My parents don't have the best marriage. I'm embarrassed that he treats people like this. She now tells me that she needs time apart.
How can you accomplish physical touch without doing anything wrong? It's time for our Dear Gary broadcast for the month of April, featuring your calls and questions for this trusted author and speaker. There are love language questions ahead, a great call from a son looking for advice on how to help his parents, and a whole lot more. If you're looking for simple ways to strengthen your relationships, visit us online at buildingrelationships.us. You'll find our featured resource there. 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, for so many people in the culture, love is a feeling. Love is the tingles. It's warm and fuzzy on the inside, and when I don't feel warm and fuzzy anymore, I'm not in love.
You are pushing back against that narrative, aren't you? Yeah, Chris, I really am, and I'm not opposed to falling in love. I'm just opposed to seeing that as the foundation for marriage, and here's the reason. That experience that we call falling in love or being in love is too temporary. The average lifespan of the euphoria that comes when you fall in love is two years. Some a little longer, some a little less, but average two years, and we come down off that high.
No one told me that. They always told me that if you've got the real thing, it's gonna last forever. Well, my wife and I had been married two years, or had been, pardon me, had been dating two years before we got married, and I came down pretty soon after the honeymoon. I think if I had known that, you know, and be expecting that, yes, I could have handled it better, but I had this misconception about those euphoric feelings. You know, in the Bible, love begins with an attitude, not a feeling, and the attitude is, I want to do whatever I can to enrich your life. Whether you're talking about your spouse, your children, or anyone that you encounter, love is an attitude of wanting to enrich the lives of other people.
Now, if you speak their love language, that is, you speak to them something that will meet their emotional need for love, yes, it has an emotional dimension. I'm not putting down emotions. I mean, we are emotional creatures, and one of our deepest needs is the need to feel love by the significant people in our lives. So, I think, however, when we depend upon these euphoric feelings to keep me in the relationship, and this is where so many people are in our country, and this is why, you know, when many people divorce, they say, among other things, I just, I don't love you anymore.
I've lost it, I don't have it, you're not making me happy, and so I'm out of this. And that, that's unfortunate that we base our decision to stop the relationship because we don't have these feelings that we think we ought to have. But if we have an attitude of love, we would be asking each other, what can I do to enrich your life?
What can I do to help you? And when we were doing that, and responding to them, you have some feelings. The feelings do come back if they, if they faded, because you're communicating love to them in a way that's meaningful to them, and we can keep love alive.
We can keep emotional love alive if we learn how to do that, and choose to do it, but we choose our attitudes. Well, our featured resource today, as you've heard, Love's a Choice, 28 Extraordinary Stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in Action. You can find out more about it at the website buildingrelationships.us. Again, buildingrelationships.us. All right, let's get to our first call here on a Dear Gary for April, and if you want to ask a question, by the way, leave a message for us at 866-424-GARY. Here's a listener, Gary, who went to one of your conferences a couple of months ago. I don't know if you dealt with his question, but we're gonna deal with it here today. Here we go. Hey, Gary, just want you to dress up for me. My wife watches these Hallmark movies, and it really bugs me.
Why should she be watching that stuff? So, if you could talk about that. Great. Thanks.
Bye. Chris, do you think those Hallmark movies have messages that he doesn't want his wife to be hearing? Well, I think what he's touching on is exactly what you just talked about, that the Hallmark movies at times will deal with these things that are very formulaic. You know, you meet somebody and you don't get along with them very well, and at the end you fall in love and have you all the tingles, and then you live happily ever after. So, my guess is he's pushing back against the narrative that it's always got to be Currier and Ives, you know, if it's at Christmas time, or you got to have all these tingles that come up when you fall in love with somebody else.
Yeah. Well, first of all, I would say don't preach to her, because preaching to your spouse doesn't really go very well. What I would say is, discuss it with her, enter into it with her, like watch some of them with her, and then say, what could we learn from that?
Or, what do you think was the main message of that? Communicate. You see, if you simply walk away from her and kind of condemn her for watching them, then you don't have any discussion, you don't have any communication. You kind of cut communication off. So, now she's isolated in that experience. But, if you enter into that experience with her, and I don't mean you have to watch every one that she watches, but if you enter into that experience with her, then you can have a conversation about, what was the main message of that? Do you agree with that?
What can we learn from that? Communication is the heartbeat of a marriage, and we have to be willing to move into a world that is not our own. You know, for some people, it's like a wife not wanting to go fishing with her husband, because she just feels like it's a waste of time. First of all, he never catches any fish, and secondly, she can't see herself sitting out there on the bank, you know, or whatever. We have allowed the person to be an individual, but we also need to enter into their world, and I don't mean we have to always do things together, but I think we need to have a significant number of things we are doing together, even when it's not comfortable for us.
Yes. I wonder if there's also a kind of a threatening feeling that he gets, because all of the, you know, the actors are always the beautiful people, the handsome people, so is there a threat that he feels like, well, she's gonna fall for somebody like, she wants somebody like this, and I'm not like that. The other thing that strikes me is, you talked a lot about you and your son and music, and him liking music that you didn't really click with, but because you loved him, you entered into his world, and you said, tell me more about Buddy Holly, or whoever it was, and when you ask her without judgment, tell me more about why you liked that movie, even if you think it was a silly plot, tell me why you like that. You may learn something from her that you don't know. Absolutely, Chris, and then don't fight it. If she's telling you why she enjoyed that movie, and don't say, well, you shouldn't feel that way, you shouldn't think that way. Listen, she's a human. She has thoughts and she has feelings. Try to listen empathetically and understand, you know, okay, I can see, I can see what you're saying, I can see how that would be encouraged or exciting or whatever, but I think by nature, whatever we think is right, and if it disagrees with the other person, then they're wrong, and I want to try to correct them and get them believe in what I believe.
No, we're a team, and team members don't play the same position, and we've got to learn to work together as a team with our differences and utilize those differences to enhance our relationship. Have you ever seen a Hallmark movie, Gary? I don't know that I have. I don't go to many movies. I did see Jesus Revolution, though, just recently. That wasn't Hallmark. No, I know that wasn't Hallmark. You and I go ahead to sit down and sit through one of these one of these days, okay?
I think if Carolyn were watching them, I would watch them. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, New York Times best-selling author of "The 5 Love Languages" , and you're listening to our Dear Gary broadcast for April. Once a month, we take calls from our listener line, and we'd love to hear a question or feedback from you. Call our number, 1-866-424-GARY.
This is not a counseling line. We can't call you back, but if you keep your question brief, Gary will try to answer it on the program, so call us today, 1-866-424-GARY. Gary, this next call is about someone who feels stuck, and the love languages play a part in that. Here we go.
Hi, Gary. I just wanted to call in and just say how thankful I am for your book and writing and how inspirational it's been for my relationships, family, and romantically as well. But my question is, you know, I've been reading your book for some time now, just got a chance to review it and actually teach it as well, but I'm kind of stuck romantically and wondering, what do you do when a person says that their love language is, you know, a certain one, like acts of service or quality time or physical touch, but it seems like you aren't reading that well. It seems like you're not reading it as the way or picking up as the way that they said that they're showing it to you. So I was curious if you had any answer or what to do when you come across that.
Thank you so much. Well, I think if a spouse tells you that their love language is quality time or physical touch or acts of service or whatever, I would say believe them and let that be the focus of your expressions of love to them. You see, one of the reasons why you may think, well, I don't see how that could be your love language. It may well be because that's certainly not your love language.
It might be number five for you in terms of importance, and so you have trouble understanding, well, why, how could that really be true? But I would say believe them because your spouse is an expert on himself or herself. So whatever they tell you, I would say believe it, and you focus on that. You sprinkle in the others to be sure, and they may in two months say, I don't know, I think my love language is something else.
I'd say believe them again and focus on that, you know, until they tell you differently. I think if we just, rather than questioning how that could be, I would say believe your spouse, make that your primary effort in expressing love, but also keep open to the fact that maybe they will change their idea on what their love language is, and if they do, then you change your expressions of love. So you can follow up with questions about, so you really like it when, and then whatever they said their love language is, you kind of fill in the blanks, when I do this or that and reinforce that then.
Absolutely, Chris, and that question then clarifies for you the kind of things that would be meaningful to them in that particular language. All right, if you go to buildingrelationships.us, you can find more simple ways to strengthen relationships. Buildingrelationships.us. Gary, you've said this time and time again, you can't change your spouse, but you can influence your spouse. What do you do in this situation to influence? Here's our next caller.
Hi, Gary. My husband of many decades has many good qualities, but when he talks to people on the phone and sometimes in person, he gets angry, especially when they start talking before he finishes his question, or when he perceives they're confrontational. They talk when he talks, and he doesn't hear well, so he gets loud and sometimes yells at them. Is there anything I can say to him to get him to be civil to people? He will probably throw my words back at me like it's my fault. He is not a people person like I am, and isn't patient with people. I'm embarrassed that he treats people like this. He says he doesn't care what people think of him. Many would not think this to be a desirable character trait of a Christian.
Any suggestions, please? Thank you. Bye. Well, I have empathy for that wife. When you hear your husband speaking harshly to people, loudly at people, kind of angry at people on the phone or otherwise, that's painful.
Boy. And then I think what she says is true. If she brings that up to him and tries to point it out to him, he's going to express his anger toward her, you know, and speak harshly to her. Man, Grace, you answer that one, Chris.
What would you tell her? You're not dragging me into this. You know what? Here's one thing I thought. I've watched old videos of us from when we were first parents, you know, when the kids were little and and this kind of thing, and I have just gasped sometimes at my tone and at the way I said stuff to the kids is like that's what I wasn't.
But the way I came across. And I wonder if, and this might be illegal to do, you know, if you recorded a conversation, you know, with your phone or with whatever in the room, to let him hear how he sounds, would that do it? If he could actually hear himself, because it sounds to me like he can't hear how he is coming across to other people.
Yeah. And maybe he would discount that as well, but but that was the first thing that popped into my head. I like the idea, Chris.
I'm glad I called on you. I do think that if we could see ourselves, you know, visually and hear ourselves, yeah, I think that could have a positive impact. He may kind of, you know, speak harshly to her about showing it to him, but I think he can go away and start thinking about it. So, you know, if she could do that, I mean, there's nothing against the law. You can record your spouse on a phone or talking with somebody.
Today it's pretty easy to do with a cell phone. So I would say, yeah, I think that's a great idea. Because I think for her just to bring it up and say that you're coming across harsh or that person must feel awful towards you or whatever, that just condemns him. You know, that doesn't work and doesn't help him. There are people who are so, I don't know what to say, scarred from their past.
They have just a rough edge about them. And like she said, he said he didn't care what people think about him. You know, he's kind of self-sufficient. I'm doing my own thing. I live my own life.
I don't care what people think about me. That's sad. It's sad. But, you know, how do you get another person to see that in themselves and recognize that, you know, according to the Scriptures, we're here to love other people. We're here to encourage other people.
We're here to enrich the lives of other people. If he could be in a men's Bible study where they studied the Bible and talk about some of these things, and he could get that picture rather than condemning him for the way he is talking, planting the seed of why we're here and that God wants to use us to enrich the lives of other people, and that every person we encounter is made in the image of God, and God loves them, and God wants us to be his representatives in expressing his love to them. If he can get that picture, again, the turn along that line, you know, this other would fall away by the wayside. You know, I wonder if that whole idea of having, so you've said this before, somebody that he really respects, somebody that is...I talked with somebody recently who said it was the person who was in World War II that my dad would listen to because he respected his opinion. You know, he could have these conversations.
Is there anybody that her husband really respects their opinion who could sit down and kind of explain this to him? But the other thing is, I wonder if he's frustrated, you know, with the hearing loss and not being able to hear as well, and then he just gets frustrated more. I wonder if the situation has changed through the years that when he was younger, you know, was he a little less this way than he is now, and we don't have, you know, any answers to that, do we? Yeah, yeah, that could be a possibility, Chris, and especially speaking loudly. You know, if he's having hearing problems, it may not sound loud to him, but it sounds loud to someone else.
That could certainly be a factor in that part of it. Well, thank you for calling that number, 866-424-GARY, and leaving that question. And if you want to respond to what we were just saying, maybe you've had that similar situation in your own life, and you've been able to break through to your spouse, call us and tell us your story. 1-866-424-GARY. This next call is brief, and there's a whole lot of hurt in this man's voice as you're about to hear.
Hi Gary, I'm battling some, I don't know, wishful thinking or something. I don't know what I'm battling really. We're overcoming adultery, and I don't know what to do. How to move forward, or how to even continue serving in church.
Basically giving up on everything. Well, the caller said that he's dealing with adultery, and doesn't know how to deal with it. It's not clear in my mind whether he's talking about his own adultery, his own unfaithfulness to his wife, or if he's talking about his wife's adultery. There's two different things there. You know, if it's his wife's adultery, and he's having a hard time dealing with it, then anyone can understand that, because it is one of the deepest hurts that a man could experience, is for his wife to have an affair with someone else.
It strikes at the very heart of a man, and it's just super, super difficult. I think what I would want to explore if I were sitting down talking with him, if it's her, is has she broken up the relationship? Has she clearly broken off? And has she come back and apologized, and confessed her sin, and asked him to forgive her?
If so, that's a positive step. And forgiveness in that case would be a choice, not a feeling. He will still feel hurt, he will still feel angry, but he chooses to pardon her.
He's not going to make her pay for it, not going to hit her over the head with it. And he's going to remove the barrier that it created between them, so that their relationship can go forward. And I would say at that juncture, they would reach out for counseling, and let somebody help the two of them find healing over this. If he is the one who has committed adultery, and he's saying that he has a hard time breaking it off with the other person, then, you know, again, it comes back to what the Scriptures say. And we know that adultery is always sinful. And so he needs to confess to God his sin, he needs to ask God to give him the power to break off this relationship, and God will.
The Scriptures say we have not because we ask not. And God will give the power to do that. It doesn't mean he will lose his feelings for that person immediately, because he won't. But it does mean he's making the decision to do what is right, and he's turning away from the wrong. And God will forgive him for that behavior. And then the two, he and his wife, can begin again to rebuild their relationship, if she chooses to forgive him. So either way, when there's been adultery, it is a tremendously painful experience for the spouse. But if there's repentance and a willingness to work on restoring the marriage relationship, yes, there is life after adultery has been committed.
But there has to be genuine repentance and genuine forgiveness. Then we begin to build our relationship again. The last thing that he says is something about, I'm just ready to give up.
I'm just giving up. And you hear in there, and I don't know if he means, you know, life is not worth living, I don't want to do this anymore, or just giving up on the marriage. But if there is this feeling of, I can't go on this way anymore, what do you say to him at that point? Well, I would say, if he hasn't gone for counseling, definitely find a Christian counselor, and let him or her sit down with you, and you share all that's going on inside of you, and let them help you work through that. There's always help, but if we're left only to our own thoughts and our own feelings in a desperate situation like that, then we tend to go downhill. It can get worse instead of better, because we don't see any way out of it.
We don't see it ever being different. So that's where I would certainly encourage a person in that situation to reach out and get a Christian counselor to go with you. God can use counselors to help people work through those kind of extremely painful situations. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Time for one other question before we take a break, and I've written this out for you, Gary, from our caller.
She says, I was married for 16 years and recently divorced. Out of the gates, my husband was hard to please. I did everything I could to try and meet his needs.
And I'm listening to your program today as you and your callers talk about your love language in this season. I feel exhausted always trying to figure out how to please my husband, and I'm a people pleaser, I know that. I always felt run down. I felt he was never happy with himself, and he had three affairs that basically ended our marriage. I felt on the back burner and that he was always dissatisfied with me. I don't think he knows what love is.
I also learned he has a personality disorder that I didn't know about earlier. But I struggled with the love language concept for myself, for him, and for the children, and now I'm trying to figure out how to do this in a blended family. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions given that in her situation? Well, first of all, I'm empathetic with the fact that she's struggling, and I can see how she came to the place of just feeling she had to divorce.
I mean, three affairs alone if there's no repentance, and apparently there was no repentance. I think, however, in the blended family where she is now, I would say that the book I wrote with Ron Deal on how "The 5 Love Languages" works in a blended family would be extremely helpful for her and would really encourage her to do that. It seems like as she looks back on her marriage, she was the giver. She was always trying to reach out and please him and never was able to make him happy, to use her words.
And so now she's in a different marriage. I'm sure they're going to have conflicts. They're going to have misunderstandings, and that's why learning how to talk through conflicts, learning how to listen to each other's perspective, and then talking about how can we solve this, the love languages can be very, very helpful because she wants to feel loved by her husband, and the person that she's married, he wants to feel loved by her. And it's not something we demand of each other. No, it's something we long for from the other person. But if both of us choose to discover the love language of the other person, choose to speak it with the help of God, we're doing the most powerful thing we can do to build our relationship because we're meeting that deep need for love. And she and a blended family, typically they're stepchildren and step-parents, and how you express the love languages in a blended family is very different, particularly with a child, because that child does not have an emotional bond with you. They've got another mother or another father somewhere, maybe deceased but maybe also divorced, and they don't have that bond with you.
It's going to take time. Just for example, one of the things we talk about in that book is even if you know that stepchild's love language, you can't just walk up and hug them. They'll probably push you away because they're not bonded to you.
You have to start with fist bumps and maybe pats on the back and those kind of things for a little while, and you just begin to move up other ways with affirming physical touches. So I think she'd find that book extremely helpful. If you enjoy Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, visit the website buildingrelationships.us. There you'll find more simple ways to improve your relationships.
You can take a free assessment of your love language right there, plus you'll see our featured resource, Dr. Chapman's new book, Love is a Choice, 28 Extraordinary Stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in Action. Just go to buildingrelationships.us. And don't forget, you can ask Gary a question at 1-866-424-GARY. Call the number, leave your message, make sure you turn down any radio or noise in the background, and you might hear an answer in a future Dear Gary broadcast, 1-866-424-GARY. Can a son do anything to help his parents' marriage? Here's our next call.
Hi, Gary. I just recently read both your five love languages and your five love languages for singles, and it's helped me realize a lot about myself, what's been sabotaging my relationships. My parents don't have the best marriage. They're both Christians, and I see some effort between them sometimes to try to make it better. And I suggested your book to them, and they said they'd already read it. What can I suggest to them? What book do I suggest to them? They've tried a marriage counselor, but I guess it wasn't a Christian one because he told them to get divorced. Even though I'm 22 years old and they're near retirement, I want them to be able to be happy in their later years.
So any advice on that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for what you do. I really appreciate the books they've helped in my life. Thanks. Yeah, I'm certainly grateful to a son, an adult son, who is concerned about the marriage of his parents.
That's a positive sign. First of all, I would say obviously pray for them. Pray that God will work in their hearts and their minds to open them up to the possibility that things can be better. He mentioned books. There's a couple that come to my mind. One is on the second half of marriage. It's called Married and Still Loving It, The Joys and Challenges of the Second Half. That would be a book I think that they might find helpful. I think another book, it depends on how close they are to giving up, but that book is entitled One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. That book, if they're at that point where they're just ready to give up, that book would be very, very helpful to them. Now, they said they'd read "The 5 Love Languages" . Obviously, there's a difference between reading a book and then putting it into practice.
So maybe an approach that a son could make would be this. You know, I know that you all told me that you had read "The 5 Love Languages" . I read the singles edition, and I've been looking back at my childhood and our relationship, and I realized that there were times along the way when I didn't feel loved, and now I'm understanding why, because you all spoke acts of service or you all spoke, you know, whatever, and to give them credit, but my primary love language is, and you tell them what that is, and so I realize now it's helping me understand myself. Have you guys ever thought about it that way, you know, as to whether if you know each other's love language, do you speak it, and if not, why are you not speaking it, because this has helped save a lot of marriages, and I just was wondering somehow I think maybe you guys ought to read it again and discuss this together, you know, but I also want you to know that I love both of you so much. You know, even though there are times along the way I didn't feel loved, I know now you were loving me because you were speaking this language and this language, and so I just want you to know how much I appreciate you, how much I love you, and how much I want you to have a good journey at this juncture in your life. You know, just that kind of conversation, I think, however they respond, they'll walk away thinking about, you know, he cares about us.
He loves us. He's trying to help us, and God can use that kind of conversation, I think, to stimulate conversation between the two of them. Yeah, but they might respond like, keep your nose in your own business. You leave us, you know, and that might unify them, you know, in one sense, but I, you know, I hear his pain that he's like, I really want my parents to get along and stay together, and I wonder if, because he mentioned the past kind of sabotaging his relationships, and he's worried about, a lot of younger people who are in their 20s now are putting marriage off because they've seen, you know, a pattern before them that they don't want to replicate. I don't, you know, don't want that, and so that could make him a little more tentative to get into a relationship, don't you think?
Absolutely, Chris, and that's why I'm glad that he's reading books like, you know, "The 5 Love Languages" Singles Edition, because it's helping him understand, you know, why he has kind of been the way he has and so forth. So, you know, none of us chose our parents, and we didn't choose the way they treated us. Our parents influenced us, to be sure, but we don't have to be controlled by the model of our parents or by the things they did to us that hurt us. As adults, we can come to accept those things for reality, this is what happened, this is the way it influenced me, it's caused me a lot of problems in relationships myself, but, and the but is the important thing, I'm going to ask God to show me how to deal with the problems that I have faced and am facing and make me the kind of person that would make someone a good husband or a good wife. I want to be the person God wants me to be.
So, you know, personal growth in the life of the individual, God will help a person, I don't care what they've been through, he will help them come out of that and live a healthy life and have healthy relationships. Well, if you'd like to respond to that call and what we've been talking about here, or give your own question to Dr. Chapman, call 866-424-GARY, and you might hear an answer on an upcoming Dear Gary broadcast. He is in love, he wants the relationship to work, but she is exhausted. Here's our next caller.
Hi, Gary. I was trying to fix things with my fiancé, and she now tells me that maybe she needs time apart and that she finds talking with me exhausting and feels like it's putting energy into something that maybe she doesn't want to put energy into anymore, and I just, I need help so much, and I just really need great advice on how to maybe work things out with her. Thank you. Well, any time that we feel like someone we have dated, and in this case are actually engaged to, begins to draw back and draw away from us, it's painful. I remember going through that in my own journey, a girl I'd dated for three years, and I was in love with her, and I had these strong feelings with her. We were not engaged, but I saw us getting married, and when she broke up with me and walked away, I was devastated.
So I understand the pain of that, but keep this in mind. One of the purposes of dating is to find out whether or not this is the person that I want to spend the rest of my life with, and that means that some of our dating experiences are going to end up in broken relationships because we're going to date some people and find out some things about them that's going to make it difficult for us to even think about living with this person, married to this person, committed to this person for a lifetime. I can't give you advice on how to make her come back and engage in the relationship. What I understand she's saying is there's something about maybe the intensity with the way you talk and the conversations you have that just wears her out emotionally, and she's thinking, I can't live with this kind of thing.
So I think you look at it from two ways. What truth is in what she's saying? That is, what can I learn from this? Am I super intensive in conversations?
Am I expressing myself in ways that kind of turn people off? And whatever they say, I come back with something else, and it just keeps the conversation going when they're trying to find a solution. Handling differences is a major part of having a happy marriage.
So learning how to work through those kind of things are important. But I think there are times in which in a dating relationship, and even when we're engaged, there's a time to say, I don't think this is the right thing. I don't think I should have agreed to be engaged to marriage. And ultimately, long term, if that happens, that's a blessing. Now, I know when you're going through it, it doesn't feel like a blessing.
It feels super, super painful. But ultimately, you look back someday and say, oh, I'm glad that I didn't marry that person. I would just say, learn as much as you can about yourself from what she's saying, and ask yourself, what can I change and how can I be different that whether it's with her or someone else, I can have a good, positive, healthy relationship. I want to add to that and just ask the question, I wonder, and then I may be reading this all wrong, but I wonder if what she is responding to is a weakness that she at least perceives in him, whether that's true or not, a weakness in him that needs her so much that she can't be what he needs her to be because of, you know, he's texting all the time, he's asking and he's doing all this. Like, I can't, I'm exhausted if that is not something that, as you just mentioned, inside of him as he works on that, either with her or somebody else in the future, that as he deals with that weakness inside or the perception that others have of his weakness, that that won't help him. Well, I think you're right, Chris.
I think he needs to try to see in himself the way she sees him. Now, my question would be, have you dated other people and did they say similar things? Have you heard this before from other people? If it is, that's a pretty good sign that there's something about the way you relate to that person and to persons in general that you need to learn how to change that thing because all of us are influenced by our background and we have patterns of responding and communicating. But it doesn't mean we have to keep those patterns.
If they're destructive, we can learn to change those patterns. But I would just emphasize this thing of trying to learn what you can about yourself through this experience. And pray for her that God will help her as she works through things and then give you wisdom and give you the ability if she indeed does break off the relationship. Give you the ability to learn from this and to be drawn closer to God. And it would be worthwhile going for counseling.
Just you yourself. Just say, here's where I am. Here's what's happened. Maybe also be true. This is not the first time it's happened and I just want to learn to correct something here that I think needs to be corrected because you can.
And having someone outside of yourself, like a counselor, could be very helpful. Hi, Gary. I was just wondering, I know that when you're unmarried, you're obviously supposed to not touch. And I was just wondering to know if your future spouse's love language is physical touch, how can you accomplish that without doing anything wrong? Obviously, there wouldn't be anything going wrong. But as a male, I know things could escalate really quickly if you're not careful.
So just curious. Thanks. Well, I think first of all, I would suggest a dating couple discuss the whole sexual issue and make sure you're on the same page. The caller's right. The Christian perspective is we do not have sexual relationships before marriage or outside of marriage. And he's also right in that one touch leads to another touch. And sometimes people find themselves engaged sexually when they never really intended to. So I'm glad that he's concerned about it. I'm glad he's asking that question.
Let me just say this. First of all, if you agree on the foundation that we are not going to move into something that's wrong, but that physical touch is a valid thing, I would say non-sexual touches, such things as arm around the shoulder, holding hands, kissing, embracing, those kind of touches, affirming touches, would communicate to her that you love her. But if you go too far and end up kind of pushing yourself on her sexually, it would be the worst thing you could possibly do to turn her off because she knows and you know and you've already agreed on it that we're not going to walk this road. We're going to ask God to help us not to do something that's wrong in our relationship. But I wouldn't draw back from giving her affirming touches, healthy affirming touches, just because you fear that you might get pulled into something that would be more than what you really want to do.
So there's a balance there. And in fact, you can ask her, you know, what are the kind of touches that would be meaningful to you? And let that be the guide. And you follow her guide in terms of what would be meaningful to her. And because the two of you have agreed where we're not going, and that's why it's so important to have that discussion, then both of you are working toward the same goal, and that is not to violate the scriptures in this area. It's really good because the enemy can use either extreme, you know, this intense fear to hold back, well, I'm not going to touch her at all, and then that will communicate, you know, that you don't love her, you don't care about her, or it could be more. So the enemy wants to use anything he can to keep us disconnected from each other, don't you think? Absolutely.
Absolutely, Chris. If the enemy can get us to do something that we know is wrong, then he's won that battle, that particular battle, and he's always against us. And that's why daily we ought to pray, Lord, protect me from the enemy. Keep my heart, keep my mind, keep my decisions, my actions, you know, guard me and guide me so that I can walk in openness and honesty with you, Lord, because that's the most important thing in life, is our relationship with God and being open and honest with God and letting him help us live a Christ-like life.
It's for our good, and if marriage is his plan for us, then fine. We're going to move toward that, but in the process, we're going to seek to follow the guidelines that he's laid out for us. Our final call for you today is not really a question, Gary, but I wanted you to hear this. Here we go. Hi, Gary.
I'm really calling to order books, but since I'm on the line, the books I'm ordering is for people that I know. Instead of giving them some flowers, I'm giving building relationship, a loving spouse when you're thinking about walking away, and the five love language. I love this show. Thank you. Have a blessed day. Bye-bye. Isn't that great?
Well, Chris, I'd like to have more calls like that, Chris. She has read those books, and so she knows who to give them to. I think if all of us thought in terms of that when we're reading a book is not only what can I learn from this book, but who in my circle of friends and family might really profit from reading a book. We would see giving books as a way of ministry in the lives of other people, and it will have a far greater impact long-term than some of the more common gifts that we give like chocolates and flowers, both of which fade away. Or greeting cards. Greeting cards are great.
I don't want to say anything bad about greeting cards because there's some really, really good ones out there, but the cost of them have risen so much that it's almost like you could buy a book for what you buy, a greeting card, and write a note in the front of it as long as you had to be careful because if there's something about the subject matter of the book that the person feels like you're violating and preaching to them, like giving the book, you don't want to do that, right? Right. That's right. If a book has helped you, the way you give it is to say, you know, I read this book. It was so helpful to me and my husband or me and my wife or just me individually. I don't know. I just thought maybe you might like to read it. So read it and tell me what you think about it. So that kind of leaves an openness to discuss it.
I like that. I don't think I've ever asked you this. We've got a minute before we have to play the music, Steve's music. Was there anything like that early in your marriage or your ministry, a book that just made a big impression on you and you thought, boy, I've got to get this and I've got to keep it and give it to other people?
There was not, Chris. I wish that some people had given me a book in those early years. I don't know if they had books on marriage back in the dark ages when I got married, but I never had one. Maybe that's why I write books, is because I'm so convinced of how they can help people.
I've seen it happen and I wish someone had put a book in my hand that would have helped me. Well, if you want to find out about our featured resource, which is Love is a Choice, 28 extraordinary stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in action, you can just go to buildingrelationships.us and find out more about that there. Maybe that will be something that you can encourage someone with or call us with any question or comment that you have about relationships. 1-866-424-GARY. We'd love to hear from you today.
1-866-424-GARY. And next week, we begin a two-week series on sex and marriage. You will not want to miss. We hope you'll join us then. A big thank you today to our production team, 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.
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