“Your faith in God should never silence you in the dark hours of grief. Rather, this is when we begin to understand how deep, rich, and sturdy God’s love for us really is. He will not turn away from your questions or be surprised by your grief … He enters the darkest moments of human existence with boundless mercy, unending love, and amazing grace.”
“God does not promise to take your pain away. Instead, He promises that in the midst of that pain, He will change your life. He will give you real life, a life in which you can experience true joy side‐by‐side with hurt and agony.”
“Sinners tend to respond sinfully to being sinned against. This is why forgiveness is so vitally important. It is not just for the other person, but for our good as well. Otherwise, our hearts will be controlled by anger, bitterness, and vengeance.”
“Before we can talk about what forgiveness is, and how we can more completely forgive our spouse or children, let’s talk about what it is not. First, forgiveness is not a feeling … Second forgiveness is not forgetting … Third forgiveness is not excusing … Forgiveness is an act of the will, a decision not to think or talk about what someone has done. It is an active process involving a conscious choice and a deliberate course of action. It is the canceling of a debt that your spouse has incurred because of improper behavior or words.”
“I picture forgiveness like a game of tug‐of‐war … If both spouses continue to pull hard on their end of the rope, the still‐loose knot begins to get tighter and tighter and tighter. At some point, there’s the danger that nobody can ever untie it. But forgiveness means one spouse merely drops his or her end of the rope. This loosens the tension and preserves the possibility that the knot might be untangled by the two of you. The other person can continue tugging, but it doesn’t do any good any more.”
“One of the great challenges of going it alone in renewing your marriage is trusting God for the work He will do in the life of your spouse. The potential for restoration when you exercise humility and obedience is so significant. Don’t stop believing what God can and will do through you.”
"There are two parts to handling the problem of a withdrawn man. The first is to commit yourself to the process of helping him emerge into his God‐given role, and the second is to build for yourself a strong relationship with the Lord from which to draw strength while the emerging process is working."
“When your attempts at honor go unreciprocated, you are to give honor just the same. That’s what love dares to do—to say, ‘Of all the relationships I have, I will value ours the most. Of all the things I’m willing to sacrifice, I will sacrifice the most for you. With all your failures, sins, mistakes, and faults—past and present—I still choose to love and honor you.’ That’s how you lead your heart to truly love your mate again. And that’s the beauty of honor.”
“I find that many people want instant solutions to everything. They want to stop hurting; they want things to be right, nice, peaceful, and secure—now. In reality, emotionally it will probably not be that way for quite a while.”
“When marriage is filled with more withdrawals than deposits, it’s easy to forget why you married in the first place … The same love that drew us to our mates so that we wanted to spend our lives with them is still there. It may be covered over with the trauma of irritations and the loss of romance, but it’s there nevertheless.”
“Reconciliation is not to be withheld when repentance—that is, deep, heart‐changing acknowledgement of sin and a radical redirection of life—takes place in the one being rebuked. Nor is reconciliation to be extended to someone who has not repented.”
“Cutting someone off from communion (terminating the relationship for a time) should be done only after significant time and prayer has been expended to set parameters, apply consequences, and offer the opportunity to repent. Further, this step should not be taken without consultation and prayer with older and wiser believers.”
“God knows and understands how difficult it is for you to function in times of sorrow. In your own strength you can lose heart, you can grow faint, and you can become discouraged. But in Him you can find all the strength you need to face your pain and life without your beloved—strength of spirit, strength of body, and strength of mind.”
Instead of praying “Lord, bring my spouse back to me,” try praying, “Lord, bring my spouse back to You.”
Stay involved in a local, Bible‐believing church for spiritual growth and accountability despite the temptation to avoid facing people during this difficult time.
Meet with your pastor for guidance or seek out a Christian counselor. This can be helpful and encouraging as you gain another’s perspective on your situation. FamilyLife provides lists of counseling organizations and counselors (link coming soon).
Pray daily for God to be working in your own heart and in the heart of your spouse.
If your spouse is totally unrepentant with no interest in returning to your marriage, acknowledge the extreme level of pain you feel, but also remember that it is temporary. In God you can find the strength you need to face your pain and life without your spouse.
Examine your heart to be sure you are speaking truth. Sometimes love must risk peace for the sake of truth.