Hope for the Separated

Martin was far from home, when he walked into the lobby at Calvary Baptist Church one Sunday morning. A friend said he could get a book there called Hope for the Separated (Moody), by Gary Chapman, Ph.D.

Martin and his wife Leah had been separated for six months and he was desperate for help. That same Sunday, 3000 miles away, Leah went to a church in California, where a pastor handed her that same book. Imagine their surprise when they spoke a week later only to discover they had been reading the same book.

Separation = Divorce?

"We both recognized that had to be the hand of God. I went back home and we got counseling. Today we are back together," says Martin.

In an age where more than 1 million marriages fail each year, the term separation often becomes equivalent to divorce. Yet, through God’s power, Christians are called to change the equation.

"I don’t think separation equals divorce," says Chapman. "Separation can lead to an absolutely wonderful marriage if we are willing to deal with the problems that led to the separation."

Chapman suggests treating the trauma of separation with a 9-1-1 approach, "If it were a physical problem, we would put you in intensive care and look after you day and night until you either died or got better. Separation says this marriage is in serious trouble; it needs intensive care."

Restoration and Growth

Attending Toward a Growing Marriage seminars led by Chapman is one way to get help. For years, couples nationwide have attended these two-day workshops for the purpose of marriage restoration and growth. Lisa* believes this seminar provided the remedy her marriage desperately needed.

"I knew in my heart that divorce was not what God wanted … but deep down, I was hoping he (her husband) would leave," confessed Lisa. "What happened after the seminar could fill a book! We confessed the ways we had failed one another and sought forgiveness. Then my husband was convicted of his need to be in God's Word daily. Prior to attending the seminar I was certain I had two options, end my marriage or continue unhappily ever after. Praise be to God that his ways are not our ways."

"There are two objectives for the seminar," explains Dr. Chapman, "help people, wherever they are in their marriage, take steps of growth, and then equip couples to go back into their churches and minister to others."

No Quick Fix

Couples looking for a quick fix for their marital woes often become frustrated, abandoning the marriage too early, thereby missing the benefits of God's timing.

"I think the most common problem is couples try to get on with their life too quickly," explains Chapman. "They go six months and the spouse shows no response, so they start dating and become involved with someone else. A year later the spouse comes back and says 'I realize I made a terrible mistake,' and they want to reconcile, but now the other partner’s already involved with someone else. I like to encourage couples to give some time. I use two years as a guideline. For people who are separated it seems like a terribly long time, but in all of life, it's a short time."

 

Put the Pieces of Your Marriage Back Together

You  may  feel  that  there is  no  hope  for  your  marriage  and  the  hurt  is  too  deep  to  restore  the  relationship  and  love  that you  once  had.  The  truth  is,  your  life  and  marriage  can  be  better  and  stronger  than  it  was  before.  In  fact,  thousands  of  marriages,  situations  as  complex  and  painful  as  yours,  have  been  transformed  with  the  help  of  professionals  who  understand  where  you  are  right  now  and  care  deeply  about  you  and  your  spouse’s  future.  You  can  restore  and  rebuild  your  marriage  through  a  personalized,  faith-based, intimate  program  called,  Hope  Restored.

Get Started>>