Friday, October 3, 2014

Preventing a Train Wreck in Your Marriage

The doctor’s office is calling and the nurse asks you to please hold for the doctor. Butterflies are in your stomach as you try to process what the doctor is saying, “Lori, I am so sorry, but it looks like your tumor is back as big as it was the first time. But remember we got it all last time, so we will do it again.” Weeks of worry and anxiety later you come out from under anesthesia trying to process what the doctor is telling your husband and father. "We couldn’t get much of the tumor out without risking blindness or death. The consistency of the tumor has changed to be like hard wood putty. I was able to get it a millimeter or two away from the optic chiasm, but that is the best we can do. We need to look at radiation.”

Each stage along the way more tears, more fears, more feelings and thoughts of worst case. Each time a negative thought comes you try to grab it and hold it captive to God’s truths. Almost like a hymn playing a chorus refrain in your mind you are reminded that “dead things don’t care about the things of this world. How can I die when I am alive forever in Christ Jesus?  God will never give me more than I can handle, and I am to be anxious for nothing as God gives a peace that surpasses understanding." Then your spirit recalls these promises:

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” {Romans 8:38-39}.

How does a believer deal with an impending train wreck?
One hopes that they have prepared themselves when the smaller wrecks have come in their lives; when things were not going according to plan, when tears were shed over difficulties and trials that God allowed in the lives to grow them up for these even more difficult moments. If the believer is not already immersed in God’s Word and has not memorized His promises, there is no better time to start than now. For very few of us will escape real train wrecks in our lives. So now is the time to allow God and life’s sufferings to grow us up into Christ Jesus; no longer immature Christians who are still tossed to and fro for you have moved beyond the elementary teachings of the Word into the full and complete promises of God.

Note: For those who desire to be mentored by me, I encourage you to read the rest of this powerful post written by Ken. It will show you how destructive wrong thinking and responses can be in a marriage.

So maybe porn is your train wreck? Last week we tried to explain that unless a wife gains the proper godly perspectives when it comes to dealing with a husband’s dabblings or addiction to porn, she will be like a weak sapling trying to withstand the stormy tempest. As God reminds us ~

 Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
 {Ephesians 4:14}.

I can see the train wreck coming, can’t you? The advances in technology have been great for mankind and Satan. Satan now has godly men and women at a mouse click away from temptation, sin and the chains he so wants around the neck of each believer to neutralize them from the Kingdom and kingdom living. When sin is so easy to find, it puts Christians at further risk, not to lose their salvation, but to lose out on the fruit of the Spirit in their lives if they walk in disobedience. Lost love, lost joy, lost peace, all compromised for an illusion of reality, a digital set of images, one of Satan’s greatest tools to capture young men and hold them in bondage.

 Some questioned if I understood how hurt a wife can become over discovering the train wreck of a husband’s porn use. Another was sure that no man could ever understand because a man does not process information through feelings like a woman. I responded to one of the comments with the following:

I can imagine that it hurts deeply to discover your husband is looking at porn. I would not expect feelings to disappear just because a wife is willing to try to solve the issue instead of potentially making it worse by driving a deeper wedge in the relationship. I know how hurt guys can get when they hear their wives have been unfaithful with flirting, or seeing things they should not. I get the hurt part. I truly believe that all of us should process some worse case scenarios in our minds and decide in advance in an objective manner what we will do to be like Jesus. So that when the emotional train wreck comes, and it comes in so many lives, we have right thinking planted in our brains and spirits to as best we can, continue to be image bearers of Christ.  The Christian life would be so easy if it was all about acting, feeling and being right in the good times. But no, the real and authentic Christian life, the one that shows who we really are in Christ, that life is often found in adversity and difficulties of life when we need God's Spirit and His Word to anchor us.  

So we mourn for a time, we are an emotional wreck for a time, then with God's help we put on His armor and go out and fight the fight of faith. Remember, it is not your husband's porn you may be battling, but instead things unseen that take a spiritual approach and spiritual life to overcome. And yet it is not even in the winning of the victory that is most important to God, but how we grow up into Christ by our obedience and faith.  

Did Jesus promise us roses for the Christian life or thorns?  I guess both, but suffering is high on the Christian agenda as it molds us to be more like Jesus. Let's embrace all that God has for us, and after an hour, a day, a couple days, get off the bed and go to your husband, give him a hug, and tell him that you two will work though this with the Lord's help. Then begin talking about how you can solve the problem.

I am convinced that porn will become an ever increasing problem in many Christian marriages as Satan uses it to get to the heart of both a husband’s and wife’s greatest fleshly weaknesses. The man’s weakness is his desire for sex and his “natural” desire to feed his flesh with images that seem pleasing, but forbidden.  He falsely assumes that temptation and sin can be kept in a computer box and not spill over into real life thoughts and actions.

A woman’s greatest weakness is usually her need to process her thoughts and her realities through her feelings. To believe that her feelings somehow become a part of reality because of how strongly her flesh feels them. “Don’t you understand Ken how hurt a wife would be when she discovers her husband is dabbling in porn? A sexual betrayal is one of the highest betrayals. It’s like adultery!”

OK, I get it. Now what does the word of God say about it? Last I checked I have seen not one verse address the reality of a woman’s feelings. Feelings are not facts. Instead the Word appeals to stop basing feelings on circumstances as it is a fleshly endeavor, and instead base our feelings on the reality that God has given us. Because in reality, this is REALITY! Everything in this world is held together by the hand of God and if the matter within atoms were to collapse, 99.99999% of the seeming matter would disappear because it is nothing but space and energy. Yet your feelings are to be considered real and legitimate?

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not against a time to allow feelings to flow and time to properly process them. But you just found out your tumor is back, or your tumor will be with you the rest of your life; cry for a day, or two, or a week, but at some point you must as a human, and as a believer pick yourself up and find the promises of God. You must start looking to be a part of the solution, not exacerbating the problem with feelings that further destroy your health, or in the case of porn, help to destroy your marriage.

What is your train wreck today? If you don’t have a train wreck and your life is going hunky dory then praise God and pray for more of the best of life that God can give. But please start preparing yourself for the impending train wrecks that Jesus told us to expect in our lives.

Husbands, if you cannot endure with faith, love and hope the suffering endured by a difficult unsubmissive wife, or a wife who regularly withholds from you sexual intimacy, then take your train wreck to God. Allow His promises to comfort and direct you until such time as your godly life and patience shows Jesus clearly to your wife. Allow Christ in you to expose to her her own disobedience that she may repent, and become the wife of your dreams.

Wives, if your husband is into porn, is difficult or seemingly unloving, your promise takes on an even greater meaning that you “may win him without a word by your godly and chaste behavior” as you show him Jesus in your life. Allow yourself a time for feelings, but in the midst of the trials allow God’s Word like a chorus refrain to replay His promises to redirect your feelings. The promises of God that faith will become the substance of your reality, and bedrock against which Satan cannot destroy your marriage, because your feelings match up with God’s truth and His reality.