This question was asked of me on the advice page. This is such a common issue and question that I am presented with that I thought I should address it as a general post. It’s long, but it is well worth reading if you or someone you know is in a similar situation.
Dear Dr. Intimacy,
Where do I begin? After 30 plus years of marriage, living as a believer the entire time with a husband who lasted maybe two years early on in the marriage as a believer, I am needing sound biblical counsel. I have read your book and it was enlightening and very much on point within these areas of specifics. My husband has dealt in pornography, masturbation, adultery, and drug abuse most of the marriage. He has entered into a deep phase of porn, etc.
We now sleep in separate rooms. His room is like a pig sty. Whenever I step in there for anything, which is rare, I can feel darkness. Some years ago he was in an affair with another woman for several years. At that time I convinced myself to stay for the sake of our children. Once the kids were gone and grown I stayed due to lack of finances after a less than profitable business venture. Now it is simply not wanting to be homeless. The career I have pursued is challenging. I definitely feel a tug from God to become more available to Him, however I feel like I am tied.
Relationally there is only care and concern for my husband as a human being, erotic love has been a non- issue for quite a while now. There are too many diseases to be concerned with. And then the whole soul tie thing — I feel it’s all coming to a head in some way but I am not sure how. Just recently I had one dream where I felt terror and in my heart knew something terrible had happened to him. I asked Holy Spirit what did the dream mean (and He revealed it to me). In another dream after this one he (my husband) said that he was too far out there. He was screwing children, something he always frowned on others for doing. Now this dream really disturbed me. We have grands. This morning he called my cell phone by mistake thinking it was his drug dealer. I told him he needed to seek treatment and counseling and that he was going down hill.
He claims he wants to stop but his response was he does not feel like counseling will help him, that those places have a high failure rate. To me that is an excuse and he has not fallen deep enough. I feel more compelled to leave now than ever , should I? Voices of guilt are tyring to tell me that Jesus did not give up on me, and how can I spread the word to others when I can’t help the ones in my own house. Dr. Intimacy, he actually says he feels like building a closer relationship with me is the way to get him better. Well I have forgiven him for all of what has been done, but there is a large gulf fixed between us because our core beliefs are opposing. I told him if he sought help I would support him but I would not continue to watch him destroy him self.
I could go on but I won’t. You spoke on these issues in your book, what advice would you give somebody 50 something in this type of situation?
Dear Seeking Answers,
I have never taken quite so long to respond to anyone as I have you. Your post made my heart ache and even now my eyes are teary as I write this response to you. This is such a painful situation that you are in and I want you to know that I really prayed and took the time to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in responding to you. The following is what I believe the Holy Spirit is telling me to share with you.
You asked for Biblical advice so let me start with scripture. You said that your husband lived as a Believer in the earlier part of your marriage. Even though that was a long time ago, once someone has been introduced to The Savior, they cannot void out that experience in their spiritual account. This means that your husband is a backslider as opposed to an unbeliever. So I want to share with you what the Bible says in 1 Cor 5. Paul talks about how to deal with those in your intimate circle that are involved in sexual immorality. He says in verse 5:
“You are to deliver this man over to satan for physical discipline [to destroy carnal lusts which prompted him to incest (sexual immorality)], that [his] spirit may [yet] be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
And then in verses 9-11 it says:
“I wrote you in my [previous] letter not to associate [closely and habitually] with unchaste (impure) people–
Not [meaning of course that you must] altogether shun the immoral people of this world, or the greedy graspers and cheats and thieves or idolaters, since otherwise you would need to get out of the world and human society altogether!
But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], (like your husband’s drug addiction) or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person. (AMP)”
Sister, although your situation is probably the most heartbreaking one that I have read here on the blog, it is not the first time that I have been presented with its kind. The common thread of emotion amongst those in your position is – GUILT. People take upon themselves the burden of “saving” their wayward spouse. You specifically said that you feel guilty and I can tell you most assuredly that guilt does not come from God but instead comes from satan – even such seemingly “noble” guilt as yours. Guilt breeds condemnation and punishment and the Bible says that there is no condemnation for them that walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit (Rom 8:1).
Seeking Answers, in the book of Hebrews 6:4-6 the Bible tells us,
“4 For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit,
5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come
6 and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame (NKJV).”
You see, it was never your responsibility to save your husband’s soul. For the Bible says that one man plants, another man waters but it is God who gives the increase (1 Cor 3:6-7). Jesus died for your husband’s salvation and Jesus alone can save anyone. We are not called to suffer for the salvation of others as Jesus has already suffered for us all in that sense. Once someone becomes a believer it is their own responsibility to grow in the things of God. The scripture above in Hebrews says that “it is impossible” to bring back to repentance one such as your husband. Does this mean that he or those like him can never repent or be restored? Of course not! For with God all things are possible. But it means that you (or any person) cannot bring such a one back to repentance. This is a work that has to be done directly by the hand of The Lord.
So what should we do when we have a person in our life that is no longer walking in the Light? We should do what Paul instructs us to do in the above scriptures in Corinthians my sister. We should “deliver this man over to satan for physical discipline [to destroy carnal lusts which prompted him to (sexual immorality)], that [his] spirit may [yet] be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” We should, “not associate (closely and habitually) with anyone (including a spouse) who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person.”
Seeking Answers, you have a Biblical mandate to remove yourself from the situation that you are in and allow God to deal with your husband in His own way, while preserving your own righteousness and allowing yourself to grow in the Lord unhindered! Not only would it be a good thing to leave, but even more so than that, you are actually in disobedience if you stay! God was even kind enough to warn you in two (2 the number of confirmation) dreams the way things are soon to turn if your husband does not repent and return to the Lord. It is time that you GET OUT OF GOD’S WAY and give Him the liberty that He needs to save both your husband’s life and his soul. How will you feel if he dies? How will you feel if he rapes your grands or some other precious child? You’ve been warned by the Holy Spirit sister and you need to take heed.
I know these are hard sayings, and please don’t think that my heart doesn’t ache to write them to you, but I do believe that these are the Lord’s instructions to you and any man or woman in your situation. Jesus very rarely directly dealt with relationship issues or sexual sin during His ministry on earth, but even He took the time to let us know that in the case of adultery a divorce is often times warranted. This topic must assuredly be of great concern to The Kingdom of Heaven for Jesus to have mentioned it. Jesus’ ministry on earth was not so much about teaching people the specifics of how to live the daily Christian life. The Apostles dealt with those issues in the epistles of the Bible. Jesus’ assignment was to preach the general truths of Kingdom principles, therefore laying the foundation for The Body of Christ. Yet He took time to teach on divorce and adultery saying these things:
“Jesus said, “Moses provided for divorce as a concession to your hard heartedness, but it is not part of God’s original plan. I’m holding you to the original plan, and holding you liable for adultery if you divorce your faithful wife (or husband) and then marry someone else. I make an exception in cases where the spouse has committed adultery. (Mat 19:8, MSG)”
Does this mean that you are commanded to divorce your husband? No it does not. Jesus’ teachings on adultery were really pointing more toward God’s passionate hatred for divorce. Yet in that hatred for divorce, He did not want anyone to feel bound by Him to stay married to an adulterous spouse. Adultery is birthed out of the wickedness and lustfulness of a person’s heart (Mat 15:19) and breaks the marriage covenant. Therefore anyone married to one that has committed adultery is released from that covenant with God’s blessing. But whether, you sister, divorce or not that is your choice. However, a legal separation is a mandate from God.
And in terms of supporting your husband in his supposed decision to get clean, the only support you should be offering him is to under gird him in prayer and to bless him with your mouth. You have given him 30+ years of support which he trampled under foot and wasted. If you were able to help him Sis, his deliverance would have been effectively accomplished and manifested a long time ago. There is nothing you can do to help your husband except getting out of his life and out of God’s way! If he is really ready for a change, God is more than capable of being all of the support and comfort your husband needs.
Lastly, in terms of your fear about leaving I simply say – TRUST GOD. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Prov 3:5-6, NKJV)” God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory (Phil 4:19). He took care of Hagar in the wilderness when Abraham sent her away (Gen 21:8-20). Surely He will take care of you. Don’t let doubt and unbelief be an excuse to stay in this situation. God will provide the means that you need to make a complete separation from your husband if you are really willing in your heart to be obedient. And by the way, did you know that the spirit of pornography brings on poverty? Your business will never succeed as long as you stay with this man. You think staying with him is a means of provision, but it is really a means of poverty.
Sister, you said that God is calling you closer but you feel “tied”. If your right eye offends you cut it out (Mat 5:29). Seeking Answers, DON’T MAKE ANY EXCUSES for why you can’t get closer to God. I know that it’s hard, but if you are willing to make the sacrifice and stop saying “I can’t” but instead say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13)“ you will grow in your walk with the Lord. You will never make it through this painful transition that you are about to go through without a close and intimate walk with God. And further more, in order to be able to really effectively pray for your husband and your children and grands (that they may be delivered from generational curses) you are going to need the Holy Spirit to rise up in you in a mighty way.
I pray you receive this Now Word for your situation and allow it to empower you to walk in a new season. My prayers are with you.
In the Power of Love,
Prolific Author and Speaker Specializing in Sex, Intimacy and Relationships from a Holistic Perspective – Spirit, Soul & Body
Copyright © 2011 by Laneen A. Haniah “Dr. Intimacy”. All rights reserved. Please see full copyright notice on front page for more info.