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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pick Your Battles!


I really liked the attorney I had back during my divorce days.  She was really good at respecting my values, talking things through with me and helping me make choices, as well as warning me of potential minefields.  She did a good job.  

One day there was an issue that had to be decided, and it was an issue in which I could choose to acquiesce to what was offered, or choose to fight it in court.  She indicated that if I chose to take it to court, the odds were heavily in my favor that the judge would side with me, because I had really good grounds to contest the issue.  The words she offered to help guide me at that time were words I have not ever forgotten, because they were pretty profound.  They apply not only to divorce, but to a lot of things, so I thought I’d pass them along today.

While I don’t have the exact quote to give you, the conversation was pretty close to something like this:

Richard:  So what do you think I should do?

Attorney:  Well, if you want to pursue it, you have pretty good grounds and would probably win.  At the same time, I don’t know if I’m just getting old, or have been through too many divorce cases, but a lot of times I think that in matters like this, you can go to court and win, but I beginning to doubt if, in the long run, anybody really wins when that happens.  And in matters regarding children, it is always good to keep in mind that in a few short years, they will be grown and do what they choose, so any arrangements you make now are pretty temporary, and sometimes it is worth just waiting for that time instead of going to court in dispute.  Besides, circumstances change, and in a year or two, it may all change anyway, because kids are like that.

Richard:  Okay, so if I have a good case, and I decide to pursue it, how much do you think something like that would cost? 

Attorney:  The price of a college education.

See what I mean about how profound stuff she said was?  The college education piece?  I have seen it happen…individuals dragging each other back to court over and over and over for petty and stupid stuff, and money being frittered away that could have gone to help the children’s college costs.  Even the basic cost of a divorce attorney has that kind of impact even WITHOUT fighting over every little thing.  If parents would just suck it up, get rid of the ego and do what is right to do (pay the child support, get the kids where they are supposed to be for visitation, work with the other parent to provide consistency for the children), there wouldn’t be the need to go back to court anyway!

The part I want to focus on, though, is that nobody really wins.  The fighting and the bickering may result in somebody getting some extra time or a few extra bucks, but can leave the combatants bruised and bitter, with the innocents caught in the middle confused, angry and more.  A process that could have taken a few months instead gets dragged out over years, wasting precious life that could be better spent on productive and positive actions.  And believe me, a child whose parents have gotten divorced needs all the productive and positive attention they can get!

Lots of losers in the process of divorce, and much is lost, but winning is certainly not the experience of receiving a trophy for a good race…it is still very bittersweet.  The time, money and energy could be better invested.  In fact, another friend of mine, Paul Fitzgerald (check out the website at heartconnections.org) suggests that going through such conflict times are best done when individuals try to think in terms of creating “win-win” situations, where each party’s needs and interests are respected, and agreements provided that make sure both parties receive benefit from the agreement.  

Remember that big advice people give to struggling parents:  “pick your battles”?

The same is true through the divorce and post-divorce process, and is true of many of life’s relationships.  Realize “winning” often makes losers out of the winners, and that sometimes, finding ways for everybody to get ahead is the smartest way to go.  Let God sort out the real winners and losers at the end of time.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Father's Day Gift for God


Last night at our worship service, we were invited to remember making Father’s Day cards when we were children, and invited to get out some crayons and make one for Father God that we could share with him today.  The following outline was provided.  Perhaps you’d like to participate as well, it was kind of a fun exercise.   Below is the outline provided, perhaps you’d like to make your own and share it with God today, too!

Dear Abba (Daddy),

I just wanted to tell you

I hope you know---

Sometimes I wish---

I don’t understand---

I hope someday---


Your child forever,

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Making Father's Day Special!

FATHER’S DAY--                               SECOND CLASS PARENTING?

When you think of a single parent home, what do you think of?  

Most people I know immediately think of a single mom trying to make ends meet.  So common is that assumption that some divorce support materials I once perused had a special section addressing the importance of child support payments, and the wording was clear that the writers assumed it would be dads paying child support.  In other words, it assumed children always live with the mother after a divorce (which is not true of every culture, but is common).  Even the courts can get caught up in that bias.  I have known of areas where people who filed for divorce would choose the location to file based on the fact that one judge or the other automatically favors women in a divorce.

In the US, statistics have revealed that Mother’s Day is the time of year when flower sales hit record highs.  

Father’s Day may hit record highs, too, but I suspect the record would be the holiday most often remembered at the last minute!  The marketing for Father’s Day just isn’t the same…although the tool and grilling industries are working on it!  I bet every father who has ever received father’s day gifts has at least one tie they only wear in the presence of their children, because sometimes we fathers can be difficult to buy for.  But I would suggest that lots of fathers aren’t overly concerned about receiving gifts anyway.  Instead, the “gifts” of relaxation, appreciation or even a bit of recognition carry more sway.  

I was visiting with a young lady yesterday who told me she had completely forgotten Father’s Day was coming until someone reminded her a few days ago.  She talked about various things she had done in the past, and her uncertainty of what to get for her dad this year.  As we talked, I suggested that she might consider writing her dad a letter, and then she reminisced about making him cards in the past.  I could be wrong, but I suspect her dad still has all those cards somewhere (maybe out in the garage).  I also suggested she could buy him a steak!  That suggestion prompted her to say that she might make him a nice meal, which was an idea I also heartily supported.  

One of the best Father’s Days I ever had was one in which, as my daughter was far away, my son and I decided to just spend the day together at an amusement park.  Father’s Day gifts are special when they represent time together and the investing of oneself in the celebration, whether it is by making a meal, writing a note or making time to be together.  (Although I am a little partial to greeting cards with funny pictures of chimpanzees on them…)

Whether it is well recognized or not, fathers are important.  

Some individuals have tried to prove that children flourish regardless of their home circumstances, but when honest evaluations have been done, there always is a recognition that mothers AND fathers play significant and important roles in the lives of children, roles that are very different.  

Over the years I have known a number of children living with just their mothers, some of whose fathers  - have no contact with them -  and very often these children wish they had a dad in the house.  But as I observe them, I have often thought that their image of what a dad would be in that house is far different from what a dad really is like.  This became evident when watching these children talking to their mothers - thinking to myself, “Yeah, if I were your dad, I wouldn’t let you get away with talking that way to your mom.”  

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am the first one to admit that there are plenty of lousy dads out there (and lousy mothers for that matter).  I’ve heard some pretty awful stories over the years, and I hate that some guys behave in such despicable ways that they tarnish the reputation of dads for everyone they meet.  But there are great dads, too.  I know that, because I had one myself, and I cherish all the years I got to spend with him.  Even if YOUR dad wasn’t perfect (none of us are, after all), I bet there were some pretty important life lessons you learned through him, anyway.  

It would be nice if there was an instruction manual of how to be the perfect dad.  

No, never mind, since it’s an instruction manual guys wouldn’t read it anyway, right?  

Still, it would be nice to have one, because being a good dad is a pretty tough job.  The only job that compares is being a good step-dad!  Nevertheless most guys I know who are dads, try pretty hard to be good ones.  So I want to encourage you to make Father’s Day special for your dad, if he’s still around.  Just find your own personal way to let him know of your love and appreciation for what he has done for you.  A lot of what dads do often goes unnoticed, so it can mean a lot to hear a simple thanks now and then, and Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to do just that.  Make the most of it.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Learning Endurance


Often my blogs come out of conversations or email correspondence I have with folks in a variety of ways.  Sometimes those contacts remind me of struggles that a variety of individuals may be experiencing, who could all benefit from some encouragement, other times they remind of lessons I learned along the way that might be helpful to share.  Today’s blog comes out of such interactions.

Sometimes in divorce, the pain of the process combined with hurtful actions your divorcing partner may impose, creates a desire to just be done with it, to have it over and be able to move on.  Instead, very often the experience is that the divorce process is tediously slow, frustrating and contains lots of unexpected bends in the road along with emotional ups and downs.  Added to this is the reality that sometimes courts move at a pace even snails could beat, and make decisions so bewildering that seem to come from some alien planet.  It is this kind of experience I want to address with some simple thoughts today.

  1. Painful though it is to go through this as you are, I would suggest to you that each step is one step forward because the power of the experience and the pain of it all diminishes over time.  It really does.  Not that you will completely forget, or not be impacted, or maybe even have days that something bothers you once again, but the intensity of it all truly does pass.
  2. As you go through the dark days and the aftermath, I encourage you to let the pain of the experience teach you.  Learn through it some fresh insights about yourself, and also let it teach you some things about the pain Jesus  suffered for you as his love was rejected and he was traumatically tried and crucified.
  3. Keep current.  Mourn the loss and the pain as you go along, instead of letting it build up inside and fester.  You may need to share the burden in conversation with friends or by journaling, or by processing it with a counselor, but take advantage of whatever is helpful to process as you go to the degree you are able to do so.  
  4. Keep an honest eye on what your goal is on the other side of the divorce process, and what it was that got you to this point.  It is easy to get bogged down in the struggle and lose track of the fact that your life can move forward to something fresh.  It is also easy to get discouraged and begin to minimize things like abuse that occurred during the marriage.  Either extreme is not helpful.
  5. Recognize that the “awful” feelings you are experiencing are not so uncommon, and that you can be honest with God about them.  The Psalms contain honest expressions of the same kind of emotions you may be feeling, but they are Psalms we don’t generally pay attention to, so you may not be familiar with them.  Some examples could be Psalms 55, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137.  In them David and others express the anger and even vengeful hatred they are feeling, talking openly with God about those emotions and desires.  God did not reject David for feeling the way he did, and he does not reject us for those feelings either.  Many of them are feelings we probably should not ACT on (such as David’s call for destruction upon those giving him pain), but the reality of the emotions can be expressed and acknowledged.  After all, you feel some of those emotions because you are experiencing some very hard things!  We are, after all, human beings created with a wide variety of emotions…and since God already knows how we feel, it can only help our relationship with him if we know how to be honest with God.
  6. Realize the divorce process is more like a sculpture than like a drag race It occurs step by step, chisel mark by chisel mark, not a brief flourish of activity and it is over.  And realize God may use the sculpting process of it all to shape YOU.  I am not a sculptor of stone, nor have I even been around one.  But I have been told that someone who sculpts marble has to be very patient and careful.  The artist knows that the work must go slowly, bit by bit, because if he or she tries to remove too big of a piece at one time, it can result in breaking the entire stone.  Instead, the vision of the goal is there, but the sculpting is a gradual movement toward that vision.  I believe God works the same way with us, because He has a vision of what He can help us become, and He knows just how much to work on at a time, and how much might risk breaking you or me, and tailors our experiences accordingly.
  7. It’s okay to dread the day and to hate the process.  It can produce sleepless nights (Tylenol PM can be a great gift sometimes!)  It isn’t a process that SHOULD be enjoyable, agreed?  After all, a divorce is a sad and tragic thing, even when it appears to be the only option left.  Mourning is built into it all.
  8. There is an end to the worst of it all, and the judge does eventually bang the gavel and sign the papers.  Sometimes you just have to endure!  In fact, I have always been struck by the verse in Hebrews 10:36—
    For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God,  
      you may receive what was promised.”  (New American Standard Bible)

We don’t often think about it, but endurance is a characteristic God really 
wants built into our lives.  The trouble is, the only way to get it is to have 
something you have to ENDURE!  Yuck.  

Okay, so that’s my little list.  I remember that time and those difficult days in the process.  I just wanted it to be over.  I wanted it to be, a fast flourish of activity and then done.  But it wasn't.  At least, most of the time it wasn't.  Some things did move quickly, but very few, and the overall process, even though it felt like an insane whirlwind, moved tediously slowly.  Looking back, I wonder if there wasn't purpose in that.  Maybe I couldn't have endured or survived the onslaught if it all happened at once. Maybe I wouldn't have learned the things I did.  

I was probably supposed to learn patience, but I don't think I did....however I did learn endurance.  The trouble is, endurance is not at the top of anybody's list as something they want to learn...except maybe marathon runners.  However, the truth is that in our Christian walk we, too, are in a marathon, not a sprint.  That kind of image of endurance is even used in 1 Corinthians 9, Hebrews 12, and 2 Timothy 4.  So realize that, tough though it all is, God can use even this difficult experience called divorce to shape and prepare you for things to come in your life.  If you are in the midst of the fray, my prayer for you is “May God's strength and peace help you through THIS day, and THIS step.”

Sunday, June 12, 2016



My eye was caught by a headline that appeared yesterday on the MSN homepage.  The article was written by Tobias Salinger of the New York Daily News.  You perhaps have followed the story more than I, but the article relates to the rape conviction and sentencing of Brock Turner, a Stanford University student and fraternity member.   The prosecutors had sought a six year prison sentence, the judge invoked a sentence of six months in county jail, and the man’s mother wrote a four page letter to the judge begging that no jail time be granted, with the father offering his concurring opinion.  The web address for the article is included at the end of this blog, but I would like to comment on some issues the article contains.  

The mother thought the student would become a target in jail and his live forever ruined.  His father told the judge that the conviction was “’a steep price for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.’”  His mother wrote at length about the impact on her once happy family, now in despair, depression, and the young man now filled with despair.   She lamented, “’His dreams have been shattered by this.  No NCAA Championships.  No Stanford degree, no swimming in the Olympics (and I honestly know he would have made a future team), no medical school, no becoming an Orthopedic surgeon.’”   The mother’s letter is included in the article, and she recounts all her son’s positive and good attributes, focuses much on the impact this has had on her son, herself and her family, and refers to the ongoing shame of registering as a sex offender.

Salinger, thank God, rightly points out that the, “letter makes no mention of the trauma endured by Turner’s victim…”  Surely HER life has been affected!  Surely her joyful heart has suffered despair!  Surely the happiness her family once experienced and the future she dreamed of have also been impacted.  She was not the one who chose the rape, yet she will suffer the consequences more than Mr. Turner and his family.  If you have ever listened to a woman wrestling with the awful memories from being raped, as I have, you will never doubt the suffering inflicted.  Salinger quotes her statement to Turner, in which she asserted that he “’took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice…  The damage is done, no one can undo it.  And now we both have a choice.  We can let this destroy us, I can remain angry and hurt and you can be in denial, or we can face it head on, I accept the pain, you accept the punishment, and we move on.”  

Despite her brave words, she will find that moving on is much easier said than done for a woman in her position, and the healing will take a great toll.  Perhaps her life will be impacted in such a way that she becomes a better person by integrating life lessons she will be learning through the entire experience.  Still, it is a high price to pay for whatever those lessons may be for her.  

Now for the reason I am choosing to blog about this episode.  Having acquainted you with all of this, I want to say that I was struck by the father's statement regarding "the actions of 20 minutes have undermined and negated the 20+ years of better choices."  

Does it make you think of any biblical passages?  I think especially of a contrast found in the book of Hebrews.  In Hebrews 11:25, Moses is praised for the choice that he makes, which was “choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.”  The illustration of the opposite choice is found in Hebrews 12:15-17, and is that of Esau who impetuously sold away his birthright for a quick meal, and though he regretted it afterwards, the deed had been done, there was no undoing the choice of a moment.

Sin does offer pleasure.  But it is always at a price, and ultimately, at an eternal price.  Just as fish seem never to learn that bait always contains a deadly hook, so people never seem to realize that sin ALWAYS comes with a price.  Throughout biblical history and beyond, men and women have been faced with the choice of seeking to do right and to honor God, or choosing to go their own way and laugh.  As if sinful behavior is nothing more than a joke, finding their lives ruined and rotting, heading for eternal destruction because of it.  That is the core lesson to be learned from the story of Adam and Eve eating from the wrong tree in the garden.  They were driven out, and the way back to innocence was blocked forever.  King David had to learn the lesson, after his adultery with Bathsheba, which led to his murder of her husband, which led to the death of their baby…sin always entails unintended consequences.

Mr. Turner could have observed what happened a few years ago to the falsely accused young college men at Duke University.  Had he thought about how devastating the whole experience was for them…even in trumped up charges…and how every one of those young men suffered just while being accused, Mr. Turner might have had second thoughts about risking the consequences he has now inherited for himself.  

I usually encourage people that it is wiser to learn life’s lessons from the examples of others; I suspect Mr. Turner wishes he had.

Many divorces occur because one partner decides that just one night of passion with someone other than his or her spouse will not make any difference.  Some even go so far as to think they can maintain the relationship and will never be caught, but then find themselves in divorce court and losing much more than they ever bargained for.  Others decide to file for divorce on a whim, thinking that all it means is that a piece of paper will be signed by a judge, with no realization that it will impact their lives and their hearts with unintended and unexpected consequences over and over again.

Oh, sure, there seem to be people who “get away” with sinful behavior in this world.  We can think of many rich and famous who might give that impression.  But there are consequences, even if we can’t see them.  Those consequences exist whether we are rich and famous or isolated individuals living quiet and unobtrusive lives.  Sometimes the consequences manifest themselves outwardly, as they have for Mr. Turner.  Other times they fester in the soul of the perpetrator, revealing themselves over time through a bitter and tormented heart.  Some may succeed in living earthly life insulated from most of the impact, and only face the consequences of their choices when they stand before God and hear him say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  If you will bear with me for one more verse, I am reminded of Galatians 6:7-8—
 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he
 will also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh
 reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap 
 eternal life.”
All verses today quoted are from the New American Standard Bible

The article discussed can be found at--

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Sane and Reconciled

If you plan to reconcile with an ex-spouse, my previous blogs have given you many conditions to consider and gone over lots of reasons to be cautious.  So I would like to close out this trilogy of blogs by commenting on the flip side.  
I am familiar with several couples who have made a successful reconciliation with a spouse.  Either reconciling by calling off their divorce or by remarrying after having been divorced.  In fact, one of the nicest things that ever happened since I published the divorce books is that I heard from a woman I had never met, that she and her husband had both read the first book, and as a result decided to reconcile rather than get divorced.  Apparently, as they read and discovered all the unintended consequences and heartaches, they decided that they would rather invest their time, energy and money into making their marriage work.  I commend them.  
Sometimes, genuine reconciliation is possible, and can be the best choice for a couple whose marriage has hit the skids.  In the case of the couples I am familiar with, for that reconciliation to take place, one spouse in particular had to choose to be truly forgiving and lay the past aside.  That same spouse had also to have genuine humility, recognizing that a marriage falling apart takes two -  just as much as it takes two to make one work (or probably three, since God’s help is critical).  There were some critical steps for both partners; choosing to learn from the past and focus on the future, changing priorities, a willingness to seek assistance and developing patience for a successful restart.  
Why?  Is it worth all the trouble to reconcile, especially when things have been going downhill for years?  
Well, for those couples it was, although it may not be the case for everyone.   
Those who have chosen to reconcile, with both partners committing to do the hard work to make reconciliation genuine, have done a noble thing.  They have shown their children, as well as friends, whose marriages might also be troubled, that with real effort, wedding vows can be kept even by the most imperfect of us.  As a result, the children never have to split their time between parents or suffer the loss of not seeing a parent very often.  The example they set may be the very thing that helps their own children through a rough patch in their marriage, when it would be easier to give up.  For others who are attempting reconciliation, these couples serve as an inspiration to provide hope that sometimes, it really can be done.
These reconciling couples also illustrate for those who observe them, what the meaning of grace and forgiveness truly are.  As the Hebrew prophet Hosea took back his wife after she had left him to go back into prostitution, which became an example of God’s loving faithfulness to His people, so those who reconcile in spite of foolish and hurtful past choices serve to remind us that God still beckons us to come back to right relationship with him.
Because they reconciled, these couples will move forward in life with a treasure of shared memories intact.  They will be able to remind one another what the child’s first words were, or where they went for that special vacation.  They will likely find that thousands of dollars remained in their bank accounts, instead of the accounts of their attorneys.  They also have grown in grace and in wisdom, having learned that their marriage and every marriage relationship is a fragile thing that needs constant care and watering.  As a result, they also will look with humble compassion on those whose marriages have fallen apart, knowing how close they came to the brink themselves.  Perhaps they will be given a special ministry of helping others who want to save a broken marriage, because they know what it is like, and what it takes to make it happen.
So while I recognize that reconciliation is not a valid option for many, I want to take this blog to commend and honor those who have shown us by example that with diligence and the right attitude, it sometimes CAN be done.  You have my admiration, because you have shown what the marriage vows really mean when they say, “for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”  

For those of you who have divorcing friends who come to you and tell you they are considering reconciling, and you are fearful they might be making a terrible mistake.  Let those who have accomplished it well remind you to be careful.  None of us fully knows the inner workings of another person’s marriage.  As true friends, we need to stand with a struggling friend who is doing their best to follow God’s leading as they choose whether to proceed with a divorce, or turn to reconciliation.  I believe true reconciliation is always the best, first choice.  When the reconciliation is not going to lead to a healthy marriage, the divorcing person may well need you and me to lean on to get through.  Marriage sometimes requires some real soul searching and taking on tough tasks.  As a Christian community, we need to help one another in these days, to make our relationships meaningful and genuine, and honoring to God.  Keep your eyes open, there are married and divorced people all around who may need the encouragement that only YOU can give.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Avoiding Insanity - Part 2


Let me begin this section by acknowledging that I believe a reconciliation that is genuine, in most if not all cases, is the best outcome.  
If a reconciling couple chooses to make their marriage match the loving and supportive ideals proclaimed in scripture, there would be no need to consider continuing divorce, because a great marriage relationship will already have been found. 

HOWEVER, caution, commitment and wisdom are needed for reconciliation to have meaningful impact.  Probably most of us know of couples who "reconciled" in ways that turned out worse rather than better.  Some, following their pastor’s well intentioned advice, may reunite, maybe even get remarried to one another, but then end up having the relationship fall apart all over again because one or both parties were not willing to face the hard issues in their dysfunctional marriage.  So instead of progressing, things decayed until they found themselves once again in a divorce court.  Or, instead of divorce court, the couple falls back into the same bad habits and end up being two individuals living under the same roof, but conducting separate lives with no meaningful marriage relationship at all.  In neither situation is God honored just because they “got back together.”  
I mention these because sometimes this kind of thing happens, and good "church folk" often celebrate as if it is a wonderful thing....but when it doesn't involve the commitment to make the changes and actions necessary to make them, it is all just a sham.  
Realize, there is a big difference between "getting back together" and "reconciliation."   There are those who truly reconcile, having learned and faced some things about themselves and their relationship, and they work hard to make their marriage into something better…and that can be great!   If you are interested in reading about a couple who reconciled and faced the tough issues to make it work, you might enjoy reading The Greener Grass Syndrome (click here for link to amazon.com)by an acquaintance of mine, Nancy Anderson.  She describes some of the things it took to turn the marriage around, and what it took to rebuild trust in their marriage.
Having said those things, let me continue the list of comments and suggestions I began in the last blog.
  1. Recognize that reconciliation can be harder than divorce.  Real reconciliation bears an awesome fruit.  Once burned, it is very hard to think you could ever go back again and it could be okay.  Maybe it can, maybe it can't.  But if you can remember some of the reasons you were attracted to your spouse in the first place, and why you fell in love with him or her, it can remind you that some of those things are probably still your spouse’s character, and the possibility of loving again could actually exist.  
  2. Seek counseling.  If you are even considering the option, I really hope you are or will talk with a good marriage counselor and your pastor about these things.  If the marriage diminished who you are and robbed you of your personhood, or left you walking on eggshells...then going back in will not be a healthy undertaking.  But if there was a glimmer of good that can be recaptured and rebuilt into a new structure, it could be a very good life choice and prove to be something you will treasure years from now.  But don't kid yourself, you won't be going back into a Cinderella marriage now any more than it was that way the first time around.
  3. Don't hurry to decide.  I love the old saying that "Satan rushes men (people), God guides them."  I think stepping back into the marriage while in a confused state will not be a good thing.  It is better to move slowly.  I would encourage you (and your ex as well) to get some godly counsel from people who have known you and whom you trust as unbiased and mature.  Ask for their observations, their suggestions, their opinions, or maybe just bounce around your options with them.  I believe in that process you might hear the voice of God "click" in your soul, though perhaps not, God may guie through other means.  And as you do these kinds of things, begin forming a clear list of expectations, boundaries and plans of what will need to be faced for a reconciliation to be successful.  Make efforts of rebuilding the relationship one step at a time.
  4. Don't let guilt push you into it.  I don’t believe it is a good idea for a couple to get back together simply out of a sense of guilt.  Guilt is not a good enough glue to hold a marriage together.  Divorce is much better, in my opinion, than living one's life in a "non-marriage.”  Make sure you have clarified for yourself the reasons and the goals as you make your decision.
  5. Journal and Inventory.   If you are considering pursuing something along these lines, I might also suggest that it can be very helpful, when sorting out difficult things, to spend time doing some journaling of thoughts/feelings/verses/meaningful advice to help gain the clarity you may be seeking.  I am a person who even finds it helpful to make T-charts to aid me is seeing things more objectively, charts of such things as the advantages and disadvantages, positives about the marriage, items that would need to change, issues to address for yourself and your spouse, etc. 
  6. Recognize that reconciliation is simply not for everyone.  Sometimes one spouse simply has no desire to do so, and never will have.  Sometimes a spouse has married another individual, and scripture indicates that in such a case, the original marriage is not to be reinstated.  Most of all, I believe God will speak to you about your specific situation if you seek him honestly and earnestly.  Spend time in prayer and in the scriptures.  Realize that God wants for you what is best, so allow him to guide.  I have found personally that in my second marriage, there have come opportunities that did not and likely would not have ever existed in the first marriage relationship, because of the difference of personality and marriage styles.  God may use not reconciling as a way to move you to the next level of his plans for your life.  After all, if he used something as awful as an execution by crucifixion, surely he can handle accomplishing something good after a divorce.

Well, that’s it folks.  Just some thoughts that might be helpful for those of you wrestling to decide what the next steps in life might include, or trying to settle your mind and heart over the past so that you can move on to the future.  My hope is that these focus points will give you something to spark your thinking and help you find your way.