This is the story (2000) of Isabel, my second wife, who left me over half a decade ago during a time of great pressure when we were being persecuted for our faith in Christian/Messianic polygyny. The background of her particular problems and why she left our family is told in an earlier story, How It All Started (see the section, The Beginning of Polygamy in My Life), so I shall not repeat that here.
During the many years of our separation I never lost hope that we would be reunited as man and wife. To her enormous credit, she kept herself chaste during that time and, as she once said to her astonished mother, she felt that she had to 'faithful to her ex-husband'. Though a contradiction in terms it nevertheless reflected a profound spiritual reality - though technically divorced according to the laws of the land, in her heart she knew that we were still a married couple. Many times she tried to 'kill' the love she felt for me but could not for the Spirit of Yahweh would not permit her to do so. Yet over the years we continued as friends and, in spite of one or two disagreements in letters, never lost that friendship. I barely saw her and our son more than about once every year-and-a-half, since she lived far away abroad and circumstances did not permit more regular visits. Yet through all those years Yahweh kept our covenants alive - He was not about to give up on us!
I will, when the time is right, let Isabel tell her own story, if she wishes, so I shall concentrate in this article on 'my side' of the story. As our readers will know, I fell in love with my third wife all over again in December 1999 (see Growing in Love: The Miracle of Plural Marriage) at a time when other patriarchal Christians like myself were experiencing similar things. I am therefore convinced that the Spirit of Yahweh is moving in a very special way at this time as He prepared for a major launching of the Christian polygynous movement in the churches/messianic assemblies.
Some weeks before Isabel and I were reunited she had got in contact with me and suggested that I come and stay with her and our son. It was a bold move on her part and as she was to tell me afterwards she never really believed I would come. But I felt right about it - very right indeed. I had no expectations of a reconciliation and was chiefly thinking of rebuilding a relationship with my son. Though both mother and son had visited us in the summer, there had been not the slightest sign of a reconciliation at that time and I had no reason to suppose that anything would come of a return visit. Once I made it known that I was going abroad, I suddenly received considerable opposition both from relatives and from Satan himself. The day before I was to leave I fell seriously ill, condemned to fight a really tough bout of influenza that was then sweeping Europe. I was running a high fever, had a terrible headache, and felt completely unable to undertake a long train journey across the mountains. So I went into prayer, telling Yahweh that I wished to go visit but that I wished to do His will more than my own. The holiday would mean leaving the rest of my family behind over New Year with all the anticipated Y2K problems, leaving the care of several elderly people in the hands of my other wives during possibly long electricity breaks and water shortages. The 'flu epidemic was a hard one and people I knew were weak and exhausted for weeks on end and unable to do much. And I did not particularly wish to take the bug with me either. So I asked Yahweh to heal me sufficiently by the next morning to enable me to travel safely if it was His will that I go.
The next morning the miracle had happened. I felt about 80% well and knew that I should go. Unsaved relatives knew that there might be a possibility of a reunion, and being anti-polygyny, did all they could to emotionally blackmail me to prevent me going. But my wives were behind me and so too was Yahweh - and very clearly.
I arrived in Isabel's home town during typical winter weather but without incident and, whilst feeling very tired, felt none the worse for my exertions. Isabel, as I said, could not quite believe it when I arrived, but there they were - my estranged wife and son - waiting eagerly for me.
Now I want to say from the beginning that throughout this whole visit I was completely calm and at peace throughout. There were no great emotional tugs of the heart as there might have been in earlier years. I had been living polygamy now for over a decade and been a pastor even longer. During the years I have seen the hand of Yahweh at work and have learned to trust Him in mind, heart and spirit. So I arrived at my destination completely at peace, without emotional expectations, but with a silent hope that Yahweh would do His work.
My main objective was getting to know my son whom I had never really known, so we spent a lot of time together as I shared in his world and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It's not every day that you get an 8 year-old son 'out of the blue' with well formed ideas, habits and feelings so it was quite an adventure. Though Isabel was around all the time it was as though I was still 'at home' - though I had never seen the house she lived in before, it still felt 'us' and not 'them'. And I felt completely relaxed with Isabel herself. After my son went to bed in the evenings we had some long heart-to-heart conversations, updating each other on what had happened over the last few years and what we had each individually been experiencing. Though she had retained her faith in Christ she had tried to simplify it because most of her formative Christian years had been spent with me as a husband, teacher and head.
When a family breaks up it is quite normal for a wife in Isabel's position to not only cut the emotional marriage bonds (which she did not manage to do) but also to reject any spiritual growth that took place together with her husband. Distinguishing between the 'spirit of Yahweh' and the 'spirit of a marriage' is almost impossible if your marriage is consecrated to Yahweh, so when that marriage disintegrates it is not uncommon to 'hop back' to where one was spiritually before the marriage was entered into. And that's exactly what Isabel did, returning to her roots in the state Church and trying to rediscover the point where her spiritual journey had diverged when she met me. But her experience back in the state Church was never really very satisfactory - whilst it enabled her to find some personal contact with Elohim (God) she could not embrace the religion wholeheartedly and remained in a kind of spiritual limbo. But she learned to live with what she had got and brought up our son in basic Christian values. When we were reunited again it was as though the state Church didn't really matter any more to her, for in becoming one with me again she became one with most of our former spiritual beliefs.
I mention the spiritual dimension here in order to give some insights into the way our minds and hearts work when we have been through trauma. No matter whether our beliefs were right before and during the trauma, it is a psychological fact that we make strong associations and simply cannot separate things out properly. This is usually not, however, a complete dissociation, unless considerable time has elapsed and we have reallty made major spiritual moves in a different direction. (My first ex-wife, who is deep into the New Age, has probably completely broken with her former beliefs as so much time has passed).
For three evenings we talked, and talked, and talked, and as we did so the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) became stronger, and stronger, and stronger, and it was not long before we were in each other's arms again and completely united as husband and wife. She would say again and again to me: 'I can't believe it! I can't believe it! It has all happened SO FAST!'
By the fourth day we were already planning our future on a practical basis. We agreed not to force anything but to allow Yahweh to open the doors for us, trusting His providence. There was no need to retake marriage covenants because they were still intact - it was as though we had taken up where we had left off only as new and more experienced and mature people.
The only heartache came when we had to leave. My son did not want me to go. We had rediscovered one another and he was sad at my departure. Both my other wives, Kryztina and Kasia, were thrilled to know that Isabel and Stan, Jr. were coming home though not without a few misgivings about the struggles of the past being rekindled. I assured them that we had all moved on from the past and that we would take things slowly to allow all of us to find our feet again as a reunited family.
For myself, I felt a wholeness once again - as though a missing rib was once more in place. It is hard for non-polygynists to understand how a husband can feel if he loses a wife - they assume that the others just 'fill in the gap'. But it never works that way. Every wife is utterly unique, and is uniquely cherished. She can never be fully 'replaced'. And so I waited until Yahweh said that the time was ripe, acted, and witnessed a miracle in three days. Isabel and I were re-united on the day before the new Millennium. And whilst I had privately resolved to let the year 2000 simply pass by as just 'another year' things looked at though they would turn out differently. Instead, Father Yahweh gave me the hope of getting a wife and son back. So for me the millennium shift was at first remembered as a time to celebrate the restoration of a lost wife and son.
Not unsurprisingly my hopes of regaining my lost first wife, Suszana, were also kindled. But I knew that would be a very different story indeed. Deeply lost in the New Age, with two illigitmate children, a lover, and a very, very hostile attitude towards me. Am I foolish and naïve to hope for a restoration of this lost marriage? I know most would say so. Some have tried to convince me that since she has committed adultery several times that it is all over - permanently. But I refuse to accept that. If Yahweh can reach down to an adulterous race and turn their hearts, forgiving them, and restoring them to fellowship, why should I not be permitted to do the same through His grace? For Elohim (God) all things are possible...in righteousness. My love for two women - Suszana and Isabel - never died. Yahweh kept it alive because I chose never to allow negative thoughts and feelings to drown my soul completely - though there were deep hurts and inner struggles, I resolved to be true to them. And I shall remain true until such a time - if it ever happens - when Yahweh says: 'It is over'.
Sadly, Isabel never did pluck up the courage to follow up and move back home with the rest of the family. From what I have gleaned from subsequent letters and conversations, it was because she did not want to re-engage in the struggle involved in overcoming the flesh which all in a polygamous household must do. So she decided to remain with our son abroad which has inevitably meant that the rekindled fire 16 years ago has once again dimmed. Stan, Jr. is now an adult and has gone his own way in life. We all meet up every now and then albeit far too infrequently every 3 or 4 years because of economics and the distance involved. I have not lost hope, though, and still pray that a new door will open again one day, both for Isabel and for Suszana.