Q&A: A wife struggling to recover from her husband’s emotional affair

January 26, 2015

Q: Gary, I discovered emails between my husband and someone from his past. They have been in touch throughout our marriage. He met her for dinner on a business trip out of town 5 years ago. He ended the contact; we did counseling. But, I’m still angry and so hurt.

Gary Chapman: It’s understandable that one would be hurt and experience the emotion of anger when a spouse has stepped out of line. What is fortunate is that, in this case, your spouse ended that relationship, the two of you went for counseling, and, I’m assuming, you processed that rather thoroughly.

I would suggest that even though the hurt and the anger may come back you take these emotions to God. Say, “Lord, you know what I am remembering. You know what I am feeling again. But, in spite of this, I thank you that my husband repented and I’ve forgiven him. Now help me to do something good today.”

Don’t allow the emotions that come from the past memory destroy today.

53 Hours a Week

January 14, 2015

Is technology bringing your family closer together, or is it driving your family apart? The average American child spends 53 hours a week with media and technology. It is easy for parents to use the screen to entertain their children and keep them happy (which normally means quiet).

Screen time that is not purposeful tends to be a waste of time and a negative influence. Children are like wet cement, and many children are being imprinted by screens not by parents. In my book: Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen Driven World, Arlene Pellicane and I seek to give parents practical help with screen management.

Freedom of Religion

January 6, 2015

Parents often find themselves in conflict with their young adult children. Sometimes these conflicts focus on religion. They become involved in a different religion or a cult. How is the Christian parent to respond?

First, let me remind you that the greatest influence you have on your children’s religious beliefs happens in the first eighteen years of their lives. They have heard you and watched you for many years. The closer your practice is to your preaching, the more they respect your beliefs. If you have failed, it’s time to repent and apologize. Then, it’s time to listen and dialogue. The days for preaching are over. They are young adults and you must respect their freedom. It’s the same freedom that God gives to all of us.

Q&A: Living With Someone Who Has Wronged You

January 5, 2015

Q: Gary, I just read your blog about releasing anger and giving it to God.  I totally get that, but how do you continue to live with that person?

Gary Chapman: Don’t overlook the steps that need to be taken before you release the person to God. The Bible says if you’ve been hurt or offended—which is usually what stimulates anger—you should go to the person who has wronged you and confront them. The hope is that they will acknowledge their failure and it’s at this point that you can forgive them. However, if you do this and they still are not willing to apologize or admit their wrong, then release your anger and that person to God. Consequently, the relationship will not be a close one because you can’t be close to someone you feel has wronged you but unwilling to deal with it, but at least you’re not perpetually living with the anger.

In Conflict with Child’s Sexual Behavior

December 30, 2014

In the fifties it was called “shacking up”. Today it’s “cohabitation,” or simply “living together.” So what are Christian parents to do when they find themselves in conflict with their child’s sexual behavior? Some parents have tried the ‘ostrich’ approach, denying that it’s happening. Others take the ‘missile’ approach, launching verbal condemnation. I believe the Christian approach is to speak the truth in love. “I think you know that I don’t approve of what you are doing. I think it is detrimental to your future. But I know that you are an adult and I cannot make decisions for you. I do request that you respect our beliefs and not sleep together at our house.” Then treat the couple with love and respect. Pray, and give God a chance to work.

Q&A: Trust Issues

December 29, 2014

Q: I have serious trust issues from a past relationship. How can I keep it from creeping into my new relationship? 

Gary: This is a very common problem. We often reach back and bring the fears of that past relationship into the new relationship. Acknowledge the reality that this is very common–that these thoughts and feelings come back to you. But, you choose not to let those thoughts and feelings control your behavior. And you say to this new person, “Here’s what I’m feeling, here’s what I’m fearing. I don’t want to bring that into our relationship and put that between us. I’m choosing to trust you.” Obviously, if they are untrustworthy, you will be hurt again. But you choose to trust, it’s a choice we make in every relationship.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas! Webster says, that ‘merry’ implies uninhibited enjoyment of frolic, festivity, or fun. In addition freshness and buoyancy as manifest in singing, leaping, and dancing. That’s what I wish for you on this Christmas day. That’s what the shepherds did. Luke says, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.” I hope that in the busyness of this day, you will find a place where you can let your spirit rise in praise to God for what He did on that first Christmas. The babe of Bethlehem was born to die so that we might have eternal life. Yes, the hinge of history is attached to the door of a Bethlehem stable. So, let us sing, leap, and dance for joy in celebration.

Relating Positively to a Child Who Is Homosexual

December 23, 2014

When Dr. Ross Campbell and I wrote our book: How to Really Love Your Adult Child, we discovered that many parents are struggling in their efforts to relate positively to children who have declared themselves homosexual. Feelings of confusion, depression, shock, and anxiety are common. Many parents are inclined to reject their children. However, rejection solves nothing. Keep the doors of communication open. Share your feelings of hurt and frustration, but affirm your love. If your child is open to counseling from a Christian perspective, then get them counseling.  As parents you also may want to visit a Christian counselor to help you sort out your own feelings. Your child’s choices need not destroy your life.

Q&A: City Girl Living in a Small Town

December 22, 2014

Q: I’m recently married and have moved to my husband’s small town. I’m a city girl and I’m going crazy here and CAN’T live here my whole life. Any advice?

Gary: I think you try to make the most of where you are. Get to know the people there. There are good people that live in small towns. From time to time you and your husband leave the small town and go to the city,  go to the symphony, or whatever you like about the city. Make the most of where you are. Don’t make it miserable for yourself and your husband. Perhaps in the future there will be city life for you again. But right now make the most of where you are.

Q&A: iPods for Christmas

December 19, 2014

Q: We are considering buying ipods for our kids for Christmas, but my husband says they are “time-wasters”. What do you think?

Gary: I think it all depends on the age of your child. The American Pediatric Association suggests no screens at all for children two years and under,  and after that only two hours a day on any kind of device. If you think they’re old enough, you need to have guidelines that you’re going to give them— in terms of the amount of time, in terms of what programs they get involved in, and you need to monitor those things. Otherwise, they will become time-wasters. They have to be monitored if it’s going to be positive. For more on this topic: Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane