Today's Christian Marriage
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Joe Beam

Best-selling author Joe Beam chairs Beam Research Center, an organization giving marriage help to hurting couples.

Posted 11/16/12 at 3:32 PM | Joe Beam |

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Should I Marry (Or Stay Married To) An Abusive Person?

It may be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. Whatever the type of abuse, it eventually destroys the abused and, ultimately, the abuser.

The problem came to national attention again. ESPN reported, “U.S. women's soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo and former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens were married Tuesday, according to reports, after an altercation that left Stevens in jail and their wedding plans up in the air…Stevens [had been] arrested early Monday for fourth-degree domestic violence assault [against Solo].” When police found Solo wounded and blood on Stevens’ shirt, they arrested him. The next day a judge released Stevens for lack of evidence connecting him with the assault. Apparently, Solo did not press charges. Later the same day, she married Stevens.

Only their athletic reputations made this event newsworthy. It certainly is not unique. Many marry a person who abuses them physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.

Why would a person marry someone who treats them badly?

Why would anyone stay married to a person who continues to hurt her or him?

Why Are They In The Relationship?
Providing all the potential answers to this question would take a book. Maybe volumes. However, among the more common reasons are: FULL POST

Posted 11/12/12 at 9:10 PM | Joe Beam |

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Choosing Between Your Lover and Your Spouse

“I’ve never loved anyone the way I love her. I never knew I could feel like this. So deep. Fulfilling. Amazing. I can tell her anything; my dreams, my fears, my strengths, my flaws.” John spoke slowly but fervently as he explained his relationship with Sheila . It was not his idea to visit with me; he had come because another friend asked him to do so.

“I trust her with my secrets. She understands me more than anyone. And I know everything about her. She’s told me everything.” He looked away, apparently visualizing Sheila. “She’s even more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside. I’d die for her and she would do the same for me. I don’t know why God didn’t send her into my life until now, but He did. We were meant to be together.”

A few days before our conversation, John’s pastor had confronted him about Sheila. John admitted his feelings for her and his intention to divorce his wife and marry her. The pastor lectured John that what he felt was not love, but an unhealthy lust that would destroy him and his family.

“So, do you believe I love Sheila, or do you, too, think that I’m deluded?” he asked. FULL POST

Posted 10/23/12 at 4:03 PM | Joe Beam

Separation, Dating and Morality

Is it okay for a married but separated person to date other people? The question definitely is not new. The situation that brought it to the forefront is not unique.

Lillian Kwon’s Christian Post article begins “Dinesh D'Souza, president of The King's College and co-producer of ‘2016: Obama's America,’ is facing scrutiny for his relationship with a woman whom he has introduced to some as his fiancée. D'Souza is currently married but has filed for divorce.”

My knowledge of Dinesh D’Souza lies only in what I read. Therefore, the comments that follow address principles, not him directly. However, things reported about Dinesh’s circumstances apply to the discussion below. Therefore, I refer to them only to address principles about separation, dating, and morality.

When Dinesh became president of The King’s College in 2010, he moved to New York but left his wife in California. Statements from The King’s College board chair Andy Mills indicate Dinesh’s marriage was in trouble in 2010.

After twenty years of marriage, Dinesh filed for divorce October 4 of this year. However, according to World Magazine, on September 28, the week before he filed, he traveled with Denise Joseph to an event where he introduced her to some people as his fiancée. After speaking at the Christian event that evening and receiving a standing ovation, he spent the night in the same Comfort Inn room with Denise. When confronted later, he claimed nothing happened. Warren Cole Smith wrote, “D’Souza on Oct. 4 told me his marriage was ‘over,’ said he ‘is sure Denise is the one for me,’ and said he had ‘done nothing wrong.’” FULL POST

Posted 9/19/11 at 12:55 PM | Joe Beam |

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The Benefits of Adultery

"God will bless us if we divorce our mates and marry each other. It's right there in the Bible."

"Really?" I replied. "Please enlighten me."

He was entangled with a woman at his church. Each was married to someone else, but now both professed undying love and devotion to the other. Each complained bitterly about their current marriages and praised God for bringing them together.

"David and Bathsheba" he said. "They committed adultery, which was wrong, but God saw their great love for each other and gave her to David as his wife. He blessed David's life after that. He even lists Bathsheba in Matthew as one of Jesus' ancestors. So while God is not FOR adultery, when He sees the great love a couple has for each other, He will allow them to be together and will bless their union. God will bless us just as he did them." He did not say it smugly, just simply. The truth as far as he was concerned was so clear that there was no need for smugness.

That is when I walked him through that Bible story from first to last.

The Story, Part 1 – 2 Samuel 11

David sent Joab to lead Israel's army in battle while he remained in Jerusalem. Unable to sleep, he walked on his flat roof and saw a gorgeous woman bathing in the moonlight. He sent for her. She came. They committed adultery. FULL POST

Posted 9/2/11 at 12:13 PM | Joe Beam

How to Rescue Fallen Church Leaders

So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! (1 Corinthians 10:12)

If we knew the actual numbers, we would not like them.

Every year in nearly every denomination, men or women who are in some role of church leadership commit immorality that costs them their positions and puts their families in jeopardy. Some commit adultery. Others are caught with pornography on their computers. Pick the sin – start with the A's and go to the Z's – and it's likely that someone trusted as a leader in the kingdom of God has done it and finally been exposed.

Though we acknowledge that all of us are human, we expect one who is mature enough to serve in leadership is also one that is honest enough with self and God to live a life of holiness. We tend to see their sins as worse than the sins of John Q. Member who sporadically attends and has little involvement with the church. Therefore, when we discover the immorality of one of our leaders, whether on a national or local scale, we passionately proclaim our deep care for their souls and cry with them as they resign their roles, all the while hoping against hope that they pack up and move away as quickly as possible. FULL POST

Posted 7/11/11 at 8:22 PM | Joe Beam

Do Rich Marriages Have Problems Too?

“Our problem,” he said, “is that everyone in my life listens to what I say and does what I tell them. Then I come home and it doesn’t work that way with my wife. I don’t like that.”

She didn’t either.

The comment was neither unexpected nor unusual. In workshops for marriages in crisis, leaders often note that those couples in which one mate is very successful or earns quite a bit of money have unique situations that call for unique solutions. Sometimes the successful or high-earner spouse (we will call that one SS for short, and the other one OS or other spouse) is the husband and sometimes it is the wife. If both are equally successful or high-earners, the problems may exist, but usually not as intensely.

Of course, the same problems that potentially plague all marriages plague those of the successful or wealthy, and sometimes the problems that plague the moneyed also plague less well-to-do marriages, though often in less concentrated ways.

What type problems do those who help couples notice in affluent marriages? The following is not exhaustive, but occur often.

The SS feels unappreciated

One husband stated it, “I feel as if the only thing I’m loved for by my wife is that I bring home enough cash for her to have whatever she wants.” He felt that she did not love him for who he is but only for what he provides. She replied that she very much loved him and would continue to love him whether they had money or not. He smiled sarcastically. “Why do I hear only complaints when you don’t get what you want, and hear nothing as long as you do? There isn’t even a kind word or acknowledgment of my existence unless you or the kids want something from me.” FULL POST

Posted 6/7/11 at 1:55 PM | Joe Beam |

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How To End An Affair

You are not quite sure how you got yourself into the affair, and even less sure about how to get out of it. You are in love with your paramour but hate the sneaking and cheating. You vacillate between ending the forbidden relationship and giving yourself totally to it. You feel intense emotions for your lover, but even as you tell yourself - or your lover - that everything is going to be wonderful, deep within a small voice says that it will not be.

When together with your lover, you feel an amazing blending of ecstasy and peace.

When alone, you feel guilt-ridden. Sadness and shame surface sporadically because you have not defeated your feelings of guilt about what you are doing. Instead, your own morality and integrity have tunneled deep inside you to war with your soul.

Your conscience wants to end the affair while your heart finds incredible fulfillment in the illicit relationship.

Earlier you tried a few times to end the relationship, but each time your willpower faded and your emotions drug you back. You felt responsible for your lover; you feared that he or she would be decimated or get sick or lose everything if you went away. At times, you feared that if you ended the relationship, your lover would be so distraught that they might destroy you, your reputation, your family or your finances. Though you wanted to do the right thing, ending the relationship was too difficult emotionally, mentally, or physically. With time, you gave up the idea of ending it and it evolved into the situation that now controls you. FULL POST

Posted 4/29/11 at 10:27 AM | Joe Beam

Stay Married or Divorce?

"She's pregnant by her lover. But she says she has come to her senses, loves me, and wants to save our marriage. My family practically hates her and wants me to divorce her and have nothing else to do with her ever. I don't know what to do."

Call him Jim. Call her May. Every year situations such as theirs are repeated more times that one might imagine. One person does wrong, consequences arise, penitence hits, and the straying spouse begs for forgiveness and reconciliation.

Jim's case illustrates a pinnacle of marriage problems; May is carrying her paramour's baby. If Jim takes her back, what happens to the baby? Do they keep him? Do they put him up for adoption? In a stressful time like this they might even ask if May aborts? Do they give him to his biological father?

Tough questions, but essential if they consider reconciliation because May is pregnant. Weeping, worrying, or wanting things to be the way they used to be does not change that.

Most times the cases are not quite as severe in consequence as that of Jim and May, but they are almost universally bad. An affair but no disease transmits, no babies germinate, and no physical evidence remains. Or some kind of addiction rather than involvement with another person; gambling, porn, alcohol, or drugs. It might be that one verbally, mentally, or emotionally abused the other. The similarity is that the actions of one cause the other to want out of the relationship. FULL POST

Posted 4/15/11 at 3:03 PM | Joe Beam

Dealing With A Controlling Spouse

She could not look people in the eye as they greeted her. Head down, shoulders slumped; she headed to the nearest open seat and quietly slid into it. Her husband was a study in contrast. Confident, gregarious, he firmly shook hands and made polite small talk before striding over to sit beside his wife.

Years before she had been a decorated officer in the military. A leader of men and women. Shrinking violets do not earn those positions, so it was obvious the woman in that seat was only a shell of the woman she used to be. When anyone tried talking with her, she clasped her purse to her chest with both arms, glancing up only occasionally. If asked a question, she spoke briefly and timidly.

Abused? Yes, but perhaps not in the way you think.

Her husband had never hit her or used his physical presence to intimidate her. No spousal rape or sexual domination. In fact, he had no idea that he abused her at all. He considered himself a good man that would never be so evil as to harm a woman. In fact, he was the type that would go to the defense of any woman being threatened physically.

More than that, he seemed not to notice his wife's public timidity. His view was that she could hold her own and gave as well, if not better, than she got when they clashed. When she argued with him via email, she was forceful, angry, and articulate. She did the same aloud when they were alone. He held that perception of her to the degree that the behavior others saw seemed not to register with him. He saw a brawling, selfish witch. Others saw a frightened woman drowning in her own lack of confidence and esteem. FULL POST

Posted 3/18/11 at 1:14 PM | Joe Beam

Who Cares What Your Kids Pray For?

It isn't unusual to overhear conversations like this. One lady told another that she should NOT stay in her marriage for the sake of her children. She offered the usual: make yourself happy; why should you be punished to stay with that guy just because he fathered your children; over time the kids will be better off. She added more but these generally covered the subject.

In those conversations, certain facts seem never to appear. Consider the indications of scientific research.

Divorce can affect children for many years, well into adulthood

In 2006 Family Process published a scholarly article by Ahrons. She wrote about binuclear families. These are extended families, separate households that result from divorced spouses marrying someone else, as well as the families formed by their children when they eventually marry.

Of the negative consequences, she wrote, "...173 grown children were interviewed 20 years after their parents' divorce...The findings show that the parental subsystem continues to impact the binuclear family 20 years after marital disruption by exerting a strong influence on the quality of relationships within the family system...Of those who experienced the remarriage of both of their parents, two thirds reported that their father's remarriage was more stressful than their mother's. When children's relationships with their fathers deteriorated after divorce, their relationships with their paternal grandparents, stepmother, and step siblings were distant, negative, or nonexistent." FULL POST

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