In this episode of the Purposed Marriage podcast, we discuss some of the things standers may see and observe from their prodigal spouse during the process of restoration.
Tommy and I get a number of inquiries from readers asking my perspective or what we often refer to as the prodigal’s perspective on certain topics. One of the more common questions is, do you think my prodigal is open to the possibility of restoration. More than likely, if you are asking this question, the answer is yes!
During our pause, it was evident to Tommy when the Lord was working on me and softening my heart. We began having more meaningful conversations and spent quality time together with our children. That doesn’t mean there is no hope of restoration if your spouse (or ex-spouse in some cases) doesn’t desire to speak to you or spend time with you, but it may mean you have a longer road ahead if the latter situation is one you find yourself in currently.
Below are some practical tips along with biblical guidance that greatly impacted my life during our separation and divorce.
- Show your prodigal sacrificial love without expecting anything in return.
Nothing demonstrates Christ’s love like sacrifice and selflessness. Find ways to love and serve your prodigal without expecting anything in return. If you are not sure what to do, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and don’t be surprised if He reveals something that is outside your comfort zone. Stepping outside your comfort zone forces trust in the Lord and growth in your spiritual walk. That awkward and uncomfortable feeling also produces authenticity. Your prodigal will sense if you are attempting to serve with an ulterior motive so the more authentic, the better.
There are numerous examples I’ve shared in our podcasts where Tommy went above and beyond in his pursuit to love me well. His acts of service displayed the love of Christ in ways that were not present during our previous ten years of marriage. Over time, the seeds he sowed took root and began to grow. His sacrifices did not go unnoticed. It did not happen immediately, but in time, God revealed the fruit from his labor.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
- Ask if you can pray with your prodigal or if you can pray for them.
It’s important to use discernment when addressing your prodigal. Some days there may be more of a reluctance to talk about spiritual matters than others. But, when you recognize there is an openness and willingness, ask if you can pray with your spouse or pray for them. Not only will this create a healthy dialogue, but it will also shine a light into what’s happening in the life of your prodigal.
I don’t recommend this every time you speak, but perhaps monthly or bi-weekly depending on how often you talk. Also, be sure to prepare your heart for their response. Don’t take it personally if they do not request prayer for your marriage. When you spend quiet time with the Lord, you can pray for your current situation.
If your prodigal is agreeable to prayer, that is a great sign that God is at work! Desiring your prodigal to have a restored relationship with the Lord should far outweigh the longing for a restored marriage. Keep in mind, only the work of the Holy Spirit can transform the heart and mind so be patient and loving when approaching your spouse.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
- Take responsibility for any sinful behaviors, habits or actions that you may have contributed to the marriage.
I recognize this may be very hard to hear, and you may be wondering why you should take the initiative if you’re the one being wronged. This difficult question has a very simple answer. God took the initiative to love us when we were unloveable and we should do the same for our covenant spouse. Repentance is necessary before reconciliation can occur and God’s Word calls us to reconcile relationships. You have no control over your prodigal’s actions or inactions, but you can take personal responsibility for yourself.
I remember vividly every time Tommy came to me to apologize for past sins and ways he had wronged me. At first, I thought he was using his sins as an excuse for his bad behavior. With time, I came to understand that God had transformed his heart and his godly sorrow was sincere.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Do all you can to live in peace with everyone.
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6:27-28, 36
For those that have little to no contact with your prodigal, there is still hope! We did not always communicate well or communicate often. It takes time. God hears your cries and understands your desire for healing and restoration, so don’t give up on the process. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I pray these steps come in handy.
- Pray fervently. 1 John 5:14, Romans 12:12, James 5:16, Philippians 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- Read Scripture for encouragement and guidance. Matthew 4:4, Hebrews 4:12, Isaiah 30:21, Psalm 25:4-5, James 1:5, Proverbs 3:5-6, John 16:13, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- Fast. Joel 2:12, Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 5:6
- Serve while you wait. Galatians 5:13, Romans 12:1, 1 Peter 4:10, Matthew 20:27-28, Romans 12:10-13
- Lean on your church family. Galatians 6:2, James 5:16, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 10:24-25
Dear friends, may God continue to bless you and strengthen you as you stand for your marriage, no matter where you are in your journey!
Glory to God in the highest!Luke 2:14
Every year around this time, I am reminded of the miracle God performed in our lives. It’s never lost on me the mighty work the Lord orchestrated when He brought Tommy and I back together. It was exactly three years ago that we officially said “I do” the second time. While we discussed a small ceremony on our original date in April, we decided not to delay and made a trip to the courthouse in order to finalize our vows.
The night before, I was still wrestling with the idea of committing to marriage. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to remarry Tommy, but I felt like I was unworthy of his love. There were so many things I hadn’t communicated with him during our time apart. I feared if he knew the truth of my sinful past, he wouldn’t want me as his wife. When I shared my hesitation, Tommy responded in a way that I will never forget. It was the most beautiful expression of human love I have ever experienced.
As I was crying and trying to utter words barely comprehensible, Tommy placed his hands on mine and consoled me. He said, “nothing you may have or may have not done will ever make me love you any less. Regardless of what has happened, I still want you to be my wife.” He even went as far as to say that any sin on my behalf was partially due to his failure to lead as my husband. With those words, I was reminded of the unconditional love God had granted me. Tommy demonstrated an earthly love greater than I had ever know, far greater than I deserved, a love that had no limitations or boundaries and was only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit.
The next morning, we headed to the courthouse with our youngest son in tow. I was still nervous, but was completely confident in the direction that God was leading. That day, I chose to be obedient. And, in choosing obedience, with God’s amazing sense of humor, I was placed at ease when I said “I do” in front of the county clerk decked out in the ugliest Christmas sweater I have ever seen! It was perfect, and it’s a day I now look back on with joy and laughter.
Dear friends, God still performs miracles in the lives of His children. Every year I capture photos for our Christmas cards, I reflect on the power of His hand at work in our lives. God did what we didn’t have the ability to do. He resurrected our marriage and fully restored us to Himself, and to God we owe all the glory!
From our family to yours, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!