Category: Conflict

Love Stimulates Love

Love is a choice.

We can request love, but we cannot demand love. We cannot make our spouse speak our love language. However, though we can’t control our spouse, we can control our attitude and our behavior.

The good news is that love stimulates love. And though the object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love, it is a fact that when we receive love, we are far more likely to be motivated to reciprocate and do something our spouse desires.

Try this…

Choose an attitude of love. Learn the love language of your spouse and speak it on a regular basis. Then, three months down the road, you can say to them,

‘On a scale of zero to ten, how much love do you feel coming from me?’

If they give you a seven, eight, nine, ten—you’re at the top. Or if they say anything less than ten, you say,

‘What can I do to bring it up to a ten or bring it up to a nine?’

They’ll probably give you a suggestion. To the best of your ability, you do that.

Repeat this process every two weeks by simply asking your spouse what you can do to love them better, and taking their answer to heart.

There’s a good chance that, before long, they’re going to say, ‘Well, wait a minute here. I’m turning this around. On a scale of zero to ten, how much love do you feel coming from me?’”

Before you know it, they’ll be working to love you as well as you have loved them.

And that is exactly how love stimulates love.

*This article is one of many featured in Marriage Hacks: 25 Practical Ways to Make Love Last by Tyler Ward.
To find out more, or to download for free, CLICK HERE.

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: Imperfections of Your Spouse

Q: I am a very orderly person and my husband is not. I am very frustrated having to always clean up after him. Suggestions? 

Gary Chapman: To me, this calls for requests, not demands. If he can respond to the request, things will become much easier. However, there will be some things that he will never do to your satisfaction. Love accepts many imperfections; by imperfections, I mean those things your spouse cannot, or will not, change. Settle into reality, don’t expect him to become super organized, and remember that you too have many imperfections.

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.

Processing Anger Healthily, Pt. 4

When you are angry, the first positive step is to admit to yourself that you are angry. Say it aloud, “I’m feeling angry.” The second step is to ask God to help you handle your anger in a positive way. “Lord, help me to do what is right and good with my anger.” The third step is to ask: Did someone sin against me? If so, the biblical answer is to lovingly confront the person and seek reconciliation. On the other hand, if you are angry simply because something happened that irritates you, then ask: “What can I learn from this experience?” If the other person habitually arrives late for your appointment, perhaps you can talk with them and negotiate change. Thus, the anger has served a positive purpose. God wants to teach you how to handle your anger in a godly way.

Processing Anger Healthily, Pt. 3

In my book: Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way, I asked the publisher to print the following statement in the back of the book as a tear out. My suggestion is that you put it on the refrigerator so that when a family member feels angry at another family member, they can take the card, and read it aloud to the person at whom they are angry. Here’s what the card says, “I’m feeling angry right now, but don’t worry. I’m not going to attack you. But I do need your help. Is this a good time to talk?” It brings a little humor into the tenseness and reminds you of what you are not going to do. It also is asking the other person to help you process your anger. It’s an easy way to help family members learn to process anger in a positive way.

Q&A: Your In-Laws’ Opinion of You

Q: My spouse’s family told me directly that they don’t think I’m “good enough” for their daughter. How can I handle this constructively?

Gary Chapman: From my perspective it is unfortunate that they’ve expressed their opinion. As parents of married children we need to stay out of the equation unless they ask us to come into the equation. Obviously, it’s very discouraging when your in-laws express such opinions. Don’t take it personally though; that is, don’t focus on this. Focus on being the person you believe your wife needs you to be: love her, care for you, protect her, be the husband she wants. In a few years, perhaps your in-laws will change their mind. Ultimately however, it is far more important what your wife thinks about you than it is what her parents think about you.

Processing Anger Healthily, Pt. 2

Why do people get angry? I believe we get angry when our sense of ‘right’ is violated. But we have two kinds of anger: definitive anger – when someone has wronged us, and distorted anger – when things didn’t go our way. Much of our anger is distorted. The traffic moved too slowly. Our spouse didn’t do what we wanted. This distorted anger is still very intense and must be processed. Here’s a question: Would it be helpful if I shared my anger with someone? In sharing it, might I improve things for everyone? Or, should I simply ‘let it go?’ Whatever you do, do something positive. Don’t hold anger inside. Anger was meant to be a visitor, never a resident.

Processing Anger Healthily

When is the last time you felt angry? How did you handle your anger? Was it a pleasant experience for you? How about the people around you? All of us have seen people explode. Many of us have exploded. On the other hand, many Christians pride themselves in holding their anger inside. But internalized anger is bad for your health. The biblical challenge is that when we experience anger, we are to process it in a positive way. That may mean gently confronting the person who stimulated our anger. Or, it may mean asking God to forgive us for being so ‘bent out of shape’ over such a minor matter. Learning to process anger in a timely and healthy way is one of the first lessons for healthy relationships.

Q&A: Protecting Children in an Abusive Marriage

Q: Should a person stay in an abusive marriage for the children’s sake?

Gary Chapman: I think it depends on what kind of abuse we’re talking about. If it’s physical abuse, no. I don’t think it’s a loving thing to stay there and let that happen. Verbal abuse has different levels. If it’s constant verbal abuse, and you’re put down, the kids are put down, again, that’s not healthy. I think there’s a place to say, “I love you too much, I love our children too much to sit here and do nothing.” Sometimes it’s necessary to physically separate yourself and the children from him or her until they are willing to get help with the problem. We’re not abandoning them, we’re loving them. It’s taking tough steps to communicate to the other person, “I love you too much to let you continue with your destructive behavior.”