December 9, 2013
Q: Are your “The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted” seminars only for married couples?
Gary Chapman: Most of the couples who come to my conferences are married, but we always have engaged couples come and even single adults who want to learn about marriage. While we focus on married couples, everyone is invited. If you’re interested in marriage, you’ll learn some things that will help you when you are married.
December 6, 2013
Q: I am a very orderly person and my husband is not. I am very frustrated having to always clean up after him. Suggestions?
Gary Chapman: To me, this calls for requests, not demands. If he can respond to the request, things will become much easier. However, there will be some things that he will never do to your satisfaction. Love accepts many imperfections; by imperfections, I mean those things your spouse cannot, or will not, change. Settle into reality, don’t expect him to become super organized, and remember that you too have many imperfections.
December 5, 2013
What is the loving thing to do when your adult child moves back home? Let me give you three suggestions:
1. Establish a time limit for their stay. Everyone will feel more relaxed if you have some idea of how long this return stay is going to last.
2. Formulate a financial agreement. In the rare event that your child cannot make any financial contribution, then assign tasks such as cleaning, yard work, or repairs. They will feel better if they are making a contribution.
3. Respect the need for privacy. This involves not only living space, but the use of phone, possessions, and noise level. Make life as pleasant as possible. Try to avoid becoming a war zone.
December 3, 2013
When Psychiatrist Ross Campbell and I teamed up and wrote our book: How to Really Love Your Adult Child, we discovered that most parents are greatly frustrated when their children move back home. In reality, it gives the parents another opportunity to parent their children. Some adults are simply not ready for the real world. They have tried and failed. Now, they may be more open to your wisdom than when they were teenagers. Call a family conference. Find out what your adult child is thinking. Do they have plans? Or, do they just want to ‘hang out’? Hanging out may be okay for a week or two, but you and your child need plans on how to move toward some obtainable goal. Even a small goal is better than no goal.
December 2, 2013
Q: What are the most common Love Languages? Are they all distributed equally?
Gary Chapman: Our research shows that they are distributed pretty equally among people; not exactly 20% in each one, but pretty close. I do know that a man or a woman can have any one of these languages as their primary love language. One is not more predominant in one gender than another. What is important is that you learn the love language of your significant other and speak it regularly.
November 29, 2013
Q: My boyfriend is significantly older than I am. Will this create problems for us if we get married?
Gary Chapman: That depends on how old you are. If you’re 16 and he’s 26, that has the potential to be a major problem because you’re in two different worlds. However, if you’re 36 and he’s 46 there is not as much potential for a problem related to your age because you’re both in a similar stage of life. It’s not necessarily about age in general, but rather young age, middle age, or older age. At 16, you’ve got a lot of developing to do–high school, college perhaps, the ability to legally work–you’re in a different world. This is not the same for someone who is 26 or 46. Find someone in a similar stage of life.
November 28, 2013
Have you seen the T-Shirt that says, “It’s not an empty nest until they get their stuff out of the attic.” For you, that may not seem even remotely funny. You aren’t thinking about emptying the attic, but about what you are going to do now that your adult child has moved back into your house. They are called the boomerang generation. They leave, but they come back. Certainly you love them, but you had not anticipated this. It has thrown your life and perhaps your marriage into a tail spin. The most common problem is that you and your spouse disagree over how to treat the boomerang child. Let me challenge you to make a fundamental decision. Reach out for help: a book, a pastor, a friend are all good resources. Take advantage of what others have learned.
November 26, 2013
When you are angry – be sure to get the facts before you take action. You hear your spouse tell someone on the phone, “I’ll be there tomorrow night.” You know that tomorrow night is your date night, so you get angry. Before you storm in and say something harsh, take time to ask: “Did I hear you promise someone to do something tomorrow night?” Your spouse says, “Yes, I told mom I’d bring her blanket by. I thought we could do it either before or after we go out to eat.” Your anger subsides because you took time to “get the facts.” Often we jump to conclusions about what someone said or did and in anger we accuse them. We mess up a perfectly good evening because we failed to ask questions.
November 25, 2013
Q: My husband keeps his past a secret because of painful memories. How important is it that I know these things?
Gary Chapman: It depends on what he’s keeping secret. If he’s had painful experiences or trauma such as you would expect from being in the military, people have cheated him in business, or something similar, I think you need to be sensitive to him and not force him to share things that he does not want to share. I feel this way because there are some things that he could share that may be extremely painful to you. Even though he may feel better for having told you, you may feel worse for knowing. If God has forgiven him, I would let him choose what he shares with you from his past and I would not pressure him to tell you everything that’s ever happened in his life. If his sins are covered by the blood of Christ, there’s not necessarily a need for you to know them.
November 22, 2013
Q: How important is it to get your future in-law’s blessing before marrying their daughter?
Gary Chapman: It is ideal, but you may not always get it. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that the two of you shouldn’t get married. There are some in-laws for whom no one is ever going to be good enough for their daughter or son. But you can try, you can reach out, you can make an effort. If they say no, you should slow down and find out why. Listen to what they are saying and be realistic. Don’t let their opposition push you to marry each other. Consider it and make sure you know what you’re doing. However, I wouldn’t say you always have to base your decision on the blessing of your in-laws’ blessing.