Every testimony, every trial, every setback, every story has lessons. Some lessons are obvious and in your face. Other lessons are not so obvious, but as you look over the events you will learn things if you only look. If you fail to learn, you have failed to grow and you have failed to live and will repeat the same mistakes over and over until you learn and apply what you learned. Regardless of how much at fault one party is the other party also carries the burden of fault. If you have always been the victim, you will always be the victim.
1. There is a difference between God’s permissible will and perfect will. He permits divorce for very specific reasons. His perfect will is that divorce doesn’t exist. He permitted Israel to have a king, His perfect will was they be ruled by Him through judges. The consequences of having our way under His permissive will always carries negative consequences. Living under His perfect will, while not easy, always leads to a better outcome.
2. The family unit functions best when the spouses fill their purposed roles. God designed the husband to be the head of the home. Not because the wife is a lesser person, but because every organization has to have a leader. Having multiple leaders leads to a divided house. Divided homes function in dysfunction and often fail. God designed the man to be more rational and less emotional and the woman to be more emotional. Each fulfills a necessary function and is critical to a balanced home for raising children. They are equally important roles. The woman’s role is not a lesser role, but of equal importance for a balanced emotional upbringing and nurturing of children. Men are not very good at nurturing, mom’s are great at it.
3. Men, the buck stops with you. You have the final say and also the responsibility when things fall apart. It’s you who is supposed to handle the finances and make final decisions on big purchases. You consult your wife and you two come to an agreement before a decision is made. It’s wise to not make a decision until you both have prayed about it and are in agreement. In the rare time that you just can’t come to an agreement, men, it’s up to you to make the call.
4. Take divorce out your vocabulary. As long as that’s an option there really isn’t any incentive to work out the problems. You’ll know there is an exit and the exit is easier than facing your own shortcomings. If you both are in agreement that divorce is not an option the likely hood of successfully navigating through the hard times increases exponentially.
5. Guard yourself and your marriage. Be very cautious and deliberate about who you hang out with and the situations you find yourself in. Once married your loyalties and responsibilities change. You can no longer live the single lifestyle with the single friends. Often times it’s better to limit the time spent with the single friends in favor of building friendships with those who have been married longer than you. Don’t be going places alone with the opposite sex that you aren’t married to. This opens the door way to wide for trouble. Larry Burkett had this policy and Vice President Mike Pence has held the same policy for years, as well as Billy Graham. They will never be accused of any sexual misconduct like we see with so many who ridicule this policy. It’s not just the accusations, it’s also the appearance. People see a married man dinning with a woman he’s not married to and rumors start to fly. Once they get going you’ll never get them back in the bag. Once your spouse hears them doubt will start to creep in and the enemy will have a field day with that. It also leaves the door open to temptation that otherwise would never rare its ugly head.
6. Before we got married our relationship was predominately based on clubbing, alcohol and sex. By the time we got married we didn’t really know each other that well. There was a lot of things we never discussed or knew about each other. Remember, I was stationed at Camp Lejeune and she lived two hours away. Our time together was mainly weekends. My last year on active duty was stationed overseas and we married 6 months after I got back. The foundation was non-existent and there was nothing new to bind us after marriage. That’s the biggest indicator of the likely hood of a marriage lasting or failing, did they abstain until marriage or not. Those that did have a much lower divorce rate than those that were extending marriage privileges before marriage.
7. The Bible tells us that men are to love our wives like Christ loves the church and for women to respect their husbands. If He had to put that in scripture that tells us a couple of things. It’s not our first tendency and we are wired to need & respond to those things. This also speaks to the emotional differences in men and women. When a wife respects her husband he feels loved and valued. Respect is why men will stay in bad jobs, a bad company or a place where he makes less money. When a husband loves his wife she also gains a feeling of respect. If he just respects her she won’t feel the love. A majority of women prefer to be in a marriage that is financially troubled if they know their husband loves them and they are emotionally secure. That speaks volumes when men view that providing a financially secure home is how you show love.
8. If you have been divorced you are not a marriage expert. If you have had multiple spouses, you are not a marriage expert. If you divorced and remarried the same person and have more than 10 years of a successful marriage then you have something to offer. You might have some wisdom to offer, but my money is on the couple that has lasted 20 plus years and has a successful, fulfilling marriage that has overcome a many hurdles.
9. Never hang around people who talk down to their spouse, who ridicule and belittle them either with them there or away from them. This allows the same seeds of destruction to worm its way into your brain about your spouse. Once you go down that road it’s easy to start seeing the grass on your side of the fence as dead winter rye and the grass on the other side as lush Kentucky Bluegrass. It’s not as it appears. Guard what you have and fertilize your side of the fence.
The lessons are not limited to these. There are more and maybe if I remember to write them down as they come to me I’ll post another edition.