Monday, June 30, 2008

Stander's Affirmation

At the website http://www.rejoiceministries.org/, there is a Stander's Affirmation. It is a pledge to hang in there for your marriage regardless of what your spouse does.

I still remember how overwhelmed I was when I said it while my wife and I were separated and she was promising to get a divorce. One thing I realized was that if I truly lived by my affirmation I was really giving up on getting remarried, even if she pursued the divorce all the way through the court system with no agreement on my part.

This is a radical proclamation to make. If you are in a deep marital crisis, there will come a time to decide either you are 100% in your marriage and keeping your vows, regardless of your spouse - or you are not.

STANDER'S AFFIRMATION

I AM STANDING FOR THE HEALING OF MY MARRIAGE! ... I will not give up, give in, give out or give over 'til that healing takes place. I made a vow, I said the words, I gave the pledge, I gave a ring, I took a ring, I gave myself, I trusted GOD, and said the words, and meant the words... in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in good times and in bad...so I am standing NOW, and will not sit down, let down, slow down, calm down, fall down, look down or be down 'til the breakdown is torn down!

I refuse to put my eyes on outward circumstances, or listen to prophets of doom, or buy into what is trendy, worldly, popular, convenient, easy, quick, thrifty, or advantageous... nor will I settle for a cheap imitation of God's real thing, nor will I seek to lower God's standard, twist God's will, rewrite God's word, violate God's covenant, or accept what God hates, namely divorce!

In a world of filth, I will stay pure; surrounded by lies I will speak the truth; where hopelessness abounds, I will hope in God: where revenge is easier, I will bless instead of curse; and where the odds are stacked against me, I will trust in God's faithfulness.

I am a STANDER, and I will not acquiesce, compromise, quarrel or quit.. I have made the choice, set my face, entered the race, believed the Word, and trusted God for all the outcome.

I will allow neither the reaction of my spouse, nor the urging of my friends, nor the advice of my loved ones, nor economic hardship, nor the prompting of the devil to make me let up, slow up, blow up, or give up 'til my marriage is healed.

- Author Unknown

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Upside Down

Somewhere in the Bible, it talks about a time when wrong will be right, and right will be wrong. I think alot of Christians believe that we are living in that time.

As I ponder our culture, I am amazed.

We have gays pushing to be married. On the other hand over the past few years, heterosexuals have been trending alot more to living together without marriage.

One thing I have thought is that if a person really doesn't believe in the permanence of marriage - then living together until "those lovin' feelings" are gone - does make sense, not that it is morally right.

I guess I almost have more respect for people who just admit they don't want a long term commitment and live together, than I do for those who promise "until death do us part" three or four times because they continue to divorce.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Love Never Fails

eIn 1 Corinthians 13 Paul writes, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails."

During our separation, one verse I held onto for hope was "Love never fails." To me that was an awesome promise. If, with God's help, I could be loving in all circumstances to my wife and kids, eventually good would come. For those times where I failed to be loving, I trusted His grace for me.

What small thing can you do today to show love to someone? Rest assured that love never fails.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Determination

One of my personal observations has been that of those couples who have been in serious marital difficulties, and then recovered, most generally one partner or the other has at some point in time drawn a line in the sand with great determination with an attitude of "We are not getting divorced."

I have seen spouses who have gotten that determined even though they were facing a spouse's adultery, or alcoholism, or other major issues.

This attitude seems to be a key between separating those whose marriages make it and those that don't. It is not a formula I can teach anyone; it is something a person has to find from within.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Never, Never, Never Give Up

At times I have heard my wife encourage people to never, never, never give up on their marriage. This is from a woman who was separated from me for 16 months, and who was unwilling for a long time to work on reconciling with me.

Thankfully God had other plans, and He helped me to hang on when there didn't appear to be hope. "All things are possible with God."

The website that is probably the most helpful for those who want to draw a line in the sand for their marriage is http://www.rejoiceministries.org/. I would encourage such a person to read Bob and Charlyne's testimony, other testimonies and various articles. Dig deeply into what these people have to say.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Discouraged Marriage Saver/Educator

Sometimes I just get discouraged. I try so much to encourage people to draw a line in the sand to hold onto their marriages, and sometimes it doesn't seem like I get through to them. Often times after we hold trainings and I see people and ask if they are using some of what we taught them, they will answer "no", and then grumble about still struggling.

I often wonder how often this blog is read, and hope it is helping someone.

I do know of some marriages that I have been involved with helping, have been turning around, and that is encouraging.

Then, in real life, my marriage goes up and down and that can be discouraging also. Maybe somedays I am too much of an optimist and put my hopes and expectations too high for myself or others. When I try to pare down my hopes though, it is too easy just to settle for survival, and I don't think that is what Jesus meant when He said that He came to give abundant life.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Why Do Failing Marriages Bother Me So Much?

For some reason, I hurt very deeply when people I know give up on their marriages. Maybe part of it is that at one time when my wife promised to divorce me (by God's grace she didn't go through with it) I had many people in the Christian community encouraging me to just accept it, and give her a dissolution, and telling me that there wasn't anything I could do. I am glad that I didn't listen, but perserved in refusing to do a dissolution, or to give up on our marriage.

I am so frustrated that often I don't seem to be able to inspire others to stand radically for their marriage, even when it looks hopeless. My observation has been, that in marriages that reconciled, one party or the other at sometime, just got determined that they were not giving up. I don't know how to inspire people to get that determined.

Last Man Standing

I have a friend who is a former professional clinical counselor. He has mentioned that a counselor should be the last one standing saying that there is hope for a marriage, even when others, including the couple, have lost hope. That concept inspires me alot as a coach/mentor/ friend to struggling couples. But being the last one standing can be a very lonely place.

"I want to do everything possible to save my marriage."

I often hear statements from spouses along the lines of "I will do anything to save my marriage." or "I want to know that I have done everything possible to save my marriage."

I heard once during our separation that someone said "Do everything you can think of to save your marriage, and when you are done with that, God is just ready to get started." That inspired me to keep trying when things looked hopeless.

Here is a quick list of resources on this blog, but there are many other things to try. If you do browse this blog, you will also find some testimonies about some of the things that I did.

1. Absolutely refuse to sign a voluntary dissolution. Let your spouse pursue you all the way through the court system, and allow the judge to make the decision. Hopefully they will not pursue it that far. Find more of my thoughts under the post called "Let No Man Put Asunder".

2. Start fasting on a regular basis, whether that is on counseling days, or one day a week, or eventually a long term fast of 21-40 days.

3. Listen to DVD's and do the workbook for Choosing Wisely Before You Divorce. Listen closely to the reconciliation testimonies.

4. Read the Stander's Prayer at http://www.rejoiceminstries.org/. Decide if you can truthfully say it, then pray it, and hold on.

5. Do Reconciling God's Way at http://www.reconcilinggodsway.org/.

6. Join a Divorce Care group (You can find one at http://www.divorcecare.org/). Pay particular attention to the sections on reconciliation and the testimonies.

7. Seek out marriage testimonies of reconciled marriages in person, on the web, and in books.

8. Get counseling/mentoring/coaching for any life issues you have such as drugs/alcohol/sex addiction/depression/etc.

9. Get people praying for you, whether pastors/elders/ friends. Go forward for special prayer at worship services. Some websites have places for prayer requests including http://www.rejoiceministries.org/.

10. Go for some sort of intensive prayer counseling and work prayer into your life in a new and special way. See my prayer links on this blog.

You may be asking, "What about my spouse?" Personally, I believe the key is allowing God to change you, then on your behalf, He may move to change your spouse's heart.

I know this is alot of information. If it is overwhelming, pick out a couple of things, and get started, and then add more later. If you have done all of these things listed, and you still aren't reconciled, try some other resources from this blog, or try some other things that God has shown you, or contact me and we will come up with some more ideas.

With God all things are possible. Love never fails.