Question:

I beg your pardon for bothering you with this question, but I am at a complete loss as to who to ask. I have been studying and researching how to be a good or better Christian wife and none of the resources I have found really reflect my problem.

My husband and I were married in a Church of Christ nearly 27 years ago. Six years after we were married (so this would be more than 20 years ago) my husband decided we would sleep in separate bedrooms and have no further intimate contact. There was no reason for it as far as I know and he said he had no need to explain anything to me, only saying he had the right to make this choice and I had to submit, under the law of obedience. At that time, he cut off all financial support to the household and I have paid all the bills (mortgage, utilities, children's expenses, insurance, etc.) since. I am not allowed to ask him where he works, what he does or anything else about him. He attends a Church of Christ (I think), but the children and I have never been allowed to go to the same church as he. The children are his biological children, but he has totally excluded himself from their lives, never attending school functions, caring for them if they were sick, nothing. They are grown and out of the house now and have very few fond thoughts, or even memories, of their dad. He ignored their presence when they were children and has never asked where they live or what they are doing now that they are no longer at home.

My husband barely acknowledges my presence except to issue a command, to which, in his words, he requires perfect, instantaneous and unquestioning obedience. I am not permitted to speak to him unless he speaks first, then only if he solicits my opinion. If I dare to speak out of turn, I risk having a door literally slammed in my face or worse. At times I do fear for my safety as he has told me straight to my face that he could make me die at any time and get my life insurance.

My question is, how can one be a good Christian wife when obviously her husband could care less whether she is present, and apparently wishes she were dead? The resources I have found advocate making the home clean and a haven of order, being sweet and responsive to his needs, praying, etc. I have tried all of this and nothing seems to be making any difference. If anything, he is much worse now that at any time in the past. I know I should have tried asking someone much earlier, but it is very hard to put any of this in words or writing and also very embarrassing. Again, I humbly apologize for asking your opinion. Thank you for any advice you have.


Answer:

I've puzzled over your note for a while now because the information is contradictory. Christians know their Bible well and it is hard for me to comprehend that for 27 years you didn't realize that not only was your husband not behaving as a Christian ought, but that it is highly likely that he is living a double life. I would strongly suggest talking to the elders at your congregation about this and it would be wise to hire a lawyer and private detective to check into what is actually going on.