Sunday, October 11, 2009

How to Handle a Troubled Marriage

Here is a post which I recently sent to a ladies' email loop, which I believe may be helpful to those struggling with what to do in a troubled marriage:

I have been following a few threads lately which I believe have given some unbiblical advice concerning how to deal with wayward husbands. We cannot point to Christ rebuking the pharisees or driving out the moneychangers as a justification for throwing our husband out of the house or confronting him in anything other than a respectful tone.

#1. Christ was acting as an authority over both the pharisees and the moneychangers. Wives are never the authority over their husbands.

#2. Christ was acting on wrongs done to others, never for wrongs done towards himself. If your husband is abusing your children, then you have a moral and scriptural obligation to step in and put a stop to it.

When it comes to dealing with wrongs committed toward oneself, the Bible teaches clearly how to deal with an unruly authority. First you make a humble appeal to the authority personally. Then you appeal to your authority's authority. The wife has three means of appeal above her husband: Christ in the home (by prayer), the pastor/elder(s) in the church, and the police/justice system in society. That which is against civil law must be addressed by the police or other government body (rape, incest, molestation, assault, murder, stealing, etc.). Things which are civilly permissible, but not biblical (sexual perversions, mental assaults, etc.) must be dealt with by church authorities, especially if it concerns one who claims to be a believer, and may even warrant an escape from the home by the wife and children with the aid of the church authorities.

No woman is required by God to participate in sexual perversion; she would be a partaker in her husband's sins. No woman is required by God to allow her husband to physically or mentally abuse herself or their children; she would be a an accessory to his sins. That being said, a woman should never make leaving her husband a first line of action unless there is imminent danger to herself or the children. In any case, yelling at him or throwing his things out in the yard are not a biblical way to handle the situation. A woman must be in prayer for her husband and for her own wisdom.

Bringing someone else into the situation who has spiritual discernment may shed some light on the problem which the woman may not be able to see clearly for herself. She must seek godly counsel from older women in the faith and from her minister(s). In fact, her minister(s) may help her in discerning if and when it is time to leave. They may provide a safe haven for her and the children and may intervene on her behalf in confronting her husband and seeking reconciliation with him. That being said, just as in church discipline, the goal of a marriage separation is reconciliation, not divorce. You must be seeking your husband's repentance, not his destruction. Your motives must first and foremost be LOVE. As Paul says, "God hath called us to peace." (I Corinthians 7:15)

I hope this has been helpful to someone who is struggling with how to handle a troubled marriage. However, please beware. So much of what the world considers mental abuse is hog wash. Many women think they are abused because of such things as their husbands wanting them to clean the house when they are tired, not helping around the house or with the children, or refusing to eat certain foods. Pray for wisdom first and foremost.

For the glory or God
and the good of others,

Marcia Wilwerding