My wife left a month ago tomorrow. Actually, I kicked her out in a drunken rage because she said she just wasn't happy with our marriage. It's my fault... no way to deny it. I drank again the day after she left, then realized that my drinking had been clouding my judgement. I decided to take a "few days off" from alcohol. When the withdrawals kicked in on the second day, I thought I might die. They lasted for several days finally resulting in me recognizing that my life was no longer manageable by myself (not that it ever was) and I hit my knees in total surrender to God and laid upon him all my burdens which had been breaking my back for years. I joined AA and began seeking to Please God first. In doing so, He made me painfully aware that I am to love my wife... period. She will not talk with me, but I have sent her one or two text a week letting her know that I am fighting for our marriage.
A week ago, I received the divorce papers. I told her that I would not sign without a discussion... she refused. I have not heard from her since. I called my counselor and spoke with him about the papers and God's commandment to love my wife. I felt like loving her meant to grant her wish of a divorce and not hold her hostage to a marriage that she did not want to be in. He asked me to wait until our meeting last night before making a decision and to seek God's answer. It was a painful weekend. I deal so much better at processing things and moving on, but God's way requires me to deny the natural ways of the world and rely on Him. By the time I met my counselor, I had made the decision to be obedient to God and not sign the divorce papers. I replaced the signature page with a very open and honest letter explaining the nature of this unconditional love that I have discovered for her and absolutely absolved her of any wrongdoing in my reaction to her that night. I also made it clear to her that while I don't blame her for divorcing me, I could not sign the divorce papers because I had made a vow to her before God and that I would honor that commitment whether or nor she had released me from that commitment. I did not discuss much about God and AA at this point, but the undertones of my spiritual growth and recognization of my drinking problems are there. I prayed very hard about this letter. I did not want anger or embarrasment to enter into the writing nor did I want to manipulate her in a way of thinking. I wanted it to be God's Words. And His message for now was to just wait.... nothing else.
My counselor also suggested that I need to do more than a couple of text each week. He suggested flowers, but I felt that it was too gimmicky. It had to be something from my heart that God is renewing... it had to be substantive and pleasing to God even if it was embarrasing to me. He mentioned The Love Dare. I picked up the book and immediately felt joy in the fact that God had just provided me a way to be obedient to Him. It won't be easy to accomplish in our current state, but I will seek Him in finding new and creative ways to meet the challenge. I have accepted that this is my journey with God, not a method to get my way. The satisfaction will not come from her responses, but from God's blessings. I will pray for that reminder each and every day.
For day one, I felt my letter met that requirement. When I mailed the divorce papers back to her with the letter sans my signature, I was blessed for being obedient.
Tomorrow is a new day!
Please take time to read the entire appendix. It will help with your journey over the next 40 days.
One other important thing. Understand that this is a journey with Christ. He will mold you through this to be more in His image. The dares will humble you, the dares will challenge you. No matter what you think about a dare. Do it. This is trusting Christ each day, no matter what you think. The success is in trusting Christ, not what her response is. At times, Christ will put you in a position of humbleness, others may be patient. It could also be something that exposes a severe case of selfishness through her that will reflect on you. There is a purpose of every single reaction. But what needs to be understood is that it is Gods plan...
We are all experts at asking. Now is the time to become an expert of listening.
I did read the appendix and prayed before beginning the dare. The Love Dare was a gift to me from God, an answer on how to love my wife through this situation in the way that God commands.
I mailed the papers without my signature yesterday. Though she had not received them as of last night, she sent a threatening email... that she would take her name off my phone account until she received the papers and if I had any "rediculous" thoughts on holding them she'd download anything and everything to her phone.
Maybe for a moment, I was stunned, but I hit my knees and thanked God for my situation and the trasformation that has occured during the last month. I've known about The Love Dare for a couple of years, but God led me to start yesterday. This is all for his Glory, not mine.
Be open... This journey you are now on is more than learning to love your wife. It is a journey with Christ. One that loving Him more will allow you to love her better.