Articles

Articles

Help for Troubled Marriages

Help for Troubled Marriages

By Paul R. Blake

            (Some time ago, Jeff Himmel of the Plant City, Florida congregation sent the following email to a number of gospel preachers. His questions speak for themselves. prb)

            “Hello, brothers. I’m writing to get your insight on something. In the past few years I’ve seen or heard of several repeats of a troublesome scenario. A young lady and a young man (both Christians) date each other, fall in love, and have a seemingly healthy relationship. Eventually they get married. Then within just a few weeks the wife begins to confide in others that, since the wedding, her husband has become domineering, controlling, unreasonable, and perhaps even abusive (verbally, emotionally, and/or physically). I’ve seen at least one marriage be quickly destroyed in this way. Have you seen this kind of thing happen, and does it seem to be happening more frequently, or is it just me? What factors are causing it? What can preachers, teachers, families, and congregations do (that they aren’t doing already) to prevent it? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.” (Jeff Himmel, Plant City Church of Christ)

            The solution is obvious. Fixing a damaged marriage is difficult; preventing a bad marriage is less so. Preventative teaching is critical. Permit me to offer some tools to use to that end.

            1) Begin in the junior high class (ages 11-14) with teaching on dating and marriage. Include in it specific instruction regarding how a man treats a woman and vice versa. Put emphasis on the permanence of marriage and on avoiding the sins of abuse, pornography, rampant materialism and debt, and other contemporary issues that afflict so many marriages today. Repeat it in greater depth in the high school class.

            2) Preach on those subjects. Do not be afraid to address each of those matters in sermons. Sunday evening would perhaps be better as that service seems to be a good venue for deeper matters. Do not be overly graphic, but also do not be squeamish. Far too many preachers spent countless sermons on divorce and remarriage when more sermons on making good marriages would prevent a number of those divorces from happening.

            3) Before marrying a couple, sit down with them and talk about these things and warn the man that the eldership has a zero tolerance policy for spousal abuse. Tell the woman that if this happens, the elders will be available to help her if her husband abuses her and will not hesitate to contact the law on her behalf.

            4) Admonish men to seek professional counseling when their wives report they are looking at internet porn, and remove them from public leadership for a period of time, and interview them from time to time to monitor their progress. Pornography addiction is powerful with a high recidivism rate; it is easy for them to fall back into it. That’s where a counselor can give them the practices they need to keep their focus. Inform the men the elders will do the same thing if they are abusing their wives or children. These are subjects the majority of congregations are too fearful to address clearly. Be upfront and direct in teaching and warning, and you will prevent some of it from happening. Do not hesitate to report men who abuse their wives or children to the law. Christians do not shield criminal activity under the misused blanket of 1Corinthians 6:1-8.

            5) Do not be afraid to recommend marriage counseling. There are many faith-based or at least faith respecting counseling organizations available in most communities. They are not permitted to proselyze; they simply supplement the individual’s Bible based convictions with successful counseling techniques. Consider this an adjunct to the teaching they receive at home and in Bible classes. Too many congregations take a head in the sand approach to mental and emotional health issues. Naïve brethren who tell persons suffering from severe depression or sexual addiction to “just get over it” are as ignorant as if they had told a diabetic to stop taking insulin and “just get over it.”

            6) Review the local church’s teaching program on interaction in marriage. If it is the same shallow class material that keeps being recycled because brethren are too lazy or fearful to study deeper, change it! Most published studies in the past only consider intact nuclear homes. There is very little help for homes that have been sorely impacted and broken up by sin, untimely death, long term illness, etc. The solution in the past has often been for misguided men to order the abused woman back into the home of the abuser without close monitoring.

            7) Arrange for some spiritually mature sisters in the local church to offer support, help, and encouragement for the young bride. If she can regularly talk with peers with strong faith, it will sustain and edify her while she works through the troubles in her marriage.

            The bottom line is that while damaged marriages can be helped by the local church if both partners are willing to work at it, the most effective course of action is for the leadership of the local church to be proactive in prevention, by means of public teaching and individual instruction. The local church is where Christians are edified (built up), and it do that, “it takes a church.”

Sunday Services at the Church of Electronic Convenience

PREACHER: "Praise the Lord!"

CONGREGATION: "Hallelujah!"

PREACHER: "Will everyone please turn on their tablet, PC, iPad, smart phone, and Kindle Bibles to 1Corinthians 13:13.  And please switch on your Bluetooth to download the sermon."

P-a-u-s-e......

"Now, Let us pray committing this week into God's hands. Open your Apps, BBM, Twitter and Facebook, and chat with God"

S-i-l-e-n-c-e

"As we take our Sunday tithes and offerings, please have your credit and debit cards ready. You can log on to the church Wi-Fi using the password 'Lord909887.' The ushers will circulate mobile card swipe machines among the worshipers:

            a) Those who prefer to make electronic fund transfers are directed to computers and laptops at the rear of the church.

            b) Those who prefer to use iPads can open them.

            c) Those who prefer telephone banking, take out your cell phones to transfer your contributions to the church account.” (The atmosphere of the Church becomes truly electrified as ALL the smart phones, iPads, PCs and laptops beep and flicker!)

“Final Blessing and Closing Announcements...

            a) This week's ministry cell meetings will be held on the various Facebook group pages where the usual group chatting takes place. Please log in and don't miss out.

            b) Thursday's Bible study will be held live on Skype at 1900hrs GMT. Please don't miss out.

            c) You can follow your PREACHER on Twitter this weekend for counseling and prayers.

            d) God bless you and have nice day.”

A Moments Wisdom on Helping Others

--No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of anyone else. —Charles Dickens

--The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others. —John Chrysostom

--Less advice and more hands. What a big difference there is between giving advice and lending a hand. —Waterloo

--A candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle.

--It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Test Your Bible Knowledge of the Book of Ruth

1. I was the husband of Naomi __________

2. I was the sister-in-law of Ruth __________

3. I became the husband of Ruth __________

4. This was the native country of Ruth __________

5. This was what Ruth gathered in the fields of Boaz __________

6. I was the son of Ruth and the grandfather of David __________

Upcoming Sermons

4/10/22 AM - Keeping Our Minds on the Lord During His Supper; PM - The Laying on of Hands

4/17/22 AM - On Begging Christians to Remain Christians; PM - Habakkuk: From Sorrow to Singing

4/24/22 AM - “They Which Are Alive and Remain”; PM - Don’t Assume

  1. Sun AM Bible Study
    8/14/22 09:30am
  2. Sun AM Worship
    8/14/22 10:30am
  3. Sun PM Worship
    8/14/22 05:00pm
  4. Wed PM Bible Study
    8/17/22 07:30pm
  5. Sun AM Bible Study
    8/21/22 09:30am
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