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Welcome Survivor!

What I Wish I’d Know About Dating is the topic of this newsletter. Although we looked at this subject previously in Issue 11, Marie in Georgia reminds us to pay attention to our heart when we sense something isn’t right here and have difficulty letting go of the relationship.

Here’s what is new

By reader request, Harvest House re-released WHEN HE LEAVES this April with a new cover and subtitle: Help and Hope for Hurting Wives, updated material, and an incredible Foreword by Laurie Hall, author of An Affair of The Mind. Visit www.HarvestHousePublishers.com to read an excerpt of this book. Note that WHEN HE LEAVES is now available online at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.christianbook.com, and in bookstores.


Kari recently appeared on the following television and radio programs to discuss divorce and pornography’s effect on marriage:

 

          “Herman & Sharon” on TV Channel 22 in Tampa, Florida

           “People and Issues” with Bonnie Houston on KVTT radio and “Point of View” with Carmen Pate on USA Radio Network in Dallas, Texas

          “At Home Live!” with Chuck and Jenni Borsellino in Fort Worth, Texas;

          Renewal Radio with Dr. Gene Getz, Plano, Texas - to air in June

          “The New Harvest Show” with Debbie Moffett on Lesea Broadcasting, South Bend, Indiana.

          “Prime Time America,” “The Morning Show,” “Midday Connection,” on WMBI radio, Chicago, Illinois.

          “Total Living” with Jerry Rose on TLN-TV, Aurora, Illinois - to air in June

          “It’s A New Day” with Chuck and Audrey Meisner on Trinity Television, Winnipeg, Canada - to air in June


To listen to her interview with Anita Lustrea, host of Midday Connection, a live call-in radio program out of Chicago, log on to www.midday.mbn.org. Click “Online Audio Archives” on the right, then scroll down to the program for Tuesday, May 10, 2005. To check the availability of programs airing in June in your area, search Google using the program’s name and/or host.

Personal Reflection by Marie in Georgia

It’s been three years since he and I met. So many contrasting emotions swirl in my heart as I write this and hope that others learn from my mistakes. One minute I feel tender inside, thinking of how he kissed me softly and the way he held me close. Then, the next moment, I recall the way he pushed my boundaries to the limit almost every time.


It started so innocently. We met on the Internet on a Christian singles site, emailing each other for almost a month. We also talked a lot on the phone before we met. The feelings we experienced as we e-mailed and talked were intense. We sensed we were “falling in love.” This sounds crazy, but it felt so real.


It was the day after Thanksgiving when we met. I waited for him on the gazebo in a little town square. Before he got to the gazebo, he motioned for me to come to him. At the time, I didn’t think a thing about it; but now, looking back, I realize this was an indication of his tendency to control. And to think that I hadn’t seen a picture of him before we met. Brave, wasn’t I? We had coffee in a little café and talked for some time. He held my hand and we smiled and laughed a lot. I reveled in how wonderful it was. It all seemed so perfect. Then we drove to the mountains to a place we’d talked about during our e-mails. It rained most of the day, so we spent the day talking. He kissed me for the first time. It was so romantic and memorable. But now, I see that his kisses were way too passionate and forward. I told him of my boundaries that first day, explaining how important it was for me to be pure.


The next few weeks were spent mostly talking on the phone and e-mailing as he was in and out of town. Mistake No. 1: We went right into the romance and totally skipped the critical foundation-building stage of friendship. Red flags went up right and left and my boundary issue was a constant struggle. “No, please, stop. Don’t touch me there,” I told him. But he acted as if he never heard me. Mistake No. 2: He was very adamant about me not contacting any of my guy friends anymore. You see, I’d met quite a few guys who were just friends and I wasn’t ready to not talk to them anymore—nor was I prepared for this man to look at the files on my computer of notes I’d saved about the guys and our conversations. He was jealous, but wouldn’t admit it.

Often he would say, “Are you my girl?” That seemed possessive to me.


One day, early in the relationship, I was praying and saw a spider web in my mind—and I was in it! I felt the presence of the spider nearby and felt danger. I now believe this was a warning that I should have listened to. I asked the Lord if this man was safe. I asked Him to help me discern his heart. I was now having doubts. But when you are in an intense relationship, emotions aren’t always reliable. I subdued my concerns because of this man’s sweetness.


He talked a lot about a business idea he had that he wanted us to start together and how he wanted me to get a small business loan. It sounded so good. He would work for me and I would be he CEO. He wanted me to get the loan because he wasn’t paying child support since his former wife wasn’t letting him see his son. Well, I never did get the loan because I didn’t believe it was my place; but I did spend hours on ideas and I bought business cards and sales materials. Now with hindsight I see how important it is to keep our eyes wide open—especially if we have a personality that leans toward being too nice to people.


I’m such a romantic at heart. What an imagination I had about our future together! I could see him carrying me over the threshold into our new home ... us dancing together in the presence of the Lord. I remember someone telling me once, “Don’t ignore the checks in your spirit because the kisses are so good.” Yet by mid-December I was looking for a wedding dress. Mistake No. 3: He was too insistent that we marry soon and I was falling in love with him. He said it was important not to miss God’s timing. Physically we allowed ourselves to become more intimate than I’d ever planned. The strong boundaries I had in the beginning fell. By early January when I shared with him that I couldn’t continue to break my boundaries, he said, “Yes, you’re right. We made a mistake. It was an accident, but I like it.” He said he loved me so much that he wanted to express it. When I told him that it caused me to lose respect for him, he didn’t handle it well. We had a major confrontation and I was thinking about bailing out of the relationship. So why didn’t I? Spiritually, our relationship wasn’t growing. He wasn’t taking the lead. When I shared this, he said he wasn’t used to praying with other people.


After a phone conversation one night, I asked myself, “Do you feel closer to the Lord now or further away?” I wrote in my journal: “Something isn’t right here.” During this time in my life, I was thinking about selling my house after 15 years. He was praying with me about this. But after I asked a married friend of mine to also pray about my situation, he was really offended. On Valentine’s Day he took me to a romantic antebellum home for dinner. The next thing I knew he proposed and I accepted. We planned a June wedding. By April I’d broken up with him because I had a gut feeling that this wasn’t right. But within days the weak woman in me who loves to be loved gave in to his kisses and hugs. I would think, “Well, maybe this can work.” So I gave it another try.


I broke up with him so many times. Then I gave in again and again, believing he was willing to work through anything. My problem is that I loved him and didn’t want the relationship to fail. After all, I’d just gone through a divorce two years ago after being married for 22 years. When I didn’t talk to him, I missed him terribly. I was grieving the loss of a dream. I was adjusting to being alone. I didn’t like these feelings at all. Now I wonder if perhaps our relationship had become addictive. When we become physical with a man at a deep level, even if we don’t’ literally have sex with him, we bond in a deep way. This kind of spirit-mind-body connection is only meant for marriage. I never understood what was meant by “soul ties,” although I’d heard the term. Now I do. I had allowed such ties and it felt almost impossible to let go and move on without him. Believe me, it may feel impossible, but it isn’t. We don’t ever need to be depend on a man for our feeling of self worth or need to be validated.


Within a few weeks I heard from his previous roommate that he’d moved to South Carolina. My brother-in-law said that wasn’t far enough, that he was “slick” and he’d never liked him. Only now do I realize how important it is to listen to family, friends, and pastors and take into consideration their opinion about the men in your life. A month later I learned that he missed me. That made it more difficult to let go. I wanted to call him, as you can imagine. So I did. After several long telephone conversations we realized there were still strong feelings between us and we wanted to see each other. I went and visited him out of state and we had a lovely time worshiping at church together, having lunch, and talking. I don’t know what I was thinking, except that I still loved him and wanted things to work out. I kept hoping he would change. It was June now.


In July, he moved back and we started seeing each other regularly again. He was having difficulty finding a place to live without a job. One night he came for a visit, along with another couple he knew. When it was time for him to leave, he said goodbye to them and stayed. I said, “No way. You’re supposed to stay with them.” For some crazy reason, I agreed to let him stay with me—on the sofa, of course. Well, that quickly evolved into him staying on a regular basis. I hurt my back and he wanted to help me and take care of me. I knew better. Although I wasn’t working because I lost my job due to the back injury, he didn’t get a job to help with the finances. I borrowed money from family. During this time, I went to the mountains for a short vacation and he stayed at my place. We’d been saving our change for a trip together. While I was gone, he took the money and bought coffee and cigars. I was quite upset.


Eventually, I made him leave, setting a date in early October and telling him he had to go. It was like kicking a wounded puppy out the door. His going and coming went on for months. On November 30, I journaled: “...I didn’t realize the full power of this situation until recently. This guy has been really hanging on and I’ve been struggling with letting go. A friend said to totally sever the cords that are dangling. She’s right. Amputate would be a good word. If I don’t amputate, I could lose a vital part of me.... I’ve learned so much. I should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for breaking up with the same man a record number of times!!!”


THINGS I WISH I’D DONE DIFFERENTLY

 

1.        Allowed a long period of friendship rather than moving right into romance

2.        Leaned on my spiritual senses and not my emotions

3.        Stuck to my convictions and boundaries and not given in to my flesh

4.        Kept a closer walk with the Lord; then I would have been more alert to deception

5.        Listened to friends and family; they see things I can’t and confirm gut feelings I experience.

6.        Finally, I wish I had not let the ending of this story go on and on and on . . .


THINGS I’VE LEARNED

 

1.        How important it is to keep the Lord first in all relationships.

2.        That my flesh can be very strong, especially when I am not feeding my spirit with prayer and worship, Bible study and fellowship on a regular basis

3.        To trust my gut feelings or intuition which is the Holy Spirit trying to speak to me. I need to listen and obey—“Don’t ignore the checks in your spirit because the kisses are good.”

4.        That it is easier to break up earlier in a relationship when you know it is n’t a God-thing. Then you’ll stick to your convictions even when you miss the other person terribly. Instead of contacting them, you’ll pray and call a friend.

5.        Why the Lord doesn’t want us physically intimate with a man before marriage since it creates a strong bond between two people that is difficult to pull away from. It creates soul ties. You are connected to that person in an intimate way and you carry that into the next relationship. Yes, God heals and restores; but there are serious consequences that we deal with.

Help for today by Kari

Marie has said it all so well through her poignant story. In conclusion, let me pass along her recommendation of this book: Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. She shares these passages for contemplation:


Discernment is the ability to detect, to recognize, to perceive beyond what is said. It is the ability to ‘sense’ by means of intuition. It is insight apart from the obvious, outside the realm of facts. People with discernment have the ability to read between the lines.”


“Safe people admit their weaknesses. Safe people are able to be confronted, not defensive. Safe people are spiritual, not religious. Safe people are humble, not self-righteous. Safe people change behavior, not just apologize.”

 

A promise you can trust

“...the Holy Spirit ... will guide you into all truth ...”
John 16:13 - Living Translation

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Copyright 2004-2005 by Kari West