This will mark our final post here at Successful Christian Remarriage.
Our marriage is stronger than ever. We will continue to offer our prayers and advice to those who want their remarriages to grow. We feel that God is leading us in other directions, so we will be migrating the posts on this blog to another website. This blog will be shut down in the upcoming months of 2016.
The advice that you have come to expect from this blog will become available on Loraine’s author website at www.lorainenunley.com
“I Do… Over? A Christian’s Guide to Remarriage” will continue to be available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Thank you to all of our readers. It has been an honor to share our journey with you. We pray that God will continue to bless your remarriages every day.
[tweetthis]Moving On… Final Post. Thanks to our readers. #ThankYou #ChristianRemarriage [/tweetthis]
Let’s start by excluding God from that question. It goes without saying that God should be your best friend. If He is not, you have more important things to work on :o).
If you answered that question with a resounding “MY SPOUSE”, congratulations! You get it! Your best friend is the person who is with you through thick and thin, mountains and valleys, joy and suffering. This is the person who you share most of yourself with. The person with whom you can be at your most vulnerable. Until you get married, that person can be one or a few other people. Once you have committed to your spouse, however, he or she must fill that role. Otherwise, you are setting yourself (and your marriage) up for failure. Your marriage is the most important relationship that you have outside of the one you have with God. As such, no other relationship can come before it. If you are sharing your innermost self with someone other than your spouse, that relationship is coming between you and your spouse. But my girlfriends understand me so much better than my husband, you say? My buddies get me in a way that my wife doesn’t, you say? We say that this is part of the work involved in being married. If you both work at being each other’s best friend, you will find that you will not only “get/understand” each other, but that the intimacy backing it up makes that relationship infinitely stronger than any other. When your spouse is your BFF, they will surpass what you thought you had with anyone else. We speak from experience here. If you and your spouse aren’t best friends, start changing that now. We promise you that God will reward it.
On our last post we looked at the anatomy of an apology. This is not a matter of “if” it will be needed, but rather a matter of “when”. We have all said and done things that we need to apologize for. Since it is an inevitability, we must prepare for it. A good apology is typically made up of four parts. We covered admission and affirmation in our last post. Today we will look at the other two: Repentance and Request. Repentance is the depth of our apology. “I will try not to do it again.” How sorry are you? Are you sorry enough to not repeat the cause? It is not enough to say we are sorry and to understand why our spouse is upset if we expect to do that same thing again. Notice that our emphasis is on the word “try”. We are not perfect and there will probably be times when we make the same or similar mistakes until we learn our lesson. The important thing is that we “try” – we make a concerted effort not to repeat the words or actions.
The last part of an apology is the Request. “Please forgive me.” This is not about whether you think your spouse will forgive you, but about the fact that you have to ask for it. Sometimes we forget that this is needed. We expect our spouses to forgive without our asking. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they need to hear you ask. Good, full, sincere apologies are difficult because they involve humbleness and vulnerability. God makes it clear in the Bible that He expects it nonetheless. Since this is something that God expects, you can be sure that He will supply you with the courage and strength to do it.
Things are going to go wrong. At some point in your marriage an apology will be necessary. You can’t avoid it, no matter how hard you try. In fact, trying too hard can sometimes be a direct route to needing an apology. Now it may seem like a simple thing. “I’m sorry” can be really easy for some people. For those of us who have a hard time with saying it, we have other issues that we have to work on. This is just about the anatomy of an apology and what we all need to be looking at when we issue one to our spouse.
The very first thing is admission. “I was wrong.” This is like the first step taken to overcoming an addiction. You admit that you have a problem. An apology is necessary because a problem exists. So you have to admit that there is a problem and that you take blame for all or part of it. You can apologize without admitting that you were wrong, but most of the time, you were – so just admit it. Be prepared that this can be a humbling experience so if you have a lot of pride that will hinder you, make sure that you go to God and get His assistance.
The second part of an apology is affirmation. “I understand.” What do you understand? Do you understand why your spouse is angry or upset? Do you understand why your spouse acted or reacted the way that they did? Affirming what your spouse is feeling shows your love for them. You may not agree with them, but they have a right to their feelings. Sometimes we don’t understand how our spouse feels and if this is the case, you will need to have a discussion with your spouse before you can affirm their feelings. Again, this can be a difficult thing, but God is always available to help.
Every day a couple is pledging their love and faithfulness to each other in a public fashion. Whether it’s a twenty thousand dollar affair or standing in front of the justice of the peace, when people get married, they do it in a front of others. It is an important part of a wedding to have witnesses, for legal as well as personal reasons. We tend to forget, however, that the witnesses do not go away after the wedding. Throughout our married lives, we have many witnesses to our relationship. Our families, our friends, even complete strangers are witness to our marriages and how we conduct ourselves in them. So when we think that our actions in our marriages only affect ourselves, we may have to rethink that notion. What are our witnesses observing? Do they observe a healthy, Godly marriage, where each person is a valued partner? Or do they witness anger, hurt and destructive behaviors? Do people want to emulate your relationship or are they thankful that they are not living your life? Does your marriage make someone want to know God or want to run away from Him? While it is not what people think about us that is our priority, but rather what God thinks of us, it is still something to consider about how our marriages can be used to glorify God in what others see. Our wedding speaks to the public but what does our marriage tell them?
We are creatures of habit. We like routine and we are comfortable in doing the same things regularly. We eat the same foods, we go to the same places, we indulge in the same entertainments. Many of us are not adventurous. This can present problems in our spiritual lives because we live in our little boxes and we expect God to work within those same boxes. But our God cannot be contained in our little boxes. He is the ultimate creator. His personality, which is written about extensively in the Bible and evident in the very nature of creation itself, is larger than we can comprehend. If we want to be used by God in a meaningful way and to have Him work wonders in our lives, we must be open and flexible to what He has for us. This sometimes means that we need to get out of our boxes. We must abandon our comfort levels and climb out of our habitual boxes so that He can take us to higher levels. This not only applies to our personal walk with God, but to our marriages as well. Routine and habits are good, but we must allow for the unknown and unanticipated so that we can grow. This does not come naturally to most of us, it is something that we must work on. So how do we work on it? Well, as a gymnast must practice flexibility in order to have it when competing, so we must practice. We practice by giving God our time. Spending time in His word and with worship, we open ourselves up to being used when God is ready for us. By strengthening our relationship with God, we are more likely to step out of our comfort zones when God asks us to. Take the time to practice flexibility.
“The look of love, is in your eyes…” What would you do if you could not talk to your spouse? How would you communicate to them? There are going to be times in your marriage when you will not be able to communicate with each other verbally. The better you know your spouse and the better your relationship is, the better you will be at nonverbal communication. Not only is this important, as all good communication is in a marriage, but the more of your senses that you use in your relationship with your spouse, the more you enhance it. Personally, we love using the sign language sign for “I Love You”. It is simple, can be done with one hand and can be understood from quite a distance away. For example, when we are pulling out of our driveway and the other spouse is standing at the front door or a window, we use that sign like you would wave. But it means more. We’ve used that sign across crowded rooms. We use it enough that our children know it and use it as well. What about a wink? There is something exciting about a wink from your spouse ;o). What about a particular facial expression? Is there an expression that your spouse makes that fills your heart with love? Perhaps there is an expression that fills you with laughter? Let your spouse know about it. There have been times when we have been in heated discussion and the right facial expression lightened the mood and kept the conversation from going down the wrong path. There have been times when we have been stressed and the right expression from our spouse diffused it. It is all about how you make each other feel. So what is your look of love?
Yes, it is time for the shameless plug of our new book. It has released this past week in eBook format for the Kindle.
You can check it out by clicking on the book cover picture below:
The eBook will also be available for free during a promotional period which we will announce here on the website.
We are working on getting the book in physical form as well and will give you the details when that is available. Look for a contest giveaway in the upcoming future.
What are we without our dreams? Dreams give us hope. Dreams drive our ambitions. Dreams fuel our creativity. Without dreams there would be no advances in technology, no advances in society or the human race as a whole. It is our dreams that make us stronger, more vulnerable, more emotional, and more driven. Our dreams speak to us. They give us ideas, plans, reminders and warnings. God even speaks through dreams sometimes. There are many references to dreams being used by God in the Bible. So dreams play a productive role in our lives. Dreams can also play a productive role in our marriages as well. Just like you have individual dreams that give you hope and drive you to have a better life, shared dreams can give your marriage hope and drive you to have a better marriage. The great part about dreams is that they are not etched in stone, they are fluid. They can change. What we dreamed together when we first got married can change as our marriage grows. Some dreams come to fruition. Some dreams fade away as new dreams take their place. Dreaming together gives our marriage a common goal. It helps our communication. It brings us closer together because we are sharing with each other. Dream big (some day we are going to live in a mansion) and dream small (some day we are going to get a full night’s sleep together). Dream for the possible (when we retire, we are going to travel the world) and dream for the impossible (we will be crowned king and queen of our own country). Enjoy your time dreaming together.
Time to hit upon a touchy subject – remarriage in the church. We are not going to give the theological viewpoints of divorce and remarriage in the church. There are many other resources much better suited for that discussion. This is an editorial and our own opinions based on what we have experienced and know that other remarried couples have experienced. Have you ever been to a church that seemed to embrace you with open arms, showing you God’s love, only to have it withdrawn the moment they find out that you are gasp! – remarried? Or have you experienced the welcome of a church for you to attend and give your money to them only to have them shut you out of ministering to anyone? What about the church that is more subtle about it – the one where they don’t want to offend you (or maybe lose your income) so they find a multitude of excuses as to why you can’t serve? Does this sound cynical? It is. Unfortunately, it is a reality in many of our churches. If you have experienced any of this or worse – tell us about it. We understand. We have been there and we have been hurt by it. You expect the church to be the one place you can go where you can get healing so when that is the place that hurts you, it takes much longer to get over. We believe that it is the churches responsibility to minister to all the hurting and one of the ways that they can do that is to let the people who have been through the hurt (such as successful remarried couples), minister to those who are currently hurting (other remarried couples, divorced people, first marriage couples, even singles – we have a lot of good information for people!). It is a mistake for the church to ignore this segment of people as it is, unfortunately, a growing segment of our population. A sad truth is that remarried couples (as well as divorced people) are finding themselves with no support from the church (or worse, fake support) and end up leaving the church. This does no good for anyone involved. Now for our advice to those couples that have been hurt by the church: First, as tough as it is, we need to forgive as Christ has commanded us to do. Second, don’t leave church altogether, find a church that will minister to you and will allow you to use the gifts that God has given you. If you are in a church that is not ministering to you simply because they are ignorant of your need, then you need to let them know about it so that they can fix it. Whatever you do, do not let criticism from the church or hurt caused (intentionally or through ignorance) drive you away from God or away from each other. Draw closer together as a couple and draw closer to God.