Monday, February 11, 2008

A message from a reader

Several days ago, I received the following comment from a reader (who chose to remain anonymous), in response to my post, "Dating disasters vs. the Jewish strategy", and it touched my heart so deeply that I decided to share it with all of you. Here it goes...

"Thank you Anna for this post. Right now, I feel so sad for the decisions that I have made. I chose to remain a virgin until marriage and fell in love with a man who was a new Christian. We married almost a year and a half ago and have a baby boy together who is a few months old.

My marriage has been a disaster. It has been emotionally taxing for me. He is not really a Christian. He smokes, decided he wanted to become a "rapper" and spends every weekend in the club promoting his music. I have seen emails where he flirts with other females and encourages them to call him. He does not want me to be a stay at home mother to our child, preferring instead for him to go to daycare. A woman sent me an email telling me that they have been having an affair for almost a year. But, he vehemently denies it.

I want to get a divorce soooooo bad!!! I wish I had been wiser. I should have married a man who was a strong Christian, with longer evidence of living the Christian life. I had been wise in my relationships up until him. Me being a "silly" woman in the end and marrying this man has made my life miserable, and my parents stressed with worry, because they know that I deserve better, and think that I should leave him.

But, I want our son to grow up with both parents in the home. But, I'm wondering if that's a good enough reason to stay with someone who so obviously does not really love me or want me to be truly happy.

So, I encourage all unmarried ladies to really pray and seek God before deciding to marry someone, talk to your parents, and really know that this man leads a life of integrity. It will save you much heartache later on.

Anna, do you have any thoughts on this? What if things never get better. Do I suffer through it because I made vows? Or free myself from this emotionally destructive relationship? Any thoughts would be welcome."

When I read this, I found myself sitting, typing and deleting, trying to think of something to say to this lady, whose suffering is so obvious. However, as someone who isn't married yet, I found it hard to do. I believe marriage is sacred, and anything can and should be tried in order to save it, unless it becomes truly and irrevocably destructive. But where is the line? In what situations does a God-fearing woman come to the bitter conclusion that divorce is her only option?

Maybe some of you married ladies can offer your insight?

66 comments:

Kristy Howard said...

This is a tough one, Anna, and my heart breaks for this dear sister. According to Scripture, an individual only has grounds for divorce if his/her spouse has been unfaithful; not simply because they are hard to live with. (Obviously a woman should not continue living with a man who physically abuses her or her children, but your reader didn't mention that this was happening.)

Although Scripture makes room for divorce in some instances, it does not provide an acceptable reason for ever remarrying while the spouse is still living. A lot of people have difficulty accepting this, especially in our society where divorce and remarriage is so common; but that is simply the importance that God places on the marriage covenant.

I certainly can't offer your dear reader a cut-and-dry answer or advice, but I can say that if she will continue to honor and obey God (which may or may not include remaining with her husband), then He will honor and bless her. Her live may not turn out exactly as she had always planned and invisioned, but God can still be glorified even in our mistakes.

Erin said...

I am the child of divorced parents. My mother truely believes marriage is sacred; however, my father was a severe alcoholic, and from my early childhood I remember nothing but problems.

Everybody's line is different, and nobody really knows what's right for another person (that would be for God to decide), but all I can say is don't stay together for the sake of the kids. Kids aren't dumb, they know there are major problems, and it becomes a major source of stress for the child(for a very long time, I thought I was the reason my mom was so unhappy. In all fairness, when my mother found out what I was thinking, we had a long talk about that not being the case). Divorce was a horrible, sad thing, but sometimes the marriage is destructive to all parties.

My mom, later remmarried, and while things weren't perfect, things are okay.

My advice is to pray, listen for answers, and carefully consider at what point your life is glorifing God, and at what point things are detructive instead.

I am sorry, things weren't more clear, but this is an emotional topic for me

USAincognito said...

Divorce the man. It is quite apparent he has no desire to follow God nor to stop having affairs with other women nor to live this lifestyle.
If she continues to remain married to him, it will only cause the boy to grow up under a lot of stress & unhappiness & anger which will lead to behavioral problems in the home and at school. Children ARE affected by these types of marriages whether adults want to believe it or not. And children take it personally by thinking there is something they have done wrong to cause "mommy & daddy to have issues." This is then visibly displayed by the child acting out at home or at school.
Not to mention, what kind of role model is that man to his own son? If the mother wants her son to follow God, then this man ought not to be a role model for him. It is best for the child and the mother to leave this situation.
I am also concerned that this woman may become the blunt end of abuse later down the road. A "rapper's" lifestyle is one of violence, gangs, and drugs. I see it all the time in Law Enforcement. And this lifestyle WILL eventually overflow into the home life.
For the safety of mother and child, she needs to take her son and leave this man.

As you all know, I work in Law Enforcement. And every day I see domestic situations. Over and over again, it is always the same families. The woman claims she will leave this time but then when we go to arrest her husband she freaks out and claims she will never leave him because, "I love him! He's my husband!"

This woman in your post may not be physically abused but she is EMOTIONALLY ABUSED. And that is oftentimes worse. Like I tell women all the time in these situations, it is NOT going to get better just because you love him or just because he claims he will never do it again when the police (or family members) show up. Abusers will NEVER change. As soon as the police disappear (or family members that show concern), he will go right back to being the abuser - and sometimes the man will increase the abuse because he is upset that an outsider got involved.

I am very, very concerned for this mother and child. The situation she is in, is NOT safe. Please, please do not turn a blind eye thinking that things will get better over time. They will not. He has already proven that.

Sammybunny said...

As the woman is a Christian, Jesus clearly states that in times of unfaithfulness, divorce is allowable. However, like another person already commented, Jesus does not want us to remarry if this occurs while the other spouse is alive. This is such a difficult situation and I echo the words already spoken that if this behavior continues then she should leave and pray constantly for this man's heart to change. If it does, she could remarry him when he sees the light but other than that, pray without ceasing and honor God with her behavior.

Anonymous said...

Oh my....this woman is suffering so much. I can feel, through her words, how painful her situation is. It is evident she did not take her marriage vows lightly...the same cannot be said for her husband. From her description, it's almost like he has become a completely different person from the man she married!! Yes, it is a shame he was not more mature in his faith. If he can so easily leave it behind for what he's pursuing now, then his 'conversion' to Christianity was false...perhaps as the result of fear (God, if you get me out of this mess, I swear I'll go to church more), or as the result of high emotions (being with believers at a gathering, where there is beautiful music, & an overall feeling of love & magnanimity). Whatever the case, this man is no Christian.

What to do now? If her husband has been unfaithful to her, she does have the right to divorce him. Scripture supports this. She must find out if the 'e-mail woman' is telling the truth.

I also think if there is the threat of physical danger, to her or the baby, she should leave. I know there's nothing in Scripture to back this action up, but absolutely no good can come of sticking around to be someone's punching bag. She should not abase herself to show what a good wife she is. That is NOT being lovingly submissive!

Above everything else, she should pray, pray, pray! I know that I will be doing just that for her, & for her husband too.

sincerely,
Brenda

Rebekah S. said...

My heart goes out to this poor woman!! I will be praying for her.

I'll have to do some more Bible studying to answer your question. I know that God hates divorce, because marriage is a sign of Christ and His bride, the church.

I want this dear lady to know that all things are possible with God. He can change this situation around easily. I will be praying!!!

Rebekah S. said...

I have to disagree with USAincognito. It's true that some abusers never change. But I've heard true story after true story about abusers finding the Lord, getting saved, and completely changing their lifestyle. We have to remember that ALL things are possible with God! We must never underestimate His power to change people! And we also must remember that "all things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose."

Susie said...

To Anonymous,

Since you are a Christian, pray to God and look to what the Bible says regarding marriage and divorce rather than human opinion.

1 Corinthians 7:13-16
King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

If I were you, I'd specifically pray that the truth would come out if he is cheating on you. The verse sammybunny is refering to is Matthew 5:32, regarding divorce because of unfaithfulness.

But then again, if you want to keep your marriage I would pray that Christ would give you forgiveness in your heart towards your husband. Look at the relationship of Hosea and his adulteress wife Gomer. If you find out he is cheating he is repentant you have to pray everyday for a forgiving heart, because it will be difficult, but couples have done it by the grace of God.

If your husband is still attending church, I'd seek BIBLCAL counciling from your pastor if it is available. (I capitalized bibical because unfortunately, most offer psychology with the bible as support rather than looking to what scripture says alone). It may help to show him his backsliding ways and cause repentance or show him that he truly is an unbeliever.

Continue to pray that God may change his heart, whether you decide to stay with this man or not. This is a trial for you.

James 1:3-5
King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

God will give you wisdom in this situation. Pray diligently for it.

Anna--thank you for you patience with this post.

erica said...

my heart really goes out to this woman. what a terrible situation to be in.

as the others above have already stated, divorce is not scripturally allowable unless there has been unfaithfulness. at the particular church that i go to, the pastors still recomend that a couple attempts reconciliation before they consider divorce. i think that this is wise. is the husband willing to try marital counseling? if not, perhaps the wife should seel biblical counseling anyway. of course, she should continue to pray for him, that God may change his heart.
as the woman is a Christian, and worried about the faith of her husband, I would also recommend considering 1 Corintians 7:13-14 "And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy."

certainly this situlation must be painful, but i do not think the answer is to give up, at least not right away. The Lord is powerful and can bring healing. I am praying for this sister.

Kacie said...

My goodness, this is tough.

If she isn't already in counseling, I hope she seeks it from her pastor.

If her husband was once a Christian, there's nothing to say that he won't be able to see the error of his current ways and repent, and strive to be a better husband.

Perhaps she and her husband can receive joint counseling.

It's not clear to me if she's sat down with her husband and explained how much pain she's in.

If it would be safe for her to do so, I might suggest that she shows him this blog post as a launching point to start rebuilding their marriage.

Dear lady, you're in our prayers.

Pendragon said...

I can't speak from a religious perspective, but it appears that the husband here is not acting in good faith to uphold his wedding vows.

It also appears that the wife's primary concern is what is best for her child. I think it is wrong to assume that divorce is always the worst option for a child. Being raised in an unhappy marriage, especially if one parent is unsuitable, can be far more devastating to a child. Getting divorced may be the very best thing for the son -- especially if the divorce occurs before he is old enough to remember it later.

I think divorce should generally be a last resort, but this case sounds like a case when the last resort is necessary -- for the sake of the child and his mother.

Anonymous said...

This is certainly a heartbreaking situtation. In my faith (Catholic) you would be considered bound by your marriage vows until death no matter what. However, as others have mentioned you could pursue a civil divorce for safety concerns but with the understanding that unless it is deemed that your marriage was invalid from the start, that you are still bound as two souls here on earth...i.e. still married.

You talk about "wanting sooo" much to divorce your husband. I would advise that continuing to follow your wants over wisdom will only lead to further heartache. Instead, I would recommend talking to a trusted pastor or Christian counselor about the best way to determine God's will for you in this situation. Parents and friends are not always reliable sources of wisdom in these cases.

Finally, I caution you not to label your husband "not Christian" because he smokes or behaves badly. You do not know his heart. He may well be a struggling Christian who very much needs the strong example of a good wife right now.

If you decide to remain in the marriage, it is important to do it for the sake of your marriage vows and committment and not "for the sake of the kids." That approach will disorder the role that kids have in a Godly family and frankly put too much pressure on them. Do it because it is the right (albeit very difficult) thing to do.

I will pray for you and hope you will pray for me.

kellyquinn7 said...

Anna,

I have a godly woman who I believe might be a great help to the poster. Her name is Connie and she has been through hell and back and stayed faithful to her husband and watched as God was faithful to her in her husband's true salvation and change in person.

Here's a link from my blog and there on links in the post to more of Connie's writings.

Enjoy, Connie's a hoot!!

http://kellyquinn.blogspot.com/2008/01/mrs-connie.html

Kelly

Joyce said...

Possibly these links of varied teachers will be beneficial ~ my suggestion is to seek to do good to your husband all the days of your life. As a Proverbs 31 woman in a less than ideal circumstance, pray for your beloved, return a gentle answer to words of anger, and seek Christian counsel with the pastor that married you or with a current pastor or Bible teacher or church elder or an objective Christian if now under different shepherding. God can do amazing things in what may seem hopeless...yet do seek assistance and protection in addition to whole Word of God counsel in a tangible setting where circumstances can be properly sorted and help will be available for you quickly when you need it where you happen to be geographically. Separation or divorce doesn't necessarily end emotional abuse nor does it prevent such from evolving into physical abuse; the news media daily reports this is so(not meant to scare or prevent you from taking radical action but for you to weigh comments carefully, even mine).

Go slow when it is warranted(stop, drop, and pray) ~ gentle as a dove and wise as a serpent. Go fast when it is warranted(still drop, and pray). The Lord is in perfect control ~ trust Him to lead you every step of the way in the steps ordered He has for you to walk. My heart goes out to you as He keeps you in our thoughts and prayers as you seek His will. Read the following as a Berean ~ searching the Scriptures to see if these things be so.

{{{HUGS}}}

Pastor Marriage Counseling: What If?

Jesus' Teaching on Divorce Pts. 1-6

Questions About Divorce

Anonymous said...

I would encourage her to read "Created to Be His Helpmeet" by Debi Pearl....awesome book!!!!

Love,
Lori

Tracy said...

I agree with Kristy and SammyBunny. Divorce is allowed in the case of adultery, BUT remarriage is not. Is he abusive? Can she live with him? Marriage is sacred, and should not be taken lightly, even when things appear to be bad.

Kelly said...

Marriage is a vocation, a holy calling from God. A woman is to submit to her husband as her authority, but the man has a tougher requirement placed upon him still. He is to love his bride as Christ loves the church. That means that a man is to love his wife sacrificially - to the point of laying down his life for her. This is not in the literal sense of physical threat only, but in the way he lives his everyday life.

This woman's husband is sinning terribly against his vocation. He must be confronted with his sin, shown the harshness of the Law, and then be shown the saving grace of the Gospel, that Jesus died and rose again to forgive him even his worst sins. If he remains unrepentant or refuses to see himself in the mirror of the Law, then it may become necessary to disentangle herself from the situation. Enduring emotional abuse and making one's child endure it as well does not make anyone a "better" Christian.

Is divorce a sin? Certainly yes. Is there forgiveness and healing to be found at the foot of the Cross? An even more enthusiastic yes.

I would counsel this woman to seek out a Pastor who is well trained in properly applying both the Law of God's Word and His Gospel. The only hope to be found is in Christ's perfect life, death, and resurrection for each and every sinner.

Candy :) said...

I feel for that young lady. I wish I could give her a big hug. My thoughts on her situation would be exactly what the first commenter has said. In the meantime, I will remember this lady in prayer today that God will show her what to do.
Just remember (if your reading this) that you are loved.


Candy from Canada

deb said...

I knew a very dear Christian woman whose husband was abusive. She left the marriage for the protection of herself and her daughter. She never remarried because she didn't see that as God's will.

Anonymous said...

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.

Psalm 37 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgement as the noonday.

1 Peter 3:1-5 Likewise ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word,they also may without the word be won by the behavior of the wives; while they behold your chaste behavior coupled with fear. whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Dear one, I am married and it is difficult. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. He will help you and sustain you. Look at the bigger picture. Jesus says "I go to prepare a place for you" This is not your true home.
Believe God and his promises to you

God bless you. I pray for wisdom for you. James 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let her ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. Sincerely, Laura Santos llsantos5@msn.com

Adlyn said...

well, my mother and father never got married and I thank GOD for that. but I would say either seperate and not divorce or divore. Children emulate their parents. Boys and girl look to their parents as role models and will usually immulate what the parents do. If the little boy sees his father having affairs, drinking, or the father has an anger problem you can bet that the child girl or boy is going to mimick it I know I did. My father has an anger problem thought I only saw him every other weekend I still ended having a anger problem (and I still do). I would explode with anger and I'm was (I still am) impatient. Thought I am working on these problems but it took me a long time to find out that I just mimicked my father. So all and all I would say seperate but don't divorce, but I'm not married either so don't take my advice to heart it would be best to ask you pastor and study scripture. hope that helps

xoxoxoxo,
Adlyn

Karen said...

Well, speaking as a soon to be Catholic, I would leave and get the marriage annulled. It is an obvious case of an invalid marriage. He lied to her and decieved her into thinking he had a heart for God when he obviously does not, and a marriage based on deceit is not really a marriage.

Karen said...

I am extremely disturbed at how many people are commenting that she should stay with him. That sounds incredibly dangerous to me. He is a liar and probably a cheater, and therefore not to be trusted. Bad company corrupts good character. Their child will learn to grow up to be just like him if he does not repent. Not only that, but he could very well be bringing home STDs to give to her!!

Prayer is needed, but what is wrong with praying from a distance?? She should seperate from him and perhaps seek an anullment. As I said, a marriage based on lies is not a true marriage. When you marry someone thinking they are following Christ but they are hiding their true self and motives from you, that is a lie and the whole marriage is a lie.

Of course, I am assuming she has confronted him about this and perhaps also brought it to her pastor or priest to talk with him as well. This is a good first step.

Anonymous said...

I can offer no advice but I will be praying for you!

Anonymous said...

As a registered nurse, the first thought that went through my mind as I was reading this very sad letter was the high chance this man could be bringing home disease to his wife. These illnesses are not to be taken lightly (STD's). They can cost you your emotional health, your physical health, your fertility, and with some, eventually your life.
I would, as a Catholic also, tell this young lady to return to her parents with her son, after explaining in full to her husband why she is doing so. It is up to him at that point, to either do what it takes to re-claim her, or let her go. I agree with Karen, that the marriage sounds invalid, as promises were only lies at the time she married.
My heart goes out to this poor young lady. I wish her all the best God has in this life for her, as well as for her son.

Melissa

Brandi H. said...

i had a conversation about divorce (not ours! as a concept) with my husband recently. he is counseling a couple and asked me precisely how i would define the unfaithfulness that makes divorce permissible. after a long conversation, we came to this conclusion: the function of the Law is to reveal our sin, our constant failure, our need of redemption. It points us to our need of a Messiah, a Savior. It is very good at its job. From a strict interpretation of the law, then, perhaps no marriage deserves to survive, just as no man deserves to stand before God and live. Perhaps there is no marriage on the planet that is untouched by corruption, in the sense that the spirit of the vows has never been betrayed in some manner. Adultery in the heart? How many husbands truly and perfectly fulfill their command to love their wives as Christ loves His Church? None, right? Take an honest look at marriage vows, and try to find a couple who hasn't broken any. We all deserve death for our sins; likewise, we all deserve divorce. When we confront our spouse with their sin, we must do so with the humility that only comes through awareness of our own sins.

So, divorce probably is permissible, from the perspective of God's law. Grace, however, enters the picture and allows for hope of redemption. This dear lady needs to take immediate steps, not to bail out, but to try and bring about the redemption for which she hopes. Does this husband submit to any authority in his life? His father? Pastor, elder, deacon? The guy who married them? Godly friends? Whomever he respects, if such a person can be found and is trustworthy, should be asked for help. Let that person kick him in the nuts. The wife should not (and obviously cannot) have that chore, but it needs doing. Who would he listen to? If no such person can be found, this does not bode well for the marriage. How can he conduct himself in a position of authority over his family, if he cannot submit to his own authorities?

I say, work for redemption. That does NOT mean "stay put and suffer in silence." That means get help, as much help as possible, from the person who can do the most good. Look for signs that God is at work, anywhere in the man or the marriage, and try to cooperate with God in that work. If there is danger (trust your gut instinct), get out, get your baby out. Work with the guy, but you may need to start your work by taking drastic steps to get his attention. Separate if you must, and contact him through the men of your church. If it does anything illegal, call the authorities, and then visit him in jail. Pray for him, bring him food, but don't get him out.

Only after these resources have been exhausted should an end to the marriage be considered. Other commenters have mentioned annullment, which I think is an intriguing idea and a better last resort than divorce. At least the option of remarriage would remain open. I have one friend whose verbally abusive marriage was annulled after a year or two, so I know it's possible. This was Protestant, too. I don't know the requirements.

Perplexity said...

Having grown up in a home without a father I can say that it is not the end of the world. Especially if the father is not what he claimed to be. My father fooled my mother, to put it lightly, and used her age and innocence. My sister and I were the results of that. He was never, ever a decent, honorable, respectable man. Ever. Him not being around was the best thing that happened to my mother, my sister and myself. I have half siblings who did grow up with him in the home and trust me, it was a horrendous experience. And, he never laid a finger on any of them. Abuse and terror comes in more forms than the hand.

If this woman is not happy, if she was "duped", so to speak, by her husband, she has every right to move on and create a life for herself and her child. I cannot imagine God being disappointed in a woman choosing happiness and stability over a life of lies and confusion, for herself and her child. I am highly suspect of people who say that it is HER job to pray for him and to do all the work. If he isn't going to work on changing, or fulfilling his vows or commitments, what, exactly, makes it up to her to fix it all?

God gave us all free will, brains that work on reason and thought, and he didn't create us all to be puppets or robots. A woman in a marriage of disappointment and lies has every human and divine right to seek a way to take care of herself and her child without consideration to the man who reneged on his marriage vows and promises.

I honestly wish your commenter luck, love and support from people around her - family, friends, etc. I urge her to seek within herself what it is that she needs to do to be happy and to act upon it. Before seeking what someone else thinks she needs to do, or what is best for her husband, or anyone else.

Andrea said...

Anna, to your dear reader:

This is such a difficult area because so many people (myself included!) are bound to want to offer their own opinions and experiences intermingled with the word of God. As a child of divorced parents, as someone whose father was unfaithful to her mother and eventually left her altogether, I am bound to bring my own bias to this however I might try to leave it out. Nevertheless, I will work hard to own to what is just my opinion, and I hope you will read my words as those from one sister in Christ to another, knowing that I am as fallible as the next girl, but dearly want what is best for you in your particular situation.

First of all, I would suggest you rely as little as possible on "general" marriage books in this instance, as they cannot hope to speak to every instance, and yours is a very specific case. Maybe later, if you seek to rebuild your marriage, basic "building blocks" books will suffice; right now, your heart is wounded, you are hurting, and you and your husband need very specific, targeted help! At this point, generalized admonitions would be hit and miss at best.

Second, I understand wanting your son to have his father present in his life. Not only does a division of labour between parents lighten the load for both of them, but a strong male role model is invaluable both to young women and to young men as they grow (in fact, I believe it is equally valuable for both). However, my question is . . . what sort of role model do you want to provide? A man whose lips profess faith while his actions betray his heart? There are strong words used against anyone who causes a little one to stumble; in removing your son from his father's sphere of influence, one could, looking at Scripture, argue you are protecting them BOTH from the results of the influence of his father. As to balance . . . I always think of my mother when I think of single parents. She raised both my sister and me to adulthood, and loves us fiercely. She would be the first to admit that it is often exhausting, being a single parent, and it can be lonely too, but in her next breath she goes on to say that we were more than worth it; that she would not trade what she has now for anything else in the world. It CAN be done, and for whatever it's worth, I have faith that if it must be, you will be able to do it.

Third, is your husband willing to seek counselling? If he denies the affair it seems unlikely he will accept counselling, but then, anything is possible. Ask him! If there is no physical danger to you or your child, it may be possible for you to remain with with him if he is willing to pursue counselling under the guidance of your pastor or, possibly better yet, a Christian counsellor (you may not live in an area where this service is available; I only suggest it as a gentleman from my church works with a Christian family counselling organisation, and I know they take an extremely Scriptural approach to counselling, with the added bonus of not having a social connection with those they counsel. If you can find something like this, an objective Christian counsellor who is not personally connected with either you or your husband may be best able to fairly observe and advise).

Included in physical danger, of course, is the threat of an STD; since there is a possibility that he has been physically as well as emotionally unfaithful to you, I can in good conscience only counsel you that sexual relations should cease until you are BOTH tested for STDs, and you are certain he is not endangering your health and your life. Nobody with your best interests at heart will tell you otherwise; you run the risk of contracting something as serious as AIDS, and to not take steps to be tested and prevent risk of infection would be foolhardy.

Finally (and this is just me, speaking in my usual impulsive fashion, so take it for what you will!) if he is not confessing and repentant (and going only by your description, it would seem he is not) . . . dear one, do not be broken simply for the sake of appearing holy. Do not, in an attempt to display Godly meekness, denigrate who you are and what you are worth in the eyes of God simply for the sake of doing right by someone who does not honour you, your vows, and the home you wanted to build. In a perfect world, you could be certain of his willingness to repent; in a perfect world you could be assured that your devotion would win his fidelity. But this is a fallen world, and God has better for you than what you face now. Whether the "better" is to be achieved by your husband coming with you to counselling and working to rebuild what you both wanted to begin with, or whether it is to be achieved by you gathering your courage and your son and walking out, doing something that would look wrong to so many who love laws more than they love the lifegiver . . . I don't know. I cannot tell you, with perfect certainty, what to do.

I CAN tell you that your marriage vows are a contract between you both, and he has broken that contract by his unfaithfulness. You have Scriptural, moral and legal grounds for divorce, but please, whatever you do (and I can't imagine how hard it must be for you!) don't take those steps out of hurt or anger. Turn to God, seek His heart and His peace, and ask Him which is His will for you. Then look neither right nor left, but only follow Him :)

With all my love in Christ to you, your son and your husband,

Andrea

Andrea said...

I forgot to second what some others have said; that depending on where this woman lives, she may also have grounds for an annulment. If this could be obtained, even the most-gut-literal translation of Scripture would allow that remarriage would also be possible :)

ChRlswfe4Jesus said...

My heart just hurt for this young lady as I read. I think of the tough times we have had in our marriage. Here are some of the things that got me through:

I believe it is in 1 Timothy, that we (wifes) are to win over our unsaved husbands by our actions and not our words. For me this was very difficult, keeping my mouth shut. But with God's power it can be done.

The realization that treating someone God's way(right-with love, kindness, forgiveness, the fruit of the spirit), who is treating you wrong is storing up treasures up in Heaven. It is also the most powerful witness a wife can send out to the world. Showing how God is a person's source of everything. How God protects one when they are in obedience to God.

All we need is Jesus. When we believe we needed to be treated a certain way, we are not living as Jesus lived. We are putting us before Jesus, before others. It is easy to love someone that treats you right, any unsaved person with out Jesus in their life can do. But treating someone with grace and mercy shows God in one's life.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. Our all in all. The reason for living. Our HOPE. Our Salvation. Our peace. He of all deserved to be treated right and remember how He was treated.

It is not what we in this generation want to hear. But Jesus is all we need. When we are treated wrong who are we going to represent? (The world)Satan? Jesus? Dawn

Anonymous said...

Anna, thank you so much for posting my message on your blog. I appreciate you taking the time out to do that and trying to help me.

Also, thank you to all of the commenters with your advice. It has helped me to put things in perspective somewhat.

I have talked to my husband about the way that I feel, and he told me that he doesn't think that he's in love with me anymore, if he ever really was. He's not really sure. He says that I should be a supportive wife, and support his dreams of being a rapper. He told me that if I leave him, he will seek joint custody and try to have our son six months out of the year, since I would go back to my home state to live.

I told him that is ludicrous to separate a mother from her baby for half a year, but he is intent on doing that, and would probably do that to torture me. He is in the military and said that they would favor giving him 6 months of joint custody.

I can't trust him with my child that long. For now, I'm just going to keep praying and see if God shows me what I should truly do. I don't want a nasty custody battle. I do want to have a good marriage, and maybe I should work on being a better wife or something and pray more for him. I'm going to give it some time, and see if that makes any difference. If not, then maybe divorce is the only option for me. Especially if he really has cheated on me.

Again, thank you Anna and thanks to your readers for thinking of me and praying for me.

Congratulations, Anna on your upcoming marriage. May you have a blessed and happy union. Please keep doing what you're doing and inspiring other ladies to do what is right.

-Lady24

Kaeus said...

i have no advice on weather this poor woman should get a divorce or not. this is something between her and God, and she needs to pray about it.

BUT: staying together just for the child is NOT a good reason. my parents stayed together so as not to trouble my sister and myself. they finally split when i was about 14 or 15. that was the happiest day of my life up to that point.

having two relatively happy parents in different houses was infinitely nicer than having two miserable parents in one house continually sniping at each other, shouting and arguing, accusing each other of interfering in conversation with the children, and sleeping in separate beds. i suffered intense depression, and to this day i have panic attacks when there is arguing going on.

if God is leading her to divorce, 'for the children' is not a good reason to stay together, and can do far more harm than good.

Laura said...

I am going to assume that the husband would not be positive toward the idea of counseling. In order for it to work, both people have to want to work hard at it. If he is willing to change his attitude and work through counseling and make changes in his life, things could work out. But otherwise,

I agree with the poster above. One way or another it is important to leave. She might get an std, and her son will learn to see his father's lifestyle as normal. Who knows, as the father is most likely more permissive, it is possible that as the son gets older he would even adopt the father's contempt for his mother.

If the husband still has any love or respect, maybe leaving would be a wakeup call.

It sounds like if things are going to work out, he will need to change his life dramatically. Maybe a move would be helpful (If he does agree to recommit to his mairrage.)

Rebekah S. said...

I have to very respectfully disagree with Karen. A marriage based on lies is still a marriage. It may not be a great one, but it is still a marriage. And marriage is seriously important in God's eyes.

Moo said...

That is truly a terrible, and I hope you are able to get out of the situation, one way or another. This marriage is not helping you. Have you tried seeking counselling? Perhaps there is someone at your church, even, who could offer counselling. If that fails, I would say issue an ultimatum, that change his ways or you will leave. You don't deserve to spend the rest of your life with a liar and a bad role model.

As for your son, maybe there are people in your church who would help you take care of him? I would say that no father is better than a bad role model who teaches his children to lie. I'm sure there are lots of people in your congregation who would offer to spend time with your son as good role models. Also, organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters in North America can match your child up with a "Big Brother" as a role model. A friend of mine lost his father in early childhood, and was matched with a Big Brother that he said was a wonderful influence on his life.

Have you talked to your parents about this? Maybe they can help take care of your child, which would be better than daycare.

Shelley said...

I know exactly how she feels because my first husband was a lot like this. I divorced him because I was not a Christian yet and we did not have children. If I was a Christian back then, I would still have divorced him and asked for forgiveness, there is only so much anyone can take. My advice to her is to go to back to her father's home with her baby and be under his care and seek good legal advice ie can she keep her precious babe away from this liar/cheater wanabe rapper. I can't see this man being any kind of good influence on the baby especially if he hangs out in clubs. The people he meets in the clubs (and possibly brings home) could be dangerous to her and the baby as well. I admire her trying to live up to her vows but in this case she is the innocent spouse, an annulment is a good idea. Maybe God will bless her with widdow-hood, I am praying for God to take care of this.
PS I married a wonderful man in June, he is perfect for me and dependable as the sunrise, there is hope after divorce:)

Anonymous said...

The New Testament scriptures say "you shall know them by their fruits" (i.e. their behaviour). Jesus is saying you will easily be able to see what is in a person's heart by the words of their mouth and their behaviour. A true believer would not flirt, lie or cheat repeatedly as a lifestyle. Many people profess to be Christian, but many are not. The difference? - the obvious result of a true relationship with the Lord is a repentant life.

So he is NOT a Christian. The scriptures say "let the unbelieving depart" and she will be "not under bondage" in such cases. If she's not under bondage, if he leaves she can remarry.

The scriptures allow divorce where there has been adultery - it is clear. Is adultury only a PHYSICAL act? NO, no and no. Jesus said if you lust for a woman in your heart, you have committed adultery. In the Old Testament and the Law, a person had to DO the act for it to be sin, in the New Testament, a person only has to THINK it to be a sin. Has he committed adultery? Most probably yes. How do we know? His behaviour of flirtation (advancement) towards other women.

Now the scriptures are very clear that there is only ONE "unpardonable sin" and that is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. So therefore ALL OTHER SINS are PARDONABLE (i.e., they can be forgiven).

So even divorce is not an unpardonable sin. Neither is murder, neither is fornication, neither is rape etc etc - Jesus died for ALL sins. It is wrong to say Jesus can forgive a murderer, but not a divorcee. By doing so we are putting unjust burdens on people that Jesus already paid the price of sin for.

If this man refuses to repent and change his ways, and continues to be abusive and sinful, she CAN leave, and she CAN receive forgiveness for her wrong choices and most certainly remarry and have a second chance at life!

The woman at the well had five husbands, and Jesus offered her to drink from the "living water" and have forgiveness.

The woman taken in adultery who by Law was to be stoned, Jesus said, "he who is without sin can cast the first stone at her", they all departed one by one, and He forgave her the sin.

You can't read the Bible and miss the loving, forgiving, compassionate heart of the Lord.

ALL of us have sinned and fall short, and need a saviour.

This man needs to be confronted with his sin (not alone, perhaps with family or a pastor), and given a chance to repent - which he could very well choose to do when confronted with the possible loss of his family. If he won't, she could separate for a while, be safe from diseases and abuse whilst living with her family, and pray for him from afar. If he never makes effort to repent thereafter, she can choose to move on, be forgiven for her error, and raise her son in the ways of the Lord, with perhaps the chance of a Godly marriage later on - which considering the sin of divorce can be forgiven, she would not be commiting adultery.

The Gospel is a message of grace and forgiveness.

http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/e11

Dear sister, if you are reading, may you seek the Lord's wisdom at this difficult time. Let His peace rule in your heart with all your decisions.

Anna, thank you for your patience with this post.

In sisterly love
Cristina

Marcia Wilwerding said...

Since this woman claims to be a Christian, I assume she will want to obey her Scriptures regarding marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Others have given good verses to consider, but this dear one must study them for herself and pray earnestly for wisdom, which God promises to give to all who ask for it in faith.

She must also, as others have suggested, get godly counseling from a biblical counselor (a "nouthetic" counselor). I highly recommend finding one in her area as soon as possible. Her own pastor may be able to do this type of counseling. She must first pray, then humbly approach her husband about joining her in this counseling.

I agree, also, that the book "Created to Be His Helpmeet" would be helpful.

Staying in the marriage for the sake of the son is a valid reason to not get a divorce. Secular studies are proving that even children raised with bad parents are better off emotionally if the parents stay together. Check this link: http://www.divorcereform.org/
fights.html

I don't hear this lady stating that the man is physically abusing her. "Emotional" abuse is a relative term. It means different things to different people and is over-used as an excuse for ending a marriage.

My grandfather was a drunk and committed adultery against my grandmother, but they never divorced. In his later years (60's), he finally came to know the Lord and died at peace with her and his four children. I know all things are possible to those who believe. I've seen it happen first-hand. Two of my uncles were alcoholics, it's true, but the other two children were not and became the most godly people I've ever known, including my dear mother. My grandmother kept her Christian testimony and loved and prayed her husband to Christ.

There is hope for a godly, Christian marriage even when it looks hopeless. Though she made an error in judgment, God makes no mistakes. He can and will be glorified in the end.

Marcia Wilwerding
eHomebody.com
Good counsel on what the Scriptures say about divorce can be found here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.
asp?SpeakerOnly=true&currSection=
sermonsspeaker&keyword=Bernie%5E
Timmerman

Mrs. Brigham said...

My heart is breaking for this woman. While I agree with what Karen has said, I also realize how unwise it would be for me to offer an opinion or advice on such a sticky, serious, and possibly even dangerous situation, especially on the internet where full details are not known and questions cannot be readily asked and answered. I would strongly encourage this woman to seek help and guidance from somebody in "real life." Whether this come from a religious leader, family member, older couple she knows, or even a license therapist, their wisdom, views from outside, and full knowledge of this difficult situation would likely have a lot to offer her, and certainly much more than strangers online who are not privy to the full picture.

This dear woman will be in my prayers, and while remedying this dreadful situation likely will not be easy, I pray that God will grant her the strength and grace she will need to get through whatever might be in store for her.

A Note From Theresa said...

All I'm going to say is that if she can prove that he has been unfaithful then she is aloud to get a divorce.

The bible says: Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

You can get a divorce, but to remarry would be sin. So just think about that. I'll be praying for you Anonymous.

Brandi H. said...

cristina says: It is wrong to say Jesus can forgive a murderer, but not a divorcee.

excuse me???
i have to question the logic of the commenters who say yeah, divorce is a sin, but go ahead and do it if you want, God will forgive you. do we apply such backwards reasoning to any other sin? would we advise this husband that yeah, adultery is a sin, but so is murder. God forgives murder, so he'll forgive you, so just go ahead and cheat on your wife and then ask for forgiveness.

that's a foolish argument. don't waste this lady's time with drivel.

Jasmine said...

Dear Lady24,

I do not feel that I have the right to offer you advice 1) because I am not married, and 2) because the Lord has not seen fit to give me such trials in the course of my life. But I will pray for you, and for your husband, and I encourage all the women here not to lose sight of the fact that her husband is a person, too, and that God can change his heart. I'll also pray for your son, that he will not grow embittered toward his father, and that you will still be able to love the man that has put you through so many trials.

Whatever the outcome of this situation, God is sovereign, and He will be glorified, ma'am, and I pray that you won't lose sight of that either. I pray that the Lord will protect you and your son, and that your husband will realize that true fulfillment comes from Him.

Your sister in Christ,
Jasmine

Anonymous said...

For the sake of compassion and from one who has been there, keep in mind that the bruises and scars from emotional abuse do not show, but are every bit as insidious as physical abuse. They affect both the mother and child. I am very worried for you. Know that you are in my prayers.

I was with an emotionally abusive husband (who claimed to be Christian and grew up in a Christian home) for almost 4 years. When it escalated to the point where he was threatening physical abuse, I left with our three year old son. He had alienated me from family and friends, so I was on my own, but I couldn't let him teach my son this behavior any longer (now I realize that I also needed to leave for my own health, but at the time, I wanted to do the "right" thing, and so I held on as long as I could for my son, who ironically was also the reason I finally left.) I've been through a divorce, an annulment, and ten years later, finally a remarriage to a kind, gentle Christian man who is a wonderful step-father to our now 14 year-old son.

It was extremely difficult, and I wouldn't wish a similar journey on anyone. It wasn't what I had envisioned for my life. But, God has brought me through it with strength and grace, and for that I am grateful.

God be with you, dear one, and please reach out to someone that you trust who can help you through.

L

Perplexity said...

In response to Marcia Wilwerding - your grandfather may have changed, but at what cost? My grandfather never did change, after 25 years, 5 kids, and only God knows how many broken bones, bruises, and hours of torture. His drink was more important to him than anything else. And, he was a Deacon at church. What that means I couldn't tell you, but he was a big guy in and around the church and everyone loved him. Not a soul knew what he did at home to his wife and kids, His church, and position, were enough to convince him that he was a Christian and didn't need to change because he attended church, asked for forgiveness and received it by Jesus dying on the cross. So he could beat and terrorize and drink all he wanted because he was forgiven. Unfortunately, my grandmother, mother, aunts and uncles weren't so sure of their salvation - or their lives.

And you know what? After 25 years, a 4 night stay in the hospital following a beating that almost took her life, my grandmother's pastor told her that SHE had to forgive HIM and go home. Thank God and everything holy that she did not listen and she got out. Finally. Not a soul knows why it took so long; she refused to ever talk about it to any of her kids or grandkids. She left him and never looked back. She did this while two of her five kids were still at home, and while my mother, sister and I were also living with her. She had no skills whatsoever because she had always been a housewife. Still, she got away and made something of her last 30 years of life.

No one, and I mean no one, can rely on someone else changing if you pray hard enough, work hard enough, sacrifice hard enough, whatever.

No amount of praying is going to fix anyone who doesn't want to be fixed.

Of course, the poster has already weighed in on what she plans to do. To that I say, before making final decisions, talk to a lawyer about the custody thing. Your husband can try to get half time custody, but trying does not mean succeeding. He's threatening you with his best weapon, your child. You will do anything to be with your son, obviously, so he keeps you bound to him by using your son as the glue. I'm not saying don't give it a try, but don't stay for the wrong reasons either. Don't accept his threats as fact. They are not fact. If he's military he may have a much harder time than he could imagine getting half time custody, simply because he could be deployed at any time or sent to another post or whatever. Child custody is not cut and dry, and just because he is telling you he'll "get" your son 6 months of the year does not mean he will.

I'm sorry if I'm getting irate but this is just not a religious issue. I come from a long line of abusers, victims, alcoholism, and many other vices in life. My sister and I are the first in 3 generations on my grandfathers side not to be alcoholics lost in a haze. We're the first not to beat our children. We're the first women to marry strong men of character and conviction. Basically, we're breaking the cycles that are constantly talked about and for years and generations plagued families. Given that, keep it in mind when you look at what I'm saying and where I'm coming from.

I saw it, I lived it. And I speak much from experience.

Someone said that she didn't want to interject her experience; I think that's the wrong way to look at it. We all grow and learn from our experiences and we help others learn from our experiences too. Especially when someone asks, as this woman did. She can read the bible herself, I doubt she needed scripture pointed out to her. She was looking for opinions and advice, and all that comes from experience.

Rebekah S. said...

Perplexity said: "No one, and I mean no one, can rely on someone else changing if you pray hard enough, work hard enough, sacrifice hard enough, whatever.
No amount of praying is going to fix anyone who doesn't want to be fixed."

I have to respectfully, yet strongly disagree with this comment. If you read the book of Acts, it's quite clear that Saul of Tarsus wanted nothing to do with Christ! Absolutely nothing! He was running from Him and was murdering His followers. Yet, in Acts 9, we read that the Lord converted Saul! He became a Christian, and went on to be the one who penned most of the New Testament! So, it's clearly untrue to say that no amount of praying can fix someone who doesn't want to be fixed. Jesus is more powerful than any earthly person, and can change anyone. ALL things are possible with God.

Perplexity also said: "She was looking for opinions and advice, and all that comes from experience.
" It is true that a person can aquire multitudes of wisdom from going through certain experiences, and thus this sort of person's advice could be helpful. But what's most helpful and important is that we live the way the Bible commands us to. The Scriptures contain all the true and wise advice that we could ever need for any experience we find ourselves in. It's to the Bible that we must look when we find ourselves in hard and trying situations.

Andrea said...

Perplexity,

I was the poster who didn't want my experience to colour my advice; at least not without clearly stating what my experience is, and how it might do so. You are right, though, that experience can be beneficial to others; my own experience as a "divorced child" is that it isn't a walk in the park, but . . . it certainly wasn't torture, either. Even given what happened to my parents I am certainly not cynical about marriage; I think how detrimental a divorce is to children all depends on the approach taken by the parents. I was blessed with a mother who took a civil and loving approach, and I do believe that made all the difference.

Lady24,

firstly, by determining to honour vows that have already been broken, you are already a better wife than he deserves. There are, of course, two sides to every two-person story; just don't take it upon yourself to be responsible for "fixing" his side in addition to tending to your own! Anybody who tries to make you believe that you are solely or even chiefly responsible for the success of your marriage and/or your husband is at best deceived; at worst, lying outright.

Secondly, if your husband is stooping to threaten you through your child . . . my every impulse screams "call his bluff." I don't mean by walking out, but yes, at the very least go to a lawyer. Seek legal counsel concerning custody issues, if nothing else, and learn what the odds are that he could end up with joint custody, especially given such an unpredictable job and lifestyle as he holds; that way even if you never do decide to leave, you will know where you stand legally, and be forearmed with information that may one day prove useful, in the event that a separation becomes necessary. I will say that if you are trained for a career or have private funds of your own, you do stand a much better chance of gaining custody; possibly even full or sole custody. I do also urge you to journal your experiences so you will have a document/record of sorts if it does come down to leaving.

I am so sorry that this was your husband's response . . . to be honest, I was willing to give him a lot more benefit of the doubt before you mentioned what he said about custody! Attacking a woman through her child, even on an emotional level, screams cowardice, and it makes me physically ill to think of what hearing that must have done to your spirit.

Please know that I have been praying for you, and will continue to do so without ceasing. May God richly bless your house, and may you be ever mindful of His love for you :) To Him, you are priceless!

singlemomforgod said...

Anna,
I want to link this to my blog with your permission, it is a very important and life alterning post.

I can't offer your reader advice as I am not married and don't feel that it would be expedient for me to comment on how she should handle her marital affairs. I believe that we all will give an account for our words and I don't want to stand before God and be judged on giving advice that is not in his will.

However I will simply offer prayer for her that God will speak to her directly in a voice that is unmistakable and let her know exactly what he desires for her involving this situation that he is allowing her to go through for reasons uncomprehendable to us. Thanks so much for sharing this post, I have been inspired to write about it. I will more than likely link this to my blog.

Ashley S. said...

I hesitate to offer advice; but I'm going to. Only this wife can know if something really pricks her heart and if God is using it to speak to her...

#1 What is a "good" role model? This man doesn't sound like it; but I would venture to say that the best Christian is going to have flaws. I'm married to a wonderful, flawed man, but he is far from perfect. I would consider someone who watches TV or plays Wii all day to be a poor role model, too! I've also grown up around fit-it type of guys, so if a man doesn't know how to change a tire it's VERY difficult for me to respect him - and I'm sure there are many men worthy of respect that can't! God is the ultimate role model, not human flesh. We do have a tendancy to imitate our parents but we should be careful not to use this as an excuse!

Eve would have been a terrible "role model mom" - she blew it in a major way and then encouraged her husband to sin, too!

#2 Happiness. Our happiness can't be dependant on other people, and this can be extremely, EXTREMELY(!) challenging. I struggle with lonliness. It is only when I turn to God that I do not feel lonely, no matter how busy I am or how many people love me. The same goes for happiness.

I will echo many other commenters that if he has been unfaithful, you have grounds for divorce.

What I would want you to consider is that we are all flawed. I am to be my husband's helpmeet. Are you not supposed to be since he might (possibly) not be a Christian?

Recently my husband has been asking for my opinion about something, then getting upset when I give it to him and it doesn't match his own thoughts. I finally called a young wife who I knew would "give it to me strait".

She suggested that I offer my advice, as he is asking for it (no problem). Then, instead of punching holes in his idea and trying to sway him to mine, simply say that I can't see if from the same view point but that's okay.

I tried this. I couldn't really "agree" or even really support his choice, but I let him know I supported him. Which was challenging! He realy wanted me to agree that his idea was fine. I told him I couldn't see it from his angle, but that was okay. I have no idea what God is going to use in this instance! So guess what: he did what he wanted to do, which I had known he would do from the moment he told me his idea, only we didn't go around and around first!

And that was nice. :)

If your husband wanted to be a musician, I doubt it would have sounded half as bad as it does. BUT there are Christian rappers, although I do not particularly favor this style of music myself. And smoking might make him smell like an ash tray, but it's not a sin. I do believe drinking in excess to the point of drunkeness is sin, because the Bible says so.

This comes forth after several years of dealing with a younger brother smoking. It is very distastful to me, but not a sin. It's taken me a long time to say that! It can be an addiction just like caffine is a widespread addiction, like sugar is another powerful addiction.

If you are in danger I wouldn't want you to stay. I'd leave but stay married and keep praying for reconcilation and salvation long before I'd divorce.

I understand you have regrets. You have to lay them at Jesus's feet and get past "what could have been". You don't have that option anymore, you have to focus on now. There are many things I would do over differently, but I wouldn't be who I am today so maybe all of the sad, painful things I've been through have made me better.

I would try to find a few things that you like about your husband still, and try to become content and find happiness in the little things, like your son. He is not always going to be little. As weird as it sounds (we hope to have many more children!) I sometimes pause and remind myself not to forget that one day I will miss changing diapers and nursing, triping over toys and smeared food and interrupted sleep.

It is so easy to see my sons as holding me back from so much more, or burdens, or tiresome, but because God calls children blessings I *chose* to desire them. Sometimes with two under the age of two it's difficult, but I have to focus on God's perception of my situation, not my own. If that makes any sense.

Anyway, all of this is just possibly helpful if you want to fight for the marriage and you don't feel in danger. I so hope for your sake that he hasn't had an affair.

I'm praying for you.....

www.homesteadblogger.com/Jonash2004

Anonymous said...

Perplexity, great post.

"No amount of praying is going to fix anyone who doesn't want to be fixed. " - This is true. God gave us free will to choose to follow him Him or to not .

Rebekah, Saul of Tarsus was not forced to believe. Jesus showed him a vision of Himself, but Saul could have still chosen not to believe. There were many people in scripture who witnessed major miracles and still would not believe.

Brandi h - murder is usually premeditated too – and yet the Lord says He will forgive a murderer. Any sin is premeditated. You have to think it before you can do it. God still forgives it, and put no conditions on forgiveness. If its sin, he’ll forgive. To be more precise, when one becomes Born Again, and accepts the atoning work of Jesus, your sins are forgiven, past, present and future. Sin is no longer an issue, because God sees you through your born again spirit, which is in Jesus, and is sinless. There is no way a person could confess every sin before dying, and what of the Christians that die suddenly? What if they hadn’t confessed that little lie? If that were the case, no one would end up in Heaven. We sin when we just think wrong thoughts! or overeat, or don’t help someone when we could have, or put our own will before His . . . And here is the greater point - It’s not individual sins that Christ has forgiven, its our entire sin nature, when we accept His atoning work on the cross.

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” except if you premeditate your sin or if you forget to confess any sin before you die - no, that’s not how it is at all.

There is only one unpardonable sin, and even "premeditation" is not it.

Her husband has broken his vows to her. He does not love her as the bible says he should (or at all) and he does not obey God. Is this her fault? He has already "left" her.

Anna S said...

Singlemom,

You are, of course, always welcome to link here.

Haus Frau said...

I am sorely discouraged by the lack of grace offered by some responders. Legalism (living by the law with no trace of grace whatsoever) isn't Christ-like.

This young woman has biblical right & freedom to end this marriage.

As to remarriage, our Lord is merciful and full of grace. He just may bless her with a true believing spouse one day. Based on some comments listed above, this woman would be in sin if that happened. Again, legalism doesn't embrace grace.

I'm praying for a transformation of this man's character, a giving of his life to the Lord, and a renewed love for his wife. I know fully well though that at this point in time, this young woman needs to protect herself and her child. This very well may include separation as a first step, and hopefully that first step will spur on her husband's transformation. If not, then her biblical cause for divorce continues to stand.

In all grace,
haus frau

Lily said...

Just for clarification, Catholics do not believe in divorce or take it lightly. However, there is a venue for Catholics who have cause, generally it is cases of abuse. I do not know enough about the case here to comment, but if this woman is in danger she should seek the advice of a canon lawyer, a good priest and if she is not Catholic, whatever means are available to her. She should also research further as to whether re-marriage is an option if divorce is chosen. It is not an automatic right after divorce or annulment as many assume it is. These matters all require careful consideration and prayer. I will be praying for this woman and her child, and for this man, they all need prayers.

Rebekah S. said...

Anonymous,

Hi! :) You said: "Perplexity, great post.

'No amount of praying is going to fix anyone who doesn't want to be fixed.' - This is true. God gave us free will to choose to follow him Him or to not ." What Perplexity said implied that we're more powerful that God Almighty. And the whole of Scripture refutes this idea quite clearly!! God is all-powerful, we are not. Likewise, with God, ALL things are possible, so to say that no amount of praying can change someone who doesn't want to be changed is completely untrue and is against what the Scriptures teach.

What you said about people in the Bible witnessing the Lord's miracles and yet still not believing, is true! But there's something we have to remember: "As it is written: 'There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who goes good, no, not one." ~Romans 3:10-12 It's clear that we, as sinful, rotten human beings, have no desire to have anything to do with God. It's only when He changes our hearts to where we then desire Him, that we are actually then saved. He's the one in charge-not us!


I actually have to agree with Brandi H. She voiced something that I, as well, was really wanting to say. I agree with you, anonymous, when you say that God has forgiven the Christian's every sin. But to then willfully disobey God, just because we know we can go and ask for forgiveness afterwards, is a serious sin! Romans 6:1-2a says, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!"

I pray that you have a blessed day!

~Rebekah Ann
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Haus Frau,

Hello! With all due respect(I wholeheartedly mean that), it is never ever a legalism to obey the Lord's commands! Matthew 5:32 says, "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery." Of this verse, a study Bible I have says, "If the divorce was not for sexual immorality any remarriage is adultery, because God does not acknowledge the divorce." If this young woman's husband has not cheated on her, but she divorces him anyway, then she is not permitted to remarry.

Love in Him,
Rebekah

ruizbe82 said...

Perhaps I should point out that divorce was only allowed because the Lord knows us all too well. He knows that some people will not be willing (yes, it's possible; all things are possible through Christ who gives us strength) to forgive adultery, but divorce was never a part of God's design. Yes, it's permissible, but it's never encouraged. However, forgiveness is always encouraged. Several commenters have offered some really good advice as to the actions you can take prior to making the step towards divorce.

I should also like to say that you should not make your decision based on your feelings. Look to God's word for the direction you should take (some excellent verses were provided) and pray like your life depended on it, because your marriage does! The Lord will give you strength and wisdom to make the right choices if you just ask.

I, too, will keep you in my prayers.

-Beulah

Karen said...

Custody laws generally favor the women. Don't be intimidated by what he says. I can't imagine any judge putting a child in a situation like that. It sounds to me like he is bullying you to get you where it hurts. That shows very bad character.

And if you want personal experience, I will say that my mother's 2nd and 3rd marriages ending were a good thing. The 3rd marriage ending for good was a very, very good thing. As much as my mom hated being a single mother, it was wonderful for us kids not to be screamed at and terrorized all the time. I say get out. Of course I don't know your particular situations, so go to a pastor for advise, try to get him to go to counseling, pray about it, and then get out. LOL

Anonymous said...

Haus Frau

I am humbled by your post. It should put an end to all discussion. You are so right.

Sincerely.

Haus Frau said...

Dear Rebekah ~ I was in no way shrugging biblical command. Not at all! Rather, I was responding to those ladies who would otherwise not extend grace if the young lady in question married again (in light of her current husband's affairs). There is a certain element of pious people that do not offer grace, even though the Lord Himself offered incredible grace.

In all grace,
haus frau

Buffy said...

It is interesting reading all these comments how diverse are the (mostly) Christian opinions on marriage and divorce. Some people think you should never divorce, some that divorce is acceptable under certain circumstances, some that you can divorce but never remarry and others that God may send a second chance at marriage into the life of a divorcee. Since all these people take their faith seriously and have obviously taken time to read the Bible and form an opinion I think this is a good illustration of how open to interpretation this sort of topic is.

Divorce is an evil, but sometimes it is the lesser of two evils. (Irreparable damage to her children for example.) The lady in question needs to be able make a decision on which is the path of lesser evil now and, as Mrs B said, she needs help from someone closer to her situation than any of us are.

Buffy said...

Just to mention that this site: http://www.gotquestions.org/divorce-remarriage.html gives a good explanation based on what is actually in the Bible. I like the point it makes at the end: A divorced and/or remarried believer should not feel any less loved by God, even if their divorce and/or remarriage is not covered under the possible exception clause of Matthew 19:9. God often uses even the sinful disobedience of Christians to accomplish great good.

Rosheeda said...

I was not going to respond to this, because I don't believe that anyone can truly give this woman 'advice' on what God wants her to do.

However, that being said, I think it's really important to note one thing: God's Will is not the same for us all. There has to be a very very serious level of consideration given to the words we give to each other. There are times in life where the Lord leads us through a valley to get us to Him. And apart from being the one He's leading, we can't ever know what that valley experience will look like...

That being said: this isn't black and white. This young woman needs to pray and to really allow the Lord to direct her every step. If she is reading this: I'm saying to you, Love, to trust the Lord. Ask that He would deafen your ears to ANY voice that isn't His. Seek Him.Humble yourself before Him and really really seek Him. Listen for His voice and follow His instruction. The Lord allows many things to touch our lives in order to prove to us how powerful He is. Let Him minister to you in this. Follow His lead alone, and you will come out of this valley, safe and sound. Everyone can give you their perspectives and take from Scripture to back it up, but really, the only One who will give to you the RIGHT (tailor-made to you) perspective is Him. Your real question isn't whether to leave or to stay, but what decision will glorify God in your life. The Lord will never call you to a situation or place in life where He won't ultimately be glorified in the outcome, and where you will withdraw from Him. His goal for us all, His ONLY goal for us all, is that we walk in an intimate relationship with Him. And at all costs, He will have that if we submit ourselves to His Will alone. Don't focus on your marriage. Focus on the Lord. Find Him and you will find the answers to every question you've got.

Jenn Jenn said...

Anna,

I want to give you the link to my blog: jennslifeinjminor.blogspot.com. I want to make sure that someone gives her advice based on their testimony of dealing with a similar situation. IE: Me. I have been battling with a similiar thing, but its only made me chase the Lord. As far as I am concerned, no one here has given her proper guidance. This baby needs to truly grab the hem of His garment. I apologize if I offend anyone. But no one has out right said that she needs to the Lord. Counseling may not be the best idea. And if he is in denial, then that is a sure indication that he doesn't have respect for him or his family. If he isn't willing to submit to the Lord, then how can she submit to him?

Anonymous said...

Rebekah--
God is all powerful, and He can change people if He wants to. We cannot. I agree with you that the statement 'No amount of praying is going to fix anyone who doesn't want to be fixed' is not true.

But, it is also not true that praying hard for someone means that they will change. It may not be God's will for them to change.

I think a big problem with saying 'if this wife prays for her husband, he will be changed' is that the negative can be changed to 'if he doesn't change, she isn't praying hard/well enough.' That is not a true statement, and it places an unjust burden on the wife.

Thanks,
Emily

Rebekah S. said...

Emily,

Thank you for your comment! I agree with you wholeheartedly. God may choose to change this man, but then again, for some reason, He may not. It's all up to Him and His plan.

God bless!

Rebekah

Joyce said...

Jenn Jenn ~ I commented based on extended family and personal marital experience that at one time was on the brink of divorce...and pointed to the Lord.

Beautifuly Created said...

About custody. A couple of ladies here have commented on how the laws should favor this young lady, however sadly in many cases they do not. Being a military spouse myself I can attess to the number of single mothers and fathers who have full custody of their children. Even if the lifestyle may seem a bit unstable to most, it is a secure income with health benifits and guantied housing and that is what most judges are looking for. Unless you have a skill or support system that you can prove you can supply a better standard of living for your child you are looking at atleast joint custody. You would need to talk to a lawyer but this is my observation and what I have been told by some people that I know.

I would encourage her to seek God, pray, and fight for her marriage. I have been through much of what she has and I know that it's a though battle but it was worth it. Also I do not know her husbands back ground but much of what went on in my marriage (and still does to some extent) was do to my husbands childhood, some things take alot to over come.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lady24-

I have only just read this post and comment thread today. I’m sorry for coming in so late. I hope you will see this and that it helps you.

In Scripture we are told that we who are believers have the Holy Spirit; who is not a Spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. He also produces in us the fruit of self control. We are also told to take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. What I want to address here is your husband’s reasoning and whether you should subject yourself to it, or whether it might be confounding and confusing you. I am not addressing what the Bible says you should do as far as submission to your husband or divorce, etc. Based on your post of February 12 I suspect you have been very much emotionally manipulated by your husband and so you may not be in a position to discern the Holy Spirit’s voice clearly on what obedience to Him would look like just at the moment. If your husband has made you afraid by threatening your son’s well being and your access to him, it is likely your thinking is clouded. In that case, you are not really under self control in the power of the Holy Spirit, but are rather under the control of your husband, and thus fearfully reacting to the threats from your husband. Being an outsider, I am not under his influence at all so I can speak with some objectivity and tell you what I see in your post.

I am quoting here from your post:

“I have talked to my husband about the way that I feel, and he told me that he doesn't think that he's in love with me anymore, if he ever really was. He's not really sure. He says that I should be a supportive wife, and support his dreams of being a rapper. He told me that if I leave him, he will seek joint custody and try to have our son six months out of the year, since I would go back to my home state to live.”

The first and most obvious question is, why in the world he would think that you should be a supportive wife when he is not even sure he ever really loved you? The most he can give you is “I’m not sure I love you” but you’re supposed to give him the rest of your life as his supportive wife and support him in his pursuit as a rapper, which you are not at all comfortable with???? Are you a wife or a slave of some sort? (Remember I am not asking this from the Bible’s perspective. We as believers are told to love our enemies, etc. What I want to focus on is YOUR HUSBAND’S reasoning, since his reasoning is obviously affecting you. I want you to use sound judgment about what’s being said to you so you can then see clearly to apply the Bible’s commands to your situation in the power of the Holy Spirit.) And if you don’t stay with him- even though he is not even sure he loves you- he will try to take your son away from you for what amounts to half his childhood. This is infantile, irrational and cruel. He is barely acknowledging you or your son as human beings with that kind of thinking!

"I told him that is ludicrous to separate a mother from her baby for half a year, but he is intent on doing that, and would probably do that to torture me. He is in the military and said that they would favor giving him 6 months of joint custody."

So he has no trouble with the idea of using your son (who also happens to be his son) to torture you. Not only is there is no one he aims to benefit here but himself, but he is willing to use his own son to torture his wife (who is supposed to be supporting him- don’t forget that!) He would turn his own son into a weapon in order to hurt his son’s mother? He is not right in the head. And this when he is “not sure he loves you.” I shudder to think what he would do if he WAS sure he hated you!

I would strongly advise you to research the military joint custody idea. It seems highly unlikely to me that it would work that way. And since he is already irrational in his thinking…. Do not let him use falsehoods to coerce you.

"I can't trust him with my child that long."

I can certainly understand that. But here’s another question: can you trust him with your child AT ALL?

"For now, I'm just going to keep praying and see if God shows me what I should truly do. I don't want a nasty custody battle. I do want to have a good marriage, and maybe I should work on being a better wife or something and pray more for him."

Where did you get the idea he is treating you like this because you are not a good enough wife? Whether or not you could use some improvement in that area is frankly irrelevant right now. He is not treating you like a crib toy because you are not a good enough wife. He is doing that because HE HAS AN ENORMOUS PROBLEM. You do not have a good marriage and may be facing a nasty custody battle because he has a problem. Not because you are not a good enough wife.

I am all for praying more for him, but this needs to be done from a position of understanding what your husband is doing (manipulating, threatening, and attempting to imprison you) as well as full confidence that you are doing all God requires of you to try to remedy the situation to the best of your ability. If, seeing these things, you can pray for him with true lovingkindness and a desire for his repentance for his sake rather than your own, then you can pray aright. And you can receive instruction on what to do next with confidence that the counsel is from the Lord. This cannot be done from a position of being fearfully coerced into remaining in a situation that your husband has (no doubt intentionally) made you to see as helpless and hopeless. The first position is seeing things as they actually are, which the Holy Spirit can work with. The second is seeing things from your husband’s irrational, self serving distortions- fear inducing lies which the Holy Spirit is not going to support.

"I'm going to give it some time, and see if that makes any difference."

Why are you going to do this? Do you really think time will make any difference? Has any of the time you have invested so far made any difference? Is there any objective reason to believe time will make any difference? Is he showing any indication in the direction of genuine repentance? Or are you doing this because your husband’s threats have confused you and made you afraid to take any action against him? Time will pass just the same whether or not you take action. Time plus action on your part may make a huge difference. You need to assess what action to take. (No small task, I know.) Time without action will only perpetuate the problem.

"If not, then maybe divorce is the only option for me. Especially if he really has cheated on me."

You may be right about this. But I suspect what the Lord will show you at this point is just the next step you need to take. And once you take that step He will show you the next one after that.

Right now your options seem to be pretty polar: stay in the abusive mess, or divorce. It may be that more intermediate options are available that the Lord would have you pursue first, though. It is true that if your husband sees no need to change and wants to continue to keep you around even though he may not really love you so he can treat you as a supportive doormat for him to wipe his feet on, as he comes in from (possibly) an adulterous excursion or else he’s going to torture you with your son, then you may really have no other sane option. But it is also true that the Lord can work at any time too. If you can, find a counselor who can teach you to stand up to the abuse and help you think things through from an objective perspective. It should be someone who has no relationship to the problem so they can be objective. It would be good to have some supportive friends you can turn to, too. You definitely need other minds than your own and your husband’s. Your husband is, well, not rational and certainly not concerned about your well being or your son’s, so his input on the situation can’t be trusted. Neither can you trust his impact on you emotionally since what he is telling you is not really factual. You have been under his input for a rather long time and are clearly affected by his reasoning, especially if you don’t have an outside, objective perspective. One caveat: unless there really is some gross sin in your life that is preventing your husband from loving you as he should (and if there is it should be overwhelmingly obvious to you), you should find a counselor that understands that you are having a problem with your husband’s behavior and attitude and you want wise counsel on how to deal with it. Do not place yourself under a counselor who thinks that however your husband behaves should just be brushed off or that you are a problem to your husband and you must somehow become a better wife or whatever so he will stop being an abusive jerk. In short, if the counselor does not see what your husband is doing as what needs to be addressed, find someone else. Sometimes the problem really is us. But sometimes it is definitely the other person!

I am sorry you are in such a difficult place. I hope you get the answers you need.

JanH