Real Relationship Advice
CoupleDumb tries to live with integrity and works hard not to offend unnecessarily. It is with this idea that we tend to avoid giving our opinion on other relationship ‘experts’. When some ‘experts’ garner success and notoriety because their message has struck a chord with the general population, we try to support and be happy for them. However, some of these people’s idea of providing expert advice on the topic of relationships is a simplistic belief system that would do more to hurt a relationship than help. One of these offerings is the book, “The 5 Languages of Love” by Dr. Gary Chapman. This week I am going to dissect his ideas and why these concepts are actually a superficial understanding of the relationship dynamic. Today let me focus on the writer.
Dr. Gary Chapman has been providing counseling for marriages and families for over 30 years according to his biography on his site. That is very impressive. However, when you present yourself as a “Dr.” many assume that you are either a medical doctor or have your Ph.D. in a subject matter that would qualify you to offer such a service. A quick search of the good doctor will show you that his M.R. E. and Ph.D. is from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (the former is a Master’s in Religious Education and it is not noted what the Ph.D. is in but you can assume it was Religious Education). Not to be a snob but does that change your mind about the ‘expert’ part of his title? I would listen to him regarding the life implications of the New Testament but I have some reservations listening to a pastor, educated in Christian doctrine, to explain relationship systems to me.
I find that his choice of presenting himself as a Dr. instead of as a Pastor or Ph.D. in Religious Education to be intentionally deceptive. We automatically have a certain respect for the letters. Of course, most of us are intelligent enough not to follow something blindly but the initials do have a gravitas that Joe Shmo just does not convey.
I have spoken about this here before. An expert needs to have more under their hat brim than just some common sense and novel ideas. Dr. Gary Chapman has 30 years of experience and that in and of itself is very impressive. However, when reading some of the questions he answers on his site, I can clearly see that his religious education is the foundation of all of his advice.
For example, when a woman asks him about his 5 Love Languages and her verbally and emotionally abusive husband, he responds by sending her to counseling to learn to “influence” her husband. No mention is made of her mental state, safety or even if she wants to leave this abusive man. No mention is made of her getting out, seeking a safe place or if she has any support system that she can count on. He puts the onus of fixing the relationship on her and tells her to seek an outside source of support to learn how to “influence” him because she won’t be able to change him. This simple exchange is enough for me to become very clear of what I think of Dr. Gary Chapman and it is altogether not very Christian.
Come back tomorrow as we dissect his 5 Love Languages.