Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace - Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV
It's over. Two of the most devastating words that you can hear when it involves a relationship between a man and a woman. Sometimes the words don't have to be spoken. In my case, the words were not uttered aloud, I just knew in my heart that it was over. I was now going to be a statistic and join the approximately 45 to 50% of people who failed in their first marriage. I was not exposed to divorce, especially on my father's side of the family where he and his 2 brothers married their college sweethearts and stayed so for at least 40 years.
Fast forward a few years to the suburbs of Chicago where I subsequently relocated. I had decided that my present state of mind could no longer handle Raleigh NC, which was the location of the breakdown on my first marriage. It was in Chicagoland where I met Abbey, whom I married almost 15 years ago. As I reflect on the things that caused the erosion of my first marriage, I realized that there were things that I did that contributed to it. As the scripture above states, a successful relationship requires humility, gentleness and patience. There were times that I did not exhibit this on a consistent basis. I was determined not to make that same mistake twice. Again, remember 'God Wastes Nothing'. This was certainly true in the things that I learned from my failed marriage. The lessons that I learned from my first marriage provided me with the empathy to counsel other men that were going through a divorce or turbulent times in their marriage. It also made me examine my behavior on a more objective basis when interacting with Abbey. I learned to look at things from her point of view (not ALL the time, I'm still human) as opposed to determining how situations would benefit me. The most important thing that I learned was that you can still love again. For those of you that have walked down the same path as me (whether you were married or in a long term relationship), I want to you to know that you can have a relationship where you can be unified in Spirit. You can love again. It will require you to draw upon the negative things that you experienced and apply them going forward.
Tomorrow we will look at your professional life.
Ken Sadler is a leader of Men's Ministry at a megachurch and has a heart and passion for helping men become the best they can be.