Couple Checkup by Prepare & Enrich

We have been marriage mentors for several years. One of the resources we often use to help us understand a couple, and for them to understand themselves, is an assessment by Prepare & Enrich. The assessment has been developed from years of research and there are different versions for married, engaged and dating.

Prepare & Enrich does a great job highlighting various strengths and growth areas in a couple’s relationship. You each take an online assessment which asks many questions about things such as finances, communication, sexuality, spirituality, and more. A computer compares your answers, analyzes them, and sends a report to whomever your trained facilitator is. Once your facilitator has the results back, they will review them with you.

Prepare & Enrich now has a shorter version of the assessment available, called The Couple Checkup, that is designed for couples to purchase, take, and review the results on their own without a trained facilitator.

If you are a couple that has a relatively stable relationship, but may have some minor issues to improve upon, the Couple Checkup might be for right you. It works well when you may not have time to locate and meet with a trained facilitator. You can find it here: The Couple Checkup

If you are a couple who is really struggling, I would highly suggest that you find a trained Prepare & Enrich facilitator. If you go through them to purchase your codes, you will also get access to the more advanced version of Prepare & Enrich. Depending on the level of distress you are in and their level of training, the facilitator may be able to give you the support you need. Or they may be able to direct you to more appropriate levels of trained helpers or even a counselor. You can find it here: Prepare & Enrich Assessment

It is amazing how accurate these assessments have been in highlighting the underlying strengths and growth areas both in our own relationship and in the relationships of others we have helped.

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It Was Worth It

If you have read this blog much, you know that our marriage was very shaky at one time. We had a lot of pain, many struggles, and much work that had to be done to reconcile before we ended up with a different and better marriage than we had before our separation.

I want to say as a way of encouragement to others who may be struggling today in their marriages, the struggle was worth it.

When our son married our daughter-in-law, I was so thankful my wife and I were reconciled. During the ceremony I realized how much more awkward of a day it would have been, and less joyful personally, if Sharon and I had been divorced.

When we have traveled to see our first grandchild out-of-state, I have often been so thankful that we were back together, because again, I realize how much more awkward for everyone it would be if we were divorced.

There is something so special about being together as a couple at milestones in your children’s lives. Yes, we probably would have been adults about the situation, and tried not to spoil our child’s special days with our own drama, but it was much more satisfying to share those special moments together as a couple.

On a practical basis, it is cheaper to travel out-of-state to weddings and grandchildren events as a couple, sharing transportation and hotel room costs.

I have had a few minor health issues in the past few years, and it has been comforting to be married, living with my wife, rather than being alone.

From time to time I think about how much different and more complicated farming would be if we had divorced and what kind of financial setbacks we might have had.

Economic reality is that no matter how much money you and your spouse have together, if you pay a divorce attorney to help you get divorced, you have less of a pile of money to split between you. And if you don’t pay an attorney, there is a good chance you will make financial mistakes that cost one or both of you.

I have watched various friends and relatives go through divorce and some of them re-marry or be in new relationships. I have been at family events when both ex-spouses are present. Some of those events have gone fine with no major drama because both ex-spouses have exercised some maturity. However, I have often sensed an awkwardness on the parts of the ex-spouses, and I have felt sadness on their behalf. I have been at some events where there was major drama between ex-spouses, which is especially sad and hard on everyone.

So, my encouragement if you are in a struggling marriage, is to continue to do all that is within your power, with God’s help, to work through the issues. If by chance you do get divorced, I encourage you to get whatever help you need to truly heal before you get involved in another relationship. The  second and third marriages I have seen that have worked is because the new spouses really took the time and effort to heal their own pain, make changes in their own lives, and do differently in their later marriages than their first.

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Another Gospel? by Alisa Childers

If you are in marital crisis and are looking to scripture for advice, encouragement, and hope, or if you just want to have the best marriage possible by looking to what scripture has to say about marriage and relationships, what you believe about scripture is very important.

What you believe about scripture will influence how you understand and apply passages about marriage, and about such things as love and hope. It will have a major impact on what your life, and the life of your descendants, will look like in the future.

I have been a Christian for many years and in the past have studied how the scriptures were passed down to us and the reasons it is reliable. I recently read the book, Another Gospel by Alisa Childers, which was a good refresher on these topics and other topics related to scripture.

It was a relatively easy read for such heavy topics and included a lot of her personal story of going from faith in scripture, to doubt, to faith again. I have been on a similar journey from time to time in the past, so it was very helpful to hear her story and to be reminded again of the importance and reliability of scripture.

If you are someone who is either new to the faith, or who has just grown up in the faith but really have not studied issues about the reliability of Scripture before, this might be a good book with which to start such a study. If you are like me, and over time you have forgotten some of the reasons why you believed scripture, this might be a good refresher.

About 40 years ago, I read a book that goes a little deeper on these subjects, and is very much more detailed. The book is Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. The updated version of this book is Evidence that Demands a Verdict: Life Changing Truth for a Skeptical World by Josh and Sean McDowell.

Often during our separation what got me through hopeless and painful days was clinging to various promises and instructions in scripture.

If you don’t have a solid foundation in your belief in scripture, when things get tough in marriage it will be a lot easier just to go with whatever the friends or world suggest you do that day or to make decisions mostly based on your negative, hopeless feelings on a bad day, rather than the timeless truth of scriptures.

What books have helped you on your journey of understanding the reliability of scripture? What has your journey with scripture looked like over the years?

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Another Gospel? by Alisa Childers

If you are in marital crisis and are looking to scripture for advice, encouragement, and hope, or if you just want to have the best marriage possible by looking to what scripture has to say about marriage and relationships, what you believe about scripture is very important.

What you believe about scripture will influence how you understand and apply passages about marriage, and about such things as love and hope. It will have a major impact on what your life, and the life of your descendants, will look like in the future.

I have been a Christian for many years and in the past have studied how the scriptures were passed down to us and the reasons it is reliable. I recently read the book, Another Gospel by Alisa Childers, which was a good refresher on these topics and other topics related to scripture.

It was a relatively easy read for such heavy topics and included a lot of her personal story of going from faith in scripture, to doubt, to faith again. I have been on a similar journey from time to time in the past, so it was very helpful to hear her story and to be reminded again of the importance and reliability of scripture.

If you are someone who is either new to the faith, or who has just grown up in the faith but really have not studied issues about the reliability of Scripture before, this might be a good book with which to start such a study. If you are like me, and over time you have forgotten some of the reasons why you believed scripture, this might be a good refresher.

About 40 years ago, I read a book that goes a little deeper on these subjects, and is very much more detailed. The book is Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. The updated version of this book is Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life Changing Truth For a Skeptical World by Josh and Sean McDowell.

Often during our separation what got me through hopeless and painful days was clinging to various promises and instructions in scripture.

If you don’t have a solid foundation in your belief in scripture, when things get tough in marriage it will be a lot easier just to go with whatever the friends or world suggest you do that day or to make decisions mostly based on your negative, hopeless feelings on a bad day, rather than the timeless truth of scriptures.

What books have helped you on your journey of understanding the reliability of scripture? What has your journey with scripture looked like over the years?

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“One Another” Scriptures

While most married Christian couples are aware of some specific scriptures about marriage, it’s often easy to forget that all the instructions about how to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ also apply to our relationships with our spouses. Because, if our spouse is a believer, they are not only our spouse but our brother or sister in Christ.

In the New Testament there are many scriptures by various authors as to how to treat “one another”. Here are some great articles I found with lists of these various scriptures:

https://overviewbible.com/one-another-infographic/

http://storage.cloversites.com/wakarusamissionarychurch/documents/59one_another_scriptures.pdf

https://www.mmlearn.org/hubfs/docs/OneAnotherPassages.pdf

If you want to see insights from even more authors about various “one another” scriptures, just use your preferred search engine and type in “one another in scripture” and see other resources you can find. This is just a sampling.

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Marriage & Wedding Themes in Scripture

When you survey God’s big story in scripture you will notice that a wedding and/or a marriage are major themes starting at the beginning of history in Genesis, until the closing of time at the brink of eternity in Revelation. 

In the beginning God created man and woman, and even though there was no wedding ceremony there certainly was a marriage blessed by God:

Genesis 1:26-28 ~ Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [a]sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [b]sky and over every living thing that [c]moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2:18-25 ~ Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Jesus started his earthly ministry at a wedding:

John 2:2-11 ~ On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were six stone water pots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.

Jesus used a wedding parable to explain how the final wedding will occur at the end of time:

Matthew 25:1-13 ~ “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

The Apostle Paul linked marriage on this earth with the ultimate marriage of Christ and his bride the Church:

Ephesians 5:22-33 ~ Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Then all of history concludes with a joyous wedding and marriage:

Revelation 19:7-9 ~ Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”

Rev 21:1-14 ~ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

So often it is easy to get excited about all the details of a wedding and reception, or when there are marriage struggles, to get focused in on the circumstances under which a divorce might be scripturally justified. It’s easy to miss the big picture of God’s story that He has been telling through weddings and marriages in His Word.

What have you noticed about God’s use of weddings and marriage in scripture to paint a bigger picture?

New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

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Marriage & Divorce Scriptures

I want to bring most of the major Scriptures about marriage and divorce together in one place. If you are a Christian studying or contemplating marriage or divorce, you will probably often hear people say that the Bible says “this or that” about them or quote a short Scripture about marriage or divorce.

The Bereans were commended for studying the Scriptures for themselves, so I hope by bringing all of these Scriptures together in one place, if you are studying and contemplating marriage or divorce, you can review all of these for yourself in context and make wise decisions for your situation.

Acts 17:10-11

The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

Often when people discuss marriage and divorce, they start in Genesis, which is a logical place to start. However, I want to start with what Jesus had to say in the New Testament because he explains God’s perspective on marriage and divorce so well by referencing Genesis and Deuteronomy:

Matthew 5:31-32

“It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

My understanding is that in Jesus’s time, there were some groups of Jewish scholars who held a very conservative position about divorce, and some who held a more liberal position. They asked Jesus questions, apparently hoping he would side with one group or the other, but his answer sort of stumped them both. See for yourself in the following passage:

Matthew 19:3-12

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

Here, the Apostle Mark records Jesus’s view on marriage and divorce:

Mark 10:2-12

Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

 In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”

Here are the Old Testament passages about marriage and divorce that I believe Jesus was referencing in the passages above:

Genesis 2:15-25

Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said,

 “This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.

Here is the Apostle Paul’s teaching on marriage and divorce. Notice how in verses 10 and 11 he refers back to Jesus’s teaching:

1 Corinthians 7

Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But this I say by way of concession, not of command. Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.

Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.

Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry. But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well. So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.

A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

Here is more of Paul’s teaching on marriage. You will notice that I started a little before the verses explicitly about marriage. I want to show you how Paul uplifting an attitude of praise and thanksgiving right before his thoughts on marriage. Yes, marriage can be challenging, but as believers, if we can keep an attitude of praise and thanksgiving, it is easier to work through relationship challenges with our spouse.

Ephesians 5:15-6:4

Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Here’s a very short teaching from Paul about marriage:

Colossians 3:18-21

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.

Here’s Peter’s perspective about marriage:

1 Peter 3:1-7

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Another passage from Genesis that is relevant to marriage:

Genesis 1:26-28

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

And an often-quoted passage from the Old Testament about divorce:

Malachi 2:13-16

“This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”

Another book that might be of interest is the Song of Solomon:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song+of+Solomon+1-8&version=NASB

Many scholars believe that this book gives insight into God’s view of sexuality in marriage. Some scholars see it as more of an allegory of Christ and the Church.

The book of Hosea: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hosea+1-14&version=NASB has at times been called the book of love. It is a story of the prophet Hosea who was told by God to marry a prostitute as an illustration of the relationship God had with Israel; Israel was always going astray. It is a great example of a man continuing to love his wife, with God’s help, in spite of many hurts and disappointments from his wife.

So, my hope is having all of these Scriptures in one place will help you in your own study of marriage and divorce, so that you can be confident of your beliefs as you make decisions that are relevant to your life regarding marriage and divorce.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation
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Old Behavior Patterns and Starting Over

One of Sharon’s and my struggles after our separation was that even though we had learned a lot of new communication and conflict resolution skills and adopted more positive attitudes towards each other during our separation – both of which were instrumental in us reconciling – at times we could still fall back into our old dysfunctional patterns of relating.

When that first happened after we reconciled, we got scared that nothing had really changed. However, we realized that even though the old patterns might start, we knew all we had to do was to go back and start doing the new skill we had learned. Whichever one of us recognized the old pattern cropping up first would take the initiative to point it out and suggest that we get back to doing our new healthy behaviors.

So if you have had a major positive change in your relationship – maybe you went to counseling that was effective, maybe you went to a weekend seminar that really helped your marriage, maybe you and your spouse just drew a line in the sand and agreed to treat each other better –  and you see yourself fall back into an old pattern, don’t be discouraged. Welcome to marriage in the real world. It is normal for that to happen. Just go back and start the new healthy pattern again. You can always start over.

I often hear from other marriage bloggers/educators that while they teach better ways to communicate and live together to others, they themselves can fall into their old habits and from time to time have to begin practicing anew what they are “preaching”.

What dramatic change for the positive in your life or marriage have you had? What have you learned about getting back on track if you fall into an old dysfunctional pattern?

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Divorce Care

If you are separated or divorced, I highly suggest checking out Divorce Care. Divorce Care is a 13-week video driven small group. You meet weekly with other people experiencing separation or divorce and watch a video covering the topics listed here. Each week in the video several of these experts  share their professional expertise and sometimes their own personal  journey. Also in the videos people share about their struggles and triumphs surrounding that week’s topic. In the small group after watching the video participants share their own journey and encourage one another.*

I actually went to three different groups during our separation. Being in Divorce Care groups actually helped me pull out of my depressed state and I think laid some groundwork for us to reconcile because I was mentally and emotionally healthier. Even though we did not divorce, our 16-month separation was long enough that I related to a lot of the emotions that people were going through who were divorced or divorcing. One week was dedicated to reconciliation which was very helpful and gave me a lot of hope.

Most Divorce Care groups that I know about allow you to join in any week. If you go to the home page  and put in your Zip code you can find the groups near you.

If you are searching for information on topics related to divorce I would suggest reviewing the list of experts  because many of them have books or blogs on topics related to separation and divorce. Also, there are lots of resources in Divorce Care’s Personal Help Store. 

What questions do you have about Divorce Care?

What topics around separation or divorce are you looking for resources?

 *During Covid-19 quarantine some groups are meeting online.
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Purpose For This Blog and Website

My main goal when I started this blog/website was to have one place on the internet where I could link resources primarily about marriage and relationships that I had found either helpful during our separation or helpful since we have been back together. So often when I was sharing with others about resources, I could not remember the exact URL or the URL would change. So now I can just point people to this website with a name of a resource and it is easy for them to find.

I try to have a broad range of relationship resources including for pre-married couples, married couples who are looking to grow their marriages, married couples who are separated, and couples who are divorced. There are lots of general relationship resources also. My goal in blogging is to give encouragement and helpful information to people at all stages of relationships and to share parts of our own story as an encouragement to others.

I really don’t have a blogging schedule. When I feel like I have something helpful to say and I have time and energy, I write a post. Some seasons over the last several years I have posted fairly often and other seasons I don’t post for quite a while.

What resources have you found most helpful on this website? Are there some resources that you would like to see included? What blogging topics have you found most helpful and what other topics would you like to see me write about?

 

 

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