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A Wife’s Beautiful Response to Her Husband’s Drug Addiction

I love to share individual stories, as I can, that bring glory to God. Even about extreme situations.  This is one wife’s story is about what God led her to do in her specific situation. Everything she did isn’t a blanket post for all wives with husbands who are drug addicts. But I am so thankful for her willingness to share. Her heart for Christ and her heart for her husband are the main things I want us to see. May each of us seek to hear and follow God’s Word, His leading, and His wisdom in our own situations:

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I felt compelled to write to you after looking through some of the comments on your posts. I see some broken women try to argue about some points you make and say that they don’t apply to their extreme situations. And I do know our God is loving and has a unique relationship with each of us, and there’s never a cookie cutter answer. But as someone going through an extreme situation, I’d like to say God’s Word and commands for us as wives still apply (maybe in a slightly different form, but they still apply), and your posts are still an incredible blessing!

My husband and I have only been married a year and 6 months, and it’s been quite the whirlwind. Early on in our marriage my husband relapsed into an old drug addiction. My husband came back from a Christian rehab program recently. The miracles God has done in both of our hearts while he was there and I was home were incredible.

But a few weeks ago my husband relapsed again.

I just finished your book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord, a bit before I found out he relapsed. The first thought in my head was, “Why would God be teaching me to be submissive and respectful when I was about to get hurt again?” But then I realized our God is all-knowing and at the exact moment He was encouraging me to read your book and speaking great things to me through it, He KNEW what my husband was going to do.

Things went down very differently this time.

When he told me, I didn’t scream, throw things, or yell. I let go of my controlling grip on my husband and tightened my grip on our Lord Jesus. I found peace in Him. I told my husband I loved him over and over and that I don’t want him to condemn himself. I related to him because I, too, have backslid at different times in my life. No, I do not have addiction problems, but sin is sin.

His response was so loving, so apologetic. Last time it was all about him and his pain. This time he was concerned with how he hurt me. Yes, my situation is unique. It’s extreme. I had to be strict with my husband and take the wheel last week. With the help of our Pastor I insisted that my husband go back to the rehab program out of state. But I held tight to God’s commands to me as a wife. I held tight to respecting my husband. I didn’t add to his pain that I know he was feeling. I didn’t add to the condemnation I know he was pouring onto himself.

I tried my best to die to my flesh, and love like Christ loves. Christ dies for us even while we were yet sinners. I can love my husband, even while he is yet a sinner. Yes, in my unique situation, prayerful separation is necessary. But with my eyes locked on Christ and focused on the eternal, the thought of divorce is not even an option. The thought of anger and resentful emotions fade away. I have salvation, what more could I need? I am full in Christ. I am stable when God is my foundation.

Thank you again for your book and your posts! They made a significant difference in the way things unfolded this time. God is doing great things! <3

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FROM PEACEFUL WIFE ABOUT EXTREME SITUATIONS:

Note – this particular husband was repentant. If he were not repentant, a wife would probably have to adjust her approach to some degree. And if he were violent or dangerous, she may have to also adjust things depending on the situation.

No matter what situation we may face, all of us are called by God to respond without sin ourselves. Even when we are being sinned against. When we add our own sin to our husband’s sin, it only makes things infinitely worse. When we respond in the power of God’s Spirit and wisdom, God begins to pour His healing into the situation through us. It may take time to see fruit. But we can know we are doing what God calls us to do when we walk in obedience and faithfulness to His Word by the power of His Spirit. His commands still apply to us. We just need to understand exactly how by His wisdom.

Nothing is too hard for God. No one is beyond His reach!

Please join me in praying for this wife and husband – for God’s healing and for His greatest glory to come out of this very difficult trial.

I don’t usually write general posts specifically for wives in extreme situations – where there are major drug/alcohol addictions, abuse, unrepentant adultery, criminal activity, demon possession, severe spiritual oppression, severe uncontrolled mental health issues, etc…   I don’t personally know what every wife should do in every possible situation.  I don’t have personal experience with most of these situations myself. People don’t need my wisdom or opinions. They need God’s Word and His clear direction. I know He has exactly what each of us need and that He can provide for our great needs out of His abundant supply.

I am so thankful when God uses what I have written to bless wives in many different situations  But I am also very concerned for my sisters who may be confused. I never want to add to confusion for even one woman. Sometimes women in situations like this can misunderstand important concepts like: respect, dying to self, submission, unconditional love, forgiveness, and trust because of filters they may have

Let’s talk about some things I have seen that are of great concern to me.

SOME WAYS WOMEN MAY MISUNDERSTAND GOD’S WORD AT TIMES:

Some women in very difficult marriage situations think dangerous things like:

  • Respecting my husband means respecting his sin and not intervening or using my influence authority for good in his life.
  • Submitting to my husband means I give up my personhood and become completely passive and just do whatever he wants me to do no matter what.
  • Submitting to my husband means I never say what I think, feel, or desire. I should totally give up my voice to be a godly wife.
  • Respecting my husband means I never say anything if he is sinning against me or our children or if he is doing something very wrong. I just cooperate with him no matter what. I ignore the verses in scripture about lovingly, gently, respectfully confronting sin.
  • Loving my husband unconditionally means staying even if our children and I are not safe and even if he is dangerous and not in his right mind. God hates separation and divorce, so He must want me to stay and endanger my life and our children’s lives. I ignore the fact that God also hates violence and oppression and that I have a responsibility to protect my children and myself if my husband is sinning against us or not in his right mind due to addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, severe spiritual oppression, or major unrepentant sin.
  • Jesus’ command for me to forgive unconditionally in Matthew 6:14-15 means I also have to trust my husband who is not trustworthy and treat him like I would if he hadn’t severely broken my trust. I don’t realize that trust is not an unconditional command – it is different from forgiveness and unconditional love. Trust must be rebuilt together in cooperation. It requires two people to rebuild it. God never commands us to trust untrustworthy people. We are only commanded to trust the Lord unconditionally because He is not sinful and unable to have wrong motives toward us.
  • God calls women to be weak and wimpy.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to disrespect myself and just put up with genuine abuse (I say “genuine abuse” because sometimes wives will use the word, “abuse” to describe things that are truly not abusive. Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe a husband’s godly leadership. “My husband is so abusive. He expects me to stick to a budget.” “My husband abuses me because he doesn’t want me to flirt with other men.” Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe any behavior they don’t like. “My husband reacts negatively toward me when I disrespect him.” Those things are not abuse. God hates abuse and so do I.)
  • I can be a godly wife even if I don’t spend time with God, don’t pray for myself, and don’t know Jesus closely myself. I can remain in spiritual bondage and oppression myself and respond rightly to my husband’s sin and issues. I can do this all in my own strength without God’s power and help.
  • I can’t respect (rightly relate to) God, my husband, and myself all at the same time. For me to properly respect my husband, I have to sin against myself or God.
  • Respecting and submitting to my husband means he is always right no matter what he does.
  • Respecting my husband and obeying God’s Word means I have to stay and it is a sin to leave under any circumstances.
  • Dying to self means I have to just suffer silently in every situation and act like things are fine when they are truly not.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to do anything to make him happy no matter what the cost to me or our children. If he is upset with me, it means I am wrong. End of story. My husband’s words, emotions, and decisions are the ultimate authority in my life, not Jesus.

If we have a skewed understanding of these key concepts or we idolize our husband’s approval rather than seeking God’s approval above all, we can end up making poor choices. That breaks my heart. So if a wife is in extreme situations like this and she thinks that respect, unconditional, love, dying to self, forgiveness, and trust mean things like what I just listed above, I would want her to seek godly, experienced counsel who could help her discern her thoughts and God’s Word rightly. I want all women to understand these critical concepts correctly because if we don’t, we can make some really terrible decisions for ourselves, our marriages, and our children.

THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD FOR ALL OF US:

If women are having trouble with these concepts or feel confused about what they should do, I would encourage them to seek godly one-on-one counseling with someone who is experienced with the issues they have in their marriages. Some women in very difficult situations are able to hear God rightly as they read my posts and respond in the power of the Holy Spirit to their husbands. That is awesome! I praise and thank God for this! Some women in very difficult situations may need resources other than my blog that are much more specialized for their particular needs. That is okay, too.

ULTIMATELY, WE ALL NEED JESUS AND HIS HEALING:

Jesus is the key and He is what we all desperately need. His Word applies to us all no matter what we may be going through. It is critical for us to have right understanding of His Word. How I long for each of us to experience the abundant Life He offers to us no matter what may happen in our marriages. My greatest desire is that we all end in the same place – JESUS – whether that is here or elsewhere:

RESOURCES:

I have many other resources, if you need something in particular, please let me know. And always check anything any human author says against scripture and seek to have a right understanding of God’s Word!

  • Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas may be helpful for wives whose husbands tend to be harsh with their children or who have anger issues.
  • www.leslievernick.com may be helpful for wives whose husbands are very emotionally abusive. (Some wives find her site helpful. Some suggest my readers not read the comments. Others are concerned that wives whose husbands are not extremely toxic may do better not to read her site.)
  • www.hotline.org is for women in physically abusive relationships who may need to plan to get away safely.
  • Hopefully each woman can find a local body of believers in Christ who will be equipped to help her with any severe situations.
  • There are Christian resources for drug addictions – the most important thing is to have something that is biblically based on the power of Christ. Check with a trusted pastor or Christian counselor in your area for what may be the best fit for your situation.
  • www.xxxchurch.org or www.brentriggs.com may have helpful resources for porn addictions.
  • Some churches have prayer ministries where prayer warriors pray over people and see them set free from addictions, sin, shame, and even diseases. I would love for wives facing extreme trials to be able to be surrounded by spiritual support, love, and powerful prayer by the body of Christ. If your church doesn’t have a powerful prayer ministry, search until you find one that does and visit there for prayer if possible.
  • The posts I linked throughout this post may be a blessing, as well.
  • If your husband is violent, or threatening violence, or things are extremely toxic, please seek one-on-one, experienced, trustworthy help if at all possible. And if you need to contact the police and it is safe to do so, please do whatever you need to do to be safe.

SHARE:

If you have resources you would like to share or you want to share about God’s faithfulness in your situation, please feel free to share. If you are facing a great trial and need prayer for your situation, you are welcome to share that, as well.

24 thoughts on “A Wife’s Beautiful Response to Her Husband’s Drug Addiction

  1. Thank you to the wife who shared this story! I’m encouraged by the way you’ve surrendered to Christ and how you are responding to this difficult situation. What a work of the Holy Spirit in your life!

    What you said is so encouraging to me:

    Yes, in my unique situation, prayerful separation is necessary. But with my eyes locked on Christ and focused on the eternal, the thought of divorce is not even an option. The thought of anger and resentful emotions fade away. I have salvation, what more could I need? I am full in Christ. I am stable when God is my foundation.

    I’m in a different, but also extreme situation, and hearing stories about other wives that are living this out and staying in difficult marriages always spurs me on to continue in my journey too. It can feel lonely when we choose to stay in a marriage that many would tell you to walk away from, so its always encouraging to see when others are living out that conviction too. I agree with and related to what you’ve shared in this post, that God’s Word and commands still apply to us. Jesus gave us the perfect example of obedience when suffering and we can follow after him.

    Praying for you now and also wanted to share this verse that has been carrying me this past week. Isaiah 33:2- Be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.

    1. Jeanne,

      Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story. You are so precious to me. LOVE the verse you shared from Isaiah.

      How may we pray for you this week?

      Much love!

      1. April,
        Thank you!
        Please be praying for me and my daughter. Parenting is hard in general, but single parenting a teenager is feeling overwhelming in the last couple of weeks. We’ve had a few issues come up and I want to parent her well through them and I need wisdom on how to do that and also with making/enforcing rules. Just feeling alone and overwhelmed.

        Thank you for asking!
        ~Jeanne

        1. Jeanne,

          Thank you for letting me know.

          Lord,
          We lift up Jeanne to Your throne room in the highest heaven. We thank and praise You for all that You have done for her and in her heart and life already. Thank You for increasing her faith and for giving her so many treasures in the midst of these trials. We also thank and praise You for all You will continue to do to heal her and to conform her to the image of Christ. We thank You that You will provide the wisdom and resources and strength she needs to parent her daughter in this difficult time. We pray for Your love to surround her and for her to have the spiritual support she needs from the body of Christ, as well. Let her drink deeply of Your Word and Your peace and joy. Direct her daughter in Your narrow path. Draw her to Yourself. Let Jeanne respond in Your Spirit and with Your love, truth, and grace. And let her model Jesus to her precious daughter.
          Amen!

  2. I work as a hospital nurse so I frequently get men and women who are addicts. One thing I always notice is just how much people downplay and rug sweep addiction. Addiction is nothing to be proud of. It is nothing “godly”. And it never ends. It is not the time to be meek and submissive, it is the time a Wife no, a Person must become a lioness, fighting for the well being of her, her children, and the healing of them all. In this order. There can be no soft – talking or rose sun glasses, truth and reality are needed.

    1. emscherfee,

      As a pharmacist, I am also quite familiar with addiction. It is not something to downplay, I agree.

      This particular husband was immediately repentant. I don’t think that a wife screaming or throwing things would have magically made the addiction disappear. If she responded in a sinful way, that would have only made things much worse. This wife chose to speak respectfully and gently to her husband and he responded very well. She did not respect his sin. But she respected him. There is a difference. She did intervene with the help of their pastor – which was entirely appropriate. He is back in rehab. That is where he needs to be right now.

      I believe this wife handled her husband’s relapse in a very godly way – and, it sounds like, the results were a lot better than the previous time when she handled it in “flesh mode.”

      I agree that addiction is not godly. Addiction is idolatry. It is very serious sin. How thankful I am that Jesus is able to set people free from addiction and He is able to give wisdom and discernment to spouses of those who face addiction.

      A wife may not be able to submit to the leadership of a husband who is not in his right mind. She may have to step in to get help for her husband. If he were violent or unrepentant, her approach may have had to be more firm – but she can still be respectful and she doesn’t have to respond with contempt, hatred, bitterness, malice, or violence herself.

      I rejoice with this wife to see her husband’s repentance and willingness to get help this time. And I am so thankful for what the Lord is doing in her heart and how she has changed her approach.

        1. 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. Gal. 6:1

          We must use caution when we are confronting our husband’s sin, that we don’t respond in sinful ways ourselves. And, I think, even when we are dealing with addictions, we can remember that these are people for whom Christ died and whom God dearly loves. He wants to see them healed. He wants to see them set free from Satan’s snare.

  3. I really enjoyed this post. One thing submission can really help with is learning how to take care of yourself,setting boundaries, and avoiding co-dependency. Addiction is a real problem where I live and women can get all entangled. I sound like a broken record sometimes, but the healthiest thing to do is to submit to the Lord, submit to the fact that you can’t fix him, submit to the fact that you may need help. Submission can bring a lot of serenity and grace to some tough situations and enable you to let go of the parts you can’t control.

    1. insanitybytes22,

      Addiction is a really awful issue where I live, too. I guess it is taking over our country in many areas. 🙁

      Submission to the Lord absolutely does help us avoid co-dependency with people, idolizing them and their approval. It helps us to see what we need to do to please God and to have His approval and how to best approach our husbands in healthy ways when there is sin going on. It helps us see that our husbands need Jesus just like we all do and that we can’t fix anyone – but God can.

      Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂 I pray God will provide the resources and wisdom each wife needs in each situation.

  4. SIS IN CHRIST!

    I am completely in pain today; honestly I cannot bear how it hurts me inside… I never sleep; it seems I am still awake from 5pm of June 23 to 8:30 am today. I didn’t eat my breakfast, but I reported in the office today, I don’t have any idea how can I handle my task as of this day.
    I had a cloudy thought, I wanted to cry out loud but there’s no outlet to do so.
    I even had a lot of failures at this moment; I failed to read my bible, to write my daily devotional as well as I failed to seek God’s wisdom, even to thank and praise him today I just drop a single tear from my eye then felt the extreme pain.
    Sis in Christ, kindly pray for me here…
    It hurts me badly…

    Sincerely yours,

    Darl82

    1. Darl1982,

      My precious sister! My heart hurts with you to hear how much pain you are experiencing. 🙁

      I wish I could sit beside you, put my arm around you, cry with you, and pray over you. But even if I can’t physically be there. I can be there with you in spirit.

      Lord,
      Our dear sister is hurting so much. We lift her to You. Raise her chin up to see Your eyes blazing with love for her. Open her eyes to see Your arms holding her securely. Open her ears to the incredible promises of Your Word. Help her to be still before You and to just receive all of the good You have for her and the comfort and healing You have for her soul. Help her to rest in Your love and to lay her broken heart before You. Heal her heart, Jesus. We praise and thank You for the good You will bring from all of this pain and we pray for Your will, Your greatest glory, and Your healing for her, for her husband, and for their children.

      Amen!

      1. Sis April,

        Thanx much!!!

        Your prayer made me cry at this moment, your prayer enlightened my mind, and I’m praying as well to carry a submissive heart today, that I will fully surrender it all to God. Honestly I don’t have enough strength I wanted to gain more strength to finish what is to be done here in the office today…

        Oh my heavenly Father how long can I endure the pain that almost cast out my whole energy.

        Deeply in pain

        darl82

        1. Darl1982,

          I know this will probably sound so strange… but it is actually in moments exactly like this, where we come completely to the end of our own strength, that we are in the best possible place. It is that place of desperation where we know we can’t fix anything ourselves and we begin to look to God in absolute dependence. It is called “being poor in spirit.” And Jesus says we are blessed when we are in this very posture before the Lord. It is one of the beatitudes, in fact.

          I think of Paul when he writes about Jesus’ power being made perfect in our weakness. Perhaps that might be an encouragement to you tonight, sweet sister.

          Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:7-10

          When we are willing to completely be empty of self, then we can humbly invite God’s Spirit to flood into our lives. His power can accomplish things in us, through us, and for us, that we can NEVER accomplish in our power.

          Our job is to be still. To RECEIVE. To REST.

          If you are willing, God can take this pain and transform it into something so beautiful for His kingdom as you invite Him into the midst of it all. Invite Him to take over. Invite His purposes and His goodness to flood over you and the entire situation. Reject every lie of the enemy and just listen to your Lord who loves you and who is your Rock, your Refuge, your Comforter, your Wonderful Counselor. He is your Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father, the Alpha and Omega, the Creator, the Sovereign Almighty Lord. He is the Lord Who Provides. He is the God Who Hears (remember Hagar’s name for Him)? He is the Very Great Reward of Abraham. And He is your Very Great Reward.

          Yes there is a hurricane raging right now in this world around you. But God has plans to use all of this pain to lead you to spiritual treasures you never could have experienced anywhere else.

          Keep your eyes on Christ. He will carry you. You don’t have to be strong. He is strong. He will be strong for you and in you.

          Much love!

  5. I just started on this journey. I had always wondered and was confused by my husband’s frustration and anger at me for I really was so clueless. There are times he will just rage for no apparent reason at me and for about 3 and a half years I was just so distraught over it . I kept telling him he had changed that he use to never act like this and he would always bite back that I had changed to well of course in my mind I hadn’t.

    I never believed a word he said and would always question his motives about every single thing. I always interupt him and rolled my eyes or walked away. I have cussed him, I have put all the blame on him, and I did absolutely nothing wrong that if he would stop picking fights our marriage would be better. I keep complaining how there is no way he could love me and certainly not care for me to treat me this way. Boy was I so so wrong.

    I have been nothing but disrespectful and accusing and preaching and lecturing and if he doesn’t get this family out of the ditch we are in trouble. He can’t stand and get out of the ditch because I keep standing there kicking him back in it. He was all wrong as I was all right. I am so ashamed of myself and what I just realized I have done to him over the years.

    My situation is very unique in this because due to the poor economy in our area and the fact that we have 3 boys ages 11, 8 and 6 he is a pipeliner and works 900 miles from home. We see him about once a month we have a long distance marriage that is extremely hard and it takes its toll mentally. Everything we do takes place over a telephone and there are so many challenges.

    I can say that this is a plus for me because it gives me all the alone personal time I need to work on my heart and sin and my walk with my Father Jesus. To turn to Him for my needs is exactly what I need and crave. Please pray for my family and Thank you so much. You have opened my eyes so wide and I have gained much comfort from this site.

    1. Shannon Pate,

      Of course I will pray for God’s wisdom for you and for His healing for you, your husband, and your marriage.

      Lord,
      Thank You for bringing Shannon here. Thank You for Your incredible love for her, her husband, and their children. I pray that she might seek to know and love You above all else, and that she might allow You to transform her heart, mind, and soul to be like Jesus. Give her the clarity she needs to see well. Help her to see the next steps she needs to take. Pour Your love and healing into her life and her marriage and her husband’s life. Make something beautiful of this marriage and family for Your glory!

      Amen!

      I’m here if you want to talk about anything. If you need more resources or help, please let me know.

      Much love to you!

Thanks for joining the discussion! Let's keep it classy and respectful. I'm so glad we can walk this road together.

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