Now that I said I would address real marriage issues here each week, my question is, "where to begin"? Do I speak to marriages already in crisis and what they can do, or do I speak to all marriages about how to prevent getting in crisis?
This week I opted for going with speaking to marriages in crisis since they are, in fact, in crisis and may need the most immediate attention.
So. Where to begin? I honestly don't know, and I will throw one item out and let you think on that and ponder that before I go on next week.
One of the things that I did right in trying to put my marriage back together was to open up and seek counsel from godly friends who were committed to their own marriages (so I suspected they would be eager to see me put my marriage back together, as well).
I had more than one divorced woman offer to counsel with me and pray with me and I refused, to be honest. I was kind -- I thanked them for their offer and let them know if I needed them, I would let them know, but I knew that I didn't plan to talk to someone who wasn't where I wanted to end up. I have since talked to several of those women and know that they wouldn't have advised me to leave Troy, but I didn't know that at the time (our marriage crisis came when we were VERY new in town and I didn't know anyone or their story very well).
You will be able to find anyone to advise you to do ANYTHING in this day and age: change the locks before he gets home, throw his belongings on the lawn, you name it. Be selective about who you seek counsel from, but do seek counsel.
Please remember that scripture refers to Satan as a 'prowling lion' and lions seek to separate the prey from the herd. Once you have been isolated and separated, Satan has a much easier time convincing you of his lies.
Obviously, to seek counsel from other people, you have to confess to someone that your marriage is in trouble. That was HARD and very humbling for me, but I knew that it was necessary for my marriage to survive. Our marriage therapist (something else we did right that I will discuss later) advised me, "Pray that God reveal to you a friend that you can discuss this with." From that prayer, Coffee Group was born, but that's really a story for another day. Point is, I got way more than just one friend, and I got my marriage prayed over, prayed through, and finally restored.
If more of us would open up and lean on one or two friends and say, "We are really having a tough time right now -- would you be praying for us?" then, in time, the person you confide in would be able to say, "You know, Sarah and Troy went through that. Maybe they would be able to talk to you or pray with you." But no one will know your struggles -- or your victory!! -- if you don't open up to others.
If you are not in marriage crisis right now, there are two things you can do: 1)be praying for marriages that are. As I have started writing this series, more and more marriages have been revealed to me that need our prayers. Just pray. 2)Be a trustworthy friend. When someone needs to talk to you about their struggling marriage, do not immediately wonder who you can tell, but wonder how quickly you can get to your knees. Struggling marriages do not need the rumor mill to add fuel to the fire, they need listening ears and godly wisdom to be reminded of the covenant they have with each other.
May God bless your marriage!