In the months just after I left my wife, I justified my position and my actions by telling myself that I was the one that had really been betrayed. So what if we were still “married”? It didn’t feel like a marriage and hadn’t in a long time. My wife kept to herself, she wasn’t excited about my achievements anymore, and she didn’t seem to care if I was in the house or not. I kept asking myself, Who wants to live a life like that? I was angry at her. I blamed her. I judged her. I left her.
It was only after about four months of separation that I realized things just weren’t adding up. My wife seemed happier without me, but she kept asking me when I was coming home. My kids didn’t try to talk with me much, but every time they did they lavished me with “I love you” and “I miss you”. I couldn’t understand why my wife and children would say things like that after I had walked out on them. Wasn’t it their fault in the first place that I left?
As I tried to reconcile what was happening, I ventured to do something I hadn’t done in a long, long time…I prayed. God, what do these people want from me? Aren’t they better off without me? Why didn’t they cling to me like this before I left? His answer brought me to my knees… He said, Because they love you.
In that moment I knew what I had missed. My wife hadn’t been pushing me away; I had become a stranger to her, and yet she was clinging to a man she no longer knew in the hopes that I would return to her. Likewise, my children had been frustrated by my absence while I scoured the world for success, but they never stopped keeping vigil for that day that I would put them in their rightful place above my career. They LOVED me, even in that moment, after I had closed the door on our relationships, THEY. LOVED. ME. No strings attached.
After I realized this, I started working myself back to my family. Even after the two affairs, even after I destroyed our family, my wife just wouldn’t quit believing that her husband was somewhere out in the world waiting to return. That’s love. The love I wanted. The love I needed. The love that had been there all along. I also realized why my wife seemed happier in my absence. She had found this same love in developing her relationship with God. God’s love is all encompassing; and no matter how many times we turn our backs to Him, when we face Him again His arms are stretched out and ready to embrace us. My wife found in God the love that I had stopped showing her, the same love I desired. Love that is unconditional, unequivocal, and unending.
I now tell my wife, I’ll never give up on you. And I won’t, because I love her. She didn’t give up on me; neither did my children, and neither did God. I was forced to approach them all as a poor, broken man; and they scooped me into their arms and gave me the love that I needed so badly. That’s love.
Friends, you can’t change your spouse’s views through deeds or demands, through anger or shame, through screams or tears. You love them, and the greatest way to do this is by NOT GIVING UP. As long as God is in control, it’s NEVER over. And don’t give up on yourself; your pain and suffering aren’t measures of your self-worth. Allow God to minister to you and show you how He sees you, as a beautiful child of His own creation. Remember, Paul said that of hope, faith, and love, the greatest of these is love. Because all three will be tested, but love doesn’t quit.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7