August 19, 2013
Q: I was married for 25 years and now divorced for nine. How do I know if I’m ready to remarry?
Gary Chapman: The most common mistake people make is to go into a second marriage thinking that because they’ve fallen in love with someone else they’ve now found the right one and everything is going to be like heaven. The reality is—no matter how long you’ve been divorced—when you remarry you are entering into a whole new world because both of you are coming with a history—a history that often involves children whether young or grown. Those dynamics are very, very difficult to navigate in a remarriage. So I would say you are asking the right question. Be sure to take time to prepare yourself. It’s not a matter of how long you’ve been divorced, it’s a matter of how well you are preparing for a second marriage.
August 1, 2013
A man who has been divorced from his wife for three years recently said to me. “If I wrote a book the title would be: Divorce: The Living Hell.” Thousands of individuals can echo his sentiments. The emotional scars that come from divorce are never removed. The hurt that is indelibly printed in the minds of children will never be erased. Our whole society has been deeply infected with the “throw-away” mentality. When you are no longer excited about it, get rid of it. No wonder children are so insecure. No wonder there is so little trust in marriage. I am not suggesting that the road to reconciliation is easy, but rather that it is right and that the results are worth the effort.
July 30, 2013
One of the sad realities is that many married individuals have allowed themselves to be pulled into an emotional or physical relationship with someone else. They reason, “I know God hates divorce, but this relationship is so loving. We are able to communicate with such freedom and understanding. It feels like we were meant for each other.” So, they divorce their spouse and marry their new lover.
What they do not know is that 75% of those kind of marriages will end in divorce. Their children are devastated and they have complicated their lives forever. Research indicates that people are not happier five years after divorce and re-marriage. Why not choose God’s way and seek reconciliation?
July 26, 2013
Q: “My fiancé just came out of a bad divorce and wants me to sign a pre-nup. What is your opinion of them?”
Gary Chapman: If he has just come out of a bad divorce, I would say it is not time to get married yet. Research says it takes two years after a divorce for people to get back on level ground emotionally. And the most common mistake people make is that they get married too soon after a divorce. So I would suggest you slow the process down. Give him a chance to work through all the things he has been through in the past divorce. The very fact that he is asking you to sign a prenuptial agreement means that he is not over what happened to him. You might even consider asking him to see a counselor so that he can work through some things and not bring any baggage into your future marriage.
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 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.
April 29, 2013
Q: Gary, I’ve been separated for 11 years and I’ve always wondered, is divorce Biblical?
Gary Chapman: In the Bible, divorce is not viewed as an ideal outcome to a challenging marriage and is never encouraged. The Old Testament says God hates divorce, and yet in some cases, He allows it. So what does this mean for you today? Well, you are divorced and there is no changing that fact. More importantly, God can forgive your part in the divorce and He certainly loves you beyond it. There are thousands of Christians who today walk closely with God who have been through a divorce. So, don’t put yourself down if you have been through that. Don’t live in the past. If you have confessed your part and God has forgiven you, raise your head high, thank God that you are his child, and seek His guidance for your future. God does have a future for you.
March 29, 2013
Q: What is the best way for my husband and I to help a couple from church who are in the process of getting divorced?
A: First of all, I want to commend you for desiring to help the couple. First of all, listen to the parties involved. Let your husband listen to the husband. You listen to the wife. Hear their stories and how they perceive the sitution. The two of you share that information with each other. Then as you go back to them, you’re better prepared to know what to encourage them to do. Typically, each of them is blaming the other and they are not seeing their own faults. I think when you hear each of their stories, you may be able to help them understand each other better. It’s understanding that leads to reconciliation.
March 11, 2013
Q: When do I call it quits in a marriage that has been filled with lies and infidelity?
A: When you’re in a difficult marriage and particularly one that involves untruths and infidelity (both of those issues create a very dysfunctional marriage), I don’t want to say when you give up because we ought to always have hope. So, I would say: if they are not willing to go with you in counseloing, you go yourself for counseling to help you decide how to exercise tough love in an effort to stimulate some chagne in the other person. You can’t change them but you can influence them. Someone coming along side you can help you do that.
November 20, 2012
Over the years, I have counseled many couples who were contemplating divorce. The one scripture that always comes to my mind is Gal. 6:7. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” God gives us real freedom, but we are never free from the seeds we plant. The pain and brokenness of divorce follows us and our children for a lifetime. When the Bible says that “God hates divorce,” it’s because He knows the pain that divorce causes. I know that you cannot make your spouse reconcile. But you can reach out for help. Call a pastor, a counselor, a friend or read a book. Discover your options and don’t forget that God is the God of miracles.