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A Husband Teeters on the Edge of Divorce

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ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:
I am taking an email vacation until January 6th.  I plan to continue to post and will respond to comments as I am able – you are welcome to comment any time.  But if you can please hold emails for me for a few weeks, I would appreciate it.  Thank you for your patience and understanding!
Here are some updates on the wife who shared what God was teaching her in a post last week A Wife’s First Practical Steps on This Journey.  She has graciously allowed me to share more from her story as God continues to work.  I believe her story will bless you and inspire you because of God’s power working in her.   These are some TOUGH issues she is facing.  I believe she is responding in a godly way to some extremely painful questions from her husband.  Please pray for her and for her husband as they face these serious struggles:
God is doing amazing things inside of me.
Today, on the drive home my husband joked that he had a date tomorrow.  I kept my cool, smiled, and asked him with who?  He laughed and said a guy friend of his he’s been trying to hang out with for some time.
Then he asked me how I would feel if he did have a date with another woman.
First I leaned my head on his shoulder and told him I was so thankful he has stayed faithful to me.
Then I told him I would feel hurt.  I would feel betrayed.  I didn’t elaborate.  He asked if that’s really how I would feel and I confirmed it.
Then he said that he was being unfaithful to me with his porn.  Then he asked me what if we were to separate so he could work through the things he is going through.
I told him that I am on his team, and he can talk to me anytime.  That even if I don’t like what he is sharing, or it hurts me, I won’t judge him or look down on him.  I told him that I don’t want to separate, and even if I can’t help him through this, that I accept they are his issues, that I am there for him.
He asked again if he were to have an affair what would I do?
I told him that he was the most important person in this world to me, that I want him, and choose him.  I said we would work through it.
He referred to our marriage at some point, and said that was then, and he wanted to be able to change his mind.  Then once we were home he hugged me and asked me not to hate him, that he didn’t know what he was going though.
I told him I don’t hate him, and that I trust him to make the right decisions for us.
Then he said that maybe my trust was part of the problem, that I shouldn’t trust him so much.  So I asked him again if he was having an affair, he said no.   Then he said he didn’t want to talk anymore, and expressed that I was going to freak out, and cry, now that we had talked.  And in the past, I would have.
Instead,  I smiled and said that no, I wouldn’t do that.  That I wouldn’t even lose any sleep tonight, and not to worry. 
He gave me a puzzled look, then we discussed supper.
The moment he left the room I prayed .  I asked God to work in my husbands heart, to take me out of the way so that my husband can hear Him.  I asked Him to keep helping me keep Jesus as my focus, I asked Him for his peace.  It was a hard talk with my husband, but after praying, I felt better.   I think that part of what he is going through is part my years of disrespect, and part conviction.  I can’t be sure, but I think my husband is testing me.
Please keep praying for me, my husband and our marriage.  I pray that through my actions my husband sees God again.  I pray for strength and wisdom when I speak to him.
(SEVERAL DAYS LATER…)
I read your series on the stages in his journey, I’ve only been on this journey for a month, and haven’t reached all the stages.  But like you said, it isn’t a linear journey!  I often find myself backtracking and going to stages I thought I had passed.  I’ve had to keep digging out the idol that is my husband and his love for me.  I also discovered a new idol in there, my desire for his approval.  But every time I dig out those idols it gets easier to do.
I also read the post My Demon and totally relate.  I had no idea how much I was being used by Satan to demoralize my husband so much internally.  I’ve been working on taking my thoughts captive like the woman who wrote that post did, and using Phil 4:8 whenever my own internal demon voice starts talking.
We had another very candid talk on Monday of this week.   He was better able to articulate how he’s been feeling and summed it up with a general feeling of unhappiness in our relationship, and a desire to just be happy again.
  • he feels useless
  • he feels like I don’t listen
  • he feels tyrannical when he asks me for help.
  • he mentioned beginning to feel that way before he started school a few years ago when he was laid off from his job.
  • he feels like this year in particular has been really hard.
  • he said he doesn’t want to give me false hope that he will stay, but that he really wants our physical intimacy to continue.

I can see more clearly than ever how my disrespect has hurt him!

While we were talking, he asked me again if I would move on were he to divorce me.
I had to answer honestly, Gods been speaking to me in that area and has made it clear that if I were to remarry after a divorce it would cause my new husband to commit adultery, and that I am bound to my husband for as long as he lives.   I couldn’t in good conscience be responsible for making someone else sin.   I told him I wouldn’t remarry, that in God’s eyes he would still be my husband.  He was troubled my this.
But God has given me peace here.  I know that if my worst fears are realized, what God wants me to do.
So, I’ve been living everyday for Christ.
  • I make effort to maintain physical intimacy
  • I thank my husband for every little thing I notice him do for me, (he’s started to thank me for what I do, it’s like the most polite house ever!)
  • I drop what I’m doing to help him when asked and do it cheerfully
  • I give him my full attention when he speaks.
  • I don’t begrudge his time spent doing other things (he actually closes his computer from time to time now and comes to sit with me on the couch and cuddle! I treat these moments like a special gift.).
  • When ever I feel overcome with jealousy and have the urge to try and check his messages, I give that up to God.  The constant pain in my heart is gone now, it only creeps up on me once in a while, and usually after my husband makes a joke about other women (he uses humor to help him cope with his insecurities.  He always has, and I never took it personally until now) so when this happens I leave the room and pray.
I’ve also been reading “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn like you suggested and already I understand so much more about him than I ever did before.  I want to ask him about some of these things, but don’t think the timing is right.
Thank you so much for your example April, God has been using you and I’m grateful!  This isn’t easy to go through, but  I believe God is using this situation to mould me.  I will keep you updated.  Please keep my husband and I in your prayers.

 FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This wife understands that if things are going to heal in her marriage, God wants to change her first.  Yes, her husband needs changing, too.  That is very obvious.  But – she is cooperating with God and seeking to honor God and her husband and to become the wife God desires her to be no matter what her husband does.  And as she begins to be empowered by God’s Spirit and to respond in His wisdom and in His ways – that will make it much easier for her husband to hear God’s voice, himself.

I am so glad she is listening to her husband, making his concerns and feelings huge priorities for her.  That is so important!  And I am proud of this husband for being so clear and direct about his concerns.  That is a blessing!  It is really hard to know what is wrong if someone doesn’t ever say what the problem is.  Mind reading can be pretty impossible for most of us!

I am also thrilled that this wife is sharing her heart in a vulnerable, respectful, honest but kind and non-pressuring way.  Her husband can actually hear her and care about her feelings because of the way she approaches him.  If she was screaming and yelling or making demands – he would shut her out.  Notice how he is seriously considering all of the things she is saying now that her approach is so different – and how unnerved he is by her peaceful spirit.  THAT IS A GREAT THING.  He is hearing her loud and clear.  

It is not really ultimately about this wife and her husband – this is ultimately about this woman and Christ.

As she obeys I Peter 3:1-6 and Ephesians 5:22-33 – that will bring more conviction on her husband than anything she could do to try to control him or try to force him to come back to her.   She is also opening up the floodgates of heaven by her faith and obedience to Christ to allow God to work in her marriage and to begin to work in her husband’s heart so that her husband can have the best chance to hear God’s voice instead of her own.

No matter what happens, God will change this precious wife.  I am very excited about that!  And if there is to be healing, this is the path this wife must take for her marriage and her husband, too.  It is a DIFFICULT path.  It involves dying to self, repaying evil with good and tearing out all the idols and pride in her heart and humbling oneself before Christ and totally submitting oneself to Christ.

The world doesn’t understand this approach.  The world says, “Stand up for your rights.”  “Make demands.”  “Make ultimatums.”  “Tell your husband what he better do … or else.”

But God doesn’t work the way the world does.  His wisdom is much higher.

I am excited to see all that God has in store for this wife and marriage and husband.

There are signs that God is convicting him and that he is softening.

As he continues to see his wife become more and more the woman of God’s dreams, and as he sees her new behavior, faith, joy and peace continue for month after month and then for a year and longer – that will get a man’s attention.

Many wives say, “My husband wants out of our marriage.”

That doesn’t really bother me too much.  A husband’s feelings can change dramatically when a wife allows God to work powerfully in her heart.  I am not going to keep my eyes on this husband – as if everything depends on him.  And I am not going to keep my eyes on this wife as if everything depends on her.  My eyes are on Christ.  I can see what He wants to do.  I know He is already in the future working things out for their good and His glory.

NOTE:

If that husband was actually involved in physical infidelity – then I believe the wife would need to say something like, “I want to work things out.  But I cannot live with you as long as you are violating our marriage covenant. Until you truly repent and are willing to earn back my trust, we cannot live as husband and wife.”  
And then she may need to separate, or at the very least, not engage in sex with him unless and until he is willing to repent and earn her trust back.  She may need to ask him to go to a godly pastor or mentoring couple with her.  There would need to be much prayer and fasting on her part and godly counsel, in my view.  And she would need to put up some boundaries with him until he repents.  
This is something that is possible to work through if the husband is willing to sincerely repent and turn back to God and to his wife and if he is willing to do whatever it takes to rebuild trust over time.  It would be excruciatingly painful – but our God is able to heal and do miracles.  I have seen it happen many times. 
Of course, I would rather no one ever had to experience that kind of pain.

 

Thank you for praying with me for this couple.

Lord,

I pray for every stronghold of the enemy to be torn down here.  I pray for Christ alone to be exalted in this man’s life and this woman’s life and in this marriage.  I pray for Your Spirit to empower this wife to obey You and to hear Your voice clearly and to be sensitive to Your every prompting.  I pray for this husband to begin to hear Your voice and to have a softened heart that is receptive to Your voice.  I pray for You primarily to reconcile this husband back to Yourself and for him to be in right relationship to You, Jesus.  Then I pray for Your healing for this marriage.  Thank You that You are a God who knows how to raise dead things to life and that You know how to restore the years the locusts have eaten and that You know how to bring joy from mourning and beauty from ashes.

We trust You with this broken marriage and this husband and wife.  We ask for Your greatest glory in their lives!  We seek only Your will.  We look to You to be the Healer here.  Use this wife as Your partner to bring hope, faith, life, light, healing, joy, peace and the power of heaven to bear in this home.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

23 thoughts on “A Husband Teeters on the Edge of Divorce

  1. Powerful testimony! Prayers lifted up for your faith walk and marriage.
    April… Your words of encouragement and wisdom are gifts from God. Thank you for your ministry – His power is mightily at work through you. This post spoke directly to me today. It challenged me, convicted me and encouraged me. Thank you! Christmas blessings.
    …Cathy

  2. From this writing she seems as STRONG as she is FEMININE, and has put the two together spectacularly. With boldness, seeking out his heart and mind through the enemy’s work both in him and herself. It looks like she’s seeking her husband and finding him.

    Much of the husband’s sort of bad behavior (I believe) comes from a man forgetting to seek out himself–forget that he has to do much more than “get things done” but take care of himself too, emotionally/spiritually. Women can be excellent healers in this regard–he’s beginning to speak and the house is healing thanks to her behavior. She is acting with a self-sacrificing love.

    “Strength and dignity are her clothing.”

    Thank God for giving her this strength. I pray she experiences continued growth and rewards of improved relationship that she deserves.

  3. Wow so powerful, thank you April for your hard work and love. i just wanted to tell you, that you come off in a loving way, with love, I truly see God in your words, and alot of love. Some people come off arrogant or so puffed up in ministry, but you are a great example to me, the way you do it, pray that i be the women God has called me out to be, you are in my prayers as well. Stay humble its the most precious way. Thank you, to God be the glory.

    1. Sharon,
      If I don’t have love I nothing. It has to be God’s love in me or I am wasting my time and everyone else’s.

      Please pray that God will speak through me and empower me to be faithful to Him!!

  4. My response to a private comment, a wife asking if there is ever a time to give an ultimatum:

    Yes, there can be times to give an ultimatum, I believe.

    This particular wife has just realized her own sin against her husband – many years of extreme disrespect.

    I don’t think that it is a good time to make an ultimatum on a husband when she has just realized how much she has wounded him. I think this is a time to focus on Matthew 7:1-5.

    I think there are also ways to communicate hurt and pain and to gently confront about sin – without giving ultimatums.

    If he actually does go out and have affairs – then I believe she would need to say that is not ok, and separate from him until he repents.

  5. This wife is doing an amazing job of seeking God and respecting & loving her husband in an extremely difficult situation! I am so blessed by her example as I am seeking and struggling to do the same.

    I’d like to ask how she determined what was right to do in regards to physical intimacy with her husband. She states he still desires it and she is making an effort to maintain it. I know each marriage is different, but I am struggling in this area.

    My husband is involved in an emotional affair. He says that it has not gone further, but he openly acknowledges he has “found someone else” and has no desire to invest in our relationship. He still initiates physical intimacy with me, however. And I use the term “intimacy” very loosely because it feels far from intimate to me.

    I’m also trying to learn and set healthy boundaries in relationships in general so this one has me totally confused! I want to be available to my husband in every way. I want the same from him, but realize I can’t have that expectation or make him want the same. I don’t know what message I’m sending him by be available for physical intimacy in our circumstances or whether I need to set a limit here. I attempted to do so once and felt terrible. He respected the limit I set that time, but I felt devastated that I rejected him. Following that I clarified that he was not sleeping with this other person so I felt like it was ok to be available to him in this way.

    But now I’m not certain. He has told me that we have no relationship and he doesn’t want one, yet he still initiates physical intimacy. I’ve told him that this is extremely confusing to me because I can’t separate the different areas of our relationship like that. I don’t know what to do! Do I continue to be joyfully available to him in this area, even though he is choosing to make himself unavailable to me, in order to bless him? Or do I set a limit saying that it is too confusing and painful for me to try to maintain physical intimacy when there is no emotional intimacy?

    I am trying to honor Christ and bless my husband with all my actions/words/thoughts because I know I am completely powerless to do anything else except to try to “win him without words.” I have done a lot of damage to our relationship through years with my disrespect and he is extremely hurt by this and unwilling to forgive. I cannot change his heart or mind so I am focusing on what I can change for the better in me, through Christ. But I’m at a loss for the right direction to take in this regard.

    1. Cat,

      UGH.

      I SO wish no wife ever had to be in such a situation. This breaks my heart!

      There are two ways to look at this, in my view, but I think it would require much prayer and fasting to really be sure you are hearing God’s heart – and He may have other ideas than I do, that’s for sure!

      1. You could say, “I want to trust you, but I can’t as long as you are having contact with this other woman. I need to know that I am safe with you. I want to give myself freely to you sexually, but I don’t know how to do that if you say that your heart belongs to someone other than me.” – telling him what you said here, that it is too confusing and painful for you to be involved physically with him in this situation. And you could ask him to give up all contact with the other woman before you would be sexually intimate with him. But, continue to speak respectfully to him and seek to honor him, even as you set boundaries. And pray for healing and reconciliation and look for ways to do kind things for him (Romans 12:9-21) and focus on being the wife God wants you to be.

      2. You could focus on learning to be the wife God wants you to be and say, “I know that I have hurt you deeply. What I did, disrespecting you, trying to control you – I was so wrong. I want you to know – that I am very hurt by your relationship with this other woman. It is not ok at all. I want us to work to fix our marriage. I know it can be great. I hope you can be patient with me as I learn to be the wife you need me to be and most of all the wife God wants me to be. Thank you for remaining sexually faithful to me. Because you are being a man of your word and being faithful to me sexually, I will continue to joyfully give myself to you sexually.” And if you have disrespected him, you can apologize for that (no matter which approach you take). And then focus on God and drawing closer to Him and obeying Him for His commands to you in the marriage. And you could continue to give yourself sexually to him unless he proves that he is actually cheating on you physically. And then, you may have to draw the boundary.

      I believe it is possible that your respect, peace, joy, sexual willingness may draw him toward you in time.

      But most of all, I pray for God’s wisdom for you. I don’t really know what all is going on in his mind, and I am sure I don’t know the whole story. But I do believe that as you stay close to God He can give you the words and wisdom about how to handle situations as they arise.

      Praying for you my precious sister!

    2. “Do I continue to be joyfully available to him in this area, even though he is choosing to make himself unavailable to me, in order to bless him? Or do I set a limit saying that it is too confusing and painful for me to try to maintain physical intimacy when there is no emotional intimacy?”

      Cat, these are great questions. My ex-husband was having an affair with another woman and we had intercourse about 5 days out of 7 days. I thought by being “available” to him I could prove to him that I was “available” and thus he did not need this other woman. In my mind and in my actions, I was “blessing” him. I thought I was doing my Christian woman duties by having intercourse with him. The longer I kept this up the worse I felt. He was not changing. He remained in his affair and I remained heartbroken. Was I truly blessing him or was I trying to check a box to win him back? I was doing the later. It didn’t work. He didn’t end his affair. Sometime later I stopped having intercourse with him. The more I prayed the more God showed me my value and my worth as a woman of God. It is almost disgusting to think about it now but my ex-husband was having intercourse with me and another woman on the same days. I was not created by God to be a cheap thrill or a quickie or a passer-by. I was created to be a wife.

      “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:15, 16, 19

      After this scripture sunk in, many nights of prayer, and direction from the Holy Spirit, I stopped having intercourse with him. He never asked, he never questioned it, it was as if he already knew. On another note, I know you mentioned that it is an emotional affair and has not turned physical but be wise if you learn that it has become physical. If it does become physical you must set boundaries early on, unlike I did. My ex-husband contracted a STD, gave me HPV, and I had developed pre-cancerous cells. If not properly treated, I could have easily developed cancer in my cervix and died. He lied about having an affair, and lied about the STD, so of course he would lie about having protected intercourse with his mistress. He didn’t use protection. If it had not been for the grace of God, I could have a disease or dead. Please be careful.

      I hope this helps some. Great job on setting boundaries! It helps with your mental sanity and taking thoughts captive early on.

      “Then shall you call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto to you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:12-14

  6. Thank you, Peaceful Wife for your response. You actually do know a lot of the story because we have been emailing, but I know your taking extra time for your family (as you should!) and I did not want to intrude on your holiday. I did not expect you to respond to my comment. I’m just feeling very confused and alone and was hoping one of your readers (so many of whom are blessed with great wisdom) might be able to offer me some encouragement and advice. Thank you, Suzetta, for your comment. I appreciate hearing how other wives in similar situations have handled difficult choices. It’s so good that we can learn from one another. And that you, Peaceful Wife, have provided this forum for all of us to learn from your experience and wisdom as we connect with each other. And always being so faithful to point us to God!

    My husband describes his other relationship as his “best friend”–someone who is interested in him for who he is without trying to change him. This is, to my determinant, what my past controlling and disrespectful ways have been. I did not realize it until recently. He believes I am only trying to change because he told me there is someone else and I am desperate now. It was certainly a wake up call to learn he has another relationship, but there were other things going on at the time and God finally opened my eyes to my disrespect and led me to focus on my sin rather than looking at my husband’s actions/choices. This is difficult to do, some days more than others, but by God’s grace I am doing it. I am heartbroken that it took me this long and came to this extreme situation for me to see my sin, but I guess that is why God has allowed this to happen–so He can change me.

    So he says there is no physical intimacy between him and this other woman. I believe him. I do not think he would do that. But, then, I did not think he would have an emotional affair, either, so I guess there’s no way to be certain. I will be extremely careful. Thank you for your concern and warning, Suzetta, in that regard. It’s so hard to think of those things in the moment, but to have it in the back of my head as I seek God’s will for me in this area will be helpful.

    As I re-read the above post yet again, I realized something new. This wife states that her husband wants to maintain physical intimacy but does not want to give her false hope that he will remain with her. Perhaps that is where I am going wrong? I have expectations tied to intimacy. I feel closer to my husband and so expect that he feels closer to me and then I start holding on to false hope that things are going to improve between us. But they haven’t. He seems able to separate physical and emotional intimacy. I can’t. I know he’s not intentionally trying to hurt me. He feels deeply hurt, too. This must be one of those areas where men and women are so different.

    Thank you, Peaceful Wife, for your two suggested approaches. I will prayerfully consider both . I wonder if it might be wise to just be open with my husband about everything I’ve said here? To tell him how confused I am about whether to remain physically available to him or to set a boundary in this area until he can be emotionally available to me, rather than someone else. Or would that be unwise, unfair to him, putting too much pressure on him? I’ve told him that I want to repair our marriage, that I love him and am deeply sorry for the hurt and damage I’ve caused and that I am 100% committed to remain faithful to him and our marriage, whatever he chooses to do. I’ve told him that I will give him whatever time and space he needs to make his choice and I will be here for him. But I’ve also made the mistake of having expectations for him to make me feel better about something unrelated that made me sad and he wasn’t able to do it. I realized too late that he interpreted my feelings and comments as putting pressure on him to give me a time frame for when he might be able to be available to me again. He was very angry, said I was lying about giving him time/space. I don’t want to make that mistake again!

    1. Cat,

      God has given you such sensitivity to His Spirit lately – I believe He will give you wisdom about this.

      I think it may be necessary to lay down all expectations of him doing anything – except to be sexually faithful. If he were to have a physical affair – then that is not ok – and you would have to address that with boundaries.

      But – at this point, I believe that it is going to be your job primarily to give your needs to God and to find total contentment in Him alone and to focus on meeting your husband’s needs in God’s power – only to bless your husband – NOT to change him. We will trust God with the results, my sweet friend.

      I would be EXTREMELY cautious about using words with him about the marriage right now. I’m not sure how much he can hear words – but he can hear your cooperation, your genuine respect, your respectful attitude, your patience, your willingness to give him some time and space…

      I am sending you the biggest hug sweet sister!

      1. Thank you for your wise words and counsel. And for the big hug. 🙂 I so appreciate your support and care. I will do as you say and lay down all my expectations. I will focus on blessing my husband and having a gentle quiet spirit. Much love to you and Merry Christmas!

  7. My husband plans to divorce in two months if I don’t change. I did for a couple of weeks but now there is possible adultery- I don’t know yet. I want to change so bad but the pain is so deep and those feelings of fear and jealousy take over and I loose it. Please pray those feelings are gone. I was to save our marriage, but it seems impossible right now. He is done in his mind and heart already. I don’t know what to do- I repent and beg God to help me change and do for a time, but then wen around him all the fear and pain comes back. What do I do with it? I go to God but I have a hard time letting it go. Please pray for me and pray for him and our marriage.

    1. Hoping.

      Thankfully, God is able to work in your husband’s heart in ways you never could. And what is impossible with us is possible with God.

      What is your relationship like with Christ?

      Check out this post and the ones at the bottom that are linked. Then let’s talk some more, my precious girl!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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