Category: Love

Q&A: Valentine’s Day and Love Languages

Q: What are some good love language suggestions to speak to my spouse this Valentine’s day?

Gary: On Valentine’s Day as well as any other day we should try to speak our spouse’s primary love language. What speaks most loudly to your spouse is when you speak love to him or her in a language he or she understands.  Flowers are great for some people, but will means very little to others. Remember that there are five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. One of these languages will speak deeper to your spouse than any of the others this Valentine’s day.

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: Matching Love Languages

Q: Wouldn’t it be easier and more satisfying for couples if their love languages matched?

Dr. Gary Chapman: I think the short answer is yes. If you both have the same love language it may be easier. Typically, what I have found with couples who have the same primary love language is that each individual has preferred ways of expressing or receiving that love language. For example, one may like words of praise and the other may like words of encouragement. Those are somewhat different. So yes, it may be easier if this is the case, but this is not a criteria for whom you should pursue. People with differing primary love languages can form wonderful marriages.

Q&A: Long Distance Quality Time

Q: I’m currently in a long distance relationship, but our love languages are Quality Time. What things can we do to make it work?

Dr. Gary Chapman: I would suggest several things. Extended phone conversations and internet conversations are helpful, genuine quality time. Try reading the same thing and then talking about during these conversations. I would also suggest old fashioned, hand-written letters, which communicate to the heart of the person for whom Quality Time is the primary language. The recipient sees it and knows that the author spent time on it and put thought into it. It may be difficult, and it certainly isn’t the same as being together in the flesh, but Quality Time is still possible with distance.

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.

Q&A: Significant Age Differences in Relationships

Q: My boyfriend is significantly older than I am. Will this create problems for us if we get married?

Gary Chapman: That depends on how old you are. If you’re 16 and he’s 26, that has the potential to be a major problem because you’re in two different worlds. However, if you’re 36 and he’s 46 there is not as much potential for a problem related to your age because you’re both in a similar stage of life. It’s not necessarily about age in general, but rather young age, middle age, or older age. At 16, you’ve got a lot of developing to do–high school, college perhaps, the ability to legally work–you’re in a different world. This is not the same for someone who is 26 or 46. Find someone in a similar stage of life.

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.

Q&A: Bringing the Spark Back to Your Marriage

Q: How can I bring back the spark into our relationship? It feels like we are just brother and sister.

Gary Chapman: I believe that the spark can come back if you learn to speak the love language of the other person and start doing it consistently. By speaking the other person’s love language you touch their heart and cause them to think, “What’s going on here? You’re responding differently to me.” Then they begin to respond differently to you. I don’t know anything that has the potential of stimulating the spark in marriage faster than learning the love language of your spouse and speaking it on a regular basis. Almost every week people to say to me, “When we read your book on the love languages, and we spoke the right language, it literally brought new life to our marriage.” I hope you can do the same and have the spark return to your marriage as well.

Q&A: What Does it Mean to be In Love?

Q: What does the phrase, ‘in love,’ mean?

Gary Chapman: Different things to different people. For some people being ‘in love’ means “We’ve got what it takes to have a good marriage. We’re in love and we’re gonna get married.” For others who have a little different perspective they recognize that the ‘in love’ experience means “We have heightened emotions; we’re deeply attracted to each other physically, emotionally, and perhaps even spiritually.” The difference is that this second group wouldn’t necessarily think that meant they should get married. There are a lot of other things they would look at in terms of intellect, emotions, values, spiritual walk, just a large number of things that need to be considered before they make the decision to get married.

Q&A: Winning a Person Back into a Relationship

Q: How can I win back my girlfriend after a short break?

Gary Chapman: We seldom fall out of love on the same day, and consequently the one who falls out of love often breaks the relationship. The other person is deeply hurt because you are bonded to that person with an emotional warmth and excitement. “Win” is a good word because it does mean you can make efforts, you can try to influence them. Ultimately, however, you cannot make them come back. You have to be open to the possibility that they’re not going to return to the relationship and that it’s not the end of world. God knows what’s going on, God has a plan for your life. Whether they come back or not, he will guide you in the future to accomplish his purposes for your life. After all, that is the most important thing.