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Dear Gary | November

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
November 25, 2023 1:00 am

Dear Gary | November

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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November 25, 2023 1:00 am

Have a relational struggle? Get some help on this Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. It’s our post-Thanksgiving edition of Dear Gary with calls from listeners about marriage problems, singles issues, and more. He’ll tackle any question—from in-laws to the love languages. Need some encouragement? Don’t miss the November “Dear Gary” Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Featured resource: A Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman

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The online dating thing is a waste of time. A lot of us have problems loving ourselves.

How does a parent set boundaries with a toxic adult child? I'm in a marriage and I see absolutely no hope whatsoever. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, our post-Thanksgiving Dear Gary broadcast. Your questions, feedback, and marriage issues, as well as issues singles are facing.

Hits all straight ahead on Moody Radio. Here's our number if you want to ask a question on a future broadcast. 1-866-424-GARY. We would love to hear your voice on a program in the future. We'll be taking questions live today, but you may get an answer on an upcoming Dear Gary conversation. Let's do it again.

1-866-424-GARY. Gary, we've had conversations in the past about this, but something happens inside when you get to a place of giving thanks, and it's not denying reality. You know, bad things might be happening, but when you choose to be thankful in the middle of some tough circumstances, tell me what you think about that.

What happens? Well, you know, Chris, the passage says, in everything give thanks. It doesn't say for everything. Right. You know, we don't thank God for evil that people do to us or to other people, but in the midst of every situation, no matter how difficult it is, there is something for which we can give thanks. And so I think if we have that concept and we move then in our mind toward assessing the situation and realizing, yes, this is painful, it's hard, it's unfair, or whatever else we feel, and there's usually a whole handful of things you can thank God for in the midst of a very difficult time.

Yes, exactly. Well, our featured resource today is a story that you and I wrote together, Gary, several years ago, a novella titled A Marriage Carol. We featured it here before.

You can see a link at buildingrelationships.us. I love the cover. It's just this most festive red cover. But the story is about a couple who basically they've given up on their marriage. They're waiting until after Christmas to tell the kids about their decision. And it just brings up, this can be, you know, all the festive Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's, all the festive times we have. This can be a really hard time for marriages, can it?

Well, it can, Chris. And I really like this book because I think it speaks to couples who are struggling. And, you know, they're trying to do the best thing, not bringing up at Christmas and hurt the kids and all that. But it's also a story of redemption, you know, and what God can do in a marriage. And it reminded me, this book parallels another book that I wrote called One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. But this story that is shared in this book, I think couples who are even having a good marriage are going to find this story to be very, very exciting. Well, if you go to buildingrelationships.us, you can see it right there.

A marriage, Carol, it's Gary, Chris and Charles Dickens. Again, buildingrelationships.us. All right, let's go to the phones.

I believe this is our very first call from Spain that we've ever taken on the program. Listen to this. Hi, Gary. I'm a Catholic priest and I would like to know if you have discovered five ways of saying thanks.

Thank you so much. Well, that's an interesting question, Chris. I have to say I haven't thought along those lines of five languages of giving thanks. But there is a sense, I'm just thinking out loud now, there is a sense in which "The 5 Love Languages" are expressions of thanksgiving. I mean, words, you can express thanksgiving in words, you can express thanksgiving in gifts. You know, if someone's done something for you, you want to communicate, you know, I'm really grateful for what you've done and I'm sending you a card or whatever, you know. Quality time, I think would be, certainly be a way of saying thanks for someone who particularly needs quality time. And acts of service, doing something for someone as an act of thanksgiving for what you've done for me.

I don't know, I'm just thinking out loud. And physical touch, too. Because so many times I've had a person just put their hand on my shoulder when I'm struggling and just that is like, wow, it sends a shiver through you almost. It's like a nerve that is touched there because you feel that support, you feel that presence of that other person.

Yeah, I certainly would agree with that. Especially when you can put your hand on their shoulder while you're verbally thanking them for something. And the first, you know, from Spain and a Catholic priest who called all the way from Spain to say that to you.

I just love that "The 5 Love Languages" has gotten that far into people's hearts. So thank you for your call, 866-424-GARY. If you want to ask a question, Dr. Chapman, like our next caller who says, I'm related to the famous evangelist and he wants to talk about love.

Hi Gary, this is Alan Moody and yes, I am related actually. I'm calling from Massachusetts and there's one thing, I love your books, it's my second favorite book in my entire library. And there's one point that I'd like to mention that hasn't been touched upon too much is the idea that a lot of us have problems with loving ourselves. And I've learned there are things that I can do for myself to demonstrate that love. I've always struggled with loving myself because of the ego aspect and all of that. But loving myself, I can.

Love is a verb. I can indeed love myself. Well, you know, Jesus said, love your neighbor as you love yourself. So if you don't love yourself, your neighbor doesn't get much.

So I think this is a good point. I think we are made in God's image and if we're Christians, we are children of God. So obviously we have been loved by God and if God, a holy God, loves us enough to make us his children, then surely we can love ourselves. And so it's not egotism, it's not pride, it's just doing positive things that are going to enrich your own life to the goal that you can later enrich other people's lives. So there is a positive part of loving yourself and so I'm glad this caller drew it to our attention again today. I think the place, especially in the church, that we run away from this is because we see evidence of people going overboard. You know, they make everything about themselves and they have the therapeutic deism that God is there in order to make me feel better.

And so we kind of skirt that because it's almost, we feel like it's the natural default. Of course you're going to love yourself, but a lot of people don't. A lot of people just have such bad upbringings. It could be something in the past that they keep demeaning themselves, they listen to the enemy rather than listening to what God says about them, right? Yes, and another thing they do, Chris, is often because they don't love themselves and things that have happened to them in the past, they turn to things like drugs and alcohol, which makes it worse. They make choices that are not loving themselves. They're actually hurting themselves and destroying themselves. So, you know, loving yourself is a positive thing.

It means you're going to do the best to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually. And I think the greatest thing that you can do to love yourself is to receive the forgiveness and the grace and the mercy that God has given to you through His Son. That is the most loving thing that He has done for us, and a lot of people have a hard time with that because they want to earn God's forgiveness. They want to do enough to get them to like Him, but He's already done that, right? Yeah, absolutely, Chris.

So accepting that is the greatest thing you can do for yourself, because until you do that and we come to accept God's love and what He did for us in Christ, then we want to love others, but we have to first accept His love for us. Our program is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and this is our Dear Gary broadcast for November. If you have a relationship question, call our number 1-866-424-GARY. This is not a counseling line. We can't call you back, but if you'll keep your question as brief as possible, we'll try to address the question here on the program.

Call 1-866-424-GARY. Our featured resource is the novella, A Marriage Carol. It's a story designed to rekindle love between a husband and wife. We've heard good feedback from readers through the years who've encountered that story.

You can find out more about it at buildingrelationships.us. Now, a mom with a question about boundaries. Here's our next caller.

Hi, Gary. My question is, how does a parent set distant boundaries with a toxic adult child? I'm having a really hard time trying to set boundaries that are lasting so that the behavior will change.

I still pray for him, but sometimes I'm afraid. Thank you. Well, Chris, she calls it a toxic adult child. We don't know exactly what all the problems are or what the lifestyle is or anything like that. But this is a very difficult thing for parents when they have an adult child who has made and is making very poor decisions that are destructive to him and sometimes also destructive to the parents. And she's asking, you know, how do we set boundaries? And sometimes it's physical boundaries. You know, it's what are we going to do if they're coming to our house intoxicated or whatever and doing things that are detrimental to us and to the house and that sort of thing. And then sometimes it's emotional barriers. Whenever your encounter with that adult child is detrimental to you and them and it's happened time after time, you know, do you set boundaries in terms of even physically interfacing?

Or do you say things like, could we agree on this, that before you come to the house, you will call me and let me see if I'm feeling, you know, if I have time. And if you are in a position that our encounter could be healthy. What we want to do desperately as parents for our adult children who are not living the lifestyle we wish they would live, we want them to be redeemed. We want them to come to know Christ.

We want them to have the best possible life. And we know that has to do with their spiritual relationships. So, you know, I wrote a book several years ago called How to Really Love Your Adult Child. And I wrote it with Dr. Ross Campbell, who was a Christian psychiatrist.

He's in heaven now. But that book I think you would find helpful because it will give you some ideas of how do we love, and sometimes boundaries is a part of that love, but how do we love an adult child who is not following a path that we wish they would be following? And can we just say that this is probably one of the hardest things to keep intention, you know, to live and love fully through, because we hear this from parents on this program and I hear it in others and books that have been written, you know, for folks that are struggling.

This is really hard, isn't it? Well, it is hard, Chris, because let's face it, when we have a child, we love that child. And we raise them through the years when they can't do things for themselves. We do all these things for them. And our hope is that they're going to grow up to be adults that will live responsible lives, that will come to know Christ, that will invest their life in doing positive things for God and for others.

And when that doesn't happen, it's a great disappointment. You know, it's very, very painful, because you've invested so much time and energy and life in raising them, and we want the best for them. So yeah, it's a very difficult thing. If you want to ask Dr. Chapman a question, we can't call you back, but we can play your question here on the program like we're doing today. 1-866-424-GARY. We'd love to hear from you.

Just leave your question, make it as brief as possible, and we might hear an answer down the road. 1-866-424-GARY. Our next call concerns a marriage that sounds like it is on the brink.

Hi, Gary. I'm in a marriage that I am so unhappy with and see absolutely no hope whatsoever. We are so different spiritually. He goes to church, and I believe just to pacify me, because there's no change whatsoever in his life, and he continues to use vile, filthy language, and every little thing bothers him, so it creates an atmosphere of continued stress, because he's always angry about something, and he's very negative.

And he overrides everything, every suggestion. I wanted to save money, and I had a savings before we got together, and he's gone through everything, and he makes decent money, and I don't, and we still don't have a savings account, and he's had my banking account down to as little as less than $5 before. I don't like anything about the relationship. I don't like him. I don't have a good relationship with him.

I'm not in love with him, and it's basically that he has some good skills around the house, and that's pretty much all there is to it, and I really don't know what to do. I'm tired, and I'm like a flower that's all dried up and hadn't been watered or had any sunshine. I'm exhausted. Anyway, I don't know what you would say about all that, but thank you for listening.

Bye-bye. Well, Chris, you know, I'm very empathetic when I hear stories like that, because when you've lived with pain for years and have seen no hope and no positive response, and the other person, you know, puts you down, and there's nothing in terms of love coming from them, it is extremely, extremely difficult. My suggestion would be for her and anyone in her situation, talk with a counselor. Your spouse won't go with you, most likely.

It's okay to offer that, but likely they won't go with you because you've already tried that. But I would say, go for counseling yourself, and let the counselor help you work through your pain and your hurt and all of that, because you don't want to simply just do something on your own when there's no one there to support you. So, there's a place for tough love, there's no question about that, but you need to have someone that's walking with you, who cares about you, who has worked with people in these situations before, and let them walk with you, let them help you decide what steps you might take, you know, even without hope, because sometimes I've said to people in my office, I can understand you have no hope, but I do have hope for you, because I've seen people in those very difficult situations. If they're willing to make some changes, things can be different.

But sharing where you are with a trained counselor, and I would say Christian counselor, I'd say Christian counselor, and let them walk with you and help you as you seek to decide what steps you can take that might have potential for the marriage, but if not, then what steps you take in tough love, and how do you do that. So, don't walk this road by yourself, I guess is what I'm saying. And I'm sure that the person who's listening, who's in her situation, or maybe if she's listening, so how long do we wait? So you say, don't listen to somebody on the radio give you permission to do one thing or another, or push you to do something.

Have that person with skin on, have that counselor or pastor that you can walk through this with. But I just want to go back to the pervasive nature of what she's talked about. Every part of that relationship, she said it, I feel like a dried up flower, no water, no sun.

That was just the perfect metaphor. But it's coming out in her body. She's feeling stress about this, and that's not good for her health. She also mentioned in the call that we didn't air, but a part of the sexual relationship that she's frustrated with as well with him. So every, and the financial, and he doesn't have words of affirmation. If you were talking to him, if you were talking to the husband of this dried up flower of a wife, what would you say to the husband?

Well, first I would want to hear his story, Chris, where he's coming from. And then I would want to obviously deal with the issues that she's describing in the relationship, and help him understand that there will never be a good marriage unless there's change in his behavior. And try to help him understand how he got to where he is, because he wasn't born that way. But things have probably happened in his life that have impacted him. But that's no excuse for the kind of behavior she's describing here. But many times, see, that kind of person will not go to a counselor, they won't go talk to anybody, because in their mind they don't have a problem, you're the problem.

And that's why it's so difficult for the other person. Well, again, that's the depth of the struggle that you're listening to, that we hear about from different callers and different life situations. If you want to respond to what you just heard or ask your question, 1-866-424-GARY, we love to hear from single listeners as well. So give us a call, and here comes our next caller.

Hi, Gary. I am an older single person. I really wish that on Moody they would speak more to people, singles, the predicament that we are in these days trying to meet quality, decent, significant others. I guess I'm just looking for advice and tips, and maybe you could suggest effective ways to do that. The online dating thing is just a waste of time.

It has never worked for me. I'd be so grateful if you would do a segment on that. Give us poor, lonely, single people some advice. Maybe give us a little bit more hope.

Okay, thank you very much. Well, I want to thank the caller for sharing that, because I fully am aware that there are literally thousands of single adults who are struggling with life and who would long to have a positive, loving marriage someday. And as the years go along, it seems to be less and less likely for them, and so there's a real struggle there.

I did write the book "The 5 Love Languages" for Singles, and I would certainly recommend that edition of "The 5 Love Languages" , because it will help you in terms of loving yourself and also loving people that you encounter. But it also will help you with siblings that you might have or dating partners that you might have in the future. In terms of where does a Christian single, where are they most likely to find another Christian with whom they can have a dating relationship? The caller indicated that the online dating services was a waste of time.

At least it has been for her. There are, however, singles who have met online and have married and had good marriages. So I wouldn't totally rule that out. On the other hand, I would say two things. Number one, obviously, being in a church that has a large number of singles, so it would have to be a larger church, but many of the larger churches have single departments.

I mean, there are classes for singles, and they have not only Sunday morning things, but they have weekday things, and in a church is a good place to have contact with people of the opposite sex with whom you might be attracted to and have a relationship. But this caller, I'm guessing, would say, I've been in the church for a long time, and I understand that. But the other thing I would say is this. What about volunteering to work in some organization? It can be some aspect of the church. It can be something else in the community. But volunteering to work in a context that's helping people, because often it's in that kind of setting that you would meet someone else who is a volunteer in that group. And people who volunteer typically are good people, because they want to make a difference in the world. That's why they volunteer in hospitals and food pantries and those kind of things. It's because they want to help other people. And so you meet someone else who's a volunteer in one of those organizations, you probably have found someone that can be trusted.

So those are at least a couple of the ideas that come to my mind. I think the church is a good place, but I think volunteering in Christian or just social organizations, where you can meet people who are also volunteers. Gary, what I hear in her voice is, she's got this smile in her voice when she said, poor old single people out here, help us out. I guess my question to you is, how do you deal with that contentment issue?

How do you get to the place where if you get married, great, but I'm going to be content where I am right now. What do you say about that? Yeah, well, I think, Chris, there are people who had wonderful lives and have made tremendous impacts for God who were single.

I mean, Jesus himself is one, but I think there are many, many others. I think it's not necessarily God's plan for everybody to get married. And there are good examples of that through the years. Obviously, it is the pattern. It is a fundamental pattern of life that men and women meet each other and fall in love and get married. And God's plan is that they encourage each other, help each other, to become the person God wants them to be.

And together they accomplish God's purpose in marriage, a deep, intimate, supportive, caring relationship. But that's not the lifestyle, I think, for everybody. I'm not saying give up.

If you're 50 and still not married, I wouldn't say, well, just write it off. Who knows what's going to happen as you get involved with interfacing with people. But there has to be some place where you interface.

And my observation is that the bar is not the best place to do that. If you enjoy Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, visit our website, buildingrelationships.us. There you'll find out more about Dr. Chapman, his New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" , and upcoming seminar locations. And you can also hear a podcast of the program at buildingrelationships.us. Our resource for today is the book by Dr. Chapman and yours truly. It's titled A Marriage Carol.

You may have heard the audio drama of that in years past. Go to buildingrelationships.us. You can find out more about it right there. buildingrelationships.us. Now, a wife, a husband, and a spiritual disappointment.

Hi, Gary. I am generally politically conservative. My wife is very liberal. Don't ask me how that works or how we got as far as marriage. But recently, after four years of living together, we walked down the aisle.

We are currently going through your book. Neither of us are Christians per se, but I definitely have had Christian school, Christian upbringing. My family is Amish and Fennonite, and I have a strong Christian moral structure and background. So I know there's a verse in scripture that talks about being unequally yoked, but we do share things in common. We do love each other. If she listens to Piers Morgan, I listen to Jordan Peterson. I don't know what your leanings are, but everything about me and her is just night, day, oil and water, black and white. We are different as the day is from the nighttime. So if you have some advice, thank you so much for your time.

Bye. Well, you have to be empathetic with that concept because through the years, I've had many, many people like this in my office, who are very, very different when it comes to political issues and a whole lot of other issues in life. Can they have a healthy marriage?

Yes, I think that's possible. It does mean you have to accept each other as they are rather than spending time trying to convince the other person that they're wrong on a particular issue. Every couple has differences, to be sure, but when it comes to strong political things in our culture today, as everybody knows, we're in a battle. We're fighting each other, shooting each other, trying to demean each other, but there's no place for that kind of thing in a healthy marriage, no. So we have to accept the reality that we have different perspectives, but also work on the positive things that you can do together. You know, what are the kind of things that we enjoy doing together? There has to be some commonality or you wouldn't have gotten married, I would think. So what are some of those things that we appreciate about each other?

And let's build on those things. In terms of the spiritual, obviously, it would be a tremendous asset to a marriage if both of you had a personal relationship with God. But you can't make somebody else do that.

You can do it for yourself. Now, obviously, the caller has a Christian background and has a Christian worldview, as it were, but he seems to be saying that he's not necessarily walking in a close relationship with God. But I think, obviously, our relationship with God impacts everything else. Remember, God loved us, the Bible says, when we were sinners and sent Christ to die for us. So if one person in a marriage is a solid Christian walking with God, they can say to God, Lord, I know you love my spouse because God loves everybody.

He wants everybody to come to know him. And so, you know, I don't have any positive feelings anymore, or maybe you do have positive feelings. It sounds like maybe the caller does have positive feelings. But I'm asking you to pour your love into my heart and let me be an agent for loving my spouse, even though we disagree on a whole lot of things.

And the Scriptures say the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. So the spiritual dimension of life does have a positive impact on how we relate together, even with huge differences in areas like the caller mentioned. Okay, what do you say to the person who's listening who says, we're both Christians, we're strong, we go to the same church and, you know, we sing the same songs, but he's voting for that party and I'm voting, you know.

What do you do with the division that's in a believing marriage? I think, again, Chris, we have to accept differences. Otherwise, we're going to be fighting ourselves with each other, just like the whole culture is fighting with those that oppose them. So we have to recognize that Christians can have different perspectives on many things. And so if this is an area where there's a strong difference in the two of you, you have to come to accept that. You know, okay, so just be sure you vote because you'll cancel out their vote, okay? Don't let them vote by themselves. For 50 years, we've been canceling out each other's vote.

Yeah, that's great. And that, you know, it strikes me that there's a lot of division in the early church, too. And some of the letters, maybe most of them, especially from Paul, most of the letters were written about the conflict that there was. So conflict can bring about, you know, something good and understanding. And maybe that person who's listening today could hear you talking about this and they have a disagreement with their spouse over something in politics or the culture, and they could use this as an opportunity to go and say, tell me more about why you vote this way or why you think this way about this.

Can you tell me more about that? And it could open lines of communication in the marriage. Oh, I think that's true, Chris, as long as we're not arguing and trying to convince the other person, you know, you're wrong, da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da. But to understand, you know, how did you come to that perspective?

What in your past influenced you to see that perspective? And then also, even to expose yourself to books or articles or that sort of thing on the other side so that you both are getting a perspective of, you know, of the other person's perspective and not just simply, you know, looking at your perspective. Yes. But communication is essential to having a healthy marriage, whether it's this or other disagreements, talking about sharing, trying to understand the other person's perspective and where they are and not fighting each other. If we follow fighting to the end, somebody's going to win the war and somebody's going to lose the war. Right. And it's no fun to live with a loser in the marriage.

So why create a loser? Well, here's another idea for the caller. You mentioned Piers Morgan and Jordan Peterson.

I think I've seen interviews that Piers has done with Jordan. So both of you watch that and see what happens as you talk about it afterwards. I love the question. Thank you for listening. Thank you for trusting us with your questions. And here's another person who has done that. I'm really looking forward to hearing Dr. Chapman's response to this next caller. She has an opinion about the calls she hears on this program. Here we go. Hi, Dr. Gary.

I love your program. I have been married twice. I'm 70 years old. Both husbands immature and took off. And the divorces. Many of your calls are about selfish and immature men.

Quite a few different topics. And statistics show that once women have been married once or twice, many times the second or third marriage, second or third relationship is with another female, whether they're roommates or housemates or buy a home together. There is a reason for that. All those immature men out there that have gone their selfish ways and end up alone. It's too bad.

Maybe you can write a book about it. Thank you. Bye-bye.

Well, Chris, that's an interesting call. I don't know that I would want to agree that the biggest problem in marriage is selfish men. I think it's selfish men and selfish women. We are all human. And by nature, we are selfish. It's only as God touches our heart that we're changed and we begin to develop the attitude of Christ that I'm in this relationship to help you.

I'm in here to do everything I can to enrich your life because it takes two unselfish people to have a really healthy marriage. And that's why I think Christians who are really walking with God have an advantage on people who do not have a relationship with God because God is convicting us when we do wrong and put each other down and that sort of thing. And the non-Christian only has his or her conscience. And the conscience can be seared with a hot iron. But I understand if you've gone through that and you've had two marriages and two divorces with someone, with a man who's very, very selfish, well, you can sense that that's the biggest problem is just selfish men.

But I think it's our sinful nature that is the biggest problem there. Interesting that she said that in the latter part of having gone through a couple of failed marriages, that a lot of women end up just having a good friend relationship with a female. And it has nothing to do with sexuality. It has to do with simply someone that I can share life with. And I think anyone that's single needs to have a good friend. And sometimes the friends might choose to room together or that sort of thing.

But no sexual aspect intended. So I think all of us need close relationships with people. If we failed at marriage for whatever reason, we may just decide not to marry a third time or a fourth time, but to just have a really good Christian friend of the same sex that I can relate to in a positive way. Gary, our next caller is looking for help in the life situation that he is now in the middle of.

Hi, Gary. What resources do you have that I would be able to offer a spouse where the marriage has been dissolved, resulting in divorce? And where one spouse is still looking at things in a spiritual way that hoping that maybe somewhere down the road, there could be a reconciliation where there's daughters involved that now no longer speak to me. Is there any material that can be given for somebody to read and to consider, especially where there's no communication whatsoever between me, my daughters and former spouse?

If there's anything that you can provide, any insight, I would greatly appreciate if you can get back to me. Thank you so much. God bless.

Bye bye. Well, Chris, this caller represents a very common phenomena in our culture, and that is where parents and their adult children have a fractured relationship. There are many things that lead to that. And in this case, apparently, there's something about his divorcing or his divorce that has led them to this. I don't know if they had a relationship with him before the divorce or whether they didn't, and whether that's a part of it or he did something in the midst of all that that made them, you know, just withdraw from him.

It's tragic, really, because we need each other. Adult children need to have a relationship with their parents, and parents need to have a relationship with their adult children, even if there's been failures on both sides, and often there is failures on both sides. But if we're going to walk away from each other, you know, because something happened that we disagree with or that hurt us deeply, and we're going to stay separated, I can understand why you tend to withdraw when you've been hurt deeply, and apparently his children and his daughters have been hurt deeply over something, some aspect of this. But to stay separated, to stay, you know, in a broken relationship or a fractured relationship. But you know, the prodigal son's father did not go out seeking them, him, trying to bring him back.

He just kept the farm going, so there was a place to come back to. So I would say, in terms of his relationship with his daughters, keep an open door. You can't make them want to reconcile with you. But in whatever way you can, if you have any contact at all, make it kind.

Don't be condemning of them. Express, you know, I can understand how you would feel hurt by all of this, and I'm hurting too. But accepting where they are and not condemning them for where they are, letting them know that you love them, you would love to have a relationship if any way can be done about it. If there are things that they're holding against you that were wrong, then apologize for it, for sure. You know, apologize for it. And the book, The Five Apology Languages, would be very, very helpful to you at that point. And most of the time, we all have something that we need to deal with in terms of apology.

But that book also deals with forgiveness, which is the godly response to an apology. In terms of your marriage, you know, you've already gone through divorce. If the other person is rigid and says, there's no hope and I'll never, ever come back, there's a juncture at which you have to accept that. I think it's positive that you want to have reconciliation. I think as a Christian, we certainly should also seek reconciliation. But one person alone cannot restore marriage. There has to be a response on the part of the other person.

So I don't, you know, not knowing the situation, I can't give you specific things that you could do that might, you know, turn the person back in your direction. But I do think the book, One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart, could be helpful to you, as well as another book I wrote called, Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away. Both of those books will help you perhaps find some things you can do that might open a door with your ex-wife. And if you go to buildingrelationships.us, you'll see on the website resources there where you can find those books that Gary just mentioned.

Go to buildingrelationships.us. Yeah, I have to say, Gary, for the listeners who call in who trust us with these deep hurts and struggles, thank you for being honest. Thank you for being vulnerable. Your call is helping other people who have the same kind of question. But there are times when people will call who are responding to something that you've said or another caller has asked on the program, and recently someone called and asked if you needed to feel the tingles before marriage in order for it to last. And you said basically, no, the tingles are not required. Here is a response to that answer.

Hi, Gary. I just wanted to call and chime in with your proposition that the tingle is not the essential piece. I've been married over 40 years and been doing couples coaching that whole time as well. And it's good to hear someone else out there telling the truth about what really matters in long-term marriage relationships.

So thank you and keep up the good work. Yeah, I think, Chris, you know, the common understanding in our culture is that if you're really in love, I'm calling it the tingles, but if you're really in love, that those feelings, those euphoric feelings were going to last forever. And I was told that, you know, when I was growing up, if you got the real thing, it's going to last forever.

And the reality is that's just not true. That high emotional thing that we call falling in love or being in love has about a two-year lifespan. We come down off that high. And that's why the love languages, I think, has been one reason why it's been so popular, is it helps couples learn how to meet the emotional need for love after you come down off the high. And so it's not that euphoric experience that we call falling in love that's going to carry us through long-term.

It brings us together, but it is very obsessive. And we have ideas that are really flawed, and that is that the other person is perfect. It's the perfect person for me.

None of us are perfect. So, yeah, I appreciate the call and the affirmation on the reality that the tingles are not what creates long-term relationships. So are you – one more question before we end here – are you into the whole, I'm looking for my soulmate, I've got to find my soulmate in order for me to have a long-term marriage?

You know, Chris, that's a wonderful idea, you know. But listen, there are cultures where mom and dad pick out the person you're going to marry, and you hardly know them before you get married. And many of them have stable marriages and healthy marriages. So it's not that emotional high that's going to keep you together forever, whether you call it soulmate or whatever. I think we become soulmates if in marriage we learn each other's love language, we speak each other's love language, we're there for each other, we process our differences in a positive way, and we apologize to each other when we do wrong. I mean, these are the things that lead us to that deep sense that we're there for each other, you know, when you can call that a soulmate. We become soulmates, as it were, as we process life together. But that takes some work. You know, it's like, I want her to be my soulmate and do, you know, make sure you've – make me feel better about – I've got to do the work of my relationship with me and with God and the forgiveness and going deeper into, you know, who I really am and some of the deficiencies and the sin in me in order to be able to move toward my wife, right?

Yeah, I think so, Chris. And that's why I think, as I said earlier, Christians have it on non-Christians, because we have outside help. If we're really walking with God and we're doing things in our marriage relationship that are detrimental, God brings those to our mind.

He convicts us of them so we can confess and apologize and, you know, move on down the road. So, yeah, it is work, but it's cooperating with God, and he gives us the power to make changes, you know, so that we can have a loving, supportive, caring relationship. Well, we would love to hear your question.

For Dr. Gary Chapman, call 866-424-GARY, and you might hear an answer on a future program. And don't forget to check out our featured resource, A Marriage Carol, Charles Dickens Meets the Love Languages. We have a link at buildingrelationships.us. And coming up next week, how do you handle the big and the small losses in your life? If you're struggling with the way things used to be, don't miss The Conversation. 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 / 2023-11-25 03:04:07 / 2023-11-25 03:21:12 / 17

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