Category: Distance

Q+A: Desperate Marriages

Q: Gary, after 15 years of marriage, we are contemplating separation. We have had many battles over the years, one being depression. Walls have been built and the fear is that I can’t break the wall again. I feel I’m done. Is there hope? Is separation just prolonging the inevitable?

Gary: I believe that there is always hope, even when you have lost hope. And I understand how you can get there, because I have been there myself. There are two books I would recommend to you: One is called Desperate Marriages. It specifically deals with the whole depression issue and living with someone who is depressed over a long period of time. The other one is called One More Try: What to do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart. I believe either or both of these books will help you as you struggle to know what to do next.

Q+A: Pornography in Marriage

Q: Gary, my husband says he views pornography to ‘make up for time we’re not together’ and that he is not addicted. Is this wrong?

Gary: I believe that pornography never enhances a marriage because it takes the focus off of the spouse and puts it on someone else. I would never encourage a man to use pornography while he and his wife are apart for seasons of time. His focus always needs to be on you, not on another female who is simply trying to stimulate him sexually. I think if the two of you can’t solve this, I would encourage you to sit down with a pastor or counselor to talk about this together.

Q&A: Long Distance Love Languages

Q: How can our distance relationship last if we both are not touched by Words of Affirmation?

Gary: If you scored low on Words of Affirmation, that is, Words of Affirmation are not very important to either one of you, then what are your love languages? The good news is that each of the 5 love languages can be spoken long distance. In a recent edition of The 5 Love Languages we address this for those in the military. In it we talk about speaking the love languages when your partner is deployed. If you are in a distance relationship, it may be helpful to you even though you aren’t in the military.

Q&A: Time Away in a Dating Relationship

Q: My boyfriend has asked for some time away from me because of the amount of physical temptation. How do I relate to him during this time?

Gary: My first question is, is that the only reason he’s backing off? Maybe he feels that the relationship isn’t leading to marriage and wants some time to evaluate this. In terms of how you relate to him, it’s up to him to decide what would be appropriate. If he’s taken the initiative to back off, you need to know what kind of contact he wants. Does he want to have no contact during this time, or is he OK with limited contact? Work together to decide what the relationship should look like in terms of where to go next.

Q&A: Physical Touch and Distance

Q: My fiancé’s love language is physical touch and I travel a lot. Do you have any suggestions?

Gary: It is true that you cannot put your arm around him or hold his hand when you are not physically present. However, all love languages can be expressed long distance. You can say, “If I were with you right now, I’d give you a big hug and a big kiss that you’d never forget.” He will likely get it emotionally, even though you’re not present with him physically. You’re thinking about his love language and you’re verbalizing what you’d do if you were there. I think that at least on short trips away, you’ll find this helpful.

Q&A: Long Distance Quality Time

Q: I’m currently in a long distance relationship, but our love languages are Quality Time. What things can we do to make it work?

Dr. Gary Chapman: I would suggest several things. Extended phone conversations and internet conversations are helpful, genuine quality time. Try reading the same thing and then talking about during these conversations. I would also suggest old fashioned, hand-written letters, which communicate to the heart of the person for whom Quality Time is the primary language. The recipient sees it and knows that the author spent time on it and put thought into it. It may be difficult, and it certainly isn’t the same as being together in the flesh, but Quality Time is still possible with distance.

Q&A: Team Culture between Colleagues who are Far Apart

Q: How do we build a “team” culture when I rarely see my colleagues?

Dr. Paul White: Having team-members work from a variety of settings is extremely common in organizations.  As a result, building a sense of “team” can be a challenge and often needs to be done intentionally.

One aspect leaders often forget is, when colleagues work in the same facility, there is a lot of opportunity for informal, spontaneous interactions. Also, there are occasions for eating together at the office, and going out to lunch together with a small group.  Essentially, there are a number of times when you can interact socially – finding out about their weekend, what their kids are doing, leisure activities they are involved in.

In long distance work relationships, these type of interactions rarely happen unless you are intentional.  Most conversations (telephone calls, conference calls, video conferences) are almost solely work- and task-oriented.  So I have found that it is helpful and important to call and “check in” with team members, to see how they are doing, and find out about their life outside of work.  Sometimes it makes sense to actually set up a call with no work-based agenda, so you don’t interrupt them in the midst of an important task.

This is an important first step. Before you can have a sense of “team”, you need to know each of your team members individually.

Q&A: Trusting God for Your Military Spouse’s Safety

Q: As a military spouse I struggle with fear and worry about my husband who is on active duty. How can I find peace?

Gary Chapman: Spiritual help is probably the greatest help in this situation. I think the answer lies in the biblical concept of praying about everything, which will help you to not worry about things. Certainly, you should be concerned about your spouse but let that concern be a catalyst to pray for God’s hand upon them. Pray also for God to keep your heart and mind calm as you entrust your life and your spouse to him. This is one area I touch on in my newest release, The 5 Love Languages Military Edition. I think you’d find it helpful as you read the stories of other couples who deal with the same struggles that you’re dealing with.

Q&A: Marriage and Deployment

Q: I’m in the military and I’m about to be deployed. How can my wife and I prepare?

Gary Chapman: I think the first thing that you need to do is acknowledge that you’re going to have to work together to find a new way to relate to each other. This is where I think the five love languages can be very, very helpful to you. For example, if you know each other’s primary love language in those early days you are going to want to speak volumes of that language. If you and your spouse feel loved it’s much easier to negotiate other factors. While preparing for that, I think you would find a new book we’ve just released to be helpful. It’s called The 5 Love Languages Military Edition. It provides a lot of practical help on reintegration.

Q&A: Military Couples in the Church

Q: As a pastor, what can my congregation and I do to help military couples in our church?

Gary Chapman: I wish more pastors were asking that question because churches are often not aware of the needs military couples have. They face challenges that civilian couples do not, and as a result suffer a higher divorce rate. My suggestion would be to give the military couples in your church a time to talk to each other—such as a small group. Identify someone who’s a veteran, who has the ability to lead and let the setting and structure be conducive for conversation. A good book to use as a guide in such a framework would be The 5 Love Languages Military Edition. When military couples start talking to each other about the challenges they face and the practical solutions they read about in the book, they will feel encouraged that they’re not alone and hopeful for the future. It’d also be a great way for your congregation to say, “We care about you.”

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