Pro 27:12 NLT – A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
RMM has launched a new weekly devotional focused toward encouraging newly restored couples. The early days of restoration is a difficult time. I’ve been reminiscing lately about our time spent there. Looking back, I see now there were things that seemed to cause undue pain. I want to share them here, to help others try to avoid our same mistakes.
- Successful restoration requires understanding each other. Be prepared that you, as a stander, will need consolation and affirmation after being rejected by your prodigal. It is hopeful to receive this from them once they choose to come back home. HOWEVER, they are full of questions themselves and get attacked constantly from the enemy with guilt and condemnation from where they’ve been. They struggle so much, they just CANNOT give more than they have to soothe you. Understand this and seek your balm from Christ alone. Only God can edify you during this very painful, raw stage.
- We found outside influences effected our marriage and our personal walks with the Lord. The Lord started leading us to disconnect from people, media, and technology that drew our attention away from each other and Him. We cleaned out our house of music and films that contained filthy language, premarital sex, etc. We withdrew from all social media. We turned off our house WiFi, only keeping internet on our phones. And we removed ourselves from others who were a negative influence on our marriage and in our lives. This may seem extreme to many, but it brought such peace, that we were able to hear God better and focus on each other.
- Keep in mind, too, that extreme emotions Satan attacks with are not to be taken as the general feeling of each spouse. Here’s two examples of what I mean:
- I stood for my marriage. I wanted my husband. I loved my husband, but in the thick of severe attacks, times when I would be exhausted from trying to make it work, or after a disagreement with my husband, I would journal that I hated him. I hated what he had done to me and done to our marriage. I begged God to release me and allow me to find someone who hadn’t hurt me so badly. If my husband had read my journal that day, he probably would have given up and left again, thinking there was no hope. However, I didn’t feel that way most days. Most days I’d look him in the eyes and thank him for coming back home. Most days I’d love him with all the strength I could and choose to fight for us.
- On the flip side was my husband who had chosen to obey God and come back home. He knew this was what he should do and what he wanted to do. He may not have returned out of love for me at first, but the obedience was there. Well, he also suffered extreme attacks from Satan…obviously. One morning, he woke with constant thoughts of the other woman. He, too, journaled how much he missed her and wanted to be with her. He struggled with wanting to leave me again, and even suggested it might be best if he left again. About a week later, I found his journal entry throwing me into a tailspin of more doubt and mistrust, (Doesn’t Satan just love the twisted cycles he throws us in?) By this time, though, my husband no longer felt the same as he had that day. He explained that he did want to stay and fight for our marriage, that the journal entry was just a moment of struggle and attack. He was right, and we kept moving forward.
All that to say: Don’t assume the emotions and thoughts felt under Satan’s attacks are how the person truly feels. Stay the course and remember how fragile you both are. Show grace and mercy toward each other’s struggles and imperfections. Separate yourselves from the world to get back what you’ve lost. Maintain the mindset that your marriage is permanent. God put you together originally and has placed you back together. Believe God knows what He’s doing. Restoration is unbelievably painful and hard, but it’s not impossible. All that pain won’t be in vain. And one day, in the near future, you’ll look up and find it’s not as hard.