Settle Matters Quickly

This morning this passage came up in the daily devotional from my church. As I read the Reflect section I felt a whisper calling me to post this. In particular, there are are a few words that we should consider:

  • Pride
  • Stubbornness
  • Love
  • Necessary

I am also a follower of Dr. Henry Cloud and as I reflect on this section of the Bible, Divorce and Boundaries a few other words and phrases came to mind:

  • Discernment
  • Wisdom
  • Treating the X as I would want to be treated
  • Treating any children involved as I would want to be treated if I were them

Only you know where the boundaries lie between stubbornness and pride vs love and the Golden Rule. Only you know whether fighting on in court is really best for all concerned. Only you know or you will find out the hard way if you’re being selfish, narcissistic, unloving and unforgiving. You will find out sometimes years later when the decisions you make now to settle or to fight on either work to everyone’s benefit (including any children involved) or whether your decisions “come back to haunt you.”

As we approach Halloween the haunting is real, the pride and price we all pay for stubbornness and ego is terrible, but we can make a new choice at any time and choose love. Sometimes love does mean fighting on, but sometimes it means Settle Matters Quickly before they go to trial!

Read Matthew 5:21–26

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”


We are back to our primary passage for this week, from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In the last paragraph of this passage, Jesus tells His disciples to settle matters quickly with their adversaries. In other words, we should not be people who cause disputes to go on and on. Again, Jesus is focused on our hearts. What does our desire to drag out an argument or adversarial relationship reveal about our hearts?

  • What came to mind as you read the last paragraph of today’s passage? Why do you think that is?
  • Reflect on a time you’ve dragged out an argument or dispute. What was motivating you? What was going on in your heart during that time?
  • What invitation do you sense God extending to you about resolving disputes quickly?


God, give me eyes to see myself more clearly in moments of tension and dispute. Show me where I’m being stubborn and prideful, or dragging things out where it’s unloving or unnecessary. Give me the presence of mind to stop and show compassion and kindness. Continue to mold my heart so that it looks more and more like Yours. Amen.

San Antonio man ordered to pay nearly $9 million for breaking up man’s marriage

From ABC and other sources this morning. I watched as Cecilia Vega a co host on Good Morning America stated repeatedly she was “scratching her head over this one.” Then ABC’s legal expert came on air to explain these laws were antiquated. There is a much bigger story here that all of them are missing and which we have reported extensively here regarding how marriage laws vary radically from state to state and within each state from county to county

While the so called “alienation of affection” laws are antiquated, there was a place for fault divorce vs the now more common “no fault” divorce which is prevalent in most states in the U.S. today. Under no fault and as reported in this blog either spouse can run into court at any time and simply say they want out for no reason and take half the assets! This has caused many of us to question the financial liability present in a marriage certificate. Separate from religious and moral reasons, many people in our so called “modern” society are married without prenups and have virtually no protection from no fault divorce from their spouse. This means that ANYTHING can and does happen to wreak havoc on their marriage and prevent people from doing the hard work it takes to make a marriage work. This does not excuse abuse, but so many people get divorced creating an untold toll on their children, their finances and their spouse simply because they say “I’m not happy.”

You will decide for yourself what’s right for you and some of the articles in this blog may shed light on the issues.

Reposting from From Dr. Henry Cloud “Binding someone’s choices by guilt or manipulation is not love; it is slavery.

There are countless ways that people try to make other people’s choices for them. Think about the times when we’ve heard, “If you love me, you will do this or that.” They are most often crossing boundaries to take away someone’s free choice of how they will love. To say, “If you love me, you will not go bowling,” is an attempt to say, “If you love me, you will do anything I want and not have choices of your own unless I like them.” Those sorts of statements should always be confronted with a clearing up of boundaries: “That is not true. I love you, and I’ll choose how I’ll spend this evening. You can’t decide whether or not I love you. That’s my choice.”

People who cross boundaries and try to take away others’ choices call those other people “selfish” when they try to take back their power of choice. Doing something for yourself isn’t necessarily bad; it assumes that we need to do some things for ourselves, and that’s ok sometimes. Remember, whenever you tie a chain around another person’s ankle, it will invariably end up around your neck.”

7 ways you’re being disrespected (reposting from Dr. Henry Cloud)

I’m reposting this from Dr. Henry Cloud’s: My experience with Dr. Cloud’s resources are superb and they have helped me over the years.

Hey, guys.

No matter what kind of relationship you’re in — family, personal, romantic or professional — part of building boundaries means that you need to know that your feelings, needs and freedom are respected. When someone is uncomfortable in a situation, or is hurt by a sarcastic remark, or becomes angry with a broken promise, that is a signal that something is going on. The other person needs to take those feelings seriously. Both people need to talk about what triggered this, and solve the problem.

Disrespect may come out in several ways, and it usually involves some violation of freedom in one of seven ways:

1. Dominating: The other person won’t hear “no.” When you disagree with someone, the other intimidates, threatens, or rages. They are offended by your freedom to choose.

2. Withdrawal: One person pulls away when the other exercises some freedom or difference. They may isolate, sulk, or be silent. But they are passively punishing you for your differentness.

3. Manipulating: One person shows disrespect by subtle stratagems designed to make the other person change his mind.

4. Direct violation: The person disrespects by continuing the same hurtful action, even after being asked not to.

5. Minimizing: One person says the other person’s negative feelings are simply an overreaction.

6. Blaming: You talk about a problem, but the other person indicates that you caused the problem. For example, a man will tell his girlfriend that it hurts when she makes fun of him in public. She might respond with, “If you would pay more attention to me, I wouldn’t have to resort to that.”

7. Rationalizing: The other person denies responsibility for whatever caused the problem. There’s always an excuse.

Post Divorce Parenting or How Divorce Made Me A Better Father

It may be counterintuitive to say divorce made me a better father, but that’s the case for me. “It takes two to Tango” as the cliche goes and unless there is blatant physical, mental, drug/alcohol abuse by only one party it takes two to create the problems that lead to divorce.

Unfortunately, where there are children involved the issues are immeasurably complicated. For one thing no one asks to be born into this world! We arrive and from our first desperate cries for attention, food, warmth and love, and we rely on our parents to provide those things. When those parents are in some way lacking (and we all are as human beings with hangups, habits and hurts) problems ensue. Healthy parents figure out healthy ways to work together, but therein lies the problem!

Often what one parent thinks is a healthy way to raise a child is very different from the other parent’s thinking. There could be issues from the way the parent was brought up by their own mother or father! Tonya Harding is now being interviewed on national television clearly denouncing the brutal upbringing she received from her own mother which scarred her for life.

All of this makes marriage with children more difficult because when two people coming together who are not emotionally, mentally, physically healthy to the degree where fighting and arguments and other dysfunction occur the children will be scarred.

What to do? As mentioned in previous posts Codependents Dance two incomplete people do not complete each other. In fact two halves do not make a whole, but a dysfunctional family. And that leads me to the title of this post! Did I make mistakes in my marriage? Absolutely! Did my now X-wife also make mistakes? Absolutely! We would each argue the other caused problems, but I would say now after several years of divorce, the real problem was we should have never gotten married in the first place. My X told me she didn’t know if she loved me enough to get married, but I was codependent and needy emotionally in 1992 and begged her to try. Mistake one!

We waited eight years to have our first child so it was not an accident. We stayed married for almost eighteen years when in the summer of 2009 my X started an affair. I wanted to reconcile at first, but discovered that was a dead end because my X had no desire to do anything than to get out and pursue her affair.

So we co-parent, but only because I fought tooth and nail for my full joint physical and legal custody and to require my X to stay within a reasonable distance within a 30 to 45 min. drive from my home in Lake County, Illinois in order to participate in my daughter’s school activities. My X predictably wanted to try to put as much distance as she could between herself and me and I would argue was not able to see what was best for our daughters this created a Why is My Divorce Legal Bill so High?! situation.

At one point during the divorce my X actually told the court through her second of four total attorneys hired after each of their predecessors did not get her where she wanted to go that “she doesn’t think she can co-parent with me.” Thus sets the stage for a great co-parenting relationship. Not!

After 7 years from when the divorce started and 5 years from when the 3-year long divorce was finalized I believe we now have a good co-parenting relationship, but only through many fights and working hard to swallow pride, ego and try to really figure out what’s best for the children. Something that is continually evolving and not easy because we are all flawed human beings.

This will begin phase II of the Divorce Recovery Blog. I welcome your comments. More soon.