After reading “Giving Thanks“…
What do you give thanks for this week?
This week it’s Thanksgiving here in the USA, so this week it’s popular to do something like a daily blog about “One Thing for which We are Thankful” or a list of “Things for which We are Thankful”…but I’m going to make one short blog about I Thessalonians 5:18.
The image above rearranges the words a little, but in the King James version, that verse says “In EVERYTHING give thanks, for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.” The word I want to think about today is EVERYTHING.
Here in the USA we’ve been taught that God wants us to be rich and successful, and that if we are are wealthy and prosperous, that we are to “pray for it” and God will grant us the desires of our hearts. But I’ll be blunt–that’s just plain false. The Bible doesn’t promise christians anywhere that they will have lots of money, lots of possessions, or a life of joy and ease! In fact, the Bible does tell us that we will be 100% DIFFERENT from the world and our whole world-view will be so contradictory to the natural, sinful inclination that it will be like a candle in a dark room–shining light on people who would rather slink in the dark and have their sin hidden.
The desire of our heart, if we are elect Christian children of the most high God, will be one thing: that God’s Will be done. Period. Sometimes His will requires us to be tested until death–do you thing that’s “prosperous and joyful”? Sometimes His will means giving up all our possessions and giving them to HIM. Sometimes His will means to be humble and serve OTHERS–does that sound like the vending machine God you’ve been taught about? And sometimes His will means that we need to go through trials in order to grow more like Him and love HIM. Does “trials” sound like the U.S. idea of success and wealth? NO!!
And here, in I Thessalonians 5:18, God is very clear. It is His will that we give thanks in EVERYTHING. The term “everything” is all inclusive–it does not leave room for “some thing but not others.” So it is God’s will for us to give thanks when things are hard…when it hurts…when it’s not easy…when we are poor…when we are struggling…when we fail…when life is not what we want.
Rather than making a list this week of all the things for which we are thankful, let’s do this. Let’s answer these questions:
Those of us who have lived through an affair realize that when it’s first discovered, the pain is so deep and unbearable that the idea of giving thanks is unthinkable! How could you POSSIBLY give thanks for that? Well, I’ll tell you how: God loves you enough to want you to grow in HIM and He just gave you a big, old lesson to learn to lean on Him and not your spouse or yourself.
Those of us who have committed adultery realize that when you end the affair and choose to reconcile, the guilt and shame are so deep and unbearable that the idea of giving thanks is unthinkable! How could you POSSIBLY give thanks for that? Well, I’ll tell you how: God love you enough to want you to grow in HIM and He just gave you a big, old lesson to learn to take the focus off yourself and put the focus on HIM and humbly serving others.
So what do you give thanks for this week?
Most people believe that they are moral and good. They also believe cheating on a partner is wrong. So how do cheaters live with themselves after their infidelity? Understanding how they reconcile their indiscretions with their beliefs about themselves can help us figure out why “good people” cheat.
Dissonance theory predicts that when individuals’ thoughts and behaviours are inconsistent, something has to give. Have you ever wondered why anyone would be a smoker these days, given what we know about the link between “cancer sticks” and cancer? A smoker knows that smoking causes cancer, but might rationalise it by saying “I don’t smoke very much” or “My grandma smoked two packs a day and lived to be 90 years old!” By coming up with these rationalisations, people are able to preserve the impression that their behaviours and attitudes are consistent.
Similarly, cheaters might minimise the significance of their infidelity as a way to cope with knowing they did something wrong. The authors of a new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships propose that cheaters feel bad about their indiscretions, but try to feel better by reframing their past infidelities as uncharacteristic or out-of-the-ordinary behaviour.
To test this idea, the researchers randomly assigned people to be either “faithful” or “unfaithful” in four different lab experiments. Now, you are probably wondering how you make someone cheat on their partner (or not) in a psychology study. Even if researchers could create such groups in the lab, you may think that they probably should not do it anyway (you know, for ethical reasons). The researchers got around these problems by ingeniously banking on the fact that when you are in a relationship, you might still interact with other people you find attractive, and the degree to which you interact with attractive others could count as a mild form of infidelity.
Participants were instructed to think about a past romantic relationship and then to think about someone, other than their past partner, whom they were attracted to while they were in that relationship. For example, if Ted from “How I Met Your Mother” was a participant in this study, he would have been asked to think back on his (now terminated) relationship with Victoria, and reflect on how much he thought about Robin, interacted with her, and flirted with her while he was with Victoria by answering questions on an “infidelity scale”.
Here is the really clever part: Participants were given “false feedback” (or inaccurate information) to make them think that they were higher or lower than average regarding past infidelity compared to other participants. So, if Ted was assigned to the “unfaithful” condition in this study, he would have been made to believe that his past interactions with Robin were especially frequent and intimate – essentially, that he was relatively unfaithful to Victoria compared to other people who completed the infidelity scale.
The results showed that participants who were made to feel unfaithful had more negative emotions than those in the “faithful” condition. Those made to feel unfaithful were also more likely to report that they did not like themselves. In short, they experienced discomfort about their infidelity. They also tended to downplay their infidelity, reporting that it was not important and did not represent them (“It’s not who I typically am”).
In short, people know that infidelity is wrong, but some still do it. And when they do, they usually feel pretty bad about it. But through various forms of cognitive gymnastics, cheaters are able to discount their past indiscretions to feel better about themselves. Since the negative consequences, at least in terms of how they feel about themselves, are diminished, maybe they do not learn from their mistakes – and might be susceptible to cheating again in the future.
I’ve read three articles recently about the topic of pro-marriage, church and pastors not addressing the issue of difficult marriages well:
1. ”Help!” by elisabeth klein corcoran
2. “Enough with the Divorce Shame” by Chump Lady
3. “Pastors: Send a Different Message to Struggling Wives” on Crosswalk (also by elisabeth klein corcoran)
All three articles are written about one overall theme: the pro-marriage community…the Christian community…is not dealing with adultery, addiction or abuse in marriages. The messages perceived by those who are hurting are “Pay me $199.99 and you can save your marriage all by yourself!”, ”If you tell anyone what’s really going on, you’ll be judged for it”, “Asking for help results in you being blamed for your spouse’s choices”, and “If you only ____ more (fill in the blank with prayed, submitted, cooked, had sex, or forgave) then your spouse wouldn’t ____.”
As a nouthetic counselor, I wanted to look at these articles and ask myself two things. First, I want to do an honest assessment: Do we–the Christian, pro-marriage community–do an injustice to those who come to us, hurting and in a difficult marriage? How do we need to change? What do we need to learn? I want to take an honest look in the mirror and see what we need to do differently … and better! But second and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I want to look at the Bible and what God says in the Bible, because I am duty-bound to obey God and encourage others to do the same. It has been my experience that obeying God and doing what He wants is not always easy and is not always painless, nor is it usually what we want to hear!
The first thing that I’d like to address is the pastor himself. I’ve heard many times of people going to their pastor or their counselor as if the person is a mind-reader and can magically tell what is “the truth” and what is a lie! So I want to remind everyone who does go to a pastor, preacher, minister, or spiritual leader…they are a human being with the same human limitations that you have. Can you just “detect” what is the truth and what is a lie? No. And neither can they. Furthermore, they often only have one side of the story, and my guess would be that your version of what has occurred differs GREATLY from your spouse’s version of what has occurred. Even in strong, godly marriages, each individual in the marriage has a different personality, different personal strengths and weaknesses, and the way they view things is entirely different–so it is just common sense that in a painful marriage that differing point of view is even more different! Finally, any pastor or church is an imperfect, SINFUL representation of what God intends His bride, The Church, to be. Pastors can have their own (sinful) agendas; churches can be anything but christian and just be basically social action committees, and sometimes people are afraid to stand up strongly against a sin because they don’t want to be accused of being judgmental–especially if the sin is a popular one! So part of the issue here is that we expect “the pastor” to be a lie detector and then basically scold the cheating spouse (and come down on your side) — and those expectations are unrealistic.
The second thing that comes to my mind is that when one spouse goes to any kind of professional–whether they are a coach, minister, counselor or therapist–people who are professionally-trained are going to address the person in the room with them. Your spouse is not there; you are. Your spouse didn’t make the effort to make the appointment, figure out childcare, and get their behind end to the office; you did. And the professional person (who is not a lie detector and can not just tell “the truth”) is not going to tell you “how to get your spouse to do it your way” or scold them if they don’t. Again, that is an unrealistic expectation. On this same topic, it is just one of those universal truths that no one can control another person. Period. The only person at the appointment is YOU and the only person you can control is YOU. So the professional is going to help you look at and address YOUR issues…not your spouse’s. What I’m trying to say is that as a pro-marriage Christian coach, when I have a loyal spouse in session with me whose disloyal spouse is wantonly flaunting adultery in their face, I can show the Loyal in the room how a loving spouse “should” act according to the Bible, but there are no magic words to MAKE the Disloyal do that. We may be in complete agreement that a godly spouse would not do X, Y or Z, but if their Disloyal is bound and determined to sin–I can’t stop them and neither can the Loyal who took the time to come talk to me! I can’t even change the spouse who came to me! The only person who can change is the person who came can change themselves and even then it’s with God working in them, not through sheer will. Thus, I can maybe confirm for the Loyal “Well, when your Disloyal expects to be able to sin with no natural consequence, that’s unrealistic, so you are okay in acting in a way that allows consequences.” But otherwise my options are limited to addressing the person in front of me: what ways they may have contributed (if any), how they handle it, how they decide to act, tools they can use to understand, and what they do to grow as a person due to this circumstance.
Soooo…we’ve addressed two unrealistic expectations: 1) Pastors/professionals can tell “the truth” and will do a perfect job doing the godly thing, and 2) Pastors will come down on my side when I tell them the sin my spouse is committing, and they will tell me how to get my spouse to stop it.
Next, let’s address some major errors I think the Christian community is making, and what we can do differently.
One of the MAJOR mistakes I see is when a hurting spouse comes to their pastor/priest/minister and reveals that there is adultery, abuse or addiction, and the pastoral response is basically a cliche…something like “Well you go right on back there and just submit more.” Yes, as I said above, when you go to a professional they realize you can not change your spouse, so they may focus on you and what you can change, but it’s my experience that by the time someone gathers the courage to say “Ummm…I think something is wrong here” they are usually hurt so badly you better react as if you’re in the emergency room and they just came in with a gunshot to the head. When it’s just “somewhat bad” people keep trying, keep their mouths shut, wonder if it’s just them, and try to just bear it (of course, not EVERYONE is that way, but many/most). And when someone makes all the effort to set up an appointment and get to the office and says “It’s not going very well” that really means much, MUCH more. Sending someone back into a home that is harming them via mental, emotional, spiritual or physical abuse is cruelty, frankly…and both adulterers and addicts DEFINITELY employ abuse!
Thus it seems to me that one area pastors REALLY need to do better, is to take the time to find out if it is a case of adultery, abuse or addiction, and if it is… to protect the spouse who is being abused! Now, this does not mean “end your marriage immediately” or encouraging divorce even–but it does mean taking the time to do true investigation, because often abusers are masters of deception. And it does mean giving the abused spouse–whether that is a man or a woman–the support of finding safety. As much as Malachi 2:16 is used to force “God hates divorce” down people’s throats, listen to the WHOLE VERSE: ” ‘The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, ’does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. “
One thing that is extremely important–and I mean EXTREMELY–is that the shepherd should “take the time to find out if it is a case of adultery, abuse or addiction”. The reason that is so important is because there are times when a spouse will claim “abuse” when their spouse disagrees with them…or claim “abuse” as the justification for why they are doing the sin they are doing! Since pastors are not lie detectors and do not live behind closed doors with you, they can’t “just tell” that one spouse is sitting in their office lying their head off, and outside the office they are a completely different person. But too often I think one spouse comes in, the pastor hears one side of the story and does not investigate, and just believes whatever is told to them.
I’ll give you one crazy example … and then another the other way. Once a lady came to her mentor and told him all about how her husband screamed at her last night for THREE HOURS and then threw some china at the wall that smashed it to smitereens. Naturally the mentor told her the husband was abusive and no way was it acceptable for him to scream for three hours and break things…and the mentor encouraged her to leave him. Only problem? The wife didn’t mention that her husband screamed for three hours BECAUSE HE HAD FOUND HER IN THEIR MARITAL BED WITH ANOTHER MAN!!! She “forgot” that little detail and when asked why she didn’t tell him, she told the mentor she didn’t think it was relevant!
Okay here’s the second example. A spouse goes to her pastor and tells the pastor her husband has been drinking, been abusive and calls her names. The pastor calls a meeting with the husband and tells him how wrong he is to be abusive and that calling your wife names is sinful and that he has to stop drinking immediately. Well obviously “abuse is sinful” and “drinking is sinful,” right? And they are…but what the wife didn’t tell the pastor was that she was having an affair and finding fault with everything about her husband, telling him he didn’t earn enough money, he wasn’t a good father, he wasn’t a good husband, having him do literally all the housework all the while screaming at him…and to escape the pain of being told how worthless he was, he would drink so he’d feel numb. Okay not a SMART solution but it was a way to cope. And finally, after getting abused all night long, he’d tell her, “Leave me alone you witch!” and off she run to the pastor waving the “abuse”word …who then called the husband and told him how wrong he was without ever investigating or dealing with the real issue: the affair.
Today is Reformation Day, and while most people focus on cute little kids in adorable costumes, today is the day that Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” on the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. In his day, Martin was a theology professor at Wittenberg University and a priest, and he saw the Roman Church telling people that they could gain salvation by buying indulgences.
It’s the stuff of legend, and many have heard the story–yet how many have ever actually READ “The 95 Theses” that Martin Luther wanted to debate?
Without further adieu, I will let my brother-in-Christ, Martin, speak for himself:
Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
These “95 Theses” may seem irrelevant to our modern society, to infidelity, or to your life….but bear in mind that the thing that will save your marriage is God working in us to completely REFORM us and renew our mind. You can “try” all you want, and you may even make some progress through sheer willpower, but for things to really, truly, deeply change, God needs to RE-FORM us.
Praying for another Reformation Day, today.
I’m starting something a little new. I’m changing Save Our Marriage Saturday!
We have a tradition here at Affaircare. We call it “Save Our Marriage Saturday”–and we’re sharing the love. Link-love that is! Every Saturday I used to do a link-up and let people link their blog here on Affaircare. Today I’m starting something new. Instead, I’m going to share with you the sites I follow so we can all help each other to save our marriages!
A few other requests:
1. If you leave me a link in the comments, please link to an actual post, not just the generic address to your blog or site home page. I don’t guarantee I’ll include your blog next week, but I do guarantee I’ll come take a look at your site decide if we are a good fit or not.
2. If you leave me a comment and/or follow us, I would love to return the favor, visit your site, leave a comment and follow you back!
3. Please share the love with your fellow bloggers–Read and leave a comment on at least the two blogs.
4. Please help me spread the word. Let’s create a community of Christian believers who want to bring glory to God by teaching our brothers and sisters about how to have a godly marriage, how to avoid the typical traps that lead to infidelity, and how to be a living testimony of forgiveness and reconciliation if one spouse is unfaithful.
5. Link back to this community, either by using the button below or a text link. You can find the button code here for you to insert in your post:
Without further adieu, here are the blogs I read:
Sooooo…what have you been reading lately?
I LINK TO THESE GODLY LINK-UPS:
Beholding Glory’s Blog Hop List, No Ordinary Blog Hop: Family-Parenting-Marriage , The Alabaster Jar-Marital Oneness Mondays, Revive Your Marriage Mondays, Time-Warp Wife-Titus 2sdays, …to Love, Honor and Vacuum–Wifey Wednesdays, Unveiled Wife, Grace Alone/Women Taking a Stand–Thankful Thursdays, and Beholding Glory–Faith Filled Fridays.
If you are a Loyal Spouse: After reading
What It Feels Like to Discover That Your Spouse is Cheating would you say it’s accurate? Is that what it felt like for you?
If you are a Disloyal Spouse: After reading What It Feels Like to Discover That Your Spouse is Cheating did you know that’s what it felt like for your spouse? Did you learn something new?
I recently re-read this blog I wrote back in 2010, and it so accurately describes that moment when you discover your spouse has cheated, that I thought I would post it again. So without further adieu, here is “What It Feels Like to Discover that Your Spouse is Cheating.”
As someone who works every day trying to save marriages that are rocked by an affair, I’ve often thought that somehow there is a disconnect between the Disloyal Spouse thinking “Yes I understand that it hurt you but I was hurt too” and the true understanding of what it is like for the Loyal Spouse when they first find out. Speaking as someone who understands both sides, I can also say that no matter what adjectives a Loyal Spouse may choose to describe it (like “devastating” or “heartbreaking”) there just are not words to explain the bomb that’s been dropped and all the harm that’s been done. Language is insufficient to convey the full depth of it and it certainly feels as if the Disloyal doesn’t “get it.” I’ve often wished there was some way to communicate to a Disloyal what it’s like to hear your spouse is having an affair, and yet every different method or wording I’ve tried has fallen short…
Dear Hubby and I are taking classes to become certified nouthetic counselors in addition to our marriage coaching. If you’re wondering, the term “Nouthetic” comes from the Greek verb “noutheteo” (or the noun “nouthesis”) and means “to admonish, to warn, to teach or to counsel.” The word is found in numerous passages of Scripture and describes the manner in which we are to counsel and help other Christians. Biblical (nouthetic) Counseling seeks to change the heart, not just alter behavior (Mk. 7:21-23; Prov. 4:23). One of our classes was given by a man who is a law enforcement chaplain and his class was basically how to tell if it is an urgent situation, an emergency, or a crisis…and what to expect in a crisis situation. For example, often the person appears disoriented, becomes hypersensitive or confused, has poor concentration, may shake or shiver, and might go into shock. It was during this class that I heard an example that hit so close to home that I realized it was very similar to the shock one experiences when you hear about the affair for the first time.
Your 17 year old gets his driver’s license and asks you for the car keys to go to the football game. He’s going to meet his friends there, but he will not be driving any of them in the car and they don’t plan to go out afterward, so you trust him and give him the keys. He’s responsible and returns home in a timely manner, and pretty soon you have faith in his maturity. One day he calls and says there’s been a minor fender bender, but no one is injured and information has been exchanged. There’s a small ding in the trust and it’s urgent but still–he handled it well and these things do happen.
A year goes by with no incident and this time the hospital calls. There has been an accident and your son was in a car accident; but he just broke his leg and the other driver was at fault. This is an emergency and is serious, but again all things considered, car accidents do occur…injuries do occur…
Then comes the day you give your son the keys and he says he’ll be home at 11pm, but midnight,1am, 2am, roll around and he doesn’t answer his cell phone. You’re worried sick and wonder what happened. At 3am you get a knock on the door and see two uniformed men, one with a chaplains badge on your porch and you know….
…and that moment right there is what it’s like to discover your spouse is having an affair. That immediate “NOOOOOOO!” and the world dropping out from under your feet. Everything you loved and lived for is dead, and the initial numbness and disbelief are quickly overshadowed with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and loss. The pain of hearing your spouse is having an affair has been reported as being greater than a spouse or child dying, and having been there, I’d agree that’s a true statement. So next time you’re thinking “…I know I hurt you but I hurt too…” just remember the two uniformed officers at the door.
By Gerald Rogers
I read this post today and it was just so well written I had to share with you all, so I have reposted it exactly as the author wrote it. Enjoy!
Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about my divorce being finalized this week that gives me perspective of things I wish I would have done different… After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I would have had
1. Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.
2. Protect your own heart. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.
3. Fall in love over and over again. You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.
4. Always see the best in her. Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to be have this woman as your wife.
5. It’s not your job to change or fix her… your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.
6. Take full accountability for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.
7. Never blame your wife if you get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. They are YOUR emotions, and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them… when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were.
8. Allow your woman to just be. When she’s sad or upset, it’s not your job to fix it, it’s your job to HOLD HER and let her know it’s ok. Let her know that you hear her, and that she’s important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. The feminine spirit is about change and emotion and like a storm her emotions will roll in and out, and as you remain strong and unjudging she will trust you and open her soul to you… DON’T RUN-AWAY WHEN SHE’S UPSET. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren’t going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.
9. Be silly… don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.
10. Fill her soul everyday… learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED. Ask her to create a list of 10 THINGS that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make it a priority everyday to make her feel like a queen.
11. Be present. Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully WITH HER. Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is.
12. Be willing to take her sexually, to carry her away in the power of your masculine presence, to consume her and devour her with your strength, and to penetrate her to the deepest levels of her soul. Let her melt into her feminine softness as she knows she can trust you fully.
13. Don’t be an idiot…. And don’t be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes and so will she. Try not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make. You’re not supposed to be perfect, just try to not be too stupid.
14. Give her space… The woman is so good at giving and giving, and sometimes she will need to be reminded to take time to nurture herself. Sometimes she will need to fly from your branches to go and find what feeds her soul, and if you give her that space she will come back with new songs to sing…. (okay, getting a little too poetic here, but you get the point. Tell her to take time for herself, ESPECIALLY after you have kids. She needs that space to renew and get re-centered, and to find herself after she gets lost in serving you, the kids and the world.)
15. Be vulnerable… you don’t have to have it all together. Be willing to share your fears and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.
16. Be fully transparent. If you want to have trust you must be willing to share EVERYTHING… Especially those things you don’t want to share. It takes courage to fully love, to fully open your heart and let her in when you don’t know i she will like what she finds… Part of that courage is allowing her to love you completely, your darkness as well as your light. DROP THE MASK… If you feel like you need to wear a mask around her, and show up perfect all the time, you will never experience the full dimension of what love can be.
17. Never stop growing together… The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is if you stop working on your relationship. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.
18. Don’t worry about money. Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It never helps when teammates fight. Figure out ways to leverage both persons strength to win.
19. Forgive immediately and focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don’t let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.
20. Always choose love. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this is the guiding principle through which all your choices is governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will always endure.
In the end marriage isn’t about happily ever after. It’s about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come. Marriage is life, and it will bring ups and downs. Embracing all of the cycles and learning to learn from and love each experience will bring the strength and perspective to keep building, one brick at a time.
These are lessons I learned the hard way. These are lessons I learned too late. But these are lessons I am learning and committed in carrying forward. Truth is, I loved being married, and in time, I will get married again, and when I do, I will build it with a foundation that will endure any storm and any amount of time.
If you are reading this and find wisdom in my pain, share it those those young husbands whose hearts are still full of hope, and with those couples you may know who may have forgotten how to love. One of those men may be like I was, and in these hard earned lessons perhaps something will awaken in him and he will learn to be the man his lady has been waiting for.
MEN– THIS IS YOUR CHARGE: Commit to being an EPIC LOVER. There is no greater challenge, and no greater prize. Your woman deserves that from. Be the type of husband your wife can’t help but brag about.
It’s Day Four of the Respect Dare here at Affaircare, and we are joining with Jennifer at Unbroken Woman as she leads us through Nina Roesner’s “The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband.” Jennifer is over half way through her Respect Dare, but here at Affaircare we are looking at this Dare with just a little twist: how do our childhood scars relate to infidelity? What can we learn to keep our marriages affair-free OR bring them back from the brink of unfaithfulness? Or if that has been an affair, can learning about our pasts free a couple to help them rebuild?
To join us on our Affaircare Respect Dare journey, please get Nina’s book (or e-book) and all the info by CLICKING HERE.
In Nina Roesner’s book she say’s “He (God) has a specific purposes in mind that you were specially created to breathe life into for His people and His Glory.”
Another thing Nina say’s is “if you are married, one purpose for your life is to become Holy within the context of your marriage, shining His light to the world.”
It is EXTREMELY important to note that Nina says that if you are married, that your life’s purpose is “…within the context of your marriage…” because too often I’ve heard people say that God called them to leave their spouse so they could join with some other person at church and have a more effective ministry! I’ve heard of churches and pastors who have looked the other way, knowing that one member of the choir is having an affair with the choir director, because they need the music ministry. Seriously! I can’t make this up! And yet God has made it clear that He hates divorce and that we should not commit adultery–just look at the Ten Commandments. If we are married, our life’s purpose is to shine HIS LIGHT within the context of our marriage.
This is not to say that you are expected to stay in a situation that is physically abusive or to continue in co-dependent or unhealthy dynamics. Nope, But how often have you heard people use the excuse of “abuse” and then come to find out that their spouse screamed at them for hours because they JUST found out about their adultery?! So make no mistake–it is reasonable to be safe, but if you are married, your life purpose IS within your marriage…not with someone else.
Today, we are asked to use the assessment we did for Dare 3 and “write a positive purpose statement in the present tense, describing how and who you intend to be in four months.” “We are to keep them positive, avoiding “I’m no longer”, “I’m not”, or” I don’t” statements. Write about two hundred words, being as descriptive as possible.”
When we’re finished, we are to rewrite it as a prayer and put it somewhere where we can see it at least once a day. “Begin the discipline of praying this statement as a daily prayer, from the heart, as you go through the remaining days of The Respect Dare.”
I love that we are asked to write this in the present tense, because although I may not perfectly display all the fruits of the spirit, guess what? In real life, I AM a beloved daughter of the Most High God with the Holy Spirit living within me! I am dead to sin and alive to God. So this IS who I AM even if I am not fully sanctified yet. For my vision statement, I’m using Galatians 5: 22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
I am loving toward my husband, my children, my neighbors, and myself. By “love” I mean agape–Godly love, the kind of love that serves and is looking out for the other person’s highest best, even when they don’t want to hear it and it is hard. Love is helping others to obey God and love Him.
I am filled with joy, which is joy because of God’s grace, delighting in Him. He’s literally the cause of my joy, not others, not my possessions, and not my circumstances.
I am peaceful, as in a wholesome sense of wellness and peace of mind. Tranquility; a mild and friendly spirit. Hey, let’s be honest. When most people would be worried or stressed out, I am calm and at peace because I know that My Father is completely sovereign and has it all in His control!
I am patient, meaning I have tolerance and stay-power that is only produced by God. If there are troubles, I can bare them and you know what? Still be filled with joy!
I am kind. You know what this one is? Meeting real needs, in God’s way, in His timing. It’s being useful to other people.
I am good, and I don’t mean that “righteous” kind of good. I mean that kind where it’s a personal characteristic, like doing “good works” and behaving in a morally excellent way.
I am faithful, trustworthy, reliable, someone who keeps her promises. My word is my guarantee.
I am gentle. I LOVE this one!!! This means I have divine power expressed with reservation and mildness; meekness.
I have self-control. This one I take to mean that as a Believer I have mastery over my natural self, my old nature. I have self-restraint; true mastery from within.
Now to see what other’s have written about Respect Dare Day 2, here are some links:
The Respect Dare, Day 4 – A Godly Purpose Statement by PeacefulWife
The Respect Dare – Day 4 by Tiffani at My Beloved is Mine
Dare 2 ~Vision~ by Jennifer at Unbroken Woman (our “Fearless Leader”)
The Respect Dare: Day Two by Orenda at Broken But Not Forgotten
Day 4 by Kamila at Your Marriage Is Your First Ministry
Respect Dare 4: Who I Will Become by Forgiven Wife
In the comments below, please share thoughts and where we can pray for you. If it is private, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or share your prayer request with us anonymously.