Bill and I are very open to sharing about our divorce and remarriage. We believe it is a gift God gave us! While Bill never looks for ways to share, he prefers for the Lord bring him people who may need to hear our story. But I feel a sense of urgency to share our story (stories?).
When a couple divorces or the unmarried couple breaks up, it is devastating. The pain is intense and the trust is lost. It seems hopeless and few ever fully recover or are restored without a lot of help.
God designed marriage and He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). But He knows and understands divorce happens, as much as any other devastating act, such as murder or even lying (Proverbs 6:16-18). God hates these as well and in our perfect world, one day, there will be no more pain, no more tears, lies, divorces or murders (Revelation 21:4). But until then, He extends His comfort, His perfect love and His grace to us!
Perhaps my favorite scriptures are from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
God has brought me so much comfort in the restoration of our relationship, that I can’t help but want to reach out to others, to comfort them, and to share how God healed us, always in hope that He will be allowed to help them heal. More importantly, I love being in a marriage ordained by God!
We don’t like to share the very dirty, nitty gritty issues that broke us up, but we will in private as the Lord leads us. But suffice it to say, we grew to despise each other, hurt each other every way possible and both felt we were in the right and the other was in the wrong!
We had our child to think about, so in desperation, when things were out of control, I called Wayne Graves, Bill’s new pastor (our divorce drove him back into church), and he agreed to meet with us. The date and time? After the New Years Day evening service, that night. So I slipped into Bill’s church and we both saw each other, clear across the room, him up front, and me sneaking in the back! Needless to say, neither of us heard the service.
As soon as it was over, I ran over to Bill and pulled him up to Pastor Wayne. I told Bill we had a “date” with him, so Bill asked if he had eaten. He had not, so we took him to our “formerly” favorite restaurant. We all placed our orders and then the pastor asked us how he could help. We then began to ignore him and let it all out – how much we hated each other, how hurt we were, how rotten things were. I remember one time looking at the poor pastor, being ignored as we spewed venom at each other, but at least he was getting a very nice meal! Finally, he got our attention and said he did not think there was anything he could do for us. He then shared a personal story, a testimony about his own family that had been torn apart by alcohol. We then noticed the lights were dimming and it seemed we were the only ones left in the restaurant. The chef, owner, and waitress all stood in the corner, waiting for us to leave!
We paid the bill, a bit embarrassed, and went out into the parking lot. It was very dark, but one street light was shining down upon us. Bill lit up a cigarette and started towards his car as did the pastor. I pleaded with them to not leave and asked if the pastor could at least say a prayer for us. He did, but it was short and sweet! He wanted to get home to his family I am sure! Then we all went our separate ways – except that Bill and I still shared our home! He would not move out in spite of our divorce! It was a large enough house, I felt, and it was best for Jessica. I was under transfer orders, so we would be moving soon anyway….
Bill beat me home and paid the babysitter. He was coming back into the living area when I arrived. We more or less bumped into each other in the hallway. We will never forget the next few minutes! We began to feel the presence of the Lord as we looked at each other and then we both apologized – at the same time! We both took FULL responsibility for the breakup! And then we said we HAD to forgive each other because Jesus forgave us for ALL our sins! We were standing at the foot of the Cross!
This moment was the beginning of the healing! But it took me eight months for Bill to earn my trust back and I had to read these scriptures: 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. ” (This is a GREAT place to read about marriage: 1 Corinthians 7:1-15)
This was how our Lord spoke directly to me and what an adventure He took me on as He prepared me for a wonderful re-marriage and for our family to live happily ever after! (OK, there had been rocky roads, but those roads will be topics for further blogs! How did we learn to handle our conflicts, issues, and concerns? Stay tuned!)
PS I had Bill read this before I published it. His comment? “We have had rocky roads?” LOL! I guess those rocky roads were so long ago, now re-married 23 years, that they have smoothed out a bit! Anyway, a good marriage takes work…