For whatever reason, you and your spouse are no longer together. You’re separated, in the process of a divorce or divorced. You’re not sure what happened, or how you got to this point, but you know it hurts. You have given your life to the Lord. You’ve realized your role in the downfall of your marriage. You have gone to God and repented of your sins. God… forgave you. You’ve gone to your spouse, humbled yourself and apologized. You tried to make steps to restore your marriage. Your spouse….didn’t forgive you and wants nothing to do with you. You have a “Prodigal Spouse”.
Luke 15 talks about the Parable of the Lost Son. There is a valuable lesson to be learned about marriage in this parable.
The Parable of the Lost Son- Luke 15:11-32
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
If you have taken the steps in faith and obedience to try to repair your marriage and it is only getting worse instead of better, it’s time for you to step back and let God deal with your spouse. We cannot break the binds of Satan on our spouses. We cannot break the binds of unforgiveness, pride, hatred, and selfishness. This is God’s battle, not ours.
God is the only one who can bring your spouse to repentance. Verse 17 says “When he came to his senses”. The lost son didn’t come to his senses on his own. God allowed him to surrender to his “free will”, and then stepped in and said “enough!” By bringing the lost son to his senses, He brought him to the recognition of his sins. God brought him to repentance, and God brought him home.
Pray for your prodigal. Pray for the restoration and healing of your marriage. Pray for protection over your spouse. Pray for their salvation. Place your prodigal in God’s hands.
As difficult as it may be to deal with the pain of what our spouse is doing right now, we need to let the Prodigal’s father be an example of how we are to handle a prodigal spouse.
The father left his son go, but he never stopped looking for him to return. (verse 20: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.) He never stopped loving him no matter how long he was gone. Love, was unconditional. Forgiveness, was unconditional.
When the son returned, the father never said “After what you have done, you don’t deserve to return to my home.” He never asked his son to prove to him that he was sorry. He never brought anything up and threw it back in the sons face. The father was so happy that his son, once dead in his sins, was now alive in Christ. He was thankful that his son had returned home. He was so overjoyed with the love of the Lord, he threw a party for his son.
What a humbling example of how we are to live and love out of obedience to the Lord.
The rest of the parable talks about the ‘other’ son.
Whether you are the Prodigal spouse or you have a Prodigal spouse, know that there may be people in your life that don’t agree with you working toward reconciling your broken marriage. They may even be encouraging you to divorce and move on with your life. They may tell you that too much damage has been done, and you’re a fool if you even attempt to go back to your spouse. They are no different than the ‘other’ son.
Hold fast to the example of the father. Remain faithful to God and to your covenant regardless of what others tell you. Your obedience to God is more important than obedience to the “other sons” in your life, even if they are your parents or your siblings.