Desertion in any form is cruel, but abandonment in marriage is especially hurtful. When couples fall out of love emotions can run high; and love can quickly turn to hate. Couples in crisis might resort to drastic measures to end bad relationships; some may even desert a husband or wife in an attempt to escape more conflict or start anew in another place or with another person. Understandable is the case where a spouse feels compelled to flee because of physical, mental or sexual abuse; but when a former mate deserts loved ones with little regard for their well being, the act is shameful. "But if any provide not for this own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (I Timothy 5:8).
Abandonment in marriage may occur frequently but is seldom discussed. Tales of husbands or wives coming home to empty houses to discover the furnishings gone and the bank account wiped out are common. The ramifications of desertion may be devastating on the husband or wife who is left behind. Abandoned spouses must undergo the emotional trauma and shame of rejection, the pain of losing a mate through betrayal and deceit, and the economic toll of having to start all over again alone. Deep depression, suicidal thoughts, uncontrolled anger or crying, sleeplessness, or nervous disorders may all result from abandonment in marriage. "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife" ( I Corinthians 7:10). The first reaction may be disbelief that the husband or wife who shared a home for years could resort to such drastic measures and wreak havoc on an unsuspecting spouse. But economic pressures, infidelity, unresolved anger, or deep seated bitterness can fester beneath the surface of the marriage relationship. When husbands and wives fail to resolve differences the outcome can be unacceptable behaviors or action contrary to a spouse's character.
An important consideration for deserted spouses is how to continue living when abandonment in marriage occurs. Putting the pieces of a life broken through desertion requires some sober thinking. Addressing financial matters, such as joint bank accounts, must be a priority. Deserted spouses should contact the bank or financial institution immediately to ensure a measure of financial stability. Banks may have policies or regulations that will dictate how finances in cases of abandonment are handled. A wise decision might be to close joint accounts and open new ones after outstanding checks have cleared. Safe deposit boxes to which a former spouse has access should also be examined to determine if contents have been withdrawn. Changing the lock on a safety deposit box and removing a spouse's name from bank records might also be advisable. Abandoned husbands and wives should also contact brokers about shared investments like stocks, bonds or certificates of deposit. Safeguarding assets will be crucial to continuing life alone.
Quite often, abandonment in marriage can affect whether a husband or wife can continue living in the family home. If the abuser was the primary breadwinner, the remaining spouse may not be able to keep up mortgage payments or manage the household finances. Moving to a more affordable home or living temporarily with family or friends may be options. In extreme hardship cases, homelessness could result. A forsaken spouse should contact the bank or lien holder carrying the home mortgage to see assess whether payment arrangements can be made to avoid default or foreclosure. Due to the U.S. foreclosure crisis, banks offer some creative financing and occupancy options to bail out troubled homeowners. Most lenders will not issue foreclosure notices until homeowners are at least three months in arrears. During that 90-day period, victims of abandonment in marriage may be able to arrange financing or obtain other living quarters. Thrift stores, yard sales, or rent-to-own stores offer low-budget options for replacing furnishings or appliances taken by an irate spouse.
While making financial and living arrangements is relatively easy, working through the emotional trauma of abandonment in marriage is a lengthier and more difficult process. Husbands and wives undergoing the aftermath of a marital crisis need spiritual counseling to help heal a broken heart. "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusteth in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him. The Lord is their strength, and He is the saving strength of His anointed. Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up forever" (Psalm 28:7).
Individuals with a strong belief in Jesus Christ will need to draw on their faith to be sustained through the dark days of recovery from abandonment in marriage. Deserted spouses should try to find a Bible-teaching church that provides nurturing for divorced or separated believers. The road to restoration will require forgiveness for a former mate, constant prayer, and a steady diet of the Word of God to rebuild confidence and empower those who are hurting to go on. Forgiving the offender helps expedite the healing process, as bitterness or resentment begin to fade away. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: . . . A time to love and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. . . He hath made every thing beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8, and 11). The God of all grace is able to restore the joy and the hope lost through abandonment, making all things beautiful in His time.
Relationships After MarriageRelationships after marriage may be difficult as a person tries to cope with past hurts but in time when healing has taken place the extreme emotions subside making dating possible. After a major life-changing event there is a time when one can feel almost desperate to find someone new. This is because the breakup has left a vacuum in one's life. One person gets used to being married and then all of a sudden the other person is gone. In the effort of trying to fill that vacuum a person may be tempted to jump right into another relationship. Relationships after marriage that happen too soon can end disastrous. Every person that has gone through a divorce has to deal with some kind of pain. Making major decisions about anything right after your marriage ends is not wise. The best thing to do is to settle down and fill the vacuum in your life with the Lord. He can give you peace. "I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: but let them not turn again to folly" (Psalm 85:8).
A void in life can be difficult to deal with especially after being married for a long period of time. This is a good time to make prayer a daily observance. Keeping a journal allows a person to write down his or her feelings. The act of writing down your feelings can bring resolution and healing. Relationships after marriage are certainly possible but should be approached cautiously, at least at first. The best thing to do is take your time and learn to enjoy your own company. Of course, one should continue relationships with family and friends. One must learn to forgive, forget the past, and move forward. This can be accomplished but it often takes time to put things into perspective. An adult does have the option to just decide to be happy and not dwell on the past. This means having no regrets and thinking only about the good times.
A person who is hurting may have the tendency to neglect self. Be determined to eat well, get plenty of sleep, and work exercise into a routine. Some people try to fill the void in life with food or even substances such as alcohol or drugs. Not dealing with the pain can prolong the healing process. We start to fill a little pain so we eat something and believe that makes us feel better. And that is fine to do as long as the food choices are not bad for you. Excessive sugar can make a person feel lousy especially if it causes weight gain. Examine the choices you are making and take one day at a time in trying to change those choices to positive ones. Relationships after marriage should not be about instantly making one feel better but about accomplishing daily goals towards the healing process.
Remember to seek God the first thing every morning. Relationships after marriage are not bad if they are rooted in friendship and in Christ. If possible make a daily list of things you want to accomplish and then work towards those goals. Daily goals might include: time in prayer and reading God's word, quality time spent with the kids, calling your best friend, setting up time to speak with a counselor, and so on. Commitment to prayer can make a huge difference on how we deal with problems. Knowing that the Lord is working it all out gives us comfort and peace. We don't have to worry about new relationships because faith tells us that He is in control and that He has a plan for our lives. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
There are always important lessons that we can learn from the hard times we go through. Going through a divorce can make us stronger. In fact, anytime there is a struggle in life, one can use the situation to grow. We can learn from our mistakes and we can learn from others' mistakes. Relationships after marriage should include those who support us, value us, and make us feel good. Find a support group and develop a social network. A person who gets involved in their community activities has an opportunity to help with healing. When we give to others there is deep satisfaction and oftentimes we find that when we help others healing takes place in our lives. When Job prayed for his friends, God healed him and blessed him, "And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before" (Job 42:10). God wants us to take an interest in others.
Instead of concentrating on our own pain we should make a decision to help our children find healing through their pain. Relationships after marriage shouldn't be all about self. Instead of constantly thinking over how much pain you're in try to empathize with the kids or with other friends who are going through hard times. Just realize that a person does not have to look far to see someone who is worse off. When we take out the time to think of others and help them it can make a difference in how we cope with our own difficulties. Take time for self but do not think that you are the only one who is in pain. In other words, try to not be consumed with the pain. Find a way to support and value others. Relationships after marriage can be based upon love and acceptance of others.