A reader’s question…
About a year ago, without my knowledge my husband left his job to go at it alone. Things have not gone accordingly, instead we have lost everything, our home, car, property and are staying at my parents house. He is not doing well, he has reverted back to his behaviour before he met Christ. He disappears for days without saying where he is or where he is going, he drinks himself to a stoop and just sleeps the whole day. I’m left to take care of our 20 month old son.
I can’t seem to do anything right. When I approached our pastor to ask for help, I was told that I must not speak to anyone about our issues and I don’t understand what it means to be married and the meaning of family. And speaking to his family members is a no, no because it’s said that I’m gossiping about him.
Our relationship is very strained, sadly there is no affection, intimacy or communication between us. Basically there is no marriage relation just managing of expectation.
I read your blog every week and I really want to do the right things like be more supportive, but it is very difficult.
Is there a way I can help him get out of this rut, so he can get back on his feet?
~a helpless mum
Dear Helpless Mum,
First of all, I am so sorry for what you are going through!
Second, I’m thoroughly disappointed in the counsel that you received by your Pastor! It’s one thing to admonish and rebuke a wife for speaking disrespectfully about her husband, but it’s another thing when a wife is seeking counsel (from a Pastor!) on how to handle a difficult marital situation. And the situation you’re in is a DIFFICULT one!
Generally I encourage wives to be very gracious and patient with their husbands when their man has gone through a tumultuous time of his life, and I believe in this case, that you have. However, I also believe you need to start to establish boundaries because of the poor choices that your husband is making. If your man wasn’t getting drunk day in and day out, and sleeping it off throughout the day when he should be working, and if he wasn’t leaving for days on end and not telling you where he was going, and if he hasn’t turned back to his old ways before he came to Christ, then I would encourage any wife to continue to build up and encourage her broken husband.
But this is not your situation. No, your situation requires that someone hold your man accountable. Seeing how you’ve gone to your Pastor about this concern, you already know that he won’t intervene on your behalf. And because your husband’s family wants to turn a blind eye towards your husband’s habitual, unrepentant sin, that’s not a possibility either.
If he’s got a friend in the Lord, I’d go to him first and ask him if he’d reach out to your husband.
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools. Eccl. 7:5
If he doesn’t have any Godly friends that you can go to, then I’d establish boundaries within your marriage, family, and home.
Since alcohol is involved, your man is not of sound mind, so rationalizing, bargaining, and pleading with him probably won’t do you any good. And it sounds like he doesn’t really care too much about you and his child, but rather, just himself at this time.
I realize he is hurting, however, he’s not seeking help in order to get back up on his feet.
What I would recommend for you is…
- To forgive him. Forgive him for leaving his job and starting his own business without telling you.
- Forgive him for all that has transpired in your family as a result of his business decision.
- Tell him you forgive him for these things.
- Tell him you want to start over in your marriage because your marriage and family life is more important than material possessions. Let him know you can always get more things, but you want your man back.
- Ask him to get help for his drinking. If he does not respond or acknowledges you on this or he tells you to mind your own business, then let him know you’ll need to establish boundaries to protect you and your child.
- The boundaries that I would establish is that he’ll have to leave your parent’s home until he’s willing to get some help. Now, keep in mind that I am NOT ADVOCATING DIVORCE, rather, I’m encouraging you to setup some boundaries in the hopes that your husband will walk away from his habitual, unrepentant sin. Make sure when you speak these words to him that you do so in a kind, loving, and gracious way, rather than in a condemning way.
- Continue to pray for him to change his ways and be ready to accept him back just like when the Prodigal Son returned home from his prodigal ways of living. Luke 15:13
“If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 2 Thes. 3:10
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” Luke 17:3
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17
Now words of encouragement for you, my dear sister in Christ, as you go through this heartbreaking time…
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deut. 3:16
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
If another reader would like to chime in and offer up some encouragement or a prayer for our dear sister, please do so!
Live a poured out life for Christ,