And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30
Perhaps the greatest struggle of the stander is to balance our pursuit of holiness alongside the desire to see our marriages restored. While reconciliation and restoration are Biblical and fall in line with God’s plan and purpose for believers, we must be careful not to elevate our intense desire for oneness with our covenant spouse over our love and devotion to the Father.
In the early stages of my separation from Amy, I was consumed with doing whatever it took to restore our marriage. To say I was obsessed with restoration was an understatement. I can readily admit there not being a waking moment when my mind was not focussed on finding the one thing that would reunite my wife and I. In my efforts, I recall writing letters, buying her gifts, offering to run errands, and a host of other sincere, heartfelt actions. While all of these may have seemed worthwhile and good at the time, they only served to further harden her spirit. They were having the complete opposite effect of what I felt they should. The fact was, her heart wasn’t ready for restoration. All truth be told, neither was mine.
As the weeks and months continued, our relationship progressively deteriorated. During this time, I became convicted of the fact that I had been guilty of placing my desire for restoration above my desire to be fully submitted to Christ. It wasn’t easy to admit. As I reflected on my spent time and energies, the more I couldn’t ignore the fact that I had unwittingly elevated my covenant spouse to a position she had no business holding. It may seem a bit strange to consider the desire for a reconciled marriage as sin, but what I suggest is that it wasn’t the godly desire was wrong; it was that the godly desire was misplaced.
…for I the Lord your God am a jealous God. Exodus 34:14
Are you spending all your time worried and fretting about the condition of your marriage? Is the sum total of your energies devoted to restoration outweighing the time that should be spent in developing a closer relationship with Christ? When we place anything above our love for God and the desire to serve him, that “thing” becomes an idol. An idol can be represented by anything that stands before us and our Lord.
It is entirely possible that in your stand, you may be guilty of doing what we’ve shared here. Full and complete submission to God doesn’t means you abandon your prodigal. We are not suggesting this. What we do advocate for however, is a reordering of our priorities if we are to remain fully committed to holiness. Practically speaking, this could mean that you become more involved in local ministries at your church serving others. Or perhaps you spend more time in prayer; time that may have otherwise been devoted to figuring out ways to reach your spouse.
Make no mistake, Christ is honored in our stands. It brings glory to the Lord when we remain bold in the face of adversity and refuse to walk away from our covenant commitment. Just be mindful that your collective efforts for restoration aren’t detracting with what should be a close, intimate and intentional relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.