Is Your Wife Really Finished With Your Marriage? Part 2

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Yesterday, I shared with you the first part in a series of emails between a soldier and me. If you haven’t already, please read Part 1 and then continue with the rest of the story below.

After the solder wrote to me a second time, in which he shared more details about his marriage and where he thought things were headed, I replied with the following:

Thank you for sharing.

If your wife is open, I would love hearing from her and her explanation.

Something seems to be missing. Apart from the marital conflicts that you did not disengage in gracefully, I am still unsure why she wants to end the marriage. Based on the information you have provided, divorce cannot be justified. I am assuming both of you want to do what God wants. Is she aware of the following information?

First of all, if you have not committed adultery or deserted her, which are the two biblical positions as the basis for divorce, then I am unclear why she intends to divorce you. If you have committed adultery, Jesus says she can divorce you.

Matthew 19:9 says, "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

If you have deserted her, she is no longer bound to the marriage.

1 Corinthians 7:15 says, “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.”

But, if neither of these have happened, and certainly there doesn’t seem to be any physical abuse from what you indicate, then both of you need to hear what the Bible is saying. If adultery and desertion are not factors, divorce isn’t to take place.

Second, God hates divorce.

Malachi 2:16 says, "’For I hate divorce,’" says the Lord, the God of Israel...”

Although culture says divorce is easy and there is no fault, God’s Word has never said that! God has feelings about this. We can hurt God. When we distrust and disobey Him, we hurt ourselves in the long run. Why would we want to do that? He is Abba Father.

Third, children are harmed by divorce.

Even if a marriage is not the best, two people staying together are best for the children.  All the research points toward this.  The documentation of this fact is staggering.  As a culture we are guilty of ignoring all the researched facts about the impact of divorce on children.  It is not  true to say, “For the sake of the children we should divorce.”  Or, “The children will be better off if we divorce and both of us are happy on an individual basis.”

Malachi indicates that two people need to stay together if “seeking a godly offspring” (2:15). In 1 Corinthians 7:14, Paul says that a believer should stay with an unbeliever, even though it is not the best of the marriages. Divorce can have a very adverse effect on the children (“your children are unclean”), whereas staying together can have a positive impact (“they are holy”).    

Fourth, we are to trust our loving God and His truth, even it is contrary to credible people in our lives.

To listen to the voice of someone who we love but who is misleading us can be unwise and harmful. As painful as it can be, a daughter may need to choose to trust Christ and His counsel above her mother’s (Matthew 10:35).    

Let me stop there. Would your wife be gracious enough to provide her side? You indicated that she is open. I’d love to hear from her.

He then wrote back saying,

I just got off of the phone with my wife. She does not feel comfortable baring herself to somebody over the internet. She asked me to have you call her if possible. Would you please call her?

While it hurts me to know she is not ready to talk about some issues with me, she is willing to talk to somebody. That gives me hope that all is not lost! I have not been a great husband and have hurt her in the past, but I have never strayed from her, nor I believe has she. Thank you for your time and please call her. She is also hurting and needs to talk to somebody other than her friends. I do not believe she has been saved.

My reply:

My heart goes out to you. I would use the information I emailed you as a way of praying. Ask God to be merciful to you.

A great verse is in Hebrews 4:16, which says,

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”

Because of the amount of email and responsibilities before me, I will be unable to call. But if she changes her mind, please have her email me. Please don't guilt trip her.  Give her some time to process.

You are a leader and this is a test of your leadership. Be strong. Be gentle. I know a man who was part of S.W.A.T. who waited on his wife for a season while she committed adultery with another police officer. He won her back just as the prophet Hosea was called by God to go win his adulterous wife back.

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.’" (Hosea 3:1)

You are not in that pain so stay the course.

The last correspondence I received from this man read as follows:

Thank you, again, for all of the time you have given me by responding to my email. I have been meeting with one of the pastors at the church I am attending near the base. He recently got out of the military and knows how some of these situations can be, especially after a long separation from your family. My wife has also spoken with him and pretty much said that she does not really want a divorce, just feels trapped.

She has also said she would start going to church with me when I get home. I just have to find one.

I know God is working through me, I just can't see the big picture yet.

Yes, I am saddened by the whole situation, but I have faith and hope that all is going to be ok. I think we can actually come through this time of trouble stronger than ever.  

Oh, she did agree with my pastor that neither one of us came from a great family life and therefore did not really know how to be a good husband or wife.

I know I have a great deal of work ahead of me, but I will make it and I will be back with my wife and children.

My final reply was this:

Stay the course. That was a good report. Things are looking up!  

You can win her through loving tones and facial expressions when tension arises.  That is the test.

It is easier to die for honor, than to be loving in the face of dishonor.  This is the challenge.  If you can make it through that boot camp, you'll make it!

Consider this…

Did this wife really intend to divorce her husband?

Maybe, but as he opened himself to getting counsel on what he needed to deal with, doing so authentically and humbly, she became more assured that he wanted to understand her heart and she softened.

She admitted that she really did not want a divorce.

As a husband are you in the same boat in which this soldier found himself?

Is your wife asking, "Do you really hear me, understand me, accept me and love me?"

When she feels your answer is a genuine and caring, “Yes,” she’ll stop saying (in all probability), “I want a divorce.”

-Dr. E