Divorce, a Terrible Thing

2 Comments

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 25 Love Forgives

Leave a comment

I received an email today that made me wonder if I am giving the wrong message, especially in the area of dealing with harmful behaviors.  I do not believe anyone can have a successful marriage, or committed relationship while one of the parties is engaging in addictive, abusive behavior or infidelity.

We are first accountable to God, then our spouse.  If our spouse exposes, or confronts behaviors that are harmful and we through the blindness, or craziness while engaging in these behaviors, do not see the problem, we need to take their word for it.  Then we need to seek counsel and get help correcting the problem.  There are no excuses for continuing in marriage ending behaviors.

Today’s lesson in “The Love Dare” is in my opinion, one of the most important lessons in the book.  If there is to be a successful marriage, forgiveness must be made, it HAS to happen.  We are not God, but God’s forgiveness is the model for ours.  If He can forgive us all we have done and forget about it, why shouldn’t we?

The largest roadblock to recovery and to admitting our own problems is pride.  Life has a way of stripping my pride back to the core of my being.  If we continue in our headstrong self-righteous ways and refuse to look at what others are saying about our behaviors, we will either be in a sorry company of other pig-headed people, or all alone.

There is a wonderful analogy in the Love Dare book connecting the biblical story of the servant who was forgiven an insurmountable debt, avoiding prison. He then went out and put the squeeze on someone who owed him far less than the amount he was forgiven.  When the person who forgave guy #1 his debt heard of guy #1 squeezing this other guy for payment, he had the ingrate thrown in prison.

The prison analogy is carried forward, to our own dark recesses in our brains where we hold prisoner all the people we have not forgiven.  So and so, who abused me, the jerk at work, the guy who cut in front of me, the person who snubbed me and the one who won’t forgive ME!  Then the analogy presents Jesus.  He’s standing there holding keys to these cells and offering them to you to let these people go.  Of course we don’t do that, so Jesus turns away and leaves us with our prisoners.  But what’s this?  We look to leave the cell block and find that we are locked in there with our prisoners!

Forgiveness equals freedom.  Forgiveness equals health and wholeness.  Perhaps someone is wrong in how they have treated us, or spoken to us.  We are to forgive them anyway, God will deal with that other person.  He forgave everyone their sins, if I don’t, or you don’t forgive someone their sins, how do you think God will respond to that in light of the parable given above?

“But great marriages are not created by people who never hurt each other, only by people who choose to keep ‘no record of wrongs’ (1 Corinthians 13.5).”

The Dare Today:

“WHATEVER YOU HAVEN’T FORGIVEN IN YOUR MATE, FORGIVE IT TODAY.  LET IT GO.  JUST AS WE ASK JESUS TO “FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS” EACH DAY, WE MUST ASK HIM TO HELP US “FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS” EACH DAY AS WELL. UNFORGIVENESS HAS BEEN KEEPING YOUR SPOUSE IN PRISON TOO LONG,SAY FROM YOUR HEART, “I CHOOSE TO FORGIVE”. (Quotes from, The Love Dare and Bible)

I sincerely hope that this blog blesses you and that you receive as much goodness from it that it has to offer.  I cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting honest, getting help and accepting the gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ, to set you free.

What has this process done for my marriage?  No progress for me with my wife, she continues to want no communication, I am respecting that.

However, this journey has restored my personal relationship with God.  It has opened up my heart and humbled me to the point of asking for and receiving forgiveness from God.  New contacts have been made, a very wise Pastor has taken the time to encourage and bless me with his friendship.  I am meeting new people in recovery, where we all are in the same boat, and feel unashamed of our humanity.  I have reached out to and found many that are willing to help carry the load in prayer.  I have received blessings without measure from unexpected sources.  I continue to enjoy the love of my children and two of my sons, who happen to have different fathers.  There is more to be grateful for and for this I am glad!

 

 

Day 24 Love vs. Lust

Leave a comment

I like to think about Adam and Eve.  Here we have the perfect man and the perfect woman, made from Gods’ own hands.  No sin, no pain, no hardships and they walked and fellowshipped with God in the cool of the day, in the perfect place!  But this was not good enough for them!

It is said, that Lucifer was actually one of Gods’ most beautiful creations, until pride and wanting Gods’ job got him and his followers kicked out of heaven.  He can disguise himself as an angel of light and it is this beguiling creature that deceived Eve.  She saw the fruit was good, Satan got her heart involved and she acted on her desire for the forbidden fruit.  Adam came along and not wanting to lose his wife, he chose her over God.  To me it is Adams fault that mankind fell from Gods’ grace and sin entered the world.

From the eyes, to the heart, to action is the fulfillment of lust.  Most think of lust as having to do with sex, but it includes things, power and renown.  Being an addictive personality, I have struggled with sexual addiction.  This area of my personality defects is the hardest for me to own up to.  As I have aged, sexual addiction has not been the problem it was as I was growing up.

I am alone now and I look at women and have had occasion to lust, but mostly it is because I am lonely and miss the comfort of being married (see, that is a lie I’ve told myself, I lust because I sin)! My mind, when I am in my more lucid states, quickly dismisses my lusting after another woman.  Like any problem areas, if I drank or used drugs I would multiply my problems tenfold.  My first marriage was dealt a severe blow when I in my drunken mind set, stated I needed another woman.  I pursued another woman and found a woman willing to partake in a relationship with me, knowing I was married.  This makes me a recovering adulterer.

When I discovered pornography on the internet, I spent too much time exploring it.  How much is too much time?  For me, any time at all.  It was disturbing to see a beautiful act objectified and looking not much different than barnyard scenes.  It affected how I viewed women and most damaging, how I viewed my wife.

I have known my wife for 17 plus years.  Part of what enables me to quickly address my lust is my desire for my wife.  I had no idea that I would grow to appreciate what we have shared together more and more, as the years went on.  As an added bonus, when I started looking at the principles in the Love Dare book, that intimacy grew.

This subject matter is very embarrassing for me and I have had great shame over this part of my life.  I know there are men and women who have struggled in this area, and though we have asked and received forgiveness, we continue to live in shame from our past violations in the sex realm.  I witnessed a young woman get up in front of her family, peers, and a room full of strangers and admit to sexual promiscuity and prostitution to pay for drugs.  She grew up in “a good” home of Christians and went to church for much of her life.  She was on the mission field when she started her decline.  When she sang with the choir, she smiled constantly and she seemed so sweet, then she testified of what got her in to the program she is currently in.  That program is Minnesota Teen Challenge

“Lust is in opposition to love, it means to set your heart and passions on something forbidden.  And for a believer it is the first step out of fellowship with the Lord and with others…  Lust always breeds more lust…Lust will make you dissatisfied with your husband or wife.  It breeds anger, numbs hearts, and destroys marriages.  Rather than fullness, it leads to emptiness.”   It’s time to expose lust for what it really is—-a misguided thirst for satisfaction that only God can fulfill….When your eyes and heart are on Him, your actions will lead you to lasting joy, not endless cycles of regret and condemnation.”  From The Love Dare

Today’s Dare instructs us to END IT NOW.  Identify every object of lust in our life and remove it.  And replace it with the sure promises of God and a heart filled with His perfect love.

Although I am separated from my wife, this book has been very helpful exposing the lies I have told myself and I have learned much.  I know I love my wife and I know without a doubt it is her I desire and am lonely for.  I pray for restoration and healing, not just for my marriage but yours also.  If you are not married I pray for your success in relationships and that you would experience all God has in store for you.  If you suffer from addictions, you are not alone there are many people out here to help.