Parenting Toward the 30% – Divorce is Not an Option!

Ken LeamanYou’re probably saying, “Ken, why the heck are you blogging about divorce on Easter Sunday?”  Well by the end of this article, you’ll know why.  But first I have to get personal, and tell you about the difficulties my wife, Karen, and I had when we were first married.

You see our first few years of marriage were very stressful.  We got engaged 3 months after meeting each other, and a year later we were married.  Then 3 months into our marriage, we became unexpectantly pregnant, and within a year of us getting married, we had a beautiful baby boy.   During all of this time, we both worked full time jobs, and volunteered at our church as youth group leaders.  So, you can see that there was a lot of strain on us.  We were older when we got married, so we were used to being independent and doing things our way.  Now we had someone else’s feelings and desires to contend with, and then when you add a newborn to the mix, it was like adding fuel to the fire.

Our friends and family probably couldn’t tell that we had issues.  There were several occasions where we had major arguments.  I remember at least once where we told each other that if you want to leave you can.  Obviously we didn’t really mean it, but in the heat of the moment, and in trying to get our own way, we said it.  Luckily our son was too small to remember any of it.

Through time, prayer, reading God’s word, and with God’s help, we came to realize that we weren’t behaving as God would want us to.  We matured in our faith, fully sought God’s will for our lives, which included always putting our spouse before ourselves.

We thought back to the vows / promises we made to each other and to God on our wedding day.  Everyone says them, but few really mean them.  You know them… “For better or for worse…  In sickness and in health…  For richer or poorer…  Until death do us part…”  Doesn’t that mean forever?  No matter what happens.  No matter what my spouse says or doesn’t say.  What they do or don’t do.  Whether or not I think I’m getting what I want out of the relationship or not.  Whether I feel like I’m still in love or not.  I made a promise to stay with my spouse until death.  That means that I chose to love her every day, whether I think she deserves it or not.

Here is one particular bible verse that helped me get a perspective on marriage and divorce.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.  Ephesians 5:22-33

Look at the scripture verse above, and note these verses:

  • Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
  • Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies
  • He who loves his wife loves himself

How did Christ love the church?  Well we celebrate what He did for us every Easter.  He came to die on the cross, to take our punishment of the death that we deserved because of our sin.  He died to save us.  In the verse above, God is telling us to love our spouse as Christ loved us.  While we were still sinning, spitting in His face, turning our backs to Him, He still loved us enough to come die for us to save us.  He could have just left us in our sin, and left us to get what we deserved, but He didn’t.  So that is how we need to love our spouses.  No matter that they say or do, and no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, we must always chose to love and never forsake our spouse.

Other scripture verses to check out are:

  • Matthew 5:31-32
  • Matthew 10:2-12
  • Matthew 19:6-9
  • Luke 16:18
  • 1 Corinthians 7:39
  • 1 Corinthians 13
  • Ephesians 5:33

About 50% of couples that get married, end up getting a divorce.  Unfortunately the statistic isn’t much better for Christians.  With having large extended families, and leading thousands of youth at church over the years, we have seen lots of divorces.  I can honestly say that I don’t know one circumstance where I thought the children ended up better off after the divorce.  I know that a common reason for divorce is to tell ourselves that the children will be better off not in this environment, but the reality is that children need both a mother and a father in a healthy family unit.  So get professional Christian counseling if you feel you can’t love one another as Christ has loved the church.

Karen and I eventually got to a point where we told each other, “Divorce is not an option, no matter what!”  I pray that this article helps you to come to the same commitment level with your spouse.

Disclaimer: If you feel that your life and/or the lives of your children are threatened, then ignore everything I have said.  Get out and get help immediately!  I believe that God is alright with us protecting the lives of our children and ourselves.

What is Parenting Toward the 30%?

Studies have shown that 70% of Christian raised young adults walk away from their faith shortly after graduating from high school.  That means that only 30% continue their walk with Christ.  We are informing parents about this problem, and challenging parents of preschool, elementary, junior high and high school students to intentionally prepare their children for the ultimate day when they graduate from high school.  A time when they are on their own, and are responsible for their own decisions.  Will they be among the 70% that walk away from God, or the 30% that stay in a relationship with Jesus Christ?  What are you as parents doing right now to prepare them for that ultimate day?  Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it.”  What does it mean to “Train up a child in the way he should go?”  As a parent, what steps can you take now, when your child is young, to prepare them?

Young Adults of Worth is bringing awareness to the issue that 70% of young adults walk away from their faith, and we are challenging parents to intentionally train their children starting at a young age, in “the way they should go.”

We will help you in this journey, by providing Biblical guidance on what you can do to increase the chances of your child ending up in the 30%.  No one can give you a magic formula or a guarantee; however, God gives us lots of parenting principles in His word, and He does let us know what it means to “Train up a child in the way he should go.”

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Ken Leaman

Ken Leaman has a passion for students, and for over 30 years has been volunteering within churches and other ministries, leading and mentoring students. These churches are:

Ken works for Amazon Web Services as a Support Operations Manager. Ken has also served on the boards of other non-profits like the DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast, and the DFW Help Desk Institute.

Ken, and his wife Karen, have been married for 31 years, and have a 30 year old son. They live in Allen, TX, just North of Dallas.

As Ken and Karen repeatedly witnessed many Christian students who were active within the Church walk away from their faith shortly after graduating high school, they grew frustrated.  Studies show that about 70% of young adults leave their faith after graduation, which is a huge issue since they are the future of the Church.  After much prayer and searching God's direction for many years, the Leaman's felt His calling to start a ministry to address this problem.  In 2014, they gathered like minded Christian professionals to help begin Young Adults of Worth Ministries.  We believe that this ministry is from God, and it will be blessed by Him for His glory alone.