10 Things I have learned, or should I say, things God has taught me in my years of standing.
God’s timing cannot be changed no matter how “good” you are. Though God is outside of time, He works through our time and circumstances to draw us to Him, in His own perfect way. No amount of prayer, fasting, good works, etc will bring your spouse home sooner for good IF God still has work to do in the separation. When we try to rush things it’s often out of our own desire to end our own pain without regards to how GOD wants to heal us and our spouse and our marriage..
The journey is NECESSARY, for both of you. Think about the prodigal. He had to go out, experience the world, live wastefully, and pursue pleasure before he realized it would leave him high and dry in the pig pen with the pigs. Often times we are BOTH prodigals in our own way. One spouse may be the one that takes everything he believes is owed to him and leaves, while the other may be the prodigal who remains in his Father’s house with a heart filled with bitterness and resentment. The journey is necessary for BOTH children of God to truly know His love and acceptance and to learn our joy is not in what we have or in our circumstances, but in Him and Him alone. GOD may harden their heart and blind them to the truth temporarily for THIS reason. GOD may be protecting you both by not bringing them home yet.
It’s gonna hurt, but pain, when you are a child of God, is never without purpose. I believe God takes no joy in seeing our hearts broken, but He also knows that HE is the only thing that can heal us from old wounds and free us from bondage of our past and present for good, so He uses pain to draw us to Him. The results of what He does in us through the pain are worth the pain we go though to heal us. When all of our earthly safety nets fail, we are forced to really put our faith, trust, hope, and future in God’s good and capable hands. He proves to be so much better than any of our earthly safety nets ever were.
DIE to the urge to meddle. Meddling makes a mess. In the beginning I would “stalk” my husband’s social media and make my presence known to the OW. All it did was make a mess and steal my joy in Christ. It put my eyes on the wrong things, circumstances do NOT dictate what God is doing or HOW he is using a BAD situation to draw someone to Him. Sometimes when we interfere outside of God’s instructions, we actually interfere with what God is doing. If this is you, don’t worry, you didn’t derail God’s plans or catch Him by surprise. After messaging an OW to let her know my I was praying for reconciliation and still intimate with my hubby, my husband said he would never trust me again and called me a manipulator. But God. He continued to work in me, He continued to work in my husband’s heart and life. My husband probably trusts me and depends on me now more than anyone else in his life, despite still pursuing relationships with other women. WE have to remember, a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. We won’t see stability until we see Christ in them, until they have truly repented.
It’s okay to let go and move forward. Don’t hear what I am not saying. I am not saying, “move on”. Rather I am saying it is okay to leave your spouse in the very capable hands of God and live your life for Him. Your are taking the weight of responsibility FOR your spouse and surrendering it at the feet of Jesus so you can live for God. You do not have to be involved every step of the way for God to work. You weren’t there when He created the universe, He can do it without you. This is not to say we shouldn’t be involved at all, but rather that we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in our involvement and honest with ourselves about our motivations for being involved. If He tells us to rest, it’s okay to rest in Him. This was my HARDEST lesson by far. God does some of His best work in the rest! Prayer should be our PRIMARY involvement at all times, this of course should not stop.
True repentance comes from God and God alone. At first, I prayed and prayed and prayed against the relationships my husband had with other women, but when one would end, he would seek out another. He still is. I have learned that this is just a symptom of the much larger problem – His true need for Jesus and to know God’s purpose for his life and his identity in Him. We have a much better friendship now. I thought if our relationship was better and he could see the changes in me, that this would cause him to want to come home and get right with God, but this is backwards and self-centered thinking. I can say my husband has become one of my best friends, but this has not stopped him from pursuing other relationships. He needs Jesus. He looked for his joy and identity in our marriage as I did, when that failed, he looked for it in other relationships. It is a terrible type of idolatry that makes them a slave to their “happiness” and keeps them from God. It’s a vicious cycle. But God uses what Satan intends for evil, and uses it for good. This goes back to the journey is necessary. Often times, our idols have to completely fail us before our hearts are ready to receive God as King.
Standing is more about becoming like Christ and pointing our lost loved one to Him than it is about marriage reconciliation alone. In standing, we become the love, faithfulness, mercy, patience, FORGIVENESS, goodness, and grace of God. This alone makes it worth it. You can never regret becoming more like Christ and it is NEVER a waste of time. It is the believer’s purpose in life – to be conformed to His image and lead others to Him. So never think of the wait as wasted time. I can’t tell you how much God has changed me and how much He has used me to impact the lives of others these last 6 years.
We don’t have to be the victim. We have Christ, we know our eternity, we know that God uses EVERYTHING in our lives for our good and His glory. We know that this present hardship is nothing compared to the glory we will receive in the kingdom to come. We know we are storing up treasures in Heaven. We know that God always has us. They are lost, they are estranged from a God who loves them, they are at the whim of the enemy. They are a slave to sin that we have freedom from in Christ. Who is really the victim? We can choose how we see this, though it is difficult at times. Choosing joy necessitates staying close to Christ and in His Word.
It’s easy to buy the lie if all we’re looking at is the circumstances. The devil is a liar. Our spouses have bought into that deception, we must take EXTREME care not to buy into it as well. Make no mistake, NOTHING that is not of God is truly good. This is why it’s sooooo important to stay in the TRUTH of God’s Word. It is our weapon. In order for us to use it as such, we have to carry it with us at all times. When those lies whisper to us, we must be ready to wield it. This is why memorizing Scripture can be so helpful in situations like ours.
Nothing the world has to offer is better than what you will gain in Christ through this. NOTHING. Not another person, not a new marriage, nothing. All those things are temporary, Christ is eternal. If there is one thing I have learned from watching my husband spin his wheels all these years in the world, it’s that no matter how exhausted I get IN Christ, it’s FAR better than being exhausted outside of Him. The world will chew you up and spit you out without any care or regard for you.
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(~Marriage Revealed Ministries Inc. is committed to helping bring healing and restoration to couples who are struggling in their marriage. We do this through the revelation of Who God is and His heart and design for marriage which never intends abuse in any form. If you suspect abuse in your relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit them online at thehotline.org~