The first time my husband asked me to marry him, I wore the engagement ring a week before giving him my answer:  maybe.

I still remember the diamond’s sparkle as I admired it on my left finger, and oh, how I wanted to say yes.  But even though I loved him, I was hesitant.  Marriage was forever, and once you were in, there was no out.

I believed then (as I do now) choosing whom you marry is the most important decision you’ll make in life.

At the end of that week, he returned for my answer, and I said…

Not just yet.

I couldn’t say yes but I couldn’t say no either.

I loved him.

But he returned the ring the following week.

The months that ensued were often heart-breakingly painful for me–I’ll not get into juicy details here–but I’m still thankful I had the resolve and strength not to say “yes” when I was uncertain.

Why?

Because marriage is hard.

* * * * * * * * *

The next time he asked, I said yes.  Billy Joel was crooning “I love you just the way you are” on the radio and my heart skipped three beats.  Every time I’ve heard it since, that moment is as fresh as yesterday.  It’s one of my favorite memories.

* * * * * * * * *

Fast-forward almost 24 years later:

  • The divorce rate in America hovers around 50%, even in Christian marriages.
  • The majority of my friends have confided their own marital conflict and struggle; good people, mature believers.
  • And years ago, during the lowest point of my marriage, a veil was lifted and I understood how a wife could not only leave her marriage, she could be willing to leave her children behind as well.  Please hear me on this–I wasn’t contemplating divorce or even separation, but my emotions and despair enabled me to understand those choices.

Even though I had no desire to leave, understanding made me feel like a monster.

* * * * * * * * *

This isn’t a marriage advice post exactly…and it’s not for everybody. I’m sure it’s for someone, thought, I just have no idea who.  Do you ever have those gentle promptings that redirect your actions?   I was 75% into a post about Harry Potter when it became clear I was supposed to write this instead.  Within a two-week span, four friends confided varying degrees of issues in their marriage, one with divorce looming.  After listening to their wounded hearts speak, you wanna know what I told them?

Just…breathe.

I don’t mean that flippantly, and it’s not passive, either.  Breathing–slowing down–requires resolve and intention.  It means understanding and esteeming covenant above everything else because you love God and want to honor him.  In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis likened divorce to a surgical procedure, “like cutting up a living body,” an “operation [some say] so violent that it cannot be done at all; others admit it as a desperate remedy in extreme cases.”

It is almost easy, even understandable, to take action…to make decisions in the midst of conflict or depression or anger.  But even if justifiable, the choice to divorce will have consequences that affect everyone who knows and loves you; for the rest of your life and into the next generation.

In wanting to help others, I’ve sought the perspective of two friends–one divorced and the other married to someone who was divorced with a child.  Both urged me to encourage friends struggling in marriage to work it out; that the reality they’re living is compounded by the consequences of divorce.  The pain that informs their council is palpable; it’s convincing.

I realize some of you are living dreadful, “extreme cases”; others have been devastated through adultery or abandonment or I don’t know what else.  Some readers are divorced.  (My heart aches for each of you.)  Others will simply take issue with what I’m suggesting.

I say this again with much love and respect and as gently as I know how–every incourage post isn’t for everyone; this one is for the wife in a struggling marriage who needs to hear ~

Breathe.

Slow down.

Give it time.

Persevere.

In that space, it’s okay to be angry; it’s fine to want out.  But instead of acting on those negative emotions and feelings….

Pray.

Bathe in the word.

Pursue Godly council.

Seek to understand before you seek to be understood.

Leave time and room for forgiveness and healing and redemption.

Lift high the sanctity of marriage for Christ’s sake and glory.

Sometimes you can’t go around the mountain and sometimes you can’t get over it…sometimes you just gotta get through it.  The sense of urgency will pass.  Time will ease the tension.  Feelings and emotions will change.  Eventually.

And I promise, there is the other side to that mountain, and it can be better and more beautiful than you imagined.

{If you’re in a season of struggle, I’d love to pray for you; quietly slip an email to pensieve dot me at gmail.}

By: Robin Dance, who believes she was “supposed” to write this post, if only for one.

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  • http://www.kingsdaughters21.co.uk Angela De Souza

    Fantastic post, thank you for sharing :) xx

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Angela, thanks for your positive comment out of the gate; I’m nervous on this one because of the potential for it to be read the wrong way. So I’m praying… :)

  • http://www.arock4him.blogspot.com Amy Hunt

    Robin, I believe this applies to Every. Thing., and for me…well…I am {currently} in a state of *peace* with my groom, but I’ve been in that place where I felt so desperate to surrender because I just didn’t think I could stand it any longer. It? The struggle.

    I’ve wanted to rush ahead and impulsively give up. On my groom. On my son. On every dream. And I’ve also felt like a monster for even thinking those thoughts.

    Through those times–and every single dream I have that I think I can’t wait for–I am learning to trust, to “breathe,” and to “seek to understand” that there is purpose in everything.

    No situations, no days, no marriage, no life will ever be perfect this side of Heaven…yet, there is still enormous purpose in it all–even the *hard*–and it’s discipline for trusting Our Father who indeed knows best. He always reveals the To-Do list for us (and sometimes that might mean leaving…), but resting and trusting and leaning close to Him is our first responsibility.

    I so much appreciate your wise post today, and your obedience in the following of that prompting.

    Rich blessings, Robin, as you are disciplined to be still and wait on the Lord, first and foremost…

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Amy,

      I suppose this CAN apply to all of life, but I was so narrow in my thinking when I wrote, that thought never occurred. But I can see it :).

      When I step back, and in any circumstance consider that a) it was no surprise to God, and b) that in the economy of God and in light of eternity, it has purpose and intent and can ultimately be used for my good, His glory, and the advance of the Gospel…I can get through anything. And I’ve been through some hard anythings.

      Blessings to you, too…praying for you in this moment :).

      • http://www.arock4him.blogspot.com Amy Hunt

        Your comment back was so lovely. It’s so neat how He uses us all to give us His perspective–wide open and covering all.

  • Lisa H

    Robin,

    I’ve heard these words before, ‘just breathe’. Another was ‘focus on today’. 2 years of godly counsel, 4 sessions together with a marriage counselor, 2 on my own. Lots and lots of prayer and thought to try to save the relationship. We divorced in 2004 but he moved in again 2006, we did not remarry. After all the above was said and done, I ended the relationship and had him move out.

    What I learned: I can do anything through Christ who gives me strength! –this isn’t about me asking him to move out, its about me seeking help, talking about issues that I was told were off limits to discuss with others. Its about me talking to him as an equal partner with an opinion. Its about me telling him how I changed because of Christ and I loved it. He wouldn’t join me in that.

    Was it one of the extremes? I don’t know, somedays it was to me. Could it have been saved-I believe that God could have saved the relationship and even make it great BUT I also believe that both parties have to be willing and for 2 years it was just me even trying. I would tell any girlfriend or guy friend for that matter who came to me to say they were divorcing to stop and think about it, pray about it, talk about it. It is the most disruptive choice that can me made to all involved. Its effects are far reaching.

    If I had a friend who was dating and happened to find the love of their life, I would ask are they a Christian? Do you both believe? Really believe, not just the oh yeah, I went to church as a kid but haven’t in 20 years (me). I learned in all of this how hard it is to be so in love with God and want to know more and moreabout him but your boyfriend/husband/ex-husband doesnt feel the same way. Makes life hard.

    Great post Robin. I am sure there is someone out there who really needed this today!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Lisa, thank you for your thought-filled reply. And for hearing me, I think. Because I KNOW you can’t generalize, and there are SO many different circumstances, I understand where this encouragement could be offensive; plenty of people will quietly close the post and think I’m waaaaay off base.

      Circumstance and timing pressed me to write this; just a Titus 2 “older woman” encouraging younger women to s l o w d o w n. Which can seem like FOREVER in the slowing down, until you have the benefit of hindsight :).

      There are certainly many couples out there with different belief systems, but it sure makes it harder. It’s always cool when you hear about someone coming to the Lord later in life; but my heart goes out to those who do so and their partner isn’t on the same page. So hard.

      I’m grateful for your comment, Lisa…blessings :).

      • Lisa H

        Yes, I heard you and understood what you were saying in your post.

        I’ve not heard the phrase ‘ just a Titus 2 older woman’ before so I guess I need to go read Titus! It was an older woman who counseled me for 2 years (its been almost 4 now). She is not that much older than myself, 10 years actually, and she feels more like an older sister to me now. She will be celebrating her 21st or 22nd anniversary next month! She definitely encouraged me to slowdown and think things through and for that I am grateful!

  • Sable

    This post really hits home and I totally agree with what you’re saying. And Lisa, I totally agree with what you’ve said too. See, I’m at the point in my life where I’m reevaluating my life. I’ve just turned forty this year and I’ve just been in contact with my ex-husband, whom I left thirteen years ago. We’re not divorced and so we’ve been talking. The problem? He and I are both in relationships, live-in ones. Plus, he has two children by his girlfriend. But recently, he’s broken up with her and the two of us are looking to reconcile our marriage. I keep praying about what to do because I’m not sure. I’m starting to have feelings for my ex but I don’t know if it’s romanticizing the past or if they’re real. He’s having the same problems. But, he has agreed to go to counselling if I want to. I know, we should’ve done that all those years ago but I didn’t give him the chance. I just walked out. Now, after talking to him, I’m realizing the severity of what I did and I’m paying for it with my own tears and pain. But I’m going to keep praying (and breathing) and see what God wants for me, for all of us. God bless you and you Lisa and Amy. Good luck to you all!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Sable,

      S i g h…if we only knew “then” what we’ve know now, right? Praying for you…for wisdom and grace and healing and clarity; and that you grow closer to Christ as you seek.

  • Bethany

    Thank you for this post. It is something that I need to hear today. After struggling for years after getting married young and feeling hopeless that things will ever change or that he will ever learn to open up and show love or affection, it is so tempting to walk away. To think that someone else can fix the pieces of your heart. That someone else could fill up that hole inside. To feel that you are throwing away all your best years on an emotionally-unavailable man.

    For me, it has come down to trying to accept him for who God made him to be and to find my hope in the one who calls me His Beloved, calls me “Mine.” To be thankful for the little things and be grateful for what I do have. And to realize that there is no man on this earth that can fill that God-sized hole in my heart and fulfill all of my emotional needs. After all, it is God-sized for a reason. Only He can fill it.

    From Beth Moore – “Married women with common frustrations: give your spouse room to be human. Forgive him for not being God. Forgive him for not always saying what you need to hear. The King is enthralled by your beauty.

    Until the ultimate relationship arrives, let your mirror image be the face of Christ. To Him, the most beautiful woman on earth is the bride who steadily makes herself ready for her Groom. Your bridal portrait is being painted one day at a time. When it is complete, it will be a breathtaking masterpiece.”

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Oh, Bethany…”let your mirror image be the face of Christ.” What a beautiful thought! And to be able to think it when you have reason to believe otherwise? A testimony to God’s grace and your faith. Thank you for such a wise, balanced comment. I **feel** your struggle…and I’m honored these words would be encouragement to you today.

      Praying for you, lovie….

  • http://www.lindseytipple.com Lindsey T.

    It seems odd for me to feel this way as I’m single and have never been married, but I really appreciated this article. THANK YOU for writing it. God bless.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Lindsey,

      I wonder if years from now you’ll remember “that post” you read; or a least I hope a few words serve as encouragement years from now…if/when you need to have them preached again :). You’ve blessed me by your sweet sentiment!

  • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

    Lovies–popping in to my own comment thread to let you know I’M TAKING MY BABY GIRL TO COLLEGE TODAY and won’t be able to keep up with replies. The emails I’m receiving are already piercing my heart; and I’m so grateful for your comments. I’ll respond as I’m able but please know I’m praying over these words and the hearts that receive them today.

    (Here’s my heart today, too… http://bit.ly/riIxWe “Metamorphosis”)

  • http://outofmyallegedmind.blogspot.com Nancy

    Thank you for writing this. Marriage is hard, but so many are wounded when it is torn apart. May your words bring hope and courage today where they are most needed.

  • bonnie fuhrman

    I needed your words this morning…thank you.

  • Anon

    Do I regret my divorce? No. I was abandoned and betrayed. Do I recommend it? No. The grief is heavier than the grief of death. I could not safely stay in my marriage. I only regret not breathing more before I said I do.

  • http://www.theworshipwarrior.wordpress.com Kara Nutt

    Thank you for this post.
    I know so many times the advise to stick it out, “For the children” is given. Everyone knows divorce is hard on the kids. But even when there are no children in a marriage, divorce leaves scars.
    My wonderful husband and I are both previously divorced. I had been for 7 years, he for just 1. Both of our first marriages had lasted only 3 years. I had thought that I had worked through all the “issues” I was also aware that he wouldn’t have had time yet. What I found was that even after 7 years, there were still wounds festering, things new hubby would do and after I reacted I’d wonder “Wow, where did that come from?” And many times I would have to tell him I wasn’t her, to stop projecting her reasonings onto my actions.
    I know that we both did everything we could to try to make our first marriages work. In my case my first husband left to embrace homosexuality. On the one hand I’m thankful that my husbands first wife left him,without that we never would have met, but my heart breaks for the hurt it caused him, for the wounded spirit I’ve tried to help heal.
    I’m so very thankful neither marriage produced children, we now have one son together. I admit there are days when I feel overwhelmed as a wife and mother, but then I look, really look, at my husband and son I can’t imagine life without them, a weekend to my self might be nice, but not the rest of my life…

  • Penny

    Thanks for sharing. We need to stand up more for marriage, especially Christian couples, and know that the person you choose and marry and have children with, that choice is suppose to be non-negotiable. Divorce is too easy these days. Why isn’t it harder? Again, thank you for having the courage to tell the truth.

  • http://www.highimpactmom.com Amanda @ High Impact Mom

    I am better for knowing you, friend. This is a beautiful post and I moved beyond words. I have been there…and I am still learning to breathe. Thank you for this gentle reminder today. xoxo

  • http://brightforest.blogspot.com Cassi

    Stopping to breath.. wait… process
    Made all the difference in our marriage. I don’t believe we would still be married if we hadn’t. Great post.

  • http://www.whisperingsomething.blogspot.com Alexandra

    I think all of us face times when we *understand* how someone could want out of marriage, don’t we? And your advice is so helpful, often all that is needed is to make it through a time of stress or difficulty that has highlighted issues and made them seem impossible, when in reality all that’s happened is that stress has become a magnifying glass.
    Perseverance is SO important. Thank you for sharing this.

  • http://www.thebonafidelife.net Chele

    Robin,
    1. I love you and am so so thankful to call a special soul like you my friend!
    2. I’ve been divorced, I’ve seen how you can leave your children and spouse so easily. However, I did not leave my children (I did think of it just to get out!) I left him. Some reasons are because of adultery, drug abuse, mental and physical abuse and lack of love for me and our children. I was young and stupid as they say however to this day I believe it’s because the marriage was not on the foundation of Christ… none of it.
    3. I’m now remarried, there is better on the other side of that mountain. I’ve never been able to say with my whole heart and soul until now, that I have a man loves every single part of me (even my flaws). That’s a blessing from God that I am forever thankful for! My ex gave up his two children and my husband has adopted them.
    4. Do not regret anything, everything happens for a reason.
    5. To those who are reading through these comments and are struggling. Please contact me if you need to chat. I’ve been there, done that however I also feel you need to take your time on making that decision of divorce and we all need to know we are not alone.

    Wonderful post Robin! Sorry had to put my two cents in… as I’m sure you know about me, I feel strongly about the marriage thing as well! xoxo

  • Sandra Howard

    This is sound council! I married my highschool sweetheart 28 years ago. The only guy I have ever even been on a date with. Last November I thought I’d just had enough and I left, which threw my entire family and network of friends into a state of disbelief and hurt. I am one of the extremely blessed . . . my husband pursued me with a godliness that I can’t begin to describe here. He never got angry and he never gave up. A month later I was back home where I belonged. To any of you who may be thinking about leaving your husband, I have this to say: I didn’t divorce my husband, but by that seemingly short separation, I caused hurts in my family that may take years to heal, if they ever do. A chain of events has occured that I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams. Oh, if I had only taken time to ‘just breathe’. If I had only taken the time to bathe myself in God’s word and seek godly council we would have been spared all this heartache. I took the pain I was suffering and, though unintentional, inflicted it upon others. It was the most selfish thing I have ever done in my life and I will never repeat it! Also, look around you. Determine if your pain in just because of an unhealthy relationship with your spouse or if other things are influencing you. In my case I had just lost my dad to cancer and I allowed the hurt of losing him to magnify problems in my marriage. Do some sorting and put things where they belong. Some of the things you may see as weakness in your spouse may really be strength and vice versa. Be fair and don’t excuse thought, actions and behaviors in yourself that you will not excuse in your spouse. Pray, pray and then pray some more~and love without reservation!

  • http://www.goodmemoriescafe.com Liz Maurice

    Robin,
    This was well written and understood. I have been on the broken marriage track 2 times. I always say the first one didn’t count… (18 years old and scared of my alcoholic parent, influenced this decision) The second marriage… we split amicably (so we say)…
    Now with being in my 3 marriage 10 years after my second ended, I think and know whole heartily what this post is ALL about. Our 4th anniversary is in October, we are over 45 and 55 years old, and we are working HARD at this. It’s too easy to leave, you’re right. And once you’re out, trust me THE grass isn’t always greener in single land! Is there such a thing as “it shouldn’t be this difficult” when in reality we should just say… BREATH! ((hugs))

  • January

    Robin, my friend posted your blog on facebook and it caught my attention. I am a bride to be and I have to admit, I’m a little nervous. I’m not going to say “scared”, because I’m not. I will be 30 and this will be my first marriage. Although I do have a daughter from a previous relationship. My fiance will be 38, and I will be his third wife. … As many women know, planning a wedding is stressful, and one of the happiest times of our lives. We’ve dreamed about this day since we were little girls. Planning with our best friends, who we’re going to marry, where, when, the dress, the flowers, and all the small details. Growing up with these friends a lot of them have already been married, and a couple divorced before I have even said “I do” … Watching my friends go through this has made me ask myself questions… “Does anyone really mean it any more when they say ‘Forever’?” … “They were so sure a few years ago, just as I am now.” My fiance is my best friend, and before we got engaged, I looked into the future, and cried at the thought of him not being there. That had never happened to me before. I had looked into the future with past relationships, and seeing me without them seemed, not bad. But being without my best friend makes me want to whelp up and loose it! (lol) I guess where I’m going with all of this is, yes, I’m nervous. And yes, I’ve thought about “what if”, but as you said, “Just Breath”, and I feel like we’ll be able to work through anything. I see marriage as a one time deal, but I’m not sure a lot of people now of days do. My parents are still together, which I guess is one reason why I think this way. I am blessed to be able to say that. They just celebrated 35 years. I see a lot of my Dad in my fiance, so in a way, I know we’re going to be alright. … It’s tough to be so excited to be getting married, but yet be thinking in the back of your mind, “What if”… So what I am going to take from your blog is your suggestion of “slow down, breath, and seek Godly council.” We have agreed that if things got bad we would seek Godly council, because neither he nor I want to go through a divorce. I know he loves me, and I just pray I never forget how blessed I feel right now, to be his.

  • http://irishgirl7.blogspot.com/ Gloria

    I am one of the ones who can so relate to this and I thank you. I struggled for 17 years in a loveless marriage. I tried everything I could think of and being a Christian woman marring a Christian man, thought I was on the journey to having that awesome marriage I grew up in, like my parents. Not knowing, I married a man that didn’t know how to love (whole different story) but I put that aside and decided if I were just good enough, then I could make it work.
    It wasn’t until my father passed away (On Christmas Day) that it came to me like a bolt of lighting. Life is too short to live in a loveless marriage. So I left took our two children with me (they were teens then) and started a new life, so I thought. Our children decided to move back with their Dad after 4 years but ended them being kicked out of his house because of his new wife. Hard hard times. How many times can a heart be broken? Many!
    21 years ago I was lead to the most remarkable man and have been together ever since. We had our rocky times. I was over sensitive about what I would NOT except in my marriage. Once we arrived at that understanding, well like I said…..married to my best friend for 21 years. One of the reasons? My Dad came to my now husband in a few dreams. One was him saying “Love and Respect” and the other dream “What ever you do, where ever you go it will work out” My husband had never met him.
    My children and I love each other unconditionally. It took many years to get pass the guilt but God guided me clear through to the other side. Thank you again for your post, it is part of my healing, I just know it is.

  • Suze

    Thank you. You wrote that for me. Over the past four years my husband has lied to me about so many things, I am sure I don’t know about them all. I know for sure that whatever he did, he has ended up contracting a life ending illness as a consequense. I have told no one, because to admit to his failure would be to admit to my bad judgement in chosing to marry him. No one would believe me anyway. He is a “pillar of the community”, as they like to say. A good Christian Man. We’ve been married over 20 years. For most of those I thought I knew him. He swears I do. He says his actions were simply a product of his circumstances…the failure of a business, the death of a parent, him feeling like a failure. My saving grace is that God has given me a love for my children that is far greater than my dislike for my husband. I often ask myself how, when we got engaged, God seemed to give me feeling/sign that was so unmistakable about the man I was to marry and then he ended up doing such stupid stuff. But you know, life goes on. Even when people to amazingly hurtful, stupid things. So I pray for him. I pray for me. I pray for his therapist. I pray for our kids. I pray for our family. God has a plan for us. Mostly I pray for patients and ask God to grant me a forgiving heart. I’m working on it. I’m breathing…!

    • http://bethlee.livejournal.com/ Beth Werner Lee

      I’m for you, sister! You’re praying the right things.
      Wow, the haven’t told anyone compounds your pain too, doesn’t it?
      When I cried out to God about how hard it was one time I felt a response that I was God’s girl for my husband, but God was my bigger husband who knew and loved my heart so that I could love a sinner like He does. So I pray for His work and cling to the verse Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. He’s gotta do the work!
      Can I also recommend Stormie Omartian’s Power of a Praying Wife?

    • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy June

      I’m praying with right now, Sister. If your husband had a temporary (or seasonal) lapse, that will be proven over time and I pray you have peace through the process.

      Don’t be afraid to share with others in real life, you will be surprised and blessed by the support.

      Hugs,

  • Hunniebun

    What a timely post, and I loved when you admitted that you didn’t know who you were writing the post for…maybe it was me! So rest assured that there are people listening and hearing your message. I have been married 7 years and with my husband for 13 years in total. The past two years have been challenging as my husband copes with depression, job dissatification, balancing work and family needs and caring for 2 year old son. Somedays I would like to walk out the door and not look back, because I am so tired of being the strong one, the positive one, the one who picks up the peices. Sometimes having the door open to leave is the only thing that makes me stay. Does that make sense? I know that I have a choice, and I am choosing the stay and be the strong and postive for another day.
    I once read a story in readers digest about a woman who went to her therapist for advice on leaving her marriage. She wanted to hurt her husband as much as possible, because she had been hurt by his neglict and indifference. The therapist said, if you really want to hurt him, for the next few months pretend to be the ideal wife. Cook his favorite meals, compliment him, do nice things, stop nagging, be as kind as you can be. And then after a few months of that, drop the bomb and tell him you want to get a divorce. That will hurt him the most. A few months later, the therapist saw the woman again and asked if she was ready to get divorced. The woman said NO! Our marriage has never been better, when I started being more kind and thoughtful, he was kind and thoughtful back. The therapist smiled, knowling.
    I also read somewhere that when interviewed five years after a difficult time in their marriage, the couples who stayed together to work through it was over all happier in life and those who decided to divorce.
    I am rambling now, but what I am trying to say is thank you for the post. I will add it to my collection of motiviation/inspiration to not give up on my marriage when I have “bus days”…that is what my mom call’s the those difficult days where you just want to give up…when you just want to get on a bus! She has been married for 43 years! More inspiration…

  • Paula

    Hi Robin –
    Congrats on Baby Girl’s leap into college life. They are so excited and thrilled…and we moms shed enough tears for the both of us! Life’s steps….beautiful, celebrated, but lots of heart tuggin’, too!

    I appreciate very much your post. It’s something many women need to hear in the midst of those “bus days”, as Hunniebun put it (love that!). I will speak, however, for those of us that found divorce to be our final **best** option.
    I was married 20 years to a man who had drug problems. I truly believe it was clean the first 8 – 10 years, and we struggled but made it work. However, the use kicked up the remaining years, and long story short – the drug use became the most important thing in his life. The marriage that my two sons were exposed to what NOT what I wanted them to have as an image of marriage. Fortunately, my family has many wonderful examples of good marriages, so they did/do have great role models.
    The divorce was extremely painful and I was mortified to put my sons through it. I chose to not be vengeful or bitter, and often had to bite my tongue! It worked, though, and through time, grace, and prayers….the outcome has been blessed. The biggest blessing? I’ve been remarried for 11 years to an amazing man who loves me, cherishes me, is devoted to our marriage and family, AND will work with me through the hard times. It’s not perfect, of course, but he is a true partner who is willing to do the work!! PTL!!!
    I am blessed and very aware of it. :)
    Thanks again for a wonderful post that is surely speaking to the beautiful souls that need to hear it today. <3

    • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy June

      Thank you for sharing your story, it blessed me today.

  • http://bethlee.livejournal.com/ Beth Werner Lee

    Robin, thank you for going with what the Lord was compelling you to write. Of course there are more than one of us! Since the early spring I have been wrestling with God over this as two other people’s divorce have hit me hard because I care for them. It seems like after a bit of pain divorced have better lives, so that’s the carrot for me right? No.
    My man is a committed man even if there are pains to work out.
    So I need to breathe.
    I tried several times to make an appointment with a counselor this summer and each time something happened to block it. Yet through posts like these and Bible verses and coffee dates with friends God has been counseling my heart. Thank you for letting him speak to a whole bunch of us through you.
    Breathing…Beth

  • http://www.designforGod.net Christine

    I once was listening to a Jason Upton CD. I think it was “Beautiful People” or the one after that. (1200 Feet Below Sea Level, I think. I’m not sure.) Anyway, when it came to song #6, it was not a song but Jason asking an elderly man for a blessing on the evening. The man was in his 80’s and he lost his wife of 66 years. Jason was astounded. 66 years. The man told Jason that when his wife met him, he was a hooligan and used to fight all the time. But then his wife got him to go to church and Jesus Christ turned his life around. Jason asked him what was better: young love or old love. The man answered old love. He said his marriage got better every day just like being with the Lord. I have NO idea how his man and his wife made their marriage work like that but I wish he would share it with everyone else because we all could use his advice. I’m divorced and I highly doubt if I will ever marry again but I’d love to hear how this gentle, elderly man viewed his marriage as “heaven on earth.” (his words)

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann

    Drank down every beautiful word, Robin.
    Love your heart…
    *Thank you*!

    You bless…

    All’s grace,
    Ann

  • http://amymccollister.blogspot.com Amy McCollister

    I love this post SO much. These are the words that have echoed in my soul since my parents got divorced 10 years ago. As a young bride, these are the words I remind myself of on the rough days. I knew we’d have them, but I also knew we both had the same perspective on divorce. —it wasn’t going to happen, no matter what comes along, we will work and fight through it.— My heart breaks each time I hear of a marriage that collapses. Today’s society takes marriage so lightly it sickens me most days. I look forward to the day in paradise where there is no divorce, or any of the factors that tend to lead to divorce. Thank you, thank you for (unknowingly) putting my heart for divorce into words.

  • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy June

    This is a tough post for me as a fairly recent divorcee. I wholeheartedly agree with the “breathe” message. There is nothing to be gained by rushing into a permanent decision.

    I think it is reasonable to “ache” for the pain that leads to divorce and the experience of untangling lives, but please do not “ache” for all who have divorced. God is so very faithful to us and real in a way that He was not to me before, when I thought I had a real-life man. My own betrayal and divorce was the most painful, hurtful season (it doesn’t happen all at once) and yet I can only describe it now as deliverance. God rescued me and my children from a man who had chosen this world over our Lord. We experienced the consequences and discipline of living in relationship with that man.

    Now we are free to be blessed according to His great mercy and grace. Life is so far from perfect, but divorce is not the worst people in this world face. I intentionally chose to serve Christ rather than a husband who would not permit me to obediently follow our Lord. For me, the choice was clear: Choose God or choose man. I know it is not always that clear and God finds great joy in sweet unity and reconciliation.

    I do feel your heart, when possible I would recommend to any person and friend to do all you can to work it out. But genuinely, one person cannot make a marriage when the other is and remains checked out. Thank you for your tender words and the authentic way in which you shared yourself.

  • http://www.imperfectpeople.net Katie @ Imperfect People

    Yes marriage is a HUGE decision. I feel like God really protected me. I so badly wanted my happily ever after and God gave me my husband at just the right time. It could have very easily been a much different story. Thank you for your sweet heart willing to pray for others who are struggling! Marraiges need to be protected. I think that is where the emeny does his work.

  • http://reimaginedtreasures.blogspot.com Kathi

    Robin, I wanted to say a huge YES to your post! My husband and I are on the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel side of coming through this very thing. We even did have a 6 week separation which was truly part of breathing—I called it taking the pause. There were violations of the kind that topped my DealBreaker List…stuff that hurt so bad that I didn’t think we could continue to have a marriage. But with wonderful God-Love filled counsel and arms around me, I opened myself to that healing and possibility. GOD HAS DONE THE IMPOSSIBLE HEALING AND MIRACLES!!!!!!! I am actually closer to my husband than I have been in most of our 23 years of marriage. Honesty, letting go, forgiveness, accceptance are all things we have learned and that are Huge in our marriage now, Tears, gut wrenching sobbing, fear, falling on my face in prayer, work—yes. But so worth it. My 20 year old son recently said, “I want a marriage like you and Dad’s” He doesn’t know ALL the details, but he witnessed transformation, forgiveness and acceptance and redemption that apparently looks appealing to him in this world of disposable everything. I am so so grateful that we took this path.

  • M. Louise

    Does anyone know of any christian single parent groups? Online or Inperson….

    I have been divorced for a few years now. I have two beautiful girls. I am so lonely. I don’t think I’ll ever meet anyone nice, stable, christian…..I miss married life so very much. I wish he hadn’t cheated. I wish he had wanted to stay with me…But I can’t change the past. I wish he had read a post like yours and tried to stay true to his vows….xoxoxo

    • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy June

      Hi, Louise – I’m so sorry for your pain. I don’t know where you’re located, but in my area we have several single mother groups and we are very close & supportive. It always helps to know you’re not traveling this path alone…and since becoming single myself, I’ve learned that single moms are the number one growing demographic in the USA. Don’t rule out your married friends, either. After all, we are first women, serving the Lord and happen to be mothers that are single. Don’t let this define you – you get to choose who you will be. Big hugs to you, I know it’s lonely many days and that as His children this was not the path we would choose. Still life is good and dear and you are so valuable. I wish you could meet me for lunch!

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  • http://eveling-talitacumi.blogspot.com/ Evie

    Thanks Robin. I could have been that monster. Some time ago, I was decided to leave my husband and even my children, just because I wanted to give up and now I see I did not have a valid reason to do it…. God´s mercy keeps me breathing now. After reading your post, I am sure I want to breath and persevere. I want to follow God´s council, I pray God he puts a new love in my heart for my husband… and that I can be the spouse God has planned for him.

  • JOYCE

    Breathe you should, as you lean heavily on God.Listen for his answer. He always answers with the right decision!!!!

  • http://afwifemomcrafter.com Annie H

    I want to thank you so much for this post! I’ve come to the understanding point also. I’d never leave, ever…but I understand how one could. That’s a hard reality. Breathing and persuing Him and Godly counsel is certianly what I need to remember. Thank you!!

  • Tania

    A beautiful post!
    A beautiful way to uplift and help others struggling! Marriage is of God so we know satan will do all he can do to destroy it…

    Ephesians 6:12
    For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

    I just stumbled at the part about being into 75% of Harry Potter? I don’t understand how as Christians we allow the enemy to use such writings to enter our home.
    I have been a Christian for 8 years then backslid… I confessed my sins to the Lord and asked Him to help me see truth – only from His word – the Holy spirit is the BEST teacher!
    I had a born again experience a month ago and the Holy Spirit had us clean out the idols and things in our home that were keeping us from walking closer with the Lord. It has been a beautiful journey and has bought the whole family closer to God and on fire for Him again!
    We all need to walk closer with our Lord, we are children of the King of Kings!! The enemy will do all he can to destroy that, so many are asleep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The things we should be reading and filling ourselves up on is the scriptures and things that will bring us closer to God, give blessings to others and preparing us for the 2nd coming of our Lord and Saviour soon!
    Isaiah 8:19
    And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?
    Deuteronomy 18:10
    There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,

    I say these things in the Love of our Lord and Saviour.
    Please don’t give the enemy a foothold into your life. Time is short.

  • Tania

    Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
    14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

  • http://everlypleasant.blogspot.com Everly

    As a single, I’ve love to read about what happened between “maybe” and “yes.” What changed? Why?

    Great post, Robin. Thank you, even from this point in life’s road.

    Everly

  • http://betty-wiseheartedwomen.blogspot.com Betty Draper

    As parents of a son who is ending his four year marriage which will leave his two children dealing with the scars for the rest of their life…I want to say, preach it sister. Grief is the word I have discovered that fits how we feel as some of those affected by his and her action. Our counsel of “breathe”, seek more help, trust God, think of the children and other Godly counsel was drowned out by the world’s advice that the kids will make it, you deserve to be happy, trust your feelings and so on and on. You are one courageous wise hearted women and thank you for your going toe to toe with the devil on this issue. We have been married almost 48 years and I still do not know how we stayed together without Christ for 15 very tough hurtful years. . I know all those hurts piles up and when I came to know Christ and his unconditional love I was able to forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive because He forgave me.
    I think this issue with our son is more hurtful though then all the issues we have been through in our years of marriage. But we are not left hopeless……for this one thing I know….life is in Christ and and my son and daughter in law may have given up but God has not given up on them. No matter the outcome God will still work in their lives and the grandchildren as they grow. There will be wounds that the balm of forgiveness will heal and leave a scar, that will give wise counsel as many who are divorced have given on this post. I say again, preach it sister…some will heed your words and marriages will be saved because of your courage.

  • Jessica

    It was for me. I am humbled and blessed by your words. THANK YOU for speaking the truth when I wasn’t ready to hear it. (But NEEDED to hear it) Keep strong and keep being obedient! Love to you, my sister.
    Jess

  • http://thescienceofmusic.blogspot.com Rachel {the science of music}

    Thank you for these words, Robin. I appreciated every one. I went through a time of not being sure whether to marry my husband, and then coming to the decision of yes. And it’s been a great decision – we celebrated 10 years this weekend – but I still get that “what if” in the back of my head. What if I said no? And then the doubt creeps in and the fears start coming back.

    And the only way to get rid of it? Is what you said. Breathe. Take time to remember. Take time to think on what is true (why I said yes) rather than my irrational fears. Drink in God’s word and let His thoughts overtake banish mine. I’ve also learned that I can’t do it once. I must do it again and again. I’ve done it for 10 years now, and will probably keep doing it for the rest of my life.

  • http://kamrandolph.xanga.com Katie

    Breath… deep…

    I so understand also. I was a little farther, ready, had a bag packed in my car. Could have left at anytime, but I would go out and go up to the church where I had a key. I would lock myself inside and cry and cry and/ or call a friend to talk. Or I would journal. I always ended up going home.

    Now years later, I am realize what a blessing my husband is to me and I am so glad I stuck out the hard times and learned to deal with myself and my hurts and my faults in my marriage (lots of counseling).

  • Me.

    Robin, I’m not married yet but it’s on the “horizon” and lately my relationship has been so tence with the marriage topic in the air, me stressed, and like you perfectly described a sence of urgency… Ive stressed him and maybe even disillusioned him as well as myself… I’ve feel like your message was straight at me, yesterday Sunday was a rocky day for us and I would simply like to say thank you, for allowing yourself to be used by God. Your a great help.

  • http://karmynsdreamings.typepad.com Karmyn R

    Robin – I think this is great advice. I know there were some low years in my marriage, but it is true – I breathed and stuck it out and the marriage is better than ever. Of course, there are couples out there who have major problems that I can’t comprehend, but Breathing and letting God love you have got to help.

  • Melodie

    Thank you for posting this instead of the Harry Potter post :) I would never leave my husband, I left my first husband of 10 years due to him having an affair and not choosing me and my boys. My now husband is great, but I struggle with depression. I tend to get thoughts in my head about is that are not TRUTH and dwell on them and then become an emotional mess. I KNOW I need to be bathing in the word, but sometimes (and I know this sounds strange), His Word reminds me of my first failed marriage, and then I hurt even more. Anyway, I am not giving up. But, thank you for this post :)