Today’s message is from Bob, who was a prodigal who returned home and was remarried to me for an additional 23 years before the Lord took him home to Heaven. Bob wrote 19 books from the prodigal’s perspective for more than two decades after our divorce and remarriage. – Charlyne
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long… He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Psalm 25:4-5, 9
Many prodigal spouses, including this one, made false starts toward home. Many of us make more than one false start home. We will explore that in a second, but I want to tell you what worked for me in dealing with the other person.
I do not know if the other woman is dead or alive, and it must remain that way. Yes, I have wondered how her life turned out. I am curious if she and her husband ever remarried. I would like to know how her children are doing, over 20 years later, and if she is a grandmother. During the past two decades, I have been tempted to make an effort to find out these things, but I know that I can never do that for the sake of my own priceless marriage. The risk of opening a door for Satan and re-injuring my wife is just too great for me ever to attempt to find out these things.
Remember, it is your covenant spouse who needs you, your affection, your attention, and your protection, just as Charlyne needs those things from me. You cannot divide these between your mate and the other person.
Charlyne and I pray that your spouse has allowed God to perfect them just a bit while you were gone. I have to admit, the changes I saw in my wife were amazing. God did well when He chose her to be the example to thousands of others in the same boat with marriage problems but striving to please God. She recognized that divorce was not the answer, even after getting divorced.
The following statement needs to come with a “Do not try this at home” warning. My wife had changed so much that I could not push the buttons that once set her off. Time and again, I set out to get her riled in my futile attempt to prove she had not changed and that this “standing” was all a front. I could not get under her skin. Even issues with other women were overlooked, at least in my presence. Not until years later would I understand how Charlyne was crying out to God, in private, after each of my button-pushing episodes.
Three months after our remarriage, my employer allowed me to move back to our community from 100 miles away. On moving day, I placed my furniture in a rented storage bay, just in case I needed it again. It had taken me two years to accumulate an apartment of “priceless treasures” (no value) of home furnishings in Early American Divorce style.
When I came home, I also retained my own checking account, just in case, and even hung onto my home phone number. It is a wonder that Charlyne even allowed me in the house that night, knowing how prepared I was to leave again.
Only a few days after moving home, the other woman pulled alongside me at a traffic light. There was no conversation, just a couple of waves. The light changed, and I drove on, feeling guilty over having seen that person.
That evening I told Charlyne what had happened. She consoled me that nothing I had done caused the woman to stop beside me. That evening, we agreed that any contacts I had with that other person would be shared with my wife before the day ended. During the next couple of years, I had many sightings to report.
Satan has targeted your marriage for destruction, and the evil one will not go away simply because you came home. There will be times when you think, “I should have stayed away.” Do not give up the fight for your precious marriage. Recognize the source of those thoughts.
Looking back, I can see how Satan attempted to kill our restored marriage and our ministry in the early days of both. Thank God the evil one was not successful. I praise God for a forgiving and wise wife who helped me through the infancy of our remarriage.
What God is asking you to do by allowing Him to heal, restore, and rebuild your marriage is a big assignment. God alone will give the direction and the strength for everything you must face.
Why try if it is hard to do? Wouldn’t it be easier to get on with your life with another person? No, it would not. Each successive marriage has a higher divorce rate than does the first marriage. Even more significant, God’s plan is one man and one woman for a lifetime. An individual who finds wiggle room to justify their divorce never diminishes God’s Word that He hates divorce.
God helped you all the way home, and He can secure the door for you to stay home. The secret is doing everything God’s way, regardless of what your past contains.
Because He lives,