Hey all! I did this campaign last fall, to raise money to pay for marriage counseling sessions through Northland Counseling Services and Know the Truth Ministries – a Christ-based counseling ministry. I chose this ministry, for a couple reasons:
- I know who Hal Baumchen is, from his “Freedom In Christ” seminars. I also know many who have counseled through him and/or his organization. So I trusted them.
- I wanted a Christ-based counseling firm. Not a “Christian counselor” who counsels like the rest of the world would – but one who marries the bible to the world, and holds to a biblical approach. With regards to marriage, I think there is no other way. You may disagree? This is where I stand. Please know, secular counselors are actually counseling people to separate or divorce, to “make life happy”. Not because someone is abused, in danger of harm or death – to “be happy”. With counseling that is founded in biblical truth, there is no risk of that
But – why do this at all? Why fight for marriage? ESPECIALLY you, Ted, who has ended a marriage?
There is a huge part of it. I ended a marriage. I see the fallout. In my life. In my ex’s life. In my kids. In our families. Divorce is a big nuclear bomb going off, that impacts more than the strike zone, for many, many years… It tears relationships apart. It causes more strife than staying together.
On that last sentence – ask yourself, how many people are happier, after divorce? On the surface – you might answer, “Most”. But dig deeper. How are their relationships with their kids? Or better – with their ex? If kids are involved, very often, the ex is involved in some way. Ask the “happy divorcee” about their ex, and you most often will see that happy demeanor fade. Are they happier, in that instance, than they were prior to the divorce?
Of course, if they stick it out, they may live a lifetime of fighting, and who wants to go through that? Is it worth it?
Thing is – NONE of us know how the story is going to end. I can say this – my parents fought a lot (Sorry mom). Were they miserable? No, I don’t think so. But if they were young marrieds today, the fact is that many would encourage and celebrate the ending of their marriage.
When my dad died, my mother was crushed. She lost her best friend, of 40 years. The one she fought with. Her words – her BEST FRIEND.
When my grandpa died, I can say the same thing about my grandma.
If we’re that crushed when we lose our spouse, how come it’s so easy to throw them away these days, while they are still alive? We don’t see the end of the story. We don’t trust God anymore – and only He knows how it ends. Divorce is a clear indication that we no longer trust God. I did not, when I ended mine.
But – everything happens for a reason, right?
Yes. And very often, the REASON we get divorced is because we want to look out for ourselves, and ourselves only. Keep in mind, I was married with two kids. I didn’t care how it impacted my kids! Sure, I didn’t like seeing them sad and scared. Sure the thought my kids having to split time between parents and homes, was not wonderful. But that did not stop me. I wanted what I wanted, and I got it. No matter how it impacted those kids…
I was selfish. Most are, when they seek divorce. That statement will offend someone, I know. But it doesn’t make it untrue. And I can’t NOT say it. Divorce, most often, is an extremely selfish act. Divorce is one of the few things mentioned in the bible that God says He “hates” (Malachi 2:16). See, if marriage is a selfless act between two people created in the image of God – an image of the salvation relationship between Christ and His bride, the church – then divorce is the selfish, self-destructive act of spitting in the face of God by ending that very image of His salvation for us…
So – I was saved two years AFTER my divorce. I would love to tell you that God set me straight, and I fought to rectify my dead marriage. But I can’t, because I did not. I didn’t even try… It may not have happened, had I tried. But I did not try.
I did re-marry. I am happily married now, for five years. I adore my wife. She adores me. We are far from perfect. But we are a loving couple, who put Christ first. We have a wonderful family – and many GRANDKIDS now! God is so good…
Still – I see the impact even today of divorce on my kids. They live in two homes, shuffling two schedules, jockeying their belongings back and forth. A dual life they did not choose. My ex and I try to parent jointly, and we get along, so that is great. Still – I see it. All the little “should not have been” things. God is good, and His grace covers much.
THEN – God starts bringing all these people into my life, who have been through, or are going through, DIVORCE! WHY?? I know what I did, God, why make me re-live it, in EVERY SINGLE ONE? And I did. EVERY. ONE.
And – HE did also… EVERY. LAST. ONE…
The final one, the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” for me, was a couple who were dear friends from WAY back. Married over 20 years. Then – done. The reasons are not for me to share. The blame is not on one person. But a life-long marriage is over… I was, and still am, crushed…
I met with each of them. Not that I am qualified in any way. But I did.
I listened to them.
I plead with each of them, to fight for their marriage.
I told my story. I was even asked, “Are you not happy with your wife now?” Haha – I’m so thrilled with the family I have! So it kinda makes it hard to show them.
And I loved them.
I can’t prove this – but I think God is letting my heart break, as His breaks…
“For I HATE divorce”, says YAHWEH, the God of Israel…
I know, I know. I don’t know YOUR story. I did not go through what you went through. I can’t possibly know. There are SO many variables, and to make things black in white in a clearly grey world, is – unfair…
Let me first say, I am FOR you. My charge to you to FIGHT for your marriage, the marriage you don’t want – the marriage to that person who right now makes your skin crawl – is NOT to say that I think you are a horrible person. That they are right, and you are wrong. God didn’t say, “I hate DIVORCEES”, and I don’t either. I even told my dear friend this, that I would love them dearly, no matter what they ultimately decided. And I do, and always will.
Let me second say – while God loves you, it’s worth paying attention to those things He says He hates, like divorce. Why does God, who IS love, hate something? The only conclusion I can come to is that it steals His glory, and harms His children. Divorce does both of those things.
Let me thirdly say – It’s not too late to save your marriage. If you two hate each other – it’s not too late. If it’s already been over for you, long before you said the words, “I want a divorce” – It’s not too late. If you two have already ended it legally – IT’S NOT TOO LATE. I am praying for you, those I know. God is FOR you,and will help you. He will bless the effort to save a marriage. And if both parties want it and put God first – watch out!
So that’s why I committed to raise money for marriage counseling. For those who WANT to try and save a dead marriage. It’s not for those who are done with it. It’s for those who want to step toward the other, trusting God to raise their dead marriage to life.
God was faithful too! $1000 was raised through the campaign. I matched that, dollar for dollar. And then, some dear friends matched my match! So $3000 was raised! Praise God, that’s like 30 counseling sessions! I have no idea who has been or will be blessed through this. But God does.
So – I will continue to fight. Not AGAINST divorce. But FOR marriage. FOR my own marriage. FOR my wife. FOR the marriages of those I know who are struggling, or have fallen apart. FOR the marriages of those I know who are thriving (thank you Jesus!). FOR God’s kingdom. FOR the lost. FOR you.
I’ll leave you with this video. Matt Chandler talks about the first seven years of his marriage. It’s humbling, and even sounds a bit familiar to me. Might to you as well?
Grace and peace