I found this on www.rejoiceministries.org. It has great info and support for those who are standing strong for their marriages!
I AM STANDING FOR THE HEALING OF MY MARRIAGE!... I will not give up, give in, give out or give over 'til that healing takes place. I made a vow, I said the words, I gave the pledge, I gave a ring, I took a ring, I gave myself, I trusted GOD, and said the words, and meant the words... in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in good times and in bad...so I am standing NOW, and will not sit down, let down, slow down, calm down, fall down, look down or be down 'til the breakdown is torn down!
I refuse to put my eyes on outward circumstances, or listen to prophets of doom, or buy into what is trendy, worldly, popular, convenient, easy, quick, thrifty, or advantageous... nor will I settle for a cheap imitation of God's real thing, nor will I seek to lower God's standard, twist God's will, rewrite God's word, violate God's covenant, or accept what God hates, namely divorce!
In a world of filth, I will stay pure; surrounded by lies I will speak the truth; where hopelessness abounds, I will hope in God: where revenge is easier, I will bless instead of curse; and where the odds are stacked against me, I will trust in God's faithfulness.
I am a STANDER, and I will not acquiesce, compromise, quarrel or quit. I have made the choice, set my face, entered the race, believed the Word, and trusted God for all the outcome.
I will allow neither the reaction of my spouse, nor the urging of my friends, nor the advice of my loved ones, nor economic hardship, nor the prompting of the devil to make me let up, slow up, blow up, or give up 'til my marriage is healed.
- Author Unknown
by Amy Meyer Allen
If I asked you, “What is most important to you?” What comes to mind first? For many it's family. We know the “right” answer is to put God as our first priority. But do we?
In my own life God wasn't first on my list. My security and sense of well being came from my husband. In my eyes, he could do no wrong, I made him my rock.
That's when everything came crashing down. My “rock” had a crack pornography. The crack grew to a chasm until a pile of rubble was all that remained. Now what could I rely on?
Thankfully, God got my attention through the demise of our marriage. While we were separated, I learned to put all my trust in my true “rock” - the Lord Jesus Christ. It wasn't an easy process. Because I had grown up going to church, was baptized as a baby, and basically a “good” person; I thought I had everything under control. But, God knew what it would take to get me to put Him first. Finally, when my marriage crumbled around me, I was able to see I needed a Savior, and a Lord. I couldn't control my husband's actions. In actuality I had no control over anything. One day when I was alone and separated from my husband, God's grace broke through my devastated heart. I finally surrendered my whole life to the Lord.
After God called my husband and me into a true relationship with Himself, He asked us to reconcile our marriage. The process was hard and took years of work (we're still working). The key to our restored marriage is now we each put our hope, dreams, and trust in God alone. We realize our spouse cannot meet all our needs, especially the deepest desires of our heart. Only God can do that. We found solid ground just as described in 2 Samuel 22: 47:
“The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation.”
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of coming alongside women who are hurting as a result of their husband's sexual addiction or infidelity. The advice I give is to concentrate on your own relationship with the Lord and let Him use this time which feels like crushing despair to deepen your faith. Sometimes despair is precisely what God will use to bring you into a real relationship with Him through Jesus. He did with me.
Are you struggling in your marriage? Do you want more than anything for your marriage to be healed? That is precisely the problem. To get your priorities straight, God wants you to desire Him more than anything even more than the restoration of your marriage.
Here are five steps I learned to make God my first priority:
1. I run to Him first when things go wrong. I cry out to Him not other people and not my husband. No earthly friend can help you the way He can.
2. I make time for Him. I can come up with so many excuses to not spend time with God. Too much work to do, the kids need me, I'd rather sleep in. Yet, He always blesses me when I make an effort to be with Him.
3. I study His Word. I used to say, “I wish God would just tell me what to do. Give me a list of instructions and I'd do it!” He has in His Word. As I study it, I realize He is leading and guiding me. For true transformation to take place,, I need to to apply His word to my life.
4. I stand on His promises. My feelings are fickle and change constantly. God's promises are true, trustworthy and never change. Whether I “feel” like it or not, I take God at His Word. For instance, although I may “feel” alone, when God says “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” I know the truth is He’s right here with me.
5. I ask Him what to do. People give plenty of advice, but only God has the exact right answer. I find it as I pray, study His Word and wait for Him to show me.
Do you have your priorities straight? Be honest with yourself. If you have put anything ahead of your relationship with God including the desire for your marriage to be healed then you need to make an effort to get your priorities back in line.
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8 NLT
Father, I pray You are our first priority. Our relationship with You is more important than anything else even the restoration of a broken marriage. Help us to put You first in our lives so all Your goodness can flow from there. In Jesus name, Amen.
by Amy Meyer Allen
Recently a woman asked if my husband and I had been tested for HIV and STDs, and how I dealt with being intimate with him again after we reconciled. I can only share what I have learned in my own journey to healing based on my personal experience. Although it's of a sensitive nature, I can share this experience by trusting God will use it to bring encouragement to hurting women and wounded marriages.
Although my husband, Tim, swore to himself he never would, he did have unprotected sexual encounters with prostitutes. His rational thinking and faithfulness went right out the window. As a result, I was tested for sexually transmitted diseases and so was Tim. By the grace of God we are both disease free!
Once God made it clear to both of us He wanted to restore our marriage, sexual intimacy was incredibly hard for me. How could I not picture the other women he'd been with? How did I know he wasn't picturing them as well? I prayed through the first time we were intimate again. Afterward, when Tim asked me how I was feeling, I didn't want to hurt him, but I felt I should be honest if we had any hope of moving forward. I confessed, “I feel like throwing up and then running as far away, as fast as I can, away from here!” Thankfully he was supportive. He held me in his arms and promised to work through this slowly. We did work through it. Many times I prayed my way through our intimate moments.
A few years after we'd reconciled I caught Tim masturbating. I was crushed. He may as well have been with another woman! God gave me the strength to ask him to come to me when he felt urges instead of pleasuring himself. I felt he was being selfish by not involving me. Ultimately, we both made a pact not to masturbate, and instead find release in each other.
Through the years of reconciliation and renewal of our marriage, I've gained these important insights into our sexual relationship:
God created both men and women with the ability to have an orgasm and enjoy sexual pleasures. I strongly believe if a woman is not enjoying sex with her husband, then she needs to talk to him about it. Tell him what is satisfying to her, and what she enjoys. Don't be shy about it. One of the best ways to re-establish intimacy is to talk about it.
My husband had been so entrenched in extra-marital affairs, it was nearly impossible for him to enjoy our sexual relationship when we first reconciled. He had indulged in sin involving not only his physical body, but also his soul. He was afraid he would never find the level of excitement inside the marriage as he had outside. Did that hurt me to hear? Of course! But he confessed he'd been asking God to enable him to find satisfaction in the marriage. Over time we have both found satisfaction in our marriage bed. He does continue to struggle with the desire for illicit sex, but it's waned through the years. Often he tells me how much he appreciates the effort I put into our sexual relationship.
It saddens me to hear of couples who haven't had sex for months or even years! What a waste of the beautiful plan God has for marriages. God says the only time we should abstain from sexual intimacy is for an agreed upon time because we are praying about something. The key is, “agreed upon.” If one partner doesn't want sex, but the other does, then God says our bodies belong not to ourselves but to our spouse. When I obey the Lord in this area, the benefits always outweigh any excuse I try to come up with!
“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control”. - 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 NLT
Father, I pray for couples who are embarking on this journey of renewing sexual intimacy after infidelity. Help them see each other through Your eyes. Help them to be honest and open with each other about how they are really feeling. Help them seek ways to pleasure their spouse without neglecting their own. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
by Amy Meyer Allen
“This is the only thing that keeps me from acting out,” my husband said as he held up the Bible, God's Word. With trembling lips and tears in his eyes he shared with me how badly at times he still wants to have sex with other women, but the truth of God's Word keeps him from carrying out his desires. He has come to believe that God's Word is truth; holy and reliable and able to keep him from sinning.
When my husband, Tim, and I were separated for six months, due to me discovering his infidelity with prostitutes, Tim was the first one to accept that God's Word is 100% true. It took me longer to get to that place. I had grown up in a church where only portions of God's Word were taught, usually the ones that had feel-good stories or moral lessons we could learn from. Because of a Greek mythology class I took in college, I likened the stories of the Bible to those ancient myths.
After Tim and I came to a true faith in Jesus and were reconciled, we both began to dig deeply into God's Word. I took many Precept Bible studies which helped me to slow down and observe what Scripture had to say. But the key to growing in my faith in God has been the application of His Word to every area of my life. For Tim, he not only applies it, he clings to it as a lifeline.
When Tim and I first separated I could only see his sin, not my own. God's Word has helped me with forgiveness, anger, pride, self-pity, bitterness, an insatiable need for attention, and self-righteousness, just to name a few!
Here are some examples of what God's Word is doing in my life:
God's Word is living and active. It has the power to overcome sin in our lives. To be most effective you must first have a relationship with the Lord through Jesus, then you must believe that His Word is true, and, finally, you must apply God's Word to your life. Don't just be a hearer of God's Word, be a doer. (James 1:22-24) It makes the difference between winning the race of life or despondently sitting on the sidelines.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV
Father, Your Word is powerful and true! I pray that You would help us to not only read it and study it, but to apply it to our lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.
by Amy Meyer Allen
I had every intention of never speaking to him again. After discovering my husband, Tim, had been going to prostitutes for over a year without me realizing it, I filed for divorce.
Unbeknownst to me, God had a much different plan in store. During a six month separation, God held back the divorce papers and brought both my husband and me into a true relationship with Himself through Jesus. Then He called me to reconcile with my husband.
In each of these situations, God directed my steps and showed me very clearly what to do. (Proverbs 20:24) The key was listening to Him. Every marriage situation is different. There are different circumstances, different people coming from different backgrounds, different journeys and relationships with the Lord. Perhaps one spouse is a believer in Jesus and the other isn't. Maybe they both think they are following the Lord but neither one of them has a close relationship with Him.
Many women in my situation ask me for advice. I can only share what God has done in my own marriage and encourage them to seek the Lord with all their heart. God is able to show each one of us what we should do. He desires that each of us trust Him and ask Him for advice and direction. I believe God uses these devastating situations to bring us closer to Him. Because He created each one of us uniquely, He can show us what to do in every unique situation.
Sometimes God will call us to stay. Sometimes He will call us to separate. Never will He ask us to condone or enable sin.
When God called me to move back home with my husband, I did so only out of love and obedience for Him. I was very afraid of being hurt again. During our time apart, God gave my husband a glimpse of hell, where he was headed if he continued with his life of sin. Thankfully he got the message, and, in tears of release and repentance, he gave his life to Christ. (2 Corinthians 7:10) One of the ways I knew it was God's will to reconcile was because of the true repentance I saw in my husband. It was amazing to see how excited he was about the Bible. He was convinced it was 100% true and he should live his life by it. I saw my husband as a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
God wants each one of us to be with Him forever. This means truly turning from our sin, repenting, and giving our lives to Him. I believe a big part of our roles as wives is to love our husbands enough to leave them when they are sinning and not take personal responsibility for their sin. (1 Corinthians 7:2-6) If our husband is not a believer, separating for a time may be the only way God can get their attention. That old saying, “You don't know what you've got until it's gone” often comes true in this kind of situation.
I learned that if I truly love my husband, truly want what is best for him, then I cannot condone or enable his sin. I have to be the wife he needs, not necessarily the wife he wants. The wife he needs prays for him, encourages him to spend time with the Lord, cheers him on, forgives him when he stumbles, hates the sin but loves the sinner.
Sometimes love is tough. It does the very thing we may not “feel” like doing. It doesn't always line up with our emotions or feelings because love isn't a feeling but an action. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) It looks out for the best for the other person, even if that person may “feel” unloved at the time. Isn't God that way with us? He doesn't always give us what we want, but He always gives us what we need. Because He loves us so much, He wants us to grow, persevere, and become more like Jesus in character. (Philippians 2:1-18)
“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” ~ James 5:19-20 NIV
Father, I pray for people that are struggling with sexual sin. I pray You give their spouse the strength they need to separate when necessary and the obedience to reconcile when You call them to that. You are a God of redemption. Help each one of us to follow You and trust Your guidance in every situation. You alone have all the answers. I pray these things in Jesus' name, Amen.
by Amy Meyer Allen
“Don't you know how much more valuable you are than money?” I heard God's voice in my head as I drove alone in my car. “No,” I whispered, and then started to cry.
Worthiness was hard for me to comprehend. I only felt “worthy” if I earned it by getting good grades in school, being attractive to gain attention from guys, doing everything perfectly, or making lots of money in my career. I found a false sense of self-worth in my own achievements.
It wasn't until my marriage fell apart, that God took me on a journey to discover my true worth. He did it by stripping away two of the most important things I derived my identity from my husband and my marriage. When I found out my husband would rather pay to have sex with other women than me, my whole world plummeted. Who was I if I wasn't Tim's wife? Why didn't he want me? Wasn't I attractive enough, or good enough for him?
During a six month separation from my husband, God began to change my perspective. It didn't happen all at once. Through studying His Word, I learned how much God loves me and wants me for Himself. As I spent more time alone with the Lord, I began to desire His attention more than other men's. He also worked on my desire to earn my worth. It took a long time to realize it's not how much money I make or what I do that makes me a worthy person. Instead I learned I am infinitely valuable to the Lord just because I am His precious child.
This new understanding of my worth helped change so many areas of my life. In the past my mantra had been “I can do all things.” Now I've added, “through Christ who gives me strength.” He has made all the difference.
God loves each one of us so much. I truly believe if anyone can start to comprehend God's agape love for them, the rest of their lives will be so much easier to deal with. Now, with my new source of worth, I try to take everything that happens in my life to the Lord. Whether it's good or bad, I first run it by Him instead of allowing it to define me.
For example, one day, about eleven years after my husband and I had reconciled, a lot of what God taught me just clicked. My husband blew up at me for not disciplining our children. In the past, when he got angry, I harbored and nursed my hurt for days, weeks, and sometimes years! This time, instead of licking my wounds and wallowing in self-pity, I chose immediately to talk to the Lord about it. I asked God to show me which part of my husband's reprimand was true, and which part was said only in anger.
The difference in how God helped me handle this situation was amazing! A few hours later I was able to calmly talk to my husband about how I listened to what he said. Yes, there were areas I needed to work on disciplining our kids. I promised I would seek the Lord and ask for His strength to help me change. But I also told him, in a loving way, how the way he blew up at me was wrong. I asked him to please strive to calmly discuss his concerns with me before he reaches the point of anger. I also told him that certain parts of what he said were untrue.
He apologized, I forgave him, and we moved on. Ultimately he had more respect for me when I stood up for myself in that way. I would never have handled this situation so lovingly and calmly without understanding my worth in God's eyes.
I often like to say, “It's not who I am, but Whose I am.” It helps me remember where my worthiness comes from.
Here is my prayer for you which Paul prayed in Ephesians 3:16-19 NLT:
“I pray that from [The Father’s] glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Our Pastor, Skip Heitzig is preaching on marriage at Calvary Chapel Albuquerque.
It is ongoing and should last for a few months. So bookmark the page or subscribe to the Podcast
and check out his new message every week.
Feel free to pass along!
by Amy Meyer Allen
Have you ever heard someone say, “You'd better slow down, take a break, stop doing so much or you're going to get sick?” What happened when you ignored their advice? Just as our bodies have built in mechanisms which force us to slow down and take it easy, I believe God gives us warning signs when He wants us to slow down and spend more time with Him. I also believe He can use our circumstances, especially the most difficult ones, to get our attention.
I like this quote by C.S. Lewis, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. I don't know about you, but God had to shout to get my attention. It happened when my marriage fell apart and I filed for divorce. Up until then, life was pretty good. I had a good relationship with God, or so I thought. We spent time together in the morning as I read my devotion for the day my “quick fix” before the busyness of life began. I had no idea that God was not satisfied with our superficial relationship.
Through the demise of my marriage, God woke me up to what I didn't even notice I was missing. Shortly after I left my husband, Tim, God gave me an amazing opportunity to join a women's Bible study aptly entitled, “Keeping Your Focus When Your Dreams Have Been Shattered.” Tears blurred the letters as I stared at the bulletin that Sunday in church. It may have well said, “Dear Amy, This study is for you! Love, God.” You can bet I was there that Wednesday when it started. I remember asking the leader, “What am I supposed to do now?” Very wisely she said God would show me.
That very day I promised God that I would faithfully do that study, fully trusting He would have an answer for me by the end. I eagerly examined the life of Joseph: his brothers had sold him into slavery and he lived as a captive for 13 years. He could have been filled with bitterness and rage by the time he saw his brothers again, but instead he was full of compassion and forgiveness; able to see everything from God's perspective. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
During the study God corrected my bad theology and for the first time, at age 29, I understood that God allows trials in our lives in order to bring us closer to Him and to accomplish His purposes. He showed me so many other important truths as well. By the end He made it clear that my husband and I were to reconcile.
Having learned so much from that one study, I wanted more! When I moved back with Tim, I looked for more Precept Bible studies. I devoured the book of John that next year, then Romans, then James, then on to Daniel when we lived in Thailand. Since no one was leading a Precept study there, I started my own with women from all over the world. My hunger for God's Word was changing my life. Continually God revealed truth, then prompted me to apply it to my life. Wanting to be obedient, I would ask Him to give me the strength to do what at times seemed impossible.
I learned that there are no short cuts to fixing a marriage. It takes time, effort and plenty of STUDY (Structured Time, Undivided Discipline and Yearning) of God's Word. Not just a “quick fix” in the morning, but true, devoted study as well as time spent just talking with God. Anything worth having is worth investing in. I can assure you from personal experience that investing in your relationship with God is never wasted time! The most important thing is that you dig deep into the Word of God; not other people's interpretations of it, but the truths that are revealed by God's Holy Spirit through Scripture. It takes time, effort and discipline but is so worth it.
Don't ask God for a band-aid when He longs to give you the cure for your broken heart. Don't cheat yourself or God out of the deep, fulfilling relationship He longs to have with you.
“Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” ~ Psalm 119:24
Father, I pray for the person reading this right now. Give them a hunger for your Word, teach them Your ways, and give them the strength to apply Your truth to their lives. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
I just became aware of this website: www.purelifeministries.org
Here is a powerful testimony from a woman who realized she had made her husband her idol. This is something we are all prone to do or capable of as women. Like me, she is grateful for what happened in her life because it has brought her so much closer to the Lord. Check out the other inspirational stories and resources on their website!
by Amy Meyer Allen
“How can you trust him?” my new friend asked me. I had just spent two hours sharing my testimony with her: how my husband had been going to prostitutes, I found out, left him, and filed for divorce. But then God got a hold of both of our lives and put our marriage back together. It was all very fresh; I had only moved back in with him a few months prior, after a six month separation. I was at my first-ever women's retreat when I shared this with some of the women there. So when she asked me that question with such earnestness, I had to reply. “I don't.” I said emphatically. “But I trust God and I trust what He is doing in my husband's life.”
Trust is hard. Trust means putting your full belief in something. “Like trusting in a parachute,” I heard someone say recently. It doesn't come easily, especially as an adult, once we understand how the world really works and become cynical. If you've been betrayed by a spouse, trusting anyone or anything ever again seems impossible.
There is only one person who is worthy of all our trust and that is Jesus. He promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, 9) and that He has plans for our good and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). I thought I had fully trusted in Jesus, but until my marriage fell apart, I realized I had placed my trust in the wrong person – my husband. I had made him my rock; I had put all my hope for the future in him and our relationship. In God's eyes, I had made my husband an idol.
The scriptures say God is a jealous God. “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God,” Exodus 34:14. This can make God seem angry and unapproachable. But what is meant by “jealous” is actually a beautiful thing when we understand it. It means He wants all of us for Himself – our whole heart. Should we expect anything less from our Creator?
Everything that is within us should be fully given over and entrusted to the Lord. Why? Because He loves us and created us and knows what is best for us. But He doesn't stop there. He promises that when we “seek Him first and His righteousness then everything else will be given to us.” (Matthew 6:33 – paraphrased) Everything! That includes our spouse, our marriage, our kids, our possessions, our careers, everything. But when we get things out of order and put something or someone in His rightful place, He will use whatever it takes to bring us back to Him. Whatever it takes! Sometimes that can be very extreme like what happened in our marriage. Was it painful? Absolutely! But now, 12 years after He restored our marriage I can honestly say it was all worth it.
I now have a strong relationship with the Lord and I trust Him with all my heart. If my husband were to suddenly turn his back on the Lord and leave our family to pursue his own selfish desires, I would be ok. I really would. Because now my trust is where it should be – in God alone. Plus, He has given me everything else I long for: a loving husband (the same one I intended to divorce!), two beautiful little girls, a wonderful home and community, lots of loving friends and family, the ability to use my talents, work, etc.
Gradually my husband has earned back most of my trust. I still don't trust him 100%. But I do trust God completely and I am still entrusting my husband to the Lord. I know that as we both trust God with all our hearts, He will straighten out all the paths that we had made crooked.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Father, I pray for the person reading this. Maybe they have misplaced trust. Maybe their trust is in their spouse, their marriage, their kids, their finances, the future, their job. If there is anything taking Your rightful place in their lives, I pray that You would show them in a way that helps them confess their idolatry to You and put their full trust in You alone. If a marriage has fallen apart, I pray that You would bring both partners to a complete and trusting relationship in You through Your Son Jesus, who died for our sins so that we may spend eternity with You. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
I was born in 1970 in Omaha, Nebraska. Although I went to church all my life, I didn't make Jesus Lord of my life until I was 29 years old. My real relationship with Him began when my marriage fell apart.