This is a joint post written by Nneka Simone (her words are in blue), April, and some anonymous wives’ examples. I appreciate the input, ladies!
We talked in my last post about 6 times when we may need to prayerfully consider breaking (or minimizing) contact with others. One of those scenarios is if our husband feels it would be best for us not to have contact with someone (please see the caveats in the post for times not to cooperate with this).
Of course, breaking contact completely is a pretty extreme response and should be reserved for certain situations as a last resort. It shouldn’t be our go-to response for most issues as it can cause a lot of unnecessary damage if we use it when it is not needed.
But what if it the scenario is reversed?
If you believe that a situation is harmful to your husband, the marriage, yourself, your children, or your family, you do have the ability (and sometimes the responsibility) to share your concerns with your husband.
Husbands have God-given positional authority and wives have God-given influential authority.
We do have an incredible ability as wives to influence our husbands for good or for evil.
It’s a good thing for us to share our hearts and minds with our husbands in healthy ways. Ideally, a wife would be a trusted advisor to her husband.
Even our children can and should share concerns if they don’t feel safe or comfortable around someone, or they don’t feel comfortable with us being around a certain person.
Everyone deserves to have a voice to say if something is upsetting or toxic to them or to someone they love.
This doesn’t necessarily mean things will definitely change. But people in positions of God-given leadership should be very willing to hear the concerns of those in their care whether it is at home, at work, at church, at school, or anywhere else. And if the concern is legitimate, the leader will agree to take some appropriate course of action.
The key is that we share respectfully and with right motives.
It would be very tempting to react in the flesh and try to force your husband to cut people off by acting in the following ways:
– Cry, beg and plead with your husband to cut them off.
– Make angry and insistent demands that he cuts off the relationship.
– Give your husband an ultimatum.
– Lecture your husband about his choices and how they affect you and your children.
– Complain about your husband’s friends to anyone who would listen.
– Criticize your husband’s friends behind their backs.
– Insult your husband’s friends to their faces.
– Go directly to his friends and tell them to stay away from him.
– Rant about your husband’s poor decisions on social media.
– Go directly to your husband’s relatives or your pastor to complain about your husband’s choices.
– Try to force your husband to be friends with men you think he should be friends with.
If we resort to these destructive tactics, we would repel our husbands. Our husbands would likely feel protective of their friends and defensive about their decisions. Our husbands would likely react in destructive ways and may even eventually form closer bonds with the friends we disapprove of.
I can’t force my way, but I can make requests and suggestions.
If my husband knows that I love and respect him highly, and he also has great love and respect for me, he will likely care about my feelings and concerns. He will prayerfully weigh my words, if he is a believer.
Even if he is not a believer, if we have some level of mutual love and respect going on, he will probably be concerned if something is causing an alarm bell for me.
All I have to do is present my concern briefly and calmly. Usually just once. Then I can generally simply wait and pray.
However, there are many different possible scenarios. This approach may not be exactly what you need in every situation.
We need the wisdom, power, and discernment of the Spirit to know exactly how to approach our husband, especially if things are not going well, at the time.
There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent and pray. The only way to really know the difference is that we must be in close fellowship with the Lord.
NOTE – If it is a really dangerous situation, there are times we have a responsibility to call the police or reach out for help. This post is not intended to be a resource for life-threatening situations. Please involve all of the proper authorities immediately if you believe someone is truly in danger or being threatened. I am also assuming in this post that your husband is in his right mind. That he is not high, drunk, dealing with significant uncontrolled mental illness, or involved in serious unrepentant sin.
A Time to Speak
If you believe it is a time to speak up, some options may be to prayerfully consider saying things like:
- I have a bad feeling about this person.
- My “Spidey senses” are tingling about her. She seems like trouble to me.
- I would like it if we both have X, Y, Z boundaries on our marriage to guard our hearts and help us avoid temptation. What boundaries do you believe we should have to protect our marriage?
- May I have your permission to speak into your life? (If he says, “yes,” then I can gently share what I see that I believe the Lord desires me to share.)
- I feel like that friend is disrespectful of our marriage/you/me/the kids.
- I love that you are such a great friend to X. Sometimes, though, I would really love it if we could have more time with you.
- I’m afraid you may be getting taken advantage of here and that makes me feel sad.
- This situation makes me nervous.
- It seems to me that this person undermines our authority as parents to our children. That’s not okay.
- I feel like this person is trying to hurt our marriage/family/you/me.
- I really don’t want us to be around him again unless he is willing to apologize for what he did and make some real changes.
- I don’t feel safe around her because of X. I don’t want our kids to be near her.
- These days, a man really can’t afford to be alone with a woman, even if he does nothing wrong. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me. I think Billy Graham’s standard was very wise for men and for women.
- I don’t like this situation at all.
- What this person is teaching doesn’t seem to align with scripture. What do you think?
- I don’t trust this person.
**Remember to use a friendly tone of voice and body language!
Most of the time, simply, respectfully sharing your concern like this is enough.
He will get the picture and he’ll mull over what he wants to do with this new information. Even if he doesn’t talk about his thoughts, he will think about it. I promise!
Constructive ways to handle this:
“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Rom. 14:13
A godly path to deal with such a situation would be to do the following:
1. Take your concerns to God.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7
Ask God to remove unhealthy influences from your husband’s life and fully trust that He will find a way to do it. Don’t give in to despair. Understand that God is in control. Keep giving thanks to God for his sovereignty. Let God’s peace rule in your heart.
2. Speak the truth in love.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, Eph. 4:15
Gently and lovingly express your concern about your husband’s associates to him, without insisting that he cuts off ties with them.
3. Pray for your husband’s associates.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28
Your focus should always be on the state of your husband’s soul and his associates’ souls.
If your concern is about a friend who is a heavy drinker, drug addict, adulterer, or caught in significant sin, pray for that person to see the light and change his ways or to simply cut off ties with your husband.
Pray that God will open your husband’s eyes to that person’s influence on him. Even after that person stops contacting your husband, continue to pray for his salvation.
If your concern is about a woman who is trying to tempt your husband into an affair, it’s only natural that you may feel really hurt, angry and threatened by her intentions to ruin your marriage. However, God wants us to pray for those who hurt us and treat us badly.
We can pray for salvation, for their eyes to be opened, for conviction of sin and godly sorrow and true repentance. We can pray for spiritual healing and regeneration in Christ. We can pray the power of Scripture over the people who are toxic and over our husbands, children, and ourselves.
4. Focus on your husband’s good qualities
Think about his strengths and the many wise and loving decisions your husband has made. You would not have married your husband if you didn’t see a lot of good in him. Rather than focusing on his few poor choices, focus on all the things that made you fall in love with him. It would be wise to start making a list of his good qualities and good choices to add to it daily.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil. 4:8
What if he still doesn’t break contact with the other person?
If you have shared your feelings about a situation respectfully, and he continues on in contact with someone you feel is too toxic, there are several things that could be going on:
- He may have a different perspective.
- He may try to minimize contact, but he may feel he can’t completely break contact, depending on the situation.
- He may feel the person is not as toxic as you believe he/she is.
- He may believe that to completely break contact would create a lot of unnecessary drama and he may think there is a better solution.
- He may have different personal convictions – not that one of you is wrong – you may just have different definitions of how exactly to guard your heart or marriage.
- The Lord may be leading him in a different direction that you don’t know about yet.
- It may take some time for him to decide how to address the situation. Sometimes, you may just need to be patient, depending on the issue at hand.
- He may decide to confront the person directly rather than just break contact. He may feel it is a Matthew 18:15-17 situation.
- He may know something you don’t know that changes what the best approach might be.
- It may take him a bit more time to see the danger you see.
- It is possible that he has a more accurate view of what is happening than you do. All of us can be wrong at times.
- Sometimes, husbands mess up, too. Sometimes they make poor choices or even sinful choices. They have free will, just like we do. It is a gift, but it can bring a lot of pain. You can’t control him, but you can decide how the Lord desires you to respond even if he doesn’t make the best decisions. There are times we need to confront sin.
- Or, this may simply be an issue for you to take to the Lord in prayer.
Depending on the situation and on the Lord’s leading, there may be a time to address the issue again, eventually. Or God may direct you to simply pray and wait and let Him work. God can change a husband’s heart, our perspective, or He may even change the circumstances and other people.
My next post covers the issue of a husband who doesn’t seem to care what his wife says, feels, or thinks. That situation is going to require some adjustments in our approach depending on the root causes.
NOTE – If you realize that you expect your husband to break all ties with all of his family members, all of his friends, all of his coworkers, everyone at church, and everyone in every area of his life, then we are dealing with an entirely different issue. Please check out these posts.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLES
The Las Vegas Story
One of my favorite stories is from a reader of mine whose unbelieving husband wanted to go to Las Vegas with his single friend. The wife respectfully let her husband know she didn’t think the trip was a good idea. He went on with his plans. She and I prayed. The Lord intervened in a mind-blowing way. It was amazing!
The wife whose husband’s friends drank:
My husband has had friends who drank heavily and my husband started drinking heavily as well. Even driving drunk and getting into minor accidents. Me getting angry, crying, and complaining about his drinking and his irresponsible friends didn’t help matters at all.
I started praying that God would remove these people from my husband’s life and each time, God did!
One day each of those friends inexplicably stopped calling my husband. I was extremely relieved and happily told my husband “Jesus took care of it!”
My husband no longer drinks heavily and I always joke with him that if he ever makes friends who drink heavily again, I’ll just pray them away.
My husband now has great respect for my prayers for him. When I ask him what he wants me to pray for, he always says “I know that you always want the best for me so pray for me however you want”.
The wife whose husband’s friend was using him:
My husband has also had friends who consumed his time and constantly bombarded him with requests for favors and loans. I told him several times “A friend who always wants something from you is not a true friend. He’s just using you.” My husband never took my advice and would keep defending his friends and insisting that they care about him.
I gave up and stopped talking about it. I just took the issue to God.
Shortly after, my husband realized that he was being used and distanced himself from them. That “friend” actually moved out of the country without saying goodbye and made no effort to keep in touch. I was very relieved because I hate to see my husband being used by anyone.
We have tremendous power in praying for our husbands once we approach the issue from a place of prayer and trust in God’s power over all situations.
Examples with No Immediate Happy Ending
Examples where things didn’t go the way the believer in Christ hoped, at least at first, but God was still very much at work:
- Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials
- Handling an Unwanted Divorce with Christlikeness
- A Peaceful Separated Wife
- Kristin’s Story
- The Restored Wife – A Divorce and Reconciliation Story
- The Satisfied Wife’s Update
- Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority! by A Fellow Wife
- A Fellow Wife’s Posts
- A Fellow Wife Writes a Letter to Her 2012 Self
If you would like to share some godly wisdom you have learned in ways that will honor the Lord and your husband and anyone else who was involved, we’d love to hear about it. (Let’s not share specific details of wrongs others committed, though, please. Thanks!)