Category Archives: marriage

5 Actions You Can Take to Problem Solve in Your Marriage

 Problem Solve in your Marriage

Whether it’s before an affair, to #affairproof your marriage, or after an affair to reconcile, there are specific actions you can take to problem solve in your marriage.

The #1 topic in our Affaircare Topic Survey  was Problem Solving, and today we tackle how to solve those issues that are damaging your marriage.

The first thing that MUST be ascertained

Are you trying to get someone else to solve the problem for you? If you hear yourself saying, “I can’t make my mind up” “I can’t help it” or “What should I do?” those are typical clues that you want someone else to do your job. Ask yourself if you are trying to avoid taking personal responsibility.  Do you manipulate things so you can avoid the natural consequences of your choices? In essence if this is the issue, than “the problem” is not the real problem. The REAL problem is that you don’t want to be responsible. The solution is to make a choice, and act. Make the decision and accept the benefits of the choice you made and live with the consequences of the choice you made.

If, on the other hand, you are worried about making the RIGHT decision, then the answer to that is simple.

5 Actions You Can Take to Problem Solve in Your Marriage

1. Secure commitment from both to Christ and His Word as the standard for all that is done and said.

1.a. Study together what the Bible has to say about the problem. Keep an open mind.

Nave’s Topical Bible Concordance Online: http://www.biblestudytools.com/concordances/naves-topical-bible/

2. Foster and establish companionship between the spouses (making sure they have a right understanding of what marriage is)

3. Unity in intimacy
a. United “the two are one”
b. Intimacy: physical/sexual and emotional/mental

4. Growth, which means sanctification. Grow in Christ as a couple because of this issue.

5. Exemplify the relationship between Christ (The Groom) and His Church (The Bride)

If you take these five actions, and there is not a resolution, then it comes down to personal preference. Honestly, discuss it with your spouse and agree to pick one. Do not assume and agree together that you will do nothing until there is earnest, mutual agreement.

Example: Arguing about money–husband bought a “man toy” without speaking to his wife and now they are in more debt than they can afford.

RESOURCES:

Marriage Blueprint: The Purpose of Marriage (Companionship)

Link to Nave’s Topical Bible Concordance Online: http://bit.ly/2jJj6wr

Top Ten Marriage Sites to Help Your Christian Marriage Grow

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Doesn’t Seem Like an Affair to Me!

 

As Christian counselors who have worked with couples for 17 years, we frequently meet couples where one of the spouses just does not think what they are doing is an affair.  “It doesn’t seem like an affair to me!” they say.  So we thought we’d dedicate an entire episode to discuss some of the most common objections to why their “friendship” could not possibly be an affair.

 

If that friendship you have with someone at the office or at school is affecting your spouse, in what way is it showing your spouse love? After all:
the essence of married love, to which each party pledges himself or herself, is to put the other first.” ~Jay Adams

 

1. “Well they need to get over it”

But that’s not how Scripture deals with those things. In I Corinthians 8:8-12 Paul writes: “But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. …When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” He’s talking about a big controversy they had in Corinth about whether a follower of Christ could eat meat that had been sacrificed to an idol. Further, Paul was Jewish and some in Corinth even said that Christians had to keep kosher! Paul answered all this by saying that there is only one God from whom all things come and for whom we live, thus “where a meat is cooked” does not make the meat sinful or non-sinful. BUT if eating that food causes a brother or sister in Christ to fall into sin, we not only sinned against a fellow Christian, but against Christ! And he goes on to say that if something he does causes someone to fall into sin, he would rather not do it AT ALL then to cause them to fall. This is the way of Christian maturity.

The mature Christian does not put a stumbling block in front of the baby christian, even if it is the baby Christian’s “weakness.” If you’re spouse is stumbling because of your actions, you are not loving them. And if you are not loving your spouse and loving someone else (a “friend” or someone “who needs you”) then that is the very definition of infidelity. You need to end that “friendship” and refocus on your marriage.

It may be it is a weakness, and they need to grow, and there are ways you can help your spouse do that that don’t involve hurting them or the marriage or the family.  PUT OFF the sin of causing them to stumble because of your actions, and PUT ON the godly action of helping them to grow in Christ.

 

2. “Well I wouldn’t be friends with the Other Person if my spouse wasn’t such a grouch!”

Wait a minute! Let’s define right here and now who is responsible for what in your marriage.

Certainly it would be easier if to be faithful if your spouse was loving and pleasant … Certainly it would be easier if they were always what you wanted them to be! But God has told husbands to be loving PERIOD! Ephesians 5:25 and 28, Colossians 3:19, I Peter 3:7 And God has also clearly told us that wives are in submission to their husbands, whether their husband is loving or not! Ephesians . 5:22 and 24 and 33 and Colossians  3:18, I Peter 3:1 You don’t do it in hopes of getting your spouse to do what you want them to do -OR- “only on the condition that…” You do it because God expects you to and has given you the power to do so.  PUT OFF the behavior of self-centeredness, and PUT ON the behavior of God-centered obedience.

 

3. “But this is just the way I am! I’m friendly!”

Doubtless that is the way you WERE as a non-Christian, and being friendly is not the problem. But allowing the guise of friendliness to corrupt your good character IS! It’s not the way God wants you to be and with His power it’s not the way you will be in the future, so continuing to use that as a reason to keep sinning is not valid–you’re still harming your spouse! Scripture is full of warnings to keep away from outside influences that lead to occasions to stumble. In I Corinthians 15:33 Paul writes: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.Proverbs 12:26: “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.Proverbs 13:20Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” (There are so many in the book of Proverbs we could go on and on.) Psalm 1! Keep away from all whose lives are displeasing to God; otherwise, you are likely to be influenced by them…and being pleasing to God would be building your marriage relationship and honoring your commitment!  PUT OFF the rationalizing of “that’s just the way I am” and PUT ON the confidence that in God you are a new creation, as promised in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

 

4. You may just be in outright denial that it’s an affair.

The examples above are ALL affairs, and I bet the disloyal spouse in those scenarios didn’t think they were! If you have convinced yourself that what you’re doing is justified even though you know it’s harming your marriage, in that case, you obviously need to stop. If you are the only person in the world Other Person has to lean on, then you have an inappropriate relationship–you’ve given a third person the support that’s due only to your spouse. If you have told yourself “I deserve better” or “Love shouldn’t be this hard” and crossed the line of honoring your vow to forsake all others, then you have been unfaithful. Stop using euphemisms! PUT OFF the denial and justification, and PUT ON admittance and repentance.

The end result is the same in all instance: the relationship outside the marriage needs to stop forever. There needs to be a rebuilding of your primary commitment–your marriage. Whether your spouse is weak, there’s a flaw in your spouse, you don’t want to change, or you are in denial, all of those instances indicate a deep issue in your marriage that needs to be addressed.

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Marriage Blueprint: The Obligation of Marriage

 Marriage Blueprint: Obligation of Marriage

Our site is about helping people recover their marriage after an affair.  But how can we talk about adultery without first knowing what marriage IS?

This series will focus on erroneous views of marriage that lead to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices.  Many bible-believing Christians go wrong because their concept of marriage is an illusion. So we’re going to spending the next weeks studying the blueprint of marriage: 1) the origin of marriage, 2) the purpose of marriage, 3) the obligation of marriage, and 4) the commitment of marriage.

We talked two weeks ago about the Origin of Marriage–it began with God, who instituted it even before businesses and churches, as a foundation of society.

Our last podcast post discussed another common misunderstanding: the Purpose of Marriage.  Many couples, even Christians, think of marriage as legalized sex or procreation, but the true purpose is a COVENANT of COMPANIONSHIP.

This week we talk about the one erroneous belief about marriage that leads to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices: the Obligation of Marriage.

The Duties of Marriage

There are many “marital duties” mentioned in the Bible:

a) Sexual duties

In I Corinthians chapter 7, Paul gives us some clear instruction about married life and sexuality.  We can glean from these verses that sex should only be between covenant-committed, married husband and wife.  Please note that the couple yields there bodies to each other, rather than seeking their own sexual pleasure. Finally–we are not to deprive each other of regular, healthy, lively, enjoyable sex!

1 Corinthians 7:2b-5
…each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.  The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

b) Duties for wives

Again the Apostle Paul teaches us about marriage in the fifth chapter of Ephesians.  In these verses, addressed to wives, we learn that wives are directed to submit to their husbands the same way that we submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Ephesians 5:22-24
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

c) Duties for husbands

The Apostle Paul continues this chapter addressing the husbands, and here we learn that husbands are COMMANDED to love their wives the way that Jesus Christ loved the Church–sacrificially.  Paul even points out that a husband who loves his wife, loves himself!

Ephesians 5:25-28
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

d) Duties for parents

King David teaches us that one of the duties of marriage is the produce and raise godly offspring, who can be “shot out into the world.”

Psalm 127:3-5
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.

The ONE Obligation of Marriage

So there are many duties relating to marriage–but the ONE UNDERLYING OBLIGATION is the promise to provide lifelong companionship to your spouse. When a couple takes marriage vows, whether you know it or not (and most often people don’t know) you are promising to spend your life meeting THEIR needs–not the other way around!

Today’s society has told us that “love” is about YOU: you’ll never be alone, you’ll get regular sex, you’ll have someone who is “there for you,” and you’ll have your needs met! But as usual the world got it 100% backward!

THE obligation of marriage is that “love” is about GIVING and not RECEIVING.

Your marriage vows state that your spouse will never be alone, because you will be their companion. You promise to provide regular, lively, loving sex for your spouse. Your pledge is that you will “be there” for them! And together the two of you covenant to spend your lives getting to know each other so that you know how to meet their needs.

That means that when one spouse comes to us and says “I’m not getting my needs met” it is nonsensical. We do not have counselees fill out the Love Kindlers questionnaire so they can present it to their spouse and DEMAND that their needs be met! NO!  The reason for filling out and sharing the questionnaires is so you can learn what would meed the needs of your spouse and then begin to plan how to meet that need! In other words, the work in the questionnaire is TO LISTEN and LEARN, not to demand.

Thus we help our counselees see that the primary question is “How can I please God and my spouse?” not “How can I please myself?” If the focus is taken off of pleasing The Self, then selfish actions such as “I’m not not getting my needs met” or continuing in infidelity will not make any sense.

AFFAIRCARE RESOURCES:

The Origin of Marriage

The Purpose of Marriage

Bible Verses to Save Your Marriage After an Affair

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Marriage Blueprint: The Purpose of Marriage

 Marriage Blueprint: Origin of Marriage

Our site is about helping people recover their marriage after an affair.  But how can we talk about adultery without first knowing what marriage IS?

This series will focus on erroneous views of marriage that lead to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices.  Many bible-believing Christians go wrong because their concept of marriage is an illusion.  So we’re going to spending the month of September studying the blueprint of marriage: 1) the origin of marriage, 2) the purpose of marriage, 3) the obligation of marriage, and 4) the commitment of marriage.

We talked last week about the Origin of Marriage–it began with God, who instituted it even before businesses and churches, as a foundation of society.

This week we talk about another common misunderstanding: the PURPOSE of marriage.

Common Misconceptions

Many people think it is for procreation–or to raise godly offspring–and still others believe it is a moral sanction for sex–in other words, the purpose of marriage is so we can have sex in a way that is acceptable to God! But both of these purposes are too narrow. Sex doesn’t start a marriage and sex doesn’t end a marriage–so marriage is not “for sex”! Likewise, people can and do procreate inside, outside, along side and upside down of marriage! Mating and making babies does not equal “marriage”!

So what IS the purpose of marriage? Let’s look in a couple verses!

It is Not Good to be Alone

Genesis 2: 18

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

God made Eve, not only as Adam’s HELPER, although help is one dimension of companionship, but also as his COMPANION.

The reason God instituted marriage was to meet the need for intimate companionship. Marriage was designed to defeat loneliness. The essence of marriage is a COVENANT of companionship–and both parts are important: the COVENANT part…and the COMPANIONSHIP part. This same emphasis on companionship is stressed elsewhere.

A Companion Who Was Formerly WILD-Now Willing to be Close!

Proverbs 2: 16-17

“So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;”

Hebrew word for “companion” here is אַלּ֣וּף  transliterated: ‘al-lūp̄ from the root word alluwph. This word means a friend, an intimate, someone who is familiar and gentle from the knowing. The funny thing about this word is that it also has an aspect that has to do with wild animals. The concept is “one who is turned” and it means a wild animal that has been tamed and is not familiar and gentle. So this so someone who had WILD attitudes and actions, who is now tamed–warm and willing to be close.

A Companion of Like Character, Rank and Calling.

Malachi 2:13-16

“You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “covers his garment with violence,” says the Lord of hosts. “So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

Hebrew word for “companion” here is חֲבֶרְתְּךָ֖ transliterated  ḥă-ḇer-tə-ḵā from the root word chabereth. That is a word that means your fellows–your associates who are of like character. These are the people of your society who are of like rank and like calling. In other words–YOUR BUDDIES. The guys you grew up with and went to school with. The girl across the street. Someone CLOSE.

Marriage is a Covenant of Companionship

In both of these verses we are being warned about adultery and being faithless, and both verses indicate that abandoning the Covenant of Companionship is infidelity! Together the two Hebrew words speak of a relationship in which there is constant commitment (the covenant part) and intimacy (the companionship part). The two passages make it clear that entrance into marriage should mean the desire to meet each other’s need for companionship. Love, in marriage, focuses on GIVING one’s spouse the companionship s/he needs to eliminate loneliness! In practical terms that means finding out what makes your spouse feel lonely and giving them what they need so they don’t feel lonely!!

Intimacy apart from commitment is not adequate; commitment to remain together apart from intimacy is equally deficient. BOTH elements are necessary!

Now we’re not saying that raising godly offspring is wrong–it’s just not the purpose of marriage. It is PART of the purpose. It is an aspect of marriage, as is mating. The intimacy of biblical companionship extends beyond the physical (sex), to every aspect of human nature.

“One Flesh” Is Not All About Sex!

Finally, let’s discuss one phrase that is very commonly misunderstood as it relates to marriage: “One flesh” (as found in Gen. 2:24, Matt. 19:6, Mark 10:8, etc.) Almost everyone thinks that is referring to sex! The words used are closer to the word we use in English when we say “everybody.” Do we mean “each physical body”? No–we mean “everyone” or “each person”–and the Hebrew and Greek words here are similar.

The marriage union is meant to be the closest, mose intimate of all human relationships. Two persons may begin to think, feel, and act as one. They function as one unit. So when God speaks of “one flesh” He’s talking about union:

  1. one body — sexual union, a close physical union
  2. one flesh — the marriage union, an even closer union of companionship
  3. one spirit — the union with Christ, the closest union of all!

God’s revealed goal is for a husband and wife to become one in all areas of their relationship–intellectually, emotionally, physically. The Covenant of Companionship fills this need.

People who enter marriage with the idea that marriage is pretty much legalized sex also have a grossly unbiblical idea of the next important concept about marriage that we’ll discuss next week: The OBLIGATION of marriage.

AFFAIRCARE RESOURCES:

Bible Verses to Save Your Marriage After an Affair

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Marriage Blueprint: The Origin of Marriage

 Marriage Blueprint: Origin of Marriage

Our site is about helping people recover their marriage after an affair.  But how can we talk about adultery without first knowing the origin of marriage?

This series will focus on erroneous views of marriage that lead to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices.  Many bible-believing Christians go wrong because their concept of marriage is an illusion.  So we’re going to spend the next four weeks studying the blueprint of marriage: 1) the origin of marriage, 2) the purpose of marriage, 3) the obligation of marriage, and 4) the commitment of marriage.

Most Christians have a simple understanding of the origin of marriage. “Adam and Eve–Garden of Eden” is a typical response. But many are unaware of the significance of that origin. So here is one of the basic concepts in the blueprint of marriage: MARRIAGE IS OF DIVINE ORIGIN!  The practical relevance of this basic concept must be considered!

1) God designed marriage as the foundational element of all human society.

God formally instituted marriage before there was a church, a school, or a business.  If marriage were of human origin, then humans could change or alter the terms for whatever reason they wish!  However, if marriage is of divine origin, then marriage should last until God ordains otherwise.  The rules and ideals of marriage are to be those which HE sets forth.  Marriage must not be redesigned by political correctness.  Individuals may marry, divorce, and remarry without sin only if, when and how God says.

2) Marriage is a foundational institution.

It was first to be instituted formally as a sphere of human society (before schools, business, even religion). Society in all its forms depends on marriage. Marriage is the foundation upon which the Church, as God’s family, rests. The covenant community is weakened as marriages are weakened. It is a group of individuals living under one roof, under one human head, and is a separate decision-making unit.

3) Marriage is not “for the propagation of the species”

Humans (like gerbils, rabbits, monkeys and other mammals) can propogate outside the bounds of marriage by mating. While it is true that God ordained that righteous procreation must be one duty of marriage, it is not the FUNDAMENTAL feature of marriage. Marriage is not “mating.”

4) Marriage must not be equated with sexual relations.

People can and do have sinful sex before marriage, but their sex does not translate into a marriage! Furthermore, the first sexual act of the honeymoon does not solemnize the marriage. Marriage AUTHORIZES moral sexual relations. Thus, adultery, while exerting tremendous strain on the marriage, does not DISSOLVE it. Marriage is bigger than and inclusive of sexual union. Sex doesn’t CREATE a marriage and sex doesn’t dissolve a marriage. Divorce, following adultery as a consequence, is not merely an outward formalization of an inward reality, but a new and further step beyond the adultery.

So if marriage is not sexual union, and if marriage is bigger than and distinct from “sex”–we have to ask: “What IS marriage?”  Tune in next week as we examine the PURPOSE of marriage!

 

AFFAIRCARE RESOURCES:

Bible Verses to Save Your Marriage After an Affair

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What is the 180 U Turn? Does it help in recovery or reconciliation? [Podcast]

David and I are often asked about the 180 U Turn, so we thought we’d dedicate an entire episode to explaining what it is and when it is useful. Through examples, we explain how you can use the 180 U Turn technique whether you are recovering after an affair that lead to divorce or reconciling your marriage after an affair.

in my humble opinion, the 180 could be used for either recovery circumstance. But the gist of the technique is this: what you’ve been doing IS NOT WORKING. If you did not change and just kept doing things “as you are” then the likelihood that you and your marriage would stay a mess is about 100%.

Thus, what you do is a 180 turn from what you’ve been doing! Think of it as “The U Turn” instead of the 180 maybe.

uturn

The 180 U Turn list includes things that people typically do that are intuitive but actually very counter-productive, but the list isn’t perfect for everyone, and there may be stuff not included on the list that you should do 180 degrees differently.

So let’s look at a few examples.

When someone first finds out that their spouse is cheating, a very typical reaction is to cry and beg them to stay and beg them to love you and them around like a puppy dog pointing out all “the good memories”… The loyal spouse sort of enters this competition for the disloyal spouse’s love (PICK ME!) and buys gifts and promises they’ll change and calls them all the time nagging them about reconciling.

This is a VERY typical reaction, and it is 100% counter-productive! To the disloyal spouse you look like a weak, beta, wimp with no self-respect and no worth. Honestly it is irritating to have someone follow you around all mopey and begging you to choose them.

So the 180 (The U Turn) says “Do the OPPOSITE.” Another way to think of it is like George Castanza–remember how he did the opposite of every natural instinct and suddenly he had TONS of women? The 180 concept is sort of similar–do the opposite of what you’ve been doing that hasn’t worked.

Imagine what would happen if you found out your spouse was cheating, and rather cry and beg them to stay and beg them to love you and them around like a puppy dog pointing out all “the good memories”… the loyal spouse said, “I have decided to stop all this crying and begging. If you don’t love me, then so be it. I do feel sad, but that’s your choice and I’m perfectly capable of functioning without you and finding someone who does appreciate what I have to offer. So good luck and buh-bye now.” And then just carried on as if they were completely okay and like a weight had been lifted off their shoulders!!

Then rather than entering the competition for the disloyal spouse’s love (PICK ME!) and buys gifts and promises they’ll change and calling them all the time asking for reconciliation, what if the loyal spouse redecorated the house in a new color they always wanted? And the loyal didn’t call, and in fact seemed to move on okay with the disloyal? And when the disloyal called them…they couldn’t take the call because they were at an event having a great time and they’d call some other time?

See, trying to manipulate someone into loving you is never going to work. But begging and crying and following like a puppy and calling just show weakness. The goal of the 180 (The U Turn) is to help YOU become someone who has self-worth and who sees their self-value. If someone has self-worth, even if the one they love chooses to do something painful, they don’t doubt that they still have worth! They just accept that the person they love did something dumb and recognize that has nothing to do with their value! Make sense?

So going the first route demonstrates lack of self-worth…and the 180 says “How’s that working for ya?” Your relationship is a MESS and now you need to learn how to do the exact opposite to demonstrate that you are developing (or re-realizing) your WORTH.

In the end, who can say if the disloyal will reconcile or not? Doesn’t really matter actually. The goal is to act in a way that supports and reaffirms your own worth. If they choose to reconcile–coolness they see you as a stronger, alpha kind of person who can carry on. If they choose NOT to reconcile–too bad, their loss, because you are a person who can be just fine on our own without them!

You may choose to have them in your life, but you do not NEED them. Make sense?

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Edit+2016-04-15+What+is+the+180+U+Turn.mp3]

It’s Not About YOUR Happiness [Podcast]

forever

Society wrongly views marriage as being all about “my happiness,” and about “me feeling loved.” Consequently, if someone’s marriage isn’t making them happy, if they doesn’t feel they’re being loved adequately, then it’s viewed as “a Bad Marriage. ” The insufficiently happy spouse virtually has an imperative to leave that marriage, and look for one in which they will feel sufficiently loved and happy–and it can take two or three or four tries! This is making the commitment to “Your Own Happiness” rather than making the commitment to your spouse–and it is exactly backward.

1.  Your happiness doesn’t depend on your spouse
Like all life, marriage is fundamentally about GOD! Marriage is what God says it is.  We find our happiness within ourselves by obeying God. Much of the unhappiness we feel is often related to some sin in our life: either we are avoiding sin (as in justifying it or enabling it), denying sin (as in not admitting to ourselves that what we are doing is sin–denial), or continuing in sin when we know better (as in, “this sin feels good and I want to keep doing it!”).   So to stop feeling unhappy, admit that what you are doing is sin and stop it.  If the sin that’s making you unhappy is your spouse’s sin, then stop enabling them and look to your own self to do the right thing.

Also, our spouses do not “make” us happy, even though we hear this all the time.  Yes, our spouses can affect the environment of our home and lives, but ultimately we choose our feelings.  Do not put responsibility for yourself onto your spouse.  If you do not feel loved, then BUILD love with your spouse honorably in your marriage, BUILD healthy self-worth by reading the Bible and believing who you are (a dearly beloved child of the Most High God), and BUILD happiness by obeying God!

2. Your happiness doesn’t depend on your marriage
Each marriage vow is a little unique and yet most marriage vows have a few commonalities. Most include something about “forsaking all others” meaning that there is a promise to focus 100% of affection and loyalty on the person you are marrying.  Most also include something about “for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health”…well are you happy in worse, poorer and sickness? Are you happy when the worst strikes? Are you happy eating bologna sandwiches every day because you lost your job? Are you happy when you or your spouse are ill?  NO!

Marriage may well be about suffering… and not necessarily for doing anything wrong.
Happiness (and love) in a marriage don’t necessarily just organically arrive–it’s not a feeling that just comes naturally (although sometimes it can feel easy).  Rather it is something you build by obeying and by honoring your commitment.

Marriage is a covenant to your spouse in front of friends, family and God…and it is honored by working at being soulmates, by having intimate heart-to-hearts in the warmth of acceptance, hearing the most valued praise and understanding this earth has to offer.

3. Marriage is for holiness
Marriage is a covenant…a sacred discipline designed to help you know God better, love Him more deeply, and trust Him more fully.  It is about serving your spouse (not “your happiness”) and loving your spouse (not “being loved”). Society has it exactly backward, focusing on “me, me, me!” and as a Christian, the focus is on pleasing God and spending your lifetime learning about your spouse so intimately that you can love them well.

For a man, marriage is about:

For a woman, marriage is about:

So rather than viewing marriage as if it is all about YOUR happiness and YOU feeling adequately loved–view marriage in the exact opposite way. In a lifetime of covenant commitment, good times and bad times are going to come, so come to to see marriage as all of life: as a vessel used by God for you to come to know Him better.  The bad times, when they come, are not going to “make you happy” but they will be used as life lessons to teach you to think and live in a godly way.

 

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Edited+20160324+Its+Not+About+Your+Happiness+(online-audio-converter.com).mp3]

What Does God Want Me to Do About My Marriage? [Podcast]

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Here at Affaircare we are asked this question all the time, “What does God want me to do for my marriage? Should I reconcile or should I divorce?”  This week we thought it would be a wise idea to address this question in our podcast.

So for those asking the question we want you to know that  “God’s will” is not some mysterious, mystical thing He reveals via paranormal means to special, elite spiritual people. God’s will and God’s thoughts are revealed to us all plainly in the Bible. Any time that someone claims “the Holy Spirit told me ____” and it contradicts what is written in the Bible, then they are mistaken!  I guarantee you, the Holy Spirit does not tell you that your soul mate is someone else’s spouse!

Second, David and I cannot tell you what to do–God does not give us special revelation on an individual basis for our clients.  We don’t know you, we don’t know your spouse, we don’t know all the facts (we usually hear one side but not both sides and possibly not the truth!), and we don’t know what you two say and do behind closed doors. So we can not predict and we are not “truth detectors.” We are human just like you and all we have to work with are the facts and details that are told to us–and if those facts or details were lies, we can not “just tell.”  No counselor can.

Here is the good news, though!  We CAN tell you how YOU are supposed to act in your marriage, because the Bible tells us the type of married people God wants us to be.  Since we cannot control others, our focus is going to be on YOU and changing YOU–maybe the way you think about your marriage–maybe the way you feel about your marriage–and definitely the way you act in your marriage.  Everything that God wants for your marriage is revealed in the Bible, so let’s look there:

 

GENERAL MARRIAGE VERSES–

Gen 2: 23-24

23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Prov. 5: 18-19

18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.

Malachi 2: 13-16

13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. 15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. 16 “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.

I Corinthians 7: 1-5

1 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Ephesians 5: 33

33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

VERSES FOR WIVES–

Proverbs 31: 10-12

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

Ephesians 5: 22-24

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

1 Peter 3:1-6

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

VERSES FOR HUSBANDS–

Ephesians 5: 25-28

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Colossians 3:19

Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

1 Timothy 5:8 – But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

So rather than ask us about what God wants you to do with your marriage, look at the verses mentioned today, and apply them to yourself. Is that what YOU are like in your marriage? If not, then that’s where we would start–focus on becoming the husband or wife that God desires. Look at the person in the mirror and put your energy into becoming more godly rather than on changing your spouse. Keep studying the Bible specifically looking at marriage and husbands and wives. The more you obey God, the clearer His will becomes.

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/2016-03-18+What+Does+God+Want+Me+to+Do.mp3]

Who do men and women have affairs with? Why do they have affairs?

An interesting infographic based on a poll, conducted by YouGov on behalf of The Sun:

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Women have their affairs with “friends” (55%) and with work colleagues (32%).

Men have their affairs with work colleagues (45%), “friends” (32%) and strangers (28%)!

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According to the same poll, women have their affairs almost equally becasue they felt flattered by the attention and because they felt emotionally disconnected in their marriage!

Men have their affairs pretty equally for three reasons: flattered by the attention, emotionally disconnected in their marriage, and dissatisfied with their sex life in their marriage.

What can we learn about infidelity from this poll?

5 Tools to Help You Decide If You Should Stay or Go [Podcast]

“Should I stay in my marriage? Or should I go?” “Can God even restore my marriage?” “How am I supposed to know if I should stand or divorce?”

These are questions that people ask us every day, and the same questions that keep Loyal Spouse’s stuck in limbo–sometimes for years!

We aren’t going to tell you what to do–you two are both adults and personally responsible for your choices. If you choose to stay, do so because you have made a decision to stand firm and then stand firm. If you choose to go, do so because the natural consequence of adultery is breaking the marriage covenant. Thus, if the adulterer BROKE it, they would have to be the one to REPAIR IT by coming to themselves and truly repenting. If they don’t, then divorcing is just one of the natural consequences of the choice that they made to break the marriage covenant.

In the end, the decision is yours and you will reap both the benefits and pay the costs of whatever you choose. EVERY choice–every decision–has both a benefit and a cost, and usually people make their choices because ‘the perceived benefit’ is more valuable than ‘the perceived cost.’ Now we all know that people are sinful and that the qualities that sinful people value are not the qualities that bring glory and honor to God! Thus, a selfish person may “value” the ego-boosting flattery of opposite sex attention over the godly commitment to the spouse of their youth.

So since we are not going to tell you what to decide, how about if we look at what the Bible tells us and help you to figure out how to make your own decision?

1. What did Jesus say about Divorce? Well…let’s look! Matthew 19:3-9

“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

So straight from Jesus’ mouth, He says you CAN divorce for sexual immorality–that is to say, you are ‘allowed’–but notice that He doesn’t say you MUST. It’s not a commandment. So if you don’t want to divorce after your spouse is unfaithful, God doesn’t require it of us, but He does allow divorce for that one exception: sexual immorality.

Also note, that in these verse, Jesus says that divorce is permitted because of the hardness of the heart. When someone is unfaithful and refuses to end their affair, they harden their heart and DECIDE to commit infidelity. When someone has an unfaithful spouse who just will not end their adultery, eventually they harden their heart and DECIDE they can’t take it anymore. In these verses, Jesus acknowledges that people divorce because their heart hardens. Nonetheless, in the case of sexual immorality, divorce is a moral option.

2. “Can God Restore My Marriage?”  Obviously God CAN restore–He has the ability to do anything. He is God! He can choose to suspend the law of gravity or choose to make the sun stand still if He wills! So the question is not “CAN God restore this marriage?” but rather “Will He? Is it His will?” It can feel very difficult to determine God’s will sometimes, but knowing God’s will is not some enigmatic hocus pocus only revealed to the special, ultra-holy through some mysterious Spirit. One of the best suggestions I can give you to decide what IS and IS NOT God’s will is to read the Bible. The more you read the Bible, the more you have the opportunity to get to know God’s mind. The more you know God mind, and what He has commanded us to do, and what pleases Him that He would like us to do, and what HE is like, and what qualities HE finds admirable…why the easier it is to determine if something is God’s will or not!

One thing I can say that will help is that God is utterly, 100%, always consistent. He does not tell us to be one way in the Old Testament and then change His mind and tell us to be the opposite way in the New Testament. So one easy way to tell if something is God’s will is that if there is something in the Bible that says ____ does not please God, then He will not have us do that displeasing thing! As an example, I’ve heard of married people who are in some ministry together at church, and they are unfaithful and claim that [quote]”God WANTED them to commit adultery so they could be together and serve Him in this ministry.”[end quote] No He didn’t. Affairs and sexual immorality displease God-period. He would not want us to have an affair in order to minister to Him!!

I’ll give one more example that will help demonstrate how reading the Bible can clarify if you should stay or go. Let’s say you were ‘young and foolish’ and married a non-christian even though you are a Christian and God clearly tells us that we should marry other Christians (II Cor. 6:14). So you rebelled, made a vow, and intended to keep it–but your non-christian spouse had an affair, refuses to end the affair, and wants to leave you. You can know God’s will because of I Cor. 7: 15

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”

3. What about forgiveness? Many times people think that “forgiveness” means “forgetting” or “approving” — and nothing could be further from the truth. We are never, ever told to approve of known sin, nor to just forget about it as if it never happened. What ARE we told about forgiveness then? Well let’s look at Luke 17:3-4

“So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

The “forgiveness verses” command us to forgive, even up to seven times in one day…but when does it become a command? These two verses tell us the exact order in which we are to do things:

  1. they sin
  2. we rebuke them (“rebuke” here means “I value you so much that I’m going to guide you back into doing the right thing”)
  3. they COME TO THEMSELVES and repent (180 degrees different)…
  4. THEN we must forgive.

If they sin, and truly repent–even 7 times in one day–we are told we MUST forgive, so that is when it becomes a commandment. But what if they don’t “come to themselves” or repent? What if they don’t act and think 180 differently and stop their sin? Do we have to forgive then? It doesn’t say we MUST–but it also doesn’t say we shouldn’t if we want to. So we are allowed to forgive even if they don’t ask!

So we are still not going to tell you what to decide. Instead we pray that this look at what the Bible tells us has helped you to figure out how to make your own decision.

4. What are you committed to? Marriage is an entity established by God in which two people commit to treating the other with love as long as they live. Put another way, the vows promise to forsake all others and to ACT in a loving way toward your spouse–which means getting to know your spouse so intimately that you learn what means “I love you” to them–and then you agree to DO THAT for them as long as you are alive! Nowhere in the marriage covenant is there a mention of “as long as I’m happy” or “as long as it’s easy” and yet in reality many people do place a commitment to their own happiness ahead of their commitment to their spouse. Sadly, many people put their commitment to ease ahead of the covenant they made before God to put the effort into loving their spouse!

So one way you can decide whether to Stay or Go…is to consider “What are you committed to?” I realize that your own spouse may not be living up to their commitment, but your spouse isn’t here and you are. What are YOU committed to? Honoring your promise? Forsaking all others? Acting in love? -OR- Your own happiness? Deuteronomy 23:23 is the verse upon which Affaircare is built:

“Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.”

5. But what if there is addiction or abuse?  If there is physical abuse, you get to safety first, and then decide if you should ‘stay or go.’ In the instance of physical abuse, I don’t know of a Bible verse that requires someone to part from their spouse, but we can logically deduce that God would want us to take care of our saftey, and thus it’s just wisdom to be apart from the person who is physically harming you or the children.

But what about addictions or “emotional abuse”? These are justifications that people often use as a reason to leave a marriage. Well, those are serious, deeply painful issues that are going to harm the marriage, but there is no requirement to physically move apart from each other. In fact, I do see several instances of marriage in the Bible that were “difficult marriages” and when the person stayed and honored their vow despite the difficulty, God was pleased. That being said, if you are staying because you “hope” that “this time it will be different” or “this time s/he means it” just bear in mind that YOU can not change anyone other than yourself–and for an addict of any kind or an abuser to want to change of their own free will, there usually has to be a foundation-rocking-event that makes ‘changing’ less painful than ‘staying the same.’

So rather than “hoping” that your addicted or abusive spouse will change (which would make the marriage better, no doubt!), I would challenge you to focus on the person you CAN change, and that’s YOU!! Look in the mirror and examine what things you are doing to enable the addiction and stop doing the enabling. Examine yourself and discover the ways you are interacting with your spouse to allow abuse–for example, if they do “dance step #1” of the same old song and dance, do you do “dance Step #2” and play into the pattern? What if you stopped doing “dance step #2” and did something completely opposite instead? Are you covering for the abuse and mopping up after the destruction? What if you called it by name and let them deal with the fallout? In other words, this is not about “blaming the victim” but rather looking at changing the dynamic and changing YOURSELF so you are a more godly person.

URL’s in this podcast:

The Affaircare Blog
https://affaircare.com/

Ask Affaircare: Should I Stay or Go? Can God Restore This Marriage?
https://affaircare.com/2015/05/13/ask-affaircare-should-i-stay-or-go-can-god-restore-this-marriage/

Please join us next week as we continue our “series” for the month of May just discussing topics about infidelity that we find a little intriguing! Next week we will be discussing the music that can help in the 3 phases of recovery after an affair!  We would LOVE it if you’d tell us about the songs that meant something to you as you were dealing with the infidelity!

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/5+Tools+to+Help+You+Decide+If+You+Should+Stay+or+Go.mp3]