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God Changed a Wife’s Heart for Her Imperfect Husband

I am so thankful to be able to share other women’s testimonies of God’s incredible power to change and heal hearts, lives, and relationships. Every story and situation is unique. I know God can – and will – give each woman His divine wisdom about the specifics as she seeks Him wholeheartedly and is led by His Spirit. And yet, so many of the central principles we all have to learn as believers in Christ are the same. I always love to see that. Keep in mind that time frames and outcomes may be different in different stories. The main thing is that we are close to the Lord and we are doing what He calls us to do each day in our specific situation. I pray this precious sister’s story might be a blessing to you today:

Hi April!

I wanted to share a story with you about how God completely changed my heart and my marriage through the gospel and His will for wives to submit to their husbands

(Note, God’s definition of “submission” is NOT at all the same as the world’s, it is not about slavery or BSDM – and it all begins with our submission to Christ as Lord).

I was a new wife when I stumbled across your website. A zealous new Christian who “had it all figured out” in her mind. Deep down I thought I was very obedient, a good wife and my husband was the man who was a rebel against God. Ignorant to my own sin, I would preach the Bible to my husband. He knew the scriptures, but in my mind he was just a rebel who wouldn’t submit to God.

I didn’t realize the very destructive and severe sin in my heart. I was striving in my works to be perfect. My heart was hardened, but still, I did want to submit. The problem was I thought I already was. I carried bitter thoughts towards my man, I was lifted up in pride, definitely more “spiritual.” I was “righteous” in my own eyes until…

I kicked my husband out one day and he walked on the streets all night.

I told a new sister in Christ how horrible he was and that I told him to leave. He struggled with smoking and pornography, and couldn’t hold a job. I was better than he was in my eyes. Thankfully by God’s grace this sister confirmed the scriptures I knew but brought them to me in a new light. She pointed out how the Lord wanted my heart to honor and reverence my husband rather than the awful self-righteous and condemning judgement that I previously had towards him.

That night was the beginning of a journey, through new eyes. Eyes that had been enlightened by the TRUE grace of God where I found true repentance unto salvation and my heart began to change. I told my husband to come back home.

Things didn’t change instantly.

The Lord had to unwind every bitter thought I had towards him and replace them with honoring thoughts. I felt, for a while, like every day the Lord was nit-picking new sin in my heart. But the closer I got to knowing the Lord, the more delight I had in repentance and suddenly I was a lot more joyful and at peace to submit to my husband. It was no longer a burden, but I started to embrace his leadership and look forward to serving him. I recognized that being my husband’s helpmeet was God’s perfect will.
We used to argue constantly and say hurtful things. Suddenly there was no longer as much to argue about. I was not as easily offended when I felt hurt by him, but could forgive him quickly and move forward, which would soften his heart towards me. Before my husband was so discouraged, he had no confidence to work. Recently the Lord provided him with a position of authority in a workplace that he loves and he excelling at.

I pray for him almost every day to succeed and do well, things I never used to pray for him.

Today we are in a better place, it is truly only by the abundant mercy of the Lord that we are where we are! I’m so excited to see all God has in store and pray that I can just encourage wives that they do have a choice in whether or not they can have a godly marriage. First it starts with a willing heart to serve the Lord, and therefore submit to our husbands as unto the Lord. I finally understand the scripture “seek first the kingdom of God and these things shall be added unto you.”
Have a blessed day. Your website was the beginning of my journey!

RELATED

Should a Christian Wife Consider Separation? – Separation is not ideal, however, there are times when this may be necessary, but only as the Lord leads under certain circumstances.
Biblical Submission – definition

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If you want to share with me about what the Lord has done in your life – as a wife, mom, or single woman, I’d love to hear about it! Just let me know if you want the message to be private, just for me, or if you give me permission to consider possibly sharing your (600-1200 word) story anonymously as a blog post. Send me a message on my Contact Page.

RESOURCES FOR WOMEN WHO NEED MORE HELP

If you are facing something really tough, I encourage you to get in touch with your local Bible-teaching church for godly mentors/counselors/pastors who may be able to direct you and who know you personally if you are having major issues or need one-on-one help.
Or you may contact resources like:
Focus on the Family – for a one time free counseling session and free counselor referral service
Nina Roesner’s eCourse Strength and Dignity
Ultimately, be sure to compare any advice or counsel any human gives to God’s Word and seek to do what He leads. <3

FreeinChrist Fights with Heavenly Weapons

Last night, I got to do something that I will remember for the rest of my life as one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. May it bless you, as well!

FreeinChrist is a friend of mine and has given me permission to share. For more of her story, check out this post.

FreeinChrist is so strong in her walk with the Lord now, that she knows God has good things in store for her life no matter if her husband returns or not. She faces the future with great joy – seeking only to live in the center of God’s will. At this point, it would be infinitely easier for her to continue on without her husband. But she is seeking to be available to work to restore the marriage if that opportunity arises so that she can honor her marriage covenant before the Lord – simply to please Him and keep her vow, if the Lord provides the way. It is her heart’s desire to see her marriage restored if it will honor God.

She is not desperate or despairing. She has emotions to deal with, of course, and pain to hash through at times, but she is completely filled up with God and such a powerhouse of faith. The Lord has provided abundantly every step of the way for every need – housing, jobs, medical care, spiritual needs, everything. She says, “My story for His glory.” Whatever will bring the Lord the most glory, that is what she desires with all her heart, whatever that may be. Most of all, she wants to see her husband find peace with God.  She wants him to experience the healing and abundant life that can be his in Jesus.

Today in just a few minutes is their court date to finalize the divorce that her husband has filed against her.

When the judge asks her if there is any hope for this marriage to be reconciled, she plans to answer, “Yes.”

Last night, she assembled a group of 6 other strong, godly women to pray with her who have been praying and, at times also fasting, with her for quite some time.

  1. First we sang a song of praise together in the parking lot – Resurrecting.  Her reasoning was that when King Jehosephat went out to battle, he sent the worshippers out to sing praises to the Lord before the army went into battle in 2 Chronicles 20. (I LOVE that story! It is a great one to read in your quiet time this week.)
  2. We walked around the county courthouse 7 times – just like Joshua did with Israel around Jericho – another amazing encounter with God’s power and victory for His people. Before each lap around the courthouse, we all read a passage of scripture together out loud in unison. Then we walked around the courthouse and prayed – some silently, some out loud. We received God’s work, His power, His truth, His promises, His Word, and His Spirit to work in this couple’s situation.
    1. Lap 1 – Divorce. We prayed for FreeinChrist and her husband and for all people coming to that county courthouse to get a divorce for healing for their marriages and glory for God.  “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” Mal. 2:16 NLT
    2. Lap 2 – Marriage. We prayed for FreeinChrist and her husband and for all those coming to the courthouse to get a marriage license and for those in our county getting married – that they might honor and understand the significance of a marriage covenant in God’s eyes. “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matt. 19:6 NIV
    3. Lap 3 – New things. We prayed and thanked God for the new things He is doing in FreeinChrist and in her husband and prayed for new things for those coming to the court house and in our county – for a great awakening. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isa. 43:19 NIV
    4. Lap 4 – A new heart. “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart, and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Eze. 36:26 NLT
    5. Lap 5 – New life. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17 ESV
    6. Lap 6 – God’s sovereignty. We thanked and praised God for His sovereignty in FreeinChrist’s life, in her husband’s life, and in their marriage. We thanked and praised Him for His sovereignty in this courthouse and in this county. “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'” Isa. 46:9-10 NIV
    7. Lap 7 – God’s sovereignty. “I know that You can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 NIV
  3. After the 7 laps –  we stopped and sang Holy, Holy, Holy together in the parking lot and thanked and praised God.
  4. We walked an 8th lap – a victory lap for new beginnings. And we prayed and received these scriptures:
    1. “‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Hag. 2:9 NIV
    2. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Eph. 3:20-21
    3. I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten. Joel 2:25
  5. We sang Victory in Jesus together at the top of our lungs.

It was amazing to walk behind this precious sister in Christ and to pray with her and to see her faith. She had the biggest smile on her face all evening and was simply totally yielded to the Lord. Praising Him, thanking Him, worshipping Him, trusting Him. She doesn’t know what will happen today. None of us do. But she was radiant with His glory and beauty last night. And we are all confident that the Lord is going to move in this situation. We are excited to see how.

You know something? It hit me that if all of us approached trials in our lives in a manner like this – we would have a VERY different world!

Imagine if every marriage had this kind of prayer. If every lost person had believers praying for him/her like this. If every school, courthouse, city, state, and country had believers bathing them in prayer and faith like this.

FreeinChrist has no need to use earthly weapons or human wisdom and effort. She doesn’t have to try to force her way. She doesn’t have to cry, scream, yell, cuss, or make demands. She doesn’t have to argue or try to convince her husband of anything. She doesn’t even have to communicate with him. Her eyes are on the Lord. His will is going to be done. His glory will be made known through her story. He will do the fighting and all she has to do is to be still and receive the things He will do on her behalf.

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in Him, and He will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine

like the dawn,

the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and

wait patiently for Him;

do not fret when men succeed in their ways,

when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:5-7

Please join with me in praying for the Lord’s victory, His greatest glory, and His Name to be exalted in FreeinChrist’s life even now as she is about to enter the courthouse within ten minutes of when I publish this post. And let’s also lift up our other brothers and sisters who have lost spouses and who are facing a spouse going ahead with a divorce. I can’t wait to see all that the Lord will do!

RELATED:

FreeinChrist Stands for Something Way Bigger Than Just Her Marriage

 

A Wife’s Beautiful Response to Her Husband’s Drug Addiction

I love to share individual stories, as I can, that bring glory to God. Even about extreme situations.  This is one wife’s story is about what God led her to do in her specific situation. Everything she did isn’t a blanket post for all wives with husbands who are drug addicts. But I am so thankful for her willingness to share. Her heart for Christ and her heart for her husband are the main things I want us to see. May each of us seek to hear and follow God’s Word, His leading, and His wisdom in our own situations:

——–

I felt compelled to write to you after looking through some of the comments on your posts. I see some broken women try to argue about some points you make and say that they don’t apply to their extreme situations. And I do know our God is loving and has a unique relationship with each of us, and there’s never a cookie cutter answer. But as someone going through an extreme situation, I’d like to say God’s Word and commands for us as wives still apply (maybe in a slightly different form, but they still apply), and your posts are still an incredible blessing!

My husband and I have only been married a year and 6 months, and it’s been quite the whirlwind. Early on in our marriage my husband relapsed into an old drug addiction. My husband came back from a Christian rehab program recently. The miracles God has done in both of our hearts while he was there and I was home were incredible.

But a few weeks ago my husband relapsed again.

I just finished your book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord, a bit before I found out he relapsed. The first thought in my head was, “Why would God be teaching me to be submissive and respectful when I was about to get hurt again?” But then I realized our God is all-knowing and at the exact moment He was encouraging me to read your book and speaking great things to me through it, He KNEW what my husband was going to do.

Things went down very differently this time.

When he told me, I didn’t scream, throw things, or yell. I let go of my controlling grip on my husband and tightened my grip on our Lord Jesus. I found peace in Him. I told my husband I loved him over and over and that I don’t want him to condemn himself. I related to him because I, too, have backslid at different times in my life. No, I do not have addiction problems, but sin is sin.

His response was so loving, so apologetic. Last time it was all about him and his pain. This time he was concerned with how he hurt me. Yes, my situation is unique. It’s extreme. I had to be strict with my husband and take the wheel last week. With the help of our Pastor I insisted that my husband go back to the rehab program out of state. But I held tight to God’s commands to me as a wife. I held tight to respecting my husband. I didn’t add to his pain that I know he was feeling. I didn’t add to the condemnation I know he was pouring onto himself.

I tried my best to die to my flesh, and love like Christ loves. Christ dies for us even while we were yet sinners. I can love my husband, even while he is yet a sinner. Yes, in my unique situation, prayerful separation is necessary. But with my eyes locked on Christ and focused on the eternal, the thought of divorce is not even an option. The thought of anger and resentful emotions fade away. I have salvation, what more could I need? I am full in Christ. I am stable when God is my foundation.

Thank you again for your book and your posts! They made a significant difference in the way things unfolded this time. God is doing great things! <3

——–

FROM PEACEFUL WIFE ABOUT EXTREME SITUATIONS:

Note – this particular husband was repentant. If he were not repentant, a wife would probably have to adjust her approach to some degree. And if he were violent or dangerous, she may have to also adjust things depending on the situation.

No matter what situation we may face, all of us are called by God to respond without sin ourselves. Even when we are being sinned against. When we add our own sin to our husband’s sin, it only makes things infinitely worse. When we respond in the power of God’s Spirit and wisdom, God begins to pour His healing into the situation through us. It may take time to see fruit. But we can know we are doing what God calls us to do when we walk in obedience and faithfulness to His Word by the power of His Spirit. His commands still apply to us. We just need to understand exactly how by His wisdom.

Nothing is too hard for God. No one is beyond His reach!

Please join me in praying for this wife and husband – for God’s healing and for His greatest glory to come out of this very difficult trial.

I don’t usually write general posts specifically for wives in extreme situations – where there are major drug/alcohol addictions, abuse, unrepentant adultery, criminal activity, demon possession, severe spiritual oppression, severe uncontrolled mental health issues, etc…   I don’t personally know what every wife should do in every possible situation.  I don’t have personal experience with most of these situations myself. People don’t need my wisdom or opinions. They need God’s Word and His clear direction. I know He has exactly what each of us need and that He can provide for our great needs out of His abundant supply.

I am so thankful when God uses what I have written to bless wives in many different situations  But I am also very concerned for my sisters who may be confused. I never want to add to confusion for even one woman. Sometimes women in situations like this can misunderstand important concepts like: respect, dying to self, submission, unconditional love, forgiveness, and trust because of filters they may have

Let’s talk about some things I have seen that are of great concern to me.

SOME WAYS WOMEN MAY MISUNDERSTAND GOD’S WORD AT TIMES:

Some women in very difficult marriage situations think dangerous things like:

  • Respecting my husband means respecting his sin and not intervening or using my influence authority for good in his life.
  • Submitting to my husband means I give up my personhood and become completely passive and just do whatever he wants me to do no matter what.
  • Submitting to my husband means I never say what I think, feel, or desire. I should totally give up my voice to be a godly wife.
  • Respecting my husband means I never say anything if he is sinning against me or our children or if he is doing something very wrong. I just cooperate with him no matter what. I ignore the verses in scripture about lovingly, gently, respectfully confronting sin.
  • Loving my husband unconditionally means staying even if our children and I are not safe and even if he is dangerous and not in his right mind. God hates separation and divorce, so He must want me to stay and endanger my life and our children’s lives. I ignore the fact that God also hates violence and oppression and that I have a responsibility to protect my children and myself if my husband is sinning against us or not in his right mind due to addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, severe spiritual oppression, or major unrepentant sin.
  • Jesus’ command for me to forgive unconditionally in Matthew 6:14-15 means I also have to trust my husband who is not trustworthy and treat him like I would if he hadn’t severely broken my trust. I don’t realize that trust is not an unconditional command – it is different from forgiveness and unconditional love. Trust must be rebuilt together in cooperation. It requires two people to rebuild it. God never commands us to trust untrustworthy people. We are only commanded to trust the Lord unconditionally because He is not sinful and unable to have wrong motives toward us.
  • God calls women to be weak and wimpy.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to disrespect myself and just put up with genuine abuse (I say “genuine abuse” because sometimes wives will use the word, “abuse” to describe things that are truly not abusive. Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe a husband’s godly leadership. “My husband is so abusive. He expects me to stick to a budget.” “My husband abuses me because he doesn’t want me to flirt with other men.” Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe any behavior they don’t like. “My husband reacts negatively toward me when I disrespect him.” Those things are not abuse. God hates abuse and so do I.)
  • I can be a godly wife even if I don’t spend time with God, don’t pray for myself, and don’t know Jesus closely myself. I can remain in spiritual bondage and oppression myself and respond rightly to my husband’s sin and issues. I can do this all in my own strength without God’s power and help.
  • I can’t respect (rightly relate to) God, my husband, and myself all at the same time. For me to properly respect my husband, I have to sin against myself or God.
  • Respecting and submitting to my husband means he is always right no matter what he does.
  • Respecting my husband and obeying God’s Word means I have to stay and it is a sin to leave under any circumstances.
  • Dying to self means I have to just suffer silently in every situation and act like things are fine when they are truly not.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to do anything to make him happy no matter what the cost to me or our children. If he is upset with me, it means I am wrong. End of story. My husband’s words, emotions, and decisions are the ultimate authority in my life, not Jesus.

If we have a skewed understanding of these key concepts or we idolize our husband’s approval rather than seeking God’s approval above all, we can end up making poor choices. That breaks my heart. So if a wife is in extreme situations like this and she thinks that respect, unconditional, love, dying to self, forgiveness, and trust mean things like what I just listed above, I would want her to seek godly, experienced counsel who could help her discern her thoughts and God’s Word rightly. I want all women to understand these critical concepts correctly because if we don’t, we can make some really terrible decisions for ourselves, our marriages, and our children.

THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD FOR ALL OF US:

If women are having trouble with these concepts or feel confused about what they should do, I would encourage them to seek godly one-on-one counseling with someone who is experienced with the issues they have in their marriages. Some women in very difficult situations are able to hear God rightly as they read my posts and respond in the power of the Holy Spirit to their husbands. That is awesome! I praise and thank God for this! Some women in very difficult situations may need resources other than my blog that are much more specialized for their particular needs. That is okay, too.

ULTIMATELY, WE ALL NEED JESUS AND HIS HEALING:

Jesus is the key and He is what we all desperately need. His Word applies to us all no matter what we may be going through. It is critical for us to have right understanding of His Word. How I long for each of us to experience the abundant Life He offers to us no matter what may happen in our marriages. My greatest desire is that we all end in the same place – JESUS – whether that is here or elsewhere:

RESOURCES:

I have many other resources, if you need something in particular, please let me know. And always check anything any human author says against scripture and seek to have a right understanding of God’s Word!

  • Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas may be helpful for wives whose husbands tend to be harsh with their children or who have anger issues.
  • If you are dealing with a very difficult marriage or you tend to have a husband who is very harsh you may find healing in Christ for yourself, and your marriage, in Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.
  • www.hotline.org is for women in physically abusive relationships who may need to plan to get away safely.
  • Hopefully each woman can find a local body of believers in Christ who will be equipped to help her with any severe situations.
  • There are Christian resources for drug addictions – the most important thing is to have something that is biblically based on the power of Christ. Check with a trusted pastor or Christian counselor in your area for what may be the best fit for your situation.
  • www.xxxchurch.com or www.brentriggs.com also has helpful resources for porn addictions.
  • Some churches have prayer ministries where prayer warriors pray over people and see them set free from addictions, sin, shame, and even diseases. I would love for wives facing extreme trials to be able to be surrounded by spiritual support, love, and powerful prayer by the body of Christ. If your church doesn’t have a powerful prayer ministry, search until you find one that does and visit there for prayer if possible.
  • The posts I linked throughout this post may be a blessing, as well.
  • If your husband is violent, or threatening violence, or things are extremely toxic, please seek one-on-one, experienced, trustworthy help if at all possible. And if you need to contact the police and it is safe to do so, please do whatever you need to do to be safe.

SHARE:

If you have resources you would like to share or you want to share about God’s faithfulness in your situation, please feel free to share. If you are facing a great trial and need prayer for your situation, you are welcome to share that, as well.

How Could a Godly Wife Possibly “Respect” an Unfaithful Husband?

This post is merely a brief introduction to this weighty topic of dealing with a physical, sexual affair. It would take a book to do this issue proper justice. I cannot possibly touch on all of the things a wife would need to do in such a situation in one post. And what works for one wife in one situation may not be the best thing for another wife. Thanks for understanding! If your husband is cheating on you, please seek one-on-one counsel with a trusted, godly, experienced, Spirit-filled counselor. And most importantly, seek the Lord wholeheartedly and allow Him to lead you each step of the way. Let Him heal and transform you for His glory! He has the great wisdom and discernment we all need for every moment.

Adultery is a terrible thing. It is always totally inexcusable.

As are all sins.

God never gives anyone a free pass to sin against anyone else. God hates sin – and we should hate it, too. Sin destroys people and relationships. Let’s look at a few basic things about this issue before we get into how a godly wife could respect a cheating husband:

How God Views Sin

Something to keep in mind is that no sin is ever acceptable in God’s eyes. ANY sin that goes unchecked for long enough can destroy a person, a relationship, and/or a marriage. Sin always progresses if left to fester. It leads to more and more sin and pain, and then, ultimately, to death. (I’ll share a list with some links to various other sins that can be extremely spiritually and emotionally damaging to our lives and marriages at the bottom of the post.)

Any sin – in thoughts, motives, words, or actions – would send any of us to hell if it were not for the gift of grace offered to us on the cross by Jesus. Of course, we must receive that grace and yield our lives to Him as Savior and LORD to experience His forgiveness. But His forgiveness and the gift of the cross is available to us all.

God is love. But He is also holy. He can’t tolerate any sin in His presence at all. Whether our sin is that we ate a piece of fruit He told us not to eat (like Adam and Eve), or our sin is something we would label today as “a big sin,” it all destroys our relationship with the Lord. We all need a gracious Savior who is willing and able to pay the price for our sin on our behalf that we can’t pay.

We all are on level ground at the foot of the cross. We all need Jesus desperately – and equally. A wife is not “better than” her husband morally or spiritually – no matter what his sin may be. According to Jesus, only God is good. No people can be good in their own strength. On our own, we are all wretched sinners without hope. I’m so thankful God loved us too much to leave us condemned but that He made a way for each of us to be right with Him through Christ! No one is beyond His reach!

A Godly Wife Can Refuse to Repay Evil for Evil Whatever Her Husband’s Sin May Be

She doesn’t have to cuss him out, hit him, throw things at him, threaten him, be bitter at him, insult him, call him names, lash out at him in sinful anger, ridicule him, smear him to everyone she knows, gossip about him, slander him, hate him, teach the kids to hate him, condemn him, have a “revenge” affair herself, be bitter at God because of her husband’s decisions to sin that he made in his own free will, etc…

She doesn’t have to respond in sin. It would be extremely tempting to respond in the flesh, but she is no longer a slave to sin if she is in Christ! (Romans 6:1-14)

She doesn’t have to try to make him change or control him. That won’t work. He has a free will, just like we all do. He has to make his own decisions. She can’t verbally drag him into being a good husband. He has to want that on his own. She can seek to inspire and influence him and make doing what is right attractive to him – but what he does is up to him.

She can separate herself from his sin and not take on any guilt for his sin, knowing he is responsible for his decisions and sin before the Lord. She is responsible for herself. She can also humbly acknowledge that God is the primary one being sinned against by her husband’s adultery.

What She Can Do Instead of Responding in the Flesh

She can set a powerful, shockingly holy and supernatural example that makes him have to see Christ in her.

As he sees Jesus in her life, he will see the stark contrast of his own sinful life and the lack of holiness there. She can be a godly influence. She can conduct herself with dignity, grace, poise, and honor in her interactions with him. At the same time she gives him space to make his own choices, she can also trust in God’s sovereignty and rest in Him. As he sees the difference in his live vs. her life, God may open her husband’s eyes and he may be moved to genuine conviction and repentance.

I am not saying any of this is easy. Or that there are guarantees that a wayward husband would repent.

Humanly speaking, responding in godly ways is impossible. But with the Holy Spirit, a Christian wife can absolutely respond in God’s power.

She can seek to remain faithful to the Lord and continue on in the peace, joy, and security of God’s love for her. Yes she will hurt. Yes she will grieve. The pain of adultery is greater than the pain of widowhood, in my estimation. But she also has so much hope in Jesus! She can depend on the Lord to make something beautiful from this situation. She can entrust her husband and his soul to God. She can be free from fear, living in great faith in Jesus.

A godly wife can respect her husband, God, their marriage covenant, and herself. Meaning – she can think rightly about all of these things according to God’s Word.

She can claim God’s promises to her and proclaim His truth out loud over herself, her husband and her family. She can go through the house when he is gone and sing praises to the Lord at the top of her lungs and invite His Spirit into their home and into the family to heal all that sin and Satan have stolen. She knows that the Lord is able to repay her for the years “the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25). And she can truly have His joy and peace in the midst of her pain. She knows this is not the end of the story. She keeps her eyes on Christ, not the storm. In Jesus, she knows she is unshakable.

How Could a Wife Respect Her Cheating Husband in a Godly Way, Not an Unhealthy Way?

A lot of these things are ways a wife would seek to respect her husband at any time and with any sin going on in his life. Infidelity would be one of the most extreme situations that would be a very big spiritual test for any spouse. But no matter what her husband may do or not do, every wife has the choice and ability to obey the Lord for herself and to receive His reward for her obedience. How she thinks, speaks, and acts is all about her walk with Christ.

She can:

  • Respect that her husband is a person created in the image of God.
  • See him with God’s eyes to know what he could be if he turned to the Lord. She knows he is a beloved son of God for whom Christ died.
  • Speak respectfully to him and about him.
  • Be very cautious about sharing about his sin with others, only sharing when appropriate so that she can get the help she needs. She doesn’t have to tell all her coworkers or everyone at church or everyone on Facebook.
  • Look for any good she sees in him and affirm that.
  • Refuse to look down on him in self-righteousness, knowing we are all capable of any sin if we are far enough away from the Lord.
  • Deal thoroughly with any sin in her own life and repent to the Lord and to her husband, if she realizes she has sinned against him.
  • Respect that she is married to him and she can still honor her vows to the Lord and to her husband, although he has broken their covenant.
  • Humbly, respectfully introduce appropriate new boundaries and consequences because of his sin as she follows God’s leading and His Word (like separating and not being sexually intimate, for example).
  • Continue to honor her end of the covenant by avoiding adultery herself and by depending on the Lord to help her respond in the Spirit not the flesh.
  • Treat him in ways that honor the Lord because that is her character in Christ and it pleases Jesus for her to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21) – not because her husband necessarily “deserves” honor and respect.
  • Feel her feelings and even express them to him, as appropriate (after she takes her thoughts captive for Christ), in God-honoring ways. She can express her pain and hurt without sinning as she abides in Christ.
  • Purposely not seek to turn his kids against him.
  • Do whatever she needs to do to focus on Christ and to experience His healing for her broken heart.
  • Surround herself with a godly support system, with the Word, with prayer warriors, and with God’s truth.
  • Avoid those thoughts, resources, and people who tempt her to react in the flesh.
  • Make sure she has on her spiritual armor.
  • Look to Jesus alone for her ultimate security, purpose, peace, joy, and hope.
  • Respectfully, humbly, lovingly ask that he genuinely repent and show proper fruit of repentance and that he be willing to rebuild trust before allowing him to attempt to re-establish physical, spiritual, and emotional intimacy.
  • Recognize the vast difference between forgiving her husband (which is an unconditional command of the Lord) vs. trusting her husband (which is not a command and is conditional depending on what her husband does).
  • Remain committed to obeying the Lord for herself, yielding to His Lordship in everything.
  • Plead over her husband for his soul before the Lord that he might find repentance, salvation, and regeneration knowing that his relationship with Christ is the most important thing, not the marriage.
  • Know who her real enemy is, and it is not her husband. She knows this is a spiritual battle.

A Godly Wife Knows:

  • She is not her husband’s Holy Spirit. She isn’t divine. She can’t convict him. Only the Holy Spirit can convict him or anyone else.
  • She is not his judge. God is his judge – and hers, too. The Lord will take vengeance appropriately and He will ensure justice is served. Either each person will pay for his sin in hell forever or he will receive Jesus’ payment for his sin and repent and turn to Jesus. A godly wife doesn’t want her husband or anyone to go to hell. She wants everyone to turn to Christ and receive salvation and new life in Him!
  • She is not and cannot be her husband’s Savior. Jesus is the only Savior.
  • She doesn’t want to be the Accuser of her husband. Satan has that role covered just fine without her help. She doesn’t want to make her mouth available to the enemy.
  • Her husband is ensnared by the enemy, like we all are at one time or another, and that he needs Jesus to set him free.

 

A Harvest of Righteousness Awaits Those Who Walk in Obedience to the Lord

As she avoids sinning against her husband, because she is abiding in Christ, all her husband will have to look at is his own sin. Eventually, her godly life will pour conviction on him without her having to preach or lecture or tell him how sinful his life is. If He is going to hear God’s voice and repent, a believing wife’s willingness to do things God’s way make it as easy as possible for a husband to see his sin and experience conviction. She can’t make him repent. But she can influence him in amazing ways.

Whether he ever repents or not, she will have the satisfaction of knowing that she has no regrets and that she handled herself rightly. She won’t have to apologize or repent when she walks in the victory Christ has provided for her. She can wait with joyful anticipation to hear God say those wonderful words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” And she will enjoy the rewards of her obedience forever in heaven.

She may even get to see her husband there, too, forgiven before the Lord, radiant and spotless, part of the perfect bride of Christ. Not only that, but God may use her obedience and faithfulness to Himself and her godly example to draw countless other people into the Kingdom. What a glorious celebration that will be!

 

Ultimately the goal has to be, “Whatever will bring You the most glory, Lord – do that in my life!”

SHARE:

If you have been in a position like this or similar to this, and God has shown you how to respond in godly ways, I invite you to share the wisdom He has given you with our struggling sisters.

RELATED:

If you have a very difficult marriage and you need spiritual healing in Christ so you have His wisdom and power to know how to handle your husband’s issues, check out Nina Roesner’s Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity eCourse!

What Should Be the Response of a Christian to a Spouse’s Affair? – www.gotquestions.org

Resources for those whose spouses have committed adultery from John Piper

When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done.”

25 Ways to Respect Myself

25 Ways to Show Reverence to God

25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

How to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually 

Are We Responsible for Our Spouse’s Happiness?

I Am Responsible for My Emotions

POSTS ABOUT VARIOUS SINS THAT ARE ALSO VERY DESTRUCTIVE:

FreeinChrist Stands for Something Way Bigger Than Her Marriage

Note – for a post about resetting our Valentine’s Day expectations, please click on this link.

I’m so thankful for this wife’s willingness to share her story. It is not all neatly tied up in a bow. Things are not good in her marriage, to say the least. But – check out what God has done in this dear sister’s heart! It is glorious! 

And we ALL have access to this kind of healing in Jesus. Her experience is not unique. What God has done and is doing in this wife’s heart is what a “normal” Christian walk should look like. 🙂 I long for each of us to experience Christ like this for ourselves – no matter what may happen with our marriages and our husbands. He is Real Life and Real Love!

———–

The Lord has been leading me to study Elijah for the past couple of months. Another thing He’s been speaking to me about is that something is about to happen in my marriage situation – telling me to “get ready” and that He makes “all things new.” The signs have been nothing short of miraculous, even though I don’t have any specifics, or a timeframe.

When my husband first left me and started pursuing divorce in 2015, the Lord told me to stand in the gap for my husband to come home to Him, Daddy – God, first and foremost. God showed me that my husband was a prodigal, and we all know how that story turns out – the Father showed unconditional love and forgiveness, and there was eventual reconciliation!

Having a reconciled marriage is way on down the list though, after my husband’s salvation and reconciliation to his Heavenly Father – so this “stand” is about something way bigger than my marriage!!

It’s not easy to stay encouraged when you see things that look opposite to what God told you… A facebook friend called me to tell me that she saw pictures of my husband with another woman on social media.

NOTE – Let me interject a quick note right here and say that this is not something that I recommend doing- at all! People who are separated, and praying for marriage reconciliation, don’t need things like this pointed out because it’s just plain hurtful and discouraging. *It is NOT too big for God to handle, so why be the bearer of bad news? Take it to the Lord and let Him reveal whatever He wants that person to know.

I was quite upset to receive this information b/c I’d been fighting so hard for my marriage, praying against adultery, and I honestly thought that the relationship my husband entered into right after he left had ended months prior. It felt crushing, and then it quickly became obvious that this was a test of my faith.

WHAT NOW, LORD?

So I asked God what He wanted me to believe, and what I should do now?

 

I went to church. My prayer was still, “What do I do now – it looks so hopeless? Should I still believe what You’ve told me Lord – that You want to restore things and that ‘something’s’ about to happen soon? Do I give up now, or keep standing firm?” I wondered if it was a test from God – to see if I’d believe what He’d spoken to me for weeks, IN SPITE OF what my eyes were now seeing. Hmmm.

  • It felt like Father was saying “do you still believe Me now that what you see looks THIS bad?”

He’s constantly told me to walk by faith and not by sight, but it’s hard to do when you see things in the natural realm that look so hopeless. I’m working on learning to believe what I see in the Spiritual, over what I see in the natural.

Our worship leader stopped in the middle of the song (which just happened to be THE song that The Lord has used most powerfully in my life this past year – Resurrecting by Elevation Worship) and he pulled out his Bible – said he wanted to share a story that we needed to hear.

It was the story of when Elijah prayed for rain but there was no cloud in sight [1 Kings 18:41-45] He said something to the effect of “there are a lot of people who have been praying for something for a long time but you don’t see anything happening. You need to know today that your prayers have been heard. God will do what He promised, but you must persevere and wait to see it. Get ready b/c it’s about to rain!!!”

Yes, Jesus! He used Elijah again – He knew that I’d pay attention b/c He’d already spoken to me about Elijah. Praise God!! I have symbolically pulled out my umbrella, rain coat, and wellies!! I’m ready for a downpour, Father!!

  • p_hya_t-1wu-david-marcuTHEN another breakthrough happened at the end of the sermon. The pastor asked, “What’s the one thing in your life that is so important to you that you feel you’d just fall apart if it was taken from you?”

A year ago I would’ve said “my husband/marriage.” And now that my dad may literally need a new heart (b/c his has become too weak to sustain him adequately) I’ve also felt that I couldn’t bear it if he was taken away from me anytime soon. “Please Lord, not my husband AND my Daddy!”

But in that moment when the pastor was asking that significant question,

I realized that the ONLY thing I can’t bear to lose is Jesus! It was a beautiful and freeing realization. AND I’m never going to have to worry about losing Him anyway! Amen?!!

It doesn’t mean I’ll never struggle again as I continue to walk this path – I’m sure I’ll be asking for prayers and encouragement again soon, as they help me endure. But at least now…

I’m absolutely sure that I’ll survive, and THRIVE, no matter what happens!

Praise the Lord for the mighty work He’s done in my heart and life these past 19 months since my husband left! Can’t wait to see what God does next! Please keep my husband and I in your prayers as this story continues to play out. It’s not over yet – praise the Lord!!

Yesterday as I was praying in my kitchen I had the realization that this is the first time in my entire life when I’ve truly loved myself and accepted myself as I am. I feel more freedom than I’ve ever felt before! I am someone that I would actually want to be friends with, and hang out with, and have in my inner circle. I am someone who is worthy of love (because God created me).

I have spent so much of my life with an oppressive Spirit over me, and agreeing with the lies of the enemy.

I was in so much bondage but I didn’t even know it until the Lord opened my eyes and then He set me free! Now I can’t imagine going back to the way that I was living before. Everything is not “perfect” and my husband is still a captive of the enemy – my marriage still looks deader than dead.

But God has transformed ME and changed my life!!

I feel a sense of peace and joy that I’ve never known before. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m going to be fine – even great – no matter what happens with my marriage, or any other situation I face.

I finally know (and BELIEVE) that I am who God says I am – loved, chosen, blessed, worthy, accepted, free, precious, priceless- a daughter of the King!! Praise the Lord!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

THIS is exactly my prayer for each of us! That we might know God like this and know who we are in Christ like this! 🙂

RELATED:

A Divorce and Reconciliation Story by The Restored Wife

Kirsten’s Story – a Peaceful Separated Wife

A Separated Wife Finally Begins to Experience God’s Peace in Her Life

My Two Year Anniversary As a Separated Wife

Should a Christian Wife Consider Separation?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Should a Christian Wife Consider Separation?

I long for all of us to honor marriage the way God desires us to.

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Heb. 13:4)

MARRIAGE IS A COVENANT

God designed marriage. It is a covenant – which is much more than a promise. God’s plan is for marriage to last until death. The covenant goes three ways, not just between two people, but between a husband, wife, and God.

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

Haven’t you read,” he (Jesus) replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matt. 19:4-6

 

MY DESIRE FOR MARRIAGES

For wives dealing with mild-moderate issues:

These are situations where we would need to turn to Christ and allow Him to work full blast in our hearts to empower us to be the women and wives He calls us to be. Then we would be able to pray from a position of great strength in Christ and invite Him in to heal our marriages and husbands for His glory. He can direct our steps and grant us His wisdom and discernment as we completely submit to His Lordship. He can also work in our husbands’ hearts in ways we can’t begin to fathom, no matter what our situation may be. Let’s not separate if it is not necessary.

For wives facing really severe issues:

The same things I shared in the above paragraph would apply. But we may also prayerfully decide to reach out for appropriate help: godly counseling, prayer support, pastoral support, medical help, even help from the police, if necessary. By severe issues, I am referring to things like major drug/alcohol addictions, physical abuse, severe emotional/spiritual abuse, threats of violence, uncontrolled dangerous mental health issues, severe unrepentant sin issues, unrepentant adultery, certain dangerous illegal activities, etc…

If anyone is truly in danger and being genuinely threatened, I would personally love to see them get somewhere safe. I don’t want anyone – men, women, or children – to be beaten or killed by those who are supposed to love and protect them. God hates violence, oppression, and abuse.

For women in “gray areas”:

Here, it can be more difficult to tell what we should do. I don’t have the wisdom wives need in every situation. But God definitely does! Again, it will be essential that we allow God to help us get rid of any sin in our own hearts. Then we can allow God to transform our hearts and minds by His Word and His Spirit’s power. Then we can discern exactly what God desires us to do. He knows what each of us need to do and He generously gives His wisdom to us when we ask in faith. (James 1:5)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

It is critical that we check our motives. Am I truly seeking to honor Christ above all else? Or do I want to do this because of selfishness, resentment, hatred, pride, or lack of faith in God? Am I acting in the flesh or in the Spirit of God? Have I dealt with any sin in my own life thoroughly and am I seeing clearly and know that this is what God would desire me to do?

AVOIDING EXTREMES

It is easy to go to extremes and say things like:

  • No wife should ever separate from her husband for any reason!
  • Wives should be able to leave for any reason!

The difficult thing is godly balance. That is true about every issue in the Christian walk, it seems. My desire is for us to handle God’s Word rightly and to live in ways that please Him in every area of our lives. We tend to want rules and lists about what we should do. God does give us some of that – but what He desires most is for us to learn to depend totally on Him and to learn to hear His voice and obey Him.

If you haven’t read my post from last Friday, please check it out: “My Primary Goal As a Wife Has to Be This One Thing

WHAT DOES GOD’S WORD SAY ABOUT SEPARATION?

God, Himself, commands wives not to separate from their husbands.

Separation is not the normal pattern. The normal pattern is for us to follow the first command below not to separate from our husbands. The option of separation is given only for true emergencies.

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. (1 Cor. 7:10-11)

A decision to separate is a HUGE thing. If I found myself in a possible situation where this could be necessary, I would have to approach this with much prayer, and fasting. I would also likely seek extremely wise, godly counsel with a very trusted pastor or Spirit-filled Christian counselor. A decision to divorce would be even bigger. There are not many biblical reasons for a believer to seek a divorce.

  • Let’s be so careful not to run ahead of God but to seek to do His will! So many women leave their marriages today for unbiblical reasons. Let’s be sure that we are honoring Christ as LORD and honoring our marriage covenant.
  • Another risk is to be in a very bad situation where we know we should leave but we lag behind and don’t obey God right away, exposing our children and ourselves to more extremely toxic things or danger.

If you don’t know Christ or you can’t hear God’s direction clearly, seek someone who is very spiritually mature and experienced in Christian counseling who is living wholeheartedly for Christ. If you have really serious issues, seek out an appropriate counselor who is experienced with dealing with those kinds of issues, as well. Ask for God to lead you to the counselor and resources you need. Evaluate the counselor and resources you find against scripture. Test them to be sure they are in line with God’s Word.

A lot of wives in very difficult marriages are experiencing God’s healing and wisdom through Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. I would encourage you to check that out when things begin to get tough. It may spare you from having to even consider a physical separation as you begin to heal more in Jesus and you begin to hear the Spirit more clearly about how to handle your husband’s issues.

IF YOU HAVE AN UNBELIEVING SPOUSE

Scripture has encouragement for you.

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 1 Cor. 7:12-14

IF YOUR HUSBAND LEAVES YOU

Scripture also has words of wisdom for you.

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. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 1 Cor. 7:15-16

MARRIAGE IS IMPORTANT, BUT JESUS IS MOST IMPORTANT

I don’t believe a wife should stay in a marriage “at any cost.” Marriage is very important, but it is not more important than our walk with Christ. Jesus must be THE most important thing by a long shot in our lives.

The Greatest Commandment is that we love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. We are not to love anything or anyone else this way. This requires discernment. (Let’s talk about this together if it doesn’t seem clear.)

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple… those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14:25-27, 33)

Of course, the second greatest commandment is that we are to love others as we love ourselves. And we are also commanded not to hate anyone. So Jesus clearly doesn’t mean we are literally to hate our family members in this passage. What I believe He is saying is that our love for Him is to be so much greater than our love for anyone else that our love for our families and our own lives would look like hate compared to our love and devotion to Him.

If my husband asked me to commit some very clear sin in order to stay with him, I would have to refuse to do so because my first allegiance is to Jesus. Here, I am not talking about something that is just a difference in personal preference, a minor interpretation issue, or a difference in personal convictions. But egregious sin.

If he asked me to have an abortion, to have a threesome, to help him rob someone, to join a cult, to worship him as god, to help him traffic cocaine, to condone his beating our children (not spanking, but beating), to cover for him committing murder, to endorse him having an affair or engaging in sex with a prostitute…. I would not be able to honor those requests. I have a responsibility to be sure I am not participating in clear sin or illegal activity myself.

Sometimes a husband may be involved in a sin issue and a wife may not have to leave. But some sin issues are so severe that a wife may need to leave. This requires great wisdom and the direction of the Spirit to be able to tell the difference. We need God’s wisdom not human wisdom.

AVOID SEPARATION IF IT IS TRULY NOT NECESSARY

We serve a mighty God who is sovereign and who is in the business of turning our big messes into beautiful things for His glory. I would hate for anyone to separate prematurely or unadvisedly and miss out on the miracles God wanted to do if only one of the spouses had trusted Him fully and stayed to allow God to work.

If I left when things were at their worst in my marriage, I would have missed out on so many incredible spiritual treasures God wanted to share with me about Himself. I would have missed out on all the spiritual growth and refining He wanted to do in my life. I would also have missed out on seeing God heal my husband and our marriage. It would be tragic to have missed out on God’s blessings if I had left when I shouldn’t have. God often uses trials and suffering to help us to grow.

However, if a wife really does need to leave because of an emergency, that doesn’t mean the marriage is over or that her situation is beyond God’s reach. It is possible for God to heal a marriage after separation and even after a divorce.

SEPARATION IS NOT THE END OF THE STORY

Even if a wife believes she must separate – my prayer would be for spiritual healing in Christ (starting with salvation) for the husband, for healing for any addiction, for genuine repentance of any sin, and for eventual reconciliation if at all possible. I long to see every marriage become a godly, healthy marriage that shines for God’s kingdom.

No matter what our husbands may choose to do, we can know that God will use all things for good for us because we love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28-29). When things are good or when they are horrible, we can yield ourselves fully to His will and invite Him to use our lives for His greatest glory. We can rest in His sovereignty and His promises to us.

May God empower each of us to be faithful and obedient to Him!

NOTE:

I am not going to be able to address everyone’s possible situations who think they may need to separate or who have separated or have gotten a divorce in the past. I know it will be tempting for everyone to want to share their particular situation here and get other people’s opinions. But it is very difficult to know what is truly happening in a marriage just from hearing one side of the story briefly online.

Sometimes other people’s opinions online can make things more confusing for a wife who is already confused. I don’t always know exactly what every wife should do in every possible scenario. I don’t want to mislead anyone. I know that God’s wisdom is what is needed, not mine. Ultimately this decision is between a wife, her husband, and the Lord. We will each answer to Him.

If you want to share something encouraging for our hurting sisters, that would be lovely. 🙂

** There is a one-time free Christian counseling service with Christian counselors and chaplains available at Focus on the Family with a free referral service, which may be a blessing.

RESOURCES:

Nina Roesner’s eCourse for women in difficult marriages Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity

Verses about divorce

What Does the Bible Say about Divorce and Remarriage? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about a Trial Separation? – by www.gotquestions.org

Gary Thomas writes about how the church should view abuse in marriage and about how to help women who are suffering at the hands of an abusive husband

John Piper’s articles on Divorce and Remarriage

A Peaceful Separated Wife (a wife whose husband left her)

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done.”

Is Divorce the Worst Thing That Can Happen? – a Peaceful Wife VIDEO

God Stops a Wife’s Plans to Divorce

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

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