Forehands encourage Christians to center marriage around Christcomment (0)
October 31, 2013
By Kristen Padilla
We were married eight years, divorced, and God put our family back together,” said Jena Forehand, co-founder of Stained Glass Ministries in Birmingham, and member of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham. “Why in the world can you be in the church for many years and still go through a nasty divorce?”
Forehand’s question is a fair one in light of the statistics that say born-again people will divorce at almost the same rate as non-born-again people, 32 to 33 percent respectively, according to a Barna Research report published in 2008.
When Jena and her husband, Dale, went through their divorce in 1996, they were members of and leaders in another large church in the Birmingham area. Dale taught Sunday School and was a deacon, and Jena Forehand helped with worship and taught Bible studies.
“We hid it from everybody,” Jena Forehand said. “There’s something in us that thinks if we go to church we have to hide it. We were scared to tell anybody because we’d lose our leadership, lose our reputation.”
To later answer her question, she said for her and her husband going to church was not the answer in saving their marriage. They were missing a relationship with Jesus.
“We were very religiously active but not spiritually intimate with God,” Jena Forehand said. “Jesus had become part of our lives but He wasn’t center and we weren’t walking with Him.”
A sincere and real faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His commands is what brought the couple back together.
“Love is a lot more than a feeling. Love is a verb. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love bears all things,” Jena Forehand said. “The world tells us to feel your way to action. God’s Word says that action leads to a feeling. We had to be obedient to the Word of God and by action love each other and then the feelings followed. Our faith is key because it’s not just believing God’s Word but acting on it.”
What should couples do whom, like the Forehands, are churchgoers but are considering divorce?
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said, “A couple for whom divorce is an option is a couple on their way to divorce.” For those for whom that is the case, you need “to see the importance of your marriage as a gospel picture of Christ and the Church,” referencing Ephesians 5:21–33.
“That couple shouldn’t fight the difficulties of staying together on their own but seek a pastor, counselor and elders to stay together. They need to involve the rest of the body of Christ,” he said.
Rod Marshall, CEO and president of Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries, suggests using a marriage inventory, such as Prepare Enrich, to give the couples that are going through a crisis “meaningful vocabulary to talk about where their marriage is.”
Marshall also encourages young couples to find a mentor couple that has had a long and fruitful marriage to meet with for guidance and support. Jena Forehand adds that meeting with a counselor was helpful for her and Dale Forehand during their time of crisis.
But for the Forehands, it all came down to one right choice that started the reconciliation process. During a fight over the phone concerning their children, Jena Forehand told Dale Forehand, “You need to come home and we need to fix this.”
“We got to a place that we stopped pointing the finger at each other and began looking at ourselves,” she said. “Never underestimate the power of one right choice because that one right choice makes all the difference in the world.”
The night the two got back together their 7-year-old, Cole, became a Christian. He is now a worship leader who travels with them.
“Faith means we’re going to believe the Word of God whether we feel like it or not and trust that God is going to give us good as a result,” Jena Forehand said. “If we didn’t trust that God’s Word worked we were toast.”
To read more about the Forehands’ story, visit www.daleandjena.com.
Helpful print & video resources
- The book, “A Lasting Promise,” by Scott Stanley
- The movie, “Fireproof”
- The book, “The Love Dare,” by Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick
- The book, “Quiet Times for Couples,” by H. Norman White
- Prepare Enrich marriage inventory
- The book, “Fighting for Your Marriage: Positive Steps for Preventing Divorce and
- Preserving Lasting Love,” by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley and Susan L. Blumberg
- The book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert,” by John M. Gottman
To view the video related to this article, visit the video library.