Signs

There are these interesting billboards all around the small town that Mister and I now call home after our recent move.  Some are in succession along the main highway – they cannot be missed.

If I were to show a caption, I would effectively tell the Blogosphere precisely where Mister and I have recently been planted by God…I do not care to do this, though I am certain that someone with adequate computer knowledge can easily find out if they have the unction.  Instead, I will expound upon what I have learned about the organization which placed them there, and how this is relevant to current discussions within the ‘sphere regarding our favorite topic – marriage.

The first billboard was noticed not by me, but my Mister as he drove to work.  It said in bold letters:

“I, I, I…Me, Me, Me…What happened to we?”,

and then in smaller characters, listed the website for the organization behind the advertisement.   (I personally would have been more impressed had it said “What happened to us and GOD?”, but that’s probably asking a bit much.  It has taken me a few days, as I waddle through our home (our daughter still insists there are “TWO babies in there”) putting it in order and caring for our children, to get to the place of looking up the URL, but when I did, I was surprised.

This is an entirely local organization.  Local to a population of less than 55,000.  I had expected it to be national.  Upon researching it, it is a Not for Profit.  It was founded by seventeen pastors from various denominational churches in our new hometown several years ago.  Its purpose is stated as follows:

About Us

We Exist Because…

  • Because married couples:
  • are physically healthier and they live longer
  • are more satisfied with their lives
  • are wealthier
  • report more marital enjoyment and a better sex life
  • have better mental health

Children whose parents remain married do better both academically and emotionally. Couples marrying in the US today have a 40-50% chance of divorce, however about 70% of these may be prevented!

Healthy marriage is based firm commitment and on a set of relational skills that can be taught. There are many valuable teaching tools available. Research proves their effectiveness. When communities come together in support of marriage, dramatic things can happen!

Healthy, happy, strong marriages benefit everyone! …the culture, our community, businesses, our
churches, our neighbors, our families and especially our children…

One thing that stood out to me immediately  is that there is absolutely no mention of God, Jesus, Repentance, the Bible, Faith…the website is presented in a totally secular fashion, although upon further investigation, they are a 501(c)3 (aka a “Church” in the U.S.).  In their defense, they do use the word “Covenant” to describe the marriage relationship, but they stop short of saying it is a Covenant with another person AND GOD.   They call it a “lifetime commitment” (kind of like Herpes, I suppose).

It’s still all about them…their wealth, their health…that concerns me.

Further, the emphasis seems to be on “preventing cohabitation”, as they list numerous stats as to how destruction of marriage is brought about by cohabiting:

Our Goals…

  • Reduce the divorce rate
  • Increase the marriage rate/decrease cohabitation
  • Decrease out-of-wedlock births
  • Increase marital satisfaction and health
  • Renew the hope for happy, life-long marriage
  • Strengthen our families and preserve the next generation

We will strengthen and enrich marriages in our community by offering researched and
proven educational programs for all stages and walks of life:

  • · pre-marital education
  • · marriage enrichment
  • · healthy relationship and dating skills
  • · programs for stressful times in marriages
  • · marriage resource center
  • · support marriage media campaign

They have implemented a four-month waiting period for anyone seeking marriage from one of the participating pastors, so that the couple may “live apart” and “learn to have friendship” instead of burning with lust and having sex in a cohabitation arrangement.   That is brilliant:  now they can just spend the night together at each other’s respective apartments, while stressing over the financial hurricane they’ve created by doubling their expenses before the manifestation of The Barbie Princess Dream Wedding.   One pastor who participates now claims that he has performed 100 marriage ceremonies and only two have divorced.  In two years?  Wow.  I’m sadly not very impressed.

Upon visiting their links, the very first one was secular.  Although I have never heard of this woman, Michele Weiner-Davis, (perhaps some of you readers have), I was not especially impressed by her website either – though it did address sexual problems in marriage (the sexually starved marriage).  There was, in my opinion, too much emphasis on “this is not only a MEN’S problem – women have been rejected sexually, too, you know” – on this particular page.  Michele Weiner-Davis, from what I am able to glean, just wants to make money off of our dying institution of marriage in American society.  After all, she is a marriage counselor.  She’s not a 501(c)3.  It’s her paycheck on the line, and her approach differs little from most everyone else’s these days:  write a book, sell a few books, make a buck – to hell with all you people and your REAL problems!  Again, not impressed.  Again, no mention whatsoever of a wife or husband’s RESPONSIBILITY BEFORE GOD to engage in meaningful sex with their spouse as the spouse desires.

Of course, on the local organizational website, there exists the obligatory “Give to Us” and “Contact Us” buttons and links.  I think I’ll skip the “Give to Us” for now, but I might push the “Contact Us” button:  after all, how ironic is it that God would uproot (suddenly and without much more than thirty days warning, by the way) a couple of people who went through hell before marrying each other, brought their own form of hell to the relationship in the existing marriage, yet allowed God to transform it into something worthwhile?  How ironic is it that He would place us in this particular place with these particular, peculiar billboards for “reforming marriage?”

I think I want to know more.

I remain skeptical to say the least; I think their approach is off in a tremendous way by eliminating God from their “advertising” and website (Seeker-friendly?), and apparently all of their newsletters as well.  I think two divorces in 100 over the course of two years for one pastor out of seventeen is nothing to write home about!

We shall see.

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14 thoughts on “Signs

      • …Just wanted to remark that there aren’t many women in the “manosphere” who would take even a mild rebuke as well as you do there. So often the ‘manosphere’ women think that idolising their husband makes them godly, yet their attitude stinks (angry, rude, thin-skinned, foul-mouthed and lewd): they ignore the wonderful words of 1 Peter 3:1-4. It’s so heartening to read a reaction like this…

        Keep it up! 😉

    • That’s a great quote, and good advice. I think I am frustrated because there is a tiny voice in the wilderness really preaching the return to Biblical marriage, or at least attempting to return. There is a tiny faction of non-feminist society actually trying to live this out. There is something in me that cries out for someone, somewhere in a pulpit to actually connect the dots and preach the truth and the WHOLE truth…not just part of it, watered down and “seeker friendly” without any mention of Jesus and the power of being in relationship with the Living God in your marriage.

      As for us, we live out our lives quietly as you know…most people who are “Christians” think we’re nuts and pray that we will get “saved” because they don’t recognize our Christianity as such, which we find disturbing and sad. So how is the world supposed to WANT Jesus if it doesn’t recognize Jesus? I know that might sound arrogant to just assume that we are showing forth Jesus to others…but if we are loving them and telling them the truth, we are.

      If we are witnesses in our testimony to the Love and mercy of God and to his covenant with us, we are.

      I just really wanted to read the name of Jesus when I looked up this ministry and found that it was founded by seventeen pastors. I suppose I should let go of my disappointment, and when we find a church here, just begin to let our witness and our testimony speak for itself.

      Thank you for your comment.

      • I applaud you for receiving that so well. Most people are not that teachable. You and your husband are modeling a good marriage for your children and others that meet you. I am sure you are very busy now, but down the road maybe you and your husband could teach a newlywed class, a young married class, or a younger woman class.

        I understand your frustration. My wife and I have gone to seeker churches for years. I am just beginning to question the seeker strategy, how far do we compromise to reach people? How do we share heavy topics with the core members without driving away the seekers. Maybe evangelism should be separate from church teaching & worship.

        Maybe we should pull back and be examples of Patriarch families and let those who thirst for change be drawn to us.

      • @Bee

        Maybe evangelism should be separate from church teaching & worship.

        Maybe we should pull back and be examples of Patriarch families and let those who thirst for change be drawn to us.

        I’ve come to believe the same, on both counts.

        And it’s the biblical pattern — the heathen were evangelised, and only those who responded were brought into the church, where they were taught, discipled, and where they worshipped with the rest of their brethren. …Two quite distinct and separate things.

        And I firmly agree with what you say: solid, Biblical, patriarchal families would in and of themselves be salt and light in this wicked and adulterous generation.

        Mensch: yes. I see the pattern; the heathen separated from the brethren. I wonder what kind of uprising would ensue if the church actually practiced this? “Discrimination” is a threat that comes to mind…


    • I guess it is…these days. I was just thinking that it’s only been two years – and this is one of seventeen pastors! Where are the voices of the other sixteen, saying that they’ve only seen two divorces out of 100? I need to know more before I just decide this whole thing is bunk. However, I will say that I believe it’s going to take more than “Ten Tips for Date Night” and “How to Romance Your Husband” (with love letters on his pillow, etc.) in order to save marriages from divorce. If these tips were all that is needed, we wouldn’t have problems like we do, even within the Christian church. As I shared in my reply to Bee, I get frustrated when I see a very good looking solution and then there appears to be little depth to it and absolutely no mention of THE solution, which is covenant relationship with God as priority in each spouse’s life – truly seeking to obey God and live out His word for their role in the marriage. Telling someone about how to have a great “Date” and not discipling them in Christ at the same time seems fruitless and almost silly to me. But that’s me. How’s a great “Date” night and romance going to get a woman through her husband’s extended period of unemployement and depression? How’s it going to get a man through his sexless, loveless union with his cold, disinterested wife? Just questions I have.

  1. It is crazy that even supposedly Christian organisations fail to make clear how important it is to be centred on God, take Him out of the equation, and then wonder why the divorce rate amongst Christians isn’t any better than the secular divorce rate. I find it quite upsetting, to be honest, and words fail me.

    • Do you know who Joel Osteen is, CL? Your comment made me think of him and his multi-million dollar “ministry”.
      http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolves/joel_osteen.htm

      @ song
      I saw you comment on Mrs. Wood’s site. Well done.

      SSM: Yes, I was thinking of Osteen when I wrote this. Never been to his church or read cover to cover anything he’s written, but he might as well be a secular Self-Help author if you ask me. Who knows.

      Thank you regarding Mrs. Wood’s site. I have vented the last of it, I believe, and have released all of it now. That style of “parenting” is just maddening to me. Many are practicing something like it. I love those girls so much; still pray for them in the wee hours of the morning if I’m up with our baby. Their new nanny is a Christian woman, though her brand of Christianity will likely mesh better with the Mother of the children than mine did. Yes, I checked her out…the Mother had given me her full name and FB page, so I looked…plus, she was in the news because one of her children was premature and was assisted by a ministry, so it made the news. Thank God the child is fine now. She does seem like a woman of character. If I had seen that she was a freak, I would have said something to The Mother. This is Nanny Number Five now, I believe…

      Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting. Blessings!

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