Posts tagged Divorce

Marriage Monday: How To Wreck Your Marriage

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wreck your marriageMarried? Looking for the fast track to bring your wedded bliss to an untimely demise? Then look no further! We have a list here that will expedite the process of making your marriage crash and burn! Not looking to sabotage your marriage? Then pay attention to how you live and the way you think about and relate to your spouse.

Sure, many marriages end due to big issues like infidelity or abuse, but often, marriages dissolve due to a number of smaller factors that converge into major problems. Even then, not everyone divorces; they just live miserable existences under the same roof and neither of these two options is desirable.

So here we have a list of ways to ruin your marriage. So, if you want a healthy marriage, I would find it beneficial to avoid the following list:

  • Overfill your schedule.
  • Prioritize your children over your spouse.
  • Focus on all the things your spouse does wrong.
  • Believe the grass really is greener on the other side.
  • Compare your spouse to other people.
  • Continually sweep problems under the rug.
  • Keep secrets.
  • Make life about having stuff.
  • Believe that “time heals all wounds.”
  • Ignore the spiritual component in your relationship.
  • Set unreasonably high expectations for your spouse.
  • Never admit you’re wrong.
  • Assume the worst about your spouse’s intentions instead of believing the best.
  • Expect your spouse to read your mind.
  • Live in the past or the future.
  • Practice unforgiveness.
  • Wish your spouse could be like someone else’s spouse.
  • Throw around the word divorce whenever you’re mad.
  • Focus solely on your needs and wants.
  • Be distracted when talking to your spouse.
  • Rely on your spouse to make you happy.
  • Let your spouse continually shoulder your responsibilities.
  • Demean your spouse in front of other people.
  • Have poor boundaries outside your relationship (parents, friends, kids, work, etc).
  • Talk about your marital problems with someone of the opposite sex.
  • Assume problems will get better on their own.
  • Don’t allow your spouse to influence you.
  • Be critical.
  • Continually go to bed angry.
  • Don’t carve out time for your relationship.
  • Find your “old flames” on Facebook.
  • View pornography.
  • Talk down your spouse to others.
  • Think that your marriage is the only one with problems.
  • Bring up past mistakes that have been settled.

What are some other ways to ruin your marriage? What else should we avoid doing?

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Marriage Monday: Love Is A Verb

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This past week my wife and I were listening to a well known radio personality while we traveled. This particular morning, for just a few moments, several people on the show were discussing marriage. Everyone on the air was divorced and they all agreed that marriages cannot last. It was their unanimous opinion that people just cannot stay together, in love, forever. They all held a rather low opinion of marriage and were happy to inform their listeners to avoid trying to be with someone for the rest of their lives. Lifelong marriage was relegated to an absurdity.

This outlook on marriage has become pretty commonplace. As the singer Outkast crooned in the early 2000’s, “If what they say is ‘Nothing is forever’, then what makes love the exception?” With the divorce rate for first marriages being near 50%, and climbing astronomically for subsequent marriages, many feel that the concept of two people remaining together in eternal bliss is an archaic concept.

So is it possible for two people to remain together, in love, forever? Many think it might be possible for two people to spend the rest of their lives together, but doubt that a couple can go through life “in love.” I mean, isn’t it a tad naive to think that two people can experience a deep, thriving love across decades? Can a couple continue to have a relationship that doesn’t devolve into two people that live under the same roof and tolerate one another? I think it is entirely possible, but it doesn’t just happen.

So if it is possible to be together, in love, forever, then why don’t more people do it? Honestly? Because we are lazy and selfish. Now granted, I get there are diverse reasons for why people split the blanket. It cannot always be reduced to laziness and selfishness, but a vast majority of the time it is precisely laziness and selfishness that cause two people to throw in the towel or they lead to other problems that wreck a marriage.

So what is the secret for having a lifelong loving marriage? Jesus gives us the formula for making marriage work in John 13:34. Are you ready for this mind blowing concept that Christ taught?  He simply says, “Love one another.”  Isn’t that helpful? It clears everything up, right? We are to love one another. I bet you had never even thought of that?

Now, before we write off Jesus’ advice, we should really pay close attention the sentence structure. Remember when you spent all that time in grade school diagramming sentences? Well, it is going to pay off. When Jesus says “Love one another” He makes love a verb with “you” being the subject. Verbs don’t describe or name things, they do. Verbs are active. Jesus is saying that love is an action.

The problem is, we make love a noun so often. We treat love as if it is a “thing”. True, there is an emotional component of love. We can feel loved or feel in love, but emotions are fleeting. Jesus says love is something you do.

Love is service. It is work. It doesn’t always come naturally. The problem is we live in a culture that wants the rewards without the work. It simply doesn’t happen that way. When we say “I do” we have to keep “doing”. We have to keep doing day after day and year after year. Making love a verb is the anecdote for selfishness and relational laziness.

Are you serving your spouse, or do you expect to be served? Is life just about you, or do you factor in the needs of your partner? Are you willing to be second place in your marriage? Love is a verb. At least, that is what Jesus said. Let’s make sure that love is something we do and not just something we feel.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

How can you make love a verb in your spouse’s life today? Let’s talk about it.

Marriage Monday: Maintenance Required

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I once overheard an attorney say, “There are two processes that must not be started prematurely: embalming and divorce.” The current statistics being what they are, odds are good that someone reading this is either considering divorce or is potentially unhappy within their marriage. There are many things that contribute to unhappiness within a marriage, but those are for another discussion. For the moment, let’s look at something practical, that should be seemingly intuitive, that often leaves us feeling unsatisfied within our marriages.

For some odd reason, we do a poor job of remembering that relationships need to be maintained. We seem to do well realizing that every other facet of our lives demand upkeep and attention. We change the oil in our vehicles, we fix the leaky faucets in our homes, we mow the grass, and we update applications on our computers. Yet, often times, when it comes to our marriages, we do not attend to the regular nurturance that they demand.

Marriages, just like everything else in our lives, need maintenance on a frequent basis. I would even dare to say, if we were going to invest our time doing preventive maintenance on anything, our marriages should certainly be at the top of our lists.

There are a host of reasons we let the weeds get waist high in our marriages. Sometimes it is busyness or just sheer ignorance. Perhaps it is avoidance, because you just don’t feel like it, much like the stack of dishes in the sink. At times, it can be due to our priorities being out of balance. Yet, more often than not, it is due to familiarity creeping in and we simply forget to keep our finger on the pulse of our marriages.

So many times, people are ready to throw in the towel, only to find out they have driven 300,000 miles without changing the tires in their relationship and the wheels finally fell off. Relationships are no different than anything else. If we do not give them proper maintenance, eventually they will malfunction.

Think back to when you first started dating your spouse. Now, I realize during that period the rose colored glasses are on and the person you are with is the most wonderful thing in the world. Every relationship moves past that stage. But think about how you acted during the early days of your relationship. Much time and energy were devoted to maintaining the relationship. You spent time together, you talked about everything and nothing, you laughed, and enjoyed the mundane because of who you were with. I would venture to say that during this time, other important aspects of your life were placed on the back burner in order to give the relationship greater priority.

Now, I understand it is completely unreasonable to think that marriages need to return to these earlier days when we were dating our spouse. When children come along, responsibilities thicken, and job demands increase; there is less time to spend attending to the relationship. This is simply a part of life. There is only so much time in the day.

But I am saying, if our relationship is getting little to no maintenance, it will only be a matter of time before the engine falls out the bottom of the car. There must be balance in our marriages, just like everything else.

If you feel that things just aren’t where they should be in your relationship with your spouse, think back to the things you did when you first started dating, and do more of that.

Just like anything else, relationships break down and deteriorate unless we keep them up. If your marriage has drifted over the past years, it will take a while to get it running in good condition. Start now. Attend to the maintenance in your marriage. The more you work on it, the better it will run.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Marriage Monday: Keeping the Backdoor Shut

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When it comes to marriage, we find a lot of emphasis placed on romance, compatibility (e-harmony anyone?), communication, and the like. All of these are important things to address (and perhaps will be in future posts) but none of these will keep the backdoor closed in a marriage.

So, how does one keep the backdoor sealed tight in their marriage? When the going gets tough, what is to stop you or your spouse from riding off into the sunset without looking back? One word. Choice. Obviously, we choose our spouse from the beginning (unless in some rare instance you had a prearranged marriage). Yet, I think we often forget to keep choosing them. The choice isn’t a onetime deal, it is a lifelong process.

Every marriage gets to a point where one or both partners want to throw in the proverbial towel. For all the in love, lovers out there wearing rose colored glasses who doubt the authenticity of that statement, just ask around some. I have a habit of asking couple’s that have been married for extended years the question, “Has there ever been a time when you wanted out or were tempted to call it quits?” I have yet to find a couple answer in the negative. Yet, they were able to push through and have a happy, thriving marriage. How is this done? They made a choice.

When we first get married the choice is always easy. Our spouse’s vices are “charming” and their annoying habits are “endearing”.  The good is maximized and the negative is minimized. Then time progress, and those vices and habits aren’t so charming anymore. Stress, deadlines, demands, children, finances, conflict, morning breath and a host of other things crop up amidst the couple’s relationship. Problems arise where it might be tempting to cut and run. It is then we have a choice to make.

It is easy to choose your spouse when you are bathing in a bathtub of money, everyone is healthy, your children behave like Beaver Cleaver, you win employee of the year on an annual basis at work, and your spouse treats you to candle light dinners and lavish vacations on a monthly basis. Sure, anyone can choose their spouse when things are good. But the secret to healthy relationships is choosing your spouse when things turn south.

Culture feeds us the idea, that marriage must always equal happiness. Naturally, one should experience happiness in their marriage. That is obviously the goal of a healthy marriage, but sometimes you have to be unhappy a while and work through it. Sometimes choosing is more important than being happy. Yet, culture says, “If you aren’t happy then leave. You deserve to be happy.” So we see people do just that. Every time they hit the unhappy zone, they bounce. Whenever difficult problems arise, they hit the bricks. Then what happens? They find a new relationship and find themselves in the exact same spot, just with a little more baggage.

No relationship is perfect. How can they be? You have two imperfect people, bouncing their imperfectness off of one another.  The answer is not running from the problems. The answer is choosing to stay. The answer is choosing your spouse even when times are bad.  The answer is choosing to love your partner, even when you don’t want to be around them. Problems don’t dissolve just because we don’t want to face them. In fact, problems tend to snowball until they are addressed. They follow you home day after day like an old stray mutt, and they will follow you from one relationship to the next.

Marriage is a lifelong choice, from “I do” until death. If we ever forget that, expect trouble. There will be times throughout life where choosing our spouse is the easiest choice we have to make, but there will be times when the choice is the only thing that will get you through rough waters.

There is immense comfort in knowing that both partners in a marriage are committed to choosing one another. That whatever may come, each can rest in knowing that the other will choose them even when things are difficult. It allows trust and hope to flourish like nothing else.

Marriage is many things, but above all, it is a continual choice. Choose your spouse and keep the backdoor in your relationship nailed shut.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Let’s talk about it. How does choosing our spouse look on a daily basis?

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