Category: Issues

Q&A: A Husband’s Lack of Sexual Interest

Q: How much pressure should I put on my husband to be more intimate with me? It seems that I’m the only one interested in this aspect of our marriage

Dr. Gary Chapman: If by intimacy you mean sex and your husband isn’t interested, there’s definitely a reason. There are numerous possibilities as to why, and you should find out. Perhaps he has homosexual tendencies, perhaps he has a pornography addiction, or he may even be involved with someone else. There could also be a physical reason, and if so you need to encourage him to see a doctor because there’s medication that can help with that. It’s a matter of figuring out the reason for his lack of interesting and then taking positive steps to correct it.

Q&A: Being Found Unattractive by Your Spouse

Q: My husband has told me that he doesn’t find me attractive. It breaks my heart, but what can I do?

Dr. Gary Chapman: I would say to ask why. If he says, “You’re overweight,” or “You dress sloppy,” those are things you can work on. However, it is likely far deeper than that; it is more than physical, it is emotional. Ask, “On a scale of 0 to 10. How much love do you feel coming from me?” It will probably be rather low. Then ask, “What can I do to help meet your need for love?” Take the quiz on 5lovelanguages.com and determine each other’s language. You can then begin to speak his language and vice versa. Chances are, he will begin to find you attractive again.

Q&A: Imperfections of Your Spouse

Q: I am a very orderly person and my husband is not. I am very frustrated having to always clean up after him. Suggestions? 

Gary Chapman: To me, this calls for requests, not demands. If he can respond to the request, things will become much easier. However, there will be some things that he will never do to your satisfaction. Love accepts many imperfections; by imperfections, I mean those things your spouse cannot, or will not, change. Settle into reality, don’t expect him to become super organized, and remember that you too have many imperfections.

Q&A: Your Spouse’s Past

Q: My husband keeps his past a secret because of painful memories. How important is it that I know these things?

Gary Chapman: It depends on what he’s keeping secret. If he’s had painful experiences or trauma such as you would expect from being in the military, people have cheated him in business, or something similar, I think you need to be sensitive to him and not force him to share things that he does not want to share. I feel this way because there are some things that he could share that may be extremely painful to you. Even though he may feel better for having told you, you may feel worse for knowing. If God has forgiven him, I would let him choose what he shares with you from his past and I would not pressure him to tell you everything that’s ever happened in his life. If his sins are covered by the blood of Christ, there’s not necessarily a need for you to know them.

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: How to Get Your Spouse to Talk

Q: How do I get my husband to talk more?

Gary Chapman: There are two kinds of people when it comes to talking: Dead Seas and Babbling Brooks. Dead Seas by nature don’t talk very much. They can receive, they can listen, but they don’t have much to say. Babbling Brooks are sharing everything that comes into their mind. Usually these two types of people are married to each other. So part of the disconnect is personality differences; he will never speak as much as you would like for him to speak. However, if you can ask specific questions he’s far more likely to answer. And when he does answer, don’t clobber his answer because that causes him not to speak the next time. Receive what he says and give a specific follow-up question. You’ll begin to see little by little that when he understands he can talk without being condemned, he’s far more likely to continue talking.

Turn Them Over

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.

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.

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.

Memory and Forgiveness

What would you say to the wife who says, “I have forgiven him, but I am deeply pained when I remember what he did.”? Would you quote Hebrews 10:17 where God says, “And their sins I will remember no more.”? Would you tell her that if she has not forgotten, then she has not forgiven? I hope not. Forgiveness does not destroy our memory. Our brain records every event we experience. Memory may bring back the feeling of hurt. But forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a promise. Forgiveness says, “I will no longer hold that against you.” When the memory comes back and the pain returns, take it to God and say, “Father, thank You, that is forgiven.” Don’t allow the memory of the past to destroy your day.

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