And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. Malachi 2:15 (NKJV)
I know by now it may not be hard for you to understand your responsibility in your marriage that led to your wife leaving. I was and am responsible for my behavior as a grown man in my love relationship with my wife.
I was not a good example of a man who understood how to love the woman that I professed to love and committed my life to. That commitment/covenant I know now isn’t just a matter of being together for the balance of your life. It means to love with warmth and compassion, understanding and caring, kindness, respect, honor and above all forgiveness for the pain that you cause each other, often unknowingly.
I had very little example remotely close to the love I just described. These are things that I did not focus on as a married man who loves his wife dearly. It is very obvious to me now that I was not a godly man. I didn’t know what that looked like I didn’t know what that felt like. So really, there was virtually no way for me to behave in the manner of a husband, that after much research with His Word, I understand now. I did however behave as a broken man.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 2 Corinthians 13: 11 (NKJV)
I had no understanding of what God intended for marriage until I studied it after my wife left. I never really saw an example of a truly godly man except for my father-in-law, and even then, I was blinded. I was very focused on what I knew to be the investments I was supposed to make, all very performance-based. My love investments in my life were all financial. At the time, in my view, if we achieved nice cars, nice houses, a great retirement plan, nice things, those were the most important things. If I could achieve those things for and with my wife, that would represent that I was a good husband. What I didn’t see was there was another investment that was much more crucial, one that Christ himself taught daily. The investments in our relational connections, and in marriage, that should come with open transparency about our brokenness, yours and hers.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34 (NKJV)
Hindsight is always something that we wish we had ahead of time. Looking back, I now know the most important thing that I could’ve done above all else was to absolutely love and adore my wife in the way she needed to be loved, the way God asks us to love our wives. All else would be a product of the overflow of that love.
Our wives leave our relationships based on their own choices, no one forces anyone to make those decisions. My wife chose to leave our marriage based on her own assessments, her own a valuations, and her own future desires and internal brokenness. My behavior played into that decision by far as the enemy would have it. When my wife felt completely unloved, not cherished, treated unkindly and dishonored, forgiveness, unless practiced in your life on a regular basis, is not going to keep you in that relationship if you believe there are options after marriage that are better for you.
I was selfish, no one deserves to be treated unkindly without honor, without respect and without grace and especially without continual forgiveness and understanding. Had I witnessed anyone treating my wife in that manner I would’ve been on them very quickly to rectify the situation.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (NKJV)
This weekend our 23-year-old son said, “You weren’t a believer or you didn’t understand what God intended for your marriage.” Crazy! I was a believer. I did believe in God. The challenge was that I didn’t know His plan as husband and wife. That is true, but looking back it still didn’t give me license of any kind to treat my wife the way that I did in times of challenge in our marriage. I allowed my anger and my emotions to come to the surface and that came between us. Those behaviors are not an investment, they are a withdrawal.
Eventually if you continue to make that type of withdrawal without relational investment, you bankrupt the other person. My wife felt as though she didn’t matter; she had no choice but to look elsewhere in her life for the void that she carries in her, as we all do. The void for love, kindness, respect, understanding, compassion and constant forgiveness. You see, I do understand why she felt as though she had no alternatives and to make the choices she has made. I understand that my behavior made her feel as though she could not look to me to help her brokenness. The choices she has made were like my choices, from an ungodly perspective, because I didn’t know what His intent was for our marriage.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)
Nor did I know there is an enemy prowling around looking to devour another one of God’s perfect creations, a husband and wife, as with Adam and Eve. I have come to understand now my choices are very different as will hers be when she comes to the same understanding that I have.
I trust God for this outcome and His promise for our marriage and our family.
“So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mathew 19:6 (NKJV)
In every relationship, it only takes one person to hold on when the other one may not, one person to continue to pray for healing when the other gives up, one person to love when it seems as though there is no love left, one to stand with Him who made us so He can transform even the most hardened of hearts, and one person who forgives until death.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
Thank You God!
Be blessed my brothers,
Jim in North Carolina
Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.