When you want to give up on your marriage…

Families are designed by God with two parents. The essential traits of men and women combine to form a fantastic set of skills and sensitivities perfectly suited to raise children into mature and well-adjusted adults.

Why then is it so hard and becoming so rare for two adults to get married and successfully raise their children without the tragedy of a divorce before they are done?

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Current statistics hover around a fifty (50%) divorce rate in US households. (Source – CDC Faststats) That’s half of all marriages not surviving the challenges and temptations of life long enough to keep a traditional family intact. Pastors and therapists will tell you their offices are full of the broken pieces that remain of a family when one spouse simply walks away.

As I type out this blog I am considering soberly that some reading this are seriously considering giving up on your marriage. Before you do, PLEASE consider five things…

1- Love is NOT just a feeling. It’s an act of Faith.  I Corinthians chapter 13 is the definitive text on love and it includes not a single mention of love being an emotion or feeling, instead it’s chalk full of actions & behaviors that expresses love to another, and in doing so kindles anew the “feelings” that drew you initially.

2- The commitment that you made to join yourself to another before God is one that He takes seriously. It’s a Covenant. This is not a light or trivial thing to God, He requires us to honor Him in the relationship that is bound by the covenant. That means, walking away from a marriage for reasons other than infidelity or abuse become pretty weak in the light Biblical illumination.

3- Your family will suffer more after a divorce. Period. Breaking up a cohesive mother-father parenting team will impact the future growth and maturity of your kids, not to mention increasing the risk of lifelong scars of guilt, shame and anger that can cripple their adult relationships.

4- There is a devil. He hates you, and he hates the image of marriage and commitment and lasting love. He hates what it represents and he is determined to destroy your home, your kids and your life. Don’t under-estimate his tenacity and cunning to provide every kind of counterfeit and beautiful distraction possible. Don’t try to fight this with the strength of will alone. It takes a Faith community to get through the tough spots.

5- Singleness is not usually much of  a relief, in fact it’s harder. Just ask any single parent…. If there is ANY chance of recovering your marriage, ANY possible way to go back. GO! It’s so much harder to recover what’s lost than to rebuild what you have. (This is NOT true for those trapped in an abusive marriage)

So don’t be deceived, walking away from your marriage because you feel like things are somehow different, that you’ve changed, you don’t love him-her anymore isn’t the simple solution you may be hoping for. Those feelings may all seem valid currently, but are certainly not wise actions to consider in the heat of the moment.

For single parents who have already sustained the loss of a spouse, you know what I’m trying to say here. The burden and the pain of trying to raise your children alone is…. well, inexpressible. The church is rife with single parent homes that are in constant crisis and stress and our public schools and courts are jammed with the legal debris of the custody and alimony battles they host. (Soloparent.TV is an encouraging and free resource for single parents struggling to figure it out)

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Take a breath….

Pull back your emotions a bit and ask God if it’s time to see a counselor,  a trusted Pastor or a Priest. Share with a professional of your feelings and ask for their help in putting those in their proper perspective. There are certainly serious issues that can occur in marriage that may require a divorce or separation, but many- many -many divorces are simply escape mechanisms. We try to retreat from the difficult and often overwhelming sense of failed expectations, broken dreams and the sense of unresolved isolation – frustration that can come from sharing your life day in and out with the same person.

Jesus will be your only salvation. Literally.

Spending time with your savior daily is the first and best advice I can offer. Putting Him first will allow you to start to recover and restore your love for a spouse who may not be lovely to you right now. Hang tough, don’t surrender.

Please take the time to spend with God before you give up. Read the bible, (Link is to a Free daily Podcast) Pray…do it every day for 10-15 minutes for thirty consecutive days. I’ll guarantee you a huge shift will occur in your perspective and in your attitude. He cares, He can soothe your pain and He can touch the part of your heart that no one else can.

How do I know all of this?

Simple… He did it for me and He will do if for you, but only IF you’re willing to make the greatest leap of faith you’ve ever made. Trust God to change your spouse and in that process…don’t be shocked if the biggest change occurs in YOU.

Peace out,

RTP.

PS – for those who need to vent or get unbiased advice… bam567@msn.com for Pastor Brad.

Reconnecting… parents and kids, husbands and wives… us and God.

I hate that awkward moment when I bump into someone over lunch or in the aisle at the local Kroger…someone I used to know pretty well. Usually its a former co-worker, a familar face from our old church small group,  an ex-neighbor… maybe a long ago schoolmate, or aging friend of a friend we used to hang out with before we had kids. Someone we  knew once more than casually…but somehow in the current of our life  we were slowly drawn apart until almost forgotten. Someone we now have less of a friendship with and more of a neutral  polite acquaintance status… a relationship that we all feel bound  to try to observe, but move quickly to avoid whenever possible.

All that awkward social stuff is common enough… to some degree or another we  all travel through our lives bouncing from one polite conversation to another. What can get uncomfortable is when this happens and you suddenly realize, that awkward uncomfortable odd, almost stranger social vibe is coming from one of your teen kids…or maybe it’s become your spouse?

The realization can hit a parent or family member like an electric current…Breathtakingly painful as it drills  into a newly awakened chamber of our almost empty and slowly numbing hearts. What happened to us ? We used to be so “tight”… so connected, where did things get off track?

It’s kinda of obvious on reflection…somewhere along the way, our life distracted us for a bit too long. We forgot to stay connected  and took their friendship, love and respect for granted. We made the “assumption” that things were “good”, simply because no one was chucking frying pans or lava lamps at us when we came home from work each night. So we plod along without so much as a hug or a peck on the check in greeting…. unaware that things might be drifting in the relationships we value the most… Not good.

Relationships take a regular dose of time, energy and focus. Not out of ritual or habit, but out of a genuine desire to share, listen and be heard. Passive parenting will kill a teen-relationship like a passive marriage will destroy a happy home. They are related, linked together. When we take the time to spend with our most important relationships, the rest of our lives will fall into balance, into the proper place.

Same is true of our relationship with God.

When we take the time to read in His word, pray in His presence and live in the shadow of His cross… we find life goes much differently than when we surge ahead without Him or lag way behind. God is calling to us to start and end our days with Him. If you make that personal shift, the rest of your life will sort itself out. Jesus describes this all in John 15 as “abiding”…

 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love… 11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Bold statements I know. But true nonetheless.

If your marriage, your teenager or your family are driving you nuts… take a few minutes and be honest. Do you need to actually pick up the Bible and read the word of God and ask for His help?  If you do, welcome to the human race. If you don’t think  it will matter, it may be that you’ve just gotten used to living life on your own and it’s time to soberly consider how that’s working out for you….?

Be careful, my own experience with living out things on my own terms were beyond painful.  If your pattern follows my own… relationships and life will continue to drift hopelessly away, you’ll find yourself disconnected from the ones you love the most. God wants to help… if you let Him, I believe He will redirect your path from where you are, to where you need to be to get reconnected.

I promise.

God is so intentional with us. He sends us such specific messages of hope, love and encouragement to His children. When we push through our pain and apathy and resentment long enough to re-connect with Him, we are choosing to abide.  You will be shocked at how amazing and simple it is to recover your peace,  perspective and hope on everything else. Our kids and our homes suddenly get a revised clarity and in the glare of His light we find that He will direct us forward. I’ve discovered that somehow… when we abide, it’s not long until we’ve found a specific way to recover and reconnect with our kids and our homes along the way.

Simple and Profound, Timeless and True, God’s word cannot fail.

Jesus is ready to help reverse the awkward into familiar. To heal, to renew and to reconnect you with your kids, with your family, with your spouse… All that’s holding you back is… well you.

Peace OUT.

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