When it comes to making a marriage work, we often make the assumption that it takes two. Marriage counseling is usually most effective when both partners attend. If one partner is resistant to change and believes that there’s nothing wrong with how things are, healing the marriage will be a greater challenge.
That is why I was so excited to read Dr. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. He gives us a concrete technique that we can use to give our relationship one last, fighting chance … even if our partner refuses to try to work on the marriage.
Dr. Chapman developed the technique for a patient who was in dire need of counsel. By this stage in her marriage, the patient hated her husband. He criticized and belittled her. He told her that everything that was wrong in the marriage was her fault. Their marriage was dead in everything but name.
The patient refused to give up hope, however. She asked Dr. Chapman, "Is it possible to love someone you hate?"
The answer was yes.
Dr. Chapman reached deep into his experience as a marriage counselor, husband, and a Christian to develop a program that his patient could use to save her marriage.
Dr. Chapman believes that when we give love to our partner in their own native "love language," we fill their basic human need to be loved. When we fill a person’s need to be loved, that person will tend to respond warmly back to us. It is hard to hate someone who makes you feel loved.
He outlined a six-month program for his patient. And in those six months, a miracle happened. The patient’s husband began to feel loved by his wife, and in response he began to act spontaneously in loving ways. Their marriage was reborn.
Will Dr. Chapman’s program work for you? Read The Five Love Languages and find out.
I can promise you that it will give you a new perspective on how you relate to your partner. I know that it changed me. After I finished Dr. Chapman’s book, I sat stunned. I thought of all my past relationships. Was it possible that even though I thought I was showing my partner love, I wasn’t showing it in a way that he understood?
It was a humbling experience. I’d thought that all I needed to know was the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus stuff (albeit in the more "sophisticated" form of Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps ).
Yes, men experience and respond to being a relationship differently than women. But both men and women alike respond to acts of love and express love in different ways. Dr. Chapman’s genius lies in identifying those ways and showing us how to express love to our partner in the way that will mean most to him or her.
For Dr. Chapman, the "miracle worker" that saved his patient’s marriage wasn’t him.
The biggest miracle worker of all is love.