I was married for three years to a loving, respectful, responsible professional man… but our marriage got into a rut. I didn’t feel that I was growing as a person, so I decided we should get separated.
Since then, I have been even more miserable. I have been with several other men, but those relationships, far from making me feel complete, have made me feel worse. Now all I can think about is the wonderful man that I lost because of my selfishness. He is the only one I know who has really loved me….
Now I am very afraid to go back to him, for I know he still loves me and I don’t want to break his heart again. Besides, I wouldn’t know how to ask him to forgive me, for I wouldn’t want him to find out about all of my missteps since leaving him. I am left with nothing but feeling disgusted and ashamed of myself, and I don’t want to go on like this…
Sometimes the most valuable lessons are only learned by experience. This is certainly true in your case. You now know what a treasure you had in your husband before you chose to give him up. Yet you admit that you are afraid that you might hurt him again if the two of you were to get back together. This indicates that you can’t even trust yourself, so why in the world should he trust you and give you another chance?
We believe that, rather than spend your energy wondering if you should look up your ex‑husband, you need to focus on doing what you said you wanted to do when you left him: grow as a person. Instead of doing that, you have gone through one relationship after another, looking for someone who would satisfy your needs and make you feel complete. You now realize how selfish you have been.
The truth is that no one else can do for you what you have to do for yourself. Each one of us has to be content within ourselves before we can ever have a successful relationship. Only after you have resolved your selfishness and found contentment will you be ready to be involved in a relationship. And only when you take the focus off of being in a relationship with a man will you be able to concentrate on making needed changes in yourself.
What went wrong with your marriage was that you were focused on what you could get out of it. You wanted your husband to be the one to meet your needs. You wanted your marital relationship to be what helped you grow and progress in life. Selfish desires such as these, far from enriching a marriage, leave it in ruins. When a man and a woman get married, they should do so because of the love they can give each other. They should love one another so much that their greatest desire is to meet their partner’s needs, always willing to overlook their own needs and desires.
Paul the apostle describes the marital relationship in the fifth chapter of his Letter to the Ephesians, where he instructs both husbands and wives to be committed to each other in such as way that they become one flesh.1 One flesh symbolizes one mind, which requires that the two are no longer “me” but “us” in the ways that they think and act.
No man can fill the emptiness that you feel. God has put that empty feeling inside of you so that you will recognize your need of a relationship with Him. Every human being is born with that emptiness, and most go through their lives trying to fill it with first one thing and then another. But everything they try fails, and they become more and more frustrated and hopeless. Many times their consciences whisper to them that they need God, but they can’t imagine a God who is personal and who loves them so much.
You can speak personally to God right now. Ask Him to forgive your sins in the Name of Jesus. Ask Him to fill the emptiness and give you the peace in your soul that you need. Ask Him to help you start thinking more of the needs of other people, and less of your own needs. The more you talk to Him, the better you will be able to develop a relationship with the God who created you and wants the best for you. And so long as you communicate with Him, you will be able to see things from His perspective and become less selfish. And you will realize that no man can make you complete, because that is a God‑sized task.
Don’t expect a man to do what only God can,
Linda and Charles
1 Eph 5:31