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COVENANT COUPLES ALUMNI NEWSLETTER

Covenant Keepers, Inc. ®

"Together Again"

Fall 2003

BY CHARLYNE STEINKAMP, REJOICE MINISTRIES

YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE

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t may happen five minutes after your mate returns home. It may not happen until five days or five weeks afterward. The one you love will say or do something and you will think, "Nothing's changed. It's the same as b efore." After awhile, some even begin to verbalize those words. The enemy must laugh when we speak those or similar comments. Something HAS changed. God brought your loved one home. He is restoring your family. You will continue to see changes each day if you stay obedient to the Lord, calling on Him often for His help. About a year ago, Bob and I were in a large church in Memphis. Although not orchestrated by man, the Lord had a special blessing in store for us that Sunday morning as the choir, orchestra and drama team portrayed the parable of the prodigal son. The prodigal son entered that large sanctuary about ten feet from our seats. We saw the Father standing, expecting and waiting for His prodigal to come home. Then they saw each other, the father started toward his son who was not cleaned up, but instead was dirty, hungry, broken and weary. What rejoicing was seen as the two embraced and wept right in front of us. "But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate." (Luke 15:22-24) That dramatization had us filled to overflowing, in preparation for speaking to a stander's group that afternoon. Bob later remarked that the prodigal son we had observed honestly portrayed how he felt when he came home. Prodigals do come home, but they seldom come home cleaned up and sanctified. You need to accept and love your returned prodigal, yet unclean, with the same unconditional love shown while your spouse was away from home. The Holy Spirit, who brought your spouse home, has just begun a great work of cleansing and restoration, in your

mate, as well as in you. "For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." (Ezekial 36:24-27) Your spouse needs your love, prayers and encouragement, not your problems, fears, condemnation and corrections. You demonstrated a sacrificial and unconditional love for your spouse during that pre-reconciliation stand. The Lord will expect the same from you now that He has blessed you by allowing a post-reconciliation stand. While your spouse was away, it w as easy to love your mate, since they were not with you 24 hours a day. This is where the Holy Spirit shows you the power of His touch as you "walk the talk" of love verbalized during this past season. We say so much when our spouse is gone, but when they come home, we are tempted to make d emands. Do not forget what love really is. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) I always tried to remember that no matter what is happening, that our spouse is home with our family. Remember, all those prayers you prayed for your spouse to be home. Love them unconditionally! It is the Lord's business to change them, not yours! Either you, your mate or both, may feel that you've really blown it sometime during these early days of restoration. It's hopeless only when you refuse to pick yourself up, allow the Lord to dust you off, prop you up with His Word, and go on. A scripture that may describe your spouse's struggles is found in Romans 7:14-25: "We know that the

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law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." This scripture explains it all. WE DO WHAT WE DO NOT WANT TO DO. It is only through our Lord Jesus Christ that we can change and become all that He desires us to be. I wish I could say that the Steinkamps are perfect, but we are not. Bob or I fail God, or each other, in some way, every day of our lives. Either one of us could have said, "Why try?" years ago. Now, when one of us hurts the other, the Holy Spirit quickly gets our attention. He turns us back to where we should be with Him and solves the problem with each other. The Lord showed me years ago, shortly after Bob returned home, to give every complaint or criticism to Him. He told me not to ask, complain or criticize Bob, instead lift him up and praise him. Every time I was tempted to complain to my husband, I would tell my Lord in a short prayer. The results were unbelievable. Bob would change and apologize shortly for not being what he should be. I saw the Lord working. That was all I needed. I decided to "LET GO AND LET GOD", allowing Him to do the work on my r eturned prodigal husband. God never fails. Almost daily, I speak with a stander who has successfully loved their prodigal spouse with an unconditional love during their stand. Now that their prodigal has come home, the stander's unconditional love has ended. They attempt to hold the returning spouse to a standard that is impossible for that one to attain right now. Remember what the word says if you have a spouse that is not living for the Lord; "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the p urity and reverence of your lives." (1 Peter 3:1-2) Men, if you are praying and standing for your wives, then "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." (Ephesians 5:25-26, 28) The returned prodigal does not have a license to run free, but you should a llow God to make the changes, not you. If your mate is failing, tell the Lord and ask Him to make the changes. For example, if your spouse received a note in the mail or a telephone call from that former other person, pray a hedge of protection around the one you love. "Therefore I will block her path with thorn bushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, `I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.'" (Hosea 2:6-7) How much better to do this than to confront and accuse. Your mate has not been your enemy during your stand. Your mate is certainly not your enemy now that you are reconciled. Satan has always been, and continues to be, the only real threat coming against your home. In the days ahead, you and your spouse will discover the power you have together to defeat the e nemy. "You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the dark ness, nor the plague that d estroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you." (Psalm 91:5-7) "Nothing's changed" is a lie from the pits of hell. Something has changed. Your marriage is being restored. Listen to the Holy Spirit and seek His help and guidance. We have the Power in the name of the Lord.

Taken from the book After the Prodigal Returns by Bob and Charlyne Steinkamp. Used by permission.

STAND ON THE WORD

2004 COVENANT KEEPERS "FAMILIES ARE FOREVER" CONFERENCE

July 16-18 Adam's Mark Hotel Tulsa, Oklahoma We invite you to attend the conference next summer. At least two couples will share about their healed marriages, and your presence at the conference will encourage other covenant keepers to continue standing strong and believing for reconciliation and restoration. Watch for more detailed information in January's Covenant Comments, at www.covenantkeepersinc.org, and in future couples' newsletters.

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CONRAD'S COMMENTS

My staff and I send our greetings for the holiday season. We pray you will have a blessed time with your families. I believe that the prayer of a couple is one of the most powerful prayers that can be prayed. Therefore, could I ask you to do one thing? Would you please pray for covenant keepers all over the world for the healing and restoration of their marriages? We will be so blessed and honored to have your prayers.

Marilyn

MEN ARE LIKE WAFFLES WOMEN ARE LIKE SPAGHETTI

EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK BY BILL & PAM FARREL

The book is subtitled Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences. Most people believe that men and women are different; the question is: What do you do about the differences? In a refreshing and humorous way, the Farrells show how men (waffles: each element of life in a separate box) and woman (spaghetti : everything in life touching everything else) can make these differences work for them in vital ways: § § § To help each other relieve stress instead of creating it. To coordinate parenting so your kids get the best of Mom and Dad. To bring out the best your spouse has to give in sex, work, friendship, and communication.

Men Are Like Waffles--Women Are Like Spaghetti shines a light on the marvel and mystery of the one you live with, love, and care for. Men Are Like Waffles We do not mean that men "waffle" on all decisions and are generally unstable ...we mean that men process life in boxes. If you look at a waffle, you see a collection of boxes separated by walls. T hat is typically how a man processes life. Men's thinking is is divided up into boxes that have room for one issue and one issue only. The typical man lives in one box at a time and one box only. When a man is at work, he is at work. When he is in the garage tinkering, he is in the garage tinkering. When he is watching TV, he is simply watching TV. That is why he looks as though he is in a trance and can ignore everything else going on around him. Social scientists call this compartmentalizing. As a result, men are problem solvers by nature. They enter a box, size up the "problem," and formulate a solution. In communication, they look for the bottom line and get there as quickly as possible. A man will strategically organize his life into boxes and then spend most of his time in the boxes he can succeed in. This is such a strong motivation for him that he will seek out the boxes that work and will ignore the boxes that confuse him or make him feel like a failure. The "success" drive is why men find it so easy to develop hobbies that consume their time. Because men tend to be good with mechanical and spatial activities, they get emotionally attached to building, fixing, and chasing things. The bottom line with men is: they feel best about themselves when they are solving things.Therefore, they spend most of their time doing things they are best at while they attempt to ignore the things which cause them to feel deficient.

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Women Are Like Spaghetti In contrast...women process life more like a plate of pasta. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, you notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you...follow one noodle around the plate, you intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even switch to another noodle seamlessly. That is how women face life. Every thought and issue is connected to every other thought and issue in some way. Life is much more of a process for women than it is for men. That is why women are typically better at multitasking than men. Because all of their thoughts, emotions, and convictions are connected, they are able to process more information and keep track of more activities. As a result, most women...solve problems...from a much different perspective than men. For women to quickly solve a problem when the issues involved in the discussion are disconnected from each other is an act of denial. And so women consistently sense the need to talk things through. In conversation she can link the logical, emotional, relational, and spiritual aspects of the issue. The links come to her naturally so the conversation is effortless for her. If she is able to connect all the issues together, the answer to the question at hand bubbles to the surface and is readily accepted. This often creates significant stress for couples because while she is making all the connections, he is frantically jumping boxes trying to keep up with the conversation. When she is done, she feels better and he is overwhelmed.

Bill and Pam Farrel are cofounders and codirectors of Masterful Living, an organization providing practical insights for modern couples. The excerpts from their book Men Are Like Waffles--Women Are Like Spaghetti are copyrighted by the Farrels and are used by permission.

COVENANT KEEPERS RESOURCES FOR COUPLES

Here is what others have said about Bill and Pam Farrel's book.

§ "Let Pam and Bill Farrel share their passion with you for helping men and women connect. Men Are Like Waffles--Women Are Like Spaghetti is a gourmet treat for all who want to find unity in their diversity." ­David & Claudia Arp "With fun and humor, Pam and Bill Farrel have created a practical book packed with ideas sure to bridge the differences between the genders and add intimacy and understanding to any marriage. ­Florence & Fred Littauer USA $10.00 CANADA/MEXICO $13.25 INTERNATIONAL $17.75

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OTHER RESOURCES

After The Prodigal Returns (Bob & Charlyne Steinkamp--book): Bob & Charlyne share the lessons they learned during their reconciliation process.

USA $8.25 CANADA/MEXICO $8.50 INTERNA TIONAL $10.75

Keys To Marriage Healing & Growth (Mike & Marilyn Phillipps--6 audio tapes): Great for newly reconciled couples. Includes: Sexual Healing, Soul Healing & Family Healing. Contains Mike & Marilyn's testimony

USA $30 CANADA/MEXICO $31.50 INTERNA TIONAL $36

Get a Vision For Your Marriage (Mike & Marilyn Phillipps--audio tape): Mike & Marilyn share with couples at the 2002 conference. What is God's plan for you as a couple?

USA $5 CANADA/MEXICO $5.25 INTERNATIONAL $6

Jim & Ilah Garton Testimony (audio tape): From the 2003 conference. Ilah tells how God ended a five-year cold war in their marriage. Because of an auto accident, Jim was unable to be with her, but Ilah shares both sides of the story.

USA $5 CANADA/MEXICO $5.25 INTERNATIONAL $6

VISA & MASTERCARD ACCEPTED. ALL FUNDS MUST BE IN U.S. DOLLARS. POSTAGE INCLUDED.

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