Are you looking for a spouse? Matchmaking is nothing new! Nowadays there are many ways to meet someone. If you are single, widowed, divorced or looking to get involved in a relationship be careful. It does not matter how young or old you may be! If you are married be careful as well. If so your first priority should be to cultivate a loving home environment with your spouse. Developing an ongoing up close and personal growing intimate, emotional and physical relationship is crucial. This will help to affair/divorce proof your marriage! This will also help safeguard you from falling prey to or being tempted into the internet maze saturated with those who are looking to hook up married or not; but it’s for all the wrong reasons.
The trend today for many is to find a mate or supplemental partner over the internet! One must be really careful because you do not know for sure if you are dealing with a true authentic person; or in fact if this person is dangerous… I realize it is considered the “Now” thing to do. Many consider it the current modern safe way to go? But, way too many have gotten into relationships that have proven to be harmful! This is not true in all cases but enough so that one should definitely proceed with caution.
Due to very hectic schedules many want to date or mingle but cannot seem to find the time to find the right person. That in itself is interesting because it is important to put in the time if you really want to meet someone who you are compatible with. Quality and compatibility is important. This is not an area you want to make a rash decision that can impact the rest of your life. There is a plethora of sites to choose from. On line dating allows you to search by age, religion, politics, city, physique, physical characteristics such as, height, weight, or even ethnicity! Make sure you spend time getting to know each other’s cultural preferences. Whenever possible meeting someone through someone you already know helps. This still does not mean or guarantee that it will work out. But just in case there is a problem you can trace them to someone!
Proverbs has many warnings against the perils of having sex outside of marriage! Today in this 21st century sex outside of marriage is widely practiced and encouraged! Adultery is when someone is married and has sex outside of marriage. Adultery was considered a crime punishable by death at the time of this Proverb. Some countries are still adamant about adultery being a crime. Here in the United States the moral principles are constantly being relaxed and redefined, many are being desensitized to what is morally right in the eyes of God…
I ask that you listen attentively to what Solomon is saying in this wonderful Proverb! Remember we are talking about someone who had many wives and concubines! Here he candidly shares the many pitfalls of adultery. Sexual immorality can be dangerous! Pornography is a growing form of adultery it too is destroying many marriages! Extramarital relationships for many is a chosen lifestyle, many consent to open marriages… The multitude of people with STD’s = sexually transmitted diseases and HIV are rising! Adultery destroys trust in the marriage, hinders intimacy and erodes the stability of the family. Sexual immorality goes against the laws of God!
Learning about the pitfalls of sex outside of marriage can be helpful! Knowing and keeping in mind the consequences before it is at your doorstep can be a powerful deterrent and a dose of preventive therapy. Know that adultery is a sign of weakness. You are not able for whatever reason to keep your commitment, that you made to your spouse as well as to God! Sad but true adultery is practiced by many within the body of the Church! When someone is indulging in adultery they have set aside their Christian Principles and are “walking in the flesh.” According to Galatians 5; “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries…”
Did you know that whomever you join yourself to becomes a part of you? Please think long and hard before you go here. Or if you are here or have been here; please seriously think about repentance and not repeating this! There are lasting consequences. I often use the illustration of “epoxy!” It is a formidable thermosetting polymer! Notice how the two components are packaged separately. There is an almost unbreakable convalent bond that takes place once the two cohesive components join together! They are known as structure adhesives! Once they come together it is almost impossible to separate one from the other without some type of damage… Sex outside of marriage creates an emotional bond to someone other than your spouse. There is something much deeper that takes place during the exchange of bodily fluids… So much so it can result in the beginning of a new life! This is another reason why God does not sanction sex outside of marriage!
Solomon is relentless in his quest to relay the message of not getting involved with an adulteress! He goes so far to say “Keep to a path far from her; do not go near the door of her house.” The Scripture is clear that adultery is a sin! I find it interesting in John 8 the story of the woman who participated in adultery! Jesus is greeted by a group while teaching in the Temple! A group of religious leaders come to Him with a woman that is “caught” in adultery! “they said to Him. Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery the very act…” The Law of Moses commands that this woman be put to death… Deut 22. Why was the woman alone? Surely she was caught with someone? The leaders were really only interested in condemning only the woman? Jesus with all His unlimited Wisdom knew their thoughts… As He begins to write down on the ground all the men leave! Makes one wonder what He wrote? One by one from the oldest to the last they disperse until Jesus is left alone with only the woman! He then asks her “Woman where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? She said “ No one, Lord” And Jesus said to her “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more…”
Many conclusions can be drawn from this story! Jesus did not condemn the woman but nor did He let her off the hook! The guilty leaders all left when Jesus asked “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the stone at her first.” Adultery is a sin that not only impacts those who physically take part in it, but those who they are associated to them as well. It weakens the marital bond and allows deception, insecurity and mistrust to become components of the relationship. Adultery weaves a wicked web around those involved, spiritually blinding them. This is true whether the adultery is real or emotional! One should ask is it worth the price? Or are you so weak that you cannot resist its temptation? The Word says “if you resist the devil he will flee…” Jesus can give you the strength to resist! But one must repent and be willing to turn away then as Jesus said: “GO and send no more!”
Key Verse: “Let your fountain be blessed, And REJOICE with the wife of your youth!” If you have ever read the Song of Solomon you will discover here how Love, physical and emotional intimacy between a husband and wife are encouraged and honored! Here in this Proverb much is said to discourage adultery. So much so that it tells you to RUN from it! There are many who live to seduce and entrap one into the snare of adultery! Only because of their own insecurity there is a need to cause others to stumble> Then justify their own inability to commit! It is not wise to risk what you have built in a marriage for an illicit affair! Many families, homes, ministries, honor, respect, integrity and working relationships have been destroyed due to adultery! Be careful not to be overtaken by this overwhelming temptation…
One can take heed to the wisdom of Solomon to avoid the numerous consequences! Please start by reading this Proverbs through slowly and absorbing the “spiritual nuggets.” Build an affair proof marriage! Sexual fulfillment is an attainable goal in marriage. The “fresh water” in Proverbs is a metaphor that describes the beauty of fidelity, commitment and trust in marriage! In the eyes of God the “marriage bed is undefiled!” There is nothing shameful about sex within the context of marriage. There should be a desire to seek comfort in the arms of one another! Each spouse has a responsibility to each other to come together and lovingly create a mutually satisfying sexual environment! Remember to keep in mind what God’s description of love is in I Corinthians 13!
Love, transparency, commitment, good open and honest communication and sexual fulfillment are key ingredients in a strong happy marriage! They are also good deterrents to safeguard against adultery! It is important to keep the embers of love burning in your marriage! A nice warm toasty fire within a fireplace is relaxing and inviting. Sex outside of married is like fire outside of a fireplace. It’s dangerous it will burn your house down! Those who have been faced with adultery must struggle with some very painful issues. Anger, Abandonment, Emotional Pain, mistrust and betrayal are results of adultery. If you have repented of adultery this is not to open up old wounds. Use this as an opportunity to solidify trust, cling to the Lord and embrace God’s Grace! Praise Him for restoration Victory!
Healthy boundaries are important in the work place, and yes within the Church! Adultery does not have to be! God truly is able “to Keep you from falling!” But in the event that it does happen it takes an enormous amount of work to rebuild a new trusting relationship with healthy boundaries! In order for restoration to take place the couple must seek to find out what caused the infidelity? What patterns need to be broken? What emotions need to be healed? What steps need to be taken in order to move forward! Avoiding discussion about what has happened will not serve to heal. Sad but true, By not confronting what has happened, it is almost certain it is highly possible it will happen again. Denial is a big NO here! To move forward towards “affair proofing” your relationship by spending quality time together, working through the issues and gradually building trust is necessary!
Adultery unfortunately is also a big headliner in today’s news! Many celebrities engage in adultery as well! Late night host, David Letterman is going through the pains of adultery… Tiger Woods the famous pro golfer is currently under the microscope for his alleged multiple liaisons. It is ever unfolding the multiple cast of participants that continue to surface and claim having had an affair with him… In this case wading through the perils of adultery are even harder. Tiger and his wife’s personal lives are magnified and examined in and on the news worldwide. All of this further creates even more pressure and continues to inflict pain on the two hurting hearts. Each spouse needs to evaluate and focus on their related issues. Can forgiveness override their pain? It is possible to restore trust and intimacy but it is a tedious journey. A solid biblical foundation makes all the difference in the world.
Solomon encourages husbands and wives to delight in one another rather than participate in adultery! Marriage is a beautiful life enriching union designed by God. Sex is a wonderful gift from God to be enjoyed! Plan a weekly date with one another and make sure you continue to “keep the fire burning, light the embers of Love! Try reading and enjoying the “Song of Solomon” together! The Bible is clear on the importance of keeping and honoring your marriage vows and remaining committed to one another! With God “All things are possible!” Adultery is about false love and is so very destructive, everyone who is involved ultimately gets hurt in some way or another… Adultery is an illusion of greener pastures! “What GOD has joined together let NO man put asunder!”
Solomon concludes this Proverbs: “His own iniquities trap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instructions, And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
Entertainment for recreation and amusement purposes are a wonderful part of life. It balances out the seriousness of life and living! It gives our minds the opportunity to rest and journey into the land of imagination and creativity. It is healthy when done in good taste… Marriage on the other hand is not meant merely for entertainment purposes. It is one of the most serious relationships one can have. It is meant to be a beautiful lifetime relationship between a man and a woman. A great marriage should be built upon Love, Intimacy, Mutual respect, Integrity, Trust, and yes Sex. These marvelous attributes for marriage make up the great helpful acronym which = “L I M I T S!” These are healthy virtuous ingredients that are an important part of building a good marriage.
Life is serious and time is so very precious! How you spend the majority of your time is important! In marriage one should not become carried away into an unconscious state of oblivion and become out of touch with what is happening around them. It is not something to escape into because you are bored, are need somewhere to escape until you find something better to do… Many turn to marriage in order to just be entertained. Marriage is about learning how to give yourself to one another. Each spouse should become increasingly aware and sensitive as to how their spouse is feeling.
“L I M I T S”is a good acronym to remember for a lasting marriage! The desire to grow together and develop character is very important.
Planning your wedding is one of the most important events of your life. It is a day that you both will forever remember. It will be etched in yor mind! Your wedding should consist of all the things that reflect you. The friends, relatives and love ones who participate are instrumental in making this a great, wonderful festive occasion. The theme, music, invitations, color palate, gown, bridal wear, grooms wear, flowers, decorations, and time of the venue all reflect the ambiance that you want to create as you together celebrate your special day. Regardless as to however large or small it should be a grand, marvelous memorable occasion.
Today weddings vary and are quite different and sometimes diverse. Some elect to have a large reception immediately after the ceremony; some have a small private wedding and then a large or small reception. Going to a remote place, a tropical island, beach side, seashore, valley, garden, and winery or on a mountaintop, or some unusual place, or just having a traditional church wedding is your choice. Others decide to just keep it very quaint private and personal and just have a few close friends and family in attendance. Whatever you do, please do not get so caught up in the wedding plans that you do not take the time to be mindful of one another. Yes it is a special day! A good photographer will capture the essence of your day! Yes it is all important; but so is your relationship!
The point here is whatever you choose to do make sure that your main focus is the marriage itself.
Many marry and have not really taken any time to plan the marriage. What do you mean? They have not taken the time to have a candid open discussion as to what happens after the wedding. It is important to set some priorities! I know that you know this but as you plan the wedding really keep in mind that after the wedding there is a marriage. Where do we go from here…?
Continue Reading “Planning Your Wedding Is Important, But So Is Your Marriage!”
Marriage is for an emotionally mature man and woman who desire to grow together with a spouse as a life partner. The age in which one embarks upon marriage maturity varies greatly. You can be young and ready for marriage. You can also be older and still not be ready for marriage. Marriage is about working together to build the ultimate partnership. It is the ultimate relationship of “oneness.” Marriage is about growing and learning how to love.
Love is one of the most misunderstood emotions, feelings and or state of being. Love does not always feel good nor does it mean that things will always go well. At times you will have to say and do some things that may not be well received by one another because you love them. Yes, at times you will have to chastise one another. When you love one another you should want what is best for the marriage. Love is encouraging healthy boundaries and sharing transparently to build an intimate partnership. Love encompasses being disciplined and making sacrifices. When you truly Love someone you love them for who they are. According to the Word of God, “Love is patient, Love is kind.”
Marriage is wonderful but at times it can be difficult. You are two different individuals who have agreed to learn how to grow together as you share life. At times you will clash. This is why you want to marry someone who will be there for you through the thick and thin. Someone to weather the storms of life with you as well as celebrate the good times. Someone who loves you for you and not for what you do, or for what you have, or what you can do for them.
Many seek ways outside the boundaries of the traditional marriage as we know it in order to fulfill their sexual desires! Many as well are in favor of redefining and changing what constitutes marriage. It is your choice but it is important to know that the only sex that God sanctions is within marriage between a man and a woman! Today we have a myriad of problems that are systemically rooted from improper sexual relationships! What do we do?
We continue to encourage healthier sexual boundaries! There is an exchange that takes places during sexual intercourse that goes much deeper than the physical! Coitus, the technical term for sexual intercourse, was meant to be a time of mutual pleasuring without being ashamed! You are making an emotional and physical deposit! You are giving and sharing the essence of you! At this time within the confines of marriage you become one and strengthen your union! It is at this time you can build physical intimacy! Take time to nurture one another during foreplay! You can share, build, strengthen and fortify one another as you both give from your heart! You reinforce your marriage vows!
Sex is so serious that it is a time that when a man and woman come together they can create a new life! WOW! Now that is really profoundly deep! The human body is amazing! There are healthy benefits available during sexual intimacy! Your stress and blood pressure reduces, it helps in decreasing the chances of prostate cancer, and it also increases the love hormone “oxytocin” which helps to bond and build trust! *“A long-term study of 3,500 people between 30 and 101 by clinical neuropsychologist David Weeks, MD, head of old age psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland, found that “sex helps you look between four and seven years younger…”
Don’t just go through the motions and allow sex to become mundane or just a physical exercise. Create….
I have written this book as an attempt to share a few things for you to ponder. Some of the information may or may not be applicable to your particular situation. It is quite okay to disagree with what I have to say. I must fully confess I don’t have all the answers. It is my intent to shed whatever light no matter how infinitesimally small on marriage. To encourage you to stay committed to your marriage. I must admit I am prejudice where marriage is concerned. Marriage has allowed me the honor to experience true ultimate teamwork!
Divorce is raging a battle against marriage. Divorce has broken too many hearts and homes! Divorce has taken too many casualties! So what do we do about it? Do we just marry over and over until we get it right? Do we bury our heads in the sand like an ostrich? Do we modify our vows to say “as long as we like one another we will stay together? I do know that it is spiritual warfare that distorts the truth!
I do know that marriage is the first institution that God created! There are many couples who are just spiritually
ignorant. They have not really taken the time out to find out what God has to say. There are some who just decide to adopt the world’s way. Better yet forget marriage all together and say let’s just live together! When we get tired of one anther we can part company. Just know that there is a deeper meaning to marriage that is not humanly visible.
It is my heart’s desire to make an impact on the steady decline in the overwhelming number of marriages that result in divorce. To stimulate a desire to rekindle the flames of love in your marriage. To encourage one to take possession of your relationship just as if it where a physical permanent part of your being. To reach the few or many people that God allows in my life’s path. A healthy marriage can create a healthy home. A healthy home creates healthy children. Healthy children become responsible independent adults. Healthy adults are a treasure to our declining world!
Remember scripture tells us that the two become one! Under optimum conditions you will still experience balmy periods in the relationship. A good marriage is not something that just happens. It requires dedication. Some of the things I address may not be of interest to you. On the other hand perhaps you might feel a bit uncomfortable. If I stir up anything in you at all I solicit your prayers. Pray with me and for all of us who desire that marriage last a lifetime. The odds are against us. Marriage should be treated as though it were a valuable fine antique. It increases in beauty and value as it ages. It is so valuable we past down its beauty to the next generation. God always gives us the freedom to choose. Just knowing that God is for marriage should provide the necessary motivation to forge ahead. Just knowing God ordained marriage as one of the first institutions is encouraging! This gives me such security knowing how important it is to Him!
We live in a time when a lifelong heterosexual monogamous marriage has literally becoming “a dying breed”. Marriage is becoming a fading relic in the sands of time. Recent statistics from the * “2000 Census Report” has alarming news. Did you know that the number of unmarried partners grew by 72% in the past decade? Households headed by single mothers or fathers grew by 25%. Did you know that 33% of babies that were born were born to unmarried women compared to only 3.8% in 1940? These statistics attest to the fact that marriage is becoming increasingly unpopular. Does this mean that Christians should follow the trend? No! Hopefully we will be that much more motivated to give our marriages our all! We must strive to be obedient and keep committed to our vows.
Marriage is serious business. But are we serious Christians? According to God’s Word he hates divorce. (Remember why divorce was allowed?) I know that mutual love; trust and respect are key ingredients. A healthy marriage requires commitment by both partners. Each spouse must be willing to mutually share in the responsibility.
Practice makes permanent not perfect! We must begin to utilize the instructions of the Bible. Wherever you are in your marriage it’s not too late! If this is your second or third marriage make it your last. I have learned to view life as though we are in a primary “kindergarten” class. Kindergarten is for children. We should be childlike in our attitude towards marriage. But we must take responsibility for our actions as an adult! A child is forever growing. The longer I live the more I know I need to grow. There is always something to learn as long as the Lord allows us to remain here on earth. I am thankful to be “God’s Child”. I truly realize all of us have areas in our lives to work on. There is always room for self-improvement. Life is too short to spend the majority of it unhappy. Please begin now today! Take inventory and consciously commit to honoring your
marital vows. Marriage again is a Covenant Agreement.
Please don’t confuse my boldness with pride. I fully realize that it is only by God’s grace that I have been able
to experience a loving committed marriage for over thirtythree+years. I also realize that it is through His power that we have remained monogamously faithful to one another all these years. It is through marriage that I have learned to lean and trust God. I am thankful for my God given soul mate. “To much is given much is required.” My husband and I both come from large families. We know first hand the effects of divorce on the family. Love is not contingent on what you have or do not have. It is a gift from God. It is by God’s goodness and mercy alone that our marriage has successfully prevailed despite the current trend. We are not bound by need and/or compulsion. We have been through storms, valleys and on the mountain top of life.
We together have experienced much spiritual warfare. We have been blessed to experience the sincere fulfilling love that only comes from GOD! God truly is the center of our marriage. For this I am eternally grateful!
DeBorrah K. Ogans
NEXT:Chapter 1 – Marriage Who’s Idea Is It Anyway ?
Marriage is the first institution that God designed! Making a sincere commitment to your marriage is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. When God made Adam He made him both male and female. He took Eve out of Adam to be by his side. God is so wonderfully awesome! It was His intention to provide Adam with a compatible helpmeet to satisfy together their desires for companionship. Marriage is the ultimate partnership where two together can spiritually, physically and emotionally have there needs mutually met. Marriage is a unique covenant agreement. Marriage is ordained by God. God intends for your marriage to last for a lifetime.
To insure your marriage will last for a life time there are certain principles you must implement. Love, fidelity,
mutual trust, respect, care, and concern are crucial components. The scripture tells us “For this cause shall a
man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh. Wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”. God’s Word is full of depth. Asunder; within this contextual use means; to be apart, separate. Now of course there are times when you can not be together. As individuals there are times when you will need to spend time doing things that are personally fulfilling. Asunder is referring to a spiritual separation. Spiritually the two of you can experience a deepness that is indescribable. Love is a continual growing process. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually there should be no one closer to you than your spouse. Why is this? Because you are really supposed to be one in a spiritual sense! It is through a God sanctioned relationship you can experience the true meaning of leaving and cleaving.
I was my Mother’s only beloved daughter. My parents were also blessed with ten (10) sons. I cannot begin to tell you first hand the experiences and strength that abetted my life. There was no doubt whatsoever in my mind whether or not they loved me. I loved my Mother as much as a daughter could love a Mother. Her desire in life was for me to be happy and content! My Mother was of the “old school”. She was a woman of character and integrity who loved the Lord! She was quite a bit older than myself when she married my father. I however chose to marry at a much younger age. She never tried to make me be like her or anyone else. She always encouraged me to get to know the Lord and trust Him! She also taught me there was no where I could go or nothing I could do that God did not see. She also exposed me to many modes of worship. Her years of wisdom gave me a respect for her that I cannot explain.
My Mother loved the Lord and she instilled in me and extended to others that love she had for Him. The Church was her life. She always stood her ground and was rooted and grounded in God’s Word. When my husband asked for my hand in marriage she just wanted to be sure it was what I wanted. We were both only eighteen years old when we married. We were engaged for one year. She never in anyway tried to come between us. I now this was because she knew that we truly loved one another and God had sanctioned our marriage. This is just another one of those many blessings that is really difficult to explain. My Mother has gone on home to be with the Lord. The many expressions and cards of how she touched the lives of others gave me great comfort during our grief. I now carry her in my heart wherever I go. It is by death that she departed this life. But her love will be with me always. We were also blessed with the birth of our seventh grandchild several hours after my Mom went home to be with the Lord. One went to heaven one came from heaven.
Exactly seven months after the death of my Mother, my mother-in-law died. She loved my husband and she also loved me. In many ways I believe my husband was her “Joseph”. I say this in truth! I do know that God predestines our life. I know that he brought her much joy and peace. I know that she was happy knowing that he was committed to the Lord and that God had provided for our family! Never had it occurred to me that my husband and I would share the deaths of our mothers within the same year. Since the time between their deaths was so brief we could actually feel and experience a level of shared emotion that is unexplainable. We were able to express and share our grief mutually. Perhaps since we have experienced so much joy together it is only fair that we also share our grief? We were also given strength and peace to celebrate both of their Home goings!
God gives you much freedom of expression when you can respond out of love and freedom instead of guilt! Especially when you know you have done right by your parents. It really can confound the minds of many! This
does not mean you don’t grieve or hurt. Deep within there is a sense of peace because you know without a
doubt you will see them some day. Nor does it mean you pretend. You know God really is real; and that someday you really will see them again. God is wonderfully awesome. We can rest knowing they both would have been pleased in their own way with their “Home Going Celebrations.” In the Bible the number seven represents the number of completion. I don’t profess to even begin to understand many things about what God allows. But this will and has been a significant memory to me. The two of them going home to be with the Lord within the same year is yet another thing we share! I have peace knowing that they are both now at home with
the Lord, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord”.
I cannot imagine not knowing the Lord. Yes, I must admit I don’t always listen as I should. I may delay responding at times. But my heart and mind has been conditioned to be sensitive to what is right and wrong. This in no way is meant for justification purposes of any wrongdoing in my life. But rather a confessed need for continual personal spiritual growth as well! I can only skim the surface of the wonderful challenges in life that God has brought me through! His principles for living when properly applied will bring great contentment. It will help you weather the tempestuous storms of life. Storms you will have. I guarantee you. A God given companion provides you a partner. Some one who is tangible. Someone who is physically there. Someone to hug. Someone who lovingly tells you when you are wrong. Someone in the flesh that can understand you. It is with this partner that you should and can become “one flesh”. I often say marriage is like epoxy! When the two components come together properly they will form a permanent bond. This bond is virtually unbreakable when you are seriously committed. Only with God is this truly possible.
Pray and patiently listen with an open mind, while I try to expound about something that is difficult. The physical part of marriage is important. Many Christians and non Christians get into a world of trouble. Why? Flesh has desires. Meeting those desires outside of marriage can be dangerous. It is also a major cause for marriages not lasting “until death us do part.” When you join yourself to someone did you know they become a part of you? Notice how you exchange bodily fluids during a sexual encounter. How can you separate them? There is some sort of mystical exchange taking place? So serious that there is a time when birth can actually be conceived. God is the Giver and Creator of life! Birth is an extraordinary daily miracle! It is a sheer mystery that confounds the mind. God wants us to have fulfilling pleasurable sexual relationships. It is a time to bond and cleave.
I trust God knows what is best. There is a reason why He tells us sex outside of marriage is like playing with fire! The world today embraces many types of relationships. But God sets the standard. The only sexual relationship for mankind He sanctions is that between “a man and woman”! Adam and Eve are the original design template for marriage. Notice when they decided to deter from God’s plan “all hell really did break loose”. Sin entered the world. Man began to follow their desires rather than obey the Lord. God allowed it to be. God has also allowed us a way back to Him! He desires we return to His way of living. Jesus gave His life for us! This provides us with the opportunity in which we could choose to be restored! He is a ever present help in times of trouble. He is my Savior and Lord! Is He yours? If not He can be. God always knows what is best. God allows us the freedom today to still choose. But do we really think about the consequences of our choices? We really need to stop blaming God!
Sex outside of marriage breeds insecurity. Fatherless and Motherless children are abundantly made orphans when they come into this world unloved and unwanted. Guess what we all pay a price in the long run. The point I am trying to make is there are serious reasons why God has given us instructions. He has given us examples as well. Search the scriptures and you will see.
Now let’s take a look at the beautiful side of “becoming one flesh”. Commitment and security are invested in a God centered marriage.
The respect for one another and the respect for the marriage bed is a requirement to become “one flesh”.
Remember God even said the “marriage bed is undefiled”. The human body is a wonderful magnificent creation. God has made it so a man and woman can physically fit one another. The two can fit so closely together that they actually fit together one inside the other. I really think it is very important that we understand that this type of physical relationship is meant for marriage only. When properly joined the two
can experience a closeness like no other. God tells us in His Word that marriage is only for this life.
I know it may be a little difficult to really grasp the fact that sex outside of marriage is dangerous. You know why? We have gotten so far away for God’s standards. We are living in a time when it is not fashionable to be a Christian. There are also a lot of Christians who are quite carnal. When you sincerely attempt to live a true Christian life, you risk being labeled a Pharisee. Did you know the Pharisees were not wrong because they knew the scriptures? No; it was actually because they could not recognize who Jesus was. Despite the fact they knew the scriptures they were still spiritually blind. The marvelous thing is we today can know the scriptures. We can know who Jesus really is and develop an intimate relationship with him. The truth really does set you free, when you implement its principles in your life.
Sex outside of marriage is dangerous. The consequences may not be readily apparent to you. But God has said this for a reason. Don’t look at what everyone else is doing or has done. Sex outside of marriage scars the soul. The soul is the eternal part of you. The scripture says that sex outside of marriage actually inflicts a wound to the soul. Why is that we are not hurting anyone? I can only tell you that there are a lot of things that seemingly appear okay; yet God says otherwise. We must learn to trust and obey God in all areas of our life. Remember you cannot see faith! You just trust that it is so. There is much to learn about life and living. But living life apart from God the Creator and His principles one is destined for a life full of turmoil and trouble. Just take a look at your own personal life. I guarantee you there have been consequences when you have gone contrary to God’s Word. We all have. But this does not give any of us an excuse to continue in sin.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to do something about your marriage. If you have been unfaithful know you are operating out of the will of God. If you are married and your marriage is in “dry docks” please recommit! If you
are anticipating marriage consult the Lord for direction! If you have serious doubts please don’t take the lunge! If you are single please remain celibate! If you are engaging in sex out side of marriage, please stop! Jog, or take a cold shower instead? Better yet call a good friend!
I realize that the spiritual concept of marriage actualized is really a foreign concept to many. The world tells us and confirms in so many ways that a lifetime commitment is optional. That it is quite okay if you can not get along to simply get a divorce. That we are free to have sex and its quite okay. Anytime and how ever much you’d like; because its your body? Don’t be deceived! Do you realize how much baggage you take to the next relationship? We have so many dysfunctional relationships and families until it seems normal. Everyone is confused and no one wants to admit it! Old slew foot is so clever. He continues to deceive the family of God. He continues to water down the effectiveness of the family unit. Life is only happily ever after while we live in the presence of God. Fight for the preservation of the family!
Sometimes I can really empathize with how John the Baptist must have felt. He vociferously cried “Repent!” Life at times feels as though the world is slowly becoming a carnal wilderness? Yes, we talk of God. We may even attempt to worship Him somewhat? But His principles are often far removed from daily life for many. Should we not implement His principles once we really know that we are heading in the wrong direction? We should not continue as though they are simply ideas to expound upon rather than action to actually be implemented in our lifestyles.
Please if you feel its to late or you are going to do your own thing regardless, please impart these principles to your children or grandchildren. Don’t support sex outside of marriage. The only safe sex is called “MARITAL SEX”! Please let’s not put another generation at risk. Educate them by telling them what God has to say. Let them know that God intends for marriage to last for a life time. Yes, let them know as well that the world does not expect them to hold up this standard. Let them know that the world feels a man is man when he sleeps with however many women he chooses. But a woman is a whore. You see the world has conflicting double standards so unlike God. God says a whore nor a whoremonger will enter into His kingdom. The bible is quite graphic in its expository explanations on infidelity. I encourage you to read it first hand.
Your marital commitment to one another is the next important thing you will do in life besides your personal
commitment to God. Your marriage should be your number one commitment! It was created to be something wonderful, enjoyable, and fulfilling. God has given us in His Word a plethora of examples to draw from. We must stop ever learning and learning yet never really understanding! Too many are remaining ignorant to what God is saying. We must learn to apply and implement His wisdom daily to life and the problems that it presents. We must robe ourselves daily in humility and daily bathe in the cleansing power of His Word. We can truly walk in the forgiveness of His Word. God has promised, and He will provide and fulfill our every possible need in this life. We must commit to relinquish any and all behavior that is not of Him. Jesus has paved the way back to the Father. He has loosened the power and stronghold of sin’s ability to reign in our lives. He freely gives us the ability to choose. He and He alone is the door to the Father. He is My shepherd and My Lord!
When we who are believers depart this life we have an “eternal home that is not made by hands”! Praise God!
Please make it a point to spend time with God. Taking quality time with God the FATHER will help you and teach you how to relate to and properly live with your spouse and in this world! “Till death us do part” is meant
to be a lifetime commitment. Exercising control in all areas of your life will give you a strength and freedom
that most think impossible. If you are truly walking with God you should see some personal improvement. This is not about what someone else sees. Don’t get caught up in projecting something that is not so. You see God really does know what is best and if He says marriage should last until, “death us do part” I believe Him. I can testify that a committed monogamous marriage will give you an inner peace that is priceless. Trust and integrity are daily benefits that assure you that the fruit of the Spirit is tangible. You will be at peace when you know you can trust one another. You will experience a wonderful freedom. It will bring you the greatest and ultimate fulfillment that life has to offer.
If you have been married before pray and obey God’s direction this time. Really make an effort to stay married.
Staying married is a choice. Working out your problems is a choice. Just know you can not change anyone but
yourself. Being happy in marriage is a choice. Being faithful in marriage is a choice. Experiencing true love is
a gift from God. The scriptures tell me “God is Love”. I don’t believe that you can really truly love someone
and not know God. It is crucial that God be invited into your marriage. You need His Spiritual “covering”. There
are just too many things in life waiting to derail your marriage. God really can keep you, guide, you and provide
for you. Commence from this day forward to really get to know Him for your self. Make it a priority to spend some time developing the most important relationship that you could ever experience. Then you will know how to create a loving fulfilling marriage. God is there or should I say here for you. Actually He’s everywhere! You just have to make the choice! “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30
Marriage as I have said before many times is for two mature people. If you have not committed to the Lord please do. You see whether you acknowledge Him in your life or not, you need Him!
Whether you believe if He exists or not, you still need Him. You see God is a God of grace. He knows we all have shortcomings and limitations. He is not physically writing every little mistake we make. He does not have to. He is all knowing! He knows everything that has happened and will happen. Don’t put God on our level. You see He is the beginning and the end! You see in our little minds we really cannot conceive God in All His Awesome WONDER! In our little finite minds it is impossible to actually perceive God and His infiniteness. The scriptures tells us that He is “Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end.”
I know that in over 33 years of marriage I have had to learn many things. Time does not permit me to share it all with you. It would take me 33 years to do it. Life and living has brought me/us through many growing experiences. I briefly shared some with you so you will know that this is not some idealistic fantasy. Pain, sorrow, tribulations and grief are real. I cannot imagine how I could have possibly made it through without the LORD. I thank Him for a strong ever growing committed marriage. This book is a mere attempt to share a few observations and points that I pray will be helpful. If I have shed light on gray areas in your life, Praise God! If you are discouraged it was not my intent. I would at this time like to encourage you to start from this day forward. You cannot change the past. But, you can enrich your future. I pray that you have a rich, rewarding and fulfilling marriage from this day forward! God will provide you with a life that you will not be able to explain. God truly can and will make a difference in your life. What the enemy means for evil God will turn it out for good when you entrust your life to Him. But remember it is always your choice to choose “TO DEATH US DO PART”!
SEVEN THINGS TO PONDER
1. Marriage is the ultimate relationship between a man and a woman.
2. Marriage is ordained by GOD.3. God can give you true peace even in the midst of grief.
4. Love is a continual growing process.
5. Marriage is like epoxy.
6. Sex outside of marriage is like playing with fire.
7. Do you believe in “ To Death Us Do Part”?
I have always enjoyed reading. It gives your mind the versatility of creative wandering. It really gives you the
opportunity to travel while remaining still. When I was a child I especially enjoyed Bible stories. I even taught a
home reading class. I also taught Vacation Bible School at an early age and regularly participated in the youth
conferences. Today I have sitting on my desk a certificate for taking a class in “ Major Religions of the World” when I was but thirteen (13) years of age. I am grateful my Mother consistently instilled in me at a very early age fear and respect for God. How little I knew then that He would mean the world to me now! The Bible tells us that “fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!”
In my leisure I enjoyed watching “Leave it to Beaver” and the “Shirley Temple matinees”. Did you ever notice
how Beaver’s Mom wore pearls and high heels doing the dishes? By the way how often did you actually see his Dad at work? I also watched the “Little Rascals”. Notice how they never combed Buckwheat’s hair! How often did the story lines talk about God? Just something to think about. I also enjoyed Deborah Kerr, Audrey Hepburn, Jayne Wyman, Lana Turner, Grace Kelly, Dianne Carroll, Lena Horne, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Ricardo Montablan, and Clark Gable. The women usually played gracious lady like roles. The men were gentlemen as well, who were at times quite humorous. I didn’t care too much for horror blood and guts type thrillers. I loved those classic movies that entailed a dramatic plot with glamour, intrigue, wholesome romance and suspense but usually they ended up happily ever after.
Today I can confess I was impressed by it all to a certain extent. I really believe it gave me a perspective I wouldn’t have if left to remain in my own small scope of things. I have found television can be a viable resource when utilized properly. It is a fine example of creative genius. While watching I could imagine going so many marvelous places. This taught me that life had a lot more to offer beyond what I knew other than my urban inner city life. However, now as His child I am growing up (smile). The Lord has allowed my husband and my self to travel all around the world together. Realistically I now realize everything does not end up happily ever after (here on earth any way) and a lot of the scenes in the movies were just a Hollywood set. The world in its vast nest is full of various life styles. Life experiences are full of adversity and personal growth!
Today simple television has expanded from cable TV to satellite dishes. We access 900+ stations at the flick of a button. In the newspaper and on our local TV news stations are story after story of marriages gone awry. All of these wonderful inventions have to some degree subliminally programmed our thinking! God has said in His Word “what God has joined together let not man put asunder”. I realize that in todays time that over 55-60% of marriages end in divorce. This tells you that in reality it is not happily ever after for many. Despite the alarming statistics God has said it is possible! I know firsthand that it is possible to commit and stay in a loving monogamous marriage. But it does not happen without work.
When two people come together who are uniquely different in every way marriage can be a challenge. It is difficult to find a common ground. Bear with me if this is your case! Just for a moment lets just revisit those vows you made. Did they include for better or for worst? Did you really mean for better and if it gets worst “I’m out of here”? Let’s get some bearing and focus on the fact you are an adult? Right! Unless you have some over powering compulsive behaviors you can do just about anything you make up your mind to do. Do you realize that your commitment was to God as well? Had you ever thought about Him helping you keep that commitment? You see God is a reality. He is not a fictitious television character. He is not like superman, the tooth fairy, Santa Claus or some other fictitious super hero. Nor is He this fair skinned man in the sky with a long white beard. He has true power! God is a Spirit! The world and everything around us reinforces that marriage is becoming “old hat”. That living together is better and cheaper. The most important fact they leave
out is God does have an original design for a man and a woman relationship. He established in the beginning
of time a formula where both man and wife would have their physical and emotional needs met! Start right now
asking Him for direction, strength and power to get your relationship on the right track.
Bear with me as I take a little tangent. Which is really a woman’s prerogative is it not? I must admit I jump all over the place. Throughout this book and in my personal life I refer to God a lot! It is not because I am a fanatic. Or maybe I am? Well not in an unhealthy way at least! You see I know first hand that God makes a difference. God is so real in my life! Although He is not manifested in a tangible physical way that I can actually see Him; His presence in my own life is without question. The sky; His firmament is one of the many expressions to remind me of that awesome presence. You see I realize and know that it is God alone that has given me a measure of faith to believe in Him! I have seen and experienced many precious moments in my
lifetime. I can truly say that there is no way possible that I could have made it or accomplished anything without Him. I have felt, witnessed and experienced His abundant and precious Love! In simple terms; I KNOW that within God there is a viable solution to every problem we might ever encounter in life! This is true even when life seems to take a downward shift.
God can direct you in your marital relationship. The adversity He allows is to help us build integrity. From this day forward make a sincere attempt to improve your relationship with your spouse. Take a moment and see
where you are? Is your relationship headed in the right direction? Ask your self do you really want your relationship to improve? It is my prayer that your love for one another may abound and grow. That you continue to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of the Lord! Did you know that when we sincerely pray God will grant us the desires of our hearts; “when we ask anything that is in His will for us!” Now let’s move forward by addressing some painful issues we have possibly neglected to look at!
What drew you to your spouse? If you have gotten older and the lines of life have begun to lace your face and body it still doesn’t matter. It is never too late! God can ignite those embers of care and concern to rekindle the warmth between you. Perhaps not in the same way. But you’re older anyway. You have some mileage together. You are a little more refined? You are a valuable antique sort of speak. You have some experiences that are unique! Recommit to loving your spouse. Convert those memories into wisdom. God can help you build or take your relationship to a higher and deeper depth. Perhaps unconsciously you stayed together because deep down you know you are really meant to be together. But you have been terribly unhappy? I really believe God can revive your joy! You have shared a lifetime together. Life is too short. God has promised to meet all of your needs. Don’t ever undermine His ability to do just that.
If you are a young vibrant couple who got off to a fast start and now you are at an abrupt halt. Same advise. Turn to God for direction. Stop allowing your job, career, relatives, children, everything and everybody to come between the two of you. You have made a commitment. Get to the root of the problem and start anew. Make a covenant agreement with your eyes that your faithfulness and body are pledged to your spouse and spouse alone! God will help you; but he won’t force you. Ask Him to restore or implant His love within your marriage! We get in to trouble when we leave Him out of the very things that we promised to do! I am not coming from a rigid religious perspective. God’s power is a realistic powerful tool that we too often overlook. Do you know Christ did not die for you to live your life unhappy? Joy and peace is a fruit of His Spirit. “Where the Spirit of
the Lord is there is liberty”!
If you are a couple who married under false pretenses watch out. It is wrong to not divulge information to your spouse that might have caused you not to marry. Insecurity and selfishness overrode your ability to be objective. Perhaps you thought marriage would end your financial debts? Or maybe you were just tired of being alone? Perhaps you really did not take time to get to know one another and you feel you are married to a stranger? It is quite possible for two to live together and share a bed together and be worlds apart? Did God really join you together? You are really going to have to depend on God to make it work. Repent! Since you have not been honest with one another you can not establish intimacy. Your relationship is not or was not
built on the truth. Ask for God’s forgiveness right now! If you really love your spouse help is available to you. Really make an effort to develop your intimate relationship and please include the LORD! He will give you the wisdom as to where to go from this point. Since you have taken those vows you must do everything in your power to make things work.
Begin to look at your spouse through the eyes of God. She or He has been created in His image. That’s heavy! All the bad stuff that has happened has been created by man. We have the freedom to choose. Quite often we make some very bad choices. Begin to divest your marriage of the “garbage of life”. Take out the trash! Stop letting what this one has said and that one has said hinder your relationship. Take time and listen to what God has said. Try to mentally “etch a sketch” your stuff over. All the mess is still there. You just must commit to design a new path for your marriage! God has a better way! I am sure if you admit the truth. Chances are you did not consult him, or you consulted Him and did not listen. Begin to remodel your relationship. Admit it has
not really been a high priority. Admit you have said some things and did some things wrong! Let go of that pride which only builds an emotional barrier anyway. Knock down those cold walls that insulate your heart and open it up to your spouse! You have an obligation. Embrace the comforts of humility.
God has blessed me to see a lot of this world. Which I am forever grateful. There is so much beauty in God’s
creation. There are so many different types of people. Many shapes, sizes and colors. The lifestyles vary tremendously. Large magnificent cathedrals, mega churches to tiny store front church buildings. Little houses, big houses, slums, condos, apartments, flats, mansions as well as many living homeless. The socio-economic status is just as varied. I have met many wonderful people. But I have also seen much despair and poverty. Not everyone has a place to call home.
When I took my counseling internship I took part of it in homeless shelters. The other part I took in a nice suburban counseling office. My counseling supervisor was not all that thrilled by my choice. He often wondered what motivated me to make such a choice. No, I wasn’t on a save the world ego trip. I just wanted to be sure I could handle whatever. Why would anyone want to live outdoors? How could a couple survive living homeless? Well just know that there are couples that find themselves in homeless situations. If you really want to know first hand life and marriage on the real downside try volunteering in a shelter. I volunteered knowing really in the back of my mind an intimate personal relationship with the Lord would make a world of difference to the residents. I would just have to discreetly find a way to eventually get there with them! I have always felt a call on my life to help! We must learn that we can only help to a point. Volunteering in the shelter actually helped me to develop healthier boundaries!
The shelters I went to showed such a contrast. Did you know they have shelters in poor urban areas as well as the ritzy suburbs? The difference was in suburbia they had to leave the shelter early in the morning and could not loiter around the neighborhood. They didn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression and all. They were very particular about how that would look. The shelter was discreetly located. It was ironically located behind a Cadillac and a Mercedes Benz automobile dealership. There was one shelter that was located in a business industrial environment. The building had been renovated to accommodate the residents. It was one of the nicer shelters. But take a step right out the back door guess what? There was a cemetery. How ironic. The
reality of life, death and hardship all right there. You could either renew your life and step up, or you could keep on a downward spiral and check- out. Actually it was a good preventative aversion counseling tool!
When I would leave the urban shelter late at night I wasn’t too concerned. Right across from the shelter was
a temporary police facility. I remember one night I was leaving the shelter. One of the residents said to me “How do you know your car is going to be there when you leave?” I just kind of shrugged and said “I’m not worried”. They said “You should be, didn’t you know that the portable police station has moved?” It wasn’t that I was oblivious to what was going on. Whenever I’d get in my car I’d call my husband and tell him all was well. I really felt for those in the shelter. I chose to come to the shelter. When you can choose, it makes a world of difference. For many of the residents this was a last resort. This helped me to appreciate my husband and family that much more. Hurt and disappointment prevented many of them to reach out to their families.
Volunteering my time in the shelter was quite interesting. Many fear helping, thinking you are going to catch
something. If you are afraid pray before you go in and pray when you come out! But most importantly pray for
those who are there. It really is a perfect opportunity to develop your faith and trust in the Lord. God really will
protect you and keep you safe. You never know who you’re entertaining when you are entertaining strangers do you?
Knowing that when I left I was going to a safe secure home gave me all the inspiration I needed. It also helped
me not to take it for granted and to be thankful I did have a home to go to. Living in the inner city has its benefits. It gave me a healthier perspective on the realities of life and the potential dangers. It’s really interesting when you are doing something you know the Lord wants you to do. I just knew the Lord would keep me from hurt, harm, danger and sickness. It also strengthened my prayer life. I had to trust the Lord to give me what to say to help them. He did! Sometimes it was just my place to listen. The residents in the shelter made life that much more of a reality for me. It alerted me to the fact that life for many can have a real
There were those who left and came back repeatedly. There were those who I knew after they got over this hurdle they would never return. The experience impacted them to a point of motivated independence. There goal was upward and out. Often I would personally prepare a take home package for some of the women. It was so rewarding to see when they had gotten themselves to a point that they could resume the responsibility of their own abode. The shelter would supply clothing. I’d personally give them a care package of basic kitchen and bath supplies. For some of the new mothers I’d prepare a layette for their expected baby. There are people who when you help them it is never enough. Yes, sad but true there are always those who will try to hustle you. The shelter helped me to learn how not to help too much! Enabling is not helping!
You really can be totally off by what you see. You really don’t know where they have come from or where they are going. Many of the couples had anxiety because in the shelter they were separated. Men and women where housed separately. My hidden agenda was wanting to introduce them to the Lord’s principles. To let them know that whatever they were going through, He already knows. Whatever they had done He knew and He loved them anyway. But He wouldn’t force Himself into their lives. They would have to choose for themselves. I did not try to force myself on them either.
There were times when I came into the shelter and many were having a bad day. The winters were interesting I
could see how the weather had an effect. Memories of sleeping under highways and under bridges can be a bit
overwhelming at times. I would just leave them alone. I’d Respect the fact that they just needed some space. There was little pretense in the shelter. You could often hear a barrage of colorful language in a fit of anger. The rules specified no foul language. Most of the residents would shoot pretty straight. They realized I didn’t have to be there. But most of them were respectful of the time I spent there. Initially I was provided with a counseling cubicle. They expanded the shelter and then provided me with an office equipped with intercom just in case of emergency! Sometimes they would just try me just to see if they could get a rise out of me. There were many times when I knew that this would be a first and only encounter with some of them. I still to this day appreciate what their straightforwardness taught me. There were so many who willingly shared their fears,
heartbreaks and accomplishments. Together we would set weekly goals!
My husband and I have between the two of us eighteen brothers and sisters. Some married, divorced and remarried as well as one that has died. Then there are the countless people I have counseled with. Not to mention friends and acquaintances. All of these experiences have given me an opportunity to see first hand the extreme diversities of life. To see through many lives the real up and down side of life and marriage. Not just to study or read about it. It has been a real eye opener. I realized from the homeless that many people just pass by them everyday. Some concerned, some appalled and some just distantly removed. Homelessness
does not make you less of a person. The best way to reach them is to just be your self. Be sincere because they can see right through you. It taught me not to be so easily swayed by what you see. Many singles, couples and families are without homes. People are homeless for many reasons. There were Christians as well as non Christians in the shelter. After awhile I earned their respect and was able to share with many of them about God and how a relationship with Him could really make the difference. Many had grown despondent and turned off by a pseudo form of Christianity. Many after having experienced false doctrine are despondent and don’t want to hear about God. You don’t need to force feed them God! I’ve talked to rich, poor and in between who don’t believe or want to hear anything about God. They are so disenchanted. Many feel that it just
doesn’t matter. They see people who go to church all the time. Yet they still say and do some of everything. So why should I waste my time? You only undermine the saving power of the Lord in their eyes when you talk right and walk left. We have to become better at presenting healthy Christian marriage role models. God’s stuff does work! We just fail to obey what He says. There is power in scripture! God is a Spirit of Truth! You see you can be in the Church but the Church not be in you. (That’s another whole book in itself.) I would tell them this. But I would also say don’t look at the people. God is so loving and patient. I would encourage them to recommit to developing their own personal relationship with the Lord! Get to know Him for yourself!
God is a Spirit of Truth! Again life is not happy ever after. But it can increasingly get better. We have many couples who are not homeless; but love is scarce. All the physical comforts may be readily available, yet, we should not ignore any facet of life. Marriages comes in all different shapes and sizes and places. In the shelter the men were on one side and the women on the other. The children could visit. But they were not allowed to stay overnight. The children were often left with relatives or in state custody. In the shelter there were people who got up took a shower got dressed in a nice dress, or suit and tie and went to work. Looking just as neat and clean as the next person. You would have never known they were homeless. Only if you followed them home; to the shelter. I said all this to give you a perspective on how homelessness affects marriages as well.
Addiction, dysfunction, abuse and financial hardship are components that can also derail any relationship. They don’t always result in one becoming homeless. Little habits gradually go unattended and then they snowball. You can be addicted to just about anything. Food, people, things, sex, pornography, drugs and or alcohol can become the center of your pain. Many will do whatever it takes to get a fix. But how ironic, you don’t really get fixed do you? Again it doesn’t matter the address or how much or how little in the bank account. I have heard such horror stories. A poor person is often referred to as having a “drug addiction.” A person who is affluent is referred to as having a “substance abuse problem.” People go to great lengths to hurt themselves as well as others no matter what they have or don’t have. No one really can afford to have an addiction. It’s dangerous! Just think about all the time, money and resources that are exhausted to support addiction. Emotional pain does not discriminate it reaches everybody!
Many people dive into marriage without realizing the depth of what the commitment entails. The emotional and or financial obligation of marriage can become overwhelming. Marriage is what you make it. But first and foremost it is a spiritual union. Marriage is the uniting of two souls as one. It’s not just an arrangement. It’s a covenant relationship ordained by God. It is the proper way to be fruitful and multiply. Marriage is the only relationship that God has set apart to experience a pure physical sexual relationship. God has given us sexual boundaries to protect us!
I realize that God allows people, places and things in our life for a reason. Each experience can help to mold and refine our character. Perspective makes a world of difference. How you view things is important. If you aren’t careful you can fall in a rut. You see I always remember if it wasn’t for the “Grace of God that could be me”. The shame of past experiences can keep you in the defeated mode as well if you are not careful. Yes, but God can deliver you! Old satan doesn’t want you whole. He wants you imprisoned in shackles. Keeping you stuck in neutral, stagnate. Bound in a cycle of sinful dysfunction. He will even find ways to make you feel comfortable in your addiction. When we refer to it as a disease such as in alcoholism we excuse its sinfulness. Try and break the cycle know he just wants you recycling another generation of hurt and confusion. I have seen many unfulfilled unhappy people who have married and sentenced themselves to a life of pain. If you are one, you can make a change!
If you suffer from severe depression get help! Did you know depression is anger turned inside. Learn to let it
go! Depression can really weigh on a marriage. You see on a personal one on one counseling level I met many
who had a lot of things or possessions. One example was this counselee who lived with depression for years. She would have various episodes and go off of the deep end. She would become violent and go on spending rages. The household chores would pile up. She would not cook. He couldn’t cook! He worked tenaciously to provide for their home. Her husband told her she was going to have to get a handle on things. That she would have to put some semblance of order in their lives. After years and years she gradually became paranoid and decided her husband was the one that was emotionally abusive. I am talking about an extraordinary and talented person. She would start all kinds of stuff. But just could not see them through. She could be sweet like a child. A real creative genius. A real Jeckle and Hyde personality. I was often perplexed by the contrast! The depression just overtook her life in every way.
She eventually filed for divorce and became very bitter. She was quite possessive and demanding. She felt that I had to choose her or him. I chose not to support her decision. Their was no real reason to substantiate her claims. I knew that she had neglected most of her responsibilities. I realized that the depression left her in a state of flux quite often. She often used it to manipulate everyone. Depression is really serious when it reaches the clinical stage. In most cases medical assistance is necessary.
One of my biggest flaws is I just can’t or won’t continue to fight with you. I am not wired for it. I can take a stand and I am certainly not afraid. But I just refuse to get involved in the “fuss-fight-makeup cycle”. If you want to come to some resolve “I can work with that”. I can meet you more than half-way, for as long as it takes. I must confess one of my weaknesses. I have somewhat of a problem with anyone trying to control me! Trying to demand me to do this or that, “I don’t think so” I can give up anything material. Ask my husband. Perhaps this is a cop out from your perspective. But it is the truth! I confess it is a flaw in my personality. This is an area in my life you can pray for me. I don’t believe in continuing to recycle junk. Denial of personal faults or weaknesses can be dangerous. All of us have shortcomings. I shared this to show that marriage as I said can have a “down side”. There are no easy solutions. A good marriage takes time, sacrifice and work! We have
a right to choose even if God has told us otherwise. But that does not mean we are right. God is so loving and kind that He allows us the freedom to do whatever. But always remember there are consequences.
Decide today things are going to be different. If you are the one with an addiction get help. Learn to clearly
face life. Quit living in the fog. The problem will still be there when you clear your head. Make it a priority to take control. Rather than be controlled. Get in the driver’s seat. Don’t spend another moment bogged down. Get to the root of the problem and deal with it. Commit yourself to a program if necessary! Life is too short! If your spouse has the addiction, change whatever it is you are doing to pacify them. Change how you respond to them. Don’t be an enabler. Let this be a wake up call. No don’t throw your hands up and say “I’ve had it”. You are possibly part of the problem to. Take responsibility for your part of the relationship.
Many times when a spouse has an addiction you might be unconsciously supporting their habit. The other spouse often becomes accustomed to having things their way. What I mean is when he/she is out of it you don’t have to deal with them. You can count on them indulging themselves to the point they don’t care what’s going on with you. It will give you free reign to do whatever you want. This gives you a false sense of freedom. It also can entrap you in an unconscious pity mode. Others see you and say poor you. By contrast you look like a victimized angel. Careful this can be a trap. After all, all they see is the patient, committed spouse. Of course their drinking or addiction has nothing to do with you. Be honest, if your spouse changed what would you have to give up? Perhaps none of the above apply to you. There are always exceptions to the rule.
Addiction is serious and will cause you to spend a lot of time and energy living in the downside of life. It fosters
an unhealthy, unstable environment when left unattended. The needs of both spouses go unmet. The spouse with the addiction is self-centered; they allow satisfying their unhealthy desires to be their main priority. When one feels consequences for their behavior it can often motivate them to change. I believe in “tough love”. You need to get their attention. I feel it is necessary to take a stand. Don’t support the addiction. Let your spouse know you love them. Separate the behavior from their actions. Give them an opportunity to move towards getting their addiction under control. Addiction is a control based issue. It will have your household under seize. Get help and some support for yourself to help you develop some healthy boundaries. Tough love works!
Addicts in general have no self control. Subsequently you and your household become controlled due to their lack of control. All sorts of demonic warfare is invading your home. Fear keeps you in a state of uncertainty. Let’s look at an example. Your spouse is responsible for paying your mortgage. In stead they decide to buy whatever substance they need for their addiction. Out of fear they fail to tell you they didn’t make the payment(s). You come home and find a notice of default or eviction. The mortgage has not been paid for some time. You are caught unaware. Or it could be your utility bill or grocery bill. In any case you cannot depend on them to take care of business. You must take responsibility.
Whenever your spouse drives under the influence of a controlled substance they put others at risk. Do you know how many accidents occur due to irresponsible drivers? How many die every day? How many drunk drivers drive themselves off the road? Please don’t take the gamble. Take or hide the keys to the car. Let them walk it off. Let them miss work. Let their supervisor or employees find out? Everyone knows what is going on anyway! Enlist the help of your Church family. It is important that they not become enablers as well. They should encourage you in your walk with the Lord. They should remind you that God loves you and how He can and wants to heal your hurts. Yet, they should also make you uncomfortable in your addiction. Perhaps this will be the catalyst for change. This is a very serious situation. It can be fatal. Drinking not only impacts the person but their friends and loved ones as well. Just what kind of example does this set for your children, or any other children? Children learn a lot more by what they see rather than by what they hear. Please get help!
Often an intervention is necessary. An intervention is simply creating a loving environment where spouse, family and or close friends confront the addict along with an experienced facilitator. Together they let the person know how their behavior has impacted them. Then decide together where do we go from here? In some extreme cases a trial separation period may be necessary. This is to undoubtedly relay to them their behavior is no longer tolerated. That you love them but you will no longer tolerate their behavior. You begin to draw a healthy boundary. Boundaries are not to alienate they are meant to say this is were I draw the line. Although you can not change them make it clear that there is certain things you just will not tolerate or support.
When we look at God’s standards we all fall short. I often hear “Your standards are too high”. But it is God’s
standards that we should strive to live by. They are high because this always gives all of us the much needed room for improvement. GOD DOES NOT ask us to do anything that we are not able to do! Start here today. Face whatever problems arise in your relationship. Quit sweeping things under the rug. Take your head out of the sand like the old ostrich. We should really learn how to reconcile our differences. Begin changing the things you can. Praying and asking God to direct you then proceed following His direction. A good marriage should exist as a healthy circle. You your spouse and God as the Center! Yes, we have a freedom of choice. You can choose misery. Yes, it does love company. You can choose to make life a quest for spiritual growth. Don’t just go to marriage seminars. You must actually apply the knowledge you attain. Get counseling. Do things together! Don’t wait until you get to heaven to experience happy ever after. Make it a reality to taste a slice of heaven here. ( You know what I mean). John did say “Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand”.
Being a Christian does not automatically exempt someone from emotional problems. Years of abuse and insecurity can nestle one behind a wall of confusion. Distortion, fear and anger become companions. Many people suffer from mental and emotional disorders. The power of God’s love can break down any wall! Marriage is a two way relationship. Often one party has to shoulder the major weight of the marriage when one has emotional problems. This can put a strain on the marriage. Deal with situations as they arise. Openly discuss what’s happening. Reach out get help!
God has really created us to be relational beings. Some of us require less interaction than others. Some require a whole lot of attention. Some are not happy unless they are the center of attention. A great need to be the center of everything becomes apparent. Stop being a people pleaser. This will only foster dependence in you. It also gives others power over you. This also gives them the power to undermine your confidence and put what they think first. You will never be able to please them anyway. Did you know still waters run deep? It frightens most people when they don’t know what you’re thinking. Let your confidence be in God. He knows your heart. Make it a priority to try and please Him instead. It’s really a lot easier. “It is in Him we move and live and have our being.” He has the ability to help you arise to every situation necessary. How do I do this? Begin to really study His WORD. Not to just read through it. Meditate and pray about whatever you are
reading. Ask God to forgive you of any unconfessed sin. You must spend time alone with Him! This will increase your spiritual awareness. Know for yourself first hand the awesomeness of His unlimited power. Just think there is nothing that is hidden from GOD. He knows without you speaking one word every single thing that has transpired in your life. There is absolutely no power, principality, sickness, or problem that He doesn’t have power over. God is a forgiving, loving and merciful God. God has created each of us. God has given each of us a unique temperament!
SEVEN THINGS TO PONDER
1. Misery is an everyday affair for many.
2. Addiction, dysfunction, abuse and financial hardship can derail any marriage.
3. God allows people, places and things in our lives for a reason.
4. Get to the root of your problem; and deal with it.5. There is always an exception to the rule.
6. Being a Christian doesn’t automatically exempt us from problems. But we do have a problem solver.
7. You don’t have to wait until you get to heaven to experience a bit of happily ever after.
NEXT: Chapter 8 – Do You Have A Temperture?
God really intended for marriage to last for a lifetime. The scriptures clearly tells us “what God has joined together let not man put asunder”! Asunder; means to not let anything pull you apart or separate you. Why do we so very often fail to seek God’s advice when seeking a mate? We instead allow our feelings and emotions to often guide us in a direction that leads to a futile destiny. In our haste for companionship we can often make commitments that really should not be. Many often marry on the rebound. Loneliness and/or rejection can compel one to enter into a relationship too soon! Hurt and pain can hurl you into a relationship to escape rejection and loneliness. Swept away and blinded by an over whelming sometimes even sensual infatuation we fall heart first into marriage. Many will fall prey to what I choose to call temporary or “intoxicating affections”. Its symptoms merely mimic true love! All too often once the blinders come off you find yourself saying “what have I done?”
I am eternally grateful that God has allowed us to pledge our love only to one another the first time in marriage. To grow together and truly realize what a covenant relationship really means. I know personally that marriage is the most rewarding and fulfilling relationship that God has designed for a man and woman. I am also thankful that between us is an entourage of siblings. From this we were able to decide certain things that we did or did not want in our relationship. A good marriage takes a lot of work and mutual respect. Love is a gift from God! I realize that there are many who have not been as fortunate. I also realize I have an obligation to express and share the benefits of commitment with whosoever will listen. I don’t mean this in a condescending manner. I firmly believe we must boldly and unashameably proclaim what God has ordained. So bear with me as I attempt to share with you what I have learned through sharing, caring, observations, relatives, talking to friends, acquaintances, and via counseling. My motives are to root out, tear down, build and to plant Godly principles that will help you foster a healthy marriage. Hopefully and prayerfully this will be your last time!
Good friends don’t always make good marriage partners. But marriage partners should learn to be best friends! This can take place gradually over a period of time, a month, year, and sometimes years. Whatever you do don’t jump from one frying pan to the next. It is human to err. If you have jumped into a relationship, pause, take some time and make sure your expectations of marriage are realistic this time. Although your first marriage did not work out there are some things that you learned. You now know it takes time to get to know someone. You have already made the commitment again so you do have a responsibility. Living with someone is not the same as dating. Don’t think “he/she is going to change”. Many people enter into relationships thinking “I am going to change this person”. The person has to want to change! The truth is we can only change ourselves. Since we married young we basically grew up together. Actually our families have known one another since early childhood. Growing up in urban San Francisco was quite an experience. My Mother kept me close to her and occupied with dolls. I regularly participated in after school gifted program activities, music lessons across the street from Golden Gate Park, and a lot of time in Church! My husband who I did not know at the time was involved in the same things. Oops! Except definitely not the dolls! He graduated from high school at 16 years of age! He has always been ahead of his time and matured very early. Fortunately we
both have independent personalities that blend. What’s good for the relationship takes priority. Getting married younger for some can be devastating. It usually is not the norm. I believe it has worked because we genuinely respect one another. Remember we are not “Cookie Cutter Christians” This recipe has worked for me. Seek God’s guidance for the one that suits you. He will direct you what to and what not to use in building your marriage. I just want to share some tidbits that might nurture your relationships. A good marriage is about a healthy relationship. Remember over 60 % of marriages result in divorce. Loneliness can cause you to look for someone to complete you. Maturity is essential in developing a healthy relationship. Marriage is a partnership.
If you have been married before it’s really a good idea to allow some time to elapse before you fall “heart first”
again. Give yourself some emotional space to heal. Allow yourself to unload the excess baggage from your previous relationship. Although difficult you must learn to take time to be alone! If you have taken the plunge already try harder this time. Commit to making this relationship work! If you are reading this I’m sure you’re looking for some answers or encouragement. Remember your commitment you have made. It was not only to your spouse but to God as well. Face the fact you have broken one vow. Confess! Repent! I know you were just too young? You did not really know what you were doing? The person pretended to be someone else? They were already married? They were really terrible…….. This time decide to really implement “for better or worst…… to death us do part”. Divorce should not be an option when entering into marriage.
Your first marriage was a mistake. Or was it? Have you or did you resolve things before you jumped “heart first” into another relationship? Do both of you a favor, be sure you’re not on the rebound. Everyone is different. There are a lot of unhappy married people. Remember you can do bad by yourself. Don’t let outside pressures such as your age, maternal clock, parents, friends, and etc. cause you to act impulsively. Remember whatever you do don’t enter a relationship thinking that you are going to change this person! Notice it did not work the first time around.
Exercise maturity by not allowing previous garbage to become current news. Break the cycle instead of recycling old habits. Remember what destroyed your last relationship? Turn those experiences into wisdom by learning from them. Were you too controlling? Did you want everything to center around you? Were you so very insecure that you smothered your spouse? Did your families conflict? Did you listen to everybody else except your spouse? Are you really ready to trust someone? Don’t repeat the same behavior. Practice makes permanent. Now that you have changed partners you must change your behavior. You’ll end up at the same place if you don’t. Don’t let issues go unattended. Take time to listen. I mean really listen to what your mate or potential mate is saying. If you are not sure ask them to help you understand what they are saying. Repeat what you think you understood back to them when in doubt! Effective communication is crucial in a successful
marriage. Try to make it a point to nip things in the bud! Deal with issues before they become cancerous. Make it a priority to take regular inventory.
One of the biggest problems in second marriages is contrasting and comparing previous spouses. Well so and
so did it this way. So and so liked this or that! So what! The two of you will have to make a conscious effort not to do this. Everyone is different. Your current relationship just becomes a triangle instead of a couple. You, your spouse and your ex united by ongoing regrets. Your ex becomes an invisible partner of your current marriage. If they were so great why did you not stay with them? If they were so terrible why did you remarry someone with the same traits? A reality check is necessary when moving forward. Focusing on the past relationship can lead to a dead end. A definite no no! Learning from the past invites freedom when you don’t repeat the same mistakes. The past hurts that crop up from time to time must be dealt with. But keep them in perspective. Try very hard not to project old hurts onto the new relationship. Each and every marriage is different.
Blended families have unique dynamics to deal with. If children are involved you have an added responsibility. It is far better that the couple be united. Raising your own children is hard enough. Raising someone else’s is a real challenge. It is unreasonable to think everything is just going to work out. In order for things to gel together you must have a plan. Don’t allow the children to pit you one against the other. Yours and mine attitude already shows division. Consider looking at all the children from the perspective that they all belong to GOD. Perhaps this will help you to deal with them in a just way. The two of you are just temporarily charged with their care. Since you have come together your children are a viable component of this newly or oldly formed family. The children’s emotional well-being should always be a priority. Yes, there will be adverse behaviors. Adjustments are often difficult as the other spouse may seem like and intruder.
Remember the children must have somewhere to project their hurt! Emotional outbursts and disrespectful moments are coming. Be prepared to respond with patience and vigor. You must be consistent in order to stabilize your environment. You must know and understand they are also hurting. You have found someone to love. But they feel they have lost something! Their family even if it was very dysfunctional has been disrupted. They will need time to adjust. If you have been married for some time and you did not allow them time, do it now! Back off a bit. Although painful face the fact you messed up! Now don’t just dwell there forever. Just know you need to empathize with your children. Perhaps working together will help relieve some of the emotional pain. There are always consequences for the choices we make.
Many children learn to suppress how they are really feeling. They are taught it’s bad to express anger. This is unfortunate because we feel joy as well as anger. It is how we express our feelings that we need to work on. Our feelings need to be validated. I am not saying this excuses any irrational behavior! Your anger and discontentment caused you to divorce, right? Their anger may manifest in their attitude in the home/school environment. They may lash out at you. They may say hurtful things to you. Try not to take it so personally, again know that they are really hurting themselves. Sometimes you may have to bite the bullet and let them get the hurtful feelings out. Allow them to freely express how they feel in a respectful manner. They may even runaway. Let them know you love them. Release them and let them know you are the cause of their conflicting feelings to some degree. Comfort them in their pain. Children will resist but structure and consistency makes them feel your concern. Define and develop healthy boundaries that reinforce your love and help them to feel
safe. After all you married because you wanted someone to love?
Parents can all too often be caught up in their own pain issues. Perhaps the non-custodial parent chooses to break all ties. The parent left with the responsibility can often become resentful. You may feel bad about your own personal feelings. You may also feel justified in your position. But again you must not let this control or dictate your behavior. Just know that the other parent is not getting away with anything! It just appears that way. They will pay dearly for neglecting their responsibility. You just do your part. Please don’t talk negatively about the parent that is absent. I know this is hard. The child is often a reminder of the spouse or mate that has moved on. Talking negatively about the absent parent really only creates further problems. It will often only backfire. They will become the sugar daddy or mommy! You are the tyrant that always tells them what
they can’t do!
Please remember that every time you discipline your child you must exercise patience. When punished too
harshly the child will only begin to resent you. There is a difference when discipline is effectively applied. The
results can be devastating for the child who is punished harshly. They may feel unwanted and unloved. This can make them needy. Craving for attention they can turn to a wrong source. The absent parent becomes a welcomed resolve. Why? You are the one who represents the bearer of bad tidings. Although the absent parent may be very irresponsible that is merely your opinion in the eyes of the child. Your harsh punishment could be the reason they left you from the child’s perspective. Harsh punishment provokes rebellion.
I believe strongly in the parent’s responsibility to discipline. My children will attest to the fact we were quite strict. I also believed in applying the rod of correction. But not to beat the life out of them. It was used to instill our parental rights of authority. I did not and do not believe in name calling or slapping a kid upside his/her head. You only instill fear and resentment. It is hard enough when you have two parents to discipline children. My hat is off to single parents and blended families. They have quite a chore on their hands. It is not an easy task when two natural parents are raising a child. Just know second and third time around marriages present greater challenges and consequences that you may have not anticipated.
Each step-parent should first develop a relationship with each child before they attempt to discipline them. Don’t assume that since you are the new parent you automatically have the right to discipline someone else’s child. You need to develop a foundation of love first. Just because you are older does not mean you are always right. Being a step parent does not automatically give you authority. Taking time to develop a relationship with the child will pay off in the long run. There must be a transitional period of time for you and the child. You are and should be the adult. Don’t allow children to press your buttons. You must learn to be consistent, firm and patient. The child will only rebel and resent you otherwise. Allow them time to get to know you. Proper discipline is applied with consistency, patience, love and concern. Domination is applied with brutal force.
Immaturity will cause you to get into tit for tat arguments with a child. Don’t get pulled in. Don’t relate to them on their level. Model maturity by being a patient responsible adult yourself! Whenever you don’t respond properly let them know your behavior was wrong. Try and treat them the way you would have liked to have been treated as a child. This will help you earn their respect. This is very important for the well-being of your home environment. Keep focused! Children will try you. They can push buttons you didn’t know you had. They will see and zoom in on any differences you display between them. Wait a second or two before you respond to them. Take control by being in the driver’s seat. Exercise and develop your patience. A lot of love, patience and genuine concern is required to develop a healthy home environment. Just know that child will grow up very soon and your interactions with them will be at the forefront of their memory! They are also in need of respect. I like to think of children as little people! Remember they do grow up. Perhaps you are/will be a parent that always sees your children even when they are 50 years old as a child?
Although this may be a bit hard to swallow just know they realize that your first relationship didn’t work. It’s
a normal response for them to want both of their natural parents together. They will often seek ways to hinder your relationship. What they really want is your attention. They are really hurting and honestly don’t know why. Their life has just gone through a drastic change. You have disrupted their turf. Their home life has drastically changed. Each child needs has varying degrees. Begin to monitor their behavior. What’s going on when they are sad or happy? How they respond or do not respond under pressure? You want to make sure that they don’t become depressed. We all have shortcomings. Be honest with them. Cinderella was a fairytale. Let’s keep it that way. Don’t be a wicked step-parent. Remember you were once a child. Remember children are just little people!
I personally believe that parenting develops in phases. The relationship changes with maturity. When our children become adults we should respect them as adults. They have earned their right to make mistakes. Release any overbearing control you have on them. They will begin to respect and honor you out of love and not fear! You should always counsel them as a loving yet firm parent. Encouraging them to seek God’s direction for their life is always most helpful.
Perhaps once a month you could have a family pow wow? Anger welcomed but no disrespectful language or physical violence. I just think it’s better to know what they are contemplating. Out of control behavior is a sure sign some need is not being met. Check yourself. Do you display some out of control behavior yourself? Yes, as parents we aren’t always right? Perhaps they are really acting out in school. Too many parents don’t take the time to get to know their children. Talk to them about their day? Perhaps they are having a great deal of peer pressure? Remember, the time you put in now will help you develop a good foundation with them. Contrary to popular belief it is not a good idea for “a child to be seen and not heard.” One thing they need to know is that they matter and that you are there for them. Deal with anger. Try to circumvent it by nipping it in the bud. Don’t let it fester. Years and years of suppressed anger is the root cause of depression and many addictions. If you have an addiction proceed with caution. You are setting them up for a warped sense of what’s right or normal! Your actions speak louder than words. Be honest! Let them know you have a problem that you need to deal with. If you have had an addiction police yourself. You may tend to be a bit overbearing. Make sure they know you love them not just in word but in deed and action!
Make sure you take time as a family to share enjoyable activities. When we were raising our children it was very important that we have frequent family times. For years we spent many hours on the freeway traveling back and forth commuting to Church. The children would play highway games and sing. Music and singing were regular activities. We would regularly take them shopping and out to dinner. They participated in sports, karate, ballet, jazz, tap dance and music lessons. We would all spend time together working in the back yard. Today they still kid one another as to who did or did not do what! Perhaps sometimes maybe we would just watch and in home movie. We did not drop them off at a babysitter every chance we got. Taking children on frequent outings helps them to learn how to behave in public when it’s a regular routine. Let them know that every time they go out you don’t have to buy them something. Letting them enjoy activities just for them is a real treat, when you participate along with them. I have played many games of Sorry, Scrabble, Trouble, Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, skeet ball and hockey at Scandia to amuse them. We also played backyard baseball, kickball, volleyball and two squares. Just remember your children are different individuals. Please don’t regularly compare them to one another. I recommend you not letting others compare them to one another in front of one another as well! Encourage them often. Remember! Contrary to the old wise fable, they should be heard and seen! The time you spend with them as children will make them responsible, secure well rounded adults.
Each family unit has a unique set of dynamics. Learning to respect the individuality of each child is very important. Developing a loving, open yet firm parental relationship with them is crucial. Rigidity without love will result in rebellion. Be flexible. Parents should be parents not friends. It’s okay to be friendly! Much too often when a parent has an addiction the lines are grayed. The other parent allows the children to become their all and all. Don’t share all your spouses’ shortcomings with your children. Please whatever you do DO NOT PLAY FAVORITES WITH YOUR CHILDREN! Don’t put that kind of pressure on them! If you have been doing ANY OF THE ABOVE I suggest you stop! Later on in life it will be difficult for them to establish healthy adult relationships with one another. Keep and/or enlist good healthy boundaries with your children. Children need boundaries in order to feel secure. When they become adults they will respect and appreciate you that much more. You’ll also have a lot less headaches in the “Terrible Teens”. I personally think 13-17 is the hardest time during a child’s stages of development.
Please lay off the physical discipline. Yes, I do mean the old fashioned whipping. No, I do not agree with Freud. But I know that physical encounters beyond 13 begats anger. Anger that is not dealt with gets suppressed. At this stage in the game if you have not established a level of discipline with them you are in trouble. They may not try to hit you, but they will hit someone. Rest assuredly, it’s going to find its way to be acted out in some unhealthy way. Many parents exercise physical punishment to near adult hood. Personally I see it as control and domination! Well you know my mother or father would slap me upside my head. They would get a switch or extension cord and beat me until I couldn’t sit down. So what’s the problem? Well that’s the problem! That was abuse! You may not want to hear this but all too often I hear people say my Mom use to do this. My Dad use to do that. But if you listen long enough you will hear that it really did not resolve or correct their behavior
problem. Angry children become angry adults. I am not against discipline. But I don’t condone or support harsh
punishment. Did you know children are not criminals? Begin breaking the cultural cycle of dysfunction. This is
why we have so many angry violent adults right now! A world full of dynamites sticks just waiting for some one
to rub them the wrong way. By the way this is definitely a way to increase our prison and mental institutions ever increasing population. Children need discipline not abuse. You do not have to agree with me. But please check yourself before you hit on a 13+ child. Do you want to dominate them or discipline them?
Circus animals are rigorously trained often by repeated physical punishment. Children need discipline and good boundaries. I do recommend minimal use of physical restraints. Please give them consistent guidelines. Whenever children don’t behave responsibly allowing them to experience a consequence is most helpful. Let them know that they have chosen to relinquish their privileges. This shows them that by choice they have elected to forfeit a privilege. By the way this type of discipline takes time. But just know this time goes by faster than you think. Children are here today and adults tomorrow. Eventually they’ll get the message, unless they have severe learning disabilities. In that event I recommend soliciting the assistance of an educated therapist for evaluation. When they choose to disobey they loose something. This allows them to feel a
consequence for their behavior. Allow them to grow up knowing that they have the right to say “No!” Or no way
Jose! Let’s be real! Yes there are some adults who take advantage of children! They intimidate them into silence. Let your children know their rights! They have a right not to let anyone touch them. If they are uncomfortable about something encourage them to tell you. This will help them to grow up to be disciplined strong willed adults.
A strong personality is necessary to navigate in this world. There are untrustworthy adults that they will have to reckon with. They need the freedom to know how to express themselves in all and any situations. Yes, it is necessary that they learn to be respectful. Self discipline is essential to keeping the principles of God in tact in your life! The two together will produce a healthy strong well rounded adult! Teaching our children Karate was a real benefit. You are taught how to properly defend yourself. This will also give you confidence. You are also taught that you can walk away not out of fear but because you have self-control! Self-control is a virtue! It is also a fruit of the Spirit!
Children usually feel an enormous amount of guilt when divorce occurs. They feel personally responsible although they may not admit it. Make it clear that the adults are responsible. Take responsibility and be honest. Let them know the two of you could not work out your differences. After all, it’s the truth! Keep your problems between the two of you. They don’t have to know every little detail. Allow them to have a relationship with both parents. When you decided to sleep with their parent you also chose their parent. This is why God also says “no sex outside of marriage!” Did you know most people don’t even think about the fact that you give a part of your self away when you come together with someone? You bond with them. Better yet your personalities blended together = your children in most cases! Oh the pain of consequences!
When or if you have embarked upon marriage and you have nearly grown or grown children you must be cautious. Your children have watched your behavior over the years. The majority of their behavior is established by what we model. The world of course has its influence as well. When you model respect for your spouse this will be helpful. A lot of times they have come to depend on you as a friend rather than a parent. This leads to them having ambivalent emotions. They want you to be happy, but they also are quite used to having you by yourself. Your new spouse can seem like an intruder. Again you cannot change past behaviors. To the degree you are aware of what’s going on it will arm you to respond differently. God does want you
to be happy. You will have to lean on Him for directions in establishing a restful abode. Hard as it may seem you have made a commitment to your spouse. I believe your vows said something like “forsaking all others”.
If you are marrying or have remarried for the second time. God is forgiving. Make sure you have repented.
Then start by moving on from this day forward trusting His leadership. Past mistakes don’t have to become future failures. It’s never too late to do the right thing. You can glean from past errors valuable lessons. This will circumvent the deterioration of your new marital quest. Allow each other a time to grieve over previous relationships. Learn to relinquish cancerous behaviors. Learn to love. God’s true love last forever. Do not buy into “intoxicating affections” that don’t last. Don’t hastily fly the coop at the first sign of trouble. Deal with it!
By now you should know better? Right!
I truly believe God is a healer. He is the wonderful ultimate resource for restoration. It is through the pains of life we are moved towards the arms of God for solace. Working through the pain requires embracing truth. God created us in His image. He has given us countless examples where healing took place. The friends of one man had so much faith in Jesus’ ability to heal; they tore a hole in the roof of the home where He was speaking. They lowered him into the room just so Jesus could heal Him. The woman who was bowed down for eighteen (18) years is another example. This woman had spent all her money on doctors. The widow whose son had died and Jesus touched the briar (coffin) and he came back to life. The legion of demons He cast out of the man in the Gadarenes living among the tombs. These are just a few. I believe that Jesus can heal any relationship. But, you must first exercise the measure of faith that He has given you. Acknowledge your
relationship’s need for healing or restoration.
Trust is a big factor in establishing your relationship. You cannot truly have an intimate relationship without trust! The two of you need to consciously develop a trusting relationship. Trust is essential for a healthy marriage. If you haven’t been able to trust in the past make and effort to start now! Perhaps trust was broken very early on in your life? Proceed to work through any hang ups you might have in this area. If trust has been broken in your marriage begin the restoration process. Forgive one another and recommit! You will never be able to move forward to a fulfilling relationship otherwise. All that baggage gets in the way whether you know it or not. Take time to share your feelings with one another. Being vulnerable does not mean you’re weak. Genuinely share your concerns with one another before God. Share your likes, dislikes, fears, desires, habits, insecurities and aspirations. Invite the Lord in the midst to help you restore or develop trust. Commit yourself before him sincerely to one another. Learn to be candidly honest. Trust and honesty go hand in hand. The
two together will fortify your marriage. A trusting marriage will provide security. Humility is a precious characteristic in the eyes of God.
You cannot change the past. But you do have the power to reshape yourself in the future. Try looking from this
perspective. Past mistakes, habits and problems have brought you to this point. I always use the example of a
cake. When you mix all the ingredients together you put a little of this and a little that. You mix it up, blend it together and put it in the pan. Insert the pan(s) into a pre heated oven. Twenty-five minutes later or so your cake is ready. You let it cool and then you frost it. Now you’re ready to take a bite. Boy this cake is great! If you were to change any of the ingredients it would not taste the same. Well if you could change the past perhaps you wouldn’t be here today? Everything that has happened has brought you to this point. I know everything that has happened has not been just wonderful. However, all of your life’s ingredients have brought you to this very point! You can’t change the past anyway. But you can reflect on it to help you navigate through the future. All we have is now and the future. Just know truth and honesty are crucial ingredients you
definitely need in marriage. Preheat it with commitment. Bake your marriage in the warmth of understanding. Let things cool down and dress it up with some tasty frosting whipped with lots of Love!
The big difference between a Christian and a sinner is we have a Savior. A precious Savior that has ALL POWER! He is a constant companion who has the antidote to all life’s problem. All you have to do is cry out to Him. He’ll supply the strength you need if you are sincere! But you must humbly yield to His direction to properly navigate through life’s many obstacles. You really don’t have a valid excuse to continue to live in the dark. You always have the freedom of choice. You can and will continue in the same cycle of dysfunction if you don’t make some changes. Don’t just sit back and think about making changes. Do something! God can deliver you from the cycle of dysfunction. Burying your head in the sand only delays the inevitable. If you keep it buried long enough you will certainly bury yourself in misery! Remember its okay to look at other couples. Glean from them lessons that will enhance your marriage. But, never try to be like anyone else. Just look about the gallery of life and see the many variations of relationships. Your relationship is unique. You are a work of art in progress. Don’t look to the world as a standard. God’s children are peculiar. Look to Him!
The divorce rate is in excess of 55 – 60% in the state of California. Divorce has become so casual that we now
have “no fault” divorces. The truth is it is someone’s fault. If you have been married before you know this. The world continuously finds ways to provide loopholes. Give your marriage everything you’ve got. This time commit to stick to your commitment. For preventative measures this time here is what God says about divorce:
“It has been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto
you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit
adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 5: 31-32 KJV.
Marriage is an awesome commitment. It can be an indescribable enjoyable relationship when God is in the
center. It is the very institution He created to provide His children a lifetime companion. God has created us in His image. No one knows better than God what is best for you! Your spouse should be the closest thing to you next to GOD! Take time and digest God’s Word. In His Word you will find the key to life. Jesus said “I am the way the Truth and the Life!”
Commit to making your relationship last. Continue to nurture and tend it like a beautiful flower garden. Constantly pull up the weeds life yields before they overtake your relationship. Discard them in the garbage bin. Feed and fertilize your marriage and plant tender seeds of love and tender care. Wash and water it down with the WORD of God. It really does have saving cleansing power! Your physical, healthy, wealthy and emotional sanity are at stake! Get it right this time! God does want you to be happy. Did you know to be blessed means to be happy? But you must be realistic life brings adversity; there is and will be a downside to marriage!
SEVEN THINGS TO PONDER
1. Marriage partners should learn to be best friends.
2. Make sure your marriage expectations are realistic.
3. Try harder this time. Commit to make it last.
4. Deal with issues before they become cancerous.
5. Never try to be like anyone else.
6. Know what God has to say about divorce.
7. Let this be your last marriage. Get it right this TIME
NEXT: Chapter 7 – The Downside Of Life And Marriage