When someone walks out of a marriage they have been considering it for a while. Nothing you can do or say can change the fact that your spouse wants out. But, if you are going to survive the crisis, and come out okay on the other side (whether it is reconciliation or divorce) a few things must happen quickly.
We know what it’s like on both sides. Not only from our personal separation and reconciliation, but from others we’ve walked alongside with for nearly 20 years.
Here are 5 things to do as timely as you can.
1. Get 3-5 people of the same gender to pray with and for you.
Even if you don’t attend church or don’t believe prayer works, this is a supernatural truth that works. God will use others when you are too broken to trust Him.
2. Tell your spouse that you will respect their space.
When a spouse walks out of a marriage, they don’t expect you to behave in an adult manner. In fact, that may very well be the reason he or she left. So, the worse thing you can do is to chase after them. Instead, surprise your spouse by saying something like, “Look, I know we have had some problems and you were unhappy, or you wouldn’t be considering separation or divorce. But, I want you to know that I will respect your desire to have some space from me, and I will be working on finding out what I can do differently in order to try to save our marriage.”
3. Ask your extended family what they have seen regarding your marriage relationship.
We all know that it’s easy to be blinded by our own faults and sins. The best way to win your spouse back and save your family is to practice the Matthew 7:3-5 principle: Get the log out of your own eye before you help your spouse get the speck out of theirs (our translation, read it for yourselves in whatever translation you prefer). Most family members will be happy to tell you what they have seen, as long as you approach the topic with respect and humility.
4. Avoid hiding behind substance abuse of any kind.
Sure, you’re hurting. That’s to be expected. But, if every time we hurt we run to alcohol, drugs, or even excessive eating, we will never win the respect of our spouse or others, and we will end up in divorce. Worse, when you remarry (yes, more than likely you will) you will bring the same problems into a new relationship. Instead, get well now, and learn to get the help you need before you reconcile with your spouse or find a new one.
5. Change your “M O”
Whatever you’ve been doing hasn’t worked. Your spouse wouldn’t have walked out if you didn’t have at least some part in it. We aren’t saying that sometimes a wife or husband just falls for someone new even when their spouse is really great. That does happen. But seldom is the spouse they left for a new one completely innocent.
If you can honestly say that you have been a perfect mate, and your friends and family all say that too, then it could be your spouse has mental illness or is just a jerk. But, if God convicts you of some wrongdoing and you see areas you need to change–do it. Don’t waste time. Get busy and make all the changes you need to. After all, if you have children they need to see at least one parent be an adult and willing to make important changes when necessary.