I appreciate a wife’s willingness to share her story of answered prayer with us. I pray it may be a blessing to those who are facing similar situations with a husband who may have an unhealthy habit.
(NOTE – if you are dealing with a husband who has a mind-altering addiction to illegal drugs, prescription narcotics, or alcoholism – those more serious issues may require a different approach at times, and possibly wise outside counsel as God leads. Of course, prayer should be our first method of approach with any destructive issue, even the really serious ones. May the Lord provide the resources each wife needs and the wisdom and discernment each one needs in her specific situation.)
My husband continued to smoke for five years after he was saved.
It was a huge struggle for me! I had built up much resentment in my heart towards my husband over it. I complained and nagged and fought with him constantly. I offered little compassion.
One day after service at church, I was complaining to another wife about the situation. I was shocked with her response! She very bluntly rebuked me and told me that it was most likely because of me that my husband was not able to lay it down. She asked me how it would work for me if that was how someone handled me with an addiction like that. She told me that I needed to stop criticizing him and keep quiet. She told me that what I needed to do was to quietly pray for him and allow God to work on his heart.
I did not expect this reaction but it was effective! I was super convicted! So, I repented to God but decided to not say anything to my husband yet about what was said to me. I started praying diligently.
Would you believe that only THREE days later, my husband came home from work and told me that he was going to stop smoking! He said he was driving down the street watching people standing outside their places of employment smoking their cigarettes but literally freezing in the bitter cold! (This happened during the time that businesses started banning smoking inside their buildings so people had to go outside to smoke.)
He told me with a very serious face that he was repulsed at how ridiculous those people looked and he thought to himself,
“That is me; I look like an idiot like all those people standing outside shivering just so I can have my cigarette. I don’t want to look like that, too!”
He told me how convicted he was and that he made the decision that no matter how hard it was, he was going to stop! I could not believe it! It was such a lesson to me!
I was amazed at how fast the Lord was able to work as soon as I decided to get out of the way and let God be God! My discouragement really was causing my husband to stay bound.
When he stopped hearing my voice, he was able to hear God’s.
It was a real struggle when he stopped, but he never picked it back up again – and that was many years ago… over 25. He was literally sick on the couch while he dealt with the withdrawals, but he refused to give in. I took care of him and was able to offer him the support and encouragement he really needed and he was victorious. 🙂
It definitely was a very fast turn around and I wouldn’t want to end up actually bringing discouragement to anyone if the Lord chooses to not work as quickly on their behalf. He works the way He works and that is all up to Him! Sometimes God works quickly and sometimes He delays. He knows best. If He acts fast, praise him. If He takes some time, then praise Him for that too because his timing us ALWAYS perfect.
We tend to think that our words are so powerful to motivate our men. But they often are not! Men don’t tend to be motivated by words. Especially negative words that sound like preaching, lecturing, or nagging. (Honestly, none of us are usually very motivated by that approach.)
If we are willing to take care of any sin in our own lives and come to the Lord in great faith, I think we would be amazed at the answers to prayer we may see as we humbly seek Him and ask Him to intervene. I also believe He can provide the resources wives need even in the most difficult of situations. He can change our hearts. He can change our husbands’ hearts. He can change circumstances.
May we be the helpmeets and prayer warriors God calls us to be and that our husbands need us to be. May we stop trying to make them do things in the power of our flesh. That won’t work. In fact, when we act in our flesh, we only make things worse. May we seek to use our godly influence, and more importantly, the power of prayer. God can reach our husbands in amazing ways that we simply cannot.
I pray for His clear wisdom and direction for each wife in each specific and unique situation. Every story won’t look the same. Every story certainly won’t only take 3 days – although, that was so amazing and encouraging! May we seek God wholeheartedly ourselves and may we seek His clear guidance to find deliverance and help in our times of need.
Also, it seems that the Lord was behind the author’s friend at church rebuking her. But that same rebuke may not apply to every wife in a similar situation. Each wife’s heart is different. If we have a friend come to us, let’s be certain and very prayerful that we are hearing God’s voice. Let’s only say what He clearly leads us to say. It may not be the exact same thing in every situation.
If you have a story about how God showed you how to stop trying to accomplish something in the flesh and the victory He brought to you or your family, we would love to hear about it!
Greg is planning to speak for about 30 minutes during the conference. He will share a bit of his side of our story and he plans to take questions. This has been a favorite part of the conference for many of the ladies at our past conferences. Don’t miss it! And bring your questions to share! 🙂
Tickets are $15-$25
I Need to Change! I Can’t Go on Like This! – by a wife who can’t stop trying to control her husband
My Secret Idol – her husband’s salvation