Question:

Hi there.

I got married several months ago. The night before my marriage was a complete disaster. My husband had too much to drink and he fought with me in front of other people. I felt humiliated but thought it was only wedding stress. Long story short, the wedding and the honeymoon were terrible with me crying every other day.

Back at home our fights got worse. He grabbed me around my neck on two occasions. I did kick back! We went to a marriage counselor twice; after that he refused to go, saying her qualifications are not good enough, she cannot help us.

Our fights are mainly about his ex-girlfriend who keeps phoning him, e-mailing and sending text messages. She even contacted him the night before our wedding. My feeling is that it is me, him and God in our relationship. There is no place for a third party, but for some reason he can't let her go.  It would have been fine with me if it was only small talk, but she discussing her private life and bedroom problems with my husband. (She is also married.) What shocked me most was that his cell phone had no call register, no sent text log, no received or deleted items on it.  I know that I wasn't suppose to check it, but she really went out to get him back, so I had to know.

His ex-girlfriend doesn't believe in God, and her parents also do not believe that God exists. When I met my husband, I took him to church with me. Before our wedding he wanted to get involved with the church. I couldn't believe it and thanked God for this wonderful change in him.  Well, it is a few months after our wedding, and he doesn't read his Bible anymore, doesn't go to church with me, and doesn't pray.  I wanted to marry someone who believed in God and loved Him. I feel as I was betrayed.

My other two problems are his drinking and that I feel he has no respect for me and won't support me at all in any serious situation.  Whenever I disagree with anything, he will swear at me terribly.  He also loves to criticize me and my family using the most humiliating words possible.

I feel that I have reached a point where I cannot live like this anymore. He is like a time bomb when I go home. I wonder what will happen tonight. Will I say the wrong thing again and go to sleep crying again, or will it be a normal evening?  I do not want to get a divorce. I know that God hates divorce. I feel that I have tried and begged and looked for help. I prayed for us. I asked friends to pray for us. Nothing gets better.

In a situation like this, could it be God's will for my life to stay in such a verbally abusive relationship?

I would appreciate your opinion on this. It is not only me, but also my family who is suffering because of me phoning them in tears just to calm myself and hear their voices. He refuse to visit my family so the contact between me and my family is minimal.


Answer:

This is going to sound mean at the beginning, but there are some realities that you need to face before it is even feasible to talk about solutions.

You told me that before you married this man you knew that he was an adulterer and that relationship was still going on while you dated him and were engaged to him. Though you probably had convinced yourself that he was no longer having sex with her, you knew that he had not left that relationship and yet you went on.

You also told me that you knew he was a drunkard. Even with evidence of his drinking problem on the night before your wedding, you went on with the wedding anyway.

You also knew he was abusive before the wedding. I suspect you saw signs of his profanity, cruelty, and his disrespect of you and your family, but you made excuses for them.

Just before the wedding, he led you to believe he was interested in being a Christian. The fact that he wasn't acting like a Christian would (Christians don't have sex outside of marriage, get drunk, use profanity, etc -- see: I Corinthians 6:9-10) was not considered. Instead of seeing him for the liar and hypocrite that he is, you married him anyway. Yes, people can and do change dramatically (I Corinthians 6:11), but you knew he hadn't really changed, you deceived yourself into thinking that he would.

Now you want to know if it is God's will for you to stay in this marriage. My dear woman, God warned you all the way through not to marry this man but you thought you knew better!

Now that we've made it clear that there is no one responsible for this situation but yourself, now we can talk about what you need to do.

First and foremost, you are going to be the Christian you claim to be. That doesn't depend on anyone else but yourself. You will go to services whether your husband joins you or not. You will make friends with fellow Christians so that you have people to lean on because we already know you need it. Your husband will try to interfere and discourage you. Ignore him in this matter. He doesn't have the right and can't stop you from serving God. No arguments about it -- there isn't anything to argue because that decision was made the day you became a Christian and he knew he was marrying a Christian. He'll have to find a way to live with it. Who knows, he might even change after seeing your stance despite him (I Peter 3:1-6).

Second, no one forced you into the marriage. You went into it freely. You will honor the covenant you made before God. You'll stop arguing with your husband, but you will also stop supporting his sins. There will be no alcoholic beverages in your house. He brings any home, they will disappear down the drain and in the trash. If he's drunk, you'll find some place else to go until he is sober. Meanwhile, you will be kind and sweet as you can while simply not putting up with his faults.

Third, talk and visit with your family as often as you feel you should. Invite your husband to join you, but if he doesn't want to go, then that is his choice. However, you will stop talking about your marriage issues with your family. I suspect that you've been gossiping about all the horrors you've seen in your marriage and they are naturally taking your side against him. No wonder he doesn't like them. The first step before marriage is to leave your parents (Genesis 2:24). You have stepped into adulthood, so it is past time to own your own problems. There might be times when you will need a place of refuge if your husband turns violent or you don't want to be in the same house with a drunk. It is fine to ask your family for a place to stay temporarily, and you can tell them why at that time, but feeding them all the details about your life must stop.

You are not responsible for his behavior -- he is. So stop assuming that his misbehaviors are your fault. You are responsible for your behavior. The point is that as a Christian you are to provide no provocation toward violence whether physically or verbally. Your husband is likely to respond in one of two ways. He will be appreciative of the reduced pressure and become intrigued enough to join you (I Peter 3:1), or he will see this permission to do as he pleases (I Corinthians 7:15). If the later happens, then you can decide whether the marriage should continue.