What advice does the Bible give in supporting an ex-husband who has many addictions?


Clarify Share Report Asked October 04 2013 Mini Anonymous

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Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious

" 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." (1 Cor 7:13-14)

"A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." (1 Cor 7:39)

Because agape love is unconditional, the wife is to remain with her husband no matter his personal struggles, even if he was an unbeliever and unrepentant of his sin. Perhaps the most famous biblical example of this is Abigail, who remained married to her Nabal.

"But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?" 1 Cor 7:15-16

One of the only two 'exit clauses' for marriage that God gives is if the man is an unbeliever and asks the believing wife to leave her. This does not hold for christian men. (1 Cor 7:17)

Jesus shows just how tightly God binds man-to-woman, to the point where a man or woman who divorce and remarry a different person actually commit adultery (Mark 10:5-12) No man (or slip of paper) can separate what God has joined. (1 Cor 7:39-40)

The other exit clause is if the woman is unfaithful, and the man chooses to divorce her (Matt 19:8-9), or the converse - an unfaithful husband. This is literal infidelity that breaks the blood of the covenant, not lesser violations. (Imagine if God divorced us every time we sinned! But actual infidelity represents turning from God and back to our old life of slavery to sin).

If there is unfaithfulness, "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife." (1 Cor 7:10-11)

How then, to support a husband who struggles from sin and addiction? If he truly is an ex due to unfaithfulness, then commend him to the care of his local church. Unless you plan to reconcile and be remarried to him, you should not be a main part of his spiritual support network. You may recommend mentors or connect him with other men in the church.

If he an ex for any other reason, be reconciled if you can and remarry. Then, you may live out your faith and show him by example. This is not a guarantee, but your love to him and your faithfulness before God will be the brightest testimony in his life.

If he is still your husband, live faithfully in submission. Encourage him to connect with christian male friends and mentors. If he is agreeable, connect him with a pastor or support group at a local church. However, leading his spiritual growth is not your responsibility. Rather, live rightly before God and pray that God transforms him. If you do not obey God yourself, can you expect your husband to? Cut anything that might trigger his addictions out of your own life, and seek to cut out any triggers from household operations where you are able. Where possible, replace triggers with wholesome or Christ-centered activities and things rather than simply removing them.

Lastly, bring your husband honor. Even if you feel he does not deserve it, do not damage his reputation by spreading his flaws to strangers or mutual friends. Only share concerns with your own mentor or accountability partner, and avoid the spread of gossip. Encourage your husband to get an accountability and prayer partner.

October 04 2013 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

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