Category: Communication

Q&A: Reconciling With Someone You’ve Verbally Abused

Q: I’ve verbally abused my wife for years but I want to change. How can I show her?

Gary: Verbal abuse strikes at the heart of the person abused. Even if you confess this, recognize that it is wrong, and stop speaking harsh words, it will take time for your spouse to realize that you are sincere. How can you regain her trust and belief in you? I would say by your behavior. If you turn the harsh critical words into loving caring words, you will demonstrate that you have radically changed. If you will also learn her primary love language and speak it to her on a regular basis, chances are that overtime she’ll begin to see that you sincerely and honestly love her.

Q&A: Getting a Husband to Help Around the House

Q: How do I get my husband to help around the house?  I feel like his mother more than his wife.

Gary: Perhaps your love language is Acts of Service and you’re really feeling unloved because your husband is not helping out around the house. It makes sense that you feel more like a mother than a wife, but you need to express this to him very clearly; he needs to understand that you want him to help out around the house. You should also learn his love language and speak it on a regular basis, because your love for him will likely stimulate his love for you.

Q&A: Developing Communication Skills

Q: What would be some good ways to develop communication skills in marriage?

Gary: One way would be to read on communication, such as my Now You’re Speaking My Language. It has nothing to do with the love languages. It’s a book on communication and intimacy. How do you build positive communication patterns and how do you build intimacy into a marriage, intellectually, socially, spiritually, and physically. Reading through and studying a book like that is an easy, organized way to learn communication skills for marriage.

Q&A: Languages of Appreciation at Work

Q: How can I discover and speak the love language of my boss at work without coming across as creepy? 

Gary: Most of the time in the workplace we call the languages the languages of appreciation instead of love for propriety’s sake. However, even in the workplace the languages speak to an emotional need because all of us want to feel appreciated. I think if you know your boss’ or your colleagues’ appreciation language speaking it may seem creepy to you, but probably not to them because you’re speaking the language that makes them feel appreciated. Don’t worry about how you feel but speak the language that you know will make them feel appreciated.

Actions that Demonstrate an Apology

If you have been hurt deeply by your spouse or a close friend, you have probably asked this question: “How could they do that if they really loved me?” So, they come to apologize and say, “I’m sorry, I should not have done that. I was wrong.” But you are still asking: “Do you really love me?” That is a legitimate question. Jesus asked that question of Peter three times: “Do you really love me?” When Peter said, “Yes,” Jesus said: “Then feed my sheep.” He gave him something to do to demonstrate his love. Words can be empty. Actions show your sorrow and say to the other person: “In spite of my failure, I really do still love you. I want to make things right between us.” This is the road to lasting relationships.

Making Restitution

When we hurt someone, we know immediately that we have placed an emotional barrier between us and that person. The relationship is now fractured. Time alone will not heal the hurt. It’s time to apologize. But how do we apologize? What do we say or do? Some people simply say, “I’m Sorry.” But for most people, that’s not enough. Many are waiting to hear you offer to make restitution. “What can I do to make this up to you?” is an excellent question. Their answer will help you know how to put teeth into your apology. If you seek to make restitution, they will see your sincerity and likely forgive you. And isn’t that what you want? You want to see the relationship restored. Making restitution is an important language of apology.

Q&A: Multiple Love Languages

Q: I scored almost equally on all five love languages when I took the online quiz. Is this fair to my spouse who has only one primary language?

Gary: In a sense it actually makes it easier for your spouse; his or her speaking of any of the languages will make you feel deeply loved. You have only one choice as to which language will make him feel loved. I would ask yourself one question however: “If I had to give up one of these languages being spoken to me, what would it be?” Repeat this until you’re down to one. Chances are you’ll find that one or two really do stand out. If so, be sure to let your spouse know.

Q&A: Getting Someone to Attend a Marriage Conference

Q: Gary, I really want my husband to attend one of your marriage conferences with me. Can you help me convince him it will be helpful? 

Gary: I wish I had a secret to do that. Many wives are more open to attending marriage conferences than are their husbands. I don’t know all the dynamics in that, but I think I would just be very straight-forward and say something like, “Honey, you know something that would make me very happy? If you would go to that marriage conference with me.” You’re just asking; you’re not demanding, you’re not being belligerent, but you’re making a simple request for something that would make you feel loved. He is far more likely to respond to a request than he is to a demand.

Intimacy in Marriage

Would you like to have an intimate marriage? Then make time to talk and listen. Plan a daily ‘sharing time’ with your spouse. Couples who have a time to sit down and talk each day have a higher level of intimacy than those couples who talk ‘whenever and wherever.’ Isn’t that also true in our relationship with God? If you have a daily quiet time with God in which you listen to Him as He speaks through the Scriptures and then, you talk to Him about what you have heard, your intimacy with God will grow. The same is true with your spouse. You schedule time for lunch. Why not schedule time for daily conversation? Communication leads to intimacy and intimacy leads to a growing marriage.

Q&A: Learning Words of Affirmation

Q: My wife’s love language is Words of Affirmation. Mine is not. Where do we start with this?

Dr. Gary Chapman: If Words of Affirmation is your #5, and it’s her #1, it’s going to take a lot of learning. Get a notebook and write down endearing things you hear other people saying to their spouses, thoughts you’ve had but never uttered, or things you read. Write them down, stand in front of a mirror, and say them to yourself until you feel comfortable saying them. Then, go to her and say one of them. This breaks the silence. Every subsequent time will be easier. It’s going to take baby steps for you to learn Words of Affirmation.