On Marriage and Family

It is very disappointing to hear about Ravi. His ministry has had an enormous impact on the world. When I think of Christian apologetics, his is the first name that comes to mind. I have read some of his books and have listened to his speeches for years. I pray that his family can find healing and that his ministry can continue the good work that they have done, despite his failings. I’ll share some of my thoughts on life and marriage that might be helpful to someone else. Long before we ever met, both myself and my husband had our lives impacted by the unfaithfulness of another. For him it was his spouse, for me it was from someone whom I looked up to as my older brother. I don’t know of a worse pain than that which results from the betrayal of someone you have loved and trusted deeply. Many times those situations never end in reconciliation, just in suffering for all involved. As Christians we are called to live a sinless, blameless life and to have a fierce, rock solid commitment to our spouse and family. So why are so many of us failing to do so? Many of the Christians I was friends with in college got married and then divorced within like three years’ time. Some of them were the boldest, on fire for the Gospel people I had ever met. They could win souls, but they failed at their marriages. One would think that if God’s hand is on someone, and they are following Him, then all areas of their lives should be in alignment. But that was not the case for many of them. Temptation comes along, and people give in. It destroys a person’s witness and credibility and can render them unfit for ministry work, at least for a time. Even David, who was a man after God’s own heart, fell into this sin. So how should we react to this news as fellow believers? How do we strengthen our marriages so that we don’t fall into the same temptation? These are some things that have been helpful to us. Our kids are still pretty young, so this might look different as they get older and are more independent. Spend as much time as possible with your spouse. We try to spend all our time together or with our family outside of work. The other activities we were a part of became less important, and we dropped out of many social activities to focus on our family.Always treat each other with dignity and respect, even when in disagreement. It’s not a good idea to talk to your kids about your spouse in a negative way. If you have a problem with your spouse, you need to go talk to a pastor, friend or counselor. Most little kids are like a sponge, they take in all that you tell them, and the negativity can become part of their internal voice and can be very harmful. So talk respectfully about your spouse in front of your kids, even if you are having some issues. Your kids need to respect you and your authority. If you have an older child or teenager in your home that is being mouthy and disrespectful to you as a parent, it might be time for them to move out and grow up some. That type of attitude can rub off on the younger kids and cause problems for them. Don’t keep secrets from your spouse. Be open and as honest as you can be. Invite your spouse into any and all of your relationships. Whether I have new or old friends, my husband is familiar with who my friends are and the nature of those relationships. I have male and female friends from the past, and I’ve introduced them and their families to my husband. He knows how to contact them, etc. So there is an accountability there. If possible, get to know a whole family at a time, not just individually. When families grow and spend time together, it can be a beautiful, strengthening bond that will help carry you through rough times. I had a wonderful friend who mentored me for a time, and I got to spend a lot of time with her, her husband and their four kids together in their home. It was a great experience for me as a young person to see how a functional, God-focused family works. That was something I didn’t have growing up. God has introduced me to several great women who mentored me over the years, some were just for a time, and a few I still keep in touch with.God’s goal for us is not necessarily to be personally happy all the time, but to be holy, pure and perfect as Christ is perfect. He gives us relationships to refine us into His image. That means that our spouse may not always make us happy, but that doesn’t mean that God wants you to leave them. There are seasons of joy and those of pain and sorrow. They won’t last forever. Stay committed to your marriage, and He will bring you through these seasons, usually the better for it. Live above reproach. Don’t get into a situation where something could be insinuated about your relationship with someone, whether it is innocent or not. Take every thought captive and submit it God, if it be sinful, rebuke it in Jesus’ name. Don’t let sin get a foothold in your life. Deal with it immediately and directly. We are all part of the same family, and as such we should be looking out for each other, encouraging one another and keeping each other accountable. We are the example of Jesus that the world sees. If our marriages are as casual, selfish and as disposable as those in the culture, then what witness do we have? We need to be encouraging our brothers and sisters in their marriages, praying for them and caring about how they are doing. It takes time and energy to check up on people and to walk with them through difficult times, but it is so worth it. In the end we may save one of our fellow believers from stumbling into sin and to help them keep their family strong. Have you taken the time to encourage your friends and family recently, or at least checked up on how they are doing today?

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