I had several major types of hopelessness to overcome during our separation. The first level of hopelessness was “What is the point of living if I am not with my wife and children?”. I never attempted suicide, but there were many days I just couldn’t see the point in life if we got divorced. I finally wrestled to a place with God where I realized that married or divorced, life was worth living and had meaning and purpose. I started telling myself that any day not in front of a divorce judge was a good day.
The second level of hopelessness was “Does God really heal marriages today?”. If I reflected vary long on marriages that I knew in my family, church, friends, and public figures I could get very depressed when I realized how many couples had struggled and then gotten divorced. The track record for healed marriages didn’t look too good and statistically there are a lot of divorces. At least the day I got my cancer diagnosis the doctor had told me that for my type of cancer there was about a 98% cure rate. That was a much better rate than most couples.
Eventually I started meeting people along the way who had reconciled their marriages. I began reading testimonies of healed marriages and seeing testimonies of reconciliations on various videos. I started to realize that God really does heal marriages.
The third level of hopelessness was “Will God heal our marriage?”. When I started hearing other testimonies of healed marriages I started to have a glimmer of hope that ours might heal. The big turn was when Sharon agreed to attend a one day PAIRS workshop led by our counselor Jeff Williams. By the end of the day Sharon and I had connected enough that I had high confidence that Jesus was turning things around for us. The more we practiced the skills we learned that day the more confidence I had, and when she agreed to live together again I was thrilled and knew that our marriage was on the road to even greater healing.
If you are separated what of the three areas of hopelessness are you battling with the most now? If one of your friends is separated what can you do to encourage them as they walk through their hopelessness?