I have a restored marriage! My wife and I were separated three times and she filed for divorce twice. The two times she filed for divorce, we were living in the same house. I later learned this is called an in-house separation. We didn’t have much money and we had three teenage daughters. She didn’t have anywhere to go and didn’t want to leave our girls. She demanded I leave the house, but I didn’t. She had and still has many health issues and has not been able to work.
In-house separations are, in some ways, more difficult. You see your spouse every day and are walking on eggshells. With our daughters home, I was able to spend a lot of time with them, but things were awkward for them also. There were so many odd and crazy things that happened while we were in-house separated. One time we had a court appearance in the morning and were at opposing sides of the courtroom and in the evening we were eating together as a family and she was asking me what I wanted to eat. There were other times she would ask me to pray for her in the middle of the night (we were in separate bedrooms, but did even share the same bed for part of the separation.). She would ask for prayers for her physical and emotional health. God was doing something! Of course, I always prayed. I found encouragement from God, friends, Rejoice Marriage Ministries, and Covenant Keepers.
One blessing about an in-house separation is that you have the opportunity to continue serving your spouse. Once I got over the shock of divorce papers and the anger and pain that came with that, I decided to continue praying, loving, and serving. That is what God was clearly telling me. Anytime she would allow me to serve her in some capacity, I would. I did my best to keep praying, loving, and serving her. That is not easy to do when the other person is doing everything to divorce and avoid you.
My part of the marriage troubles was that I had anger issues, used a harsh tone, and used harsh words that hurt my wife. I worked on my issues as I realized I could not change her, but could only work on myself. I went to anger management classes, counseling, kept working, and being the best dad I could be. Eventually, my wife’s heart softened and she was more open to reconciling. We found a Bible-based church that had a powerful ministry for spiritual healing and some fantastic marriage counseling. After several months, we eventually renewed our vows in a beautiful ceremony at the church. Praise God! That was many years ago and we are still going strong. We have our moments of struggle, but have learned to forgive and love each other. We have been married for many years and hope and pray our story can help others. We have a good God!
A couple of verses that sustained me are:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:4-5
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
Jeff in Wisconsin
Rejoice Marriage Ministries