After my ex left, my first instinct was to divorce him immediately. After all, it would be a biblical divorce, since he had commited adultery, right?
Well, yes, it would. However, as I understand Jesus' words about divorce, that should be a last resort, only for those cases where the wronged spouse is not able to forgive. And when I really searched my soul, I decided that I could forgive this, if my husband would end the affair. I was even willing to allow him some time to end it. So I waited.
In fact, I waited until October 2008.
At first, I was waiting for my husband to come to his senses and for our marriage to be restored. I had full confidence that that would be the outcome of this, and I enlisted every prayer warrior I knew to pray to that end. And I waited for the grand reconciliation that I expected.
At some point, my waiting became more "waiting on God" than "waiting for my husband to repent." I can't really put my finger on an exact moment when it changed, but I can share the exact verse that became my anchor during this waiting time.
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14, NIV
I'm not a patient person, and one of my faults over the years has been a tendency to give up when something isn't working out well, so this waiting attitude surprised everyone who knew me. It even surprised me!
As I waited, I was able to work through the grieving process that is necessary when a marriage dies. I saw a counselor who helped me deal with my situation and the emotions surrounding it. I also had a best friend who was willing to tell me the truth, even when it hurt, and a small group of women online who were willing to hold me accountable for my actions and attitudes.
Lest you think my friends were harsh, I need to tell you, they were also my devoted cheerleaders. When I chose a more noble path than my instincts would normally have led me down, they were the first to applaud my choice. And when I needed to vent my frustration between visits to the counselor, these ladies were more than willing to listen or read my complaints and offer whatever comfort they could.
A funny story about my partners-in-waiting: Sometime after my royal temper tantrum (which is a post for another day), I realized that my friends were as angry at my husband as I was. In fact, their expressions of anger toward him were often enough that I no longer needed to feel my own "righteous" anger at him. On one occasion, though, when he told me that he was going on vacation with his girlfriend, these women came up with a most creative way to pray for him. They prayed that he would be impotent the entire time he was with her!
I have no idea if that prayer was answered, but just knowing that my friends loved me enough to pray something so outrageous soothed my soul and brought a smile to my face.
During the waiting, we had two attempts at reconciliation. One lasted until the marriage counselor we went to see suggested that he videotape an interaction about a "hot topic," and my husband declared him a kook and refused to go back. The other lasted long enough to get through his brother's wedding.
Finally, as we approached the two-year mark in our separation (the point at which I would no longer be able to put off a divorce in our state), I realized that the waiting was over. I needed to do what I could to protect my children and myself in the future, so I asked my husband if we could sit down and hammer out an agreement to govern our divorce. He agreed, and the papers were filed in December 2008.
My final waiting period ended approximately 90 days later, when our divorce was finalized in March 2009.