Category: Love

Intimacy and the Healthy Marriage

Intimacy between the husband and wife is one of the characteristics of a healthy marriage. The problem is that we have different ideas as to what it means to have intimacy. For some husbands ‘intimacy’ means ‘sex’. For most wives ‘intimacy’ is something far more emotional and relational. In fact, without emotional closeness, sex may be meaningless. What is intimacy? It is that sense of closeness that comes when we share our lives deeply with each other. We spend time together. We share our opinions, desires, and feelings. We do things together socially. We let each other in on our spiritual journey. We pray together. And yes, we have sex together. Intimacy involves sharing all of life. That is what marriage is all about.

Q&A: My Child is Gay

Q: “My son has recently told us that he is gay. I’m having a very hard time dealing with it. How can I help him with this and still show love?”

Gary Chapman: Disappointment is a common emotion when a parent hears one of their children indicate that he/she is gay. Men and women are made for each other—it is God’s design. Anything other than that is outside of that primary design of God. Now I’m not going to try explain all the ins and outs of homosexuality, but what I will say is this—we love our children no matter what. Express your disappointment and/or your lack of understanding, but make it clear that you love them and that you will continue to love them no matter what. I would also encourage you to ask your child to do some serious reading and/or talk to a counselor to try to understand him/herself better while continuing to affirm your love.

Q&A: My wife thinks I’m boring

Q: “My wife says that she doesn’t really love me because I’m not charismatic enough. I agree that I’m pretty bland, but how am I improve things?”

Gary Chapman: Short answer—learn her love language and speak it on a regular basis. If you speak her love language she will feel loved by you. She is using the word charismatic, but really what she is asking for in my opinion is emotional love. She wants this sense that you are excited about her, that you care about her, and that you want to communicate love to her. So if you haven’t read The 5 Love Languages, I would suggest you read the Men’s Edition which includes some additional ideas specifically for the men. Learn to speak her love language and I think you’ll see her whole attitude towards you change.

Q&A: Pre-Nuptual Agreement after Divorce

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.

When Your Spouse Disappoints

What do you do when your spouse disappoints you? Guideline # 1—Guard your attitude and behavior. Martha suspected her husband Bill was having an affair. So, she said, “Bill I feel very angry and hurt when I think that you are seeing someone else. You say it is untrue. I want to believe you, but based on the past, I have a hard time believing.

At any rate, you know we cannot continue our marriage if you are having an affair. You will have to make that decision. In the meantime, I don’t want to be controlled by my anger. You know that I love you. With God’s help I will not spend my time attacking you.” Martha is choosing the high road and is not allowing her emotions to control her behavior. This is the road to reconciliation.

Q&A: Speaking Gifts is Hard for Him

Q: “My love language is gifts, but he has a hard time speaking it. Because of this I feel misunderstood. I give specific suggestions, but he’ll instead bring something home for me from the hardware store and it just doesn’t cut it. Can you help?”

Gary Chapman: Maybe he doesn’t understand. Either you or someone needs to sit down with him and communicate the love language concept. Just like he would want you to speak his love language, you would like him to speak yours. You say you give him suggestions—that’s good. You might even want to write those things down. I might even suggest he take his sister shopping with him when he goes out to buy you a gift. This could provide him with the proper insight from a woman’s perspective allowing him to fare better than he would on his own.

Q&A: Refuses Sex?

Q: “My husband and I are in our 50’s and he refuses to be intimate with me physically. My love language is touch and it hurts me when he stays away. Is there anything I can do?”

Gary Chapman: First things is to inquire “Why?” — Does he not have the physical ability? Or, is he involved with someone else? Or, is he involved with stimulating himself privately? There are many reason why a spouse might refuse to be intimate, but since it is serious to the health of your relationship you need to inquire about it. You see, if you can get to the root of the problem, then you can look for an answer. But without understanding why he doesn’t have that desire, it is most likely not going to resolve itself.

Pat Your Back

Physical touch is one of the fundamental languages of love. If it happens to be the primary love language of your child or your spouse it is exceedingly important that you speak it regularly. Much of the miss-behavior of children grows out of an empty love tank. The same is true of adults. Perhaps you are not a ‘toucher’. You did not grow up in a touchy-feely family. The good news is that you can learn to speak this love language. Begin by patting yourself on the back. Then do the same to your spouse or child. Put one hand on top of the other hand. Then put your hand on top of your child’s hand. Touches lead to hugs and hugs lead to kisses. Soon you will be proficient in speaking the love language of physical touch.

A Daughter Needs Her Daddy

A few years ago, I teamed up with Dr. Ross Campbell, a psychiatrist whom I greatly admire, and wrote a book called The5 Love Languages of Children. In that book, Dr. Campbell made the point that “during the preadolescence stage, girls have a particular need for expressions of love from their fathers. At the same time, fathers often withdraw from hugging and kissing their daughters, feeling it is inappropriate at this stage.” In reality, the daughter needs the hugs and kisses of her father; and if he withdraws, she will likely seek physical touch from another male and often in an unwholesome manner. Certainly there is no place for sexual exploitation, but your daughter deeply needs your loving and affirming touches.

Q&A: Cultural Connection

Q: “My boyfriend and I are engaged, though we are from very different cultures. What areas should we address before getting married?”

Gary Chapman: This is an excellent question and I wish more people were asking it. Cultures are different and the more diverse the culture the greater the potential for conflict in a marriage. I would suggest such practical things such as spending time in your respective families and observe how they “do life”, traditions, expectations, and points of difference. Also, learn about each other’s culture. Discuss these things with each other and identify the potential areas of conflict. Be honest, yet open to one another’s point of view and heritage. Please note: I’m not saying you shouldn’t get married across cultural lines, but rather you just shouldn’t do it blindly.

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