(a 16 minute video)
I wanted to do this topic as a video so that you can hear my tone of voice and see facial expressions and body language. Conflict is difficult. Confronting our husbands’ sin respectfully is hard. I want to try to give you all the tools I can on this.
Scripture I use in this video – let us apply these personally in our lives:
– Matthew 7:1-5 (We need to deal with our own sin first)
– Matthew 18:15-17 (Jesus’ commandments about how to confront a believer who sins against us)
– Ephesians 5:22-33 (always applies to us as wives, even when our husbands sin against us)
– I Corinthians 13:4-8 (the godly love God commands us to show to our husbands, and everyone, at all times as believers)
– Romans 12:9-21 (how God desires us to treat our enemies, so surely God desires us to treat our husbands at least this well)
Check out the post “Spiritual Authority” at the top of my home page to see Rev. Weaver’s notes about how to make an appeal to someone in spiritual authority over us. SUPER helpful.
If we are going to confront our husbands about their sin, there are a few things I believe we must keep in mind first:
1. We must repent of our own sin and have our own lives straight with God and our husbands.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother,
‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matt 7:1-5
2. We must be humble, respectful and gentle, being careful not to fall into temptation ourselves as scripture warns us not to when we are admonishing a brother who has fallen into sin.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1
3. We must be sure we don’t have sinful motives – pride, self-righteousness, hatred, contempt, unforgiveness, bitterness, malice, etc…
Our only motives must be to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to love our husbands with the love of Christ
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’d 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-39
4. We can share our hearts, our hurts, our pain PRIVATELY with our husbands. We should try to choose a good time when our husbands are best able to hear us if possible.
I would suggest sharing our concerns briefly and probably just once in most cases. I would also suggest not bringing up things from the past. In our house we have a “rule” that we don’t bring up things that are over 2 weeks old.
We also have a “rule” that we don’t have big important discussions after 10:00pm. If at all possible, I would also recommend not having a big discussion when you are hungry, exhausted, hormonal or sick.
I would also suggest approaching the issue from a perspective of being hurt and in pain rather than anger. Our husbands can hear our vulnerability and respond to pain better than they can respond to anger generally.
We can communicate that we are angry – and there will be times that is necessary – but I suggest doing that softly to be heard more powerfully.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold…
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4
5. We will need sensitivity to God’s Spirit to know exactly what to say, how to say it and when to say it vs. when not to say anything with words but just use our attitude and actions to speak to our husbands.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 9 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Gal. 5
6. We cannot force our husbands to do what we want. We can share our hearts briefly and vulnerably with gentleness, kindness and respect. Then we must wait on God to bring conviction and allow our husbands to choose repentance.
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16
A NOTE ABOUT MATTHEW 18:15-17 and “SHUNNING”
If our husbands don’t listen to us and won’t repent of serious sin, we may need to follow Matthew 18:15-17 and involve 1-2 other believers and possibly the church.
However, I Peter 3:1-6 gives instructions to wives about how to treat their husbands if the husbands are disobedient to the Word (living in sin, far from God).
I am not sure a wife would “shun” an unrepentant husband the way the church would. There are times separation may be necessary, with prayer for reconciliation.
Separation is not ideal and is not a first resort if there are other options, but sometimes, it can be necessary when things are really bad.
There is a passage about if a wife must separate from her husband in I Corinthians 7 with God’s instructions to a wife in such a situation.
And, please keep Romans 12:9-21 in mind about how God commands us to treat our enemies.
a video, To Speak or Not to Speak
I also have a written post about this – To Speak or Not to Speak
You may also search my home page for terms like:
- husband sinned
- controlling husband
If there is abuse, or serious issues in the marriage (uncontrolled mental health issues, unrepentant adultery, active drug/alcohol addictions, or you or your children are not safe) – please seek appropriate help.
Depending on the situation, you may need help from the police, a trusted pastor, a godly counselor, a mentoring wife, or a doctor.
Free Christian Counseling available at www.focusonthefamily.org