The Gift of Hope (Pulling Back From Divorce)

Christmas has passed, but gift giving needs to continue. Start with the gift of hope. This month many adult children of divorce are contemplating what they swore they’d never do to their children—filing for divorce.

This is not a sudden whim. Months or years of feeling unloved, disrespected, or fearful they aren’t good enough to keep their spouse, or tired of arguments that raise fearful memories from childhood, have combined with the stresses of life to squeeze out any hope.

Satan whispers “things will never change” and they think, “Now I see why Mom divorced Dad.” “Now Dad’s leaving makes sense.” However, few want to ruin Christmas, so January comes, and the call is made.

These precious individuals need the gift of hope and you can help.

  1. Be a godly ear for them to talk to. You’d be surprised how many people file for divorce without talking to anybody.
  2. Watch their kids on a weekend night so the struggling couple can have time together.
  3. Buy them tickets to a marriage retreat. The Love and Respect conference and Weekend to Remember getaway weekends are excellent. For marriages in serious trouble, Retrouvaille and Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored Marriage Intensive Experience  are proven tools that can help.
  4. Review and have them review our Considering Divorce page. Even those with divorced parents rarely understand the gravity and lifelong consequences of this drastic action.
  5. PUSH! Now is not the time for timidity. Too often I hear, “Well, I don’t want to rock the boat by interfering.” THE BOAT IS SINKING! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by offering tools and hope to the hopeless.Praying woman hands by Long Thiên
  6. The Bible says, “pray without ceasing1 and that, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”Pray for your friend, family member, or coworker’s marriage. Pray for protection from Satan’s attacks of doubt, fear, hate, and selfishness. Pray works!

It’s the biggest month for divorce calls and the lawyers know it. Let’s work together to thwart more divorces by giving the gift of hope this new year.

 
11 Thessalonians, 5:17, ESV
2 James 5:16b, NLT

Images:
Praying woman hands by Long Thiên

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Did You Call the Attorney Today?

In early January attorneys receive a surge in inquires and requests for appointments that will begin the divorce process. Unfortunately, lawyers will not tell these hurting and desperate souls the truth: things can get better with the right help.

Did you know that most people who file for divorce didn’t seek counseling, didn’t attend any marriage seminars or workshops to help improve their marriage, and probably didn’t tell some of their closest friends they were ending the marriage?

“Psychologist Aaron Beck says that the single belief most toxic to a relationship is the belief that the other person cannot change.”1 However, when lawyers are the only people we talk to, we never hear that our belief is usually mistaken. But it is.

 If your parent’s are divorced, you’ve learned that the only way “things can get better” is to bail—to start over. However, even in cases of adultery marriages have recovered and grown stronger than before the devastating and selfish act. This may seem hard to believe right now, but it’s true.

Do you know what other truths the attorney won’t tell you?

  • A surprising number of divorces are’t due to unfaithfulness. The spouse has simply given up on being happy in the relationship.2
  • 94% of couples in one survey reported that they were glad they didn’t divorce when they were tempted to do so.3
  • If you make HALF the effort and sacrifice you will make for your new spouse, you can save your marriage.family praying together
    • AND spare you and your kids the hassles you still have from your parents’ divorce.
    • AND share the joy of your grandchildren with one person instead of a delegation of ex-spouses and unrelated family members.
    • AND show your kids that marriages can make it through the tough times.
    • AND prove that putting God’s will over your own desires is best in the long run. (Accepting that physical abuse and adultery are not in God’s will)

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.4 This sounds simply, but isn’t always easy to do. However, here are three links that can help. Please take a few minutes to read them before you call or reconnect with your lawyer. You’ll be glad you did!

1) Love and Respect
2) Marriage Missions International
3) The Smart Stepfamily
 

Notes
1The Life You’ve Always Wanted” by John Ortberg, Zondervan, 2002, p. 20.
2Survey Reveals The Real Reason Couples Get Divorced.” Stephanie Castillo. http://www.yourtango.com/201197812/survey-reveals-real-reason-couples-get-divorced
3Should I Divorce?” by Alan Hawkins & Tamara Fackrell. www.utahmarriage.org.
4Ephesians 5:33 [ESV]

Gifts of Hope this Christmas – Building a Strong Marriage

As we fill our Christmas trees with gifts that are here today and gone tomorrow, why not give something that can last for generations?

The Love and Respect Ministry has a marriage conference on five DVD’s that has helped the marriages of countless couples. These fantastic teaching19th Sept 5 years of mariage by scribbletaylors are a natural complement to this ministry because they focus on what happens when love and respect are missing in a marriage. The lack of love and respect between a couple often triggers the fear of inadequacy, fear of abandonment, trust issues, and anger in adult children of divorce. Left unresolved, these problems often lead to divorce.

The Conversation - Redux by Bill GraceyGuy’s, are you tired of being disrespected? Ladies, are you tired of feeling unloved? Emerson Eggerichs has found an answer that was at our fingertips for centuries in the Bible: “let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.1”

But what does love really look like to a woman? What does respect really look like to a Man? Eggerichs answers these questions, and gives participants tools that can strengthen a good marriage and rebuild a shattered one.

Click here for more info on how you can change your marriage.
Click here to buy the DVD set from their ministry.

This Christmas, give a gift that can change couple’s lives and break the cycle of divorce in the New Year!

1Ephesians 5:33 [ESV]
Photos
19th Sept 5 years of marriage by scribbletaylor
The Conversation – Redux by Bill Gracey

What is a Normal Family?

Josh hasn’t spoken to his dad in 3 years. Sarah refuses to come to Thanksgiving dinner this year. Divorced families? Nope. Families by bass_nrollEveryday run-of-the-mill families.

One of the problems adults with divorced parents have is the trap of thinking “normal” means “perfect.” When raised with the image of a family that often looks more like a face in a carnival’s fun-house mirror, it’s easy to believe the myth that intact families are problem free.

Granted, parental divorce can add layers of complications and chaos that can make normal look like a dot on the horizon. For example, those from intact families don’t have to decide which parent they “love” and which they “hate” based on who gets them during the prime Thanksgiving hours versus Thanksgiving morning or the day after. However intact families are not problemless. Most are just problem-less.

Family Feet by Jeff GoldenWhen we start to dream of the normal (perfect) family we need to ask:

  • Do intact families have disagreements and tensions?
  • Do intact families have siblings that don’t get along?
  • Do parents in intact families ever fight and sulk?

The answer is “Yes.” Behind their Sunday smiles is the true reality show. Consequently, we must not shoot for a “normal” that doesn’t exist. But what do we aim for?

  • First, we must pursue wholeness in our self.  Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourselves.”1 Many adult children of divorce don’t love themselves in a healthy biblical way. We’re bound by fears, anger, father hunger, and anxieties that must be dealt with. Click here for resources that can help. Click here for audios and videos on the impact of parental divorce.
  • Second, many of us need to learn how to have a healthy marriage. Fortunately, strong marriage-building programs are out there. Love and Respect and love_and_respect logoFamily Life’s “I still do,” “Weekend to Remember,” and “The Art of Marriage” seminars are just a couple of the strong marriage tools that are available.
  • Third, many of us need to learn how to raise children in a healthy way. There are a wealth of resources at Focus on the Family for moms, dads, stepmoms, and stepdads.
  • Lastly, prior to Jesus talking about loving ourselves and neighbors, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”2

Bible with Cross Shadow David Campbell FCC ( A, $, @) 337522540_8eb3c1f974_oBeing committed to and spending time with God in prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship with other believers builds and strengthens our relationship with God and the foundation for the biblical wholeness.

Will these steps guarantee a perfect family? Nope. Not even a normal one. But it will foster a loving relationship between a husband and wife who can provide a divorce-free (or second divorce-free) home for their kids.

1Matthew 22:39, NIV
2Matthew 22:38, ESV

Images:
Families by bass nroll
Family Feet by Jeff Golden
Bible with Cross by David Campbell

Please Cancel the Divorce Test – (Annual Divorce Day is Here)

The month of November includes the special days of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. December hosts Christmas. January gets Annual Divorce Day.1 This year it will probably be Monday the 5th.

Lawyers (and counselors) know that January has been the biggest month for divorce inquires for years. But why does this annual phenomenon occur now? Three reasons:women pondering divorce wiki how
1) The spouse failed the holiday divorce test. The holiday divorce test plays out like this:  “If things don’t improve over Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’m filing for divorce.
2) Only Scrooges divorce during the “the most wonderful time of the year” holidays. Consequently, the divorce paperwork or lawyer’s number is hidden in a drawer until after the New Year.
3) (And this is the tragic one), The wife (60 – 70% of the filings will be by the wife) didn’t try to get outside help. The hurting spouse believes the lie that they’re the only couple experiencing marital problems and/or their marriage is too far gone. But this is rarely the case.

And here’s why, (excluding cases of physical abuse) after the divorce, the freed spouse is going to make a lot of effort to do all the stuff (dressing up, being considerate and patient, tolerating differences, etc.) for the new relationship. They don’t realize that if they took those steps now, things would probably change. Same effort, but no years of dealing with an ex-spouse, angry kids, or antagonistic step-kids.

So if I’ve been describing you or a friend, please check out these resources,

Jesus said, “With God, all things are possible.2Seek Him, and guidance from God’s Word during this difficult time. Pray for God to do a healing work in yourself, your spouse, your kids, and your marriage. And have others praying too. Try one or all of the resources listed above. You, your kids, and your marriage is worth it!

 

1Sarah O’Grady, Annual Divorce Day is here: 1 in 4 parents thinking of splitting. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/549758/Quarter-of-parents-considering-divorce.
2Matthew 19:26b.KJV.