November 5, 2020
When Your Husband Has Given Up
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“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)
I know the heart-ripping hopelessness of a relationship unraveling.
The silence. The rejection. The harsh words. The absence of intimacy. The questions. The lack of answers. The hurt.
Many of you know about my story — the shattering discovery of my husband’s affair and the long road of uncertainty I walked for several years.
In the early days and months of that season, I remember wishing I could be put to sleep like when you have surgery. Why is it they only call in the anesthesiologists when you are surgically cut open? When you are being ripped open emotionally, it’s no less painful.
The shock and heartbreak and relationship implosion impacted every level of my life. Nothing was left untouched or undamaged. And I felt the harsh realities every single day.
Days turned into months. Months turned into years. And slowly I turned into someone I didn’t recognize. My strong but normally carefree spirit became a confusing mix of anxiety, panic attacks and soul-blinding pain so intense I thought I’d never feel healthy or regain a sense of normalcy again. And because I’d been through so much that was hard to process, a darkness started to cloud my outlook that used to be optimistic.
Because I know these feelings so personally, my heart aches for anyone in a marriage that’s struggling.
And I think one of the deepest hurts comes when one spouse resigns while the other is still trying. There is a panic that arises to somehow make the other person wake up, stop their resignation and help you fix this relationship.
A situation like this is much more complicated than simple answers I could offer here. But might I give you one stepping stone upon which to stand, to stop the panic and balance yourself?
Decide today that you are worthy.
Because you are. Worthy. You may not feel like it. But a quick glimpse at Psalm 139 assures me you are. It says, “For you [God] formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (verses 13-14).
You are fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God who cares for you. Who loves you. And I’d rather depend on the solid truth of God than the roller coaster of fickle feelings.
You are beautiful and captivating and smart and capable and worthy of being loved. But if you are in a relationship full of unmet expectations, unresolved issues and frustrating communication, I suspect you feel a little less than all I’ve described.
Broken-down relationships can really break down a woman.
And if you’re anything like me, when you feel broken down, those around you get your worst. Then, upon all the hurt and anxiety, you layer regret, shame and the feeling that you’ve lost yourself. You’ve lost that girl inside who used to be so positive and happy and ready to take on the world.
Can I whisper a tender truth to you? The only way to recapture her is to come up for air and remember: You are worthy because the Creator of the universe says you are.
Then you can act worthy.
And step aside from the emotional yuck to make some levelheaded decisions. Get a plan. Talk to wise people who love you, provide godly counsel and will walk this tough journey with you.
Draw some boundaries with your husband if some are needed. Healthy boundaries aren’t to push him away. They are to help hold you together.
Pray like crazy for clear discernment. Because Jesus is the best source of help.
Honest cries for help, lifted up to Jesus, will not go unheard. He sees. He knows. He loves. And Jesus will direct you as long as you stick with Him.
Remember, you can’t control how your husband acts and reacts, but you can control how you act and react.
Reclaim who you are.
I pray your relationship survives. I pray that prayer with every fiber of my being. But if it doesn’t, I pray most of all that the beautiful woman you are rises above all the yuck, still clinging tightly to the only opinion that matters — the One who forever calls you worthy.
Dear Lord, relationship struggles are so hard and heartbreaking. Please help us to know who to talk to and who can practically help us make hard decisions. Please help us all remember we are worthy because You say so. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 54:10, “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” (NIV)
Psalm 34:17, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (NIV)
Lysa TerKeurst is a friend who understands the depth of your pain, and wants to provide a safe space for your heart to land. That’s why she sat down to make a personal video, “Moving On When Your Marriage Doesn’t,” specifically for you. There is hope and healing beyond the hurt. And this video will help you know you are heard, seen, loved and held by the Lord even when reconciliation isn’t possible with your spouse. Click here to download it for FREE.
Identify what’s stealing trust and vulnerability from your relationships so you can believe there is still good ahead with Lysa’s new book, Forgiving What You Can’t Forget. Start reading the first 3 chapters when you preorder today.
You can follow along with Lysa TerKeurst on Instagram.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
While Lysa is grateful her marriage has been reconciled, that doesn’t mean the road has been easy or that the journey hasn’t felt painfully long. And if your marriage is struggling, we want you to know how deeply sorry we are.
What wisdom did you need from Lysa’s devotion today? You can share your thoughts here. Or you can simply comment, “Please pray for my marriage,” and know we’ll be lifting you up.
© 2020 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.