Test Or Temptation?

Q. My wife and I have been married for 8 years. We’ve been blessed with 2 beautiful daughters. She was recently contacted by her childhood sweetheart (from about 15 years ago) whom she says she was supposed to marry. He left my wife for her best friend, got married, had children and has now recently divorced. Now he’s telling my wife that he regrets what he’s done and still has feeling for her, he wants her to divorce me and move into his “big beautiful house” in the city, and to bring her kids with her.

My wife now says that she no longer is in love with me, is not sure if she ever loved me, and is now in love with her childhood sweetheart. She says that she deserves to be happy. She says that God brought us together only to have these wonderful children of ours, and that he brought this guy back into her life for a reason. She would like to know why God brought him back into her life all of a sudden.

We spoke with a Pastor who said that God is testing her. She wants scriptural proof that God is testing her. I’ve read that if she passes this test, God will heal her and fill her heart with a stronger love for me then ever. I believe that if she passes this test, that the best for us is yet to come. She wants scriptural proof that God will reward her if she perseveres. I don’t think she believes that divorce is wrong, and that it is against God’s Law. I think she feels that if it is wrong, that God will forgive her no matter what she does.

I am willing to do whatever it takes to save my marriage and preserve our family unit. I am terrified of the devastating effects that a divorce would have on our children. Your advice is greatly appreciated.

A. The clearest admonitions given anywhere is scripture are given about the permanence of marriage. Matthew 5:31-32 clearly state that the only acceptable condition for dissolution of a marriage is sexual infidelity. And in Matt. 19:3-6 the Lord clarified this position in response to a specific question, saying “What God has joined together, let man not separate.”

As for God testing your wife, I believe the situation is more on the order of temptation and that’s the answer to her question of why this man is back in her life.

James 1:13-14 says “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”

Here’s what that means. Your wife would have no desire to leave if she was being fulfilled where she is. This man hasn’t come into her life to re-awaken her lost love, but has been brought in response to her desire for fulfillment.

He is a temptation, not a test, and therefore hasn’t been sent by God, but by the devil. God, being so strongly opposed to divorce, wouldn’t send a divorced man proposing another divorce as a solution to her problems.

As for proof that your wife will be rewarded for resisting this temptation, the Bible is full of examples of the rewards for faithfulness, in this life as well as the next.

I suggest the two of you find a Christian marriage counselor and discover the source of this problem together so you can correct it together. Your wife does deserve to be happy, but so do you, and you’ve both pledged before God to stand by each other and work toward that end together.

And don’t be surprised to learn that you’ve dropped the ball sometime in the past and bear a large part of the responsibility for this situation. You should view this as a wake-up call, not a betrayal.

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