In the news, Issues of the Day, Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital, Singles

The Divorce Rate IS Declining

imagesWe started writing about, training counselors and actually mentoring couples in pre- and postmarital counseling in 1989. Our primary goal as stated in our book, Called Together, Asks the Difficult Questions that all Couples Must Answer Before and After They say “I Do,” was to better prepare couples before marriage and follow-up with them after marriage using this book as a resource in the hands of trained counselors. The ultimate goal of accomplishing this was to have an effect upon the divorce rate of our day. We longed for, worked toward and prayed to see it lowered.

Imagine our surprise when reading the following in USA Today dated, November 23, 2016 on a return flight back into the United States, “Divorce rates have dropped three years in a row and are at their lowest level in 35 years. From 23 divorces per 1,000…in 1980…to 17 divorces per 1,000 in 2015, according to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research.” And the article went on to say that the rate of marriage is increasing slowly. Hopefully, that statistic speaks to fewer couples electing to live together unmarried.images

Perhaps these stats do not excite you, but for Mary and me it means so much. It means more intact families with fewer children living through the divorce of their parents. It means more stable households contributing to their communities, schools and local churches. It’s positive news for the economy with combined incomes purchasing homes, going on vacations together and providing for their children. But most of all, it means honoring the One who created this thing we call marriage, our heavenly Father.

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Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Leadership

Bad Decisions

images-3A CEO was once asked what made him so successful. He replied, “Good decisions.” “How, then, do you make good decisions?” was the follow-up question. His reply was given in one word, “Experience.” “And how do you get experience?” was the final question. The CEO provided a two-word response, “Bad decisions.”

Trying to save your children, your co-worker or your friend from all bad decisions may not be helping them. Often it is how we learn to make better decisions. I can still recall the day my son came home from work describing another awful day that he couldn’t wait to be over. His boss was continually on his case and not very nice about it. I asked him what he was learning and he told me, “I am learning that my boss is a jerk.” I shared with him there are just as many good lessons learned from bad bosses as there are from good bosses and it was up to him to either learn from the situation or choose an unproductive form of anger.images

images-4I read once that bad decisions are often the result of insufficient knowledge. How about you, what are you learning from your bad decisions?

Marriage, Postmarital

Does Security in a Marriage Lead to Sexuality?

imagesOur marriage either promotes security or insecurity. Most marriage partners are looking for security from their spouse because it’s a need we all pursue.   When security is present in a marriage relationship, you will also find honor, trust, love and respect. Where there is insecurity, most likely honor and trust are missing or at the least, threatened.

Security in our marriages gives birth to intimacy. And, true marital intimacy can lead to sexuality. Most marriages do not have a “sex problem,” they have an intimacy problem and that intimacy problem just might be a result of the lack of security (an absence of honor, love, trust and respect).

images-25When we honor and respect someone we view him or her as better than ourselves in order to serve them without expectation. Immaturity expects a return, i.e., “I do this; therefore, you do that.”   But when we choose to honor and respect someone because we are married to him or her and we love him or her, security will grow within our relationship. As security grows, intimacy grows and as intimacy grows so will a healthy sex life.

Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Prayer

7 Post Election Responses We Can Apply Today

  1. Give thanks. We are commanded in the scripture to give thanks in all things. This test is greatest when we do not feel thankful. (I Thessalonians 5:18)
  2. Timothy wisely said that we were to pray for kings and all those in authority that we might live peaceful lives. We need peace in this nation…pray. (I Timothy 2:1-3)images-2
  3. Speak life. We have heard enough polarizing language for a lifetime. There is life and death in the tongue and the tongue of the wise brings healing. Bring healing with your words. (Proverbs 18:21; 12:18)
  4. Overlook offenses and do not speak offensively. (Proverbs 19:11)
  5. Listen to and respect others. The scripture tells us that it is folly to answer before listening. Listening will keep us engaged and attempting to understand. (Proverbs 18: 2, 13)
  6. Love your neighbor. Period. (Matthew 22: 39)
  7. Forsake pride. Pride breads quarrels. (Proverbs 13: 10)

imagesLet’s use what has happened in our nation to mature, to pursue loving others and to ask God for His change to take place in every one of our lives. Jesus is the reconciler, it’s what He does and He uses us to help bring reconciliation. Remember who paid the highest price, and proclaim His love to this nation. Reach out to the hurting all around you and share about the One who longs to heal their hurts, disappointments and fears.


Pain: A Gift From God?

imagesPain has a way of receiving our attention. It is an indicator that something is wrong somewhere. Have you ever considered pain to be a gift in your life?

As I stood over my wife, Mary, at the Emergency Room, I felt helpless and teary. They were poking, prodding, sticking her with needles and scheduling a CAT scan in order to discover what was wrong. For two days she was in severe abdominal pain.

Physical pain tends to attract our immediate attention. Doctors pour over us attempting a diagnoses in order to extend treatment. There are numerous tests, blood work and vital signs taken. We rush to find the cause in order to bring the cure.

Somehow we perceive emotional pain as different. We tell ourselves, “Time heals and it’ll go away…eventually.” It doesn’t. It’s undiagnosed. It settles deep into our soul and tries to hide itself. We cover it up with laughter and a “not going to let it bother me” kind of attitude. However, it becomes more severe and grows like a cancer, eating away at us. Jesus points to it, presses His finger on it, and we dismiss it. It becomes infected and at just the wrong time, the pain surfaces in an anger outburst, or depression, or…

images-2Mary’s appendix was ruptured and poison filled her abdominal area. She needed emergency surgery that night and IV antibiotics for 24 hours. How about you, do you need emergency surgery to bring healing to an emotional hurt? There is a Surgeon with the most skillful and heavenly hands just waiting for your go ahead. Ask Him, He is our healer. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalms 147:3)