By Linda Rooks:
Does life offer hope when the one you loves leaves? Or do you think, “I want to die?”
Linda Rooks, author of Broken Heart on Hold: Surviving Separation shares thoughts on remaining hopeful:
These words or a variation stun spouses and break hearts every year on a regular basis. Seldom is a spouse prepared for the suddenness of these words or the devastating ramifications they bring to their lives.
In my ministry to those in broken marriages, I hear this story on a regular basis from women and men who are reeling in pain when they suddenly face the prospect of divorce or separation. The pain is so great they can’t imagine living with it. When they hear their spouse say they are leaving and that she or he “doesn’t love me anymore”, they just want to die.
As frightening as these words are, however, there is still hope that things can turn around. But the way a person handles the situation can make the difference in the outcome. While no one can promise the marriage will be restored, reconciliation is possible when the following steps are applied.
- Realize that feelings can change. In marriage classes we now teach, my husband drives that point home almost every week. And he knows firsthand—because many years ago he was one of those spouses who left and questioned his feelings of love for me. After three years of separation, we reconciled with a stronger and healthier marriage. Feelings fluctuate, and what your spouse feels right now may be very different six months from now. According to recent scientific studies of the brain, that “in love” feeling is considered a very temporary state that lasts anywhere from 3 months to 36 months.
- How you react to your spouse at this point is important. If he or she leaves, give them space. If they pull away and you chase after them, they will pull away even more. Of course you want answers, but at this point you probably won’t be able to get them. But with a little space, he or she may see things more clearly. This means, don’t call, e-mail or text. Let them clear their head.
- Give it time. It may feel hopeless, but things can actually turn around. The problems that led up to this have probably taken a long time to develop, and it will take time for them to heal.
- Find friends that encourage you, not ones who immediately suggest you file for divorce.
- Don’t let the person who has left you define who you are. You are a precious child of God. God loves you and created you to be the unique person that you are. He has a purpose and plan for your life.
- Because it’s so easy to become obsessed with what is happening, take your focus off your spouse and your circumstances and focus on God. Spend time reading the Bible and listening to Christian speakers. Pick out Christian books to read. Immerse yourself in the things of God.
If your spouse said, “I don’t love you anymore” and you want to die, grab onto the Lord and let Him wrap you in His love. God is a God of hope, and He has good things for you in the future. If you feel discouraged and need to see a more tangible example of hope, here’s a TV interview I did on this very subject. In this interview ( starting at about the 4:40 minute mark) I tell a little of my own story and share more about the hope that is possible when your spouse says, “I don’t love you anymore,” and you feel you just want to die. Even though your spouse may have said, “I don’t love you anymore,” there is still hope that those feelings can change.
Here’s video that may help: http://vimeo.com/44472548