Divorced or Separated - yes this means you

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Paul B
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Divorced or Separated - yes this means you

Postby Paul B » Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:07 pm

First let me say this post is from me, Paul, and does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the rest of the OG or the moderators.

There have been some questions, concerns, complaints, and some down right rudeness on the issue of limiting those who are divorced or separated and not seeking reconciliation to the off topic sections of the boards ( see here ).

This rule clarification is not aimed at any particular person (it affects several) and it is not about divorce or who was to blame in a divorce. The TMB boards have always been intended to help married and soon to be married individuals with sexual issues - those who are divorced or separated and not working to reconcile do not fit that category, and as such do not belong here.

The clean easy answer is to toss such folks out - period, end of story. The problem is the reality that TMB has become a support system for many. We thus have the problem of trying to find a balance between the needs of the many and the needs of the few. Frankly there's no way to do both, allowing folks to stay in the OT section is a less than ideal compromise that is being tried - we will see how it goes.

Some things to consider - those who are no longer in a marriage really don't need the thoughts and desires that being here can cause. We also don't ever want to have the image of having single folks trolling around here looking for a spouse. There's also the problem of having a divorced man and a married women (or the reverse) discussing sex via PM here. (Removing the ability to PM for those are no longer married remains an option.)

It is my, Paul's, hope that we can one day provide a board for those who are separated/divorced, as well as a board for singles. Until then we will try to make it work with what we have.

<>< Paul "husband of a divorced woman" Byerly

Tinkerbell4

Postby Tinkerbell4 » Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:26 pm

I have not seen any of the separated/ divorced people speak in an inappropriate manner on inappropriate subjects. They don't speak of their past sexual experiences. They are here to support and be supported.

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Postby dr.mom » Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:27 am

I have to disagree with the statement that the advice from our separated/divorced members has not been problematic. There are in fact a few whose responses have been purely toxic, guilt inducing and just plain wrong.

Just because you've weathered the storm does not necessarily mean that you have good advice to share. While it can mean that, it may also mean that the person is wounded and hurting and throwing out statements out of their own hurt.

This is not about branding people with a scarlet letter nor about shooting the wounded. Remember LoriB has been through a divorce herself.

What this is about is realizing that we cannot be everything to everyone. We do not have the capacity to minister to the needs of every group out there, so we have to be good stewards of the calling that God gave THIS ministry.

Please do not use this thread to debate this decision. Months of prayer and discussion and debate among the OG went into it. If you want to debate it, please take it to the OG privately. Debate in this thread will be removed. Questions however are welcome and will be answered in this thread.

grace

Tinkerbell4

Postby Tinkerbell4 » Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:02 am

Do you remember the thread where so many people called TMB their "church"?
Do you realize you are excommunicating people from your church because of their marital status?

Yes this is an honest question.

MamaTo4247

Postby MamaTo4247 » Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:15 am

I would disagree with this ^^^. I belong to MOPS. I have lots of friends there and it literally kept me sane when I went through prenatal & post-partum depression. I owe a lot to the people in that ministry.

Next year my youngest starts school and I am no longer a mother of a preschooler, so I can't continue to attend meetings there. My status as a mother has changed. I'm sure I could still minister to moms who are in the thick of preschooling and I'm sure that I could continue to gain insight into parenting my older kids, but that's not what the ministry is geared toward. They have a specific group to whom they reach out, and next year, I'm no longer in that group. It stinks that I can't keep going, but IMO, part of what makes MOPS an excellent group is that it has a very focused target for their ministry. I believe part of what makes TMB so successful is that it has a specific ministry objective as well.

We should only do what we're called to do. Going outside of that, even if our intentions are noble, is not honoring to God.

~Alise

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Postby KyWildcat » Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:28 am

dr.mom wrote:What this is about is realizing that we cannot be everything to everyone. We do not have the capacity to minister to the needs of every group out there, so we have to be good stewards of the calling that God gave THIS ministry.

AMEN!

It would be great if TMB could help everyone but TMB can't. TMB can't even help everyone who is actually married. Some marriages are so dysfunctional that they are well beyond the capabilities of TMB to be of any real use. They need professional help or a miracle. Yes, TMB can pray for a miracle, and God is able, but more time than not God uses trained IRL professionals, like Grace and Dale, to facilitate His miracles.

TMB is most effective when we have two people with good intentions toward one another that are willing to work on the marriage. We've seen examples of what happens when only one is willing to make the marriage better. It is sad, frustrating, often infuriating and usually doesn't end well.

I am sure there are TONS of support resources online for divorced and separated spouses (Family Life for example). I pray that those who are going through divorce and separation can find a ministry that ministers to their present need but I personally don't believe that TMB should add to its current ministry at this time. For someone who has seen a little behind the curtain of TMB there is a TON of work in moderating a CHRISTIAN SEX BOARD and the current group of moderators and OG do a wonderful job. The fact that some Christians don't believe that it should exist at all notwithstanding.

Sadly there is little support for singles regarding these issues and if TMB were going to add to its ministry that is where the greater need is IMO.

The fact is, we have created relationships with so many that are affected by this but we must realize that somethings in our lives are only for a season and ultimately TMB is for and about Married Sexuality. So, though it saddens me, I must support this decision because I personally believe it is what is really best for everyone.
dr.mom wrote:Please do not use this thread to debate this decision.

I hope statements of support are allowed. If not I wasted a lot of time writing this.

KW
Last edited by KyWildcat on Wed Oct 03, 2007 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby dr.mom » Wed Oct 03, 2007 8:22 am

Asking people to post to the off topics section only is the policy SO THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE TO LEAVE. i don't get why this is so difficult to understand.

Going back to Alise's MOPS example, your kids no longer in preschool, goodbye, and thanks for all the fish. THAT is being asked to leave with no consideration for relationships, support or anything else. let's keep perspective here.

As for adding a folder for divorced/separated discussions, we can't. The possibility has been discussed multiple time over the last several years. It comes down to two things. (1) This is the MARRIAGE Bed. it is a marriage ministry, we have to be true to that calling. We are not called for divorce support or separation counseling. Those things are NOT unimportant or in any way lesser calling, they are just not ours. When God designed the body He designed an eye to see and and ear to hear. The eye cannot hear even if the ear is deaf. Just can't be done and shouldn't be tried because then the eye would no longer be able to see either. Eyes and ears are both important, but they cannot do each other's jobs. In the same way, we are what we are and have to do what we have been called to and not try to move into what we have not been called to do. (2) Secondly, we barely have sufficient resources to oversee and moderate the boards that we do have. From a practical standpoint, there just isn't resource to add divorced/separated support to what we do. Perhaps God has made this so because it is not our calling to do so.


Tinkerbell4 wrote: Do you remember the thread where so many people called TMB their "church"?
Do you realize you are excommunicating people from your church because of their marital status?

I know this will just sound cold, and I apologize in advance for that. However, just because people call TMB their 'church' does not in fact make it a church. TMB is an internet message board. It is not a church. We are anonymous people here, we just make a HUGE point of clarifying the need for that. The CHURCH CANNOT BE ANONYMOUS. The CHURCH is about flesh and blood relationships. The bandwidth of what can be shared on-line is very narrow. It does not constitute the level of connection that the CHURCH is called to.

I grieve when people call TMB their church because it points to the lack of IRL relationships that people desperately need. It also worries me that people will try to substitute TMB for the hard work that being in a flesh and blood church with flesh and blood relationships requires. It is easy to think doing TMB is enough to constitute church. But it is not. It never can be and never will be.

TMB is a message board ministry, called by God for a very specific purpose and ministry in the body of Christ. One that is truly best fulfilled by the technology of the internet. We never have been a church nor do we want to be one. Just saying we are someone's 'church' doesn't make us a church. And feeling like you've been excommunicated does not make it so either.

We need to recognize who and what God called us to be and be good stewards of that and not allow anything to turn us from that purpose.

grace

Vanna

Postby Vanna » Wed Oct 03, 2007 8:52 am

Another thing to consider is that leaving here and turning to a ministry set up for their situation is also an opportunity for them to focus on getting the help they need to heal and grow after the devastation of a broken marriage.

There are boards that have support areas for this difficult transition. Here are a couple I know of-

Family Life Separation, Divorce, and Remarriage Forum

Christian Foru.ms Separated or Divorced Forum

When I had my miscarriage, I turned to a body of people who could understand what I was going through and help me deal with the healing process, when I was diagnosed with anxiety I turned to a body that specialized in helping with the healing involved in that.

When things rip the rug out from under us, it is important to get the best help we can to heal and move forward, otherwise we don't heal right. Encouraging each other to get the help needed for our special circumstances is one of the most loving things we can do as a body of believers.

::two

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Lori B
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Postby Lori B » Wed Oct 03, 2007 11:05 am

Tinkerbell4 wrote:Do you remember the thread where so many people called TMB their "church"? Do you realize you are excommunicating people from your church because of their marital status?

Hi, Tink,
This is my personal response (not an official one). Certainly TMB is an expression of church, but it is primarily a ministry with a specific focus.

Basically we have a marriage class here. We haven't asked people to leave the church. We have asked them to leave the marriage class when they are leaving or have left their marriage. We have left a section open to them to continue fellowship. It's not ideal, but given who we are that is the best we can do and still be faithful to the marriage class that God has asked us to take care of.

Paul and I routinely get emails begging us to create something for singles. Again and again we pray and look for ways to make that happen. Up to today we have not been able to do that because of resources, nor have we felt the Lord's ok to do so. Honestly, that's very hard on me. I see the need almost daily in my email. I sincerely hope to have something for the singles one day, but until we have clear leading from the Lord it would be folly to do so.

Lori <><

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Postby Paul B » Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:50 pm

The problem here is you are looking at it from the wrong direction. It's not about the folks who are divorced, it's about the ones who are married. TMB has always drawn the line at married or about to be married - divorced or widowed is not married or about to be married.

And it's not just some blind policy we refuse to change, there are reasons. We deal with sex here, and frankly folks who are not married should not be interacting with married folks about sex - it's just a bad plan.

My personal spin on this - there is the possibility that there will someday be sexual sin between two TMBers. We pray against that and do what we can to avoid it, but there are a lot of folks just looking for an affair, and others who are ripe for one, and it's possible a couple of those will eventually connect here and do cybersex or more. Given that real possibility, I want to do all that is possible to keep it from happening. If it happens, I don't want to be wondering if we did enough to prevent it if it happens. I want to honestly access the potential for trouble, and do all that can be done to minimise the risk. With that in mind, not having divorced folks posting about sex seems a very reasonable thing to do.

<>< Paul

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Paul B
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Postby Paul B » Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:58 pm

Tinkerbell4 wrote:Do you remember the thread where so many people called TMB their "church"?

The TMB Statement of Faith, which was written 8 or more years ago, says:

We believe that God commands us to attend and support a local body of believers for teaching, worship, prayer and fellowship. Nothing, including the web, can replace face-to-face fellowship with other believers.
Yes TMB is all the church some folks get, but it was never intended to be that, and as I read the Bible it can not be that.

Tinkerbell4 wrote:Do you realize you are excommunicating people from your church because of their marital status?

No, we are not. No one is being sent away, just asked to not be in places inappropriate for them.

And again, this is not about divorce. Singles are not allow in at all, and those who become single because of the death of their spouse will be asked to follow the same rules as those single because of divorce.

<>< Paul

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Postby Searcher » Wed Dec 26, 2007 9:29 pm

Vanna wrote:Another thing to consider is that leaving here and turning to a ministry set up for their situation is also an opportunity for them to focus on getting the help they need to heal and grow after the devastation of a broken marriage.


DivorceCare has an online resource. There is not message board, but they send out daily devotionals and encourgament for those who are separated or divorced.

http://www.divorcecare.com/dailyemails/

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Paul B
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Re: Divorced or Separated - yes this means you

Postby Paul B » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:33 pm

Searcher wrote:
Paul B wrote:It is my, Paul's, hope that we can one day provide a board for those who are separated/divorced, as well as a board for singles. Until then we will try to make it work with what we have.

Is there any news on this? Anything that can be done to make it happen?


Searcher,

I am just now to a place where I can work on the web site and board updates for what exists. Both this and something for singles remain on the wish list. I do not expect either to happen this year - sorry.

<>< Paul

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Re: Divorced or Separated - yes this means you

Postby moderator » Mon May 25, 2009 8:10 pm

We've not set any hard and fast rules as of yet, but the bottom line to me is this - is there a reasonable chance of reconciliation? I mean if someone's spouse divorced them and remarried, then I think being here is a problem. Or if it's been a long time, and the other person has shown no willingness to reconcile.

The real issue that those who are not married don't need to be here (it's not good for them as it can cause temptation or depression) and those who are married have a right to be here with others who are likewise wed.

Paul


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