What Happened to Committed Marriages?

I was reading about Ashley Madison this morning. Do you know hundreds of thousands are still signing up? Just last week almost 100,000 women signed up.  My guess is that some of these women are looking to get their husbands back or they are spying on their husbands. 

My question is what happened to monogamous relationships? I was looking at Ashley Madison’s Twitter page. They had an article back in July that posed the question can a couple be monogamous. I say that the answer is YES. My wife and I have been married for almost 13 years and neither have cheated on the other. 

This is not something that effects only a certain population. It effects everyone. There are plenty of maps put out by Ashley Madison that show where cheaters are. The biggest population is DC. The biggest area in DC is Capital Hill area. There are also other maps throughout the world. This is a big problem. 

If you are on the fence and are thinking about signing up let me give you some advice…don’t do it. I know it sounds simple and it is but evidently people still do it. 

I feel that there are things that can be done to stop an affair before it happens. These are some ideas that will hopefully be beneficial. 

1. Don’t join dating websites while married. 

Ok I know this sounds elementary but it happens and it will continue happening. It is sad that this even has to be said. A lot of people were mad when their information was released. Did they think they would not get caught. If you do not want someone to know you are on these sites do not get on them. 

Make sure your spouse knows your social media accounts and has your passwords. What? I would never do that. I am entitled to my privacy. I can hear someone saying that. Let me be honest if that’s your response you are hiding something. When you are married your life is not private. 

2. Rekindle your romance. 

Are you cheating because there is no romance? I have never cheated so I do not know if this is a reason but I can only guess it is. When you were dating your spouse you fell in love with them. If you didn’t why are you married? So my advice is never stop dating your spouse. 

Make time for you and your spouse. Both partners should be romantic. It is a two way street. You both have to work at keeping the love you have. 

3. Find an accountability partner. 

Find someone (of the same sex) that will give you godly advice and not steer you in the wrong direction. If you have the desire to cheat talk with this person. Be honest so they can give you advice and pray for you.  This person has to be someone that you can trust. 

4. Do not be alone with someone of the opposite sex. 

Take the temptation away and you do not have to worry about it.  If you commit to not being alone with someone of the opposite sex then there will be no chance of an affair. This could also protect you against false accusations. 
I can only imagine the pain caused by an affair. You might be thinking I would never get caught and you might not. I can almost guarantee you will eventually be filled with guilt. If you are caught you are going to cause pain for everyone involved. You will be hurt by this decision as well. Why put yourself or your spouse through this? Is a moment of false pleasure worth a lifetime of guilt and pain? 

Have You Commited Adultery?

After my post yesterday and the leak of Ashley Madison accounts I think it is appropriate to post this. 

Have you let temptation overtake your marriage? Have you had an affair? If so its not too late for your marriage. There are things you need to do right now to rectify the situation and minimize any more damage. You might be saying I have not been caught. That does not matter. Go ahead and come clean now. 

Admit to God

This is the first thing you must do. It is also the most important thing you can do. The bible is clear that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standards. The great news is that he has provided payment from our sins. Jesus died for our sins. We need to ask God for forgiveness. 

It’s not only important to ask for forgiveness but we have to repent. That means you have to turn from sin. If all you do is ask for forgiveness but continue in this activity the rest of this advice will do you no good. 

Admit to your spouse

Alright this will be the hardest part. There will be serious repercussions. Your spouse will be upset. Your spouse might even leave you, hopefully this will not happen. The goal is to work through the hurt and repair the relationship. 

Just like when you admit to God you have to repent. If you ask for forgiveness and do it again you were not sorry. You are only sorry if you don’t do it again. 

Seek forgiveness

This should go without saying but in order for relationships to be repaired you have to be forgiven. This is not something that will happen over night. It will take time. It will also take both of you working on it. 

The cheating partner must seek forgiveness. Your spouse will be hesitant at first. Trust takes a long time to build and even longer to repair. Be patient with your spouse. Love on them and let them know they are valued. 

The other spouse needs to forgive. I can only imagine the pain of this and how hard it would be to forgive. If your partner is sincerely sorry work with them. Do not work against them. Work the problem out. Start offering a little forgiveness. Hopefully things will become easier as time goes on. 

Get away from this type of stuff

You have done it once and you are likely to do it again unless you take steps to get away from temptation.  The most important thing is to spend time with your spouse. Spend as much time as possible. This will allow you to study your spouse and fall in love again. If you are spending time together you have no time to be with someone else. 

Next look at what got you in the affair. Was it someone you work closely with at work? If so do not work with this person anymore. In certain situations it may be appropriate to leave the company. What’s more important your marriage or a job?

Where you on a dating website? Get off of those immediately. Make sure your spouse has all accounts and passwords. Allow your spouse to put a block on adult websites. If you continue to get on these websites you are never going to be trusted or forgiven. 

The main thing is to RUN away from anything that will make you cheat on your spouse. 

Repair relationships

This is not the time for a divorce attorney. Let me repeat this, an attorney should not be your first option. Marriage counseling should be your first option. If you do not know of one see your pastor. He might be gifted at counseling. He might also be connected to a great Christian counselor. Counseling will only work if both parties are committed. If not it will be a waste of time. 

Really work on it. You might have to date your spouse again. In all honesty we should never stop dating our spouse. Repairs to a marriage are going to take prayer, love, and forgiveness. It will not happen over night. 

Have You Built Strong Defenses in Your Marriage?

I was reading Nehemiah this afternoon. In the second chapter when Nehemiah went out and viewed the city he noticed there were no walls around the city. The city was vulnerable. The enemy could come in and attack the city and they would not know what him them until it was too late. I could not help but to think of the marriages that came under attack over the past several years by the Ashley Madison Company. These people let their guard down and now they have been caught. Couples now have to rebuild marriages because their guard was let down. I am not saying that they have to rebuild their marriage because they got caught. I am saying they have to rebuild their marriage because they have let sin enter into it. They let the enemy attack their covenant between them and God.

I think there are several lessons from Nehemiah that we can learn in building our marriage so that we do not allow ourselves to get in this type of situation.

Each partner must be responsible for building their own defenses and doing their part.

In chapter three we see the builders of the walls. Each person had their own portion that they were responsible for. They knew that to keep the enemy out they had to work individually and together to accomplish this task. They were responsible to their selves as well as others in Jerusalem.

In a marriage we have a responsibility to God, our spouse, and ourselves. One of the main responsibilities we have is to build up a wall of defense against anything that might harm our marriage. We have to get away from things that could tempt us to do something inappropriate.

A spouse should never be alone with someone that is of the opposite sex. This has many issues. One if you are building a relationship with someone of the opposite sex and spending time with them alone it could lead to other things. Also if nothing ever happened it could lead to accusations. It is just not a healthy situation and should be avoided.

If you struggle with pornography you must do away with anything that will lead you to it. If you have a computer or smart phone have your spouse put a lock on that type of content so that you cannot access it. You also have to be responsible. You know that what you are doing is not right. You have to stay away. When you are tempted to look at it, think would I do this when my wife is here with me. Stay away from dating sites.Spend time with your wife. The best defense is a strong offense. If you are constantly working on your relationship you will not have to worry about fighting off temptations from outside your marriage.

We must have accountability from others.

We can also see that in chapter three that people were dependent on their neighbors. The neighbors would hold each other accountable. Certain tasks had to be done and people were expected to hold up their end of the bargain. They were expected to be honest and work hard to accomplish what needed to be done.

Many people struggle with temptations. The best way to combat temptations is to have an accountability partner. For obvious reasons this person should be of the same sex. This person should be someone that you can trust and not someone that will go out and tell everyone your struggles. This also should be someone that is going to give you Godly advice. You do not need someone that will lead you in the wrong direction.

We have to fight against any outside forces that want to attack our marriage.

Sanballat became angry with the work that was being done to defend the city. He started ridiculing the people doing the work. He was being used by Satan to get into the minds of the people that were rebuilding. He wanted to discourage them so that they would leave gaps in the wall. This would leave the city vulnerable.

We cannot let this happen in our marriage. In some ways I believe that our culture has become numb to the fact that marriages do not last. Things that are meant to destroy a marriage are so prevalent in society. We see in television and movies things such as adultery and divorce. People flirt with other married people all the time. A lot of times no one even thinks twice about it. It is not appropriate and should not happen.

You have to fight together. These attacks will harm both of you and not just one party. In a marriage you are one flesh. A marriage is not a joint venture. These attacks will eventually harm both parties and should be fought off from the beginning.

We have to overcome discouragement.

There will be times that you face burdens. This is a given in any relationship. The way you respond will be an indicator as to how your relationship will go. If you constantly fight and do not overcome discouragement then you will struggle. Your love will be in danger of slipping away. I am sure that this has caused many affairs and divorces. If you are constantly mad then you are going to look in other places for happiness. If you are not finding that happiness at home, you are possibly going to start trying to find that happiness in other partners. This is going to be more discouragement latter on.

If you can overcome the discouragement you will have a better chance of making your marriage work. In chapter four we see the enemy was getting ready to attack the city while it was still being built. The city came together and protected their city. As a couple the partners have to stand up and fight together. They cannot fight against each other, but might stand together. If you are fighting against each other, it will prove to be counterproductive

Commit to finish strong.

They had finished the wall with the help of God. I read another blog over the weekend. The author said the one thing that surprises him anymore is when couples celebrate their 25th, 50th, or 75th wedding anniversary. This used to be something that you heard of all the time. With divorce so high it will get rarer to hear of these long time wedding anniversaries.

The goal of my wife and I is to grow old together. I hope that we live long enough to celebrate these milestones in our marriage. When I made a commitment to my wife and God I meant it. Things are not always great in a marriage but you have to stick with the commitment. Love is not something that we should ever take lightly. Love will have its ups and downs but we must persevere.

Make a commitment today that you will be in it for the long haul. Decide at this moment that nothing will come between your marriage. Finish Strong.

What Are You Doing With Your Harvest?

“And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:2‬ ‭NASB‬‬

A tale of two farmers:

First farmer collects his harvest and stores it in silos. He uses the harvest for his benefit. There is no plan for the future. He does not think about planting more seeds until next year. The next year crops will not come from these seeds. 

When the next season comes around the farmer has a hard time. He has to struggle to find seeds to plant. He has to go looking for seeds. He struggles. This slowed the growth of his farm. This could have been resolved if the farmer had used his harvest wisely. 

The second farmer was a little more wiser. He set a side some of the harvest for the farm. He then took some of the harvest and prepared it to be used to plant more seeds. This caused the farm to expand more rapidly. 

Jesus tells us the harvest is plentiful.  Christians are to be out in the world telling people about Christ. This leads to crops being harvested. There are many churches that are doing this really well. 

The question is which farm is your church like? Are you keeping the Christians in the church walls to be used for and by the church? Or is your church like the other farm and preparing new seeds for a bigger harvest? Churches are to be discipling new believers and empowering them to go out and make disciples. 

Are You Growing as a Christian? 

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭5:12-14‬ ‭NASB‬‬

As Christians grow they should become disciples that are discipling others. The problem is that a lot of times Christians never mature to this stage. This could be for many reasons such as they are never taught or they are not given enough spiritual meat to grow. The writer of Hebrews is telling his audience that they should be teachers but they have reverted back to being a student. 

They should be making disciples but instead they are still disciples. As a disciple of Jesus grows they need to be able to teach others and help them grow as disciples. This can be done only once a disciple has grown themselves. 

Just like an infant needs milk so does the young Christian. The young Christian should be learning the fundamental truths of God. Without a firm foundation you will never stand, and if you do it will not be for long. 

Once that foundation is built you can start growing. You have something to support you. Now you can start eating that spiritual meat. You start receiving the things necessary to promote healthy growth. You are now able to discern God’s truths and boldly teach others. 

Are you growing as a Christian? God never expects anyone to stay the same. He wants us to grow so that we can be used for His service and glory here on earth. If you are not growing ask yourself why? What changes do you need in your life? It’s time to get away from the milk and start eating more steak. 

Marriage 

“The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:22‬ ‭NASB‬

This post is for the guys, but ladies please stick around and enjoy. 

Have you ever thought about how much your wife is made for you? As I read this verse I immediately thought how much my wife means to me. She does so much for me and my family. She sacrifices so much. I never knew I would be so lucky to have such a wonderful wife. She truly is made for me. 

Guys if you have ever bought anything that was custom made you know how much thought was put into it. When you get that product whatever it is you know it is for you. You treasure it and show it off. Why? Because you are proud of it. You are proud to have such a beautiful thing. 

This is how we need to view our wives. God has painstakingly developed a wife for each us. We should be proud of her. We need to show her off. We need to take care of her. Wives truly are one of a kind. 

Grace, Sin, and Law

Romans 6:14-15King James Version (KJV)
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

What is sin? 

The easiest answer is any rebellion against God. Sin pulls us away from having a relationship with God. God is a righteous God and cannot be in the presence of unholiness. 

What is the law? 

Law is Torah.Torah is a Hebrew word that translates to guidance and instruction.  These are the laws that were given by God to guide our lives. The Old Testament and New Testament also gives us synonyms to Torah such as commandments, ordinances, law, etc. 

What is grace? 

Grace is something that we are given by God even though we do not deserve it. Grace is necessary for our salvation. We are declared just (justification) by a righteous God because Jesus died on the cross and paid our price. This justification comes only by the grace of God. 

So can we continue to sin since we have Grace?

A condition of our salvation is true repentance. Repentance is the act of turning from our sin. Sin means that we are violating God’s law. So we must not sin. 

Because of God’s Grace and love we are no longer bound to our sin. It does not matter what the sin is. It does not matter how bad God has provided a way for us to no longer be a slave to that sin. 

God can do miracles in your life if you are willing to accept Him. God wants to remove these strongholds right now.  

What is Distracting You?

Luke 10:38-42
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.

39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.

40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,

42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

 

 

Another weekend has come and gone. Did you enjoy your weekend, or are you glad it is over because it was so busy? Many times we get distracted with the things that are not important in our lives. We worry about what is going on in everyone’s life through social media. We get caught up in a game on our smart phones or we get distracted by some movie marathon on cable. Be honest with yourself. How much of this past weekend was productive and not caught up by some distraction in your life?

My biggest distraction is my phone. I realized last night I spend way too much time on my phone. My wife pointed out that a lot of times I am talking to her while I am looking at something on the phone. Guys let me give you some advice, if you want to build some points with your wife listen to what they say. I do not mean just listen and say ok. I mean truly listen and join in the conversation. A conversation can only occur when more than one party is involved.

Are distractions keeping you from God? Are you spending time with God each day? We all need to slow down take time to pray and read our bibles each day. This is how we can build on your relationship with our Lord. Most people have a bible app on their smart phone. I would suggest not even looking at that for a few days. I would suggest pulling out the bible and reading it that way. This way you are not tempted to check social media while you are spending time with God. That can wait.

I have noticed that while writing this, I have checked my social media accounts a few times. I think it is time that we forget about the distractions in our everyday lives. We need to focus on what is important. The things that are important in our lives are God, family, ourselves, neighbors, and work. We cannot let things distract us from our priorities. Take a day and unplug from all distractions and be like Mary and choose what is better.