God's time and forgiveness/healing

Rob Banks

Pelican
I saw someone posted a thread about forgiveness (for grave sins, such as infidelity) within marriage, and it inspired/drove me to post this.

I have posted in detail about all of this before, but today I won't. I will be brief.

My wife and I separated in 2019 because of abuse/violence/drugs&alcohol/infidelity on my part, along with other issues (mostly on my part, but some on hers) that I will not get into detail about.

(And when I say "my wife and I separated," I mean she left me. It was a unilateral decision on her part, over my very strong objections).

We have no children. We do not talk.

We only have very occasional email contact, and she refuses to talk about anything personal.

She once said via email that she would divorce me (and that she did not love me and in fact hated me), but did not follow through. When that happened, I told her I would not sign any papers unless she talked to me first, and she agreed. This was back in April, and she has continually put it off. We still have not talked. And she did not file any papers.

I have reason to believe it is possible she has not moved on, and rather she is very hurt and unable to forgive. I have talked with priests and Christian friends about this, and this has been what my discernment and intuition has told me. I am not looking to discuss whether or not she has moved on (it is possible she has, of course, but I believe she has not. Yes, I have reason to believe this even after all this time apart and with very little contact. I am not looking to get into all the details why at this time).

Healing from my own disorders has been a long and slow process, and not at all smooth. I have worked with several priests and have had friends help me out along the way.

I was baptized in September. And if I am being honest, the last two months have been the first time since my wife left that I have held a steady full-time job and been on my feet.

Of course, my wife is not aware of anything that has happened in my life (good or bad) since she left. Like I said, she responds to my messages, but does not talk about anything personal.

Unfortunately, she is very hurt and wounded to the point where she cannot so much as hear my voice or look at a picture of me without getting upset.

So what I am confused about is this:

I have trouble believing that me doing the right thing, or praying, or getting baptized, or anything I do privately for that matter, affects her in any way. I believe it puts me in a better personal state of mind, and gets me right with God. But I do not believe it affects my wife or makes it any more likely she will heal.

I struggle to do the right thing "for myself" and "for God" knowing I cannot (quite possibly ever) share it with my wife.

And I struggle with the concept of "God's time." Because, if "God's time, not Earthly time" applies to healing and all the good things, why does it not fully apply to the bad things?

What I mean by this is that, while she has not "moved on" (i.e. has not officially divorced, is not interested at this time in dating other men as far as I know), the time that has gone by seems to serve only to solidify her wounds and her outwardly-stated position of unforgiveness.

And I struggle with "abandoning her to God." She means everything to me. I miss her very much. This is all very well and good. But I have been told that I need to surrender her to God (which I suppose means I need to be OK with whatever becomes of her), and I have not been able to do this.

And of course, the Devil tends to use all these fears/worries/struggles against me, which is why I have had so many ups and downs.

Please pray for me, and for her as well.

God bless you all.

EDIT: I forgot to say -- and I feel like it is relevant -- me and my wife have known each other since I was 16 and she was 17 (I am almost 30 and she is 31 now). She has always been very modest and traditional, and not at all vain or lustful. I was the first man she was ever with.
 
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canuckj

Robin
Other Christian
Maybe some other members who are farther along their Christian walk can offer some guidance. I know how it feels, even if it wasn't a great relationship. You are on the right path. I did pray for you.
 

Mulato_Man_Gabe

Pigeon
Orthodox
In the Orthodox Anthropology, all human beings share a link with one another. When one of us turns to God and repents, it helps the entirety of the human condition as a collective. Your repentance is helping her, it is helping right the wrongs you and everyone else has done on this earth- whether you tell her this or not.

It is good that you guys aren't divorced yet- that means there's still hope. It may sound niave to say that, but St. Paul in his Epistles write how it is better to seperate but not remarry if possible.

So I would suggest you pray on this. Does it torture you that you guys are in the state that you are in? Good. Use it as motivation to pray and repent. For how long? For however long it takes to heal. Pray to recieve patience and long suffering and pray for your wife.

Sounds like you did some serious sins towards her and this is a good opportunity for you to get right with God and make ammends. Suffer the consequences of your actions and thank God for your trials. Everytime you think of your wife with pain, ask God to have mercy in the two of you.

I'm guessing your not Orthodox- so how do you pray when you run out of things to pray about? Try reading the psalms as a start. They're really just a collection of prayers. Draw from that- there's plenty in there about suffering.

What if you never get back together again? More reason to pray and repent. It's so much easier to pray when things aren't going your way, so thank God for your troubles, carry your cross and follow him.

As for whether you contact her or not to talk about personal things, leave it in God's hands. He will guide you right.

I hope you find value in what I wrote above. I'm drawing from some personal experience as well as what I know of the Orthodox tradition.
 

Rob Banks

Pelican
In the Orthodox Anthropology, all human beings share a link with one another. When one of us turns to God and repents, it helps the entirety of the human condition as a collective. Your repentance is helping her, it is helping right the wrongs you and everyone else has done on this earth- whether you tell her this or not.

It is good that you guys aren't divorced yet- that means there's still hope. It may sound niave to say that, but St. Paul in his Epistles write how it is better to seperate but not remarry if possible.

So I would suggest you pray on this. Does it torture you that you guys are in the state that you are in? Good. Use it as motivation to pray and repent. For how long? For however long it takes to heal. Pray to recieve patience and long suffering and pray for your wife.

Sounds like you did some serious sins towards her and this is a good opportunity for you to get right with God and make ammends. Suffer the consequences of your actions and thank God for your trials. Everytime you think of your wife with pain, ask God to have mercy in the two of you.

I'm guessing your not Orthodox- so how do you pray when you run out of things to pray about? Try reading the psalms as a start. They're really just a collection of prayers. Draw from that- there's plenty in there about suffering.

What if you never get back together again? More reason to pray and repent. It's so much easier to pray when things aren't going your way, so thank God for your troubles, carry your cross and follow him.

As for whether you contact her or not to talk about personal things, leave it in God's hands. He will guide you right.

I hope you find value in what I wrote above. I'm drawing from some personal experience as well as what I know of the Orthodox tradition.
To be honest, I pray every day, and I do not feel I am connecting with God.

I do not believe my prayers have any effect on my wife, either.

In fact, her level of "being traumatized" has only increased over time, to the point where when she recounts my sins against her, they become worse and worse in her mind as time goes on, even claiming one time that she feared I would kill her if she ever saw me again (which, despire ally very real sins against her, this is a line I have never ever even come close to crossing).

I used to be an atheist. My priest has told me I have a "spiritual block" to connecting with God, probably caused by my former atheism.

I want to believe these things, but I cannot simply will myself to believe them.
 

Rob Banks

Pelican
Yes, I believe that (on a very minuscule level) my repentence is helping humanity as a whole.

Is it helping her specifically, though? Probably not any more than it is helping any other specific person in the world.

The sad thing is that I believe if we saw each other again (and I was well), that we would indeed reconnect. But the situation dictates that this becomes less and less likely as time goes on, as she becomes more and more hardened and resentful and sure of herself.

I have taken people's advice when they tell me to leave her alone for a few months, pray, work on myself, and then reach out to her again. I have done it, and I have found that after the few months, she is even more hardened and less willing to communicate.

It's like, I believe communication is the only thing that can lead to any kind of healing. But healing is also a pre-requisite for any kind of communication. So it is a catch-22.

I suppise this is simply the cross I must bear. I must accept that nothing I can do will help her heal, and focus on serving God elsewhere. But this is very sad, and I am unable to accept it.
 

mgill0600

Pigeon
I empathize with you, as I too grieve the loss of relationships that can no longer be restored. In one such case that person is no longer even alive and while that does give a sense of finality, it doesn't stop the longing.

As you said, this may be your cross to bear in this life. While it's easy for me to offer you empty platitudes on this forum, our time here on Earth is comparatively short to the eternity we will spend with God. I understand that doesn't necessarily make the suffering of today any less painful, but remembering that this life is temporary, and that the life to come will be so much more wonderful than we can even imagine, can provide hope to help us persevere along the path God has set for us while we are here.

Sometimes when I feel the sting of loss that can never be rectified in this life, I find Revelation 21 comforting, especially the first 7 verses.

All that being said, I will pray for you and for the restoration of your marriage, but I would also ask that you not delay your walk with God while waiting for an answer to this prayer. Continue your life as you do today, go to work, take care of your health, maintain and strengthen relationships with the people you care about, praise God, worship and enjoy Him and be the light in the world God calls us to be so that others, seeing your joy, may also partake in the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.
 
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