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Holding on to Hope During Separation (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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March 17, 2021 6:00 am

Holding on to Hope During Separation (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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March 17, 2021 6:00 am

Best-selling author Dr. Gary Chapman offers struggling couples guidance and hope for healing their marriage in a discussion based on his book "One More Try: What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart." (Part 2 of 2) Original air date: July 29, 2014)

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Man I knew my marriage was falling apart. I just didn't know how to fix it.

I felt like I would always be alone even if I stayed married at Focus on the Family's hope restored marriage intensive. We offer hope to couples in crisis so they can have a marriage they've always dreamed of. For the first time I felt like my husband truly heard me.

I received some great tools from the counselors of change my life and my marriage to begin the journey of finding health go to hope today.

I never asked you want to go. Such a desire election emotion and I don't want to work, they don't have energy to run the liver is you want to work on the marriage. I asked will you are you willing to work with me your work with any other culture you are you willing to work because if you're willing Dr. Gary Chapman talking about struggling marriages and how he advises couples who were really facing some difficult time. That was from our last Focus on the Family broadcast and Dr. Chapman is back with us offering some hope and encouragement for those who are in conflict, or perhaps just apathetic or desperate about the relationship. Our host is focused president and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller at John last time we talked about those difficult kind of moments in a marriage were one or both spouses are starting to feel like maybe we made a mistake or maybe you were in trouble here. We don't know what to do if you didn't hear the program from last time, get a copy of that.

Especially if you're experiencing difficulty in your marriage you're here Focus on the Family that's one of the core things that were about is marriage and helping marriages be as strong as they can, especially for the Christian community to know what we have in Christ in our marriage relationships.

Abidjan sometimes that doesn't work out well even for the Christians. Let me read a comment that came in Focus on the Family. Not long ago that broke my heart.

This woman wrote and said my husband of 16 years walked out of our house a month ago and told me he is in love with another woman he met on an online dating service. This is something that is coming more and more often into Focus on the Family.

These kind of difficulties where the marriages are just breaking up. Here's another one. My husband did not share with me what was going on in his life. He basically lived his life and I live mine. I didn't like it but I didn't know what to do about it. One day he came home and told me he was leaving.

I couldn't believe it. I had no idea that it was that bad. Dr. Chapman, welcome back to Focus on the Family and when you hear these comments this is new territory for you either. These are the kind of things that you deal with day in and day out here I Jim and I would say this when a man comes home and says to his wife.

I don't love you anymore, or I'm moving out 99% of the time he is already involved with someone else and he may never have said anything about it.

She may be totally unaware of it, but most men don't move out unless they are least emotionally involved with someone else and it is devastating to the wife are.

If it's the wife is moving out. It's devastating that husband now many wives move out when they're not involved with someone else. They move out because the pressure is so strong it's been so painful to them that they're moving out to get breathing room from the pressure the survival survival that the building about for men. Most of them are not moving out unless they're already involved with someone, we are hearing from the heart and wisdom and experience with a very trusted pastor, counselors, speaker, author and favorite guest here at Focus on the Family, Dr. Gary Chapman and I were talking about what to do when you think it's over, and much of the advice you here today comes from his book. One more try what to do when your marriage is falling apart. Gary course, welcome back, but one of the most common reasons you just given that there is that a fair talk about what happens when an affair takes place. What is going on. Typically, what is the pain being felt by both spouses and what needs to be done almost the time and affair is preceded by an empty relationship. So they're filling a void.

Yes, so that one of them meet someone else. They get what I call the tingles which leads them to what we typically call falling in love and so they have now these euphoric feelings with this new person in the marriage is just been painful or adversarial so there comparing a new relationship with the reality of the pain they been in and they often will feel like I've found my soulmate this time it's gonna be wonderful. This is like the tingles they got the first yes absolutely in terms of reconciliation, which is always the biblical ideal, no matter what's happened in a marriage, the biblical pattern is to seek reconciliation, but there can be no reconciliation until a person who has an affair is willing to break off that affair and reengage in the relationship and a spouse should never simply accept the fact that their spouses involved with someone else and remain in the marriage as though everything is all right because that's living a lie. Everything is not all right. They have violated the covenant that was made and so we shouldn't try to cover up for them. We shouldn't try to accept it. We should confront them with it. Let them know that if this is their choice.

If this is what they ultimately decide to do then the marriage has to be over. Can I ask you a question.

I I've never asked this question, why do you think God, although the Scriptures clearly hates divorce and he I believe applauds and smiles even in the case of infidelity when a couple can reconcile and come back together. I think he appreciates and loves that couple for that hard work. Why do you think he does make an exception there in Scripture to say. For this reason divorce is allowable when it comes to an affair. I think Jim because the sexual part of the marriage relationship is so much at the heart of our relationship.

It's not just the physical act. It involves the emotions it involves the intellect. It's a social thing it's of spiritual thing. It is, I bonding experience and I think God reserved it for marriage because it is designed to be that a bonding experience, and when they break the bond and have that kind of intimacy with someone else is devastating and the covenant has been broken because we made a covenant that we would keep ourselves for each other doesn't mean as you said earlier that if a person has an affair in his inbox section was someone else that the marriage is over.

Not necessarily because they may wake up. They may come to recognize that what I'm doing is sinful. What I'm doing is not right is going to hurt me. It's going to hurt my children's got hurt.

My wife is going to hurt the Christian calls and they can turn back. That's what we always hope for. That's what we always pray for is if they will turn away from people asked me what you do if there already involved in affair is only one right thing to do with an affair.

You break it off and I don't propose that that's easy to do. It's not easy to break off and affair because you feel so euphoric and that new relationship with Jim. I've never met a man or woman who ever regretted doing right but there in my office and other counselors offices every week you did wrong.

Five years ago got involved with someone else left their spouse now in the second or third marriage they're coming in to get help because now they're having problems. Gary, I want to go back for minute about the person who is in that light, living the life of the affair. We talked about the tingles that sounds like immaturity. If I can be that blonde. It sounds like they're living in perpetual romance and they just want to be there is not the real world.

It's not where marriage is developed in relationship is forged and lifelong commitment is made in people with made mistakes and I hear you clearly on that, but in our inability to mature as Christians and to understand that in essence are we just stunted in our growth is that why there's so many affairs going on in the Christian community in churches pastors who are failing is because were not mature we don't understand what marriage is really about a link is certainly a part of it. Jim, you know, this whole thing of happiness has pervaded our society so that so many people have the idea that even said to me on the what the Bible says, but I will be happy and I think God wants me to be happy. You know, and so they think this new relationship is going to make them happy, and happiness is more important than what God is said those of us on the outside looking at them, or saying how stupid can they be, you know, it just appears totally irrational to but they are so intent on being happy and they'd likely been unhappy in the relationship in the marriage and so happiness trumps everything else including God's words including God's word and the reality is, however, that that happiness is not materialize. Okay, let's talk to the couple who's in that spot and what do they do maybe one of the spouses. They're not willing what can they do right now. Today they're going to go home and they're going to begin a healthy confrontation.

In this regard. Whether they need to do, but I think if one is involved in a relationship outside the marriage and is still living at home in the marriage the spouse needs confront them. I know what's going on. Here's what's going on and if they deny which to big first response they deny own analysis of friendship. Nothing really going on here. Then you press the issue, you make sure you've got the facts straight and when the facts are straight. You tell them I know what's going on.

Here's the evidence is going on now they have a choice to either move out or they break off the affair and you have that line. That doesn't mean you're giving up on them but your hold them accountable for what they're doing and do they have hours to make that decision a couple of days. What do you do as I handle. I would say that the most a week, give them a week to think about what they're doing then you pray for them if they move out.

You pray for them that God will work in their hearts that God will open their eyes. You treat them with kindness. Remember Matthew 18 passage says you confront them three times if they don't repent, you treat them as a pagan or you do for pagans. You pray for pagans you love pagans there's anything you can do for them. You do it don't retaliate. You don't try to get revenge on them.

One man said, you and I went over to her house. She left me. I went over to her house where she was living with another man took a knife, not just topped all of her tires and I said you know you can go to jail for that retaliation is not the answer it's returning good for evil. I member the like. Jimmy said to me husband left me was living with another woman. Then about three months now I've been praying for them inches in one morning. Not impressed, only that I should bake him a pie and take it over there and give it to her and I said God if I bake a pie take it over there.

I'll throw it in his face, and she said I wrestle with it for three or four days and God just kept telling me that what I needed to.

She said I bake the pie to get to his apartment and he came to the door and I said I was praying the other day and got impressed on me that I should bring your pie and he said what, that's very nice he opened the door and took the pie turned and close the door in her face.

She said to Gary that was the first step in our two-year process of reconciliation. It started there, started there, she said. I hate to think what would happen if I had well, maybe you are in that kind of situation you just can't see down the road. There's no hope Focus on the Family is here to help you. And if we can be of assistance in any way give us a call.

We have caring Christian counselors on staff and you can arrange a free consultation time with them. The details through during that conversation with Dr. Gary Chapman you know it so often today in the church we don't do very strong discipline in the area of marriage and its weakening the whole argument for marriage. Frankly, the fact that were not living it well in the Christian community weakens our argument in the public square, defending marriage and it all connects and sometimes we fail to understand that the Gary I want to keep it a personal level down to the person is really struggling. A person who is in that place feeling like it's unchangeable how to date metamorphosis size into a new thought pattern where you moved from. I never should've married him or her to okay I've got a wake up today.

Take one day at a time and I want to do all I can do today to do my part to make my marriage as strong as it can be. How does a person emotionally moved from a to B is that's a big journey. That's a big step, how do you do it, but it is a big step. What I would say is that while the steps is that you acknowledge to yourself that your marriage is in serious trouble. You verbalize it to yourself and then you make a decision. I am going to do something about this. I think you invite your spouse to join you.

You say to them you know I don't how you feel about our relationship, but I'm pretty much a breaking point in our relationship and I decided that I am going for counseling and I would like for you to go with me but if you don't, I'm gonna go alone because I've got to have help and now you have given them a possible step that they can take to join you but if I don't you go alone because you need help and let the counselor or the pastor whomever you going to say let them help you know what the next step should be. And chances are they going to give you some books to read that will challenge your thinking will give you some ideas on what you need to be doing but you gotta be proactive in trying to do something that has the potential of reconciling the relationship. The woman who took the pie to her estranged husband and that moment and he says thank you text pie and close the door in her face.

Many people would crumble at that point I admire her resilience that she stuck with it in two years of process, they were still married.

I think half the people just to use a hypothetical percentage would crumble. At that point say it's over and begin to emotionally detach in order to protect themselves. Talk about that aspect of it. How do you fight the natural human appetite to emotionally detach because you can read the writing on the wall and you don't stay in their fighting and you don't stay close. The Lord perhaps because those are all mechanisms that you use to back up and you should be pressing in.

I think that is a typical pattern and one other step that often comes is activate emotionally detach they start dating someone else.

They say will this is over, and so they connect with an old friend and now they get an affair going, at least emotionally, and then here's what I've seen oftentimes the person who left realizes their fault and they come back now and want to work on the marriage but now this person is already involved with somebody else. So what I'm saying is, and I make this very clear in the book don't date you separated your gonna work at reconciliation. I will I say, give yourself at least a year to work on reconciliation.

Obviously, if your spouse chooses divorce and divorce comes in they remarry then is no hope for reconciliation, but until they remarry.

There's always hope for reconciliation and we must keep walking. That really Gary.

We also need to talk about the issue of abuse because that happens and we haven't touched on that last time or this time. Talk to the spouse that is living in that nightmare and perhaps she doesn't have anywhere to turn maybe her husband is a lofted Christian figure who knows. And you know there's this abuse going on, what does she do to begin to bring reality into the relationship we often jailed when a spouse comes is usually the wife is being abused not always, but almost always in many times she's put up with abuse for such a long time that she's come almost to accept it as the norm, but then she gets to the place where she realizes this is way out of line and she wants to do something she doesn't exactly know what to do and she may not have the emotional energy to do it by that time and she might feel like I don't have the finances to leave him.

She's feeling trapped, yet she feels trapped. So she stays in it, until eventually you have something worse happens in some many times its homicide.

So what I would say to that person.

What I was like, first of all about abuse in her young marriage the first time there's an abuse that's the time you go for counseling first time he slaps you.

You say to him, that's not appropriate, I will not be a part of this I'm going to see a counselor. I hope you go with me. Otherwise, I'm not a put up with this early on is the time to really confronted, but most the time we it's a long time into the abuse before we confronted but any right when we do come to confront we go for counseling and we let someone help us take those steps of tough love to say it's not loving for me to stay here and let this person abuse me like this because it's not good for them. It's not good for me and if their children had certain not good for the children to see this so I'm going to take an active tough love and with God's help and the help of a counselor or pastor. I'm going to confronted him not to stay here in the situation. That's really helpful advice and that you know again that can be a first step, someone who's in that situation. Call us Focus on the Family's here that can be a good first call to make, and we will be able to give you some advice on what second and third steps you might consider taking it.

Let me ask you about shame shame seems to hold so many people back, especially in the Christian community. Again, especially related to our marriages when things aren't working out well.

We look at what others appear to be around us and they look happy and they look like it's working for them and we sit in the pew on Sunday and we wonder in our own heart quietly. Why are we not as happy as what they appear to be talk about the power of shame and the reason you need to fight that in order to get the help you need to tell you, Jim. It's unfortunate that in some churches, maybe many churches people put up a front when they're with other Christians because the Christian life is designed to be an honest life and open life and that's what the church is all about. It's not putting up a front it's being real with each other and I encourage people not just to be involved in attending church worship service, but be involved in the small groups in that church, whether Bible Fellowship or Sunday school or home groups or whatever term they use get involved in a small group where you can share your life with each other. That's the heart of what the church is all about its being honest and open with each other so that you can help and pray for each other and don't feel that you have to put up a front you can be honest and open with fellow Christians. If it doesn't work with one group to get another group because there are loving Christian people out there that can help you Gary. We also have to talk about the incredible perhaps the most important aspect that we haven't dealt with directly in that is our personal relationship with Christ and you know where were added in that whole situation with the Lord in our walk with the Lord as we call it is Christians.

How do we stay focused on him in the midst of this kind of pain not get angry with them so often that we human beings. Again, we can turn our anger toward God, why did you let me marry this guy. I mean people will speak those things and it's good to be honest with God, if that's what you're feeling in your heart but talk about that. How do we draw closer to God in a moment when we may be really angry with them but I do think that's an important aspect and I deal with that in the book because I think a relationship with God is going to affect everything else we do. Example were never going to be able to love and a lovely person, without the help of God, but with God's love. We can love a spouse is not treating us well in the whole concept of God's love is that it's unconditional elect to be good for God to love you. It's unconditional and that's the pattern for us. We love our spouse unconditionally no matter what they do. Whether they're meeting our need or not meeting our needs with God's help, we can love them and in that context in loving them. We stimulate something inside of them that they're more likely to respond to us. What about the spouse.

It's feeling that it's only conditional that if I do X, Y, and Z, whatever that might be.

Then I get his love that if I don't behave this way. He doesn't show me that love you. I think it at the core is very difficult for human beings to show unconditional love.

Even Christians.

How do we really get there and if were missing it in our relationship. How do we recalibrate so that our spouse can feel unconditional love will think conditional love is not love it all is manipulation. If I do this this and this then they'll do this this and this for me that's manipulation your teenagers often manipulate parents that way.

Especially if I know the love language is that you know my let you know my love life you love you by me.

This left I got a few letters out that spouses can do the same thing you know and is manipulation is not love.

Love is looking out for the interest of the person you're right it's not natural what's natural is the love the people who love us the kind of people kind of us, but with God's help, we can show unconditional love to our children to our spouse and to other people and in so doing we are being an instrument of God to touch their hearts and no showing that kind of love is so hard. Gary but it's important today. You've really given us some help and hope for that marriage that feels dead, you know, due to an affair or situation of abuse.

Whatever it might be in gear.

You've reminded us that through God's help, there is hope for marriages and I would add, obviously, through leaning into Christ for that help. And that hope that's the key and your book one more try really gives couples a step-by-step guide on how to restore their marriage. I so appreciate Gary being with us. Thank you.

Thank you Jim that's my hope that this book will help people gain when they're at the point of Dr. Gary Chapman on today's episode of Focus on the Family and get a copy of his great book one more try. We got the link in the episode notes John today's program has highlighted what we seek to do each and every day here at Focus on the Family and that's to come alongside hurting marriages, hurting families, and give them hope and healing in Christ that we do that through a number of resources and through the caring Christian counselors we have on staff right here. We are able to help you whether you are struggling or if you just need some creative ideas on how to strengthen your marriage and get out of that rut. For those who are facing bigger challenges in your marriage. Let me point you toward our hope restored marriage intensive's.

This is marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage and who may even feel that they're headed for divorce and it's successful. We check in with our couples periodically, and in our two-year follow-up. We have learned that 81% of those couples. Two years later are doing better and still married. In fact, one couple who attended share this note with us.

They wrote we attended the weeklong intensive last August. At the time we were skeptical that anything could help our situation, John Henley couples are living in that place. I think far too many and it seems like there at that point were it's over. When this person went on to write. We were already separated and divorce papers had been served. It was our last ditch effort we attended every day, but we were nervous about what you were going to ask of us. And after each day we would sit and talk and pray that the Lord would give us guidance after a week of talking for hours about our marriage in our relationship.

We decided to drop the divorce and last Christmas. We celebrated 26 years together.

Thanks to you. We believe in miracles and all my, what a story that's tremendous. I love that were part of the Lord's work through efforts like hope restored and she you are friends who give to Focus on the Family through your prayers and financial sacrifice you're part of it to. We simply couldn't do it without you. So help us continue to stand strong for marriage, and to provide the help that these desperate couples need when you pledge a monthly gift today and no amount is too small will send you a copy of Dr. Chapman's great book one more try as our way of saying thank you. If course, if you cannot commit to a monthly pledge we get.

That will send it to you for a one time gift as well.

You can donate and get your copy of one more try by Dr. Gary Chapman.

We get all the details in the episode notes or call 800 K working on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for being with us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. When a woman discovers her husband struggled with pornography. She needs a practical plan. The latest book from Focus on the Family aftershock but professional counselor Joanne Conti will help you through the seven steps of self-care and to learn how to deal with the emotions involved in the discovery of your husband's addiction. Joanne Conti's timeless wisdom. If you hope, even while you're in your own season of aftershock. Learn more about

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