Finding Hope for Your Desperate Marriage – Gary Chapman Part 2

and as you become more and more like
Christ and your spouse becomes more more like Christ you discover the marriage
you always wanted that loving supportive caring relationship welcome to the focus on the family
broadcast helping families thrive Gary welcome back to focus on the family
thank you back with you Jim 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 workaholic spouse we’re going to get
into more of these things today but Gary we started with this concept of reality
living that’s not a retirement home title 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 affirming words for example right so we change our attitude
and the other thing is that we recognize I cannot change my spouse everybody
agrees to that they remind you every holiday absolutely but here’s the here’s
the rest of that story I can influence my spouse and we fail to recognize the
power of influence you know 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 a 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 just 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 is how to have a positive influence and especially in
these difficult marriages that we’re talking about today in that context Gary
it just takes some thought and 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 what comes natural is to follow your emotions so you feel hurt
the emotion of hurt leads you to lash out at them and you makes things worse
you’ve had a negative impact on their relationship now I think Jim another
issue that I think is really important that often in a very difficult marriage
the place to start and this will be hard for people to hear
the place to start is by acknowledging my own failures in the marriage
yeah that’s not easy to do but it’s the right thing that’s right because seeing
our mind the main problem is them they’ve got the problem they’re the
alcoholic they’re the workaholic they’re the ones who won’t work they’re the ones
and I understand that and okay let’s so let’s say they’re 95% of the problem but
if you want to get things started off in a positive way and make a turn in your
behavior you apologize to them for your 5 percent and you say honey I’ve been
thinking about us a lot and I realize that I’ve hurt you throw along the way
and I failed to be a support to you in a lot of ways and in fact I think I’ve
come across as condemning to you in a lot of ways and I deeply regret that and
I just want to ask you you’ll forgive me for my behavior over the last 10 years they haven’t heard that before
yeah and sometimes Gary 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 expressed like wow I’ve never heard that
or you may get yeah right you know I’ve heard that before
absolutely but they’re gonna walk away and they’re gonna be thinking wow that’s
different that’s different and that’s the that’s the key things and then if
you follow that up with really change behavior on your part right it’s gonna
make a tremendous impact that’s amazing actions speak louder than words right
let’s move to some of the other conditions you know 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 twofold what is happening there in the perpetrator in
the controller personality what are they trying to achieve in that control and
then the second part of that question how do they arrest it how do they see it
and begin to correct that yeah I think most people who have a controlling
personality do not realize that they come across as a controller it’s like
you’re a child and they’re the parent and that’s the way you feel that’s an
interesting description that’s probably the best because sometimes you’re gonna
ask questions of one another that are completely natural but it’s the it’s the
volume and the amount of times is that fair
yeah so it’s when one of you feels like a child like I can’t do anything without
them you know telling me it’s okay the controller very likely it doesn’t sense
them as being controlling they’re just trying to make wise decisions they’re
just trying to help you make watch this they’re looking out for us yes that’s
their perspective I’m helping us I’m saving us money
you know if you’ll just listen to me and I think they don’t see themselves as
controllers and many of them grew up in homes where their parents were
controllers their husband or wife and they’re just doing what they saw their
parents do they’re just following the pattern that they observed and as a
parent that’s a scary thought depressing right there yeah but you had a story in
the book from I think was Philip and Gena where Philip was driven and thought
he was doing all the things you just Express you know on behalf of the family
but Gena couldn’t take that controlling nature what happened in their particular
case yeah Philip had this idea that he wanted to retire when he was 50 okay he
was a very driven guy and he was you know he cut every corner to you know
make sure he was gonna have enough money to he’s putting all the AIRC acorns away
absolutely yeah and like he told her that he was gonna he put in these water
saver showerheads right who save us a bunch of money on water he
you know and she had it took her ten minutes longer to rinse the soap off of
her body when she was taking a shower you know just irritated her to death you
know every day every day and eventually 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 out of my schedule and just to get the soap off my body right and if you don’t
call the plumber and get that changed I’m gonna call the plumber myself and
I’m gonna do it by Friday Wow he called the plumber let’s say with a controller
there comes a place where you have two 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 was that alone did not change the situation
but eventually she left him a note one day and she said I don’t know how you
feel but I’m just tired of being a child in our relationship Wow
and she said I’m gonna move in with my mother and if you will go to a counselor
and get help with your controlling personality then we can have marriage
counseling and maybe we can make this thing work but in the meantime I’m
moving in with my mother Wow and she left him the name of a counselor and a
phone number that rocked his world oh yeah they took in 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 got 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 and they made it work yeah
that’s amazing what are some of those other do’s and
don’ts in this category of the controlling spouse the things not to say
and the things to say I think what you’re saying they’re so right confront
yeah but what are some of the negative things that we might say well it never
helps to argue with a controller huh that’s that’s our natural bent is we
argue we saw ultimatums the other way to go ultimatum so far better than arguing
just goes downhill it gets worse more s’mores and they
don’t resolve because you can’t talk a controller out of their position because
they know what they’re doing is good right
so arguing never had the submissive servant long-term doesn’t
help you see sometimes a 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 gonna give in to this
and I’m just gonna do whatever he says and I’m just gonna overlook this because
that brings peace or a type of brings a level of peace but it but it’s a narrow
piece it’s not a deep piece yeah and ultimately it never works Gary
as we transition now we’re gonna talk about physical abuse and issues of
pornography and infidelity this might be a good time to make sure small kids are
away from the radio or the podcast if however you’re listening whatever
environment but in that context Gary moving to physical abuse I mean here
focus on the family we scream get to a safe place if you’re in that situation
we want to make sure the listeners know that don’t stay in a dangerous situation
you or your children so get to safety whether that’s a friend’s home a family
member’s home and then get engaged with a counselor someone who can begin to
help you but let’s go to the physically abusive spouse what is happening in that
relationship maybe walk us through the steps of the cycle of physical abuse
well what happens is that within the abuser tension begins to 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 a it’s like a 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 say oh I’m so sorry
honey well we see that depicted in movies all the time that cycle is a
current and it’s 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 abuser but it’s happening there when you look at
their childhood and what went on is there a pattern that counselors see
often there’s anger that’s growing out a childhood abuse themselves they were
abused themselves so the abused to become the abusers and because they
never process that anger and that hurt inside because they couldn’t if your
parent is abusing you as a child you can’t process it with the abuser and so
these are patterns that’s right you hold it inside but then you begin following
the same pattern they follow 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 but I’m also asked the question Jim why do women stay in
marriages oh that’s the next one I was going to me
and we 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 in
helping them work through their problem right
and so they recognize that their spouse has a problem and they want to help the
problem and they and so they have this mentality of and they tend not marrying
people who have these kind of personalities because that I can help
them another theory 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 yeah it sounds godly and is godly when does it become unhealthy I think it
I think the desire to help other people is certainly a godly desire but when the
person you’re trying to help is physically abusing you and you’re not
only you’re 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 want to scream a
neon sign here it’s not your fault that that person is abusing it I mean you may
be enabling it in some way but it’s not you they’re choosing to do this so we’ve
got to get to a safe place that’s our biggest point I’m sorry now you’re going
to go yeah I was gonna say another reason why
was some wise stay in abusive situations is they have isolated themselves from
their family and their friends because they didn’t want to the embarrassment
yeah they didn’t want their family to see them with a black eye or a bruise
and so they wait until they get healed before they even interact and so they
feel so isolated they don’t have anywhere to go yeah 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 and become 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 yeah in the book you
talk about Julian and Bruce having this kind of dilemma it’s always helpful to
all of us to hear a story what did that look like for them you know for this
couple Jim what happened was what happens in many situations is that the
abuse really starts early in the marriage relationship if a person is an
abuser it’ll come out in the first two or three years there will be some
physical abuse they can’t they can’t cap it that long
that’s right and so because it’s not so great in the early stages the spouse
kind of puts up with it and thinks well this will be okay and they’re saying
they’re sorry so yeah it won’t happen again it won’t happen again and so you
can be 10 years into the marriage before you realize this is a serious problem I
mean this is a huge problem in our relationship and so this is how some
people you know why they let it persist and that’s why I say the easiest thing
is always start at the very beginning the first time there’s any indication of
physical abuse that’s when you stand up against it right and because if you let
go on it’s gonna get worse and worse and worse and it did get worse with this
couple and finally see she came to me and she said doc Tim I don’t know what
to do here’s what’s happened he’s not only hitting me now he’s hitting our
children Oh No and my first advice was okay then look where can you go first of
all you got to get out of there you’re not gonna help him by staying there it’s
gone on for 10 years now so she decided and found out she could go stay with her
mother she was willing to acknowledge to her mother that the problem was there I
said take your children and you go to your mother and you and your children
get counseling because those children hello how to process that as well you’d
the two of you get counseling and then you let him know that if he wants to get
counseling for himself that’s up to him but if he doesn’t get counseling then
there’s no hope that anything can ever happen here in a positive way in our
marriage in his case he did go for counseling a law a year of counseling
really finding out discovering himself and why he was the way he went he had
tremendous response in the process of that became a true Christian right and
so he really became a changed person and then then they had several months of
marriage counseling after that and then they were able to restore the marriage
that doesn’t always happen right but in this case it did well that that’s an
excellent example of each person not being beyond the reach of God everybody
who is within God’s reach but at the same time God is not going to force you
yeah he lets you choose life or death yeah Gary as we move to another very
difficult topic in troubled marriages and that is the unfaithful spouse
it’s an ever-increasing problem in marriages today the use of pornography
for example and the damage it does 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 can I urge you to
turn around and burn the bridges and come back into the real world now some
men and some women now too addicted to pornography hear you say that Gary and
they say I don’t know if I can do 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 yeah and
that’s why I say in the early stages if you just beginning 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 as
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 worshipping at an altar and so it’s
idolatry and so when 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 it’s 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 a trustee to older friend go to somebody
and share start somewhere where you are you know 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 her 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 and trust me this is a good thing
give her the ammunition the ability to come back spiritually speaking
biblically speaking and say no I don’t think so
yeah I think Jim this is this is where I feel some of the greatest pain personal
pain when women sit in my office yeah when they’ve just discovered that
their husband is into pornography why is the pain there what does it make her
feel like here’s what they say Jim what’s wrong with me yeah why does he
have to go to a screen to see somebody he doesn’t even know what’s wrong with
me yeah and they weep it breaks their Heikes their heart because let’s face it
the sexual part of marriage is the most intimate part of marriage I mean the
whole thing of becoming one flesh knowing each other knowing each other
those biblical words you know and so I think when I say to the lady
you have to take a 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 when we can talk about this but I cannot
accept this and whatever the implications are if that’s the world you
choose to live in okay you know I I don’t think that’s pleasing to God and
if there’s a Christian you can talk as a Christian to each other about it because
the whole biblical perspective is there Jesus said you look on a woman you
committed adultery with her in your heart already I mean so yes you’re
guilty of adultery it’s 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 accept it as
Garriott let me make sure we clarify that because some counselors will take a
position that there’s a distinction between the two that that panagra fee is
not full-fledged adultery it’s just a difference of opinion theological even
in that regard would you would you agree that that those two statements are out
there that there is a distinction and I think there is a distinction between
that there is mental adultery Jesus said that’s what he’s talking it’s waste all
that mental adultery and there’s physical Daltry and yes they’re not the
same they’re not to be equated but they’re both adultery according Jesus
and so I think that you know the the mental adultery involves you and
somebody some picture or some person that you’re looking at right physical
adultery involves two people right and a lot of other people get hurt in the
process with that yeah and I think 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
we’ll 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 just unhealthy so at least take that
first step in 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 every case
but that’s a difficult journey describe those two decisions it is a difficult
journey I do believe that there is life after infidelity sometimes far deeper
trust and after that recognition and hate sling and all and deeper intimacy
how did that absolutely yeah but it requires the person has 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 counseling themselves
and deal with what is it about them that led them to where they were willing to
get involved in 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 and the two of you begin to get counseling and you choose
to forgive them which is the biblical response yeah we’re we’re God forgave us
no matter what we’ve done he forgives us and we’re to 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 yeah and as you say it’s a
process that’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 my
cellphone is yours honey anytime you want to look at it my computer is yours
if I tell you I’m going over to George’s house to work on his car if you want to
come by and see if I’m there it’s fine honey
or call George yeah I’ll call George I’ve deceived you enough I’m
with deceit I’ve hurt you enough and you take that approach she’ll 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 way I think one thing is often if the 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 yeah 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 that went on yeah just open communication open open open
open openness to whatever hey you can’t keep the other person with whom you had
the affair from trying to reach back and start it again but you don’t have to
walk down that road and you make sure your spouse knows every time they do
call you Gary when you look at this I mean the Lord knows us he knows all of
us he knows that 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 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 you know what does the
Lord want to achieve in both people yeah well let’s face it we’re all broken in
one way or another and some some of our brokenness hurts other people more than
no than other things new and this in the marriage this is the deepest hurt I
think we can have as 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 well 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 confess their sin and turn from their sin he forgives them and so
that is the message of the gospel no matter who you are what you’ve done and
you can be forgiven then you turn your life over to him to let him
remake your life and as we said earlier on in the program to make you like
Christ and as you become more and more like Christ and your spouse becomes more
and more like Christ you discover the marriage you always wanted that 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 thank you Jim always
enjoy chatting with you hey I’m John fuller and thanks for watching get more
info about focus over here and more from our guests over there and be sure to
subscribe to our channel as well

About the author


  1. Doing God's work I always appreciate listening to Gary Chapman and appreciate Focus sharing this content with us. Thank you & God Bless

  2. Old man's .02 and just my experiences;
    I will say this is a great subject and it is good you are not pulling back from your beliefs.
    but the reality is cutting and running is and option..

    Reality living is;
    life is hard and not close to as easy or as good as you have been told and marriage far harder than war for many, but still you fight though it, We are all waiting at this dirty bus stop, look up in hope that the bus will be here soon.
    So stay close to God and be as kind and loving as you can to each other everyday,
    but to the video, @4:29, from the garden till now everyone wants to be in control and be in charge to differing amounts.
    So this reality is what I have seen in myself and in most of the marriages close to me;
    A man gets married thinking the woman will never change, and she will be kind, warm, available, sexually desire him, forever.
    A woman gets married thinking he will change into her version of the great man she really wants him to be, she can mold him into that image.
    Both are wrong… and well over 50% of the time these unmet exceptions cause the death of marriage, yep that would Christian ones too.
    Paul said being single is good for a reason, to bad I didn't listen to reason, some people find out too late that marriage is not for them.

  3. What if wife is not controlling one, but husband thought & felt.that he is being controlled most of the time? Mr Gary Chapman, how do you deal with such situations in marriage? Any solutions? Please advise?

  4. How can an abused wife go to an Abused Woman’s Shelter when not one will take you in because they ALL tell you and they tell the police department that they are not “set up, prepared” for a lady who is Legally Blind in both eyes? The police department even called Abused Woman’s Shelters in several counties, and was told the same thing. What is an abused wife to do then? wado,Ann Benson.

  5. I really do love how Dr. Chapman explains the love and redemption each spouse needs bc that’s what God wants for us all. I wish he was my counselor to help my marriage. Need prayers!

  6. I usually dont do this but i recommend [email protected] or hackgoodness on instagram for any phone spying or gps tracking services. with their help , I

    was able to spy on my wifes phone to see alll her text messages, phone calls, facebook messenger chats, whatsapp chats and more! they were able to install my iphone 8

    as the mirror phone so i was viewing everything remotely without stress! just contact [email protected] or hackgoodness on instagram for help

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