Category: Emotional Health

Your Value

Most of us tend to either under-estimate or over-estimate our value. We perceive ourselves as either useless failures or as God’s gift to the world. How you perceive yourself greatly affects your relationships. Inferiority often stems from a childhood where parents told us that we were dumb, ugly, or clumsy. How do we overcome feelings of being inferior? Speak truth to your heart. What is the truth? You are made in the image of God. You have a mind, emotions, and the ability to make decisions. You are gifted by God with special abilities. You have a unique role to play in his kingdom. No one else can take your place. Tell yourself the truth and behave accordingly. Then, watch your relationships flourish.

Investing your Time and Energy Properly

This is a good day for reflection. We stand on a threshold of new opportunities. Are you pleased with the way you invested your time and energies last year? Are there changes you need to make in your life as you move into 2014? Do you need to add some activities and drop others? Family, church, vocation, and neighbors are all important. The greatest satisfaction in life comes from investing your life in the lives of others, but you also need to take care of yourself. Proper diet, sleep, and recreation keep the body strong. A daily quiet time with God and weekly involvement  with other Christians energizes the spirit. Could a minor change in your life make a major change in your effectiveness?

Q&A: Holidays and Loneliness

Q: The holidays are always a lonely time for me as a single. Do you have any advice?

Dr. Gary Chapman: Don’t court loneliness; instead, reach out to people. If no one is reaching out to you–half the world doesn’t reach out to anyone–you be the one who reaches out. No matter what the relationship, take the initiative to be with people. Chances are, you’ll not only deal with your own loneliness, but you’ll also enrich the lives of those around you.

Q&A: Being Old and Attractive

Q: As an older woman, how can I be more attractive to my husband who continually tells me that only the young are beautiful?

Gary Chapman: I believe the older we get, if we’re walking with God, the more beautiful we become. Because real beauty, is not on the outside; real beauty is a matter of the heart. And the person who’s demanding that his wife look young when she’s not young is being very unrealistic. He’s exalting physical beauty above spiritual and emotional beauty. Make the most of what you have, but let’s face it: most people are not super models, nor do you need to be in order to have a good marriage. I do think it’s something you need to talk about because perhaps he is distorted in his thinking about what makes a good marriage; it’s certainly not physical beauty.

Q&A: Protecting Children in an Abusive Marriage

Q: Should a person stay in an abusive marriage for the children’s sake?

Gary Chapman: I think it depends on what kind of abuse we’re talking about. If it’s physical abuse, no. I don’t think it’s a loving thing to stay there and let that happen. Verbal abuse has different levels. If it’s constant verbal abuse, and you’re put down, the kids are put down, again, that’s not healthy. I think there’s a place to say, “I love you too much, I love our children too much to sit here and do nothing.” Sometimes it’s necessary to physically separate yourself and the children from him or her until they are willing to get help with the problem. We’re not abandoning them, we’re loving them. It’s taking tough steps to communicate to the other person, “I love you too much to let you continue with your destructive behavior.”

Differences with Your Teenager

Do you ever get frustrated with your teenager? The teenager has a strong pull toward independence and is going through radical physical and emotional changes. They are greatly influenced by their peers. In fact, we often speak of ‘teenage culture’. That culture focuses on music, dress, language, and behavior. This has often created a great divide between teens and parents. So, at a time when the teen most needs moral and spiritual guidance, parents are often rejected. Don’t allow your differences to keep you from loving your teen. Love keeps the door open for your positive influence. Learn your teens’ love language and speak it daily. They never outgrow their need for love.

Q&A: When a Spouse Doesn’t Seem to be Responding to Their Love Language

Q: I think my wife’s love language is Acts of Service. But she always complains that I don’t do a good enough job at the things I do for her. Why is this?

Gary Chapman: Here’s a clue: In whatever project she would like for you to do, whether it be vacuuming floors, washing dishes, or cleaning the car, say to her, “I would love to help you with this. Tell me what’s important to you when I do this.” This way, you’re really trying to not only do it, but you’re also trying to do it her way. That will speak volumes to her. I know you feel discouraged when you spend an hour doing a chore and don’t get positive feedback, but if you ask her beforehand what she would like you to do and how she would like you to do it, you’re far more likely to find the affirmation that you’re looking for.

Q&A: How to Respond to a Spouse’s Disrespect

Q: My husband disrespects me. How do I deal with this?

Gary Chapman: All of us need to feel loved and appreciated. When we don’t feel appreciated or respected, being put down again and again by our spouse makes us feel that they think we’re inferior. It’s difficult to live like that. There’s two approaches. One is to argue—to tell them you can’t take this anymore and lash out at them. The other is the biblical way, and that is to love the unlovely spouse. Find out their love language, speak it loudly and clearly and regularly over a period of three months and see what happens. Typically, when they begin to feel your love they begin to treat you differently. It doesn’t always work out that way, but loving an unlovely spouse is the most powerful thing you can do.

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.

Why it’s Hard to Forgive

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.

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