21 September 2009

Wary yet Hopeful

Whether you feel alone in your marriage, or are enduring a separation right now, there are times when you will interact with your husband. There are many pitfalls to this, and it is wise to have an accountability partner and the leadership of your church involved. You are too emotionally involved to see clearly. Sometimes even the physical presence of a mature friend is recommended so that not only do you have an encourager, but also the calming that occurs when there is a witness.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasure. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7

Remember that there is no innocent party in your marriage. You, too, are a sinner and make poor choices. Do not judge one another. You must learn to try to use your time together wisely. Are you swapping kids for the weekend? Meeting for a counseling appointment? Having lunch? This is not a good time to bring up every offense that you have received since you last saw him. You do not want to spend what may be only a few moments ‘freaking out.’ When you are working on reconciliation, you want to build up your relationship, not tear it down. God is a patient and just listener. He wants to hear your troubles. As the time nears to see your husband, all the injustices and hurts are going to crowd your mind (remember the devil wants your marriage to fail!). Bring each one before the Lord. Let him be the judge of the case. Accept any conviction he gives you about your own actions and let go of the rest.

Sometimes your husband will seem changed. Accept overtures of kindness with genuine thanks. If he seems to be growing, rejoice! Express to him your joy, but be reserved. You want to be encouraging yet protective of your heart. Jesus said “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) The key words to keep in mind at this time are “watch and wait.” You want to see a pattern of behavior emerge. When it is a new pattern, you will be skeptical or maybe ecstatic. Rejoice in your heart, encourage him with your words, and tell the Lord your worries.

1 Corinthians 13:5 reminds us that “love keeps no record of wrongs.” We must give our spouse the benefit of the doubt (joyful in hope, remember?) and not dredge up sarcastic remarks and old failures. You’re giving him a chance to create a new track record. Be a safe person for him to do it with! Remember “When we were still powerless Christ died for the ungodly. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6, 8)