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DIVORCE-REMARRIAGE AND BEYOUND
Someone once said, "Divorce is a death that never ends." There is much truth in those few words, for the impact divorce has on people is much like death?without any closure for one's grief. Like all heavy trials, you can recover from the damage divorce inflicts by working at it one day at a time with God's help. Even in a healthy marriage relationship husbands and wives may inadvertently hurt each other, but their willingness to forgive and to work through problems produces healing and actually strengthens their relationship. In an unhealthy marriage, due to the attitude or conduct of one or both parties, these healing qualities are lacking.
When divorce occurs, there's no opportunity to heal the wounds in the same way as within a positive marriage relationship. The relationship may deteriorate slowly over a period of years, inflicting countless emotional wounds in the process. A mixture of frustration and anger often overwhelms you. And any subsequent disputes with an ex spouse over child custody, property or finances reopen the old injuries. Children of divorce have their own hurts and need security and nurturing from you.
It's truly difficult to provide these necessities for your children when you feel so much in need of them yourself. Nonetheless, it is possible to work your way through the emotional quagmire, as well as to help your children. Thankfully, we can count on God for His help. Christian divorcees especially, often feel guilty in a divorce, thinking that God might not help them, since He tells believers to resolve differences instead of divorcing. We can take comfort in the fact that God recognizes that even for believers, relationships sometimes fail.
Experts in the field tells us, that for those couples who seek counseling in regards to their marital circumstances, there are certain reoccurring situational themes. Jay Slupesky, A well established marriage councilor and family therapist was asked the following question.
What are some of the most common problems that motivate couples to attend marriage counseling? We will paraphrase his answers, with some of our observations.
An Affair. One spouse has been caught or has admitted to cheating. This is devastating, of course, and sometimes ends the marriage. Sometimes the affair which caused stressed on the marriage was not sexual in nature, but rather it was an emotional affair. But some couples want to work through it, and so they come to counseling.
Money Issues. Numerous studies have shown that money is the No. 1 reason why couples argue ? and many of the recently divorced say those battles were the main reason why they untied the knot.
Blended family issues. This occurs most often when one of the spouses has been married before and has kids from that marriage. If the kids are at least near teens or teens, there can be trouble between them and the stepparent which then becomes trouble in the marriage.
Porn addiction. This is becoming a bigger issue due to the easy availability of pornography on the Internet. This addiction is having a devastating affect on many marriage. They sometimes can hide it for a while, but eventually the problem surfaces.
Stage-of-life crisis. I see this more often in women than in men, believe it or not. The most common case is that of a woman who was a stay-at-home mom but who has something of an identity crisis when the youngest child leaves home. She frequently makes some significant life changes at this point and may re-evaluate whether or not she wants to stay married.
Communication problems. Many couples don't know how to express their feelings to each other in a healthy way. Others don't see the necessity to communicate. At one extreme, they may argue constantly. At the other extreme, both people keep their feelings to themselves. Neither option is good.
Some voice the opinion, God hates divorce, there are no grounds for it, and simply leave it there. Others say there are biblical grounds for divorce, but none for remarriage. Then there are those who say there are grounds for both divorce and remarriage. There is a way to get the right understanding on this subject. But to do so, we must first understand God's true nature and how he deals with the fallen nature of man. In an ideal world where human beings followed God's ways perfectly, made perfect choices in choosing their marriage partner, understood what marriage was and faithfully kept their vows, there would be no need for divorce. But we live in an imperfect world beset by human weakness, unfaithfulness, irresponsibility, people marrying the wrong person and for the wrong reasons, etc.
In sorting all of this out, it is only as God's nature of love, holiness and mercy, is considered and how God lovingly deals with man's fallen nature of rebelliousness and sin, that we can get a right understanding on this subject. Perhaps you were the innocent victim of a divorce you never wanted, and later on you remarried. Perhaps you were the guilty party (an adulterer) who wickedly departed from your spouse for someone else. Perhaps you are divorced and single, and find yourself struggling due to loneliness and strong sexual desires, in your attempts to adhere to your church's doctrine of staying single until the death of your spouse. In any case no matter who you are, and what you have endured at the hands of others or inflicted on others in times past, that was then this is now.
TELL TALE SIGNS THAT MY MARRIAGE IS ION TROUBLE-- Presiding judge on television's, Divorce Court , Judge Lynn Toler, takes note of the fact that there are certain tell-tale signs that your marriage is undeniably in trouble and heading for a divorce court. 1. When a couple begins to live around one another as opposed to with one another. They are completely disengaged. 2. There are no more small issues. Every little disagreement sparks an all out war. 3. You never argue about issues anymore, all disagreements end in personal attack. 4. Someone has ?checked out.' Their life is lived elsewhere and their sense of satisfaction comes exclusively from things outside the marriage.
Many who are now divorced say the telltale signs were there, but they were ignored. Communication breakdown. Constant arguments with little if any effort at positive conversation. No intimacy, this is one of the most obvious tell tale signs that your marriage is falling apart. Intimacy in a marriage will help to maintain the bond as husband and wife. When intimacy is missing from the marriage, it shows that there is a serious problem going on. Infidelity is one of the most common problem in a troubled marriage. Avoiding each other, refusing to be around each other, any more than absolutely necessary. Finding excuses to come home late with the intent not seeing your spouse. While these signs do point towards divorce, that does not mean you have to go there.
THE DEVASTATING IMPACT DEFRAUDING CAN HAVE ON A MARRIAGE---- A researcher did a study, where individuals who had committed infidelity were asked to describe the events which led up to the act of adultery. She found that the root cause for many affairs did not begin with sexual temptations. Some of the most commonly named things which led to the affair, stemmed from their being a breakdown in communications, a lack of love being expressed, a lack of respect. There is no denying the fact infidelity often is related to a lack of control of ones sex drive, but this is not always the root cause as to what set the infidelity in motion.
This researcher found that at the top of the list in regards to what leads to infidelity, was a breakdown in communications coupled with other non sexual needs not being met. As we have already stressed in the first two books in this marriage trilogy: It takes more than being married to make a marriage work, it takes work, (time and effort).
The Bible lists certain modes of conduct which are essential to a healthy marital climate. 1. It takes a willingness to love each other. 2. It takes true expressions of mutual respects. 3. It takes positive two way communication. 4. It takes the giving of ones self, for the sake of emotional and physical fulfillment of ones mate. Failure to do these things can creates areas of defraudment, which in turn can put the whole marriage in jeopardy.
This is the point the apostle Paul was making when he told married couples not to defraud each other, (sexually). 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 1st Cor 7:3-5. While it's true that Paul warns that a lack of sexual involvement, can lead to infidelity, it's equally as true that there are many nonsexual ways to defraud ones mate.
THE PATH THAT LEADS TO INFIDELITY Some of the most commonly named things which led to the affair, stemmed from their being a breakdown in communications, a lack of love being expressed, and a lack of respect. Oftentimes husbands and wives don't really understand the needs of their spouse, thus by way defrauding their mate in certain areas it opens the door for infidelity. There is no denying the fact that a strong sex drive on the part of one spouse and the lack thereof on the part of their mate, can drive a wedge which leads to infidelity.
But on the top of the list of the items which led to infidelity, were certain non sexual needs being met. On the slides below, some who committed infidelity, tells what led up to the actual acts. Below we list some of the initial situations which developed, prior to the relationship between to people, becoming an adulterous affair. These items in no way justify adultery, but do show us, when needs are not being met we can be tempted. CLICK ON THE NEXT TAB BELOW TO ADVANCE SLIDES.
As we said earlier, the above listed items in no way justify adultery. But they do show the importance of spouses giving moral, emotional support to each others, along with meeting each others sexual needs. Those who are married should honestly ask themselves, if they are doing all they can to ensure, that they are not by way of neglect, (defrauding) pushing their mate down this road of infidelity.
It is oftentimes the things which happen, after the vows have been said, which destroys the marriage. Marriage is more than a responsibility to be legally joined together. After the union takes place, God expects a certain level of conduct on the part of both parties. God is the marriage expert, he understood the importance of showing love, respect, and support (emotional and moral), long before modern day, marriage counsellors advised the same.
It's now a commonly known facts, that Women tend to value relationships, therefore they often want affection, conversation, openness/honesty, financial support, and family commitment, while male worth is generally based on production. Men usually have a constant desire for sex, while at the same time yearning for respect. They also tend to enjoy a recreational companion, and a spouse they find attractive. The Bible clearly teaches that the man is the head of the family and should be respected as such. To insure that there would not be any abuse of this God appointed position on the part of the man, the husband is given special instructions concerning his wife.
The husband is to love and cherish his wife, the same way he loves and cherishes himself. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: Epee 6:22-29
The American heritage dictionary defines separation as "the place at which a division or parting occurs," and that definition works for couples and families moving toward a different life. whether it is a trial separation, a voluntary separation, or a separation forced upon you by your partner, take heart in knowing there are ways of dealing with separation. Many today find themselves stuck in what is commonly know as "separation limbo" This is the stage a person finds themselves at where there they are stuck in the no man's land between marriage and divorce. Making the final decision to file for divorce comes very slowly in some situations. One spouse may initiate the separation; the other goes alone because there doesn't seem to be a choice; but neither may be able to take the final step. But limbo can't last forever. (OK, occasionally you'll hear of a couple who has chosen to exist in marital limbo for many years, but it's rare.).
In fact, separation limbo is very unsettled territory, which often creates another whole set of stresses, strains, and questions, in addition to the ones created by the marriage (or should we say the lack thereof). Some reoccurring questions which those who re stuck in separation limbo often face are. Am I about to be alone? Does he or she just need to remember to miss me and our lives together? Am I kidding myself - maybe this is just prolonged denial, do I really want to put forth the effort to make the relationship work, is my spouse willing to do the same?? There was a time when most couples upon realizing for any number of reasons that the marriage was not working, got divorced and moved on with their lives. Interestingly the twenty-first century may have spawned a new kind of relationship which rather than being based on God's guidelines for companionship, intimacy, and commitment, is based solely on financial practicality. Kristen Houghton tells us,
"We have all known couples whose marriages are basically over but, who, for the sake of their children, stayed together. They were not legally separated and they were willing to forego a divorce to stay together as a family unit. But there is a growing trend in the 2000's whereby couples with no children or grown children, live separate lives but choose to live in the same house. Like roommates they share expenses, shopping, and chores. Unlike roommates they own property together, have joint assets, and bank accounts in common. To all intents and purposes their physical marriages are over but their financial affairs are still married.
A woman by the name of Brenda asked the following questions. "My husband has been away now for almost 8 months, what began as an affair on his part, ended up being a trail separation. Even though the affair has ended we both agreed to try & rebuild things, but as the months have passed I have noticed that he has not shown a lot of commitment in the area of rebuilding our marriage. When I ask him which direction are heading his response is that he still needs time to think. He won't give any indication of how long he needs, just says a while and won't say whether he really wants our marriage to work.
In the meantime I am having to keep everything going for the kids, the house etc. I don't know what to tell our friends, kids school etc. It is getting to the point that we are talking less and less, I have tried to talk to him on the phone and in person but he will not discuss anything serious. When I try and bring up our marriage and family, he just says I am pressuring him. He still wants to see the kids when it suits him and when he does, he just plays around with them, tickling them & laughing.
Then he's gone again leaving me to answer their questions and comfort them. I am exhausted and just don't feel I can do this anymore. I do still love him, but not the way he is behaving now. I just feel like I am in limbo and can't move forward because I am stuck with the question, is this rebuilding our marriage, or preparing ourselves for the divorce court."
TERESA OPDYCKE gives the following advice, "Mourn the loss---divorce or separation is one of the most stressful times in a person's life. when marriage separation occurs, it signifies the breakdown of a relationship that may have spanned many years. It does not matter who initiated the separation; there is going to be many angst filled days. tears, sadness, and grieving may be a part of the healing process and it is all ok because you need to feel sad and angry.
This is not the time to push it down and pretend as if everything is fine, your first tip: be sad. find a good friends or relatives who will allow you to feel sad and cry without trying to "fix" it for you. let your emotions fly and ask if you can count on them from time to time when you need a shoulder to cry on. remember you are losing a complete way of life. the person who may have been the closest to you, a companion, friend, and lover will no longer fulfill those roles. you may feel completely alone, but try to view this time as reorganizing your life.
Take care of your needs--marital separation is a time of transition. expect life to be less than normal. you may not function as well during this time. be realistic in regards to your own expectations. You must take care of your needs and the needs of the family, if you have children, but remember to nurture yourself during this time. Do what needs to done, but take plenty of time for you. expect more flubs at work during a separation. it may be hard to concentrate on work when your life seems to be flying in different directions. you may forget appointments that under normal circumstances would never forget.
Do not be hard on yourself. your brain is busy trying to grasp the concept of coping with separation. Lower your expectations of what you can do during this time of transition. doubts and fears will accompany sorrow and anger making it difficult to focus on work and baking 60 cupcakes for the PTA bake sale. take it easy on yourself. A marriage separation may also be a family separation if children are involved. children need guidance and reassurance during this time, but keep in mind that you must take care of yourself in order to take care of a family.
Talk with your children and let them know how you feel without putting their father in a negative light. reassure your children that you will be back to your old self, but for right now you need time to recover and nurture yourself. The desire to isolate yourself may be overwhelming at times. You may feel embarrassed, ashamed, or so sad that you do not feel like going out. Remember being around other people may boosts morale and makes you feel good about yourself and life in general.
Prepare for the future---A separation or trial separation gives you time to think, plan, and create goals for the future. part of coping with separation should be pouring yourself into figuring out what to do next. give yourself ample time to get over the initial mourning period of grieving for the end of the relationship. Make no major decisions (if possible), until you feel better about yourself and have passed the initial stages of anger, sorrow, and frustration. At some point, you will want to plan for the future. the marriage income may be cut in half during a marital separation. be prepared for divorce as a possible outcome of the separation. ask yourself tough questions such as "where am I going to live?" or "how will I provide a sufficient income?"
For many their marriage has gone past the point, of separation limbo and ended in divorce. Oftentimes marriages fail because one or both parties in a marriage don't have a heartfelt desire to stay committed to their vow to stay together and work at making their marriage better.
Pastor J. David Hoke tells us we need to get a balanced scriptural understanding of what the Bible says concerning divorce, we quote. "We must be careful when we listen to what the church says. Often, churches are guilty of twisting the Scriptures to accommodate their own particular bias. Generally, they either raise the standard or lower it. On one hand, well-meaning people raise the standard in their desire to stop divorce. So they say there should be no divorce for anybody for any reason, and absolutely no remarriage for anyone at any time, period. That sounds nice and neat, doesn't it? The only problem with it is that while it may be well-intentioned, it is biblically incorrect.
On the other hand, there are those well-intentioned people who look at the problem of divorce and say we must not forget that people are involved, and we need to love them, care for them, minister to them, and accept them. What happens here is that the standard is lowered to accommodate everybody. While these churches rightly emphasize forgiveness, they end up lowering the standard to the same as the world's. And that is biblically wrong.
Perhaps we should not be asking what the church says, but rather what the Bible - God's Word says. Does God have a word for the tragedy of divorce? The answer is, yes, He does. And it is a redemptive word for those who have been scarred by divorce; and also a strong word of encouragement for those seeking to build strong Christian marriages. You see, it is God's desire not only to minister to those who have blown it in their marriages, (or they were married to someone who blew it), but also to give practical instruction to those seeking to divorce-proof their current marriage. God not only diagnoses the illness, He prescribes the cure. TO GO TO PART #2 OF THIS STUDY, CLICK OF THE IMAGE BELOW
CLICK OF THIS IMAGE TO GO TO PART TWO