This week, “Family Policy Matters” features part one of a keynote address on the “Seven Traits of Love” that Dr. Gary Chapman, marriage counselor and author of The Five Love Languages, gave at the North Carolina Family Policy Council’s Major Speakers dinner event in Raleigh in April 2016. Part two of Dr. Chapman’s presentation will air next week.
INTRODUCTION: Thank you for joining us for Family Policy Matters. We are pleased to bring you something a little different on this week’s program—the first part of a powerful presentation that Dr. Gary Chapman, well known author of The Five Love Languages book series, gave at the North Carolina Family Policy Council’s Major Speaker Series event in April 2016. We hope you enjoy it!
JOHN RUSTIN: One of the nation’s foremost experts on relationships and love, Dr. Gary Chapman’s expertise begins with the success and failures he and his wife Carolyn have experienced in their 45 years of marriage. His own life experiences plus over 35 years of pastoring and marriage counseling led him to publish his first book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Contentment to Your Mate. Millions of readers credit this continual New York Times best seller with saving their marriages by showing them simple and practical ways to communicate love. Dr. Chapman speaks to thousands of couples nationwide through his weekend marriage conferences. He hosts a national-syndicated radio program, “A Love Language Minute,” and a Saturday morning program, “Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman,” both airing on more than 400 stations. Dr. Chapman and Carolyn have two grown children and currently live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he serves as Senior Associate Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church
DR. GARY CHAPMAN: The Five Love Languages gives you information on how to love someone effectively, if you want to love them, but it does not give you the motivation. One man said to me, “Dr. Chapman, I read your book, I took the quiz, my wife tells me her love language is acts of service. But I’ll tell you right now, if it’s going to take my washing dishes and vacuuming floors for her to feel loved, she can forget that.” You understand what he’s saying? He’s got the information, but he doesn’t have the motivation. So, I want to talk about something that really is deeper than than and that is the whole matter of having an attitude of love.
I want to ask you three very personal questions. Number 1—are you a loving person? I mean, at the core of who you are, are you a loving person? Second question, what does a loving person look like? And the third question is, how do you become a loving person? Now, I cannot answer the first question for you—are you a loving person? Only you can answer that, but I’m going to try to answer the other two questions, and that is what does a loving person look like? And how do you become a loving person?
This whole journey for me began on an airplane. I was speaking in San Diego at one of my daughter’s medical conferences, and she and I were flying back together and were fortunate enough to get bumped up to first class, which is always nice, right? The problem was I was sitting in row 3A, a window seat, and she was sitting in row 5A, a window seat, so we were not together. And so I said to her, “Honey, probably someone will be willing to change seats and we can sit together.” So, a man sat down on the isle seat beside my daughter, and my daughter said to him, “Excuse me sir, would you be willing to change seats with my father so we can sit together?” And, without looking at her the man said, “Is it an isle seat?” And she said, “No sir, it’s a window seat.” He said, “Can’t do that, don’t like to crawl over people.” And my daughter said, “Oh, well I understand that.” Well, a man came and sat down beside me in the aisle seat, and I said to him “Excuse me, would you be willing to change seats with my daughter, she’s in 5A, a window seat, so that we can sit together?” And the man said, “Sure, I’d be happy to.” So, my daughter and I sat together, and I started thinking, what was the difference in those two men? Did he have a daughter and the other man didn’t have a daughter? Or did one of their mother’s say, “Son, always help other people, always be kind to people,” and the other say “Son, look out for yourself.” But that sent me on a journey, and I asked thousands of people all over this country two questions. The first question was, “Could you give me the name of someone in your family, or your circle of friends, whom you consider to be a loving person?” And if they did, the second question was “Why? What is there about them that makes you say that they’re a loving person?” And their answers fell into seven categories, and I call them the seven traits of love. And I wrote a book called Love As a Way of Life in which I explored the question, “What would happen in this nation, or any nation, where a significant number of people became lovers?” And so I want to share with you these seven traits. Incidentally, they’re all found in the Bible, which leads me to say that anything you discover in social research, if it’s true, you’re very likely to find it in the Bible. It certainly will not be contradicted by the Bible because truth never contradicts Truth.
So, I’m going to give you these. I suggest you write them down because this is how you can tell whether you are a loving person.
Number 1 is kindness. I define kindness as actions and words that benefit other people. I don’t know if you grew up in Sunday school, but I did, and one of the first verses in the Bible was, “Be ye kind one to another.” But you know what I observed about children in my Sunday school class, if you were kind to them, they’d be kind to you, but if you messed with their art, or you pushed them in the waterline, they forgot about being kind. And I find that adults are not much different. It’s pretty easy to be kind to people who are kind to you. But kindness, if that’s who you are, will be expressed to people who aren’t kind to you. One husband said, “I was watching the game and his wife walked in the room and said, ‘Can we talk about, da da da da da?’ and I said, ‘Honey we’ve already talked about that, besides I’m watching the game!’ and she walked out of the room, and I watched the game. And he said 30 minutes later she walked into the room with a TV tray with a sandwich and chips and a Coke, and she put them in front of me and she leaned over and kissed me, and said ‘I love you,’ and she walked out. And I sat there thinking to myself, ‘This is not fair, this is not right. She shouldn’t be treating me this way!’” And he said, “Every bite I took on that sandwich I felt more guilty, and finally I flipped of the game and I walked in and I said, ‘Honey, I’m sorry the way I talked to you and I’m willing to talk to you,’ and she said ‘No honey it’s OK, you can watch the game, and we’ll talk after the game.’ He said ‘No, no the game’s not important.’”
You see there’s something powerful about loving somebody and being kind to somebody who is not kind to you. This has to do also with the manner in which we speak. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath.” Do you know we don’t have to scream at each other—screaming is a learned phenomenon, and it can be unlearned. You can say anything you want to say, softly. It also has to do with the manner in which we do kind things. You know guys, sometimes we don’t get credit for the kind things we do at home because we don’t do them in a kind way, “I’LL TAKE THE TRASH OUT, IF YOU GET OFF MY BACK WOMAN!” I’m sorry, guys, you don’t get credit for that. You may as well let the flies take the trash out. It’s a kind thing to do, but do it in a kind way.
Kindness can be a simple thing. Just this week, I was sitting in a parking lot and there were two vans [on either side of my car], and I was trying to pull out, and I couldn’t see either way. And a man walked out of a store, and he looked both ways, and he just waived me out. That was a kind thing to do. It doesn’t have to be big things, just kind things. There was a single mother with three small children, working a fulltime job, and I said, “How do you do this?” And she said, “Sometimes, Dr. Chapman, it’s just a smile in the grocery store that keeps me going.” You see, it doesn’t have to be big things; it can be little things. But it’s words and actions that are designed to help another person.
Can I give you just one idea on how to cooperate with God in becoming kind? Just make a list one day of all the kind things you see other people do, and the kind words you hear other people say. Just make a list one day. It’s the fact of listening and watching for kindness that will help you become a kinder guy.
A second trait of a loving person is that they will be patient. I define this as accepting the imperfections of others. We’re not trained to be patient in our culture. If the computer doesn’t operate in three seconds, we get impatient with it. You know patience, if you’re married, it’s giving your spouse the freedom to misplace their car keys every three days without preaching them a sermon that God is a God of order. Folks, I hope you understand that some folks are not wired to keep up with car keys, and I don’t care how many times you put that little hook out there in the garage, and if you hang them on the hook, they’ll be there. There not going to hang them on the hook. You can attach those keys to a tennis ball, and you think surely they won’t lose the tennis ball, but they will lose the tennis ball! Patience is not going ballistic when your spouse comes home, and forgot the milk and the bread. You know, it’s not a sin to forget. Let’s focus on the solution rather than letting our impatience cause us to make the situation worse.
How do you build patience into your life? I’ll give you one clue, how about apologizing when you’re not patient. I experienced this, I don’t know, just three or four years ago. I got my bank statement and it just it wasn’t right, so I went down to the bank, and I talked to this lady, I showed it to her, explained it to her. She didn’t get it. I explained it again, and she still didn’t get it. So, I explained it one more time and I realized I was about to lose it, and I said “That’s okay!” and I walked out. I got back to the parking lot of the church, and I heard God say, “You don’t need to go to your office because you’re not going to help anybody today up there. You need to deal with yourself.” So I went back to the bank, and I was hoping this lady didn’t know who I was. And I said, “I lost my temper with you and I raised my voice and I’m sorry, there was no excuse for that, and I’d like to ask you to forgive me.” She said, “Dr. Chapman, we all lose our temper once in a while.” And I said, “I know we do, but it’s still not right,” and I said, “What I did was unfair; it wasn’t your fault, it was my fault. And I hope you’ll forgive me.” She said, “Dr. Chapman, I’m happy to forgive you.” You won’t apologize but a few times and you’ll begin to think about being impatient, and you’ll begin to change your behavior…
JOHN RUSTIN: You’ve been listening to part one of a speech on the “Seven Traits of Love” that Dr. Gary Chapman gave at the North Carolina Family Policy Council’s Major Speaker Series dinner in Raleigh in April 2016. I encourage you to tune in to “Family Policy Matters” next week for part 2 of this presentation. Thank you for listening!
– END –