our Family Wizard (a way of communication with the “X”)


…this may be a different & safer way for you to communicate your difficult “X”?…

Plans and Pricing

affordable solutions.

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30 day money back guaranteePackage Options and Pricing (for EACH parent):

Package B – $209.97
• OFW Subscription 2 Years
• ToneMeter 2 Years (What is this?)
• 5 GB Space 2 Years (What is this?)
• Optional Auto-Renewal*
• Optional Co-Parent Inclusion*

Package A – $119.97
• OFW Subscription 1 Years
• ToneMeter 1 Years (What is this?)
• 5 GB Space 1 Years (What is this?)
• Optional Auto-Renewal*
• Optional Co-Parent Inclusion*
*(when applicable)

Basic parent subscriptions are currently priced for EACH parent as follows:
• $99.00 for a one year subscription per parent (27 cents a day) Check current exchange rate of $99 US Dollars in other currencies
$179.00 for a two year subscription per parent (24 cents a day) Check current exchange rate of $179 US Dollars in other currencies

Your co-parent may not be as committed to the idea of online communication and planning as you are.  In some cases, your co-parent may simply not take the initiative to register on the site and purchase an account. You can purchase an account for the other parent during your sign-up process.  Simply check the “I would like to pay for the other parent” option.

See below for information on the military family discount, scholarship accounts and promo/coupon codes.

Parent Account Features

The OurFamilyWizard® website Parent Account puts all of your family’s information at your fingertips. The parent account gives you access to:
• Private and Shared Family Calendars
• The Message Board (Tonemeter)
• Notifications and Reminders
• The Journal
• The Information Bank
• Online Access to Important Documents (My Files)
• The Expense Log (OFWpay)
• The Family Resource Section
• E-Coupons

These tools will revolutionize the way your family communicates and shares information. You may choose to use all of the features or you may only use a few, but either way you can rest assured that the information will be safe, secure and always accessible from the Internet.

Child Accounts are free

Each of the children can be given access to a special child account.
These accounts give child(ren) the ability to:

o    View the Shared Family Calendar
o    View the Message Boards
o    Create and view Journal Entries
o    View and use the Family Resource Section
The child account gives child(ren) the ability to see a restricted amount of information that is pertinent to them.

Third Party Accounts are free

The third party account gives the ability to see a restricted amount of information, which is pertinent to them.  These accounts give users the ability to:
o    View the Shared Family Calendar
o    View the Message Board

o    Create and view Journal Entries
o    View and use the Family Resource Section

Professional Accounts are free

The professional account gives you the ability to create parent accounts, manage a database of your clients, store important client documents online (judgment and decree, court orders, etc.), communicate with your clients, create client to do lists, and much more. This account gives you the ability to see what is actually going on in your cases. All of the information is directly tied to the parent accounts that you create. This means that there is no duplication of efforts or materials.  The professional account is free of charge.


Professional Bulk Account Purchase Options:

Many professionals prefer to offer the OurFamilyWizard® parent accounts to their clients as part of their retainer agreement.  We offer volume packages of parent accounts at a discount available only to professionals.  Different package sizes are designed to fit the size of your practice.  Current volume purchasing options are as follows:

Solo Practitioner
• 10 parent accounts for $899.00 (save $91.00)
Small Practice
• 20 parent accounts for $1,740.00 (save $240.00)
Large Practice
• 30 parent accounts for $2,520.00 (save $450.00)

If you are interested in purchasing more than 30 accounts, please contact Bryan Altman by email at baltman@ourfamilywizard.com or by phone at toll free 1 (866) 755-9991 ext. 2

  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
    No questions, no stipulations, no fees, no hassle.  We want you to be satisfied with the OurFamilyWizard website tools and services.  If you are unhappy for any reason with our services you can get a full refund within 30 days of signing up.

  • Military families discount
    Service members and their families undergo a very unique set of challenges.  Deployments and family relocations can be very stressful for a family.  These issues are compounded when divorce or separation takes place. To show our support for the Armed Forces we have decided to provide OurFamilyWizard subscriptions at a greatly reduced rate to military families.

  • Scholarship Accounts
    Since our inception, we have provided discounted or free accounts to low-income parents in need of assistance.  Over the past ten years, we have provided thousands of scholarships to parents in need.  We don’t want a tough financial position to keep your family from benefiting from our tools.



I took an interest in this when I read all the many many explanations with in this email that was sent to me.  I like the “aggressive” words! If anyone uses them, let me know if you were or are happy with their aggression on YOUR behalf.

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Family Law Attorneys for Men (finally!)

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Call our office today at

Family Law Attorneys for Men

Cordell & Cordell is an international domestic litigation firm focused on men’s divorce and all other family law practice areas.

Men have chosen Cordell & Cordell because of our dedication to leveling the playing field for men in family law cases.

Our mission is to be advisors and advocates for men before, during, and after divorce, with a passionate and intelligent devotion to excellence. Don’t face this process without Cordell & Cordell, a partner men can count on.


Cordell & Cordell has appears in Time, the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, New York Times, and many more

Best Holiday Wishes From Cordell & Cordell

While the holidays are a happy and joyous time for many families, they can be extremely difficult if you’re transitioning through a divorce or separation. Maybe this is the first time you’ve gone through the…

Three Cordell & Cordell Maryland Attorneys Named Rising Stars

Three Cordell & Cordell Maryland divorce attorneys were recently named Rising Stars in the family law practice area by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters rating service of outstanding lawyers.  Kristine Rea and Jessica Zadjura earned…

Rated A+ by BBB

Recommeded Reading: Loving People How to Love & be Loved

Loving People: How to Love and Be Loved by [Townsend, John]

Your personal guide to learning how to love.

When you say or hear the words “I love you” it can change your life forever.   Love is one of God’s most important gifts to anyone, yet there are many misunderstandings about how to make love work in our families, friendships, marriages and dating relationships. In Loving People, best-selling author Dr. John Townsend shows you that love can actually be learned, and gives you the steps and tools to become skilled in love.

Using his trademark stories and illustrations to flesh out the important principles, Dr. Townsend covers:

  • receiving love
  • connecting love
  • healing love
  • confronting love
  • romantic love
  • surrendering love

Through his teaching, readers will discover – and start enjoying – the words, actions, and experiences of authentic love.

Recommended Reading: WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?

What Is My Purpose?: 8 Simple Steps to Find Your Purpose and Live a Life You Love (Finding Your Purpose Book) by [Foster, Simon]

What Is My Purpose?: 8 Simple Steps to Find Your Purpose and Live a Life You Love

Have you ever wondered if life has any meaning? Are you here just to survive a little? Is this life meaningless for you?

What if we were created for a purpose?

The ambition to discover the purpose of life is nearly as old as mankind. You have the striving desire to demonstrate yourself and others that you actually do have a purpose and that you are very good at it.

Unfortunately, many of us just waste our time wondering but never doing anything to discover life’s purpose or the true meaning of life.

Start taking action now and get the benefits of discovering your life purpose, the true meaning of your life and discover your personal mission.

By doing it you will start finally moving on the right direction to enjoy every second of a new self-designed meaningful life.

Recommended Reading: RUNAWAY EMOTIONS by Jeff Schreve

Runaway Emotions: Why You Feel the Way You Do and What God Wants You to Do About It by [Schreve, Jeff]

If we pay attention to the alarms in our lives, they could save us.

Worry. Anger. Loneliness. Negative emotions are uncomfortable by design. Like any good fire alarm, they alert us to a greater danger. But they won’t help us if we try to cover them up, hide them behind excuses, or assume they will always plague us.

The only healthy way to manage negative emotions is to find their source and address the problem that set them off. As pastor Jeff Schreve says, “A specific and compelling message can be found in each of your negative, painful emotions. God Himself is trying to speak to you through those emotions—right now.”

So what is God saying? How can we understand our emotions—even change them? Schreve shows how the truth of the Bible can make sense of our confusion. The power of the Holy Spirit can lead us to freedom, and Jesus Christ can give us true peace in the midst of any crisis.

You don’t have to let your emotions run away with you, your family, or your future.

Where Is God?: Finding His Presence, Purpose and Power in Difficult Times

Where Is God?: Finding His Presence, Purpose and Power in Difficult Times by [Townsend, John]

Hard times make us look for God.

Everyone has problems. But if we could solve all our difficulties ourselves, would we ever search for God? Psychologist John Townsend says “It is actually the very unfixability of our problems and our powerlessness to bring right results that keep us asking, ‘Where is God?'”

With a compelling narrative, Townsend offers new insights into the pursuit for God’s help and presence. Designed to give readers hope and meaning, he divides the discussion into three parts:

  • Why does a loving God allow us to experience difficulties?
  • How is God active in the middle of our hard times?
  • How can I find God?

With powerful stories and practical applications, Where Is God? assures readers that even when it feels as though God is absent it is his nature to be in relationship, to connect with, love, and guide us. And when we seek him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, he shows up in ways that transform us forever.

Breaking up with Perfect

Breaking Up with Perfect: Kiss Perfection Good-Bye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You by [Carroll, Amy]

I have enclosed a review off of Amazon because it is well written and all encompassing.                  dl

4.0 out of 5 starsStudy section is the strength of this book

By Joan N. on July 7, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

We are supposed to be perfect, aren’t we? We women certainly feel the pressure to be perfect – the perfect wife, the perfect mom, the perfect women’s ministry leader.

But Carroll says being a perfectionist, trying to be perfect, means trouble. She helps us understand how it affects our relationships (including our relationship with God), how it leads to feelings of failure, and how it over burdens us with responsibility.

Breaking up with perfect is not easy, especially when it has been with us so long. It can only be done by the power of God. Carroll, a recovering perfectionist, knows what she writes about. She shares many of her own struggles from her journey.

I really like that she explains how our beliefs shape us. There are certainly ramifications for believing what is not true. She helps us see that we are to put relationships over our perfection drive. She also helps us find out what defines us and whether we are driven by looking for other people’s approval. I was really convicted when she talked about playing the blame game. I appreciate her clarifying being a perfectionist as opposed to the work of God perfecting us. She also unpacks the “be perfect” Scripture, helping us understand it.

The strength of this book is in the extensive study section at the end. The questions at the end of each chapter are good for discussion, but the questions in the end section really go deeper and require honest thinking. They are good for individual use or for discussion within a trusted group.

I like that Carroll admits she does not have it all together. In fact, she writes, “…my life is far from perfect. And, I’m okay with that … for the first time ever.” If you are struggling with the pressure to be perfect, I recommend this very readable and encouraging book.

Food for thought:
“Seeing ourselves correctly as both loved and sinful is key to ending our love affair with Perfect.”

I received a complimentary e-galley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

Blindsided by God: Disappointment, Suffering, and the Untamable Goodness of God

Blindsided by God: Disappointment, Suffering, and the Untamable Goodness of God by [Chin, Peter]

It took thirty years to build Peter’s faith, but only three months to knock it down.

When Peter Chin moved his family into an inner-city neighborhood to plant a church, he was sure he was doing what God wanted. But in the span of a few months his family experienced a heartbreaking miscarriage, a break-in at their home, a breast cancer diagnosis, and the termination of their health insurance. Why would God allow these things to happen?

But God had one more surprise prepared for the Chins: a child, conceived in the most unlikely and dangerous of circumstances, through whom Peter would realize that although God’s ways were wild and strange, they were always good.

Filled with twists and turns, deep insights, and surprising humor, Blindsided by God explores the reality of suffering, the mystery of God’s ways, and why, even in the darkest times, there’s always reason for hope.

Lawyers other DivorceCare members submitted as good ones.

#1) Charles Rick,
Rick Linn LLC,

933 N. Charlotte Street
Suite 1-A
Pottstown, PA, 19464

Office (610) 850-9036;

#2) I recommend them especially if your trying to keep any assets that are rightly yours. The son, Daniel Sager is very good.


43 E High St
Sager & Sager Assoc
Pottstown, PA, 19464-5426


3) Alan Zeigler
532 Elm St.
Reading, Pa. 19601
Oh and one more thing about him. One thing that I really like about him is how quickly he  gets back to me whenever I would call. It is almost always within 24 hours and that meant a lot to me because I would only call if it was something that I felt was very important.


Please, take a look at this link?

If you are a Christian, please look at this page and consider signing  on behalf of your brothers and sisters, in the Lord.
I can not imagine the terror and the horror, the severe pain, as bad or worse then ours going through the early days in divorce, a modern day holocaust worse than the Hitler organization,  doing unspeakable torments to these beloved human beings. Its Satanic!
Would you want someone to fight for you if you were in their shoes?  I would!

The Secret Me: A Questionnaire Journal Paperback –


I chuckled when I saw this book and had to take a look inside of it over at Amazon. (see link above) I have heard quite a few of you say that you don’t know who you are, or what you want to do with yourself, now that you have time to be alone again. I suggest that this would be a “fun” way to start to get to know YOU!

Awesome Gift Idea All Year for the Young & Elder too!

Last Sunday I heard this program… there are so many mom’s who are Spiritually sensitive, and a few Dad’s too… and I wished I could connect immediately with you and say, you have got to hear this guy! But, I couldn’t. So I have gone to great lengths, trying to search the radio programs for this in the archives, and finally I wrote to the speakers company itself. I not only heard from a worker there within less than 12 hours, today I received a note from the speaker himself. (you may read it below) This human knows the Word, and feels that “the day” is very soon coming for Jesus return…. This non-profit company is printing books and making CD’s to get God’s truth out there NOW… It is urgent! Pay attention to his definitions of words! This is most fascinating. We are like sheep! we are so easily lead by the “crowd”! We are allowing this Culture to take us into the la-la land of amusement, exactly as some of you have heard me say before…I am not gonna tell ya! YOU, have got to take a listen!! Hey there Grandma’s! …..Here is a low cost gift for the kids at Christmas this year but it is worth its weight in spiritually influential gold! And if you know any book lovers… get it for them too! As I said.. I am gonna read these books too! and wait until you read what Mark says to me in the end of his note! GO AHEAD… LISTEN NOW… TURN IT UP SO YOUR WHOLE HOUSE LISTENS!!!!!
HEY RICK! I have something here I want you to hear!

De Etta:
Thank you for contacting us. Someone may have already gotten back to you but I wanted to personally send you a note. We are not sure what program you listened to, but my hunch is that is was the broadcast from thie following link:”
This second link is from our daily radio broadcast. If it isn’t either of these, please let me know. The first one, I believe is the one you will want to share with you people.
Blessings to you! ps. if you ever need any recommendations about the books or audios, let me know. I love to connect people with the right story. And btw, most of our readers are adults!

Mark Hamby

Signs Your Partner is Too Controlling

Lisa Aronson Fontes, PhD Become a fan

University of Massachusetts Amherst SeniorLecturer & author, Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in YourIntimate Relationship

Signs YourPartner Is Too Controlling

Posted: 07/21/2015 8:57 amEDT Updated: 07/21/2015 8:59 am EDT

You have concerns about the qualityor health of your relationship. Maybe you feel bossed around, not as free asyou’d like, sometimes even insulted or humiliated. On bad days, you wonder whatyou’re doing together. But you remember good times and even now, on occasion,you feel loved. Your partner has probably told you thatyou are the problem, and you may wonder if it istrue. A careful assessment will help you see what’s going on–then you candecide what to do about it.

Below are a series of questions aboutsome of the controlling behaviors you may have experienced. (For a morecomplete list, please click here). Unhealthy domination by a partner is called coercive control. It’s more thanjust occasional nastiness or bossiness–it affects several areas of your lifeand causes you to change your behavior to keep the peace. You may be soaccustomed to some items on this list, they just feel like “the way itis.” Other items may seem extreme, and you may be relieved to realize thatyou do not face all of them:

• Does your partner try to isolate you and keep you away fromother people?

• Does your partner try to keep you from leaving the house,joining organizations, working, or furthering your education?

• Does your partner limit or monitor your phone conversations,social media use, email, or mail?

• Does your partner try to find outwhat you have done and where you have been in a way that feels like “toomuch?” Does your partner spy on you or stalk you?(Drawing by LizBannish)
• Does your partner try to control your personal activities, such as yourhobbies and interests and what you wear?

• Does your partner try to control your access to resources suchas money or transportation?

• Does your partner make you feel afraid by shouting, swearing,name-calling, or insulting you? In coercive control, this is one-sided andfrequent or extreme.

• Does your partner try to control aspects of your health orbody in ways that are harmful to you, such as making demands regarding your:eating or weight, sleeping, bathing, or using the bathroom? Does your partnertry to block you from taking prescription drugs that you need, going formedical care, seeing a therapist, or exercising?

• Does your partner push you to use substances such as street drugs,prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons, or more alcohol than you want?

• Does your partner push you to change your body in ways you’drather not, such as getting tattoos or piercings or cosmetic surgery?

• Does your partner push or force you sexually, and are youunable to speak your mind about sex? Does your partner push you to avoidpracticing safe sex? Does your partner push you to take sexual pictures orvideos?

• Does your partner block your efforts to separate or leave therelationship?

• Does your partner block your efforts to speak about thingsthat matter to you?

• If you have children in your lives, does your partner try tocontrol or harm your relationship with the children?

• Does your partner throw, kick or punch things, slam doors orstomp around to intimidate you? Does your partner grab or push you, get in yourface, corner you, or pin you against a wall?

• Does your partner refuse to speak with you for long periods oftime?

• Does your partner threaten you?

• Does your partner hurt you physically? Does your partnerthreaten you with guns or other weapons? Does your partner threaten suicide?

• Does your partner punish you or deliberately harm you?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions,which ones are the most upsetting to you? Which frighten you the most? If you haveanswered “yes” to some but not all, you may still be in arelationship of coercive control. For instance, some people control theirpartners without physical violence.

Not all the questions on this list are created equal. Responding”yes” to one question, such as “Does your partner threatenyou?” may be enough reason for you to end your relationship today.Responding “yes” to a question about whether your partner tries tocontrol what you eat or how you spend money may not. Or it may. Only you candecide the reasons to maintain or end the relationship.

There is no one right way to score this list. Unfortunately, youcannot simply add up the items, arrive at a total and say to yourself, “Myrelationship is okay” or “My relationship is overly controlling and Ihave to change it” or “I must end this relationship.” Thesedecisions are too individual for that kind of numerical process. But I hopethese questions help you think about whether you’re a victim of coercivecontrol. Then, you can decide what to do next.

Many people stick with their partners for months, years anddecades, waiting for them to change. Remember, past behavior is the bestpredictor of the future. Without some intense intervention, most controlling partnerswill not change. Try to be hopeful about the possibility of freedom in your future, whether thatfreedom takes the form of improving or ending the relationship.


RelationshipsDomestic ViolenceCoercive ControlCouplesVerbal AbuseIntimate Partner ViolenceDatingViolence Against Women

This Blogger’s Books and Other Items from…

Niceness Isn’t Always Nice!

The price of always being nice …

  1. The “nice” person tends to create an atmosphere that keeps others from giving honest feedback. This limits growth.
  1. The “nice” behavior leaves uncertainty in others in that they can not be sure of support in crisis situation that demand candor or in confrontation with others.
  1. “Nice” behavior stifles growth by depriving others level feedback and a “real” person to relate to.   This tends to force others to turn their aggression inward against themselves.   Guilt and depression can follow.
  1. The chronic “niceness” leaves others uncertain whether the relationship could withstand a conflict or sustain angry, spontaneous, confrontation.   Intimacy is limited by a felt need to be constantly on guard.
  1. “Nice” guys are more subject to periodic rage explosions, which erupt unexpectedly when others are unprepared for it.
  1. Physical ills can abound!

Therefore, it’s not nice to play nice!!!

Wired For Love part 1, like it? Listen at: http://www.sdrock.com/messages/2011-09-25/

MESSAGE PART (below ) part 2 on this video link: http://www.sdrock.com/messages/2011-09-25/

Wired For Love – Part 1, Wired for Relationships
Return to the Message Archive

This week marks the beginning of a new series entitled, “Wired for Love,” in which Pastor Miles will talk about how God created us to love and be loved.

In Genesis, God creates the earth in various stages, after which He states, “It is good.” But there was only one thing during creation (prior to sin’s entry into the world) that God claimed was “not good.”

And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18

It is not good for man to be alone because God created man with the capacity and desire for relationship.

1. God designed or ‘wired’ us to enjoy what He enjoys – loving relationships.
Why did God create man? He wasn’t lonely; He had the Trinity. He didn’t need us to worship Him; He had the angels worshiping him long before we came into the picture. He didn’t create us to glorify Him; He already had glory. God created man so that we could enjoy what He has – loving relationships.

God models loving relationship for us in the Trinity, the three persons of God who all have different functions and roles, yet are united in One God.
In John 17:21-23, Jesus prays to the Father, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

God models loving relationship for us in the Trinity, the three persons of God who all have different functions and roles, yet are united in One God. (See Genesis 1:26, John 3:16, John 7:16, John 16:13, John 17:1, John 16:14.) The Father sent the Son and the Son sends the Holy Spirit. Together they design and execute the plan of salvation, and they all point to each other and give one another glory.

God desires for us to have loving relationships with each other and with Himself. We can miss this fact if we get caught up in religion. Life with God is about relationship, and He wants to be involved in all of your earthly relationships, everywhere you go, in every area of your life.

2. Our design or ‘wiring’ actively seeks to live in loving relationships.
A relationship is defined as an interdependence between people where equal give-and-take exists…

If God commanded you to love, he must have designed you to love. We seek out what God created for us.

The human body has many different intricate systems (digestive system, skeletal system, endocrine system), including various brain systems. One of these is the relationship/bonding system, which constantly asks two questions:

Am I loveable?
Is love available to me?/Am I accepted by this group of people?
As a child you develop a sense of how to give and receive love, and sometimes this develops a pattern of falseness because you have learned that you will not be loved or accepted unless you do certain things or act a certain way. Whatever you learned in your relationship system, you will have the same pattern and expectations with God, because that’s what you know. (That doesn’t mean you can’t improve or re-learn how to love and be loved with God’s help.)

Our relationship system works in a very specific way because we were creative to love and be loved. Unlike animals, who can live among humans and never encounter another of their kind, people cannot live without love and human interaction; humans left to themselves will die. Don’t take these systems for granted. They have been given to you for a very specific reason – to enable you to have relationship.

3. God Himself is the ultimate satisfaction of our search for a loving relationship.
Pastor Miles shared that when he and his wife Debbie started dating, their relationship was a mess for the first few years. Miles finally came to a point where he realized that he needed to love Debbie better than he was able to, and only God could help him with that. We all have relationships that are not reaching their loving potential because we have not fully tapped into God’s love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

God not only loves and gives love; He is love. If you want to get back to the way God wants us to love, just start giving it selflessly! Don’t give out of selfish ambition or to get credit for how great you are. Relationships are not meant for manipulation, but for selfless love. You can’t get to that point unless you have the love of God in you. Ask Him today what relationships you need to surrender to Him and allow His love to flow through you.

A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp

Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
By Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp

CBN.com – Your best friend is suddenly cool and distant. Your spouse can’t stop complaining about your bad habits. Your son refuses to talk to you. What are you supposed to do?

Plans A, B, and C might be to shut down, lash out, or get out. But consider Plan D: Recognize that God has the last word on those messy, conflict-ridden relationships. He can use them to make you into someone who can give and receive love—with God and others.

In their book, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, authors Tim Lane and Paul Tripp explore the stubborn problems that plague many close relationships. They offer these eight observations to help readers understand relationships and how God uses them in our lives.

You were made for relationships.

This fact takes us back to the beginning. It asks the basic questions, “Who are we, and how important are our relationships?” In Genesis 2:18, God says that it is not good for man to be “alone.” God created us to be relational beings because he is a social God. God lives in community within the Trinity as Father, Son, and Spirit, and he made humanity in his image. Genesis 2 is not speaking primarily to Adam’s experience of being lonely as much as it is revealing his nature as the person God created him to be. Because God created a communal being – someone designed for relationships – creation is incomplete without a suitable companion. While Genesis 2 does address how male and female complement each other, the implications are broader to include all human relationships. In addition, the word “helper,” used here for Eve, speaks throughout scripture of the complementary nature of all human relationships. “Helper” is used primarily to describe a companion, not a fellow laborer.

The reason we know this is true is that the word “helper” is often used to describe God’s relationship with his people. When used this way, it does not refer to God as our coworker or employee, but God as our ultimate companion, who brings things to the relationship that we could not bring ourselves (Ps. 27:9; 33:20-22). So God is not addressing Adam’s workload but rather the fact that he is a social being who lacks a suitable companion. Just as human beings were created with a vertical need for God’s companionship, they are also created for the horizontal companionship of other people.

In some way, all relationships are difficult.

While the first fact is exciting, we still have to deal with reality. All of our relationships are less than perfect. They require work if they are going to thrive. Quickly on the euphoric heels of Genesis 2 comes Genesis 3, where the entrance of sin brings frustration and confusion into relationships. In Genesis 3, man and woman engage in accusation and slander. Genesis 4 gets even worse, with a man murdering his own brother.

While many of us have not committed murder, we still live on the continuum between murder, accusation, and blame. No wonder our relationships are so messy! Our struggle with sin is constantly revealed in them. If you want to enjoy any progress or blessing in your relationships, it will require you to admit your sin humbly and commit yourself to the work they require.

Each of us is tempted to make relationships the end rather than the means.

When we reflect on Genesis 1-3, it becomes clear that the primary relationship Adam and Eve were intended to enjoy was their relationship with God. This vertical communion with God would provide the foundation for the horizontal community they were to have with each other. Everything God made pointed Adam and Eve to the primacy of their relationship with him. All of creation was to function as an arrow pointing to God. But in our sin we tend to treat people and creation as more important. The very things God created to reveal his glory become instead the glory we desire. We settle for the satisfaction of human relationships when they were meant to point us to the perfect relational satisfaction found only with God. The irony is that when we reverse the order like this and elevate creation above Creator, we destroy the relationships God intended – and would have enabled – us to enjoy.

There are no secrets that guarantee problem-free relationships.

We all look for strategies or techniques that will free us from the pain of relationships and the hard work good relationships demand. We hope that better planning, more effective communication, clear role definitions, conflict resolution strategies, gender studies, and personality typing – to name just a few – will make the difference. There may be value in these things, but if they were all we needed, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection would be unnecessary or, at best, redundant.

Skills and techniques appeal to us because they promise that relational problems can be fixed by tweaking our behavior without altering the bent of our hearts. But the Bible says something very different. It says that Christ is the only real hope for relationships because only he can dig deep enough to address the core motivations and desires of our hearts.

At some point you will wonder whether relationships are worth it.

At some point, each of us will become discouraged and disappointed with a relationship. The health and maturity of a relationship are not measured by an absence of problems, but by the way the inevitable problems are handled. Because human conflict is the result of the spiritual battles in our hearts, wise relationships always seek to be aware of that deeper struggle. Even in times of peace, you must be vigilant regarding the way your relationships can be hijacked by the underlying desires of your hearts, which are subtly and constantly shifting.

How do you deal with relational disappointments? Do you blame, deny, run away, avoid, threaten, and manipulate? Or do you speak the truth, exhibit patience, approach people gently, ask for and grant forgiveness, overlook minor offenses, encourage and honor others? Let’s admit that these questions touch us where we live from day to day. True Christian maturity does not get any more practical and concrete!

God keeps us in messy relationships for his redemptive purpose.

This sixth fact reminds us that the very thing we would naturally seek to avoid is what God has chosen to use to make us more like him! Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t just make your relationships better overnight? We often think that if God really cared for us, he would make our relationships easier. In reality, a difficult relationship is a mark of his love and care. We would prefer that God would just change the relationship, but he won’t be content until the relationship changes us too. This is how God created relationships to function.

What happens in the messiness of relationships is that our hearts are revealed, our weaknesses are exposed, and we start coming to the end of ourselves. Only when this happens do we reach out for the help God alone can provide.

While we would like to avoid the mess and enjoy deep and intimate community, God says that it is in the very process of working through the mess that intimacy is found.

The fact that our relationships work as well as they do is a sure sign of grace.

One of the biggest impediments we face in relationships is our spiritual blindness. We frequently do not see our sin, nor do we see the many ways in which God protects us and others from it. God constantly protects us from ourselves by restraining our sin. We are a lot like Elisha’s servant in 2 Kings 6:15-22. He was overwhelmed by the enemy army that surrounded him until God opened his eyes to see the far more formidable army of angels God had sent to protect him. Why was it that the servant could see only the enemies surrounding Israel but not “the hills full of horses and chariots of fire” from the Lord? It was the spiritual blindness of unbelief.

How do you measure your potential in relationships? Do you measure the size of the problems or the magnitude of God’s presence in your midst? Considering our sin, it is amazing that people get along at all! Each night, the evening news begins with a litany of murders, rapes, and robberies that suggest that your community is a very dangerous place. Yet it fails to cite the thousands of good things people do to make that same community livable. Our view of our relationships can be just as slanted. We tend to see sins, weaknesses, and failures rather than the good things God is accomplishing. If you look for God in your relationships, you will always find things to be thankful for.

Scripture offers a clear and attractive hope for our relationships.

Does the challenge and mess of relationships leave you discouraged? Does the biblical honesty about human community shock you? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the hard work relationships require? If so, you are ready for this last fact: The shattered relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the cross provides the basis for our reconciliation. No other relationship ever suffered more than what Father, Son, and Holy Spirit endured when Jesus hung on the cross and cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus was willing to be the rejected Son so that our families would know reconciliation. Jesus was willing to become the forsaken friend so that we could have loving friendships. Jesus was willing to be the rejected Lord so that we could live in loving submission to one another. Jesus was willing to be the forsaken brother so that we could have godly relationships. Jesus was willing to be the crucified King so that our communities would experience peace. In his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus brought reconciliation in two fundamental ways. Jesus reconciled us to God, which then becomes the foundation for the way he reconciles us to one another. When God reigns in our hearts, peace reigns in our relationships.

This work will only be complete in heaven, but there is much we can enjoy now. The New Testament offers hope that our relationships can be characterized by things like humility, gentleness, patience, edifying honesty, peace, forgiveness, compassion, and love. Isn’t it wonderful that God’s grace can make this possible even for sinners in a fallen world! This hope challenges whatever complacency and discouragement we might have about our relationships because there is always more growth, peace, and blessing that God’s grace can bring, even here on earth.

Purchase your copy of Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

Adapted from Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp. Used by permission of New Growth Press, Greensboro, North Carolina, http://www.newgrowthpress.com. Article provided courtesy of The B&B Media Group.

6 Ways Your Divorce Is Harder Than It Needs to Be

6 Ways Your Divorce Is Harder Than It Needs to Be

Posted: 06/29/2015 6:19 pm EDT Updated: 06/29/2015 6:59 pm EDT
 Divorce is generally unpleasant. Oh sure, we all have that friend who sails through it with a smile on their face and a spring in their step, never exhibiting an outward moment of hesitation as they move through the divorce with an almost unicorn-like dignity and grace. Then there are the other 99.999 percent of us. I have been in the ugly tear-stained trenches of it all as my little one was ripped from my arms screaming for his Mommy. I have made some stupid mistakes, more than once. Sometimes I wonder if all the difficulties I have been through are the reason I am effective in this line of work. I promise I will not ask you to do something I haven’t done before, and I really understand how you feel when you sit down in my office overwhelmed and in pain. Real, excruciating, pain that feels as if you have been punched in the gut. Not sleeping. Not eating. Feeling as if you are in a daze and as if all this is happening “to you” without any input, without any control. Your spouse may get your house, your children and steal your financial security, but the process may be more difficult than necessary. I am aware that I am not always easy on my clients. It is my job to tell you what you sometimes do not want to hear. There is no reason to pay someone thousands of dollars to just agree it’s not your fault, unless, of course, that someone is your therapist. There are many different ways to get through this time, some more effective and healthy than others. After 21 years of practicing law, I would like to say I have seen it all, but just about every week we see new forms of additional self-imposed misery. So here are a few tips and what to avoid doing to make this divorce process a little shorter, less traumatic and maybe a little less expensive too.

1. You want what she/he is having.

In divorce, as in life, if you spend the days lamenting over what is going on with your ex, or anyone else for that matter, this will not lead you to your happy place. There will always be someone richer, younger, thinner, smarter, more accomplished along the way. No good comes from worrying about the things others have, material or otherwise. Your ex has a new significant other, a new house, a new car. Your ex is traveling the world (and they never did this with you). Your ex is spending your child support payment on their nails or golf. They are now father or mother of the year, and they never even changed a diaper! You cannot control someone or their actions, but you can control your reactions.

You can choose instead to be happy they stepped up to the plate with the children like they never did before, or that they have a nice house or car for your children to enjoy. You can just be happy they are not your problem anymore. These worries are serious “time wasters” that take the focus away from our own lives and happiness. They also make really crappy conversation starters with a new friend or love interest. Bitter and jealous are simply not fun to be around. As a big believer in Karma, wish them well and then move on to more important issues like your own happiness. Make sure your own glass is half-full or even better overflowing with new love, new friends and a happy home, even if it is a town home.

2. You believe you are not accountable for the failure of your marriage.

You were the kindest, most loving, nurturing spouse that ever was there — I believe you, I really do. Are you at fault? Yes, you married someone who did not believe in your fabulousness. Most of the time, if we are really honest with ourselves, (not always easy or pretty, I know) we might admit, albeit reluctantly, we knew the very thing about our soon to be ex that now leads us running to the divorce lawyer. Of course, there are exceptions to this observation but so very often the signs are right there, the pink elephant we chose to ignore. They were mean to other people, you had wildly different views of the world and life goals, they were financially irresponsible while you saved every penny, and the list goes on. You thought you could “fix them” or perhaps maybe just give up an essential piece of your soul and what matters, to make them happy. Then one day we wake up and realize the marriage is over, or perhaps they decided enough is enough, but we all play a part. When there is no singular fault and when we all accept our piece of where and how it all ends, we move on faster, we fight less, we spend less on lawyers and most importantly, we are less likely to make the same mistake again.

3. You can’t forgive.

Well of course you can, but you just don’t want to. I am NOT going to tell you that you have to forgive — you don’t. It is certainly your prerogative to hold on to that anger and hatred with all the passion and love once directed at your former beloved. You want to hold on to it tightly because it was a really awful horrible thing that was done to you. It is, after all, the reason you are in this mess in the first place, right? Someone else did this to you (see number two above). There are some things that are unforgivable after all, are there not? Someone slept with your best friend, beat you, left you or lied to you. So don’t forgive, but be prepared to pull out your checkbook for your lawyer and the therapist for you and maybe your kids too.

Anger and hatred have a direct correlation to a longer, messier divorce and higher attorneys fees while we punish the wrongdoer. Maybe you can change the dynamic with a little change in perspective. People who hurt us are often broken themselves with complicated stories and reasons that may have little to do with us. Maybe we should feel sorry for them instead of angry? Maybe we should realize how sad it is they will never know how they were loved, or be capable of giving love the way it was intended. The truth is forgiveness is not a favor to others; it is a favor to you. It frees up a space inside you for significantly better things. Think about the words “angry” and “bitter” and think of an image. Do they make you happy, do they look light and beautiful? Sometimes I wonder about the moments of our life. Would our moments be different if a clock was running down the moments left in this life on our new Apple watch? Would we choose to waste them rehashing the harms done to us, or choose moving forward towards more moments of joy? There is huge power in not allowing someone to steal more minutes of your life with anger or regret. So go ahead and stay mad or take back your power, forgive and lower those attorney’s fees, after all.

4. You believe you are entitled to the same life.

I often work against expectations so huge that Cinderella’s fairy Godmother could not deliver them (and don’t get me started on her; that girl has lead more people down the path to divorce, but I digress…). If you come to me or any lawyer believing you can have the same life you had before you divorced, you will be sadly disappointed and will spend unnecessary time and unnecessary fees. The math of divorce is simple division. Divide by two, your income and assets, and multiply by two, the amount of bills. Sounds great, right? I don’t care if your lawyer wrote the book on divorce, the story always has the same ending, everyone will have less. Even in the biggest cases it applies. I call it “park the plane,” everyone will tighten their belt or maybe just give up a house or two, but nobody gets to have it all. You simply can’t believe, you might have to give up your custom decorated 10,000-square-foot apartment in Tribeca, and will pay any amount of money to avoid this travesty of justice. Your righteous indignation is blood in the water and the sharks are circling. Have a low-calorie alcoholic beverage and save those attorney’s fees to put a down payment on a nice new penthouse on 5th Avenue.

Feelings of entitlement are costly and set us up to be disappointed in this life. You are both entitled to a life at the end of this mess but it will be a different life for you both. Maybe I am a cynic, (after all these years, who could blame me?) but there is no way to ensure your happiness other than to make sure no one else is responsible for it. Work hard, own your own destiny and be grateful for what you have, even if it is 50 percent less that you used to have; it is so much more than many others.

5. You surround yourself with “yes” men.

They might be your best friend from summer camp who you have known since you were 10, your parents, your sister, your brother, and all too often, your lawyer. Your “yes men” are the ones that support whatever you do no matter what. They nod in agreement whenever you call your ex a complete jerk, they agree you deserve to “get it all” for what the other party has done to you. They encourage you to fight for things you are not entitled to, they encourage you to use your children, hide your assets, fight for unreasonable positions and generally condone your bad behavior. They never see the other side, never hold you accountable for your actions, sometimes just because they love you unconditionally. Some of my dearest friends and family however, have been those who have held me accountable for my own piece of some fairly tragic “life detours” (people seem to really dislike the term mistake). Sometimes we need the people around us to tell us to get our shit together, to toughen up or lighten up. We say “no” to our children everyday because they need to know there are limits and expectations. No is not a bad thing. Be aware of those who agree with everything we do or say. Listen to those who show the real mirror to the not-so-pretty behavior. We all need to be reminded that this is not the end of the world, that no one is guaranteed a particular life unless we create it for ourselves and that who we are at the end of this crazy ride is what really matters.

6. You think too much about you.

There is nothing that makes people feel worse about themselves than being singularly focused on what is wrong with their day, their life, their kids, their job, their appearance. Perspective is the greatest gift we can allow ourselves to move toward being happy. I can focus today on my broken faucet, ice maker jamming up, piled up laundry, my daughters four cavities (no, that is not a typo, and yes, I brush her teeth). This which will now require us to fly back from vacation for the procedure because her Reactive Airway Disease makes sedation too risky now with her recent Bronchitis. In the alternative, I can focus on a friend who just lost her young husband with two young daughters and think about her. Today her pain is bigger than any pain I can imagine, her strength and courage fills my heart with awe that life is hard and people are so very resilient. These people and stories are a gift to remind us this too shall pass and there is more life to be lived. Look outside your pain and your struggles. Your house is not big enough or nice enough? You have a home. You have family that loves you but are driving you crazy? There is someone alone tonight. So try to focus on doing something that is not about you at all. Stop for a whole day and try not to complain about anything. Say out loud “someone has it worse, I should be grateful.” You will be better prepared for this little bump in the road we call divorce.

I know divorce sucks, it is not supposed to end like this no matter how it ends. Someday you will be through it, hopefully sooner rather than later. Don’t torture yourself or your spouse unnecessarily, you will make the lawyers rich, the judges annoyed and your children cranky. This divorce is a gift, a new life, different but better than ever, if you let it be. Get there as fast as you can, that clock is ticking.

© Krista Barth 2015

Marriage and Divorce Resources

DivorceCare People: Check out these links below for more information before you move forward.

click down in paragraph below or cut and paste into your browser please.

Divorce is such a hot topic in our society that it is often hard to ignore. We have data that shows the divorce rate is as high as 50%. Whatever the reasons, divorce is a decision that should be made independent of emotions and with all implication considered, from financial to child custody. For this reason, my team of researchers and I have developed a guide to help those faced with divorce to take control of their situation and to make best choices. You can see the entire guide along with some of its features here:
1)  http://www.expertise.com/four-questions-you-must-ask-before-filing-for-divorce/
2)  http://www.expertise.com/divorce-and-child-custody-everything-you-need-to-know/


Many publications and businesses use our guide as a trusted resource for their consumers. Here are a few examples:
Newport County Chamber of Commerce, http://www.newportchamber.com/chamber/resource_guide.aspx, listing us as “Expertise Guide to Local Marketing”
Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, http://www.greatfallschamber.org/business-resources, listing us as “Rank In Google and How to Fix Your Local Listings”

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Sherry Matamorosa

Saw a great prayer on Facebook

Saw a great prayer for our past, current, participants and all those currently married. Today’s Prayer Dear God, I praise you today for who you are. I come to you on behalf of all married couples. You instituted the family. You made a precious connection when you created Eve from Adam’s rib. They would be mates and help meet one another’s needs, raise a family, and oversee your creation. I pray for a hedge of protection around every married couple today. Please work in their hearts and guide them to think of one another as they should. May their priorities be straight, with you at the center and their marriage above other relationships. May they guard their families and be good stewards of all you have bestowed–and will bestow–upon them. Strengthen the marriage relationship and give power, wisdom, and guidance to each partner to stay on guard against the temptations of the world–the things and people that Satan would throw at them in an effort to destroy their marriage and the family. Bless the union. Work in and through these couples and families to minister to one another and others, exhort the body of Christ, and glorify you. May we be godly examples to the world. In the name of Jesus Christ, the husband and head of the church, I pray, amen.