August 25, 2014
Q: I suspect my husband of cheating on me on the internet and he gets upset when I ask to see his account. How do I deal with this?
Gary: It’s difficult to deal with that, but you cannot accept a husband who is hiding part of his life from you. I think you have to tell him very lovingly that you love him too much to let him block off a part of his life from you. Does he want an intimate marriage with you or does he want to live with the internet? I think when you push him to make that kind of choice you will discover the truth, then you can deal with the truth. I also suggest you need someone to walk with you through this journey. I suggest you see a Christian counselor or pastor.
August 20, 2014
Let’s be honest, many of us have never learned to handle anger positively. Our responses to anger in the past have always made things worse. Some people deny that they have an anger problem. Margaret was a screamer. She prided herself in “speaking her mind”. She justified her tirades until the day her daughter left her the following note. “Dear Mom, I won’t be home tonight. I can’t take your screaming anymore. I don’t know what will happen to me, but at least I won’t have to hear all the nasty things you say to me when I don’t do everything you want.” Margaret read the note, cried, and called her pastor, who in turn helped her find a Christian counselor. Don’t wait until you get a note – reach out for help.
January 15, 2014
Someone said years ago that the circle of confession should be as large as the circle of the sin. Private sin, bitterness towards someone that’s held in your heart and has never been expressed to anyone externally, is between you and God. If that bitterness, however, has led you do to things against that person that are wrong, I believe it is likely that he or she is going to find out about things and you need to reconcile the situation. But ultimately and first of all, all sin needs to be confessed to God.
January 10, 2014
Q: My wife and I are always at odds about something. What’s a good first step for being OK with our differences?
Dr. Gary Chapman: Learn how to respect each other’s ideas, even when you don’t agree. The idea, in the mind of your spouse, makes total sense; to you, it may be nonsense. Put yourself in her shoes and consider her personality. Seek to understand why she interprets situations the way she does. Don’t argue; instead, acknowledge that her thoughts are valid. After these things, look for a resolution that both of you can agree on. You will probably disagree on things for the rest of your marriage, but they do not have to become stumbling blocks.
November 21, 2013
When you are angry, the first positive step is to admit to yourself that you are angry. Say it aloud, “I’m feeling angry.” The second step is to ask God to help you handle your anger in a positive way. “Lord, help me to do what is right and good with my anger.” The third step is to ask: Did someone sin against me? If so, the biblical answer is to lovingly confront the person and seek reconciliation. On the other hand, if you are angry simply because something happened that irritates you, then ask: “What can I learn from this experience?” If the other person habitually arrives late for your appointment, perhaps you can talk with them and negotiate change. Thus, the anger has served a positive purpose. God wants to teach you how to handle your anger in a godly way.
November 19, 2013
In my book: Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way, I asked the publisher to print the following statement in the back of the book as a tear out. My suggestion is that you put it on the refrigerator so that when a family member feels angry at another family member, they can take the card, and read it aloud to the person at whom they are angry. Here’s what the card says, “I’m feeling angry right now, but don’t worry. I’m not going to attack you. But I do need your help. Is this a good time to talk?” It brings a little humor into the tenseness and reminds you of what you are not going to do. It also is asking the other person to help you process your anger. It’s an easy way to help family members learn to process anger in a positive way.
November 14, 2013
Why do people get angry? I believe we get angry when our sense of ‘right’ is violated. But we have two kinds of anger: definitive anger – when someone has wronged us, and distorted anger – when things didn’t go our way. Much of our anger is distorted. The traffic moved too slowly. Our spouse didn’t do what we wanted. This distorted anger is still very intense and must be processed. Here’s a question: Would it be helpful if I shared my anger with someone? In sharing it, might I improve things for everyone? Or, should I simply ‘let it go?’ Whatever you do, do something positive. Don’t hold anger inside. Anger was meant to be a visitor, never a resident.
November 12, 2013
When is the last time you felt angry? How did you handle your anger? Was it a pleasant experience for you? How about the people around you? All of us have seen people explode. Many of us have exploded. On the other hand, many Christians pride themselves in holding their anger inside. But internalized anger is bad for your health. The biblical challenge is that when we experience anger, we are to process it in a positive way. That may mean gently confronting the person who stimulated our anger. Or, it may mean asking God to forgive us for being so ‘bent out of shape’ over such a minor matter. Learning to process anger in a timely and healthy way is one of the first lessons for healthy relationships.
September 17, 2013
Must I continue to forgive when a person hurts me again and again? Jesus once said, “If a person sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” (Luke 17:4) The important word is the word repent not the word seven. Peter later asked Jesus, “seven times in a day?” And Jesus said, “70 times 7”. It’s not the number that’s important it is the repentance. We forgive as often as people repent. If they don’t repent, we turn them over to God. God will bring punishment to the unbeliever, and discipline to the believer. It is not our place to seek vengeance. We release our hurt and anger to God and we put the person in His hands.
September 12, 2013
Why is it so hard for us to forgive? I think it is because we are made in God’s image and we have a deep concern for justice. Forgiveness did not come easy with God. That is what the cross of Christ is all about. Because Christ paid the penalty, then God can forgive us and still be just. How do we experience God’s forgiveness? We confess our sins and accept what Christ did for us. So, when others sin against us, forgiveness is not easy. Our sense of justice demands that they pay for their sin. We want to be reconciled, but we do not want to ignore wrongdoing. However, when they confess, we remember that God forgave us when we confessed, and we choose to forgive others. Love is always ready to forgive.