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“The ONLY Thing I Have Right Now Is the Lord.”

I’m so thankful this wife is willing to allow me to share her response to this post about two ways wives tend to respond when their husbands say they are done. Right now, things are still a mess in her circumstances and with her husband – but what I want us to see is the beauty that God is creating in her soul in the midst of this fiery trial:

My separation from my husband is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. My husband has moved out of our home and is staying with family. As a wife of a man who has had trouble leaving and cleaving since day 1, this situation makes our separation SO much harder. Add to it that his family is encouraging divorce, and I am living my worst nightmare daily.

The ONLY thing I have right now is the LORD. He is my strength, my light, my song.

I feel like a psalmist sometimes. I cry out to God, tears streaming down my face, my heart-broken to the point of feeling physically ill. Where is my God? Why is this happening? What does it take to mend my hurting spirit? I have been angry with God, confused, depressed, anxious, unable to sleep, overeating, under-eating, and in the lowest point of despair I have ever felt. Some days. I have asked God to bring me home. I am not suicidal; I simply feel like all I can do is breathe. Going to work is an enormous chore sometimes. Making food is all but impossible. Smiling or laughing feels insincere. But God is with me through it all.

I miss my husband more than I know how to express. I have made GIGANTIC mistakes that have brought our marriage to this point. My LORD has brought me to my knees in dire regret and sadness over my abuse, desire for control, overpowering, mean, non-supportive, and downright selfish ways. My LORD has reminded me that He paid the price for my sins, and I am washed by the blood of the Lamb. My LORD has reminded me in my darkest hour that He will never leave me or forsake me.

The Lord has brought me closer to Him than I have ever been during this trial. For that, I am blessed and eternally grateful.

I lay down my marriage at the feet of Jesus daily, usually multiple times each day. I know healing takes time, and I know our God works in ways we cannot comprehend as sinners. I yearn for quick restoration, but I know I would rather be separated for years than divorced forever. My husband’s heart is resistant to the work of the Holy Spirit right now, and I want him to hear the voice of God. I pray for his heart and for blessings for him often. I want him to feel the closeness I feel to the Lord. I want him to rely on the eternal not the temporary. I want him to trust his God more than his family. I want him to remember his baptism, what Jesus did for him, and let that change his heart.

There is absolutely nothing that I can do. I have reverted to “Wife #1” too many times to count (see this post). Now I give my husband to God. I release him. We are one flesh by the joining we received by God on our wedding day. My heart aches for him, my heart is broken, and hearts can be restored.

No matter what happens, I love my Jesus and I love my husband.

Through this pain, I am firmer in my faith than ever before and I trust that God is working all things out for my good. He is with me through every storm. Praise be to God!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

When I see this kind of faith, humility, and trust in God – I know God is powerfully at work and amazing things are going to happen. I know there will continue to be healing and regeneration for the wife  – that God is using the trial to grow her and bring her to much deeper faith and greater spiritual maturity. Please join with me in praying for God to continue His good work in this dear sister’s life and for healing for her, her husband, and their marriage for God’s greatest glory in His perfect timing.

ENCOURAGING VERSES:

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope… Romans 5:3-4

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

RELATED:

Kristin’s Story – a Peaceful Separated Wife

A Separated Wife Finally Begins to Experience the Peace of God in Her Life

“My Two Year Anniversary As a Separated Wife”

A Divorce and Reconciliation Story – by The Restored Wife

 

The Answer to All of Our Marriage Problems

Praying for Your Husband So That God Will Hear

There Must Be More to This Journey Than Just Prayer

173 thoughts on ““The ONLY Thing I Have Right Now Is the Lord.”

  1. Wow. I can think of so many of us that could have written similar stories such as this one. April, I know your situation did not have to deal with your husband turning from God or having to deal with a husband in such a dark place. Thank the Lord for that! I think that is an area where many of us struggle once we are far along enough on the path that we understand being a godly wife and living for Christ. We want to live this out, but then we face unresponsive husbands who are far from God and in very dark places. Having posts like this from readers that are in those “2nd chapter” type of relationships are very helpful. Sometimes, I think we hope that once we straighten OUR lives around in God, the puzzle pieces will start to fit. We see how it worked for you and Greg and are so grateful for that inspiring story. But then, we get to a different land where the spouse is not like Greg was. I realize every martiage is diffetent, but this is what im seeing more and more of on this site, the relationships of endurance and trying to minister to an unbeleiving spouse who is spiritually dead. Not following God’s ways, or has a heart that has become hardened, angry, bitter and contemptuous. This is where many may give up. Unless we can keep shooting towards God as this woman is doing, then it can feel very much alone and impossible to get through and often, people will give up on God.

    I hope I was not assumptive in your story. Maybe Greg had some issues too. I’m sorry if I’m missing the mark here. Anyway, I think that’s why we struggle with concepts like doormat-itis, speaking the truth in love, calling out sin in others and other lessons from God that strengthen “self”. We get afraid of turning back into our old selfish person and yet, the oppression of ignoring the blatant sin of our spouses is too much. We can do it for a time, but if we do not move forward in the “self-value” realm and learn to love ourselves as God loves us, then we can sink into deep depression and self hate. I dont beleive God wants us to just “hide”. I think He wants to raise a courageous warrior who will fight against sin with Him. Also, many men cannot respect a woman who will NOT stand up to sin. They may not understand why, but its true. Sometines, the most loving thing we can do is speak the truth to someone who is sinning, but we dont know how to do that in a loving, Godly way.This is a hard bridge to cross after learning about submission and learning to stop the complaining, negative and prideful reactions. Then there is understanding what scripture says about letting unbeleiving spouses walk away, or living in peace with one if they wish to stay. So if they wish to stay, how do we live in peace when they are blatantly sinning against us? These are areas I think we could collect knowledge and pray for for wisdom on how to help each other understand what it is God asks of us in these situations. It’s still the pendulum effect. I’m hoping we can address these next-phase type of places on the journey more. This article helps. I know there are many readers that could help contribute to these type of posts. Thank you, April. As always, you are a blessing to us all. Much love to you.

    1. LMSdaily115,

      Greg was in a dark place and extremely shut down for a long, long time. I felt very much alone. He was there physically, yes. But he was not there spiritually or emotionally. He was not hateful or harsh. He was kind of in an emotional/spiritual coma – he was a shell of himself. It is difficult when you focus on changing and your husband doesn’t change. It is frustrating to minister to a man who is not responding (or doesn’t seem to be responding) for many months or years.

      A number of you have much more difficult situations than I had with Greg. But there are some elements that are very similar. The waiting. The praying. The allowing God to change us first. The not giving up. The learning perseverance and living by faith even when we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and aren’t guaranteed things will change.

      There is definitely a delicate balance – we don’t want to be sinful in either extreme – either being disrespectful and controlling or being passive and avoidant. It is important for us to stand up against sin in God’s way and in His power and timing.

      That is also why I share http://www.leslievernick.com‘s site for those who are in emotionally abusive situations. And Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas may be helpful because it addresses how some godly wives handle an angry husband or husband who is not close to God at the time.

      I would love for more ladies to contribute to this particular topic as they feel led by God. We could use more posts about dealing with husbands who are not believers and who are harsh in godly ways. I completely agree.

      Praying for God’s continued wisdom for you and His Spirit’s power for you, my precious sister! Thank you so much for sharing!

      1. Thank you, April for your response. I know you focus more on the wife’s side and controlling ourselves and our personal walk with God as the most important aspect. It’s all a complex level of understanding. It would be helpful to understand the man’s perspective…it seems to help me be a bit more patient, compassionate and understanding when I can see the other perspective. Would Greg be willing to share his thoughts on where he was spiritually and emotionally during his “shut down” period and at what points he “turned corners” to trusting you and connecting back in? He used to write on his blog, haven’t heard much lately, but it might help the ladies here who are trying to understand and allow that godly waiting to happen. Thank you again.

        1. LMSdaily115,

          Search my home page for: “interview.” The posts that come up are Greg’s perspective and Nikka’s husband’s perspective. Both of them tended to be quite passive and quiet. Also there is a chapter where Greg shares his side of things in my book.

          For a more dominant husband’s perspective, there is a husband who shares in the last chapter of my book, not sure if you have that?

    2. Agreed..would love to see more on this and even tips/encouragement on HOW to be a loving wife even if the spouse has left. To me, thats a big struggle. I know to pray…but beyond that…I dont know what else to do, if anything, and its near impossible to find others in situations like mine, who havent given up and often…who havent decided to fall inyo sin also. Its really very difficult and often a lonely journey. I know at this point, I have lost every single prayer partner. As Christians, we shouldnt be giving up, we shouldnt cease our praying, and we really should not fall into sin with our wayward spouse. Maybe there could be a group for this?

      1. Lost & Searching,

        I know that there are a few ministries specifically for this very purpose. Some that a number of my readers have shared with me that have blessed them greatly are:

        Rejoice Ministries
        Marriage Missions

        You may also Google “Standing for my marriage” to find other helpful blogs.

        Please always “test the spirits” with any human author – including myself. Test everything against God’s Word and only receive what is in line with Scripture.

  2. To the wife that shared this, thank you for sharing. I know it is a rough time for you right now. I’ve been through it myself. I love the fact that you are putting this in God’s hands, but there was something that you said that troubles me a bit. It is something I see all to often when people talk about God.

    “… I know our God works in ways we cannot comprehend as sinners…”

    Be careful with this line of reasoning. It falls painfully close to saying that God has caused bad things to happen to you. Jehovah (Psalms 83:18) does not cause the bad things in our lives.(James 1:12-14) He does ALLOW bad things to happen to us, and with good reason. If you have time, read the book of Job..the entire book of Job. Notice how Job’s three false friends try to tell Job that he is being punished by God for some sin, then see the good counsel given by his true friend Elihu as he points out Job’s faulty reasoning.

    Above all, remember that Jehovah is abundant in loyal love (Ex 34:6), and in fact, God IS love. (1 Jo 4:8) I hope with all my heart that you and your husband can make amends and get back on the right path. There is likely a lot of forgiveness needed on both sides, but remember all that God forgives us for, and forgive each other freely in turn.

    1. ravaught,

      Thanks so much for sharing, our brother!

      I am heading out the door in a second – but I do want to just mention… yes, there are times we suffer and we have not sinned. As with Job. God declared that Job was blameless in his life. His suffering had a greater purpose but was not a result of sin. But there are also times when we suffer because of sin. For example, if I am an alcoholic, my health with suffer, my liver may fail – and that is a result of my choice to drink alcohol. But there are other diseases that are not caused specifically by sin.

      With my own marriage, Greg shut down (largely) in response to my sin against him – to which I had been blind. The lack of fellowship in my marriage – in my case – was a result of my pride, disrespect, self-righteousness, idolatry of self, idolatry of Greg, idolatry of marriage, bitterness, etc…

      Of course, husbands have their own sins that can damage relationships, too. Sin is progressive. And it leads to divisions and fractured relationships whether it is lust, pride, an affair, dishonesty, bitterness, control, passivity, or whatever sin it may be.

      Hope to discuss more later! But there are many reasons for suffering – and yet, as we trust ourselves and our circumstances and loved ones to God, as we repent of any sin God shows us in our lives, and as we depend totally on Him – He is able to use all of the suffering and difficulties ultimately for our good and His glory. So thankful for that! What good news! He can transform us and give us victory over any sin and empower us to become the men and women He calls us to be. 🙂

  3. April,
    Have you ever struggled with thinking that God may be “punishing” you in any type of way for sins in your life?

    It really is all the enemy when we allow those types of thoughts to seep into our minds!!! I know I’ve fallen for it many many many many times!! I have to be reminded, even now, that JESUS is OUR righteousness! The only reason we can EVER stand in God’s presence uncondemned is because Christ has died and rose again on our behalf—and if by faith we believe in Him, then we are in right standing before God! We have been accepted in the Beloved!!!

    And the battle of the christian life is on this ground—– the ground of the enemy trying to get us down from our standing in the right by faith in Christ—-down to the ground of accepting condemnation.

    And we all probably wonder—what about the daily sin? what about the daily mistakes and wrongdoings??? isn’t it a contradiction?!

    NO!!! When we make a mistake—- we have 2 choices! We can either listen to the devil that is saying to us that we are not saved! We are a lost cause! We are being punished! When things start falling apart in our lives, he starts reminding us of our faults and tells us that God doesn’t love us! He is punishing u!!!!

    OR —- we can choose to admit that yes, we were wrong, and we are sorry, Lord–please forgive us!

    And on that ground, the Lord takes us along—- if we fall down to condemnation—- we have a horrible time and it can take weeks–months..or even YEARS to get back on the ground of the truth that Christ is our righteousness—IN CHRIST THERE IS NO MORE CONDEMNATION!!!!

    We must stand on the WORD, and as we behold Him, we are changed!

    It is a lot harder for women, I would say, that are dealing with ungodliness from their husbands, to believe the truth! Nevertheless—- it is the TRUTH, and we must stand on it no matter what our husbands may say or do!!! You have been blessed to have not had to deal with any thing like this (from what I can gather)—– But you have other struggles in life and not all of us will go through the same exact struggles, but the end will be the same—-conformed to the image of Christ! 🙂

    Blessings,
    Amanda

    1. Satisfied Wife,

      I don’t believe God was “punishing me” for my sins when Greg was so distant. But I do believe Greg and I both suffered negative consequences of my sin – and, I really wish he had confronted me about it very early on. It was not a gift to either of us or to my relationship with God or anyone else for me to continue on and on for over 14.5 years in sin. Trust had to be rebuilt. So we both did suffer loss of intimacy on numerous levels for quite a long time.

      I agree completely that Jesus has paid fully for my sin and taken all of the punishment. PRAISE GOD FOR THAT! At the same time, I do have to repent of any known sin. I can’t just knowingly continue on and on in it. But even if I repent and am right with God through Christ – there are consequences of sin on this earth in our relationships and in the world.

      Example – David committed sin with Bathsheba and there were numerous consequences that greatly affected his children for decades that did not disappear even though he did repent wholeheartedly and was restored to fellowship with God. He had godly sorrow.

      I think you are talking about worldly sorrow and guilt. That is very destructive. Worldly sorrow leads to death. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and life.

      In my view -completely separate from all of that – there are consequences on earth for sin. If I steal from a store, I may repent and can be made completely right with God and face no condemnation before Him because of the blood of Christ covering me, but I will still have to face jail time for my crime. If I cheat on my husband, and completely repent – I can be totally right with God – but that doesn’t always mean my husband will forgive me and/or take me back. My relationship, intimacy, and fellowship with God is a separate issue from my relationship, intimacy, and fellowship with other people.

      As believers, we don’t have to face condemnation from God. THAT IS THE BEST NEWS IN THE WORLD! As soon as we see sin in our lives, we will want to turn from it and turn to Christ. His blood completely washes us clean by His work on the cross on our behalf.

      Still, if I sinned against my husband for 14.5 years – which I did unknowingly – it may take time for him to feel safe with me again. So there may be a break in fellowship with him while I work on showing him that I am trustworthy and safe and that God is changing me until we can rebuild that trust.

      To me, that is not at all about being condemned before God. I was able to receive that eventually – thankfully! Although, there are some who may not have received all that Jesus has done for them who really do need to focus on what Christ has done and how His work on the cross completely atones for our every sin. To me – the reason Greg was so far away from me was because I needed to also make things right with him, and attempt to bring reconciliation and restitution to a dear brother I have wronged. It wasn’t that “God hardened Greg’s heart against me.” My sin hardened Greg’s heart against me. I needed to get right with God first, but then, there is also the process of getting right with Greg and others.

      I do agree that when a spouse is walking in lies or in the flesh, it is much harder to discern the truth and believe it. Their words and actions can easily derail and tempt us to receive lies. But yes, we can and must stand on God’s Word alone – and never put a husband’s words (or any humans’s words or approval) in place of that.

      There are some difficult issues I had to deal with (with Greg as well as some other people) that I don’t share on the blog out of respect for them. I am as open as I can be about myself and my sins and how God transformed me. That is my focus here.

      Much love to you, my dear sister!

      1. April,
        Totally agree! There is that separation—– we have consequences for our actions—- yet we have atonement for sin in Christ—- that is beautiful! Thank you for this setting forth of the difference! Because I know for me, there have been many many times that I believed I was being punished for sins in ways not connected to the actual person. So for example, so I sinned by speaking unkindly to my husband. If the next day, say my washing machine broke, or our car had a problem, or there was some thing going wrong in life that was not connected to my husband at all—- I have, at times, believed that I was being punished for my sin (can anyone relate???)! It wasn’t until God showed me that our punishment was taken to the Cross—-and in Christ—we are no longer condemned. BUT, like you said, there will be consequences connected to our actions that are sinful. So if in the example above, yes, I could very well reap the consequences of being unkind to my husband, whatever they may be!

        It seems as though we would need to truly treat everyone, all people, in the right way—-in order that we don’t reap negative consequences.

        I wonder what that does when we treat others wrong and we don’t reap any consequences from that person. Would that change us? would that be them showing us grace?

        I believe it would be no, because like you mentioned, had you been confronted in your 14 years, perhaps things could have changed a lot sooner for you.

        So all the more why we should be very careful to make sure we do approach being sinned against in a respectful way, in order that we aren’t just “taking it humbly” and allowing others not to feel the consequences of their wrong choices towards us.

        That is something to think about! Thank you!!!

        Love,
        Amanda

        1. P.S.—- As you can tell, I am EXTREMELY SLOW in learning these important truths 🙂 Thank God for His patience!

          1. Amanda,
            I agree with you. Learning all of this sure takes time. But i wouldnt change what i have been through in the last 1.5 years for anything!
            Everything that happenned during this time was so nessecary for my growth, cleansing, refining my character…
            Im thanking our God every day for.his. Goodness!

        2. Amanda,

          There are many trials in life. Natural disasters, car accidents, disease, war, obstacles, challenges, problems, etc…

          Sometimes these things are part of spiritual warfare.
          Sometimes they are not.
          Sometimes a rift in our fellowship with a person is due to our sin, sometimes it is due to their sin, sometimes it is not about anyone’s sin.
          Sometimes disease is directly due to sin – like an STD for someone who was committing immorality. Or high blood pressure when we hold on to anger and rage or unforgiveness. But other times an STD, the same consequence, happened because someone was raped or because someone married a spouse not knowing that the other person was infected. In those cases, it wasn’t that person’s sin that brought it about. Sometimes we have high blood pressure because of a side effect of taking a decongestant, not because of anxiety or worry. Or sometimes it is about our diet or a hereditary issue.

          Sin always has consequences. Look at the story of David and Bathsheba. 🙁 The consequences of that sin carried on for decades, or maybe generations – the baby dying and then the fighting and bloodshed later with Absolom – even though David did repent. And yet, in the midst of those awful consequences, God also had grace and allowed Bathsheba to be part of the bloodline of Christ through Solomon.

          If we sin against others, we damage our relationships. Yes, we would want to treat all people with God’s love and with honor as those made in the image of God knowing God is holding us accountable for our thoughts, motives, words, and deeds at all moments. And yet, at the same time – we can’t be sinless in our own power. But praise God! He gives us His Spirit which can give us victory in every circumstance!

          Even if a person says nothing about our sin, the relationship is damaged – as was the case with Greg and with me. He shut down and intimacy and fellowship was greatly impacted. Yes, it would have been a gift for him to lovingly rebuke me.

          God gives us instructions about handling things when we are sinned against. Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18:15-17 – but there are many more passages than that.

          Much love!

          1. April,
            I never really considered it in this way! Thank you for sharing this insight! 🙂 It sheds light on the Lord’s mercy and grace in that he doesn’t deal with us according to our sins—-He is merciful and He is forgiving! If we were dealth with according to our sins, none could stand! That sheds light on His love and His mercy! Where would we be without it!!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

  4. Wow. THANK YOU for sharing this. I wrote my husband a letter on Thursday and mailed it out to him. Im asking him to seek out Gods Will for us. Im hoping…SO hoping…that he will. I am hoping and praying for a softened heart and for restoration.

    My husband, over three yrs ago, also left me for his parents. He also never cleaved to me….and Im quite sure his parents supported him divorcing me. I have often felt like I never stood a chance, despite the fact that he was a wonderful husband to me, its hard knowing Im hoping and praying for something that goes against his wishes, his families wishes, and Satans wishes. That family hold is a strong one, especially when I know he doesnt see ME as family. I do have God, though. God is ALL I can count on.

    I too made huge mistakes that I could sum up just like you. I was unforgiving, proud, cold, bossy, controlling, and wanted things my way. I showed him love and I honestly wanted to solve the issues between us and his family, but I didnt know how and stupidly, I never turned to God for help until the day I came home to find him gone. I now hope that I wasnt too late to start asking God to help us. I know I failed at my wifely duties. Perhaps my husbands heart is too cold, perhaps he has moved on too much, perhaps he found something better. I dont know.

    I know I cant stop praying. I know I love him and there is a little bit of hope left in me that says, maybe, just maybe, something will happen and God will give me and him the gift of marriage restoration. And I know I want it to be a marriage that will please God and if I ever have the gift of children, I pray we raise them in a true God-honoring fashion. And I know that he is the only husband I will and can Biblically have, so I better make this fight count.

    1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the scripture says that “if an unbelieving spouse leaves, let them leave”. My pastor said that in such a case, the believing spouse is not bound by the covenant of marriage at that point. The believing spouse cannot control the unbeliever from leaving. The two unequally yoked spouses have different beliefs. Does this mean the believing spouse is free to marry again?

      I know the other side of it is that if the unbelieving spouse agrees to live with the believing spouse, then they are to live in peace with each other in as much as they are responsible for.

      Do others agree with what my pastor said?

      Thanks.

      1. My belief is that yes, if the unbelieving spouse leaves, you are not bound and are free to remarry if the unbelieving spouse divorces you. As far as living in peace with each other, I agree, but I also do not think that means living in “peace” (which would be a fake kind of peace, I think) and letting your spouse live as a single person or live continuously in unrepentant sin that undermines the marriage covenant and makes it much less than what God intended. So, living in peace as much as possible might mean there comes a point (maybe different for each believer) where the “as much as possible” comes to an end and you start drawing some pretty clear boundaries. In which case, I believe, probably will force the unbelieving spouse to do some thinking about whether they really want the marriage or not. With the clear boundaries drawn and shown (which, in my opinion, should uphold the beautiful and true ideals of what marriage is), the unbelieving spouse will either leave or they will be forced to make some hard changes for the good of the marriage (and truly, themselves, too).

        1. Hi LMS. I can see two schools of thought from the 1 Corinthians 7 passage (which I suspect your pastor is basing his thoughts on) saying “But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.”

          The first school of thought is that the believer is not bound to marriage and is free to remarry. The second school of thought is that being called to peace means simply let the unbeliever go, you are not to try and keep them against their will.

          Personally, I think that the answer is given earlier in the chapter “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”. To me, this is not talking about just believers, it is talking about the God defined marriage relationship regardless of the person’s state of faith.

          So personally, in my situation, I think that I have been called to let DW go but I do not believe that I am free to remarry at this present time. I believe I made a covenant with her that can only be broken by death (or adultery as defined by Jesus in Matthew).

          I do agree 100% with CiC that living in peace does not mean turning a blind eye to blatant, unrepentent sin (adultery for example) but also know that it takes a lot of discernment to know when to speak and when to be silent. I know that I came to a point where I had to decide to follow Christ or accept some rotten, blatant sin and I chose Christ.

          HH

          1. HH…
            I agree. Also, the Bible speaks heavily in regard to remarriage being adultery. Thrn we see Hosea and Gomer…and example of taking one back for the glory of God. The verses that most refer to as “allowing remarriage” never actually say that you may remarry. A marriage restoration, on the other hand, is an amazing testimony and reflects Gods love for us.We are to never cease praying and we can find peace while praying for restoration.

          2. Lost & Searching,
            It would be tragic to miss out on a marriage restoration. What incredible stories I have seen – even here – where at least one spouse remained faithful and committed and stood for the marriage. There were many tears and much heartbreak, yes. But to see the true healing and reconciliation of a broken marriage – is very beautiful! God is great at fixing broken things and people. PRAISING HIM FOR THAT!

            The Restored Wife – A Divorce and Remarriage Story

          3. Thank you, HH. I also have been standing more on the passage you explained about spouses not to leave. And we are bound until death. Until my pastor said this, I felt much as the reader above…trapped and doomed to either live with a crappy marriage doing what I can to live in peace, or never remarry even if my husband leaves. Either way, will I never know marrital love as God intends, if he never comes around to God? What about the God of second chances? Don’t get me wrong…I am in no way looking for an “out” or justification or another relationship. I am prepared to be single the rest of my life if my husband walks, if that is what God intends. However, short of death, how does a person seek to honor God in marriage if they are trapped by “till death do us part” or wait possibly forever for an unbeleiving spouse to find God? It just doesn’t seem like God would “doom” a person seeking His will to a life of non-marriage. I want to make sure we are not being over legalistic, but i truly want to follow Gods commands. Hiw do we, as humans know that we are interpreting His word correctly? Does that particular passage apply only to 2 beleivers? And the one about letting a nonbelievers go more for unequally yoked marriages? How are we to know what situation it applies to? My pastor is still human, and I wanted to compare his translation to the bible. I will never put all my trust into another humans words again…even a pastor. But God DOES talk to us through any human….so, it’s a tricky sort of concept…every day.

          4. You dont have to be trapped in a “crappy marriage” or feel that God has “doomed” you. I think the issue is that we see marriage as being all about US. Its not, its a covenant, not a contract. Its sacred. It serves God, not us. When we realize that marriage is something created by God and for Him, it changes the whole perspective. Should the current state of your marriage determine your happiness? No.

            God IS a God of second chances…and if we use the trial of marriage to cling to him, who knows? Maybe our spouse will be won over by our ways. (sound familiair…its a Bible verse) The Bible is very clear on marriage being a lifelong comittment that should be taken very seriously. The “out” is the death of a spouse. Why are we always looking for the easy way out? As Believers, we are to pray for those around us. We dont want to give up early on God and our spouse when eternal life is at risk. Our spouses were a gift from God and we promised both them and the Lord that we would always be at their side, just as God is at ours. God does not look at us and say, “This is a crappy person. I dont want this one to work with. I changed my mind. I want a diffferent one.”

            So we have to ask ourselves…are we seeking to honor God or are we seeking to honor our flesh?

            Even if a spouse never returns but we stay with God and stand by our vows and keep praying…we will stay close to Him and we will have done His will. And by doing so, we will influence so many others! After all, why do we give up? Because its been too long (impatience with Gods timing), because it hurts (God provides comfort and peace and His path is narrow), because we get lonely (need fellowship), because we feel we deserve better (following the ways of the world/selfishness) Just think…praying for a spouse, keeping our covenant, following His commands….that glorifys God. The reasons NOT to keep standing on Gods word for your marriage…arent Godly. It wasnt always this way either…pastors and churches didnt used to remarry within the church unless it was after the death of a spouse and the divorce rate wasnt as it is now. Most have fallen away….but the narrow path..the RIGHT path…is still there. We decide to take it or not.

          5. LMS, I am also human and know that I may have the wrong understanding of this 🙂 I am more than happy to learn and I know you will take my words as being from a flawed person!

            I do not currently feel ‘trapped in a crappy marriage’ or ‘doomed to never know marital love as God intended it’. My marriage IS crap at the moment, completely, but in my view I am experiencing marital love exactly as God intended…….
            – as a faithful covenant of love that honours my wife regardless of her decisions
            – as a husband who jealously longs for the undivided loyalty of his wife (James 4:4-5)
            – as someone committed to overcoming the ‘mountains of separation’ (Song of Songs)
            – as a husband who longs for his wife to know and experience the true unity of Christ in her heart (John 17)

            I am running late for work otherwise I would write more!

            Love in Christ 🙂 HH

          6. HH, You talk about the answer given earlier in the chapter “To the married I give this command…”…..

            I wanted to just say that personally, I feel when Paul says: “To the rest I say this…”, he is clearly marking a difference between the two circumstances.

            But, I totally respect your view of that passage and just wanted to say how I saw it.

          7. CiC, I can see what you see in that scripture 🙂 Running late for work now, will think on this, and also your other post. HH

        2. I think God hates divorce, too, but I think the reason He hates it is for the sin that causes it.

          I also think it’s interesting that God divorced Israel, but no one tends to bring that verse up when divorce in extreme situations is brought up among Christians. If divorce is always wrong and sin, then something is not right here. God is righteous and perfect – always – and He divorced Israel because the covenant was **already** broken by her adultery and unfaithfulness to Him.

          Again, the emphasis of the hating of the divorce is not necessarily on the one who initiates it, but most definitely on the sin that caused the breaking of the marital covenant (whether that be someone breaking the covenant by adultery or by someone divorcing for reasons like “we’re just not compatible anymore”).

          I do believe that there is a legalistic view of divorce and remarriage to consider based on some of what I said in the previous paragraphs and also there are other things to prayerfully consider, but I think the root of the problem is that most Christians haven’t considered *why* God hates divorce. To me, that cleared a lot of confusion up almost immediately when I was shown that.

          Personally, I think the passages in 1 Corinthians 7 are pretty clear and the believing spouse is freed from a guilty conscience and free to remarry if the unbelieving spouse asks for a divorce or even if they leave for a prolonged period of time and the believer has to initiate the divorce (although, really, the other party has initiated divorce by breaking the bonds of the marital covenant). I think it is incumbent on the Christian to show patience and to trust the Spirit to show them when and if they are released from waiting. I believe God will be faithful to do that for His children, but I would hate for one of His children to stay bound in circumstances out of false guilt and a misapplication or misinterpretation of what it means that “God hates divorce”. God also makes it pretty clear that we, as the believing spouses, don’t really know if our husband or wife will be saved so to me, this verse seems like it’s saying “Don’t hold this idea of Christians not being able to divorce over your spouse’s head to keep him or her in this marriage. If they want to leave, let them go”. And by saying “How do you know whether you will save your husband/wife?”, Paul is basically saying not to let your desire and hopes for their salvation drive what you do in this situation. Let the situation proceed based on what the unbeliever wants and with an emphasis on living in peace. If they want to leave, let them do so and you’re not bound (God is merciful to His children!). If they’re willing to live with you, then you don’t divorce them.

          I personally would be hesitant to remarry until I felt God had brought me to a place of being able to surrender the idea of being married again to Him fully. In other words, I would want to feel that I could be content to remain unmarried, if that’s what God’s will was for me. LMS, maybe that might be where you need to wrestle some things out with the Lord as you continue to process all of this.

          And, I wanted to say, too, that I think your questions and wrestlings on this subject are good and necessary and very much a part of the process due to your circumstances. I hope you feel no guilt or condemnation at all for wrestling these very important things out. God will give you His wisdom and peace and will continue to guide you along.

          1. Hi CiC,

            My head is spinning now….after I knocked off work I spent the afternoon reading about adultery, divorce, remarriage etc and my goodness, for every opinion there is a differing one!

            I spent some time today reading through the passage where God divorced Israel (Jeremiah 3:8 “I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries”) and I noticed that this passage goes on to say that the Lord followed on this ‘certificate of divorce’ with a command for repentance from her harlotry, a desire for restoration and a statement of Himself as her husband…..

            Jeremiah 3:12-14 says “‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt — you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favours to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’” declares the Lord. “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.””

            I will have to spend a lot of time thinking and praying about this (considering my approaching likelihood of divorce), but at face value it almost appears to me that divorce was used by God as a warning to initiate a real repentance and not actually a complete rejection of His people and He still considered Himself their permanent ‘husband’.

            I am actually thinking that a true understanding of this is more critical than we may think, not from a legalistic perspective of ticking all the boxes to be ‘right’, but from the perspective that our understanding of it will directly effect how we portray Christ to our spouses (and to everybody really). That is certainly my motivation.

            As I was writing that, I considered the ‘why’ God hates divorce. I’m not sure I entirely agree that God hates it because of the ‘sin that causes it’ as I’m not certain that it is a particular event that ’causes’ divorce (although it is clear that the sins that make people want to divorce are hated by God, ie adultery). But there are many, many marriages that have experienced adultery and this has not resulted in a divorce so I don’t necessarily think that adultery ’causes’ divorce. In my view, the divorce is ’caused’ by one or both of the spouses making a decision to divorce. I wonder if the ‘why’ God hates divorce is because it misrepresents the permanence of His covenant of love with us? This is external processing here BTW, not me saying that this is the answer!!!

            Regarding 1 Corinthians 7, I definitely agree that the statement ‘to the rest I say this’ is marking that he is talking to a different ‘group’ of people….still believers but to those who are married to unbelievers. And I think it is also definitely clear that the situation is to proceed based on what the unbeliever decides and the call to peace is to let them go 🙂 The bit that is sticky is the ‘afterwards’…………

            ………..for me personally, I really, really, really, REALLY want my spouse to know in her heart the truth that God loves her with an infinite love……..but the Jeremiah 3 passage has made me sit up and consider some new things. Much prayer needed!

            Thanks for hashing through this journey all of you! HH

            Oh, and something else to be considered is the kids……I don’t know how many times I have heard my kids say “I wish you and mummy lived together again”……..I want them to know the permanence of God’s love also.

          2. Very well put, Humbled Husband. I have seen people using Jeremiah as an excuse to divorce their spouse.. and yet seem to not bother reading the whole passage. As you said, it was a statement to bring forward repentance and God clearly states that He is her HUSBAND. We see several verses showing that we remain as husband and wife, divorce or no divorce, because God has put us together, to remain together. Notice in Jeremiah He says that he is faithful and eill frown no longer…a spouse who breaks up their family is no longer faithful to their family or to God. It shows the spouse, children, and world that Gods laws come AfTER your present feelings. Marriage represents the union between Christ and the Church. Does Christ break that union? Then should we? And we may have hard hearts and leave our spouse but even then, in Gods eyes, we havent broken thaf union. He created marriage. He is in charge of it.

            God is LOVE. Divorce is NOT love. Divorce causes horrible pain to the one being divorced and to the children. Statsically, it makes your children more likely to divorce. It causes emotional and financial strife. It involves putting your marriage in the hands of a JUDGE and a lawyer, instead of God. Does a divorce lawyer have your best interest? It can prevent future children that shouldve been born to your marriage from being born. It causes lifelong issues, especially for the one left behind. There is nothing good about divorce. Its the easy way out, a way to satisfy Satan while refusing forgiveness and love and hard work for your spouse. It truly completely goes aganst Gods Word and theres no doubt as to why we see more and more diovrce as our world falls away from God. “Doing violence against the one you should protect….” is so simply not a Christian act. Also, we should keep in mind that the Bible tells us that if we harm one of his children and/or they fall away because of us, its blood on our hands. Causing others great amount of pain and grief and not following God and being an example for them…well, its scary stuff.

            For those who doubt these things….are you doubting that with God you can overcome the trials in your marriage/divorce ? Or do you simply not want to? With the debate around divorce, it would make me think its better to play it safe by following Gods commands of love, lifelong marriage, comittment, forgiveness…then to seek out exceptions and fall into sin.

            Also…Ive never understood why many exchange the word “peace” with “remarry” in Corinthians….they are not remotely related in meaning.

          3. Lost & Searching,

            Thank you for sharing. There are certainly many, many painful consequences for so many people that come from divorce. It also seems to be such a bitterness factory. 🙁 SO SO heartbreaking! Not just for the parents but for the children, as well.

            Thanks for helping us remember the consequences of such a decision. I can see the wisdom in seeking to avoid sin if we are not really totally sure if something is not sin.

          4. HH,

            I agree – I think a right understanding of marriage and divorce is really critical for us. Thank you for sharing and for hashing through this together with us!

          5. First of all, I want to acknowledge, Lost & Searching, that you are in a very painful situation and I want to just say that I am so grateful that God has given you the grace to go through this trial. I am sorry for the situation that you find yourself in. I pray that God will continue to give you wisdom as you proceed in the days to come and I pray along with you that God will soften your husband’s heart as he reads your letter and that he will make moves toward reconciliation in your marriage.

            I also wanted to just clarify that I hold a very high view of marriage and believe that divorce is only biblically allowed in the two situations we are speaking of. My views about remarriage if an unbeliever leaves are not based on the “living in peace” phrase but rather the phrase “a believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances”. I totally understand that there is controversy among believers about what this phrase means, but it is my opinion that this phrase is releasing the believer from the bonds of the marital covenant (again, the way I believe is that the marital covenant has already been broken when someone has been deserted). I think it’s interesting that Paul does not mention trying to seek reconciliation here as he does in the case of the spouses who are both believers. But please know that I totally respect your opinion.

            Until a few months ago, I probably would have been a little more strongly anti-divorce as you are. However, certain events in my own life, hearing particular situations and stories of others and what I believe is God opening my eyes to looking at the divorce passages differently have changed my mind and I believe that God has provided a merciful means to some who are in very, very difficult situations. Again, I do not advocate divorce as an easy means to relieve pain in our lives, but I also cannot go against God’s own Word – especially as it relates to the verses about divorce because of adultery. When people say that God would not change his opinion about divorce, we need to remember that in the OT, adulterers were stoned to death! No one had to question or worry about whether they should stay married, because the sinning spouse was stoned! God saw the breaking of the marital covenant so grievous that that person was given a death sentence. So, I do not think it’s a stretch to say that God grants His children the freedom to leave if they have been hurt by the sin of adultery and cannot bear to be in a marital union with their spouse any longer — especially in the event of unrepentant and ongoing adultery.

            Having said that, I believe that if the Spirit of Christ dwells in you and that if your spouse shows true repentance, He will give you the grace to forgive and do the hard work of staying in the marital relationship. Either way, we know that we are called to forgive. But, there are many believers who have forgiven and forgiven and shown long-suffering for long periods of time and their spouse is still unrepentant and not desirous of reconciling. It is in these cases especially that I believe God has granted freedom to the believer to move on. Again, to me, I am convinced God will grant peace and wisdom to His child when their waiting time has come to an end and they are free to move on. And, I believe that in some cases, there are some who will be called to wait much longer. I also believe that Christians need to be sensitive to the fact that the timing for some will be different than others and we should be very careful not to judge. And really, we shouldn’t judge someone at all if they divorce their spouse after a one-time case of adultery even, because God has given that brother or sister permission to do so – with no caveat, even, about whether the spouse is repentant or not. I cannot in good conscience put guilt or blame on another believer when God Himself has clearly indicated in His Word that what they’ve done is not sin.

            I don’t think it is true that Christians are seeking out exceptions to divorce in these cases. My opinion is that God Himself has granted these exceptions – again as a merciful gift to some of His children who are in very difficult circumstances.

            As I grow more and more in my understanding of the love, concern and care God has for His children, I view certain topics much differently than I did in my younger Christian walk. This is certainly one of them.

          6. CiC, that is a very interesting point that in the OT an adulteress would have been stoned to death so the spouse would not have had the option of remarrying anyway! Do you think that this has changed at all under NT covenant? I am considering that Jesus did not stone the adulteress caught in the act. Also, he said that even looking at a woman with lust in your heart is tantamount to adultery, so if one was very pedantic you could claim watching porn as adultery! HH

          7. ContentinChrist…

            Nice to see someone reads my comments. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. Because I think I was misunderstood in a couple areas I just want to clarify…..

            First, I AM one of those in a very difficult situation. And there has been no repentancem In fact, I came home from work expecting to see my wonderful hisband but he never returned home. I files a missing persons report. Three months later. I find out via divorce papers that he was not missing, he had left me. Over three years later, he has never returned to our house, never talked to me. And thats just a teeny bit of it and not even the hardest part.

            Second, while the new versions of the Bible say “adultery” the older ones and those prior to translations do no t. They say fornication, which is vastly different from adultery. Therefore, the exception that many seek out isnt even a valid exception to begin with.

            Thirdly, through my walk with Christ, I have also grown greatlyand had my eyes opened. I had to steo away from the mainstream views of marriage , divorce, and remarriage which are now often tge Church’s view as well. Today, we have churches claiming gay marriage is Biblical and I have no doubt most Christians will believe it to be so in no time. With marriage representing Christ and the Church and influencing the family and society so heavily, we have to be extra careful with it.Its never, ever good to fall into sin.

            Next, I find the Bible extremely clear on divorce when taking all marriage related verses and reading them in context while considering Who God is and His character. My pointing this out is because we, as Christians, are instructed to speak the truth so that others are not swayed by false teaching.

            Also…the Bible does mentions seperation as acceptable “for a time” but never divorce. And since we know divorce is Biblically wrong, then obviously, remarriage is too and the verses state plainly that marrying someone who divorced makes you an adulterer. I dont necessarily like all the things the Bible says and if my husband never comes home…am I happy about that? NO. But I also dont want to see what Hell is like by disobeying His commands for my own self-gratification. (with renarriage…or any other sin)

            Last thing. If you (anyone reading) has children or siblings…and the brother and sister fight and argue and sometimes get so upset that they want nothing to do eachother….do we seperate them for a short time while working on the issues or do we get rid of one child, believing that nothing will ever work out anyways?Even if they bicker a lot and pick at eachother…how do we handle that? Do we act as if its acceptable? Of course not! We expect them to learn to find solutions andwe love them and we understand the situation better than they do. Is our Father any different? He gives us our spouse…and we accept them through marriage and we know trials will come…we promise our Father and spouse that we will remain…not UNTIL we dont like it anymore…but forever. And we unite as ONE in a holy, covenant bond, broken only be our death. Because we are married, the bethrotal period is over, the “out” of fornication has ended, weve made our promises. We know the Bible says not to make promises we cannot keep. And we know that if our spouse falls away and lives in sin, we ought to do all we can to bring them back. It may or may not happen….but we never have the right to throw them under the bus with divorce. We can pray, be in peace with God, fast, learn, teach, and love and who knows? Maybe (hopefully) well save them. Even if not, we still have our promise in place..our covenant…and its with God Almighty Himself. And by standing on Gods word and faithfulness, we show our children what a commitment looks like and we represent Gods love for us by our actions toward our spouse and toward God. And God never gives up on us.

          8. Lost & Searching,

            I’m so glad you are part of this discussion! It is obvious you have spent MUCH time pouring over the verses about these topics. And your heart for Christ and for marriage is so evident and beautiful! How I praise God for what He is doing in you and how He is transforming your heart and mind for HIs glory!

            For those who want to study the passages about divorce and remarriage -sometimes a word study with commentaries about the original words in the original NT Greek and Hebrew can be helpful. I hate that we have to depend on translations – but until we all master Greek and Hebrew, we are at the mercy of translators – so we will want to do thorough research about what these words mean – like the word that is translated “fornication” in some versions but “adultery” in others.

            How may we pray for you, encourage you, and walk beside you on this road, precious sister? 🙂

          9. HH,

            Jesus extended grace to the adulteress who deserved death. Praise God for that! Grace from Christ is what we all need.

            What I see in the NT is that God calls people to repent of sin and to be transformed by Christ. We were sinners. We were idolators, adulterers, swindlers, drunks, greedy, etc… and Jesus has given us a new life in Him.

            But yes, those who lived in the OT didn’t really have to worry with the decision about divorcing an unfaithful spouse or about whether to remarry – if the law was carried out.

            There are those today who claim that if a spouse looks at porn or even looks at a woman with lust, that the other spouse is biblically justified to divorce. I don’t agree with this. It is kind of the same, in my mind, when we look at that hating someone in our hearts is “murder” but the penalty for hatred and the penalty for actual murder probably shouldn’t be the same.

            All sin is wrong. All sin separates us from God. All sin destroys our relationships with other people, too. Sin is progressive if unchecked. I have seen porn use destroy countless marriages. I have also seen pride, bitterness, and unforgiveness destroy countless marriages. Sin is poison and evil. Even a “little sin” in our minds – is extremely toxic.

          10. Thanks for sharing, CIC. I know I still have much to learn on this topic. I pray God will give each of us His wisdom and that we might have His power to walk in obedience – hearing His voice alone, not the voice of the world or of man’s wisdom.

          11. HH, I had to look up the word “pedantic”, lol. Thanks for that (I like learning new words!)

            You are right – Jesus forgave the adulteress. But that doesn’t mean that her marital relationship was restored. (It would be hard to convince me that she wasn’t divorced and considered an outcast in society considering the culture). One thing that changed my view on what forgiveness looks like is this…..forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation in a relationship. They are NOT one and the same. This was a confusing issue for me for literally years. I actually held this view that if you truly forgave someone, then you should be able to re-enter the relationship as if all was well.

            In the case of the adulteress, there is a lot of missing information about the rest of that story. Jesus doesn’t take the time to address the topics we are talking about here. The point of that story was that we shouldn’t be condemning those who sin when we have our own sin to worry about (actually, that’s one of my concerns here in this whole conversation – that we need to be very careful not to judge others, **especially** when God Himself has given His children freedom in this specific area).

            I personally believe a woman could have a biblical case for divorce if a man she is married to is in unrepentant ongoing use of pornography. As a matter of fact, I bet we would see a lot more victory in this area with men if their wives started taking a very strong stance against it in their marriages and if the church would start taking women’s voices seriously as far as the extreme hurt and damage that it causes (I know many churches and Christians know this, but I think there is undue pressure on the woman in many cases to hold the marriage together at all costs. They are made to feel guilty if they separate or want a divorce when the one who needs to feel guilty is the one who is in the unrepentant sin and who needs some consequences to wake him (or her) up to their sin!)

            I’m convinced that our “forgiveness” of sin has taken on a form that is not what Jesus intended for us as Christians. We forgive, but we do not take lightly sin that is destructive to our marriages. If sin is not dealt with rightly, then it does affect relationships. There’s no way it can’t. Jesus’ parting words to the adulteress were to “Go and sin no more”. He didn’t forgive her so she could remain in her sin.

          12. Yikes. Why are so many trying to sway others that divorce is a valid option for a plethora of sins? On the topic of forgiveness, how can anyone say that youve forgiven the spouse for watching pirn only to punish them with divorce? Meanwhile, youve punushed yourself in tge long run by sinning with the act of divorce…and likely remarriage later on. Renember the prodigal son? When he did return, did his father hold his dins against him or did he run to his son? He did not tell the son he was no longer welcome and then “divorce” him. No, the sons sins were forgiven. Ultimate forgiveness is embracing the person and putting aside their sins. And in attempt to bring about repentance in a sinner, WE stand as examples of Christ love. Christ does not throw divorce at us and sbandon us. He shows us love and sets an example, even when were living sinfully. Also, REPENTANCE means to turn around….with relentance, we turn the marriage back around….we work actively to put it back on track for Gods glory. Breaking a family apart leaves suffering….and makes our sins fall onto our children. Divorce is an act of the world….the idea of divorcing someone because they made mistakes or we feel were better than them….thats the way of the world. Christians need to be above that. We turn our check, we love them, we pray for them, we die to self in attempt to save the sinners and to glorify God. Thats Gods will. Divorcing ones spouse and remarrying is adultery and the Bible plainly states that adulterers will go to Hell. Please dont advise others to head down Satans path for their own temporary happiness.

            *Ive noticed the fact that the Bible says seperation, and not divorce, is being overlooked as well as the “exception” being for fornication, not adultery and of course, “go in peace” with “remarry.” Much swapping out words.

            To those here who stand for a Biblical (even when its hard!) marriage and against divorce, gay marriage, renarriage….I recommend seeking out only the Bible and God…dont fall into the trap of exceptions and justifications. Ive seen many who went against the wordly belief that the marriage was dead, the spouse was unworthy, and against divorce…and Ive seen incredibke restorations. They now share their testimonies and tell people to stay away from wordly advice to destroy ones’ family….they are wonderful examples of Gods love, forgiveness, the power of prayer, and the importance of our marruage covenant. Stand strong in Gods arms. As for me, this whole topic has geared in a bad direction and not focused on Gods commands and I can see that there are hard hearts here that just cant see the truth. I hope that changes.

          13. Lost and Searching,

            I do want to gently point out that there will be plenty of people in heaven who have committed adultery. I am not encouraging it, endorsing it or supporting it but it is very clear that it is the blood of Christ that brings us into God’s heaven and covers even adultery.

            1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

            This clearly states that amongst the Corinthian church there were those who had committed adultery but were clearly considered to be saved and on their way to be with the Lord.

            Much love, HH

          14. Lost and Searching and Content in Christ…… I’m not so sure the hearts here are hard. I, for one am questioning what my pastor said…that “if my unbeleiving spouse leaves, I am not bound in marriage anymore”. It didn’t sit right with me. So I came here seeking other perspectives. God encourages us to seek good advice. I thought I did that with my pastor, but, he too, is a mere sinful human. So, I went to the Bible looking for answers to compare this statement with the word of God, as I am directed to do. I am trying to seek the truth as well. Obviously this has been a debate for much longer than any one here…thousands of years, in fact. Even the Pharasees questioned Jesus’ definitions. But they were trying to trap him. I am trying to seek the truth here about the meaning and intended audience of that instruction. I value your opinion very much. I have had much light brought into this concept from all who have debated, but, respectfilly, you, too are a mere, sinful human. Just like me. So, in an attempt to wrap my small human mind around a concept and instruction from God, I wanted to make sure things are not lost in translation. I see points from you and Content in Christ that both feel true. I think divorce IS wrong. I have been through 3 of my parents divorces as a child and I seek earnestly to end that legacy left to me for my own family. I stand exactly for marriage even when it is hard. That is the very reason I am still in this difficult marriage. And I have stood against the opinions of this world to leave my husband and that I am a glutton for punishment, that I don’t deserve to be treated like this, yadda yadda, but God has not put that action into my heart as of now. I don’t know if He will or not. He asks me to stay. Yet, I do beleive He asked my husband to ask me for a divorce 1.5 years ago. Why? Because it brought ME to God and I would have continued in sin if I had not had that consequence staring me in the face. God hardened Pharohs heart in Egypt in order to bring greater Glory to Him. In that case, did Pharoh even have a chance to repent? Almost seemed he did when he let them go, but then turned around and chased the Isrealites again…for more of Gods glory? I am still struggling with the hard heart of Pharoh vs free will here. Now, my husband is struggling against his own hardened heart…is this for God’s glory too? Is it a struggle for glory or against sin of this world, or coming back into the marriage and dealing with hurt, trust and such?

            MY sin has broken things, destroyed things and weakened the marriage. Now HIS sin is doing the same. We both have a war to win for the name of God. Divorce is the ultimate “giving up”. But I do feel God values our health, our sanity and our motives much more than even the will to stay married. If my husband is dangerous to be around due to abuse, and I seperate from him, I can always hope God can change Him,. Does that mean God will keep me in limbo if He knows my husband will never turn from His sin? God knows the ending from the beginning. Just thinking, not trying to find a loophole. I will wait till my death if that is where God wants me. But facing that possibility will determine where my energy is best spent.

            I think God understands the pain of divorce. It is not his design for marriage. But He also gives us free will…to obey Him or not. There are consequences to sin. We may be forgiven, but the earthly consequences of our sin are not something we can control. We can only turn a different direction and “go and sin no more”. We have forgiveness from God, but not nessecarily the forgiveness of those we hurt. That will be up to them to forgive or not…it will be their own sin not to forgive as commanded by God. Trust, now…we are not commanded to trust. Fear comes from lack of trust, but fear is not from God.

            I just wanted the thoughts of this concept from people that may not be as new to God and the bible as I am. I very much have been following the back and forth, but I sense people taking things a bit too personally. It’s not about that. It is more about seeking to understand with the limited knowledge we have. The bible says that we as humans will never fully understand God’s ways, but we are to trust Him anyway.

            How are we to know that God doesn’t give a case by case evaluation for each of His children and if we follow the path that he gives peace for, then we have done all in our power to be a good and faithful servant? He IS a loving God, with feelings and hurt and compassion. Of course He wanted Israel to repent and become faithful, but He had His limits too. And one day, He will be done being patient for His people to return to Him and He will come again and take His children to His kingdom. He knows He will lose many. It will greive Him to see his creations perish in death when it could have been prevented with their obedience, but, he is not a God of slavery, He gave us free will. He warned, He was patient, but the time of waiting will come to an end. Even God has his limits to how much He will allow. How does THAT fit into how much we are to allow in our own broken relationships?

            Please understand this as a debate, not a convincing argument. This is a cognitive thing, not an attack. Thanks in advance for your insights.

          15. CiC,

            Totally agree Jesus didn’t forgive the adulteress so she could remain in sin. IMO this speaks very strongly to the wrong view of grace that has insinuated it’s way into the church, that grace somehow ‘overlooks’ continual, unrepentent sin.

            I couldn’t comment on the adulteress’s marriage relationship, restoration of etc because it isn’t recorded for us to read about 🙂

            I actually do think that forgiveness will lead to a restoration of a broken relationship, but I also hold the view that forgiveness cannot be given until there is genuine repentance. We can be ready and wanting to forgive but we cannot until there is repentance. I see this very clearly modelled by God, that He is ready to forgive but the actual giving of His forgiveness is conditional upon our repentance. Restoration of a relarionship with God always follows. Actually, in my view I would go so far as to say that since forgiveness can only be based on true repentance then true forgiveness will always lead to reconciliation.

            HH

          16. Lost & Searching,

            I think I am missing your point and so I am confused a little on your view of Matthew 5:32…

            I take it you do not see adultery as fornication? The original Greek word there is porneia (which has the word fornication as part of its definition, and also adultery).

            I think we will have to agree to disagree if you do not believe that adultery is fornication as I am strongly in that camp. (I do not take the view that Jesus was only speaking about divorce as it relates to those who were betrothed to be married).

            At any rate, obviously we hold very different views on this topic and so I think it will be best for me not to debate this anymore. My concern is the same as yours – that we will not add or take away from God’s Word. I also am very concerned about putting false guilt and shame (and even the idea that they might go to hell for breaking one of God’s commands) on those who have read the Scriptures and interpreted them as I do and have, with the freedom God has afforded them to do so, made the heart-wrenching decision of divorce.

          17. HH, it seems like we hold similar views in repentance being necessary for a restored relationship. I guess I do differ in that I think we are called to forgive even if the other party doesn’t repent or seek forgiveness…the key point for me here is that we forgive, but again forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship will be restored and right until the offender has truly repented.

            I do think that a genuine forgiving spirit can help facilitate repentance of the offender (God’s kindness was what led us to repentance), but this is not always the case, sadly.

            Lost & searching, I’m sorry you believe my heart is hard. I’m sorry we don’t have unity and agreement on this topic. I wanted to clarify again that I am not using the “peace” phrase to justify remarriage in the case of an unbeliever abandoning his/her spouse, but rather the “you are not bound” phrase. But, that is probably not going to change much in this conversation.

            God bless you as you wait for your husband and God continue to show you more and more His amazing love for you that He is enough for you (as you already know!).

          18. CiC, maybe we don’t differ much on our views of forgiveness? I may not have written that view well 🙂 I do think we are called to forgive in terms of the attitude of our heart and our own mindset, whether there is repentance or not. Jesus said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” when he was on the cross and the people he was speaking about had not asked him for forgiveness.

            It seems to me though that we can not actually ‘give’ forgiveness to somebody unless they are repentant. That is perhaps a better way to say what I mean, that the actual giving of forgiveness can only be based upon true repentance and would therefore lead to restoration of some sort.

            To use myself as an example, I ‘forgive’ my wife already in the sense that I do not hold any bitterness or anger against her but I cannot actually GIVE that forgiveness to her unless she repents. HH

      2. LMSdaily115,

        A few years ago, as my ministry was growing, I had more and more questions from women about divorce and remarriage. I spent some serious time researching all that the Bible says about these topics. I read all of the various interpretations that a number of pastors and theologians (whom I deeply respect) hold about them.

        I personally really struggled with both of these issues. My head was spinning, too, HH!

        Some things are extremely clear to me:

        – God hates divorce. (Malachi 2:16)
        – Separation is not ideal, but can be necessary at times. (1 Cor. 7)
        – There is no real mention of a believer initiating divorce (other than possibly for adultery – and there is debate about what exactly that word means, whether it was sexual immorality before marriage that was undisclosed, or whether it also includes immorality after marriage).
        – A believer is never commanded to divorce.
        – God can and does heal broken marriages, even after infidelity, many times. (Hosea, Isaiah)
        – God’s design for marriage is to be a lifelong covenant between two people. (Matt. 19)
        – God permitted divorce in the OT because people’s hearts were hard but that was not His design. (Matt. 19)
        – Marriage is to show God’s faithfulness to us and our faithfulness to Him to the world. It is to showcase the Gospel of Christ to all who see us. (Eph. 5:22-33)
        – If an unbelieving spouse insists on leaving, the believing spouse is to let him/her go and not try to force the other spouse to stay. (1 Cor. 7)
        – Remarriage is often adultery… with a few possible – and greatly debated – exceptions (Matt. 19, I Cor. 7)
        – God often does miracles for those who stand for their marriages – although, it may take a long time and we are not guaranteed that marriages will be restored.
        – The best place to be is in the center of God’s will seeking to obey Him no matter the cost to ourselves. I would rather stay single and know for sure I was not sinning than remarry if I wasn’t sure about if God approved a remarriage – because God says that anything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

        Sometimes a believer is permitted to separate from a spouse (in cases of sexual immorality or abandonment – and other serious issues, as well, 1 Corinthians 7) – but is that also permission to remarry? There is much debate about that, as well.

        Sometimes things truly are black and white they are just really hard to live out. But other times, I think there can be some gray areas. I pray God will give us all clarity about this so that we understand His wisdom and His will. I wish there was more written about remarriage in Scripture. But there isn’t. And God has given us the knowledge we need in Scripture. It is not deficient. So we must lean on His Word and seek to understand and obey Him in our various situations asking for His divine wisdom.

        I have a post called Divorce and the Bible from 2013 where I tried to share all the Scriptures about divorce and remarriage.

        – What if someone divorced and remarried before she was saved? Is divorce and remarriage the unforgivable sin if someone repents later, coming to Christ later?
        – What does it mean to repent of remarriage if someone realizes later that what they did was not in line with Scripture? Does it mean that they must divorce the second spouse? What happens to the children in such a situation? What about the Scripture in Deut. 24:1-4 addresses divorce and says that a woman whose first husband divorced her and whose second husband later dies or divorces her may not go back to her first husband, that would be detestable.
        – Does God recognize exceptions like adultery and abandonment? It seems possible that, at least for adultery, there may be an exception that may allow the innocent spouse to remarry.
        – If being remarried is sinful, why are there no instructions to any of the churches in the epistles about handling this issue? The only couple that was disciplined in the church regarding a sinful marriage (that I am aware of) was the guy in Corinth who had married his stepmother. It seems that there would have been people who were remarried in the churches then. It is kind of surprising that the issue is not addressed at all.
        – There are also no instructions for these remarried couples to divorce.
        – There are no instructions about how to handle step-relationships. I guess in the Old Testament, an adulterer/adulteress was stoned to death, so maybe that wasn’t as much of an issue?
        – When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well who had 4 husbands and was living with a man currently, there was no discussion about to which husband she should return to or how she should live now that she had come to Christ. Does she marry the guy she is with? Does she go back to number 4? Does she stay single the rest of her life? I don’t know.

        Very humbly – I am still seeking God’s wisdom and clarification on some of these issues. I don’t ever want to encourage anyone to do anything that God would see as sinful. And I don’t ever want to put a heavy manmade yoke on someone’s shoulders if God doesn’t call something sin but I call it sin – that would be awful! I don’t want to ever swerve to the right or the left from God’s Word.

        I want to uphold the covenant of marriage. I want to exalt God’s Word and promote obedience to Him. I want to offer grace where He offers grace. I want to stick to biblical principles when something is sin in His eyes. There is much I still have to learn on this topic.

        If someone is facing divorce or considering remarriage – I would encourage much study of Scripture, prayer, and fasting. This is a very serious issue. One I do not take lightly and I don’t believe God’s Word takes lightly. Ultimately, we will each answer to God, Himself. May He gives each one the wisdom he/she needs that each of us might be found obedient and faithful to God.

        1. April,

          Thank you for your insight and for sharing – and everyone else commenting as well: thank you! It helps to know that I am not alone in my struggles.

          I am a believing spouse that has been abandoned by a non believing spouse so I relate to the majority of the pain and heartache expressed in these comments. My husband and I have been living separately for over 9 months. I go to a church where the pastoral statement on marriage/divorce/remarriage states that I am only “eligible” to remarry if my spouse dies or remarries first. It has been a lot to wrestle with (especially as a new believer). I have only been a Christian since January!

          While a new relationship is the last thing on my mind at the moment, I cannot help but think about the “what ifs” that go along with the thought of never having the option to remarry. I know…”what if” type thinking is usually the voice of the enemy trying to fill my mind with anxiety. I still boldly pray for restoration even though my husband said he will be filing in the very near future.

          Anyway, apologies for my comment being very scattered, but I wanted to say thank you to all and that I hope that y’all would pray for me as I contemplate whether or not to be cooperative in my potentially impending divorce. Members of my church have encouraged me to avoid cooperating so that I do not make divorce easy for my spouse, but part of me feels like I cannot take anymore prolonged emotional agony after feeling like I have been fighting for my marriage alone for the last couple years.

          As April has stated in her book, we do this work for Christ and to have a relationship with our Lord and Savior, not to get what we want in the form of a changed spouse. After months of study, reflection, reading, research, praying, time with God, etc. I do believe that everything I have done is to honor Him. However, I am struggling with having some anger towards God for not restoring my marriage and I am trying to work though that. My spouse had started to “come around” a little last month and for about 3 weeks we talked about making it work, but then he pulled back again saying he could not “fake it” and that he needed to file and move on. Pray with me for a miracle and I will be praying for y’all as well.

          Love and blessings.

          1. Tessa,

            So thankful to God for your salvation, my precious sister! PRAISE GOD FOR THAT! 🙂

            You are right that the “what if” thinking is of the enemy, not of God. I’m super excited that you recognize that already. I’m also glad that you are praying for the restoration of your marriage. God can change a spouse’s heart even if that person wants a divorce at the time.

            I Corinthians 7 says if an unbelieving spouse wants to leave then let him go. So – I am not sure there is anything to be gained by fighting him and making things much harder for him to leave. Actually, I have seen wives who treat their husbands with great respect and with a cooperative spirit during divorce proceedings who have seen their husbands come back to them because of their godly attitudes.

            I would encourage you to take a much broader and longer term view of the situation, my sweet sister. Sometimes these things take years. And sometimes it is in the waiting that we grow the most in our faith. Sometimes the waiting is actually the most important part of answered prayer. God’s timing is perfect. I am thankful you see that you are feeling resentful toward God. I would encourage you to repent of that and to determine to trust Him and His timing no matter what. Trust Him whether your husband never comes back or whether it takes 20 years. Seek only to obey Him and to know and love Him and to be in the center of His will. Trust Him to work on your husband’s heart and life for His glory. Trust Him to work in your heart and life for His glory in the meantime, as well. Be open to all of the spiritual treasures He has for you along the way. Lay down expectations of a specific time frame and specific results – and just yield yourself totally to be completely God’s and to be on the road He has for you wherever He may lead.

            Praying for God to continue His good work in you and to draw your husband to Himself!

            Much love!
            April

            When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done”

          2. Tessa. I am so heartbroken over your situation. That is a very painful thing to deal with. However, I am overjoyed that you came to God in January! I, too found God in January…1.5 years ago, thus my name LMS daily 115 (Love My Savior daily (since) 1/15…January 2015). I do pray for you to seek out God as a father. Sometimes a father does things that we don’t realize are for our good until later on in life. Please know that your husband was given free will as much as you. God COULD make us do what He wants us to do, but that would not put us in a place to CHOOSE Him. God wants us to WANT to follow Him, not be forced into it, like some kind of slavery. With marriage, we want that too. We don’t want someone to be forced to love us, it wouldn’t be real love that way, would it? I think that might be what your husband means by not being able to fake it. He may, in time realize that loving someone is an active choice, not a flitting and fickle feeling, but emotional maturity needs to happen before he understands that.

            We all have the choice to make weather or not to obey and follow God or to turn from Him and not obey. There is a price to pay if we do not obey our Lord. Death (spiritual, physical and emotional) and lack of connection to God is the price of sin. When we seek God, and ask for His forgiveness. We are washed clean of our sins. We can experience life as God intended. No matter what our past was.

            I do beleive that weather your husband decides to come back or not, your health and spiritual peace will need to come from learning the charachter of God. He greives for your pain, hurt and suffering, as any father would, but He rejoices in your following His ways. He loves you as His child and only wants what is best for you.

            As far as cooperating with the divorce…I think you will need to be a prayer warrior. The scripture says “if an unbelieving spouse wants to go, the believing spouse is to let them go. They are no longer bound.” The debate over that last part of the sentence is still very much in the air. I read a bible from the “Word of God” translation that had three little words placed after it in half brackets 《to the marriage》, But knowing it is a translation and those 3 little words were put in by humans keeps me unsure. But the letting him go part is clear. IMO, I would concentrate on being as much of a living example of Christ through this process as you can. Be careful not to get bitter, angry, jealous, hateful, contemptuous, revengeful, or spiteful through all of this. Those are all from the enemy and definitely will not bring a restoration to a marriage anyway. It will just make you look like a very ungodly example of christianity and turn people away from God…which is something you do NOT want to do. It will not serve you or anyone else any good anyway. It would be a sure fire way to end any growing thread of hope of restoration as well. However, if you are peaceful, respectful, cooperative, loving (which may also include calling out sin in a loving way), and graceful, you will be a living example of how Jesus was on this earth. That is NOT to say be a doormat and let your husband walk all over you. You still need to be knowledgeable about the proceedings etc. Know the law, but follow what God wants you to do, not what your earthly self wants you to do. In the end, you want to know that you did everything you could to try to restore the relationship. You did the hard changes in yourself and turned from your own sins. You behaved in a graceful way and we’re in control of your emotions. You want to know that you did what Gid asked you to do. And somewhere in there, I think you need to really noodle out how to forgive your husband. And God. And yourself. This forgiveness is mostly for your own benefit, not your husbands or Gods. But so it doesn’t poison you and rot you from the inside. Or harden your own heart to God and all He has in store for you. So a dream of yours may not be coming true…long married life….ok. let it go if your husband insists. Allow new dreams to be placed in your hear by God. Maybe try to go for a walk in the woods and notice how the growth and death of trees mirrors our lives. It may give some perspective of the way God works in our lives. Just a thought. It helped me tremendously.

            I don’t think God wants you to be a lonely, bitter abandonded, person all the rest of your life. But He does want you to love Him first. When you commit yourself to Him, then this allows Him to bring blessings and mercy into your life. We really don’t know what He has planned for our future, but he will bring beauty from these ashes. Only God can do that. If we let him.

            I pray that your husband’s eyes are opened and his heart softened. But more, I pray that God can hold you and comfort you and assure you that you will be okay even if your husband never returns. I pray that you draw CLOSER to God and seek His love, and trust that God’s ways are better than ours. I pray that you take the time to really study and meditate on how we are to exemplify Jesus as we deal with conflicts and situations in this life and not give into our sinful self that focuses on loving our selfish desires, bitterness, revenge, anger etc. In the long run, you would feel remorseful for acting that way anyways. Jesus would not act that way. We are not perfect, and we will never be Jesus, but everyday, we need to do our best. We need to be grateful that with every dawn, yesterday is in the past and we have a brand new day ahead of us… a chance to serve our Lord with everything we have. I think of it like a diet. Some days we can regret it because we ate the whole gallon of ice cream in a moment of weakness. But we don’t give up on the diet because of one mistake. The next day, we do our best and make better choices. There will be good days and bad, but we don’t give up because we know that taking care of our bodies is worth it. In the end, being true to God is worth it. He rewards us with life today, as well as when we leave this earth. Yes, life today…you will know that when you feel His peace and joy for where you are right now…even during a storm.

            At the end if the day, pray omega prayers of thankfulness and gratitude for the good things in your life. Every morning wake up and pray for alpha prayers for asking God for the grace and provision you need for today only. Dont worry about tomorrow, ir 5 years down the road ir if you will be old and still not have a loving husband…that’s waaay in the future and so much can and will change by then. Work in today only. Ask Him for help with the things you are struggling with, like forgiveness, your pain of your husbands abandonment, friendship, finding joy, your anger at Him for not restoring your marriage. Be honest with Him, He loves you so much. Even in the midst of this storm, find a chance to serve someone who needs it, ways to be a servant to the Lord. This type of alpha/omega praying (beginning and end of the day) can really help put your life into perspective. It can help you focus on the positive, on your Lord, instead of the negative and your problems. In all, seek God to help Him change something in YOU. Besides, that’s the only thing you really have control of anyway, right? Everything else, we need to trust to God.

            Much love and hugs to you dear sister. Keep close on PW blog, we are all here for you through this stuggle with love for you.

          3. April and LMSDaily-

            I did not see a “reply” button on your comments below, so hopefully I am doing this correctly by replying to my own original comment.

            I thank you both for your loving and encouraging words. April I believe you are right that I need to repent about my angry feelings towards God. Deep down I know that God’s plans for me are for my good and His glory. I know he won’t waste a minute of my suffering.

            April you are also right that I should take a broader view of the situation and concern myself less with the possible outcomes and whether or not they will be what I want. I am struggling with loneliness and I miss my husband so much that I desire to see him and be close to him. The thought of living alone for the rest of my life makes me sad…before I was married I was very independent and loved living alone (hence a lot of my prior control issues/thinking I knew best, etc.), but now that I have been IN a marriage relationship I very much desire that for myself to the point that I have to be cautious not to idolize it. It breaks my heart because I know what I want is good, but I cannot want it more than I want God.

            LMSDaily-wow! How do I even begin to thank you for all that you took the time to write to me dear sister in Christ?? I am so grateful. No one has ever shared with me the concept of alpha and omega prayers. I am looking forward to trying that. I have been taking many walks in nature trying to see beauty and gratitude in every little thing that I can which does help.

            In terms of “cooperating” with the divorce I feel like I have two choices:
            1) My husband’s desired route of doing the paperwork together, not fighting over anything (he doesn’t want any assets or money) and we have no home (we rent separate apartments), no children, etc….without lawyers. He said he wants things to be as amicable as possible because he loves me and wants us to remain friends (Ahhh it’s like a knife in my heart, but I know I should be grateful since others go through such nasty malicious divorces).

            2) Tell him that I do not wish to cooperate at which point he can proceed with a divorce anyway except we might both have separate lawyers, etc. I am not even sure how it works but neither of us wants anything from one another, so there would be no point in this other than me throwing up a last potential/attempted “barrier” to him pursuing the divorce. I feel like this is what my church is guiding me to do, but as I mentioned in my last comment I don’t know if I even have the emotional strength to do this….and knowing my husband this would only aggravate and disappoint him further and make him view me as an enemy.

            SO much to think/pray about. Again thank you all for everything.

          4. Tessa,

            I know for me – it is so helpful to write down my thoughts and beliefs about God, myself, my husband, and my feelings in a journal. I can just write out everything and really get to the bottom of things that way and look at my thoughts in a more objective way once I can see them written out in black and white. That may be helpful as you work through your anger toward God.

            “Lord,
            I realize that I feel angry and bitter at You. I know that is wrong. I want to hash through this and repent of any sin. Help me to really dig down and see my deepest thoughts and motives that maybe I have been blind to. Shine the blazing Light of Your Spirit and the truth of Your Word in the darkest corners of my thoughts and my heart to help me see what You see in me.”

            And then maybe list your thoughts:
            “I had a lot of expectations from You and from my marriage like:
            – that my husband would never divorce me
            – that we would always love each other
            – that if I did X, Y, and Z, You would make sure my husband didn’t sin against me
            – that You would override my husband’s free will
            – that I would always get what I wanted when I wanted it
            – etc…”

            These are just examples above. I don’t know your heart, of course!

            Then, compare what you are thinking to God’s Word.

            “Lord,
            I have been assuming You have evil motives toward me. But Your Word is truth. And Your Word says You cannot do evil. You cannot even be tempted to think evil thoughts. You are completely holy and good. Satan would love for me to think You are evil. But if there is any evil here, it is in him and it is in my sinful nature, not in You. Forgive me for blaming You for doing something evil or wrong!”

            As far as cooperating with the divorce – Scripture does teach that we are not go to the worldly court systems against a brother in Christ. If you can do this without a lawyer and without fighting and you can be amicable and cooperative – that sounds very honoring to Christ to me! It seems to me that involving lawyers and a court system fuels bitterness and enmity. I have seen wives who are cooperative and respectful find that their husbands are sometimes drawn back to them even during a divorce process. But if a wife is contentious and vindictive, that will only create a greater chasm.

            Much love to you! Praying for God’s wisdom!

          5. April and LMSDaily-

            I am sad to report that I saw my husband last night and he told me he has filed the divorce paperwork. He wants to do this as “amicably as possible.” He kept going from being extremely cruel (saying that he should not have waited a year to do this and give me false hope because he thinks he’s hurt me more by waiting to make sure it was what he really wanted) to being extremely nice (telling me how wonderful, attractive, and loving I am and how much I have to offer a person).

            It is so hard for me to handle the overwhelming amount of emotion I am experiencing right now. I do not want to rely on my feelings but I cannot help but admit I feel “let down” by God. I tried to talk to my husband about God and heaven and he said there is no such thing. I even asked what he thought about remarriage in the future since I believe that this divorce is a mistake and he replied “that could happen” but encouraged me not to wait for him. He said I will ultimately be happy that he “let me go” at just 31 years old instead of when I’m older.

            He goes from saying that he will always love me and that he “wishes he wasn’t like this” and that he “never wanted this, that he’s not rejecting me as a person, but the marriage as a relationship” etc. I am very sad that another human has this much ability to control my feelings and emotions because I feel completely helpless and hopeless….Like I can’t even “do Christianity right” because if I was, wouldn’t I feel like God is enough? I am just so confused about so many things and I am in a very low place right now.

            Most of my friends and family do not understand because they are not Christians and they take a world view of marriage instead of a Biblical one…so they say the same things as my husband about me “deserving better.”

            I’m sorry I am just all over the place. I need to re-watch April’s youtube video about divorce not being the worst thing that can happen to me. 🙁 Thank you both for listening.

          6. Tessa,

            Divorce is EXTREMELY painful! It is not the absolute worst thing. But it is very painful because you have become one and now your heart is being ripped apart. 🙁 I wish I could give you a huge hug!

            There are going to be tons of emotions to process. You will have to grieve. And you will have a lot of wrestling to do with God. I hope you can also keep in mind, though, that this is not the end of the story. Things are not over. There is still time for God to work in you both. But it is okay to let him go.

            If you want to hash through some of these major emotions together – I am here when you are ready. I am sure you are still in shock right now. Be patient with yourself and give yourself a lot of grace! This is a major trial. But God is here with you and will never leave or forsake you and we are here and glad to love, pray for, encourage, and support you, precious sister!

            Try not to zoom way ahead to the future. Let’s just focus on today and breathing and seeking to lay all of this mess down before God.

            Much love to you!

          7. April-

            Thank you for responding so quickly. I reread what you wrote about journaling and the examples you listed. Even though you said you do not know my heart, everything you wrote spoke EXACTLY to how I feel….all the expectations, etc.

            I would love to work through these emotions with you over time. I am guarded about who I share my heart with since as I’ve mentioned I do not have many close believers in my life at this time. I have a few, but I am somewhat new to the area I’m living in so they are new friends. However, I have your book, have read many of your posts, and have watched many of your videos so I feel confident in the advice you share (though I know you say to compare all advice against the truths of the Bible!)

            I am trying to think of ways that I can help others now and in the future as a result of what I am going through, but I don’t know if I am able to do that just yet because I feel like my thoughts are hazed by a cloud of grief. Part of me feels guilty because everything else in my life is so great…how dare I be angry with God for the ONE thing that isn’t? I am just overwhelmed. I notice myself wanting to reach for worldly things to cope. The thoughts of “what can I buy, what vacation can I take, what can I eat, etc.? right now to feel better?” but now that I am a follower of Christ I know the answer to those questions is NOTHING! Only God can get me through this.

          8. It’s ok to take care of yourself. You need to do that. You are right to watch out for “addictions” to coverify your pain. It’s ok to feel what you do. It is natural. God can help you through it and we are all here for you too. You have good, solid beleivers right at your fingertips. God has your best days up ahead and you are loved and cherished by him and us. Just because one person does not, don’t let it rob you of the beauty and joy of this life. All my love and hugs to you. I pray that God just hold you like a child and comfort you and tell you it will all be ok, I promise. Hugs.

          9. Thank you for your sweet response. I really appreciate it. When I am so very sad and feeling hopeless, getting a response in these comments really does make me feel supported. I am so glad to have found this website and so grateful for everyone that is here for me!

            I am having trouble processing my feelings. I feel ashamed at how angry and bitter I am. I almost feel like I just want to hide away from the world and not talk to anyone, but I need to keep my job. I am going to go for a walk now to try and clear my mind a little. Thank you again for everything!

          10. Tessa,

            I wanted to go live in a cave and never speak to anyone almost 8 years ago when God opened my eyes to my sin. My situation was a bit different from yours right now, but I can relate to just wanting to hide away and be a recluse forever.

            You are going to have a TON of negative emotions and thoughts to process. Sadness, anger, grief, resentment, bitterness, hurt, unforgiveness, hatred…

            If you want to start with the things that are flooding your mind the most right now – you are welcome to share and we can walk through the things together. What I find to be really helpful is to write down my feelings and to ask God to help me see my motives and goals. And then I can find Scripture about those issues and compare my thoughts and motives to God’s Word. Then anyplace where there is a difference between my motives and thoughts and God’s Word, I ask Him to help me tear out the sinful thoughts and lies and rebuild on His Word and truth alone.

            It is painful. And you have to go pretty slowly and deeply to really heal completely. You will have a lot to process for a long time in this situation – and that is okay.

            Much love to you!

        2. April, and All others talking about divorce & remarriage,

          I was very unsure when I read all the comments a few days ago, and I too did some research on the greek and hebrew words, and I read up on the topic a bit….. and I came to the conclusion that Jesus was answering the Pharisees in Matthew 19 with the answer they already knew in the Old Testament Law which talked about what they were to do if people were caught having sex in a number of different contexts (married, unmarried, betrothed, etc. etc.)! He was clearly telling them that divorce was not so from the beginning. He was telling them what the law was from Moses to them becaues of their hardened hearts.

          The words fornication and adultery mean 2 different things, and it is very interesting when you bring that over in the new testament passages about marriage and divorce and other passes containing the 2.

          Jesus said that unless a man found that his wife was not a virgin before they married and it was proved she was NOT a virgin, he had NO grounds to divorce her. If she was found guilty, she would have been stoned, and he would not be bound to her because she would be dead, and therefore he would be free to remarry and it would not be considered adultery!

          If you read chapters 5 and 6 of 1 Corinthians which lead to the marriage chapter 7, you will see clearly that Paul is talking about dealing with the case of fornication among them, and he goes on to say in 1 Cor 6 where HH added in a comment how Paul pointed out that “such were some of you”—we were once possibly fornicatiors, adulteres, idolaters, coveters, etc. etc….but we have been washed, made clean, and justified by the name of Christ!

          So he’s saying that, we were once some of those things, but we are now washed and made new in Christ–therefore—we should not be doing the things we once did before we were in Christ—and now, because fornication is possible, we should all have our own husband or wife to avoid it, and if we are married, we should not depart from our husband and the husband should not put away the wife—but if the wife does leave her husband, she should remain unmarried or reconcile to him. And then he goes on to point out about if the unbeliever leaves, etc…

          For what it’s worth to anyone reading this, I personally believe that God is not giving us any reason to divorce our spouse…. especially if we are BOTH believers! If one is not, and they decide to leave and they divorce you, it says we are not bound in such a situation. whatever that means, I don’t know.

          I think christian culture today is taking a lot of things out of context and using it to support man made ideas and I think it is hurting the Body of Christ greatly!

          I think we all need to be careful and really seek the Lord about these things because we truly don’t know how easily we can be deceived in such matters! Our hearts are deceitful!! But the word of God is not, and if we are seeking the truth in the word, then the Lord will surely not lead us astray! He will lead us to His will and His mind about the situation!

          I have seen my parents who are married now for 33 years where my mom probably wanted to leave my dad, he was not saved and he didn’t want her to leave and I watched my mom stick to the word of God all these years, and even though they didn’t have an intimate and fulfilling marriage for a long time, they are now just starting to move in that direction, and I am seeing my dad come around to Christ and changing! It is amazing! I never in a million years would have imagined…but I of course prayed for this for many years! It is happening—My mom stayed in it all, and even though I wished she didn’t for a long time, I am blessed and so glad she stuck to the word of God in it all, and God is honoring that! 🙂 There is hope!!!! And just to point out the main thing that started moving in the direction for my parents—-was my mom finding out about all this respect stuff and about keeping quiet to my dad and letting him suffer his OWN consequences. I grew up in a home where my mom was blamed, us kids were blamed, everyone was blamed for my dad’s problems, but now after all this time, my mom is finally standing up and NOT taking any blame or bailing him out of his own choices and consequences, and it was literally the turning point after something major happened that cuased my dad serious consequences. My mom kept quiet and didn’t harp forever words about his mistakes she just let it be….and it was all from that that things started changing!He is being dleivered from LIFE LONG THINGS! LIFE LONG! I can’t even describe…it is seriously amazing to see! Life changing things! Wow praise God!

          So my sharing point is that I think we can get caught up in christian legalism even, and we can also be deceived…. I pray we all gain further enlightenment from the Spirit of God on these things, that we may not only obey God, but set an example for our children, and all those around us….we are to be the light—– 🙂

          Love to all,
          Amanda

          p.s. This is all just my own personal conclusion, and I don’t wish to press my own opinions onto others, I am merely sharing what I’ve personally discovered and seen happen 🙂 Thanks!

          1. Amanda, first, I want to say that I am so happy for your mom and dad (and you!) That is amazing and a testimony to God’s power!!

            I am still concerned about giving a message to anyone who reads these comments that divorce is always wrong or sin. I find it hard to go that route when Jesus Himself clearly gives that as a legitimate reason to do so. I also continue to believe, based on looking at the context of that culture and the situation that Jesus was really addressing, that Jesus was saying to these Jewish men “Stop divorcing your wife just because you’re tired of her. No divorce is permitted except in the case of adultery.” It totally changes the way you view that passage and what Jesus was saying. This view also ties very much so in with the verses in Malachi that are really God rebuking the men for dealing treacherously against their wives. It is not a passage that is highlighting divorce, but the passage is highlighting the fact that these men were dealing in treacherous ways with their wives. This is a very important part of the story when we tell everyone that God hates divorce — and He does!! I don’t deny that.

            I also was looking into the verses a bit more about the unbelieving spouse and believing spouse. I think it’s interesting that the Word says that if the unbelieving spouse is pleased to dwell with the believing spouse, then that’s a reason to remain in the marriage. But looking at the Greek word there, to me, it looks like there is a pleasure for this unbeliever to remain married to this person. It is not saying something like “if the unbelieving spouse who is abusive to the believer or has flat-out said they no longer love their spouse and aren’t committed to the marriage is pleased to continue to dwell with the believer and live like this, then the believing spouse should remain.”

            I do not believe that is what the meaning of “pleased to dwell with” would mean. I think that very literally it means that the unbeliever is finding genuine pleasure in the marital relationship and wants to continue the relationship, despite the fact that the spouse is a whole new person than the one they originally married. They are still committed to the marriage and are operating in the marital covenant as a husband or wife should.

            I don’t think the decision to divorce is something that should ever be entered into lightly. I think there are only very limited reasons to consider and proceed with doing so. And no believer I know would do it lightly, but it would break their heart and would be a last resort.

            I think, really, my main concern is the idea that divorce is never God’s will even when we have a very clear exception given on this by Christ Himself. It concerns me to go against those words, as a believer. I believe that God desires freedom for His children (slaves were told to try to “gain their freedom” if they could do so in that culture) and my personal opinion is that God is also concerned about setting His daughters or sons free from abusive situations or situations where someone has hardened their heart against the spouse and the marriage is not even close to what He ordained.

          2. CiC,

            Thank you for your post! I love your input (I love everyone’s input actually).

            There is another way that divorce can happen for a believer. I will be divorced within the year, I have no doubt about it. DW has returned her wedding rings, the gift I gave her for our wedding anniversary, has changed her name in as many ways as she can and intends to change her legal name and file for divorce as soon as the required legal separation period is over. So in a very real sense, it does not matter what I believe about divorce, I do not have a choice in the matter and will soon be divorced. In my view I cannot see how I will have done wrong in becoming divorced as I have no choice in the matter!

            HH

          3. HH, CIC, and Satisfied Wife,
            Thanks so much for sharing in this important discussion! I know there is a lot of debate over this issue. I pray God will help each of us examine His Word, and do word studies in the original language, as well. That we might handle His Word rightly on such a critical issue.

          4. CIC,
            I understand your perspective, and I honestly thought that too. But when I really researched what the actual greek words mean in the passage where Jesus says they can only divorce, the words mean two different things. Fornication and adultery are two completely different words with completely different meanings. Now that I have seen the difference, to me that passage does not say that Jesus said they can divorce if someone commits adultery. It says that someone can divorce only if they have proof that their wife was not a virgin when they got married (according to old testament law), and if she was found guilty of that, she would have been stoned, and so the husband would be free in that situation to remarry and not commit adultery. But if they divorced for any other reason, like you mentioned they seemed to be doing, they would be committing adultery if they remarried or married a divorced woman.

            I am definitely not saying a wife should stay in an abusive situation at all. But I’m also not saying they should divorce. I don’t see anywhere that it says to divorce if someone is abusing you. But I do see that it says if a wife leaves her husband, to just remain unmarried or reconcile to her husband. So maybe that is the answer, they might have to leave, but if they do for any reason, they should not remarry, but only reconcile to their own husband.

            Obviously, everyone can do whatever they choose to do. And who am I to say what someone else should do. I’ve seen people divorce in abusive marriages, I’ve seen people separate and their husband divorced them and they are still unmarried. I’ve seen women be divorced by the husband for no reason who remained unmarried for the rest of their life.

            Honestly, with our culture and the rampant sexual promiscuity, I think it would be safe to say that almost anyone would have grounds to divorce if the exception was fornication before marriage.

            That’s why I beleive that Jesus was talking about the old testament laws in that clause. He was giving an answer from the old testament law.

            Also, I’ve always wondered about how people like David and others who had multiple wives and “concubines”. It seems totally against what God would want, yet we don’t see any rebuke for it except that he stole Bathsheba and murdered her husband on purpose. What about all the rest of the wives and concubines.

            All we know is that Jesus says “from the beginning, it was not so” and that God made man to have one woman.

            I’m going to be the last person to be legalistic about this topic lol. I think everyone has free will to do what they choose and we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. God is able to lead each person in any situation!

            I just caution people not to take the word of God and use it to their OWN personal interests and advantage, to make it say what they want it to say to justify the way they want to go instead of committing to doing whatever God would want them to do!

            We have the sure mercies of David, and a God who delights in mercy! 🙂

            Love,
            Amanda

          5. Amanda, I totally respect your opinion and we are both in agreement, I know, that each person needs to be hearing from the Spirit and following His voice and no one else’s. That’s the key. Keep your eyes on Christ and He absolutely will lead and guide you.

            We each will stand and answer to God alone, yes!

            The more I think about this, and consider things in light of what I know about God to be true now – the more I am convinced that God does not elevate the marriage covenant above the sanity of the well-being of His children (as Leslie Vernick says). The fact is we do live in a fallen, broken world. God knows that. His character and nature is always about speaking up for the downtrodden, the helpless, the fatherless, the widow, those who have no voice. When I think about the numerous ways this is emphasized over and over and over through the whole Bible, it feels like everything lines up as meshing together quite well with the way that I read the verses about divorce in cases of ongoing unrepentant adultery or abuse (which I would consider to be someone “chorizo”/departing from their spouse….the Greek word for that is very interesting). (And, I am not alone in those views, of course — there are plenty of Biblical scholars and pastors who are very conservative in their views of marriage, but do believe that divorce is biblical in certain cases).

            And, it is true that God divorced Israel – even if it was for the sake of waking them up and hoping they would return, He divorced them. There are limits to relationship. God doesn’t tell us I love you, I’ve forgiven you, now go live as you want and I’ll just sit here and wait for you and keep forgiving you over and over. Not at all. God is a God of forgiveness, yes, but there are consequences for our sin and He will even go so far as taking a believer home early if need be. As far as adultery, a man or woman caught in adultery were to be put to death under the Law. The marital relationship would thus be over, pretty quickly, and the offended spouse would be free to remarry. When Jesus is talking about the “hardness of hearts” and that is why Moses gave permission to divorce, he was NOT talking about in cases of adultery, because everyone knew that that was an act that ended the marriage covenant. You didn’t get divorced for adultery — you got death. He was talking about men wanting to put their wives away for other reasons. And, that is what He was condemning in that passage (and in the Malachi passage!) – but also He gives the exception “except for fornication” which encompasses adultery and other illicit sexual acts. Again, He is not reversing the Law part that adultery is a sin that would result in death by what He says. He is saying that because of men’s hardness of hearts and not wanting to remain married for other reasons, Moses allowed divorce. He is saying that is not how it should be. Marriage is more sacred than that. God has joined you together. You don’t go divorcing your wife just because she annoys you now or you are incompatible or whatever. But, He is certainly not reversing the seriousness of adultery and the fact that it does break the marriage covenant (which is a man or woman separating what God has joined together). His words actually uphold the seriousness of that sin by saying it is the one exception for divorce.

            One of the mercies of the New Covenant is that we don’t live under the old law any longer….and as believers we have the Spirit of God in us that is willing to stay and reconcile and forgive as we have been forgiven. We do not stone spouses who commit adultery. God’s mercy has changed a lot of things. But His mercy flows both ways – to both spouses now. Mercy for the adulterer to live, to be forgiven and restored if they are repentant….mercy for the one who has been sinned against to divorce (especially in the case of ongoing unrepentance).

            This subject – and a few others – can be so divisive (not feeling that from you, Amanda, just want to make that clear!). But, God is in control of this, too! He is on the throne and we can rest in His revelation to His children in His timing and way and for His glory!

            Love to all of you! (I know, we keep rehashing our views here, but I’m enjoying the process of diving in deeper on this subject and learning.)

          6. I agree it is a good discussion and quite a respectful one considering how volatile it could get. I also agree that there is a point that God says to His children enough is enough and steps in in some way. I have experienced that myself on several occasions and I have always grown a lot through it.

            Grace is not only the unmerited favour of God and forgiving sin, it is also about overcoming sin and moving forward in holiness and if we are not pursuing this holiness then we do not really understand grace IMO. Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

            I personally struggle a lot still with the ‘tough love’ versus ‘unconditional love’ type of thoughts. I know how I am going to handle my upcoming divorce but I still struggle to know when to set boundaries in a lot of situations.

            Does anyone receive the emails from RMM? Their teaching almost seems to suggest that there should be NO boundaries and that unconditional love means no consequences set by the spouse and leaving it all to the Holy Spirit.

            HH

          7. Humbled Husband. I’m so sorry to hear about your upcoming divorce. My heart bleeds for you. I know you never wanted this. I will continue to pray for your wife’s salvation. I will continue to pray for your healing.

          8. Thank you LMS. God’s presence and strength is a daily reality and I trust where He is leading me even though I cannot see where I am going. Your prayer is very valued. Life has many challenges for me. Many that I do not write in public.

            A divorce is not something I wanted but not something I have a choice about. I will continue to wear my wedding ring after the divorce unless God shows me VERY clearly not to. I have thoroughly followed the discussion on this topic.

            A few circumstancial things lately have indicated to me to remain where I am so I am trusting that as right at the moment.

            My 100% motivation is to see her truly at peace and I will give my whole life to that end. What if my life is needed to be given for her and it is the thing God wants to use to show her His eternal love? Is that not loving your wife as Christ loved the church? That is my conviction anyway, so my stand is a no brainer for me, I just need the wisdom to know how, when and what the Lord would have me do.

            She says she does not love me and cannot be married to me. I accept that and cannot change that, but I cannot deny the depth of love I have for her and the more I find my heart in Christ the freer I am to live that.

            Thank you for your prayers for us. I pray for you also.

            HH

          9. I hope so April…..if it is not a God thing then I am very deluded and deceived!!! To me the only other alternative to how I view this is bitterness, resentment and revenge and that is most definitely not a God thing. HH

          10. HH,

            I see God very, very clearly in you, my brother. More and more as time has gone by this year. I stand in awe of all that He is doing in your soul. 🙂 What an honor to get to walk beside you and some of our sisters on this journey and to watch God’s hand sculpt our lives to bring glory to Him.

          11. HH,
            I believe several of my readers do receive emails from RMM. There are a number of women on my Peaceful Women closed FB site that follow them, if I remember correctly. I have not read much of their material.

            My prayer is that each one of us would be very sensitive to God’s Spirit to know when to wait and pray and when to act and confront or set boundaries. That is a situation where God’s perspective and wisdom is so critically needed.

          12. I am too. I had no idea my little conversation with my pastor and my question would spark this very intelligent conversation, but it really helps us baby beleivers. Thank you, all.

          13. Amanda, Leviticus 20:10 is the verse that talks about a man committing adultery with another man’s wife and that they are both (both parties involved in the adultery) to be put to death.

            I think (? – could be reading what you’re writing wrongly here), but I think your view is that once the two were legally married, adultery could lead to a divorce which was only permitted because of the hardness of men’s hearts and not something that was really God’s intent. Am I getting that right?

          14. CIC,

            You lost me in the last long comment sister, lol. I honestly haven’t really studied this topic that much, I just thought it was interesting when I researched the actual verses in the passage :

            “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:9—– the word “fornication” in this verse is the greek word:

            “porneia”—- which has a definition of :

            “fornication, whoredom; met: idolatry.”

            As you can see the definition does not say anything about adultery, it is fornication, which means sex before marriage.

            “Adultery” in Matthew 19:9 is the greek word:

            “moicha” which means:

            “to commit adultery with”.

            In my understanding, married people can not commit fornication, they commit adultery. See how the two words have different meanings and are related to two classes of people—married and unmarried.

            The parallel verse I am talking about is from:

            Deut 22:13-14:
            “13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,

            14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:”

            This verse talks about if the husband accuses the wife of not being a virgin BEFORE they married, then she would be stoned.

            This is the verse that I believe Jesus is referring to in answer to the Pharisess question in Matthew 19:9 about divorce. He was answering them with the law, because they were under the law, they were Pharisees.

            So my point in my original comment was that I feel as though christians take that verse from matthew 19:9 and say that it says Jesus says it is ok to divorce your spouse if they committ adultery, but that’s not what it says, acccording to the greek words that are used.

            He was answering the Pharisees’ question about divorce with what they already knew was the law and was true.

            All I know is that Jesus died for ALL of our sins, and I know I would surely be in hell if He hadn’t done that. There is grace, and mercy, and I believe that seeking God and being in a right relationship with Him is much more important than anything else–marriage, divorce, etc. etc.

            I just think if the Cross is being wrought in us, then we will not seek selfish gains and we won’t seek to satisfy our OWN interests…we will seek to please God, no matter what. That is my concern for the Body of Christ—- we have to always look to see what we are really living for!

            But you know all this 🙂

            I would never tell an abused woman to stay in the same home as an abusive man. That would be wrong, clearly. I wouldn’t tell anyone to stay married to a man that is blatantly cheating on them, etc. I just don’t see how that is right, either.

            I think it is each person’s own choice.

            Hopefully I clarified what I was trying to say there, lol.

            Love,
            Amanda

          15. Thank y’all for having such a loving, respectful, courteous discussion on all of the angles of this important issue. 🙂 I’m thankful that we can have unity even as we hash through things and try to understand – even when we may not agree on absolutely everything. We can still have unity, love, and joy together in Christ. Such a blessing!

          16. Amanda,

            Maybe we agree more on this issue than I thought based on your last paragraph? I don’t know.

            But, I do think the greatest difference between us here is that “porneia”/fornication” word you are bringing up. I personally see porneia as being a broader term that encompasses all sexual immorality and which would include adultery.

            This definition is from Strong’s (note that adultery is included in this broader term of sexual immorality):

            πορνεία porneía, por-ni’-ah; from G4203; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry:—fornication.

            And this definition of porneia is from the Outline of Biblical Usage also includes adultery:

            illicit sexual intercourse
            adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
            sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18
            sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12
            metaph. the worship of idols
            of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols

            Porneia does not just mean sex before marriage and that is the key here. Some Bible versions translate this as sexual immorality because many do read the way it is translated in many versions as fornication as being something that can only happen before the marital act. If you look up other verses where this word is used, I think you will see that this word is not limited to just sexual immorality before marriage, but encompasses all sexually immoral acts.

            For instance, in Acts 15:29, after there was a debate among the Jews about which, if any, of the laws the Gentile converts should be keeping, it was agreed to send a letter and these were the things that the Gentiles were told: “to abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication (porneia); if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well.” In this verse, the Gentiles are being told to abstain from more than just fornication in the sense of having sexual relations before married. They are being told to abstain from any sexual immorality — which would surely include adultery, as well.

            So, if we were to apply the broader term of fornication to Jesus’ words, in my view, He is again releasing the burden from the offended party to remain married if there has been porneia (which could encompass a bunch of different things and why I still think a married woman has a right to divorce a man who is in long-term, unrepentant and unchanging pornography use). And who knows? In some cases, the last-resort decision to finally divorce someone in such extreme cases is actually used by God to wake a spouse up to the seriousness of their sin and to the damage that it has caused and will continue to cause.

            Well, anyway! I’m seriously enjoying this conversation and I hope that I am not frustrating you. I’m seriously just enjoying that I’m finally, after years of confusion myself on this issue, feeling like I’m getting clarity in my own spirit regarding this issue.

            I wish you weren’t lost reading my last long comment, because I think there are a lot of good points in there! LOL 😀

            Love to you, my sister!

          17. CiC, love this comment and explanation…..thank you!!!!!! Much to ponder for me. I have taken the stance that I love unconditionally even if DW has multiple affairs. I am really praying about this. HH

          18. CiC,
            I am not getting frustrated at all, and as a matter of fact, I think it would be appropriate to share something as it relates to my own life and I think it might bless all of you here, hopefully, and not cause a stumbling block 🙂

            My husband was married before me. Before he got married, he had 2 kids with her, and then when she was pregnant with the second child, they got married. During their 4 year marriage, she was cheating on him. He didn’t find out until practical obvious evidence emerged, and that was when my husband decided to separate from her. During his separation, he came to Christ, and totally repented of all his sins, sought God, was so into God and he read the Bible and just spent so much time focusing on God. Well, he forgave her and tried to work it out, but she didn’t stop. At that point, he decided that this wasn’t going to change, and she was literally involved with another man, and I think she moved in with him or something. My husband sought God, and he didn’t look to anyone else except God for an answer about this divorce issue. He waited until he heard from God if he should really divorce her or not. Well, after much reading and alone time with God, he felt led according to those verses from Jesus that it was permitted for him to divorce her. Not only that, she had left anyways as an unbeliever.

            I’m not saying my husband was innocent, but I do know that he did not cheat on her and he wanted to work it out.

            He divorced her, and he did not plan on ever getting married again.

            The consequences will stand in both of their lives—- torn apart, the kids never see my husband, they have a hard life and even though he wants to be involved and even raise them, their mother is very bitter. It is devastating.

            About a year before I met and married my husband, he says he woke up one day and had a strong desire that he was going to get married again.

            Apparently I was the answer to that desire.

            In my own life, I was never married, and I had a child out of wedlock before I came to Christ.

            My point in sharing all of this is, if there is no grace for sins before Christ, then no one will make it to Heaven.

            My husband got divorced after coming to Christ or while he was going through it, and he remarried. I really don’t know if in God’s eyes he is an adulterer and making me an adulterer/fornicator.

            If that is the case, then we are doomed, if there is no grace.

            I did not really even think about any of these issues before I got married.

            Sometimes I worry that perhaps thats why my marriage is not working out so well because we are “living in sin”…but then I think that that can’t be true, because I experience God and I trust in Him to have died for ALL of my sins.

            I think it comes down to this—– why would you get divorced? Is it because your spouse is not doing what you want them to do and think it will be better with someone else or better on your own?

            If they are divorcing you, I feel that is totally different. You have no control over what other people do.

            The Bible is clear—-we do have a living hope if we are married to an unbeliever or believer walking in the flesh, to follow 1 Peter 3—- But how hard it is to get your own life right and your own attitude right!!!! Trust me, I know how hard it is…. If it were easy, everyone would do it I guess.

            I have no problem admitting I am just plain old selfish sometimes and I want what I want. I feel entitled to have the life I want to have. But that’s just not reality if I belong to Christ. I am entitled to nothing and my life should be about doing God’s will,even if it is opposite of what I want.

            That’s hard. 🙂

            Love to all,
            Amanda

          19. Thanks, April, for allowing the discussion!! I sometimes feel like it’s best not to get involved in these kinds of discussions, but really, these are important discussions to have and sort through — even if I end up having to reverse all I thought about an issue and embrace a different viewpoint.

            I want to be a Berean and search the Scriptures until all the questions start to go away and things start to harmonize with what I know the character and nature of God to be, with the context and with other passages that relate to the subject at hand.

            I know that is what *all* of us here want!!

          20. HH,

            I hope you know, but feel compelled to say that even though I am defending my views about divorce not being sin in certain situations, that by no means does that mean I believe a person should automatically divorce in these cases. I believe the peace you have from God to stand for your marriage is from God and is a good indication that you are right where you need to be.

            I believe we just can’t always figure everything out and tie it all up in a neat package. I don’t know why God calls some to stand for their marriages for years or decades while others He releases, but I do believe that He does that – for His purposes and His glory. “Who has known the mind of the Lord?”. My big concern in this whole thread is just that we should be careful to not increase the burden that is on someone who is already living in an oppressive state. No one here, at least that I’ve seen, is promoting divorce as a quick and easy method to get out of pain. And, I’m not sure why anyone thinks divorce is not as painful as remaining, anyway – as if you get divorced and life just automatically becomes great after that. I’m sure it’s a heartwrenching decision and I would assume the believer has weighed all of the consequences for a long time before they make that decision (I’m talking again about those in these certain situations); my concern is for those who feel obligated to stay because of possibly looking at scriptures in the wrong way. And, I really do believe that it could be the best thing to do for the offending spouse who is very hard-hearted.

            In some cases, divorcing a hard-hearted person could be the most loving thing you do for them. God had to show me that unconditional love didn’t always look like I thought it would/should look. Boundaries became a new part of how I saw unconditional love and I know God had to convince me before I could set the boundaries and be willing to live by it. God really did show me and convince me that what I was doing was the most loving thing for my husband. God has boundaries. He absolutely does. And so should we.

            As parents, we know that boundaries are the most loving thing for our children and don’t question that, but for some reason, it gets muddled up in our thinking when we are dealing with our spouses.

            Praying for you!!!!

          21. Hi CiC,

            Thank you. I know that you are not trying to impose your views on me and I wouldn’t let you anyway. Nor am I trying to impose my views on anybody. We are all responsible for our own decisions 🙂 What I believe we are all trying to do is seek God’s will. And oh it is a critical decision isn’t it with so many consequences!

            Statistically a divorced man is 4 times more likely to commit suicide than a married man.

            I 100% agree that boundaries are both necessary but difficult with our spouse. I think this is largely because we have a much greater emotional dependence on our spouse than our children and we are often scared of upsetting this. Finding our security in Christ liberates us from a lot of this fear and helps us set healthy boundaries, which in my humble opinion may look a little different for each situation.

            I would have no hesitation in pursuing a divorce if I truly believed that is what the Lord would have me to do as an expression of His love. I want to be an outpouring of His character and love. I do not believe He is calling me to divorce.

            I am convinced that if my situation reaches a point that God knows there is no hope of a repentence or seeing her in His kingdom then He will make it clear to me that is the case. Maybe He has called me to stand as conviction for her at the moment? Maybe He has called me to stand as He knows she will turn to Him and will know that I was always there? Maybe He has called me to stand for the childrens sake? I don’t know. I know that I made awful decisions in the early years of our relationship and I want to make all the right decision now and I know that she is as infinitely precious to God as I am. And WOW I LOVE HER!!!

            She was crying on the phone to me earlier this week about how hard life is and wishing she had never married me or had kids and she asked me why I wasn’t talking to people about what she is doing. I said the truth, that I do not understand the reasons why, all I know is that when I pray about it I am convicted to remain silent and to love her unconditionally. And until I am convinced otherwise that is what I shall do! I even found cancelling the insurance very difficult and have sometimes wondered if it were the right decision.

            There are lots of possibilities, I do not know the outcome. All I know is that I am holding my saviours hand and have my eyes closed in faith and am trusting Him to lead me. My daughter taught me that 🙂 And there is a tremendous peace in that despite the HUUUUUUUUGE pain.

            Love you all so much my brothers and sisters.
            In Christ HH

          22. CIC, Satisfied Wife, and Humbled Husband,

            I am so thankful for all of you and for each of your viewpoints. I am grateful for the loving, respectful, honest dialogue on such a heart-wrenching, difficult, painful topic. I love the way you clarify things and bring up different angles. I love the research you have each done and how you shared what you have found. I have found all of these things, too, in my research. Makes me smile to see the points you are each making.

            Much love in Christ to each of you! 🙂

            Thank you for being here and for contributing so much to the community here.

          23. HH, you nailed it with this: “I 100% agree that boundaries are both necessary but difficult with our spouse. I think this is largely because we have a much greater emotional dependence on our spouse than our children and we are often scared of upsetting this. Finding our security in Christ liberates us from a lot of this fear and helps us set healthy boundaries, which in my humble opinion may look a little different for each situation.”

            Amen, brother!!! There is a lot of truth in those sentences.

            God is doing so many things through your whole situation, HH….again, who has known the mind of the Lord? He is multi-faceted the way He takes our situations and uses them for good in so many ways. As you have already seen with the way others are responding to you and your joy in Christ through this trial. And deepening your relationships with your children. Learning to trust Him as you walk through the dark. Loving your wife unconditionally – even watching your love GROW for your wife as you are rejected by her. Only God.

            Your wife sounds so conflicted in so many ways — from a woman’s standpoint, it seems she is feeling somewhat guilty – and definitely a lot of conflict in her own soul and heart. Praying God brings her to the end of herself so that she can reach out to the One who can pull her out of the pit of darkness and despair.

          24. Amanda, thanks for sharing your story. I know that might’ve been hard to be that vulnerable on such a public forum. But, you know God’s grace does cover all of that and I think when you do understand God’s grace, it kind of sets you free from the fear of what others will think and you know, too, that God will use that story – look at the Bible, look even at Jesus’ geneology, and you will see how God uses the broken and those who were even looked down on to reveal His plan. He uses the foolish to shame the wise. The mysteries of God. Besides that, I personally think your husband *was* free to remarry according to the way I read the Word in regard to this. I am sorry for the ongoing hurt that is still there from the brokenness of his prior marriage.

            When both people in a marriage begin to take responsibility for their sin and are willing to work on themselves and grow, the marriage can be a beautiful thing. But marriages can remain stuck if only one is willing to do that.

            I understand the questioning of whether you are feeling the consequences of making bad choices. I’ve wrestled with that a lot, too, as I got married to an unbeliever even though I was warned seriously by my parents and others not to. I was a professing believer, but was not really a believer at that point (19 years old). Was born again at 31. So, throughout the hard times, I’ve thought….this is what I get. I refused to listen and this is what I get. On the other more faith-filled side, though, and when I experience the peace of God with my thoughts, I am thinking more like this…”God is sovereign and is in control of who I married. He brought us together for a reason and even though this looks really bad right now, I’m going to trust that He has a purpose for both of us in this.” At this point in my life, I can see LOTS of reasons that God brought us together and things He has done (even before He brought us through this latest hard season).

            I get what you’re saying about asking yourself the question: “Why do I want a divorce?” But, could you really say that to a woman (or man) who has been in a loveless marriage for years or decades…who has been repeatedly devalued and unheard or controlled or physically abused (worse yet is when these things are happening from someone who is using scripture to support their actions)? Someone who has worked on respect or loving their wife as Christ loves the church and worked repeatedly at looking at their own sin and repenting and changing, but their spouse is hard-hearted and never changes? I couldn’t. Not at this point of my Christian walk and not with what I know about God’s heart for those who are oppressed – and not with fitting it with the scriptures, either. And I think we as a Church need to understand that there are cases out there like this, and the last thing these women or men need to hear more of is that they should be more respectful and more submissive or more forgiving. The burden is not on the offended person, the burden should be on the offendor! These women are broken down in their spirits. I know I was and the things that I was experiencing in my marriage were mild in nature to what other women go through. Many are physically ill. They are a shell of what they were before. If I were one of those women, one of my many answers to the question of why I wanted a divorce would be: “Because when I entered the marital covenant, this is not what I was agreeing to.” The other person is not holding up their part of the covenant in cases of hard-heartedness like this.

            As far as submitting to God’s will and it being hard…what if His will is that those who are in such situations are free from that kind of life? It certainly seems to be His will for others who are in oppressive situations…..those who have no voice, the orphans, the widows, the afflicted, the oppressed, the forgotten, the alien. In 1 Corinthians 7:21, God tells the slave to gain their freedom if they can do so. So, in all these things we believe that God is this kind of God…..but not in the case of an oppressed woman or man in a marriage that is a mockery of what God made marriage to be? In that case, the spouse must stay and endure and suffer for Christ? Yet, in all these other instances, God’s heart is to free the oppressed? This is why I love what Leslie Vernick says about God not valuing the people in marriage more than the marriage itself. He cares more for the individual and their well-being.

            I believe wholeheartedly that I had a distorted view of 1 Peter 3 and had to really work through that to begin to see that it was not wrong to start speaking the truth into my own situation. I also used to hear women say the exact same things I am saying about divorce and I strongly felt they were wrong. I felt very strongly that you should stay and suffer. So, I understand the viewpoint and the mindset that is behind it. It was something that God had to really walk me through as I went through my trial. And, because of the things I heard him say to me in my spirit as I was going through this – not even things I’d ever read on a blog or any research I was doing (they were very specific things)….my viewpoint has changed. And, it is my belief that God did that for me. It was not something I was looking to change or questioning….but the way that He woke me up to my situation and the things He whispered to me in my spirit have me convinced that I was wrong before on this issue and now it is hard to remain silent.

            To the argument that marriage should be a representation of Christ and the Church and a showing of His unconditional love, I would say….does God offer unconditional relationship to His children? Or is repentance required and expected? Is return of His love back to Him expected? We are not representing the relationship of Christ to His Church when we turn a blind eye to blatant, ongoing sin and abuse in marriage.

            I think I’m done now, lol. I probably shouldn’t have even typed this out because everyone knows my views on this now 🙂 but I couldn’t help myself. I guess it’s a subject I’m becoming a bit passionate about. So forgive me if I’ve come on too strongly and thank you, Amanda, for the healthy debate and discussion. I love you, sister!!!!!

          25. Wow CiC, that’s your longest post yet! Aaargh!!!!!! It raises SO many questions for me. I would almost like to talk via email with you about this but I’m not sure that is a good idea from an accountability perspective because I am a bloke! I will have a think on what I am happy to ask/say publicly!

            I resonate strongly with the thought of “I made a mistake and this is what I get” but also with the thought of “God is in control and I can see SO many ways this has been used for good”.

            HH

          26. All,

            I do want to mention, separation is an option in cases where a believing spouse is being severely sinned against and greatly suffering. It is not that the only two choices are to stay and suffer abuse or to divorce. There are times when separation is very necessary if things are extremely toxic and it can be a step toward healing for the marriage. I don’t take separation lightly. I don’t think it should be the first option in most cases when there are problems, but if there are major unrepentant sin issues in a spouse’s life, a believer does have this choice. A believer may decide that he or she will not initiate divorce, based on his or her understanding of Scripture, but that doesn’t mean they have to be trapped living with unrepentant adultery, abuse, major addictions, etc… if there are very serious issues going on.

            For anyone who is unfamiliar, there is quite a bit spoken about this in 1 Corinthians 7.

          27. The goal, in my view, is that each of us would be abiding in Christ, overflowing with Him, hearing His voice clearly, and moving at His prompting in whatever our situations may be. My greatest prayer is that God might say to each of us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

            If a believer is seeking God above all else, praying fervently, maybe also fasting about such an important decision, and has the right motives in his/her heart – rather than being motivated by fear, guilt, resentment, selfishness, or hatred – I know God will lead us and direct us even when there are very painful, difficult decisions to make.

          28. CIC,

            God does not offer unconditional fellowship with Himself, no. He does offer unconditional agape love to each of us. But our sin destroys fellowship. Whether we are believers or unbelievers – our sin separates us from God.

            But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:2

            If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened… Psalm 66:18

            The Old Testament is full of examples of how God did not allow Israel to have fellowship with Him when they were acting in sin. Idolatry was one of the worst things – because, to God – it is very much like adultery in marriage. Hosea is also an example of a husband extending unconditional love to his wayward wife – but he called her to repent and to stop committing adultery. He didn’t condone her sin.

            God does require genuine and full repentance on our part for us to have fellowship with Him. This is part of what is addressed when we talk about having “healthy boundaries.” God has healthy boundaries with us. He will not tolerate sin. He will not condone our sin. But He does stand ready to forgive and extend grace when we repent.

            I don’t want to see wives think that 1 Peter 3:1-6 means they can never say anything at all to a wayward husband about sin. My understanding of that passage is that we don’t lecture, nag, and preach about spiritual things to them. But that doesn’t mean that we should never address sin. Matt. 7:1-5 and Matt. 18:15-17 are good patterns for us all in how to address someone who is sinning against us. And I have a post about confronting our husbands about their sin that may be helpful. I also have a post, written by my actual brother, who is also my brother in Christ, that may be a blessing, “When My Spouse Is Wrong.”

            Much love!

          29. CIC,
            I am in agreement with you sister! In my last comment when I said I think it all comes down to “why do I want to divorce?”—I was saying that in a sense of like, if a man/woman just wants to divorce because they don’t like their spouse or they aren’t getting what they want (even if the other spouse is not actually sinning against them or doing anything wrong), then I believe it is wrong. I was referencing a situation like this:

            A husband loves his wife and he has always gone out of his way to treat her right, provide for her, protect her, etc. etc….and she cheats on him. She is unhappy in the relationship for her own reasons, and she thinks she will have a better life single and out on her own. She wants to be independent and not stay home to raise their child, even though the husband can afford for her to do that. She wants to be out in the world and wants to be on her own. The husband is a christian but the wife is not. The wife moves out on her own…….she wants a divorce but can’t pay for it. The husband decides after seeking God that it is best to divorce because she has left, and she has cheated on him.

            So what I meant in the last comment was in reference to someone just wanting a divorce pretty much for no good reason.

            I have a best friend that was married to a very abusive man, and after a few years of back and forth with that, and two children in the mix, she decided to separate. He claimed to be christian and she is a christian. She did not file for divorce, he did. She wanted to reconcile and told him if he was willing to go to counseling and work this out and stop the abuse, she wanted to work it out. He did not want to do that, and so he divorced her. She remains unmarried to this day and still firmly believes God can change his heart and reconcile them one day if it is His will.

            There is definitely a difference and I would not tell anyone to stay in an abusive situation either. I believe like you said that God cares more about the peopl than the marriage.

            I have a lot of messed up situations in my life, but that is why God’s grace and love are so much the more to me because I am truly one of the greatest sinners of all! I feel how Paul felt, that’s for sure! 🙂

            In my originial comment about divorce and remarriage, I think my biggest point that I was trying to make is that I feel that christian culture is taking those verses and using them compltely out of context in order to get what they want (divorce for selfish reasons, not legitimate reasons).

            I too see how marriage can be such a beautiful thing and a representation of Christ and the Church if both are doing their part—-and I also know for sure and believe that it really won’t be like that if only one spouse is doing their part.

            Paul was writing that letter to the saints so it is safe for me to assume that he gave those instructions to people who were born again in Ephesians, and it would be expected that both husband and wife would have tried to work those instructions out when he gave them.

            That’s why I see how 1 Peter 3 comes in handy for people married to unbelievers. I don’t think 1 Peter 3 is talking about respecting abusive men or submitting to abusive men.

            I believe it means that a wife became saved and her husband did not, AFTER they were already married, so now she has the opportunity to win her husband over (assuming they were already “ok” in their marriage).

            I don’t really know where abusive people stand except that the Bible says we should stay away from pepole with a temper, etc.

            I really think it just comes down to each person’s own individual choice and I don’t think its fair to ever tell anyone what they should do in their life. Everyone has the right to make their own choices and they will stand before God about them!

            It is ok to seek advice, but ultimately, we need to decide and test what the will of God is!

            So glad we can clarify as well! 🙂

            You’re my sister in Christ and I love you!

            Love,
            Amanda

          30. One other passage that strikes me as we think about the subject of believers and divorce isn’t really a passage about divorce at all. It is a passage about believers taking other believers to secular courts. This could also be something about which we would want to carefully pray in certain situations – not just about divorce, but when we are considering any kind of court action or legal action against a believer in Christ:

            If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!

            The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:1-11

            Not a lot of churches have people officially set up to serve in this capacity of judging disputes between believers. But – it seems to me that we should have such a system in place in our churches.

          31. April,

            That is exactly the passage that convinced me that when my divorce papers are served I will not fight it.

            HH

          32. April, thank you for jumping in and, again, for allowing the discussion. 🙂 Yes, I agree about separation being a choice – even though that hasn’t been discussed much here. Since I’m aware of all of the personal situations that may be represented by those who are reading these comments, I do want to say that I believe that if you do choose to separate, then it’s very important to not be manipulated or guilted back into living together by *anyone* unless there is genuine repentance. I’ve seen this mentioned repeatedly on websites that discuss abusive situations (Leslie Vernick’s website among them). I think there is a lot of wisdom and truth to this. Worldly repentance can produce what looks like godly sorrow….but won’t bring lasting change. And, many in these horrible situations then go back with someone who ends up being more abusive than before. True repentance will look very different and the one who has been woken up to their sin will be willing to wait as long as they have to until they have proven their repentance and change to you and will also be active *on their own*, with no help or prodding from you, to seek accountability as they sort through their own issues.

            April, you said, “If a believer is seeking God above all else, praying fervently, maybe also fasting about such an important decision, and has the right motives in his/her heart – rather than being motivated by fear, guilt, resentment, selfishness, or hatred – I know God will lead us and direct us even when there are very painful, difficult decisions to make.”…….

            AMEN!!!! He will and we can trust that we will hear His voice. I know for myself, the times that I’ve heard God speak most clearly when I get really confused about something is when I lay it all before Him and say, “Lord, I will do whatever You call me to do here. But, I need to know that I’ve heard Your voice and no one else’s. I’m going to trust that You are going to give me that wisdom since I’m asking for it.” And the waiting is normally not too long before I’ve heard and just know in my spirit what He is calling me to do.

          33. Love this, CIC.

            Yes, there are times when separation needs to last awhile until there is genuine fruit of repentance and trust is slowly rebuilt in baby steps. Sometimes people rush right back into living together as husband and wife and haven’t really dealt with the sin yet – that tends to create a big mess – from what I have witnessed. Thanks for sharing about Leslie Vernick’s site and what she shares on this issue. Her site is http://www.leslievernick.com for anyone who is interested. (My readers tell me that her site is very helpful, but it may be wise not to read the comments, they can be very difficult to read. Lots of extremely painful situations).

            And YES!!!!!! As we are completely yielded to Christ and submitted fully to Him – He can and will lead us. That is what I want for all of us. I love what you prayed. That is PERFECT about wanting to hear God’s voice and no one else’s and being totally yielded to whatever His will may be.

          34. HH, sorry for my long posts, lol – I know how, as a man, you must thoroughly enjoy them! Hahaha

            I definitely don’t have all the answers, even though I probably come across as sounding like I think I do!

            I know God can clear up any confusion you have and He will. I’m convinced that sometimes, we only see partly because He is working out His will and plan. Then He reveals more clearly and we see something we didn’t see before. The timing of that is part of His plan. But, on the other side of that, we do need to be Bereans and search the Scriptures and make sure everything we’ve soaked up from our past or Christian tradition or even super well-known and respected pastors is the truth. What we believe has to be from the One who is Truth and who reveals Truth.

            Whatever you feel free to post here, let’s discuss it and we can all benefit from it. But, I also respect if they are not things you feel comfortable talking about here.

          35. CiC,

            See that’s a stereotype…..I actually love reading and have no problem with your long posts! 🙂 I think I will refrain from my question at the moment. In Christ, HH

    2. Lost & Searching,

      My apologies for the delay! I am finally able to sit down and respond without rushing.

      How my heart breaks over your situation, my precious sister. I think that spouses not knowing how to leave and cleave is rather epidemic in our culture today, unfortunately. Parents seem to expect or even demand that their children put them above their marriages. 🙁

      I’m so thankful that you are clinging to Christ. He alone is trustworthy. He alone will never fail us.

      I’m so glad you are praying. I have seen God restore and heal people in situations exactly like yours many times – so I know this thing is not beyond God. You are not beyond His reach. Your husband is not beyond His reach. PRAISE GOD FOR THAT!

      I also believe that what God wants to do in both of you is much bigger than just to deal with the broken marriage. I believe He wants to radically change and heal you both and draw you both into deep fellowship and intimacy with Him.

      So thankful that you want to honor your covenant – even when things are very, very tough.

      Would you be interested in doing a spiritual check up with me? I want you to be as absolutely strong as possible in Christ and overflowing with His power. Then I know He will lead you and direct your steps and bring about His good purposes as you abide in Him and trust Him. I don’t know what He has in store – but I know He can make something gorgeous from this painful mess. I know He will complete the good work He has begun in you.

      Much love!
      April

    3. Lost and Searching:

      Your story is a mirror image of mine. I begged and pleaded, made a fool out of myself, trying to convince my man to give us just one more chance, he said No! I am still devastated, but because of this challenge, I’ve grown closer to God, and have been forced to do serious self analysis, and contemplation. I was, above all disrespectful to him, needy, insecure, and used my emotions to hurt him. I am trying to give him space, time to heal, and am hoping he will eventually realize I am a good person, but have weaknesses I’m working on.

      I’ve learned so much about Gods ways, what I did wrong, how I can change, and how, as women we have to be our mans cheerleader, even when we have a hard time doing so. I am assuming a lot about what he is thinking right now, his words, and actions. I pray non-stop to God that he will allow us both to heal, and forgive both of us, and for one more chance to prove what I have learned. I also realize that it is in God’s hands, but the pain of my mistakes are overwhelming and unbearable. If only…..
      Hoping for Help

  5. April – I very much appreciate this post, the comments, and your responses. I continue to pray that women everywhere can receive the type of mentoring that you provide. Blessings to you and Greg. <

  6. As a married man for 31 years, it is not the length of time that is in question, it is the amount of events that CAN happen in such a long time. I have heard of marriages going bad at 5 or 10 years. That’s sad too. A guy at my gym was married more than 30 years is going through a bitter divorce!
    For some men, the job keeps them away from a contentious wife and she from a cruel man.
    My unemployment problems continue as I apply to job after job and get rejection or silence over and over and now my wife’s place of employment has turned on her as co-workers act like Jr high girls and talk behind her back and ruin her quality of work. Her crying at work increases as does her belief that I will return to work and rescue her from “it all” so she can again be at home with the kids. So she blames me directly for my incompetence to find work after 6 years. Weird huh? Something wrong with me huh? No. Just stay at home collect welfare and watch special needs kids. Her disrespect comes in many forms including scrutinizing every free moment I have that I should be looking for work in any field. Her treatment of me is much like you would treat your teenager. Commanding me and expecting me to follow rules all around the house. When I refuse…well, I’m mean right? Just a mean, angry husband. She says I need therapy.

    Where is God? well, I am still here. Any amount of blame she puts on me has burrowed deep into the relationship, causing deep wounds and a very angry wife…at me. My recently earned Masters degree in Psychology is worthless since it is unlicensed and 95% of employers in that field want a licensed psychologist.
    She blew up again this morning demanding a new bathroom floor since it has molded away and needs replacement. With no cash I can do nothing. She gets angrier at such statements. Her fantasy-mind is that of a housewife who has a husband who works so she doesn’t have to. Such thoughts though are a dream preserved in the past.
    I cannot leave. I want to, I cannot. Imagine our intimate life.

    1. I pray for you and your wife. Fear really messes with women, and I’m sure men too, bit especially women. It makes us say horrible, mean things to our spouses. At least it did for me. Fear like this is not from God. Fear. Control. Pride. Expectations. Perfectionism. These were all ways that I was sinning and had no idea how much pain I was causing. My motives were good, to be a good wife, mom, employee, etc, but the way I went about it were very controlling and self righteous.

      I would suspect your wife is scared about finances, losing her job, not being accepted, losing your love, afraid for the future etc. She is lashing out at the one she loves most, but only because she believes you will always be there for her and understand her better than anyone else. She forgets you have feelings too. Please don’t shut her out and retreat, but go to her. Comfort her. I doubt she even realizes what she is doing with the sword-tongue she is weilding. When I “woke up” to what I was doing, I was horrified at myself. It changed my life.

      I dont know where you are at emotionally or spiritually, but from a scared wife’s perspective. Go to her, hug her, hold her, tell her it will work out.Pray with her, and seek God together. Don’t take her disrespect and harsh words so personally, but also, don’t let her get away with speaking to you disrespectfully. The trick is not to be unloving and sinful in return, as you call out her bad attitude and wrongs. She has some real soul work to do and probably does not know how to “choose” to be happy with her life. She probably thinks you can and should make her happy, and if she is not happy, then it must be your fault…which it is not, by the way. But that is a sucking black hole of need that no one person could ever fill. She needs God for that type of security. As much as you try to make her happy, she will not be, or understand why she is not. Do what you can and what you feel led to do, and let her deal with her own consequences of her attitude. Just don’t sin back as you lay down healthy boundaries. In fact, if you want a great book to read, Healthy Boundaries in Marriage by Drs. Cloud and Townsend is awesome in helping. But also Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerich.

      I pray you find God and ask Him to help change the course of your marriage now before it continues on this dark path. YOU can very well be the catalyst to getting off this crazy train. It takes just one person. April’s blog has lots of great info that has helped many men as well. We are all here to help with prayers, questions and honest feedback. Its a great group of people who just want to help. A bunch of women (and some men) looking for answers. I pray that you can find healing today, brother.

  7. April,
    The Lord our God is so good. The post about Job was so encouraging to me because our Lord has been helping me see that for a time God allowed those around Job to believe he was guilty of some kind of sin when he was not. I have had this struggle in my marriage and it has made me so anxious. Maybe like me there are others out there believeing wrong about there spouse. The other thing that helped me was a book by John Macarthur called Anxious for Nothing. It helped me a great deal. To God be the glory.

    1. Sashamari,

      I do think it is important for us to seek to discern, with the help of God’s Spirit, whether a trial is a result of sin in our lives or whether it is not – if possible. Paul talked about that many people in the Corinthian church were sick or had even died because they had taken the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. That is sobering! And very important information!

      Some sicknesses and some trials come as a direct result of sin. Some do not. Some come as attacks from Satan – as Job experienced, even though he had done nothing wrong. Sometimes we won’t know this side of heaven exactly why certain things happened. Other times, it will be very clear why we are suffering. Some trials come because we are in a fallen world and there is disease and there are natural disasters her because of sin in general. Some trials come because of the sins of others. But no matter why a trial has come – I am so thankful that as we yield to God and repent of any known sin and ask Him to transform us – He can and will use every trial to make us more like Christ and for His glory for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose! (Romans 8:28-29) SUCH GOOD NEWS!

      Thank you for sharing about the book. That sounds very good!

  8. April,
    This is all a little too familiar. : (

    It’s been a long 3 1/2 years of separation. Right now my husband is still staying with us part time & at his separate home part time.

    I too have gotten closer to God during this. And I do still ask God the same “when” & “why” questions & I do still cry out to Him that I miss my husband, that I miss our family & that I don’t know how to do this.

    And I honestly don’t know how to do this.

    All I can say is to go to God with everything. Everything! Constantly.

    Ask again & again for His wisdom, His will, grace, strength, whatever you need.
    Immerse yourself in the Bible EVERYDAY.

    Pray for your husband.

    Thank God for your blessings & remember them.

    I also remind myself that I am responsible for doing my part of keeping God’s Word & my part of what God commands for wives. April you are good at reminding us of that. : ) I am so thankful for your blog. : )

    God’s blessings to all of us, our marriages & our families.

    1. In Christ Alone,

      My heart breaks for this painful situation, my sister. It is good to hear from you! I am so glad for an update. But it does sound like things have been tough.

      How may we pray for you?

      How are you doing spiritually?

      Sending the biggest hug!

  9. Thank you for sharing! As hard as it was to read, I really needed to hear your message.
    This weekend has been a rough one for my marriage. My husband is so programmed to expect harsh and negative comments from me that I am constantly defending my every word. Lately, we can’t have a conversation or tell a joke without some kind of disclaimer (“I was joking…”, “I meant…”)

    This weekend was no exception. I have been having a very hormonal month. I thought things were smoothing out, but this weekend proved that they weren’t. My filter was not as good as it should be, and some of my negative and hurtful comments came out when my husband made a major decision without even speaking with me. With my emotions in a hurricane because of my hormonal issues, you can imagine how quickly it spiraled out of control.

    After calming down, my husband and I really talked, and his words hit home. He told me that WE are better than this – the arguing, the nit-picking, etc… He told me that because of the way I act that he has been expecting for me to leave at any moment. It couldn’t be further from the truth! I cried. All I could think was, “How could he NOT KNOW how much he means to me?” What kind of wife have I been? We have only been married for 10 years. Have I done too much damage? He seems so cut off and emotionally spent…

    When my husband and I speak, it feels like we are roommates or business partners – not the light, silly conversations we usually have. Over the past few months, God has made huge changes to my heart. I never knew about God’s grace and mercy or the message of God’s love. My husband has told me that he’s noticed the changes, but this weekend just proved to him that they weren’t real. My heart is breaking….Ps 34:18 I keep praying for God to guide me and change me. Pray for us!

    1. AIM,

      How I praise God for what He has been doing in your heart! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Don’t allow the enemy to discourage you, my sister!

      When a wife first begins to change – the first few months, especially – husbands often aren’t sure how to take the changes. Sometimes a wife is truly trying to be respectful, but a husband can’t believe that she would not be negative and so he thinks she is being sarcastic and putting him down somehow. This takes time. I’m glad you are giving the disclaimers. As God continues to transform your life, your husband will most likely eventually begin to feel a lot more emotionally safe and realize that you truly are changing. It takes time for a husband to believe that this is permanent and real.

      When we are hormonal, we are very much at risk of doing something that will feel disrespectful to our men.

      A few posts that may be helpful:

      Things Got Worse at First When I Began to Change – The Restored Wife
      – PMS
      – Emotions
      – I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually
      – I Am Responsible for Myself Emotionally
      – Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin
      – Conflict
      – I’m Trying to Respect My Husband and He Is Being More Unloving Than Ever! What Is Going On?
      – What Is Respect in Marriage
      – control
      – fear
      – bitterness
      – when she surrendered (by Greg, my husband, from his perspective)

      Also, you are welcome to search my Youtube channel, April Cassidy, for things like:
      – nonverbal disrespect
      – the tone of voice challenge

      The changes are real. You stumbled. You are going to get up and allow Jesus to continue His good work. You are not perfect. That is okay! You and your husband will both need a lot of grace on this journey.

      Much love to you!!!!!!!

    1. That is a wow of compassion, understanding and praise at the experiences and response of the woman in this comment. I have no idea who you are but I praise God for your response to this situation. And I pray for you that you would know the love of our saviour in a deeper and deeper way.

      I look forward to reading the things here. There’s such a lot bubbling up in me at the moment that wants to come out but doesn’t know how to. Thanks for this place to think through it all!

      One thought I had when reading this is that the difference a person’s response is when they have God working in their life is in stark contrast to someone’s response who does not know the Lord. I see things like remorse, humility, grace and a desire to forgive compared to bitterness, pride, self and a desire to see the other person hurt badly.

      HH

  10. Lord,
    I thank and praise You for what You are doing in this group of women and men. Thank You for Your goodness, power, omnipotence, holiness, justice, love, mercy, and sovereignty. We thank and praise You for Your faithfulness to each of us. We praise You for the treasure and power of Your Word. We thank You for the freedom we have to assemble here and to share Your truth and to encourage and exhort one another.

    Open our eyes to any unbiblical thinking. Expose any lies of the enemy we have believed or any sin we may be cherishing in our hearts. Show us anything we have exalted above You in our minds and souls. Let us be willing to forsake ALL for You! Change us. Cleanse us. Prune us – even if it is painful.

    We long for You alone. Let You be our one desire! If we have You, let us be content and let us rejoice because we have the Greatest Treasure there is. Let us not put our hope in worldly things or people.

    Deepen our faith. Call us to go ever higher with You on the mountain tops. Let us be willing to sacrifice much time to be with You. Let us be willing to obey unquestioningly in every circumstance – from the smallest thing You ask of us to the biggest thing. Empower us by Your Spirit to become godly women and men, a holy generation, leaving a legacy of godliness to those who come behind us. Let us handle Your Word rightly.

    We open our hearts to give You total access to every corner of our minds and thoughts. Transform us by Your power. Make us more like You. We are willing to surrender all, to yield control to You alone. You are the Master. We are the servants. You are the Potter. We are the clay. Make of each of our lives something that is beautiful and that will bring glory to Your Name – we seek only Your will and fellowship with You. Let Your Spirit work in powerful, mighty ways in our midst like nothing any of us have ever seen in our lifetimes!

    Nothing matters but Your pleasure and Your approval. Help us to truly receive and live all that Jesus has provided for us. Let us receive the springs of Living Water that He offers to us. Let us live like we belong to the King of kings and Lord of lords – not like we are spiritual paupers.

    Open our blind eyes. Let us see You clearly and ourselves clearly. Change our hearts to love what You love, to desire what You desire, and to hate what You hate. Accomplish Your purposes and Your will in and through each of us. Let Your kingdom come in our families and marriages – and let it begin in each of us.

    In the Name and power of Christ,
    Amen!

  11. Hello my special PW friends 🙂

    I’m just rereading through this post and it’s hitting me again with its reality and truth. Whether our marriage is good or awful, knowing God is truly life. Please allow me to ramble for a moment. It’s early morning and I have been up praying for a few hours. I have goosebumps at the way the Lord fills my heart at the moment 🙂

    I understand John 17 in a much different way now. I used to think that to be ‘saved’ meant believing in Jesus death, burial and ressurection and that when I died I would go to heaven.

    But Jesus prayed “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” and a little further on He said “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

    I struggle to put words to expand on this passage, because it’s truth is far, far deeper than just the words that are used. This is LIFE, to know God and Christ. The meaning of life, the purpose of life, this is life. How can I possibly have joy at the moment? Humanly speaking, I can’t. Humanly speaking life is hurtful, hard and there is no foreseeable way out of the mess I am in (and that realistically I had a big part in creating). And yet, the hunger for God’s truth and the joy that comes when absorbed in His presence is proof that our joy does not need to be defined by our circumstances. To know God is LIFE!

    Jesus prayed for our unity. Unity is what our heart longs for when we are full up with Christ. The desire for unity is one of the things that convicts us of our selfishness and helps us see how our actions have contributed to other people’s pain. The desire for unity was what drove Christ to the cross. Jesus wants His people to be one AS HE AND THE FATHER ARE ONE!

    Jesus gave us the glory that THE FATHER GAVE HIM! Knowing God is not just a future thing, it is a present, current NOW thing. It is unity in spirit and heart, it is fulfillment and peace, it is life.

    I would never have guessed that one could feel so much pain and yet so much joy at the same time. I honestly do not believe that I am going to see my marriage be restored or improved for a long, long time, if ever. And the pain of this situation is almost unbearable sometimes. But the joy that walks along side me in the presence of God I would not trade for the world! I would rather have this pain and this joy than have an ok marriage and not know this joy because to know God is LIFE.

    My daughter us just waking up now. Her little voice is making sleepy little grunts in the next room. She has no idea that I have been kneeling next to her during the night praying for her but that father’s love is there for her even when she doesn’t see it. In the same way, God’s love is there for YOU even if you do not see it 🙂

    I am praying for all of you right now. HH

    1. HH, Thank you for your comment! As I read it, it brought to mind when I was going through the pain of my own trial and how surreal (don’t know if that’s the best word for it!) it was to feel such pain and yet joy was heightened to a new level I hadn’t experienced before that equaled this pain that I was feeling. It was something I’d never experienced before, but it gives me comfort to know that this is a way God comforts His children during hard trials and to know that His grace is sufficient for us!! It’s hard to even put it to words, really! Around that same time, I heard an interview on Christian radio with a woman who had lost her teenage daughter and she described this same thing.

      I am so thankful that we have a God who can comfort and hold us in such unexplainable ways as we go through the trials of this life. This must be a taste of heaven, except can you imagine the joy WITHOUT the pain??? Wow, we can’t even imagine. It will all be worth it – as Romans 8:18 says – “For I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

      HH, yes!! You know, I remember realizing that eternal life is HERE and NOW — IN CHRIST!!! It is not something we get after we die. We have it now! Jesus is life. Without Him, there is no life. And Jesus’ life is eternal life! 1 John 2: 25, 1 John 5:11 & 12, 1 John 5:20….These are the kinds of truths that God reveals to us that renew our minds and seem almost counter to what we’ve heard preached all of our lives! But it is truth ……and the truth sets you free!!!!!!

      Anyway, you got me excited to share in your excitement! Thank you for your prayers, HH. If you don’t mind, I would appreciate prayers for me as I struggle with setting time apart to be in His presence. I love Him, I pray throughout the day, His words and truth are in my heart – are very much a part of me as Christ is in me, and yet I struggle with this. I need and want this and I need God to do this in me! I’m sure some of you can relate?

      Enjoy your sweet kids. They are blessed. And yes, to think how much we love our children and our human love is nothing compared to the love the Father lavishes on us!

        1. HH, thank you for putting all those elevated emotions of loving God and seeking Him into words. It is a very joyous and existential feeling to be able to rise above this earth and understand what the meaning of life really is about. Praise God for this moment in you and I pray we all get to this level of understanding. Amen!

    2. HH,

      THIS is the lightbulb moment I want us ALL to experience! THIS is exactly why I share and spend so much time in ministry. If only we could all see that the things we often want God to do for us – to make our spouse come back, to make our spouse be more loving to us, to let us quit our job, to let us have a job, to fix the problems we are facing – are not the real issues at all! Really, if God immediately gave us exactly what we think we want and need – we would miss out on the greater blessings He wants us to experience – of knowing Him! We would be content with so much less than He wants to give us – but He will not let us do that and I am so thankful!

      THIS is the kind of treasure we only find when we are in the fiery trials and when we have nowhere to look but Christ. He is enough! He is MORE than enough! How I pray that He will open all of our eyes to this incredible truth!!!!!

      Thank you so very much for sharing and for praying for everyone here.

      PRAISING GOD WITH YOU!

      1. All,

        We are all very prone to think, “God needs to fix my immediate problem right now! God, You need to give me:
        – a nice house
        – a boyfriend
        – an engagement ring
        – a wedding
        – a husband
        – a baby
        – a job
        – health
        – beauty
        – money
        – more loved from my spouse
        – friends who do more for me
        – a certain person in my life to change
        – control
        – what I think is best
        – the circumstances I want…”

        But God wants us to realize that these things are not our greatest needs. He is our greatest need!

        Yes, many of these things on this list are good. And many of these things are gifts God gives to us at times. But if we desire the gifts above the Giver – we are missing EVERYTHING that really matters! My security, identity, joy, contentment, peace, and faith must be in HIM. And only Him or I will be one miserable person – which I know from plenty of experience.

        Check out this Psalm I read in my quiet time this morning:

        Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
        my hope comes from him.
        Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
        he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
        My salvation and my honor depend on God;
        he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
        Trust in him at all times, you people;
        pour out your hearts to him,
        for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8

        For anyone who is trying to understand these things a bit more, I invite you to search my home page search bar for:

        – idol/idolatry
        – insecurity
        – security
        – the answer to all of your marriage problems
        – discontentment
        – contentment
        – lordship
        – submit to God
        – giving up your Isaac

        I pray God will open everyone’s eyes that we may truly experience His abundant LIFE regardless of what painful trials we may be facing at the moment!

  12. As I continue on my journey to learn respect, a right relationship with God and learning how to find joy in spite of the bad things in my life, I read. Alot. I really appreciate all the book suggestions, because there is a ton of stuff out there and it can be overwhelming. And not all of it is beneficial or godly advice. Y’all are a trusted group of book critics. Thank you. My search is for truth. Yes, reading the bible is in there too, of course. LOTS of meaty truth in that one!

    Content in Christ suggested a book by Laura Doyle that I just started to get into. In it, yet again, was a line that says some thing similar to “I wasn’t happy and I thought it was my husband’s job to make me happy, I don’t know where I got that idea from…but I did.” This jumped out at me. I hear that type of statement from so many authors. Early on in my journey, April’s posts helped me realize what wrong thinking that was. The book “Boundries” by Dr’s Cloud and Townsend solidified that truth as well. I then went back in time mentally and looked at my childhood trying to figure out why I thought that way. I chalked it up to my parents divorce at 12 years of age and my not trusting anyone after I felt lied to by them. But when I met my husband, he said he just wanted to make me happy. I was more than willing to let him. He wanted to make me happy, and I wanted to be happy. He was happy if I was happy. So, if I wasn’t happy, he wasn’t doing what he promised. Sounded like a good partnership deal…sign me up. However, I learned that it was such a crock and so unfair to my husband. I see that now. We, as women need to find our own happiness. What our husbands do for us is really just icing on the cake. I made my husband live out an impossible task. Making me happy was a sucking black hole of need where I wanted continuously more and more from him. No one person can do that. Only God can fill that hole.

    However, I was embarrassed that I missed that basic truth about happiness until I was 41 years old. Seems like one of those lessons I should have learned in kindergarten, or at the very least by the time I graduated high school. I felt like a blockhead when I realized I missed a very important lesson on the way through. One that has severely damaged or killed my marriage, relationships with my parents, kids, friends, etc. It was a cancerous attitude. I figured I was a late, late bloomer, or even damaged goods due to coming from a divorced family. My husband’s family was intact and I guess I trusted that he knew what he was doing when it came to marital happiness. So I went along with it. But most guys desire to make their wives happy, even though it isn’t really their job. It is still true that when their wives are happy, they are happy. But guys seem to think it IS their job. They are just as fooled into beleiving it is solely their responsibility to make us wives happy as much as we think it is THEIR job to make US happy. We are both fooled. We both enter marriage dreadfully misguided in our roles.

    What struck me as I read this book, though, was actually how common that thought seems to be in women. Somewhere, in our relational mind, we think like I did…that it is the man’s job to make us happy. There are even quotes on it. “Happy wife, happy life.” Or “If mama is happy, everybody’s happy”. Men are led to believe flowers and candy are surefire ways to make us fall into their arms with gratitude, and are left hurt and confused when it doesn’t work. Although there is a thread of truth in those casual quotes, it doesn’t address who’s job it is to make the wife/mama happy. It gets assumed that men need to bend over backwards and treat her like she is a high maintenance diva to keep the peace. I think as women, we think we need to step into those “diva” shoes and play the part…that it is our destiny and birthright. But we become fools of the grandest sort. My husband spent 18 years bending over backwards to try to make me happy, but he never seemed to be able to reach success. It was never enough, it wasn’t perfect, that was yesterday, what do you have for me today? Ugh. I’m so ashamed at myself and us women who think this way. Ladies, it is OUR OWN job to be happy. We need to understand this very important lesson or we will run everyone we know into the ground with exhaustion, defeat and hopelessness. That is what makes us look like shrews, hard to please, and grumpy, screaming mimis. If we don’t start looking to God to fill that need in us and find joy in what we have already, then we are chasing the wind, like Solomon describes in Ecclesiastes.

    It is so much better to find joy in what God gives us already. The sunshine, beautiful flowers, the gifts of our husbands, kids, a job, health, friends, sleep, etc. These are things we take for granted, but they are gifts nonetheless. Why do we think we need more? Why would God even try to bless us with more when we aren’t even grateful for what He has already given to us? I think that is why God will allow a heart to harden, a spouse to walk away, even to lose a loved one to death sometimes, to discipline us for our ingratitude to Him. We don’t realize these people are gifts until we don’t have them anymore. If we are not appreciating our gifts from God, then we certainly don’t deserve them anyway, let alone more gifts!

    God is pretty crafty at how He can wake us up. He can convict us and help us turn from our sin. God knows exactly how to lay down defend healthy boundaries against us when we are stomping all over them. He knows how to give us back our own consequences of our wrong actions instead of saving us from them and enabling us to continue on a wrong path. It may be painful for us, but it is the most loving thing he could ever do for us. Scripture is chock full of pictures of God laying down boundaries with Israel and defending them. Especially in the books of the prophets and 1 and 2 Kings. God did not allow His people to benefit from their sin. He warned, He was merciful, He urged us to hear the truth, but He meant what He said and allowed us to experience the consequences of our sins.

    It was the lowest point in my life, the day my husband asked me for a divorce. I thought he was evil that day. I know now, that God was helping him defend a boundary that I was stomping all over. My husband had nothing left to give. My happiness was now my own to find. He was done trying. He told me that no man could make me happy. He was so right. I had sucked the life out of him. He was drained. I thought he had lost his mind that day, this crazy talk coming out of his mouth. But, it turned out to be the most loving thing he could have ever done. It set me on the path to find the truth, answers and most of all, God. I found how I can make my own happiness and start appreciating the gifts in my life. I lost some pretty important gifts because of my diva attitude. Some, like my friends, parents and to a degree, my kids’respect, I am thankful to have been able to reclaim through my new attitude and love for God. My husband, marriage and burnt-bridge relationships…those are still up in the air, to be determined.

    I am so thankful to God for disciplining me with love. He alone has the fortitude to stand up to me, my sin, and my wrong thinking without fear of the backlash from me. He is perfect in all of His ways. And He wants us to learn how to stand up to sin without fear as well. Jesus tought us that. It is our job, as christians, and even as non-christians, to find our own happiness and not saddle that responsibility on anyone else. God helps us with it, but in the end, it is our choice.

    Ladies, please stop beleiving it is your husbands job to make you happy. It is not. They have zero control over your happiness. The best they can do is influence some happiness in you, or attempt to take a risk to try or guess at what might make you happy. But it all is only temporary if you do not find out how to make your own happiness with what God has already given you. The bible is full of wisdom in this. Gratitude, peacefulness, etc. But, I know in today’s wirld, there are lityle quotes that echo the bible. “Bloom where you are planted” is a good little quote that exemplifies this in today’s world. “Gratitude is the best attitude” is another. I pray God helps all of us learn how to seek Him for our happiness and have gratitude for the gifts He has given us already in life. It is our own choice to be happy, and not another person on this planet will ever be able to do that for us.

    All my love to my sisters, and apologies to my brothers who have tried so hard to make us happy.

      1. Lol, I could use a nice long plane ride and a vacation! I’m just glad the post went through, I thought it got lost in Internet space.

        Sometines, we ladies are knuckleheads too. I guess we all mature in life at different times. I pray your wife has her “awakening” soon, my brother.

        1. Heh, we’re all knuckleheads really, just in slightly different ways! I do really like what you wrote though. It would be so healthy if both men and women owned their respective responsibilities and didn’t hold the other accountable for their happiness.

          There is definitely a real culture that says a bloke is entirely responsible for his girls happiness. Even some christian relationship books I’ve read say the same thing. It’s equally as damaging to take the view that a woman is entirely responsible for her mans happiness.

          HH

    1. LMSdaily115,

      Thank you so much for sharing about this topic. I think it is a very common expectation, that husbands should be responsible for making their wives happy. Definitely way past time to address this lie!

      I’m so thankful for all that God is showing you! 🙂

    2. LMS,
      That is wonderful! Praise God! It’s so weird because I never realized til coming here either that my biggest idol in all of my life was happiness. That was a bummer when I realized I wasted so much of my life being miserable for no reason! :/

      But God is so good and I am so glad we are all learning the same things at the same time! It brings us closer as the Body of Christ!!! 🙂

      Love,
      Amanda

        1. April,
          I don’t mind! All I can say about that is that until I came to your site and started digging into everything—- and after identifying a lot of my idols of wanting to feel loved, attention, etc. it all started boiling down to one big idol of happiness—– Happiness was the mother Idol—-with a bunch of a little idols attached to it, which were what I believed I needed in order to accomplish my ultimate idol of happiness in life!

          So Happiness was #1——- and I believed that if my husband gave me all his attention, if he loved me how I wanted him to, if I got to have the sun shining outside all the time, if I didn’t have to ever have my period again, if I got to be a stay at home mom, if I got everything I EVER WANTED—– Then I could have what I wanted most—to be HAPPY!!!

          I desired to be happy by being home (idol), by my son “acting right” (idol), by my son eating healthy food (idol), by my son staying safe (idol), by my husband being happy/content (idol), by respecting and submitting to matt (this was when I first started I had realized this! idol), by my eating healthy and taking vitamins (idol), b doing everything right (idol), by having a perfectly clean home (idol), by controling myself and family and life (idol). I literally set up my own happiness as my biggest goal in life and I turned idolizing all these other little things to try to get my idol of happiness!

          I realized that I had spent 29 years of the precious life God gave me on trying to be happy!

          I looked for happiness in all the wrong places! I placed it as #1, and then looked to a bunch of little idols to attain the ultimate idol, all resulting in NEVER being happy! I imagined if I was married, loved, had a home and could stay home, and raise my son, and —make— my son behave and teach him about God and eat healthy and just be a wife and mom—then I would be happy!!!!! I honestly even thought that if I just did whatever God says to do in the Bible, then I would be happy. I seriously wanted to be happy more than I wanted ANYTHING else in this life.

          I actually wrote about it here lol if you are interested 🙂 http://satisfiedwife.com/why-am-i-never-happy/

          For the first time, I realized that I did not receive any joy, happiness or contentment from being at home, from homeschooling my son, from respecting and submitting to Matt, from putting my son back in school, from keeping a clean house, from controlling (not really) my son’s behavior/food choices—-nor from ANYTHING the LORD HAD GRACIOUSLY GIVEN ME IN THIS LIFE—- No–I ONLY found TRUE JOY IN ABIDING IN CHRIST AND SEEING HIS BEAUTIFUL FACE!!!!!!

          That was like the best eye opener God ever gave me through your blog April because I was seriously miserable for a long time :/………And like LMS realized, I realized that I didn’t have to wait for all these other things to happen in order to be happy—plus I found out that happiness is about a passing moment—-Joy—REAL JOY—is from the Spirit of God—-and that is what I want–not some passing happiness—sure it’s nice to be happy if something good happens or what not— but that is a goal of life that will NEVER happen! EVER!

          That’s why I was so excited about learning about contentment because I WAS FREED FROM THAT IDOL OF HAPPINESS AND FOUND SO MUCH JOY IN GOD ALONE!!!!!!!!!

          It was a MAJOR stepping stone for me! 🙂 To God alone be the Glory!!!!

          Love,
          Amanda

          1. Amen, girl. Amen.

            Makes me think of the verses in Philippians 4:11-13… Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

            And of course, the instruction to rejoice in the Lord always… Philippians speaks a lot to this truth that LMS and you are talking about… and that is a main focus of April’s blog, of course.

          2. CIC,
            YES!

            I like to change this verse a bit…

            “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstances, I have learned the secret (of feeling unloved by my husband or loved by him, of having all of his attention and affection, or none of it). I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

            I like to replace the facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need with the things I want and need the most from others, specifically my husband, as a reminder of what place Christ should be in my life and how I can be filled up with Him no matter what my husband is or is not doing.

    3. So true…! HH, your comment made me think of how Christian teaching sometimes seems to over- emphasize that we should meet each other’s needs (or maybe we hear the message the wrong way!) …. But, when would it ever be enough? None of us can fill the hole in another’s heart. We can love and bless and serve but it’s a freeing thing to get to that place where you aren’t looking for someone else to meet all your needs AND you realize you can’t do it for someone else, either. Takes a lot of pressure off both of you!

      Amanda, your comment cracked me up “That was a bummer when I realized I wasted so much of my life being miserable for no reason.”

      I think a lot of us can relate to that statement!!

      Now, having said all that, in a healthy marital relationship, there is going to be mutual desire to love and please the other. So, to want that is NOT wrong, in my opinion. But, we will get way off track if we haven’t gotten to a place of knowing Jesus is enough for us no matter what and running to Him first to fill us up. After that, then we can see more clearly and hear His voice if we need to address things that are wrong in our marriage.

      God sure uses the pain of our marriages to strip away any delusions we have that anyone or any other relationship can come close to offering what He offers us.

      I heard a pastor say recently that when God says “You will have no other gods before me”, that we can take that also like a promise from God to us. He will ensure that we have no other gods before Him.

      1. Heh …… if God uses the pain of our marriages to strip away our delusions I must have been the most deluded man on the PLANET!!!!! HH

        1. I don’t think the reality of your situation is in direct correlation to how deluded you were… If that were the case, we should all be in your situation, too. We will all continue to have plenty of suffering and trials in this life that don’t have anything to do with anything we’ve done wrong necessarily. It’s a promise from God to us! Lol… Along with the fact that He has overcome the world and will never leave or forsake us.

          God’s doing an immeasurable amount of things at once for His purposes and glory in just our situation.

          Who has known the mind of the Lord?! (seems to be my favorite verse to quote lately!)… We just have to trust and hang on for the ride. Don’t beat yourself up, brother.

          (I know you were probably joking, but I didn’t want anyone to misread my comment and think that their suffering means that they were at fault somehow.)

    4. LMSdaily115,

      Would you consider allowing me to use some of this comment as an anonymous post, my dear sister? 🙂 For this blog and for my Peaceful Single Girl blog? Thank you so much!

  13. I went into this long holiday weekend with the pure motive of being full of joy. I was sick of being angry, hurt, on the defense and upset. I wanted to be filled up with all God has given me. I had made a promise to myself and even a few close friends tgat this was going to be a great weekend and nothing was going to get in the way. I was even warned that the enemy will try to attack me. Friday was my sons birthday, Saturday was his party with his friends, Sunday was a day of cleanup and rest and Monday was enjoying family. I was looking forward to it and determined to be strong and not let my husband’s bad attitude, stress of lots of company, party planning, cleaning, preparing for a new school year, laundry, lawn mowing etc. rob me from my own happiness-making. Here is the result: on Saturday, my son planned on inviting a few friends to a local amusement park-type fun spot for the day. They ran a special pricing so we wanted to get there early to avoid the long lines. When we entered, my husband instructed us to go wherever we wanted, he would catch up with us. The kids chose an activity that was not the most popular…putt-putt golf. They chose a more relaxing, laid back type of fun activity. This was their day. I had learned all about not having to control everything, so I went along and enjoyed watching the kids laugh, smile and cheer each other on. I was taking pictures to remember their day together. When my husband caught up with us, he was livid that the kids had not chosen to go get in the long lines for the kart racing or roller coaster. He could not understand why they chose putt-putt of all the things to do here. He complained, berated the kids, made them feel foolish for their choice, but they continued on in spite of his noise. He continued complaining to me as his new audience since the kids paid him no mind, as if I made the mistake and should’ve spoke up and made them go stand in the lines instead of chosen stupid putt putt. I let him go on and on, but refused to “fix” it for him. After some time, I looked at the kids, not bothered by their choice, having fun, enjoying their time together and simply responded to my husband in a simple, respectful way… “it looks like you are the only one that has a problem with their choice.” and then I let it go. I stuck with the kids, he went off in a huff, grumbling and dismissing us all. After putt putt, the kids found that the lines were not too stupid long because the kids that ran right to the race cars were now on to other things. I felt the kids had the right plan after all. Thete was never really a time when they had to wait for an extended time to get on a ride. My husband continued to brood, but I never gave it a care. I went to purchase drinks for the kids as they waited and then rode, and offered to pick one up for my husband, but he refused and turned away from me. I kept being respectful, thoughtful and inclusive, but allowed him to make his choice and didn’t try to pacify him. I let him be with his own miserable self if that was what he chose. I remained in joy and peace. The day at the park ended with all the kids happy. They felt they did all they wanted and had no regrets. They were not rushed and in fact, left before our time was up. The kids were happy, carefree, respectful and thankful to my husband and I for inviting them along and treating them.

    The next day my husband worked. I stayed home with the kids and made a yummy breakfast for them. I never complained about the cooking, cleaning, carrying heavy furnature around, noisy kids, lack of sleep, messes and awkward kid moments. I did not have to “control their fun”, but I did stop things if it got out of hand or had destructive potential. I enjoyed the energy and personalities and quirks of each kid. It was fun to watch them all interact together as close friends. I felt privilaged to witness them all growing up in this way. Later that night, my daughter even snuggled in next to me for some cuddle time…she rarely does that these days! Bonus!

    On Monday morning, I was up getting ready for the day and my husband stopped flicking the channels on the TV. He landed on a woman talking about spiritual stuff. I looked at him questioningly. I asked him what he was watching, he had no idea, but refused to change it. Then a title came on. Joyce Meyer. “Oh, she is an author, I have read some of her books”, I said. I sat down and watched with him and my son. She was talking about the scripture of “if your hand causes you to sin, it’s better to cut it off and throw it away…your nose…your eye” etc. My husband mocked it in disbelief and commented on how ludicrous that advice was. I was about to explain it when my 13 year old son spoke up before me and said “Dad, it’s a metaphor for life. If something is causing you to sin, then get rid of it. Like, if I have a friend who makes bad choices all the time and I get in trouble when I’m around him, I should probably stop hanging around him and find better friends.” AMEN! My husband was speechless. My own son was able to teach the meaning of that scripture to my husband. I didnt have to say a word! I was so proud of my son. And then Joyce went on to explain just that very meaning. My husband didn’t say a word. He continued to watch. Then she went on to explain how people cannot hear the word of God, understand it and NOT have it change them. They become diffetent. I started getting nervous because I was sure my husband was going to start condemning what she had to say, cutting down the “religious zealots and hypocrites” and mocking me for my faith like he has been doing for many months now. However, when the program was done, he simply got up and got ready for the day. Later he said to me that he understands the sudden turnover of my attitude 1.5 years ago now. It’s like the jerk teenager that went into the military and came out a respectful and honorable young man. He had to be broken down before they could build him back up the right way. After giving pause for a few minutes, I came back and agreed with him. Yes, it’s kind of like that. I went through an attitude change that made me come out a better person. He said “at least I can understand why it was so sudden and what you mean when you say you are a different person now.” After thinking about his comnent, I realized he just doesn’t understand the rebirth or renewing of the mind of a born again christian. He has not experienced it and it seems impossible to him for someone to have that kind of immediate awakening. I pray one day he can have that glorious experience for himself. To me, it is so precious.

    We had a wonderful time laughing and playing and enjoying our family the rest of that day. It felt peaceful. I have more hope for our future, today. Our Lord can truly breath new life into dry, dead bones. I feel very rewarded for my obedience this weekend. I was rewarded by my witnessing my young son explaining scripture to my staunchly unbelieving husband. That was the very scripture my son struggled with 3 years earlier while reading his Lego bible I purchased for him for Christmas…before I was even reborn. He had been disturbed by it and I only ever explained that one little scripture! Yet it was the very one that caught my husband’s attention too! God had started that plan over 3 years ago with a Christmas present intended to teach my children about God…a desire I felt stirred up in me….to reach my children with His word. I was also rewarded by my husband finally being able to find some kind of understanding about the change in me so he could let go of some of his distrust. I felt understood by my husband for the first time in years. Accepted by him and not berated for my faith in God! I could clearly see God’s hand in our lives this weekend and His love for me and my whole family. I pray that we all continue to obey our Lord God and live as he commands so we can all be blessed by His love and grace for us.

    You all know the struggles I have been enduring and lamenting over for 2 years now. I feel like I am squarely on the right path today. I feel like God confirmed my thinking this weekend and hugged me with approval. I heard “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. This weekend and that is just the top of my goals of life. I had always hoped to hear it when I meet Him in heaven one day, but I didn’t expect to hear it on this earth, but I am truly overjoyed from it today. Thank you Lord, for blessing me this weekend and always.

    I pray that all of us hurting women (and men) can look to our Lord and not our problems and rinse above like on eagles wings to be able to choose happiness and gratefulness in God’s gifts to us and see clearly how He rewards us for our obedience in Him. All my love to you all today. —LMS daily 115

    1. Haaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!! That was the bestest comment to read to finish off the day for me 🙂 I’m so happy for you LMS, what a great demonstration of God’s power and plans 🙂 I’m gonna get right down now and thank God for this. Woot! PTL! HH

      1. HH, lol, thank you. I am in awe at how God works. We really cannot know His secrets and plans. We try so hard to comprehend and understand. We want the security to predict, plan and bank on logical ways that the world works, when in fact, it is a huge mystery. The Lego bible I bought for my son as a non beleiver myself, being used by God through my son to share God’s word with my husband, a man fervently running from God….just blows me away. I think we all will have evidence of God’s giant chess game in our lives. We can only see it with hindsight. For us to think we can know God’s mind is crazy pride. It’s too much for us. It’s why we need to trust Him.

        As I start my morning today, it is “yesterday” for you. That’s funny. Those are special times to me as we “pass the wand”. You and Bel and a few others feel special to me because of that time difference. Have a peaceful rest, my friend.

        1. Yup, it’s 11:40 PM here lol! I’ve been up waaaay too late painting my house with praise music cranked…..that’s been my way to let joy flow tonight 🙂 I started out planning to just paint the hallway and ended up doing that, the kitchen, the lounge room, dining room, study and the dunny!!! Decided to just do the whole house lol.

          But back on topic, I LOVE the way God used that Lego bible! It made me grin like a Cheshire cat! God is SO good 🙂 I thanked Him on your behalf and instantly knew His presence…….He is surely working in your life, I know that 🙂 Praying for your husband, your children and you. HH

          1. Another new word from HH – had to look up the definition of dunny. 😀 Now I know! Enjoy your children – I know you will!

    2. LMSdaily115,

      WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I wish I had MUCH bigger font so I could make a WOW that covers the entire screen!

      THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!

      Brings me so many tears of joy to watch God at work in ways we never could have imagined to reach your husband. SO precious how your son explained that passage to your husband in such a beautiful, powerful way. And what an amazing thing to see God empower you to maintain your abiding in Christ and your joy no matter how grumpy and negative your husband was. I know that is a challenge! But what God is doing in you is so obviously of Him and it is BEAUTIFUL and GLORIOUS!

      Such a lightbulb moment for your husband after the Joyce Meyer’s tv show. WOW! WOW! WOW!

      How I praise God for this confirmation and blessing. What a precious, priceless gift! My sister, I don’t want you to miss out on any of these kinds of treasures God has for you. I am so thankful that you have persevered in obedience to God even through so many dark, stormy days. So many blessings this weekend! My heart sings with joy over you and your family. THANK YOU for sharing this, my precious sister!!!!!!

    3. LMS.

      This mornings devotional really hit me and also made me think of your weekend. It was based on the story of the woman who poured an expensive perfume on Jesus and was told off for doing so with the view that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus response was “Leave her alone, why are you bothering her?……..SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD”.

      I read the devotional and it actually just made me cry. Lots. But in a good way. So much we put massive burdens on ourselves to do God’s work for Him. So much we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. So much we heap guilt on ourselves saying we should have done better. Jesus commended this woman simply for pouring perfume on Him and said “She did what she could”. It reminded me of your weekend, you did what you could! And God was working alongside you and behind the scenes in the way that only He can. It encouraged me also as I KNOW that I have done what I can…….and will continue to do what I can. And God is pleased with the service I give Him because He knows the attitude of my heart.

      Much love in Christ all, HH

      1. HH, you have been a huge inspiration to me and others, I’m sure. We all know you have endured tremendous pain. But your love of God is taking you through the storm. Just a mustard seed of faith, right? That’s all we need. I love that we don’t need to chase God. He comes to us, right where we are. The poor would give all they had and gave with more love and heart than the rich who gave such a small portion of their riches. Thank you for being a true “searcher” for God’s examples in life. You are a wonderful soldier for Christ. I pray for you daily, my brother.

        1. LMS, thank you for your prayer above all things!!!!!!! 🙂

          You know why I am searching so hard? Because I got life so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so wrong. I thought I had it all worked out and in my pride I have done so much damage. I am completely broken over the ways that my selfishness has damaged a precious person and made a mockery of the God I claimed to serve and I gladly accept the pain I am going through if it brings out the life that God wants me to live. I surrender completely to the training hand of my saviour and pray that I can understand the lessons He is teaching me regardless of the outcome for me personally. I want to be rebuilt from my brokenness exactly the way God would have me and I want His name to be glorified mightily.

          Remember Zacchaeus the tax collector who met Jesus? His response was to go and pay back everything that he had taken unjustly and give back four times more in some cases. That is what I want to do. Not because I think I need to ‘earn’ anything from God…..I can’t. His love is despite my life not because of. But I want people to see and glorify God through what He is doing with me. All I am and have is His and I LOVE being in that place.

          If God is gracious enough to bring my wife to a place where she is willing to accept the love that is growing stronger all the time then I want to have all of the knowledge, wisdom, compassion, humility and strength to be the man I need to be! I want to understand servant leadership, true godliness, true fathership (is that a word?) and all that I need to be equipped to love. I do NOT want to make any of the mistakes I have made before. She is a very long way from being willing to accept that and only a work of God can bring it about.

          If it is not God’s plan for a marriage restoration then I still want to learn all that I can to really love and give to the people God brings to me. And how good to see His work in lives like yours!!!!!!!!!!! Makes me very happy to see 🙂

          HH

          Oh, and I have my children for 5 days straight this week 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

          1. Humbled Husband,

            That is exactly how I felt when God opened my eyes to my sin. I was mortified to realize how much I had inadvertently wounded Greg. I loved him! I always did! I never intended to hurt him. I begged God to let both of us live a little longer so that I had a chance to try to make things right and for me to be able to become the woman He wanted me to be.

            Praying for God to empower and equip you to fulfill His good purposes for you in your wife’s life and your children’s lives and for Him to just blast through your life into the lives of all who know you and who meet you for His glory!

          2. Yay! What a blessing to have your kids for 5 whole days..like a vaccation.

            My husband was watching an author on TV preaching the word of God this past weekend. I was jaw dropped shocked. I fully expected him to bash religeon and throw the remote. Instead, he said that he “gets” my sudden turnaround. Kind of like a jerk teenage bully who goes into the military and comes out full of respect, kindness and manners. It’s like you had to be broken down before you could get built back up in the right way. Yup. I can see that. More jaw dropping. God kind of seems to work that way. The “sudden-ness” of my turn around was the hard part for him to accept. But he understood the TV preacher explaining how understanding God’s design for our lives changes people in a sudden way. Most people have a hard time with change. Especially the kind that is hard to explain. I guess he kind of had to be there when it happened.

            I’m so elated for your journey for God. He is so proud of who you are. The past is the past. Every day you add, is another day of blessing and living right by God. Your wife may or may not ever understand it, but it will all help you, your kids, and even your wife in the long run, as well as anyone that comes in contact with you. You are a different person. For real. God bless you and you family with continued wisdom and love.

          3. HH I love this comment. I just marvel at you. You are such an inspiration, as are so many people here. I will forever be so thankful that in despair one day I typed into google “my husband has completely shut down”. Bel

      2. I love this!!!! This kind of revelation sets you free, doesn’t it? Some of us are really good at heaping shame and guilt upon ourselves or hearing the enemy’s condemnation and absorbing it. We are never going to get our Christian walk perfect. One thing that has really helped me, too, is just to know that God is committed to my sanctification. I don’t have to stress about having everything or every struggle or stronghold worked out in my life perfectly and right now. We would never do that to our own children….we know what “battles” to pick and which to let go for now. God is such a good Father, He knows exactly when and what to “work on” and we can trust Him and His leading. There is a difference between putting our hand up and telling God we are not going to let Him do His work and resisting Him constantly. But, if our heart is a heart of submission to Him, it may not mean we have it all figured out, but we are submitted to His work and whenever He wants to do it and how He wants to do it. In the meantime, we can relax and rest in His love and care for us! This is truly “growing in grace”. I think it’s really the only way to grow. The kind of growth that only God can make happen.

    4. LMS……!!!!!!!! Wow!!!!!!!! I’m so excited!!!! This was and is a huge step. This was a big part of the “unenmeshing” of me from my husband. Not in a destructive way, but in a healthy way. Knowing that we can remain joyful and don’t have to let others’ choices, moods, etc. be the puppet strings for how we act. God clearly showed up to say “Yes, sweet daughter, you are on the right track and watch me work now!” It’s like everything is coming together — respect, then learning how to speak the truth while still being respectful….and then combining it with the truth that we can have joy apart from anyone else’s actions in this life…!!!!

      I love how God encouraged you so personally with the Lego Bible. A simple thing like that, some people won’t understand….but those are the kinds of things that hit your spirit in a way that no one else could ever feel (I remember HH explaining about something he heard at a church service, too, that did the same for him) and you just KNOW that God has given you fresh hope and has said “I love you!!”

      Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for what You are doing here!!!!

    5. LMS. Oh my goodness. I’m in awe of our Lord. This is just too amazing. While reading your comment I’m in tears. Tears of joy and thankfulness. This was your surprise blessing but it feels like a gift for me too. For all of us. I’m with HH. PTL. PTL. PTL.
      Bel

        1. Hi CIC. Thank you. Just a couple of quick comments today but am hoping to join in soon. Very grateful for your prayers. You (and all here) are in my prayers too.

    6. LMS115,
      Wow! That is so awesome! Praise God!!!! I pray that you continue in this way of joy and peace and that God would use your obedience to Him to bless your family further!!! That is so great!! Rejoicing with you, sister!!!

      Love,
      Amanda

  14. Brainstorming about wives with husbands who are very difficult, harsh, disrespectful, critical, dominating, etc…

    I have been talking with some of the wives in the past week about these kinds of situations where maybe there is a husband who is manipulative or controlling. The wives are trying to be submissive and respectful, to never upset their husbands, and they often end up giving up their very personhood.

    I want to write a post with the help of some who have been through these kinds of situations and who are finding healing in Christ.

    Here are some of my observations about destructive approaches with a difficult, toxic spouse – I think they would apply to husbands or wives.

    – If a wife’s (or husband’s) primary motive is fear – something has to change. If a wife is willing to do ANYTHING to get her husband to stay and anything to try to have his approval – that is a pretty strong sign that the husband is an idol to her. That is not going to work. It would be great if the spouse wants to stay, but I don’t want to see believers compromising themselves into sin in order to try to make a spouse stay. It is impossible to please God with our behavior, motives, and thoughts if our true lord is our husband. Does that make sense?

    – If a spouse leaves, it will be excruciatingly painful, very sad, and hard. It would be an extremely tough road to walk. But I don’t believe that our lives have to fall completely apart if a rebellious spouse leaves and refuses to stay and honor the marriage covenant – not if we have Jesus! I think a believing spouse can allow the other spouse to leave with respect, dignity, poise, self-control, and even with peace if the believer knows he/she has done what God desires him/her to do. Scripture says the believing spouse is to let the unbelieving spouse go if they want to go. There is no command in Scripture for the believer to grovel at a spouse’s feet to try to make them stay.

    – We are not responsible for our spouse’s decisions or their obedience to God or their sin. Respect and biblical submission are not a means by which we can control our husbands. They are a means by which we honor and obey Christ and we seek to honor and bless our husbands. But we cannot be enmeshed with our spouses and be healthy emotionally and spiritually.

    – I want to see us be able to wrestle with our fears and lay them and our greatest dreams down on the altar before Christ, holding them all loosely before Him, trusting Him to lead us in His timing.

    – It seems to me that sometimes there is confusion about the difference between forgiveness and trust. We are commanded to forgive unconditionally. But we are not commanded to trust unconditionally. If a spouse breaks trust, that spouse will have to be willing to help rebuild it – which involves real repentance, transparency, accountability, and fruits of repentance.

    Any thoughts?

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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