Charlyne Cares

Are you standing for the restoration of your marriage? A daily devotional that will offer encouragement from God’s Word as you stand for the restoration of your marriage.

The Road Home – Takes a Detour

Want to receive the Charlyne Cares devotional right to your inbox? Subscribe below!

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

“Why do some prodigals visit their families and seem to have a good time but not come home to stay?”

Men and women standing with God for marriage restoration must have a lot of faith. They also have high hopes of a prodigal spouse soon coming home. What happens when the process seems to be starting, and then suddenly the prodigal makes a 180-degree turn, once again, away from their home and praying spouse? What happens to the stander’s high hopes?

Charlyne and I pray that by now, you understand that the path back home a prodigal spouse travels is sometimes challenging. Like a road to the top of a mountain (and your prodigal coming home will be a mountaintop for you), the road is not straight.

My wife and I can understand your high hopes of restoration, which is great, provided these hopes are based on the promises of God. When the road home takes an unexpected turn, you need to pray just as strongly, never doubting for a moment that God is at work.

The foremost question on the heart of any prodigal who ever considers returning home is a simple one; “What’s different now?” It does not matter if you are separated because of adultery, abuse, alcoholism, or any of the rest of the alphabet of causes; your spouse wants to know what has changed so that this nightmare will not repeat itself.

Most standers make the mistake of volunteering what is different, reciting to their prodigal about a closer walk with the Lord and how much He has changed them. Your absent spouse does not want to hear your words; they want to observe the changes.

“Me change?” someone is thinking. “My spouse was the one who committed adultery, not me. Let them change!” Satan attacked your family by using a pre-existing spiritual weakness in one or both parties. Gradually, the enemy took over that person until they were his captive, as described in 2 Timothy. Let’s follow a typical family from the thousands we have on our mailing list and attempt to discover why a spouse has not come home.

It could be a husband or wife, but let’s say that Jack becomes too friendly with Susie at work, and that is the point of the enemy’s attack. They progressed from being co-workers to having lunch together most days. As they got to know each other, things reached the, “I’ll tell you my problems, and you can tell me yours,” stage. One of Jack’s “problems,” be it true or not, was related to a poor or non-existent sex life at home. While Jack still went home to Jill each evening, Susie, not Jill, occupied his thoughts.

At some point, and in some way, Jack and Susie crossed the physical line. From that moment on, the enemy who had attacked Jack back in the pre-lunch days now has complete control of the man. He hears in his spirit, “You are not good enough for Jill. She doesn’t meet your needs, but Susie sure does!” “You deserve some happiness, not just a wife and kids.” In a hundred ways, he hears from Susie, “We have a future. Leave your wife for me.” The other person may even be giving your guilt-filled spouse ultimatums that they must make a choice. Can you imagine? The choice was made when you married.

Confused, Jack moves out of the family’s home, leaving behind a shocked Jill. She knew something had changed in him but assumed it was job pressure or a mid-life crisis, or sadly, she blamed herself. You may be to blame for not praying for your family, but certainly not for the breakup. That credit goes to the enemy, who is out to destroy every family, thus destroying every church, thus destroying society itself.

The months or years following are a blur of lawyers, protection orders, battles over the unimportant, court dates, many tears, and all the rest that most standers know too well. Silently bearing the guilt for all of this, Jack tells himself, “Jill hates me, and she probably hated me the entire time. We should be divorcing.” At the same time, Susie is pushing for marriage. Jack half-heartedly agrees, knowing that he will lose Susie if he does not. By some means, the news is mysteriously leaked so that Jill will hear a wedding is planned, adding to her devastation.

Meanwhile, God, in His love for Jack and Jill and their family, used some means to introduce Jill to standing with Him and praying for the restoration of Jack back to his Heavenly Father and to his family. Jill turns not to people but to her Lord God for her support, direction, and decisions. During her stand, she becomes less of the abandoned and angry woman she had been and more like Jesus every day.

Jack’s sinful relationship is not going well. Susie is not the happy person he used to dream about all the time. She is demanding and controlling. (Do you know why? She knows her days with Jack are numbered, and she is hanging on in any way she can.)

Jack sees Jill every other weekend when he picks up the children or when he picks up his mail. Gone is the angry, spiteful woman who sat at the opposite table in court. She has a peace that Jack wishes he could find. She is kind to Jack and always agreeable. The day comes when Jack stands on his own porch, ringing his doorbell, and is excited to see Jill, if only for a few minutes. It is almost like when they were first falling in love. He feels good when Jill says, “I’m praying for you,” as he walks away.

This marriage is at a crossroads. If Jill continues to stand, there will come a day when Jack starts to confide in his wife. He will walk inside his home and have his heart almost burst with good memories. He wishes that he could rewind the clock and never have met Susie. Jill will become more serious about standing. She recognizes she is approaching the biggest battle of this spiritual war for her husband’s soul and her marriage.

What if Jill takes the other road? She feels God has had enough time, and nothing seems to be happening. (But she can’t see inside Jack’s heart!) What if she gives up standing and gets on with her life as everyone tells her to? Someday another man will be opening Jack’s front door when he rings. Jack and Jill will revert to angry people, at war not against Satan but with one another. Jack and Jill will probably both go on to second and possibly third marriages. Left behind will be a string of broken-hearted children.

If Jill continues to stand and grow in the Lord, God will change her, before he changes Jack. Then Jill and their home will become a spiritual magnet for Jack. He will find the peace there that he is seeking. Still wearing her wedding rings, Jill may become like the other woman, as Jack shaves the truth to Susie for him to see his covenant wife. Experts, of which I am not, have said that prodigal spouses may live with one foot in each of two worlds as they test the water.

The prodigal comes home for the birthday parties and then suddenly leaves, even disappearing for a time, with no contact. I like to compare this to the pendulum on a clock. Pull the pendulum back toward home, and when released, it will go farther to the other side but always returns.

What’s a stander to do? Jill is not married to Jack, yet he drops in at home as if nothing happened. She should be rejoicing because Jack is on the way home. Jack has a tremendous battle going on inside between right and wrong. He is guilt-filled and plays the “What if…” game over leaving Susie. Satan is losing the war for this family and will pull out his primary weapons.

All the time, Jack will ask himself, “What’s different now?” Charlyne and I pray that all the “Jacks” will readily see that things are different because you have now based your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you are living His way and silently inviting the one you love to come home to a different spouse.

We acknowledge that only some situations will match this composite of the fictional Jack and Jill presented here. Charlyne and I pray that you will find something herein to help you understand the dilemma of prodigal spouses who visit but can’t move home (yet!)

“The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.”  1 Samuel 10:6

Because He lives,

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 months ago

Thank you for Bob’s perspective! Father help us not give in to Satan’s schemes and stand strong until our marriages get restored.

I still believe

I choose to sing when I can
Hardly breathe out a breath
I choose to stand when all I
Wanna do is give up
I choose to trust when my
Whole world is falling apart
I choose You, Jesus

nancy b
nancy b
11 months ago

Good morning. Thank Lord for Bob’s words which he left us as guidance through You. I try not to bombard my prodigal with scripture because he is not ready. God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will guide him, and bring him to Them. This I know, trust and believe. I continue to pray for my prodigal husband and myself. I pray all standers, we do not give up, God is with us and He will never ever forsake us.
-Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.-Proverbs 3:5-6
-Wives in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.-1 Peter 3:1-2
-For the Lord will not reject-Lamentations 3:31

11 months ago

Please pray for my wife Isabel .She needs a change of heart. I don’t recognize her anymore. God is more than able.

Get Charlyne’s Free Teaching:

The Path To Marriage Restoration​

This teaching is Charlyne’s introduction to “How To Stand & Fight For Your Marriage!” Charlyne’s goal is to teach you, a stander, or someone you know with marriage problems, the path to marriage restoration that she has learned over the past twenty-five years.