“This is another thing you do: you cover
the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning,
because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your
hand. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been
a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have
dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by
A woman who has been
abandoned by her husband will need to hear consistent encouragement from her
brothers and sisters to stay the course of responding biblically. I promise
you, there will be a whole different choir singing to her out there, their
voices will be loud and strong and their message will be: take revenge, go for
all you can get, trash him, drag him through the mud, and keep the kids away
from him and so on.
Remind her that it
is not her place to take revenge or to avenge herself and her children. This is
a tall order indeed in the midst of pain and suffering of this magnitude. Remind
her that God will take care of all of that in His time, in His way.
Her job is to honor
God in thought, word and deed- which won’t be easy. You will have to
work with her on responding biblically in her anger (which is a whole blog of
its own) and on not becoming bitter as a result of the anger she doesn't deal
I teach my
counselees that they are to have God’s perspective on what has happened to
them.Their husband has
abandoned the wife of his youth- and that angers God. He may be in adultery-
and that angers God. He broke his covenant- that angers God. He may not be
providing for his family- that angers God. Help her to focus on righteous anger
for righteous reasons.
That is very hard in
the midst of all the other emotional things that are taking place. Encourage
her to have an eternal view. This will hopefully help her to not make foolish
decisions and be rash in her actions and interactions with her husband.
struggle with guilt, self-blame, and introspection. These things tend to run
together in our thinking, and can become cyclical if they are not recognized
early in the process.
Her husband may have
some legitimate complaints about her in the marriage and she needs to take
those seriously. She is not to accept blame for things that he wants to shift
over to her, such as, “If you were a better wife I would not have left you.” What
he had done is all on him, it is his sin and she is not responsible for his sinful
He is responsible
before God to lovingly shepherd her, hold her accountable for biblical change,
and consider her the weaker vessel, not leave her when the going is tough and
blame her for his own failure in leadership. Nonetheless, she may realize that
some of her husband’s complaints against her were true in part or in total. Sometimes
it takes a very dramatic action by someone else to get us to see ourselves and
I am not in any way suggesting
that abandonment is righteous; I am saying that it is possible that he has been
living in very difficult circumstances for many years and believed he could not
take it anymore.
When the woman
realizes that she has sinned against her husband she must confess first to God-
agree with Him that her words, actions, attitudes or whatever have offended
Him. She must confess sinful thoughts, beliefs, and desires of the heart that
led her to sin in those ways. She must accept personal responsibility for her
failures in the marriage.
If she was unwilling
to follow his leadership, or insisted on being the leader in the marriage and
home that was a major failure on her part. If she undercut his authority in the
relationship or with the kids, that is also a failure on her part that she must
accept responsibility for.
I encourage the wife
to follow David’s example and ask the Lord to “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious
thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the
everlasting way.” Psalm 139:23-24
This can be very
difficult for her because she has already been so humbled by his leaving her. Nonetheless,
I have had my counselees make a list of logs and then they have asked their
husband to meet with them for the purpose of confession and to seek his
forgiveness for those sins.
When the Lord does
reveal sin repentance must follow and perhaps there will be a need for
additional counseling to address that specific area of sin she struggles with. Once
she clears her conscience before God she must humble herself before her husband
and seek his forgiveness.
A word of caution:
she must understand that her motive cannot be to get him back by doing this. If
she is only willing to take this step to get him back in the house, her motives
are all wrong and I do not believe God will allow any good fruit to be born out