I’m Separated. Now What?

You are separated, but you really don’t want a divorce. You want to follow the Biblical ideal of seeking reconciliation. How do you go about it. First, you must not allow your emotions to control you. I didn’t say that you should not have emotions. Hurt, anger, disappointment, and pain are often the emotions of separation. Or, you may feel relieved, free, happy they are gone. Whatever your emotions, you must not allow them to control your behavior. If you do, you may murder your spouse. The Christian is called upon to seek reconciliation. This means we must take constructive action. Such action may mean that I must go against my feelings. Prayer is the best place to begin. “Lord, you know my feelings, but I want to be controlled by your spirit, not my feelings. Show me what action I should take and give me the power to do it.” Such a prayer is the first step in the right direction.

God’s Way Of Rebuilding a Marriage

You may not have positive feelings toward your spouse, but you are choosing to give them unconditional love every week by doing something for them that you know they want you to do. There is a good chance that within six months, you will hear your spouse say “This is great. I can’t believe the way you are treating me. I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. It feels so good.”

Whenever you get this kind of feedback, you know that they are experiencing your unconditional love. You are now in a position to make a request of them. Something you would like them to do for you. Make it small at first. No major requests. If they do it, you will feel a warm emotion inside. If not, you will feel disappointed. Don’t let this keep you from loving them. Never make more than one request per week. When they start responding to your requests your warm emotions build. You are experiencing the emotional warmth of feeling loved.

Unconditional love has led to a rebirth of emotional love. Unconditional love is God’s way of rebuilding a marriage.

What Can I Do To Make Your Life Better?

“I’ll treat her better when she treats me better.” “I’ll treat him better when he treats me better.” Such an attitude misses out on the power of unconditional love. Unconditional love is the choice to love your spouse no matter how they treat you. Let me give you a suggestion: Go to your spouse and say “I’ve been thinking about our marriage, and I realize that I have loved you conditionally. When you are kind to me, I tend to be kind to you. When you help me, I help you. I think that love should do better than that. I sincerely want to learn to love you no matter what. I want to make a fresh commitment to our marriage. I am going to ask you to give me one suggestion each week on what I can do to make your life better. Whatever you suggest, I’m going to do my best to do it.” After you pick them up off the floor, get pencil and paper and write down their suggestion. To the best of your ability, do it. You are on the road to unconditional love

Who Will Take The Lead?

All of us would like to think that someone loves us unconditionally. The child longs for this kind of love from his parents, but husbands and wives also desire unconditional love from each other. The wedding vow was to love “in sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth, so long as we both shall live.” This is a commitment to unconditional love. In a healthy marriage, we will actually experience it. Far too many are waiting for their spouse to make the first move. We sit back and say: “When they decide to become affectionate, when they decide to think about my needs, when they decide to be more responsive to me, then I’ll start loving them.” This is conditional love. Someone has to take the lead in unconditional love. Why not you? Most spouses will respond positively to unconditional love.

Using The 5 Love Languages in Education

So, your spouse has failed you. But now, they have confessed their wrong and are seeking to change their behavior. What are you to do? In the Scriptures, forgiveness is always the Christian response to confession and repentance. Remember, forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision to lift the penalty and declare the person pardoned. Forgiveness means that you will no longer hold that failure against your spouse. Human forgiveness is based on God’s forgiveness. Christ paid the penalty for our sins. When we confess and repent, God forgives us. The same principle applies in human relationships. There are no healthy marriages without confession, repentance, and forgiveness.

Dealing Effectively with Failures

You don’t have to be perfect to have a good marriage. But, you do need to deal effectively with your failures. Otherwise, they sit as barriers to a growing marriage. How do you get rid of past failures? First, you identify them – write them down. Second, you confess them as wrong – to God and to your spouse. Third, you repent – change your behavior. To confess this week, and then repeat the same behavior next week, does not remove barriers. It makes things worse. God is in the business of changing lives. Why not sign up for God’s rehabilitation program. Let Him give you the power to break old habits and replace them with acts of kindness and love. You can become the person your spouse deserves.

Would You Like to Put the Past Behind You and Start Over?

I’m talking about in your marriage. Many couples have so much pain from past failures that they have a hard time moving ahead. Time alone, will not heal hurts. Healing comes when we are willing to confess our failures and change our behavior. Some of us would like to leave out the confession part and just focus on being different in the future. However, confession is essential to the healing process. Even God requires confession before He forgives. I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Confession means that we admit to our spouse that what we did is wrong. We accept responsibility for our failure and request forgiveness.

Most of Us Will Admit That We Are Not Perfect

From time to time we say and do things that are not loving, kind, or helpful. In a marriage, these failures build into walls of separation. If you would like to remove past failures, you must first identify them. Get pen and paper and then, ask God to bring to your mind, the ways you have hurt your spouse in the past. Now, go to your children individually and ask them to tell you times when they have seen you being unkind to your spouse. Get ready, because children can be brutally honest. Then ask the same question to close friends who have had the opportunity to observe your behavior. This process can be painful, but it is the first step in dealing with past failures.

The Biblical Picture of Marriage

The biblical picture of marriage is the blending of two lives into a new unit which will both satisfy the individuals involved, and serve the purposes of God. Our hearts cry out for intimacy. We were made to share life with another. God created marriage to be the most intimate of all human relationships. We are going to share life: emotionally, socially, intellectually, physically, and spiritually. The degree to which we experience this kind of intimacy, to that degree we find deep satisfaction in marriage. To the degree that we fail to do this, we find marriage very empty. Thousands of couples have never experienced what God designed marriage to provide. They live isolated independent lives. Intimacy requires commitment. Commitment to talk, listen, and seek to understand. Together we plan and live our lives in fellowship with God. This is marriage at its best!

God’s Purpose For Marriage

What is the purpose of marriage? Sex? Companionship? Love? To provide a home for children? Social acceptance? Economic advantage? Security? In the Bible, God looked at Adam and said: “It is not good for man to be alone”. The word means ‘cut off, isolated’. God’s answer? “I will make him a helper suitable for him.” God created Eve and said: “the two shall become one flesh.” It is interesting that the Hebrew word for “one” is the same word that is used of God. “ Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one…” It means – composite unity. Father, Son, and Spirit – God is one. Each carrying out a different role, but one. So in marriage, the two are one. Intimacy, unity, oneness is at the heart of God’s purpose for marriage.