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Perhaps you've come from a broken home and the marriage of your parents didn't work out. I want to encourage you: no matter what you've experienced, you can have a good marriage.

Just because something went wrong in the past in your parents' marriage doesn't mean that wrong has to be passed on in your life.

I have prayed with people who have been divorced, and they were afraid to get married again. In one situation, the man and woman, both in their thirties, had been dating for a length of time. They loved each other, but they were afraid to be joined together because they were fearful of being hurt again.

I want to encourage you: the curses that have been upon your life and in your home can be broken off in Jesus' name so you don't have to be afraid if God has called you into a relationship of marriage. You can be free to step into marriage and believe that God can do something wonderful.

Issues Causing Marriage Difficulties
There's such a need in this hour that if we who have strong marriages and homes can catch a vision of being a hospital for hurting marriages, an emergency center, or just a mission station in our neighborhood, our own families can go from being good to being a lot better.

If your marriage and family are strong in the Lord, you can become a power center of faith to pray and believe God to work in many other homes and marriages.

Although Sharon and I do not condone divorce (we're for "getting it together" in marriage), our church is a place for hurting people, whether they are married, divorced, separated, widowed, or single. Jesus said, "I didn't come for the healthy people, but I came for the sick folks" (paraphrased).

This, to us, is what the Gospel is all about. The sick need healing, the broken need mending, and those who are lost need salvation.

If you've gone through a broken marriage, God can reconstruct your life and either use you to help other people as a single or lead you to remarry. God can rebuild your life so you'll avoid making the same mistakes that you've made in the past. It's possible that you can be reconciled to your mate.

I want to address some of the issues that cause difficulties or areas of conflict in the relationships.

Pride.
James 4:6 says, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." A proud person will not receive the grace of God.

Several years ago, I remember going to a home to minister to a couple. The husband was hooked on X-rated movies and the wife was crying out for a healing in their marriage and home. Children were running around in the living room.

I wanted to jerk the guy up by his neck and say, "Don't you see you're losing everything?" He did lose it all. He lost his home, his marriage, and his children. One of the main issues in that man's life was pride.

He wanted to do his own thing. It's called the big "I." When you enter marriage, you must be willing to lay down your own ego and take hold of Jesus. We're called not to get, but to give.

We're in a generation now in which many children have grown up in divorced homes. They've gone through tremendous hurts. If they don't receive the ministry of the Holy Ghost, they'll enter a marriage relationship with past scars and wounds.

This is an hour for the Church to rise up as never before because of the number of people who are entering marriage from a totally different perspective. We're in a materialistic, selfish generation.

When you get two selfish people together, you have war. They want to grab, they want to get, and they want their own way. In fact, they demand it.

Not one of us is exempt from pride or demanding our own way in certain areas of life. We need to pray, "Lord, I humble myself." To compromise God's Word is wrong, but there's a time when a marriage partner must give in to the other individual.

In a family relationship, compromise demands that you give a little, the other person gives a little, and you find a place of common ground.

In many situations today, people demand all of what they want. They don't want to give an inch. It's better to have harmony and peace than it is to get your own way, because where there's strife and envy, there's confusion and every evil work.

James 3:16 puts it this way: "For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there."

This means that even if you get your own way through fighting and demanding, you'll lose ground. You'll lose peace and harmony.

Unforgiveness.
Unforgiveness can cause great difficulty in marriages and families, and it's really tied in with pride.

In Mark 11:25 the Lord says, "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses."

Isn't it wonderful that we can be forgiven? "...Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isa. 1:18).

Some couples keep score any they can do an instant replay on things that have happened over the last 25 years. Sometimes in a marriage, the husband hits the hurt button that charges his wife, or the wife hits the hurt button that charges her husband, and suddenly, the reply is on!

A forgiver is a forgetter. A person who says, "I can forgive, but I sure can't forget" has not forgiven, for forgiveness and forgetting are one and the same. When God says, "I will forgive you," He is saying that He will remember your sins no more (Heb. 8:12).

Forgetting is an act of your will. Hebrews 12:1 says,
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
We must lay aside every weight and sin that would hinder us from running the race God has set before us. Unforgiveness is a horrible burden to bear. We need to cut all the cords of anything that's ever been done to us or against us.

If you have been divorced and you're still harboring some hurts, the power of God will enable you to forgive the offenses of your mate and release them once and for all. If you've already forgiven and forgotten, don't dig anything up. If there are cords of the past that need to be cut, you can cut them by forgiving and releasing the person right now.

In Mark 11:26 Jesus says, "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." As you forgive the other person, you'll be forgiven.

Sharon and I periodically hold divorce workshops in which we minister to the divorced person as well as to the children who have been involved in a divorced family situation. We can redeem their lives. They don't have to be scarred and wounded. God can put their lives back together.

In our divorce workshops, we deal with the issue of forgiveness, because if you've broken a relationship and violated a covenant, you need forgiveness from God. A lot of people say, "Well I didn't do anything wrong; it was the other person."

We're going to have to go back to step one like the coach with the football team that got beat 50 points in the middle of the season. He walks in the next day and says, "Boys, we're going to start over from the beginning!" He holds up a football and says, "This is a football!"

If you were only two percent wrong, you still need to repent. You need to have a humble heart and ask God's forgiveness so you can start over. You can't carry that old junk into a new relationship and expect it to work. You need to be cleansed from it.

Source: Building Stronger Marriages by Billy Joe Daugherty
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

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