- encouraging wives who pray for redemption in their marriage -

How to Survive When He Tells You He’s Leaving

So he just spoke the words that you’ve dreaded all your life. Maybe he said them quietly, perhaps he unleashed them with a vengeance:

“I don’t know that I’m going to stay with you.” Or maybe even, “I want a divorce.”

Your heart drops and you’re suddenly very aware of the feeling in the pit of your stomach – the one that threatens to rack your body.

And your immediate response is, “What will I do?”

I never wanted to be someone who had the answers for you – meaning, I was so sure my marriage was rock solid, until the day it all came crumbling down.

And so since I now have some answers, I want to share them with you, in no particular order.

So your husband said he's leaving you. Here are some immediate steps for how to survive when he tells you he's leaving.

 

PRAY
Yes, of course this is my first response. It sort of goes without saying. However, I’m saying it because prayer will change your life.

FEEL YOUR FEELINGS 
Please know that whatever you are feeling on any given day, it’s legitimate. If you need to cry, do it. If you need to unpack your feelings of anger, that’s ok. I would recommend calling a friend, a pastor, a trusted mentor. Maybe you’re having a good day – that’s awesome! Enjoy it! Whatever you’re feeling, please take time and sit with your feelings.

SEEK WISE COUNSEL
You will probably need someone to talk to. I’m the one who can plow through and fix anything, and even I needed a professional to help me talk through my feelings. This is one area where you may say, “No, I don’t need this.” Please, make time for this one. It just may save your life.

DECIDE WHAT YOU CAN HANDLE
I don’t know the specifics of your situation, but I don’t need to. Wherever you find yourself, decide what you can handle. Will you be able to deal with one more knock-down drag-out fight? Can you put up with the yelling? Determine your boundaries and make them clear to your husband. 

And when the line gets crossed?

PLAN YOUR ESCAPE
Where can you go quickly and easily if you cannot stay at your home? Maybe you just need to be out for the night, away from his anger. Maybe you are feeling too explosive and you need time to cool off. Determine where you can go – to parents? friends? your church? 

Maybe you feel like you don’t have a safe place. You will need one.
You will also need a few trusted friends. 

CHOOSE YOUR TRUSTED FRIENDS WELL
Not everyone will be able to make this journey with you. We have seen so many friends walk on out of our lives. And today, almost 2 years later, I can tell you that it’s okay. God is so faithful – He will bring you just the right people, just the right sisters to gather round and pray you through.
I promise. 

MAKE YOUR PLANS
Consider what will happen if your husband does leave you. What will you need? And who can help you? Here are a few thoughts:
*Who will you call if/when your hot water heater breaks?

*Who can provide emergency childcare or run to the grocery store for you if you are sick?
*Who can help you change a tire?

What about finances? What will you need to keep on going?
*Will you need a job? full time or part time? Let’s get going on this because it will alleviate panic and stress if you can get working toward steady income.
(Ok, I know you want to lay in bed, pull up the covers and cry. That’s ok; you can still do that. But there will come a moment when you can be brave, even briefly, and take a step out in faith. Do it.)
*What can you cut immediately if your husband leaves?
*Does your church offer any help?
*What resources are available to you through your county or state?

BE OKAY WITH CHANGES
I’ll admit – this one is hard for me. I was not okay with changes. I wanted my marriage to work. I wanted my family to stay together. But a wife is only one part of a marriage. You can’t control what your husband does, and neither can I control what my husband does. If he ultimately chooses to leave, you’re going to need to find a way to eventually be okay with that.

Maybe this will be your time to learn something new – go back to school, take a class, learn a new skill, do something you’ve always wanted to do. This may help you transition into your new life with a little more ease.

MAYBE YOUR MARRIAGE HASN’T ENDED YET, 
AND YOU’RE DETERMINED TO TRY TO MAKE IT WORK.

Prayer is going to need to be your complete heart attitude. Maybe it already is. Trust me when I say that this situation you’re walking through will drive you to your knees. You’ll find yourself in your car, or walking down the street, or folding laundry and you’ll realize you’re praying. Keep at it. Pray specifically. Trust God with your biggest requests. 

PUT ON YOUR ARMOR
Ephesians 6 tells us about the full armor of God. Take some time to really study this passage. The enemy is going to go to work on your life, especially if you decide to try to stay and work it out. Learn about the armor and then get up and get dressed in your armor, intentionally, every day. 

Sisters, this is a battle for your heart, for your husband, for your marriage. Believe me when I tell you that the enemy is going to fight you at every step.

I once read a short post from Leslie Parrott that has changed my life, my story, and my approach to battling in the spiritual realm. You can read it in full here, but I’ll just share a bit with you.

“They shared their story of successfully standing up against the trafficking of girls in their community. I asked how they had the courage to do this. One mother pointed to the desert landscape and simply said that someone had to be the first drop of rain, even though you may be small.”

Inspired by the story of these women, Leslie Parrott wrote a book called “The First Drop of Rain” and the description says everything that I long to put into words about this journey:

“Have you ever felt plucked out and suddenly dropped by the hand of God into the wasteland?
Have you felt desolate, dry, and fragile? No sign of God, no sound of water?”

I don’t know just where you are in your journey. I only know where I have been, and I know where I am now.

I have listened to God, I have begged for restoration and redemption for my marriage and for so many others.

I have listened to God as He said, “Do not move,” and I have longed to run away.

I read the very short blurb above, about the women who dared to trust God for the safety of their children.

And I stood up.

I stood in the wilderness where not many dare to trust or fight for their marriage. I planted my feet, and I did not move.

The enemy has tried, over and over again, to tear things apart. I’m sure he’s gotten angrier at every glimpse of me waiting on God, because he has fired what I believe to be some of his very sharpest attacks in my direction.

I want to make it incredibly clear:

I am PRO marriage.
This marriage stuff can be so hard, though…. 

I want to share what I’ve learned, especially with women, because we are so emotionally tied in to our relationships.
And that’s not a bad thing.
In that manner, you can say I am PRO woman.

But more than anything, I get up every day – every single day – and I stand my ground. I believe God for the promises that He has given to me. I stand waiting for answers for the requests of others struggling within their own marriages.

And I stand, waiting for even the first drop of rain, because I believe that my God is stronger and mightier than any attack the enemy can send.

I am PRO redemption.
Yes, even from the ugliest of sins.

If you are here, maybe it’s because you need these bits of advice. Maybe you need hope. Maybe you’re praying for redemption.

I can’t take the journey for you, but I can promise you that I’m on the same journey – a fellow traveler, a sister, a friend. I am standing here, reaching out my hand, hoping you will take it and join me in fighting FOR the restoration of our marriages. 

By the grace of God, my marriage is improving dramatically! God has been so faithful to us in this journey. 

I am praying for you. If you would like me to pray specifically for your situation, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. ( rmhallberg@gmail.com ) I will gladly pray with you and for you, trusting God to send the rain.

Support for women who are standing for their marriage, trusting God to restore and redeem.

Click this link to fill out the short form for the Facebook group.

sharing at Grace & Truth



25 thoughts on “How to Survive When He Tells You He’s Leaving”

  • Bravo, Becky!! I just love how all of this came together, sister-friend! And even more, I love watching from the sidelines as you live this out in real life. I know the place this came from, and that makes you a trustworthy voice on this issue. Thank you for being brave and authentic with us!
    Jen 🙂
    Jen recently posted…How to Persevere in LifeMy Profile

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    Rebekah Reply:

    Thanks, Jen…this one was a long time coming. I’m praying it’s a blessing to others who ultimately want to see redemption in the midst of their circumstances.

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  • Rebekah, I am honored to have had the chance to read this to start my day. What a beautiful story of redemption God continues to write through you and with you and for you and in you–and through, with, for, and in others who will be guided and encouraged by your words. I could not have written this piece: I have not heard those words. But I am pinning this to share as I come across women who have heard them, that God’s story of redemption may be written again and again.
    Elizabeth Spencer recently posted…Five Verses to Claim Today When You’re Worried About TomorrowMy Profile

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    Rebekah Reply:

    Thank you, Elizabeth. This isn’t an easy path. By God’s grace it’s getting a little easier and our relationship is growing and being restored. I pray this is a blessing to those who need these words.

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  • Hi Rebekah, I just want to say thank you for sharing your story, encouraging women to stand for their marriages, and to trust God no matter what they are going through. My own marriage was reconciled 4 and a half years ago after 3 years of waiting, and at the time it was so difficult to find people who would offer support and encouragement to be PRO marriage, as you put it. I am praying for God’s blessing for you and your family.
    Gwen recently posted…Island Life Unit StudyMy Profile

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    Rebekah Reply:

    I was so blessed to read of your reconciliation! Thank you for sharing that! Yes, it’s hard to find people who can truly offer the support and encouragement you need in the tough times. People want to be around for the good times – the tough times, not so much. Praying for you both!

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  • This is so powerful and so beautiful! Thank you for posting this. Even when teetering on the edge of divorce and trying to decide if that is something we want, this all has been incredibly helpful. I especially loved your inclusion of finding good friends; this is definitely a make-or-breaker of friendships.
    Blessings!
    Caroline recently posted…We Live on ONE Income Here’s How {Part 2}My Profile

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    Rebekah Reply:

    Hi Caroline,
    I was reminded recently by someone that even if this (current) love doesn’t look like what we want it to, imagine how much better it will be on the other side if both choose to fight for the marriage and for each other.
    That being said, only the two of you and God really know the circumstances that are causing your struggles. I’ll be praying for you all – especially for the good friends. This is certainly not easy stuff! Blessings!

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  • Rebekah,
    This is exactly what I needed/wanted to hear! My husband left me & our 3 kids a few months ago & it has been the hardest time of my life. While he claims to not want a divorce, he also is saying, doing, acting like he wants redemption either. I am standing for my marriage but it is sooooo hard. Most days I feel like my prayers are just bouncing off the ceiling & falling on deaf ears. I feel lost, scared & heartbroken. I’m so tired of crying & feeling this way. I pray daily that my husband would have an “ah ha” God moment b/c that is the only thing/way this marriage will be fixed.
    I know all I can do is take things one day at a time but things have got to change. I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this! Please stand in agreement that “every painful parting will be turned into a reunion”

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    Rebekah Reply:

    CJ, my heart goes out to you. While our initial struggle is over, there are still many days when I don’t know which end is up and it’s truly a struggle.
    My one prayer, during the hardest days, was simply, “Jesus, mercy and grace.” I prayed those 4 words over and over and over….(you get the point). To this day, those are the words I pray when I just can’t find the right words. It’s so hard when you don’t know what is going to happen, or when, or even if. The one thing I can promise is that God IS… faithful, loving, good, kind, gentle, gracious. Keep on trusting.

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  • So good. So, so good. I’m so blessed to know you, Becky – your life is a true blessing, and I’m simply in awe of God’s lavish grace that is enabling you to live your faith “out loud.” Thank you for championing women. For championing marriage. And for championing redemption through Jesus Christ. I’m glad you linked this with G&T, and it’s my prayer that this post and others you’ve written are read by the particular women who most need them. God is using you, my friend!
    Jennifer recently posted…Love Goes the Whole WayMy Profile

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  • What a powerful post and one that will help many women who are hurting! These posts are some of the hardest to write but can offer such help and healing for women who feel all alone. On Sunday one of the message points said that marriage is a way that we can love Jesus. I love the visual of not moving and standing in the strength of God to hold you up. Thank you!

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  • Thank you , just thank you so much ! My husband left Me a four two children about 4 months ago has filed for divorce and is living with another woman . It is so very painful and I struggle daily to have compassion and love for him , that I would have the words to pray .. Standing onGods promises . Please stand in agreement with me for Gods will , for a change. For total restoration , that every plant he enemy has out for evil that God has turned to Good . I want my marriage ,but I know that God has a work to do in myself and in my husband .

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  • The world will tell you quickly to move on, to let it go, that you deserve better. Unfortunately, I believe this keeps us from doing what God has asked us to do. To stand for our marriages. I went through my husband leaving me out of the blue and filing for divorce immediately. I prayed and I stood in belief that God could restore our marriage. 4 weeks went by with zero contact. When I felt God urge me to make the call, I did. He came over to talk, he cried and said I want to do the right thing. We got ourselves back in church and in counseling. The power of prayer. I understand it doesn’t always go the way you want it to, but in my case it did. Through prayer I was changed…. and the change in me was so drastic it can only be attributed to the Creator. Blessings, and thank you for sharing this, there are probably a whole lot of women googling what to do when your husband leaves you. I know I did. <3 I like to read these types of things even today, because it reminds me of my own struggle and how blessed I am.

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  • My husband and I are in desperate need of prayers at this time. I’ve been praying as much as I can for his conversion back to the lord and back to our marriage. I’m 6 months pregnant currently and want nothing more than to reconcile with my husband. I found out that he was having an affair. He left out home on Christmas Day. He doesn’t want to work on our marriage currently an is still involved with the other woman. Please pray that he listens for Gods guidance.

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    Rebekah Reply:

    I am praying – I have been praying. May the Lord give you the desires of your heart, and may He make Himself so very real to you. I wrote a new post today that may encourage you – it’s called “Is There Hope for my Marriage?” You can find it on the main page – written on 2/7. I will continue to pray.

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  • Zechariah 3:1-2 KJV
    And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord , and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
    [2] And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

    I know it is tough, I went through him leaving and never coming back or calling. But God is faithful.

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    Rebekah Reply:

    Amen! I just put up a new post today where I wrestled through those same thoughts. And yes, God IS faithful! Thank you – thank you so much!

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  • I too am.fighting for my marriage we have been.only seperated for 3months. It seems like three years …I only see him about the kids. This is so hard …He was talking to another married woman..I am praying for total restoration I am reminded that marriage isnt something to hold.lightly…
    I pray daily and am waiting for his Word. I know that man.has free will also. I love the comment about loving Jesus as we are fighting ..We are not alone even if it seems like we are ..
    Blessings

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    Rebekah Reply:

    I just added a new post about hope for our marriages today (Sunday, 2/7 – you can find it on the home page by the date). Go check it out? I am constantly reminded that God still has a plan for my life – MINE – no matter if I’m a part of a couple or on my own. The pain is very real – there’s absolutely no discounting that. But God does heal. God does love us. God DOES keep us going! Praying for you!!

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  • My husband left four weeks ago and moved in with his family. He refuses to give me examples of what I have done to hurt him or anger him. I feel he is in a severe depression. He is a kind, loving and generous man and i dearly love him. We have been together ten years, married eight and he has raised my now 15 year old daughter. She is devastated to not have her Daddy in her life. We are all praying but he refuses to seek any individual help or marriage counseling. He said he doesn’t want to have to work at our marriage.I will continue to pray that I can put this in God’s hands and tgat our marriage be restored.

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  • Oh my, so glad to see this! My husband left us 2 1/2 years ago for someone else. It has devastated our family. He has very little contact with us or even his family. I feel God had told me to stand so I am. We haven’t divorced or anything but my husband acts like we don’t exist. It’s very hard when everyone encourages to divorce him.

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  • I needed to read this today. Me and my husband are currently separated, he’s been gone for about 1 and 3 months this has been so tough for and my 2 kids. Some days it’s easy and others are so hard because my kids ask for him daily. I will keep fighting for my marriage and family no matter how much harder it is. Please help me to keep praying for restoration and healing. Thank you

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  • Please pray for my marriage. We have been married 17 years and have 4 young children. My husband said he doesn’t love me anymore and doesn’t want to fix our marriage. He’s turned away from God and his heart is hardened. I am on my knees constantly praying for him.

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  • Thank you for this post. My husband and I have been separated for 4 months. We have four children and this has been so hard on us. We did great things for the lord and now he has walked away from the church. Please pray with me that his relationship with Jesus and our marriage will be restored.

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