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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!

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