stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to preach on God’s desire for marriages.  You can listen HERE if you missed it.  I mentioned that I didn’t have time to go into everything I wanted to talk about due to time constraints, but I said I would post some of what I had intended to say for you here.  So what I will be doing is actually pasting the part of my message I cut, describing the power of some wilderness traps marriages face on their way to trouble.  Certainly there are more than the few I’ve listed, but it would be nearly impossible to write about all of them.  So again, I encourage you to prayerfully seek God and ask Him to reveal to you traps you may be caught in in your marriage or your life, and then allow Him to show you how you are free from them.

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I want to name just a few that are fast tracking a lot of marriages for divorce and that shouldn’t be in any marriage, much less a Christian marriage. One selfish act that can lead to divorce is pornography usage. This is a sin, according to Matthew 5:27-30. It is a form of adultery or cheating on one’s spouse, and any way you might be cheating on your spouse is wrong. There are no two ways around it. Pornography is wrong, and it is unhealthy. It changes a person. And it leads to divorce. According to a recent study, 56% of all divorces are precipitated by one or both spouses’ regularly viewing pornography.[1]   This is serious business, and it’s something to be stopped right away.  (For further information on the effects pornography has on the user, his spouse, and his children, you can read a research paper I recently completed on the matter by clicking Selph_Research_Paper_Pornography.)

A marriage that’s in trouble may also include having an emotional affair. An emotional affair mimics closeness and emotional intimacy of an affair without ever becoming physical. Some people think that’s just a made up phrase, not a real thing, but it is real, and the same study that I just mentioned states that it is a precipitating factor for 68% of all divorces.[2]  Again, this is something that ought to be stopped right away. If it means severing a relationship and ending a friendship, so be it. Better to lose a friend of the opposite sex than to lose your spouse.

One more area that could stand to be mentioned is abuse. There should never be abuse in any relationship ever. It shouldn’t be in a marriage, in a parenting relationship, between friends, or anywhere. Abuse has no place. And although every bad thing in a marriage can be solved and can be healed through Christ, if your physical safety or the safety of your children is being compromised by physical or sexual abuse, you should go somewhere safe. Don’t stay. Physical and sexual abuse are obviously very serious issues, but they are only two kinds of marital abuse. There is also mental abuse, which comes in the form of put downs, intimidation, condescension, and publically shaming a person. There is verbal abuse, which can also be emotional abuse, and includes consistent yelling, talking over your spouse, using loud and threatening language, and being constantly argumentative. There is also mental abuse, which involves consistently lying, manipulating, and twisting things around to find blame. None of this should be in a marriage. If you are doing this to your spouse, you need to stop.

To reiterate, you do not need to wander aimlessly in the wilderness in your marriage, nor do you need to be enslaved to your past.  As a child of God, you have the power to be free if you would choose to be.

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[1] Mary J. C. L. Tarver, “Pornography & the End of Eros,” Studia Canonica 44, no. 2 (2010): 344, accessed May 1, 2015, http://search.proquest.com/docview/863135473?accountid=12085.

[2] Tarver, 344.

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