May 24, 2013
Q: Gary, it seems like I can make my wife angry by doing the smallest things. Why is this?”
Gary Chapman: I can’t tell you why, but I can help you find out. Try to learn from each of the experiences. Whenever she responds in a defensive or angry manner follow up the next day with something like, “I wonder what we can learn from last night. I noticed that when I said _____ that you responded in a very negative way. It wasn’t my intent to make you angry. Therefore, what would be a better way to have expressed that … or what might have I have done differently that would have made it easier for you?” I think if you try to learn from each of those experiences, you’ll find out why she has those particular areas as hot spots. Additionally, you’ll find a better way to approach future conversations or situations in the process.
May 23, 2013
Money doesn’t destroy marriages. People do. If you are arguing over money, I’m suggesting that money is not the problem. The problem is that the two of you are blaming each other rather than joining forces to find a solution. For example, let’s say you are arguing about “not enough money”. He blames her for spending too much and she blames him for not looking for a better job. The solution? Stop blaming and spend that same energy looking for creative ways to lower spending and increase income. These are the only two ways to have more money. If you work as a team and apply your best thinking, seeking God’s help, you will find a solution. Remember: God has promised to meet our needs, if we put Him first.
May 21, 2013
When is the last time you and your spouse had an argument about money? Was it the ‘same old issue’? My contention is that couples who continue to argue about the same thing over and over again, need help. That is what motivated me to write my book: Profit Sharing: The Chapman Guide to Making Money an Asset to Your Marriage.
When you argue, you are wasting energy. You don’t have a problem that other couples have not had. Perhaps you could find an older couple whom you respect. Share your struggle with them and ask for advice. If they don’t have an answer, they can likely point you to someone who does. Make money an asset to your marriage, not a battleground.
May 20, 2013
Q: My husband got a zero for physical touch on your online quiz and I got a zero. How do I deal with it?
Gary Chapman: He must learn how to reach out and give you the kind of touches that communicate love to you—just as you must learn to speak his love language. It usually doesn’t come natural to speak a language that is not native to us, so it will be just as difficult for him as it is for you. But if you both understand how important this is—that this is what is going to make the other person feel loved—it makes learning to speak each other’s primary love language much easier. I deal with thoroughly in my book The 5 Love Languages, so if you’ve not yet read it and only taken the quiz, I want to encourage you do so. I would also recommend you get your husband the men’s edition because in it I give guys several additional ideas on how to speak all five languages.
May 17, 2013
Q: “My wife is not a talker, but I really want to open up to her. She just doesn’t seem there most of the time. How can I change this?”
Gary Chapman: It is possible to grow significantly in learning how to talk, but she will need your help. Be aware when talking to her that you don’t just make statements—things like, “I wish you’d talk more,” or “It’s a beautiful day.” One of best things you can do is to ask her specific questions. It is easier for a “dead sea” (non-talker) to talk if you ask specific questions. So once you’ve asked a question, leave some silence. Don’t answer for her. Give her a chance to enter into the conversation. Additionally, it’s a good idea to phrase questions in a way that require thoughtful response as opposed to one word answers (yes or no). Be satisfied with short answers at first because it will take a while for her to begin to talk more. Try to have different questions you can ask her everyday and before long you will notice a change.
May 16, 2013
Is money an asset, or a liability to your marriage? Much of the answer lies in your attitude toward money. If you are looking to money or the things that money can buy, to make you happy, then money will be a source of conflict in your marriage. But if your trust is in God and you’re looking to Him for wisdom in how to handle money, then money will become an asset. Money is a great servant, but a poor master. Don’t let money overly influence the decisions you make. The bigger question is “How will this decision influence our marriage and family?” A move across the country may bring more money, but be detrimental to your family. In which case, less money is an asset.
May 14, 2013
Why is money often a source of conflict in marriage? For over thirty years as a marriage counselor, I have been listening to couples argue about money. “He could get a better job if he would try.” “All I ask is that she record the checks that she writes.” “Why can’t we save something?” Is the problem really money? I don’t think so.
I think it is a relationship problem. The first step is to write down the ‘money issues” on which the two of you disagree. Then one by one, look for a game plan that will make both of you winners. If you can’t agree on such a plan, then get a counselor or trusted friend to help you. You don’t have to spend a lifetime arguing about money.
May 13, 2013
Q: Gary. My husband and I recently separated and he is unwilling to listen to my reasoning. Is there hope for our marriage?
Gary Chapman: Until your husband is remarried, there is hope for your marriage. Don’t ever give up until he marries someone else. Now having said that, I recognize that you cannot control your husband. There’s nothing you can do that is going to make him return. You or friends can put helpful books in his hands—like my book Hope for the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed which has helped many people come to a different perspective on their marriage. If they respond and come back to reinvest in the marriage, then I would encourage you to get counseling. Don’t just move back together.
Yes, your marriage can be restored. Trust God to work in his heart and allow him be free because God also allows him to be free.
May 10, 2013
Q: Gary my wife is always joking around about different “crushes” she has, both with guys on T.V. and those we know. She says it’s joking around, but it bugs me.
A: First of all, you’re not alone. We all have emotional hot spots and there are many other souses—male and female—that feel the same you do. Working through the issue starts with finding better ways of saying things that don’t hurt the other person. To say he’s “good looking” may not hurt as bad, but to use the word “crush” communicates to you that she has some sort of desire to be with that person. Share with her how hurtful that is to you. Have an open conversation with her. If you find you two can’t work it out one-on-one, then I would encourage you both to sit down with a counselor or pastor and let someone else help through it.
May 9, 2013
“I don’t love her anymore.” How many times have I heard that in my office! What is that supposed to mean? Usually, it means that he has lost the euphoric feelings he had for her when they got married. And that their differences have emerged and ended in arguments. The fact is, everyone loses the euphoric feelings. They usually last for only two years. Then, we must learn to love. We must choose to treat each other with respect. We must listen to differences of opinion and try to find a solution. We must learn to work together as a team; using our differences for the benefit of the team. This attitude is commanded by God. To say, “I don’t love her anymore,” is admitting that you are breaking God’s command.