by Amy Allen
from "A Redeemed Marriage"
(Seventh in Amy's series on sexual addiction)
I had every intention of never speaking to him again. After discovering my husband, Tim, had been going to prostitutes for over a year without me realizing it, I filed for divorce.
Unbeknownst to me, God had a much different plan in store. During a six month separation, God held back the divorce papers and brought both my husband and me into a true relationship with Himself through Jesus. Then He called me to reconcile with my husband.
In each of these situations, God directed my steps and showed me very clearly what to do. (Proverbs 20:24) The key was listening to Him. Every marriage situation is different. There are different circumstances, different people coming from different backgrounds, different journeys and relationships with the Lord. Perhaps one spouse is a believer in Jesus and the other isn't. Maybe they both think they are following the Lord but neither one of them has a close relationship with Him.
Many women in my situation ask me for advice. I can only share what God has done in my own marriage and encourage them to seek the Lord with all their heart. God is able to show each one of us what we should do. He desires that each of us trust Him and ask Him for advice and direction. I believe God uses these devastating situations to bring us closer to Him. Because He created each one of us uniquely, He can show us what to do in every unique situation.
Sometimes God will call us to stay. Sometimes He will call us to separate. Never will He ask us to condone or enable sin.
When God called me to move back home with my husband, I did so only out of love and obedience for Him. I was very afraid of being hurt again. During our time apart, God gave my husband a glimpse of hell, where he was headed if he continued with his life of sin. Thankfully got the message, and, in tears of release and repentance, he gave his life to Christ. (2 Corinthians 7:10) One of the ways I knew it was God's will to reconcile was because of the true repentance I saw in my husband. It was amazing to see how excited he was about the Bible. He was convinced it was 100% true and he should live his life by it. I saw my husband as a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
God wants each one of us to be with Him forever. This means truly turning from our sin, repenting, and giving our lives to Him. I believe a big part of our roles as wives is to love our husbands enough to leave them when they are sinning and not take personal responsibility for their sin. (1 Corinthians 7:2-6) If our husband is not a believer, separating for a time may be the only way God can get their attention. That old saying, “You don't know what you've got until it's gone” often comes true in this kind of situation.
I learned that if I truly love my husband, truly want what is best for him, then I cannot condone or enable his sin. I have to be the wife he needs, not necessarily the wife he wants. The wife he needs prays for him, encourages him to spend time with the Lord, cheers him on, forgives him when he stumbles, hates the sin but loves the sinner.
Sometimes love is tough. It does the very thing we may not “feel” like doing. It doesn't always line up with our emotions or feelings because love isn't a feeling but an action. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) It looks out for the best for the other person, even if that person may “feel” unloved at the time. Isn't God that way with us? He doesn't always give us what we want, but He always gives us what we need. Because He loves us so much, He wants us to grow, persevere, and become more like Jesus in character. (Philippians 2:1-18)
“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” ~ James 5:19-20 NIV
Father, I pray for people that are struggling with sexual sin. I pray You give their spouse the strength they need to separate when necessary and the obedience to reconcile when You call them to that. You are a God of redemption. Help each one of us to follow You and trust Your guidance in every situation. You alone have all the answers. I pray these things in Jesus' name, Amen.
Links in this Series by Amy Allen:
First: When You First Discover Infidelity
Second: How to Find Strength When Your Husband is Weak
Third: Your Cheating Spouse: You Can't Fix Them, Spy On Them, Or Force Them to Stop
Fourth: How to Find Trust After the Affair
Fifth: No Quick Fixes for a Crumbling Marriage
Sixth: Finding Your True Worth When You've Been Betrayed
Seventh: Are You Enabling Your Spouse's Sin?
Eighth: The Best Tool for Restoring Relationships
Ninth: How to Build Teamwork in a Restored Marriage
Tenth: Restoring the Sexual Relationship in a Marriage
About Author, Amy Allen: When my husband's internet pornography addiction led to an affair, then acting out with prostitutes, I filed for divorce. But God used what seemed hopeless to bring us both into a real relationship with Jesus. He also redeemed our marriage. You can watch our testimony on The 700 Club(www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx) or visit our website athttp://www.aredeemedmarriage.com/. There truly is hope and healing for your marriage when you allow Jesus to redeem it! Tim and Amy Allen