Have I Waited Long Enough?

Q. I have been divorced for 7 years and separated for 2 years while the divorce was in process. I tried to prevent, delay, avoid the divorce that my wife initiated. We were married in the catholic church by my priest, she is protestant, and have three children together. She had a thyroid problem that went undiagnosed until the divorce was started. It had affected her physically to the point that her judgment had been affected. Her doctor told me that her brain chemistry was ‘out of whack” and that she shouldn’t be allowed to make any major decisions until they could regulate her and she could get counseling. I couldn’t persuade her that the divorce was not based in reality but her skewed version of reality. Her parents and good friend (male) persuaded her that I was trying to control her. She moved out and began a relationship with her “friend”.

My question to you: I believe my wife to be ill physically and mentally. Mark 10: 5-9 and 1 Corinthians 7: 15 seem to offer opposite teaching. I loved my wife and never wanted the divorce. I feel bound by my promise to love et al in sickness and in health, what God has joined together let no man put asunder. I have never lost hope of re-uniting with my wife, and we are friendly to each other when exchanging kids, but I am getting older and would rather not spend the rest of my life alone. For the last 9 years the kids have been my life but they will be off to college soon enough. Please share your thoughts on my situation. Most people tell me to move on, but I don’t really feel that I have that option, Biblically or ethically.

A. Mark 10:5-9 state that it has always been God’s intention that a man and woman should marry for life. Jesus gave the one exception, marital unfaithfulness. (Matt.5:32) In 1 Cor. 7:15 Paul advised believers that if their unbelieving spouse found living with them to be intolerable because of their faith, to not oppose a divorce. In verses 12-13 he had said that they shouldn’t start divorce proceedings against an unbelieving spouse, but now he advised against opposing one initiated by the unbeliever, because “God has called us to live in peace.” The teachings are not contradictory. Believers must not sue for divorce except in the case of marital infidelity.

According to your account, you did not ask for a divorce, nor did you desire one. From your story it appears that your wife made the decision against your wishes. That’s between her and the Lord. You’ve demonstrated admirable patience in waiting for her to come back, but she seems determined to find someone else. She has demonstrated infidelity during your separation and in several relationships thereafter.

Remember, God doesn’t judge our actions according to the ways of man. Legally you’re divorced in the sight of man and she has the right to pursue other relationships. But God judges us by the motives of our hearts. Her motives have proved impure and according to the Lord’s own words her actions have provided a Biblically justifiable reason for you to move on if you so desire.

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