Finding Hope for Your Desperate Marriage (Part 2 of 2)
They do believe that many many people give up in those difficult marriages, which if they had a different perspective on things, which I'm calling reality leaving they could be an influence her. It is true. We can't change our spouse, we came make them change. But we can't influence them insights from Dr Gary Chapman. And he has more encouragement and hope for your marriage today on focus on the family. Your host is focused president and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller. Last time we talked with Dr Chapman about some difficult situations within marriage having a spouse, who's worker Hollick or one who is depressed. We also touched on reframing your mindset to be more positive toward your spouse. I realize it's a hard thing to do. But it's necessary. And I love what Dr Chapman said in that clip. Just a moment ago. You can't change your spouse. But you can. Influence them and with God's help and guidance. You can have a thriving marriage today, we have more help entrusted vice for desperate marriages. And I know you'll want to hear what Dr Chapman has to share. He has been with us here. A number of times on focus on the family. He's always a favorite guest for Jimmy. And also for our listeners. Great responses every time he's here. No doubt. You're familiar with his bestselling series, the five love languages books and our conversation today is based on another book that Gary wrote called loving your spouse when you feel like walking away. Gary welcome back to focus on the family. Thank you evacuate. The gym, man. We started the conversation last time in and it just went so many good nuggets of wisdom that we discussed when it comes to the irresponsible spouse, the workaho Alec spouse, we're gonna get into more of these things. Today. But Gary we started with this concept of reality living, that's not a retirement home idol reality living in your book says what it says, basically that we have to change our attitude and choose to see the positive in any situation, and there's always something positive in the situation. So we change our attitude. The reason that's so important is attitude leads to behavior if I see something positive in the person, then it's easier for me to give a farming words, for example. So we change our attitude, and and the other thing is that we recognize and here's a key reality. I cannot change my spouse. Everybody agrees to that. They remind you every holiday -solutely. But here's the here's the rest of that story. I can influence my spouse and we've fail to recognize the power of influence in simple things. Let's say you. You come home after work, and you walk in the house, and you go give your spouse, a hug and kiss and ask how their day went. You just had a positive influence on them. Yes. On the other hand you walk in at the end of the day walk into the house. You don't go greet your spouse, you go to the refrigerator get you a drink turn on the TV and sit down and unwind. You've influenced them in a negative way. You don't care about me. I don't care about me that principle applies in every marriage in every situation. We do influence each other. What we need to learn how to have a positive influence, and especially in these difficult marriages that we're talking about today in that context. Gary just take some thought in energy, right? I mean, you need to think about these things. Why do we not do that? What keeps us distracted from doing? Perhaps our number one job. I think it's because we just do what comes natural and in our culture, especially while comes natural is follow your emotions. So you feel hurt. The the motion of hurt lead you to lash out at them and. It makes things worse. You've had a negative impact on their relationship. I think Jim another issue that I think is really important that often in a very difficult marriage. The place to start and this'll be hard for people to hear the place to start is by knowledge. Ing my own failures in the marriage. Yeah. That's not easy to do. So it's the right thing. That's right. Because seeing our mind the main problem is them. They've got the problem there the alcoholic there the workaho. They're the ones who won't work. They're the ones and understand that and let so let's say they're ninety five percent of the problem. But if you want to get things started off in a positive way, make turn in your behavior. You apologize to them for your five percent? And you say Honey, I've been thinking about us a lot. And I realized that I've hurt you along the way, and I failed to support to you in a lot of ways. And in fact, I think I've come across his condemning to you in a lot of ways. And I deeply regret that. And I just want to ask you you'll forgive me from behavior over the last ten years. They haven't heard that before. Yeah. And sometimes I would think depending upon how much scarring has occurred. If I could put it that way. You may not get the best response at that moment. You may like you just express like, wow. I've never heard that. Or you may get. Yeah. Right. You know, I've heard that before. Absolutely. And they're going to walk away. And they're going to be thinking. Wow, that's different. It's different than that's the. That's the key things. Then if you follow that up with really change behavior on your part, right? It's gonna make tremendous impact. That's amazing actions speak louder than words, right? Let's move some of the other conditions. We talked about last time. But this idea of the controlling spouse. I doubt people want to be controlling. I mean, I think it is in our nature, but we don't get married thinking. I can't wait to control that guy or that woman, but it manifests. So I guess the question for me is two fold wa-. What is happening there in the perpetrator in the controller personality? What are they trying to achieve in that control in the second part of that question, how do they arrest? How do they see it and begin to correct that you know, I think most people who have a controlling personality do not realize that they come across as a of. But you had a store in the book from I think Philip and Gina were Philip was driven and thought he was doing all the things you just express on behalf of the family, but Gina couldn't take that controlling nature. What happened in their particular case Philip had this idea that he wanted to tire when he was fifty. Okay. He was very driven guy. And he was you know, he cut every corner, you know, make sure he's going to have enough money. He's putting all the acorns away and absolute and like he told her that he was going he put in these water saver showerheads. Ryan save us a bunch of money owns on water here, you know, and she had it took our ten minutes longer to rinse the soap off of her body when she. Taking a shower, you know, irritated her day every day every day and on that particular one she said to him. She said, you know, I know you do you think we're saving money. But she's I can't take ten minutes every day. I of my schedule to just to get the soap off my body. And if you don't call the plumber and get that changed I'm going to call the plumber myself, and I'm going to do it by Friday. Wow. Well, he he called the plumber. Let's say with a controller. There comes a place where you have to own individual issues say those kind of things, and if they don't then you follow through because you have to break that model, but eventually because that that alone did not change the situation. But eventually she left him. No one day, and she said. I don't know how you feel, but I'm just tired of being a child in our relationship while and she said, I'm going to move in with my mother, and she left him the name of a counselor in a phone number. That rocked his world. Oh, yeah. They took him about a week. But he finally called the counselor. And when he did he started the process of understanding his personality, and how it was impacting her and their marriage, and the whole thing turned around and eventually after he had dealt with some of his issues as to why he was like he was then the two of them got marriage counseling, and then they moved back together. And they made it work. That's amazing. It's it's so sad to hear that she was treated less as a child living with her mother than she was with her husband think of that what are some of those other do's and don'ts in this category of the controlling spouse. The things not to say the things to say, I think what you're saying there. So right confront, but what are some of the negative things that we might say. Well, it never helps to argue with a controller. That's our natural bent is. We argue we automate the way to automate are arguing just goes downhill, he gets more some more, and they don't resolve because you can't talk controller out of their position. Because they know what they're doing is. Good. Right. So are giving never helps the submissive servant long-term doesn't help you see sometimes wife will just give in to a controlling husband, for example, and say, well, that's just the way he is. So I'm just going to give into this. And I'm just going to do whatever he says, and I'm just going to overlook this behaved because that brings peace or eighty hype of young brings I level of peace. But it's a narrow piece it's not a deep peace, and ultimately it never works. Gary's we transition. Now, we're gonna talk about physical abuse and also issues pornography and infidelity. This might be a good time to make sure small kids or away from the the radio or the podcast. However, you're listening whatever environment. But in that context Gary moving to fill. Physical abuse. I mean here focus on the family. We scream get to a safe place. If you're in that situation, we wanna make sure the listeners know that don't stay in a dangerous situation, your your children, so get to safety, whether that's a friend's home family members home in then getting gauged with a counselor someone who could begin to help you. But let's go to the physically abusive spouse. What is happening in that relationship that maybe walk as through the steps of the cycle of physical abuse. Well, what happens is within the abuser tension against the build over things. They don't like about their spouse. And they just hold it in for a while. And then eventually it's like explosion. And they that's where the physical abuse comes in where they slap or slam or kick or whatever. And then typically, there's great remorse. They come back. And so all I'm so sorry, Honey. Oh, always see that depicted in movies all the time that cycle is occurring. And they seem so sincere, and they say it'll never happen again. But the cycle starts over two or three months. It may be good. And then there's another explosion. Can I ask you? And this is to not draw sympathy for that abuser. I mean, that's horrific and no human being should abuse another human being we all know that what has happened to that human being where they become the. Abuser. And it's not always men. There's a growing number of women that are the Buechler. But what is happening there when you look at their childhood, and what went on is there a pattern that counselor see often, there's anger that's growing out of childhood abuse themselves. They were abused themselves to the abused become the abusers. And because they never processed that anger in that hurt inside because they couldn't if your parent is abusing us child. You can't process it with the abuser. So these pattern. That's why you hold it inside. But then you're began following the same pattern. I fall because you're hurt your anger is inside. And that's why the abuser needs help. You know, obviously, if they're willing to go for counseling, they can get help for themselves. If they're if they're willing to do that. I'm also asked the question. Jim why why do women stay in marriages? That's the next one. I was gonna say that around dinner when we know a relative or friend is in that spot. We say, well, she just attracts those types of guys. What are we unwittingly saying when we say that? Well, a part of that is there's different reasons. Why women stay in abusive situations? One is that they have a personality themselves. That's what we call a rescuer mentality that they find significance in their own lives by helping people who are in trouble and helping them work through their pop. Right. And so they recognize that their spouse has a problem, and they wanna help the problem. And so they have this mentality of and and they tend not marrying people who have these kind of personalities because the I can help fail. Another Gary before you move on. Let me ask you this. I can hear the rescuer rationalizing. That's a wonderful Christian attribute to want to help people. It sounds godly in his godly. When does it become unhealthy? Easy. I think the desire to help other people is certainly godly desire. But when the person you're trying to help is physically abusing you. And you're not Lear not doing anything about it. Then you're actually hurting them rather than helping them because you're helping them establish a very negative behavior. That's never going to serve them in a positive, but I really wanna scream a neon sign here. It's not your fault that that person is abusing. I mean, you may be an Ebeling it in some way. But it's not you there chosing to do this. You gotta get to a safe place. That's our biggest point. I'm sorry. You're going gonna go. I was gonna say another reason why some wives staying deuce situations is they have isolated themselves from their family and their friends because they didn't want to the embarrassment. They didn't with their famously them with a black eye or burgers. And so they wait until they get healed before they even interact, and so they feel so I selected they don't have anywhere to go. Because no one else knows what's going on. And then another is that they are actually fearful that if they. Do leave. The spouse will kill them be that desk, and it could be it could be that desperate for. Sure. So that's why some people stay in those kind of relationships. But that's never the answer. Gary as we moved to another very difficult topic in troubled marriages, and that is the unfaithful spouse. It's an ever increasing problem. Marriages today the use of pornography, for example, in the damage does let's start there with pornography its prevalence in marriages today, what should Christian couples do who want to please the Lord? What should they do in? This regard. Well, you know, Jim, you're exactly right. That pornography has pervaded our society, and the whole technology world has made it so much easier now to have access to pornography. It's always destructive to a marriage. I say to me, and especially you know, guys if you're walking down that road. If you haven't gone, very far get urge you to turn around and burn the bridges and come back into the real world. Now, some men in some women now too addicted to pornography hear you say that Gary, and they say, I don't know if I can because it is addictive behavior so speak to that issue of addiction. And you may have maybe the light touch of it that a person can say, yes, I will choose a different path and they can do that starting right now. Yeah. Then others can't describe the difference. And that's why I say in the early stages if you just begin to go down that road, you can turn around. But if you're already down to the end of that road, and you're addicted you'll have to have divine help it's just as addictive cocaine and what happens when you get to the end of that road. It's idolatry. You have taken sex and made it God you've taken a gift of God. And. Made it God. Right. And you're worshiping in an altar and so it's idolatry. And so what I say to the guy who's down at that. End of that road is. First of all you've got to make the decision that is detrimental to your marriage, and it's detrimental to you. And it's obsessive with you. It's become the center of your life. And that's why so you need to find help. So go to somebody go to a pastor. Go to a counselor go to trust the older friend go to somebody and share start where you are. And let's begin to take that journey back into the real world. Gary on behalf of I just have that that wife in my mind who has struggled with this. Maybe your husband is at that point where he's addicted and he's justifying it by saying, well, it helps us in our physical relationship. It's not a big deal. Trust me. This is a good thing. Give her the initiative the ability to come back, spiritually speaking Biblically. Speaking say now, I don't think so. Yeah. I think Jim this is where feel some of the greatest pain personal pain. When women sit in my office when they've just discovered that their husband is into pornography. Here's what they say. Jim what's wrong with me? Why does it have to go to a screen to see somebody doesn't even know? What's wrong with me? Yeah. And they weep it breaks their hikes their heart because let's face it. The sexual part of marriage is the most intimate part of marriage. I mean, the whole thing becoming one flesh that knowing each other knowing each other, those biblical words, you know. And so I think what I say to the late at you have to take strong stand. And you have to say, no, this is not acceptable. I cannot accept this. If you're willing to go get some help now, then you begin to get some help, and we can talk about this. But I cannot accept this. And whatever the locations are if the that's the world you choose to live in. Okay. I don't think that's pleasing to God and Christian you can talk a Christian to each other about it because the whole biblical perspective. Is there Jesus you look on the woman you committed adultery with her? And your heart already. I mean, so, you know, you're guilty of adultery is what it is. It's non-physical adultery. And so I think a wife has to take a loving, but strong stand against that and not accepted as normal behavior. Gary, let me make sure we clarify that. Because some councillors will take a position that there's a distinction between the two that that pornography is not full-fledged adultery. It's just a difference of opinion theologically in that regard. Would you agree that that those two statements are out there that there is a distinct, and I think there is a distinction between that there is mental adultery of Jesus say, and that's what he's talking about mental Daltry, and there's physical dilatory, and yes, they're not the same. They're not to be equated. But they're both adultery. According jesus. So I think the, you know, the the mental adultery involves you and some picture or some person that you're looking at right, Phil. Visible adultery involves people. Right. And a lot of other people get hurt in the process with that. Yeah. And I think it is a deeper hurt in a marriage when your spouse is sexually involved with somebody else the ultimate unfaithful. Absolutely. Yeah. It is a deeper hurt. Yeah. No question about it. Let's move to that. Because that's also a topic in your book, and this is where will end. And again what I want people to hear. If you need help in any of these difficult areas that we've talked about today, we're here for you focus on the family. That's our mission. We want you to thrive in Christ. And we don't want you to languish in a marriage that is just unhealthy. So at least take that first and call us, Gary that unfaithful spouse situation, there's two paths in front of that faithful spouse either divorce which scripture clearly says is an option then there's repairing the marriage probably aligning with the heart of God to say he hates divorce in. Case. But that's difficult journey is it those two decisions. It is the difficult journey. Do believe that there is life after infidelity. But it requires the person's been involved in that infidelity. Choosing with the help of God, they're going to break off that relationship. It's going to be history. No contact and then they're going to get help themselves. They're gonna get counts in themselves in deal with what is it about them that lead them to where they were willing to get involved relationship outside the marriage. So they need help. It also is going to require real forgiveness in the part of the spouse most profound. Yeah. And the other thing I like to really make clear here is that even if your spouse does break off the relationship, even if they do get counseling, even if they do come back in the two of you began to get counseling and you choose to forgive them, which is the biblical response. Yeah. We're god. Forgave us. No matter what we've done he forgives us, and we're forgive as Christ forgave, but forgiveness does not rebuild trust. That's a process forgiveness opens the door to the possibility. That trust can be reborn. And as you said, it's a process. It's well said so I say to the husband who if he's been unfaithful if you want her to trust you again, here's your response. You say to her myself owners yours Honey anytime you want to look at it about computers years, if I tell you I'm going over to Georgia's house to work on his car if you wanna come by and see if I'm there it's Fannie or call George y'all George deceived. You enough I'm through with the seat of her to enough. A you take that approach shield trust you again, three months, six months nine months down the road. She'll trust you again. So that's a good thing to do. What are some other do's and don'ts in that? Very harmful. Hurtful. I think one thing is often if relationship has gone on for a while. And you break it off that person's gonna call you again two or three times trying to pick the relationship back up. You can't keep them from calling you. But you don't get involved in a conversation with them you make it as brief as you can. Then you tell your spouse, they call me today. Here was the conversation. What Gary when you look at this. I mean, the Lord knows us. He knows all of us. He knows the thought lives that we have. It's an open book for him. Why does he put up with it? I guess how does he put up with it? What is God trying to do through all of this in our own hearts? I mean, I'm talking about that really painful situation of unfaithfulness. What does the Lord one chief in both people? Well, let's face it. We're all broken in one way or another and some of our broken his hurts other people more than more than other things new in this in the marriage. This is the deepest hurt. I think we can have is far our spouse to be sexually involved with someone else. And that is why it takes time for there to be healing in this kind of relationship. I think what God wants to do is always redemption. God is in the business of redeeming people taking people where they are with all of their failures first of all forgiving them when they repent forgiveness is always based on repentance. God doesn't forgive everybody. He forgives people who apologize who confessed their sin and turn from their saying, he forgives them. And so. That is the message of the gospel. No matter who you are what you've done you can leave forgiven, then you turn your life over to him to let him remake your life. And as we said early earlier on in the program to make you like Christ. And as you become more like Christ and your spouse becomes more more like Christ. You've discover the marriage. You always wanted a loving supportive, caring relationship. What a great place to end, Gary. That's the goal. Thank you so much for being with us here. Focus. Thank you. Jim always enjoyed chatting with you, and Gary I've a few more questions that I want to ask you regarding sexual abuse within marriage healing, childhood traumas and abusive relationships that exist, we'll take that portion of the conversation to our website so turning to you the listener join us online to hear that part of our discussion. And maybe today has made you realize that you have a problem in your marriage that needs to be resolved. And. You ready to start? We have caring Christian counselors on staff, your focus that will provide you with that initial consultation, and then be able to refer you to someone in your area to carry the conversation forward and for couples who are further down the road towards separation or divorce. We also have our hope restored marriage intensive 's I am so excited about how God is working through these intensive to make marriages stronger than ever before the stories we hear from the couples that go through the program are really inspiring one of the participants recently told us when we arrived we had been separated for two and a half months. We had been to four different marriage counselors on and off over fifteen years. My husband said he would give hope restored a one hundred percent effort, but he had low hope that if God didn't do something big. It would be time for formal separation. I am thrilled to say that we both have hope and now have some great tools to start operating in a safe place with each other, and John I love that this couple like so many others now have hope in their marriage. And that's what it's all about. Yet program has done so much for so many couples who seemed like they were out of gas totally and so many cases they've already signed divorce papers. So I don't think you're going to present something that we haven't seen yet. So make a call today talk to one of our counselors. Maybe learn more about hope restored, our number is eight hundred the litter a in the word family, and I hope you'll join us in this ministry, two couples which will help strengthen families across the globe, your ongoing monthly support a focus on the family allows us to continue providing couples with this hope in Christ through broadcast like this one other articles and resources. Our counseling efforts and hope restored partner with us to help marriages thrive in this culture. Today, we need marriages to thrive. In fact, we'll send you a copy of Dr Chapman book loving your spouse. When you feel like walking away as our way of saying, thank you for standing in the gap with your monthly commitment. And if you can't afford that Wilson it for one time gift as well. It become part of our support team and get your copy of Dr Chapman's book into CD or download of this really great today conversation we've had with him. Our number is eight hundred a letter in the word family link over to some of the resources in the episode. By the way, when you're at our website, be sure to check out the extra portion of this conversation that we have with Dr Chapman on behalf of gym daily and the entire team. Thanks for listening to focus on the family. I'm John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.