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Dear Gary | May

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
May 27, 2023 1:00 am

Dear Gary | May

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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May 27, 2023 1:00 am

Marriage struggles. Parenting problems. Singles issues. It’s all up for discussion on this Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Once a month we open the lines for your questions for this trusted author of the New York Times Bestseller, the Five Love Languages. The problems discussed may help you with a struggle you’re facing. Don’t miss the questions and answers right now on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. 

Featured resource: The 5 Love Languages Military Edition: The Secret to Love That Lasts

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Do you think that marriage will alleviate some of the temptation? Most recently, I had an affair. Am I now living in sin?

Do I need to divorce? I'm sorry, but the free time's got to do with the kid, so you will be sorry. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today it's our May Dear Gary broadcast as we feature your questions to counselor, author, pastor, and host of this program. That's right, Dr. Gary Chapman is in the house and ready for your questions and comments. We have a number for you to call if you want to ask Dr. Chapman a question on a future Dear Gary.

It's 866-424-GARY. And we have a featured resource at our website, "The 5 Love Languages" military edition, the secret to love that lasts. Just go to to find out more. Gary, with Memorial Day coming up tomorrow and remembering the sacrifices of those who have served our country, this is a good time, I think, to highlight the sacrifices that the families of those who serve in the military are making.

Well, I think you're right, Chris. I remember in the Second World War, my dad was in the military. He was in the Navy. And I remember, you know, Mom and me and my sister, you know, Dad would write a letter. We'd get letters periodically.

Mom would read them to us. But, you know, just that whole sense that Dad is away in the war, you know, it does something to the family who stays home. And obviously there's always that concern for their safety. Yeah, I think, you know, during this time, all of us, hopefully as a nation, have deep appreciation for those men and women who are serving in the military. And how to express love between husband and wife when you are deployed, you know, when you have that much space between you and the one that you love and, you know, you're concerned and you're worried. But at the same time, there are ways to bridge the gap of miles, thousands of miles sometimes, between you. Yeah, and that's one of the things we deal with in our resource, you know, the military edition of "The 5 Love Languages" .

And I interviewed, literally, scores and scores of military couples to get ideas on this. For example, you would think that physical touch would be impossible if they're half a world away. How do you speak that love language? Well, one lady said, well, I knew his love language was physical touch, so when he was away, I traced my hand on a sheet of paper. I mailed it to him with a note that said, put your hand on my hand, I want to hold your hand. And later he said to me when he came back, he said, Gary, every time I put my hand on that paper, I felt her. It's not literal touch, it's emotional touch, but that's really what we're talking about.

Another lady said, well, I knew my husband's language was physical touch, so when I had my hair cut, I put some of my hair in an envelope, mailed it to him and said, you can't touch me, but you can touch my hair. So, yeah, we got some great ideas on all five of the love languages and how to express them when you're deployed. So, I'm really excited about this resource. I think it's going to help a lot of military couples stay emotionally connected while they're deployed. If you go to, it's "The 5 Love Languages" military edition.

You can find out more right there, All right, here's our first caller for you, Dr. Chapman, a single listener with a struggle. Hi, Gary.

I really love the Dear Gary episodes, so I guess it's my turn now. I'm 36 years old and have never been in any serious relationship. I've always been intimidated by marriage and girls, and I'm still a virgin. In the last several years, I've really embraced First Corinthians 7 and have been very active in ministry as a single Christian. Recently, though, sexual temptation has been a real struggle, and I'm considering pursuing marriage as the prescription, as Paul mentions in that chapter. I really love my singleness and the ability to serve that it affords.

Do you think that marriage will alleviate some of the temptation? And do you think that this is an appropriate reason to pursue marriage, considering my relatively blessed life as a single Christian? Thank you for your wisdom and your experience dealing with these kinds of questions.

Thank you. Well, it's encouraging to know that the caller is really seeking to follow God and serve God at the age of 36 as a single. That's God's intention for all of us, married or single, that he is number one in our lives. But his question is a very serious question and a very good question that I think many singles ask if they were in that situation. We are made male and female, and we have sexual desires for each other. And these are normal.

These are God-given. A part of his question is, will this solve my problem if I get married with the whole sexual area? And I would say if it's a healthy sexual relationship within marriage, yes, in a sense, it will solve that problem for you. But let me just remind the caller and our listeners that just as we have to grow together in marriage intellectually, emotionally, socially, we also have to grow together sexually. It takes time to learn how to pleasure each other sexually in the context of marriage.

Don't think that it will automatically, everything will be wonderful. But yes, if we have open communication, we love each other, we're committed to each other's well-being, then the sexual part of the marriage is absolutely incredibly wonderful. So is it the only reason for getting married?

No, I don't think so. I think there should be a genuine love for the other person, and I don't mean that super, super high of what we normally call falling in love, but I mean a deep sense that this is a person with whom I would like to spend the rest of my life. Their commitment to Christ, some things about them, their personality, their goals in life, I just think we'd make a wonderful team. And when you have that sense and realize that marriage has to do with the attitude of service, you're in that relationship to enrich her life. She's in that relationship to enrich your life. And when couples have that attitude as they enter into marriage, then it's just a matter of discovering how they can best enrich each other's lives and encourage each of them to reach God's purposes for their lives. So listen, marriage is ordained of God, and most people are going to get married. And I think if we understand the principles of marriage and we grow together, marriage is tremendously satisfying.

I think we could take the whole program and just talk about this question, because I'm so enamored with his heart. And he sounds really content, except for this one area, and I just want to piggyback on what you just said. Is it, you know, if I am the spouse of this person and he's looking for a spouse, do I feel like he's not looking for a spouse, he's looking for his problem to be solved?

So I can feel less. And that's what you just addressed there. But I want to emphasize that you don't go into marriage because flip it around, you know, because I need somebody to support me and to provide for me. It's like you don't want to lean too much on the you've got to fix my sexual need, because then things can get out of off kilter pretty quickly. Does that make sense? I think you're right.

I think you're right, Chris. And in our culture, especially, that temptation is there, you know, that I get married, as a Christian, I'm going to get married, I'm going to abstain from sex before marriage, then I'll get married, then this will take care of that part of my life. But that's only a part of life. And as I say, that alone is not a reason to get married.

There ought to be other things in there. You realize that we can help each other accomplish greater things together than simply what I'm doing by myself. The scriptures say two are better than one.

And there are a lot of reasons for that. God also said, in the beginning, it's not good for a man to be alone. So he created and instituted marriage. So we're meant for each other.

But yeah, I think you're right, Chris. The attitude of a successful marriage is not, I'm counting on you to meet my needs. No, the attitude is, I want to learn how I can help you become the person you believe God wants you to become. And if we both have that attitude, you don't have to worry about your needs being met, they will be met. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Thanks for joining us for our Dear Gary broadcast for May. If you go to, you'll see our featured resource, "The 5 Love Languages" Military Edition, The Secret to Love That Lasts.

Just go to Gary wants you to hear this question. I don't think we've ever had a call from someone asking for a quote from you. Here's our next caller.

Hi, Gary. I want to thank you for "The 5 Love Languages" . I am definitely using it to get a better understanding and appreciation of my team going on adult son, while we all transition into our new roles. My husband and I are getting divorced, and I thank you so much for having books that focus on the children.

They have their own pains and hurts and considerations. So anyway, I was wondering when I was at your seminar here, you had mentioned something over this seminary door, a quote or something like that. And I would love to get that quote because I just would like to just hand it out. We have a bigger reason and calling and a blessing that God has put upon our lives than just the nine to five, because it was something, you know, to the effect of be the change that you're looking for. And that struck me so impactfully because that's my mission. And also the one you said about anger and what Christ was saying, use your anger for good. So thank you so much.

Peace to you. Chris, I think the quote that she is referring to is something that I read on the University of Virginia campus. It was not a seminary campus.

Cabell Auditorium there, there's a side door that goes into that building. And etched in stone above that door are these words. You are here to enrich the world and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.

And I just stood there when I read it and thought, man, what if every university in the country had that as a theme? You are here to enrich the world and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. Because really it echoes the truth of Scripture. Jesus said about himself, the Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve and then to give his life a ransom for others.

And he's our model. You know, the Christian life is not a matter of being served. It's a matter of how can I enrich the lives of the people that I encounter today? And when you have that attitude, you will find ways to enrich the lives of others. And as Christians, of course, we do that in the name of Jesus. We're not just taking credit for ourselves and how wonderful we are, but that God has touched us, forgiven us, changed our attitude in life, and now we are living as his representatives in today's world. Man, if every Christian had that perspective, I think, Chris, it would make a tremendous impact.

Not only in our country, but around the world. You are here to enrich the world and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. OK, can I ask you to go back and just address what she didn't ask a question at the beginning, but she said she's thankful for "The 5 Love Languages" with her teenager as they transition from being married and going through a divorce. Is there anything you could add to what she talked about there and the struggle of leading a teenager through a breakup in the marriage?

Yeah, I think, Chris, this is a tremendous need in our culture. Let's face it, the divorce rate continues to rise in our country, and it detrimentally affects the children who are involved. I mean, mom and dad are the most important people in that child's life, whether they're a young child or whether they're a teenager. And with the people whom they are most connected with emotionally, separate from each other, it fractures their relationship with those children. And the best thing they can do if they're going to divorce, the best thing they can do is to really know the love language of each of their children, and both of them seek desperately to communicate love in that language for that child so that the child knows that the fact that the parents are making this choice doesn't mean that they don't love the children. Because I can tell you, there are many children who grow up feeling cut off from their parents because after the divorce, one of them at least had little to do with them, and they just felt like they were deserted by the mom or by the dad. And so, yeah, I think her concern and her application of "The 5 Love Languages" to her teenage son in the midst of the parental divorce is extremely important in trying to meet the desperate need for love that the teenager has. And if you want to find more ways to strengthen your relationship as a parent or a spouse, a single, just go to For anonymity's sake, I'm going to read this next caller's question to you. Hi, Gary. I've heard about "The 5 Love Languages" for a long time.

I'm finally reading the book. I've been married for five years. My husband and I are both in our late 20s. We have two children.

We're on the same page with household chores and keeping the house running smoothly. However, and there's always a however, however, my husband has zero interest in sex. Our intimacy in marriage lacks severely.

He can go six months or more, no problem without intimacy. I'm hurt by this. It's painful. I long for that intimacy and closeness with my husband. He's a godly man. He loves God.

He loves me and our children. He swears he's not cheating or looking at porn. He says he's attracted to me, but he still doesn't want intimacy.

Have you heard of this before? It's been five years in the marriage. I feel rejected in many ways. He loves me and is super invested in our family in every other way. But this area has hurt deeply our marriage.

Do you have any recommendations? Well, Chris, this is a sad call because sexual intimacy in marriage is an important part of marriage. It's not everything in marriage to be sure, but it's an important part of marriage.

When you find yourself married to someone who seemingly has no interest or very little interest in sexual intimacy, you're right to be raising questions about it. The two things that she brought up are the first things that normally come to mind. Are they involved with someone else?

Are they on porn? Those were logical questions for her to ask. Of course, her husband said no to either one of those, that he's not involved in either of those. I cannot answer that question without really knowing what's going on in that husband. It could be a physical problem, and that's why my suggestion would be that she request of him that he see a medical doctor who has insights into this area to find out what might be going on. Is there a physical problem here?

Because if there is, there are things that can be done to correct that without going into the details of that. That would be my first suggestion to her. I don't think she should just simply accept things as they are without really trying to find out what is going on.

So I admire her for even asking the question. I think she should continue to wrestle with this, but wrestling with him, that is, talking with him about it and encouraging him. If he's not involved with someone else and he's not involved in pornography, then there is a good chance that there's a physical problem here. And I think he really, if he really loves her, then he should be motivated to find out what's going on here. Because this is not normal in the life of a man who's married and only been married five years. We had two programs, the first two programs in May were about marriage and sex, and Shanti Feldhahn and Dr. Seitzma talked about the different levels. You know, one spouse usually needs more sexual intimacy than the other.

That's normal. As you said, this seems like there's something off there, and I wonder if that resource or just seeing a counselor where you sit down and you talk this through with someone else. Because it sounds like he's a great guy.

He's doing everything. He's really committed to the family. It's just this area where she's struggling with him, and maybe he's struggling and she doesn't know it.

Yeah, and I think you're right, Chris. I think seeing a counselor might be the first step because a counselor may well refer him. If there's any sense, if there's a medical problem, the counselor may well refer him to a medical doctor. But yes, they need to be talking to somebody other than just the two of them. They need to be discussing, and obviously they have already, but they need someone outside the two of them who can hear each of them. And he can come to hear her struggle and her pain because of his lack of interest in this area. So it's certainly something I think there's an answer to.

It's a matter of finding out what the source of the problem is. Well, as you're listening today, maybe you've been through this in your own marriage, and I'm going to give you the phone number if you want to respond and say, here's what happened to us. It might encourage somebody on a future Dear Gary broadcast. 866-424-GARY is our number, 1-866-424-GARY. You can just leave your story or your question, your comment for Dr. Chapman right there. We love hearing your response about this program. Sometimes a caller will respond to a question or answer here, and that's what you're about to hear right now.

Hi, Gary. I was just listening to the call about the grandparent who had been separated from their grandchild and is struggling with their adult child about that. I would just say it's very simple.

It's not easy. What we received from Christ was unconditional love. The grandparent is called to love their child unconditionally, even if they disagree with their decisions. So try to be that presence of unconditional love in your child's life and in your grandchild's life.

It will probably take a minute, but that's what we received. That's what we have to offer. When you give that, it's amazing what will happen. Thank you, and have a blessed day.

I appreciate that call, Chris, because she's going back to the fundamentals that Jesus taught. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. It couldn't be worse than that. There's a reason why adult children will not allow their children to see their grandparents.

I don't know what the story was behind the original call on that issue. Loving the people who are hurting you deeply is the biblical pattern. It's basically saying in your own heart, and even to the adult child, I'm hurting.

It's one of the most painful things I've had to experience. I just want you to know I love you. You're my son.

You're my daughter. I love you. I will always love you. If you know their love language, you reach out over an extended period of time expressing love to them in their love language. Love tends to stimulate love.

The Bible says we love God because he first loved us. If we love them in spite of the way that they're treating us, we're having the greatest influence on them, and that's a positive influence. We can't guarantee that they will begin to reciprocate and warm up and eventually allow you to see the grandchildren. I don't know what the issues are. Those issues have to be dealt with.

I do think that's the most powerful thing we can do to have a positive influence upon someone who is displeasing us by their behavior. All right. What will Gary say to this next question about marriage, divorce, and remarriage?

Hi, Gary. I divorced my first husband and left him and married my second husband. My question is, am I now living in sin? Do I need to divorce my second husband?

Thank you. Chris, that's a very pointed question. I don't think simply divorcing a second husband is the answer here. Obviously, the ideal is that we marry for life, and we continue to work on that marriage.

That's the pattern. Jesus once said to the question, when they said, why did Moses allow us to divorce? He said, because of the hardness of your heart. Which, typically, somebody has a hard heart that brings people to the point of divorce. But he said, that was never God's intention. That's not God's ideal.

But we don't correct something by doing another wrong. So I would say, if you're in a second marriage, then seek God's face on how you can be the Christian partner to your husband or wife. In this case, the husband.

And seek patterns of growth. Share books together. Go to marriage conferences together. Attend a class at your church on marriage, because the answer is not running the second time. You've made a commitment the second time.

And so the answer is, where you are now, let's make it what God intended marriage to be. It sounds like there's some conviction that she's having. There may be some guilt, accusation. You know, maybe that she's listening to from the enemy. And I'm hoping that your words to her will set her free to invest where she is, like you just said. Invest in this marriage, in this relationship. And as much as she can, you know, allow God to forgive her and live in that forgiveness, right?

Yeah, absolutely, Chris. You know, listen, all of us have sinned somewhere along the line. You know what Jesus said to the woman who'd been married, what, four times? And the man she was now living with was not her husband.

And Jesus forgave her and said, go and sin no more. We are where we are. We can't change our history, but we can seek to make the present and the future more God-honoring. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Find out more online at, where you'll find simple ways to strengthen your relationships. You can take a free assessment to discover your love language right there. Go to You'll also see our featured resource, "The 5 Love Languages" Military Edition, The Secret to Love That Lasts.

Find out more at Gary, you can hear it in his voice, regret, guilt. He's desperate. Listen to our next caller.

Hi, Gary. I've been married for 10 years. Most recently, I had an affair. It was a huge mistake, and I recognize that now, and I'm doing everything I can to fix it. And I'm wondering how I can institute these five love languages now in this trying time where trust is being eroded and everything is a struggle. I'm really lost, but I want to fight for this, and I think part of that can be through this.

Thank you. Well, let me say, first of all, there is life after an affair. If there's genuine repentance that is turning away from the affair, totally.

Genuine repentance, genuine regret, and apologizing to your spouse, and if the spouse is willing to forgive. And keep in mind, forgiveness is not a feeling. Forgiveness is a choice. I'm choosing to remove the barrier. I'm choosing to pardon you for what you did. You still are hurt. You can still have anger and all of that, but you're making a choice.

Now, that seems to be where you are now. It seems that you have broken it off. It seems that your wife has forgiven you.

Now, I would say, first and foremost, find a Christian counselor and begin counseling, if you've not already done this. Because forgiveness does not rebuild trust. Trust is rebuilt over a period of time as you are trustworthy. And a counselor can help you work through her emotions, through your emotions, your struggle, in rebuilding the relationship. One of the things I would suggest in terms of trust is that you say to her, honey, you know, I know I've hurt you deeply.

I don't ever want to do that again. Listen, my computer is yours anytime you want to look at it. My phone is yours anytime you want to look at it.

If I tell you that I'm going fishing with a friend, if you want to call my friend's wife and ask, you know, have they gone fishing, honey, that's fine with me. I understand any way you want to check up on what I say to you because I'm through with deceit. I'm committed to you. I know I've hurt you deeply.

I want to demonstrate to you that I can be trusted. So you take that approach, and in time, she will come to trust you. But I do think having a counselor who can help both of you hear each other and process the emotions that are involved is the best pathway to healing. What I hear most often from people who get into affairs in the marriage from one side or the other, but mainly when it's the man, it's, I've said I'm sorry. Why do you keep bringing this back up and being able to listen?

How are you feeling today about this? And really wanting to know, first of all, and then really listening to the pain that's deep down inside. Absolutely, Chris, because a simple I'm sorry doesn't take care of the problem. It doesn't remove the hurt. It doesn't remove the pain. But the more you're willing to listen to their expression of the pain and the hurt, the more you begin to grieve with them or how deeply you have hurt them. Listen, few things in life hurt a person, a married person, more than the spouse being unfaithful sexually.

I mean, it's like a dagger in the heart. So don't expect there to be a quick recovery emotionally. It's going to take time for that person to work through that pain.

And that's why, again, counseling can be a great help in that process. Any timeline that you can give, though? Is it six months? Is it six years? You're saying there's hope, right? Yeah, there is absolutely hope. No question about that, Chris. And there's no timeline you can put on it.

You know, whether it's six months or I don't think it'll be six years, but whether it's six months or nine months or a year, there can be healing if both of you really are committed to rebuilding what has been destroyed. That's Dr. Gary Chapman. And this is our Dear Gary broadcast for the month of May. Here's a comment from a dad with some regrets, and he wants other dads to hear his advice.

Hi, Gary. Thanks for your ministry over the years. I heard somebody talking about a father who worked too much and then did extracurricular activities and missed time with his kids growing up. I just want to give you the warning.

It's too late for me, but I'm just warning you. If you're that fat father, stop. You've got to take off the extracurricular activities and spend it with your kids. If you have a job you've got to work a lot, I'm sorry, but the free time has got to be with the kids or you will be sorry. Well, now you've heard it, Chris, from the horse's mouth, as they used to say, from a man who's been there and who did not spend time with his children. And he's looking back with regret. So I hope fathers who are listening hear the advice of this man who's speaking out of his own experience.

It's so true. What can be more important than having a positive impact on your children? What can be more painful than to realize that, yes, you provided for them financially, but you never got to know them. You never had a relationship with them that was meaningful to them and to you. And they don't have memories of experiences with you and conversations with you.

So we're robbing them of a lot of the things that are going to help them succeed in life. And so I hope the fathers are hearing that, you know, he's not he's not condemning. He's just reaching out to say, don't do what I did. And I hope that fathers will hear that message.

Yes. Well, I want to read one more before you take a break here, Gary. And this is from a wife who has a husband that she considers stuck. She says this month will be married 35 years. We were equally yoked when we first got married and then 18 months in, I got saved. So she became a Christian and she says, I waited 10 long years before he became a Christian and then nine more before he started to read the Bible. He has suffered from anxiety for many years, and that's been difficult for both of us. And then she talks about his struggle of of going to church and getting connected. Since we're at this new church, his anxiety is worse.

It's like pre-saved days at 59. He's been healthy until back to back hospital scares and infections, things like that. But please pray with me that God will continue to use the messages, you know, radio messages in order to draw him in. He has no man in his life to come alongside him. And we've been to several places, meaning churches where I feel like men have just missed the opportunity to reach out to newcomers. So what would you say to a wife who sees her husband as stuck and disconnected from others in one place?

Here she says, when the service is over, he's out the door. You know, Chris, unfortunately, there are a lot of men in that same category. They don't have a personal friend or a group of friends that they meet with regularly. That's why small groups of men is so important to be a part of a small group like that. You know, can she make it happen?

No. His personality may be that he's more of a loner just by nature. He's never learned how to have conversations with other people. But you know, in most cities of any size, there is somewhere a men's group in that city connected to a church, or sometimes not connected to a church, but Christian men who get together and who share ideas and feelings and so forth. I would say if she could begin to ask around, you know, maybe ask staff members of the church where they're attending now, is there a men's group somewhere that my husband could get involved in? Or ask her friends, her girlfriends, you know, is your husband involved in a Christian men's group anywhere in the city? Once she can locate that, then she can encourage him to be a part of it.

And many times, if she's talking to a girlfriend and her husband's in a really good group, she will not only recommend it, but she'll say, hey, my husband would be glad to invite him, come by and pick him up or take him or whatever, you know. So I guess what I'm saying is reach out to the broader community around you, your own personal friends, wives of other, you know, other wives that you may have a relationship with, or staff members of churches in the community. Because it's okay if you're happy with the church where you are, but it's not a small group there. It's okay to go to a small group in some other church. So what I'm saying is don't give up.

Don't give up. He needs the input that he could get by being a part of a group of men where they're discussing real life and real ideas. And typically those groups are focusing on a Bible study or they're focusing on some book on the husband's role. There's just a lot of help available in that area. One of the books I'd recommend is my book on "The 5 Love Languages" men's edition, which just gets in his mind, you know, a clear picture of how men are to be relating to their wives in terms of the love languages.

So anything along those lines I think would be a step in the right direction. I love how much she cares about him and how she says that he just feels stuck to me. He does not have a vision for what might happen in his own life if he were more connected with other men. And I find that sometimes that happens when you just come together with other guys who have the same kinds of interests or maybe experiences in the background. I had a friend who said to me that it wasn't until her dad met with a friend that she had, an older gentleman who had been in World War Two. It wasn't until they got together and started talking that her dad opened up spiritually and actually became a Christian because of that relationship that he had with a fellow who had been in the same place in World War Two that he had.

And he hadn't found anybody to talk about it. So do you agree with that, that just finding somebody else who has the same kinds of backgrounds or interests helps? Yeah, I think so, Chris. And typically, if a person has an interest, either a background or an interest, they will find others who are interested in the same thing.

And that can be a starting point for a relationship. Thanks for listening to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. It's our Dear Gary broadcast for May featuring your calls. If you have a question you'd like Dr. Chapman to address, call and leave a message on our listener line. We can't call you back, but if you'll leave your question, we'll try to address it here on the program. Just call us at 1-866-424-GARY. Our featured resource at is "The 5 Love Languages" Military Edition, The Secret to Love That Lasts.

Dr. Chapman wrote it with Jocelyn Green. Just go to to find out more. We've talked a lot about verbal abuse in marriage here on Building Relationships. Here's a wife who struggles with the ups and downs of her husband's moods. Hello, Gary.

I am married for, it'll be five years this year, and I have two children. And he calls me very obscene names, things that are not true, and tells me that I'm worthless and other things, but then he acts like it never happened. And when he's done feeling upset, or however he's feeling, and then decides that he's happy and in a good mood, he just acts like it never happened. And it's this constant cycle of going between, if I try to talk to him about things that he said that have really hurt me, he tells me he doesn't care, and to go talk to someone who does care. This really hurts me because I've never had him be like this to me before. He used to be very loving and very kind.

And now I feel like he's someone I don't recommend. I don't know what to do. He's threatened to leave me. He's threatened to divorce me. He refuses to work, so I'm the only one working.

I just really need some direction. I feel very alone. Thank you. Well, I feel a lot of empathy for this caller, Chris. You can sense the pain inside, and this should never be accepted as a way of life. I think what I would suggest to her is that she say to him something like this, I don't know how you really feel about me and the children. I know you've threatened to divorce me, to leave me, but I can't go on the way things are. And I am going for counseling. I've got to have somebody who can help me process my hurt and my pain. I would love for you to go with me, and maybe we could find some answers to what's going on in our marriage. But even if you don't, I'm going to go for counseling. What that does, it says to him that she's hurting deeply, that she desperately needs help, and that consequently she's going for help. Now, he may initially say, I'm not going to a counselor, but once she tells him eventually the date, the time, the place, the person that she's going to see for counseling, he may be in a different place, and he may be willing to go. But even if he doesn't go, you do need someone with whom you can share the hurt, the pain, the experiences that you're having, who can walk with you through this journey.

He may decide to divorce you, because you can't make a person not divorce you, not leave you. But even then, you need someone who knows something about the background and what has happened, who can walk with you through that. So that would be my suggestion. It will not go away with the passing of time. This pattern that you've described is not going to just go away someday. It has to be dealt with. There's help. I mean, he doesn't have to live like that. There's help. If he would be willing to go for help himself with a Christian counselor, he can get help on the way he's responding to life. But you can't make him do that either. But you can take a step to get help for yourself.

Yes. You know, it sounds similar to what people have talked about with an alcoholic spouse. You don't know what's going to happen from one or kids who will say, you know, my dad was an alcoholic. I didn't know if you'd be loving or in a rage or those who are struggling with some kind of mental struggle, bipolar or other things. And you can't diagnose.

And I certainly wouldn't either here. All we can do is say, boy, this is serious. And you hear the break in her voice there right at the end of the question and how vulnerable she feels and how much support she needs. I'm hoping that she has somebody near her in her church or her family who is coming alongside her that she has because she sounds like she just feels all alone.

I think you're right, Chris. And she may have held back from sharing this with her family, you know, or even her friends, because she doesn't want to admit that this is going on. But we can't carry our load all by ourselves. We need God and we need God's people who can walk with us and help us as we walk through this kind of situation. Well, I know there are people who are listening who pray for those who call and add her, even though you don't know her name. God knows her name. Add her to your list. And we have one final call that's not really a question, but it's an observation to end our program and a compliment to this gentleman's wife.

Here we go. Hi, Gary. I just want to take a minute and talk about what time and distance can do. How the hard times, they can seem big and up front and very pleasant, but you get past a few years and you learn to communicate a little better. My wife and I have only been together 10 years now, but it's amazing what God can do in making two people who love each other, love each other through him, with him and for him. God has changed my life in so many ways through this woman and he gets the credit and she'd tell you it was me that changed her. But sometimes it takes just that time and you have to keep God on the forefront.

But I thank God for my Peggy every day. Well, you know, you have to rejoice when you hear a story like that, Chris. When it's been hard and you turn to God and you ask him to help you understand yourself better and then understand the other person better and to learn how to work together as a team and you see God change you, you know, your attitudes, your behavior, and then you see God begin to change the other person and you come to the place where you can really rest in the love of each other. I mean, it's wonderful. That's what life was intended to be. Marriage was never designed of God to make us miserable.

It was designed of God because we need each other. And when we learn how to take the attitude of Christ and each of us reach out in his power, not just our power, in his power to love each other in a meaningful way, to help each other process the hard times in life, to walk together step by step through whatever comes our way. This is when marriage becomes so satisfying. So I'm glad he took time to call and share that with us and to express his love for his Peggy's. I hope that more husbands can come to the place where they would be saying the same thing. God can change marriages, Chris. That's why we have this program. That's why we write books on marriage.

It's because God can give us what we long to have in a marriage, which is a loving, supportive, caring relationship with our spouse. Well, I hope Peggy got to hear that. And next month we're going to have Peggy call in here. You do that, Peggy.

866-424-GARY. And I love the ending here with the truth that a great marriage or a good marriage or if you're single, a fulfilling life is not in the absence of conflict or the absence of trouble or struggle in your life. It's in the middle of that as you open your heart to what God is doing in you and then through you to other people. I hope that encourages you today. Thank you for listening. If you go to the Web site, you'll see our featured resource. Dr. Chapman and Jocelyn Green, "The 5 Love Languages" military edition, the secret to love that last. Just go to Building Relationships that you asked to find out. And next week, what happens when you mix intentionality with the power of the gospel in marriage? Don't miss that conversation in one week. A big thank you to our production team. Steve Wick and Janice backing Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-27 04:49:40 / 2023-05-27 05:07:05 / 17

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