I got a note a few weeks ago from a new INFO for Families reader. He is a man whose marriage is imploding, right before his eyes. I know some of his story from a few brief interactions with him, but he voluntarialy chose to elaborate on what he has experienced over the past year. His story is sad, but not without hope.
Be in prayer for my friend...that God would restore what has been broken. But also pray for your own marriage...that you would be attentive to your spouse's needs and not allow little things to snowball into big things.
Here is some of his story:
Those are the first words I saw on the divorce papers. My first reaction was shock, which quickly lead to fear and anger. I got on the computer and frantically searched for “Best Cobb County Divorce Attorney.” I narrowed my search down to five and gave them a call. The first four gave me their game plan and what I should and shouldn’t be doing as we get ready for court. However, the last attorney started out by asking me, “Have you tried marriage counseling? Is there no way to save the marriage? Why don’t you give it one last try and then call me back if you still need me.” Was a divorce attorney actually more interested in SAVING my marriage than getting a fat paycheck? So, I took his advice and decided to give the marriage everything I had, although in the back of my mind I knew it was too late.
A little background on my situation: my wife and I have been married for 7 years and have a 10 month old baby. We have been separated (living apart) for 8 months. The reason for the pending divorce: It is “irretrievably broken.” In our case, that means a breakdown in communication. No affairs, no drug abuse, no internet porn, just a communication problem. Doesn’t sound too bad right? Well, I can tell you that not listening to the needs of your spouse is just as bad as any of those other reasons. Why? Well, it can lead to divorce.
During this separation we tried marriage counseling (which I stopped going to), we tried church counseling (which I would show up half the time), we tried nightly talks (which would turn into arguments). We tried EVERYTHING. The key word here is “We.” “We” didn’t try everything…she did. The same holds true throughout our marriage. She asked me to go church with her when we were first married, she asked me to go to concerts (which is her favorite pastime), she asked me to go to family parties, she asked me to go to work parties. She asked, and I didn’t listen.
Although the separation has been the worst thing that has ever happened to me, it has also been the best thing that has happened to me. It has forced me to reassess my marriage with my wife AND reassess my relationship with God. It’s funny and sad how it takes such a life-altering event to make those things happen, but in my case, it’s what it took for me to get it. I began to pray morning, noon, and night. I asked that God help me be the good Christian husband and father that I know he wants me to be. I asked God to help my wife make him number one in her life. I began sending my wife morning scriptures via e-mail. I was ready to give the marriage everything I had. Maybe it’s not too late.
During one of our nightly talks (one that didn’t end in a fight), we talked about prayer. She conveyed to me that she had been praying for me all along…throughout our entire marriage. This blew me away. I never knew she was praying for me. I asked her if she still prayed for me and she said “every day.” This was reassuring yet troubling to me, because I couldn’t recall one time, before our separation, where I prayed for my wife. Not only had I neglected my wife (via lack of communication), but I had neglected my communication with God.
Although this story doesn’t have a happy ending (at least not yet), I know that God would never think any marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Because of that, I continue to give my marriage AND God everything I have. It’s never too late...to save your marriage OR your relationship with God.