Friday, March 16, 2012
Hi again Hazel,
As you remember we can't do anything for your husband with out talking with him. In other words, we can't help him through you. We can pray for him, which I do, but unless he wants my help, I can't help him directly.
That said, the Bible does say that there is something you can do to win your husband to Christ and to Godliness. In 1 Peter 3 it says that if a husband is not living according to the Word, he can be won back to Christ by the behavior of his wife. This should be a source of great joy and comfort for wives whose husbands have strayed. To know that a sinful husband can come back to Christ and that his wife can help him is really good news to many wives.
The problem comes in that the way only a wife can help her husband seems to go against everything inside her. Most women want to talk. To talk it out. To discuss the problem and come up with solutions. To make a plan and then do the plan. But the text says that a wife must keep her mouth shut. She cannot win her husband by talking to him about it. She cannot chat, or discuss things, or bring things up. She also can't yell at him, or nag him, or coerce him. She can't burn the toast, give him the "look." Everything militates against the common female responses to sin in the ranks.
The text says she is to win him without a word. It goes on to say what she is supposed to do. She is to make the home beautiful, to make herself beautiful, to make his life a joy in every way other than to talk to him or to point to things or to question him. She is to simply bow down and call him lord. She is to submit herself to him and lay down her life for him to become his slave.
Because this goes against all wisdom, it makes no sense, the woman needs to really spend a lot of time in prayer. She needs to be on her knees to the point where her own walk with God is pure, clean, holy. She needs to walk with God in a way that causes joy to ooze out of every pore on her person. It needs to have the kind of relationship with God that anyone could do anything to her and she would praise the Lord and say something like, "thank you, I am his servant and don't deserve anything more" (Luke 17:10).
All this is because love is efficacious. Love changes things. Loving your husband changes him. Changing him doesn't change him at all, in fact it causes things to go the other way. Only respectful, delightful, awe filled, worshipful love will change him.
When Jesus is talking about how to treat enemies he says to love them (Lk. 6:27). Paul takes that a bit further and says that loving enemies is like pouring coals on their heads (Rom. 12:20). This is because loving someone changes them. They cannot stay enemies for long when someone is loving them from the heart.
1 Peter 2 creates the context for chapter 3 by telling us that we need to be like Jesus, who went to the cross in order to love his enemies. To make his enemies he laid down his life for them and we are to do the same.
You need to know that as you begin to love your husband in this way, things might get worse before they get better. I don't now him at all, but sometimes people who are being loved will lash out at the lover because they don't think they deserve to be loved in this way. Or because they think they are being manipulated. Or because they can't continue to hate if they are being loved. However, if you continue to love despite the abuse, it will begin to have its effect and things will change.
You should also know, that if things are as you describe them, it sounds like your husband is under a load of shame and guilt. I don't know what it might be about. It might be that he feels guilty for your affair. Men who's wives have "cheated" on them feel a great loss of manness. Men are supposed to be manly and one of the things this means is that they are supposed to maintain their families, especially the love life of their wife. When their wife has an affair it rips the roots out of his life. It makes him feel much less than he ought to be. In many men, it destroys them. They become shells of their former selves. Sometimes they become angry all the time, sullen, withdrawn, moody, go through all sorts of strange changes, or sometimes they have their own affairs to prove that they still are men.
So if you were here, I would tell you to run to Jesus with all your heart. Read your Bible, pray, sing, hang out with Godly Christian women. I would also recommend reading Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes. Also, you might think about reading Seeing with New Eyes by David Powlison. It is a counseling book, but that isn't why I'm recommending it. I recommend it because David has a great attitude toward God and what God wants for us. Read it for yourself, not for your husband. Remember, you aren't allowed to say anything to him.
If your husband does ask what is going on, tell him that you've decided to love Jesus and serve your husband in the love that Jesus gives. Don't lecture, don't tell him what he needs to do or not do. Don't try to fix him or the situation. If he has questions, point him to your pastor or to me. But don't you try to fix anything. Even if he wants to hear what you think, you should do all that you can to tell him without teaching him.
This is because what you are trying to do is to help him walk with God on his own and to restore the relationship you have with your husband in the Lord. If you teach him, you will be taking his spot in the family and this won't be helpful. Especially if part of the problem is that he doesn't think he is the man he ought to be. You both need to let God place you back in your proper places in the family.
I've said enough for now. I hope this helps.