Category: Issues

Partner or Child?

When I wrote my book: Profit Sharing: The Chapman Guide to Making Money an Asset to Your Marriage, I discovered that one of the most common problems is that couples do not feel like partners. Often, the husband so controls the money that the wife feels like a child on an allowance. Or, the wife will control the money and the husband feels ‘left out’. Obviously, someone must balance the checkbook, and keep the bills paid, but this does not mean that they control the money. We are a team, and must work together. The Bible says, “Two are better than one.” That is certainly true in money management. If you keep the books, you might ask your spouse: “Do you feel like a partner, or a child?” Take their answer seriously, and make adjustments as needed.

Q&A: Betrayal and Pain in Past

Q: “Do love languages work on someone who equates “love” with betrayal and pain? The woman I love is afraid of loving and being loved because of two failed marriages? “

Gary Chapman: Anyone who has come through two failed marriages is going to come to a new relationship with a lot of hurt, pain, and likely lack of trust in the person she is now dating. What she needs, in my opinion, is some individual counseling where she works through some of the pain and hurt from her past before she gets involved in another relationship. To simply go from one relationship to another—carrying with us the baggage of the past—sets us up for failure in the new relationship. I would suggest that you highly encourage her to get some help working through these issues before you go very far in your relationship.

Working Together on Finances

When I wrote my book: Profit Sharing: The Chapman Guide to Making Money an Asset to Your Marriage, I discovered that one of the most common problems is that couples do not feel like partners. Often, the husband so controls the money that the wife feels like a child on an allowance. Or, the wife will control the money and the husband feels ‘left out’. Obviously, someone must balance the checkbook, and keep the bills paid, but this does not mean that they control the money. We are a team, and must work together. The Bible says, “Two are better than one.” That is certainly true in money management. If you keep the books, you might ask your spouse: “Do you feel like a partner, or a child?” Take their answer seriously, and make adjustments as needed.

Q&A: Sexual Boundaries in Dating

Q:  Gary, my boyfriend and I have been intimate together and I feel guilty about it. I am always the one who is re-setting the boundaries and don’t feel like he is being a leader in this area. Can you help?

Gary Chapman: What you are observing is good—that is, you are recognizing a lack of leadership on his part in this part of the relationship. Maybe he doesn’t feel as strongly as you do about this, but that also should give you a clue as to where he might be in his thinking and his commitment to Biblical standards. You are observing the kind of things that need to be observed. You can’t make him be a leader in this area. You want a young man that who is strongly committed to Biblical principles and who is also applying them in a practical way to the sexual part of the relationship. If he can’t want to get on board with you in this area, you may want to consider this a red flag and possibly a deal breaker.

Wasted Energy

When is the last time you and your spouse had an argument about money? Was it the ‘same old issue’? My contention is that couples who continue to argue about the same thing over and over again need help. That is what motivated me to write my book:  Profit Sharing: The Chapman Guide to Making Money an Asset to Your Marriage.

When you argue, you are wasting energy. You don’t have a problem that other couples have not had. Perhaps you could find an older couple whom you respect. Share your struggle with them and ask for advice. If they don’t have an answer, they can likely point you to someone who does. Make money an asset to your marriage, not a battleground.

Q&A: My Wife is not a Talker

Q: “My wife is not a talker, but I really want to open up to her.  She just doesn’t seem there most of the time.  How can I change this?”

Gary Chapman: It is possible to grow significantly in learning how to talk, but she will need your help. Be aware when talking to her that you don’t just make statements—things like, “I wish you’d talk more,” or “It’s a beautiful day.”  One of best things you can do is to ask her specific questions. It is easier for a “dead sea” (non-talker) to talk if you ask specific questions. So once you’ve asked a question, leave some silence. Don’t answer for her. Give her a chance to enter into the conversation. Additionally, it’s a good idea to phrase questions in a way that require thoughtful response as opposed to one word answers (yes or no). Be satisfied with short answers at first because it will take a while for her to begin to talk more. Try to have different questions you can ask her everyday and before long you will notice a change.

More Money?

Is money an asset, or a liability to your marriage? Much of the answer lies in your attitude toward money. If you are looking to money or the things that money can buy to make you happy, then money will be a source of conflict in your marriage. But if your trust is in God and you’re looking to Him for wisdom in how to handle money, then money will become an asset. Money is a great servant, but a poor master. Don’t let money overly influence the decisions you make. The bigger question is “How will this decision influence our marriage and family?” A move across the country may bring more money, but be detrimental to your family. In which case, less money is an asset.

Q&A: Hope for the Separated

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.

Q&A: Is Divorce Biblical?

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.

Q&A: Different Christian Backgrounds

Q: My fiancé and I have very different ways of defining how to live as a ‘Christian’.  How can we come together on this?

Gary Chapman: When you say “different ways of defining how to live as a Christian,” it may be that one of you grew up in a home that had certain things that were considered to be Christian—if you do this and don’t do that then you were in right standing. The other may have had a different experience—raised in a different type of family or attended a fellowship that did not emphasize the dos and don’ts as much as a personally relationship with God. Therefore, I think it’s important to start by sharing your journey with each other. Marriage has to do with oneness and coming together. Talk about it. Take turns sharing your perceptions. Then, try to understand each others perspective so that you can find a meeting place.

 

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