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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.  

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