We have to make the choice, you know, am I going to allow God to love others through me, or am I going to follow my feelings?
And my feelings may be anger and hurt and bitterness, which pushed me not to reach out to love that person. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . If you're feeling weary or burdened by the call to love, you'll find strength and hope in today's conversation. Dr. Chapman believes that love is a choice, and that can be a freeing concept.
We'll talk about it straight ahead. And it doesn't matter whether you're single or married, there is something in today's broadcast, I believe, that is going to encourage you. Dr. Chapman's new book is our featured resource at buildingrelationships.us. It's titled Love is a Choice, 28 Extraordinary Stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in Action.
Go to buildingrelationships.us. Gary, you have talked about the love languages for a lot of years. This book is the outcome, the results, the implementation of the love languages. Am I getting the concept? Yeah, you are.
Right, Chris. You know, so many people have been helped by the concept of "The 5 Love Languages" , and they verbalize to me stories from time to time. Let me just tell you my story, you know. And so I thought, let's put together some stories, real-life people telling their own story, of how love impacted them and the person that they were loving. And so, yeah, it's a powerful collection of just real-life stories that relate to anyone who wants to become a better lover.
Yes. You know, as I was going through this, I was looking at my own life. When I took piano lessons, I had a piano teacher who didn't teach us the notes on the page. She taught us how to play the individual song. So we were basically mimicking her and then getting the notes on the page to correspond with what we were playing with our fingers, you know, with our hands.
And so that's how I learned how to play music, was I learned to play it first and then make the connection. And I think this book is going to be the same thing for a lot of people who, you understand the love languages, you just don't know how to implement them or do it. And so you read somebody else's story and you see, oh, I see how that works.
Is that kind of the idea? Yeah, I think so, because, you know, all of us have similar experiences throughout life, and yet we all have different experiences. But when you see how love changes relationships in other people's lives, you can identify with that. And that's what I hope is going to happen for those who read this book.
Now, who can benefit? Because I think of the love languages for married couples. I think of parents using the love languages.
Who else might be encouraged by this? I think single adults would certainly find this to be helpful as well. You know, all of us have some kind of relationships. We all had a mother.
She may still be living, may not. We had a father, whether we know him or not, you know, so we have relationships. And I think really anybody of teenagers on up would probably find these stories to be helpful.
Yes. Well, if you go to buildingrelationships.us, you're going to find more simple ways to strengthen your relationships. You can hear this conversation again suggested to a friend or see our featured resource, Love is a Choice, 28 Extraordinary Stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in Action. You know, it's been a long time since I gave your full bio. Indulge me for about 30 minutes. Will you, Gary?
Is that OK? All right, Chris. Dr. Gary Chapman, Ph.D., speaker, author, counselor, has a passion for people and for helping them form lasting relationships.
That's true. His most popular book is "The 5 Love Languages" , which has sold more than 20 million copies. But he's also written numerous relationship books about anger, appreciation in the workplace, apology and many others. This program and a Love Language Minute air on radio stations around the country has been married to Carolyn for how many years has it been? Sixty one. Sixty one years.
Oh, there's a whole program right there. He recently retired from the church where he was associate pastor for 50 years. He's a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology from Wheaton College and Wake Forest University, respectively.
M.R.E. and Ph.D. degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He's completed postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina and Duke University.
Two adult children, two grandchildren. Is that still the count? That is still true. Did I miss anything? If you did, it doesn't need to be mentioned, Chris. OK, so that's a little bit of who he is and some of the things that God has done in and through him.
Now you get to hear more about these stories. I think a lot of people live under the illusion that love ought to be easy. Marriage ought to be easy. Anything that takes work and is hard, it shouldn't be. You know, if it's good, it ought to just come to me.
What do you say about that? I think I would ask the question, do you think it was easy for Jesus to go to the cross? You know, in the Garden of Gethsemane, he revealed how hard it was when he pled with his father.
If there's any other way, please let this cup pass from me. I mean, he, as a human, was dealing with his emotions in terms of doing the most loving thing, which is what he came to do, and that is give his life to pay for our sins. It was hard. Nevertheless, he said at the end of all of it, Father, your will be done.
Your will be done. You know, love is not natural for us. We are, first of all, fallen creatures, you know, and by nature we are self-centered. And that's the opposite of love. Love is looking out for the interest of others.
Selfishness is looking out only for ourselves. So, by nature, love is not an easy thing. Now, it's easy to love people who are loving us. If you feel loved by someone, it's easy to love them. In fact, Jesus said that, you know. He loved people, but he said, I say love your enemies. Ooh, you know, those that hate you.
Love those who hate you. And to the human mind, that doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem natural.
And it's not. And that's why I think, as Christians, we have outside help. And we have, with God, we have the ability to love people who are not loving us.
And that makes all the difference in terms of our influence on other people. But so much of the culture is about how I feel. Love is a feeling. And you talk about this.
We've talked about this for the last decade or so. You know, the tingles. I want the tingles. And that's what love is. And you're kind of flipping that around and you're saying, no, it affects your emotions and what's going on inside. But ultimately, it is a choice that you make. And that grates against our emotional idea of what love is, doesn't it?
You're exactly right. But biblical love begins with an attitude, not with feelings. Now, falling in love begins with feelings. I mean, that's what you see them. There's something about them that you really just are attracted to them and you have these strong emotional feelings for them. But as we discussed earlier, that's a two-year thing.
I mean, average two years, we come down off that high. Love in the Bible is an attitude. When it says, for example, husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church. You think he's talking about the tingles? Husbands have emotional tingles for your wife.
No, no, no, no, no. He's talking about, he said, as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. It's a way of thinking. Biblical love challenges us to choose the attitude, I am in the world as a child of God, to enrich the lives of other people.
And you have that attitude. And then you have the Spirit of God who is empowering you to do that, because the Bible says the love of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. So we have God's help, but we're involved. We have to make the choice. Am I going to allow God to love others through me or am I going to follow my feelings?
And my feelings may be anger and hurt and bitterness, which pushed me not to reach out to love that person. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Our featured resource is Gary's new book, Love is a Choice. Twenty eight extraordinary stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in action.
You can find out more at buildingrelationships.us. There are so many great stories in this book and I want to dip into some of them throughout the conversation today. Gary, take me to the chapter titled Between Mountain Streams and Ferris Wheels. This one really caught my attention because it's about compromise and mutual give and take. What did you glean from that story by Sheila Farmer?
Well, it's a fascinating story that I think many people will identify with, Chris. She talks about on their first anniversary, they were in the Pocono Mountains, you know, kind of celebrating their anniversary. And she was sitting in the car while he was fishing at a lake. And she was looking out there thinking, how could they do this on our anniversary out there fishing? She had visions of taking walks together, holding hands together, talking, you know, that sort of thing.
And here he is out there. He's excited. I mean, he's enjoying fishing and he's a fisherman. And so, you know, she later she's talking about it and how she was just sulking, you know, during that time. And then later on, she talks about another time in which they went to a beach.
And she said she just loves to get up early in the morning and walk in the sand, you know, and then in the evening. And this was later on when they had children, the children and they would all go to the boardwalk. And her husband didn't like to get sand in his feet. You know, he didn't like that. He didn't like being with all those people on the boardwalk and all those noises and all that. So she plays out, you know, the differences between them in their interests and what they like and all that sort of thing.
And then she mentioned and she focuses then on the whole deal of compromise, you know, that if we're going to have a loving relationship, she has to be willing, first of all, to give him freedom to do some things on his own, you know, but also to choose to do things with him that she doesn't necessarily, you know, she's not pushed along by her emotions to do that. And he was doing the same thing. He was at the beach with them.
He was walking a little bit on the sand, not as much as they did, but he went to the boardwalk with them. You know, so he was going against his natural inclinations in order to be with the family and communicate, you know, that he's the father, he's with them, and he wants to be involved in the things they're interested in. So I think a lot of people can identify with that. I know, you know, when I married Carolyn, she's a symphony gal, loves to go to the symphony. I didn't know what an oboe was, you know, when we married. But I started going to the symphony with her, and the first couple or three, I was just kind of bored to death, you know, but then I started asking her questions about, you know, this, that, the other thing, getting into it, and I learned, you know, a little bit more.
I'm not a musician, you know, and so I don't enjoy it as much as she does, but when we're together and we want to love, we are willing to do things with the other person. And she talks about in the story how she actually went turkey hunting with him one morning, got up at 3 a.m. and went turkey hunting. I love that part of the story.
Let me read just a paragraph or two. She said, We stepped slowly and quietly to a place my husband had scouted, and he managed to locate it even in the dark. As the world around us was rousing, we sat still on two tiny triangular seats in a makeshift tent.
My husband grabbed a little wooden box and a stick and scratched several times, paused and repeated. Now, as you listen to this, if you're a hunter, you know what's going to happen here. The high pitched sounds pierced my ears and echoed through the woods. Then a faint sound came back.
Marvin's back straightened, his lips adjusted, and he made a loud squawk with the turkey collar in his mouth. And so she goes into this and you can, she's telling the story. She's looking at her husband and she said, His eyes shone with the same pleasure that I displayed at the beach.
We were in his element and he enjoyed my company just as I enjoyed his at the beach. So entering into what he loved for her was a stretch. But she saw something in that, in that experience that she wouldn't have seen had she not been sitting out there at three o'clock in the morning.
Absolutely. If she had done only what she enjoyed doing and said to herself and him, I'm not going turkey hunting. That's the last thing I want to do, you know, then she would not have experienced that moment.
And that's, again, why we're saying love is a choice. She made a choice to do something that she didn't particularly care to do herself. And consequently, she had an experience with him, seeing his lies and seeing his excitement.
And she was there to share that moment with him. Now that doesn't mean that she had to go turkey hunting every time he went, you know. I say to gals where their husband is into the car racing thing, you know, I say, Why would he go out there and just watch those cars go around and round and round and round? I say, you know, if you love him and he wants you to go, just go with him one time, you know, and just sit there for all those hours and just watch the cars go around and just see what happens. You don't have to do it forever.
My best advice is to go with him, but take earplugs because you don't need them. I love that story. I love the, you know, the way that it brought them together on a different in a different arena than they normally would have and interact there. So let me come back to that. Love is a choice. The way that we use love is often how we feel.
That's not what you're talking about. It's it's about making a choice to enter into somebody else's life and then see what will happen. So there's a sense that you're losing control of the outcome when you do that. Yeah, there is a giving, but that is love. Love is giving. So I think, you know, when you choose to do that sort of thing, you are doing something that they really enjoy doing and they want you to experience this with them. And yes, you're not inclined to do that. So it's sacrificial when you do that.
But it's communicating to them. I love you. I want to be with you. I want to experience something that you really enjoy.
And so I'm going to go with you on this. So, again, that whole attitude of reaching out to love when you're not emotionally motivated to reach out and love them in that particular way. You know, it strikes me these 28 stories are evidence of the love languages at work. And in that situation, the husband and wife, it's almost sounds like the husband is kind of a quality time kind of guy that he really, you know, if he's fishing, he spent a lot of time beside the lake or the stream.
If he's hunting, he's doing the same. And he wanted her there for anybody who is listening right now, who doesn't know about "The 5 Love Languages" . Walk us through those and how we can determine what our primary language is. OK, one of them is words of affirmation. We just simply look for things about them that we appreciate and we verbalize it.
You know, I'm saying if you're not a talker, you know, if you're what I call a dead sea, you receive, but you don't often speak about it, this can be a challenge. This can be a real, you know, step against your feelings. But you're looking for things that you can express appreciation to them for.
And for some people, this is their love lane. This is what makes them feel love when you commend them for things. And then there's acts of service. There's doing things for them that, you know, they would appreciate you doing. In a family or marriage, it's such things as cooking meals and washing dishes, you know, vacuuming floors and walking dogs. It's just the normal things that have to be done.
Somebody has to do them. And for some people, when you do those kind of things for them and you offer to do those or to help them do those, man, that communicates to them. You know the old saying, actions speak louder than words.
If this is their love language, actions will speak louder than words. And then number three is gifts. It's universal to give gifts as an expression of love. You know, the gift says, they were thinking about me. Look what they got for me.
And it doesn't have to be expensive. We've always said, it's the thought that counts. I remember a guy told me, he said, Dr. Chapman, I was walking, I saw a bird feather and I picked it up. Took it home, said to my wife, honey, when I was walking this morning, I saw this bird feather and I picked it up because I want to give it to you. Because it reminds me that you are the wind beneath my wings. And she said, oh, that is so sweet.
Didn't cost him a penny. It was the thought, you know, a gift. He gave her a gift and words of affirmation. And then there's quality time. Giving the other person your undivided attention. It's being with them. You can be talking.
That's one of the dialects. It's talking with them, listening to them. They have your undivided attention. Another is doing things with them.
You could be planting a flower garden in the front yard together. And you're not doing a whole lot of talking, but they wanted to do it. You're giving your full attention to do something with them that they wanted to do.
That's what we're talking about in this story. Doing things that they want to do and doing it with them. Quality time. And then physical touch. Affirming physical touches. In a marriage, that's such things as holding hands, embracing the whole sexual part of the marriage, arm around the shoulder, driving down the road, you put your hand on their leg.
Just affirming touches. And so that's the basic five. And out of the five, we each have a primary love language. One speaks more deeply to us emotionally than the other four. How do you discover your love language?
Well, here are three simple ways. Number one, observe how they express love to other people. If they're always giving people gifts, that's probably what they want. If they're always giving people affirming words, that's probably their love language.
So observe their behavior. Secondly, what do they request of you most often? If they're saying, honey, could you take the trash out? They're asking you for an act of service. If they're saying when you come home on a business trip, honey, what did you bring me? Or they're saying, can we take a walk together?
That's quality time. What do they request? And then what do they complain about? What do they complain about? If they say, I just feel like we don't ever spend any time together.
I just feel like we're roommates. They're telling you quality time is their language. And, of course, these apply not only in marriage.
They apply to children. A mother said recently, she said, Dr. Chapman, my six-year-old son said to me, we don't ever go to the park anymore since the baby came. He's complaining. He used to have his mother's full attention going to the park with her. Now the baby's here. He's not getting love. And so he's complaining about it.
So what do they complain about? You put those three together, you can pretty well figure out your love language and somebody else's love language. And, of course, Chris, you can always go online at FiveLoveLanguages.com. There's a free quiz for married couples, one for single adults and one for teenagers. It'll help you discover your love language and other people's love language. The book is Love is a Choice, 28 extraordinary stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in action.
You can find out more at that website or buildingrelationships.us. There are so many stories here. Let me go to that parent-child situation. There's a chapter in here called The Hug I'll Never Forget. And Rebecca tells this story.
And it arrested me because I think there's probably somebody listening right now who feels just like she does. My dad can't say I love you. He can't say thank you. He won't give me even a touch on the shoulder.
And there is this emptiness. I want my dad to show me love. Or it could be my mom. And what she said that she decided to do was, I'm going to fake it till I make it. I'm going to act as if I had the best father in the world and I'm going to treat him that way. And so in conversations that she had with him and spending time that she had with him, she would do these things. And when he didn't respond to her, when he didn't say anything back to her, she didn't let that stop her. She said, I'm going to keep treating him like he's the best father in the world. You get to the end of that story because her mom dies of cancer and it's just her and her dad now having this relationship. You get to the end of that and you say, I'm so glad that she expressed love that way, that she chose to love her dad even though it wasn't reciprocated earlier in the relationship. That's a powerful thing to learn, isn't it?
It is, Chris, and that story was really, really powerful. And the fact that she did that over a long period of time, because her father was just non-communicative, he was just kind of there, you know. She would hug him, he didn't hug back. On the phone call, she would say, I love you, dad.
And he would say, bye. And there are a lot of folks who have grown up with a relationship with a dad who is distant and who doesn't speak any of the love languages, really. I guess you would say on her case, he did speak acts of service because he did work, he did pay for her to go to college and those kind of things and she looks back on some of the things he did when she was a child. But this went on basically for a lifetime for her and it was not until the very end when her mother had died and just a few weeks before her father died in which she hugged him and he knew that he was nearing death. Well, he had a heart attack, so I don't know how aware he was of it, but at any rate, that last time she was with him, she hugged him and he, for the first time, raised his right hand and put it up on her shoulder and hugged her. And she says, I will never forget that sensation of my dad giving me a hug. And that's where she got the title of the article, The Hug I Will Never Forget. She said that was 15 years ago, but I still have in my mind and my heart that day when he did reach out and give me that hug.
It's powerful. And I think that's a note to every parent who's listening that your children are crying out for love in some way that perhaps you're not expressing to them, whether it's words of affirmation or quality time, and for the light to go on for you then and to move toward them, that's one of the byproducts of that story. Absolutely, Chris, because I think there are many, many children who grew up in a home where their parents would say they love their children, and I think that many times they're sincere. It's just that they don't understand that if you don't speak a child's primary love language, they will not feel loved, even though you may be doing one of the other languages. Like that father is like a lot of fathers. He felt like his job was to make the money, pay the bills, provide for the family, and that's it. He didn't realize how important words, affirming words, and how in touch those things were to his daughter. And so consequently, all those years, she grew up with this distance, emotional distance between her and her father. So I think these stories will help fathers and mothers to get this on the front burner and realize the question is not, do you love your children? The question is, do your children feel loved? And if you understand "The 5 Love Languages" , you speak their primary language often, and you sprinkle in the others periodically, you're going to have a child that grows up with a good relationship with you, and you're going to be rewarded for that.
So, you know, it's powerful. These stories are powerful challenges to love, even when we're not being loved, and that's what she did over the long haul. Our program is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, New York Times best-selling author of "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find us online at buildingrelationships.us. There you can take an easy assessment of your love language, plus find our featured resource today, the book by Dr. Chapman, Love is a Choice, 28 Extraordinary Stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in Action. Just go to buildingrelationships.us. Gary, we're talking about these extraordinary stories of the love languages in action.
We hear it all the time when we open the phone lines during Dear Gary. People don't want to walk away from a relationship, but sometimes it's just easier. I want to make a fresh start. I don't need this pain in my life. Are there any stories in the book about couples who have intentionally stayed together and have seen a rekindling of their relationship? Yeah, there are several stories like that, Chris, because the reality is all of us can get discouraged if we're not feeling loved by our spouse, or if they are involved in alcohol, or all kind of things can cause us just to feel like they don't love me, they're never going to be any different, so therefore I'm just going to give up. But there are stories in this collection where wives and husbands are saying, after they've had those feelings, are saying, you know, with God's help, I'm going to do what God did for me. God loved me while I was a sinner and sent Christ to die for me.
So here I am. I'm going to love them even though they're not loving me, and even though I don't have any feelings, any love feelings for them. I'm going to choose to take a loving attitude, and then to express love to them in their primary love language, and also, again, sprinkle in the other four. And so when they begin to feel loved, and there's several stories that illustrate this, when they begin to feel loved by you, they are drawn to you, and you begin to see their behavior changing. You know, it's the same thing with God. The Bible says we love God because God first loved us.
You know, when we were unlovely, he loved us, and when we encountered his love and realized what God is doing for us out of his love, we're drawn to him. And so the same principle applies in human relationships, and there's some really fascinating stories in the book that talk about that. Yeah. But again, the knock about the love languages for some is, oh, you're just manipulating people. You're just doing this so that it's a quid pro quo. And you have said all along, no, it's not. You cannot determine how somebody responds to your love, but you can determine whether you love or not, right? Absolutely, Chris.
Listen. God loves everybody and wants them to come to repentance and become one of his children. But people still spit in God's face, and people still say, I don't even believe in God, and they walk away from God when he gives them breath every day.
So, no, this is not a way of manipulating someone. It's a matter of choosing to reflect the love of God to the people in our lives that we encounter and reach out to seek to enrich their lives by loving them in concrete ways that will enrich their lives. Maybe they don't return back.
You know, they don't return back. But we're loving because we are challenged by Jesus to love. In fact, Jesus said, this is the way they will know that you're my disciples, by the way you love each other. And he challenged us to love people who are not like us and people who don't like us. So, no, it's not a matter of trying to manipulate.
It's a matter of seeking to follow the example of Jesus. Love is a choice. Twenty-eight extraordinary stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in action is by Dr. Gary Chapman. It's our featured resource. You'll find it at buildingrelationships.us, buildingrelationships.us. There's a chapter in here titled The Little Girl Who Changed My Life.
What's that all about? Chris, that's one of the stories where, to be honest with you, as I got toward the end of it, tears came to my eyes. It all started out with a lady who, she was retired, she and her husband, and they had no children. And she had worked in the public library. And a family moved in beside them who happened to have a couple of children. And one day she was out working in her garden in the backyard, and this little girl came up behind her. She said, four or five years old, and she said, can we play? And she said to her, I'm busy. And the little girl kept talking back and forth.
They had a little conversation together. And she asked her, how did you get over here? And she said, I came through there, and she pointed a little way under the trees over to her house. And so they had a conversation, and she ended up playing with her for a little bit. And she said, what do you want to play? And she said, I want to play house.
And so, let's go over here under the trees, so went under the tree. And the little girl showed her where the kitchen was, and the bedroom, kitchen, living room, whatever. And she said that the little girl wanted me to be the child and her to be the mother.
So we played for a while on that. But that one experience led to numerous experiences of that little girl coming over to her house, knocking on the back door. One time she said, what are you doing? And she said, I'm cooking. And she said, can I help you? And she said, no, you can't help me. But she kept insisting, can I stir something? So finally she let her in, let her stir something.
And those experiences began to happen on a rather regular basis. She was very reluctant, you know, resistant, because she didn't want to get involved. Because by nature, you know, we don't want to necessarily get involved in loving people. God's putting here a little girl right in her, right in her lap. That relationship went on all the way through that girl's life. And even when she went to college and her family moved into other places, she would come back and visit this lady. So she became a real mother figure. They had a wonderful relationship together. And she spells it all out, you know, as she goes through the story.
And I just thought, you know, man, power of giving time to little children that cross our paths. It's not something she wanted to do. She wasn't moved by her emotions in those early steps of that.
She did it because the little girl's there. She can either treat her and push her away, or she can respond and love her in the way she wanted to be loved. Yeah, that's a powerful story, Chris. You know, and it really is evidence that the love languages do something in both hearts. When you choose to do something for somebody else, you know, you can just think about what is their response going to be?
Or are they going to love me in return? But there's something about the selfless giving of time, especially to a child who can't really return, you know, and he can't really give you anything. But my guess is if we could have her, you know, that older mom figure here to talk with us, she would say, I gain much more from those conversations in that time than the little girl did.
Absolutely. That little girl became the child she never had. Remember, I said they didn't have any children. So she became a child she never had. And what she did is she took an interruption, because that was an interruption that first time, and several other times in the early stages. Interruption. She took an interruption and made it an opportunity to reach out and love a little girl. You know, giving her really the language of quality time, because she spent a lot of time with her. But you're right. She profited maybe more than the little girl did. Though the little girl obviously loved spending time with her.
Yeah. There are people listening right now, Gary, who probably have had some painful experiences back there. Painful memories that come up and they pull back from making the choice to love the other person, whether it's a spouse or a child or a parent or a friend, your coworker. They pull back because of the painful memories. How can you get past that and love somebody when those memories dictate our behavior?
Well, Chris, there's no question about it. When you have been hurt in any way by anyone, there's pain, there's emotional pain. You tend, we tend, all of us tend to draw back from a person that has hurt us in the past. And that also can keep us from reaching out to somebody else, because we're fearful inside that if I reach out and build a relationship with them, they'll mistreat me, just like my dad did or my mom did or somebody else did. We allow the past experience to control our present and future behavior. And that's tragic.
Now, certainly, I mean, there's nothing wrong with having feelings, hurt feelings and emotions and all of that when you've been hurt deeply. But that's history. Today is a new day. The future lies ahead of us. And so if we're followers of Christ, we don't want to allow things that people did to us in the past keep us from making something worthwhile today and in the future. And God certainly doesn't want us to be, you know, as it were, just silenced from doing anything worthwhile in life because of what happened to us.
Yes, we want to acknowledge it. We want to share it with God. We want to let Him know our feelings and share our feelings with Him. But to ask Him, Lord, don't let me and my behavior be controlled by all of my past hurt. Let me love others in the future.
Because, you know, if God backed off when people had wronged Him, He wouldn't have any relationships. So let's follow the example and not allow our past hurts to keep us from loving in the future. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . We're talking about Gary's latest encouraging book, Love is a Choice, 28 Extraordinary Stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in Action. You can find out more at buildingrelationships.us. That's buildingrelationships.us.
All right. I see a story in here titled The Battle of the Dishwasher, Gary. And the first thing I thought of was you and Carolyn.
I'm the first one I thought about when I read that story that this lady gave me. You know, she was aggravated because her husband loaded the dishwasher in a very organized manner. And let's just say she was less organized. And she admits that sometimes she actually tried to antagonize him by deliberately loading it differently. Just to antagonize him because she sensed like he was trying to control her behavior, make her do it the way he wanted it done. And she felt put down by him in that way. But I think it was about three, they battled about three years over that one. And she began to realize, you know, how important really is this?
And maybe I need to show a little grace to him. And so she said to him, you know, honey, this has been a battle point for us, but we need to find an answer to this. And so they started talking about it, what they might do and all. And the first thing, the first step they took was why don't when he loads it, let him load it like he wants to.
When she loads it, let her load it like she wants to. And just accept those differences. So that worked, you know, for them a while. And then a little later on down the road, she thought, you know, things do get cleaner the way he's got it done. So maybe I should just do it his way on this one, you know.
And, you know, in differences we can always move in terms of incremental steps, you know, and that's what they were doing. But both of them were beginning to show grace to the other person and not be controlling and demanding that they do it the way I want it done. Because that comes over, you know, as I'm the parent, you're the child, you do what I say. And that's never good in a marriage.
So somehow you have to learn how to work through those things. And you know what Carol and I did. She just said, honey, if it's so important to you, why don't you just load the dishwasher all the time? So I do. It works for us. And all the dishes get clean. There you go.
And that's the whole point of it. Always an answer. We don't have to, you know, be antagonistic about those kind of things for a lifetime. You know, one of the things that you've talked about here, and it's kind of run through the lines of this program since we've been on the air for a number of years, and that is listening. What a great gift to the other person listening can be.
And it's not something that comes natural to us because we're thinking of the next thing that we want to say or know you're wrong about that. But to really listen to that other person is, well, it can be a lot of the love languages right there, you know. You could put your hand on their shoulder while you listen to them. It could be physical touch. Words of affirmation can come from listening, right?
Yes. I think listening is the only way that we will ever know anything about what's going on inside the other person. You know, in a marriage, we talk about intimacy. We want to have an intimate relationship.
Well, that's not just a sexual thing. This is intellectually and emotionally, socially, spiritually. We want to share life together. We want to have an intimate relationship. And the only way we can do that is if you choose to speak and reveal something of what you're thinking and what you're desiring or what your opinions are, and I choose to listen. And if I do, I can learn where you are, where you're coming from, what you're feeling. And if you listen to me, you can learn the same from me. And two people, it can be a husband and wife, it can be a close friendship, it can be a parent-child relationship. But when we listen to the other person with an effort not to come back and contradict them or put them down, but with a view to understanding them and what they're thinking and maybe why they're thinking it and what they're feeling and why they're feeling it, so that you can honestly say, you know, I hear what you're saying and I understand what you're saying and I can see how you'd feel that way.
And that makes a lot of sense to me. So now you're not arguing, you're not shooting their ideas down, you're not trying to convince them they're wrong and you're right. Then, because you have listened, chances are they will listen to you and they will hear where you're coming from and they can affirm you. And then you can say, now how are we going to solve this? And when you've understood each other and affirmed each other's thoughts and feelings, now we'll find a solution. You know, we'll either meet in the middle, which is what that couple did for a while, they met in the middle, and then one of you may eventually decide to go to the other's position. After a while you may feel like, you know, I think it is the best thing. Or maybe we just agree to disagree, but it's not something that we're going to fight about the rest of our lives. So unless couples learn how to work through their differences, they will have friction and basically argue with each other, you know, for a lifetime.
And that's not what any of us want in a relationship. Gary, let's end the program today with a story about Tamara. And when she finds out about a man named Tony, this is about lavishing love on somebody else.
You know, that's one of the most powerful stories in the book, Chris. Tony was a veteran, and Tamara, the lady that wrote this story, her husband worked for the Veterans Administration. And he actually was counseling with Tony and found out that he had HIV and that he, you know, didn't have a place to live. He was living on the street, and he had recently just gotten a low-income housing.
But in his apartment, there was nothing, no furniture at all. He just slept on the floor, and her husband found out about that. And he was just sharing it with Tamara that night. And she was deeply moved, and she said, we are going to get him a bed. And so her husband said, honey, if that's what you want to do, that's fine. So he bought him a bed, took it over there, delivered it, set it up.
And then she told her extended family about it. And some of them said, only a bed? We've got to get him furniture. And they got him furniture.
And, you know, set him up in a really nice situation. And then they started visiting him, you know, periodically. And sometimes we'd take him food and so forth.
Well, by and by, of course, he got worse and worse, you know, physically. Eventually, they found that he did have family, but he had been ostracized from his family for many years. But they contacted his family and let them know where Tony was and what had happened and so forth, and actually paid the airfare for one of his sisters to come and visit him. And after she visited him and saw how serious he was and so forth, she said, you know, Mama would really like for him to come home and be there when he dies. So they arranged all that and got him home, you know, during that time. So you can see why we say lavish love.
I mean, this is really going, you know, out there. But his mother, when she got him home and they all doted over him and just so glad that he'd come home. She said to Tamara, I had been praying for a miracle for my Tony, and you were that miracle. You can imagine how Tamara felt.
And what happened is when he did die, they actually put a photo of Tamara's family in the funeral program. And it had these words on it. It said, we could not have had a better family than you to take care of our beloved Tony. Saying thank you is not enough. You deserve more.
May God bless you and keep you. Later on, Tamara said, I took a chance to tip my heart and let some lavish love flow out. And look what happened. A very unexpected love story. You know, it's just a powerful story. Again, I wept at the end of that story too. And wondered how many people their lives could be deeply, deeply enriched if somebody reached out to what seemed to be a hopeless situation and just did something that would enrich their lives.
Maybe that is how we end the program today, Gary. Encouraging the person who's listening right now to take one step, make one choice to love someone around you and to do that today and to do it from the heart. And but to see like Tamara did. She didn't have to do that, but she saw the need and she said, we need to get involved. There's somebody who needs the loving touch that you have that you can give today. And Gary, you've said often that the love is the greatest force in the universe, isn't it?
Absolutely, Chris. It's amazing what can happen. And it can start with a very simple little thing.
You know, that's just something you realize this would this would help them if you reach out to help them. Well, the title of our featured resource today is Love is a Choice. Twenty eight extraordinary stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in action. You can find out more at the Web site, Building Relationships that U.S. again, go to Building Relationships that U.S. And next week, we'll open the phone lines for your questions about your relationships. Don't miss our April edition of Dear Gary in one week. Our thanks to Janice Backing and Steve Wick for their work behind the scenes. 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.
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