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What Is Your Love Language?

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson
The Truth Network Radio
March 25, 2022 7:00 pm

What Is Your Love Language?

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson

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March 25, 2022 7:00 pm

Stu sits down with Dr. Gary Chapman - author, speaker, and counselor - ahead of his upcoming Five Love Languages Marriage Conference at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC, to talk about how God has worked in his life, what he loves about his ministry, and the potentially life-changing teaching he shares with couples and singles at his speaking events.

The Five Love Languages Marriage Conference at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC will take place April 2nd from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Sign up at



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Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. So, this is a book by Dr. Gary Chapman. Dr. Chapman, did you have any idea decades ago that this would be an international rage? Everyone's talking about trying to find their love languages now. I had no idea, Stu, that that would happen. You know, people ask me how do I explain the fact that the book's been out 30 years now, and every year it sells more than the year before.

You know, it's up to 20 million copies now. People ask me, how do I explain that? I say the short answer is God. The long answer is God.

That's all I know. But I think it addresses that deep emotional need that all of us have to feel loved. And if you're married, the person who would most like to love you is your spouse.

And this book and this concept, the love languages, helps you effectively communicate love to the other person. Well, Dr. Chapman, I was just talking to my wife before coming over here to talk to you, and I made the mistake of mentioning that I was coming over to talk to you. And I said, honey, I know what your love languages are.

And I just had, you know, I just, I pegged it. I said, you know, you like access service. When I unload that dishwasher, you're just like excited. And you like time, quality time, just being here. And out of nowhere, Doc, out of nowhere, she says, well, you know, I kind of like getting gifts, and I really like words of encouragement, and that just throttled me.

I've been married for 30 years to this woman. I have the gift of exhortation. And my wife has a love language of encouragement.

I mean, Doc, how could this be? Man, you're wrecking my life here. She's giving you information for the moment. And that's really what you need. You know, typically, we have one or two of these that really stands out for a lifetime. But certain situations can change. And in certain situations, another love language is more important. So she's just giving you up-to-date information. It's really something.

But it's being a student of your spouse. You say it in just about all your books. I'm holding your most recent book. Now, I'm thinking this is your most recent book, but since I interviewed you about this book last time, there may be more because you're writing them quicker than I can interview you, Dr. Chapman. But this latest book, Life Lessons and Love Languages, What I've Learned on My Unexpected Journey, which I'm really enjoying this because I've known you and your wife, your Uncle Gary and Aunt Carolyn. And I've known you all my life.

I've grown up under your ministry. But I'm learning stuff about you in here that, you know, before this book became this best-selling book in how many languages? 57 languages now, they tell me. So 57 languages. So we don't want to confuse folks now.

There's five love languages, but there's 57 languages. Now, that gets a little beyond my mind, Dr. Chapman. I'm not the brightest knife in the drawer, but that's pretty powerful. But think about, Doc, there was just a guy working part-time, going to school full-time. His wife was working for one of the Old Testament professors as a secretary, and he was coming home to drawers left open, banging his shins. You're an organized guy, and your marriage was in trouble early on. So this whole thing comes out of something going on there.

There's no question about that, Stu. You know, when I wrote this book, it's really my memoirs. I did it during the pandemic, and I thought, you know, if I'm ever going to write my memoirs, I better do it while I still have a brain, okay? But yeah, Carolyn and I had some real struggles in our marriage in the early days. Of course, I knew nothing about love languages. In fact, I didn't know much about anything when we got married. And our differences emerged. You know, we disagreed on a lot of stuff. All couples do.

But when you're in love, you don't think you will. But I came down off the high, and we really struggled. And I think that's probably one thing God used to give me a passion for wanting to help other couples, because I'm empathetic with people when they sit in my office and say, we just don't have any hope. We're just too different. We disagree about everything.

All we do is argue. And I'm empathetic with that. And so, you know, God, I think, allowed us to go through that to prepare me to be empathetic with other people who are struggling. Dr. Chapman, you had that moment when you came home, which you talk about was just an absolute emancipation in your soul, where you said to your wife, and she kind of maybe kind of responded flippantly, but still, you said to her, you can leave the drawers open all you want. You made a decision at that point in time that you weren't going to leave her, you weren't going to divorce her, that you were going to love her like Jesus would love her. And that's exactly your words in this book.

Talk about that. That's where a lot of marriages are right now. There's a lot of folks struggling and hurting right now that need to maybe come to that point.

You're trying to get them to that point. Yeah, I think, Stu, that what happened with us is that I realized that there are many things that ultimately I had to accept about my wife, things that she was not going to change. Now, I don't know if she could not change or she would not change, but that was just an example, the drawers. You know, she's not a drawer closer, and I am a drawer closer. And I would preach to her and tell her how, you know, this needs to happen.

And she didn't respond to that. So one day, I just thought, you know, I could close the drawers. It takes about a second to close the drawer. And I just went home and told her, I said, honey, you don't ever have to worry about the drawers again. I said, from now on, I'll close them. If you can open them anytime you want to.

And I'll just, when I come by, I'll close them again. It'll be fine. And she said, fine. You know, it was no big deal to her.

It was a big day for me when I accepted some of those things about her that I realized she wasn't going to change. And this is true in every couple. There are things that irritate us, in each of us, because we're different. We're humans. All humans have conflicts. And some of them we can solve by the person changing.

But others, we have to come to accept those things. But for me, it was a spiritual thing. Because I finally said to God, I don't really know what else to do.

And things aren't getting any better. And that's when a visual image of Jesus on his knees, watching the feet of his disciples, came to my mind. And I heard God say, that's the problem in your marriage. You do not have the attitude of Christ towards your wife.

He hit me like a ton of bricks. And after I confessed and poured my heart out to God, I asked him to give me an attitude of serving her. And that turned things around. When I had the attitude, I'm in this relationship to enrich her life, to serve her, and I began to ask how, then our marriage began to change. And eventually she started responding to me in the same way.

How can I help you? And so, yeah, I think that's really at the heart of what makes marriage a success. Is it both couples, both individuals in the marriage, have the attitude of Christ who said, I didn't come to be served, I came to serve.

And give my life a ransom for others. And when we have that attitude toward each other, we're going to have a good marriage. Well, Dr. Chapman, a lot of folks may come right back and say, well, can it be that simple? We get into all this, I heard one pastor say, we either get hysterical or we get historical. And we get into arguments with our spouses.

But go into that. You counsel these couples. You've been doing this for a lot longer than some of us have been alive, not mentioning any names.

But Dr. Chapman, these five love languages, you're trying to keep it simple, but going back to Jesus. There's a simple answer, but it's a tough answer. We don't always want to look in the mirror.

That's a tough thing to do for anyone. I think by nature, all of us are self-centered. And there's a good part to that because it means we take care of ourselves. But it leads us often to approach the whole of life in terms of what am I getting out of this relationship? It's selfishness. It's the opposite of love. Love is an attitude, not a feeling. It's an attitude. An attitude that I am in this relationship to enrich your life. Selfishness is also an attitude. I'm in this relationship because you're making me happy.

If you stop making me happy, I'm out of this relationship. And that's where the contemporary world is today. But as Christians, we see marriage as a covenant before God and witnesses, we say, in our ceremonies. And when we see it as a covenant, then we need to find out God's way of making marriage what it was intended to be. Because God said about Adam, it's not good for the guy to be alone.

I'm going to make him a helper and they will become one flesh. It speaks of deep, deep intimacy. And when we get our attitude in line with God and we have the attitude of Christ, we have that kind of intimacy. We share life deeply in every area. And marriage is what it was intended to be.

You know, a deeply satisfying relationship in which each of you are helping the other become the person God intended you to be. That's the voice of Dr. Gary Chapman, best-selling author, radio host, and pastor, and speaker, and father, and grandfather, and husband to Carolyn. And it's neat that you can talk about your family in your books, Dr. Chapman.

Your family plays an intricate part of the stuff you write. You're really fleshing out your testimony as you're writing about this, especially your most recent book, which is really a memoir, Life, Lessons, and Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. This will tell us a lot more about you than maybe we ever thought, huh?

Maybe more than you ever want to know. But what I see as I look back over my life is the hand of God. You know, we all have plans and we should have plans, but those plans should always be held in an open hand because God often directs us in ways that we had not planned. You know, the Scriptures even say, you know, man makes his plans, but God directs his steps. And when I look back on my life, I see the hand of God directing my steps through all these years.

That's the voice of Dr. Gary Chapman. We'll be back with him with another segment on Truth Talk. And we'll talk more about this new book and we'll talk about a special event coming to North Carolina, to his hometown, to his home church that people are already coming from multiple states to see and hear and be encouraged by these love languages. Stay tuned for more Truth Talk right after this.

Hang on. Did God bring you into a marriage relationship to survive, to get by, just to struggle through? Or did he bring you into that marriage to thrive? Dr. Gary Chapman, you have spent your ministry writing, speaking, counseling, college ministry, singles ministry, helping people connect in relationships, building relationships. He's a host of a national radio show, really international, and he's the author of all kinds of books.

The one you may know him best by is The Five Love Languages. Dr. Chapman, thanks for sharing all this wealth of what God's taught you with the rest of us. Well, you know, Stu, I think God expects all of us to take whatever gifts we have, whatever information we have, and bless the world.

And that's what I try to do in all of my writing. It's just an overflow of what I've learned in the counseling office, essentially. Well, we want to talk about a special event coming up, but also in your books. But Dr. Chapman, I've got to ask you this question. You're passing 80 years old, and you're still here up in the church, Calvary Baptist Church on Peace Haven Road.

There's your Bible, there's all your books, there's your email, you're busier than a bee, your book is in 57 languages, your other books are being translated in all these languages. Doc, you need to just chase that little white ball and just retire. What are you doing still ministering, still leading conferences? I mean, what are you thinking, Doc? I mean, what about that?

Just relax a little bit. What do you say to people that, you know, the American dream and all that stuff? Well, you know, I did officially retire from the church last July after 50 years at the same church, OK?

I said it's time to get off the payroll, folks. But they've allowed me to keep my office and keep my assistant, and I'm just doing what I've always done. And, you know, the reason I do is because I love what I'm doing.

I believe it's what God wants me to be doing. And somebody asked me, you know, what's your bucket list? What do you have on bucket list? I said, I don't think I have one. If you mean I need to go there or there or there, I said, I don't know. I said, if you want me to have one, there's only one thing I'd put in it, and that is I would like to accomplish everything that God has in mind for my life. I've already told God, if you're through, I'm through.

When you're through, I'm through. I don't have any plans other than your plans. So, to me, as long as we live, God has plans for us, and he plugs us in where he knows we should be. So that's what I'm trying to do, just live out my life in keeping with his plans. Doc, at this stage in your life, what is it you do that makes you feel most alive?

What is the thing that gives you more energy of all the stuff you're involved with? Well, you know, all of it, of course, is meaningful, but what I really enjoy, I think more than anything else I do, is giving my marriage conference that I give 15 times a year all over the country under the umbrella of my publisher, Moody Publishers. And we have a whole day on Saturday, 9 o'clock until 3.30, in which I get to share really five fundamental things, not just the love languages, but a lot of other things, that really, I think, if people attend that conference, they will have the tools to have a healthy marriage. And I always share the gospel, and people receive Christ every Saturday.

I was in Houston, Texas last weekend, had four people receive Christ. So, I enjoy that because I think, you know, you have the same people for a length of time, you get to cover more than just one topic. And, yeah, I think that brings me the greatest satisfaction. Yeah, so a lot of times people see five love languages, and they, of course, they think of your best-selling book, which I strongly recommend, and I'm still working through it, even though it's been out some time.

It still sells more copies every year, doesn't it, Doc? And it's in 57 languages! Congratulations! That's tremendous. Well, thank you.

I give God the credit for that, not me. Well, it's wonderful. So, the title, Five Love Languages Marriage Conference, which you do these, you know, like you said, all year round, all kinds of places, you pack out stadiums, arenas, churches, other places, assembly halls. It goes deeper than just the love languages. You know, you're talking about, you're getting to some deep, diving into the woods here with some things that it's going to get real, real quick, I guess, right?

Yeah, we do have one. One of the sessions is on the love languages, of course, and even more than that in that session. But, yeah, we have a session, for example, on communication and a lot of the common struggles in communication. You'd think talking and listening is easy, but when you have conflicts, it's not easy. And I talk about, how do you solve conflicts without arguing? Because I know couples been married 20 and 30 years and they've never learned to solve conflicts. They argue, somebody walks out and slams the door, and that one goes under the rug, you know?

And we just, we build walls between us because we don't know how to solve conflicts. And we talk about, you know, if you wanted to have a better marriage, where would you start? Most people start at the wrong place. You know, they start, you should change, you should do this, you should do that. And we don't preach people into a good marriage.

You know, you ought to start at the right place. And so we talk about making sex a mutual joy. I mean, sex is an important part of marriage, and sometimes Christians don't talk about it, and many people struggle in this area of their marriage. So we deal with that whole issue.

And we talk about, you know, how do you process those things that do irritate you about your spouse? You've asked them to change, they don't change. Maybe there's a pattern in how you ask and how you request.

We make requests, not demands. And so it's a lot of practical stuff. And in addition to that, we have a lot of fun. I really believe you can learn while you're laughing.

And so I don't tell jokes, I just use real life illustrations. But it's a fun day. And I really want to encourage folks who hear this program to join us on April the 2nd. Yes, sir. If you're listening to this program, and of course we'll play this program probably, you know, many, many times in the future.

But this event, April the 2nd, 2022, so 4 to 22, getting used to that New Year here, Doc, still, you can enroll online. It's at Calvary Baptist Church in North Carolina, which is the world headquarters, you know, where our Truth Network headquarters is in Winston-Salem, where I've kind of grown up. Dr. Chapman served for 50 years in the same church. You've been in the city serving at a lot of different places, and it's amazing how God's using you. I didn't know you used to direct Mary Wood Christian Camp. I saw that.

It's like, why didn't I read this sooner? But please sign up at for this special marriage conferences, communication, understanding, expressing love, initiating positive change, making sex a mutual joy, how to share the things that bug you. Dr. Chapman, I hear this all the time when I talk to people about marriage. I've probably said it. People, you know, get historical. They say, well, 30 years you haven't changed.

I've been in this. What do you say to people that just throw that out there? I think they're destroying their marriage. When you throw verbal bombs at your spouse, you're creating a war.

I mean, bombs always destroy. So one of the first things I suggest to people is, yes, stop throwing bombs at each other, you know, and make requests of the person. Yeah, OK, so they haven't changed for 30 years. Maybe you need to realize they're not going to change. Maybe I need to accept that as reality. You know, we're all humans, and you're never going to have a spouse that's going to do everything the way you want it done.

It's never going to happen. We have to accept our humanity. So, Dr. Gary Chapman, last time I interviewed you, this book just came out. I mean, you handed me this copy I'm holding in my hands. Subsequent to that time, I've been able to read it, and I've been thoroughly encouraged. And I want to encourage everyone to get to know you better through this book, The Life Lessons and Love Languages, what I've learned on my unexpected journey. You sound like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit on that unexpected journey. I promise you there's no dragon, there's no wizard other than this wise man right here, and what God has taught you. You're not going to turn to a chapter and verse and find, you know, like the Ten Commandments, the five love languages in the Bible, but the principles of Scripture are just deeply embedded here.

These are principles that have changed your life, Dr. Chapman. What can people expect as they're looking at these love languages for the first time? And as they get to know what you're trying to communicate here? Well, you know, Stu, when I give my marriage conferences, the one we're talking about, every Saturday I will have people come up and say to me, I just want to share with you that that book, they're talking about the five love languages, that that book saved our marriage. We were thinking and talking divorce, and somebody gave us that book, and it's like lights came on. And we realized how we'd been missing each other emotionally all these years. And we took the test, we discovered our love language, we started speaking it, our love tanks began to fill up, and it literally saved our marriage. That, of course, brings me great satisfaction. And that's really just the beginning, because you've written so much love languages of men, love languages in the corporate culture, in the workplace, in the marketplace, in the love languages of forgiveness.

I mean, talk about the bitterness that just binds our souls, that literally is poisoning our hearts from God and others. The love languages of children, of adolescents. Doc, this goes a lot deeper, so really, coming to this conference could really light a fire that God could use to reach a lot of folks once we find that healing. Well, I have two desires for people, and I say this at the beginning of the conference. One is, I hope that their marriage will be better because they came to the conference. Marriages either get better or they get worse, they never stand still. So I hope their marriage will get better. But secondly, I hope they will find themselves more prepared to help other couples, because people turn to their friends and ask questions about marriage before they ever go to a counselor. And so it's going to equip them. And so I encourage people who are leaders in their church and who care about marriage, come in terms of how this can equip me to help other couples.

If those two things happen, then I'm satisfied. Well, Doc, we talk about it, we get mad about it, we get frustrated, we attack, we fight, we argue, we postpone, we procrastinate. Literally, this could be a step where you're saying to someone, hey, put your money where your mouth is, invest in your marriage, and show up at this thing, you need to reserve a spot, and it's filling up quick already. But this is an opportunity to do something where you can come and invest in your marriage. This is a covenant relationship, something that's become trivial in our culture. You know, a lot of folks moving in together, a lot of couples aren't, they're not married.

And I see social media, they're all over each other. Wait, that's not your wife, what are you thinking? So Doc, when you talk about the beautiful covenant of marriage, not to shame and guilt people, but the opportunity to be all, your marriage to be all that God has it to be. Yeah, I think every marriage can grow. It doesn't matter where you are, every marriage can grow, because none of us are perfect. And 60% of the people who come to my conferences have never been to a marriage conference before. This is their first experience to go to a marriage event.

You know, they're just trying to work it on their own. Listen, you can learn a lot of things at a marriage conference, not just my conference, but other conferences as well. And our classes in your church that may be taught on marriage.

If we have an attitude we want to keep growing, then a conference like this can be a part of what God uses to help you take the steps that need to be taken to have the kind of marriage you've always wanted to have. Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, author of a bunch of other books in these shelves behind me, which I'm not even going to try to, you know, it would take the rest of three or four programs to read all your books. It's really cool, Doc. You're just so humble. You know, people always ask you, how many books have you written? And you said in your memoir book, you're like, I don't know. It's just like, when God tells me to do something, you do it. And you had no idea you'd even be an author in those early days of seminary, I guess, right?

That's right. I never ever dreamed that I would be an author. What would I say, I thought, if I wrote a book?

I have no idea. And I think that's why God took us through some things in our marriage, and then through the counseling people through the years. And so the books really are just an overflow of that ministry. So sign up for this conference right away.

There's still a little bit of room left. If you're hearing this show, in time to sign up, April the 2nd at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. You can register right there on the website And hang out with Dr. Gary Chapman for a wonderful, beautiful Saturday. And you will be blessed. Your marriage will be enriched. You'll be encouraged. Maybe some pre-marriage want to come.

That's a very relevant thing, too. To get it right, you wrote a book, What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married. Yeah, we often have engaged couples who come to the conference. In fact, we have sometimes just single adults who come. We just say, I'd just like to learn about marriage.

So everybody's welcome, married or single. Hey, as we wrap up this segment, Dr. Chapman, when I was reading your book, Life Lessons in Love Languages, I learned something about you I had no idea about. That early on in your ministry, you felt a tug from the Lord to possibly go to Nigeria and to train, equip pastors to teach at a seminary over there.

Because you have the academic credentials to do that, and you've taught at the seminary level and the higher education level, the university level. And then, because of some, I believe, some health issues and some other things with your wife, the Lord kind of closed that door. And then, fast forward decades later, a bunch of books came out, came to your house in a box. You opened them, and they were books in other languages going all over the world. And your wife made the comment, look, we're going all over the world after all. Just a full circle God wink there.

Can you just comment on that as we wrap up? Yeah, it was an aha moment when I looked over on the couch, and I was opening these books of mine that were published in other countries. Carolyn was crying, and I said, honey, what's wrong?

And she said, nothing's wrong. I just remember, we wanted to be missionaries, and now your books are all over the world. It's one of those moments when you realize, oh, God's plans were bigger than our plans, better than our plans, you know. So sometimes when you're going through experiences, you don't understand them. And we didn't understand that when we were not allowed to go to Nigeria. But years later, you look back and realize, oh, now I understand. So, you know, many of us go through those kind of experiences. So just remember, when you can't see God's hand, you trust his heart that watch this happen, he's in control.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-15 14:50:56 / 2023-05-15 15:03:07 / 12

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