"There is nothing more noble or more admirable than when two people who see eye-to-eye keep hous as man and wife, confounding their enemies an delighting their friends," wrote Homer in The Odyessey.
It's somewhat amaing to realise that those words from Homer, which I found at an Asutralian website promoting the family, were written 2800 years ago! It's just as thought provoking to realise that some people - perhaps too many - have fallen short of such a Homeric ideal. The fact of the matter is that, today, many people who are married aren't happy, certainly not as happy as they can be.
Last year in this space, I explored some ways to go online and find a special friend and perhaps end up with a marriage partner. This year, in February, the month in which love is noted on Valentine's Day, let's take a look at some online resources to keep the freshness sealed in your relationship.
Focus on the Family, an American Christian organisation, has an Australian branch website. You can find plenty of print and audio resources there deal with family issues, including marriage.
The site also links to another US-based site also from Focus on the Family, that offers specific advice on marriagerelated and other family problems.
Although some will frown on Focus on the Family because it takes what some say are controversial political positions in the United States, their advice on family issues is excellent, when viewed from a Christian perspective. Make no mistake: these people are evangelical Christians and they stand firmly on the Bible's doctrines for the family. You're not going to find much support for immoral behaviours here, but you will find advice on dealing with such actions if you wish to change.
The Australian Family Association, or AFA, on whose website I found the Homer quote, seems chiefly concerned with legislative and political action aimed at strengthening family relationships, and that is perhaps important. But their website is also filled with articles and papers on marriage issues that families can appreciate. Obviously, neither this writer nor Signs are here to proffer political views, but I can support the AFA's overall goal of strengthening families.
The Christian world, whose faith cherishes the family as a basic unit of society, if not of the kingdom of God, offers many resources to strengthen families and make life better. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, which publishes this magazine, offers a web page of marriage and family resources that include links to articles and other texts, as well as information on seminars sponsored by the church. These are not the only seminars, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not the only Christian organisation that offers such help.
However, it is a good place to start. In terms of teaching materials, I personally favour the preaching and teaching style of Dr Charles Swindoll, an American minister whose “Insight for Living” radio program is quite popular.
And while I don't subscribe to all of his theology, Swindoll knows what he's talking about in terms of marriage, since he's been happily wed to the same spouse for more than half a century. "His Marriage—From Surviving to Thriving” is a useful resource that begins with examples of biblical couples, good and bad.
Finally, I remind readers of a resource I mentioned in this column a year ago called eHarmony.com. This online dating firm is using its technology to help married couples with communications and other issues. Go to learn about their program and how it might be able to help you.
Perhaps the most important thing to know is that in the middle of any problem—even serious marriage issues—there's hope to be found through faith in Jesus Christ. Some situations, such as physical or sexual abuse, might be unfixable, but others—even things as tragic as an affair—can be redeemed when a situation is submitted to God's care. God loves you—and so do your Christian neighbours. Use web resources, but allow other people to reach out and help you in your hour of need.