Question:

I found your web site searching online and I have a question to ask!

My wife of 15 years divorced me recently. I'm just lost and devastated.

From the start I was verbally abusive and on a few occasions had pushed her. The fact is: I was abusive and that's a fact. I hurt inside so bad it kills me. I went into the hospital a few months back and was told I have PTSD. That's not an excuse but it does answer a lot of questions for me.

Earlier this year I caught her having a sexual affair with a twenty year old kid at her work!

She ask me to leave our home. I had nothing, nowhere to go! I just got back home. I had to shut down my new business we had just started and that meant I had no job! Nothing but a car I couldn't even pay for, which she had just bought me.

Almost five years ago I studied to become a minister and worked on getting my life straight. I truly felt called to preach! But my wife told me, after schooling and thousands of dollars, she just did not believe in me, and she felt I was not ready. I begged her to study with me, and we could work together to serve Jesus Christ and that he would bless us but she said no! She would not even take communion with me.

We had a lot of fights in the 15 years together. I treated her rudely. I was hurt because I could feel in my soul she didn't want anything to do with me! I know that the anger I had in our fights was just wrong and ungodly, and I have asked God to forgive me.

These last few months have been trying ones. She says that she stoped loving me years ago and had just been looking for a way out. She said the sexual affair with this twenty year old kid was just by mistake. But that he understood her and what she was going through! She shut me off and said she just could not deal with it. She said she does not believe that divorce is against God's will and if it is, she will have to deal with Him. She believes God has forgiven her of the adultery. I truly love her and am praying for God to help me in understanding why! She is rejecting the truth when she knows what she is into is against God's will for us both. I begged her to go to Christian counseling, but she said it would not change her or the fact that she does not love me any more. If she continues, she will be living in adultery. If she never reconciles and marries again, she tempts God. She is a professed Christian. If she remarries she is a adulteress and has already committed adultery!

Can you help me to understand all this? She says she forgives me but it's over. Am I just dumb or am I missing something? I am scared she will wind up in hell, and I feel it's my fault. Divorce is not a way to run from the truth in life. I feel I have tried for years in vain for what?


Answer:

I tell couples repeatedly that marriages are made; they don't just happen. When a couple says, "I do," it is the start of a lifelong effort to blend two lives into one family. You're beginning to see this now. You treated your wife badly, worse than you would have treated a colleague or your neighbor down the street, and somehow you saw yourself justified. Of course people don't tolerate mistreatment.

I'm not a fan of seminaries and preaching schools. I think it is more effective for men desiring to preach to learn from other preachers. But it does seem strange that you could study to preach and not learn how to better treat your wife. It again explains your wife's disbelief in you abilities when you talk one way, but live a different life. "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:16-20).

Regardless, neither of you acted better than the other. She treated you badly because you were treating her badly, and you found that to be justification to treat her badly in return.

Her behavior was in response to your behavior, but it doesn't justify how she behaved. Yes, she committed adultery because she gave up your marriage. She claims it was an mistake, but she makes it clear that she also sought it out as a substitute for what she thought was lacking in her marriage. She has stopped the affair, but it isn't clear that she has repented of it; that is, changed her mind about the morality of what she did. Worse, she thinks this divorce will clear the way for her to marry someone else, even though she was the adulteress in this situation (Matthew 19:9).

There isn't much more you can do, except hope that she will realize her sins before it is too late. Meanwhile, you have a lot of work ahead for yourself. You've let your life get into disarray and so now you have to start over from scratch. It is going to be rough for a while, but it is doable. The first task is to find yourself a job. From there you can then work at getting a place to live. "Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house" (Proverbs 24:27). Eliminate your debt and make it rule for yourself that you'll only buy things that you've saved for first. "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7). It will take a few years, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Perhaps while you are fixing yourself, your ex-wife will regret what she has done and return. If so, then you will be a position to receive her back. But if not, then you'll then be in a better position to move forward in your own life.