“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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Resource: CMBA

A good place to find resources about marriage and relationships from a Christian perspective is the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association. They have a huge list of Christian bloggers on many different topics related to marriage/relationships and I have found this to be an excellent place to search for info and help. Some of the blogs are written by professionals in the marriage counseling world and some are written by laymen. I like having both the professional and the layman perspectives. As always, just be discerning as to which blogs you find most appropriate and in line with your values.

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Life Hack: Finances

One area of marriage that tends to have a lot of conflict is finances, however there are some simple things that can be done to at least prevent some of the conflict.

Years into our marriage we went to a seminar by The Money Couple (https://themoneycouple.com/). Their premise was that we all have a money personality. Some of us are savers, some are risk takers, and so on. If we at least understand our own and our partner’s money personality then we have a foundation to start having conversations and making decisions about money. You can take a free simple test at their website to determine your money personalities.

A huge issue to discuss which is related to money personalities is each partner’s comfort level with debt. Looking at each of your own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to tracking money and then making an agreement as to which partner will do what task with finances can save a lot of conflicts.

For us, Sharon is more the detailed person, so she pays 99% of our bills both personal and business. She is very prompt, so our bills are paid a little ahead of time. I am the type of person who procrastinates and would probably come in from farming at midnight and realize that the electric bill was due tomorrow. We both agree that bills should be paid on time, we just go about it in different ways and her way is a lot less stressful than my way. In some marriages it is the husband who is the more detailed person who pays the bills and tracks the finances.

In college I took courses in accounting, tax and law so I do the majority of the communication with the accountant, banks and attorney and then review with Sharon any documents she needs to sign. If I can not explain all of the details of the documents to her satisfaction, she will talk to the professionals herself, because sometimes I just don’t explain well. It is more important to me that she understand documents than whether I am the one to explain them to her.

One thing we did early in our marriage upon the advice of a banker was to get a credit card and checking account in Sharon’s name only. That way if some unfortunate tragedy happened to me, she already had a credit history.

Some couples have an agreement as to how much money each can have from the budget per month for fun money that they spend without discussing it with their spouse. Some couples each have separate bank accounts that their paycheck goes into and they have agreed what expenses come out of each person’s account. Some couples put everything into one joint account and then agree who takes primary responsibility for that account and agree on a budget as to how the money is spent.

Some couples have agreed upon spending limits for each spouse. Each of them can make their own decisions in their area of responsibility such as household, vehicles, etc. up to a certain dollar limit without consulting the other partner, but over a certain dollar limit they need to consult the partner. For instance, maybe they have agreed on a $500 limit. Maybe the wife is in charge of the household and the vacuum is almost worn out, so she does her research and buys a new $300 sweeper and does not tell her husband ahead of time. On the other hand, maybe she dreams of a whole house vacuum and it is $3000 so she talks to him first. Another example – maybe he takes care of the cars and realizes that winter is coming, the car needs tires, so he just buys new tires for $400. On the other hand, he is at the mechanic’s and is told that the car needs a $3000 overhaul, so he goes and talks to his wife about their options.

I had an attorney, who was also a large real estate investor, once tell me that his agreement with his wife was that if he was going to spend $10,000 he did not tell her, if $100,000 he told her, and if $1,000,000 he asked her. I never talked to her to find out if she agreed to his system, but if she did and it worked for them, that was great.

One system that doesn’t seem to work so well is throwing all the money into one account and both partners using ATM cards and no one tracking upcoming bills or balancing the checkbook.

Another system that does not seem to work so well, is just carrying a deck of checks and writing checks on the account and not keeping a register. That is a surefire way to get into financial trouble very quickly.

I knew of a situation where the husband was a wealthy businessman and passed away and I think his wife was in her 60’s and had never written a check. That was a highly stressful situation where others had to come in and manage most things for her.

I knew of a situation that unfortunately looked like it was headed for divorce. The husband was a well-off businessman who gave his wife a substantial household budget each month, but she did not know how much money they made. She told me that just last year he had brought their joint tax returns to their son’s ballgame and she just signed them on the sidelines without reading them. I suggested that before she signed them this year, she either had her husband explain them or that she insisted their accountant explain them to her and show her how much money they were making.

If you have been working as a team to figure out the best way to manage and organize your finances and making joint major financial decisions in normal times, then you have a better foundation to build upon and make tough financial decisions when unexpected events such as Covid-19 come along.

What have you found to be some helpful ways for you and your spouse to manage money? Do you use any budget software to help?

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Life Hack: Sharing a Calendar

We teach quite a few tools about how to resolve conflict, but most of the time it is easier to just minimize conflict. Having a shared calendar is one way to minimize conflict over schedules.

We’ve learned over the years from talking with couples that they can get frustrated with one another because they have forgotten to share appointments or events they have coming up in a week. They swear they have told each other and accuse the other person of not paying attention. And then it goes downhill from there. Having a calendar system that works for you and your spouse is one of those simple things that can help minimize conflict.

Sharon and I use a calendar app called Cozi.com. Because she is more organized than I am she keeps the master calendar and I text her my appointments which she then enters into Cozi. Cozi then syncs across our many phones and devices so at any point in time either of us can look and see what the other has going on. (Or even where they are when you forget!) Just keeping a shared calendar helps keep misunderstandings and frustrations from happening.

Many couples or families use apps from Apple or Google. What apps or systems have you found that work for you to minimize calendar conflicts with your spouse or family?

 

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Life Hack: Wills

I encourage you that no matter what season of life this is for you that you either get a will or update your current will if there have been major life or law changes since you made your last one. You may be young and unmarried or young and married with no kids and think you don’t need a will because you don’t have much financially or physically, but in the unlikely event of your premature passing it will make life easier for your family and less complicated legally if you have a will.

One  of my first days in estate planning class in college our professor said  something like, “If you don’t have a will, the state has one for you, so if you don’t like the one the state has, then  you better get your own prepared.”. If you die without a will it is called dying intestate. If you Google for your state, you can see what your state’s distribution plan is if you have no will.

If you have children, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a will to make your wishes known about the care of your children – even if you see yourself as having very limited financial means.

If you are older and already have a will, it is very wise to review and possibly update it when major life changes happen such as divorce, remarriage, tax law changes, the last child becoming of legal age or any other significant life events.

If you have designated guardians for your children and they move or have a major life change themselves where they might not be your preferred guardians anymore it’s wise to update your will.

Other things to consider are living wills and health care powers of attorney. These can be very complex – and in some ways I found the decisions more emotional and legally complex than my will – because you are designating what you want to happen in your own health care crisis or end of life decisions. Be sure to research your options carefully by reading and having detailed talks with an attorney.

Yes, I know this is not a fun topic and at times in life I have gotten behind the eight ball in reviewing my will because I really did not want to face the possibility of my own mortality. When I know I have things up to date I feel good knowing that things will be smoother for my family if this part of my life is in order.

 

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