Divorced and Seeking Reconciliation
*The following transcript has been slightly edited from the original audio text for readability purposes. All speakers’ original intent has been maintained to the best of our ability.
Jeff and Rose, we want to talk today about when a couple has divorced because of sexual sin in the marriage, but they have decided they want to work towards reconciliation. Let's begin with the wife. Are there some particular things that the wife needs to do in the situation Rose?
Rose: Yeah, one of the biggies for the wife that I’ve heard about many times is that once they start courting their husbands again there is a tendency to start holding hands, putting their arms around each other, maybe giving each other a friendly kiss...and before you know it, it's turned into something passionate and they get very close to having a fall. Usually with the wife, I'll tell her that she has to resolve not to put a stumbling block or cause a stumble in a brother's pathway.
Jeff or Rose, as you're talking about this, I think I'm asking the question that many others may be asking - what's the big deal? I mean this couple used to be married. Why is it so important that they approach reconciliation from a perspective like they have not been married before?
Jeff: Well the Bible tells us to obey the laws of the land. When a couple gets married, a pastor signs a certificate of marriage that is before God and is a registered document. When they have agreed to break that covenant, the marriage is dissolved; and in the eyes of the law, when they file their taxes they are not a married couple anymore. I think it's important for them to realize that they want to honor God in this and they want to honor each other in this, especially when sexual sin has been involved. I know for the husband, he needs to show his wife that this time the relationship is not going to be based on the physical only, but that he's going to respect her and act appropriately this time. Here's an opportunity for him during this time of reconciliation - while they're looking to get married again - that he can show his wife that he wants to honor God and also honor her.
Rose: For a wife that has children at home, she needs to set an example to her children too. Sometimes I hear from divorced wives that are reconciling with their ex-husbands that they let him sleep-over. But how does that look to her children if they know mommy and daddy are divorced?
What you’re talking about it seems is really starting completely over - even building a new foundation. Why is it so important to not just depend on what's been built in the past and move on?
Rose: When I minister to wives, I start by finding out about her relationship with her husband - how they met and how did they court each other in the past. At times there is a history where the foundation of the marriage has been built on lust and the couple has fallen into sin before they got married. For these couples, it's all the more important for them to make sure they build the right foundation, so it's not built on lust again.
Jeff how appropriate is premarital counseling for these couples?
Jeff: I think it's very important, so they have the biblical principles and the biblical guidelines that will help them build their relationship on the principles of the word of God and have a Christ-centered marriage. A lot of men sometimes just don't understand his role as a husband, or the role of his wife, or how to lead his wife spiritually, or how to honor his wife, or how to lay down his life for his wife. It's very important for them to have a good biblically-based counselor that can help them to address different issues through the lens of scripture. I would imagine that with the history they have - the good, the bad, and the ugly - that going to premarital counseling could be a really wonderful experience that allows them to look back and identify where they messed up in the past.
Rose: Yeah, they begin to see that they need counseling. There have been times I've heard wives share that they wish they had someone speaking into their life back during the first marriage because it could have been different.
Given your experience as counsellors and as two individuals who have been reconciled in your own marriage relationship, there is really tremendous hope for couples in these situations.
Rose: Yes, there is.
Jeff: Absolutely. I'll just share a little personal testimony. Not too long ago, I remarried a couple and it dawned on me that my wife and I never recited our vows back to one another. So I asked someone to help us recite our vows. As we said them, it dawned on me how much I didn't understand what I was saying the first time. In tears I realized how I had trampled on those words; but they were able to really mean something to me this time.
His mercies are new every morning.
Rose: Yes, they are.
Well I hope that will be an encouragement to other couples who hopefully will be looking towards reconciliation. Jeff and Rose, thanks so much.
Rose: Thanks for having me.
Jeff: Thanks Mike.
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