The Indestructible Marriage Part II: Divorce Proofing Your Marriage August 13-14, Around 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

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1 The Indestructible Marriage Part II: Divorce Proofing Your Marriage August 13-14, 2011 Around 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Divorce is devastating. Regardless of how frequently it occurs or how common it may be. It is mentally and emotionally devastating - worse than death. But it is also financially devastating - especially for women, children and productivity lost on the job. Divorce is as common for Christians as it is for non- Christians this is very troubling. Our faith in Christ and belief in the Word somehow are not translating into marriage. We must develop a faith in God and wisdom about marriage that is strong enough to face the challenges of sin and stress that are prevalent in the world today. Questions: Can marriage really work today? Is it really possible to insure success and divorce- proof a marriage? to Answer: God created marriage and it still works today. However, it only works His way. In this message, we will find out the truth about marriage and divorce. The Ten Warning Signs of Divorce A. Lack of pre- marriage preparation. 1. Preparation increases success and decreases divorce. 2. Answer: Post- marriage diligence. Be teachable and humble. It s a lifelong learning curve. B. Coming from a broken home or having been divorced. 1. Children of divorce have higher risk. 2. Previous divorce increases risk. 3. Reason? Iniquity or pattern of running. 4. Answer: Break the iniquity and commit! Stop running! C. Co- habiting before marriage % divorce rate 2. Reason? Self- focus and conditional commitment 3. Answer: Repent to God. Change focus to serving God and spouse Commit! D. Weak Spiritual Foundations.

2 2 1. Personally John 4 Woman at the well. i. Principle of Transference. ii. Disappointment and deception 2. Couple Unequally yoked and a disregard toward Scripture. i. Presence of sin. ii. Lack of prayer and spiritual practice. iii. Couples with strong spiritual lives have a greater chance of success. 3. Answers: i. Daily relationship with Jesus - trust, purpose, identity, security, acceptance. ii. Pray for your spouse and be a good example to them of God s love. iii. Worship and pray together regularly. E. Poor Relational Support Cor. 15:33 - Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits." 2. Research at the University of Chicago says that people who stay together have friends who support them staying together and who have a low opinion of divorce. 3. Divorce runs in groups. 4. Answers: i. Break off unhealthy relationships. ii. Submit your friendships to God and each other. iii. Join a good church and connect with people you enjoy and have things in common with. F. Chronic Criticism and Negativity. 1. Negative or no communication. 2. Proverbs 18: A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.

3 3. Words are seeds 3 i. Good = fruitful & sweet ii. No = wilderness iii. Negative = weeds 4. Answers: i. Repent to your spouse. (kill the crop) ii. Stop being negative and punishing with your tongue. iii. Sow good words by faith even when you don t feel like it they will grow! G. Chronic anger and unresolved conflict. 1. Gottman - #3 sign is contempt. 2. Ephesians 4: Be angry, and do not sin : do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Devil = diabolos slanderer He is the accuser and he hates marriage. 100% of divorces are caused by this dynamic. The longer you hold in anger the worse this becomes. 3. Answers: H. Blame transfer. i. Repent to God for unforgiveness. ii. Forgive your spouse daily even if they don t do the right thing. It is important for you! iii. As a couple, commit to dealing with issues daily and not going to bed on anger. iv. Break negative patterns punishing, silence, etc. 1. Original sin of marriage from Genesis This includes: i. Defensiveness Gottman s #2. ii. Victim mentality nothing I can do. iii. Justification of misbehavior or withdrawal. 4. Answers: i. Be humble and approachable. ii. Practice the attitude and behavior you want from your spouse. iii. Be quick to repent and say sorry.

4 iv. Like Jesus be redemptive in your love and trust God for the results. v. Don t blame others for your problems. I. A non- committed, shopper s mentality related to your spouse and marriage. 1. Present Day Dilemma: Customers are sought after and catered to like never before. Very little customer loyalty or employee loyalty 70% of employees are looking to make a change this year! 2. Many bring this mentality into marriage. The thinking: If you don t please me, then I ll keep shopping and find someone better. Even if you do please me, if I find someone who pleases me better, I ll change! 3. What this does in marriage: i. No security performance based. ii. Negative commitment I ll stay as long as something else doesn t become available. iii. Every time something bad happens we are bombarded with temptations or suspicions. 4. The devil knows what it will take to make you reject your spouse and works to make it happen. 5. Marriage is a covenant. It requires total commitment until death and even in the worst of times. 6. Answers: i. Commit to your marriage and stop shopping Covenant commitment ii. Express your commitment to your spouse and to God often. iii. In bad times, reject the devil s lies that getting out is the answer and don t let him accuse your spouse to you. Fight for your marriage. You have an enemy! J. A non- scriptural secularized worldview of marriage and divorce. The war of world views concerning marriage and divorce. Jesus encounter with the religious leaders of His day concerning no- fault (her fault) divorce of paramount importance in understanding this issue and how God feels about divorce as well as understanding how marriage works: Disclaimer to those who have been divorced! Matthew 19:3-9 - The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" And He 4

5 answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marry another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery. The way we see things is called our worldview. It is the lens we see the world through. Jesus vs. Pharisees Two opposing worldviews concerning marriage and divorce Of course Jesus is right the troubling thing is the Pharisees are the religious leaders among God s people and they are PRO divorce! (not no- fault divorce her fault divorce!) Question: How could marriage have fallen to such a state among God s people that they would want divorce on demand? Like we have now in America Unilateral no- fault divorce being advertised as the great solution of society! Answer: When you stop viewing marriage and practicing marriage from a Scriptural perspective it doesn t work. When it stops working it is very painful and frustrating. 1. Three Basic Choices: i. Return to God and a biblical perspective. ii. Tough it out and never reach your potential. iii. Create a big back door called divorce. As America departed from its biblical and Christian heritage in the 60 s the divorce rate started to climb as marriage came under attack. The answer we chose wasn t repentance it has been no- fault divorce and failure! For the problem to stop, we must return to a biblical worldview and lifestyle regarding marriage. But what is it? 2. Jesus vs. the Pharisees - Beauty and the Beast - - the difference a worldview makes in our view of marriage and divorce. i. Jesus Worldview Scriptural 5

6 6 Have you not read? Pharisee s Worldview Social Is it lawful for just any reason? The two questions tell the story clearly They saw from social acceptance He saw through the lens of God s eternal Word. Gen. 2:24-25 Everything God creates is created by His Word (John 1) and operates by faith in His Word. Matt. 7:24-27 Rock vs. Sand - God s Word is rock. Society s beliefs, practices, pressures and desires are sand! The Problem: According to a poll by Barna Research most believers don t make important decisions based on scripture they make them based on what they think will bring the best result! My experience in marriage counseling bears this out! For you to divorce- proof your marriage it must be built upon the rock of scripture and not the shifting sand of personal opinion or social acceptance. ii. Jesus Worldview Servant- hearted Have you not read that He who created them made them male and female and said for this reason a man shall (sacrifice) Pharisee s Worldview Selfish a man to divorce his wife for just any reason? (totally self- serving and chauvinistic) God created Adam and Eve as a servant team to help and serve Him and each other. There was no dominance or authority until AFTER the fall. Selfishness and dominance destroy intimacy and the spirit of marriage. America is selfish = Failed marriages! iii. Jesus Worldview Spiritual and Sacred

7 Vs. 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate. 7 Act of God s Spirit and spiritual at its essence. Sacred Vs. 9 whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery. God respects His spirit and sacred and doesn t respect our laws when they don t honor his spirit! Covenant Marriage to cut sacrificial spirit- bond forever. Pharisee s Worldview Secular, Non- sacred How can that be spiritual? Piece of paper! Legal contract we control! Spirit of fear and insecurity in marriage today is totally a result of this philosophy Like a wife during the rule of the Pharisees. Unilateral/impulsive divorce. In relationships you get what you pay for. God s blessing is worth everything and only comes to couples who respect His pre- eminence, priority, and presence in their marriage. Blessing is missing in America! A word to those who have been divorced and made mistakes: God is merciful and forgiving. Issue isn t to punish and torment it is to lead us to the truth we are accountable for what we know when we know it. Turn to God now and do what is right He will forgive you and bless you. Question: What is your worldview of marriage now? Scriptural or social?

8 8 The Truth about Divorce Servant- hearted or selfish? Spiritual/sacred or secular/non- sacred? It will determine your future. How you will see. Succeed or fail. Solve your problems. Bottom line: In the vast majority of cases it increases and prolongs problems and offers no solution at all. 86% of divorces are for non- severe circumstances (abuse, adultery, abandonment). Research from the University of Chicago proves that divorced people are no happier than unhappily married people who remain married. (They just exchange one set of problems for another. And the children are worse! Ten years later many are still in love with their ex (50%) and are still very angry. Unexpected legacy of divorce - children carry the pain of divorce for life (Jesus!) and transfer it generationally. Have more difficulty in life and are less likely to succeed in marriage and more likely to divorce. Unhappy people who stayed married - 5 yrs. later 85% rated their marriages as happy. Biggest turn around among the unhappiest! A. Three Ethics: 1. Endurance Ethic Outlast your problems. Divorce is a permanent solution to a temporary problem! 2. Work Ethic Solve your problems. Go to counseling. Make an effort. 3. Enjoyment Ethic Find other avenues of happiness (God/church). B. Bottom Line on Divorce: 1. It s only an answer in severe circumstances and even then last ditch - - constructive separation and counseling first! 2. It is devastating and the effects can last for generations.

9 Divorce is an answer for marriage problems like cutting your arm off is an answer for a broken arm! Keep a biblical world view about marriage. Believe the truth about divorce. Summary: God is a good God and created marriage to bless us. He is also a merciful God and will forgive us of our sins and mistakes. However, we must agree with Him, repent, and trust Him. Our society is failing in marriage and suffering through divorce because they have rejected a Scriptural view of marriage and have believed the lie that no fault divorce is the solution to marriage problems. As Believers, we must stand on the Rock of Scripture and return our faith to God. 9

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