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Not to scare away any new members to the forum or those following the ministry, but this morning my divorce (after a 5 month separation) was finalized - three weeks and 4 days after the filing date! No that's not atypo. If it's uncontested and there are no disagreements with the settlement or parenting plan, the case can really be expedited in our state.

I attended the hearing and testified even though I waived my right to appear because I didn't like thinking about my wife being there alone in that tense and difficult situation.

Here's the greatest difficulty in all of this: if I had surrendered to God sooner and implemented Joel & Kathy's biblical ways of treating my wife years ago, today's divorce would not have happened.

Ironically, my wife (now ex) and I have been getting along very well lately; having heart to heart conversations where she has felt safe to speak openly to me. Two cliche' phrases come to mind: "too little, too late" and "hindsight is 20/20". My relationship with Christ is stronger than ever and I can finally see the pain I caused my wife and the level of absolute selflessness and " lay-down-your-life" love which I now know a marriage needs and which I finally see I am capable of.

My wife had told me she has noticed and appreciated my change, but "our baggage was too much" for her to overcome.

I am now at the difficult stage of wondering how to pursue. Words cannot explain the loss of a spouse after finally understanding and feeling pure agape love. I own everything, but it's still a hard pill of regret to swallow.

 

What now? Give her a month for me to initiate conversations and interaction? Throw in the towel and give up because of her "too much baggage" comment? Or just continue to be Christlike in all that I do and have hope that a possible byproduct could be that her heart is turned gradually over time. We have three daughters, so there will forever be interaction between us regardless.

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After about a month on the men's calls and conversations with Joel and Kathy, I finally decided to add my first post. Unfortunately, my story is a little different than most on here because my divorce was finalized yesterday: just 3 weeks and 4 days after the filing date (very fast in our state if fully uncontested). Here's. A quick synopsis:

 

At the beginning of our separation (about 4 months in different homes), I was panicked and desperate and my actions towards my wife showed it. My feelings and behaviors were originating from my head and not my heart and were devised to mostly make myself feel better rather than to become Christlike towards my wife.

 

Gradually, as I reconnected with God, listened to accountability partners and began to take full ownership of my past selfish and neglectful behaviors, real change started to happen. It took daily dedication. When my first priority became my relationship with Christ, my interaction and actions towards my wife became more loving and genuine and much less about me. In fact, my love became stronger and closer to unconditional love than at any time in our 19 years of marriage. After months of excruciating pain and my eventual brokenness, I came across Joel and Kathy's website. It was just what I needed. Full accountability, biblical principals and a complete focus on winning my wife's heart back in a genuinely caring way which strives for agape love.

 

My wife began to notice some change in me and said that she recognized that it appeared genuine. We met for coffee and dinner a few times and have long talks revolving around her sharing deep feelings as well as general friendly conversation. It felt great to begin to connect with her again. But...it did nothing to slow down the divorce. My wife had initially given me about a month after the separation to change her mind and that was when I was still in a panicky, selfish mode. I did myself no favors. I would have a week of no contact, followed by cordial communication, followed by some stressed out action which demonstrated my inability to handle not having any control. Thoughts of an affair on her part filled my mind and directed me away from showing her any form of Christlike love.

 

I began to let Christ lives through me and loving and worked to create a safe relationship in which she could share without fear of a rebuttal of some type. I gave her small gifts, sent friendly texts and looked for opportunities to help with small tasks without fanfare. All of which she said were "kind"... but it was all "too late". Although she saw changes, there was just too much fear and distrust still present to take the risk of going backwards. The past 4 years haven't been horrible. In fact, we've had a lot of good times together as husband and wife and with our 3 children. The problem was that it just wasn't enough. There were too many issues (namely me) in the past which had never been dealt with.

 

When my wife's father died in late August of 2014, that was it for her. It pushed her to the point of wanting a divorce. No if's, and's or but's. Her mind was 100% set and I knew it.

 

I've finally learned what it takes to become the man God called me to be (which would allow me to be the husband my wife needed me to be), but it was just to late. I am still in shock. I thought I had overcome past issues and rebuilt my family to something special over the past few years. Wow, was I horribly wrong.

 

My only hope is to place all hope in the Lord and let him guide me.

 

I literally love my wife (now ex) more deeply now than when I first met her, but my hands are tied. If not for this ministry I would have little hope. I have learned just how much a happy and fulfilling marriage relies on the husband.

 

I now seek more guidance even though we will be divorced. I will need to walk the fine line between being kind, generous and caring vs. a stalking "ex" who doesn't get the picture. I'm hoping this forum combined with allowing Christ to work through me will help me with guidance. God bless.

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It's been a week and three days since the divorce was finalized and I've decided to follow my heart and God's call and dedicate myself to helping my wife heal and demonstrate the all-out, unquestionable, lay-down-my-life love for her. During the 6 months of separation, I was bashed and battered emotionally, but I also grew like no other time in my life. I was constantly in the word and was held accountable by a support group of Christian men who kept me on track. When I came upon Joel & Kathy's site, it was a natural fit. The 6 months of separation was my time in the desert. It broke me and helped me to accept that I needed to die to self and my old ways every day. By the time the divorce came, I was actually somewhat at peace. I couldn't believe it. I still despised being divorced and it was heart-breaking, but I have never felt closer to God. He kept me out of the depths of despair because he now needed to use me. I felt prepared to be in this for the long haul. Today, God is putting opportunity after opportunity in front of me to be Christ-like and I am acting on those opportunities without hesitation. My ex-wife appears comfortable, friendly and dare I say it, loving around me. I am finally allowing Christ to literally work through me. I feel God directing me every day and his voice keeps telling me "Give, give, give." I am shedding the selfish need to receive and to rely on others for fulfillment and I am taking great pleasure in knowing I am helping my wife to feel cherished...regardless of the legal document which says our union is dissolved and the social norms which day I'm now supposed to go my own way. I'm choosing to listen to God and not society.

Edited by 7Times
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Today, God is putting opportunity after opportunity in front of me to be Christ-like and I am acting on those opportunities without hesitation. My ex-wife appears comfortable, friendly and dare I say it, loving around me. I am finally allowing Christ to literally work through me. I feel God directing me every day and his voice keeps telling me "Give, give, give." I am shedding the selfish need to receive and to rely on others for fulfillment and I am taking great pleasure in knowing I am helping my wife to feel cherished...regardless of the legal document which says our union is dissolved and the social norms which day I'm now supposed to go my own way. I'm choosing to listen to God and not society.

 

Thank you for posting your story, 7Times!  It's refreshing to see a man who is allowing God to work in him.  Your wife probably feels free to be herself now that she is legally free and, now that you are treating her with care  You never know... 

 

I want to say that if you are able to be married again at some point, that you keep in mind this new you is you for a lifetime.

 

God bless you.

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Thanks MaryJane. It really does seem like she's being herself. She appears confident, but caring, gentle and safe. she is very different than during the separation. It's very comforting and attractive. I've told others that I feel I've crossed that point of no return in terms of my faith and a constant striving to be selfless and Christ-like. It's becoming so much of a habit that the opposite way of living brings an automatic uneasiness that's hard to describe.I so want to share this with my ex-wife and redeem myself for the pain I caused during the marriage, but for now I am grateful for all of the opportunities I am being given at this time. She has not said "please back off", so I'm going to continue to let Christ work through me and take care of her and my children in every appropriate way possible. I am so thankful for the positive interaction with her considering the psinful and often awkward interaction during the 6 month separation.

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I was far too optimistic. Today, there was a shift towards an uneasy feeling between my ex and I. Nothing angry, but a clear shift away from where we were. I'm taking it as a test from God to see if I'm really in this for the long haul or not. This is far from a quick fix and God has a lot more work to do with me. This is not on my impatient timeline it's on his. Not to mention that my ex wife isn't even considering reconciliation let alone a timeline. I'll be discouraged for a little longer and then hopefully right back on it tomorrow. I sometimes have a tendency to apply the events of a day to how it will always be. This creates a hopeless feeling, so I'm working on changing that way of thinking. Simply feeling something is true, doesn't make it so.

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7times,

What is God asking you to do?

For Him For Her,

At this point, I'm not 100% sure. Usually, I hear him telling me to die to self and love with Christ-like actions at all times...even when rejected and even when it seems fruitless. He is telling me to be patient and place Him first so that my actions can be genuine and representative of his life-changing power...whether I believe it is "bearing fruit" or not. But...at other times I think I hear him telling me to move on and begin the healing process. That may mean reduced interaction with my ex-wife and a redirection of my actions towards severing the ties.

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If you work towards "severing ties" now, your wife will be able to tell herself she did the right thing, that you weren't sincere about wanting her, anyway. 

 

She has been seriously emotionally hurt.  Her healing will not come as a straight line upward, but will be somewhat zig zagged.  Something reminded her of why she needed to not be married to you anymore.  That's all.  By you remaining consistently Christlike, she will begin to believe that you really might become a new man, maybe even her "knight in shining armor!"

 

It's not time to give up yet.

 

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7times,

 

Your healing will come through laying your life down for your wife and dying completely to yourself. Christ became whole again on the resurrection side of the Cross. He had to choose to die regardless of our choice to choose Him or not. This is the same choice you must make and it is your choice just as it was for Jesus.

 

God loved His son so much He allowed Jesus to choose. He loves you so much that He allows you to choose. If you can accept God's gift of choice and Christ's gift of total sacrifice, how can you not give these same gifts to your wife?

 

Love is giving up yourself so that someone else can live. "For God so loved the world He gave...."

That my friend is what true love looks like.

 

God Bless

David

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By you remaining consistently Christlike, she will begin to believe that you really might become a new man, maybe even her "knight in shining armor!"

 

It's not time to give up yet.

 

 

MaryJane, Thank you. You are right. I begin to believe that there is so much history to overcome (plus a another new "obstacle" which I discovered but won't get onto right now) that I began to think, "she's fully justified and there is no way she will do a 180 from a divorce and I need to "let her go". I was prepared to give up as recently as last night. She has clearly noticed change (she has acknowledged it), but in times of weakness I say (or satan tells me) to not listen to God and the mountain is too high to overcome. Thank you for the encouragement to fend off those thoughts and take the suffering as a character builder (Romans 5:3-4). I will keep posting. God bless.

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7times,

 

Your healing will come through laying your life down for your wife and dying completely to yourself...This is the same choice you must make and it is your choice just as it was for Jesus...

Love is giving up yourself so that someone else can live. "For God so loved the world He gave...."

That my friend is what true love looks like.

 

God Bless

David

ForHimForHer / David,

Great thoughts (truth)! Funny that you mentioned "choice" because that topic has come up probably 10 times for me this week. Either I'm in or I'm not. It is the choice God is giving to me. Why would I not choose to be Christ-like to her? What am I afraid of. Why would I choose to not follow a life that God is calling me to lead anyway?! You're also right about my healing coming from laying down my life for her. Despite our dire situation, there is this sense of peace and comfort that comes from being a blessing to her. It's difficult to describe, but it does feel like healing through being much more giving.

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I don't think I can do this. This may be my last post for a while. Too much to overcome with my situation: past issues, divorced, she's in some type of relationship with someone else, etc. Most men on here are fortunate in that they have not reached a point as severe as mine (ours). I will continue my growth in Christ, but as far as rebuilding my marriage and family...too much damage and pain has been inflicted. Sorry to be a downer. Life goes on.

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You CAN do this -- through Christ's strength. The. Holy Spirit inspired Word says "husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her." Ephesians 5: 25

 

Since God says do it, you can do it.

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You CAN do this -- through Christ's strength. The. Holy Spirit inspired Word says "husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church...Since God says do it, you can do it.

MaryJane, Thank you. I am loving her from the depths of my heart...BUT she's no longer my wife. How can that verse still apply? We have a very nice (even warm) relationship right now (in fact we're together as a family this weekend for an event our daughters are involved in); but the reality is we ARE divorced and there's the added aspect of her already being involved with someone - including pre-divorce (I have died to self in terms telling her I know about it since I'm the one who drove her to it through neglect and my own infidelity in the past). Who knows, she may even be in love with this person. I am praying constantly in asking Christ to work through me and STOP CHOOSING to think about how seemingly un-winnable this battle appears, but I still occasionally ask myself "What are you doing!? This is crazy!" My love for her is so strong, it's beyond descriptive words. I believe she still loves me and I know she appreciates my kindness, but it seems like she is waaaay too far gone to go backwards through the wormhole of pain. I really despise this self-pity. Does God need me to go through this pain and conflict to be cleansed and to build character and endurance?

Edited by 7Times
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7Times you are divorced civilly..marriage is much more than the state recognizes.  You have been called to stand for your marriage.  Honor your vows, demonstrate Christ's love to your wife and seek to restore the covenant.  Christ laid aside his crown for us.  

 

John 15 9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

 

I have stayed vigilant in my pursuit of being Christlike, working to win my wife's heart back.  This is a LIFE-LONG journey.  You never ARRIVE, rather you continue to pursue and draw nearer to Christ in turn being able to bless your wife and children.  I encourage you to also read Ken Nair's book Discovering the Mind of a Woman.  Christ did not give up on us!  I also started a thread on the forums at http://joelandkathy.com/boards/index.php?/topic/7864-pursuit-of-true-christlike-manhood-resources/ with additional resources you can tap into.  I hear you on the calls and know in your mind you understand what is necessary.  The flesh is WEAK, but God is greater.  Rely on him fully to met you needs.  Hold onto his promises.  I pray you will not make the mistake many men have in the ministry of not running the race and quitting only to carry on as they have without any real growth being more Christlike.  This is the time to step up like never before.  God loves you so much 7Times and he wants the very best for you.  Shine for Jesus!

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ChooseLove, Teary-eyed reading your last reply. Thank you. The enemy keeps telling me I can't do this and to move on to find someone else after a healing period. But God seems to be telling me to grow and keep giving and do not give up on hope of restoring the marriage now that I am finally in Christ. How can that be? I want to quit. Her attention is already on someone else and she seems to be in another world. Somehow, anger is not the emotion this evokes. It's more regret. Being Christ-like is still my focus daily, but the winning her heart back part is beginning to look like an unrealistic possibility. Today she told me she appreciates my actions and that they would have been nice if more consistent when we were married. Now, she says those acts and gifts are "uncomfortable" since we're divorced. I want to step up even more, but it feels counterproductive right now. Thoughts of running, hiding, avoiding and isolating from her are becoming more common. Prayers appreciated greatly.

Edited by 7Times
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Her attention is already on someone else

I usually don't like mentioning anything at all about this subject, because I don't want it to seem like I'm diverting responsibility or blame. My objective is not to dishonor her. It comes out when I am in self-pity mode. I really can't believe I haven't even hinted to her that I have known about it. As I've been told on the calls, the pain I am feeling now (and before the divorce) because of there being someone else, still doesn't even come close to the level of pain I caused her over the years. After the divorce, she asked me "wouldn't it be nice to be with someone with whom you do not have baggage?" She really did have a point. Although, I also know that the strongest marriages are often those which rise from the ashes.

Edited by 7Times
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