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Dear Gary | February

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
February 24, 2024 1:00 am

Dear Gary | February

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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February 24, 2024 1:00 am

The questions are in, your messages have been received, and it’s time for answers on this Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Each month the New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages takes questions and comments from his listener line. This week, it’s our February edition of Dear Gary. The struggles you’ll hear may encourage you in your situation. Don’t miss Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Featured resource: LOVING ADOPTED CHILDREN WELL: A 5 LOVE LANGUAGES® APPROACH

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But what if your beginning didn't start off with ooh la la falling in love? The love language that I've been given my wife is not the love language that she needed. I've put up with his verbal abuse.

I can't take anymore. I'm trying to stay married. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today your questions for this trusted pastor, counselor, and author as we present our February edition of Dear Gary. And remember you can get in on the conversation by calling our listener line, leave a brief question for Gary, and you might hear an answer on a future broadcast. Just call 1-866-424-GARY and let us know what's on your mind. 1-866-424-GARY.

1-866-424-4279. We always have a featured resource we think will help you in your relationships. We're going to talk about this next month, brand new, a book that you wrote with Dr. Laurel Shaler, Gary, titled Loving Adopted Children Well, A Five Love Languages Approach.

Tell me a little bit about that. You know, Laurel came to me about the possibility of writing a book together on how the love languages can help adoptive parents. She has two adopted children and she teaches at Liberty University in the counseling department. And as I listened to her background, I thought, boy, this this is a gal that I need to link up with here on this book. Because, you know, many, many, many adopted parents here in this country, and some of them have been shocked at the response, you know, they've gotten and how the difficulties really sometimes in raising adopted children.

So I am very excited about this book. I think it's going to help any parent who has adopted children. It's titled Loving Adopted Children Well, A Five Love Languages Approach. Can you give me one example of an approach that that uses the love languages with an adoptive child? Well, you know, one thing, Chris, is recognizing that with adopted children you don't have an emotional bond with that child when they come into your family. I don't care if you adopt them as a baby.

You don't have that. It has to be built over time. You know, they have an emotional attachment to the mother who's carried them in the womb for nine months, but when you have an adopted child, you don't have that bond. And then the other factor, of course, is that, you know, loving a child in those five love languages, and particularly as they get a little older, if you adopt an older child, knowing what their love language is, their primary love language, is going to help you begin to build that emotional bond with them. And so I think just understanding that this child, you know, has gone through it. They have a history. If they're four years old, they have a history. If they're nine years old, they have a history. And now we don't know all the time what they have been through. And so learning their primary love language and speaking it is a part of the process.

But even then, you have to take incremental steps. You can't just, you know, if physical touches their language, you can't just necessarily give them a hug and they're going to accept it in the early stages. You have to start with, you know, fist bumps and pat on the back and work up to the hugs as they get to know you. Because just as you don't know them, they don't know you.

You're new in their lives. I can't wait to talk with Dr. Shaler about that, and we'll do that here in the next couple of weeks. The title of the book is Loving Adopted Children Well, a Five Love Languages Approach. It's our featured resource at the website buildingrelationships.us.

All right, the first question we have for you today, Gary, is an email that I think a lot of parents are going to resonate with. I have an adult daughter who's in her early 30s. From childhood on, she went to church and knew God, loved him. She now lives in a western state.

My husband and I are in the Midwest. She's dated boys, but always picked the ones that needed help. She never picked anyone to challenge her or come alongside her. She is now gay and living with a girl younger than her. She swears she's not gay, and she won't admit it. I'm hurting. It's been a long seven years of this, and her dad and I can't get over it, and it has emotionally affected us. I can't be happy, and it feels like I'm just getting through life.

I'm very depressed. I feel hate toward the girl she's with. This girl has been married to a man before and then found my daughter. How do I get through and handle my daughter and the girl? I'm hurt, angry, she has rocked our world upside down, and I'm ashamed.

Please help. Well, Chris, I think there are many parents who can identify with this email, because many times our children, as adults, live a lifestyle that's not what we taught them, that's not found in the Bible, and it's very, very difficult for parents to deal with the pain and the hurt that they feel when their child is choosing a lifestyle that is something that they know is not God's will and God's plan for them. There's a couple of things I think we have to grapple with. One is that God gives us freedom. We are not robots. God did not program us that we can only do what's right and only follow him. He gave us freedom as humans, and with that freedom, throughout history, humans have made poor decisions, and parents have suffered pain from their children who make poor decisions. So I think we have to recognize that we cannot erase the reality that our children have choice. God gave it to them. Yes, we're hurt when they're making decisions that we know are not going to be healthy for them, but I think, again, we have to do the same thing God did.

We have to give them freedom to make their choices and to live with the consequences, because for every choice there are consequences, and so we have to give them the same freedom that God gives them. You know, it's always been interesting to me when the prodigal son in the New Testament left his father, asked for his inheritance early, and then left and wasted his inheritance. That father did not go after him and try to talk him into, you know, changing his mind or being a wise steward of the money he'd received.

He stayed home and kept the farm going, so that when that adult son came to the end of the road that he had chosen and ended up in the hog pen feeding pigs, he had a place to come home to. I think that's a lesson for parents. You know, when our adult child has made decisions and living a lifestyle that is painful to us, we need to keep the farm going. We need to keep working on our marriage relationship, not allow this to pull us apart. Yes, we're both hurting, but in our pain we have to recognize, listen, this is not the end of the world for us.

We have a life to live. Let's focus on growing together through this pain, so that if and when our daughter comes to the end of the road and comes back in repentance to God, she will have a place to come home to. Let's communicate to her. We love her. We love her no matter what she does, because God loves us no matter what we do.

He always loves us, and he always stands ready to forgive us and receive us. So don't break the ties with that daughter. Let her know she's loved by you. Let her know, yes, you don't agree with with her decisions.

You don't agree. It's very painful for you as a parent, but you love her no matter what. If she lives with that reality, then there's always a place to come back to when she gets to the end of the rope.

So those are my thoughts, Chris. It's a hard journey. I'm not minimizing the pain in any way.

It is a hard journey, but I think we have to treat those children the way God treats us as his children. There's so much in there. The ill will that she feels toward, you know, the girl's partner. The not feeling, I can't live anymore. And it's like, okay, so it's almost a choice that you have to make. Even though I'm going through, you know, this valley here, I'm going to choose to live today and have a friend who's going through much the same, you know, something similar to this, and have seen pictures of, we chose to go to, you know, go out to eat, go out to dinner as a couple, husband and wife, and to still celebrate birthdays rather than saying, this has weighed us down so much that we can't live anymore.

It's not that you, like you say, you're not pushing that away, the hurt and the lament for a season, but you're allowing yourself to go ahead and live. And that's a choice, isn't it? Absolutely. Absolutely, Chris. We don't need to let our children's decisions negatively impact our lives.

We want to demonstrate with, as God's children, we can live together in our marriage, and we can enhance our marriage relationship, and we can know that God still has things for us to do, ministry for us to do, and we can invest our lives in helping people who want to be helped. So, yeah, it's just, it's tragic when we allow the decisions of our adult children to destroy our lives. You know, the emotional pain is there to be sure, and if you need to, get counseling to help you walk through the pain of that.

But let's not allow their decisions to control us. We have a choice on how we're going to respond to our pain and to our hurt. Our program is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and this is our Dear Gary broadcast for February. 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 it here on the program. Our featured resource today is a book by Dr. Chapman and Dr. Laurel Shaler.

It's titled, Loving Adopted Children Well, a Five Love Languages Approach. Go to buildingrelationships.us to find out more. Again, buildingrelationships.us. Well, you may not know this, but Dr. Chapman goes around the country presenting seminars, and here's a question that comes from one of those sessions.

Hi, Gary. We were at the marriage conference on Saturday. When you were talking about praying together, my husband understood what you were saying. One way, I understood another way, and my understanding was, hold hands. Those people start praying, and whoever gets finished says amen first, and then when the other one gets finished, they say amen. My husband thought that you were saying for one of us to start, pray, say amen. Then the other ones start praying and they say amen.

But if you could let us know, thanks, Baba. Okay. What I was trying to do is help couples who don't pray together learn how to get started, and what I was suggesting is that they pray silently. So you hold hands, you close your eyes, and then each of you pray silently, and then whoever finishes their prayer says amen, but they hang on, hold on the hand until the other person says amen. So I don't necessarily take sides in this argument here over this thing, but my thought was, you're praying at the same time. After you close your eyes, you're both praying at the same time, but one of you will finish your prayer before the other. So you say amen so they know you're through, then they can say amen when they're through. Okay?

I hope that helps. I can see where the confusion would be, though, because most people think of praying as, I'm gonna, you know, Dear God, Jesus, here's, you know, what we bring. So you do that and do the other. If you're praying silently, then you're holding hands and the amen is the cue to the other person, I'm done, but I'm still here, right? That's right, absolutely, absolutely. If we're praying out loud, we wouldn't both be praying at the same time, so I can understand, you know, how he, her husband, interpreted that.

Yeah. Have you heard from couples who said that helped change us and we actually do pray together now? Yeah, I have, because, you know, Chris, any couple can do that. I had a lady one time say to me, after I shared that, she came up and she said, I don't think I can do that, and I said, why? She said, well, I'm not, I'm not a Christian. She said, I'm an, I'm a wiccan, I'm a witch, and I really don't believe in God, and so how can I pray with my husband? And I said, well, how about this? What if you hold his hand, close your eyes, as a way of respecting him and his belief in God, and let him pray?

And she said, oh, well, I guess I could do that, you know. I'm just trying to help couples begin the practice of coming to God together, even if it's in silence, and I say, you know, you cannot come to God together every day and it not begin to affect the way you treat each other. And I said, you know, probably six months down the road, one of you might slip up and pray out loud one night, you know. And then the other thing I do, you know, I have a devotional, the one-year love language minute devotional for couples, where there's a scripture verse, there's a devotional that I've written, and then there's a prayer that I've written. And I said, at some juncture, you might want to begin using this devotional. And on one night, the wife can read the whole thing, including the prayer, so she's praying out loud, even though she's reading a prayer that I wrote, but she's saying it out loud. The next night, he would read the devotional, and he would read the prayer. See, now they're actually hearing themselves, each other, pray out loud. And I said, I think you'll find that to help you develop where you get to where you can just pray out loud without prayers that I've written, you know. Oh, just trying to help people spend time coming to God together.

You know, we've done this program for a long time. That's the first time I've ever heard that story about the woman who came up to you and her religion, and it strikes me that "The 5 Love Languages" has gotten so far into the culture that there are people with all kinds of belief systems, or no belief system at all, I would say, who are being affected by this. Well, you're right, Chris. And when I wrote "The 5 Love Languages" , I really wrote it with non-Christians in mind, because, you know, you won't find a lot of scriptures in there, even though all those love languages are in the scriptures, you know, everywhere in the scriptures. But I was trying to write it so that a person wouldn't in the first chapter, you know, see scripture verses and say, oh, this is a religious book, you know, just throw it aside. Because, listen, God loves even people that aren't Christians. Listen, we were all non-Christians.

He loved us when we were sinners and sent Christ to die for us. So I'm just trying to help people in their marriage, wherever they are in their journey with God. If you go to buildingrelationships.us, you can find some great resources like that devotional that Gary just mentioned.

Just go to buildingrelationships.us. I want to set up our next caller, Gary, so that you can hear the emotion he has about his situation. He says he met a woman a few years ago who was going through a breakup, and he was there for her in that time. They fell in love, they married, they have children. And he says he is the problem in the relationship now. He, well, listen to what he says next.

Hello, Gary. I've been unfaithful for my wife, and right now it seems like it's over with. I just read five love languages yesterday, cover to cover in one day. And the love language that I've been giving my wife, it's not the love language that she needed. And now I'm giving her her acts of service, but it's too late. And I would love to hear from you, and I would love to try and fix this.

I'm doing everything I can, but I just feel like our relationship's over with. And I read the book cover to cover, and I read about the marriages of 17 years of misery. I'm only six years in, and I would love to be able to figure out how I can grow old with my wife and my family, and climb Mount Everest every single day in love. So I want to thank you for the book.

And if I don't find the love with my wife, I hope that I can find love with whomever it may be, my kids, my family, whoever may be. Well, Chris, as you said, you can feel the pain and the hurt in his voice. I'm glad he's read "The 5 Love Languages" . I have had many people say, I wish I'd read that book 20 years ago.

You know, it would have made a difference in my life back then. But a lot of things have happened since then, like he's going through. And these situations do sometimes end in divorce. There's no question about that, because he cannot make his wife, you know, give him forgiveness and work on their marriage. He can't make her do that. Now, if they're still living together in the same house, he can speak her love language now, acts of service. But as he said, she's likely saying to herself and to him, it's too late.

I mean, I appreciate the fact you're doing these things now, but it's too late. There is one other book that I would really encourage this gentleman to read, and his wife if she would. It's called, One More Try, What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. And it's written to people who are separated for the most part.

Some of them are contemplating separation and divorce. But I think you'll find that book to be very helpful, because if both of you could read it, which would be ideal, but again, you can't make her read it. You know, you can say, you know, would you be willing to read this book together?

But you read it yourself, and I think you'll find some things that maybe you can do. From your perspective, I would say you probably have already done this, but there needs to be genuine repentance, acknowledging your failure, you know, openly and honestly, not trying to hide it. And I'm assuming you have already broken off that other relationship. I hope that's true.

If not, it certainly should be true. And then acknowledge to her that you've read this book, "The 5 Love Languages" , and you realize that you you fail to speak her language all these years. And you wish you had read that earlier, but you want her to know that you will speak her language if she's willing to give you another opportunity. But I think read that One More Try book first, and also say to her, you know, I am willing to go for counseling with you if you are willing to go, and at least let's see if there's a possibility that we can rebuild our relationship. Again, you can't make her go to counseling, but you can offer and tell her you would love to go for counseling with her. If she's unwilling, you can also say to her, well, I'm going to go for counseling myself because I need help.

I need help. And maybe if she sees you actually going for counseling, she will say, oh my goodness, he is really sincere. He is really open to change. And then she may be open to go to counseling with you. So I would say don't give up on your side.

Don't give up too quickly. I understand how she can be at the place where she thinks it's over. You know, she's going to have nothing else to do with you after what you've done. And you have to give her that freedom. Don't preach to her. Don't tell her, you know, well the Bible says you've got to forgive me. You know, no, no, don't preach to her because she's going through a lot of pain.

When a spouse is unfaithful in a marriage, it's deeply painful to the other person. So acknowledge that and allow her the freedom to have those feelings and to work through those feelings. But just let her know that you have totally repented of that.

You've totally turned away from that. And that's not what you want in life. You very much want to work on the marriage, whatever it has to be done, whatever has to be done.

So keep praying that God will work in her heart, maybe bring someone, a friend, in her life that would encourage her to get counseling. So don't give up too soon, I guess is what I'm saying, okay? God can work miracles. You know what I loved about his message that he read at Cover2Cover? I think that shows the depth of the desire. You know, it's like this is water for somebody who's thirsty for a little bit of hope. And you were giving that, but there's also regret in there. You know, I didn't do this and I didn't do that. And so rather than kicking yourself, you know, for that, as you've said, do the positive thing.

Move toward her as much as possible, but allow her to respond. And the timing is always important too, isn't it? Yeah, absolutely, Chris. It takes time for a person to halfway work through the pain and emotions that's caused by a spouse being unfaithful. And for that spouse to pressure them, you know, and kind of preach to them, that doesn't help at all. It's just identifying with their pain and saying, I can see how I've broken your heart.

I mean, I am crying because of what I've done to you. And when she sees that you are sincere and that you are willing to turn around and speak her language and, you know, open to doing whatever needs to be done so that you can have the kind of marriage you dreamed of having. And he mentions that he had children, you know, and the divorce, yeah, can get her out of the situation, but boy, it creates another whole stream of problems with those children. As well as, you know, well, anybody that's gone through a divorce will tell you, man, this was not easy.

This was difficult. Well, the book that I've just mentioned, or that Gary just mentioned, is One More Try, and that's another resource you can find at buildingrelationships.us, buildingrelationships.us. You'll see a drop-down menu for some resources and you'll find it right there. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, New York Times best-selling author of "The 5 Love Languages" . If you enjoy our program, visit our website for more ways to strengthen your relationships.

You'll find our featured resource at buildingrelationships.us, the book by Dr. Laurel Shaler and Dr. Chapman, Loving Adopted Children Well, A Five Love Languages Approach. Again, go to buildingrelationships.us to find out more. You can also hear a podcast of today's program and suggest it to somebody else. I think that's part of the help that this program can give you. Here a question that somebody else might benefit from. So tell them about that. Send them to buildingrelationships.us and you'll be able to listen to this program, absolutely free, buildingrelationships.us. Now a caller who's trying to stay married but doesn't feel loved by his wife. Hi, Gary. I have a question.

My wife puts me forth, the son, the dog, the other dog, and then the daughter, and then I guess I'm fifth, and then me. And it doesn't, it's never going to change. I'm trying to stay married.

Well, obviously this man is struggling in a marriage and feels that his wife, he's last on the list of her priorities, and anybody can identify with that. You know, Chris, one of the things that the caller said, it's never going to change. And I just like to say that's not true. It is going to change. It's going to get better or it's going to get worse. It will not stay where it is.

It will change. I understand what he was saying. You know, he's given up hope.

He thinks she's never going to make him a priority. Let me share one concept. The Bible says we love God because God first loved us, and God loved us while we were still sinners and sent Christ to die for us. The most positive influence this young man can have on his wife is to love her unconditionally in her love language. And if he hasn't read the love language, five love languages, I would suggest that be the first thing for him to do. Read "The 5 Love Languages" . Understand the concept that your wife has a primary love language. You're married to her. Even though you feel hurt and left out, God can give you the ability to love her. Romans chapter 5 and verse 5 says, the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. So if you're willing to say to God, Lord, you know the person I'm married to.

You know how they treat me. You know that I don't feel loved, but I'm opening my heart and asking you to pour your love into me and let me be your agent for loving her. You don't have to have positive feelings toward her to love her in her love language. You're God's representative, and your love may well stimulate her love. You see, we respond to God.

He loved us first. The same principle is true in human relationships. You initiate loving her unconditionally in her love language no matter how she treats you. You're very likely to see in time. Give it six months in which you're speaking her love language every week for six months no matter how she treats you. I think you'll see something begin to happen inside of her when she sees you loving her in a way that's meaningful to her. She may well begin to respond to you in a different way. Don't give up. You cannot make your spouse change.

That's true, but you can influence her, and the most positive influence is for you to love her unconditionally in her love language over a period of time and just see what happens. Let me piggyback on to that with a call from our next listener who has taken a really hard look at her relationship, her past, how her marriage got started. How's Gary going to handle this situation? Here we go.

Hi, Gary. I have a question about relationships, reading your five love languages and some other things most people, counselors, talk about. Remember in the beginning. Well, what if your beginning didn't start off with woo-la-la falling in love?

What if it was more somebody was depressed and somebody else had urges? Where do you go from there? Thanks a lot. Have a great day. Bye-bye. Well, you know, we do typically think in our culture that you fall in love and that falling in love is the foundation for marriage. Well, the reality is what we call falling in love has an average lifespan of two years.

We come down off that high. If you had a bad start, that is, you didn't fall in love, somebody was depressed and somebody reached out, you know, began a relationship on something other than what we call falling in love. Because the falling in love experience is temporary. It's not the foundation for marriage. So whatever motivated you to get married, what you need now is to understand how to build a marriage with the person you're married to. And the love language book can help you do that because you see this kind of love starts with an attitude. And the attitude is this, I'm married to you and I choose to have an attitude of love, which means I want to do whatever I can to enrich your life.

I want to help you become the person you believe God wants you to be. And with the help of God, you can speak the other person's love language, which is going to touch them emotionally. And if they in turn speak your love language, it's going to touch you emotionally. So yes, emotions come back. We are emotional creatures and one of our deepest emotional needs as humans is the need to feel loved by the significant people in your life.

And if you're married, the person you would most like to love you is your spouse. But the way we create those emotions is not waiting for them to happen. So people just say, well I just don't have love feelings anymore. You don't wait for those feelings to come back.

No. You choose an attitude of love and then you learn how to express love in a meaningful way to your spouse. That's the whole story of the five love language book.

You learn their love language and you choose to speak their love language, even if you don't feel loved yourself. And you're meeting one of their deep emotional needs. And then they begin to reciprocate.

They begin to meet your need. So yeah, we all want to feel love. We all need to feel love. But the foundation of falling in love is not the foundation for building it because it's temporary.

It's going to, everybody comes down off the high. So whatever led you to get married, you can have a good marriage if you ask God to give you an attitude of love, which is the attitude that Christ had. You know, and we're called to have the attitude of Christ toward our spouse. That can save a marriage. Maybe a good first step would just be to go to the website.

It's absolutely free to take the assessment. Building Relationships.us. You can pull down the assessment, four or five love languages, and you can answer in his stead. You know, you can answer in your husband's stead and find out what his is or ask some really good questions that Gary leads you through so that you can see, oh, this is how I express love or feel love. And this is how my spouse does. And that might be a good first step to you.

So go to buildingrelationships.us. But wait, there's more, Gary, because our next caller wants to reconcile, but he's an illegal bind. Here's our next caller. Hey, my question is, I'm six months into filing a divorce because my spouse refused to work together, to communicate, have marital relations, to reconcile, to see a marriage therapist, a counselor, a pastor. There's still a part of me that wants to somehow reconcile, and I tried to extend myself to her, but, you know, she even put a cease-and-desist order and an order of protection where I guess I'm going to be arrested if I communicate to her. So my question is, I've always tried to do a person perspective with my situation, and I still want there to be reconciliation, but I'm still trying to be assertive in protecting, you know, my life safety and welfare, because she did demonstrate deprivation, exclusivity.

I do think she, you know, just tried to hurt me internally and everything. So yeah, it's a bizarre situation, but I'd still like to have hope in God doing a... Okay, right there is where his call cut off, Gary. But I think you have the gist of what he was asking. Yeah, it sounds like that his wife is insisting on divorce, and it's been a six-month process, and that she now has taken legal steps that he cannot contact her.

And I think he has to abide by those, you know, he can't violate that, or he will be arrested. I think the starting place is for him to pray that God will work in her heart, bring people into her life who may help her have a different perspective, and God certainly has a way of doing that. God will not make his wife do anything, but God does have a way of influencing and bringing people into our lives that can influence them. I think the other thing is for him not to have the same attitude she has at this point. That is him not to think in terms of what can I do to make her suffer, and I don't think he has that attitude. I didn't gather that, but taking revenge on her and putting her down is not anything that's going to be helpful. I think she knows that he wants to work on the marriage. It appears like that she knows that, but she's not willing to work on it.

Now there are reasons why, and of course I have no idea what the background of this situation is, and she probably has a lot of reasons why she is where she is in terms of his behavior. So at any rate, he's limited in terms of what he can do in having physical contact with her and talking with her, but he's not limited in talking to God. And I would say use this time to build your own relationship with God. Begin to develop a deeper relationship with God. Spend time reading Christian books. Spend time reading the Bible every single day and asking God to show you what can make you a person that would be following his plan. So, you know, life's deepest meaning is found in a relationship with God, not in a relationship with a wife or with children. Those are important, but first of all, it starts with a relationship with God. So I would say use the pain and hurt that you're feeling and the frustration that you're feeling. Use that to push you to spend more time with God, and maybe get counseling yourself, you know, just to help you grow in your relationship with God and process your own emotions.

Because, you know, sitting down with a counselor and sharing your story and getting some ideas in terms of how you can cope with your own feelings and your own frustrations will be helpful for you. 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 at our website buildingrelationships.us as well as our featured resource, the book Loving Adopted Children Well.

Just go to buildingrelationships.us. And remember, if you hear something on the program that you want to respond to, an answer Dr. Chapman gives that you think was great or not so great, just call us 1-866-424-GARY, 866-424-GARY. She's doing all she can for nearly 40 years. Is there hope? Here's our next call caller. Hi Gary.

I don't know if you can help me or I should say us. We've been together for 39 years. I'm married to a narcissist. I'm doing everything I can to try to save this marriage but I'm not sure I can save it. He's been dishonest with me from day one and I have very serious trust issues.

It's still all about him. He doesn't understand that. I don't know if you can help us but I sure would appreciate if you could give us any advice or where to go for counseling. We live in Colorado but I'm hanging on by a thread and actually we've been separated for three months right now. He was so verbally abusive that I finally left and I've put up with his verbal abuse for 39 years and I can't take anymore. So I don't know, maybe you can give us some advice. I hope you have a great weekend and thanks so much.

Bye. Well Chris, I think you know our listeners, many of them can identify with what this lady is saying because they've lived in similar situations. Yes, I think counseling would be almost a necessity if there's going to be any hope in this situation but I would not wait for him to join you in counseling. I would go for counseling, just you, if he's not willing to go, which apparently he's not willing to go because you need a counselor to help you work through all the pain struggles you've had for these last 39 years and process those things. If he sees you going for counseling, it may at some juncture stimulate him to say, okay, I'm willing, I'm willing to go and I've got to work on myself.

You see, you can't work on him but you can work on you. In terms of finding a counselor, if you're in Colorado, I would suggest you call Focus on the Family. You may be familiar with that. It's a Christian radio program that's been on for years. They have counselors who will talk to you on the phone. They will not do long-term counseling with you but they will hear your story and they will give you the name and contact information of counselors in your area of Colorado.

They are located in Colorado Springs. I would say, you know, go online, focus on the family and get their phone number and call them. Tell them your situation. Tell them you'd like to talk with a counselor and then let that counselor begin to give you wisdom on where you can find a counselor in your area.

So it's not going to go away with the passing of time. 39 years is a long time and if you've lived with this pattern all these years, it's not going away on its own. It will only change if he ultimately is willing to get help but that may well start with you getting help.

I know in your mind he's the total problem and he's the one that needs to be going but you can set an example by going yourself and you need help to process the pain and hurt that you're feeling after all these years. Well, I mentioned that phone number just a minute ago that you can call and leave a message or a response. 1-866-424-GARY.

Here's someone who called recently about a program that we aired a previous Dear Gary broadcast. I was listening to your program today and just had two comments about difficulties with marriage partners. If pornography is involved, perhaps the spouse who's not interested in intimacy in marriage and is involved in pornography, maybe he's getting relief in ways that he doesn't need a partner. And secondly, Chris made a comment about abusive marriages. I would like to make the point that someone who's abusive after the marriage ceremony, sometimes it doesn't show before the marriage ceremony because they are displaying their most loving persona before the marriage. They have almost two personalities, one before the marriage and one after the marriage. They're very good at displaying what they think you want from a marriage partner before the marriage.

Thank you for listening to my comments. Well, Chris, this caller is talking about two different things. One is a spouse who is on pornography and the other is a spouse that is abusive, physically abusive or maybe verbally abusive. Both of those are serious issues in a marriage. I would say on the pornography thing, a spouse who is not showing interest in the sexual part of the marriage with his partner but is hooked on pornography, yes, he's living in an unreal world. He's meeting a physical need that he has but he's doing it in an unreal world and that is never healthy and it's always detrimental to a marriage. So until he is willing to deal with that issue, the marriage is not going to get any better.

You know, he's not going to turn to his wife for sexual fulfillment when he's satisfying himself in an unreal world. I think in both of these cases, whether it's pornography or whether it's abuse, physical or emotional abuse, the first step for the partner would be to get counseling themselves because they need to learn how to show tough love. That is, how to ultimately say to that person with some confidence, but this should be done, I think, after talking with a counselor because you need, you're going to need help to walk this journey, but you're essentially saying to them, I love you too much to stay here and do nothing and let you abuse me the way you're abusing me. You cannot be ultimately satisfied by abusing me this way and so I'm not abandoning you but I am going to move out.

I'm going to move in with my mother or whatever plan you have. I'm willing to go for counseling anytime you want to go, but I love you too much to sit here and do nothing. It's that kind of tough love that is far more likely to stimulate someone who is being abusive or someone who is on porn to reach out and say, okay, okay, I've got to deal with this and I'll go with you for counseling. Now, tough love is always more effective when it's preceded by a period of tender love.

Here's what I mean. If you know your spouse's love language in either of these situations and you're speaking it and you have spoken it for a period of time, you're doing the most positive thing you can do to influence them. Then, if you give tough love, they've got something to lose because you've been loving them and they don't deserve to be loved. You've been loving them like God loves us and then you say to them, you know, I'm moving out because I love you too much to stay here and do nothing.

They're far more motivated now because they're about to lose someone who's been loving them when they don't deserve to be loved. So, that's the most positive approach that I can suggest. Well, before we conclude today, I want to give you that number again where you can call even right now and leave a message or question for Dr. Chapman. 1-866-424-GARY. Again, 866-424-4279. We'd love to hear from you and don't forget to check out our featured resource, the book by Dr. Chapman and Dr. Laurel Shaler, Loving Adopted Children Well. Just go to buildingrelationships.us. And next week, don't miss Ed and Lisa Young's story of loss and the hope they have in the midst of their pain. It'll be an encouraging 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 Chicago in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-24 02:29:16 / 2024-02-24 02:46:21 / 17

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