Having talked to Hilda today I am concerned that you be very careful and very humble in your approach to her. There is always enough sin to go around in any marriage conflict, but the greatest burden of proof is on you since you made it impossible for Hilda to live with you.
You are going to need to do these things to please God, not to get Hilda back:
- You are going to have to prove that you can be trusted. This is understandably Hilda's biggest barrier. The serious physical damage you have done to her is on her mind every time she seriously considers ending the divorce. She knows the statistics about spousal abuse. She knows that people with life-dominating sins (like alcohol and drug abuse, self-injury, compulsive lying, compulsive gambling, compulsive spending, pedophilia, pornography and homosexuality just to name a few) learn to be con artists and will do anything—even be “good”—to get what their idolatrous hearts crave. She thinks your sudden change is another act and that you will go back to the controlling, the rage, the drugs and the abuse like you have every other time. Get into her head and apply Philippians 2:3-4 to your thinking and actions. She is asking, “What if I believe he has changed and I take him back and he does the same thing again?” The burden of proof is on you.
- You are going to have to demonstrate your ability to be the kind of father God wants you to be. This is more than taking the kids to church. The kids need a dad who will spend time with them and give instruction as is modeled in Deuteronomy 6. Don’t think you have to be in the home to teach them. It is hard, but not as hard as the “way of the transgressor,” a road you know too well.
- You are going to have wait. This means that you treat Hilda as you would want your little girl to be treated by a young man when she is eighteen. If she thinks you just want sex, you’re going to have to wait like you should have as a teenager. As I see it, even though you are legally married, you would be wise to come up with a courtship plan that begins your relationship over where you know it should have been years ago. I want a young man to watch my daughter from a safe distance and learn to love and respect her as a sister in Christ before he ever becomes involved with her romantically. I want him to determine not to arouse passions that cannot be righteously fulfilled. Yes, Hilda is your wife, but barely. I must say with love in my heart that you chose the “barely” part by your sinful treatment of her. Honest question: What if it takes a year? Is she worth the investment? Would you want a young man to marry your daughter who couldn’t say no for that long? Could you wait a year without touching her and spend that time (an agreement like 1 Corinthians 7) learning to know her and love her for who she is out of bed by writing letters and making phone calls and spending no time alone?
- After all that is done—even if it takes a year—you have to be prepared for her to say, “Sorry.” Would your bubble be popped? Yes, but your ability to handle that kind of disappointment and stay passionate about your Savior would certainly be evidence that getting Hilda back is not your greatest passion.
The big biblical questions that reveal the desires of your heart:
- What do you want so badly that you are willing to sin in order to get it? See Achan’s desire for stuff.
- How do you respond when you do not get what you want? See Saul’s treatment of David when his lust for control seemed threatened.
- What is it that you think you cannot be happy without? See Rachel’s desire for children.