When Sorry Isn't Enough: Apology+Forgiveness - Part 1 (Transcript)

Dr. Dobson: You're listening to Family Talk, the radio broadcasting division of the James Dobson Family Institute. I am that James Dobson, and I'm so pleased that you've joined us today.

Roger Marsh: Hello everyone, and welcome to Family Talk, the radio division of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. On behalf of everyone here at the JDFI, in Colorado Springs, I'm Roger Marsh. Thanks so much for joining us today for this very special edition of Family Talk. Now, as you may know, Dr. Dobson remains on a writing assignment. He'll be joining us back on the broadcast very, very soon. In his place we are pleased to offer you our own Dr. Tim Clinton today, who recently sat down with the preeminent Christian relationship counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman. Our guest, Dr. Chapman, is a sought after speaker, counselor, church leader, and New York Times bestselling author. He is the author of, The 5 Love Languages, which has sold over 15 million copies in English alone. It's also been translated into 50 different languages.

Gary Chapman has a passion for people and helping them form lasting relationships. He's been directly involved in family counseling since the beginning of his ministry, and his nationally syndicated radio program airs on the Moody Radio Network, and it's over 400 affiliates. Dr. Chapman spoke with Dr. Clinton about the five love languages in the context of marriage and raising kids. Dr. Chapman's assessment of the importance of the five love languages in relationships is this: what makes one person feel loved, doesn't always make the other person feel loved. Let's listen now to this very important conversation.

Dr. Clinton: Gary, thank you for stopping by. We really appreciate you, and the amazing ministry God's done in and through your life, and, of course, The 5 Love Languages.

Dr. Chapman: Thank you, Tim. Always good to be with you.

Dr. Clinton: Hey, Gary, as we get started, the 2020 run, the COVID pandemic, and everything we've been through since then, Gary, it's just been really unbelievable, it's insane in a lot of ways. And for some couples they're doing better, and for other couples, Gary, I think not so well. Just what's your take on what you're hearing from couples all across the country and around the world?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. My observation is that couples who had a rather healthy marriage before the pandemic, are really doing fine. In fact, some of them it's better because they've been able to spend more time together, and do things together, and so forth. But for others who were rather troubled before the pandemic, things probably have gotten worse, because the stress is more, the whole playing field has changed, they're trying to make sense of things, and they're running into each other emotionally. Yeah. So I think some are really, really struggling during this time.

Dr. Clinton: Well, our goal today, Gary, I want to go back through the whole Five Love Languages journey, how God brought that to being, and in through your heart and mind, and what God's done with that amazing work. Tell us a little bit about the book. How many copies actually are in print? How many languages now? If you're alive on planet earth, you have heard about The 5 Love Languages.

Dr. Chapman: Well, they told me the other day that it's sold over 15 million copies in English, and that it has been published now in over 50 languages around the world, which absolutely blows my mind, as you can imagine.

Dr. Clinton: Yes. And Gary, the heart of the book, dials it all back to the five love languages, explain just briefly where it came from, Gary. Were you just sitting down on a napkin one day? What happened?

Dr. Chapman: It grew out of my counseling. I'll never forget the first time I encountered this reality that what makes one person feel loved, doesn't make another person feel loved. A couple came in, I didn't know them, never met them. They sat down and the wife said, "Dr. Chapman, let me just tell you a little bit about us." She said, "We don't argue. We don't believe in arguing. We don't have any money problems." And she went on with a lot of positives and I thought, well, did they come in here to tell me what a good marriage they have? And then she said, "The problem is, I just don't feel any love coming from him. We're like roommates in the same house. He does his thing. I do my thing. There's nothing going on between us." And she said, "I feel so empty inside. And I don't know how long I can go on like this."

I looked at him and he said, "I don't understand her. I do everything I can to show her that I love her, and she sits there and says she doesn't feel loved." He said, "I don't know how else to do." So. I said to him, "Well, what do you do to show your love to her?" He said, "Well, I get home from work before she does. So I start the evening meal. Sometimes I have it ready when she gets home, if not, she'll help me. And then we eat. And after we eat," he said, "I wash the dishes. Every night I wash the dishes. And every Thursday I vacuum the floors. And on Saturday I wash the car. I mow the grass. I help her with the laundry." He went on and I was beginning to wonder, what does this woman do? It sounded to me like she was doing everything.

And he said, "I do all of that, and she sits there and says, she doesn't feel loved." He said, "I don't know what else to do." Looked back at her, and she started crying, and she said, "Dr. Chapman, he's right. He's a hardworking man, but we don't ever talk. He's always mowing the grass, washing the dishes, vacuuming the floors, always doing something." And I realized, here was a sincere husband who was loving his wife in the best way he knew how, and a wife who didn't get it. So, that was my first encounter with that reality. And then I heard similar stories over and over and over in my office. And I knew there had to be a pattern to it. So what I eventually did was to sit down and read several years of notes that I made when I was counseling, and asked myself the question, when someone said, I feel like my spouse doesn't love me, what did they want? What were they complaining about? And their answers fell into five categories.

I later called them the five love languages, and started using it in my counseling, that if you want her to feel love, you've got to express love in her language, and you've got to do that for him. And sometimes, Tim, after we discussed it and helped them discover each other's language, they would come back in three weeks and say, Gary, this is changing everything. The whole climate's different now. And then I started using it with small groups and then the same thing would happen. Probably five years later, I thought, "if I could put this concept in a book, and write it in the language of the common person, maybe I could help a lot of couples that I would never have time to see in my office." Of course, little did I know how many couples would be helped by the book over the last 20, 28 years, or so.

Dr. Clinton: Gary, the five love languages. Let's go through them real quick. Words of affirmation.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. It's simply using words to affirm the other person. Looking for things about them that you can honestly affirm. There's a Hebrew proverb that says, "life and death is in the power of the tongue."

Dr. Clinton: Sure.

Dr. Chapman: You can kill people, or you can give them life. I did have one lady, Tim, who said to me, she said, "I know it would be good if I could give my husband some positive words." She said, "But to be honest, I can't think of anything good to say about the man." And I said, "Well, does he ever take a shower?" And she said, "Well, yes," I said, "Well, how often?" She said, "Well, every day." I said, "If I were you I'd start there."

Dr. Clinton: Gary, words of affirmation mean so much to certain people. My daughter, Megan, is a words of affirmation girl.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. Absolutely.

Dr. Clinton: You say one kind word to her, she'll run through a wall. She'll walk on the moon.

Dr. Chapman: And conversely, if you give her, or anyone with this language, a negative word, a critical word, a harsh word, it's like a dagger in their heart.

Dr. Clinton: Yeah. It is.

Dr. Chapman: It really just strikes death to them. So, yeah. Words of affirmation. That's the first one.

Dr. Clinton: Quality time.

Dr. Chapman: Quality time is giving the other person your undivided attention. I do not mean sitting down and watching television together. Someone else has your attention. I'm talking about the TV is off. The computer is down. You're not answering your phone. You're looking at each other. You're listening, you're responding back and forth, and having a dialogue together, quality time. It doesn't always mean that you're sitting down and talking, you can take a walk down the road together, and talk, or go out to eat and talk. And sometimes it doesn't involve so much talking. It could be doing things together. Something that one of you really enjoys doing, and the other's willing to do it with you, and they give their full attention to what you're doing. The important thing is not what you're doing, the important thing is you're spending quality time together.

Dr. Clinton: Physical touch.

Dr. Chapman: We've long known the emotional power of physical touch. That's why we pick up babies, and hold them, and kiss them, and cuddle them, long before the baby understands the meaning of the word love, the baby feels love by physical touch. Now in marriage, we're talking about such things as holding hands, kissing, embracing, the whole sexual part of marriage, arm around the shoulder, driving down the road, they put your hand on their leg, just affirming touches. And for some people, this is what really makes them feel loved. In fact, a man said to me just today in my office, he said, "When she puts her hand on my shoulder and just begins to give me a little shoulder rub," he said, "Man," he said, "My tank just fills up with that."

Dr. Clinton: Okay. We like that, Gary. Acts of service.

Dr. Chapman: Acts of service is doing something for the other person that you know they would like for you to do. Such things as washing dishes, vacuuming floors, washing cars, mowing the grass, walking the dog. That's what the gentleman was speaking that I mentioned earlier, he was speaking acts of service.

Dr. Clinton: Yes. Yes.

Dr. Chapman: Problem was, it wasn't her language. You know the old saying, Tim, actions speak louder than words. If this is their love language, actions will speak louder than words.

Dr. Clinton: Yeah. And Gary, the fifth one, gifts. My favorite by the way.

Dr. Chapman: It's universal to give and receive gifts as an act of love. My background before I started counseling was cultural anthropology. The study of cultures. We've never discovered a culture where gift giving is not an expression of love. And the gift doesn't have to be expensive, we've always said it's the thought that counts. But I like to remind couples, it's not the thought left in your head that counts, it's the gift that came out of the thought in your head. Okay?

Dr. Clinton: That's right.

Dr. Chapman: And for some people, this really speaks deeply to them. They're saying to themselves, look, they thought about me, and look, they know what I like. And they gave me something. I feel loved.

Dr. Clinton: You didn't have to do that. Well…

Dr. Chapman: But I'm glad you did.

Dr. Clinton: I'm on the receiving end. Thank the Lord. Gary, all five of them are important to a relationship.

Dr. Chapman: Yes.

Dr. Clinton: And so we're to love both in word and deed as the scripture says, in other words, we should be giving ourselves to all these, but you're saying everyone has a primary love language that indicates how they love and they want to be loved. Am I right?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. And I'm glad you mentioned that because sometimes people think, well, you only have to speak their primary language. And I say, no, you give heavy doses of their primary language. You sprinkle in the other four for extra credit. But if you don't speak their primary language, they will not feel loved even though you're speaking some of the other languages. That was the problem with the lady I mentioned earlier. You see he was speaking one of these language strongly, acts of service, but it wasn't her primary. And she appreciated all those things he was doing, but they really didn't communicate love to her in a deep way.

Dr. Clinton: So in other words, just to reemphasize that, you can be loving someone with everything you've got and they don't know that you love them.

Dr. Chapman: They won't feel loved. Absolutely. It's really addressing that deep, emotional need that we have to feel loved by the significant people in our lives. Almost everybody agrees that's one of our most significant needs, emotional needs, is the need to feel to loved.

Dr. Clinton: You bet. To love and be loved.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Dr. Clinton: Gary, who's responsibility is it then? She should figure out what my love language is, and love me.

Dr. Chapman: Well, if we think they're going to read our mind, we're mistaken. They can't read our mind. That's why the ideal thing is the couple reads the book together [crosstalk 00:12:37].

Dr. Clinton: Julie does a pretty good job of reading my mind.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, but after how many years?

Dr. Clinton: But we have a responsibility to each other is what you're saying, Gary.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, absolutely. If we both learned the concept, and know the concept, and then learn each other's language, then we have a choice to speak the love language, or not speak the language. I had a man who said to me, he said, "Gary, my wife and I read your book. We took the quiz. She tells me her language is acts of service, but I'm going to tell you and her, if it's going to take my washing dishes, and my vacuuming floors, for her to feel loved, she can forget that." And I said, "That's your choice."

If you want to live with a wife who has, what I call an empty love tank, that's your choice. I said, "I much prefer to live with a wife who has a full love tank." I said, "I've lived with both." Same woman, early years, empty tank, later years, full tank. I much prefer the full tank. And I said, "My wife's language is acts of service. And that's why I do wash dishes. I do vacuum. I do take out the trash, and she tells me, I'm the greatest husband in the world, and my language is words of affirmation."

Dr. Clinton: There's something about "happy wife, happy life," too, Gary.

Dr. Chapman: Absolutely.

Dr. Clinton: Gary, kids. Let's go to our children just for a moment, because one time when you and I were talking, the light really went on for me here. And that was, we often hear people say, I love my kids the same, but we can't love our kids the same because our kids give and receive love differently. And so they need love differently. You don't love them the same. I know what we're trying to say, I want to love them with everything that I've got out of my being, but you can be loving in the best way you know how, Tim, and Megan will feel very loved, and Zach will not feel necessarily loved, because they're very different.

Dr. Chapman: Right. If you try to express your love in the same way to each child, then one of them will feel love and one of them will not feel love, depending on which one you spoke their language too. Yeah. I remember a parent who said to me, she said, "Gary, I'm going to tell you, your book on The 5 Love Languages of Children, absolutely helped us. We have two daughters and they're only a year apart." And she said, "When we would go on a trip, my husband and I, we would always buy each of them the same gift. If it was a teddy bear, we'd buy two teddy bears, just different colors. One of them, would just, 'Ooh, and ah, Oh, I'm so happy. Oh, I love this.' She'd give the teddy bear a name. She'd show her grandmother when she came over, come and see my teddy bear. The other one would say, 'Oh, thank you,' and she'd throw it over on the bed. And we felt, well, she doesn't have gratitude."

Dr. Clinton: She doesn't appreciate it.

Dr. Chapman: Yes. She doesn't appreciate it. "We read the book and realized her language was quality time. What she wanted to do when we came home from a trip, sit down and show me your pictures, mommy. I want to see your pictures. She wanted to sit beside of me and just talk with me about what we did on the trip and so forth." And she said, "When we realized that, we realized it wasn't a matter of her not being appreciative, it was a matter of we weren't speaking her language." And the reason the other girl was so excited is that was her language. So understanding the difference in each child's language can make you a success, or a failure, in terms of meeting that particular child's need for emotional love.

Dr. Clinton: One more piece with that, Gary, and that is disciplining a child in a primary love language. You say you ought to be very careful not to do that very thing. Explain that to us, Gary.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. That is severe, severe punishment for a child. If you have a child whose love language is words of affirmation, for example, and your way of discipline is to yell and scream at them, "I told you not to do that. You know better than that," you're sticking the knife in that child's heart. And the same thing is true with all the other languages. You give the negative side of that language. You take a gift away from a child which you gave them for their birthday, and you take it away because they did something, they broke the rule and this is their punishment, man, that's severe punishment for that child. Another child, it wouldn't make that much difference. So understanding the love language will help you be better in your discipline. The other thing I would say about discipline, whenever you can wrap the discipline in the child's love language, it's far more effective.

For example, let's say the rule is you don't throw the ball inside the house, if you do, the ball has to go in the trunk of the car for two days. If you break anything, you'll have to pay for it out of your allowance. Okay? You got the rule? Now, let's say that Johnny does. So, how's mother going to do it? If his language is words of affirmation, if she says to him, "Johnny, I love you so much. You seldom break the rules. I just appreciate that about you, but you know you broke this rule, right? And you know what has to happen, right? Remember we agreed on this, so let's go take the ball out in the trunk of the car." And so you do, and he's quiet, he may even be crying. And then you say, "but listen, Johnny, I want you to know. I love you so much. I am so proud of you because you seldom do this."

You wrapped it in his love language, he walks away feeling, "this is fair. This is right. Mother loves me." But if you lash at him in anger, it's like, "let's go put that ball in the trunk of our car, you're going to... I told you not to..." He walks away feeling. "I try hard to do right. I mess up one time and I get clobbered. My mother doesn't love me." It makes all the difference in the world how you administer the discipline.

Dr. Clinton: Yeah, Gary, that kind of an explanation for me as a parent is like an aha experience. I get that. Now, if I can bring it back to my relationship with the person I love, meaning who I'm married to for a moment. If I withhold love in my marriage in a primary love language, it's a strong, strong message. Isn't it?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Dr. Clinton: Probably a hurtful, really hurtful message to him or her.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, absolutely. If we give our spouse critical, harsh words in anger, and words is their language. We are pushing them away from us. We're communicating to them, I don't respect you. I don't like you. I don't love you. That's what they hear. And that's why apology becomes important also, if we do that, we need to apologize. And sometimes if we don't realize this concept, we just feel like, well, they deserved it. They did this to me, and I did that to them. They deserve it. Well, maybe they did deserve it. But love is to be unconditional. I'm going to love you in your love language, even if you've mistreated me, I'm going to still love you in your love language, that's exactly what God does to us. The love of God is poured in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We have the ability to love even when our spouse in unloving.

Dr. Clinton: You're listening to Family Talk, a division of the James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Dr. Tim Clinton. Our special guest today is renowned counselor, and best-selling author of that book, The 5 Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman. A delightful conversation, Gary. Gary, we're fighting for time here, but closing that thought just for a moment on the need for a special apology when I have a serious wound in my relationship, we're going to talk tomorrow about the five languages of apology, and how I can get to a place where it's heartfelt and accepted by that person. But Gary, again, if I wound deeply in that primary love language, we've got work to do, a lot, a lot of work, because at the end of the day, here's the persistent heart cry. Tim, all I've ever wanted is for someone to love me.

Dr. Chapman: Yes.

Dr. Clinton: That's it.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Dr. Clinton: And if we wound right there, Gary, you are right. We're going to have some sleepless nights. We're going to be out on the couch. Things are not going to go well for us. But if you can get this piece here going in the right direction, when love starts flowing, I think safety begins to build and walls come down, don't they?

Dr. Chapman: Absolutely. And trust is reborn. You feel safe in their presence because you really do feel, they care about me. They love me. They've got my back. They're with me. And that's what all of us want. Emotionally, that's what we cry for, is that someone will - especially in a marriage - that they genuinely love me, that I can count on them, and I can count on their love.

Dr. Clinton: Gary, if a couple is listening right now and they're in trouble, the waters are pretty deep and they've not been doing very well together. They're hearing this and they're saying, "do you think there's hope?"

Dr. Chapman: Tim, I really believe there's always hope for two reasons. Number one, we are human, which means we can make choices. We can change things. We don't have to go on doing the same things we've always done. And the other reality is, God is for real, and God can touch hearts, and God can change lives. And if we put our hand in God's hand, we've got the best partner we could have to change our heart. And we then can be an instrument in God's hand of touching the heart of the other person. And loving them unconditionally in their love language is the most powerful influence you can have on a spouse who may not be reciprocating at the time.

Dr. Clinton: And Gary, there's nothing like love to open up a closed spirit. Someone who's walled off, someone who says, I'm not doing this anymore, not until you prove to me that you love me. Well, I'll tell you what, it can begin to slowly erode that pain, erode that hurt, erode that damage that's been done. And I just, I've seen it happen, Gary. Some of the strongest marriages I know of right now have been through some of the most difficult, tough times. And it's amazing what God has done when the love begins to flow.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And Tim, as you know, this is the great serendipity moment for a counselor, when you see this happen in the life of somebody that you're counseling. That's why we are in the business we're in, is to see people's lives redeemed and see reconciliation in marriages. It's some of the greatest satisfaction, it doesn't always happen because people don't always follow through with unconditional love, but when we can see reconciliation, that's what we want. That's what the couple really wants, at least one of them wants it, and that's what God wants. So it's going to be a part of what God is doing in people's lives as counselors.

Dr. Clinton: Well, God certainly has used the five love languages to help heal a lot of relationships and bring a lot of love into a lot of homes. Gary, what a gift to all of us. We thank you for it. We celebrate that in you. Our guest again today has been esteemed counselor, and best-selling author, Dr. Gary Chapman. Join us tomorrow. We're going to talk a little bit about, and Gary, tease it out for us, the five languages of apology, and how important they are.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. We're going to talk about how to apologize effectively. Some of us have the idea that all we have to do is say, "I'm sorry." Well, it takes more than, I'm sorry, to communicate a sincere apology. And we're also going to talk about forgiveness, and what that means, and what it doesn't mean.

Dr. Clinton: Gary, thank you again, for joining us on behalf of Dr. Dobson, his wife, Shirley, their family, the entire Family Talk team. We, again, celebrate these amazing gifts in and through you, and thanks for joining us.

Dr. Chapman: Well, thank you, Tim. Always good to chat with you.

Roger Marsh: Well, we hope you've enjoyed the first half of Dr. Tim Clinton's conversation with renowned author and family counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman. Gary's book, The 5 Love Languages, has impacted millions of lives all around the globe since it was first published nearly 30 years ago, and it continues to be a best seller. To learn more about Dr. Gary Chapman, or any of his books, including The 5 Love Languages, visit our broadcast page at Drjamesdobson.org. That's Drjamesdobson.org/broadcast.

If you have any questions about the ministry of Family Talk, why not give us a call? We would love to answer those questions, or just pray with you. No matter what time of day we are here for you. Call us at (877) 732-6825, that's (877) 732-6825. Now be sure to join us on tomorrow's broadcast as Dr. Clinton and Dr. Gary Chapman will discuss when you need to apologize in relationships, and how you should go about doing that. They'll also tackle the subject of forgiveness, what it is, and maybe more importantly, what it isn't. I'm Roger Marsh. From all of us here at Family Talk, thanks so much for listening, and making us a part of your day. God's blessings to you all, and be sure to join us again next time.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
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