What do you do when your husband leaves you?

Author: Marie France Sallets

What do you do when your husband leaves you?

Marie France Sallets shares how she chose to remain true to her marriage vows even after her husband left her

In 2002, after fifteen years of marriage, my husband Alain announced that he was going to live somewhere else as our relationship wasn’t working and he needed space.

Apart from the close family, I didn’t dare tell anyone as I felt ashamed of this decision.

Seeing my distress a priest in my parish suggested that I share my suffering with God. We went to a chapel where we prayed together. I expressed my pain, my incomprehension at Alain’s leaving.

Some weeks later we returned to this chapel and I received a word from the gospel: “Come to me, all you who suffer are heavy burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-30).

I meditated a long time on this phrase, which is not easy to understand but very real, and I have thought about it often since.

Little by little, I took up again the burden that had been too heavy for my shoulders. I believed that Jesus was going to help me carry this cross and that it would become progressively lighter.

However, the question of what I was going to do with my life was still there. Was I going to remain faithful to my vows all my life or was I going to open myself to a new relationship? I was convinced that I could make a man happy.

Thus I found myself standing at a crossroads.

I knew that I had to make a choice before my heart was swept away by the emotion of love, which would decide a path for me that I might not have chosen in my right mind.

Choose life

During a silent retreat at a Foyer de Charite, I was able to discern that my desire to remain faithful to my original vows was the stronger impulse.

This echoed a word from Deuteronomy, “I put before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life therefore so that you and your posterity might live.” (Deut 30:19).

This choice helped me to get back on the path. It has not always been an easy way but it has brought such joy and happiness that I have been able to accept the difficulties and the obstacles.

It has been such a pleasure for me to discover by my free choice this way of fidelity, that I need to speak about it and express my joy.

Thus it was that I chose to renew the “yes” of our marriage before my parish community, surrounded by friends and my family.

Many people reacted to this announcement. Few understood my actions, and some were even opposed, since my divorce had already been pronounced.

I almost doubted but God was at my side.

However, he has never let me fight alone [when] faced with the incomprehensibility of love.

It was thus full of serenity that I renewed my commitment to Alain, in the peace of Christ.

Through this I discovered the joy of having done something true and just and I have received the grace to remain faithful to Alain which is an immense inner joy.

Faithfulness to this commitment has given sense to my life. And I would like to thank God for this beautiful gift.

Freedom through forgiveness

Since my husband left, I began to go more regularly to Sunday Mass and to go to the Eucharist during the week too.

I rediscovered the sacrament of reconciliation. This is the place of intimate meeting, of a heart to heart with God. I was able to taste how much I was loved by him and that he forgave me.

The pardon I received allowed me to give the same to Alain. This desire to forgive has grown each time I pray the Our Father “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.”

To forgive has given me huge interior joy and peace.


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