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What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. ~ Mark 10:9, ESV
Allowing yourself to be attracted to someone other than your husband is an entirely different issue. You may have to give yourself permission eventually to move on and notice the opposite sex – especially if you were not on board with the separation in the first place. Just because a court says you are legally divorced doesn’t mean your wedding band holds any less value to you. You promised this was for keeps, and your heart may still say you are married. Semper fidelis, my wedding ring says. Always faithful. My husband had it engraved on the inside of the band with our wedding date. Those words still rang true for me.
Please do not think I’m telling you to forget all of it and just move on lickety-split. I think you have to allow plenty of time for the dust to settle, for emotions to cool, and to keep the door wide, wide open for reconciliation. You never know how God is going to work, and you don’t want to get in the way. However, it takes two to tango, and sometimes your partner doesn’t want to dance.
I struggled with finding the balance in all this. Several people tried to encourage me, saying that God is in the business of healing. He brings marriages back together all the time – even after the divorce is final. In my heart, I felt this was the end of the line – my husband was not going to come back. But I couldn’t predict the future, either. No crystal balls here!
My heart said to him, “I love you, and I will wait for you.” But part of me didn’t want to keep my heart for my husband, only to be rejected again later on when it was clear that he wasn’t coming back and it really was time to move on. Part of me didn’t want to give up my heart, only to have to find it again if my husband did decide to come back.
I didn’t enjoy living on the fence, teeter-tottering back and forth. In the end, I loved my husband and I forgave him, but I had to let go of the worry. I decided my heart belonged to God, and if my husband did decide to come back, well, God would work in my heart however He needed to bring that about.
Regardless of where you end up, this is a great time to evaluate everything you want in a spouse and everything you want to be as a spouse moving forward.
When my husband first left, it was very clear in my head what I wanted out of life. I felt compelled to make two lists. One detailed what needed to happen for reconciliation. I called the other one my “if I could have everything I ever wanted” list. I figured whichever list was crossed off first won. Or maybe neither would becompletely crossed off. Maybe God would have another list in mind.
Regardless, it was helpful to put my list into words because it painted an overall picture of what exactly I want in a marriage relationship. The smaller details are negotiable, thank goodness. I’m not sure any human could ever live up to it.
Although I still have that detailed list and review it occasionally to see if I’m still interested in the same qualities, I have a much simpler version now. It only has one requirement: My spouse must love God more than he loves me.
I want to know without a doubt if I am standing beside a man in a church in front of my pastor, vowing to love him in sickness and in health till death do us part, it is because God brought us together. Not because I want a guarantee. Not because I think that will eliminate the work. But because I want to know that somehow, God knows we can serve Him better together than apart. And we’ll see where life takes us from there!
I wish I knew some more of the details, Father, more of how this is all going to develop. But I trust You, and I know if You have someone for me, I don’t have to go searching. You will make it happen. Don’t let me manipulate or force something that shouldn’t be. Don’t let me settle for less than what You want. Protect my heart, and give me peace.
ACT: Take some time to make a list of qualities you want in a future relationship. What can you do to help yourself grow and mature so you are in the best possible mindset down the road?
To be continued next week… To read more:
- NEXT POST – Christian & Divorced: Finding Joy in a Season of Grief (Humming Again)
- PREVIOUS POST – Christian & Divorced: Finding Joy in a Season of Grief (The “D” Word)
- ENTIRE SERIES – Christian & Divorced: Finding Joy in a Season of Grief
*Photo credit: col&tasha (Creative Commons)