I think I have OCD


Dear Mr. Hamilton,

I want to thank you so much for all the help and time you’ve given up for us. Thank you for always using God's word with your answers.

I believe I have OCD. I think I have scrupulosity. I feel I have to do things a certain way or in order. Recently I’ve wondered if I have relationship-OCD. I ruminate for days and years on topics. I will give myself rules about (non-sinful things) that have to be done in a certain way. If I mess up, I can’t buy things I want, I can’t wear something I liked, I can’t eat something, jobs I wanted or the devil can have my soul. I have intrusive thoughts.

I developed OCD at about age 18. I’m in my 50s now. I was baptized in my late twenties. It was the best decision I ever made. It made me better. God has blessed me with so much that I don't deserve. I have a wonderful Christian daughter who is married to a kind man. The church family that God gives us has been such a wonderful blessing.

Mostly, I figured out the thoughts are to myself but sometimes they come when I’m praying. I think I must keep these rules because they were made to God. There was a time many years ago I was terrified I was going to tell God I can’t get married or the devil can have my soul. My first husband was unfaithful he was when he had an affair with an underaged girl and they had a baby. I was at work one day after I divorced him. A thought was in my head that I can’t marry or the devil can have my soul. I didn’t want it but it kept coming. Finally, I said to God I can’t marry or the devil can have my soul. I was so upset. My first husband lived with a girl before me. She tried to introduce him as her husband but he replied ”No, I’m not.” That was in a state that during the time you could be common law married. We divorced.

I met a good Christian man and was so blessed to have him. He helped me a lot with my OCD. I felt guilty that I was allowed to be married. I felt horrible for risking our souls. He felt we were OK. Was my first husband common law married but then never got a divorce as the law says you should do? I worried because of what I said to God. Was I allowed to marry? Would the devil have my soul? I worried my Christian husband was divorced. He caught his wife in a hotel room with a man. I worried whether was he faithful until his divorce. I worried was a wife allowed to put her husband away for unfaithfulness. The Bible says a man can but it doesn’t say a woman. I hugged a man while waiting on my divorce. I wondered if was I allowed to divorce. I searched for answers to these questions from elders or preachers that seemed conservative. They felt I was OK.

Recently, I realized after reading about OCD maybe I have relationship-OCD also. One day I worried so much that I might be risking my Christian husband's soul and mine by being married when maybe God didn’t approve. After years and hours of worrying, I prayed to God, if you will give me peace I won’t marry again or the devil can have my soul. My husband passed away. Do you think I can tell God I’m sorry and marry again?

I’m so ashamed of these things I’ve said and done.

If you could help me answer this question about marrying again I’d be grateful.


Like most sufferers of OCD, you are trying to avoid all risks, even though most of life contains some risks. You invent rules thinking these rules will help you avoid making mistakes, but as Paul points out man-made rules have no benefit in stopping sin (Colossians 2:20-23). Worse, you have deluded yourself into thinking that because you told God about your made-up rules, God is going to enforce them. You forget who is in charge. It is God's laws that we have to follow. He is in control, not us.

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34).

A common-law marriage is a pretend marriage that had the blessing of the government. But even the government figured out that it doesn't work, which is why it is no longer recognized. See Does God allow common-law marriages?

Your husband died, so you are free to remarry if you choose (Romans 7:2-3).

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