Standing No More

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Sixteen years ago yesterday, May 30, 2014, my now ex-wife and I were married. In the terminology of a group I have been involved; my ex-wife is not to be called “ex” but my wife. This group calls themselves “Standers” and the spouse who leaves the relationship, the “Prodigal Spouse”. One ministry in particular that I have been following is “Rejoice Marriage Ministries” of Pompano, Florida. If you want to know the backstory of the founders, this ministry can be found on Facebook and online.

I have not submitted a new entry to this blog for quite some time but check on the views that are shown, I do this less these days. Recently a woman made several wonderful comments after reading some of my posts. Many people find my blog by searching for questions about divorce and “Joseph Prince”. I do not represent Joseph Prince and extrapolated his teachings on grace and forgiveness to the divorce situation. I have no idea if he supports my conclusions, I’m not sure I do any longer.

I began my last round of seeking marriage enrichment, restitution over 4 years ago. I began working through the “Love Dare” book and found it to be very good. The main relationship the Love Dare addresses is our relationship with Jesus. In retrospect when I was working through this book while still living with my spouse, I believe it heightened the spiritual warfare that is common in marriage difficulties and in the life of a Christian. Major life altering events were taking place, adding to the marital strife and stress. My wife lost her job, the house we were renting with an option to buy was being foreclosed due to the fact that the people we were paying were not paying the bank. I also believe my wife was beginning to “backslide” and engaging in behaviors that were difficult for me to handle. If you have read any of my previous entries you will know I have taken full responsibility for my share in our problems and on further reflection, responsibility for parts that had nothing to do with me.

I went through the Love Dare prayerfully and honestly at least 3 times. I started studying Dr. Gary Chapman’s ‘The 5 Love Languages’ and read through the Bible with his devotional for a full year. I studied The Word and read the entire Book more than once during this time. I have gained insight that I would have been well served having had it previous to the marriage difficulties. I believe that I had to be ready to receive this teaching and my heart was not receptive to any of it before now.

I know my shortcomings and character defects and my defects of mind and brain chemistry. What I did not consider is the personality disorder that I have learned about and believe my wife enjoys, I would say suffer but to suffer one has to see it as a problem and this disorder does not allow those who have it know they have it, or believe they are suffering due to anything on their part! The disorder is called Narcisstic Personality Disorder. Studying the characteristics of the people who have this disorder shed much light on what occurred in our relationship. I still believe that with God’s help, no problem is too difficult or unable to be made whole.

It is coming up on 3 years since my wife’s divorce was finalized. Through much pleading, begging, 100’s of hours of professional counselling and conversations with pastors, 1000’s of prayers from me and countless prayers of others’, I have come to the solid conclusion that this marriage will never be reconciled. What’s more, I do not wish to have it reconciled any longer, and there has been too much damage and no, absolutely no personal responsibility taken on the part of my ex-wife. So on the day of our would be anniversary I declared and declare, I am no longer “standing” for the reconciliation of this marriage.

 

Do Not Divorce

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I have been getting many “hits” from people searching out what Joseph Prince says about divorce.  I can only assume it is because some are considering divorce, have been divorced and are Christians seeking out God’s opinion on the matter.

 

Search the scriptures, it is relevant today and will speak to your heart.  God hates divorce.  If divorced, we are to be reconciled or remain single.  I will add Scripture quotes later, I am at a coffee shop and feel compelled to write this.

 

If you are in a situation where you or your children are in danger, seek help and a shelter from the abuse.  If your spouse is mentally ill and or using drugs or alcohol, there is help and there is hope.  Your spouse can be healed and be the person you fell in love with and most likely will be better than ever through Jesus.  It will take time for recovery to take place, if the situation is abusive or involve drugs and alcohol, I think a year minimum will be required of honest work being done by the abuser to regain sanity.

 

If you or your spouse have cheated, been unfaithful, there is forgiveness form God through Jesus, just receive it and let God’s Spirit keep you from sinning in this manner again.  Forgive your spouse, keep your heart tender in the Lord towards your spouse and remember God paid a heavy price for your forgiveness, so forgive as you have been forgiven.

 

God will heal your broken heart, He knows your pain and has made provision for a total recovery.  Do not hold things against each other, keep no record of wrong.  Meditate on the 13th chapter I Corinthians.  God is love and His love has been shed abroad in our hearts, keep the love flowing with God’s help.

 

I pray to the Father of us all in Jesus Name that healing take place in your life and marriage and that by His Spirit you are able to do what we cannot do on our own.

 

 

 

 

Response to Former Wife 1 Year Later

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It has been 1 year today since I started this blog. I sorely wanted my marriage to be renewed, saved from divorce. That did not happen despite pouring incredible energy and prayer in the effort. My former wife asked me 2 days ago what my purpose in life is and what I am able to be passionate about. What follows is my reply to which she said, “good luck with that”.

My primary purpose is to be a faithful believer, God demands that He be first in my life and I gladly give Him first place. I am also to be a good father, grandfather and God willing the best husband a woman could have.

I am most passionate about my relationship with God through Jesus and the working of the Holy Spirit in my life. I am passionate about recovery, redemption, grace, mercy, love, forgiveness and the ministry of reconciliation. I am very passionate about marriage, which is a strange thing being single and all.

How does this flesh itself out? I have accepted God’s grace and understand it like never before. Because I know I have right-standing in God’s eyes through the blood of Christ, I feel whole and am no longer negative or pessimistic about life. I share my discovery and faith in meetings, with family and friends with openness and humility, this helps me and others recover what was lost.

I encourage others in their search for recovery and their sobriety. I encourage others not to take their marriages for granted and not to speak negatively about their marriage or spouse. I encourage others to forgive and accept forgiveness, to not hold records of wrong doing. Anything becomes “too much” if we hang onto and accumulate stuff, slights, or out and out abuse. I speak out against suicide and encourage suicidal people to embrace life, the good and the bad.

I am passionate about my own recovery and about learning the truth about myself. I am no longer suicidal. I have been harassed by suicidal thoughts and been close to succumbing to it but have been saved from it. I reject it as an alternative. I am not a divorcing spouse. I was immature and damaging in my expressions of divorce, but like suicidal talk and thoughts, I reject it and will never do either. People need to separate from harmful situations but not kill themselves or their marriages.

I am passionate about sharing my life with those who want me to be part of their lives. I am extremely blessed to have children, children from other fathers, grandchildren and family who love me. I have participated in more family events and have rekindled friendships and made many new friends. I share my faith openly and for the most part am accepted, respected and not ridiculed for my beliefs. I have learned more of the mercy and love of God and am able to offer that to others.

I purpose not to make decisions as I have in the past…alone. I have totally revamped the way I make decisions, much prayer and counsel goes into it. What God instructs me to do, I pray for His strength and ability to perform it and He is faithful and able to do this.

I desire a soul-mate to share my life with, I love marriage and all the blessings that come with it. I am wanting, willing and with God’s help able to have the kind of marriage God intends His children to have. I am open to new adventures, to travel, to making a home together, to making a house a home. I am blessed to be in a position and with the attitude of complimenting another persons’ life without having competing goals. I am passionate about not being tied down to possessions. I value family, friends and real connection.

What I want most of all is to be of service to God, to share the Good News, to be a pleasing and faithful servant. If I am blessed with a woman who shares the love of God and He sees fit to bless me in this fashion, great, if not, I am fine being single and sanctified to His service.

Bottom line for me, I must continue all day, day in, day out, to be committed to spiritual attention and growth. All the other acquisitions and adventures are secondary and will not happen without the first priorities in place.

Joseph Prince and Divorce

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I will be adding another new post in a day or so, time to get some of these bottled up thoughts out again!

There have been many people viewing my blog by searching “Joseph Prince and Divorce”. If you are not familiar with his ministry it is very good on the teaching of Grace. I have followed his daily devotionals and read a book of his. He refers to restored marriages but says they are rare (restored after a divorce) yet encourages us to believe it possible. I would love to hear from readers and stumblers upon their experiences with divorce and remarriage or their use of the ‘Love Dare” book.

If you are a follower of the teachings of Joseph Prince and are facing divorce, please open up dialogue here.

My main reader and contributor died this past year. Katie Mitten-Smith was her name and she is sorely missed, I lost a friend and a prayer warrior partner with her passing.

The apostle Paul says quite plainly that as Christians we are to be reconciled or remain single, (scripture reference to follow). Clearly this practice is not a common one. I sometimes wonder if church leaders and pastors shy away from teaching that would require some sacrifice or hard work to follow. I hope teaching is not going out just to satisfy and therefore keep members or contributors to the ministry happy.

Hope to hear from you!
Stan “Pops”

Divorce Care

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I am still handing out praise of and an occasional copy of “The Love Dare” book. I am convinced more than ever that divorce amongst Christians is wrong. I believe Jesus’s teaching on divorce and the elaboration of those teachings by Paul. I also have discovered faulty “Christian” counsel in this area.

Every Christian I have heard that gives a justification for divorcing their spouse is either a “christianization” of the popular cultures’ counsel or just plain ignorance of the teaching in the Bible. We want to be happy and have peace at all cost. We blame our spouses for our own spiritual failings and think that if we get rid of them and their influence on our life, we will be happy. The problems with this mentality is we are missing the focus of the problem and the solution.

I was my wife’s 3rd husband, she my second wife. We both had affairs on our respective spouses and emotional adultery while married to each other. This is a moral failing, sin on both our parts. My wife tells of her dating experiences before even filing for divorce of me. This is adultery, sin in old fashioned terms. I have continued to pray for my wife and myself in this area, the only thing I can do is be willing to follow God in dealing with my moral failings.

I firmly believe that there is spiritual warfare going on against Christians and their marriages are a battlefield where the enemy is making headway. There are influential “Christian” authors who are downplaying the concept of sin and accountability. Yes we are saved and forgiven all our sins by grace through Jesus Christ, but we are not to continue in sin.

Divorce, a Terrible Thing

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For those of you that have followed this journey through daring to love, the seemingly inevitable happened, Beth’s divorce of me was finalized on June 20th, 2011. I maintain that God’s Will was not done in this situation. That being said, God’s Will was not being done in my conduct towards my wife all the years we were married.

I see the failure in our marriage as a spiritual failing. I was to be the Spiritual Leader in our family and I never developed as that leader. I believe it takes 2 plus God to make a marriage great. A man of God fulfilling his responsibilities to his wife and children would more than likely result in encouraging the wife to live a God designed life also. Pure speculation on my part but I did see glimpses of this dynamic in my marriage.

God forgives and forgets, not so with we mere mortals. I did not know how to cope with the dynamo my wife was and certainly needed spiritual help to live successfully with her. My way of getting along was to go along and 9 times out of 10 this was not a problem. When I did not want to go along, I was pressured so strongly that I did 1 of 3 things, all with anger. I either refused to comply and faced her anger, complied, or left. The leaving was stupid and childish not to mention painful. Each leaving was with the intention of not coming back, then the pain came and I returned on my knees with promises that would be broken over and over again.

My wife was wonderful. Through her wounding she accepted me back dozens of times, only to be heart broken again and again. She forgave me much, so I love her much, ultimately she did not cancel my account of wrongs and states she had 16 years of walking heartbreak. I also held her to account for things that I had no right to hold her to account for. God is the Judge and God forgave us our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus, PERIOD.

The key I believe of a successful life, marriage and relationships is to accept God’s plan for forgiveness, for ourselves and forgive others as we have been forgiven and to turn our wills and life over to Him. There were so many missed opportunities in my marriage to step up to the plate, that if I had a double, I’d give myself a good butt kicking. Was Beth responsible for her conduct in the marriage, of course, but that was God’s job to correct not mine.

The Bible describes marriage as becoming one flesh. In divorce and in all the times I left, there is a tearing of that one flesh and it is excruciatingly painful! Do I blame my wife for wanting to bring this pain to an end? No. Do I wish she would have chosen the path of forgiveness, true forgiveness and trust God to fulfill His promises? I desired that and prayed for that more than you’ll ever know.

So now I’m attending Divorce Care, a Bible based course and support group. It promises healing through the only One who can heal, Jesus.

Day 13 Love fights fair II

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“Like it or not, conflict in marriage is simply inevitable. When you tied the knot as bride and groom, you joined not only your hopes and dreams but also your hurts, fears, imperfections, and emotional baggage. From the moment you unpacked from your honeymoon, you began the real process of unpacking one another, unpleasantly discovering how sinful and selfish each of you could be.” The Love Dare.

If you have been following my blog, you will notice that I have written about this day in the Love Dare before. I am in an entirely different place emotionally than I was then and that is an encouragement to me. I am faced with the finalization of my wife’s divorce of me, 27 more days. I ask myself why I am writing this blog since I am the only one in my relationship who desires a positive change. I still need the lessons of the Love Dare. The mental fog of emotional pain has lifted to a large extent and this writing is helping me process what went wrong.

I am still waiting to hear from anyone who is applying these principles in their marriage and how that is going. I have learned a lot about myself and am starting to understand a little more about the dynamic of my marriage. The dismay I feel at this time is based on my wife’s determination to end this marriage, her beliefs have undergone a radical shift in the opposite direction. My beliefs have been strengthened in God and I fully believe that a married couple can thrive if they apply the principles in this book.

Please prayerfully read Galations 5, especially when the talk is about the liberty we have in Christ. Many Christians today are exercising their liberty in Christ, but it is in fulfilling the desires of the flesh. We are to live in the Spirit and develop the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. The fruits of the Spirit do not lead us to divorce, but the flesh and our own desires do.

Rules of Engagement as suggested in “The Love Dare”

1. We will never mention divorce.
2. We will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past.
3. We will never fight in public or in front of our children.
4. We will call a time out if conflict escalates to a damaging level.
5. We will never touch one another in a harmful way.
6. We will never go to bed angry with one another.
7. Failure is not an option. Whatever it takes, we will work this out.

Pray for God to grow the fruits of the Spirit, Galations 5:22, in you, exercise them in all your dealings with others, especially your spouse.

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