Should I give her another chance?

Question:

Sir,

I have written you before about my divorce and you responded, and I appreciate that. I am a member of the church of Christ and have been for many years. I listen to sermons on your website daily at least 2-3 hours per day and really enjoy them. You are a very sound preacher and I hope to meet you some day.

My wife left several months ago. She said needed a "break" and since decided that she wanted a divorce. I would not go along with the divorce and had planned on waiting for her to reconcile for a few months, until I was made aware that she was seeing an ex-boyfriend from several years back. I then filed for divorce and it will be final within a couple of weeks.

Although I truly believe I have biblical grounds for divorce, I still feel guilt, shame and depression over the divorce because I never wanted a divorce. I also care for her and her soul so much that it is tearing me up inside to deal with it. I love her and care about her, even though I have no doubt that she has committed adultery. I know I shouldn't beat myself up over this and everyone tells me that I should move on because the divorce is scriptural, but I can't seem to do that yet.

In the last month she has contacted me, stating that she is depressed and lost. I believe that she has regrets, but my question is: Do you think that because she has done wrong that God is "punishing her" by making her depressed and feel guilt and shame? She is a prideful person and has not yet admitted any wrongdoing, but I am wondering if any of her depression and hard times she is facing could be from the sins she has committed. Even though I am certain she has cheated, I feel like I should have grace on her later on if she did come back and repent and want to reconcile because that is what God would want. I may not be making any sense but I just feel like I need to have grace, mercy, and forgiveness for her even though I have the reasons to "move on" and remarry if I wish.

What are your thoughts? Thank you so much for any help and insight. God bless you.


Answer:

What I always advise people do is to give a marriage every opportunity to work. That is what God did with the Israelites when they repeatedly broke their covenant with God. After all, ""For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment with wrong," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously"" (Malachi 2:16). Divorce your wife because she makes it clear that she won't give up her sin.

Though she is depressed, sorrow alone is not repentance. "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11). What is troubling is that there are only regrets -- there are no changes.

Let her know that you don't want a divorce, but she left you no choice since she refuses to admit she is wrong and return to you. This is really her choice. Your choice was that you don't want a wandering spouse. Even if the divorce goes through, you can always take her back -- if she does come back. However, remember that it it is her choice -- one that you cannot force.