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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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 11 Love cherishes II

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Two illustrations are given in the Love Dare book on how we handle marriage. The first example is of an old car in need of extensive repairs, upon learning the cost of the repairs, the owner decides to get a newer model. The next example is of a crushed hand and the expense willingly paid to repair and save this hand from amputation. The authors comment that our marriages should be like saving the hand, cherish our spouse as we do our own bodies.

I have been amputated from my wife and it still feels like the wound has a long ways to go towards being healed. This has been described as a natural feeling, since we become “one flesh” with our spouse. The tearing apart of the “one flesh” does not follow neat lines and the wound is very jagged. Jesus came in part to heal the brokenhearted and I am relying on that healing every day. I pray for healing in my marriage daily, but I realize we all have free will and can do what we want regardless of God’s plan. I can exercise faith with things and strengthen my belief in God but my wife is free to do whatever she chooses to do, as am I, but I choose the marriage.

My stepson graduates this year from High School. He and I are back on speaking terms; he states that he was not angry, just too busy to get back to me for a week. Today I received an invite from my wife to an Open House for Garret, I don’t know if she thought I would come, but I am not emotionally incapable of attending. If the roles were reversed, I am certain my wife would have no difficulty in attending an event like this, which just illustrates how different we are emotionally. I did not make this decision by myself, I have a “Sponsor” who helps me decide what I am able to handle when I am unsure.

Eighteen years ago, my oldest daughter graduated from High School. My first wife had divorced me and I was in worse shape emotionally then than I am now. I was in the early stages of recovery and was able to attend her graduation and make a 2 minute appearance at her Open House. The similarities are present now, my first wife had reached a point where she “couldn’t take it anymore” because of my behaviors that are common to many alcoholics. I had much to learn in my sobriety and the hardening of my first wife’s heart towards me was not something she would change. I have now been sober 19 years, 7 months.

I can write all I want about my beliefs and the confidence I have in God to change lives and marriages, but if my wife continues on the path she is going, I will be spouting theory about God’s plan and work in marriages. I am fully confident that He can work miracles in the marriage of two imperfect people, because of all the cases of His miracles being worked in the lives of alcoholics and addicts.

If your marriage is in trouble or could use a boost, please cherish it enough to do all it takes to make it a great marriage. It is possible with God’s help, and it is worth it.

“Don’t let the culture around you (not even Church culture) determine the worth of your marriage. To compare it with something that can be discarded or replaced is to dishonor God’s purpose for it….it should be a picture of love between two imperfect people who choose to love each other regardless.” The Love Dare; parenthetical opinion is mine.

Day 1 Love is patient II

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In 40 days my marriage will end in divorce, unless God intervenes.

There are references to 40 days, years, throughout the Bible. The Love Dare book is 40 days of “dares”. I feel lead to go through the LD book one more time during this 40 day period.

It has been 7 1/2 months according to my reckoning, for how long my wife and I have been separated. According to my wife, it has been 11 months. Much has happened during this time. Our daughter-in-laws’ grandmother died, Christmas was spent apart, my children’s grandmother died, my youngest stepson’s dad died, Easter was spent apart, sporting and school events were missed of Garrets’ Senior year in High School. Good news, my oldest daughter is going to have a baby boy in October! All these major life events were experienced as a single person, no comfort or joint celebration was possible.

I was an emotional wreck for months and learned that this was not unusual. Studies indicate that divorce demands up to 85% of our emotional energy. That is a huge imbalance! Through much counsel and countless prayers of many godly people, I am still here. I still attend 5 recovery meetings per week and have made many new and supportive friends.

I have given away many copies of the Love Dare book and promote it when I can. I firmly recommend if you embark on this LD journey, say a prayer to prevent the “enemy” from sabotaging your efforts. I feel that there was an element of spiritual warfare present in the demise of my marriage. I had just started in earnest to seek a spiritual and practical solution to our marriage and personal problems when my wife declared she was quitting. I still am responsible for my behaviors and have submitted and do submit to God’s correction and teaching.

The first Love Dare lesson proclaims that Love works! The lesson is on exercising patience and not returning evil for evil. Get a copy of the Love Dare and follow along with me, tell me how it goes.

I am going to keep this short, I am using my phone to type this post. God Bless you and your marriage…

All Avenues Exhausted

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I am grateful for many things, more so since going through this very painful divorce experience. I am grateful that I am a recovering alcoholic in a 12 step program.  Every meeting I attend, I witness the gradual life rebuilding miracle of recovery.  I witness the Love of God towards those of us who have exhausted all humanly possible attempts at changing our lives around.  I see people so bitter towards a God that “abandoned” them years ago, come to believe in the God that never leaves us, nor forsakes us.

Our faith was exhausted, life had no joy for us and many of us contemplated suicide, some actually did kill themselves, cutting short the promise of a new day.  I was blessed to be in a meeting this past Monday, that was the most emotional meeting I have ever been to in my 20 years in AA.  I did not share at this meeting my own suicidal tendencies.  Four people out of the fifteen in the group had spouses that suicided.  Two people had toddlers die on them.  All of us had been at the end of a death march of sorts.  At the close of the meeting, all the women were crying, the men were choking back tears and we were all so glad to be there!  We are a strange family, brought together by an illness that resisted all outside interventions, only God could relieve us of our disease and would if He were sought.

I began writing this post with the frustration of a failed marriage in mind.  I was discouraged, wavering in my faith, and generally at wits end.  I have been here before and it is exactly at this point where I once again lay all my concerns, all my fears, my powerlessness in the very capable hands of God.  I will not lose my faith with this marriage, all I need to do is keep going to meetings and I can see the work that God is doing.

I have been guilty of an idolatry regarding my wife.  My wife stated that, “nothing on earth or in heaven can make me change my mind” of divorcing me.  I believe her, but God is more powerful than my wife.  She may get her divorce, but I do not think it is going to give her what she thinks it will give her.  Everyone, including myself who has had the audacity to stand up to God and challenge Him, has been humbled.

I have accepted that this marriage will end in divorce.  I accept it, I do not approve of it.  The filing will probably be done this week, and since we are in a “no-fault divorce state”, that will be the end.  Many strong believers have prayed with me, for the marriage, for my wife, and I am very grateful for that.  Just because we miss God’s plan for our lives, does not mean God’s plan is untrue, or not possible for those who seek it for there lives.

All avenues are exhausted, except for what God chooses to do in this situation.

Pops Resurrection

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I have seen burning bushes, but I have never had God audibly speak to me; I do “hear” from God though.  I believe that everything God has to say about how to please Him, live our lives and have the kind of life He would have us have, is in the Bible.  There are many people who interpret God’s Word to fit their personal beliefs and lifestyles.   That is not how I believe we should hear Gods’ words.

We do have free will and can choose to live our lives any way we choose.  We can claim to hear God and live in accordance to those beliefs.  In the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, this way of living is referred to as, “self will run riot”.  All my best plans and thinking in matters of importance have had disastrous consequences.  That is where I am today, living out the consequences of “doing it my way”.

I posted in the last blog that I felt that my marriage was irrevocably damaged and because my wife has no interest in counseling or the marriage, I was going to file for divorce after the holidays.  That was my best thinking there.  My observation of the marriage is accurate; however my motivation for filing for divorce was wrong.

I have struggled with major depression all my life and suicidal thoughts during the onset of depressive episodes are not uncommon.  I have heard it said that people suicide when they start feeling better, coming out of depression.  I could never figure that one out, even though I was offered an explanation that I now have experienced.  When coming up out of the pit of depression, the slope is very slippery.  If you start feeling better, anything that starts you down that slide causes fear to set in.  You desperately do not want to go down where you just barely escaped with your life, rational thought is hard to hang on to.

I have been experiencing some relief from this last venture to the pit.  I was experiencing fear of what might be in the mail, divorce papers or no?  I was reading and pouring my heart into the Love Dare book and while I was learning, I also became discouraged.  In the book I agreed with the authors Biblical interpretation that divorce is not God’s will.  They went on to refer to marriages that ended in divorce because of the unwillingness of one of the partners; unwilling to forgive, unwilling to humble themselves and erase the record of wrongs suffered.  When discouraged and fearful, the slide begins.

I contacted a pastor friend, whom I trust as “rightly dividing the word of God”.  I told him I couldn’t handle being in limbo anymore and that I was going to file for divorce to end this agonizing situation.  He told me not to do that, that it would not ease my pain, would not give me the resolution I wanted.  He advised letting my wife file, therefore “releasing” me.  He said he would continue to pray for a change of heart in my wife.  Being desperate and irrational, I did not heed his advice and announced my plans for divorce.

Since that time I have had several people support what my pastor friend said.  “Give her time”, to process what she needs to and let her file if that is what she ultimately decides.  I emailed my wife, only means of communication available now, and told her she has all the time she needs and I explained my divorce announcement was made out of fear.  Today my wife told me she wants a divorce and will file as soon as possible.  She had previously said she was waiting to hear from God.  I know there are plenty of people who support her reasoning and may even have encouraged divorce.  Some may have gone as far to say it is God’s will, or God is okay with you divorcing, if you “have peace about it”.  I believe those are lies.

I hear from God by studying His word; He “hates divorce”.  We are allowed to divorce because of the “hardness of our hearts”, it is not His plan.  He uses marriage to describe the relationship that He has had with His people throughout the Bible and as the type of relationship between Jesus and the Church.  There are Bible teachers, who know the Bible way better than I; friends understand scripture and women better than I.  I hear from God, first from His Word and then those who bear witness to that word.  These are not people who add to the scripture, or twist it to meet their needs or desires.

I believe that with God all things are possible.  But we have to submit to His will and teaching.  I have thoroughly examined myself in the light of scripture and been as honest as I can be.  I did much wrong, I have asked God to forgive and believe He has.  My wife would probably say she has forgiven me, but she hasn’t.  God forgives and “holds no record of our wrongs”, my wife has a list a mile long of my wrongs.  Who can live with the list of their sins and hurts inflicted on someone else being held in front of them constantly?

I hold no hope out for this marriage.  I believe in God more strongly than ever.  He has sent people to help and He has been ever present guiding and encouraging me through this valley.  He alone knows my heart, He alone sees me as He has made me to be and He will guide me to realize that life, with or without my wife.

 

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