So your husband professes to be a Believer yet he goes through life in a state of habitual and unrepentant sin. Well, this is one tough spot for a wife to be! Your man knows the Word of God, however, he doesn’t care too much about following the Scriptures unless of course it comes down to these two:
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22 (NLT)
The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. 1 Cor. 7:3 (NLT)
Before we dig into the unrepentant husband scenario, let’s look at ourselves first.
One thing I often heard from many wives is that it’s understandable for them to be bitter towards their husbands if their man was unrepentant of his sins. While I can humanly justify this viewpoint, it doesn’t make it biblical. According to the Scriptures, bitterness is a sin and if you’re not careful to cut it out from your flesh, it will destroy you and your spiritual life.
Christ is very clear about having an unforgiving heart. (Matt. 6:14,15) So, in essence, it doesn’t matter if a husband is unrepentant. As believers, we are called to forgive. (I know that’s not what you wanted to hear because, well, we have rights!)
Now friend, this is where I need your gracious understanding. I am writing a blog post, not a book and I’m giving general counsel regarding unrepentant husbands. Some wives might think a man who leaves the house a mess and doesn’t help her clean it is in habitual and unrepentant sin.
Other wives might be dealing with a man who’s just plain mean and inconsiderate toward her, or maybe the husband spends a lot of money and now they’re in debt but he doesn’t seem to care too much.
While other wives are dealing with much bigger concerns in their marriages.
I can’t even begin to tell you the stories I hear and read about what Christian women are going through with their men who profess to be Christians! Some of these men I’d label as abusive husbands.
The Abusive Husband
These are men who are abusing their God-given headship position and their abuse can be in various forms. They are either forceful, vengeful, malicious, demeaning, and controlling. They can be filled with rage or be a ticking time bomb waiting to go off at any minute. They can be physically abusing their wives or they’re sexually abusing them, (yes, forcing himself on her or forcing her to have sex with him is abuse). Some are into substance abuse which can lead to other abuses, while other men are into pornography and they want their wives to participate with them in this sin. Bottom line: all of these abuses point to a husband that has a hardened heart toward his wife, as well as toward his Lord. This type of husband is more concerned about his own kingdom rather than the Kingdom of God.
If you’ve got yourself an abusive husband then get out of your house until your husband gets help! And feel free to go to someone at your church, whether it’s the Pastor, Elder, overseer, etc. to let them know the situation. Believers in Christ Jesus are to be held accountable for their actions and sometimes that’s exactly what an abusive, unrepentant husband needs. (See the Matthew 18 passage below.)
Will your man like this? No. But God does not want your husband treating you like this because you are precious in His sight. A man who is violent (whether physically or emotionally) toward his wife brings dishonor to Christ as well as to what a Christian marriage should look like. Now just because I’ve encouraged you to pack your bags, this does not mean I’m advocating that you should divorce your husband. Quite the contrary. It just means you’re heading to a safe place until restoration can take place in your marriage. The Lord would rather His kids work things out through the church than through divorce court.
- In a kind and gracious way, share your heart with your husband because he may not even realize there’s a problem. (Men can’t read our minds.)
- Ask him if he’d like to have a better marriage. (Some may not because it’s too much work to change and they’re fine living the status quo.)
- Ask him what you’ve done that has turned his heart away from yours. Some husbands have been dealing with a contentious wife for quite sometime, therefore, they’ve emotionally disconnected from her. Maybe over the years she’s emasculated him and now he doesn’t seem to care anymore. He’s happy to live on the corner of the rooftop so he can live in peace. (Prov. 25:24)
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict his heart because that’s the Spirit’s role, not yours.
- Live a life that’s pleasing to the Lord regardless of how your husband is living his. He will be accountable to the Lord for his actions, as will you. Keep the right perspective. This life is just temporary and if your man is just so foolish that he doesn’t want to obey the Scriptures nor does he desire to have a better marriage, you can’t force him.
- Depending on the severity of his offense, I’d go to a brother in the Lord and let him know what’s taking place in your marriage. But please be careful on this one! Put yourself in your man’s shoes and seek the Lord before you head out the door and share your marital problems with someone who will most likely admonish and rebuke your man. Unfortunately, some women might have the tendency to do this because they’re trying to prove a point rather than restore and strengthen their marriage.
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ “And if he refuses to hear them, tell to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
What if your man went to others and shared your sins?
Again, you’ve got to look at the severity of the offense and the intention of his heart. Is it so grievous that it’s causing you to sin or you’re in harms way? Also, what’s the intent of your heart to bring your man before another brother? What’s the intent of your husband’s heart when he’s in sin? Does he do it so he can hurt you? Is his offense done habitually out of spite? Or is he reacting? Perhaps your man loves the Lord and he’s just struggling to follow Him and he’s struggling to love you. Or maybe he’s a downright fool with a hardened heart towards you and the Lord. Use discernment here and let the Lord guide you on this one.Now if you’ve gone to the church and he’s been admonished or rebuked and he still doesn’t care and dismisses everything you and his brothers have to say, then you need to look at him as if he’s an unbeliever because he’s not obeying the Word of God. Not only is his heart hardened towards you, but even more so towards the Lord. Ultimately he’s unwilling to submit to Christ.
In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. 1 Peter 3:1:2 (NLT)
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil. “Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! 1 Peter 3:8-17 (NLT)
If you’re a wife that’s in a marriage like this, don’t lose hope. God sees you. Hold fast to Romans 8:28.
Do you know a wife who’s struggling with something like this in her marriage? Do you mind sharing this with her so she can receive some help?
Live a poured out life for Christ,