On June 30th we had our “Live” service in which our plan was to share testimonies and then answer questions from the congregation. Because of how the Lord directed the service. We’ve had to re-adjust our approach to the questions by utilizing the blog to answer the questions. In Part 1, we started with four questions while we waited for the participating couples to read and give some replies.
If you’ve missed any part of this blog, check out “Follow up from our “Live Highlight Reel” service @kalamazoofirst” and “Part 2 from our “Live Highlight Reel” service @kalamazoofirst.”
I sent off the questions that were submitted to ALL 4 couples. The couples chose different questions to answer. Here’s our answers to the final questions:
How do you successfully heal from a divorce and trust God that maybe someone else can be out there?
When reentering the dating scene after divorce, it must be according to God’s standards.
Here’s some things that may help:
1. Heal First, Date Later
As a Christian, you can’t simply separate from your spouse one day and hit the dating field the next. And as with any loss, big or small, time is needed to grieve and to reassess who you are, where you’ve been and where God wants you to go. Healing is also necessary to follow God’s command to” do unto others what you would have them do unto you,” (Matthew 7:12). If you start dating prematurely, you could be hurting – rather than honoring – those you date.
I understand the feeling of loneliness, but dating so soon will almost inevitably lead to heartache when you are neither emotionally nor mentally available. And, until you heal, you won’t be able to relax and commit your entire heart to his new partner the way God intends.
To begin healing, you’ll want to seek counsel from committed Christ-followers who are willing to walk through the grief process with you. This may mean seeking out your pastor for support, joining a Divorce Recovery group or visiting a Christian counselor.
2. Guard Your Sexual Integrity
Some divorced church-goers try to convince themselves that God’s command to abstain from sex doesn’t apply to them – that it’s for the never-married crowd. However, Scripture is clear that it doesn’t matter if someone has been married or not, sex with someone other than your spouse is still wrong.
Don’t wait to put some practical boundaries in place, such as not staying at your date’s home overnight. You can also establish an accountability group made up of those who know and love you. That way, when you feel tempted, you can call on them for prayer and support.
Be aware that when you commit to remain celibate until you remarry, there may be some people who will try to convince you that you are being unreasonable. If a date pressures you, don’t compromise. Instead, run the other direction and resolve to date only fellow believers who share your convictions. The Bible is clear about this: Maintaining your sexual integrity is not optional; neither is getting romantically involved with someone who doesn’t share your faith (2 Cor. 6:14). Above all, God wants to come first in all you do (Matthew 6:33).
3. Think Before Involving Your Kids
Scripture warns believers to “guard your heart” (Proverbs 4:23). For the single parent, this means that you will have to do some “guarding” for your children by not involving them with your suitors too soon in a relationship. Some people hold off until engagement before introducing their significant other to their kids. (Granted, this can create other complications because you want to know how your children will respond to a potential mate prior to engagement.)
4. Stick With God’s Plan
After experiencing the comforts of marriage, it can be tempting to settle for less than God’s best. You may believe the lie that you’ll never find a godly man or woman, that you’ll have to accept whoever comes along. One way to avoid the temptation of settling is to know what’s acceptable and what’s not, to both you and God, before you start looking for love.
This is where slowing down before getting into a serious relationship helps. Not only does going slow give you time to heal, but it also helps you better assess those you date. If you have taken the time to understand yourself and the dynamics that contributed to your divorce, you are more likely to make a godly choice in choosing the second time.
If you’re contemplating dating someone new, take your time in getting to know them, and if they fall short in one of your major criteria such as faith, children or sex before marriage, make the wise choice early on by saying no to the relationship. Remember, too, that navigating the dating jungle is not easy. But, if you seek God and put Him first, He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5).
What was the most funny thing every happened in your marriage?
Lori & Scot: Well, it may not be the most funny thing that ever happened, but it certainly was a cute thing. When we were planning to get remarried, Scot asked Lori, “Look, I don’t want to put any pressure on you at all, so you don’t even have to answer this question if it makes you feel uncomfortable. But, when you think about getting married again, are you thinking that is something we might do in 2 years, in 2 months, or in 2 weeks?” “Oh, I don’t think 2 years, maybe more like 2 months,” Lori replied.
“Well, what do you think about going to the courthouse tomorrow to pick up a marriage license? I checked into it, and they’re good for 60 days.”
“OK, that seems fine.”
So the next day, we went to the courthouse, and the clerk asks “Have either of you been married before.”
“Yes, we were both married before.”
“OK, then I’m going to need a copy of each of your divorce decrees.”
Lori plunked down the document from Hell right on the counter.
The clerk got a quizzical look on her face as she waited for Scot to do likewise.
“Well, we were married to each other, actually,” Lori explained, “so there’s only one decree.”
“Oh, where were you married?” asked the clerk.
“Well, actually, right here in DuPage County.”
“Oh, well then, let me look you up in the system. Oh, wow, your wedding anniversary is coming up, in just a few days! Gee, you could get married on the same day!”
Lori looked over at Scot and saw the impish grin on his face. “Well, I guess it was just meant to be,” she said.
And that’s how we ended up getting married four days later – on the same date as our original wedding, in the same town, at a retired judge’s offices a couple blocks away from the church where we were first married.
Sometimes God speaks to us through other people.
QUESTION FOR SCOTT AND LORI: How has God transformed your love for one another now compared to the past?
Lori & Scot: Realistic Expectations – As a young couple, we had such a great love for each other, that we came to rely just on each other. We each put our new spouse on a pedestal and set expectations (for them and for ourselves) that were not realistic. Ultimately, no one could live up to such expectations; in the end, we both had feet of clay and failed to fit the idealized image the other spouse had constructed. Now that we have the third strand of Ecclesiastes 4:12 in our marriage, we look to God to sustain us and to fill up the empty feelings we might have when our spouse disappoints us. We accept the humanity in each other and ourselves more than we used to. It is a more realistic love, but also a more human and accepting love.
Empathetic Conflict Resolution – We also deal with conflict much more lovingly than we used to. One of the most important things Scot learned was that it was so much more important to understand Lori’s concerns / complaints than it is to prove them ill-founded or invalid. Often the very act of “getting to the bottom” of the issue will help Lori understand the matter better in her own mind. Sometimes it turns out that the initial complaint isn’t even the main issue, but rather it is peripheral to the real hurt. Now that Scot doesn’t immediately jump into defensive or combat mode, he can draw these feelings out of Lori – oftentimes revealing an insight for her about her emotions that she couldn’t have even explained to herself.
Colossians 3:12-14 NLT
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
More Balanced Relationship – In our first marriage, the relationship was very loving, but fundamentally unbalanced. By force of personality and strength of will, Scot dominated decision-making and even conversation. It wasn’t so much that he didn’t have regard for Lori, but he didn’t necessarily give her the time to articulate her opinions or wishes. In our second marriage, decision-making is more collaborative. Lori’s input comes into play more often and earlier in the process. Scot is more conscious of giving Lori the time she needs to put her thoughts into words so that conversations are more give-and-take.
My wife and I have been married for almost five years, any advice for the next fifty?
From Jim Wesner: Advice on the next fifty? Know how to deal with conflicts. When things get loud and things begin to escalate I like to get away from the argument and think things over by myself. If I don’t I say things that I will regret later. I don’t mean days of the silent treatment as we try to resolve and forgive one another the same day. I married this Godly and wonderful woman and after thinking things over the things that caused the argument seem trivial and not even worth remembering. One other thought, as we get older we grow more alike to the point that we very seldom have major disagreements. I love my Wife more now than the day we got married. Enough of my lip flapping, I hope this will help someone.
Ryan and Katie: Clearly at 32 years of age and after 11 years of marriage, we’re in no position to provide advice on how to get to the big 5-0. But we can tell you that, in our experience, somewhere between 5 and 7 years is where many marriage start to breakdown. We’ve seen statistics that say the breakdown starts as early as 3.5-5 years. Either way, the trend is that the ‘honeymoon phase’ ends, you wake up thinking “Who is this person I’ve married?” and romance gets trumped by money problems and family issues. Our advice for those between 3 and 10 years of marriage is this – TAKE PRECAUTIONS BECAUSE IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU TOO! We have many friends – most of them Christians – who divorced during this time period
and who never ever thought it would happen to them.
We recommend that you:
- Decide – together, out loud – that you’re in this for the long haul.
- Make time for each other and for romance.
- Find ways to make the other person feel special – even when they’re driving you absolutely crazy. Learn your spouse’s love language.
- Be careful about what you read, watch and listen to. Falling in love is a fabulous feeling. The media we often surround ourselves with puts this experience up on a pedestal and insinuates that hook-ups and Ross-chases-Rachel scenarios are the stuff of life. Right around the time your marriage starts feeling like old hat, too much exposure to television, movies or even mainstream music can make you ‘itch’ for the thrill dating. Sometimes affairs happen because of this ‘seven year itch’ or because one spouse feels unappreciated by the other and is looking for affirmation that they are still desirable. Media can exacerbate this situation because it gives us a pre-conceived (often false) idea of what it means to be happy, in love and desirable.
- Communicate. Talk openly and honestly with each other, but with kindness. Be forgiving. We have always taken the ‘don’t go to bed angry’ advice to heart and it has generally made us predisposed to working through our problems rather than letting them fester. (Generally…)
- Speak well of your spouse, even if you’re joking. Speaking poorly about your spouse gives way to disrespect and creates an expectation from your peers that your marriage is bad, which will inevitably influence your view of your own marriage.
Did any of you ever struggle with agreeing to tithe?
Absolutely we did. Some couples discover it together. Some were raise completely different and understand “giving” from another perspective.
Because tithing involves money, it is a prime candidate for controversy between a husband and wife. However, if both spouses are Christians, they should have a desire to please the Lord.
It’s important for both spouses to understand God’s principles of finance. That way, they’ll know that tithing is God-ordained, not just a personal desire that one spouse is trying to impose on the other. Giving should come from the heart. As such, tithing is not a law but, rather, an indicator of obedience to all of God’s laws. Because the tithe’s purpose is to be an individual or family testimony of God’s ownership, it was never intended that everyone should give the same amount or in the same way but that each should give bountifully and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
The problem becomes more complicated when one spouse is an unbeliever. Since it is the responsibility of the husband to be the leader in his home, if the wife is an unbeliever, husbands must obey the Lord’s direction. Husbands need to realize, however, that the Lord is more concerned about the wife’s soul than about money. If tithing becomes an obstacle to the wife, husbands should consider not tithing temporarily in order to win their wives to the Lord. Husbands need to counsel their wives, pray with them, and seek their opinion and direction but according to God’s Word the decision is ultimately the husband’s. Because most wives in America today are looking for the strong leadership that seems to be lacking in many marriages, husbands need to take the lead regarding tithing.
If the unbelieving spouse is the husband, the believing wife should submit to his wishes and trust that her submissive attitude will win him to the Lord (1 Peter 3:1-6). Remember it is not the money but the attitude of the heart about which the Lord is most concerned. If wives have made commitments to give and their husbands object to giving, God sees the desire of the wives’ hearts to tithe and He will honor that commitment, even though wives honor their husbands’ wishes. God will bless because of the wife’s attitude, not because of giving.
However, a wife might still ask her husband to let her give an amount smaller than the tithe for at least a year. If, at the end of the year, the family is worse off financially as a result of giving, she will agree to stop giving. If the family is better off, the husband may agree to give more. In Malachi 3:10, the Lord says to test Him in this thing (tithing). Often this is just the opportunity for God to prove Himself real to a doubting spouse.
Giving the tithe is the outward expression of inner commitment — or lack of it. It is material and financial surrender prompted by spiritual surrender. However, if couples do not tithe because one spouse objects to tithing, the subject should be placed “on the back burner,” until they are able to discuss and study the principles of tithing together.
What’s your favorite brand of chicken soup?
Lori & Scot: Homemade!!!
Ryan and Katie: It’s a secret recipe. I’d spill the beans, but I’m bound by a stringent Non-Compete Agreement.
I want to thank these couples for putting there hearts and lives out there to speak of God’s grace, strength, and love in their marriage. We’ve had so many reports of people, both single and married, that have been greatly encouraged. Blessings upon you four couples!!!
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