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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

10 Ways to Save a Marriage After an Affair

marriage resource from CW

Joe Beam

Love Path International


Divorce breaks the hearts of those involved — couples, children, parents, friends, church, and the heart of God. One of the greatest underlying events destroying marriages today is adultery. The following is a frank and spiritual message on things to do when the sin of adultery has occurred.


My fervent passion is in saving marriages and making them healthy and holy again. I encourage you to at least make a commitment not to remain at a disinterested distance when couples you love have their lives coming apart.


So let's get started.


To better understand extramarital affairs, I sorted them into three categories.


1. The Short-Lived Affair lasts from one night to several months and is primarily about sex. Subcategories included Revenge Affairs, Affairs of Opportunity (at the right place at the right time to do the wrong thing), Self-Esteem Booster Affairs, and more.


2. The Allowed Affair has become more prevalent with the graying of morality in our culture. It was once called "Swinging" and now its participants just call it "The Lifestyle."


3. The most difficult kind of affair to overcome is the Relationship Affair. It typically starts as friendship that evolves into shared emotions and eventually shared bodies. Those in Relationship Affairs usually are in love with each other. Madly in love.


This is why so many Relationship Affairs lead to divorce — no matter how strongly you tell the person that s/he is sinning and no matter how hard the abandoned spouse tries to save the marriage. Because of such passages as Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9, churches usually grant the offended spouse the right to start over with a new mate, and few blame him or her for moving on with life.


May I offer another possibility?


Wouldn't it be better for everyone — the cheated, cheater, children, church, and community — if there were a way to rescue the straying spouse, heal the hurts, and guide husband and wife back to a marriage of love and commitment? We in the marriage business know that if a marriage survives an affair, it will be stronger and more loving than it was before the affair.


Salvaging a marriage when a spouse is in love with someone else usually isn't accomplished by pointing the adulterer to scripture, logic, or consequences. If I had space, I'd explain why. The short version is that they are driven by strong and compelling emotions that they're convinced you don't understand. Therefore, they disregard you, along with your Bible, lectures, and piety. Very often they'll even tell you that God sent the lover to them.


So what do you do to save these marriages?


Based on my experience, I suggest the following to both the abandoned spouse and to all Christians attempting to help:



1. Believe that an affair, even an exceptionally strong Relationship/Love Affair, is not necessarily the end of a marriage. It may be, but it doesn't have to be. Don't give up. Keep praying and doing the right things, no matter how hopeless it may seem.


2. Don't beg, cajole, or attempt to manipulate the adulterer. S/he is already emotionally on edge; emotional actions from you exacerbate the situation. Be firm, but always loving and calm.


3. Don't try to convince him or her that the lover is a bad person or primarily responsible for the affair. That might work in a Short-Lived Affair. However, it typically causes a person in a Relationship Affair to develop an "us against the world" union with the lover.


4. Drag out any divorce proceedings as long as possible. The intense emotions involved with being "madly in love" last anywhere from six to thirty-six months. Though the straying spouse may become angry and try to manipulate the abandoned spouse into divorce ("I'll make things tougher for you if you don't go along with me ..."), the abandoned spouse should be strong, endure the other's wrath, and drag it out as long as possible. There is a very real possibility that the abandoning spouse will eventually lose the intensity of desire to be with the lover. Don't give up!


5. The abandoned spouse should demonstrate his or her ability to survive and prosper without the abandoning spouse. S/he must concentrate on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. This accomplishes two things. 1) The abandoned spouse needs this for him- herself. 2) The abandoning spouse often is drawn back to the abandoned spouse when s/he continues to be strong and self-sufficient.


6. In fervent prayer, ask God to bring chaos, financial distress, and anything else He will do to cause pain as a result of the sinner's actions and to create circumstances so that it is difficult for him or her to continue in the affair.


7. The abandoned spouse should procure an attorney that will protect his or her rights, finances, and the like. The attorney should make the divorce as painful as possible — financially and otherwise — to the abandoning spouse while still protecting the interests of the abandoned spouse. Expect the abandoning spouse to react with anger. However, making sin have strong negative consequences is the right thing to do.


8. The church should practice discipline, though in our day and age that hasn't nearly the effect it had in biblical times. It's so easy now to walk down the street and go to another church. However, if done in love and compassion, it still may have the needed effect.


9. Practice intervention. (If you need more information on how to do this, email, and we'll send you a pdf with step by step details.)


10. Convince the straying spouse to take one last action before ending the marriage. Sometimes the abandoned spouse does this by offering a concession such as, "I'll give on this point in the divorce if you do this." Sometimes a friend, church leader, or even the person's child may convince him or her that, for conscience sake, s/he should do one more thing to see if there is any hope for the marriage.


In my weekend turnaround workshop for marriages in crisis, LovePath 911, we have many couples who come because someone convinced the abandoning spouse to attend for conscience sake or to get some concession. Over nearly a decade, we've witnessed one seemingly hopeless marriage after another turn around during that weekend. They don't have to want to be there; they just have to be there.


Whether you use our services, your own counselors, or someone else, the message is the same. We must not give up on marriages because we think that either spouse is beyond rescuing. Don't give up on the power of God and what He can do if only we do our parts.


Published May 7, 2009.

Joe Beam founded Love Path International (, an organization whose mission is to save marriage relationships even in cases of affairs, anger, dishonesty, loss of passion and other marriage problems. Joe and Love Path International provide marriage help ( to couples who are in danger of separation or divorce.

How to Get Your Life in Rhythm

Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note
: The following is a report on the practical applications of Bruce Miller's new book,
 Your Life in Rhythm, (Tyndale House Publishers, 2009).

The pressure of trying to keep every part of your life – work, relationships, church, recreation, and more – in balance each day only leads to frustration and burnout, no matter how hard you try. Meanwhile, all around you, the natural world moves in rhythms – from the seasons changing and the sun rising and setting to your heart beating and your lungs breathing.


If you stop the futile effort of trying to live in balance and instead live in harmony with life's natural rhythms, you'll accomplish what matters most with less stress and guilt.


Here's how you can get your life in rhythm:


Get off the balance beam. It's unrealistic to give proportionate effort to every dimension of your life every day, because life doesn't stay the same every day. Life is dynamic – constantly changing – and to live well, you need to adapt to those changes. Trying to live a balanced life puts an impossible burden on you, and you'll struggle to keep up with all the daily demands. No matter how hard you try, you'll end up feeling frustrated that you're not spending as much time with your spouse and kids as you should, not keeping up with your friendships enough, not meeting all your work deadlines, not serving enough in church, not maintaining your house and yard well, etc. So free yourself from our culture's pressure to live a balanced life.


Appreciate life's natural rhythms. God has planned the right times for everything. Sometimes it's time to work hard; sometimes it's time to rest and recover. Sometimes it's time to grieve; sometimes it's time to celebrate. Certain days, weeks, and months are different from others, just as you go through different stages of life, from infancy to old age. Rather than trying to achieve the same balance regardless of what time it is for you, focus on one season at time.


Create a life mission statement. Think and pray about why you're alive and what you should do with your life. Then write down a mission statement that will guide you to live intentionally. It will help you make the most of your time by giving you boundaries within which your life's rhythms can flow.






Become a wise steward. Take stock of who and what God has made you responsible for – from being a good parent to your kids, to being a good employee on the job. Keep your stewardship responsibilities in mind when making decisions about how to use your time well during every season of your life.


Pay attention to both cycles and seasons. The world is structured into five ongoing cycles (year, quarter, month, week, and day). In addition, you go through a variety of different seasons in your life that make it either the right or wrong time for certain activities – from the birth of a child and the death of a parent, to starting a new job and getting laid off. Rather than exhausting yourself trying to do everything in balance at the same time, aim to do various activities in rhythm at different times.


Live in sync with your current life stage. All of your time is ultimately in God's hands, so ask Him for the wisdom you need to understand what's appropriate and what's not for the life stage you're in now. How old are you? What's your marital status? Do you have kids, and if so, what stage of life are they in? Have recent changes just affected your life in profound ways – from the diagnosis of a serious illness, to a move or the start of a new job? Once you understand what distinct time of life you're in right now, you can figure out how to live well within that stage.


Release unrealistic expectations. You can increase your peace by letting go of expectations that don't fit your current rhythms. Rather than trying to live in a different season than the one you're in – like single people who wish they were married or young people who wish they were older – trust that God has placed you in this particular life stage right now for a good reason and decide to live fully while you're in it. You're right where God wants you to be for now, so make the most of it.


Seize opportunities. Enjoy the blessings of your current season by seizing the opportunities God brings your way to learn and grow to the fullest. Live in the present, without pining over a past season gone by or demanding that the next season start before its right time in the future. Don't resent the challenges of the season you're going through now. Instead, pray for God to give you His perspective on it so you can notice the abundance of opportunities it presents. For example, if you have to rehabilitate from an injury right now, don't focus on your physical limitations, but appreciate the extra time you have for personal reflection and activities you may not have had time for before, such as catching up with old friends or taking a class that interests you.


Anticipate what's next. Whenever you feel stuck in your current life stage, remember that it won't last forever. There will be an end to changing diapers when your kids grow older. You'll soon graduate from college and be done with the pressure of constantly taking exams and writing papers. Increase your hope by anticipating the next season in your life. While it's true that you can't predict with certainty what will happen in the future, you can anticipate what life stage you'll likely enter next, and look forward to it. Use the power of anticipation as motivation to complete your current responsibilities well. Do your best for as long as you're in your current stage, so you can move into the next one with no regrets when the right time comes.



Pace yourself. Instead of trying to manage time, allow your life to flow in harmony with time's cycles. Pay attention to your biological clock, which tells you when your body needs food and sleep. Don't force yourself into an arbitrary schedule to try to balance your life; design your schedule around what's most natural for you. Release yourself from the pressure of all of your responsibilities coming to bear at one time. Figure out the most appropriate times for certain activities – such as paying bills at a convenient time once a month, instead of whenever they happen to show up in your mailbox – and arrange to do those activities at set times without worrying about them at other times. Consider how often you should do various activities – from going on a date with your spouse to doing laundry – and plan to do them at appropriate intervals rather than trying to do too much all at once.


Build life-enhancing rituals. Create healthy routines that are connected to some deeper meaning or significance and practice them regularly. Rituals can help you achieve your mission in every part of your life and renew you in the process. Come up with monthly rituals like visiting your grandparents every month, weekly rituals such as going to church each week, and daily rituals like exercising at a gym every day and eating dinner with your family each night. But stay flexible, always bearing in mind that your days will be different, so you may enjoy your rituals most days but not all days.


Oscillate between work and rest. Just as Jesus oscillated between times of intensity and renewal, so should you. Sometimes it's best to work hard; sometimes it's best to rest well. Be sure to give your full attention to whatever season you're in. When it's time to work, don't get distracted by other things. When it's time to rest, don't let work projects interfere. When deciding when it's best to either work or rest, be sure to keep in mind factors in your personality, such as whether you're an introvert or an extrovert and whether you have the most energy in the morning or the evening. Think through the best flow of an ideal day for you. When would you like to wake up and go to sleep? When would you tackle your most difficult jobs? When would you renew yourself? Then consider the best days of the week to do various tasks, as well as the best times of each month and year for other activities, like scheduling a conference to work or vacation to rest.


Keep eternity in view. Ask God to help you see your life from an eternal perspective so you can make the best decisions – ones that will use your time on earth to make a positive impact that will last forever. Make God your top priority, and place people as a higher priority than things, because people have eternal value, while things don't last. Invest deeply in your relationships, doing all you can to serve other people and bring honor to God. Constantly sort through your busyness to decide what really matters eternally, and focus on that as you live your life in rhythm.


Adapted from Your Life in Rhythm, copyright 2009 by Bruce B. Miller. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Ill.,
Bruce Miller is the founder and Senior Pastor at McKinney Fellowship. He has studied at University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Dallas, and Dallas Theological Seminary, where he taught theology for four years. Bruce also speaks at, consults for, and founded the Center for Church Based Training, where he served as Chairman of the Board for 12 years. He is the co-author of
The Leadership Baton. Bruce and his wife, Tamara, have been blessed with five children – four boys and a girl. They reside in McKinney, Texas. 

Original publication date: May 18, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Balancing Children, Schedules, and Housework


Christine Field

Author, Attorney, and Home-School Mother

This is Part 2 of a four-part series. In Part 1 of Chaos Control: Drowning in the Domestic Dumps, Christine began a discussion on the importance of scheduling.
What about interruptions to our well-planned schedule? We need to accept that life with children is full of interruptions and distractions. With daily life, Kathryn from New Hampshire notes, "Being flexible is very important. Phone calls, visitors and interruptions are part of life and can enhance the day. Instead of thinking of them as nuisances, take the time and enjoy others. In turn it teaches the children independent learning and self control to stay focused on their tasks and accept flexibility in an organized day."
But what do you do when your plan "A" becomes God's plan "XYZ"? Interruptions and distractions are inevitable, especially with small children. When was the last time you did ANYTHING without interruption, even going to the bathroom? I believe my children have a sensor which goes off as soon as I sit down. I hear a BANG on the door, and suddenly several little people appear at the door.
A lady named Iris Krasnow wrote a book called Surrendering to Motherhood. She left a glamorous writing career to raise her family, and she said, "When you stop to be where you are, then your life can really begin."
How often do we focus on where we are instead of somewhere else? I struggle with this mightily and have been working on just being where I am instead of having my brain vaporize off into a bunch of different directions.
Mrs. Krasnow said, "Being there isn't about money or even about staying home full time. It's about an emotional and spiritual shift, a succumbing to being where you are when you are, and being there as much as possible. It's about crouching on the floor and getting delirious over the praying mantis you son has just caught, instead of perusing a fax while he is yelling for your attention and you distractedly say over your shoulder: 'Oh, honey, isn't that a pretty bug.' It's about being attuned enough to notice when your kid's eyes shine so you can make your eyes shine back."  She goes on to observe, "This Now with the children isn't a cage at all. It's the marrow; finally, I have drilled and drilled right to the Essence." 
She's talking, of course, about the essence of life - of being connected to all of life. Could that be what it means in the Bible when it says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord, not for men (Col. 3:23)?"

A Wise Woman's Physical House
Some mornings I wake up, look around my messy house and begin to feel a sense of dread. It's another day of endless chores, cooking and cleaning. My life feels like drudgery - sheer drudgery. Where is the joy in this?
As I set about my work, I am grumbling. On a really bad day, I lash out at the children. "Why can't you take care of your stuff?" I shout. Then I look at my own disheveled room and wonder where they learned their habits.
Brother Lawrence was a man who did everything in love. His book, The Practice of the Presence of God (Springdale, PA, Whitaker House, 1982) revolutionized my spiritual life. He was a humble monk who cooked and cleaned for the other monks in his monastery. Whether he peeled potatoes or scrubbed pots, he did it with a heart full of the love of God. "During your meals or during your daily duty," he said, "lift up your heart to Him, because even the least little remembrance will please Him. You don't have to pray out loud; He's nearer than you can imagine." (5)
God is near to us when we are changing diapers, scrubbing floors or washing laundry. When we do these things with love, they are done prayerfully and from our hearts. How will our children learn to do those tasks in love if they see us grumbling and grousing? They won't. We are their example of joy in whatever the circumstances of our lives.
Do we view the daily-ness of life as an interruption? The diapers that need to be changed and the questions that beg answers as distractions? Then we are missing the main thing of mothering - the gift to be there to share it all.


I love God and the things he does. He blesses us so much. He gives us a spouse, a house; he blesses us with children and convicts us to home school them.


In the scope of things, the relationships we build with our God with our families here on earth are the things which matter most. If we can keep that perspective while managing the little details of life, we will do the less important things swiftly and efficiently, so we will have time for the things which matter most.


We need to embrace all aspects of mothering and home schooling. When you are delighted with your kids, do you ever grab them and kiss them and embrace them? We've got to embrace motherhood and all of our roles the same way - to be whole-hearted mothers. It becomes easier to embrace motherhood, the good the bad and the ugly, when we know that God exalts motherhood and womanhood.


Proverbs 31 tells us that a virtuous woman's price is far above rubies. I used to be a lawyer, and nowhere in the Bible does it say that about lawyers. I try to remember that when I've spent the day wiping jelly and runny noses. Lawyers are probably placed somewhere down with vipers. God values me so much and he values the work I do as a mother. Keeping that perspective helps tremendously on the really hard days of mothering and home schooling.


How does the wise woman get her house in order?

It starts with analysis. Think about these areas:


  •  What isn't working well?
  •  What drives you crazy and causes fights?
  •  Who is doing what?
  •  What needs to be changed?


These areas cause the most difficulty for home schoolers:

  • Clutter
  • Chores
  • Food
  • Laundry


In addition to these crucial areas, a home-schooling mom must also carve out planning time to keep all the other areas of life running smoothly. Finally, if she is not fainting from exhaustion, she should think about having some good, old-fashioned family fun.
For each of these areas which annoy you, there are several options:
  • Continue to do the task yourself, the way you have always done it.
  • Learn to do it better, more efficiently, with less stress.
  • Have someone else in the family do it.
  • Have someone outside the family do it.


Next week we will look specifically at controlling clutter, managing chores, and training children to do chores.
Christine M. Field practiced law for eight years before becoming a full-time Mommy. She and her husband live and home school their four children in Wheaton, Illinois where her husband serves as Chief of Police. Three of their four children are adopted, one through a private adoption and two are from Korea. She is the author of several books, including Coming Home to Raise Your Children (Fleming Revell, 1995), Should You Adopt? (Fleming Revell, 1997) A Field Guide to Home Schooling (Fleming Revell, 1998), and Life Skills for Kids (Harold Shaw/WaterBrook, 2000). Her fifth book, Help for the Harried Home Schooler (Shaw/WaterBrook 2002) will be available in January 2002. In addition to her contribution to, she writes columns for several magazines, including Home School Digest and Open Arms Magazine. Her work appears regularly in Hearts at Home Magazine and others. Her articles on life skills have appeared in Focus on the Family Magazine and Single Parent Family.

Christine loves to encourage others. She has spoken to many groups, including small fellowships and large conventions. To contact her about speaking to your group, or to share your tips and ideas about home schooling, you may email her at or visit her website at You may write to her at The Home Field Advantage, P.O. Box 261, Wheaton, IL 60189-0261.


The Three Gifts of Motherhood


Denise Glenn

source: CrossWalk



There are three gifts of Motherhood that will never be outgrown and always fit every age and stage of childhood. I'll share the first one with you.




The first of these is the blanket of your unconditional love. He needs love not based on his performance or behavior. He needs your love just because he is yours. And there are several ways to give your child this absolute, unreasonable love.



First, give your child the gift of time. Take a look at your weekly calendar and carve off a big chunk just to goof off with your children or grandchildren for two or three hours each week. If it goes on the calendar and you guard it as if it were an appointment with the President, you'll find the delight in keeping company with some amazing people...your offspring! Try not to make it legalistic, and just another "good Christian thing to do," but throw yourself into spending time with these precious people in your life just for the fun of it.



If you have preschool children or grandchildren, try spending a few hours on the floor coloring and blowing bubbles. Read a few books, sing a few songs, and go outside whenever possible and swing.



School-aged kids might enjoy a bike ride and picnic. Or if you're brave you might even play bombardment with them. Most kids LOVE it. It will require a rubber ball, a good pair of tennis shoes, and the ability to move quickly-which will be counted as your aerobic exercise for the week! Bombardment is the game of Tag or It, but with a ball. If the ball hits you, you're It, then you get to try to throw it to someone to make them It. This game is not usually played by adults, and that's the whole point. Play a real kid game. Be sure not to care if your clothes get dirty or torn.



For preteens and teens, try a Coke date or Coffee House break. Just sit around and ask about their music or a movie and the conversation will usually take off. Then you can keep listening between the lines to see if they will share something a little more personal. Don't press. Just be still and listen and wait. Being friends with people who are self-conscious and suspicious of adults takes patience, the willingness to be rejected, and a lot of prayerful confidence in what God can do with any and every life.




The second gift is the gift of touch. Almost everyone knows little babies need lots of physical hugging, kissing and touching. As kids grow, they don't outgrown needing to feel the warmth of mom's hands. Just a squeeze and hug for some is enough before they go on their way, but others need the physical reassurance of big doses of your Mother presence. From combing their hair, to rubbing sore muscles, or carefully applying Bactine and Band-Aids, children need to sense Mother-love from Mother-touch. Stop and think about the sensory perception your child has of your hands. Even teens and adult kids need the connection to mom through a pat on the back or a gentle embrace.



Finally, give your kids unconditional love by talking to them. Time, touch, and now, talk. Sit and listen, Mom. Your kids say some amazingly revealing things as they go about their day. Often these revelations unfold as they are going to bed, and mostly when the lights should have been out long ago. They can sleep another time. Take the time when they start to talk to listen around and between the lines of their chatter. Sift through the wrapping until they finally take off the last layer and expose the precious contents beneath. Be a very good steward of this treasure. Take most of it to your grave in secrecy. But let this unique creation that God entrusted into your care know that you know, you care, and you believe in them. That comes when you take the Time, to Touch their hearts, and really Talk.



Denise Glenn is the founder of MotherWise ministries and the author of Freedom for Mothers, Wisdom for Mothers and Restore My Heart. Visit Motherwise at