Category: Patience

Q+A: Is this Ordained?

Q: Gary, my girlfriend just told me that God spoke to her and said that I was to be her husband. I’m not feeling the same thing. What do I do?

Gary: Well maybe God spoke to her, or maybe she just had pizza for dinner last night. But I think if it’s God’s plan, both of you will know that. Another factor may be timing. Right now you’re not sure that she is the person God has for you. But if you continue developing the relationship, 6 months from now, you may also agree that God is leading you into this relationship. So give it time. Don’t make a snap decision, and don’t condemn her for the sense she has that God has led her to you.

Accepting Imperfections of Others

Patience is accepting the imperfections of others. By nature, we so want others to be as good as we are; as on time as we are; as organized as we are. The reality – humans are not machines. The rest of the world does not live by your priority list. Your agenda is not their agenda. Patience is giving people freedom to be different. When is the last time you were impatient? Did your impatience not come from someone failing to live up to your expectations? The bible says, “love is patient”. Love apologizes when in impatience I lash out at you. What if all Christians were patient? My book, Love As a Way of Life is designed to help you get there.

Q&A: How Long to Wait for a Proposal

Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for three years post-college. He says he wants to be married but he’s not acting on it. How long do I wait?

Gary: The important factor is why he is waiting. Many times people say they want to be in a better financial state than they currently are. Sometimes people are afraid of breaking off a long-term relationship, even if they don’t see it leading to marriage because it is still meaningful them. Some people never intend to marry. If you feel that it will never lead to marriage, you need to express that and back off the relationship. If he’s really sincere, you may warm his cold feet by doing so.

The Foundation of Marriage

Janice bounced into my office and said, “I’m getting married.” “To whom and when?” I asked. “To David Brown in September,” she said. “How long have you been dating?” “Three weeks. I know it’s crazy. I can’t believe it myself, but I know David is the one for me.” Later, I discovered that David had been married twice before, had three children, and had lost three jobs in the past year. None of this seemed to phase Janice. “I’m so happy,” she said. “I have never been this happy before.” Janice was in for a rude awakening. Two years later she was back in my office saying, “I think I’ve made a big mistake.” Janice illustrates that ‘falling in love’ is not the foundation for marriage.

Better check out “the other stuff.”

Q&A: When to Talk About Marrying

Q: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for over a year. When is it appropriate to bring up marriage?

Gary: Anytime now. If you’ve been dating for a year and you think there is potential for you two to be spouses, there is nothing wrong with bringing up marriage. Most people who date do so with the thought, “Maybe this is the person I should marry.” Certainly you wouldn’t be dating for a year if you didn’t have any interest in marriage. When you do bring it up, you may find anything from a very positive response to a very negative response. If it’s super negative, it probably means you should consider letting this relationship go. If after a year he has no inclination to marry you, he probably never will.

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.

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.

Why Cynicism is Good for Your Workplace

Guest Post: Dr. Paul White, co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

This may seem to be a bit of an “about face” for me – given my previous writing on how cynicism is a result of “bad” employee recognition or when employees question the authenticity of appreciation communicated. But it occurred to me that, really, cynicism can be a positive influence in our workplaces. How?

1) When people are cynical, they are giving us honest feedback about how they really feel. When was the last time that you heard a cynical remark from a colleague and you accused them of not being honest regarding how they really feel? (Aside from the sarcastic remark: “So, Janice, tells us how you really feel!”) Cynicism communicates from the heart, so you don’t have to question whether the person is being honest with their comment.

2) Cynical remarks give us a reality check with what was said, promised or done in the past. When people question the probability of the most recent promise actually happening, they almost always refer back to a prior promise or commitment that wasn’t fulfilled.(“Oh, so this is just like the time the management said that if we got the project completed on time, we’d share in the bonus the company received. Didn’t happen.”) So they help us remember what we said (and didn’t follow through on) before. They become sort of our informal historians.

3) Cynicism lets us know how people perceive our words and actions. Have you ever noticed that most cynical remarks are fairly quick, “on the spot” quips or “come back’s” to a statement? They are largely unedited thoughts and attitudes spoken out loud. And they fairly directly communicate how others view what we just said, did or promised – unfortunately, the message is: “I don’t believe you.” So most cynical remarks give us a clue that we need to work on our following through on what we say. (Sometimes, I will admit, that cynicism is coming from the heart of the speaker – that they are angry and resentful about life in general – and that their remark may have little to do with you, me or whoever is speaking.)

4) Cynicism provides the opportunity to learn what would be really meaningful to others. If we take the time to listen to the cynical comment, not dismiss it immediately as “disrespectful” and “unfounded”, then we actually can learn something from our colleagues. A follow-up question like: “What would could be done that would start to demonstrate that we mean what we say?” can provide some valuable insight into how others are thinking – and how we can begin to rebuild trust.

I’m not advocating for implementing strategies for increasing cynicism in our work environments (there seems to be plenty). But I do think we can learn positive lessons from the cynical remarks we hear, and then try to address the root issues of “unbelievability” that help create the cynical mindset.

Q&A: Not Interested

Q: “I feel drained in my marriage. My wife no longer seems interested in me or willing to put effort into making things work?”

Gary Chapman: The most powerful thing you can do is to love her unconditionally. Learn and speak her primary love language, regardless of how she treats you. She needs love—we all do. Therefore, when you communicate love in the way she desires most—her love language—you trigger something inside her that will draw her to you. We can’t control the behavior of a spouse, but we can greatly influence them by the way we treat them. How? Look back on the areas you feel you may have failed, make a genuine confession, and let her know that with God’s help you are going to be the husband she desires. This is one of the greatest things you can do to influence her to reciprocate.

Difficulty in Communication

Why do so many couples have difficulty with communication? Often, the answer lies in emotions. Before marriage we had one over-powering emotion – love. But now, the emotions of hurt, anger, disappointment, and fear often dominate. These emotions do not encourage us to communicate. Or, if we communicate it is likely to be negative or critical. We speak out of our anger and create even more negative feelings. The Key is in learning how to share emotions without condemnation. You might begin by saying, “I feel hurt and when you have time, I need your help.” Identifying your feelings and choosing to share them is step one. Step two is accepting the feelings of your mate and asking: “What can I do to help?”

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