Question:

My husband is an unbeliever. He has never stopped me from going to church.  He would come with me many times and was even to be baptized, not because of conviction, but because of legalism. 

We got married at a Pentecostal church less than ten years ago.  The church, unfortunately, has scattered since then.  People were married who should have not been.  We had no pre-marital counseling whatsoever.

Before we were married, my husband was addicted to porn and alcohol.  He has a foot fetish.  He told me he would stop but has not.  I have a lock on our computer because I don't want this in our home.   He also says he doesn't want to hurt me anymore or want to be like this for our children.  I know he still has an addiction as he has been abusing alcohol more since he isn't looking at porn every day. 

I love my husband, but he has many problems. I always feel that something is wrong after lovemaking because of his desire to look at my feet. Deep down I know it's not right. 

I'm asking for help not to condemn my husband but because I want to do God's will. I don't want this sin anymore.  I don't want guilty feelings after sex. 

I read your article about fetishes and witchcraft, but how do i tell him this if he isn't submitting to God's will?  If the Lord hasn't given him a new birth? Please let me know what you think.


Answer:

I would like to start out with a side comment. It is common to find denominational people who view legalism as wrong. But all legalism means is a desire to follow the law. Throughout your note you talk about wanting to do God's will, but the truth is that is being legalistic. See "Legalism: The Unsin" for details. I'm pointing this out because I wonder if one of the reasons your husband hasn't given his life over to Christ is because he isn't as emotional in his religious beliefs as you are.

You can't blamed the failed church for not teaching you or for marrying you. You had full freedom in choosing your mate. You do a good job illustrating why I tell people to marry someone whom you accept as they are. Far too many people marry with the idea that the person will change and then are miserable because the person doesn't change. But the choice was made, so we have to figure out how to live with it. "And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him" (I Corinthians 7:13).

Your husband's problems are his problems. Your job is to keep his sins from impacting you and your family, while encouraging him to become a Christian so he will deal with his sins. You seem to have minimized the pornography, but the alcoholism is probably the biggest danger to the health and safety of your family. In comparison, the feet fetish is more an annoyance. It isn't right or good, but it isn't one that affects the family, his health, or his ability to support you and the children. It is his sin, not yours.

The only solution I can offer you is to continue to encourage your husband to become a Christian. Without a motivation to improve himself, there isn't anything you can do but to set an example of what an improved life looks like. "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear" (I Peter 3:1-2).

Thank you again for responding so quickly to my question. I really appreciate this. I totally agree with what you said about the choice I made. I need to take responsibility for my actions and I am suffering the consequences now.  I am miserable, I thought he would change.  I don't want to leave him we have a family together and I love him.

I read the article about legalism and I agree with it.  The legalism that I'm talking about is man-made rules that overtook the church.  The church we attended was focusing on outward dress only for at least 1-2 year before we left.  All the sermons had become about head coverings and wearing long skirts.  It wasn't about conviction of sin, the need for the Savior, God's grace, faith, or keeping the commands of Jesus anymore.  The church that I attend now does.

So, what I think you are saying is my husband hasn't given his life to the Lord because he's not wanting to give in to legalism which in fact legalism isn't a sin when you keep the commands of Christ?  It is good to be obedient to the commands of Jesus. There is nothing sinful about that. I think that was the main point of the article.?  My husband not willing to be obedient.

Thank you for letting me know that his sins are his. I feel better about that.  The alcohol is the bigger issue you are right.  It affects me more than I would like. Dealing with it daily is very difficult.  Some days are better than others.  I hope that I can be the godly wife and mother that I need to be for this family.  Does the Lord work in our lives even when we made the wrong choices?  Will God's plan for my life carry out even though I made a choice not considering Him? 

Not knowing your husband, I wonder how much is not wanting to follow God and how much is not wanting to follow the particular denomination that you chose to attend. I don't know if that is a question that can be answered.

Though you have joined your life to your husband, your salvation is independent of his own. "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12). Ideally he changes so as to be saved, but his rebellion against God does not change your relationship with God unless you allow that to happen. God's teachings always work in our lives. Every one of us at different points have made wrong choices. We have to live with the consequences of those choices, but we still can continue to work to be pleasing to God as we continue to live.

The idea that God has a detailed plan for a person's life is the concept of predestination. It is popular in the denominations, but it isn't taught in the Bible. See: "Predetermined Destiny." God's will for every person is that he be saved (II Peter 3:9) and that includes you. You made a bad choice in the past that resulted in your life being harder than it needed to be today. Still, you can work with those conditions to improve yourself and the lives of your children. Perhaps you might even one day encourage your husband to be saved. What I can guarantee is that no one can stop God from accomplishing His purpose, so if there is something that has to be done and it involves you, it will happen with your willingness or without. It is like what Mordecai told Esther: "And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:13-14). Focus on what you need to do to be pleasing to God, and God will handle what you cannot control.

Thank you so much again for all your help and taking time out for a complete stranger. I will consider and pray about the things you said. May the Lord bless you and the church there. I have many things to search out. Thank you for the encouraging verses.