Category: Single

How to Love the Unlovely

Q: Gary, I’ve heard you say that we are to “love the unlovely” as Jesus did. But since Jesus is God and perfect, He can do anything! How are lowly people expected to do what only God can do?

Gary: Well the scriptures say that the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy spirit, and that’s how a Christian can love an unlovely person. You’re exactly right: by nature, we are not lovers. We are self-centered and self-righteous. But by God’s help, we can be his agents of expressing his love to an unlovely person.

What do You Consider to be a Sincere Apology?

What do you consider to be a sincere apology? What does the person need to say or do that will make it possible for you to forgive them? I have discovered that there are five ways that people typically apologize. I call them the five languages of apology.

  1. Expressing regret. “I’m sorry for what I did.”
  2. Accepting responsibility. “I was wrong.”
  3. Making restitution. “What can I do to make things right?”
  4. Genuine repentance. “I don’t want to ever do that again.”
  5. Requesting forgiveness. “Will you please forgive me?”

Which of these is most important to you? That is your primary apology language. Why not share this information with your family and friends so they will know how to apologize to you.

The Blinding Light of Being “In Love”

Before marriage, we are carried along by the emotions of the “in love” obsession. After marriage, we revert to being the person we were before we “fell in love.” This reality has implications for the single who is contemplating marriage. Before you marry, you had best find out what your potential souse was like before the two of you “fell in love.” Ask parents, siblings, work associates and friends, but by all means ask them questions. Did they have an anger problem? Where they depressed? Were they friendly or selfish? Dependable or irresponsible? Did they have a problem with alcohol, drugs or other addictive ? Get the facts. Don’t let the “in love” experience blind you to the truth.

Q&A: Casual Physical Touch

Q: My primary love language is physical touch. I am not currently in a dating relationship, and I live far away from my family. How can I best seek out fulfillment of my primary love language in a casual or platonic manner?

Gary: A lady once said to me, “You know why I go to that church? Because people hug me there. It’s the only place all week long that I get hugs.” And I do believe the church is a good place to be hugged. I mean this in a positive way. Christians are loving people, often reaching out with handshakes and hugs. If you’re going to a church that doesn’t, I suggest you look for a different church. I believe the church is one of the best places to meet the need for love in a casual relationship.

Q&A: Finding a Christian Man

Q: How does a Christian woman find a quality husband? It seems so many men are selfish and only wanting physical intimacy.

Gary: I do believe the quality men you are looking for are out there. You are far more likely to find them in the church rather than out of the church, especially if they’re involved beyond mere attendance. If they’re in a small group, if they’re going on missions trips, if they’re helping the poor, these are good indicators that the person is truly committed to Christ. Pray and ask God to bring that kind of guy across your track.

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: Holidays and Loneliness

Q: The holidays are always a lonely time for me as a single. Do you have any advice?

Dr. Gary Chapman: Don’t court loneliness; instead, reach out to people. If no one is reaching out to you–half the world doesn’t reach out to anyone–you be the one who reaches out. No matter what the relationship, take the initiative to be with people. Chances are, you’ll not only deal with your own loneliness, but you’ll also enrich the lives of those around you.

Q&A: Topics that Apply to Couples of all Ages

Q: Your books on marriage seem to be geared toward younger people. Do your principles apply to older people as well?

Gary Chapman: Well, I agree that some of my books are geared more toward younger couples, but many of my books are geared to couples of any age. For example, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been married 2 years or 30 years, learning how to speak each other’s love language is extremely important if you want to have an ongoing healthy relationship. In my books I also address topics like learning how to apologize and how to forgive each other. So I really think that the basic concepts that I seek to share in all of my books can apply to all ages. Now there is one book of mine, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married, that is written specifically to singles or engaged couples. In it I try to help them have a healthy marriage from the start. However, even couples that have been married for many years have shared with me how they have benefited from that book. No matter when you start applying the concepts I teach in my books, I believe they will help you work towards a healthy marriage and/or relationship with others.

Q&A: Teaching Children How to Choose a Good Spouse

Q: What are some things I can teach my son about how to choose a good wife?

Gary Chapman: I wrote a book entitled Things I Wished I’d Known Before We Got Married that deals with this topic. In the book I deal with such things as personality differences, religious differences, and learning how to negotiate and solve conflicts. Because people grow up in different homes they develop different ideas. Therefore, I talk about the influence of parents. There are many other topics I also address. I think if you take the time to read this book you will find it a helpful and useful tool in guiding your adult child towards choosing a good spouse.

Q&A: Has God Selected The Person You Should Marry?

Q: “I hear all the time about how God has someone selected for me and I just need to wait for her. You don’t really address this in you books. Thoughts?”

Gary Chapman: Christians look at this in different ways. Some believe that God has one individual picked out for you and He wants to lead the two of you together. Others feel like this falls into the kinds of categories in life such as giving us the choice as to which shirt we will wear today. He hasn’t predestined that you wear a particular kind of shirt and leaves that choice up to you. Both of these views are Christian because they both recognize that God is active in our lives and if we are seeking His guidance that He is faithful to guide us. That’s the important thing. I think you may find it interesting to look at Genesis 24 and look for the principles that God used to lead Abraham’s servant to find a bride for Isaac. I think those same principle apply to our lives today.