apologies, which is where the conversation started. There will be apologies when we realize we have hurt them in some way. And all of us will. None of us are perfect.

But we will apologize, and we will also forgive each other. I think those are some of the signs of a healthy family, and all of us aspire to have that kind of family. So that's why I think reading books and discussing them with each other is often a positive road toward building those kinds of things into a marital relationship. I wrote a little book during the pandemic that was called Five Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage When You're Stuck at Home Together.

And they work whether you're stuck at home together or not. But you might want to look at that book. And if you want more information, just go to moodybooks.org. Or again, if you have a question for Gary in the future, Dear Gary Broadcast, 866-424-GARY. You mentioned apology. Let's turn to that, go a little deeper with that. Here's a question about an effective, sincere apology.

Hey, Gary. I'm calling you today because I'm listening to your audiobook on saying I'm sorry, and I just want to say that I've been trying to be sincere and remorseful and trying to reconcile with my wife for the hurt that I might have caused her when we got mad, and I'm trying to do all the things that you say in your thing, but I don't feel like anything is helping me, and I would like to just know if there is a point when I should quit trying to ask for forgiveness and just, you know, move on. But I just feel like I need some more help to help me be the man she wants me to be, and I just know that your program might have some way that might be able to help me try to get back on track with my wife. I could use your advice.

Thank you. Yeah, well, I can feel the hurt in the heart of this caller. When there has been failures in the past, I'm talking now about rather significant failures where the spouse has been deeply hurt, and then the person has acknowledged that they're sorry and they've apologized, but then a similar thing happens again and then again, and I've seen this many, many times in the counseling office. The person offends them, hurts them over and over again each time they apologize. It becomes difficult for that person to forgive them because in their mind they're asking, how could they be sincere in their apology if they don't change their behavior?

And I don't know that that's true in this case, but I do know that this is a very common scenario. And so I would say if your spouse has said, for example, you keep on saying, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, that's not an apology. I can't forgive you because you don't make any effort to change.

If they're saying negative things like that to you, I think it's probably wise not to continue repeating the same kind of thing you've said along the way, but to start focusing on changing your behavior. And whatever has hurt them in the past, let them share it with you. You know, honey, I've been thinking about us and I know that I've hurt you many times, and I realize that you probably don't even love me anymore and maybe don't even want to be with me anymore, but I want to try to understand your hurt. So can you just go back and share with me the things that come to your mind where I failed you in the past and they still hurt you? Because I really, really, really would love to have a good relationship with you.

And obviously, I don't have. So expressing that kind of interest in her hurt, and I know she's told you many times in the past, but listen to it again and try to identify. Put yourself in her shoes and when she tells you some event that happened in the past, you say your tears come to your eyes and you say, you know, it's hard to believe that I did that.

I can see how that hurts you deeply. And she tells you another one and you identify with it. You're trying to look at her heart and her mind and what she's been through in the past with you, and you're almost crying as she shares these things with you. That would be a good starting place, I think, is just trying to identify with her pain because sometimes we feel like, well, you need to get over that. You know, you're saying to her, you need to get over that. You know, Christians forgive each other, and so we condemn them because they won't forgive us and won't go forward with the relationship.

So I think that would be a starting place. Obviously, the book you're reading is a good book to be reading because it talks about, you know, what a sincere apology looks like, and it's different for different people. Just as people have a love language, they also have an apology language.

You're getting some good information on that. But remember, you can't make your spouse forgive you. You can only acknowledge your failures and apologize in a way that is sincere, the best way you know how, and you have to leave forgiveness up to them.

Forgiveness is a choice, but sometimes people feel like that forgiveness is a feeling, and they're so hurt that they just cannot say, I forgive you because in their mind, it's too deep. The hurt is too deep. I can't just overlook all of this.

I can't just let it go. And that's why your behavior in the present and the future is so important. If they see a change in you, a change in your attitude, a change in your behavior toward them, that's the most powerful thing you can do after you've listened to them empathetically and identified with their pain. Making changes, positive changes, is certainly a way to influence them in a positive way.

We can't change them, but we can influence them by our positive behavior. The number one way that I've gone wrong with this is to get defensive. You know, honey, would you tell me what it is that I've hurt you? And then she starts into one thing and says, well, that never happened that way.

You still holding on to that? You know, why can't you move on from that? You know, those types of things rather than like you say, no, just hear what is still there. Sit with that and it's going to be uncomfortable to sit with, you know, the words.

Even if the perspective is off track, you know, I don't remember it happening that way. Don't be defensive. Just listen to it and then as you said, boy, I can see, I can see. And don't manufacture tears either. You can't manufacture those, but you can listen, right? Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. And if you listen, really trying to put yourself in their shoes and see the world through their eyes, you may have tears just naturally. Yes.

Because you're beginning to feel the pain that they felt through the years. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. And if you enjoy our program, please visit our website, fivelovelanguages.com. There you'll find out more about Dr. Chapman, his New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . You can also hear a podcast of the program and take a helpful assessment of your love language. Just go to fivelovelanguages.com. Our featured resource today is Dr. Chapman's book written with Dr. Shannon Worden. It's titled Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Became Parents.

You can find out more about that and other great books at moodybooks.org. All right, here is a call I don't think we've ever received on Building Relationships, Gary. I want to hear how you will tackle this marriage situation. Hi, Gary. I'm calling. I had a car wreck. So we received the insurance money back.

It was totaled out. The car was in my husband's name. So when the insurance money come back, he says it's his money. So he tries to put it in a separate account and want me to sign something saying that I cannot have no access to this money. Now, is he right for that or wrong? Thank you. Well, you know, Chris, some research indicates that disagreement over money is the number one disagreement that couples have.

I don't know if that's really true, but some research indicates that. Well, here, obviously, this is an issue. Now, what I'm understanding is she was driving a car and she had a car wreck. The insurance paid for the car, but the car was in his name.

So he says it's his money and he's putting it in a separate account and not giving any of it to her. My first question is, what are you going to do about driving? Do you have another car? Because typically, if a car is totaled in an accident, you're going to buy another car to replace that car.

So that would be my first question. It's not something money that he should spend or she should spend. It's money that should be used to purchase another vehicle. Now, maybe you already have another car. Maybe you're going to start each driving the same car.

Well, that's going to be a different lifestyle if you've had two cars in the past. So this sort of disagreement probably is simply surfacing some problems that are already there in this relationship regarding money or maybe regarding other things. See, I have no idea of knowing why he's taken this approach. It could be that she's a spender and he's afraid that if he puts it in a joint account, she'll spend a lot of the money on something before he has a chance to find another car.

See, I don't know what his motivation is. His motivation may be positive that he wants to purchase another car and they've got the money to do it, and he doesn't want to put it in the regular checking account, the joint account, because she'll spend it and then I won't have the money to buy the car. So I think I would try to find out why he is making that decision. But I understand if the relationship is fractured, you know, you don't really have a good relationship, you're just kind of living in the same house, then I can understand why she, the caller, is concerned about this because it feels like he's taken all that money and what's he going to do with it and she doesn't know. But I think even a halfway healthy marriage, she could say, honey, that's interesting, what do you plan to do with the money? Are you going to try to get another car out of it or what are your thoughts about it? Because I don't know, maybe she knows, maybe she doesn't know, but certainly the question would be why, what are you going to do with the money?

It's okay if he puts it in another account so that it'll be there in order to purchase another car. So I think a good open discussion, but that's probably the problem in my guess. They don't have the kind of relationship where they can have a good, open, honest conversation. So does that point to a deeper thing? When you counsel young couples and talk with them about where does the money go, if both of us work, does it go into one mutual pool in a joint account, do you have separate accounts?

What do you counsel there? Yeah, I don't think there's an either or situation, Chris. The reality is when you get married, all the money that each of us have is our money. It's not your money and my money, it's our money now. That also is true of the debts that you may have when you get married. Many people get married, they have a school debt. If he has a $30,000 school debt and she has a $10,000 school debt, now they have a $40,000 school debt.

So that's the philosophy. In marriage, we become one, and so what we possess or don't possess, it's all one now. How you handle it is another issue. There are many couples who put it in a common checking account, one checking account, and then the bills are paid out of that, and then they each can spend money out of that for whatever. Some couples choose to put it in separate accounts, and certain bills are paid out of the account she has and certain are paid out of the account he has, but they still have the sense it's our money. It's just that this is the way we're handling our money. Now, in a situation where one of them is an excessive spender, my suggestion is that you set a limit on how much either one of you will buy without consulting the other. Let's say that neither one of us will buy anything that costs more than $100 without consulting the other, or you can set whatever amount you want to, because it's our money, and if we have no limits, then one of them who has a spending personality will spend two times or three times as much as the other one will spend, and it will likely become a problem in the marriage. But if you've got an agreement that we won't spend anything over that amount until we discuss it and agree on it, you're far more likely to not end up fighting over that issue. And it might be helpful in this situation to have a third party there to help you have some healthy communication. I know you're all for that, a counselor, a pastor, somebody that can be an intermediary.

So that's our car wreck question today. Next up for Dr. Gary Chapman, and again, if you go to FiveLovedLanguages.com, you can find out more about the love language concept, and you could even hear our program again right there, FiveLovedLanguages.com. You know your spouse's love language, and that spouse says, Don't use that with me. What's a husband to do? Here's our next caller.

Hi, Gary. I guess I have a question in regards to "The 5 Love Languages" . How do you overcome a situation where your spouse likes the physical aspects of the love languages, yet she has told you that she is done with you and she does not want to have any physical contact with you? That is at the moment of where I'm at and just trying to figure that aspect out, trying to reconnect with my wife.

Thank you. When a spouse comes to the place where they say, I can't take this anymore, it's not a matter of your speaking their love language. It's other issues that have brought that person to that place. So what I'm understanding is her love language, he understands his physical touch, but now she's saying, Don't touch me.

I don't want to be touched. It has nothing to do really with the love language. It has to do with the fractured relationship that exists between the two of you. The road to reconciliation is, first of all, letting her share with you the things that have fractured the relationship from her side. Maybe you already know some of these because she likely has already spouted them out, sometimes maybe even in anger, but trying to understand why she feels the way she does and why she wants to have nothing to do with you and don't touch me.

That's where the problem lies. And if the two of you can't get to the root of that, if she's open, I would certainly, on your part, be willing to go to counseling with her and let someone outside, a third party, hear both of you and your perspectives and help you hear each other so that you can identify with her hurt and her pain. She can identify with your frustration. And with the counselor's help, you can begin to take steps to tear down the walls that are already there and are hurting so that you might get to the place where she's willing to receive an expression of love from you. Because right now, my guess is she's so hurt, she doesn't want any expression of love, even if it's in her love language, she doesn't want that from you because she already feels like, for whatever reason, that she's at an emotional distance from you. That would be my guess as to what the dynamics are in this situation.

And my suggestion would be listening to her, let her tell you why she feels the way she feels, and if she's at all open, be willing to go for counseling with her. Much like the apology question that we had a little earlier, the empathy that can come through in that situation, right? Yeah, exactly. Because he likely doesn't understand why she wouldn't respond to her love language. He's trying to speak her love language. But it has nothing to do with the love language.

It has to do with what has happened in the past that has brought her to the place where she doesn't want to receive love from him. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Our featured resource today is Dr. Chapman's book written with Dr. Shannon Worden. It's titled Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Became Parents. Find out more by going to moodybooks.org.

That's moodybooks.org. And again, if you have a question for Gary in a future Dear Gary broadcast, you can call 1-866-424-GARY. Leave your question.

Be as brief as you can. Turn down the radio in the background, too. That helps. 866-424-GARY. Next up is an adult with a question about some inquisitive teenagers. Here's our next caller.

Hi, Gary. I am leading a group of about six teenage girls from 14 to 18. They're interested in "The 5 Love Languages" . Is there one of your books that's more appropriate than another to be teaching teenagers about this? I know you have the one on teens for parents, but is that appropriate for this age group?

I would love to have an answer back. Thank you so much. I do have a book directly written to teenagers. It's called A Teen's Guide to "The 5 Love Languages" . The one you mentioned is for parents. "The 5 Love Languages" of Teenagers is for parents, helping them learn how to effectively love their teenager. But this one is written to the teenager, A Teen's Guide to "The 5 Love Languages" . And if you're working with these gals in a small study group, that would be an excellent book for you to take them through that book and discuss that with them. And you can find out more about that at moodybooks.org.

Just go to moodybooks.org. All right, Gary, I don't know if you're ready for another financial question here, but this is after a big change in life, how do I make this work? Here's our next caller.

Hi, Gary. I recently became widowed back in the end of October. And as a result of my husband's death now, I don't have $700 in our monthly budget. We had, I wouldn't say a lot of credit card debt, about $3,000 in credit card debt. But the payments on that $3,000 is difficult to meet with the decreased income.

Because I'm paying these cards off, if I close the cards, does that negatively impact my credit score if I do it voluntarily? Thank you for your feedback on this, and thank you for your ministry. Bye-bye. I think any time that we lose a spouse to death, it is a huge transition in life. Because there have been two of us, we perhaps had two incomes, or we had two debts, whatever. It's a difficult thing financially, as well as emotionally, of course, to process the loss that is there. What I hear this caller saying is she has less money now than she coming in on a regular basis than she did before he died.

They're both old enough, and they're both on Social Security, so now she's lost his part of that income. But there's a $3,000 credit card debt. First of all, I would say you do have the responsibility to pay that debt. And the sooner you can pay it, the better, because the interest rate on credit card debt is super, super high. I would do everything you can to pay that off as soon as possible.

Once you get the debt paid off, if you want to close down that credit card account, that's not going to affect your credit rating at all, because you're just closing down a credit card account, but there's no balance in it. So the first thing is to focus on paying off the debt that is there as quickly as you can. And then if you want to close out the credit card and not use it, or maybe you have another credit card, I don't know. Always best to pay cash if you can. It's okay to use credit cards.

They can help you keep records. But to get credit on credit cards, so you're only paying so much per month until you get it paid off, you're paying a pretty high percentage rate, anywhere from 18 to 20%, and maybe even higher now. It's a debt that really needs to be paid off as quickly as you can.

And then seek to live on the money that you have coming in every month. So just in summary, pay off the credit card debt as soon as you can. You can charge things on a credit card, but pay them off when they come due. Don't borrow money on a credit card, because your interest rate will be extremely high. And we have another program on Moody Radio, MoneyWise Live, that gives a lot of help. And if you go to moodyradio.org, you can find out more about MoneyWise Live. But really agree with you, Gary.

Pay that off as fast as you can. And there's almost this weight that you can hear in her voice. But those are real concerns. Now we have one more real concern before we conclude today. Our final call is a marital struggle. Something has changed, and this wife doesn't know what it is.

Hi, Gary. And I'm calling in regards to my marriage. We've been married 10 years, and it seemed like the communication and everything was pretty good, the dating years. And then after we got married, things changed.

So I'm trying to figure out exactly what do I need to do. I know that I pray quite a bit about this, and I know God is going to do things his way in his timeframe, not mine. But I'm just reaching out for someone that can maybe speak to me about this and give me some things that I might can do differently.

Thank you. I hear the caller saying that before they got married, their communication was really positive and open, and they discussed things with each other. But that after marriage, all of that seemed to change, and there was not as much openness to communicate about things. And communication is really the lifeline of a marriage. We can't have an intimate marriage without communication. And communication involves two things, talking and listening.

Why should that be so hard? But it is hard because we also have emotions, and we often disagree with some idea that our spouse has or some action that they have taken. And so consequently, we either argue with each other, which makes it more difficult to communicate because no one likes an argument. So we either argue, and then our communication kind of slacks off, or we continue to talk, but it's more of a one-sided talk. The person is, we're going to do it their way, or it's not going to be at all. Well, if that's the case, it's hard to live with that over the long haul. What I would suggest to this lady is that she have an open, honest conversation with her husband.

And say, honey, I don't know how you feel about our marriage, but I just feel like surely we can make it better than it is. And I'd just like to know what your struggles are. What do you struggle with in my behavior or how I respond to you? What's going on inside of you?

How do you evaluate where we are? Because I think both of us would like to have a growing marriage. And you open yourself up to that and let him, chances are he will share, and then you listen to him. Don't come back and contradict what he says. Don't say, well, that's not true.

You're taking that wrongly. Just listen to him and listen long. You can ask questions to let him clarify what he's saying. And eventually you can say to him, you know, I think I hear what you're saying. And I can see how that makes sense.

And I can see how that has affected us in a negative way. Now, let me share my side. And since you've listened to him and affirmed his thoughts and his feelings, then chances are he'll listen to you. You can share your side. Here's what I was thinking when I did that.

Now, maybe this is wrong thinking, but here's what I was thinking. And because you've listened to him, he's more likely to listen to you and see where you're coming from. And the question is, how can we solve this? How can we make it better? And you can always make a marriage better, but it's easier if you talk about how can we make it better. And then the two of you begin working on that plan. And one way to begin working on it is simply take a book on marriage, any book that you want to choose on marriage from a Christian perspective, and read a chapter a week. Each of you read the chapter, and then you ask each other, what can we learn from this chapter that would make our marriage better?

It's just an organized way to get ideas in front of you. And if you've never done that, I would suggest that you, after you've had this conversation, that you might agree to read a book like that and discuss it. And there are certainly a lot of those good books that you have written, and one of them is our featured resource. If you're a young parent or you have young children, if you go to moodybooks.org, you'll see things I wish I'd known before we became parents.

Again, you can go to moodybooks.org. If you have a question for Dr. Chapman, call us, 1-866-424-GARY. We'd love to hear from you.

866-424-GARY. And coming up next week, navigating the complexities of cross-cultural adoption. Author and adoptive mom Brittany Salmon joins us. A big thank you to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Backing. 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 / 2023-01-09 07:49:49 / 2023-01-09 08:07:18 / 17

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