Category: Health

Victims of Our Environment

The commonly held view is that we are victims of our environment. If I grew up in a dysfunctional family, then I am destined to failure in relationships. If I am married to an alcoholic, I will live a miserable life. This approach to life renders one helpless. The reality is that while our environment certainly affects us, it does not control us. Because we are made in God’s image, we have the capacity to choose our attitudes. We can curse the darkness, or we can light a candle. Your past and your present situation may be discouraging, but it need not destroy your marriage or your life. Reach out to God and ask: “What can I do that would be redemptive in my present situation?” That is a prayer God will answer.

Q&A: My Fiancé has an STD

Q: “I just discovered that my fiancé tested positive for an STD from a past relationship. I feel hurt and disgusted and don’t know how to deal with it. Can you help?”

Gary Chapman: I think the answer is that you need to discuss this openly and freely. Discuss the nature of the sexually transmitted disease—is it treatable, and how will it affect your relationship from a medical perceptive? Then, you’ll need to wrestle with whether this is something you would like to constinue with given the reality of the situation. We cannot erase our past. . . and some of us have past experiences that aren’t good. If you are  not willing to live with that, accept that, and forgive that, then it could potentially be a deal breaker. I encourage couples to share their previous sexual expereince so that they enter marriage aware of what they are dealing with. If you find you can’t deal with it, solve it, or reconcile it before marriage, it will certainly be a problem after.

Q&A: Betrayal and Pain in Past

Q: “Do love languages work on someone who equates “love” with betrayal and pain? The woman I love is afraid of loving and being loved because of two failed marriages? “

Gary Chapman: Anyone who has come through two failed marriages is going to come to a new relationship with a lot of hurt, pain, and likely lack of trust in the person she is now dating. What she needs, in my opinion, is some individual counseling where she works through some of the pain and hurt from her past before she gets involved in another relationship. To simply go from one relationship to another—carrying with us the baggage of the past—sets us up for failure in the new relationship. I would suggest that you highly encourage her to get some help working through these issues before you go very far in your relationship.

Q&A: I’m Emotionally Unstable. Help!

Q: “Gary, I fear that I am very emotionally unstable.  I tend to always take things people say the wrong way and blow situations up.  Help!”

Gary Chapman: People talk about physical health a lot, but we don’t often talk about emotional health. Some of us grew up in homes where we didn’t have a whole lot of love and care—resulting in a lot of internal struggles. Now you’re an adult and you are recognizing this. Reach out to a counselor—someone who is trained to help people start where they are and move towards a healthier state. We are growing and we’re in process. Wherever you are in your journey of emotional health, it can get better. My encouragement: Let God use someone who has been trained in this area to help move you in a positive direction.

Q&A: My Husband Is Dealing With Depression

Q: My husband is dealing with depression and I feel alone in our marriage. What can I do?

A: Sometimes depression temporary; it’s called situational depression. Sometimes, however, it’s chronic depression that has gone on for a long time. I suggest, if it’s chronic, two things: First, do everything you can to help the person see a medical doctor because chances are there’s a chemical element by this time and medicine can help. Also, help him talk with a counselor who has expertise in dealing with depression. You’re right to be concerned and I hope you’ll help your husband take action because you can deal with this in a positive way.

Discover Your Past Failures

Most of us will admit that we are not perfect.

From time to time we say and do things that are not loving, kind, or helpful. In a marriage these failures build into walls of separation. If you would like to remove past failures, you must first identify them.

Get pen and paper and then ask God to bring to your mind the ways you have hurt your spouse in the past. Now, go to your children individually and ask them to tell you times when they have seen you being unkind to your spouse. Get ready, because children can be brutally honest. Then ask the same question to close friends who have had opportunity to observe your behavior.  This process can be painful, but it is the first step in dealing with past failures.

Your Marriage is Worth It

Does divorce seem like the best alternative to you? If so, I hope you’ll read my book Desperate Marriages. Divorce, unlike death, does not end contact with the other person, especially if you have children. Nor is divorce a pretty picture financially. Research indicates that 73 % of divorced women experience a decline in standard of living.

One wife said, “Our marriage was bad, but our divorce is even worse. I still have all the responsibilities I had when we were married, but now I have less time and less money.” The effects of divorce linger for a lifetime. So do yourself a favor, call a counselor, read a book, or reach out to a pastor. Your marriage is worth it.

I Love Working Here

One lady said about her job, “I love working here!  I can’t think of any other place I would rather work.” WOW! Every supervisor would like to hear that. But not everyone feels that way. One man said, “I’d leave this place tomorrow if I could find another job.” What is the key to job satisfaction? I believe it lies in one word:  appreciation. When people feel appreciated, they like to come to work.

My newest book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, is designed to help you be effective in communicating appreciation. What makes one person feel appreciated, does not work for another. Along with the book, we created an on-line assessment that comes free when you buy the book.  It’s called: Motivating by Appreciation Inventory. Discover your appreciation language today.

Crying Out

According to research conducted by the US Department of Labor, 64 percent of Americans who leave their jobs say they do so because they don’t feel appreciated. Something deep within the human psyche cries out for appreciation. When that need is unmet, then job satisfaction will be diminished. Think about what would happen if all workers felt appreciated.

It would create a more positive work environment, people would be more committed to the company, would reach more of their potential, and the level of job satisfaction would rise. Dr. Paul White and I point the way, in our newest book: The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. We believe that one person can start the process.

Enhancing the Workplace

When I wrote the book: The 5 Love Languages, I had no idea that the book would sell 6 million copies and be translated into 40 languages around the world. I did know that the concept had the potential of enhancing marital relationships. Every weekend, couples tell me that the book literally saved their marriage. I have been greatly encouraged with the way God has used the book to help millions of marriages.

Over the past three years, I have been writing a new book that is designed to take the love languages to the work place. I teamed up with Dr. Paul White, a psychologist who has had 20 years experience with business leaders. The book is now available. The title? The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.  We’re hoping that it will do for work relationships what The 5 Love Languages has done for marriages.