Category: Communication

The Alternative to Forgiveness

Basically, there is only one alternative to forgiveness: a demand for justice. “You sinned against me and you will crawl on your knees until I feel like forgiving you. If you ever pay me back for this, then I will forgive you!” This is an immensely destructive approach. A better choice is to forgive the offender. He or she has sinned against you and you are hurt, but you say to that person in your own words, “You hurt me deeply, but I want you to know that I forgive you because God has forgiven me. I will treat you as though you did not sin.”

Sexual Oneness in Marriage

We live in a society that is saturated with sex. Why do so many couples struggle in this area of their marriage? One reasons is that we fail to communicate; your wife will never know your feelings, needs, and desires unless you express them. Your husband will never know what pleases you unless you communicate. I’ve never known a couple who’s gained sexual oneness without candid communication about sexual matters. Make a list containing suggestions for your spouse to make sex better. If you would like to read a list made by other husbands and wives, see my book The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. Communication is the road to finding mutual sexual fulfillment in marriage.

Q&A: Special Needs Individuals and The 5 Love Languages

Q: For many special needs individuals, sensory input is what communicates to them. How do the 5 love languages apply?

Dr. Gary Chapman: All of us need love. When we figure out a child’s love language and give them heavy doses of it, it speaks to the heart of the child. Special needs children also have a primary love language. When the parents or assistants who work with them seek to discover their primary love language and speak it on a regular basis, it does make a difference in the behavior of the child and they’re going to be much more open to learning and growing from the parent or the teacher who’s trying to instruct them. I think the concept of the 5 love languages is very applicable to special needs children.

The Circle of Confession

Someone said years ago that the circle of confession should be as large as the circle of the sin. Private sin, bitterness towards someone that’s held in your heart and has never been expressed to anyone externally, is between you and God. If that bitterness, however, has led you do to things against that person that are wrong, I believe it is likely that he or she is going to find out about things and you need to reconcile the situation. But ultimately and first of all, all sin needs to be confessed to God.

Q&A: Accepting You and Your Spouse’s Differences

Q: My wife and I are always at odds about something. What’s a good first step for being OK with our differences?

Dr. Gary Chapman: Learn how to respect each other’s ideas, even when you don’t agree. The idea, in the mind of your spouse, makes total sense; to you, it may be nonsense. Put yourself in her shoes and consider her personality. Seek to understand why she interprets situations the way she does. Don’t argue; instead, acknowledge that her thoughts are valid. After these things, look for a resolution that both of you can agree on. You will probably disagree on things for the rest of your marriage, but they do not have to become stumbling blocks.

Q&A: Love Languages and Dating

Q: While dating how much time should be taken to help teach my love language to my boyfriend?

Dr. Gary Chapman: In the dating context you’re trying to get to know each other, which involves talking about your histories, your future. It also involves learning some skills that will help you if you decide to get married and one of those skills involves the concept of love languages. I would suggest the two of you read the book, maybe the singles’ edition, take the quiz, and discuss it with each other; find out how to clearly speak each other’s love language. If you get this down while dating and later decide to get married, it’s going to be a great step forward for your marriage because you already know what makes each other happy. So yes, I would suggest discussing the love languages freely while dating.

The Taciturn Spouse

We all know that communication is the lifeline of a growing marriage, but what if you’re married to someone who won’t talk? First of all, don’t condemn them. When you say, “Why won’t you talk to me?” the door closes even more tightly. Let me suggest that you ask questions about a topic that is of interest to your spouse. That may be football, or golf. It may also be the church or the Bible. Be satisfied with short answers. The more they talk the easier it will become. How you respond when they talk is also important. If you say, “That doesn’t make sense,” then, don’t expect them to answer your next question. On the other hand, if you say, “That’s an interesting idea. Tell me more,” you keep the door open. A positive atmosphere makes talking easier.

Q&A: Are some Love Languages more Common than Others?

Q: What are the most common Love Languages? Are they all distributed equally? 

Gary Chapman: Our research shows that they are distributed pretty equally among people; not exactly 20% in each one, but pretty close. I do know that a man or a woman can have any one of these languages as their primary love language. One is not more predominant in one gender than another. What is important is that you learn the love language of your significant other and speak it regularly.

Getting Facts before Acting on Anger

When you are angry – be sure to get the facts before you take action. You hear your spouse tell someone on the phone, “I’ll be there tomorrow night.” You know that tomorrow night is your date night, so you get angry. Before you storm in and say something harsh, take time to ask: “Did I hear you promise someone to do something tomorrow night?” Your spouse says, “Yes, I told mom I’d bring her blanket by. I thought we could do it either before or after we go out to eat.” Your anger subsides because you took time to “get the facts.” Often we jump to conclusions about what someone said or did and in anger we accuse them. We mess up a perfectly good evening because we failed to ask questions.

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.