Preparing For Your Prodigal’s Return

I have witnessed many prodigal’s who have returned home to their standing spouses who have done virtually nothing to prepare for their return, and it is not pretty! As a matter of fact, it’s outright ugly to witness what an unprepared stander will do to their prodigal once they do return to them. It literally breaks my heart to watch God’s plan fall apart. I have prayed over many standers that their prodigal return, but I realized I should have been praying for the stander to seek God and personally prepare themselves first and foremost. I have warned many standers to do their part in their personal relationship with God before their prodigal returns, just as my husband did before I came home.

To be perfectly honest, there are times when I get so disgusted at the behavior of some standers. I know when I have more interest in what they need to do personally, before their covenant marriages can truly be restored, than they do, I have gone too far and I must back off. I wonder what their motives really were in the first place when they had come to me for “help” or was it that some of them just wanted to vent and play victim some more?

What does a stander think will happen when their prodigal returns to them in a victimized state? Some standers honestly believe their victim mentality is due to what their prodigal has done to them, even though many of us as believers already know this isn’t the absolute truth. A victim mentality isn’t because of what others have done to us, but how we have internalized what they have done to us. A stander with a victimized mentality will only try to make their prodigal pay the price and suffer for their own losses, but these are losses that a prodigal can never return because only God can.

When a prodigal returns, it will reveal every single area of a stander’s broken heart and where they failed to do their part in seeking God for their healing. Let me be clear and warn those standers who are deceived. Your prodigal’s return is not meant to heal your broken heart! God is the only One who can. Yes, although your relationship with your prodigal needs to be rebuilt on solid ground, only your trust in the Lord will heal you and lead to the restoration of your marriage. When your prodigal comes back with sorrow in their hearts for what they’ve done, you must FORGIVE them or NOTHING will EVER be restored and they may be vulnerable only to run all over again. Your prodigal will be FAR from perfect, so quit expecting them to make up for what they’ve done to destroy your relationship in the past.

I can warn standers confidently because both my husband and I have been where many of you are today. I can see the problems, and I am here to warn those of you who have not prepared your hearts for your prodigal’s return. It is outright abusive to expect them to return to you as a broken spouse. A stander is supposed to be one who represents someone who is stable when their prodigal has fallen away from God. A stander should represent the glory of the Holy Spirit in them and the power made available to them through the privilege of using His name in prayer. A genuine stander is a representation to their prodigal of how Christ loves the church. They should not be some kind of poor, pitiful, angry person, who wants nothing more than to take from their prodigal something they haven’t the ability to give. This my friends, is a set up for failure and it saddens me greatly.

When I returned to my husband, the past was in the past, and we were both looking forward to a new beginning, but by no means was I a whole person, yet. I was very unstable and I had times where I wanted to run all over again. I would have been like a ping pong ball if my husband was not secure enough to talk openly and freely to to me about the various dark influences going on inside of me and how to overcome the battles inside of my mind. He knew this was a spiritual battle that was not against flesh and blood. We were not the ones who were supposed to be at war with one another!

I’m sure you know when the Bible says, “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?” (see Luke 6:39). Well, a stander MUST be the stronger one who endures with patience and serenity. They must be kind and thoughtful to their prodigal, and not rude or self-seeking, or keeping account of wrong endured. They must bear all things (regardless of what comes) and endure all things without weakening in the hopes of leading their prodigal back to the Lord, and that is ultimately what I believe a stander is called to do.

15 thoughts on “Preparing For Your Prodigal’s Return

  1. Jeannie,
    Thank you for your testimony, encouragement and hope. I have learned lots during my journey of learning how to be a stander. This is the first site I have found that give me direction and guidance. Several things have had to happen for me to get to where I am today. I had to quit chasing in order to learn how to stand. I have had to accept my spouse is a Prodigal, affairs are not a desired direction they want to go down but a by-product of a wounded heart and broken soul. I have had to accept my spouse ran from the Lord and I have had to accept my only role is to run to the Lord. As you have written in several of your blogs, He is the only one who can change either of us. Thank you for your transparency and your walk you and your husband are on. I pray our marriage can someday be seen as God’s glory. Being a Stander, first for my spouse’s return to the Lord and then our marriage has been the most difficult but faith building experience I have ever walked through. I know God has this. His work wouldn’t be noticed if everything was easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback. It certainly sounds to me like you are on the right path. Not many standers get to where you are right now in their relationship with the Lord. I truly admire your faith. Never give up hope, even when things continue to go in the wrong direction. I honestly do not know where I would be today had my husband given up on me. God bless you and may your prodigal come home with a renewed heart and may you both grow together and bring God all the glory. 🙏


  2. I am a stander. My husband divorced me after being together 40 years,married 29 yrs. Don’t know why,but I am believing in God that he will restore. He told me God told him to leave. I know that’s a lie from the devil


    1. I am so sorry you are going through this, but God keeps His promises. When I was a prodigal, I believed that God was calling me out of my marriage too, but while I was gone, I heard Him say “go home” and that is exactly what I did. Since this time my husband and I have grown closer together than ever before. I am so glad my husband did not give up on me because I honestly do not know where I would be today had he done so. He held up under pressure and believed God for the best outcome. I pray your prodigal wakes up and comes home too!


  3. Hello Jeannie,
    I am a stander, I truly hope and pray that through God’s Grace I don’t give up on my wife.
    My wife hasn’t left our home and we still live together, but satan is leading her into things I know in her right mind she wouldn’t do or go.
    I look at her and there is darkness and no life in her eyes, which is doubly painful because she is usually a happy person, full of life and light – the devil has stolen this from her.
    There are times when satan is very much present in our home, either leading her down the wrong path telling her she needs a new life or telling me God doesn’t want us together.
    This however does give me encouragement because if the devil is thinking he’s won, I know God is waiting to come in and take over.
    Thank you for your blogs, they have been helpful. I hope and pray when my wife ‘comes home’ I will be patient and loving unconditionally and lean on God’s word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear the troubles you are going through right now. I know how difficult it is to have a discontented wife.

      The first thing that came to my mind when I read about your wife was how much my husband played a part in guiding me in the right direction. Although at my worst point in life I wouldn’t listen to him, eventually I did. When I would pray alone, my husband’s words would come back to me in my mind and helped me to find my way back home. He did not preach to me, but he did manage to sow seeds and give me God’s truth from time to time when I’d tell him that God wanted me to leave him. He always reminded me that God was a witness to our vows to love one another for a lifetime. No matter what I thought, God saw us as one and nothing could separate us until death. These were the very words that came to me once I realized that I was lost.

      I hope and pray that the stability you provide for your wife leads her back to God and for her desire to love you all over again. Be patient, gentle, and understanding, show her that she is your top priority above everything else.

      God bless both of you and thank you for openly sharing your comment.


  4. Hi Jeannie, can you expand on this thought,”It is outright abusive to expect them to return to you broken.”? I’ve been told that when my spouse returns, she will be very broken. Is that not a correct expectation? Thanks for clarification!


    1. Hi Eric, in the proper context it means a prodigal who returns to a stander who is broken. A stander who hasn’t prepared themselves for their prodigal’s return with an open and forgiving heart. I hope this clarifies it for you.


      1. Oh yes, that makes more sense! Thank you for your response. I just want to say your blog has given me a lot of hope and insight. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you! Yes , this topic is really needed. I’m prodigal…..and it’s really hard to heal from your betrayl when everyday it’s remind to you that you have done wrong. And the other part is waiting on you for repairing, redeem all the damage, even to heal the stander….. we stuck there for 4 years now.


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