The Present but Absent Father

It’s hard work being a provider to your family! It comes at a great cost at times which leaves you working while your family misses you as they stare at your empty seat at the dinner table.

20120612-225729.jpg Maybe you have even caught yourself getting home early only to find your mind still focused on the office or business. You daydream through ways to fix an issue at work while snapping and being short to your wife and children. You continually stare at your smart phone, and check your email as though you are going to miss a life and death message. Your children are calling, “daddy! daddy! daddy!”, and you don’t even acknowledge their presence.

What has happened to you daddy? How did it ever come to this? It’s as though your electronics and work have immobilized your kindness, caring, and compassionate qualities. The bigger issue is that you have no idea how to restore the qualities you are missing.

What are some ideas that you can share to this present but absent father? I encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas on this common and pressing topic.

A Christ-like Response to Emotional Situations and Experiences

Written by Steve Goode

I sincerely believe that there is no situation we experience without God’s purpose and plan. Even the most intense and emotional situations can equip you for a future work that God has in store for you. Recently I experienced what I considered to be one of the most embarrassing and disappointing moments I have had in years. I was at a place in the experience where I could either be challenged or become defensive. I took the challenge option, but as I walked away I began to reflect on current and past situations of speaking with people in crisis, and comparing them to what I was feeling at the moment. Although I am certain my emotions were not as intense, the feelings of disappointment, regret, and hurt I felt helped me to see their circumstances in a different light. Through my own hurt and disappointment God had created an amazing temporary filter to help me understand and better discern the hurts of those who had recently crossed my path! To the point I am looking forward to speaking with them again and encouraging and guiding them! The prime example of the one who experienced all our hurt, disappointment and anxiety is Jesus. (Heb 4:15) Obviously Jesus got it right every time and remained sinless, but we too can choose to use our times of heightened emotions to see the hand of God and the hurts of others. It sure beats expensive pity parties where you can cry if you want to, but how futile and empty!

Where are you right now? Are you in the midst of hurt, disappointment, anger, maybe even regret? It would be so easy to just succumb to staying bitter or angry, but as a Christian what should your response be? I am not here to simply throw out a hollow cliché such as “If God shuts a door He opens a window.” That’s an easy one to say if you are looking at someone from the outside, but I want to challenge you to see your situation differently. See it like Jesus sees it. Use the moments of hurt and disappointment to ask God what He wants you to see. Start using these moments to see and sympathize with the hurts of others more vividly and clearly!

Park on Hebrews 4:14-16 for a while today and see what Jesus says to you.

Katie Cruises Out of Tom’s Top Gun Life

by Stephen Goode

Why in the world is a pastoral marriage counselor writing about the breakup of a celebrity couple who had irreconcilable differences in their marriage? After all, isn’t it a common occurrence for celebrity couples to create endless make-up and break-up headlines? What good would it possibly do to discuss such a common Hollywood event?

Katie and Tom seemed so fun and exciting! They were always jetting around and having fun, many times with their daughter Suri. There has been nothing out of their monetary reach since Tom has amassed such a large fortune, and Katie still has more than most young ladies her age (likely millions). It should be the dream for most girls to marry someone famous and just live happily ever after, except for one large problem.


Whether or not we wish to acknowledge it, we all have a core worldview that drives every decision we make. Who we are and what we believe is going to impact every single area of our lives, which is why I wasn’t surprised when the internet became clogged with stories and rumors about Katie leaving Tom in New York.

Tom’s Belief in Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard

Both Tom and Katie had very different religious upbringings. Katie was Catholic and Tom became indoctrinated into the world of Scientology to the point of fanaticism. Scientology stems from science fiction author L.Ron Hubbard. Hubbard’s beliefs were driven by the theory that confidence in one’s own abilities was man’s only hope for success. I am not making this up! In Hubbard’s words he said,

There is only one security, and when you’ve lost that security, you’ve lost everything you’ve got. And that is the security of confidence in yourself; to be, to create, to make any position you want to make for yourself. And when you lose that confidence, you’ve lost the only security you can have. … Self-confidence is self-determinism. One’s belief in one’s ability to determine his own course. As long as one has that, he’s got the universe in his pocket. And when he hasn’t got that, not all the pearls in China nor all the grain and corn in Iowa can give him security, because that’s the only security there is.

Why World Views Matter

The Apostle Paul directed Christians to not marry non-believers (those who do not follow Jesus Christ 2 Cor 6:14), but why? Isn’t it enough to be great looking, and striving to be happy? If you look at Katie and Tom they are a hot looking couple with everything going their way! Why did Katie run from all the things that so many of us dream of having and achieving?

As amazing as all these achievements are, it boiled down to worldviews!

Tom’s commitment to Scientology has been seen for years and he has proclaimed his beliefs on many shows. Few know that Tom actually aspired to become a Catholic priest when he was younger, but when his acting career launched he never looked back. He placed Scientology in the spotlight and in 2005 everyone remembers the jumping couch episode on Oprah as he proclaimed his love for Katie.

Worldviews Impacted Child Rearing

Most articles are pointing to Tom and Katie’s daughter Suri as a primary driver in Katie’s leaving. Katie was in fear of Suri being indoctrinated into Scientology causing Katie to take drastic measures to protect Suri from Tom. Although there are many inconsistencies we go through as Christian parents, at least we have a clear playbook in the Bible on how to reach a consensus.

This is why it is so important to discuss religious beliefs with even a potential spouse. Doing so you can see if you are both in agreement on your beliefs and commitment to Jesus Christ. There is enough chaos in a Christian marriage without finding out you and your spouse don’t have the same belief systems! One of the only things that have kept my Wife April and I together was our common faith in Jesus Christ. There were days we awoke not wanting to be married anymore, but the common bond in Christ tied us together while we worked through our differences.

We all need to pray for Katie and Tom as they go their separate ways, but most of all I pray for salvation to come to Tom’s life.

What ideas and comments can you add to this topic?

KSBJ Houston Interview With Author Stephen Goode Part 2

Link to Audio

The following is an exerp from Stephen’s interview on Marriages on Life Support with Sunday Night Live Host Kim. The show focused on hurting and disillusioned spouses, and sought to encourage and give biblical hope in the midst of their trials.

The following comments are biblical guidance being offered by a pastor and author , and are not to be construed as psychological and psychiatric guidance. These opinions may not necessarily be the opinions of KSBJ Houston, it’s hosts, affiliates or writers.

Like Sunday Night Live

You may listen to KSBJ at

KSBJ Houston Interview With Author Stephen Goode Part 1

Link to Audio

The following is an exerp from Stephen’s interview on Marriages on Life Support with Sunday Night Live Host Kim. The show focused on hurting and disillusioned spouses, and sought to encourage and give biblical hope in the midst of their trials.

The following comments are biblical guidance being offered by a pastor and author , and are not to be construed as psychological and psychiatric guidance. These opinions may not necessarily be the opinions of KSBJ Houston, it’s hosts, affiliates or writers.

Like Sunday Night Live

You may listen to KSBJ live streaming at

Is it Possible to Marry the Wrong Person?

It seems a possibility that we can marry with the wrong motive and reason, to the point we conclude our spouse was the wrong choice. This is a very plausible logic from the view of the world, but is it a biblical conclusion? I received a post a number of months ago from a spouse who made the conclusion that they were with the wrong person based on some practical logic, centered on self-fulfillment and happiness.

From the Unhappy Spouse

I have read your stand on wrong or right spouse with utmost interest. But I still find it difficult to swallow completely. First of all, I want to ask if it is right that a man who believes he has married the wrong woman should keep living with her even though there is no more love between them. I think Love is the driver of every marriage. Once the love has gone after so many trials, then I dont think it is worth it. Especially, when you discovered that you married this person for all the wrong reasons. Pressure from others to get married made you to think that she was the right person. 4 years going and every day is a bad story worse than the previous day. She does not give me peace of mind nor comfort. She is always very ready to stand on the side of an opposing idea to my stand point. Will never show that she is on my side. Takes joy in being on the contrary side all the time. I feel wasted and less than I am supposed to be. She does not give me any emotional comfort or attention. My welfare is not really her priority. She still puts her brothers sisters and parents first before me and our child. This is really painful and has started to cause me health problems.

Am I supposed to remain in this hell for ever? I have tried to talk to her and tell her about these things. But one minute she promises to change and the next second she is repeating the same things. Our priorities are totally out of sync. She will always do things at her own pace and wish. Very hard to make any sacrifices for me. Due to this attitude of her not taking my opinions seriously, I have lost something very precious to us. I will never be the same again without what I lost. It is an everlasting wound in my heart. I break every day because of this loss of ours. Yet she continues in her old ways. I just dont understand this. Sometimes I am almost forced to think she is an agent sent to bring my downfall. I dont know what happiness means anymore. How am I supposed to carry on like this. Its too much for me. and totally beyond what I can handle right now. I dont know what else to do. Please help!

Stephen’s Response to the Unhappy Husband

If love is the sole driver of every marriage then the only reasons some marriages last is nothing more than luck.

You are speaking with someone who has been through hurt, and has also spent thousands of hours with hurting and hopeless spouses. A great deal of the spouses that enter my office come alone because their spouse has no desire to change or make sacrifices. The hardest part of our life, both in and out of marriage, has to be doing things with no hope of a simple thank you. It truly is life-sucking, but then we have to evaluate where we are looking for our true sense of purpose. I address this in my new book, “Marriage Triage.”

It seems you entered into this relationship with the stipulation of “as long as”. As long as you make me happy”, “as long as you do your half.” Seems like a reasonable expectation, and in a secular or non-Christian marriage, it is normal to expect this behavior. To be in a relationship you feel is a prison with punishment seems unfair, but I must ask what you have done to nurture it. What is it that your spouse is holding onto that isn’t resolved? Are you treating your spouse like you have already given up? Are your responses just as sinful as that of your unresponsive spouse? I am sorry if this seems “in your face”, but I need to balance this. If I presumed that circumstances were just as you portrayed them, I see why you would be ready to give up. In your view I understand you believe the situation is pure torture. Still I must ask when Jesus gave up on you? Have you lost sight of the grace showed to you by Christ. Were you always deserving of the grace you were shown? Did Jesus put a limit on anything he has given you? Yes I am assuming you are a believer, and if you aren’t some of this may not make any sense.

Yes I know it seems I am being tough, but you can’t lose sight of your real purpose. Happiness isn’t the goal of your life although you will experience those moments. Jesus prayed in the garden that His Father would be glorified through his suffering. Jesus modeled that even when He was suffering, His needs were secondary in light of His mission.

Let me ask you some additional questions. Are you being the kind of spouse that your wife could change her heart about? Are you displaying a Christ like spirit that shows that you desire to glorify Him even in your weaknesses? Have your circumstances driven you to seek your contentment from Christ or are you just seeking to look for faults and failures in everything around you?

My guidance and direction to you is to seek fulfillment through serving and drawing closer to Jesus Christ. Seek ways to serve Him, and be an example of patience, endurance, and Love to your family. Seek to focus on your own faults, and be refined through your trial. Your purpose isn’t to find happiness in this life whether your spouse ever does or doesn’t. You are on a mission to honor Christ and glorify Him in all your actions! You can do it! You will continuse to suffer from extreme anxiety, and physical ailments as long as you think your goal is to be “happy” and get what you believe you deserve.

Start setting a tone in your house that shows you will serve Jesus and honor him in your conduct regardless of the actions and responses of your spouse.

A Reflection from Stephen Goode on the Chick-fil-A Comments and Response this Week

Link to Audio

As much as we need to get on with the mission, it is important to understand what just happened this week in the national media. Stephen has been on several programs this week to discuss the Chick-fil-A incident, and to place it in the appropriate biblical context.

Stephen is an pastor and author of the book Marriage Triage, a guide to healing for the hurting spouse. He has appeared on Discovery ID, and is regularly interviewed as a subject matter expert in the area of marital crisis from a Christian perspective. He is a former police officer who served 11 years with the Greensboro Police department in North Carolina.