Today's Christian MarriageTweet
Posted 3/8/11 at 5:14 PM | Joe Beam
She interrupted my talk to tell me that I should say the word differently to make its meaning clear. Instead of intimacy, I should say it into-me-see.
She had a great point.
The Dictionary defines intimacy as "a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group." In the social sciences we think of it as closeness, openness, vulnerability, and transparency. Pronouncing it into-me-see does a great job of giving the meaning in the way the word sounds. It is letting another person look deep inside you.
The difficulty is that most of us don't have a person, much less a group of people, with whom we can be so open. We learned early in life that people tend to accept us when we meet their criteria for acceptance, and we learned to paint pictures of how they want us to be rather than showing who we really are.
Yet we crave being known as we truly are and loved nevertheless. No criteria. No pretending. Just love me as I am.
A couple weeks ago a friend was interviewing me before an audience several thousand teenagers. In the course of our conversation, I tried to make it clear that we do strange – sometimes very bad – things in our effort to feel that someone loves us as we are. Without realizing it, I referred to the title of an old hymn that I haven't heard for decades. I said to my friend, "I want someone to love me just as I am." FULL POST
Posted 2/10/11 at 11:41 AM | Edward Ridenour
In the state of Nebraska, legislators are scrambling about wondering what to do with the "high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, including the human immunodeficiency virus, among youths in Douglas County," according to an article written in the Omaha World Herald regarding the statements of Nebraska Senator Brenda Council. "Since 1995, the county's rate of Chlamydia infections has outpaced rates in both Nebraska as a whole and the United States. If you look at the population that's being infected in Douglas County, you're looking at 13-, 14-, 15-year-olds, Council said, adding that too many young men rely on medical treatment for sexually transmitted diseases rather than using protection such as condoms."
Even though the school system has been teaching sex education for a long time, it is miserably unsuccessful. Now, Senator Council wants to introduce the teaching of "the benefits of abstinence" into the mix of the smorgasbord of sexual educational solutions, which includes "instruction in the proper use of all contraceptive methods approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has OK'd a variety of devices and medications, among them the "morning after" pill that prevents pregnancy after intercourse." Others say by adding this, it will send the wrong mixed message. FULL POST
Posted 1/20/11 at 2:56 PM | Joe Beam |
Last night at church a gentleman I didn't know stopped me and without preamble said, "My wife divorced me but not for a Biblical cause. May I get married again?"
Quite a question from a man that I know nothing about. Besides, I'm not in the divorce profession; I'm in the saving marriages profession. I replied, "Has your former wife remarried?" He probably thought I asked for a theological reason. I didn't. When he said she was still single, I suggested, "Well, rather than talking about marrying someone else, let's figure how to get you remarried to each other."
He gave me that look that said, "Did you hear anything I just said?" I responded to his unspoken sentiment. "By the grace of God we've helped many people save their marriages over the last dozen years. Most were still married but in crisis. Many had already started divorce proceedings. Some were already divorced and came to our workshop just to see if there might be a possibility of putting their marriages back together. Whatever the case, our consistent result over the last dozen years is that three out of four couples save their marriage, stopping their divorce process altogether. Nearly all of those who are already divorced when they come to our workshop remarry each other after attending. One couple that I remember had been divorced for ten years. Most who come that are divorced are somewhere between one and three years apart." FULL POST
Posted 1/17/11 at 1:49 PM | Edward Ridenour
In addition to the unfortunate Scriptural misinterpretation, by the church, in believing that the church is the bride of Christ, which influences false perceptions of Biblical marriage and fornication, there is another erred perception, which does the same. This horrific perception is that God in the book of Hosea had instructed the Prophet Hosea to marry (sexually intimate) a prostitute. In my view, those who believe this theory have seriously failed to consider God's holy character and His Word. It is a theory that truly displays a lack of understanding in Biblical marriage and its sanctity, which He designed, as well as the consequences of its violation.
The church has used this prophetic book to support their perception of the church being the bride of Christ and that Christ is constantly forgiving the church for its sins, past and present, which Hosea symbolized by marrying Gomer and taking her back. This is based upon the interpretation that Hosea supposedly married a prostitute (Gomer) on Yahweh's command and, then, she continued in her whoredom, which Hosea forgives, taking her back, works with her, and continued to be a husband to her, without any consequence. FULL POST
Posted 1/3/11 at 11:11 PM | Joe Beam
The news that SC governor Mark Sanford described his mistress Maria Belen Chapur as his soul mate had not yet grown cold when another "married man in the wrong situation" story hit the airwaves. Former Tennessee Titan's quarterback Steve McNair was murdered and his body found alongside that of the woman who expected him to divorce his wife and marry her, Sahel Kazemi.
No, this isn't an attack on either of those men or their recent tragedies. My heart breaks for their families, particularly their children, as well as for their wives and the men themselves. Instead, if you will think with me for a few moments, perhaps we can get a clearer picture as to why good people – both Sanford and McNair claim Christianity – make very destructive decisions. Also, maybe we can put to rest the tired clichés surrounding the concept of finding a soul mate.
Every month I spend three intense days with a new group of married couples in crisis. Though certainly not true of all that attend, many come to my workshop with stories that parallel those of Sanford and McNair except theirs hasn't been broadcast on national television. (Well, actually, some have.) Not just men, mind you, but women as well who have violated their marriage vows through strong emotional (and usually sexual) connection with another. For more than twenty years I've listened to their stories, hundreds upon hundreds, and learned the commonality that runs through them. Yes, there are always "unique" circumstances. And, yes, those in these situations believe that no one else has experienced what they are experiencing nor understands what they are feeling. However, the foundations are so similar and the path so worn that to their astonishment I accurately and vividly describe for them their experience, emotions, and expectations of what comes next. The typical stunned response is something like, "You just spoke my heart!" or "You told my story!" or "How did you know?"
Nope, I'm not a magician. (I believe in miracles rather than magic.) FULL POST
Posted 12/29/10 at 5:32 PM | Edward Ridenour
Okay, here is my purpose for declaring and articulating in part 1 why the false notion of the church being the bride of Christ is incongruent with Scripture and destructive to all who apply the misapprehension of it to Biblical marriage and its violation. It is based on a comment made by an individual, which was brought to my attention from a fellow subscriber, regarding my thesis of fornication in my last article - "Fornication: Sinning Against Your Body."
In regard to an adulterous affair that had occurred and whether the innocent spouse would be defiling their self by not putting them away and taking them back, the individual stated, "Of course the prior fornicator can marry. The fornicator can stay married as well. Isn't the marriage between man and woman to emulate the marriage between Christ and His bride? Does not Christ forgive sin within this marriage? Are we not then supposed to forgive sin in our marriages? Does Christ cast out the sinner or did He come to be a physician?"
This is not to ridicule the person who wrote this. They are only emphasizing what they believe and what the church has taught for a very long time. However, it is mistaken and I hope I can convincingly show the reason why it is. FULL POST
Posted 12/27/10 at 4:19 PM | Joe Beam
Yesterday I talked with another wife emotionally involved with an old boyfriend she bumped into online on Facebook. No surprise there. Every month couples enroll in our workshop for marriages in crisis because one of them – usually the wife – became emotionally and/or physically enmeshed with someone found on one of the social networking sites.
Before you lecture me about how the Internet is neither good nor bad, just a tool, please know that I am not a Neo-Luddite, technophobe, or antimodernist. It's a great thing to be able to track down old friends online. My wife Alice and I tried for years to find Rhonda, one of my former students. We tried the alumni association, search engines, and everything else that wouldn't cost a bundle. Nothing worked until Facebook. There she was, easy to find, and we renewed our friendship. So for the most part, I'm a fan of Facebook and you can even like me on Facebook.
However, there is another side to this. Every month I see firsthand how it can also be a bad thing to be able to track down old friends, or even to make new friends with the stroke of a key. Thousands of marriages are in trouble this very moment because someone kindled an improper relationship on the Internet. That isn't the fault of social networking sites, nor of the Internet itself, of course, but those tools make it much easier to get into these situations. We likely agree that a person that develops a relationship with someone other than his/her spouse had some type of vulnerability that preceded the illicit relationship. Where we might not agree is how many married people have such vulnerabilities. Based on my work with couples over the last fifteen years, I'd say many people that think they aren't vulnerable are indeed vulnerable. A marriage doesn't have to be bad for one person to feel unfulfilled. It just has to fall short of what one or the other needs or expects. I wish I had kept count of the number of times I've worked with someone involved with another who said, "I don't know how this happened. I thought we were okay. How did I get into this mess?" FULL POST
Posted 12/27/10 at 1:50 PM | Edward Ridenour
There are a number of misconstrued Biblical concepts circulated that play a part in Christendom's inability to understand marriage, fornication, and it's implications to the body of Christ, as well as to the individual's body. By giving credence to these incorrect concepts, men and women will unknowingly continue to sin against God and their own bodies. Until these inaccuracies, mostly traditional, disseminated and accepted by Christians of all positions, which have their negative effect upon the Biblical depiction of marriage are corrected, Biblical marriage will continue to be plundered and violated, while fornication inextricably proceeds.
Believing that the church is the "bride of Christ" and the interpretation as to what that means is one of those concepts that brings contradiction in Scripture and detrimental consequences to individuals regarding Biblical marriage. When believers accept a wrong interpretation of Scripture and apply it to an aspect of life, fashioning their decisions and actions upon it, those decisions and actions can and do propagate sin within Christendom. The traditional assumption of the church being the bride of Christ is one of those situations. FULL POST
Posted 12/16/10 at 2:15 PM | Joe Beam
“You actually want to stay married to this guy?”
She didn’t hesitate a moment. Yes, she wanted to save her marriage. She and her husband were 40ish, married about twenty years, with a couple of children. One evening he told her he was in love with his assistant, that he already had a lawyer, and suggested she procure one for herself.
At least that last part was different. Often the abandoning spouse tries to convince the other that he will be nicer in the divorce – and they each could save a lot of money – if she would agree to let his lawyer handle everything. It’s a way to manipulate the outcome and many spouses fall for it, thinking that keeping him (or her) calm provides better opportunities to potentially salvage the marriage.
Making the path to divorce easier may keep the abandoning spouse calmer, but keeping him or her calm shouldn’t be the goal. In my work with marriages over nearly twenty years, I’ve learned that rather than making divorce easier, anyone who wishes to salvage a marriage should make it harder. Much harder.
That’s what I told Sally.
“If you really want this marriage to work, I’ll guide you through a step-by-step process to save it. If anything works, this will. Understand me clearly, IF anything works, this will. I can’t guarantee success but it works more than 75% of the time.” FULL POST
Posted 11/13/10 at 10:37 AM | Edward Ridenour |
As I mentioned in part 1, the other negative effect fornication implicates, besides defiling your physical body, is its defilement of the body of Christ. As I described, the moment you are born again, you become a part, a member of Christ’s body. As a member, you are to glorify the rest of the body, including the head, which is Christ, by living a holy cross-bearing lifestyle. You are to strive for the well being of the body – the church.
When a member of the body becomes infected, which fornication promulgates, the whole body suffers. The member if unrepentant becomes useless, crippling the body. Unless that infection is stopped, the whole body will eventually be infected. “…for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25). Infection is very evident in the church body today.
This is the warning the Apostle Paul stressed to the Corinthian Christians in 1Corinthians chapter 5 when he demanded that they “put away that wicked person” among them who had committed fornication with his “father’s wife.” (KJV)
Paul indicated how important it was for them to exscind that member for the well being of the whole by saying, “…Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened" (1Corinthians 5:6,7). FULL POST