Archive for February, 2009

Blog for Books!

February 28, 2009

Congratulations to Christy, our February Blog for Books contest winner! Christy won a copy of Dr. Chapman’s new book, The Family You’ve Always Wanted. To find out more about our winner, take a look at her blog:

We will choose a new winner next month– be sure to comment often on blog posts to increase your chances to win.

Acts of Service

February 25, 2009

This week we’re looking at “acts of service” – doing something for your spouse that you know they would like for you to do. Cooking a meal, washing dishes, taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, changing the baby’s diaper, and painting the bedroom, etc.

If this is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing speaks as loudly as these acts of service. You may give him or her words of affirmation, but they are thinking, “Cut the talk. If you loved me, you would do something around here.” For them, actions truly speak louder than words.

Jesus gave a simple but profound illustration of expressing love by an act of service when He washed the feet of His disciples. In a culture where people wore sandals and walked on dirt streets, it was customary for the servant of the house to wash the feet of guests as they arrived. When we translate this into a marriage, it means that we will do acts of service to express love to our spouse. Why not choose one to express love to your spouse today?

You may be tempted to stop helping around the house because you get criticized. Your spouse’s critical remarks may be your best clue as to his or her primary love language. The next time your spouse criticizes you, look behind the criticism and see if you can discover their love language. They are trying to tell you what is important to them emotionally. Don’t fight the criticism. Seek to learn from it. Love effectively by learning your spouse’s primary love language and speaking it daily.

When I talk about acts of service as an expression of love, I am not talking about being a slave. When we treat our spouses as slaves, we remove the possibility of love because we remove their freedom. “If you were a good spouse, you would do this for me” is not the language of love. “You will do this, or you’ll be sorry” is manipulation, not love. If acts of service are to be acts of love, they must be freely given. Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.

Learning to speak this love language may require some of us to reexamine our stereotypes of the roles of husbands and wives. Is this difficult? Perhaps. That’s why I use the word love language. Learning a new language may be difficult and take time, but it can be done. A willingness to examine and change stereotypes may be necessary in order to express love more effectively.

Is your love language Acts of Service?  What are some creative ways that your spouse has filled your love tank?

Valentine’s Day

February 20, 2009

On last week’s Building Relationships…

Congratulations to Sarah and Nathan, our Valentine’s Day contest winners!

Sarah’s husband is a marine drill instructor.  Between the stress of Nathan’s job, as well as multiple family storms, it’s been a difficult time for this couple. Their marriage began to suffer.  In Sarah’s words, “There seemed to be a wall up between us.” 

After 2 years of not having a date, they caught the last showing of Fireproof on opening night. After seeing the movie, Sarah and Nathan felt God had torn down their wall.  They put their children in the car and stood in the parking lot that night embracing and thanking God.

Thank you for your story, Sarah and Nathan. Congratulations; enjoy your prize–a trip to a Gary Chapman marriage conference!


Why Apologize?

February 18, 2009

In a perfect world, there would be no need to apologize. But in an imperfect world, we cannot survive without them. We are moral creatures. We have a strong sense of right and wrong. When we are wronged, we experience hurt and anger. Something within us cries out for reconciliation when wrongdoing has fractured a relationship. The desire for reconciliation is often more potent than the desire for justice.

Opening the Door

In marriage, domestic turmoil is often rooted in an unwillingness to apologize. For lack of an apology, couples declare war, which can last for years and often ends in divorce. I’ve wondered if sincere apologies would have changed that sad outcome. You cannot apologize for your spouse’s wrongs, but you can apologize for your own. When you do, you open the door to the possibility of forgiveness and you are on the road to reconciliation. There are no healthy marriages without apologies.

Can You Forgive Without an Apology?

If your definition of forgiveness is to release the person to God and release your hurt and anger to God, then you can forgive without an apology. But if by forgiveness you mean reconciliation, then an apology is a necessary ingredient. The Christian is instructed to forgive others in the same manner that God forgives us. How does God forgive us? The Scriptures say that “if we confess our sins,” God will forgive our sins.

You see, we often want our spouse to “just forget about what happened.” We don’t want to talk about it. We don’t want to apologize. We just want it to “go away.” But things don’t just “go away.” God has provided a pattern for human forgiveness, and that pattern requires apologizing for our wrongs.

Learn and Speak a New Language

The art of apologizing can be learned! Recently, I released a book with Dr. Jennifer Thomas titled The Five Languages of Apology. I think you will find it a life changing book. What we have discovered in our research is that there are five basic aspects of an apology. I call them the five languages of apology.

The key to good relationships is learning the apology language of your spouse and being willing to speak it. Perhaps you’ve been saying “I’m sorry,” when your spouse needs to hear “I was wrong.” When you speak the primary apology language of your spouse, you make it easier for him or her to genuinely forgive you. When you fail to speak their language, it makes forgiveness difficult because they are not sure you are genuinely apologizing.

Remember the Five Languages of Apology?

# 1 – Expressing Regret

# 2 – Accepting Responsibility

# 3 – Making Restitution

# 4 – Genuinely Repenting

# 5 – Requesting Forgiveness

What’s yours? Take the 30-second quiz.


A Valentines Precursor!

February 11, 2009

On last week’s Building Relationships

A Valentine’s Precursor!

In last week’s broadcast Gary and the Fabry’s discuss some great ideas for what you can do to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We also heard from last year’s Valentine’s Day Contest winner, Megan, and her husband Chris.

Michael Catt, executive producer of the film Fireproof, discussed the effect that he has seen the movie have and the value of the Love Dare, a book born out of the film.

(Check out the January 31st Broadcast for an extended interview with Michael)

Have you seen FIreproof? Tell us what you thought.

Learning to Apologize Effectively

February 11, 2009

Have you ever noticed that what one person considers to be an apology, is not what another person considers to be an apology? What is an apology?

It’s different things to different people. After three years of research, Dr. Jennifer Thomas and I have concluded that there are five basic elements to an apology. We call them the five languages of apology. Each person has a primary apology language, and one of the five speaks more deeply to them emotionally than the other four. If you don’t speak their language, they may consider your apology insincere.

A Question of Sincerity

Ever had someone apologize to you and you questioned their sincerity? Ever ask yourself why? It’s probably because they did not speak your apology language. They said, “I’m sorry.” But what you wanted to hear was, “I was wrong.” They said, “Will you forgive me?” But what you wanted to hear was, “What can I do to make this right?”

Many of our apologies come across as insincere because we are not speaking the apology language of the offended person. If couples can learn each other’s primary apology language and speak it when they offend each other, forgiveness will be much easier.

The Five Languages of Apology

Do you know the five languages of apology?

# 1 – Expressing Regret – “I’m sorry.” “I feel badly about what I did.”

# 2 – Accepting Responsibility – “I was wrong.” “It was my fault.”

# 3 – Making Restitution – “What can I do to make it right?”

# 4 – Genuinely Repenting – “I’ll try not to do that again.”

# 5 – Requesting Forgiveness – “Will you please forgive me?”

Speaking the Right One

When you apologize, you are trying to make things right. So you say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. I know I hurt you and I feel badly about it. Will you forgive me?” But your spouse says, “How could you do that if you loved me? How can I forgive you when you never do anything to ‘make it right’?” You feel frustrated and don’t know what to do next. The problem is not your sincerity; the problem is that you are not speaking the right apology language.

Which Do You Want to Hear?

Which one of the five languages of apology do you want to hear? That is your primary apology language.

Apologize effectively by learning your spouse’s apology language and speaking it when you know you have offended each other. Ask your spouse, “When I apologize, what do you want to hear from me?” You may be surprised at their answer, but it will give you their primary apology language. Learning to speak each other’s apology language will lead you to a growing marriage.

The Power of Affirming Words

February 2, 2009

The Power of the Tongue

Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Good for Mark Twain, but I don’t know many husbands and wives who can survive on six compliments a year. Solomon, author of the ancient Hebrew wisdom literature, wrote, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Many couples have never learned the tremendous power of verbally affirming each other. Verbal compliments are powerful communicators of love.

Encouraging Words

One way to verbally affirm your spouse is to give encouraging words. Allison always wanted to be a writer, but after receiving her first rejection slip from the publisher, she gave up. One evening her husband Keith came into the den and said, “I hate to interrupt your reading, but I have to tell you this. I just finished reading your article. Allison, you are an excellent writer. This stuff ought to be published! Your words paint pictures that I can visualize. You have got to submit this stuff to some magazines.” “Do you really think so?” Allison asked. “I know so,” Keith said. “I’m telling you, this is good.”

Ten years later, Allison has had several articles published and has her first book contract. She credits her success to Keith’s words of encouragement. Perhaps your spouse has untapped potential in one or more areas of life. That potential may be awaiting your encouraging words.

Focus on Your Spouse

There is a difference between encouraging words and nagging words. Encouraging words always focus on something your spouse wants to do, not something you want them to do. A nag is anything you tell your spouse more than three times.

“It’s Not What You Said. It’s How You Said It!”

If we are to express love by words of affirmation, those words must be kind words. Kindness has to do with the manner in which we speak. Sometimes our words are saying one thing, but our tone of voice is saying another. Our spouse will usually interpret our message based on our tone of voice, not the words we use. The same words expressed with a loud, harsh voice will not be an expression of love, but an expression of condemnation and judgment. An ancient sage once said, “a soft answer turns away anger.”