In His Presence Outreach Ministries
5 Ways You May Be Destroying Your Marriage
“A good marriage doesn’t deteriorate overnight it fades gradually"
How does a good marriage fall apart?
I get asked
this question when it becomes public a marriage everyone thought was rock solid falls apart.
As the song goes—it’s a slow fade. A good marriage doesn’t deteriorate overnight. It diminishes gradually.
There are probably lots of reasons. There are usually a few common causes in my experience.
Many times couples are destroying their marriage—and, most times, it’s not intentional and they didn’t even know it was occurring. So, let me address this to those who may be in a season—or an upcoming season—where a good marriage is in jeopardy. (Satan loves those seasons.)
Here are five ways you may be destroying your marriage:
Other interests come between you.
Typical dangerous scenario: The couple hasn’t been communicating well, life is stressed, and suddenly a friendly voice or a pretty smile says an affirming word at the office. Happens every day.
It could be a relationship—even good relationships like children or other friends—or a hobby, or work, but something gets a higher priority than the marriage. There was probably once a time when the two of you could “take on the world”. Nothing could come between you. You were inseparable. But, other things began to grab one or both of your attention—slowly, over time. Outside distractions will destroy a good marriage.
(I have also seen solid couples who once were so committed to the church. It was a stabilizing place for them. They found their friends there and their weekly encouragement. Gradually they get off track and are infrequent attenders at best. It provides a hole for the enemy.)
Are there distractions coming between you and your marriage?
Every couple is different—and every individual. I have found there is often one who doesn’t mind conflict and one who runs from it. There may be one who little things bother and one nothing seems to phase. (Drawers continually left slightly open or clothes on the floor can prove to be a major problem if never addressed.) And, there are all kinds of combinations in between. But, when conflict develops at some point it must be addressed. Hidden pain never disappears on its own. And, many couples simply don’t know how to address conflict. (Get help if you don’t.)
Conflict left unattended sometimes sits like it never existed. But, oh it did. And, it does. Someone is holding on to it. Trust me. And, the longer it sits the deeper the wedge it causes. Someone reading this may be allowing an injury from years ago to continue to haunt you. Your spouse may not even know the hurt is still there.
What's Wrong With The Church?
Churches are too cultural – you know, they look too much like the world by using technology and lights and sound and computers and striving for an excellent presentation of the gospel. Pretty soon it will be a Disney production. Heaven help the folks who can’t just meet in a park.
The young people are leaving! The young people are leaving! – by land, by sea; all those dad-gum millennial are gravitating to steeple churches with pews showing us how messed up the church is. Because it is truly unprecedented to have young people challenging the system of their parents. I guess no one has ever done that in history. Weird. Young people are still coming in droves where I worship and showing great leadership skills.
Churches are trying too hard to be relevant – by engaging the culture, they are looking too much like the folks around them. They are too consumer minded; wasting all that money on air-conditioning and plastic cups. Pretty soon we won’t be able to tell a church from…a coffee shop or a university or something.
The church is just too flippin’ big – if we were really making a difference, we could fit everyone in our community around the kitchen table. And if no one ever asks to join us, I guess that indicates spiritual depth and an unwillingness to compromise. Because everyone coming to listen to an engaging preacher might like him too much and give him the big head. And then he might write a book and get famous and that’s when we will know he didn’t really love Jesus.
This kind of reading is much more fun, I suppose. Don’t get me wrong, I think we should always weigh what we experience in a church community against what we read in the Bible and understand from the Holy Spirit. But we like to publish exposés. The drama is just too inviting.
IS IT JUST ME OR HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN TRENDY TO CRITICIZE THE CHURCH?
Or anything really. If we can point out all the weaknesses or potential pitfalls of something, then we elevate ourselves by displaying our intellectual prowess. And if we possess the articulation to couple that with sarcastic, witty and pithy sentiments (complete with oxford commas), we might even get published.
I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT I AM TIRED OF IT.
This applies to our current political debate as well. My news-feed is filled with folks who can’t tell me one single thing they are for. If they support something—shoot, anything, have a original idea, or a positive direction we should go as a country, etc.—I certainly can’t figure it out. Rather their posts and tweets are nothing but a tirade against their least favorite candidate and by extension anyone who dares to vote for such monsters. Basically, I have been threatened by several of my own social media acquaintances that I should consider myself “unfriended” if I should dare to vote for their particular nemesis. And if I have any character at all, I will take the initiative by “unfriending” them, because they are very proud to claim they don’t know “anyone” with an opposing view whom they respect. Well, I wasn’t really planning to post a pic inside my voting booth next fall (is that even legal?), but I guess if they want to follow me in there and have a go at judging me, then have at it.
What’s Wrong With the Church By Janice Wood
“I know it is easier to criticize than it is to celebrate what God is doing in our midst.”
I AM PRETTY SURE I KNOW, LOVE, ADMIRE AND APPRECIATE FOLKS WHO SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY THAN ME. I grew up in a monochromatic world where we lived in community with folks who looked and believed like us, complete with a dress code. And I’m kind of done with that. Thankfully, they introduced me to Jesus and I had a father who exhibited revolutionary tolerance for “others,” showing me how to love those who don’t see the world like me. I say tolerance rather than acceptance to explain that we didn’t lose our beliefs by engaging those on the other side of the fence or aisle or whatever. In fact I learned to think critically; to actually understand and evaluate where my own faith and beliefs were grounded. Where my faith was shallow and unfounded, it showed quickly, forcing me to go deeper. THIS KIND OF ENGAGEMENT OF “OTHERS” IS WHAT JESUS DID AND HE WAS CHALLENGED FOR IT. “You are hanging with the wrong people, drinking the wrong drink, loving the wrong race.” And yet Jesus didn’t compromise any part of his ministry to do it. And those who were with him didn’t fall away in poor association either. They learned to imitate his love for the lost. I THINK IT IS HIGH TIME WE ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER IN OUR MINISTRIES. If you are making disciples, teaching people about Jesus, baptizing new believers and loving the lost, then bless you and your efforts. I really don’t care where you meet, how you sing, or what your cultural preference and expression is. Certainly, I have my ideas about what methods are effective in my mission field, but I will not waste my time fussing at you, especially if you are producing fruit. I KNOW IT IS EASIER TO CRITICIZE THAN IT IS TO CELEBRATE WHAT GOD IS DOING IN OUR MIDST. But I wonder what God thinks about that. • Do you have godly leaders who proclaim the word clearly? • Is everyone encouraged to use their spiritual gifts and live out their faith? • Is the church engaged in community, actively serving and inviting the lost? • Is there a strong system of discipleship and small groups? • Are people surrendering their lives to Jesus? Then let’s celebrate that and throw our weight behind it. On Easter Sunday our staff met together to pray for all the services ahead of us and we were thinking of all the extra hours we logged on Easter week to be ready. I was suddenly struck by the thought of every other church in town. I bet their pastors and staff also put in extra blood, sweat and tears preparing for the highest and holiest holiday in Christendom. I found myself praying that their efforts as well as ours would be magnified and that God would draw people to himself in all these different places and communities. I hope you are in a great church. If not, get in one. There are plenty
Temporary and Immediate Financial Help is Available
If you are in need of temporary financial help, there are many programs that can help you, starting today!
There are times in life where many people find themselves needing temporary financial help. Fortunately, in America, there are many programs available for for those families who are in need of short-term financial support. Unfortunately, there are also many scam artists who prey upon the desperation of people for their own financial gain. In this article, we discuss various governmental programs who aid families in need; at the same token, we also discuss the best tips to recognize whether you are getting scammed.
There are a variety of temporary options that exist for families who are in need of food assistance. You can first start by checking your local area for community food pantries, churches, and organizations who donate food to people who are struggling in their communities. Usually, these organizations do not have any specific requirements, and will freely give away food until they run out.
Most importantly, you can also check your particular state for an application for food stamps. The food stamp program is federally funded but ran by state or local agencies. The people who qualify are low-income families and are in need of temporary financial help. On average, SNAP households currently receive about $255 a month. The average SNAP benefit per person is about $126 per month, which works out to about $1.40 per person per meal. and up to $1,008 for a family of eight. If you would like to find out whether your family is eligible, you can visit the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Although each state has different requirements and criteria for what is considered “low-income", regardless of the state, everyone must meet the following conditions:
Must have a Social Security Card.
If you don't have a Social Security Card, you must have applied for one, as well as provide proof of your application.
You must be a U.S. Citizen, a U.S. National, or a Qualified Alien.
With the rising cost of housing, people can apply for rental assistance from a program commonly referred to as Section 8 Housing. It is also a federally funded program which subsidizes housing for low-income families. This program pays a portion of the monthly rent, and the remaining portion is paid by the family. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also works closely with the Veterans Administration to help provide safe and affordable housing for homeless US armed forces veterans. Nonetheless, in order to become eligible, families must meet the following criteria:
House for rent
Must be a U.S. Citizen.
Non-Citizen who has eligible immigration status.
Family's income can not exceed 50% of median income for the country or their metropolitan area.
Most importantly, median income levels are published by HUD and will vary according to location. For more information, or to locate your local office, visit www.hud.gov.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a program that provides temporary financial help benefits to families who are in Money on a pan need. The requirements under this program vary widely according to state, as each state is responsible for developing their own criteria. However, more than 1/3 of the states have income requirements which require that families must have income of less than 50% of the federal poverty level in order to qualify for TANF. On the other hand, some states require that the family's exceed 100% of the federal poverty level. You must check your particular state for income requirements. For more information, you may contact your local office or visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
There are many scammers out there who are pretending to help families in need. Unfortunately,there are no limits to the frauds being perpetuated today. Most commonly, people experience situations where fraudsters are requesting personal information to steal their identities. Scammers may also request that the victim pay an application fee first, before they are eligible for immediate financial help. Whatever the case, there are usually four “red flags" that would alert you that a fraud is occurring and that you are in the process of being scammed, says the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER). They are:
You are being promised something that is “too good to be true".
The scammer(s) exhibits a sense of urgency, usually communicating to you that you need to “act now" for immediate financial help.
The scammer(s) are using high-pressure sales tactics.
The fraudster does not want you to scrutinize or question the deal.
If you are going through a difficult time in your life, don't be afraid to seek temporary financial help. There are organizations, churches, and governmental programs that are available for people who need assistance, just like you. However, if you are going to enroll in a program that offers immediate financial help, make sure it is reputable and you know who they are.
You might find these temporary financial help programs useful as well:
Money on a Frying Pan - Boaz Yiftach
Who Can Help Pay Rent
The Salvation Army. Local Salvation Army chapters offer one-time assistance to help you cover rent payments. ...
Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities offers emergency assistance grants, which you can use to pay your rent. ...
Modest Needs. ...
Society of St. Vincent De Paul. ...
9 Suggestions for Winning Back the Heart of Your Wife
“The following steps are designed for a man to help heal his wife’s heart.”
In working with marriages in distress I’ve discovered most men have injured the women in their life emotionally, at least at some level. To understand how this can happen one needs to first understand one of the ways men and women are usually different. Most men are predominantly thinking beings—they receive and process experiences in life in a predominately rational and logical way. If someone says something that offends a man he will accept or dismiss it based on whether or not it is true. Most women are different. Women are usually more in tune with their emotions. They are often more relationally aware. When life happens to them, their dominant reaction is often to respond emotionally first. When someone hurts a woman’s feelings, for example, even though the information they receive may be false, it takes them longer to work through the feelings associated with the emotional injury. (Of course, both of these two paragraphs are general statements, but they ring true for most men and women.) I would contend though—every woman’s heart is injured to a certain extent. (And, fairly, probably every man’s.) Sometimes this injury occurs gradually over time. Sometimes it comes suddenly through serious breaches in the marriage trust. The heart, speaking in terms of the seat of our emotions, was created much like other parts of the body. When a finger is broken the body is designed to instantly start to heal and protect itself from further injury. When a person takes a swing at you, your natural reaction is to put your hands up in defense. The same is true of the heart. When a person’s heart is injured, it goes into a self-protective mode to keep it from further injury. Over time, after years of injury, the heart becomes almost calloused, refusing to allow anyone to injure the heart again. A woman who has had years of emotional injury doesn’t have much heart left to give to anyone, but especially to the one who has done the injury. She has closed off her heart to keep from being hurt anymore. Most men enjoy trying to “fix” problems, but men cannot fix their wife’s emotions. Emotions are not repaired as easily as one could fix a leaking faucet or program a computer. So what is a man to do if he feels his wife’s heart is injured? How do you heal a broken heart? Of course, Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor. He can come in, erase all the pain and make the heart brand new. Most of the time, however, at least in my experience, He lets us wrestle with life’s heartache while we learn to better love one another. The following steps are designed for a man to help heal his wife’s heart. This post developed when a pastor came to me with a horrible story of his wife’s sexual abuse as a child. Even today she struggles to trust any man, including her husband. I gave him this advice. Here are nine suggestions for winning back the heart of your wife: Seek God Whatever draws you closer to God is a good thing—and will make you a better man, regardless of what happens with your marriage. When you are attempting to rekindle your wife’s love, use this time to develop and strengthen your relationship with God. It starts, as all relationships with God begin, through a recognition of who Christ is and your belief in Him. Start there and grow. Practice patience. The first thing men need to do is to recognize restoring a broken heart will not happen overnight. Emotions heal very slowly. Steps should begin to restore an injured heart or to rebuild the marriage, but men should not expect too much too soon.
Love your wife This is by far their greatest need. Most wives have their love need unmet. The standard for our love is perfection, since a man is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. As imperfect men, we will actually never love our wife enough. The wife knows, however, when the husband’s attention is somewhere else. Many men sacrifice their marriage for their careers or other interests. A wife’s love need is new every day. A wife needs to know that she is second only to God in her husband’s affections. I have found for my love for my Cheryl to grow I need Christ’s help. I pray for this often. Romance her Every woman has a certain need for romance. Many wives had a fairy tale idea of marriage when they were growing up. They realize early in marriage this isn’t reality, but their need for occasional romance remains. Most men rarely know how to do this. A man should be genuine, but should recognize and value the uniqueness of his wife and find ways to give her romance. I gave my wife a “romantic” trip to New York City for Christmas one year. We were going to dance, walk through Central Park and just enjoy each other. It didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned it, but I earned huge points in the romance category with my wife. Value words When a man comes home and says, “This house is a mess,” being a mostly factual being, that’s probably all he meant. He looked around, made a physical observation and stated a factual conclusion. The wife, however, probably did not receive the information that way. The wife most likely heard lots of negative information, such as, “You have done nothing all day,” or maybe even, “I don’t like you.” This sounds impossible to most guys’ rational minds, but with emotions receiving information, anything could be heard, whether it was the intended response or not. Men need to learn how to be gentle with their wives and the words they use. One question I ask men: “Would you let another man talk to your wife the way you talk to her?”Communicate on her terms Many women communicate best heart to heart—not head to head. A man should allow his wife to see his heart. He should be willing to be vulnerable with her. Men may need to ask their wives to help them learn how to say things to her. Men cannot talk to their wives as they would their guy friends. Women require understanding, compassion, openness and honesty in communication. Give constant assurance Trust is an important need for a woman in relationships. The wife needs to know that her husband is going to be faithful. Men should not take offense, for example, when their wife asks details about their schedule or the activities of their day. The wife desires to be a partner in her husband’s life and these details help her provide trust and security in the relationship. A man should also tell his wife frequently he loves her and is committed to her. She needs this consistent assurance. Learn to Live by Truth Ultimately life cannot be lived strictly by emotions. We need truth. Emotions are often unreliable. A woman who feels unloved may be very much loved by her family, but she fails to feel that truth because of years of emotional abuse. Men should gently but consistently speak truth in love, reminding his wife of her worth, her beauty and her place in his life. Over time, truth, when given with love, can help heal damaged emotions. Keep doing it! The heart is damaged over years and years of injury. Sadly many women have deep and tragic heart wounds, but much of this injury will have been unintentionally delivered and small in terms of the magnitude of the incident. Years of emotional injury builds up in the heart until the heart becomes closed. The erasing of the pain will happen just as it was developed—a little bit at a time. The husband cannot try this for a week and then stop. Protecting a woman’s heart must become a lifestyle. Recently I was talking with a man whose wife is experiencing deep depression. As I talked with this man it became apparent that, though probably unknowingly, he had been damaging his wife’s heart for years. He cannot seem to understand why his wife is so emotional; “Everything seems to upset her,” he said. The man told me he had tried to help her through her problems and everything they had going against them he could “fix” if she would let him. I am not sure I could have ever convinced this man his attempts at “repair” were probably one of the chief causes of his wife’s broken heart. Most men tell me they don’t know how to be who their wife needs them to be or wants them to be. I believe if we want to win back the heart of our wife we may need to learn how. It’s never too late to begin!
Ron Edmondson Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years