Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The End of the Road

Two people at the end of the road; fotosearch.comTwo people at the end of the road,
Courtesy of fotosearch.com


I was thinking about something I heard at a Men’s Meeting years ago; the speaker was Edwin Louis Cole. He shared that at a couples meeting when he was speaking only to the husbands, he asked the question,

"How many husbands here would say that their marriage was failing?"

Fifty percent of the men in the room raised their hands.

A while later when he was speaking to the wives, he asked the same question,

"How many wives here would say their marriage was failing?"

Seventy-five percent of the women in the room raised their hands.

Half of the husbands who thought they had a good marriage had no idea that their wife was contemplating or planning to end the marriage.

As I thought about that, I realized that I had no idea that my wife had lost all faith in me. It’s a sobering thought when you hear the words; it's time to end things between us. The reasons for our marital failure no longer matter. In her eyes, I had drifted away some time ago and now, she too had moved on. Failure and success in marriage does not hinge on one person; still, I groped for recovery. I believed we could still salvage it but this was not a shared belief. Hearing the words, you’re still the same, I don’t need ….

I found myself reading Maximized Manhood hoping to discover some principles I could recognize from Cole:

"I was standing in front of a table at the end of a meeting when an exuberant couple greeted me….the husband told me of the miracle in their lives…’If you ever want anyone to confirm what you said about God giving love, just call us,’ he said. ‘We are a miracle marriage. For years I made my wife’s life a hell on earth. Unfaithful, inconsiderate, dictatorial, selfish, all I wanted was for her to do what was necessary for me to enjoy life.

Oh, I led the choir, we went to church, and everyone saw us as a fine family—but no one knew me privately. Not even she did. I was a first rate hypocrite for years.

All she knew was that she had come to the end of her rope and was leaving me. That’s when I awoke to how and what I was."

I began to realize that in our society, marriages come and go. Couples lose compatibility; there are irreconcilable differences, or they find themselves living separate lives.

And then I read something that rung true:

"God commands us to love."

"According to God, love is not a feeling. Sometimes it doesn't even feel good. But, real love is always good.

Love centers in the will. That is why love can be commanded and why God can command love.

The American male, to a great extent today, flees from commandments. Or rebels.
"

As I read this, I recognized that the reasons why men and women end their marriage should not be dismissed; people get hurt, physically, emotionally and spiritually as a result of failing marriages.. It’s hard enough to deal with that kind of pain and then come face to face with some holier than thou do gooder (or self-righteous husband) hurling a scripture in your face. Just what they need added to their pain is biblical guilt.

I’ve been insensitive and ignorant to the pain I’ve caused my wife while in my mind, I loved her. I thought because she said nothing that things were fine; they weren’t. She suffered in silence.

I’m not writing this post for my wife, I’m writing it because God commands me to love her. Being married no longer matters now. Whatever she does, wherever she goes, I will love her. And though we are no longer compatible, she remains my friend. I pray that I can be the friend she has been to me.

Father God, I don’t even know where to begin except to say how sorry I am that I have failed so completely to love my wife completely. Forgive me please for lifting up pride and arrogance and paying such a tremendous price. I commit myself fully to you in the belief that I can change; not with a hidden agenda behind it. I simply want to change and be the man you want me to be.

5 comments:

DC said...

I love you Daddy!

Dean Spencer said...

MTJ-

I personally can relate to failed relationships and failed marriages. Before I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I suffered through so many failures that I couldn't feel anymore.

All the pain you mention was very real. We had no answers and we had nothing to anchor our marriage.

We were married 3 years before ending it. My wife and I were both distraught because we looked at each other and asked if there was anything that could save our marriage? At that time, we couldn't think of one single, solitary thing.

We remained "friends." But never close. I even moved back to my home state. I went through several relationships after that, but never connected with any of them.

Two years went by and by the miracle of God we were both saved in the same year, though we were miles apart literally and figuratively.

We had no inclinations of getting back together considering all that we went through. We were still going through the forgiveness stage at that time. So we dismissed the idea of getting back together believing that wasn't meant to be. But over the course of another two years, we found ourselves back together and remarried. Restoration did not come easy and even within the church we were met with opposition.

All I can say is that what my wife and I have now, it's not perfect but we're committed not just to each other but to God. We've worked through areas of trust, and believe me, that's a huge issue with my wife. The baggage didn't go away just because we were saved. We still had tons of work to do. We don't even work through the issues quite the right way, but we're still very much in love and committed to each other. And I believe we're still working through the baggage after all these years of being remarried (8 years this November).

My heart goes out to anyone who goes through divorce. I've been there and it's the worst feeling in the world. My hope and prayer is that confession and forgiveness can begin to heal the pain. Remaining friends is a good thing but taking the next step toward restoration will be the tough test. I only hope to encourage and pray that God helps both of you in the healing process in whatever form that takes. God bless you and grant you grace and mercy in this difficult time in your life. If there is anything I can do to help, please don't hesitate to respond or email me at dl-spencer@hotmail.com.

Dean

MTJ said...

DC: Love you too BG!

Dean: Thanks so much for sharing from the heart. I appreciate you offering your personal insights and prayers.

God's girl said...

Praying for reconciliation for all marriages right now! I believed God to restore my marriage even after divorce, and my ex-husband recently remarried... Broke my heart... Even though I still love him with all my heart, I bless his marriage. I bless his wife. I bless her children. I have learned to forgive and trust Abba Father with my heart... Praying for 100% reconcilliation of you and your wife! God is a God of the possibles! May you be totally filled with His peace and His direction for this time of your life! Thank you for sharing this very vulnerable post. It is going to help so many people!

Blessings!!! Heaven

Teresa said...

MTJ,
I have tears streaming down my face as I hear your heart beat so passionately for God as the love for your wife rushes through your heart's veins. I am reminded of the book, "Redeeming Love" written by Francine Rivers. The characters Hosea and Sara remind me of you and your prayer. Thank you for sharing your story and I pray God's supernatural restoration over your hearts and that your relationship will be redeemed and restored by the Mighty Hand of God! I pray that your wife will remember the days of when she first met you; and that she would long for God and that this longing would transcend upon you. You are being prayed for.
Blessings from our Father!
Teresa