I know a man who was abruptly and irrevocably abandoned by an unloving spouse. He could not understand what he had done to deserve such treatment, but there were children left for him to raise and he had to dive headlong into that important mission. For years he stayed busy seeing to their physical and spiritual nourishment, but at night, besides total exhaustion, he often felt a nagging loneliness.
Every now and then family or friends would suggest he might consider looking for another wife…a real one this time…that he was too good to keep going down life’s road with no partner to keep him balanced and supported, and most of all loved.
“No,” he would always reply, “Divorce is wrong and I don’t think Scripture says I can marry again.”
They didn’t agree, but they respected his belief and integrity.
He forced himself to avoid ever thinking about who or where a true wife might be. Had he missed her decades ago and married the wrong one? Had they even been within shouting distance? He prayed for an answer.
He grew older and the children grew up. One day he had some business to conduct with a person on-line, in a faraway place. In introducing himself, he had to mention a physical ailment from which he suffered, and how sometimes it interfered with his work.
Imagine his surprise when the person assigned to his case answered back that she had the same strange disease process. Excited that another human being knew exactly what he was going through, he sent a reply and mentioned his age.
She wrote back that ten years before, her husband had abandoned her and she was left to raise a child alone and how difficult it was while suffering a debilitating condition. By the way, she added, they were born in the same year.
The more they wrote of their pasts and symptoms and treatments and doctors, the more they began to wonder if they were actually twins separated at birth. Their cats even looked alike…white paws and all.
He made clear his stance on remarriage. She came to respect him as a good and decent person…a brother in the Lord. Without even noticing they were growing close, a strong bond formed. They began to write every day to chat about their ups and downs, to ask for and offer prayer, and to lend support in their common employment field.
Each agreed the other had an extremely kind heart and endearing ways. Occasional phone conversations lasted for hours. After all, they were brought up in the same interesting era, listening to the same music. They had volumes to discuss.
She became ill and he sent flowers. On his birthday she sent him a tiny oak tree plant. When bad things happened, they cried with each other. There were cards at Christmas. They did not meet.
Just as strong in her faith as he was in his, she was convinced that God gives second chances, and if a marriage covenant is broken, another one, through prayer and obedience, can be forged.
He did not agree. That broke his heart to say. It broke hers to hear.
Determined to protect the lovely friendship and keep all romance at bay, they continued to be the other's best cyber-friend. They laughed and cried and played and prayed…all without any worldly sewage creeping in to sabotage the purity of the alliance.
They spent more time talking and listening than most married people ever do. They seemed to be made for each other...that so-called soul-mate thing. He agreed. But, then there was that other thing…the fact that he simply was not available.
She told him they needed to take a break from writing for a while, unless something came up about the other that needed serious prayer. He didn’t agree, but deep inside, he knew that was best.
He was miserable. She was miserable. Months passed.
One night she woke up with a heavy burden to pray for him. She asked God to protect him, if he was in danger. Then, she received an unexpected e-note. He had been taken very ill and had been in the ICU.
She cried and dialed his number (she still had it). When he answered, they each felt the same comfort and understanding nurtured over the years between two faceless computers. True friendship is rare and worth preserving.
As far as anything else, there’s only one thing they can do: agree to disagree.
*True story about some folks I know.
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