“Truth is. I love my daughters but right now they are both acting like spoiled brats. One does not speak to me and the other speaks with venom telling me she never wants to hear from me again. I just pray that someday they come back to me and let me love them.” I don’t know the circumstances behind the pain this father is feeling. It breaks my heart when I see posts like this on Facebook and it reminds me of one of the purposes for my life.
What I do know is that this man’s marriage ended and he is in a relationship with another woman, who also has two children. So the trouble with marriage is that there is trouble! And when children are born into marriages and when the marriages end, the children suffer. I know when I decided to end our marriage in 1988, I was going to “protect” our daughter from the ill effects of the divorce. I justified it was better for me to be happy than for her to have both her mom and dad to wake up to each morning and to tuck her into bed at night. (wrong headed thinking, maybe even selfish.)
So what are we to do when marriages fall apart? When trust is broken? When the love is lost? Or in my case, when my love turned to hate?
Coincidently (if you believe in coincidences), as soon as I saw that post on Facebook, I had a message from an old friend asking how we were able to fix our marriage. That took me back to our marriage manual: Love Life for Every Married Couple. Marriage is really simple. It is a tender garden that needs to be watered, fertilized, weeded and cared for every day. We get caught up in the minutiae of life. Life gets in our way. We begin to take each other for granted. We don’t really know what marriage is! (Want to learn? Read this link.)
My friend and I had a long talk today and I had to relive how we were able to “fix” our marriage. I had recommended the Love Life book a year or so ago when things were not going very well. But somehow, that book was never purchased, nor read. But now the marriage is in a crisis and urgent help was needed. So I pulled out the book and began to review chapter 15, “How to save your marriage alone.” I re-read it as I began to scan it into a word document to send it to my friend. It was a long slow process, but I finally was able to send about 8 pages from the book. Everything I said was reinforced in the book.
So just a few tips:
1) We lived our lives as a married couple with and without our Lord in the center of our marriage. It is 100% better when Jesus is in the center of our relationship.
2) We apply the BEST principle in all we do: Be a blessing to each other – putting each others needs above the other; Edify – or speak well to and about each other; Share – our feelings, needs and desires with each other; Touch – this is especially for men – to touch each other frequently in non-sexual ways without the result all men want/need – that leads to the good stuff! (Fully explained in Chapter 6, Prescription for the BEST Marriage)
3) We surround ourselves with others who believe the way we do – first and foremost in their lives – faith and subsequently, they put marriages in the forefront of their lives.
4) We set aside time each day to pray together and each week, to worship and praise God with other believers.
5) We KNOW that all we have are gifts from God, that we are to be good stewards of what we have and we never take our “stuff” for granted. Each week, we give a portion back to the Lord in the form of tithes to support our local church and each month, we share another portion to the Lord’s work to support others. While the Bible suggests 10%, we believe God needs to direct each person to give as He leads them.
So what are we to do? And what if there are no children in the marriage? What if one spouse dies young? Yes, there are many variables – but what is for certain, life is precious and none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. We can’t take anything for granted and especially our marriages! Trust me, it is so beneficial to grow old with the spouse of our youth “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” Proverbs 5:18
But the real KEY is the blessing of forgiveness: “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23. None of us are perfect! We all make mistakes, we all need forgiveness! “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness….” 1 John 1:8-9
And the GOOD news, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…. John 3:16
“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you….” Acts 13:38
PLEASE think about this and prevent the future hurt and heartache divorce causes all concerned! We thank God every morning we were able to forgive each other and were able to start fresh and learned how to fall in love (again), stay in love and rekindle our love every day!