Category Archives: Divorce

Your Example Didn‚Äôt Quit

Husbands, love your wives, even also as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her (Ephesians 5:25).

In other words, think twice before you say of your marriage:

“This is too tough.”

“I don’t feel it anymore.”

“I deserve better.”

“I deserve to be happy.”

“She doesn’t love me.”

“She doesn’t meet my needs.”

“She cheated on me.”

“I quit!”

Think of all Jesus could have said, but didn’t…as He carried the cross all the way.

“As Christ loved” is our example. If He didn’t quit, when should we?

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Defining Marriage, Divorce, Love of God

What It Takes to Stay Married

Just married! Leaving the church with the most beautiful woman in the world ūüôā

Today (June 18th) my wife (Valerie) and I have been married 24 years. Hard to believe we’ve been together that long. In reality, we’ve been “together” for 26 years, but the first two we were dating, then engaged.

Next year will be the big 25, and I don’t have any time to spare in getting ready for it. We went to Disney World on our honeymoon, and that’s where we want to go next year – with the whole family! Donations WILL be excepted…better believe it.

Anyway, as I was sitting here doing some reading and studying in order to answer a question about prayer from a fellow blogger, another question randomly popped into my head:”What has kept us married for 24 years, if not simply prayer?”

Well, prayer has been an indispensable part of the glue, that’s for sure, but there are other things, too. Therefore, this evening I’m going to share them with you in hopes of helping your marriage and strengthening mine.

But that’s not all! I’m starting with my list, then I’m going to bring Valerie (my wife) into this with her thoughts!

My List:

God. First and foremost. Without divine intervention, I’m sure Valerie and I would have either ended up divorced at some point…or simply dead. Don’t think I’m being facetious, either; I’m being very serious. There have been more times than I can count that the Lord has worked miracles, moved mountains, guided circumstances, and healed incurable wounds with the Balm of Gilead. If nothing else and no one else, we owe our marriage to the One before whom we made our vows.

Commitment. If you want to know a dirty little secret, there have been times when my wife has said, “The only reason you’re still here is because you made a commitment!” Well, yeah, that’s true. But you know what? Whatever happened to making a vow and keeping it? There will be times in life when the only thing that will keep you trudging through is your promise, your word. If your word means nothing, then you’re marriage will certainly fail.

Our Witness. You see, my wife and I are unashamedly Christian. Everything we do – we believe – should bring glory and honor to God. Even when there were difficult times, we still wanted other people to know about Jesus. Therefore, we have stayed together through the worst of times if for no other reason than to be an example of God’s faithfulness to us.

Faithfulness. It may seem like a no-brainer, but staying faithful to each other and guarding against unfaithfulness should be an every-day commitment. Don’t expect your marriage to last when you start sampling the water from other wells. And here’s a little FYI… when your spouse gets too thirsty, don’t think he/she isn’t going to be tempted by a fountain in the desert. Know what I mean?

A Well-Watered Garden. Keep the grass green on your own side of the fence.

Forgiveness. Folks, we all fail. My wife isn’t perfect, but I’m less perfect. As a matter of fact, I’m a regular mess. If we didn’t learn to forgive each other we’d both be in a world of continual hurt.

Putting the Other First. It might sound funny, but my wife and I have actually gotten into fights (verbally, of course) over trying to please the other one! “Where do you want to eat?” can spark arguments even when all you want to do is be thoughtful! However, pride, putting yourself first, and always wanting to get your own way will end in real disaster.

Children. I don’t want to get too deep into this one, but having children has done a lot for keeping us married 24 years. For one thing, my wife was a child of divorce, resulting in abuse, emotional trauma, and a lot of unfortunate baggage. The last thing we wanted our three girls to endure was another broken family. We had to break the cycle. You do a lot and endure a lot for your kids, you know.

Church families. I can’t stress enough how much belonging to and regularly attending a church has meant to us. So many times, when there was nowhere else to turn, God used our church families to come alongside us with love, compassion, and support.

Love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just talking about emotional fluff or sensuality; I’m talking about the kind of love that’s expressed as a verb. Love is not a thing; it’s something you DO.

Listen to Your Wife! Yeah, this is a guy’s responsibility, but it’s important. Men, listen to her. She has a lot more to say than you do, and you want to be the one she talks to when she’s concerned, hurt, lonely, angry, etc. Did you get what I said? YOU want to be the one she talks to. If you don’t listen to her, who do you think will? Oh, and take that “woman’s intuition” stuff seriously – it’s real.

Valerie’s List:

Patience. Anthony has more patience than me. Actually, he’s the most patient person I know – it’s both a blessing and irritating at the same time.

Empathy. Even when something doesn’t necessarily bother me, it hurts me to see my husband hurt. I hurt when he hurts, but when he hurts when I hurt, that makes me love him even more. When we empathize with each other we learn a little better to see things from the other’s perspective and feel their heart.

Understanding. Even when Anthony doesn’t understand something, he takes the time to listen and try to understand, which lets me know he loves me and makes me love him. Sometimes you have to try to see things from the other person’s perspective, which leads to a better understanding. There is always more ways to see the same thing, and marriage requires both of us to take a step back, at times, and imagine ourselves in each other’s shoes. Trying to understand the other by listening and putting yourself in their position is loving them.

Shopping. I don’t like to shop. I don’t like to clothes shop, Christmas shop, or anything like that. I don’t like grocery shopping most of all! I know it runs contrary to the stereotype, but I just don’t like shopping! But when Anthony says he’ll go with me shopping – even though I know he probably hates shopping more than me – it puts pep in my step and joy in my heart.

Doing things I like to do even though he doesn’t like to do them. Or, to put it another way, Anthony watches the “chick flicks” with me and rarely even complains – sometimes he even cries! There are times I’ll even say “yes” to the war movie. The thing is, once we start watching the other’s movie, we often find out we like it. It’s when the other one asks to participate in something that we should stop and think about how often the other person did something with us, even when he didn’t want to. Simply being nice and thoughtful can make a marriage last a long time.

Conclusion

My wife and I are not marriage counselors, but we’ve got a lot of marriage experience. We’ve also seen a lot of marriages fail when they could have lasted. All they would have needed was to do what we’ve shared above.

Marriage is tough. Marriage is work. Marriage is not for the faint of heart. But marriage is a gift. Marriage is a calling. Marriage is meant to be a symbol to the world of God’s love and faithfulness to us.

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. – Ephesians 5:30-32 KJV

If you’re married right now, know you are in the Enemy’s sights, and he wants nothing less than for you to fail in your commitment to each other. Hang in there. Be strong. Love each other with a Christ-like, cross-bearing love. Stay on your knees. Give God the glory.

Oh, and always have a sense of humor. Laugh.

And then you’ll have what it takes to stay married.

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Filed under Divorce, Life Lessons, Marriage, Relationships and Family

13+ Things I DON’T Want To Do In 2018

Based On a Sermon

Five years ago I preached a sermon to close out the year of 2012. The following 13 points were part of that sermon: what I did NOT want to do in 2013. I reposted the list last January for 2017.

Unfortunately,¬†numbers 10, 11, & 12 are the only ones I’ve not done; I failed on the rest.¬†Just goes to show you¬†why a preacher needs to preach to himself more often. Did I hear an “amen”?

But this is a new year, and all I can do is try again. The only difference is that for 2018 I’m going to take my 13 and raise me 5. Therefore, here are 13+ things I DON’T want to do in 2018.

I Don’t Want To…

1. Believe another politician.¬†Why did I ever? I won’t do it this year, that’s for sure. Even if he/she is telling the truth, how would I know? Let God be true, and every man a liar, especially those running for office (Romans 3:4).

2. Eat more in one sitting than the average family in Africa eats in a week. (Prov. 23:21; 21:17)

3. Lie, cheat, or steal, even when it’s socially acceptable. This is especially important during tax season, but there are many times we lie to each other, deprive each other, and take what isn’t ours. Have you ever told someone you were “fine” when you actually weren’t? You lied. Used two coupons instead of one, just because the cashier didn’t notice? You stole.

4. Be angry.¬† Anger rarely solves anything. Angry people are miserable and always finding fault. Angry people turn a leisurely drive into a demolition derby. “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

5. Whine or complain. What do I have to complain about? Really?

6. Tell people how stupid they are.¬†I don’t understand why some people act the way they do, but I need to be a little more understanding of idiots, morons,¬†ignoramuses, and bone-headed nincompoops. They must answer to God, not me, for their actions (Rom 14).

7. Add another x to my large. I can’t afford any more clothing. Even now I must wear¬†Hawaiian¬†shirts year-round because nothing will stay tucked in. I mean, seriously! The last thing I need is to expand the “temple.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

8. Lose another favorite sock.¬†I can’t figure out how it happens, but something has to be done.

9. Waste time.¬† Today I listened to my two girls play with a new¬†ukulele. They laughed and sang.¬† Soon they will be grown, and there will be no more music, games, or bedtime stories. “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144:4).

10. Get a divorce.¬† Many do it because the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence. They don’t realize the unnatural stuff has a nasty aftertaste. I want to stay with the woman God gave me. Who could be better than a gift from God? ¬†“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Proverbs 5:18).

11. Give one more dollar to a guy on the street‚Ķ.without offering the gospel as a condition.¬†If he wants a dollar, then fine. I’ll give him $5 if he lets me tell him about Jesus.

12. Be on a reality TV show. So many people say, “Anthony, your family would make a great reality show.” I say, “Yes, I know.” However, it ain’t gonna happen. The world isn’t ready for it.

13. Forget to pray. I don’t pray enough. More is better. What I need is to follow David’s example and pray morning, noon, and evening (Psalm 55:17). I shudder to think how much I’ve given up by forgetting to spend time with God.

James 4:17¬† “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

Nor do I want to…

14. Have another rotator cuff surgery.¬† Honestly, this has not been as bad as some people said it would be, but it’s bad enough. I seriously do NOT want to go through this again.

15. Preach another boring or routine sermon. Honestly, what excuse do we have to preach anything that’s not engaging, exciting, or exalting? How dull do we have to be – or how little do we really care – to deliver the life-changing Gospel in such a way that the hearer would yawn??

16. Assume the new blue toothbrush is mine. I don’t even want to talk about it.

17. Move again. We moved twice last year, and we not even done! If I have to move again, it’s going to have to wait till 2019, not a minute earlier.

18. Waste another God-given opportunity. I’m getting too old to waste any time (and I have less than I did 5 years ago). But aside from time, I don’t want to waste any opportunity God gives me to do anything, especially tell people about Him.

 

Look for “20 Things I Want To Be Perfectly Clear In 2020” two years from now.

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Filed under Christian Living, Defending Traditional Marriage, Divorce, Do not judge, Future, God, Life Lessons, Preaching, Relationships and Family, scary new year, the future, Uncategorized

13 Things I DON’T Want To Do In 2017

From a Sermon

Four years ago I preached a sermon to close out the year of 2012. The following 13 points were what I decided I did NOT want to do in 2013. The same could be said for 2017.

Unfortunately,¬†numbers 10, 11, & 12 are the only ones I’ve not done; the rest were failures.¬†Just goes to show you¬†why a preacher needs to preach to himself more often.

I Don’t Want To…

1. Believe another politician.¬†Why did I ever? I won’t do it this year, that’s for sure. Even if he/she is telling the truth, how would I know? Let God be true, and every man a liar, especially those running for office (Romans 3:4).

2. Eat more in one sitting than the average family in Africa eats in a week. (Prov. 23:21; 21:17)

3. Lie, cheat, or steal, even when it’s socially acceptable. This is especially important during tax season, but there are many times we lie to each other, deprive each other, and take what isn’t ours. Have you ever told someone you were “fine” when you actually weren’t? You lied. Used two coupons instead of one, just because the cashier didn’t notice? You stole.

4. Be angry.¬† Anger rarely solves anything. Angry people are miserable and always finding fault. Angry people turn a leisurely drive into a demolition derby. “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

5. Whine or complain. What do I have to complain about? Really?

6. Tell people how stupid they are.¬†I don’t understand why some people act the way they do, but I need to be a little more understanding of idiots, morons,¬†ignoramuses, and bone-headed nincompoops. They must answer to God, not me, for their actions (Rom 14).

7. Add another x to my large. I can’t afford any more clothing. Even now I must wear¬†Hawaiian¬†shirts year-round because nothing will stay tucked in. I mean, seriously! The last thing I need is to expand the “temple.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

8. Lose another favorite sock.¬†I can’t figure out how it happens, but something has to be done.

9. Waste time.¬† Today I listened to my two girls play with a new¬†ukulele. They laughed and sang.¬† Soon they will be grown, and there will be no more music, games, or bedtime stories. “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144:4).

10. Get a divorce.¬† Many do it because the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence. They don’t realize the unnatural stuff has a nasty aftertaste. I want to stay with the woman God gave me. Who could be better than a gift from God? ¬†“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Proverbs 5:18).

11. Give one more dollar to a guy on the street‚Ķ.without offering the gospel as a condition.¬†If he wants a dollar, then fine. I’ll give him $5 if he lets me tell him about Jesus.

12. Be on a reality TV show. So many people say, “Anthony, your family would make a great reality show.” I say, “Yes, I know.” However, it ain’t gonna happen. The world isn’t ready for it.

13. Forget to pray. I don’t pray enough. More is better. What I need is to follow David’s example and pray morning, noon, and evening (Psalm 55:17). I shudder to think how much I’ve given up by forgetting to spend time with God.

James 4:17¬† “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

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Filed under Christian Living, Defending Traditional Marriage, Divorce, Do not judge, Future, God, Life Lessons, Preaching, Relationships and Family, scary new year, the future, Uncategorized

Responding to Temptation

Young Woman,

I don’t care how young you are, 20’s or whatever. I don’t care how pretty you are, at least what I can see. I don’t care how much fun and full of energy you are; I’m not. I don’t care how much you want to please me. I don’t even care how much you care about me, or how much you need me. 

You see, whatever you have to offer, no matter what it may be, is not worth my marriage. No amount of “love making” could compare to the love that’s been built over the last 23 years with my wife. 

I love my wife and I love my God who gave her to me. I love my daughters and the trust they place in me. Nothing you can offer is worth what I’d have to give up. 

Lastly, marriage is designed to be symbolic of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Because of this, and because of the gospel, I will remain faithful to my wife because Jesus is faithful to me. 

In other words, I’m not interested in what you have to offer. 

Respectfully,

Happily Forever-Married Man

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Defending Traditional Marriage, Defining Marriage, Divorce, Marriage, Relationships and Family

Happy Fox Is Leaving

If you have lived for any amount of time, like most of you surely have, I’m positive there’s been a time or two when the air was knocked out of you by some bad news.

Think of something you’ve experienced – not so bad as the death of a loved one, though, – and you’ll understand how I feel right now.

Names

The first thing you need to know is that I name children on my school bus. If that sounds strange, the reason is because sometimes I can’t remember their parent-given names, especially early on in the school year. Therefore, I give them a name in the same way my Native American ancestors did; I name them based on something I see.

For example, one girl is tall and thin as a stick, so I call her Sticky. There’s a boy who always runs from his house to the bus, so I call him Runny Boy. Flower Girl lives on a street called Magnolia. Flower Girl’s little sister, a 5th grader who started riding my bus in Kindergarten, blew bubbles on the bus, so… her name is Bubbles, a name which she fiercely defends (she’ll go by that name in college one day).

Another little girl started riding my bus four years ago, I believe. The thing that set her apart from every other child on my bus was her smile – it was constant and predictable. So, when she started riding my bus it was cooler weather, therefore she always wore a hat that looked like a fox head (with ears and all). That’s when I started calling her Happy Fox.

The Notification

This afternoon, as I was standing in the big room where all the children come to sit in their designated areas, each one with a sign that displays the number of the bus they will ride, Happy Fox walked up to me with only half a smile.

“I’m gonna be leaving you,” she said with an uncharacteristically somber tone.

“What? You’re gonna be leaving me?” I asked jokingly.

“Yeah,” she said, “I’m not going to be riding with you anymore.”

A little shocked, I replied, “Really? Why not?”

With an brave little attitude that some kids have – the kind that care about the feelings of others and don’t really expect your sympathy – she explained, “Yeah, well, my mom and dad are breaking up, and I’ve got to go live with my dad…so I won’t be riding anymore after Friday, I think.”

That.  Hurt.  On.  So.  Many.  Levels!!

The Others

Here’s the thing: God hates divorce! You want to know why? Well, besides the fact that it is the opposite of what God wants, which is a picture of faithfulness that mirrors His faithfulness to us, it hurts a LOT of people, especially the children!! …¬†And the bus drivers!!!

Too often couples will separate for the most petty of reasons. Others break up for good reasons, but the reasons were preventable. Nevertheless, no matter the reason, there are very few of them that are insurmountable, should the offended couple think of others besides themselves.

Today was a good example of the ripple effects divorces have. Sure, some couple thinks their lives are going to be better now that they don’t live with each other, but children are going to suffer; future families are going to suffer; risks for many bad things are going to go up; and even people like me are going to cry, get in an ill mood, bite the heads off their own families, and write depressing blog posts at the end of the day.

I just pray that Happy Fox can keep that smile.

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Depression, Divorce, Parenting, Relationships and Family

Ashley Lied

Her Father

You may have already heard the news, but a hacker released the names and information of men who used the services of the illicit affair provider Ashley Madison.

Screen grab from website

Screen grab from website

Unfortunately for her (I say “her” only because it seems appropriate in a proverbial sort of way) suitors, Ashley Madison was not able to provide complete anonymity to those to whom she promised could arrange an adulterous affair. No, all of her safeguards were useless. She lied.

Well, I guess you could say I am being a little unfair. Ashley Madison didn’t technically lie about keeping the secrets of men wanting to have affairs; she was hacked. But in reality, why would anyone have believed her promises in the first place? After all, she is of her father, the devil, and he is the father of lies.

Other Lies

If Ashley Madison didn’t lie when she said she would keep her suitors’ confidential information secure, then it was the only lie she didn’t tell. As a matter of fact, Ashley Madison was well versed in many lies of which her father, Satan, has been using for ages…some of which are made more dangerous because of the included element of truth.

Ashley Madison’s motto is “Life is short. Have an affair.” Truth is, life is short, especially in comparison to eternity. But what the motto doesn’t tell us is that the consequences of sin can last a lifetime, and eternity is even longer.

Ironically, I just logged on to Ashley Madison’s website and found a few other blatant lies still posted.

  • Over 40,860,000 anonymous members
  • 100% discreet service
  • Trusted Security Award
  • “Our Married Dating Services for Married individuals Work.”

Consequences

Now that the names are coming out, people are killing themselves. How’s that for “marriage dating services…that work?” What was Ashley Madison’s plan? For people to be happy? To have fulfilling marriages characterized by faithfulness? Not hardly.

Like I stated before, Ashley Madison (and her creators) is just like her father the devil and all the “strange women” he has always used to bring men and marriages to destruction.

“For the lips of a strange woman drop [as] an honeycomb, and her mouth [is] smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.” – Proverbs 5:3-5

More men will be seduced. More names will come out. More marriages will be ruined. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. … For the ways of man [are] before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” – Proverbs 5:15, 21

Be warned.

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Filed under current events, Defending Traditional Marriage, Divorce