Summary: This message is a message on creating stronger marriages.

“Houston, we have a problem!” April 13th, 1970, and the Odyssey’s Commander Jim Lovell uttered words that would go down in History. That wasn’t how Lovell thought he’d be remembered, he thought that he would go down in history as the fifth man to walk on the moon, but a faulty oxygen tank would destroy that dream and almost end the lives of the three astronauts who manned the Apollo 13th project.

You know the story, maybe you’ve seen the movie “Apollo 13” or maybe you read the book “Lost Moon” but you know that when Lovell uttered those historic words the reaction of flight commander Gene Kranz in Houston’s mission control was something like, “Roger Odyssey we copy that message but we need to let you know that right now we are struggling to find ourselves, and feel like we have un-met needs of our own.

“We understand that the success of this mission is important to you and well we are committed to seeing it through you need to understand that we seem to have different agendas for this relationship, and you just aren’t pulling your share of the weight. And so, Jim I guess what I’m trying to say is that I need a little space to re-evaluate where we are going. I hope things work out for you Fred and Jack but please understand that it is your problem and you’re going to have to solve it before we can go any further, Houston out.” NOT.

I don’t know what the actual words were, but I do know that for three days the technicians at Houston mission control did everything that was possible and several things that were impossible to get the crew of Apollo 13 back safe and sound. I am pretty sure that Gene Kranz didn’t actually utter these words but, in the film, when he told the collective ground crew that they were going to do everything in their power to get Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert back to earth safe and sound he said: “Failure is not an option!”

I have been pastoring for more than forty years now, I have performed umpteen dozen (that’s the precise term) weddings for couples ranging in age from their teens to their seventies and I am convinced that we need to add something to the vows we need to add the words “Failure is not an Option”

I am trying to figure out some way that I can legally arrange for couples that I marry to sign a waiver saying that if they get divorced that they will buy me something big, a convertible, or a boat or send us on a cruise. I’m not sure it would actually help, but . . .

I’m getting a little tired of hearing about friends both inside the church and outside the church who are calling it quits in their marriages. I’m getting a little tired of not wanting to ask friends how their spouses are doing because I’m afraid of the answer. I’m getting a little tired of the good excuses and valid reasons for couples splitting up.

I remember when Deborah was nine, and came home, after spending a week in Moncton with one of her best friends and telling us that her friend’s parents had split up but it didn’t seem to faze Deborah that much because all of her friend's parents are split up.

When I was a kid, I knew of one of my friends whose folks had split. Do you remember when people stayed together for the kids if for no other reason? Oh, by the way, that has proved to be a valid reason.

Studies done by secular researchers at Stafford and Harvard into the effect of divorce on children have shown that it can really mess kids up. Lower marks, higher dropout rates in school, higher crime rates, higher teen pregnancy rates, and higher teen suicide rates are the harvest that we are reaping in the children of broken homes.

Kids aren’t nearly as tough as we thought they were, the secular world is finding out what God’s word has told us for thousands of years and that is that the best home for children is where their natural parents are.

But that really isn’t a factor anymore because those are things that may happen tomorrow but right now, I’m not happy and I want to be happy.

And so now I struggle with how to pastor a church where marriage is highly valued, but where we are able to accept and love those who are no longer married.

How to say on one hand, “God wants you to stay together” but on the other hand not reduce those who have been divorced to a second-class Christianity.

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