By the time I walked out of that marriage I felt like the Lord was standing at the door next to my bags, waiting to escort me out. It was this experience that taught me that the as long as I was willing to stay, He helped me and gave me grace. When it became clear that I was the only one really putting forth the effort to try and create a truly healthy marriage, and I felt released to leave, and I decided I wanted to live instead of continuing to die that slow death, He supported me and gave me grace. I have told people that when I left I was running for my life. Not because I had been being physically abused but because I was dying on the inside. The life and strength had almost completely been drained from my body.
Even so, because of my background and upbringing, I still had this fear that "God will make me go back". I knew how I was raised and what our beliefs were. I was well aware of the teaching I had sat under my whole life. Even in my separation I was subjected to things being said in church services that were directed at me personally. I was spoken to more than once about going back, but I knew I couldn't if I wanted to live. It was very difficult for a while but like I said, God gave me grace to go through it. Even with the grace that had been extended to me to make it through I would have thoughts of "What if God tells me to go back? I'll have to do it if He tells me to!" It worried me to the point that I even had nightmares about it. The feeling of dread and doom in those dreams was so real. I was so glad to wake up after each one!
I sat in my pastor's office about 3 months or so after the separation and I expressed this concern to him. He said something to me that set me free from that fear. He said to me, "Why would God send you back into a situation that hasn't changed?" I received so much validation from this. It let me know that whatever he believed at first about my separation, he had seen enough to know that nothing had changed for the better, and certainly not enough for me to feel like I could or should go back. It let me know that I wasn't alone. Somebody saw me, and at some point had gotten a good clear look at what I had been dealing with.
Well that conversation took a load off my chest and helped me to stop worrying about whether or not I would find myself having to walk back into that house. It let me know that I didn't have to and that doing so would return me to what I had been set free from. I will be very honest with you though, and tell you that it took years to stop having those bad dreams. I left that house in 1999 and I'm pretty sure that it was about 2013 or early 2014 before I had my last nightmare about it. Mind you, he remarried several years after our divorce but the bad dreams continued even past that point.
Many people were raised in an environment similar to mine, that taught that you work it out or work on it no matter what. In many cases it leaves one person doing pretty much all the work to salvage a relationship or create a healthy one while the other one continues to do whatever it is they've been doing. It is so frustrating and hurtful to want more out of life and to be bound to someone who feels like whatever they have at the moment is enough. This can create such a tug of war in the home and in your mind and emotions. It can cause one to be very suspicious of the other. It can bring every insecurity to the surface and it can literally be a source of torment for the one whose heart and soul is crying out for more. Not to mention if there is some form of abuse happening.
I just want to share with you what was shared with me. I don't care who may be butting in where they really don't belong. I don't care what they've seen before or what is going on or has happened in their own life. They are not you and their situation is not the same as yours. Even if it is very similar, you are different people, so they are in no position to tell you to "go back home", or to keep trying, or what you ought to be doing. One person can only do so much without the help of the other to make a peaceful home.
Some people will even lie on God by putting Him into what they are trying to convince you of. They'll even have dreams and feel that they need to share with you what "God showed them about your situation". This is why it's very important to quiet yourself so that you can continue to hear Him clearly. Shut out every other voice and stay before Him so that you can grow in your sensitivity to Him and His leading. You may be dealing with what I dealt with, people saying things publicly directing their comments toward you. One man in particular who did this to me didn't realize that his own wife was watching me, admiring my strength, and filed for divorce from him just a few years after my divorce. He had no clue that his own house was torn in two while he was throwing instructions to me in the microphone from across the sanctuary. Another young minister sat down with me sharing with me how the Lord helped him to love his wife after he had felt like they shouldn't be together. Some years later I found out that they were no longer together and I'll leave it at that. Don't be deceived into second-guessing yourself by people who may not realize that their own marriage is on life support.
Don't fall for the okie doke. Look at the situation and see it for exactly what it is. Don't see it for what you hoped it would be, what you know it should be, what it started out as, or even what the bible says it's supposed to be. See it for WHAT IT IS and deal with it accordingly. If you know it hasn't changed, ask yourself the same question that was asked me, "Why would God send me back into a situation that hasn't changed?" Did He not rescue you out of it? Have you not felt Him holding you together when you would have fallen apart without Him?
I'm not saying that no separation can be worked out so that the relationship can be saved and even made better. I know two couples that were divorced for up to two years but the marriages were healed and restored when the necessary changes were made for the better. They are more in love now than ever. Many couples have survived affairs and other types of abuse. But it wasn't without major change. Whatever you do, don't look at it and see the same behavior that sent you packing, and still go back for whatever reason. And please don't blame God if you do, for He has called us to peace.
There is a saying, "Your ex is your ex for a reason." Even if you're tempted to go back for whatever reason, think about why you left and ask yourself if it's worth it to go back to the same situation. God doesn't operate in fear so if you're afraid that you might have to return to it, let that be a sure sign that it's NOT coming from Him. Walk in your freedom. Enjoy your peace of mind. Allow Him to complete the work in you that He started that work before you even walked away from that unhealthy relationship. That season ended but a much better one has begun. Let Him show you!