Ask Dr. David: How Can We Make Our Marriage a Priority?
- Saturday, December 16, 2006
You are right to feel abandoned, because that is what has happened to you. I counsel with so many men and women who have had a spouse simply walk out of their lives. There are not words to describe how devastating it can be to put your trust in someone, care for them and love them, and have them turn around and squander that affection and trust.
Now that it has happened, your task is to pick up the pieces and move on with your life. Let’s consider some of your challenges.
First, you have practical problems to face. You must make sure that you have physical stability—for yourself and your family. Since he is no longer providing for you, you will need to make sure you and your family are safe. This may involve going to the State and seeking assistance. There are often State monies to help families in crisis.
Second, you must find support for yourself so you can face your many challenges. You are understandably frightened, with financial concerns, and feeling abandoned. Are there opportunities for support in your church? Talk to your pastor, and ask if there are opportunities for support there. There might be a lay counseling program, and talking to someone will certainly help. There may be a support group for people who are going through separation/ divorce.
Third, you mention that you are in recovery. Good for you! You must know that this is a critical time for you, and relapse potential is higher than at other times. Lean into your recovery program and seek support there. Celebrate Recovery is a wonderful, Bible-based recovery program.
Fourth, you still have responsibilities to your children. The scriptures encourage you to "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6) This is very encouraging news—you still have time to train your children correctly, about right and wrong, and this will help them for years to come.
Finally, set firm boundaries on your husband. He will undoubtedly make contact with you again, and it will be tempting to invite him back into your life, without any personal changes. Such a move could be disastrous. While his immediate presence might temporarily assuage some of your pain, unless he deals with his addiction, and gets into treatment, you will face the same rejection again in the future.
Crises are never enjoyable, but they are often very fruitful times spiritually. Use this crisis as an opportunity to trust the Lord for your needs. He won’t disappoint you.
Do you need sound, Biblically-based advice on an issue in your marriage or family? Dr. David will address two questions from Crosswalk readers in each weekly column. Submit your question to him at TheRelationshipDoctor@gmail.com
David Hawkins, Pd.D., has worked with couples and families to improve the quality of their lives by resolving personal issues for the last 30 years. He is the author of over 18 books, including Love Lost: Living Beyond a Broken Marriage, Saying It So He'll Listen, and When Pleasing Others Is Hurting You. His newest books are titled The Relationship Doctor's Prescription for Healing a Hurting Relationship and The Relationship Doctor's Prescription for Living Beyond Guilt. Dr. Hawkins grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and lives with his wife on the South Puget Sound where he enjoys sailing, biking, and skiing. He has active practices in two Washington cities.
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