Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Step Back, Reassess and Reengage

1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went down to the region of Judea east of the Jordan River. 2 Large crowds followed him there, and he healed their sick.

3 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” 5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

7 “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked.

8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. 9 And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.”

10 Jesus’ disciples then said to him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!”

11 “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps. 12 Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can” (Matthew 19:1-12 NLT).


So what is Jesus saying here? He’s saying that God is not for divorce. His intention was not separation for those who have been brought together in his name. His intention was a lifetime commitment but because of the hardness of our hearts, we have made concession. Because of the hardness of our hearts, we look for the easy way out.

This is very cliché but it is one of my favorite quotes: “A calm sea never made a good sailor.” I don’t have a clue who said it first but the point is that who we are will always be a result of the storms we weather. Great men are forged through adversity and the greatest relationships have overcome some of the toughest struggles because the individuals involved have made the choice to stay in the fight.

I encourage you to stay in the fight. Work through the issues. Recognize where the fight is. It may be coming from all directions but that doesn’t mean that your spouse is your enemy. It just might mean that neither one of you is focused on from where the fight is actually coming. You’ve hit panic mode. Step back and reassess then reengage.


“We are a society of people who have been repeatedly told, trained, and taught that we are dependent on external situations to determine our happiness and contentment with life. When circumstances are not to our liking we are destined to be utterly miserable and can assume that we cannot be happy, content, or fulfilled until circumstances change. Unfortunately many times the situation does not change because the change-agent is immobilized. The change-agent is you.”[1]

[1] Rob McCarter, Optimistic Thinking: The Key to Success (Chapel Hill: Professional Press, 1994), 23.

Love & Respect and the Crazy Cycle

Iron Knights,

In an effort to strengthen marriages across the unit, I will begin posting a series on marriage. Over the past several weeks I have been approached about counseling various couples in an effort to help them communicate more effectively and/or work through a crisis moment. As a Christian chaplain, my approach will primarily come from a biblical worldview. That being said, please understand that some posts may be Scripture and some may not directly come from the Bible. Either way, my purpose is to present truth … and hope … for our marriages.

~ Iron Knight Sheepdog

As for you, [CH Rios], promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely (Titus 2:1-6 NLT).

For the men in the audience, the Bible speaks of “self-control,” “being worthy of respect,” and “living wisely.” It also speaks of having a “sound faith” and “being filled with love and patience.” That last part isn’t for the man … it’s on behalf of those he calls family. Men – husbands … fathers – you have to be filled with love and patience to make your marriage and family work.

Women … you must “live in a way that honors God.” You can’t be someone who “slanders others” … particularly your husbands … and more importantly, not on social media! Don’t be a “heavy drinker.” “Teach others what is good.” If you’re an older, more seasoned woman/wife/mother, there is an expectation on you to share your wisdom with the younger, less experienced ladies.

You “must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children.” Help them to “live wisely and be pure.” Teach them to “work in their homes,” that is, to build their homes … strengthen the relationships within the family and make it a place where every person feels loved, valued, respected, and safe.

Don’t just encourage these young wives / mothers to “do good” but train them to “do good.” What does that mean? Train them to do the right thing the first time all the time. By your example, you will show them what right looks like.

Show them how “to be submissive to their husbands.” Submissive is usually where the females draw their swords and battle lines. “I will never submit to a man.” “I will never submit to someone I don’t respect.” “The Bible is so antiquated. It was written by a patriarchal society where men lorded over women.” If that’s your mind set then you are definitely going to be fighting an uphill battle for your marriage. I’m not saying that Christians get this right all the time. The evidence of that reality can be seen in any statistical data on divorce. Divorce is a prevalent among Christians as with non-Christians.

But we all fail because of two reasons: selfishness and lack of commitment. In reality, they are tied together. When one or both partners begin the journey to complete selfishness, the commitment to each other and the marriage begins to disintegrate. Ask yourself, “Is this where I am?” You must figure out a way to become unselfish. We become selfish because we chose not to love our spouse. We chose not to respect our spouse. We make the decision to walk away from commitment because humans are like water … we will always take the path of least resistance and relationships are no different.

“You may remember how the Beatles sang, “All you need is love.” I absolutely disagree with that conclusion. Five out of ten marriages today are ending in divorce because love alone is not enough. Yes, love is vital, especially for the wife, but what we have missed is the husband’s need for respect.”[1]

For more information about the Love & Respect book or marriage conferences, please visit:

http://loveandrespect.com/?gclid=CO-kpLebuMkCFQGTfgodnCsKog (Accessed November 30, 2015).

Love and Respect Live Marriage Conference

Colorado Springs, CO

February 12/13, 2016

[1] Emerson Eggerichs, Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires. The Respect He Desperately Needs (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004), 3.