Relief Turned To Sadness

Faithful Remarriage Blended Family Silverii

My mom will say that as her senior year of high school came to an end, while her friends planned colleges and careers, her only plan post-high school was to marry Bill (my dad) and raise children.

Her father asked her to try a year of college just to avoid any “I wish I had” in the future. So, she pushed through a year of community college, finished with no intention of going back, and started planning her wedding.

Next month, my parents will fly to their hometown and celebrate their 50th high school reunion. While they’re there, they’ll celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary.

I never imagined I’d be divorced. I had a good life in a good home with loving, Christian parents who modeled a Biblical marriage for me in a beautiful way. Like my mom, in August of my 20th year, I married my high school sweetheart.

As beautiful outwardly as the wedding ceremony seemed, the truth is that nothing was good about it. It began what the Bible calls an “unevenly yoked” marriage, and as days turned into months turned into years, our marriage crumbled around me and I grew weary trying to carry the weight of our family’s faith on my own shoulders.

Almost ten years after we swore before God and man that we would love, honor, and cherish each other until death do we part, he told me about his girlfriend. My first emotion was relief.

Suddenly, I didn’t have to be married to him anymore. Callous sounding as that is, God created us to have emotions, and we’re not always in control of how those emotions manifest. Had our marriage been any different, my first emotion would likely have been sadness.

While I made plans to move into my own place, transfer the car into my own name, decorate my bathroom in yellow butterflies because I didn’t have my husband over my shoulder protesting the colors, my daughter, my little 4-year-old light of my life, was destroyed. It took me a few days to realize that we had given her a steady, loving home.

We had never had a single fight (to this day, that is true — we could have written a book on the amicable divorce). She had no idea of the chasm of darkness that had separated us, nor of the hours and hours I had spent on my knees begging the Holy Spirit to intervene in his heart so that we could come together as a family focused on putting Christ first in our lives.

She only knew of laughter, and parents who adored her, and of his big Italian family full of grandparents and cousins and love.

The first morning in our new home, as she lay on my bedroom floor and sobbed over her questions of “Why?”, I began to grieve with her.

Not for me — but, for her. I knew then that no matter how free I suddenly felt, as the burden of my yoke fell off of me, it landed on her and bound her in pain and despair. This is where my sadness lived – in the broken heart of my child.

It occurred to me that my daughter had become a statistic. She was now added to the staggering number of children growing up in divorced homes.

She would spend the rest of her life bouncing between parents and deciding what holidays to spend in which household. It made me angry. Angry at him for causing it, angry at myself for not realizing how much it would hurt her.

I went forward with a newly discovered purpose:

  • to consider her in everything I said or implied about my life with her father and remember, always, that he is her “daddy”;

  • to never be the stumbling block in her relationship with her father;

  • to make sure that despite lifestyle differences and no small lack of faith on his side, respect for parents was a Biblical command that left no room for compromise;

  • to make sure that her love of Christ superseded the  pain caused by the ripping apart of her world.

Writing it all out in a bullet-point list makes it sound easy. It wasn’t easy. What it was, instead, was intentional. I intend to cover each of the bullet points in more depth and detail in the coming articles.

For now, if you are facing this kind of challenge, I pray that God will comfort you and strengthen you and give you the wisdom you need to handle the challenges that will be unique to your circumstances.

I pray that articles on this site will encourage and educate you in exactly the way you need them to. And I pray for your children — that they will stumble through the minefield that is divorce and emerge as unscathed as possible.

In Christ,

Hallee Bridgeman

Dr. Phil Gets It Wrong: Blended Family Discipline

Missed The Mark

I generally like Dr. Phil. I’ve never watched an episode, but what I have seen appears to be a calm, caring man with a heart for others.

While researching a topic on blended families for our next book, I came across this video. Naturally I had to watch. This is big-time syndicated television after all.

While I completely agree with what Dr. Phil said about pre-marital counseling, I do not agree with his position on discipling children as a non-biological parent.

In this short clip, Dr. Phil explains to each spouse that under no circumstance are they to discipline each other’s children. They should support the decisions made by the biological parent, but have no part or initiation in disciplining.

Law of Possession

The current cultural ethos reflects Dr. Phil’s advice. Only the biological parent has authority over the kids, and the non-biological parent is relegated to the role of babysitter or nanny.

When rules are broken, the stepparent should document and report the infraction once the biological parent returns home. This is absolutely contrary to God’s design for marriage – first, second or third.

Would you enter into a relationship where you are already relegated to a subservient position beneath that of children? Yet this is the standard for managing a home environment. Is there any question why second marriages fail 63% and third tries end 74% of the time?

God is very clear from the beginning that man and woman are to become one. One in all and everything they own, do, possess and desire.

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Genesis 2:24-25

This applies to property, problems, finances, children, hopes, dreams and all realities that each adult brings into a blended family scenario.

Civil Law

I clearly understand that civil law does not support what I just said. Most importantly, what God’s word says about marriage. Where God created marriage to endure through His holy covenant, man’s contractual marital agreement is wrought with escape clauses and protections for “just in case.”

God’s word says each spouse shall give of themselves completely to the other. Neither one shall have authority over the other. They are both equal. Different, but equal.

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.

1 Corinthians 7:3-4

While prenuptials and separate community property rules may apply, they are created for the impending failure of the marriage.

Stage Setting

God’s marriage model requires that you each go all in. There is nothing held separate or sacred from your spouse. Money, kids, and property are not meant to be held away from or over the other spouse.

Going into a new marriage with a “just in case” attitude is setting the stage for yet another failed marriage. Kids are in the top reasons people divorce as first families, and their role as catalysts in second and subsequent divorces become more imposing as they are placed as the priority in a family.

Set God’s hierarchy on display immediately. He is head of all. Parents come next, with the kids a close third. That is the only way remarried couples will succeed.

Trust Or No Trust

You trust your new spouse enough to marry them. You move into a new home, remain in one of the homes you had, open joint bank accounts, share passwords to social media and computers, introduce each other to your circle of friends and maybe even have additional children together.

You got it rock solid, right?

Then why don’t you trust them with your children? The law of possession applies across the board. Anything held back becomes an idol in your life and supersedes the place and importance of your spouse.

We always hear parents proclaim that their children are their life. Well, that’s a noble sentiment, but it’s not biblically sound or practically wise. Children are a temporary assignment. We were meant to raise them up and wish them well as they also entered adulthood as we all did at various years in the past.

God warns against covetousness. Giving the life God gave you to a child is an offense to the One who gave you life. Let’s take a look at Exodus. Seriously consider the role children play in a parent’s life. Loving and mentoring them is expected, but making them demi-gods is a risky situation.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Exodus 20:3-5

Family As One

Discipline is about love. God is clear about this, and before you marry again and blend a family, you should be just as clear.

Because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Proverbs 3:12

You must surrender your children over to the authority of your spouse. If you cannot because of fear, suspicion or mistrust, then why are you in the marriage to begin with?

Your children have suffered from the divorce from their biological parents already. Studies show they will continue to be effected. But a healthy, loving blended family environment shows them a healthy relationship model. That model does not include hiding them away from your new spouse.

Sorry Dr. Phil

I’m still very much in favor of his advice for this couple to seek counseling. Since I’ve not followed this show or the couple, I can’t share what they chose to do, but for their 7 combined kids sake, I pray they sought Christian counseling.

Aside from that, Dr. Phil’s popular cultural method of one parent acting as a snitch on the kids, and having to endure bad behavior until the biological parent returns is what continues to support the 63% and 74% failures of second and third attempt at marriage.

Here To Help

Are you in need of pre-marriage counseling? We use the SYMBIS assessment as the most insightful self-survey tool for determining your strengths, challenges and marital readiness to move forward for the first or second or other times.

We are also certified as marriage counselors through MarriageToday‘s Marriage On The Rock ministry, and want to share this resource with you as our free gift to you. It will change your life, change you marriage and change your family.

God saved our marriage, and in that we are led to help other couples save, salvage or strengthen their own marriages.

I Am His,


The Protected Marriage

Great is Thy Faithfulness…

I‘m a private person, despite the fact that I have a very public life. There are aspects of my first marriage that I’ll never discuss with anyone but my husband.

The main reason is because I have children who love their father, and I want to honor that. I will say that my first marriage wasn’t a healthy one. I didn’t learn how unhealthy it really was until I went to counseling during my divorce.

I was only fourteen-years-old when I met my first husband. That’s the same age my oldest daughter is now. And it’s terrifying. I grew up in a Christian home with a solid foundation.

My parents were married for more than fifty years before my dad passed. And I knew from his example what it meant to be a head of household, and to lead the family in decisions, and provide and protect. I knew right from wrong, and I knew Christ lived within me.

The older I get, the more I understand what a precious gift sex is. Sex is God’s desire for marriage. It’s not meant to be taken lightly. Yes, sex is pleasurable and fun, but that physical connection with the one person God chose for you is special beyond all belief.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says,


1 Corinthians 6:15-16

When we only seek pleasure from sex, we’re using our partner instead of loving our partner. Sex creates emotional and physical bonds, which is why casual sex is never a good thing to fall into.

You’re creating physical, and theoretically “emotional” bonds, but the more partners you have the more your heart hardens and you block that emotional sense of self, so sex just becomes the act and nothing more.

I didn’t treat sex with such reverence when I was dating my first husband. If I’d waited, I never would have married him because he wasn’t the right one. Now, what I will say is that I have no regrets about my marriage, despite my mistakes, because I have four beautiful children that I’d lay down my life for, and they came from that marriage.

How Firm A Foundation…

Because I’d grown up in a Christian household, and I knew the difference between right and wrong, I was conflicted about marriage to my first husband. We fell into a very unhealthy pattern. If you looked in the dictionary under Dysfunctional Relationship, you’d see our pictures. And because I was a private person, even as a fourteen-year-old kid, there became this precedent where we looked like the perfect couple.

My ex-husband was one of those people EVERYBODY liked. He was outgoing and personable and always had a joke or a smile. And I withered in the corner, afraid what people would think of me if I finally broke up with a guy who was so “perfect,” but so perfectly wrong for me.

I didn’t have a mentor or adult in my life to stop me and say, “This whole situation is wrong on a lot of levels.” This was a pattern that followed us into our marriage and through our divorce. Hallee Bridgeman wrote a blog post a couple of weeks ago about how she felt “relief” when her marriage ended. That post brought me to tears because I felt the same way. If you haven’t read her post make sure you check it out.

From the age of fourteen until we decided to divorce when I was in my early thirties, we had that on again-off again type marriage. There was even a point later on in our marriage where I just told myself to suck it up for the kids and live with it. It was my mistake for marrying him in the first place, because I knew better.

When we divorced, it was a surprise to everyone because they thought we’d been so happy. But the truth is, no one knows what happens in a marriage except for the two people that are in it. But what I learned soon after the divorce was that everyone had an opinion on it.

Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound…

Without going into details about the dissolution of my first marriage, needless to say, there was emotional baggage I brought with me to my marriage to Scott.

On the outside, I had everything in the world going for me. I had four children I adored, I was not only a New York Times bestselling author, but a consistent New York Times bestselling author, meaning each time I released a book my sales were only getting better. I was financially solvent, and I was asked repeatedly to give keynote speeches all over the world about “How I Became A Success.”

I was in control and was the poster child for having a successful career and raising a family as a single mother. On the outside it looked like I had it all. But on the inside I felt sick and empty, and I wondered how anyone could possibly ever want me again. I was spiritually and emotionally drained and bitter. I was a woman in her thirties with four children. What kind of man could ever want that?

All I had going for me was my success, so naturally, that’s the only reason I thought a man would want me. See how Satan takes our fears and worries and makes them bigger?

I guess that’s the long way of saying Scott and I had things to work out when we got serious about each other. As a wife who experienced a failed first marriage, one of the things that was a priority for me was knowing Scott was loyal and committed to me alone.

God created us for monogamous relationships. That’s the simple truth of it. When we’re loyal to our spouse, it’s a reflection of our Creator.

Holy, Holy, Holy…

That’s why intimate physical relationships aren’t to be taken lightly. When you’re merely seeking out pleasure or lust and not the intimacy sex is meant to achieve, you’re chipping away those pieces of yourself meant for physical bonding with your spouse. I’m going to do another blog post on physical intimacy, so I won’t delve too far into it now.

Here’s the truth, it’s our job as husband and wife to put the needs of each other before any other person. If we’re following God’s desire for our marriage, my feelings, needs, hurts, and desires should be a priority above all else, just as his feelings, needs, hurts, and desires should be a priority for me.

In this culture and society, it’s not easy to have a “protected” marriage. Social norms and the world tell us one thing is right or okay. And other people can manipulate or influence our feelings into making decisions that aren’t the best for the marriage. Satan lies. So the excuses you might make to justify certain things as “okay” can be detrimental to a marriage in the long run.

For example, have you ever heard anyone say, “I’m just flirting. It’s no big deal,” or “There’s no harm in looking.” We’ve all heard that one from a friend or two before, right? Or what about, “I can still be close friends with him/her. The past is the past.”

I’m going to make a controversial statement that I stand by one hundred percent (and Pastors and Counselors stand by too): CLOSE FRIENDS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX CAN HARM YOUR MARRIAGE.

That’s a wildly unpopular opinion in the Twenty-First Century. But I don’t care. The largest percentage of affairs start out as friendships. Whether it’s your next-door neighbor, a co-worker, a friend from college, or someone you connected with on social media. It doesn’t matter. The person you chose to spend your life with should be the best friend you have in this world.

Don’t spend time or attention on someone of the opposite sex when that time and attention should be used to grow your relationship with your spouse. (For clarification, I’m not talking about cutting off communication with the opposite sex of acquaintances you see at work or in social settings with your spouse.

There’s a difference in casual conversation and personal conversation).

In my marriage, I want Scott to always be one-hundred percent sure that the only relationship I’m investing in with someone of the opposite sex is him.

We each need to be confident in that feeling. I don’t see it as being old-fashioned, and I know it’s controversial, but I truly believe  your marriage will be stronger if your spouse is the only friend you have of the opposite sex. Protect your marriage.

If you’re investing in a friendship with someone of the opposite sex, you’re taking something away from your spouse. That will almost always lead to problems with your spouse. What are you telling them when you invest in another relationship?

You’re telling them that they’re somehow not meeting your needs. That the other person is more interesting. That your time is better spent getting to know that person. You are providing a reason for your spouse to feel inadequate or jealous.

Why would you do that to someone you love?

If you have a friend of the opposite sex, do me a favor and do an experiment. Put some distance between you and your friend for awhile and see if your communication and the connection between you and your spouse grows. Protect your marriage.

Blessed Assurance…

The thing about Satan and sin is that he laughs in the face of your perceived willpower. What might start as innocent can often lead to the not so innocent. Out of respect for your spouse and the sanctity of marriage, those are the thoughts or actions that need to stop. Marriage is sacred. Just like sex is sacred. And we need to learn tips and tools for keeping our marriages protected.

I’ve been reading a lot of research materials from Christians in high positions who are using their voice to mentor other Christians. And they have A LOT to say about how to protect your marriage in a secular world.

Michael Hyatt was the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and he’s also a speaker, blogger, and mentor. Here are his top tips for protecting your marriage. (And here’s the link if you’d like to check it out for yourself: What Are You Doing To Protect Your Marriage)

1.) Invest in your relationship with your spouse. He says this is especially important for men because they typically want to invest spiritual, financial, and emotional resources into relationships other than the ones they have.

2.) Set Boundaries (And Mr. Hyatt doesn’t care one bit that it might be old-fashioned)

  • He does not travel for work with someone of the opposite sex who is not his spouse

  • He does not eat out alone with someone of the opposite sex

  • He does not flirt with someone of the opposite sex and maintains appropriate relationships when he does communicate with the opposite sex

  • He speaks of his wife often and lovingly

3.) He considers what is at stake. What kind of legacy does he want to leave to his children and grandchildren? Someone who loves his wife? Who puts her needs above all others? Or someone who squandered away his legacy?

Jesus Loves Me…

There’s a great site called (Don’t worry, ladies. I’m about to get to you), and they also give tips on how Christian men need to handle interactions with single women, whether in the workplace or the community.

Just like Mr. Hyatt, they also stress the importance of mentioning your wife right off the bat and speaking about her lovingly and respectfully.

The next tip is the importance of keeping conversations with single women general and professional. Single women are not your confidants or “buddies.” You’ve got guy friends for that or Christian mentors who can listen if you need to get something off your chest.

Be intentional about your conversations. There’s no reason to share personal information with a single woman or let them share personal information with you. There’s no reason for emails or text message relationships. That’s one of those things that starts out innocently enough, but can lead to very shaky ground.

Remember, Satan hates marriage because God LOVES marriage. Establishing a personal conversational relationship is a type of bonding and it can lead to the danger zone. Save those conversations for your wife. Bond with her.

My good friend Chermaine Stein, who is also a contributor on this blog, shared some great wisdom with me for this blog post. If you come from a past marriage where there was infidelity, she likened it to flying a plane with zero visibility.

You have to rely on flying by instrumentation because you can’t rely on your feelings. You’re going to be hypersensitive to trust issues.

She continued to say that it’s the spouse who didn’t come from that kind of marriage who must be sensitive to where you’re coming from, and they must be willing to make concessions to ease your discomfort and build trust.

She also shared this verse: Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Chermaine mentioned she could do chapters on this subject, and honestly, I hope she does. She’s a wise woman and a fantastic mentor, and these are issues that most couples deal with at some point or another.

One of my favorite things that she said in our conversation was, “Wondering can cause tremendous damage to a relationship. I wonder what…I wonder who… I wonder where…” And then she gave me this verse she said she faithfully prays – 2 Corinthians 10:5

Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Don’t ever let your spouse “wonder.” Love your spouse the way Jesus loves you.

And because Chermaine is a fount of information and interesting biblical facts, she shared this nugget of wisdom as well. Genesis 3:16 I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.

I’d never really thought much about this verse before other than the fact that it’s kind of a bummer. But when she explained it, it was such an “Ah-ha” moment that I wanted to share it with you. She said that part of the curse placed on women was a desire to control their husbands.

It’s in a woman’s carnal nature to want to control because she needs to feel safe. It’s a husband’s job to provide that safety and security for her. “A good woman will strive to never emasculate her husband. A good husband will put on his big boy pants so she doesn’t feel the need to.” (Chermaine’s Exact Words)

That Chermaine is a smart cookie, right?

Here’s another great reference from Pastor Dave Willis (check out his full blog post here: 7 Rules Guaranteed to Prevent Infidelity)

1.) He never meets alone with a woman other than his wife (Sound familiar?)

2.) When he sends text messages to another woman (other than his mom), he CC’s his wife.

3.) He shares ALL his passwords. He goes onto say that, “In marriage, secrets are as dangerous as lies.”

4.) He doesn’t watch porn or sexually explicit content

5.) He gives “Side” hugs.

6.) He doesn’t engage in ongoing dialogues with women on social media

7.) He makes time together with his wife a priority

And in case you were wondering, I found literally HUNDREDS of sites online that gave advice on how to protect your marriage. And ALL of them were almost identical in their content. Protect your marriage.

Nothing But the Blood of Jesus…

Okay, ladies. I haven’t forgotten about you. Women need to protect their marriages right alongside their husbands. When I divorced, I never expected to remarry.

Honestly, I didn’t really want to remarry. There was a time during and after my divorce where my heart was very hard, and no matter how much I tried to talk to God and hear God speak, He was silent. Satan was at work, filling me with self-doubt. I wasn’t at a place where I could humbly get on my knees before God and repent.

Where I could ask for His forgiveness.

It was just as much of a surprise to me when Scott said he wanted to marry me than it was to anyone. But it became very clear very quickly that God was working deliberately in our lives. We were two people with different careers, different lives, and we were living in two different states.

But God worked on our hearts and made miracles happen. And we knew then He most definitely had plans for us and our walk with Christ.

That He wanted to use us for a specific purpose.

Victory in Jesus…

One of the most important things I’ve done since we’ve been married is to become a prayer warrior. I pray DAILY for my marriage. Because it’s my priority. My prayers go something like this:

Heavenly Father,

I pray for my marriage. Please protect it and nurture it. I pray that I can become a wife who always honors and respects her husband, who is his equal but who submits. I ask that in times of tribulation that I will always kneel in prayer first, before harsh words are said, and that if we do say harsh words that we learn to say I’m sorry and forgive.


Christ is the center of our marriage. Our marriage is our priority. And if we do these two things it will trickle down to our children and grandchildren, leaving a legacy that God will bless.

I’m a writer by trade, so I’ve found that writing my prayers like a daily journal really helps me articulate my thoughts and feelings well. And it’s nice to go back and read them to see the prayers God has answered, and so I can be thankful.

Just like I posted above about a married man’s relationship with other women, it works the same for us married women. There’s no reason for me to be alone with other men, eat alone with other men, or put myself in situations where Satan can put separation between me and my spouse.

I’ll either do activities with my spouse or in groups, but never with another man alone.

Also similar to what was said in the men’s section above is protecting your marriage through boundaries.

This is an important conversation topic, and each of you needs to listen to the other to understand where each of you are coming from and any underlying worries.

Anyone who lays down ultimatums isn’t being respectful or sensitive to the other. Love your spouse like Christ loves the Church. Boundaries are necessary. You’re not trying to put restrictions on the other or give orders.

You are fighting to protect your marriage, just as you are supposed to do, and if your spouse doesn’t feel like there should be boundaries then they’re not loving you the way God designed married couples to love each other. Keep praying for them that God will change their heart.

Remember what Chermaine said. Concessions must be made to protect the marriage. Women want control. Men need to provide safety and security for their wives so they don’t have the urge to control.

Be careful of the Internet. How many people do you know who have rekindled old romances through Facebook? It starts out innocently enough, catching up on the past or the good old days, and maybe noticing how successful that person has become or how great their life seems.

These “relationships” are based on fantasy. Before long you’re private messaging or text messaging, and those personal conversational bonds are forged. There is no reason on this planet for me or any other woman to have a text or email relationship with a married man.

And it’s easy to make excuses or justifications. “But we’re just friends,” or “We’ve always been friends and we’re so close.” I’m sorry, but no. Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

Don’t ever be the reason to come between a husband and wife. God is very clear on his commands for marriage. And if you are that person, take a step back and ask yourself “Why” you’re doing it. And then ask yourself if you want to be the reason to cause anyone hurt or pain.

God will work on you and your heart, and bring you someone to fill that role of spouse. God will NOT bring you another person’s husband or wife to fill that role.

Peace, Perfect Peace…

Godly love is found in a committed relationship and unconditional love. And guess what, an Internet love relationship is virtual infidelity, and though you might see it as “not cheating” because sex wasn’t involved, it causes very real pain to your spouse.

Ladies, protect your marriage by spending time together, just like men need to carve out time to spend  with their wives. When you spend time together, you’re meeting each other’s emotional needs, and the temptation of the virtual fantasy relationship lessens.

Communicate with your spouse. If you’re struggling with any of these issues talk to them. Being open about struggles you face individually puts everything out there in the open. When you’re tempted, tell your spouse. And spouses, listen with an open heart and mind when they talk to you. Give them a safe place to communicate with you. And then guess what? Pray for each other. Nothing brings couples closer together than prayer.

I’ll close with this. Marriage isn’t just a contract or an agreement between two people. It’s a covenant. It’s a vow meant to last a lifetime. Matthew 19:6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

What are some other ways to have a protected marriage?



Here’s our gift to your marriage. It’s FREE access to MarriageToday’s – Marriage On The Rock – Private, secure environment for you and your husband to hear God’s word on making your marriage Rock solid

Broken in ONE

A few months ago, Danny and I were honored to attend his son David’s wedding.  I cannot thank the Lord enough for the blessing of the healed relationship between my husband and his son.  We’ve cherished getting to know Danny’s new daughter-in-law Veronica, and of course the grandkids are a gift to our hearts as well.


The song the happy couple chose for their first dance was one I’d never heard, but it brought me to tears as soon as I heard the chorus.  If you’ve never listened to Casting Crowns Broken Together you should (tissues may be required).

My first thought was, yes, this is absolutely perfect for them.  They’ve overcome many challenges and yet haven’t given up on the promises God is making through them and for their new blended family.

But what if the message is bigger than that?  Because don’t the partners in any marriage bring with them a brokenness?

Kitsungi is the old Japanese practice of repairing broken pottery with gold. The results are beautiful yet imperfect vessels whose cracks shine like fine artwork.  This is said to come from the philosophy of wabi-sabi, which believes in seeing beauty from things that are flawed and also mottainai which expresses regret when something is wasted.

And isn’t that what God does with us?  There is not a thing that is wasted with God.  Even our suffering and our pain can be used to his Glory.


I’ve been following Ann Voskamp and reading her books since earlier this year, just before my grandmother died.  In The Broken Way, she asks: What do you do with your one broken heart?

She tells the story of her little daughter making a big white paper heart.  The girl wants to tape it to her chest so that everyone can see Jesus’ love for us.  In the process, she smooths out the heart and it rips, right down the middle.

She waits for the inevitable flow of tears from her daughter.  Instead, her little girl looks up at her and says, “It’s all okay.  Maybe the love gets in easier right where the heart is broken open.”

And in marriage, there is always a bit of brokenness brought to the table.  Sometimes a lot of brokenness.  But if a marriage is founded on a belief and trust in the Lord, maybe His love can enter through the broken pieces.

And maybe that love can mend the breaks so that we can gift our partners with the beautiful imperfection of our souls.

But it takes God’s grace for us to appreciate that beauty.  If we had been standing at that cross on Golgotha to see the broken, bloodied and beaten body of Jesus, we would likely have been horrified by the sight.

We might have been frightened.  We might have been angry.  We might have turned away, unable to witness such a horrible death.

Today, though, as Christians, we look at that cross and see triumph.  Our God’s victory over death.  His sacrifice made perfect for our sakes.  His blood is the gold filling in the cracks of our sins.

The Challenge

Danny’s son and his new wife played the shoe game at their reception.  If you’ve never seen it, the couple take off their shoes and exchange one so that each of them has a his and a hers shoe.  They sit back-to-back, and the crowd asks them questions like, “Who is the best cook?”  Each of them raises the corresponding shoe to answer.

It was a fun game, and I was impressed because most of the time the two of them answered the questions the same.  They knew each other, they knew themselves, and they weren’t afraid to admit which one is messier, which one says sorry first.  And as I watched, I hoped they could always know each other so well…

But chances are they won’t.  Because the person they will be five, ten, twenty years from now won’t be the people who were sitting back-to-back in a room surrounded by loved ones.

Those people will grow and change and periodically become strangers to one another.  They’ll be changed not just by life, but by each other.  That’s just the nature of life, right?

But what does that mean for a marriage?  What does it mean if the person we fell in love with won’t be the person we wake up beside tomorrow?  And how can we love something when pieces of it become broken?

The Gift

Right now, I’m reading Be The Gift by Voskamp.  In this devotional, she explains that givenness is healing for brokenness.  But to give, we must open ourselves. Leave comfort behind.  And that isn’t easy, especially sometimes in marriage.

Danny and I will celebrate twenty years of marriage in December.  It’s a milestone many people didn’t think we would make.  And there were  times in our marriage when I’m sure one or both of us thought we wouldn’t.

I want life to be all rainbows and unicorns, but that’s not real.  That’s a façade of what it really means to be a partnership.  But if givenness is healing for brokenness, then we need to show as much of ourselves as we can in a gift to our partners.

For men especially, I think sharing pain and brokenness may be construed as weakness.  Still, I can honestly say that one of the most cherished gifts my husband has given me is his trust in letting me see the broken pieces left over from a traumatic childhood.

Still, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to share our current pains.  We’ve both been struggling with the residual issues related to ongoing litigation.  And when either one of us is feeling stressed by it, we haven’t really dealt with it very well.

I’ve personally been snappy, angry, and critical of him for little things that don’t really matter.  I know deep down, I’m lashing out at him in retaliation for what others have done to us.

I don’t remember being this way years ago.  In fact, I think I’d have been more likely to stay quiet and swallow it all up inside me.  But I’ve changed.  And frankly, my hormones have changed just in the last year since I’ve entered the dreaded pre-menopausal time in my life.

A few weeks ago, we were in the middle of a pointed conversation about things, and I finally told him I didn’t want to talk to him anymore, and I left the room crying.  My mood swings and emotional outburst are probably something Danny didn’t know he signed on for.

Oneness in Christ

But it seems like when we’ve been facing these trials lately that we’ve also both found strength in our faith.  It’s in these times that one of us takes the other by the heart and leads them back to God.  We remind each other constantly of the blessings we do have in life because they far outweigh any of the bad stuff.

And maybe that’s the key?  Because even when marriage partners get broken, even when we sometimes break each other and even when we change and aren’t the person we were when we said our vows, there is still one constant.

For a marriage with God at its center, there is at least one thing that will never, ever change.  And as long as we maintain Him as our rock, then our faith in Him can lead us to knowing each other again.  To loving our partners in spite of and because of our brokenness.

His abiding love for us is there always.  Nothing is wasted.  Not brokenness.  Not change.  All of it can be used by a God who lived, bled and died for us.

Love and blessings,


Harvey Weinstein: Priests, Police, Prostitutes, and Penn State

WOW, what a shocker that someone from Hollywood engaged in something decadent. Escalating the “I’m appalled” factor about the industry insider’s best-kept secret was that so many peers were aware of Weinstein’s behavior and failed to respond.

Not Just Movie Stars

The truth is, this isn’t a Hollywood problem. Pick any group, community or culture and there will be the secrets leading to depraved behavior.

My doctoral dissertation research set out to focus on law enforcement’s culture. What I discovered along the way was that a certain set of dynamics that are dominant in that environment also exist in many others.

Academic research on police culture remains limited because of the secreted nature of the profession. I understood this before undertaking my research topic, but I also knew that as a highly decorated veteran of the profession, I would have entree where academics-only would not.

I was forced to search parallel data about similar organizations and cultures. By broadening the scope of my research, I began to discover patterns among groups I loosely title; Priests, Police, Prostitutes and Penn State.

Priests, Police, Prostitutes and Penn State.

The combination of these elements and the deviant ideology links Weinstein’s behavior within the Hollywood culture to other groups such as priests (Catholic church sex abuse cases), coaches (Penn State football sex abuse scandal), federal employees and military (U.S. Secret Service/ Army prostitution investigation.)

The sociological phenomenon of homogeneity operating in a vacuum apart from oversight creates environments (formerly termed – hegemonic masculinity) where control over others is exercised to justify illicit behavior that satisfies decadent desires.

Bigger Than Harvey

When you look at the dynamics of Hollywood for not what they do, but the bubble within which they operate, you can easily see how their disconnected culture resembles those of other explosive fraternities set apart from society’s standard expectations for accountable behavior.

Just as there are more than one pedophile priest, or sexual predator coach, their are others like Harvey Weinstein. While they may not exercise with as much sheer power over an industry, they do in fact operate within an environment of sexual deviance.

How does a Harvey Weinstein “get away with it?”

The same way crooked cops, and Jerry Sandusky did. People who know, participate on the fringe or unexpectedly become a witness to the act, all have a similar response.


Why do people with an opportunity choose to remain silent when others are at stake? There are many reasons, but most do not want to get involved, they enjoy their membership in the culture and blowing the whistle might or might not stop the violator, but it will have them expelled from the club of privilege, and most are involved in their own sinful scenarios.

“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Matthew 7:4-5

Detrimental Homogenetic Entitlement

I came to understand the dynamic of occupational socialization’s professional deviance by a term I refer to as “Detrimental Homogenetic Entitlement.”

The term reflects a deviant culture dominated by:

  1. A select group of similar characteristics,

  2. Alpha characters operating behind a veil of secrecy,

  3. Who inject force or intimidation as a resource for securing the desired outcomes of the cohesive group.

There is a negative outcome associated with operating within this culture of assumed entitlement as the select individuals become vulnerable to personal and professional damages.

The subculture (Weinstein’s company) within the bigger operating group (Movie Industry) fosters this homogenous membership of alphas, who by the covert nature of their position or power are allowed extending degrees of latitude.

This curiosity created by the secreting mystique of deviant subcultures lends itself to an environment non-conducive to traditional core values of duty, honor, and service.

The detrimental aspect of this term is directed to the offender, such as Weinstein, who may suffer great personal and professional expense by participation in the hedonistic subculture once exposed.

We are currently witnessing this as his power position, wealth and influence among the very group who “perpetuated” his behavior has ostracized him.

I have illustrated this to link the connection between Harvey Weinstein to other subcultures guided by the same principles of groupthink cohesion and hegemonic masculinity.

I mentioned priests, police, prostitutes and Penn State as more examples of similar subcultures, which when applied to this theory, demonstrates the applicability of the general principles of detrimental homogenetic entitlement to more than only Harvey Weinstein.


The question begs to be asked; “Why does Harvey Weinstein get to openly participate in deviant activities?”  Because he can.

Hollywood’s society submits to this sexual assault as long as:

  1. It is not too severely dispensed;

  2. Not exposed through media; or,

  3. Not used against someone closely associated to them.

Because of external forces such as peer clustering influence, and internal predispositions or expectations, the shades to which someone like Harvey Weinstein is becomes deviant are dependent upon various factors.

The expectation is that the subculture’s insiders and participants do possesses the ability to prevent or limit the powerful seduction of the draw to engage in professional deviance. Most choose not too.

Harvey Weinstein Uncovered

My theories, initially explored for law enforcement’s culture and expanded to include other powerful groups with a high potential for the slide into secreted subcultures now includes Hollywood.

The case of Harvey Weinstein has unfolded as expected according to my understanding of how things can get so dark and dirty despite so many others in the room.

Harvey Weinstein, like so many others afflicted with his position and opportunity has operated freely and without consequence for years. Be sure, others always know about the behavior – Always.

Although he has hurt others, those with authority or opportunity to intervene on behalf of the victims chose to guard their own privilege by remaining silent, and therefore contributing to the continuation of Weinstein’s abuses.

As my theory has proven so many times across so many disciplines, no matter how protected or insulated the offender may assume, there is always the glimmer of hope that justice will prevail.

In his case, even with the protections of his power-broker peer group, mass media spinning NBC and the influential New York Times, exposure was immenint.

Condemnations of Hypocrisy

Harvey Weinstein was not ousted by his peers because some brave soul persisted. His Hollywood “hang abouts” normalized his behavior because as long as Harvey was happy, they were happy.

Listening to the interviews and reading the comments from celebrities and politicians is nothing more than an exercise of who can think of the next adjective to feign objection over their overlord’s exposure.

“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

Luke 18:11

Look again at why Harvey Weinstein was exposed according to my theory of Detrimental Homogenetic Entitlement. He existed because others allowed him to exist. Those spouting off condemnation have as much liability for the deviance of an industry as did Harvey Weinstein.

Hollywood’s society submits to this sexual assault as long as:

  1. It is not too severely dispensed;

  2. Not exposed through media; or,

  3. Not used against someone closely associated to them.

Easy Way

It’s easy to mull along with the sheep when life is going good for you. But when one cries out because the wolf has them by the throat, what will you do?

Not Your Average Angry Birds

“…Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”

Some of the best advice for married couples is given above. Resolve an issue and your angry emotions before nodding off for a good night’s sleep. However, oftentimes heeding that advice is as easy as licking your elbow.

Being a believer, I admit my bias. I don’t think one can resolve one’s anger issues, occasional inappropriate outbursts, or angry passive aggressiveness without the lens of Scripture and a proper theology.

God’s Anger

Most don’t like to think of anger when thinking of the characteristics of God. Loving, gracious, kind, sacrificial, and benevolent traits are preferable.

However, if we recognize Him as Just and Holy, despising sin with a dreadful disdain, it’s only rational and truthful to observe His anger and identify it as such. Even the sacrifice of Jesus was a propitiation for sin…propitiation being the satisfaction of God’s wrath for the sin of the world.

Jesus Himself displayed anger when facing criticism and judgement due to His desire to heal a man on the Sabbath. He was dismayed that the Pharisees had conjured up rules to prevent such goodness from being extended on a particular day. Their hard hearts made Him angry. He healed the man with

the withered hand anyway (Mark 3:4-6).

You might say that Jesus became vehemently angry when He drove out those who were buying and selling in the temple, utilizing a scourge of cords. He overturned tables and poured out the coins of the money changers (John 2:13-16).

Above is the example most dubbed “righteous anger.” That is, anger expressed due to evil; anger that can be constructive if properly displayed, interpreted, and channeled. In this case, it was anger expressed to put a stop to greediness running rampant in a sacred place.

We’ve learned that we’re made in God’s image. Does that mean human anger is natural or sacred and can be constructive as well?

Human Fraility:  Anger in the Family

Big problem. We’re fallen in our human nature, depraved due to our sin, so our displays of anger are rarely constructive, righteous, or well-channeled. So much destruction occurs in families due to rage, but also due to angry passive aggressiveness.

The Bible shows the folly of those who express human anger.

Proverbs 29:11

Fools give full vent to their rage,
but the wise bring calm in the end.

You’d also be better off hanging out with some laid-back buddies rather than hotheads.

Proverbs 22:24

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
do not associate with one easily angered.

God expects far better out of us. Slow down, swallow the ego (sin of pride), listen, think, and act wisely.

James 1: 19

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Hope For Our Emotional State

So what is our hope in our humanness? Ephesians 4 shows that we can have anger yet refrain from folly. Note it and remember it: “In your anger, DO NOT SIN.” Here is where godly wisdom kicks in to high gear.

26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. … 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Paul conveys that we can be angry without it being sinful by using godly wisdom. However, this shouldn’t be confused with Paul encouraging believers to often and intentionally go about showing righteous anger. That would hardly be a good testimony or reputation to develop either.

After all, we are to focus upon: … whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).

Anger at Societal Sin

As a believer, it’s difficult to remain calm at the state of affairs of modern civilization. Morality has declined, yet immoral leaders, teachers, and followers make irrational, absurd, and untruthful claims, often in their false denunciation of Christianity, or in their proclamations of what is right and wrong.

We must denounce and judge false statements and behaviors (judge sin and judge it again), yet our response to people must be gentle, kind, and loving. Though God gives us parameters to use anger without sinning as we reflect His image, we must leave the judgement of people due to their sin in His Hands. For He’s a righteous judge and can apply angry responses appropriately.

Psalm 7:11

God is a righteous judge,
a God who displays his wrath every day

We must leave it up to Him.


Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Why the Prevalence of Anger out There?

A lack of godly purpose will lead people on an empty search for meaning, which can eventually lead to unfulfilled purpose, frustration, and unresolved or explosive anger.

James 4:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.


The most devout Christians will have occasions where unresolved issues or new circumstances cause them to act out of character. Ask God what is causing your anger. Then give these burdens to Christ so you press on honorably in your family, workplace, and community.

Do you want to prevent or alleviate anger, bitterness, strife, and discontentment for yourself and your family?

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken (Psalm55:22).

Going Solo for Healing from Divorce


It’s a special anniversary. It’s been 500 years since the Protestant Reformation, first marked by Martin Luther when he posted 95 theses on the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany.

The arguments were generally characterized by criticism of the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church.

Faithful Marriage Blended family

The work proceeding from the Reformers elicited five famous Latin phrases and convictions:

Sola fide:faith alone

Sola scriptura: scripture alone

Sola gratia: grace alone

Solo Christo: Christ alone

Soli Deo Gloria: to the glory of God alone

Although they began as a rebuttal to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, the Solas were, and continue to be, a very positive declaration of biblical truth, and truth for right living.

It’s only through faith that we can apprehend truth and accept the grace of God.

Scripture should be our source of authority. It’s the eternal God of the universe speaking.

It’s through grace that we’re saved, not through our works. It was an undeserved gift of God.

Jesus alone provided a way to access a Holy God through His sacrifice on the cross.

Our chief goal in life should be to bring glory to our Creator, Life-giver and sustainer.

An Application for Healing from Divorce

While the Solas pertain to salvation, they brought an application to mind. It was only through Christ that my mom received spiritual and emotional healing from being the main “victim” of divorce.

It was only through Christ where I received healing. It was only through Christ that even the main cause of the divorce, my dad, received healing.

Faithful Marriage Blended family

There are many worthy counsellors, therapists, psychologists, and coaches. They can analyze and determine much of why things go wrong and strategize to compensate for the future.

However, I would claim that with Christ alone, you gain the world. You have your healing amongst other abundance. One can truly move on from divorce as spouse or child. You have all that you need.

Christ Alone

Yes I would prefer to have good health and continue to split wood, play hockey and basketball, etc., but if I lose my health and still have Christ, I have everything.

Faithful Marriage Blended family

True, I desire to keep my job and continue to live a comfortable, middle class sort of life…but if the economy crashes, I lose my job, and the bank takes the house, yet I have Christ, I will press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Phiippians 3:14).

Likewise, my mom didn’t want her marriage to collapse…and it hurt her a lot. I also didn’t want our family to split, and it brought much turmoil.

But Mom’s faith (Sola fide) became even stronger as she struggled to move on without a life partner – but she actually did have a partner in Christ (Solo Christo).

Faithful Marriage Blended family

She immersed herself in the Word of God and in a good church with others who were “salt of the earth.”

Her testimony of accepting God’s grace despite the shame and pain definitely brought glory to Him.

It took me a little longer to wholeheartedly accept the Lord in my life. Yet even while I delayed and fought it, I was aware that it was the right step to take. My mom’s prayers helped make God’s grace even more irresistible to me.

Faithful Marriage Blended family

This in turn has helped me, I hope, become a better husband and father. I wouldn’t have wanted to betray my family as my dad had done.

Supernatural Strength

With the Lord’s strength and additional accountability to Christ, there is supernatural assistance to this or any man’s limited strength.

Even if the possibility of betrayal isn’t an issue, none of us are naturally selfless or predisposed to self-sacrifice. If we use Christ as our model, then we can’t help but bend our will in the direction of unselfishness within our families.

Divorce within Christian circles really should demonstrate the following in its wake: what Satan intends for evil, God uses for good. But I would submit that it takes walking with Christ to obtain that good.

In truth, one isn’t walking alone. Christ comes to you through other faithful ones in the church, and through the living Word of God.

He can help take the focus off yourself and your plight as you set your eyes upon Him alone.

Faithful Marriage Blended family

If you’ve been beset by the anguish of divorce as a spouse or child, give the burden all to Him, the author and finisher of our faith. Certainly trust in a counsellor or pastor with a solid background and pure reputation.

However, if he/she omits or diminishes Christ and Scripture in any way, know that you should seek help elsewhere to avoid spinning your wheels in secular mire. Move from sorrow to healing.

Matthew 5: 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Matthew 11: 28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”