2. Determine your spouse’s decision. Once you’ve made your decision to seek reconciliation, the question is: has your spouse made the same decision? So often, the offending partner isn’t willing to reconcile because he or she hasn’t made the decision to cut off the adulterous relationship. At this point the offended spouse usually makes one of two fatal errors. Some become harsh and arrogant and demand reconciliation, forgetting that a relationship is built on the choice to love, which cannot be forced. On the other hand, some are too timid and afraid to require a decision from their spouse because they are fearful their mate will choose to leave. The key is to remember it takes two willing partners to reconcile any relationship.
However, you may be wondering, Is it truly biblical to require this decision from your mate? The best answer to this question is to view how Elijah confronted the people over their adulterous worship of Baal. He made a simple request: “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). Jesus also made it clear that people must be on one side or the other, revealing that there is no middle ground with Him: “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Luke 11:23). It is quite obvious by these examples that people need to make a decision, and there is nothing wrong with asking for one. Unless a person is challenged to make a decision you can’t even begin the reconciliation process. In addition, those who refuse to make a decision are in reality making one. No decision, is a clear choice to continue with the current behavior. That means that there will probably be another adulterous relationship in the future, or at the very least, a stalemate in the marriage relationship.
When your spouse refuses to make a decision what should you do? The best thing is to wait for a short time and seek God for direction as to what your response should be. Remember, God always gave His people “time to repent” (Rev. 2:21-22). But, don’t allow an indefinite time to pass. Why? Because then you are communicating a contradictory message. You are declaring with your words that you want reconciliation, but by allowing the status quo you are declaring that you will accept the relationship the way it is. Therefore, make it clear where you stand and require that your spouse do the same.
3. Seek godly counsel. I suggest contacting your pastor or an elder in your church because the issues that have divided you are very difficult and will require a total restructuring of your relationship. The primary issue you will need help with is understanding how your relationship has gotten into this condition. You will also need instruction concerning how to reconcile and forgive these past offenses. In addition, you will need someone who can keep you both accountable to fulfill what you’ve promised to do. Solomon gave great insight into the wisdom of getting counsel: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” (Prov. 12:15). What’s right in your eyes may not be the best course of action.
In addition, be sure your counselor is well versed in the Scripture and can apply it practically to your circumstances. If you want God’s solutions for your problems, then you need God’s wisdom. You must heed the exhortation: “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors” (Prov. 8:34). Are you waiting and listening at the Lord’s gates or are you only hearing what your friends are telling you?
Once you’ve heard the biblical counsel necessary, then you must apply the instruction you’ve received. The best counsel is worthless unless you put it into practice and make the changes necessary. Jesus said, “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt. 7:24). If you want your house to be rebuilt on a solid foundation, turn to God’s Word along with a biblical counselor who can help you heal your relationship.
COVENANT KEEPERS © 2014
If you would like more information on the marriage ministry of Pastor Steve Carr or his book Married and How To Stay That Way, please visit us on the Internet at www.covenantkeepers.org
Looking for more articles from Pastor Steve Carr? Check out Rebuilding Your Relationship After Infidelity – Part 1.