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Morning over the bay

Can Marriage Survive Divorce?

A Single Husband

Available languages: español

  • Andy

    Christ tells us that when the dead arise they will not be married. This may seem to be a hard prospect. It may be that he was referring us to our spiritual rebirth there, as he also says ' the Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.' ( John 6:63 ) The really important life is therefore spiritual, our relationship with God, continuing through Jesus Christ, to whom we believers will each 'arise' to be a part, (when we die to ourselves, give up narrow, selfish worldly priorities and join in full Christian community - full sharing).So while marriage should be a relationship centered on Christ, if the marriage loses that centre and fails, we don't lose the all important relationship with God or with the body of Christ - our Christian community, which will never desert us, although we may desert him and it. As Christ bids: 'seek first the Kingdom of God'. He also helpfully points that 'the Kingdom of God is AMONG you'.

  • Linda Boerstler

    The hard part is the rejection. I made vows before God that I would forsake all others. But my husband forsook me. So I live alone and deal with all of the ravages of aloneness while he is off with someone else. I was the one who remained faithful. I am the one who suffers. He left me over ten years ago. I don't even know where he is. How can I move on in my life without breaking my vows?

  • Andy

    Remember the words of Jesus : 'Forgive them Father for they know not what they do'. Read the book by Gary Chapman : The Five Love Languages'. If your spouse is not feeling loved, it is often because you do not know how to 'speak their love language ' as Gary explains : their love tank is empty. We must love each other, but more, KNOW HOW TO DO SO, WHICH CAN BE LEARNED !

  • Name Withheld

    This is my story. Only I feel it has and will continue to turn around. Many waters cannot quench love......

  • Mary Jane

    I too am a victim of adultery, and divorce. I faithfully served alongside my husband in ministry for 18+ years. It's often said, and is terribly wrong for others to assume and say "In a separation two people are responsible". That is not always true. Maybe in the writers case. I have seen many cases like mine where you have devoted spouses to their God, their husband/wife and children. The other spouse has chosen the path of sin.

  • David A. Kain

    Was married in 1974. Blessed with 2 children. Wife left for her own reasons after 7 years. Still feel married even if wife has new husband, lives the rich life style. What God gives man/women cannot take/give away. Thank you, Bless you. DAK

Are Jesus’ teachings on lifelong faithfulness in marriage too hard to keep? Recently Plough editor Miriam LeBlanc heard this man tell his story and recorded it for our readers with his permission (he prefers to remain anonymous for the sake of his family). Married in 1991, he and his wife had three children before she left him after ten years together. Today he leads a ministry to strengthen marriages and help those suffering after separation.

I’m alone because I’m married, but also divorced. We have three children, and have been separated for twelve years of marriage. My wife left me to be with another man. I don’t want you to judge anyone, though. In a separation, two people are responsible.

This said, I decided to remain faithful to my wife. The moment of separation was a conversion for me. When you’re abandoned, you experience a moment of rebellion: “Why us? Why me?” I felt my abandonment more keenly because I’d been betrayed: my wife was not just leaving, but leaving me for someone else. Separation in my case opened very deep wounds. I had all this to cope with, and it was too much. I was destroyed, annihilated. You don’t know any more who you are, where you should go; all your landmarks have disappeared. Marriage is depicted in Genesis as finding your other half—a man becomes himself through his wife. Being separated means being lost.

But that was the moment Christ came into my life. It was too heavy to bear, but I felt Christ had joined me. I was really alone, but these are decisive moments, because from then on anything becomes possible. Some people feel revenge and despair. As for me, I held Christ’s hand. The time seems long; but if Christ was acting faster, it would not be as deep. Eventually I discovered I was healed, in that I had faith in Christ. I still had all these wounds, but now I could grow, which I never could before.

It’s also a story of reconciliation—reconciliation with myself. We have two main commandments: God says, You shall love me with all your heart and soul; and you shall love others as yourself. It is difficult to love others when you don’t love yourself. I had to understand my flaws and limitations. It’s cleansing, it’s a grace when you can say to God, “Show me my sins.” This allows you to be purified. People have a wrong conception of Christ as judgmental, when actually, through grace, you can let your sins evaporate in the great love of God.

Still today I realize I have my flaws—vis-à-vis my wife in particular. It’s tough, because we don’t have the opportunity to speak together about it. I know it’s not possible for my wife to come back to me. At this stage I know it will not happen, but I do hope spiritually we’ll be able to reconcile and forgive each other, even if we won’t start a life together again. The love I had and still have for my wife, I am no longer able to express. It is a kind of transcendent love, though. My wife doesn’t want my love anymore, but I can give it to anyone I meet.

It’s important to understand at the beginning of married life that love entails deep suffering. My experience is painful, but I can find the Lord’s hand in it. Thanks to Christ, the wounds, the suffering inside of me, are the source of all my love. I’m not alone; I am part of a larger group of people who’ve experienced similar things. It’s a paradox, and often others don’t understand. I introduce myself, though, as being married, not divorced. You cannot be divorced if you’re not married, from a civil point of view. But marriage in the Lord says, “I take you as my wife for life,” and at the beginning of our life together, I said this. Just because my wife is unfaithful doesn’t change my decision to remain faithful. She probably would be happier if I would remarry. However, I did not take the decision to be faithful at the day of separation, but at the day of our marriage. I’m a married man! I’ve taken a decision to remain faithful.

We have to remember that marriage is something God encourages. Young people today are afraid to make a commitment. They’d rather live alone, or live together with no commitment. Others have a civil marriage and hope to have a “nice life.” There is an attraction, but if it’s going to last, it needs something deeper. When you decide to get married before the Lord, you invite him to be present in you as a couple. You decide your love will be a sacrament. Such an alliance between a man and a woman in Christian marriage is extremely beautiful and a symbol of God’s love to us.

Today, in spite of all the suffering I have gone through—and I’m still suffering of course, because my wife lives with another man—there’s another aspect to my suffering: my wife has contributed to my salvation, because my love for her has led me to go beyond my capacities. The Lord says, “Forgive your enemies.” I’m not sure I can forgive yet, but I hope one day I can shake the hand of the man who lives with my wife.

When I married, I never imagined the path ahead. It’s certainly “the road less travelled”—but sometimes if the road is rough, it’s not that you’ve taken the wrong road. The Lord is there and can give grace.

Can you relate to this man’s experience? We invite you to share your own story, in brief, below.

For more on this topic, see our book Sex, God, and Marriage.

Wedding ring sitting on a Bible open to 1 Corinthians 13.
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