In July of 2002, I received a wakeup call from God. Arriving home from work, I found a note from my wife of 23 years stating that she was gone, had filed for divorce, and would not discuss it or change her mind. I was completely blindsided. I couldn’t remember ever feeling so empty and helpless.
Sara and I both came from the culture of “divorce is never an option”. So much so, that we had never mentioned the “D” word in connection with our own marriage in all our years together. While I was ignorant at the time of how I had harmed my wife’s spirit, and had spent countless hours blaming her, somehow I still had a very strong sense that I was the one responsible for the failure of our marriage. I believe now, it was the Holy Spirit at work in my heart.
The first time I had a chance to speak to Sara, I told her that I had obviously failed to be the man she needed me to be; but that I was now on a mission and was determined to find the tools to be a good husband. She said little, but has since told me that her attitude was “whatever dude.” Concerning me, no woman could have been more determined to have nothing to do with a man than she was.
A woman at church felt very impressed that I read “Discovering the Mind of a Woman” and got a copy to me. God used her to thrown me a life line. Getting through that book was a very difficult thing for me. I have always loved to read and have been able to grasp what I was reading quickly; until this time. In my emotional turmoil, it was hard to concentrate. My brain felt foggy and there’s no telling how many times I went back over things in order to comprehend them.
One day in desperation, I called the office at Christ Quest Ministries. I wound up counseling with Ken over the course of the next four years. During this time, it was a rare thing if Sara said or did anything encouraging. She was acting in ways that were completely out of character for her. She seemed to have thrown her faith out the window. It felt like every time I would make a little headway, there would be some new disappointment or challenge between us. Often I would be just about to throw in the towel when God would use different ways, including what I was learning at Christ Quest Ministries to pick me up and keep me going.
Even though I couldn’t see it at the time, God was working both sides of the street. Ken kept focusing my attention on my own need to be Christ-like. I now know God was using my working on me to make me safe before Sara could return. In August of 2006, Sara and I re-married on our anniversary. Just this morning Sara was sharing with me how even though she didn’t appreciate it at the time, she is very grateful for the spiritual protection that the relationship I was building with God provided for her.
My purpose in sharing this is to encourage men to consider the long term consequences of how we handle our circumstances. Even when things look hopeless, God does know what He’s doing. He didn’t even need to have Sara take part in my counseling or talk with Ken or anyone else. He just needed me to be obedient to what He was teaching me. That’s what caused Sara to feel it was safe enough to return. I am now more convinced than ever that a husband does not need his wife to be “worked on” before a marriage can be restored. I know, if I will stay the course and see things through even in the midst of my mistakes and shortcomings, He will bring about what is best.