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I typically counsel couples who have been married for five years or less or fifteen years or more. If they don’t get help before children, they become too busy to deal with their problems. At the fifteen-year mark (arbitrary number), their children are more independent, and all the problems they have ignored earlier are front and center.
It’s not unusual to hear of a couple married for thirty or more years getting a divorce. There is a reason for this, which is what this podcast discusses.
Every person is “totally depraved,” and every individual is uniquely fallen. Total depravity does not mean you are as bad as you can be, but it does teach that you are corrupt through and through. No part of your organic or non-organic self is untouched by fallenness.
And you are uniquely fallen too. Because of the “mysteries of Adam,” plus your shaping influences, you are a uniquely fallen person. Every parent with more than one child sees the “fallen differences” in their children.
Then there are shaping influences, which include parenting, siblings, community, education, genetics, personal disappointments, academic training, and so much more. Every person brings total depravity and unique fallenness into their dating relationship.
The dating season is an artificial season where two people can fake out each other by not revealing their entire selves until after marriage. By not exposing the certain aspects of themselves, they set up their future marriage for disappointment.
Some may ask if it was wise to tell everything he is thinking. My answer to the question is “no” and “yes.” I can’t answer the question in a black-and-white way. For example, at the beginning of my relationship with my wife, there were many things I did not tell her. I did not tell her that I thought she was hot. I do tell her now.
Relationships begin with discretion and ignorance. Discretion: You do not say everything you’re thinking about another person. Ignorance: You do not know all that can be known about the other person.
Strong relationships cross both of those barriers. As you move closer to each other, you learn more about each other and you share more with each other. A good marriage should always be moving toward oneness, which cannot happen without honesty and transparency.
No relationship is static. You’re either moving toward unity or away from it. Either you are moving toward more in-depth community (koinonia), or you are not. The implication of the word community expects communication that is growing progressively deeper and more transparent.
If the couple is not growing in transparency and honesty, they will become distracted once married, which will further hinder the communication that they need to mature together.
Two distractions are work and children. The man will become busy with his job, as will the wife–whether she works outside or inside the home. Then there may be children, which will compound the frenetic-ness of their lives.
Without a “sin plan” in place, they will bump about, moderately getting along with each other, even doing many Christian things like “serving God in ministry.”
Once their children hit the teen years, the parent’s time allotments will change. By the time the children go to college and leave home, the parents will be left, for the most part, with themselves.
They have four options:
I wholeheartedly appeal to you to find help if your marriage is not in the right place. If you’re heading into the “children age,” and you do not have a “sin plan,” I strongly urge you to get help now before life becomes busier.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).