It looked like the perfect love story. “High school sweethearts? How romantic!” people would gush. Or, “You dated for that long and never broke up?” Although it wasn’t as perfect as my Instagram feed portrayed, I was in love and living my dream. We were leading Bible studies, serving at church and launching our careers. He was my best friend and the ideal catch: attractive, charming, the life of the party. And best of all, I looked up to him spiritually. He was bold in his faith, loving nothing more than to talk about his faith with a random stranger. I thought our happily-ever-after marriage would continue to play out like a movie until we had become a cute old couple, sitting hand-in-hand on a bench outside of our retirement home.
Somewhere along the way, pieces of the perfect love story began to crack. The man who had fervently prayed for us and our future family lost the desire to pray with me at all. He admitted that the more he pictured his future, the less he saw me in it. Our love story crumbled to dust when he decided that he didn’t love me like he thought he would love his wife and we were better apart than together. I wanted him to stay, to try, to believe that God would bring restoration, a better marriage than ever. But he was tired of the work and didn’t feel that I was worth it. He left.
The tiny one bedroom apartment that once hosted Bible studies and rang with laughter was now silent and empty. For a long time, I wrestled with the confusion: the man I chose to love had initially displayed such godly character. How could he choose to step out of the covenant we had made to each other and to God?
For a few months after he left, I would go to work, sit in my corner cubicle and cry. But in that corner cubicle, in the midst of those tears, the Lord sat with me and spoke to me. I didn’t have answers for why my ex-husband walked away. But God reminded me that everything that I was feeling found its counter-truth in my Heavenly Father’s love: rejected by my husband — but chosen by God; worthless as a wife — yet more than enough in Jesus’s eyes; broken promises and devastated trust on one hand — but unfailing hope and assurances of God’s faithfulness forever. Praise God that we can turn to His character when earthly relationships disappoint and fail us.
Marriage is supposed to display Christ’s love for us. Therefore, divorce sabotages the illustration of Christ’s love and character. I no longer had a husband to reflect God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. But I did still have the God who cherished me as his precious possession. Abandonment isn’t a word in his vocabulary.
I was still living out a broken story. Never in a million years had I imagined myself on the divorced side of the marriage statistic at age 25. Sometimes people choose to follow feelings and instincts that aren’t in line with God’s Word. But we have so much hope in the truth that God never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
I don’t know if God will write another love story in my life. But I’m sure that whatever plot changes and surprise endings God brings my way, His steadfast love will never end.