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Dear Gary | January

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2024 1:00 am

Dear Gary | January

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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January 27, 2024 1:00 am

On this Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, it’s the first Dear Gary broadcast of 2024. This trusted pastor and author will take listener calls about relational struggles—everything from marriage and parenting to the love languages. You never know what issue might come up that will help you in your situation. Don’t miss the January Dear Gary broadcast, on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. 

Featured resource: Love Is A Choice

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I'd like to give gifts, but I don't want to receive them. As soon as we got married, she moved in with her mother for four years. When is the time to walk away? We are still together, I just don't know what to do. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . It's time for our Dear Gary broadcast for the month of January, featuring your calls and questions for this trusted author and speaker. There are love language questions ahead, relationship advice, questions about intimacy, 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, we've talked about this recently. In this culture, love is a feeling, it's the tingles, it's all warm and fuzzy that you feel. But when people don't feel warm and fuzzy anymore, sometimes they'll look for another person to give them that feeling. And it seems to me with this book, you're pushing back against that narrative, is that right?

Absolutely. You know, I think one of the most difficult things that's become standard in our culture is to perceive that love is this euphoric feeling that you have for another person, and they have for you. And we know now, you know, we've studied that, and it has an average lifespan of two years, that falling in love experience. And that's why I think the Love Language book has been so helpful to so many people, because it helps them discover how to meet the genuine emotional need for love, but with the person you're married to. You know, how to keep love alive and meet the emotional need after you come down off that high, because if we don't learn to express love in a way that's meaningful to the other person, they will not feel loved.

But this kind of love, Chris, doesn't begin with a feeling. Falling in love begins with a feeling, but this kind of love begins with an attitude. I'm in this marriage to do everything I can to enrich your life.

If I can find out how I can enrich your life and help you become the person you believe God wants you to be, that's what I want to do for you. You take that attitude, then you learn how to communicate love in a meaningful way to your partner. And you will not only meet that emotional need for love, but you're not as likely to get infatuated with somebody else outside the marriage, hoping you're going to find the real thing this time, which is another fallacy. You know, I love that because it's so countercultural and it's getting more and more countercultural, but it's the way that real lasting relationships happen when you have that other centered view.

And I don't know any other way to have this. I mean, you can do it on your own to a certain extent, but it's faith in God and what he has done for us that is really the precursor. It gives us the pattern for that, doesn't it?

Absolutely. You know, the Bible says God is love. I mean, a part of his character is love. It also says he loved us while we were still sinners and sent Christ to die for us. And so that's the kind of love that we can have, not because we are so wonderful, but because the Spirit of God pours the love of God into our hearts and we become God's agents for loving other people. The Christian has an advantage, Chris, in human relationships, because we have outside help. If we open our hearts to God's help, then we can become loving people. And it's not just in a marriage, but it is in other relationships in which we're seeking to enhance the lives of other people. Outside help and inside help.

Isn't that good? If you go to the website buildingrelationships.us, you'll see that book, Love is a Choice. I love the subtitle because I love stories. 28 extraordinary stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in action. Again, go to buildingrelationships.us. All right, let's take our first call. And if you want to ask a question, leave a message at this number, 1-866-424-GARY. Here's a listener who has a specific love language question. Hello, Dr. Chapman. I listened to you on Moody Radio 103.3. I have a question I don't think I've heard you answer on your program. I like to give gifts, but I don't want to receive them.

I border on being a minimalist and don't like a lot of clutter. So what is my love language? Also, I heard you say that you and your wife buy your own gifts for yourself. And since then, my husband and I have been doing this, and we like that a lot better. Thanks for your answer.

Bye. Well, this caller has discovered two or three realities. One is that if gifts is not your primary language, then it is easier for your spouse to buy their own gift. They're going to appreciate it more. But the other thing that the caller is revealing is, while it is true that for about 75% of the people, what they do most often is what they want to receive. That is, if they are giving gifts to other people, then that's their love language. That's what they want to receive.

But for the other 25%, that's not true. They're speaking one love language, but another love language is their primary love language. And I think part of the explanation for that is that perhaps, as she was growing up, maybe she was taught how to give gifts. And so she grew up in a family where her parents taught her to give gifts, give gifts, give gifts. And so she learned how to give gifts. And it's very natural for her to do that. But it's not what she wants to receive. So yes, about 75%, what you speak most often is what you want.

But for the other 25%, you'll be speaking one, but it will not be the love language you want to receive. Is that true to you and Carolyn by your own gifts? We do. Yeah. Well, actually, we go together.

At least we did this year. We went together, you know, and picked out things for me and bought them and picked out things for her and bought them. But she buys most of her gifts herself. I just told her. Because, you know, I did give her gifts early on in our marriage, because I was always told, you know, husband should give his wife gifts, give his wife gifts. So I bought her gifts. But almost everything I bought, she would take back an exchange. You know, and so I thought, honey, why don't we just cut out the middleman here, and you just go buy what you want, then you're gonna like it.

She was fine with that. Well, and it strikes me that this, this, you know, thing that has followed you through the years, you used to when you didn't have it very much at all, you would go to the store and you'd say, oh, isn't it great? We don't need that. You know, you kind of window shop, right? Yeah. Right. Right. Yeah.

Yeah. That was one of our things when we, the first few years, and we had almost no money. We would just go and look around and see things and, and then turn to the other person and say, isn't it great, honey, we don't have to have that.

It's a major what you don't have to have. Well, I love, I love that answer. And thank you for that question that we've never had before. If you want to ask Gary a question, Dr. Chapman, 866-424-GARY.

We have time for one more before our break. This next call is from a husband who's in a really difficult situation. Let's see what kind of advice Gary will have.

Hi, Gary. My question is my wife and I have been married for only four and a half years. I'm 75 and she's 69. And we haven't lived together. As soon as we got married, she moved in with her mother for four years and lived with her mother.

We have two homes, one on the East coast and West coast of Florida. And I lived in one and the other one, her daughter, her son ended up living in, there was no place for me to live. And yet she blames me for not helping and moving in with her at her mom's house.

There was no room except just one little bedroom. Our marriage has been destroyed by this for taking care of her dog that then died, taking care of his sister and taking care of a newborn grandson. Our marriage is gone and I guess I'm all to blame.

A little bit after he left that message, Gary, he called back and he said, I don't think she had to go with her mother. I don't know what to do. I don't think we can save this marriage. So what do you say to somebody in that situation? Well, first of all, I emotionally identify with what he's saying.

You know, you can feel the pain in his voice. It does sound to me like if I'm understanding what he's saying, there hasn't been much of a marriage. They got married, he said, he's in his 70s, he's 69. They got married four years ago, but immediately after they got married, she moved in with her mother. And so they haven't been, they haven't been together.

It's what it sounded like to me. All the four years, they haven't lived together. So it's not so much of saving a marriage, it's like you haven't had a marriage. So I don't know, Chris, it would be hard to give advice without hearing, you know, more of that story as to what he should do. Obviously, they went through a ceremony.

They are legally married, apparently. It's certainly worth talking about. I guess what I would encourage them to do, even though it sounds like he's living in one state, she's living in another state, but there are counselors that do online counseling. And I would at least do that before you just totally say, well, it can't be resolved. If the two of you could sit down with a counselor who can hear both of your stories and help you understand each other and then look at what might be done to bring help and hope in the relationship, it would at least be, in my mind, the place to start before you just say there's no hope. So if you have trouble locating a counselor that does online counseling, it's not really that hard today, but as you may know, Focus on the Family can help you find a counselor in your area. And also American Association of Christian Counselors has a list of 7,000 counselors all over the country, many of them who do online counseling.

So that would be my suggestion is to explore that kind of counseling and see if you might both discover something that you're overlooking in the other person. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, New York Times bestselling author of "The 5 Love Languages" . And you're listening to our Dear Gary broadcast for January. 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'll keep your question brief, Gary will try to address it here on the program. So call us today, 1-866-424-GARY. Our featured resource is Love is a Choice, 28 Extraordinary Stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in Action. Go to buildingrelationships.us and you'll find out more.

Again, buildingrelationships.us. Gary, I don't know that we've ever had a person call with this theological point of view, but I want to get you to respond. Last Sunday, the pastor was telling us about his son who is homosexual, has a boyfriend basically. And in the midst of him telling us about that, he said that it's not a sin to be single.

And I went up afterwards and tried to correct him. And then today I heard you say that basically the same thing that Christ had no wife, but even that's not correct because Christ is married to the church or the bride of Christ. And so it seems to me that it's God's will for everyone to have a mate or a close friend of the opposite sex.

That's the way he's designed humans. So where you or he would get what you said, I don't know. It doesn't seem to come from the Bible. So I'm trying to help you and him. And so I hope this makes sense.

Well, I appreciate that point of view. However, I think while it is God's plan for most people to be married, I don't think it means that everybody has to be married. I think the apostle Paul, at least for a good bit of his life, was not married. Maybe he was never married.

I don't know. And he was one of the greatest apostles of all. And even though you speak of Christ being joined to the church, and that it is true the church is the bride of Christ, but that's a little different, I think, from human marriage. I just think that we have to acknowledge that for some people, and some of the most wonderful, most powerful Christians in church history, have been singles, men and women, who have invested their lives in walking with God and in serving people.

There are just scores of examples we could give of that. And so to say to them, it's a sin for you not to get married, I can't see that that would be biblical. Because marriage is a temporary thing.

And when you look at it, we're going to die. And typically one of us is going to die before the other one dies. And so for a part of our lives, almost all of us are going to be single.

Single after a marriage, but still single. So while I appreciate your concept, I personally don't think that it's biblical. I can see the logic.

I can see the way you're thinking. But I think it's a mistake to say that everybody has to be married, and if you don't get married, you're living in sin. I just don't think that's true biblically.

Yeah. So he's a Christian. He's a Christian. And he even kind of had the caveat at the end there, or at least a good friend who's of the opposite sex.

So it was almost like that he was hedging toward the end of that. I don't want to put words in his mouth. But I think in 1 Corinthians 7, where Paul is talking about the husband and wife and their duties to each other. And then he says, I wish that all of you were as I am, but each of you have your own gift. To the unmarried and the widows, I say, it's good for them to stay unmarried as I do. I don't know what he would do with that.

But get married if you burn with passion and that kind of thing. So I have to come down with you, Gary, but I do appreciate the call. And he didn't yell at us, did he?

No, no, he didn't. And I think he was trying to help us. And that's good. If we have a view that we think is true to Scripture, it's fine to reach out to the pastor or to us or anybody and share that view.

Because it stimulates thought on our part to look at it again. But I do think it would be wrong to make the conclusion that singleness is a sin. I just don't think you can find that anywhere in the Bible. Our next caller wants to give a little encouragement to the one, the only Dr. Gary Chapman. Hi, Gary. I was married for over 14 years and then we divorced. And then I was told of, you know, read the book Love Languages by you. And thank you so much for this book.

I gave it to my sons when they turned 16 to read because I think it would have stopped a lot of insanity that they have in their lives with getting into the romantic stage and whatnot. But anyway, thank you so much for all you do. Bless your day and have a good one.

Well, you always appreciate calls like that, Chris. Just reminding that "The 5 Love Languages" concept can really, really be helpful to people. Often it saves marriages. In fact, when I go marriage conferences around the country, almost every Saturday I do those. I'll have people come up and say, God used that book to save our marriage.

And I think the idea of giving it to his sons when they're young is a good idea. I do have a special edition for single adults, you know, it's called "The 5 Love Languages" for Singles, which applies the concept to their parents, to their siblings, to their work associates, to their college roommates, you know, just all of their relationships. And if a young person can get that concept early on, it's going to help them eventually if they get married, it's going to help them in their marriage as well. You know, the thing that I hear in his voice, even though it sounds like he was divorced and stayed divorced, he doesn't have the big victory story, you know, we got back together, that if one person in the marriage grabs this and has hope, it can affect, you know, the marriage relationship, or if you're divorced, it can affect your life from this point on with all of the relationships that you have, the relationships with your children or with someone that you may be in a relationship with down the road.

Yeah, I think so, Chris. And the other thing I would say is that I have had a number of people who divorced, read the book, and then the lights came on for both of them. And they start dating again, and eventually remarried. And when that happens, it's absolutely incredibly wonderful. Now, that can happen every time, because sometimes people divorce and they're remarried again, you know, three months because they were already having an affair. But I do think that at whatever juncture a person is in a marriage relationship, if they read that book and understand the concept, they will understand a lot of what happened in their marriage, and why they got to the place where one of them at least felt like they had to bail out because they were not meeting the need, they were not feeling loved by the other person.

It has application in all human relationships. And I think that's why the book has sold so many copies, not only in our country, but they tell me in over 60 languages now where the book has been published. It's just incredible.

It just makes me laugh, not in a scornful way, but in a celebratory way, what God could do. Because I remember you telling, I remember when you came on, Andrea used to do a program in the early 90s. And the very first year that the Love Languages came out, it sold something like 5,000 copies.

And, you know, if you're looking at that purely from a publishing standpoint, it's like, well, this is not going to do anything. But you hung in there and it was word of mouth. It really was word of heart, because there's a lot of change that can go on on the inside. So I wanted to give you that encouragement from our caller. And then take one other call before we take a break here. Since we began this program, there has been a common phone call that has come through week after week. And this next caller represents a lot of spouses who have called. Here we go. Hi, Gary.

My name is Kate. And I believe that so much can be worked through in a marriage, but my husband was telling me otherwise and that he is done. I wish you could reach out to him and give him some counsel because I find marriage extremely important. And while we both have our difficulties, they are work-outable.

Thank you. What I hear her saying, Chris, is that she believes the marriage can be better, but her husband thinks it's over. And that's often the case, that one person will have the sense that they have to get out of the marriage and the other person thinks that whatever the problem is, it can be solved.

A counselor can help if they would be willing to go for counseling. But often the person who has the position of her husband that we're too different, it's just not going to work for us, they're not willing to go for counseling because they've already got their mind made up. And sometimes, not always, but sometimes they're already involved with someone else and they've got these in-love feelings for someone else. And so they're not motivated to stay in the marriage. So, yeah, I'm deeply empathetic with this lady.

And I think there are many, many people in our listening audience that can identify with what she's saying because you've been there or maybe you are there right now. One of the things I always suggest to couples in that situation is to pray, first of all, that God will open their eyes to the reality that there is help available. And then, tell them that you are going for counseling. And you would like for them to go with you. But if not, you're going for counseling yourself because you're finding this very, very difficult.

And so go ahead and make an appointment. And if, as the time grows near, they agree to go with you, you ask them again, would you be willing to go with me? Because I'd like for the counselor to hear your side as well as my side. And sometimes they will go with that thought. And if they're willing to go and if they will, there's always hope if they can hear an outside voice, you know, a counselor's voice. God uses someone outside the marriage to touch the heart and mind of the individual. So that would kind of be my approach and pray that God will be active in the process. Here is the common denominator that I heard with her call.

And that is, I've heard this for more than a decade now. Oh, if Gary could just talk to my husband. Oh, if Gary could just talk to my wife.

If we could sit down with him or if he would give a phone call or et cetera, et cetera. And you know, and I know you can't do that for everybody with the volume of people. But the thing that sticks in my heart is you don't have the magic bullet.

You don't know the bibbidy bobbidy boo. There's more at work here with what you're talking about and with in a counseling office that can happen. There's something that has to happen on the other person's side that this spouse, that she wants desperately to happen and she wants to make it happen and she can't do it. And that it's that frustration that I think is the common call that we've had.

No, I think you're exactly right, Chris. And you know, the other thing I would say is many times, the person that's in her situation has read "The 5 Love Languages" , but the husband won't read it. And so I would say to her, why don't you say to him, would you be willing to read the first chapter of this book and tell him it's sold millions of copies, it's gone to 60 languages around the world.

I'd just like to know your thoughts if you just read the first chapter and tell me your thoughts on what the first chapter is all about. Sometimes if they read the first chapter, they'll read the second chapter. And if they can get the concept, sometimes God uses that to turn their heart around when they realize, oh, now I see what's happened.

Now I see why we are where we are. But obviously it's not the answer for everybody. And you can't make somebody go for counseling, but you can make it as easy as possible. That's basically what I was trying to share. 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. Call 1-866-424-GARY. Call that number, leave your message, and you may hear an answer on a future Dear Gary broadcast.

1-866-424-4279. Here's a quick question from a listener that probably has a lot of backstory to it. Here we go.

Hi, Gary. I'm just wondering, when is the time that in a marriage or relationship that you need to walk away from emotional, verbal abuse? Thank you. Well, this caller points out a reality that while there is physical abuse in marriage, there are also verbal abuse in a marriage. And she mentioned emotional, verbal and emotional.

And it's real. And you know, Proverbs chapter 18 says, Life and death is in the power of the tongue. So you can actually kill your spouse by the way you talk to them. And it seems like she's in one of those situations where her spouse is giving her, you know, condemning words. Sometimes accompanied with anger and harsh words and bitter words and those kind of things. So the question is, what's the Christian to do when they are receiving those kind of words?

While I don't think we ought to just walk out the first time that happens, I think we do need to make our spouse aware that we love them too much to do nothing when they are abusing us on a regular basis. And I would say, first of all, tell them, I don't know how you feel about us. I don't know how you feel about yourself. But I am going to go for counseling, because I need help in our marriage. And I cannot do nothing. I love you too much to do nothing. Because I can't believe that you're actually happy about the way you talk to me and the things you say to me.

I can't imagine that that's making you happy to do that. And I wish you'd go with me and get help because, you know, we all know that there are many people who have the same habit you have, the same pattern you have. And many of them have reached out for help. And so I'm asking you to go with me. But even if you don't go, I'm going to go. Because if they will go with you for help, they can come to understand themselves better, and they can make changes that needed to be made. But I don't think a person should just continue to live with a person who is just verbally and emotionally abusing them day after day, week after week, year after year after year. There comes a place to say, I love you too much to do nothing. I have begged you to go for counseling and you've refused. So therefore, because I love you so much, I'm going to move in with my mother. I'm not abandoning you. I'm still willing to work on our marriage.

But I love you too much to sit here and do nothing. And so you take that approach, which we sometimes call a tough love approach. And especially if you have been kind to them, which is what the Bible teaches, love your enemies.

If you've been kind to them over a period of time, in spite of the way they've talked to you, you have spoken their love language, for example, on a regular basis. Then you take that tough love approach. They're far more likely to begin to think, wow, I'm about to lose something that's important to me because you have been feeding them with love in spite of the fact that the way they've been talking to you. So I would say tough love is always most effective if it's following tender love over a period of time.

So that would be my approach. Now, if it's physical abuse and they're hitting you, abusing you, obviously I think that needs to come as quickly as you can because that's not to be accepted. That's not an acceptable pattern in a marriage. Verbal abuse is different from physical abuse, but it's still abuse.

And so that's the pattern that I would encourage. So you've answered for the married person. What if she or there's somebody listening is single, they're in a dating relationship and either they see verbal abuse, there's this pattern of putting you down or that kind of thing, or they have family members or friends who say, hey, there's something off here. I don't understand why is he saying that or why is she saying that to you? And the response is, but I love her or I love him. Once we get married, it's going to go away. It's all going to work out.

Don't worry about it. What do you say to that person? I would say take a fresh look at the purpose of dating in our culture. I believe it's getting to know the other person and to know them well enough to make a decision about to marry or not to marry. Many dating relationships break up before they get to marriage. And I think that's good because we took some time to be with each other and get to know each other. And we've discovered things about the other person, even though we may have positive feelings toward them, we may be attracted to them. We just recognize we are not marching to the beat of the same drummer.

We're in two different worlds here. And even though I like them, I enjoy being with them, this should not lead to marriage. So just recognize it's possible to have in love feelings for a person and still be an unwise choice to marry them. And certainly physical abuse or verbal abuse as a part of that would be a red flag waving.

This is not the way to go. So it will not get better after marriage. If they have this pattern before marriage, it'll get worse after marriage. So don't fool yourself and think, well, I love them.

They love me. It's going to be fine. It will not get better. It will get worse almost always. That's a good word.

And I wanted to hear your perspective on that. And again, if you want to follow up and respond to any call that we we've had today, or an answer that Gary gives, or you have your own situation that you haven't heard him address on the program, call us 1-866-424-GARY. There are times when a caller doesn't even have to ask a question.

You can just tell the hurt and the struggle that he or she is going through. Here's our next call. Hey, Gary. I messed up everything. I just threw in the most saying that can be possible, that can exist in my life.

I just threw in everything. And I don't know what to do. It's just everything is falling apart.

I'm losing my wife every day. Sorry. Sorry for calling. I was hoping to talk with someone.

Thank you. Well, you can certainly feel the pain in the voice of this caller. And there's no question about it. Whenever you have, quote, messed up, and he's acknowledging his own failure, you blame yourself.

And that's logical. Because when you do something horrendous, and I don't know what it was in this situation, but he acknowledges that he messed up, there's always negative consequences to our behavior. That's why, you know, as Christians, we're called to follow Christ, to love our spouse, the husband to love your wife, as Christ loves the church.

And she treats her husband as though she would treat Christ. I mean, it's just a high calling, you know, to really love each other and give each other our time and energy and effort. And whenever we do something that blows that up, it's natural for us to blame ourselves.

And we should. The only positive thing we can do at that juncture is to apologize, tell them we know that what we did was wrong. We understand if they feel like they have to leave us because it has been because it has been horrendous, but that we really, really wish they would go with us for counseling and just see if something can be done.

But you can't make them. You know, when you, when a person does something that they call, I messed up, you know, the other person is hurting deeply. And so I think we have to recognize that's the consequences of our wrong choices. And all we can do is simply ask for mercy, ask for grace.

We can't force them to go for counseling or to give us another chance. And we just have to live with the reality that what we did was horrible and is causing me all this pain. But that doesn't mean that God gives up on you. Even if your spouse is not willing to come back and work with you and try to rebuild the marriage in spite of what you've done, God still has plans for your life.

And let's face it, life's deepest meaning is found in a relationship with God, not even in a relationship with a spouse, but our relationship with God. God will forgive you and God will guide you in the future. I'm empathetic with the pain that this caller is expressing because it's always true that whenever we do that whenever we do things that are horrible in a marriage relationship, we have to live with the consequences. I would pray God's wisdom on your part. I would pray that God might open her heart to go with you for counseling and try to find an answer. Chris, he mentioned that when he called, he was hoping he could talk to somebody.

We, of course, don't do that on the program. But Focus on the Family has counselors all day long, every day, and they will talk to you on the phone. So you can find them online, Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs.

And if you want to talk to somebody, they won't do long-term counseling, but they will talk to you and maybe help you find a counselor if you're looking for one. I ruined everything. I messed up.

You can hear that. And this is where the gospel comes in, you know. This is, you acknowledge that to your Heavenly Father and he offers you forgiveness and he offers you mercy. As you mentioned, he offers you grace because a relationship with him is not based on our good behavior.

It's based on what Jesus did for us. So I love to talk about the gospel in his situation. But we've just got a couple of minutes here before we take a break. I'm wondering, I'm thinking there's probably somebody else listening right now who could echo those words. I've read it. I've heard those words. I've ruined my marriage.

I've messed up in my life. Would you take just a moment and pray for that person, this caller, as well as any person who's listening who's feeling that? Surely. Father, you know what we're talking about. You know the caller.

You know people who can identify with what this caller has said. And I pray that your spirit will touch their spirit. And you'll give them an awareness that you are a forgiving God, that that's what Christ coming to earth was all about, that he could pay the penalty for all of our failures so that you will forgive us if we're willing to turn our hearts and minds to you. And I pray that they will respond to the work of your spirit and seek you and come to know you and to confess their sins to you and receive your forgiveness and then seek your direction in where they go from here.

You know, Father, there can be reconciliation on marriages like this, but sometimes the other is not willing and we have to live with that reality. So I just pray, Father, for those who identify with this caller, that your spirit will help them to seek you first above everything and commit their lives totally to you and then seek your wisdom as to where they go from here. In the name of Christ, we pray.

Amen. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find out more about that book and take a free assessment of your love language at our website, buildingrelationships.us. Plus see our featured resource, Love is a Choice.

Just go to buildingrelationships.us. Gary, this next question represents the struggle in a lot of marriages today. Here's our next caller.

Hi, Gary. I've been married for going on six years and my husband has stopped being intimate. We were only intimate maybe the first year and after that is once or twice a year. I've discussed it to him, with him. I told him to go and get some help. I don't know what to do.

He has hurt me before sexually on top of that, so kind of turned me off a little bit. We are still together. I just don't know what to do.

If there's any suggestions or advice, I would really like to get a response. Thank you. I think my first response when I hear this caller is I could wish that both of you could read "The 5 Love Languages" because it would give you an understanding of what has happened in the relationship. Obviously, the caller is not feeling love because the husband is expressing no desire for intimacy in the relationship. There's a reason for that.

I have no way of knowing what that reason is. Many times in this kind of situation, he's already involved with someone else and has been intimate with somebody else during the whole marriage. I'm not saying that's true in this case.

I'm just saying often that's the case. But the question is, why is he responding the way he's responding? But in reading and understanding "The 5 Love Languages" , if you can understand his language, he can understand your language, and you choose to speak that language, you both have begun to feel different toward each other. When you begin to feel differently toward each other, you can discuss these issues much easier and much more effectively. I think you don't wait until you can talk him into something or he can talk you into something. It's just that if you're willing to expose yourself to this reality of the love languages, it can be a starting point in finding redemption in the marriage.

That's where I would start. If he does that, he's far more open later to go with you for counseling and discuss and find out what really is behind his behavior. Gary, over the years as you've counseled couples, is that a pervasive thing that happens that people will go maybe once or twice a year or years and not have sexual intimacy? I don't think that's the norm in most marriages, Chris. I do think it's there in some marriages, but there's always a reason for that.

And it's understanding what's behind the behavior that will explain what's going on. It doesn't make it right, but it does explain what's going on in that person's mind that they are not involved sexually with each other on a regular basis. I don't know what kind of abuse maybe she has gone through, but any kind of abuse would drive her away from him sexually. Because if a wife doesn't feel loved and treasured by her husband, she may have little desire to have intimacy with him. And typically, if a husband is not having intimacy with his wife, he's involved in some way sexually outside that marriage.

It might be pornography, it might be an affair that he's having, but chances are there's something going on in his life in that area that he has just kind of written her out of his life in that particular area of life. Well, if you go to the website buildingrelationships.us, you'll see our featured resource, Love is a Choice. Go to buildingrelationships.us. We have time for one final call, and this will bring an international flavor to the program here today. Here we go.

Hello, Gary. I am calling you from the Philippines. You have a ministry here?

Almost 17 years now, working with the elementary age children here, and many obstacles to overcome because of the culture here. But anyhow, if you'd pray for us, we would sincerely appreciate that. I've got to the point now where I'm legally blind, and so it restricts a lot of things we're able to do. And I've been listening to you for a long time. God bless. Well, Chris, the caller's asking for prayer. I think we got to pray.

Amen. Father, you know the heart of this gentleman in the Philippines. You know the heart of this gentleman in the Philippines and the years that he spent with others working with elementary age children there. And you know the physical problem he has now with blindness and how that hampers the ministry. And you know what has gone on in that ministry, and you know what needs to go on in that ministry. So I pray that you would give him, first of all, wisdom on his role with his limitations. But I pray also that you would bring fellow Christians along with him who can carry on that ministry and seek to touch the hearts of young children. You know, Father, what has been done.

You know what can be done. I just pray you'd bring people into his life that will give him encouragement in the ministry to which he's given these years. And so that ministry can continue in the years ahead. In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.

Amen. You know, one of the reasons I wanted to play that today, Gary, was because you and Carolyn early on thought you were going to be missionaries, you know, foreign missionaries. And here you are on a radio program all these years later, and there's a fellow in the Philippines who calls in who has been affected by your ministry, by your life. I just think that, again, that showcases God's goodness, don't you?

Well, you're right, Chris. You know, for many years now, I've realized that God's plans for us are more important than our plans for us. And Carolyn and I really, really felt God wanted us to be missionaries. But God's plan was not that for us. But he has used us around the world and our books and so forth. So, you know, I'm just glad that God doesn't always give us what we think we want to do for him.

But he does, if we keep our hearts open, lead us into the most productive ministry we could possibly have. Well, before we conclude, again, here's how you can ask a question or make a comment for Dr. Chapman, 1-866-424-GARY. As we mentioned earlier, we can't call you back. This is not a counseling line, but you can leave that message at 866-424-4279. We'd love to hear from you. You can find simple ways to strengthen your relationships at buildingrelationships.us. A featured resource is Love is a Choice, 28 Extraordinary Stories of "The 5 Love Languages" in Action. Again, go to buildingrelationships.us. And next week, Sex, Shame and Singles. Don't miss a conversation with Dr. Lena Abi-Jamra in one week. A big thank you to our production team, Steve Wick and Janice Bakking. 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 / 2024-02-20 07:29:55 / 2024-02-20 07:47:16 / 17

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