January 20, 2014
Q: I was exposed to pornography at a young age, and though I’m married now I can’t seem to erase the images. What should I do?
Dr. Gary Chapman: The Scriptures say that the blood of Christ covers our sins. I would encourage you to pray that God would cover the images of the past in your mind with the blood of Christ. Visualize the blood of Christ flowing over the images and I think you will find that God will blur those images for you. This may take a while, but in time you will deeply recognize that God has forgiven you for those things; he no longer sees them, and neither will you.
January 16, 2014
One of the realities in contemporary marriage is that many couples come in with previous sexual experiences, either with each other or with other partners. A commonly held idea is that sexual experience before marriage better prepares you for marriage. All research, however, indicates otherwise. In fact, the divorce rate is twice as high among those who have sexual encounters before marriage. The Christian answer is the confession of wrongdoing and genuinely forgiving each other for past failures. The scares of the past may remain, but they serve as a reminder of the grace and love of God. When God forgives us he no longer holds the sin against us; we in turn forgive each other.
January 14, 2014
Some Christians have a negative attitude towards sex. It may have come from a distorted education about sex, an unfortunate sexual experience as a child, or sexual involvement as a teenager that brought disappointment and guilt. What is important is to understand that we choose our attitudes. The first step in overcoming a negative attitude is exposure to the truth. The truth about sex is that within marriage it is God-ordained and designed to bring mutual pleasure. As in all of live we are called to live by the truth. We admit our negative attitudes and feelings but we don’t serve them. With the help of God we live according to his revealed truth.
January 9, 2014
Contrary to the opinion of some, sex is not a topic that God shies away from. He is the author of sex. He created humanity as male and female, and he instituted marriage with the intent that the two would become one flesh. Why then do so many couples fail to find satisfaction in this important area of marriage? I would like to suggest one major reason: unrealistic expectations. Films, magazines, and novels convey the idea that sexual thrill and mutual satisfaction are automatic. That is simply not true. God told Israel that a young couple should take a year to learn how to pleasure each other (Deuteronomy 24:5). What makes us think we can do so in less time?
January 6, 2014
Q: How much pressure should I put on my husband to be more intimate with me? It seems that I’m the only one interested in this aspect of our marriage
Dr. Gary Chapman: If by intimacy you mean sex and your husband isn’t interested, there’s definitely a reason. There are numerous possibilities as to why, and you should find out. Perhaps he has homosexual tendencies, perhaps he has a pornography addiction, or he may even be involved with someone else. There could also be a physical reason, and if so you need to encourage him to see a doctor because there’s medication that can help with that. It’s a matter of figuring out the reason for his lack of interesting and then taking positive steps to correct it.
November 5, 2013
If God ordained marriage and if God ordained parenting, do you think we have time to do both? The obvious answer is yes. But why do couples complain, “Since the children came, we don’t have time for sex. We had to stop our date nights. We’re too tired to watch a movie. It seems we just don’t have time to do anything together.” The problem is not time, but how we schedule our time. Some couples schedule time to enhance their marriage while others focus on meeting the needs of the children and hope that some day they will find time for each other. Unfortunately for some that time never comes. What could you do this week to enhance your marriage? Why not put it on your schedule?
November 1, 2013
Q: Should I be concerned about my fiancé’s past physical relationships with other women?
Gary Chapman: I think you should be concerned because it’s a matter of reality. It’s not a part of his life that he can erase. That’s why I encourage couples to share with each other their past sexual experience. Because if he’s been involved with other women before marriage, and particularly multiple women it’s going to be far more difficult for him emotionally to be committed to one person after marriage. Let’s look to God for deliverance from that pattern so that he can indeed be committed to you. I think also, you have some things to work through in terms of your feelings about what he has done in the past and we have to learn how to experience and express genuine forgiveness if we’re going to have a healthy marriage.
October 21, 2013
Q: My fiancé and I are finding it difficult to stay pure before marriage. Do you have any suggestions?
Gary Chapman: It is difficult. When we deeply love each other, we have warm emotional feelings for each other and the natural thing is to get physically involved. But when we do the physical part of the relationship becomes the predominant part of the relationship. We cease to get to know each other from that point and it simply becomes a physical thrill. That’s not the foundation on which to build a marriage. So I think you have to set boundaries. The two of you have to agree to not have sexual intercourse before you get married (or to stop if you already have). Figure out some guidelines that you can follow to keep you from falling into that trap. As you set boundaries and ask God to give you the power to follow his teachings, you will be successful.
October 15, 2013
At the heart of Christian marriage is the idea of unity. God said, “The two will become one flesh.” Intimacy is the opposite of ‘aloneness.’ God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Something deep within man cries out for the companionship of a woman, and the woman has a similar desire for intimacy with a man. Marriage is designed to satisfy that deep search for intimacy. But this intimacy is not simply the joining of two bodies in a sexual experience. It is the joining of two souls in the deepest possible way. Intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically we join our lives together. This intimacy grows with each passing day, if we take time to talk and listen, pray together, and seek God’s guidance.
October 7, 2013
Q: Is living together before marriage a good idea?
Gary Chapman: It sounds like it, doesn’t it? That’s what many young people think. That’s also what many older people think. The reality is research indicates it’s not true. I think the reason is that you cannot simulate marriage. We think we’ll give it a trial run, but you can’t try marriage. Marriage has to do with commitment, and when you’re living together without commitment you both know that any day of any week, one of you could walk away. So even though it seems like it would be a good idea, all research and certainly scripture indicate that it’s not a good idea. So I would challenge you to seek to live a life of purity before you come to marriage. I believe that God’s way is still the best way.