been married for 22 years. We have had a difficult time being "soulmates"
with each of us feeling isolated during stressful times. For about
the last three years we have had one stressful situation after
another to deal with in business and with our kids. My husband has
had a lot of trouble handling it all and feels personally
responsible for everything, especially our 20-year-old son's
rebellion. Basically he feels like a failure at home and is
overwhelmed daily with stress here while trying to do his best with
major trauma at work. We really retreated from each other, felt
sorry for ourselves and ignored each other emotionally. Two weeks
ago he moved out and confessed he had found another woman who met
his emotional needs.
took refuge in my relationship with the Lord and He has miraculously
taken my hand through this journey that has been a real test of
faith for me. I have a great group of friends who have rallied
around me and have prayed me through. My husband four days ago broke
down and asked forgiveness, saying he would like to restore our
relationship but just doesn't know if he'll ever be happy with me.
He says we're just too different and this other woman has been fun,
energetic and fills his emotional needs (although he has not been
able to have sex with her, I praise God for that.).
question is this: How do we even begin to get over this wound to our
relationship? It is so painful for me to think of him with someone
else that I have trouble controlling my thought life. I'm afraid I
will become bitter and not be able to demonstrate overcoming love,
especially if I'm afraid to bare my soul to him because he can't
handle the stress. Already I'm finding myself hiding stuff about the
kids that I know will send him packing. Do you have any suggestions?
I was sad reading the note about the struggles in your
marriage and your husband leaving. I assume he is not a sold-out,
born-again, true, dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ. If he were, I
think he would have more of the Holy Spirit's power to do the right
thing ... rather than what he feels. Whether he will be happy with
you is beside the point. Whether he will make YOU happy should be
his concern according to Ephesians 5 where God asks him to DIE to
himself for you.
One of the most powerful things an individual can do is to
unilaterally forgive someone who has harmed us. Not only is this
required by God, it results in a magnificent peace of mind whether
or not the other person ever asks us to forgive THEM. You forgive
them because God asked you to, not because they deserve it. Not all
of these scriptures will relate to every situation, but I think you
will get the flavor of what God has in mind.
"Then Peter came to him and asked, Sir how often should I
forgive a brother who sins against me? Seven times? "No",
Jesus replied "seventy times seven".
As you probably know, the Jewish law in the Old Testament
required that a person forgive an enemy three times ... but that was
all. After three times you could whack them. In this verse from the
New Testament, Jesus is saying to Peter that the minimum number of
times to forgive someone is 490 times. I guess you could say this
means that we can never forgive enough.
"Your heavenly Father will forgive you if you forgive those who
sin against you; but if you refuse to forgive them, he will not
This has nothing to do with salvation. There is a meaning in
the original language that gives the impression of untying knots. So
to me this means that if you will untie someone else's knots (ask
their forgiveness), then God will untie YOUR knots (give you peace
thing that helps me the most is to remember that God forgave me of
my sins, so it really isn't that much to ask of us that we forgive
others. Philip Yancey has written a wonderful book called What's
So Amazing About Grace? It has a powerful discussion about God's
grace and forgiveness. Forgiveness is something we have to DECIDE to
do. We can look back and think of the past and get all upset again,
or we can choose to let God have the past, and begin focusing ONLY
on today and the future. Why don't you pray to the Lord something
like this ...
Jesus, first of all thank You for dying to pay the penalty for my
sins. Thank You for Your gift of forgiveness. I'm suffering right
now terribly because my thoughts are about what my husband has done
to me. Would You help me forgive him? I want to, but I'm not sure
exactly how. I want to put those memories away and get on with my
life. I know You are all powerful and can help me. Please cleanse my
thoughts and point me toward my future. I love You for helping me.
if these thoughts ever pop into your head again ... tell Satan,
"Buzz off, you old serpent!" because of the power that
Jesus Christ gives you, and try to immediately focus on something
else. It's a process, but I know Jesus is very concerned about you
and will be faithful to answer your prayer. Forgiveness does not
make everything better and back to square one. It's just something
that God asks us to do so that we can put the matter behind us.
would take a hiatus on sharing any problems with him for a while.
NOT because he might run away, but to give God some time to get his
attention. I'm glad you're standing for the marriage. I know God
will bless you for sticking around.