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    Posted by Dion Todd
    Simon Peter said to them, 'I'm going fishing.' They told him, 'We are also coming with you.' They immediately went out, and entered into the boat. That night, they caught nothing. But when day had already come, Jesus stood on the beach, yet the disciples didn't know that it was Jesus. John 21:3 WEBP...
  • RHM Bible Study, Acts Chapter Twenty-five from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo. Today we are going to study Acts chapter 25 in depth. You can follow along in your own Bible if you like. I will be reading from the World English Bible because it is the only modern English translation that is co...
  • Jan 13
    Posted by Dion Todd
    RHM Devotional: Life or Death from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo. Today I want to talk about life or death, in the Spirit. God is the Giver of life, and He breathed the breath of life into Adam in the beginning. His Spirit brings a freshness, a revitalization, freedom, an excitement, It giv...
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Marriage & Divorce

  • Marriage and Divorce

    Gen 2:24 …a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. ~NIV   

    Right at the beginning, in the second chapter of the bible, God lays out the plan for marriage.  Marriage can be one of the most fulfilling things in your life, or a constant source of misery. In this talk I will try and give you tips that I have learned on marriage. There is nothing more satisfying than having a God centered marriage. It is wonderful and fulfilling. But I will be honest, far to many Christians today act like their spouse is property and that God will enforce the marriage “Law” on their spouse. That once the vows are taken the deal is done.

    I have news, God loves your spouse to, and the vows are only the beginning.  I know the bible gives many reasons why your spouse should stay with you after marriage, I could list them here, and you can quote these to them, but if you make them happy you will not have to. In the end God will not make them (nor you) stay against their will no more than He would make us love Him against our will. Its free will and you have a part to play. Love is Action, not a feeling. Learn what makes your spouse happy and do that. We will cover this more below.

    My experience:  A  friend of mine once said, “There is nothing like having the right one, and there is nothing like having the wrong one”.   I myself, have been on both sides of this.  I got married at 17, for every reason except the right ones, and then we grew up, and apart, and eventually despised each other. It was a miserable, dark time in my life, one that doctors, counselors and anti-depressants could not fix.  I remember someone told me “You will never get another one like that” and I thought “Well, that’s certainly the plan…”  When I finally started contemplating suicide as a way out we divorced.  Can a Christian divorce?  Evidently…   We are just imperfect people serving a perfect God.

    Later I met my current wife, fell in love, and we were married. We both knew it from the first time that we met. I was a changed man. My friends quickly fell behind as I would rather be home cooking with her than hanging out with them. I had never felt this way before. I lost interest in everything else but being around her and then I realized that I had never actually been in love before. I was 35 when I discovered this. It was, and still is the greatest satisfaction I had ever known. That was over a decade ago. Soon we both became involved in Church and put the Lord in the center of our lives. I had never known such happiness in my life. I had saw marriage from both sides now and learned a few things along the way that I will try and share with you if you want to read on.

    One thing I learned: If the Lord is at the center of the relationship He will mediate between the two of you and this improves things greatly. It makes things smooth, like applying oil to gears.  I have went into my prayer room and while praying realized that my wife’s birthday was coming up and that I should take her on a week end get away, and then when I checked my email there appeared a special on an oceanfront room for $49.  That was the farthest thing from my mind when I started praying.  I found that the Lord will direct you to care for your spouse if you take the time to listen. He wants your marriage to work… It is crazy to not involve Him in it.

    Another was this: Sometimes the things that bother us in marriage are our own insecurities and baggage, I have had my share, and they are not the fault of our spouse at all.  When that is the case, no matter what your spouse does, you still will not be happy until you have dealt with your self. Its the opposite effect of rose colored glasses, everything is tinted by our baggage. Ideally our inner happiness should be generated by our relationship with God, and not the people around us.  People can disappoint, but God will never leave you, nor forsake you.  If you find that your emotions are a roller coaster this is a word for you.   (The love dare at the bottom of the page may help you bring these areas into balance.)

    Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. To be loved by someone who chooses to love you, who sees in you something worth loving. That kind of love requires effort and discipline.   Relationships require maintenance. You have to invest time and resources into it.  It is not taking your spouse for granted.  Never “assume” that they will always be there. The “bye” that you say in the morning may be the last time you ever see them. Make it count!  Always remember, your spouse lives with you because they “Want” to.  They are their own living breathing entity and not your property. Your spouse could just as easily choose to live with someone else, and God may be disappointed, but He will still love them. The moment they ask forgiveness He will forgive them, no matter how much we disapprove.  So make them want to continue living with you…  I know the bible gives many reasons that they should stay, and you can quote these to them, but if you make them happy you will not have to.

    Some say a marriage is 50 / 50.  It is more like 100 / 100.  It takes 2 people to make a marriage work. After the first couple of years you will probably have to put work into it. One trying alone will eventually run out of energy. God can step in and change your spouse, but you never will, so pray for them. Even then God may not make them into what “you” want them to be, but more of what He wants them to be. So do not marry a fixer upper and then plan to change them. God already has a plan and a path for them that is probably bigger. 

    There is life after divorce. When you are going through one you think the world as we know it is ending, and that you have more enemies than friends. But in reality, after a few years it will be old news and things will be better and brighter. The best days of your life can be right in front of you. God still has a hope and future for you, though people may cast you aside, God never will. And with God there is forgiveness for what ever you may have done.  He is always there, always understands, and will always forgive you for what ever you have done in your past, and your spouse…  And you (or them) do not have to earn it.  There is a tendency in us to want to make them “pay”, but God is merciful and He forgives them as well as us. Jesus was the one that paid…  The best thing we can do with the failures of the past is to let them be history. 

    Communicating – The 5 Love Languages

    Face it, men and women are different in so many ways that it can easily lead to mis-communication.  Recent research has indicated that the average individual listens for only seventeen seconds before interrupting. That is dangerous because it is like men wear blue head phones and women wear pink ones.  You should really try and listen to your spouse because what your other half hears may be completely different than what you do. It is not wrong, just a different view than yours.  This can be healthy and will broaden your outlook if you understand it. For instance, men often work hands on with tools “fixing” things. So if his wife tells him that she feels over weight he may buy her a diet book to “fix” it.  It makes perfect sense to him… until he gets home with it!  If she had bought him a book that he needed he would have been happy, so he does not understand the silence and sudden coldness entering the room while presenting his thoughtful gift.

    When it comes to love, we often speak different languages. There is a great book on this subject if you want to know more, called “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  Here is a brief summary of the 5 basic love languages that we speak. You and your spouse will relate strongly to one of these.  If you discover which one makes your spouse happy it will be marriage changing.  In my case, I found that me and my Wife speak the same language: Quality Time.  So we may sit down to dinner and talk for 3 hours. I know that she loves me because “she wants and enjoys spending time with me”.  This is very natural to both of us and we both enjoy it.  Most couples though will not speak the same love language and you will have to learn your spouses language in order to communicate your love effectively with them.

    Here are the 5 basic love languages that we speak. These are the things that speak to their heart: “They really love me!” :

    1. Words of Affirmation – Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

    2. Quality Time – Meet them for lunch. Look into their eyes, giving them your full attention. Go for a walk together and talk. 

    3. Receiving Gifts – Gift giving has always been a part of the love-marriage process.

    4. Acts of Service – Doing things you know your spouse would like you to do.

    5. Physical Touch – Holding hands, kissing, embracing and intimacy are all ways of communicating emotional love to one’s spouse.

    Words of Affirmation / Encouragement / kindness: Some people prefer verbal appreciation and encouragement like: “You look sharp in that suit.”   “Do you ever look hot in that dress! Wow!”.  A compliment a day will keep the counselor away.

    Quality Time / Conversation / Activities: Spending time together, and talking / listening to them, without distractions. Certainly not while texting.  Try and maintain eye contact and give them your full attention. Refuse to interrupt them, but listen to understand what they are saying.

    Receiving Gifts: Gifts are visual symbols of Love. Children bring flowers to mom from the yard to express love, almost instinctively. Give gifts that say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or “She remembered me.” It is the thought that counts… but when there is no gift it appears there were no thoughts either.  (If they have been critical of your gifts in the past and almost nothing you have given them has been acceptable, then receiving gifts is almost certainly not their primary love language.)

    Acts of service: Such actions as washing the car, mowing the lawn, cooking a meal, setting a table, washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning a commode, changing the baby’s diaper, dusting the bookcase, paying the bills, … They require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love.

    Physical Touch: Holding hands, kissing, embracing and intimacy are all ways of communicating emotional love to one’s spouse. Sitting close to each other as you watch your favorite television program requires no additional time but may communicate your love loudly. As you walk from the car to go shopping, reach out and hold your spouse’s hand.

     

    The Love Dare

    The Love Dare is an intense 40 day marriage check up and first aid kit. No matter how solid your marriage is, you could benefit from this course.  And if your marriage is having trouble this course could very well save it.  It was featured in the movie Fire Proof by Sherwood pictures. It is a 40 day course with a different challenge to complete each day for your spouse.  It starts as simple as “Say nothing negative” but passes through all areas of marriage before it is done.   It is not easy to do, but it gives 40 great teachings for a solid marriage based on the bible.  Regardless of how your spouse reacts, YOU will be a better person in the end and they cannot help but notice the change.


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17 comments
  • 1
Richard Mondello
Richard Mondello This is so spot on true. It is exactly what I wanted to accomplish with my wife while she was still here.......
February 26, 2015
  • 1
Thomas Loftis
Thomas Loftis Hi, I not for sure if you are saying that she has passed or that she left and I'm not by no means putting women down but if you are planning on getting involved with another woman again you need to read these verse's in the King James Bible: Proverbs 5:20, 6:26, 7:10, 9:13, 11:16, 27:15, 31:10, 31:11, and 31:30. The Bible also say's a lot about a man's role also but I printed these verse's and hand them out to any teen age boy's that I might know. Thomas
January 25, 2016
  • 1
Richard Mondello
Richard Mondelloedited: January 25, 2016 My wife Doniell has been in the Lord's presence for 5 1/2 years,now at home with Him. We were together for 23 years which seamed like several life times. She was a good wife,mother and business owner,a Proverbs 31 woman. Our life together started out wrong but it wasn't all bad either, with God's help and blessings. I made a lot of mistakes and had issues in my own life to overcome and sought God to help me deal with them. He showed me the error of my ways and has been guiding me ever since. I was guilty of taking my wife for granted and not giving 100 % to our marraige and family. Before my wife took ill,on a family vacation Father God helped me realize the need for restoration in my relationship with my wife,our marraige and with our sons. Also,my need for Him to be the center of our marraige and family. It took about a year and a half for Doniell to succomb to her illnesses. One day when her suffering was overwhelming she wanted to give up but in tears I begged her please don't give up,even though I know she was misrable.I prayed for God to either heal my wife or to please end her suffering. Well,God certainly hears our prayers and answers them. He chose to end her suffering here and heal her by letting her come home to heaven when Doniell was in the hospital for the last time. My wife was only 37 years young when she went home to be with the Lord,I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. I've had to deal with feelings of grief,regret,despair,depression and the loss of a second chance to make things right with her and be the husband and father I should have been. God has been in the process of teaching me and restoring/renewing me from the inside out. Thank you Thomas for the bible verses,I will reread them because I have prayed for His direction in my life and also if it''s His will for Him to send me another woman who is just right for me,in my life again. God  bless ..........
January 25, 2016
  • 1
Linda Martin
Linda Martin Loved this! I read the "The Five Love Languages" many years ago and still have the book. It proved to be a wonderful awakening for my marriage. God has blessed "Our" (Tom and I) marriage for 28 years, soon to be 29. It's far from perfect but it suits us just fine. My daughter, has been going thru a "Nasty" divorce for the last 2 years and it has literally broken my heart. I've often told her the same thing, it takes two to make a marriage and it takes two to break it!
March 30, 2015
  • 1
Lissy Verghese
Lissy Verghese Loved to read the blog! Thank you for the great message!
April 5, 2015
  • 1
Kay Rushin
Kay Rushin I love that Book, I still have it in my collection, The 5 love languages! Awesome book, I thought I was the only one....It gives insight to how others feel loved based on their individual  language . You summed it up just right. A must read. Keeps you from spinning your wheels.....
April 19, 2015
  • 1
Kathy Banfield
Kathy Banfield This should be mandatory reading for all engaged couples! Thanks so much for the words of true wisdom; they would also work well with families in general, not just married couples. Now, because I am Catholic and feel safe here, I want to post my feelings on homosexual marriage. It's been a tough topic of discussion in the church recently. I don't feel comfortable posting my feelings anywhere but HERE! So, here goes nothing: First, although I agree 100% that homosexuality is a sin, LOVE is NOT a sin! So, why can't Catholics allow gay men and women to marry--but do NOT refer to the union as "marriage". It's 2015, folks--times change, and the Bible clearly states that! So why not re-define gay marriage? Just my 2 cents. I think I'll go retreat into a hole now. love, Kathy
April 23, 2015
  • 2
Celestina Ndunda
Celestina Ndunda Praise the Lord. My brother is going trhough a hard time with his wife right this moment. As soon as we meet, i will make sure he reads through this. God bless you Past. Dion for sharing.
August 10, 2015
  • 1
Karen Fletcher
Karen Fletcher Another excellent source you touch on is "Love and Respect" a book that speaks very clearly of the different languages of men and women. The pink and blue theory.
August 25, 2015
  • 1
Natalie Carey
Natalie Carey Another well written piece that I need in my life right now. You speak to me and about my life's circumstances.
September 15, 2015
  • 1
Heide Garner
Heide Garner well said  Iown this book church me joelwent  vistthis topicof book at sundayschool well for surrio of incst theri things i,m that have affect me some so thankyou for this reminder Iget everymornging to and in prayer this summer when discoverprayer  I started write my poems again because spirtally poems for as teenager wrote to but Ididnt,tn know who jesue was have relatship with him as got thirthy more serouse about after exerpence in depression and sucide  thoughts so yes jesue trulyblessing me.  
November 21, 2015
  • 1
Lasheika Simmons
Lasheika Simmons Pastor Todd, I greatly appreciate your insight on Marriage. My husband and I married young, I was 19 and he was 20. Eight years later and we are still married. Lately I have been needing to hear a good word concerning marriage and I thank you for this God bless you. I look forward to more word on marriage :)
November 22, 2015
  • 1
Rebecca Goff
Rebecca Goff My husband left us almost a year ago. I have cried, tried, & prayed and recently I  have seen a glimmer of hope. But i am confused as to what god expects of me. I  pray to see clearly what I should do  as a christian, a wife, and as hard as it was to admit, part of the problem in our marriage. I thought i could "save" him from himself, his actions & take on the responsibility of my life & his.. It didnt work well & it almost killed me, physically, spiritually, & mentally . Does anyone have the love dare program? Or is it too late ? 
December 29, 2015
  • 1
Thomas Loftis
Thomas Loftis I'm sorry to hear about your husband and from what I've read in the KJBible there are only two reasons to get a divorce in which is a very painful thing to have to go through (but it doesn't seem to bother some people) and that is adultry and being married to a non-believer that is mean to a christian but then Christ forgives. I'm new on here and not for sure if the 40 day course is on here but get the movie with Kirt Cameron called Fireproof and it will give you a really good ideal of the 40 day course and in the movie the actor playing his dad tells him about it and how to do it. It's a good movie and so is Monumental with Kirk Cameron in which I believe everyone should have watched before they voted in 2007, changing subjects, but he play's in some really good movies. Thomas
January 25, 2016
  • 1
Laura  Jounakos
Laura Jounakos Thomas i got divorced because it was a  abusive relationship both phyical  and mental.i refusing couseling by anyone.it got worse. I moved to VA to be near family.i am happier , i can focus on my degree now- pastoral degree.A fresh start :)i got him to go to church :) he is involved in the church.he is going to the  Emmaus walk I helped him to get a relationship with Jesus. i prayed over my sitituation  The Spirit led me down right pAth:) Rebecca get out of the toxious  marriage. go for for counseling for you.walk away from this its not healthy.  btw  i am a pastoral counselor God be with you!
March 24, 2016
  • 1
Loriann Riley
Loriann Riley

My husband and I are going through a divorce right now. My husband had commit adultry through out our whole marriage. Now he trying to get back with me but I move on with my life. I am thinking that he is forcing me against my will to stay with him. Each time we talk he keep on saying to me that he change and he will start to do things differently but my heart is not in the marriage anymore. I think we get marry for the wrong reason I keep telling my husband if its God will for us to get back to get it will happen. He tells me that he is going to church now which I am happy for. But he needs to keep is eyes on Jesus. I forgive my husband for what he did to me he is pressuring me to stay with him. He say heis not forcing me to stay with him but his voice said something different.

August 15, 2016
  • 1
Janet Marsh-Lord
Janet Marsh-Lord

I had been through a nasty divorce and then some years later met and married a wonderful man I had known before my first marriage. We had 4 plus years together,loving each other unconditionally, learning from past mistakes and putting God first in our marriage. Then my lovely husband died suddenly and I was devastated... It took years to get over the loss. I thank God for bringing us together and giving us 4 plus years of love. Wonderful memories to look back on....

April 1, 2017