Many of you are crying out, “God, do you see how much I’m hurting? God, I can’t go on like this very much longer.”

You’re married to men who are addicted to alcohol, or porn, or work. You’re married to men who don’t know Jesus. You’re married to men who aren’t very nice to you.

Joy McClain recently wrote the book Waiting on His Heart, where she details her journey through fighting, disappointment, embarrassment, and even legal separation before God intervened. But she never stopped praying. Here’s her story in a touching video:

(Full disclaimer: I just want to say that if you have kids, and your husband is scaring them and punching holes in walls, you really need to get help and get out, just like Joy did!).

I asked Joy to write an article of hope for my readers, and she graciously wrote this:

I was a wife willing to stay, keep my vow, no matter what. I desired a good thing – a Godly marriage yet, I failed when that desire became a demand I placed on my husband who chased an elusive mistress. Hers was the promise of escape while she spoke longing lies into the heart of my man. He was locked in the prison of addiction while I was held captive by my pain. I certainly wasn’t thinking about the work that needed to be done in my heart.

If you are waiting for your husband for whatever reason, first of all, I validate your sorrow. I know it is extremely hard but none of your tears or prayers will be wasted. There is great value in your waiting, praying, hoping and surrendering. God desires to work in your marriage but it begins with you.

Truths to consider while you wait:

What does love look like in this situation? For a wife in a difficult circumstance it’s vital that she continually ask the Lord for wisdom. The fog of hurt clouds judgment; seek wise counsel and prayerfully make decisions that align with God’s Word. If there is any physical abuse of any kind – get away from the situation immediately and get help!

Remember that God is working even when you don’t see it.  It is impossible with your limited knowledge and sight to see all that God is doing to draw your husband to him. You might not see evidence of conviction for years. That doesn’t mean that God isn’t pursuing him. Remember that God has an eternal perspective.

If your husband isn’t saved, don’t expect him to act like it. You can’t believe the movies he’s willing to watch or the language that spews out of his mouth. He doesn’t like to go to church and becomes agitated when you bring up anything to do with God. Darkness doesn’t like light that exposes the sin. If he doesn’t have a relationship with Christ, he doesn’t have the Holy Spirit to help him discern. His eyes are not open and his ears do not hear. Pray that the blinders would be removed from his eyes.

We are called to be peacemakers, as much as possible, with everyone. That doesn’t mean we don’t stand up to sin or hold people accountable. But be careful how you treat his family. Be cautious with information you share with others. No matter what – be respectful of your husband as a person. You can love the sinner and hate the sin without disrespecting the sinner. Guard your mouth carefully around everyone – especially your children.

Don’t allow despair to be your identity. Often when we’ve dealt with a particular hardship over a long period of time we can tend to grow comfortable in the sorrow. We know what it is to live in that place of hurt and the reaction we get from others as they feel for us. It is important to have your real wounds validated, but you don’t have to remain there. Don’t allow this trial to be an excuse from life!

Have a right theology. Wondering why God allowed such a mess, thinking it isn’t fair to have hardship or loss is bad theology and will tilt your perspective of Sovereign God. God hasn’t disappointed you, man has! God is the one constant in your life. In all of time, if anything wasn’t fair it was piercing the hands and feet of a totally innocent man for your vile and evil sins. Repent from having bitterness toward God – ask Him to give you a right perspective of His love for you.

Grieve your loss. I understand the pain and truth of lost time. While you don’t want to remain in that grief, it is necessary to realize you have been affected deeply by things you could not control. Unpacking those hurts one by one helps you to move forward. It doesn’t mean you forgive and forget, but rather you forgive and chose to move forward.

We are called to extend mercy. When one has a repentant heart and asks for forgiveness or when they are no longer able to request it, we should extend mercy.  Whatever the case, remember that God has first, extended mercy to you by offering His son on the cross. We are shown mercy and given grace while we were still sinners. Your husband’s offense is not only against you, it is sin against a Holy God.

Don’t let bitterness take root. The enemy will gladly entice you in believing that you deserve returned love, that you deserve to be treated fairly. The enemy hates relationships, especially the relationship between a husband and a wife. Don’t allow those thoughts to consume you; bitterness will destroy you. God is a righteous God and He will deal with the sin. Even in the times we are called to take action and take a stand, God will ultimately be the one to deal with that person in their disobedience.

Be willing to examine your own heart.  Perhaps the most important lesson! God wants to do a work in your heart! He doesn’t want to leave you where you are – He loves you too much. He wants to increase your faith, your reliance upon Him and your love for Him. Be willing to allow God to transform you!

In my book, Waiting for His Heart, Lessons Learned by a Wife Who Chose to Stay, my husband’s addictions are the backdrop. The main focus is how God used a long and heart-wrenching season to bring me to the point where I desired Him above all else. God loves you and He hears your cries! He longs to draw you close, filling you with His supernatural peace. No matter what your circumstance, no matter if your situation never changes – God is there, He is your constant, the steady hand underneath your days.

Thanks, Joy!

Find Joy at A Passionate Pursuit of Joy.

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