Purity Principles I Learned from Wayward Spouses

I have learned a lot in the months following the publication of Redemptive Divorce. While the book helps Christians end the continual destruction caused by their wayward or incorrigible spouses, we receive many letters from repentant men and women who realized too late what they had thrown away. Take, for example, this excerpt from “Tim’s” letter:

I wish that you had thought to include a section directed towards the wayward spouse. Perhaps you are planning a follow-up to this effort. Either way, it is sorely needed. You see, I am that spouse. My wife filed for divorce almost 12 years ago. We are both believers, but I allowed sin to enter my life and to rule over me. Unfortunately, counseling never got to the heart of the matter. It wasn’t until my wife filed for divorce that the light bulb turned on and the Holy Spirit was able to use the experience to reach me. Unfortunately, my wife was so tired of trying to get through to me that divorce came as a welcome relief.

As I read each pain-filled letter and email, I realized that nothing separated me from these remorseful victims (victims of their own sin). The flesh is just as much an enemy to me as anyone. So, I began jotting down lessons—principles of purity—as they occurred to me. Here are ten principles gleaned from the sad testimonies of formerly wayward spouses. I have made it a habit to read them periodically, especially before traveling alone. May I suggest you do the same?

Ten Purity Principles I Never Want to Forget

1. No matter how little I regard my own worth, I am very important to my wife and family. Failure is not an option.

2. The consequences of sin always surpass my expectations.

3. I mean more to my wife than I realize; so, should I fail, the impact on her would be greater than I can know.

4. Personal purity is not a personal issue; it affects everyone I love.

5. When I’m angry at God, sin feels like a friend. That’s when I need to ask for help.

6. For women, the brain is a sex organ. Impure images and thoughts are no less a violation of my wife’s territory than another man’s hands on her body is a violation of mine.

7. When I behave as though God isn’t enough, He understands. When I behave as though my wife isn’t enough, she cannot understand. She only knows her value to me by my behavior.

8. A seedbed of sin is the stubborn conviction that I’m entitled to better than what I’m getting.

9. I am at my best when I have nothing to hide.

10. The stakes are too high for me to guard my purity on my own; I need backup.