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If I Just Knew Why



Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27 NIV

“If she’d just tell me why she left,” says Todd.

For several years, Todd had stewed over this question. His desperate need to make sense out of his wife’s decision to leave their marriage had kept him from completing his emotional divorce. Worse yet, focusing his energies on this nagging question kept him from experiencing the peace offered to him by God.

The question Todd asks is a logical and fair question.

He wonders if something he did or didn’t do prompted his wife to leave. Or was it something beyond his control? Answers to these questions would be very revealing and could help to shed light on the whys of the breakdown of the marriage. The answers might also lead Todd to better choices in future relationships.

The most significant person in Todd’s life decided to end his marriage and she will not explain why.

That is no doubt disconcerting. Perhaps she doesn’t care to explain, or maybe she doesn’t fully understand her reasons herself. Either way, the problem does not belong to Todd’s former wife–it belongs to Todd. To have peace, Todd must shift his focus to what he can control.

The difficulty arises in this type of situation when the need to understand is so persistent that it continues to tie a divorcing person emotionally to his former spouse or marriage. Dwelling on the question of why your spouse ended the marriage is self-defeating because the answers may never come. The solution is to make the choice to let go of the question.

Are You Like Todd in Some Way?

Choosing to dwell on a question that will not be answered is choosing to let your heart be troubled. What’s more, by continuing to focus on the question, you are giving your former mate control in your life. You are setting yourself up for frustration rather than peace.

Continuing to wonder about something, when no answer is forth coming, is like beating your head against the wall–there is no good purpose in it.  Even so, letting go of the need to know may take time, determination, and prayer. Set your mind and heart on letting it go.

Give your stress to God.

Every time you find yourself questioning why, talk to yourself and God about your thinking:

  • I’m wondering why again.
  • Wondering why is futile and painful.
  • Here, God, you take it away.
  • I choose your peace instead.

Say this every time you find yourself asking why. God is willing to free you of the why question the first time you ask, but you may need to retrain your brain to stop asking the question. Keep at it until you let go of the why question and accept the peace that God promises.

Making Information and Ideas Work

  1. Am I struggling with a need to get an answer that my former spouse is not willing or able to give? What is the question?
  2. How is struggling with this question affecting me?
  3. How can I reflect on the ideas I just read and apply them to my situation in a way that will make my life better?

Talk with God

Ponder this reading and share your thoughts with God. Listen so that the Holy Spirit might fill you with wisdom and peace. What concrete actions do you need to take based on what God is saying to you?

This post is an excerpt from Renee Smith Ettline’s book, Peace after Divorce. Click below to learn more about this award-winning book.


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One Comment on If I Just Knew Why

  1. Renee Ettline says:

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