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:
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
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:
- Respecting my husband means I respect that he is made in God’s image, that Jesus died for him and loves him, and that he is in the position of being my husband.
- Respecting my husband means I treat him the way God desires me to treat him and I seek not to sin against him – even if I am being sinned against.
- Respecting my husband never means I have to respect his sin. God hates sin and those who love Him should hate sin just as much. God doesn’t call wives or husbands to love or respect sin.
- Yes, I may need to witness to my husband “without words,” as I Peter 3:1-2 describes, if he is far from God. He may not be able to hear my words about spiritual things. But witnessing to him for Christ is a different thing from dealing with his sin against me. Yes, there may be times when God prompts me not to address certain things verbally and to just pray because his greatest need is salvation in Jesus. But there are also times when a godly wife needs to respectfully address her husband’s sin. The passages in scripture about dealing with another person’s sin against me are available to me as a wife, too.
- Respecting my husband means that I first reverence Christ above all else and that I seek to use my powerful, godly, influence authority for great good in my husband’s life to accomplish God’s purposes.
- Respecting my husband is about my character and my walk with Christ – it isn’t really about my husband much at all. It is certainly not about that he always “deserves” my unconditional respect any more than I always “deserve” his unconditional love (which are the things God commands husbands and wives to give in Ephesians 5:22-33). The specific good things I find to respect about him are about his life. But my overall attitude of respect and honor for him is about God’s Spirit working in and through me and it is about my sinful flesh not being in control.
- I have to spend much time with God in prayer for myself, in God’s Word, feasting on His truth and love, praising and thanking Him. I can’t spiritually starve myself or not receive His healing and power for myself and be a godly wife in any situation.
- God does not call women to be weak, He calls us to be dead to ourselves and this world, but alive to Christ and full of His power!
- Submitting to my husband is first about my submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When I have things right with God, He empowers me to make things right on my end in my human relationships. I honor my husband’s God-given leadership out of my submission to Jesus. I trust God to lead me through my husband.
- However, there are limits to how far I can follow a sinful human authority in my life. If my husband is in the driver’s seat of our family, placed there by God, it is generally not safe or wise for me to grab the wheel and try to drive from the passenger’s seat. But if he passes out or becomes extremely reckless and is out of his head, there are times I may need to try to grab the wheel in an emergency and try to get the car safely stopped and get my husband and our family the help we need.
- Submission is not passivity.
- I must be aware that there are two sinful extremes for me to avoid as a godly wife:
- Being controlling, disrespectful, demanding, and taking over when it is not appropriate for me to do so.
- Being passive, too respectful, idolizing my husband, acting like a doormat, yielding to anything my husband decides even when it is wrong in God’s eyes, cooperating with sin, condoning sin, or following my husband into sin.
- I can absolutely rightly relate to (respect) God, my husband, and myself all at the same time.
- I respect my husband because God is always good and He is always trustworthy, not because my husband is deity. No person is deity, only Jesus, who is God, deserves my worship and total submission at all times.
- Sinful people don’t have ultimate authority, God does.
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:
- Healing in Christ first for ourselves, then for our husbands, marriages, and families.
- Healing from any lies we have believed about God, ourselves, or others.
- Submission to the Lordship of Christ.
- The Spirit of Christ empowering us to live in victory over sin and in holiness.
- God’s greatest glory in our lives.
- Strength to respond with joy in the midst of trials.
- God’s supernatural power and peace in our storms.
- Victory over fear, worry, and anxiety.
- Responding to our husband’s sin.
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.
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.