This is a continuation of a new series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. I sent out the call for stories that answered either ‘what is one lesson God has taught you?’ or ‘what is one way God has healed you?’ through their hard marriages, their separations, their divorces, their single mothering seasons, their forays into dating post-divorce, or even their remarriages. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone.
One Lesson God Has Taught Me Through My Marriage and Divorce
Painful marriage. Everyone married has this to some degree, right? I find when you discuss pain or frustration in your marriage, everyone who is married can relate, but the pain is not the same in each. Marriage is a mystery of joining two souls and is meant to stretch those two people in learning to love and accept one another. How do you know when it’s crossed over from being two selfish individuals who have to work it out agreeably, to a sick version that cannot be healed? It’s a difficult question to answer. My marriage was very painful, and not the “normal” pain of living with another person who has different interests, doesn’t share your values or whatever else can cause tension. In my case, there was name-calling, cursing and emotional wounds that were deep and wouldn’t stop no matter how much counseling we received. However, God, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom I serve and devoted my life to, told me clearly in prayer to stay, to love, to forgive…for years. I wrestled with this “love” plan that didn’t seem to have a guarantee I would be loved in return, but my personal devotion to Christ gave me strength to live it one day at a time. It was not easy; I failed at it often. I remember clearly the day I wanted to be done! Yet the sweet whisper came to me that His plan was to promote my husband at work, and if I exposed him that would be the end of his career. I obeyed, and he was promoted. We had peacefulness for about three months.
I clung to the Word of God as a source of vision into my circumstance that could not be explained in human terms, except as abusive. Many people who loved me could not understand how I endured the verbal abuse that was meted out. Even my church leaders were baffled, and couldn’t excuse his behavior, but also wouldn’t condone divorce since there was no physical violence or adultery. “Biblical grounds” became a term I despised, though the Bible was a constant source of strength and peace that I honored and clung to.
There was a season that came though when the tone of God’s voice changed. It was no longer, “You need to love him.” It became, “This needs to stop!” I was afraid of my husband’s reaction; it might escalate him to physical violence against me or our children if I pursued divorce. Concerned my church leaders would think less of me because I was giving up, and no longer choosing to “suffer for Christ” was another fear I fought with. What the Lord taught me through all this was simple. No one can decide for you to continue to stay in your marriage and work at it, or choose divorce. All those well-meaning people will not suffer the consequences of your choice – in either case. You alone must be willing to accept the consequences, and be at peace. You will live with the choice you make. When children are affected, the choice is much more difficult, but when you know that the Lord Almighty is leading you to freedom, you can make that choice, and do so with strength and peace. Freedom is found in obeying His still small voice, the voice that whispers ever so sweetly and will give you confidence to face what may be the greatest fear you have ever known. Trust Him. Always. It will be well.
If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:
If you would like to join one my private Facebook groups (difficult marriage, separated/divorced, single moms, remarried), please send me a friend request at www.facebook.com/elisabethkleinfisher.
If in a difficult marriage:
Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/store
Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage is available in paperback/e-book: http://tinyurl.com/phowp95
If a single mom:
Moving on as a Christian Single Mom is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/store