This is a continuation of a series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone. -Elisabeth
Is pain inevitable in marriage? How do you know when you’ve crossed the line between we should work this out to it’s time to let go? Where do you find these answers when there is no hope left? For many years, questions about pain defined my marriage. My marriage was pain-filled, beyond the pain of living with another person with whom you have to collaborate. For me, there was name-calling, cursing and emotional wounds that were deep. Multiple church counselors, professional counselors and trusted friends couldn’t make inroads that allowed change. My faith in God was tested like never before and I clung to Him, wrestling with forgiveness, fear and sometimes sheer hate. Asking forgiveness at the altar for the hate I held was a turning point. I began to realize I was changing in ways that were damaging my own soul in order to appease this partner. But the Lord was always near. He never left me, though I felt very alone. I would sense His closeness and the Word of God was a beacon of hope and light in my deepest darkness. Often it was only the Lord that seemed to see me. I had small children whom I protected daily from verbal lashings, objects being thrown, doors slamming and general distemper. I would sing worship songs to my children, to quiet my own soul and to help us feel the Lord’s nearness and protection. I sang to them daily and discovered we could have peace and joy. We danced in the kitchen and sung worship song each night at bedtime. To this day, my children are worshippers and love to dance to godly music.
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. No one in church is supposed to get divorced though. My church leaders were kind and compassionate, baffled by his behavior, but also wouldn’t condone divorce since there was no physical violence or adultery. It seemed odd to me that only physical violence would allow me to divorce. Wasn’t this emotional abuse and constant fear damaging?
The irony is the last-ditch effort to save the marriage by seeing yet another professional counselor was how I realized it was time to let go. She asked me to read specific books about codependency, and that’s how I discovered I had to divorce him. I was still 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, for no longer choosing to “suffer for Christ” was another fear I fought. The Lord taught me a simple lesson through this. 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. He will give you confidence to face what may be the greatest fear you have ever known. As Psalm 43.5 declares, I will put my hope in God!
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 email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If in a difficult marriage: Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books
If separated/divorced: 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 in paperback/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books
If you need a nudge in your healing, I would love to work with you! Join me for one of my mentoring courses.
If you’d like to receive my free resource “Is Your Healing Halted?”, sign up here.