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Dear Gary | December

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
December 31, 2022 1:00 am

Dear Gary | December

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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December 31, 2022 1:00 am

The questions are in, your messages have been received, and it’s time for answers on another Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Each month the New York Timesbestselling author of The 5 Love Languages takes questions and comments from his listener line. This week, the final broadcast of 2022. Hear some great questions about marriage struggles, the love languages and more. Don’t miss the December Dear Gary broadcast on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Featured resource: Extraordinary Grace: How the Unlikely Lineage of Jesus Reveals God’s Amazing Love

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Hi, everyone. My name is Emma, and I serve as a producer here at Moody Radio. I want to take a quick second to tell you about our newest podcast, 52 Weeks in the Word. This podcast hosted by Trillia Newbell will walk you through the Bible cover to cover in 52 weeks. Each week, Trillia sits down with a guest for a 10-minute conversation about the weekly reading, Bible reading habits, and spiritual disciplines.

Some of these guests include our very own Chris Brooks, Jen Wilkin, Nancy Guthrie, and many more. If you've ever wanted to read the Bible in a year, now's your chance. Listen to the trailer, follow and subscribe on the Moody Radio app or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Episode one drops on January 1st. If we were to marry before I turned 60, I would lose my first husband's social security. Our relationship, ever since the beginning, has been very volatile and up and down. I really do not know how to love him effectively right now. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, our final broadcast of 2022 as we take your calls and questions for this trusted author and pastor. And remember, if you want to ask Dr. Chapman a question for a future broadcast, our number is 1-866-424-GARY.

That's 1-866-424-4279. Today as we are on the cusp of a brand new year and all that's ahead of us, it is time to take stock of our relationships. Not a bad thing to do here at the end of the year.

Gary, any thoughts about how to do that? Happy New Year, by the way. Oh, Happy New Year to you, Chris. Well, you know, if it's a marriage, I would say, why don't you ask your spouse, can you give me one or two things that you think would make me a better husband or a better wife this year than I was last year? I bet they'd tell you. And you can also ask yourself, you know, what is one or two things that I'd really like to do differently as a husband or as a wife? Of course, you could apply this in any way. As a parent, you know, you could ask that question or you could ask your children if they're old enough.

As we enter a new year, what is one thing that you wish that you think would make me a better dad this year? And if they're teenagers, they'll probably tell you you've got something to work on. But it's a great idea to assess where we are in all of our relationships.

Yeah. Well, and interestingly enough, what might come out of that is a peek into their love language. If you ask that question, what might I do to your spouse? And your spouse says, I think we ought to take more walks together. You know, there's a little quality time or I need some help around the house here. There's acts of service. So if you listen closely, you'll get some clues, won't you?

You will indeed, Chris. And even if it doesn't match with their primary love language, it's still going to be an insight for you. This is something that would be meaningful to them.

Yeah. Our featured resource today, if you go to buildingrelationships.us, is the book Extraordinary Grace, How the Unlikely Lineage of Jesus Reveals God's Amazing Love. The book came out of a message that you gave a few years ago about the surprising truth of the tangled, gnarled family tree of Jesus. And it really, you know, you can read this around Christmas time, but really any time of the year, right?

Absolutely, Chris. We're actually giving that book this year at our church to all of our widows. We have a widow's luncheon and we're going to give that book to each of the widows. You know, it's just amazing when you think about in Matthew 1 that the ancestors, you know, of Jesus were in the line and they weren't stellar people.

You know, many of them were really not super people at all. And if God can use these people, God can use you, you know, that's one of the messages that comes out of that book. But yeah, I would certainly encourage folks to read that book. And during the Christmas season, of course, would have been a good time, but also anytime as we enter a new year, it's a good time to be reading that book. Extraordinary Grace is the title.

You'll find it at buildingrelationships.us. All right, I want to begin with a couple of questions that we didn't get to last month, and these were written or anonymous questions. They didn't want their voices heard. Here's the first. Hey, Gary, I'm calling because I'm having difficulties with my relationship. I unfortunately cheated on my fiancée and had been trying to make amends for a little over a year.

I read your book. It's given some hope, but everything I do doesn't work. I haven't figured out her love language. She's not receptive to letting me know because she's so hurt and resentful for what I did. Our relationship had issues in the past. We have two children together. What would you say to him? Well, Chris, that's a very difficult situation, and especially since he added we have two children together.

Children need a mom and a dad, and it's ideal if it can be their biological mom and their biological dad. This call demonstrates the tremendous pain of being sexually unfaithful. If you're in a committed relationship, whether it's marriage or whether it's a deep commitment, which apparently they have, I don't know anything that hurts more deeply than to be sexually unfaithful to that relationship. I would say, first of all, he needs to be empathetic with where she is. He says it's been a little over a year. My reading into that is she should get over this by now. Maybe he doesn't feel that way, but certainly he wants her to get beyond this. I would say be patient with her, and also, if she wants to talk about it and share again her hurt and her pain, let her talk. Don't preach to her. Don't tell her, now you should be over this by now.

We shouldn't have been talking about this now. Don't preach to her. Listen to her.

Try to empathize with her pain and how deeply this is. Eventually, the two of you have to wrestle with, is this going to break our relationship? Is this going to be end of our relationship?

What are the implications of that? Together, if you're Christians, pray that God would give you wisdom on where to go in your relationship from this point. If you didn't have children together, it might be easier.

She might just say, I'm hurt too deeply. I don't want to be in this relationship anymore. On the other hand, couples should not get married just because they have children.

It's a huge need of the child to have a mom and a dad that are biological to them. It's not an easy answer to this, but I would say pray that God will give you wisdom, and then openly discuss this. Let her share her pain and hurt whenever she wants to. You may actually want to talk with a Christian counselor or pastor and let them think with you about where the relationship is going from here. There's no easy answer to this, but it fully demonstrates the tremendous destructive event when one is sexually unfaithful to someone to whom they're committed. We say a lot here that your question, your call, may be used in somebody else's life. This situation may not be exactly what you're going through, but there was something in there.

Maybe you feel like he did. Everything I'm trying doesn't work. How do I get this to work? You hear the struggle there. If you have a question, you have a comment, we'd love to hear from you. 866-424-GARY is our number.

1-866-424-GARY. The next question is also written from a female. She says, I'm a teenager. I'm having trouble communicating with my parents.

I'm wondering if Dr. Chapman has any advice. Things have gotten pretty bad. What would you say to her? Well, Chris, without knowing what the problem is that brings this about, it's difficult to give a specific answer.

But I would say this. Perhaps she can say to her parents, maybe one at a time or maybe together, whatever the opportunity is. Mom, what can I do that would make our relationship better? Because it may be that the reason she can't talk with her parents and having trouble talking and communicating with them is that there's something in their heart, in their mind that makes it difficult for them to listen to her. And there may be something in her heart, in her mind that makes it difficult for her to communicate with them.

But I think if she takes that stance of asking questions rather than just trying to start a conversation, what could I do or stop doing that would make our relationship better? And chances are that question will bring out something from her mother that would make the relationship better. If she does that with both her mom and her dad, I think it may be a breakthrough. And that's certainly where I would suggest she start.

It also might bring up some regret of mom or dad about the way that she's feeling and their inability to reach into her heart or get to a heart level. Everything's kind of on the surface. I think you're right.

I think that could lead to something really good. Yeah. And I would also suggest whatever they answer, don't argue with them. Don't say, well, that's not true. Don't argue with what they say.

But you're asking the question to find out what's going on in their heart, in their mind, that would make the relationship better. So when they give it to you, you listen to it. If you want to ask a clarifying question, you know, to say, now, is this what you're saying? Just to make sure you understand. That's fine. But don't argue with them.

Just accept it and then thank them. Thank you for sharing that. And I really want to work on that. And you might find this will be the first step in really restoring the relationship. Our program is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. And this is our Dear Gary broadcast for December, our last program of 2022.

Happy New Year from all of us at Building Relationships and Moody Radio. If you have a relationship question, call our number 1-866-424-GARY. This is not a counseling line.

We can't call you back. But if you'll keep your question as brief as possible, we'll try to address it here on the program. So call today and leave your message at 1-866-424-GARY. Our featured resource is Extraordinary Grace, How the Unlikely Lineage of Jesus Reveals God's Amazing Love.

You can find out more at the website, buildingrelationships.us. All right, Gary, in this segment, we're going to do something a little different. I want to play several responses to a call we received just after Thanksgiving. We could spend the whole program on the people who called responding to a woman who had been living with her boyfriend for several years. And he said, I want to take a year off from us. And she wanted to know if speaking his love language, acts of service, would change his mind, or if she should keep serving him by going to his place, his apartment, and cleaning for him. That's kind of a quick flyover of her question. And at some point, we gave the phone number and said, if you have a question or response, give us a call. So we got some people responding to that, and here's our first response.

Hi, Gary. I just want to echo what you were saying. You know, unfortunately, when we do things not God's way, we can get hurt.

Things can always go the way that we want. And I just want to encourage her that if this relationship doesn't work out, that God has someone for her. Continue to pray. Continue to pray that you're preparing you for your future husband and know that everything happens for a reason. And I just encourage you to be in God's word and follow his way of courtship and dating and marriage because it's to protect you and guard your heart. And for someone who's been there and I just recently celebrated our three year anniversary.

I dated my husband for seven years prior to getting married and we didn't move in together until we were married. And I just want to say that we've really seen the blessings of that and just want to encourage you that it is possible. We'll be praying for you as well. Thank you.

Bye. Well, I really appreciate this caller and I think she's given good advice. You know, the first thing we ought to do in any situation is to reach out to God and pray, God, give me wisdom and be open to the possibility. In this case, where there's been a broken relationship or at least a fractured relationship, be open to the possibility. This is not the person that you should marry. And if they're asking for a year off from a dating relationship, then give them that year off. And I wouldn't suggest necessarily that you run over there and clean his house. Let him experience what it's like to have a year off the relationship. And if at the end of that year, you're further apart than you are now, well, that's pretty good evidence that you really should not marry the person.

So I think she gave good advice, but looking to God and asking him for wisdom, extremely important. Here's the second call that came in responding to our caller from a month ago. That's so common today. And it's a terrible lifestyle, especially for the woman. Where I live, there's all kinds of blended families.

I don't know if you'd call them blended. People will move in together, have children, and start raising the children together without the benefit of marriage. And if the boyfriend just decides he's had enough, he just ups and leaves and he is not obligated to that woman at all. I mean, he's probably going to be obligated with the child support, hopefully, and hopefully will pay it.

But that's it. That's the end of his obligation. The woman is left to pick up the pieces and try to rebuild her life as best she can. And the woman is always on the losing end.

Well, obviously the children too. But without the benefit of marriage, the woman always loses. And I think that women that agree to do that, to move in with the man and just live together for as long as, you know, she can possibly sustain it. She's making herself out to be a fool. I mean, just flat out, if a woman does this, if she lives with a man without the benefit of marriage, let me tell you, you are a fool. You need to wise up. It's marriage or no relationship. That's my opinion.

I am 61, so I'm kind of an old fashioned girl. And I believe that's what the Lord wants us to live together with marriage, not without. Thank you, sir.

Bye bye. Well, this caller is expressing the reality that to order your life in a way that God is not ordained is never good for you. You know, God's plan is a woman and a man be married before they have sex together. And obviously before they would live together in that kind of relationship. The Bible warns over and over again about fornication, which is having sexual intercourse before marriage.

And so whenever we think we can improve on God's plan and reason in our mind, well, we're just going to give this a chance and see how we get along. And then maybe if we get along, we'll get married. You can't simulate marriage. You don't, living together is not going to guarantee that you're going to be able to have a great marriage. As a matter of fact, the divorce rate among people who live together before they get married is much higher than the divorce rate of people who refrain from sexual intercourse, you know, until they get married. So we can't improve on God's plan.

There's no question about that. And what the original caller was calling in about was expressing the frustration that she's going through. And what this caller is sharing is she's observed this so much in her own community. And she's sharing the frustration and warning people and challenging people not to let the world's plan today replace God's plan when it comes to relationships. You can tell even by your language that how deeply this is, what a nerve this is for her.

And as I recall, your answer to the caller a month ago, you were really trying to be kind and considerate to her in the situation that she was in and really speak to her. But the more I've thought about it, the more I thought about the man in the equation that if you allow him, there's no accountability for him and his actions in that situation. As this caller brings it up, it's like you can move in or move out.

You can have children or not have children just kind of leave. There's no real accountability in that. And even if you're married, you know, that same thing can happen. But at least there is a covenant that's made. There's something legal that binds you together that you have to deal with that kind of protects the woman. And if there are children, protects them from the consequence of his actions, you agree with that?

Yeah, absolutely, Chris. You know, the idea if we live together, we can then decide whether we should get married or not. But as I said earlier, you can't simulate marriage. And so to break God's basic plan and say, I'm going to do it my way, always leads to difficulty in that relationship and other relationships. So, again, so many in our culture, of course, are not familiar with the scriptures. They don't know what the scriptures say.

They simply are going by what they see on TV and what they see online and are leaning in that direction of living together before they get married. But it's not a good idea. It's really interesting then to see. And we had so many more calls than we're going to be airing today. I just wanted to take this one segment because I think it's an important issue. Any time we get a bunch of calls from people about one person's question to you, I sit up and take notice.

Here's another facet, another answer to what we heard a month ago. As a woman, I'm fit to speak to a woman that has been married twice and have lived with a young man. You give up your value by living and agreeing to those terms from the very beginning. You, my mother used to have a saying that you've given the cow before you would even purchase it, so why buy the milk?

But you give up your value from the very beginning, from the beginning up, in my opinion. And on a spiritual, God-fearing woman level, you have to know yourself worse. If I'm worth living with you, I'm worth you marrying me and waiting yourself. I wish her well.

My prayers are with her and with him. Well, I think this caller is obviously expressing empathy for both of them, but she's also declaring the reality that you give up your rights. You give up your value when you agree to live together as a married couple when you're not, in fact, married.

And I think many of the callers that called in are reiterating the reality that we can't improve on God's plan. God's plan is that marriage comes before we have sexual relationships. I like how she put it. If I'm worth moving in with, then I'm worth marrying.

So you have to value yourself and you have to place that in. But a lot of times, you know, I love him or you could flip it around. I love her. I want her in my life.

I want him in my life. So this just makes sense. Let me play our final response here and get you to respond to this.

Here we go. I'm just calling to say I agree 100% with you, even though they're not married, it is no longer her responsibility if he does decide to leave. And I want to empathize with her because I was in the same position for nine years.

And for nine years, I had blinders on. And this woman needs to know that, you know, that she is loved and she does deserve more. We end up in a position in our life where we feel like we have to stay just because we feel this kind of toxicity is what we deserve in some kind of way and it's not true. So if he decides to go, then this is definitely not her responsibility. And honestly, not being married is actually the blessing in disguise here, because she does have that opportunity to leave.

Ma'am, if you're hearing me, you do deserve a bit more. And you're not in the wrong. You know, you are doing the right thing and letting him go and you can be yourself and you can build up on yourself. I do think that there are many times people enter into this kind of relationship, a live-in relationship before marriage, because of the in-love feelings, which we know are temporary. But it feels so good and we maybe have had difficulty in Building Relationships. And this is the first person that's ever, we've ever been close enough that they would even ask us about moving in together. And so we make a serious mistake because of our own lack of valuing ourselves. And we say, well, maybe I'm never going to get married, but at least this person wants, they love me and they want to move in with me.

So let's just do this. So far better to wait until God brings a person into your life that not only loves you, but is willing to make a commitment to you. And genuine love, who has your interest in mind more than their interest in mind, always will want to do the right thing, not the thing that seems to be easy to do.

Yeah. But in the culture, it is just so, it strikes me again, it's just so normal, quote unquote, normal to move in together. So I had a friend, a person who came on the program that I do once, who said, just told his story and he and his wife were, his girlfriend were living together and she was a Christian, he wasn't. And so there were some people that got involved in his life and he decided, I think I'll start going to church. He heard the gospel, he became a Christian, but he's still living with his girlfriend. And his pastor said, look, this can't keep going on. Well, there's extenuating circumstances, there's finances involved, there's this, that, and the other thing. He said, look, you do what's right.

We got an extra room over here. You come in, I can't remember if it was a pastor or somebody else that offered this, you move into my house while we prepare for this whole thing. If you really do want to get married, you separate, you begin to live separately from her and then you come back together when the marriage happens. So do you agree with, do you have to do something that drastic in order to make things right, do you think? I certainly understand a pastor's response in that he's simply trying to implement what the Bible says, and that is don't live together, you know, until you get married.

And that's a way of doing it. One way of doing it is you move out and then let's just talk about marriage preparation and so forth. So that's a very common response on the part of pastors. I don't know that it's always required, you know, that they do that before they get married. A lot depends on the individual situation, you know, but I think premarital counseling to find out where they are, what the experience has been like, you know, and whether or not in fact they should get married, because many of those, far better to break up before you get married than to just marry because you were kind of forced to do it. It should be a choice that we make and giving time for God to work in their heart and let them come to see the reality of that. But yeah, I mean, that's certainly one approach and it can be helpful.

I don't necessarily think it's always the requirement that has to be done. It depends on the couple and what the experience has been like. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, New York Times bestselling author of "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find simple ways to strengthen your relationships at buildingrelationships.us. Plus find out about our featured resource, Dr. Chapman's book, Extraordinary Grace, How the Unlikely Lineage of Jesus Reveals God's Amazing Love.

Just go to buildingrelationships.us. Gary, this next question is financial, relational, and it deals with grief and struggle. And I can't wait to hear your perspective. Here we go. Hi, Gary.

I do have a question today. I was also listening to the broadcast on living together. And as a Christian, I don't feel comfortable living with someone, but there's a unique set of circumstances that I feel nobody ever addresses. And that's when you're widowed young. So I was widowed at 44 with my three children. Sadly, I am engaged to someone, but because of the way that the government sets up social security laws, if we were to marry before I turned 60, I would lose my first husband's social security. And because I was a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled my children, his social security is far bigger than my social security that I could never sustain myself on. Certainly, I don't want to live with someone. I want to be married to them.

But the way that our laws are set up is prohibitive from doing that. So it's interesting to me in a situation like that, what are we supposed to be doing? Anyway, I would love to hear your answer to that and would really appreciate it. I certainly pray about it and would appreciate what your thoughts are. Thanks.

Have a nice day. Well, Chris, to be honest, that is a very difficult situation financially. And I think our listeners understand what she's saying, that she is a young widow, 44 and with three children, and she's getting her husband's social security benefits. And if she marries someone else, she loses those. So obviously, financially, it puts her in dire straits, as it were. I would think if she has someone that she's already dating, this should be a huge discussion between the two of them. Because financially, he's going to have to be able to meet her needs financially. And for her to marry someone who's not able to do that, just because she might be in love with him, that has to be a part of the decision.

And I think her expressing that raises this question to young widows to give thought to. I wrote a book called Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married. And one of those things is I wish I'd known that we need to be honest about our financial situation with each other before we get married. Otherwise, we get married, and then the truth comes out of our financial situation and the person feels like, oh, man, you cheated me.

You didn't tell me everything. So that's why I would say if and when she has a serious dating relationship, and they begin to think about the possibility of marriage, they need to be totally open with each other. And they need definitely to get premarital counseling, in which this is one of the things that would be discussed in depth as to what this means financially. It doesn't mean that she cannot marry someone at the age of 44 or 45 at all. It should not keep her from marrying someone. But the financial reality of what this means for him, as well as for her, needs to be clearly discussed and clearly understood so that neither one of them are getting into something that later they're going to feel badly about because they didn't discuss it fully.

I recall a question that was similar to this a few years ago, but it was an older listener who was single and was dating another older person, and they were thinking about moving in together. And the relationship hadn't moved into the physical, but in order to make it financially, he was saying, or maybe it was a she, we've got to move in together because we can't make it financially without that. And as I recall, what you said was something about doing what's right will always trump everything, even the finances. Do you really believe that God is going to provide for you? And if that is true, then you've got to move toward that way rather than trying to figure out how can we do an end around, using the football term, how can we do an end around with this whole thing and still be able to make it? What do you think of that?

Yeah, no, I agree. I think we should not violate a basic biblical concept about marriage just for financial reasons. There are other ways to solve financial situations, and we need to explore what would it look like financially if we did get married? Okay, now, what can we do that would take care of that financial need? And are we willing to commit ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives in order to be with each other? So yeah, I think we have to be honest about the realities that we face financially in a situation like that. But we also must honor what God has said about marriage.

And to violate what God has said about marriage just because it's going to give us another $2,000 a month is a poor reason to violate God's basic principle. And that question may elicit some call, some question as a follow-up. And if you'd like to ask Dr. Gary Chapman a question, here's our number, 866-424-GARY. Leave a message on our listener line, and we'll try to get to it down the road here, 866-424-GARY. We tackle a lot of concerns on our Dear Gary broadcast on Building Relationships. One of the deepest hurts is a parent whose heart is broken over a prodigal. Here's our next caller.

Hi, Gary. My relational situation problem is not with my husband, but rather it's with a 42-year-old drug-addicted son. I've been trying to save him from himself since he's been 12 years old, and I've been unsuccessful. Now, in my senior years, my body literally shakes from the screaming encounters I have with him. He screams and he demonstrates strong disrespect towards me, and I really do not know how to love him effectively right now.

Could you please give me some advice? Thank you. Well, your heart has to go out, Chris, to a mother who is experiencing what she just described. And the fact is, there are thousands of mothers and fathers who are experiencing this kind of behavior from addicted adult children.

Let me say this first of all. We don't love them by continuing to try to have a relationship with them when they are abusing us every time we're together, which is kind of what I hear her saying. You know, there is such a thing as tough love, and tough love says, I love you too much to sit here and do nothing while you seek to destroy me and while you exhibit your addicted behavior. Therefore, and then you decide what you're going to do. I'm not going to allow you to come back in the house or whatever you decide, you know.

And I would urge you to do this with a counselor, someone who can walk with you through this tough love experience. Because many times a person who's addicted will not go for help as long as they are getting something from that parental relationship, whether it's financial help or whatever it is, a place to live or whatever. They're not going to change. They're not motivated to change because they're addicted. It's when they get to the bottom of the hill, where there's no place to turn, that they often reach out for help. So to say to that person, that son, we are willing to help you if you are willing to go to a program that deals with addiction. And if you are wanting to have help, and will reach out for help, then we would be willing to pay for you to do that.

But we're not going to continue to give you any funding, as long as you refuse to reach out for help. And whether it's funding or whether it's, you know, allowing them to back in the house, that's tough love. And tough love often has a more profound influence on them than tender love does. So those are my thoughts, Chris.

Thank you. You've written about this before, and I've heard others say that a lot of people who are addicted and you're trying to have a relationship with them, it's like you're having a relationship with the addiction. Lisa Turkers talks about this in one of her recent books about, it's almost like her counselor told her, it's like there's a pillow between you and the other person. And you're trying to communicate through that pillow. And you can't hear things, you know, the other person is not hearing your heart. And if they're screaming at you. So it's one of those situations where, you know, as I listen to her voice and the pain that's there, it's almost like, I sure hope this is bringing her and her husband together, because I don't know how you bear up under that alone.

Well, you're exactly right, Chris. This is where a husband and wife needs to be deeply empathetic with each other, share their hurt, share their pain, discuss, you know, what approach should we take? And as I said, reach out to a counselor as well, and let the counselor help them think through what is the most loving thing they can do at this point. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find out more about that at our website, buildingrelationships.us, as well as our featured resource, Extraordinary Grace, How the Unlikely Lineage of Jesus Reveals God's Amazing Love. Again, go to buildingrelationships.us. You know, Gary, we deal with a lot of spiritual mismatches in dating couples, those questions that have come in over the years, as well as those who are married.

That's part of what our next call is about. Hi, Gary. I am a leader in my church, and I helped found it about nine years ago. And my husband grew up in church.

I did not. And he was forced to go to church very often as a kid, and I think it burnt him out. And he basically associates church with, I guess, being forced to do something that perhaps he didn't really want to do. He does have a relationship with God in his own way, but the church part is tough for him. So I'm just wondering if you had any thoughts about a way that I could just work with him to grow spiritually together, so that perhaps he might not be so nervous or anxious about becoming a part of the church.

Thanks for any help you might be able to provide. Well, obviously, it's unfortunate that as an adult, a person will allow experiences of childhood to push them away from the church. But that does often happen.

You say that he is a Christian, and you do see some evidence of that. That being the case, two things come to my mind. One, though he may not want to go to church on Sunday, if there was a men's group in a church, or even out of a church for that matter, that met on a regular basis, he might well respond if he had the information on attending such a group and becoming a part of it. Because every man needs other men in his life.

We're not built to live in isolation. The church meets that need, typically. It's there for fellowship. It's there for believers to interact with each other. So a Thursday night Bible study or Saturday morning Bible study with a group part of a church or part of an inter-nomination group, just men that do that. I would try to find out if there's something like that available. You ask what you can do.

I would say this. If he would be willing and open, being a Christian, to having a daily devotional time with you, I would say get a devotional book. I have one based on the love language. It's called the One Year Love Language Minute Devotional. Just a one page devotional. And to say to him, would you be willing to just every day we'll find the right time, we'll just sit down and one of us will read this scripture verse and read the devotional and then read the prayer and then maybe the next night the other one can read it.

Would you be willing to do that with me? Again, if he is a true Christian, he may well respond to that. And particularly if he loves you, he would be more open to do something with you like that. And it is in that daily contact with a truth from scripture that over a period of time his heart begins to warm up. He's growing in his relationship with you and he's growing in his relationship with God. So if he would be open to that, that would be my suggestion as one of the things you can start with.

And then, as I said, you can begin to explore the possibility of a men's group that's not a Sunday church kind of thing, but designed for men who really want to grow in their relationship with God. Well, that's great advice. And Dr. Gary Chapman talks about the love languages here on the program. You know, anything that's true can be used for good or it can be used for something not so good. That's what our next caller wants to talk about.

Hi, Gary. I had a question about the love languages and the apology, forgiveness languages. If you've been in a relationship with someone and shared that with them and they come to use it against you, I'm wondering how to navigate that.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you so much. Bye-bye. Well, Chris, I'm not exactly sure what she means by they choose to use it against you. There are different ways in which people do that, and I don't know exactly what it would be in her case. I know one of the most common ones is people will read their love languages and they discover their love language, and then they kind of hit you over the head if it's a spouse relationship or close friendship. And they'll say, well, you know my love language, and if you really love me, you speak my love language. So they're demanding that they speak their love language.

And that's not the purpose of the book. The purpose of the book is how to express love meaningfully to the other person. And love stimulates love. So we speak their love language and it has a way of stimulating them to loving us, just like we love God because He first loved us. But I do think that there are people that use the love languages in that way, and they come across harsh and mean and demanding of the other person.

That should never happen. We don't demand people to love us. And that may be what she has in mind. Or she mentioned the apology languages, and maybe they're using that to say, well, if you really love me, you would apologize in this manner. Or if you really love me, you would forgive me because this is what God does. He forgives us.

Preaching to them, trying to make them forgive them for something that's happened. And again, we can't demand forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice.

We choose to pardon the person. We choose to remove the barrier so our relationship can go forward. But to demand of someone else that they love you on your timetable and in your manner is not love at all. It's selfishness. And to demand that a person forgive you, again, is selfishness. Both love and apology and forgiveness are choices that we make.

Now, to make the choice to love somebody in their love language, make the choice to apologize in a meaningful way, to make the choice to forgive someone who's apologizing is always the best choice to make. But we have to recognize it is a choice, and we can't demand that someone respond to us in that manner. Alright, Gary, our final question of 2022 is up next, and it's one that many are going through. Here's our final call today.

Hi, Gary. I was just listening to your broadcast, and it was about marriage and counseling and things. And I'm currently going through divorce separation.

I'm not 100% sure what's going on. It's just we're physically separated, and we're talking about divorce. Our relationship ever since the beginning has been very volatile and up and down, emotional roller coasters. And I've done a lot of research, and I was just wondering, I guess, what advice would you have if someone, whether it be life or husband or whatever, in this case, I think my wife is a narcissist, what advice would you give with that and how to move forward?

Thanks. Well, what I'm hearing him say is he's married. They're separated, physically separated at the moment and talking about divorce. I wrote a book called One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. I think if you could get and read that book, it would give you some ideas, far more than I could give you right here on the radio.

The other thing I would say is this. If your spouse is willing to go to counseling with you, then I would say that would be one of the most powerful things you can do. Because it gives each of you a chance to speak your heart, your mind, your struggle in the presence of someone else.

So it's not going to be an argument between the two of you. She's going to share her heart and her feelings, and you're going to share your heart and your feelings, and the counselor's going to try to help you hear each other and come to empathetically sense how the other person's feeling and thinking. So many, many marriages have been saved because they reached out for help, and that would be my suggestion. Now, you can't make her go to counseling, to be sure, but you can certainly find out of a good Christian counselor. You can ask if she's willing to go, and you could begin to do that. During the time of separation it is a time to reach out to try to find help, and sometimes you can find help when you are separated, whereas you're not fighting every day because you're physically apart from each other.

So I would say use this time in a positive way by reading books that speak to your issue, and also by reaching out for counseling. And if she won't go, he could go himself, just for his own heart. The other thing that he mentioned there was, and I'm not really sure what's happening, so the fracture is so deep that it's like, I don't know what's going on in her mind. And then he mentioned narcissism, and we talked a lot about that before.

Any thoughts along those lines? Well, Chris, let's face it. All of us are self-centered, and that often leads us to selfishness, whereas we view everything in terms of myself and what am I getting out of it, which is the heart of what narcissism is all about. It's not only self-centered, it's everything I do.

I'm always right, and everybody else is always wrong. And that's hard to deal with when a person consistently follows that attitude in life. But again, counseling is where that can often come out and come to the surface, and the person can come to understand, you know, that aspect of their lives, and how that's always detrimental to the person that's close to them. It's hard, very difficult for someone to live with someone who really believes that they are always right, and that they are better than other people. But if that can be surfaced in a counseling session, there's help for that person.

But when they don't recognize it, and they just live with that attitude, then whomever they relate to, it's going to be a troubled relationship. You know, one of the things in this conversation today that really heartens me, in the second segment, we had a number of people call who said to the caller a month ago, I'm praying for you. And I'm praying for him too, your boyfriend, you know, then the live-in situation. The power of prayer is great. And I wonder if we might not end that way here at the end of 2022. Gary, would you pray for those who are listening today and their relationships?

Surely. Father, you know who's listening today. You know those who have wonderful relationships and those who are really, really struggling. I pray for both of those groups of people, for those who have wonderful relationships, I pray you'll continue to give them wisdom and pour your love into their hearts for each other. And that they would reach out to help those who are struggling. And for those who are struggling in their relationship, I pray that your spirit will touch their spirit and give them a desire for personal growth.

And then lead them, Father, to a book, to a counselor, to a friend, to someone who can speak into their lives, your truth that will meet them where they are and help them take steps in your direction. I pray this for their good. I pray this for your glory in the name of Christ.

Amen. Well, before we conclude today, let me give you our number where you can leave a question or a comment for Dr. Chapman. 1-866-424-GARY, 866-424-GARY for any question or comment about your relationships in the new year, we'd love to hear from you.

And don't forget, check out our featured resource, Extraordinary Grace, How the Unlikely Lineage of Jesus Reveals God's Amazing Love. It's at buildingrelationships.us. Again, buildingrelationships.us. And next week, a conversation revival.

What might happen in the new year if you became more curious? We'll miss a fascinating discussion with Dr. Heather Holliman in one week. A big thank you to our production team who worked hard all year long, Steve Wick and Janice Backing. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening and happy new year. Moody Radio is so thankful for a 2022 filled with biblical programming, impactful messages and relevant discussion. If you'd like to help us start 2023 strong, consider a gift at GiveToMoody.com. That's GiveToMoody.com
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-31 02:55:50 / 2022-12-31 03:14:30 / 19

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