—By MariaDO 23398/87
—Vital Counsel for all Couples, Leaders & Adult Family Members!
Maria #86 [Note: Was Maria #85 when first published.]
[HomeARC note (9/98): The Charter states the Family's current policies‚ principles, and attitudes regarding separation and divorce.]
1. I'm getting more convinced all the time that now is not the time to try to keep failing marriages together! Maybe before, when we first started, we needed to work on relationships & marriages for the sake of the children, etc. But right now, time is so short, if we have any shaky problem marriages, I think we have a lot more important things to do than to try to make a major project of trying to fall back in love & get all romantic again, all submitted to each other‚ etc.! It's more important to just start helping the World & getting out & doing the work we're supposed to do!—And perhaps just agreeing to disagree, or separating, which might be even better.
2. I almost hate to say this, but it seems like in almost every instance where people have had serious marriage problems, it's borne good fruit to separate. Perhaps it can just be a temporary separation at first. But there's hardly one case that I know of which we have been personally knowledgeable about, in which we have either counselled people to separate, or another leader suggested it & we've agreed to it, I don't think there's been one case that hasn't borne good fruit.
3. The parties involved have gotten closer to the Lord‚ more desperate with the Lord, & in almost every way it's done them good. It seems like we're getting more & more into the "One Wife" situation, & it looks like for this particular time, this is what the Lord wants. At least we know He wants total dedication to Himself & to His Work‚ & in so many cases the former relationships had become too distracting.—Either people getting so wrapped up in each other that they can't do the Lord's Work, can't concentrate on it.—Or getting at each other's throats so much with so much contention & problems that they're a terrible sample!—And then they often feel so condemned & like such failures that they can't accomplish much for the Lord in this case, either. So either extreme‚ being too wrapped up in each other, or too contentious with each other, is a big distraction & hindrance to the Lord's Work.
4. It almost seems like the most fruitful kind of relationships are those in which they are very close friends & work together well. When couples are close friends & get along & work together well, but are not overly dependent on each other, not too romantically involved with each other, but complement each other's ministries, these are the ones that have really done the best. In other words, they do well together, but if they were apart they would also do well. But because they do well together & complement each other, we don't want to separate them. But if they had to separate for the sake of the Work, they wouldn't have any problem with it, or at least not too much of a problem.
5. Of course, we don't just go around separating people for the sake of separating people. I'm glad when people can stay together & get along well together. Thank God for all of our couples who are not at each other's throats, or who are not so wrapped up in each other that they can't see anything else! Sometimes such couples worry because they aren't very romantically involved or "in love" with each other. But the fact is that they can usually do the Lord's work better that way. Sad to say, it seems like a good deal of our couples have a hard time finding the right balance.
6. Of course, when a couple does love each other very much, they can be a good example to others who see such love. For example‚ when Marianne & Josiah were together‚ the personal care & love they had for each other was a good sample as far as a human relationship. But the problem was that it still wasn't balanced enough, because Marianne wasn't really dependent enough on the Lord. She didn't have to be so she wasn't. So the Lord had to break them up because He wanted her to grow up into a stronger leader, & He couldn't really do it until they were separated.
7. The Lord wants to be our husband, & I think that's the main conclusion that we're coming to. Having a big romantic love affair, maybe that's nice for a bonus once in awhile, but it just seems that if we put each other first, we're not going to be putting the Lord first.—How can you? There's not enough time.
8. Just like having two mates, most people can't really handle it very well. Some situations do fairly well providing everybody knows their place. It's not that they all get equal treatment, but that they have all yielded & resigned themselves to the situation, which usually means one person gets a little less, & the other person gets a little more. Somebody has to come first. You can't really put more than one person first‚ & it's the same way with the Lord. It's like you have to make a choice.
9. Even with Dad & myself‚ I feel bad sometimes when he says, "Sometimes I miss the way we were before when you were just my little girl & we had more personal time together. But now you're a Queen & you have the responsibility of the whole World on your shoulders." He feels bad, & I feel bad, but what can we do? It's just the way things are. The Lord's Work has to be first, you have to put the Lord first. That's just the way it is in a lot of our situations‚ we can't be as close or take as much time with each other as we'd like‚ simply because the Lord's Work is there & that's the main thing, the job that He's given us.—That's what we have to do.
10. Besides, the Lord is going to repay, & this present time isn't going to last much longer anyway. The Lord is going to make up everything, give us the desires of our hearts‚ & greatly repay us for the sacrifices we make, & it's not going to be so long from now. This is such a small sacrifice to make compared to what the Lord has in store for us! "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us!"—Romans 8:18. PTL!
11. Maybe this is more for leaders‚ this kind of thing, but I think that it's what the Lord is requiring of many of us now.—Or would like to require of us if we would yield to it. We've found by actual experience that people can be close work-mates & get a lot done for the Lord without having to be all romantically involved with each other. As I said, such involvement often distracts & detracts them from the most important thing.
12. So the question is, if this is what the Lord requires of us, are we willing? Our people need to realise that they should be willing, & that if in some cases they would be better off separated & it would bear better fruit, then they should be willing to do it for the Lord & His Work.
13. But they don't need to be fearful, just worrying & waiting for their turn to come! As I said, we're not going around trying to split people up unless there's a very good reason for it or their relationship is presenting a big problem! If they complement each other & are a good team together, we certainly don't want to split them up unless their service for the Lord somehow requires it! As Dad has said, "Whatever glorifies God the most, that's what's best," praise the Lord!
LEADERSHIP'S INVOLVEMENT IN SEPARATIONS!
14. Separations are really a sensitive issue—they are an affair of the heart‚ & therefore are more sensitive than almost any other kind of situation. We want to be considerate of people's feelings, we want to help them decide for themselves what they feel is best & what they believe is the Lord's Will. Our people have got to learn to make decisions on their own‚ to get the answers for themselves. So leadership's involvement in separations cannot be coming in & saying, "Okay, you do this & you do that!" Our people have to see for themselves what's best & what is God's Will, otherwise they'll always blame their leadership for it.
15. It's true that the Lord has given us the authority to lead & guide others, but with that authority comes the responsibility of loving & caring for them, & making sure that they & their children are taken care of. For example, if a man is needed in an important leadership position in a Unit or something, we have the authority to suggest this possibility & offer him the job, even if it means his separating from his wife.—But we also have the responsibility to make sure that she is taken care of.
16. We can't just go around breaking up people without doing something about taking care of them. Of course, we can't do anything about the emotional trauma they may go through, they have to look to the Lord for that. But we can make it as easy as possible for them by trying to supply them with help if we possibly can‚ & with support, whatever we can do for them. That's our obligation. If we suggest they separate, then we should try to take care of them at the same time.—And of course we'd have to have a very good reason for suggesting they break up, which in our case is usually because we definitely need more leadership.
17. But we don't want to force people to do anything! Even though we have the authority, we don't want to force them! Just like God is in authority over us, but He doesn't usually force us to do things, He gives us our choice. Our folks are supposed to try to make their own decisions‚ & by so doing they learn & grow & mature. So we usually try to give people their choice to do what they think they should do. And even if they make a few mistakes, they usually eventually find out what's right & what's wrong & find the Will of God.
18. Separations are a very complicated issue, & every situation is different. That's probably why a lot of our leadership have gotten themselves into a lot of trouble & created a lot of problems by trying to break people up. In many cases they probably saw that there really was a problem in the relationship, & they knew that everyone would be better off if a separation were to take place. But, sad to say, they didn't always know how to handle it very wisely.
19. Perhaps the leadership just came in & decreed that a couple needed to separate without any real explanation or showing the parties involved the good fruit that it could bring forth in their lives. Often it makes it a lot easier for such couples if a little temporary separation is suggested.
20. Some couples just don't seem to do as well when they're together as when they are apart. I know one couple who recently separated, they didn't have any big terrible individual personal problems on their own, but when they were together, their spiritual growth was stunted & they weren't able to operate freely for the Lord. They just bugged & annoyed each other & perhaps discouraged each other, but it wasn't really a case of some kind of terrible personal problems that either of them had.
21. In some of these relationships they've simply gotten so familiar over the years, it's almost impossible for them to break out of that rut, out of that old, & they find in some ways that it's really a relief for them to be separated. Although it's difficult in other ways, particularly in their care for the children, in some ways it's a real breakthrough in the spirit & a relief & a lightness & a real peace, & almost everyone whose separations we have had anything to do with has found that it has borne good fruit.
22. But even when a couple is holding each other back & in their own little rut, unless we have a very good reason for separating them‚ such as when one of them or both of them are desperately needed in separate leadership roles or ministries somewhere, it really should be their idea.—Or they should at least certainly heartily give their agreement. We can't just plow in & say‚ "Well, we don't think you're doing so great together‚ why don't you split up!"
23. We might, however‚ suggest it, but if they just flatly ignore or refuse the suggestion, it's their decision before the Lord, & what they do is really up to them! It's their individual decision that counts, because if they are more or less forced to break up & they don't want to & they don't really agree in their hearts, you can do all you can for them, but if their hearts & minds aren't in full agreement with you, they might as well be back together! "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still!"
24. Unless the parties involved really want to live up to their full potential & really do the Lord's Will & work, unless they are personally convinced that they can do better without each other than with each other, then for God's sake, let them stay together or get back together!—What good is it going to do if they have each other on their minds constantly? If they're not doing a better job for the Lord without each other, then what are we trying to make everybody miserable for!?—Just let them get back together! If they're not going to be better leaders for the Lord & they haven't shown that they can do better apart than together, for God's sake, let them get back together again & keep them happy instead of having to listen to them murmur & complain & having them do just as bad or worse than they did before!
25. It's sort of like choosing whether or not to be fully committed to the Lord, yielded to the Lord. Each one of us has to make that choice before the Lord, & we can't have anybody else make it for us. "Choose ye this day! Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind!"—Josh.24:15; Rom.14:5.
26. One couple that I'm thinking of, when they were together they weren't causing any problems or anything, it's just that when they had a chance to be apart they saw that they were then able to live up to the full potential the Lord had for them. It's like they were holding each other back spiritually & not being the leaders they should or could have been. They never asked to be separated because they loved each other very much‚ so much they couldn't have brought themselves to it. But when it was suggested‚ they admitted, "Yes, it's true, we do better when we're apart. We know it's the truth & we want to go on for the Lord & we know we can be used for the Lord much more when separated than we can together."
27. But such cases are so sensitive, they almost have to be handled by top leadership, as you've really got to be led of the Lord, & the need or situation must really warrant such a drastic suggestion or actual change. Usually one or both of them are needed in a leadership role somewhere, desperately needed in a special job, & can be greatly used.
28. In a rare case like that, the leadership might suggest, "Look, we have this job in a Unit, or in the NO office, a special place for you. But we've seen that when you're together, you really aren't as useful for the Lord, but when you're apart you're a real leader & you really come out & shine. You could be used in leadership capacity, & we believe you could be trained for further responsibility, & we'd like to try it if you'd be willing to separate. We'll help get somebody to take care of your wife & children & we'll make sure that she's supported, we'll help support her, if we can, God willing."
29. We can't really give specific rules regarding all of this because each case is different & each individual situation certainly needs to be handled differently, prayerfully & led of the Lord! In some cases we've suggested temporary separations. In fact, in some cases that's all that their marriage really needed‚ & when they separated for a few months they realised how much they actually loved & needed each other, & they sincerely wanted to straighten out & get victories, so they went to work on their problems, drew closer to the Lord & were able afterwards to get back together & go on in a much better relationship.
30. A temporary separation is also helpful in that it helps the parties decide if they really want to go through with a permanent separation or not. They can see for themselves where they're at. In one case that I'm thinking of, the man went back to his wife several times‚ & each time realised that the situation wasn't really improved. In fact, they both saw that they just didn't do so well when they were together, they both realised that they did better when they were apart. The same is true for another couple in one of our Units: Although it was hard at first for them to be apart, they both realised how much better they did separated than when they were together, & the temporary separation helped them to make up their minds.
31. A lot of times when people from a shaky marriage have been apart for awhile, they begin to think, "Oh well, we've got the victory now, the separation was really good for us, now we can get back together & we're going to start all over again!" But more often than not, when they get back together again, they don't do much better, they fall back into their old ruts & the old familiarity‚ & they finally convince themselves that a permanent separation is what they really need.
32. So it's wise that such folks have at least one chance to get back together again, if they so desire‚ after 3 or 6 months or something, & then they can judge how it went when they were separated & how it goes again when they're back together. It really helps the couple themselves to see what they need when they have that comparison.
33. If one member of a couple is desperately needed in an essential leadership position or ministry‚ & their leadership feels that the need warrants the breaking up of that couple, then like I said, this should be handled & suggested by top leadership. But if a couple is simply having serious problems together, they're obviously stuck in a rut, & they—and probably everyone else—knows about it, then their Area Shepherds could suggest to them the possibility of a temporary separation.
34. Of course, any Shepherd who makes such a suggestion should by no means take or make it lightly.—But should do so very prayerfully, & after consultation with his shepherd or fellow shepherds. It often only takes a word or suggestion from leadership to get people really desperate with the Lord‚ to get them to seriously pray about & honestly assess their personal situation.—And some folks simply wouldn't have the courage to try to break out of their rut unless it was suggested to them.
35. But like I said, we can suggest temporary separations, but it's up to the couple themselves what they do about it.—They don't have to. Who knows, in some cases, just the thought of separating may be sufficient to shake'm up & help them to attack their problem & get the victories they need!
YELLERS & HITTERS!
36. Another entirely different kind of situation, which, thank the Lord, is rare, is having to separate people because of their yelling & screaming at each other, or even getting violent, where they slap & hit each other. In serious cases like that, we don't have to merely meekly suggest that perhaps they should consider a separation‚ but we can then railroad things through!—Because if people are yelling at the top of their voices at each other, it's obvious that something must be done immediately!
37. This is the exception to our policy of having people's consent in separations. If they're causing a major problem like screaming, yelling‚ hitting or slapping each other, we don't exactly need to give them a suggestion to separate, we give them an order!—Because it's breaking security rules! In fact, this sort of behaviour has even merited excommunication in the past!—And in such cases, it doesn't have to come from top leadership either, as there may not be any top leadership around.
38. Besides, to decide to separate a couple with problems as serious as this doesn't require a great deal of prayerfulness, carefulness, discernment, experience, spiritual maturity, etc. In other words, it's black-&-white; if someone breaks the rules by yelling, screaming & getting violent, they should automatically suffer the consequences.—Separation!
39. Dad has said in the Letters in no uncertain terms that physical violence warrants excommunication! (See Nos.856, 1323, etc.)—And I would say that screaming & yelling, arguing at the top of their voices which often leads to violence is almost as bad! Such un-Christian, uncontrolled behaviour is a reproach to our entire Family & to our Work & is a security breach besides!
40. No matter who is at fault, if people are slapping each other‚ yelling, screaming & creating a security disturbance‚ disturbing the peace, when things are that bad, something has to be done whether they agree to it or not! We just have to step in & tell them, "Okay, you've got to be taken apart because you're bad for security, you're a terrible sample!" Such people are an absolute reproach, not only to our own Family & our own children, but also to outsiders who might happen to hear them! In fact, they're not only a reproach & a terrible testimony, but a very bad security breach because the neighbours could justifiably call the police!
41. So I would say such problem couples should be required to at least temporarily separate for three months. You could wait until they do it again, & just give them a warning the first time‚ but you might have the police come the next time!—Or they might erupt into violence in which someone gets seriously hurt! In other words, because of security implications & because of the terrible testimony it is for the Family, yelling & screaming like that definitely warrants at least an immediate temporary separation of three months.
42. Thank the Lord that problems along these lines don't come up very often, but if & when they do, you've got to do something about it quick!—Otherwise, they're just tearing everything apart & being a reproach to the entire work! You just can't let that kind of thing go on very long in most neighbourhoods or you're liable to have the police at your door! So if it happens just once‚ they'd better be separated. I guess it sort of depends on the situation. In a place where you've got neighbours right next door & your security is seriously threatened, such yelling & screaming is very serious, & just doing it once is a very serious violation which could jeopardise an entire Home's security!
43. Another reason that we cannot tolerate screaming, arguing & yelling like that is that it can often erupt into physical violence‚ that's the next step. When people let themselves go & have no rule over their own spirits like that (Pro.25:28), you just can't trust them, you never know what they're going to do next!
44. Our people already know that actual physical violence will not be allowed or tolerated at all!—Dad has made it an excommunicable offence. But I think we can now modify that a little bit if the slapping or hitting wasn't too severe, because sometimes the other mate provokes it so much that they're as much to blame, if not more so‚ than the person who actually does the slapping. So I'd say that instead of instant excommunication, we can modify that to say an instant separation in most cases.
45. Of course, if the violence continues somehow in another situation with one of the separated individuals, we would then excommunicate the repeater! But I'd say on the first time around, for example, if the wife comes out with a bruise or something, I think it would warrant a separation right away. When people actually get physically violent it's pretty serious, so I think a temporary separation on the spot for three months is pretty mild & something that should be enforced immediately. And if they separate & start doing it with anybody else, then we have to ask them to leave the Family.
46. Even if the couple never says a word about it‚ if the wife comes out with a black eye, for example, the leadership needs to immediately ask questions & find out what's going on. And though we have said such violence warrants excommunication, I think now in many cases that can be modified, because it may be just as much the wife's fault, & we don't want to go excommunicating the guy & leaving her in the Family, when she could be just as much at fault or even more so than he was.
47. So a good solution would be separation instead of excommunication‚ a temporary separation. But if they get back together again after a few months & it happens again, then separate them permanently!—And of course, if one of them starts beating up on or slapping someone else around, excommunicate them!
48. I hope all our folks realise what a terrible sample screaming & yelling is to their children, to other children, to the entire Family, to outsiders, to anyone who hears them!—And we just can't allow it in our Homes! So if anyone has these problems, their leadership has to tell them, "Okay, you've got to be taken apart because you're bad for security‚ you're a terrible sample, you've got to separate!"
49. If they don't agree with it, then it's "get the victory or get out!" they both go! In other words‚ we don't really force them to split up, we simply lay down the Family law, the rules, & if they don't want to keep our rules, they can leave together. We don't force anyone to stay in the Family‚ & anyone who doesn't agree with our rules is welcome to leave!
50. Just tell them, "All right‚ you need to separate‚ there's no question about it!—You either separate, or leave if you're not willing to separate! Go out to the System to have your fights and your arguments!" We cannot allow screaming, yelling and loud arguing in our Homes!—And we definitely can't have hitting, slapping and punching each other!
51. A situation like that where they're actually yelling‚ screaming or hitting each other is the only exception to having people's consent before they're separated. In other cases, the only way that people should be split up is with their consent. But even this can present a problem with some, because a lot of our people feel that they have to consent to almost anything just because it's being presented to them from their leader, so they automatically feel it's from the Lord or the Word or whatever.—Which is why I said that our leaders shouldn't go around suggesting that couples separate, unless they've really prayed about it, counselled with others about it & "counted the cost"!—And even then, it's up to the couple to decide what they want to do!
COUPLES THAT WANT TO SPLIT!
52. Obviously, the most common cause for separation in the Family is when the couples themselves request it, they originate the idea & suggest a separation themselves for some reason or other. Often one or the other has gotten interested in someone else, & therefore is disinterested in their present mate. Or perhaps the man has gotten someone pregnant in the Home, & instead of agreeing to live together as a threesome, the first wife decides to leave because she's jealous & can't stand to take the other woman in. In such cases it's either the suggestion of both of them that they separate, or the suggestion of one of them.—And sometimes the other party says they would rather not separate, which of course creates more problems & makes things even more difficult!
53. This type of separation presents so many problems, I sometimes wonder if we can even allow people the luxury of being apart for three months! In a way I would hate to say we shouldn't have any separations, because I know they're good for people sometimes‚ but it would be a whole lot simpler to just make people stay together & not allow them to be separated at all unless they're definitely doing something serious that they shouldn't be doing & we virtually have to separate them.
54. But to just let people stew in their own juice, to make them stay together & be burdened & worried about trying to get victories which they maybe never will get because they've gotten so familiar with each other‚ to just force them to stay together because separations are so complicated & present so many problems, I don't want to do that. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, to let them have some time to reflect on their personal situation, to get away from each other for awhile. Sometimes situations like that become almost unbearable & the poor people certainly could use a rest from it & from each other, a little distance between them so they can pray & get the mind of the Lord. So I would like to give people that if we can.
55. I think we should try to allow people a little breathing space‚ a little room, especially if they're stuck in a real rut & they're discouraging each other & dragging each other down, critical of each other, etc. I think we almost owe it to them if they ask for it‚ to help them work out at least some kind of temporary situation of three months or so where they can at least get away from the situation.
56. Many times they don't even know what their own potential is or what they can do on their own. So if they want it, need it, & we can possibly arrange it, I think we should try. Of course, it presents hardships & difficulties for others, particularly when children are involved, but we're all supposed to be one Family & love one another, & if the situation desperately warrants a separation, then for that three-month period the Family will have to work it out & trust the Lord to have someone help them take care of their children when necessary.
57. If both parties really love the Lord & are desperate to find His Will, hopefully at the end of their time apart‚ if they're both sincere, the Lord is going to show them the same thing, whether or not they should get back together again. If they don't want to get back together, & want a permanent separation, then that's much more serious, & a lot of factors have to really be weighed out, especially what's best for the children & their care.
58. Now we don't want to have a whole rash of separations just because a lot of people would like to have a vacation from each other for awhile & because they think that maybe it will be easier for them if they're apart! We're talking about people that are really having problems, or that are really being hindered by each other. Usually, I think the Lord requires people to try to get the victory in their situation where they are, instead of escaping it.
59. But in a case where the husband or wife is so weak spiritually, or so disobedient to the Word‚ to the Letters, & a drag on the other mate‚ we need to make the option of separation available to them‚ to let them know that in a case like that, separation is possible. But when they're not hurting anyone but themselves, if they're not violent, if they're not screaming, then it has to be their choice. The wife or the husband has to say, "Okay, look, leaders, this is the situation, this is how it is, & it's gone on for a long time, & I just really want to be free to serve the Lord, & I don't know what else to do! I'm almost at the end of my rope, I need help, & I would like a separation!" If the couple wants a separation & has a valid enough reason for it, then why not?—We shouldn't just force people to stay together.
WHEN ONE MATE WANTS TO SEPARATE & THE OTHER DOESN'T!
60. What do we do if one party wants to separate & the other doesn't? I think in a case like that, the one that really wants to‚ who thinks it's of the Lord‚ should probably win out. In other words, they can say, "Well, why don't we try it for just a few months & see how it will work?"
61. Of course, they should counsel with their Shepherds, with their leadership, but as usual, you can't please everybody, & if one thinks it's of the Lord & the other thinks it isn't, how are we going to be able to find out the Lord's Will unless we try it? Of course, the Bible does say, "If she be pleased to dwell with him, why not let her dwell with him?"—1Cor.7:12,13.
62. But we're not just talking about the pleasure or the personal desires of a woman or of a man‚ we're talking about the Lord's work now & the end of the World & a desperate need to do our best for Jesus, to win souls, to accomplish all we can for the Lord! This changes things slightly.—It's not just a little man-woman situation‚ it's just not that simple any more.
63. Of course, our leaders need to be very, very prayerful & Spirit-led when counselling people about such situations. Many times they'll have to get in there & observe for awhile & hear both sides of the story. But even then, after you hear both sides, some people are much more convincing & much better salesmen than others, more persuasive, & can present their side a lot more sincerely & believably than the other party can. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they're right, it may just mean that they're a better talker! So you're going to have to really pray & be Spirit-led when counselling people about such changes & separations.
64. And if there's a case where a couple feels that they're being pressured, that an injustice is being done to them, they should feel free to write personal letters, unread by anyone else, directly to their NO, so they can appeal & present their case.—And if the NOs need help or counsel in the situation‚ then they can write their CROs or write us!
65. Lord, help us to have the wisdom, discernment & love to handle such people properly‚ lovingly & prayerfully! In many cases‚ if one wants to separate and the other doesn't, say‚ for example, the wife says that her husband is really weak & is holding her back, well, if that's really the case, the people who live with them would probably know about it, right?—So the leadership needs to get in there & investigate & find out what the situation really is. It can't just be because some girl happens to read something like this, so she decides that her husband is a little weak & blah blah blah! You can't just go by anybody's whim, such as when someone falls in love with someone else & figures they'd rather have someone else than their mate, who they now suddenly feel is too weak to suit them, so they request a separation.
66. If they both decide that they want to separate, well, it's a lot easier then. We let them separate for 3 months‚ that's their decision. Then after 3 months their case is reviewed by themselves & also by their leadership‚ & they can take it from there as to what to do. But if one wants to separate & the other doesn't, how can we force people to stay together? If it's just a temporary separation of 3 months, even the one that doesn't want to do it should be able to take it for the sake of his or her mate, if that's what it takes to make them happy. If they really love them, they ought to be willing to try a temporary separation.
67. After all, if someone doesn't want to live with you, you ought to have enough love for them that you're not going to try to force them to stay with you, right? Who wants somebody to stay with them that doesn't want to be with them? It reminds me of a fellow I saw in a movie once, he said the most loving thing he ever did for his wife was to let her go, because he knew that's what she wanted to do. She wasn't happy with him, so why should he try to keep her there if she didn't want to be there?
68. Remember, "All things work together for good to them that love God" (Rom.8:28), & if they really love the Lord, even if they make a mistake & wind up separated when they shouldn't have been, if they love the Lord & they love each other & are still trying to do their best for Him, the Lord is going to use it to help them to get closer to Him, more desperate with Him, more dependent on Him, & to learn a lot of beautiful lessons. It will be good for them & it's not going to hurt them for just three months.
REVIEW OF THREE SEPARATION CATEGORIES!
69. Let's review what we've covered so far: Basically we've got three categories of situations that warrant separations. The first & most common is the category of the couple that brings it up themselves, it's their own idea that they want to separate. Either both of them or one of them wants to separate.
70. The second category are those that have a serious open problem, such as loud arguing, screaming or even physical violence, & leadership simply needs to go in & say, "This is enough, you separate or get out of the Family!"
71. And the third category, which as I said‚ would be just a very small amount of cases, is where leadership definitely sees that people for some reason or another are mismatched‚ or they could do much more for the Lord if they were separated than being together, even though they might not even seem to have any big open problems. So we've covered these different categories, but there are other aspects of separations which we should mention.
GETTING BACK TOGETHER!
72. For whatever reason they were originally separated, if both parties want to get back together again, then I don't think anybody should try to stop them, even in those cases where they were separated because they were screaming or being violent with each other. I think we have to take it in good faith if they want to get back together that they're not going to do it again. But if they do, the first time they do it again we will probably just have to separate them permanently!
73. But we've got to give people a chance. We've got to have enough faith in them to trust that they've gotten the victory. If they say they have & they want to get back together, it's almost like we have to let them. But if they go back to their old tricks, the serious stuff that got them separated in the first place, then immediately they should be separated permanently if they wish to remain in the Family, because obviously they haven't learned their lesson!
74. With those who separated simply because they requested it because they weren't doing very well together, of course we should let them get back together again if they so desire‚ it's their choice.—Even if they were doing better apart. It's a choice that all of us have to make: Whether to yield to & go on with the Lord‚ & lean on Him, or lean on somebody else. If they are the ones who suggested their separation in the first place, & we simply helped them to arrange their 3 months apart‚ if they then want to get back together for the Lord's, the work's, their kids' & their own sake, fine. It would be a very rare case that we would discourage or try to stop them.
75. But I don't think we can do this sort of thing too often. People can't just go back & forth‚ back & forth, back & forth & separate for 3 months, get back together for 3 months, separate for another 3 months, etc., etc.! It's simply too much trouble for everybody. They're going to have to make up their minds permanently whether they want to stay apart or get together & stay together!
76. I think it should be the couple's responsibility themselves to get back together when their 3 months is up, they're the ones that should fight for it. In other words, our leadership—who are so swamped with so many other responsibilities & burdens—can't be constantly checking their calendars & the days, weeks & months, keeping tabs on everybody so they can notify them when their separation is over, "Okay your 3 months is up, you can get back together!"
77. If they want to get back together they should say, "Listen, LAS, DAS, NAS, whoever you are, our 3 months is up & we're going to get back together unless we hear from you otherwise!" They shouldn't write a letter & say, "Our 3 months is up, can we get back together?" If they both want to get back together, then they should simply notify their leadership that that's what they're planning on doing unless they hear otherwise.
78. One little marriage relationship is probably the least of most of our poor leaders' problems‚ they have so many other problems to take care of & things that are a whole lot more important & more urgent to tend to. If the poor people who separated want to get back together again‚ but they try to wait for their leadership's approval or counsel to do so, when it has already been agreed that they'll be separated for 3 months, they may just sit stuck apart simply because nobody's had a chance to personally tend to or deal with their situation!
WHEN COUPLES DON'T WANT TO GET BACK TOGETHER!
79. What happens if after their temporary 3-month separation, they decide they want to be permanently separated?—Or one of them decides that they want to be permanently separated & the other one doesn't? Of course, the big consideration, the real difficulties arise in such situations when children are involved. If they're a couple that only has one child, or a couple that doesn't have any children, then it's really not too much of a problem. If they want to separate, why should we even question it? It's their problem, let them decide. But if they've got a lot of children, then we have to be very careful‚ very prayerful, & it's a very big step that the couple is deciding to take, & they'd better have the faith for it!—And we should do all we can to try to see that whatever is best for the children is what's worked out.
80. In most cases the couple usually has to split up the children, unless they agree that one is going to take all of them & can somehow manage that way. But I suppose the normal thing is that they split up the children because it would be too much of a burden on either one of them to take all of the kids themselves.
81. We've had a number of cases where the husband was able to leave his wife without any real problem because somebody else had volunteered to take care of her & the kids, or she fell in love with someone else & someone else with her, & they'd gotten together. So in effect, the children already have another Daddy, so there wasn't really much problem with it. In a case like that he's not really deserting her. She's cared for & in some cases‚ she may have gotten what she wanted.
82. In cases where they decide to permanently separate, they're going to have to have the faith that they can make it on their own, with the Lord, of course‚ if that's really His Will. They can't just be following their own selfish desires, they have to have faith that the Lord will provide for them. The wife can't just expect that leadership is somehow going to give her a fulltime bread-winner. So such couples that permanently separate who have a lot of kids, are going to have to have a lot of faith that the Lord is going to supply & that they're not going to be a burden on others. If they have each other & they can make it together, then before they separate they are going to have to have a lot of faith that they can make it apart!—Without overburdening others.
83. During their temporary 3-month separation they should both be able to get a pretty good idea of how well they can get along on their own, & if it's going to work out for them to be separated without being too much of a burden on anyone else. It's also their time to see if they do better apart‚ & to get an idea of what the future would be like if they were to continue being without each other if they did decide to separate permanently.
84. We might be able to help them with a 3-month temporary situation. Three months isn't that long a time period, & most of our larger Homes could probably manage to help someone with their kids for that length of time. But the couple themselves are going to have to have the faith & feel responsible if they decide to permanently separate, in which case it's their responsibility. For 3 months their leadership might manage to help them find somebody to help take care of the wife & the kids, but if they want to make their separation permanent, they're going to have to trust the Lord for their situation.
85. If they have the faith, if they really believe it's the Lord's Will‚ the Lord will somehow work it out. Perhaps the Lord might help her to fall in love with somebody else & give her somebody else who will really love her & take care of her or make her a part of their threesome somewhere or something. But the man can't just decide to run off & leave her. It has a lot to do with their faith & what they believe the Lord wants to do in their lives.
86. A little temporary 3–month separation is one thing, & something the couples can pretty much agree to on their own, with a minimal amount of counsel necessary & approval from their leadership. But when you're talking about a permanent separation, like a divorce, this is much more serious, & it really must be taken care of properly. More people have to be pulled into it to analyse it, finalise it & decide exactly who's going to get which children, where they're going to live, how they're going to be supported, etc., etc. So although we may let our people pretty much do what they want to do regarding temporary 3-month separations, the other is a lot more serious & has to be deliberated on quite a bit more.
87. Children need parents, & every child needs both a mother & a father if possible. So for the children's sake, our Family's sake & our witness & sample's sake‚ such cases must be handled very prayerfully, as some of these separations of large families have been a very poor testimony.
ARGUING IN FRONT OF CHILDREN!
88. If the parents are such terrible examples to their own children of constantly nagging, arguing, fighting & showing a real lack of love & consideration‚ in cases like that it's almost better that they separate & not be such a terrible example! In some cases the mother & father seem to be good to the children, but horrible to each other, so we almost have to decide which is the most important: To get rid of the bad sample or to keep the mother's & father's care there for the kids.
89. This presents a real dilemma sometimes, when the parents are awful to each other & almost act like they hate each other, but then they both love the children. It certainly seems that if parents in the Family really love their children, that they would be absolutely desperate to get the victory over such problems!—Or at least to keep them from being so open & so obvious that it will damage their kids! At least they could have their arguments behind closed doors & try not to shout & scream or discuss problems in front of their poor little kids!
90. When I was growing up, my parents always treated each other sweetly & considerately in front of us. I don't know that they were always close to each other, but they kept their problems & their arguments—which I suppose they had, most couples do—to themselves. And if they had to discuss problems, which I'm sure they had plenty of—church problems, financial problems, etc.—they always did so out of our hearing & out of our sight.
91. My goodness, if you have the Lord, you can certainly do something to prevent such a terrible, terrible example being shown to your own children! Fighting & fussing & arguing all the time results in real insecurity for the poor kids. Even if they know the mother & the father love them, if they're afraid that the father & mother are going to split up all the time, or they're afraid they're going to hit each other or hurt each other, they're not going to be too secure about anything!
92. The Lord is going to hold our folks very responsible if they don't at least try to keep such problems to themselves & behind closed doors! Dad has made this clear in the Letters, that you don't carry on like that in front of your children! So if anyone behaves like that in front of their children, there's no excuse for it!
93. Certainly the Lord is able to at least give them enough victory so that they can disagree & contradict each other quietly behind closed doors‚ & not in front of their little ones!—And that certainly seems like an easier way to get a victory than separating & divorcing & expecting the Lord to help them find new mates that will love them & love their children! If God has blessed them with so many kids, they need to really count the cost before separating like that, consult with their top leadership & make sure they are in the Will of God, or they are headed for trouble!
OTHER PERTINENT POINTS!
94. Another point regarding the children is that if the parents are going to separate‚ even a temporary 3-month separation, they need to make sure to wisely & lovingly give some kind of explanation to the children. They could tell them something like, "Well, just like you kids get [correction] sometimes when you're bad & you have lessons to learn‚ Mommy & Daddy have some lessons to learn now too. So we're going to be apart for awhile so we can get closer to the Lord & seek Him & His Will & learn the lessons He wants to teach us.—And then, Lord willing, we will be back together again in just a few months."—Or whatever the case is. They owe it to their children to somehow explain it to them & not just to be silent about it & act like nothing's happened, which will just confuse the poor kids.
95. Another point worth mentioning has to do with those who are having a temporary separation because they were putting each other before the Lord & His work: If an overly romantic relationship is what caused their problems in the first place‚ they should be cautioned not to go out & immediately start another big love relationship with someone else! If they get all romantically involved right away in another relationship, they may wind up right back in the same problem that they just came out of!—So why suggest they separate or even allow them to separate if they're going to jump right back into the same kind of situation that was holding them back & causing them trouble in the first place? If their problem is serious enough to warrant a separation‚ they should use their time apart to concentrate on the Lord & to renew their relationship with Him‚ & not seek out another human relationship in which they'll get all entangled again!
96. Something else to be aware of is that when two people do have to split up, but they still love each other, or even if one of them is still in love with the other, it's really difficult for them if they have to stay together in the same Home or the same situation. Very rarely should they both remain in the same Home.—Only if both of them are desperately needed! In almost all cases it would be much better to separate them & put them in separate Homes, if possible.
97. We've had a few instances of people who loved each other very much, but just couldn't seem to live together very well. Their being together created different problems, & they definitely did much better when they were apart. But because of their specialised ministries, it was necessary for them to remain together in the same Home or the same Unit after they were separated.—Thus the emotional pull was greater & they went through bigger battles than they would have had they been out of sight of each other. So under normal circumstances it would definitely be better to put the separated couples in separate locations.
98. As I said, there are so many difficult things regarding this topic that we have to really be prayerful & Spirit-led! A lot has to do with the people themselves & what they want to do & what they decide, but a lot is also up to us as their shepherds & overseers in the Lord. Each situation‚ each couple‚ each individual needs to be dealt with individually, personally, prayerfully & carefully.
99. God help us all to lay aside the weights & sins that so easily beset us, so we can run the race that is set before us, & channel our time & energies, desires & strengths into winning the World to Jesus in these last desperate hours in which so much depends upon us & our faithfulness to the Lord & our preaching of the Gospel & winning all whom we can into His Eternal Kingdom!
100. P.S.: Please bear in mind that the point of this talk, & our objective, is not to separate & break up all of our couples!—There's a difference between couples who are going through temporary "growing pains," minor problems & conflicts, & those that have reached a dead-end & are absolutely hindered, ineffective & spiritually stagnated because of the marital rut they've gotten themselves in!—Some people are simply incompatible as mates!
101. Most couples who are having problems shouldn't react to this with, "Alright!—Let's break it up!" Their first reaction should be, "Let's get desperate with the Lord & see if we can work things out!"—Like the parable of the man who had sought fruit on the fig tree for three years, who felt like giving up & cutting it down.—But the dresser of the vineyard said, "Let it alone till I dig around it & dung it: And if it bear fruit, well. And if not‚ then after that thou shalt cut it down." (Lk.13:6-9)—Give each other—and God—a chance! Then, if after an agreed time, you still can't "get it together," then perhaps try a temporary separation!—Amen? God bless & lead you & make you a blessing!