The Painful Non-Romantic Endeavor of Getting Back Together

simplessence asked a question:

What did God’s grace look like when He brought you and your now wife back together after you parted ways? Your story is beautiful, and I have been so very encouraged by the parts you have shared with us. God bless you!

Hey dear friend, I believe you’re referring to this post. I also talk about this in the last chapter of my book on relationships, about how my wife and I broke up for six months while we were still dating.

For some back-story: My wife and I dated for six years before we got married, and at the three year mark, she broke up with me.  It was for perfectly legitimate reasons: I was addicted to porn, I had an anger problem, and I was a control freak. It was over. I didn’t think we would get back together.

When we did, the hardest part was trying not to “win” her. I was afraid she would break up with me again if I made the smallest mistake. It was a fearful paranoia. I spent a while trying to prove that I was changed and different and better.  And in fact, I had changed — I had sought counseling and accountability and rebuke and had quit porn (I’m still sober to this day).  But I wasn’t resting in grace. I forgot that I didn’t need to prove myself, not to her, not to me, not to anyone. God had already done that part through His Son. I only needed to receive it and to continue growing.

I’m extremely thankful to my wife because for all my frantic attempts to keep her the second time around, she never actually pressured me. I was putting pressure on myself. She gave the relationship a second chance, and that was that. I was through the door. She never held anything against me from before. I was slowly able to unclench, to rest. This is what the grace of God does, both through Him and through others who understand. Fortunately, my wife understood.

Grace is not merely unconditional, but counter-conditional. If it wasn’t for grace, I would still be jumping through hoops. But because of grace, we were able to start over, towards a real relationship that wasn’t found on conditions, but truly on each other.

— J.S.

Purchase my book on taboo topics in the church here.

Purchase my new book on love, sex, and dating here.

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4 thoughts on “The Painful Non-Romantic Endeavor of Getting Back Together

  1. If you don’t mind explaining, in what ways were you a “control freak”? I feel like I struggle with that as well, and it makes it harder for me to develop a stronger relationship with God and other people at times.


    1. Hey my friend, thank you for the honest question. I had plenty of issues with power-plays over other people to gain and re-gain a sense of predictability. Since my home was mostly unpredictable growing up, I was subconsciously trying to get it back all the time. I tended to use anger to dominate over others, whether verbally or strategically. I also tended to micromanage and scratch after every detail to be just perfect; I hardly ever delegated tasks to other people.

      The root of the issue, as usual, was relinquishing trust over to God. I was not, nor could I be, always in control. Ironically the more I tried for it, the more I lost. When I could let go of illegitimate control, I could actually work harder and relax. I had to know the end result wasn’t ultimately up to me, and He approved of me regardless. It’s of course very hard to get this right all the time, and God has grace for that too.


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