Thursday, April 30, 2009

Emergency Labels

If you are in a marriage crisis situation now, I am so sorry for your pain and fear.

If you came here looking for help and hope I would suggest first looking under my EmergencyLinks on the right sidebar.

I have been starting to review my posts and labeling those that seem to be most fitting for those who are in a crises or emergency in their marriage.

Just click on the label Emergency at the bottom and Google will pull up those posts.

If you page down through the older Emergency posts you will find alot of our testimony.

Beyond Affairs Network - Brecht Testimony

Thankfully, my wife and I didn't have to deal with an affair. I know many people do, so I wanted to post this story of a marriage healed from adultery.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1173014/My-husbands-affair-BEST-thing-happened-marriage.html

See more info about recovering from affairs at http://www.beyondaffairs.com/ which is also one of the links under Separation on my sidebar.

Josh McDowell, Divorce Comments

I wish I could say things as succintly as Josh. Really liked this post on Facebook.

Divorce—It’s Never Over
Last time I said that I believe that divorce has a greater negative impact on a child than the death of a parent. To continue, a second reason I think it is more difficult to lose a parent through divorce than through death is the lack of finality. When a parent dies, it is painful, but the child eventually realizes Mom or Dad is gone and experiences a measure of closure. After a period of mourning, he goes on with his life.But there is no finality with divorce. It isn’t over in the lives of the kids when the papers are signed. There is no mourning period after which he picks up the pieces, goes on with his life, and begins the healing process. The reality of divorce is that it returns every holiday, every summer vacation, and—for many youngsters—every weekend. The pain of separation goes on and on. Christmas with Mom, New Year’s with Dad, Easter dinner at Dad’s house, Thanksgiving dinner at Mom’s, spring break with one parent and summer vacation with the other. There’s no end to it.

If you have a Facebook account, you can read his post and comments at the link below.
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/note.php?note_id=76360121497

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Legal Section

I have just started a section for links about legal issues.

Mary's Advocates is a group founded by Bai McFarlane - a Catholic who did not want a divorce. Good info on both Catholic view of marriage and some legal issues.

Mike McManus from Marriage Savers wrote an article about how to reform no fault divorce laws.

Stephen Baskerville, a professor at Patrick Henry College, wrote an article about our unjust divorce laws.

Marriage Forum is just a one page resource about legal issues, I expect it to have more in the future.

The Divorce Resource Center looks like it has alot of good insights into divorce law including a link to a book by Judy Parejko ("Stolen Vows") which appears to give more history about how we got to so much no-fault divorce.

It is sad that in a country that upholds justice and people's rights, marriages that were jointly entered into with solemn vows can be so easily torn apart by one party.

I heard someone say once that it was easier to get out of a marriage than to get out of a car loan.

Winshape Retreat Center

If you look under my Community Marriage Resources you will find a link for Winshape Retreat in Georgia. My understanding is that Winshape has been hugely influenced by the Truet Cathy family - primary people behind Chick-Fil-A, and is dedicated to being a place for Christians to retreat, reflect, get help on their marriage, etc.

You can go there just as an individual or a couple for some time alone. If you are an organization and want to host a retreat for marriages, or team building, there are accomodation for such things. If you want a prepackaged retreat they have various choices even for crisis marriages. Some of the prepackaged retreats are sponsored by outside groups such as the National Institute For Marriage.

For marriage specific info go here.
http://winshaperetreat.org/index.php/come/programming/marriage_programming/

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Note to Stable Marriages

If you are reading this blog and have a stable marriage, not a perfect marriage, and whether you've been married five years or 5o years, you have something to offer to others. Your love and experience is desperately needed by others.

There are all sorts of very vocal people extolling the virtues of many alternative life styles whether cohabitation, gay marriage, singlehood with adopted children, or single motherhood by invitro children. But, there are stable straight marriages in every community and if more and more of them come forward and share their insights and experiences with their families, their neighbors, their church, their friends - the tide might turn in many couples' marriages.

If you want to help and are clueless where to start browse under Community Marriage Resources on this blog, contact your local pastor and ask about mentor training and opportunities, but most of all let your love for your spouse shine through wherever you are.

Some Ponderings Regarding Legal Issues

For some of my earlier thoughts on legal issues, type "legal issues" in the search box and you will find several posts.

This post consists of some random things that I have picked up from what I learned during our separation, things I have read, and listening to people who have been through the legal system.

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and do not give you any legal advice. These are my own findings and opinions.

I understand many attorneys will give a free short consultation, before they ask for a retainer.

If you go to the library or a bookstore there are various books about the legal process and about representing yourselves. Many of them are under the law section, some may be under the relationship/marriage section.

There tend to be a couple of types of attorneys: a. ones who are very aggressive as a default mode of operation, and b. those who try to negotiate their way through a situation with the least legal aggression possible.

Our court system is set up as an adversarial system - two sides going at it with each trying to win. Many secular people are even starting to realize that this is a disastrous way to work through marriage and children issues, and there has been much more push for more alternative dispute resolution such as mediation.

If you have children - I think it is correct that in some way you will be somewhat under the jurisdiction of the court until they are 18 years old - maybe longer, if there is an agreement for lifetime alimony. In other words, once you have an agreement in place regarding finances, kids, etc., if you want to modify it, because of circumstances changing such as a loss of job, loss of income, one spouse moves and upsets the balance on child visitation, etc. etc. you may have to go back to court to get things resolved again, especially if your ex- spouse doesn't see things your way.

An attorney who spoke on the "Choosing Wisely Before You Divorce" tape bluntly said something like - when you go to court you are going to war with your spouse and everything dear to you is at risk.

One thing to keep in mind if you believe your spouse is being unrealistic about your situation, and does not seem to be listening at all to you, is the principle of natural consequences.

As parents, for example, we may tell a child to keep his hand off the stove, we may spank them, we may reason with them, and someday we may miss being there at just the right instant and they burn their hand, but we help them recover. Because they didn't listen to us it can be a very painful way to go for both parent and child, but usually the message gets through when it happens.

Sometimes one spouse seems to think that being divorced is just going to be wonderful in spite of all the statistics, stories, and pastoral admonishments. Someday when the reality is they have all the kids, one is sick and they have no sick leave and their ex- spouse is off doing their own thing - or when all the bills of maintaining two residences and paying attorneys and having doubles of alot of household items starts hitting home, and the creditors start calling, it may dawn on them that divorce isn't Easy Street. Then they may want to work things out, but it's too late. Sadly sometimes it never does get through to them.

Enough reality check for now. If you are in a stressed marriage/divorce situation I am sorry for your pain. There is hope and healing. Many resources and encouragement are available on this blog.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Peacemaking/Conflict Resolution

I have just added a new resource under General/Misc. www.peacemaker.net is a website devoted to Christian peacemaking principles whether in the home, church, business, etc. I think they have alot of solid biblical principles and they have lists of professionals who have been trained in those principles.

Resurrection

Yesterday was Easter where we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. I am mindful of the fact that Jesus took our marriage, which was dead, and resurrected it to new life. Bits and pieces of that testimony are on this blog; long term my wife and I hope to write a book about our story. I am thankful that Jesus does resurrect marriages.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Radical Way to "Inspire" Couples

One frustration we have as we work with marriages is how to inspire couples to really take concepts that we teach them and use them outside of our meetings. We were commiserating about this with another couple who helps marriages when we had an idea.

When a couple comes to the church for help tell them - we can teach you, and you can either work at it, or if you don't want to make the effort, the church has attorneys available who will then pass a finders' fee on to help fund the marriage ministry for those who do want help. You can each have an attorney and go at it.

Please don't take this as a serious proposition, but sometimes as marriage helpers, you feel like doing something radical to wake people up.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Contrast

Yesterday I happened to be on Facebook. One post was from a lady I know who was saying she was thankful for 16 years of marriage. The next post was from another lady I happen to know is divorced or in the final stages of divorce.

I don't know either women deeply, but they both go to the same church faithfully, are in the same age bracket, both have children, both have always been kind and friendly to me when I have spoken to them.

The thought crossed my mind - this is a picture of the church- about half divorced. I just wondered to myself what the differences are behind the scenes as to why one marriage has held in there, and one didn't. My hunch is the lady whose marriage didn't make it is wondering the same thing.

I just feel sad at how many marriages, even in the church, don't make it. One thing I heard several times in Divorce Care is that each divorce is the death of a small civilization.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More Fireproof Stories

Here is a link to Fireproof stories. A good place to go for encouragement.

http://www.fireproofthemovie.com/stories/