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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.

7Times, I am grateful you are still here.  Don't let satan gain a foothold.  He is like a lion ready to devour us.  To your point above, there is a post from Matt Walsh at http://themattwalshblog.com/2015/01/14/marriage-wasnt-meant/, titled My marriage wasn't meant to be. Take a moment to read it and remember that we all have baggage, it is how we love one another through it.  You know more about your wife than anyone else out there.  You have 20+ years with her.  That is a huge advantage in winning her back.  May I also suggest a couple other resources to you that may be helpful...

 

Save the Marriage Blog/Podcast

Stop Divorce Radio

 

Both of these are great sources of AUDIO to listen to.  I have a podcast app that works great for listening to these.  You need to use every available resource to gird yourself.  Also take time to read Erik Matlock's blog at http://erikmatlock.com/.  I lave you with these verses to meditate on today...

 

Philippians 3:8-9New International Version (NIV)

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

 

Matthew 10:39If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

 

I just prayed for you.  I look forward to hearing you on the call Tuesday night.

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Thanks again ChooseLove. I enjoy Erik Matlock's blog and will also check out the other links. I am not in a good place. I had surrendered and was letting Christ work through me, but I hit a serious wall yesterday. I am choosing to think less about how to be Christ-like, but am rather choosing to dwell on her already having a love interest (euphemism) whom she sees every couple of weeks. I believe we reap what we sow and am beginning to wonder if that is God's ultimate message to me with all of this. I was doing well and experiencing amazing spiritual growth, but my focus has dropped and I just don't know anymore. My faith is very weak right now. On paper, this thing looks like a done deal and I am feebly fighting the weak fear causing me to run from it all. I know, pretty depressing post. I apologize for that. Satan continues to yell ate with the phrase "clearly insurmountable." It's just where I am right now.

Edited by 7Times
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I'm glad you recognize whose voice it is -- the Father of Lies.

 

This love interest and the harsh paperwork before you is not God's ultimate message to YOU. We do reap what we sow, true.

 

The love interest and the divorce is a result of what happened to your WIFE. Her husband rejected her.

 

I'm not particularly trying to rub it in, what you did wrong. I'm just trying to help you see how your wife has been feeling. A male who seemed to understand and offer sympathy would be hard to resist when she was in the throes of rejection.

 

It's really up to you as a Christian husband to take two years out of your life and try to save her from this predator. Put her welfare ahead of your own.

 

No matter how this all turns out you'll be miles ahead of where you ever were before. You will have learned to lean on Jesus like never before. You will even like yourself better than ever.

 

Remember, in marriage, and even in a recently broken marriage, Christ is the the husband's Source of life and strength, and the husband is a source of emotional life and strength for the wife.

 

Just don't give up!

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The love interest and the divorce is a result of what happened to your WIFE. Her husband rejected her. I'm not particularly trying to rub it in, what you did wrong.

 

No matter how this all turns out you'll be miles ahead of where you ever were before.

Thank you once again MJ. You are right. I fully accept my responsibility in everything leading up to this.

 

I thought my wife and I had worked through major issues together 4 years ago and I thought things had been mended ("good enough" mentality without seeing it). A little background: When her father died last summer, she went to be there (out of town) and I stayed home with the children. I later found out this other person (who is her brother's friend) was also there consoling her; not just about her father, but about her rejection by me (he was recently divorced also - prototypical predatory behavior). Immediately after her return, she said she wanted a divorce. It was the perfect storm. Despite all of the extenuating circumstances, if not for my neglectful actions, during many of our years of marriage, NONE of this would have occurred. The predator would have been a non-factor.

 

Another thought making me want to "quit" is that, knowing my wife, now that she has crossed over into physical intimacy with another person and the divorce is complete, her heart will never allow her to return from that place (there's actually a part of me that admires that. Is that strange?). Once again, that's me giving power to the enemy.

 

In all of this, there is no doubt I am becoming a better man and a better Christian.

 

Long story short...I believe I can press on through my pride, pain, regret and moments of hopelessness, knowing that I am being reshaped by God to the man he called me to be. I must repeat that over and over in my mind to replace the doubt with a knowledge of His strength...which I have the choice to accept.

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Long story short...I believe I can press on through my pride, pain, regret and moments of hopelessness, knowing that I am being reshaped by God to the man he called me to be. I must repeat that over and over in my mind to replace the doubt with a knowledge of His strength...which I have the choice to accept.

You CAN press on through Christ who strengthens you.  

 

Romans 12:2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

 

Other great resources to help in your mindfulness are 

 

21 Day Brain Detox at http://21daybraindetox.com/ and Dr. Caroline Leaf's other resources like Switch on your brain.  

 

We are fighting the good fight together . I plan to be on the men's call tonight so hopefully we can catch-up more then.  Have a blessed day!

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I would like you to go back to post #16 and please re-read it. It ahould be the cornerstone of this whole process for you.

 

I see a lot of good advice and encouragement here but something is being overlooked. Your primary calling- in God -is to grow up into Christ-likeness. To do that you cultivate your relationship with God and with your ex-wife. BUT your goal is to mature in God's love and to practice that with your ex-wife as long as she will allow it.. and of course as often as you have interactions with her because of your daughters.

 

My point is this.. I see you stumbling because you keep getting focused on the restoration that appears to be impossible. What if... what if you are just supposed to die to self and love her no matter the outcome? now that's Christ-like-ness! That's the freedom of choice that was talked about in post # 16. We don't love to get. We love because we are loved. End of subject.  And it serves to strengthen you in the process for whatever the future may bring.

 

And interestingly enough, when a woman is newly divorced and is immediately involved in another relationship.. well, that's not too healthy. You can show your ex what true love is... give her something to think about!

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What if... what if you are just supposed to die to self and love her no matter the outcome? now that's Christ-like-ness! That's the freedom of choice that was talked about in post # 16. We don't love to get. We love because we are loved. End of subject. And it serves to strengthen you in the process for whatever the future may bring.

Wow! Excellent points 4evrHZdtr3! Thank you so much. That was exactly what I needed to hear. Post #16 definitely inspired me when I first read it (and just read it again). In fact, I just got off the men's call and noted to Joel that I just realized that me thinking I want to "give up" is really me saying "I don't want to be Christ-like." My choice is either to be Christ-like or not and to discard the outcome once that choice is made. I can say that when I am serving my wife and family these days (despite being divorced), there's a sense of calm, confidence about me. I believe that's because I'm allowing Christ to work through me and Christ isn't really concerned about the outcome. He is loving to love. He wants us to show selfless, giving love in that moment.

It is not until I am alone in my thoughts and not in the midst of Christ-like actions that the doubt creeps in. That tells me, I must also constantly have Christ-like thinking on top of the actions. I'm open to any corrections, suggestions etc. if I'm misinterpreting anything Thank you and God bless.

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I have noticed another shift towards understanding Christlike love. Each time I think I've got it, the next day brings another level of self-honesty which helps me take it to the next level of understanding and peace. I am out of town, alone in a hotel room and several months ago I would have been an emotional wreck, lonely and lost. Today, I'm in a worse off place as far as my marital relationship (or lack thereof), but yet I feel closer to God than ever.

 

The word "choice" has been inundating my life at every turn for almost two weeks. I'm telling you, it has been everywhere I've turned and in many different ways (the holy spirit in action). It's part creepy, but mostly exciting. I am finally beginning to understand that I cannot control my ex's feelings or actions or make her change her mind about the other guy. I can only control choosing to wake up every day and be as Christlike as possible in all areas of my life. When I make this choice anxiety is lifted along with feelings of inadequacy. I have a feeling of being in partnership with Christ and motives become much more pure: to love because I am loved and to give because I do not always need to receive to feel fulfilled.

 

This peace I have as I sit here in solitude in a hotel room is because I made the choice to believe the holy spirit has taken up residency in me and that is where self worth and strength comes from. That feeling will help me demonstrate Christlike love towards my ex wife regardless of what she may or may not be feeling or who she may or may not be with right now.

 

Of course I would love to somehow have an outrageously happy marriage with her, but for now I am learning, growing and allowing God to rebuild. I may have less enthusiasm tomorrow, but days of optimism due to what I am learning are becoming more frequent. Praise God and thank you to everyone on this forum!

Edited by 7Times
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I can only control choosing to wake up every day and be as Christlike as possible in all areas of my life. 

Yes that is so true 7Times.  God wants to be in relationship with us.  He stands at the door ready to receive us.  Just prayed for you today brother.

 

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Thank you ChooseLove. Well, my commitment to my growth continues to be tested. It appears that my ex has chosen to stop answering calls and texts from me at this time. My test is in deciding to die to the need to "get" something from my contact attempts. I'm not hounding her or anything, just occasional attempts. I tell myself to reach out with a Christ-like, giving heart and then move on. At times (not every time), I need to create some story as to why she's not responding or who is advising her not to respond. These thoughts and worries are about ME and I recognize they contradict loving to give because are actually just an attempt to soothe my immature anxiety. I need to pray and work on this.

I must recommit myself to Christ daily, so my actions towards my ex flow from that place. Joel told me I must continue with my actions towards my ex and my connection wIth God will follow. My thought was that this was in reverse order. Need help with this. Thanks.

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SLIGHT REVISION: My thought is that I must commit myself to God daily, so my actions towards my ex flow from that place. Joel told me I must continue with my actions towards my ex and my connection with God will follow if I'm not in that connected place at the time. My thought was that this was in reverse order. Shouldn't it always be Christ first, then my ex receives love and blessings because of the fact that I am securely in Christ. Need help with this difference in terms of the ministry process. Thanks.

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I listened to the replay of the last men's call and have a better understanding of what Joel talked about. Even when I am struggling with my trust in God I need to continue to bless my ex-wife. Eventually, my faith will be restored after moments of weakness, but I will not have missed opportunities to be Christ-like as I would have if I backed off and waited for the "perfect" spiritual moment. As my faith gets stronger and I continue to learn to love more unconditionally, I believe both aspects (faith and actions) will more frequently occur in tandem as a natural state of being. I accept that this will take a lot of prayer and practice. I hope that makes sense. Maybe I'm over thinking and over posting :-) God bless.

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Talked to J briefly today after returning from a brief trip for work. I enjoy hearing her voice if only for a couple of minutes. I am going to start back up with texts tomorrow and seeking out opportunities to bless her (actions and small gifts). I will need to be cautious, because she has told me that gifts have started making her feel uncomfortable since the divorce. I want to bless her without awkwardness, so I'm going to pray for wisdom to find the best way to walk this line and honor her statement.

 

My focus is starting to shift from a goal of "getting her back" towards a mission to live a Godly life and then share that with her through outward love.

 

The out-of-town meeting for work was 95% women and my thoughts began to drift towards taking the weak path of finding someone else and taking the easy way out. Besides, she had someone, why shouldn't I? I began to visualize myself with another woman. There was a mild sense of relief in those feelings, but two thoughts came to mind after being honest with myself: 1) There was an incompleteness in being with someone else knowing I had chosen to not give it my all and walk this out until God told me to stop. Plus, my wholeness must come from God not another person. and 2) Continuing on this path is keeping me focused on my growth and relationship with Christ. At this stage, this pain and constant learning and focus is what I need to grow and why I am clearly learning to be more Christ-like.

 

Sure, I could likely find someone and move on, but I would likely be denying myself of the journey that is breaking me down and rebuilding me. I decided that I CANNOT turn my back on that gift and I can't turn my back on the possibility of restoring my precious family. It's pretty simple: My growth in Christ is more important than having my need for female companionship met.

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Amen and amen!

 

You need this time, alone, to do exactly what you're doing. Getting to know The Lord, becoming more like Him, and thus preparing yourself for being a REAL husband. I'm glad to hear you are staying on the calls for the human support, too.

 

It sounds as though you found your answer concerning the priority question. Doing the Christlike actions, whether you believe you are completely in tune with God or not, IS being in tune with Him. It's obedience. The scripture says obedience is better than sacrifice!

 

This is all good! God bless you and continue to give you wisdom and strength to do the right thing.

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More impurities burned off...

 

Just got off phone with my ex. She outright said we are never getting back together. She told me my current actions demonstrate denial. I explained that I am not in denial about being divorced, but that I am only choosing to love her without expectations and without basing feelings and actions on circumstances. I also told her she deserves to be treated that way.

 

At some point the topic of relationships with other people briefly came up and I somehow held back by not saying that I was aware of her pre and post divorce love interest (I was very close to saying something since she already made it clear there was no chance of reconciliation, but did not see anything Christ-like in saying it. Besides, it really did not matter other than hurt my pride and any response would have been because of insecurity and not from the holy spirit. Somehow I could still see that through the fog of emotions).

 

She became more and more angry as the conversation continued. She said that my "helping" actions and gestures sometimes made her very mad because I am acting like we are still married and I should have been doing these things when we were married. I told her I agreed (I know I did do the things she's talking about, but with less consistency and I also I can't dispute that she sees the frequency as "never" at this point. There was zero chance I was going to try to defend myself in this conversation or give her examples of my past chivalry. That would have infuriated her and made me look like a fool).

 

I sense that she really wants to tell me about this other person. Possibly because she believes it will get through to me that we are officially done..not realizing or understanding where my heart is and that it is about more than that. I did tell her I am dedicating my life to treating her with Christlike love without expectations regardless of the circumstances...silence on the line.

 

She's also angry that we haven't told our children about the divorce yet, mostly because of my delays. This conversation will have to be had soon.

 

In reality, this doesn't change anything other than the hope for reconciliation component. I will continue to learn to be be Christ-like in my life and practice that with her at all times. I will need to be cautious because I don't want to disregard her boundaries and act as if I didn't hear a word she said.

 

This is where life gets interesting. I admit having some anger, but I am dying to the right to let that come out the wrong way. Impurities are being burned off until all that is left full dedication to the Lord and actions which come from that dedication only. I wish I had been broken sooner to know how to save my marriage, but I now need to apply it to all other areas of my life and accept that my identity is in Christ, not my marriage. Rhetoric can't help me now. Let the journey begin.

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IMPORTANT - PLEASE REVIEW. Any suggestions appreciated. I intend to send this to my ex-wife tomorrow, but welcome suggestions since it was written at an emotional time. Needing objectivity. It may be the last relationship-letter I ever send to her. Thank you.

 

I feel bad that you got upset on the call but also appreciate you sharing. I am trying to learn and grow as much as possible through all of this and realize it will be a lifelong journey. God has called me to be a source of life and goodness to you despite our circumstances. I understand that may be difficult to accept, considering my past mistakes and choices, and I now see that it sometimes even makes you angry. I am dying to self and old behaviors and I pray I can somehow help to bring you peace. I am genuinely trying with all of my heart and am letting God reshape me for the first time in my life.

 

I wanted to be honest and let you know that I know all about C and the amount of time that's been going on. I have died to any right to say anything about that and will never mention it to anyone and try to take any amount of responsibility off of myself. I am so sorry that my neglect and behaviors wounded you to the point of being drawn to someone for comfort. That is all I will ever say about that topic ever again in my life.

 

Real spiritual and personal growth hurts a lot sometimes. The truth hits like a brick to the face and there are consequences to choices. God sometimes needs us crushed and broken for Him to get us where he needs us and be to be dedicated to Him. I regret that I didn't take actions sooner in our marriage when he was sending me signs. If I had, I believe things would have been very different. I know for a fact I wouldn't have neglected you the way I did. You wanting a divorce was what was needed for me to start this ongoing process, so for that I thank you.

 

I still intend to dedicate myself to changing so deeply and significantly that I may someday turn your heart towards me and have our family restored. I can only pray that can be one of God's gifts of truly learning to be Christ-like in all areas of my life.

 

One can either stay down and be a bitter, depressed, stagnant person - feeling he has been treated unfairly, or he can get up, repent, turn to God, make real life-long change and be a loving Christ-like man in EVERY area of his life; especially to those whom he loves and THOSE HE HAS HURT.

 

This is what I can offer you now. I hope you will choose to accept this from me. You are a very special person in my life and I will pray for your peace and well-being until the end of my days.

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7Times, I am so glad you are here.  Here is a good resource for you regarding apology letters...http://reviving.us/anatomy-of-an-apology/.  Don't tell her about dying to self or what you are doing, that won't make any difference to her.  Focus on HER, not about you.  Serve her to the best of your ability.  Don't talk about what you are going through or the changes you are experiencing.  Save that stuff for the forum and the calls.  You just create a safe place to connect. 

 

Regarding her anger, actually that is a good thing as it shows she is still invested in the relationship.  I know this is a terribly difficult time 7Times, but as you persevere I know you will be drawn closer to the Lord.  Love her like no other.  You can do this.  May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you!  

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Thank you CL. The reason this is so difficult is because she has now basically told me to stop the actions (the actions we see as Christlike). She said that if she accepts the gifts and actions then it is giving me hope and feeding my denial of the divorce. I am trying to just love her through all of this and regardless of our situation. I'm not being overbearing, clingy or obsessive. I'm just being a loving, caring, Christlike, good person to her. This is starting to make her very mad and I don't exactly know what to do with that. She may be falling in love with this other person and me not getting out of the picture as she may have expected may be adding to her anger (assumption only). But Even loving her without regard for the outcome is now becoming difficult to do because of her response. Joel is still getting me to stop responding with so much emotion to everything she says and just love right through it. I may just have to love and pray for her from afar and accept that may be the only way to love her.

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David, You are right. If I am going to do this and truly be Christlike, I can't adjust what Jesus would do to fit my situation. Christlike needs to be more than a catchy phrase. It is the single most important thing for me to learn and understand in my life. That means loving her through any and all responses when I am initiating pure love towards her.

 

Uggggggh!! This is brutal work at times. I am loving her through her having a boyfriend. I am loving her through divorce. I'm loving her through her departure from the church. And I'm loving her without regard for the outcome (most of the time). Today's sermon was about Jesus the man. The component which stood out the most for me was "Sacrifice". Self-sacrifice for the good of others.

 

OK, I'll be fully honest: I'm 44 years old and a part of me doesn't want to wait until I'm 46 to begin letting go to see if God will bring another woman into my life. If I am in, I realize, I must be all in and ask God and the wise people on this forum to help me squash those thoughts.

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CONTINUED... I got myself and my beautiful family into this mess and most of the time I feel God telling me to push on and dedicate my life to just love my ex-wife and daughters with self-sacrificing dedication. Why should that be so hard? Impatience, self-pity, fluctuating faith and a damaged ego, that's why!

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CONTINUED (Again)...For the second time since the separation and first time since the divorce, she used the phrase, "Why couldn't you just be a man?" Blow to an insecure responder's ego? Heck yes. Mostly true? Heck yes! No doubt she sees this other guy as a real man and answer to that desire. Darn it! Another blow to an insecure responder's ego! Fortunately, learning to be Christlike is bringing back that manhood and removing the insecurity.

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7times,

 

For almost 4 years when I cried out to God to show me something or to give me an answer about my relationship with my Beautiful , His response was always the same,"Do you trust me?" "Yes Sir. I Do" "Then keep walking". That is ALL I got.

 

This journey you are on is MUCH greater than just your relationship with your wife. This journey is about being obedient in love for Him first. If you are not willing to suffer in the consequences of your choices, why would you ask her to do so?

 

God Bless

David

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