How do you know when it’s time to put your foot down as a wife and let your husband know something needs to change?
I’m not talking about stuff like putting the toilet seat down or putting a new trash bag in the trash can when it’s full. I’m talking about the really serious stuff, like an affair, pornography addiction, or alcoholism.
How do we as wives say “Enough is enough! It’s either (insert destructive behavior here” or me!”
I was looking through my Instagram feed recently and came across this quote: “Don’t give up now, your husband needs you!” As I looked at the comments under this post, I saw some women who are putting up with A LOT while praying for their husbands to make a change that will save their marriage. One woman’s husband had cheated on her multiple times and it was making her feel like she had lost herself in the process of trying to salvage her relationship.Another woman in particular said that her husband had broken her arm and she had to get a protective order from the court, but was still fasting and praying for him.
Does God expect us to pray all our marriage problems away? Or are there other steps we need to take to make our prayers a reality?
I really believe that God wants us as wives to hold our husbands accountable for their actions, particularly when those actions are destructive our our physical well-being or marriage. And here’s how:
1. Confront the issue-and give him an ultimatum
You need to have a very open and honest conversation with your husband about the issue. If he’s cheating on you, going to strip clubs, watching porn, or talking down to you constantly and making you feel inferior, you have to tell him that it cannot continue. You have to stand your ground no matter how he tries to blame you, make you feel guilty, or try to brush it off. You have to make it clear that he has to make a choice: his destructive behavior, or the marriage you two have built.
Men are very logical. Until you present the situation as a dealbreaker where he has to make a choice for himself, he will continue his behaviors because you’re putting up with them. As long as there’s no consequence for his destructive behaviors, he’ll continue doing them.. So you have to spell it out for him. Get him to see the urgency of the situation.
2. Insist that he gets help.
Once you’ve confronted your husband, the next step is to urge him to get help for his issue. Whatever it is, a therapist can help. Now, I know $100-$200 per session can seem like a LOT of money, but think about how much you spent on your wedding. As a matter of fact, think about how much you spent on your wedding dress. Was your dress, or engagement ring, or DJ fee more important than your marriage itself? Of course not. So however much it costs to seek therapy, it’s an investment in your marriage, because your marriage is (hopefully) supposed to last the rest of your lives together.
People that don’t want to see a therapist usually say, “I can manage on my own,” or “ I can stop if I just try harder.” But if that was true, your marriage wouldn’t be in the state that it’s in right now, would it? Be real with yourself, and your husband, and insist that he gets help!
Once you’ve laid out everything on the table, now is the time to pray! Pray that your husband is receptive to God’s voice and that he makes the decision to change, and that he sticks to it. Only God can change your husband’s heart, but He won’t do it against his will. God allows us free choice, so we have to choose to allow that change.
You also have to pray for yourself, for clear thinking and a loving attitude. If your husband has a pornography addiction, or struggles with alcoholism, making him feeling guilty about it constantly isn’t going to help. That kind of emotional manipulation may work for a while, but if his heart isn’t transformed, he’ll go right back to those destructive behaviors when he’s under pressure. Pray that God helps you see your husbands through His eyes, as a lost child trying to find his way back.
4. Seek healing
Your husband’s destructive behaviors affect you. A husband’s addictions, or abuse, can do serious damage to a woman’s self-esteem and self-worth. You may not realize it, but you have wounds that need to heal. So you may need to seek additional support from a support group at church or somewhere else in your community. You may need to find a therapist for yourself who can help you identify the attitudes and behaviors that enabled your husband to continue, so that those patterns aren’t repeated.
If you have children, make sure you attend therapy with them. They need healing too! Seeing negative cycles in a parent’s marriage can traumatize kids and leave them with scars that will handicap them when they try to have relationships of their own.
Wives have a powerful influence over their husbands. A woman who prays and resolves to be true to God’s standard for her marriage is a woman of courage and faith. But we have to hold our husbands accountable too!. In order for healing to happen, our husbands have to come face to face with the consequences of their current behaviors.
We can be the tools that God uses to bring healing to our marriages, but we don’t have to do it alone. Insisting that our husbands seek help for what are ultimately spiritual illnesses can spur a transformation in them, but in some cases it will only happen when we urge them to take that step for themselves.
Till next time!
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