With the Lord’s grace, I save marriages for a living. Not I, but He through me. I teach marriage seminars, wrote a marriage book, lead Standers’ meetings, am a parent stander and more than three decades ago I was the prodigal who left my husband for another (but are now reconciled and soon-to-be-celebrating our 35th!) I’m pretty familiar with this Standing business!
Standing spouses are counter-cultural as they choose to stand even though their spouse may be in the midst of an affair, is pursuing divorce, has a child with the other person or has already attained a “legal” divorce.
Standers believe in the covenant made at their wedding that “what God has joined together, no human must separate (Mk 10:9)”—not even a judge. Thus, they remain married regardless of their “legal” status.
Standers refuse to surrender their marriage simply because others tell them to “get on with their lives” or “they deserve to be happy.”
Standers realize that while standing they’re definitely experiencing the “worse” part of their “better or worse” vows but by the grace of God, they can endure this journey in hopes of a worldly reconciliation. They also know that thousands of couples have reconciled and are exponentially happier than before their stands.
Standing is hard—likely the hardest thing you’ll ever do as it stretches you in ways you never believed possible. You will cry. You will scream and you will pray for the seemingly unbearable journey to end. But you will also rest. You will grow in wisdom, strength, perseverance, self-control, patience and peace. You will praise God for the woman or man you recognize yourself becoming and you’d likely not turn back.
Your stand will allow you to grow in intimacy with your children, your spouse (even if you rarely communicate) and others as standing teaches you to love like Christ. You’ll be shocked when you find yourself praying for the other person and recognizing the softening of your heart as you do.
Your stand will transform you.
Memorize this: “Jesus I trust in you! Jesus, I trust in you! Repeat daily...Umm…hourly…ok, constantly.
Though each stand is as unique as each couple, most Standers practice the following:
- Never respond to hatred and anger with hatred and anger. (Luke 6:27-28) (Eph 4:31-32)
- Never respond with tough love. (Prv. 15:1) (Gal. 6:1)
- Never give ultimatums. (Prov 24:29) (Rom 12:17-21)
- Never respond as “everyone else” tells you to respond. (Rom. 16:17) (1 Pet 3:15-16)
- Never think of yourself as “the good guy” and your prodigal as “the bad guy.” (Mat 7:3)
- Never seek unnecessary information about your prodigal. It only hurts you and places doubt in your mind as to the potential for reconciliation. (Phil 4:8)
- Never think of yourself first “rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourself (Phil 2:3b)”
- Recognize the conditions you may have placed on your “unconditional” love. (1 Cor 13:4-7)
- Recognize what your prodigal says isn’t really your prodigal but the enemy who has temporarily deceived your prodigal. (2 Cor 4:3-4)
- Recognize what you see happening in the Natural has little to do with what is taking place in the Supernatural. (Eph 6:12)
- Recognize your children will at first believe your reconciliation impossible but will eventually support your stand as they witness its fruit in your life. (Prov 1:8-9)
- Recognize most prodigals will blame their entire broken relationship on you and your faults. (1 Pet 3:14)
- Recognize most prodigals will say they never loved you and are never coming back. (Eph 5:6)
- Recognize many prodigals do come back. (Luke 15:11-21) (Hos 2:9)
- Recognize reconciled marriages are happier than those that never struggled. (Rom 11:15)
- Recognize “divorce” and “remarriage” never solve problems but create new ones. (Deut 24:1-4)
- Always pray before communication with your prodigal. (Phil 4:6)
- Always apologize for any of your missteps—regardless of their proportion to your prodigal’s. (Matt 5:23)
- Always pray for your prodigal. (1 Thes 5: 17)
- Always pray for the Other Person. (Luke 6:27-36)
- Always opt for silence over defense. (Prov 21:23)
- Listen more than you ever believed humanly possible. (Jam 1:19)
- Forgive more than you ever believed humanly possible. (Col 3:13)
- Love more than you ever believed humanly possible. (1 Pet 4:8-9)
- And in the words of Winston Churchill “Never, never, never give up” on your spouse, your marriage and the Lord’s promises.
I am a Stander. Will you stand with me?