Issue: I am the only Christian in my family. My husband and children do not even want to hear anything about God. It is so hard to be a Christian in this atmosphere. What should I do?
Insight: I know how difficult it is to watch a family member suffer and in a way this is the same. The freedom from sin and the guilt that goes with it is an amazing gift. Those who have not experienced this gift first hand I believe are definitely suffering. They are drowning in the guilt of their sin and it is hard to watch. It is almost like you are throwing them a life preserver but they respond by saying they don't want it because of the brand name. This is trying and difficult, however I will try my best to give you not only some hope but some ways to stay strong.
First of all I want to share some hope with you. In 1 Corinthians 7:12-14, Paul states "But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy." Therefore the one encouraging thing is that your family is sanctified through you.
Secondly, continue to pray for them. Pray specifically that God would bring other Christians into their lives. Pray that the Lord would continue to show them his love in and through you. Pray that the Lord would use you to be a blessing to them and that God would protect you from the enemy while standing in the gap for your family.
Lastly, spend a lot of time alone with God, in prayer and studying the Bible. It is when we spend time alone with God that He can give us the strength to keep going even in the most difficult of circumstance. This time with God will not only strengthen you, but it will also give you a clearer picture of God's heart for your family and may even allow you to have the right words to speak at the time when your family would be ready to receive it.
Insight: This is quite a question. The answer you would find our culture is promoting is that sex is a normal facet of any romantic relationship, I disagree. Our culture also promotes the belief that marriage is just a piece of paper and doesn't really mean anything, once again I disagree. Our culture promotes the belief that love is a fleeting emotion and people fall in and out of love all the time, again I disagree.
The Bible is quite clear that sex outside of the covenant of marriage is a sin. The covenant of marriage more than a commitment. A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and man. A marriage covenant is the agreement to be united as one flesh with one another until death, this is an agreement between a woman, a man, and God. Therefore, sex outside of this covenant is sin. It is that simple. The Bible is also clear that love is a choice, not just an emotion. When two people get married they are making the decision to love one another and only one another for the rest of their lives. Jesus commands us to love one another multiple times in his teachings, if love was only an emotion could it be commanded? No.
Now you asked me what my thoughts are, and this paragraph is my answer to that question. From my observations and my own experiences, I can tell you that sex creates a bond between two people and this bond is not easily broken. Sex is meant to join two souls together and when people have sex outside of marriage, this bond tears at the heart and leaves parts of your heart behind and takes parts of the other person's. It is messy and painful. I do not believe that sex can ever be considered casual, I believe that at some point some people's hearts are so tattered, they think to themselves 'What is one more rip?' This is how it gets devalued. In my observations I have seen wonderful people feel like they were worth nothing because they had sex with someone and then that someone walked away. Wonder why depression is rampant in our world, look at what we value. We put more stock in relationships with each other than our relationship with God. Try the reverse and see what happens, you might just be pleasantly surprised.
Insight: It must feel like you are carrying a ton of bricks on your shoulders. I have a few ideas on how you could start dealing with these things and start to put them behind you. First of all, find someone you trust and share what has happened. Sometimes even being able to talk about it helps lighten the load. Secondly, if you really have trust issues and there is no one you feel like you can trust, try writing in a journal. Journalling is a great way to actually talk about what is going on and get out some of your emotions. Thirdly, you could give them over to God.
When I was in Bible College my family was going through a lot. I felt overwhelmed by all of the problems and I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, literally. My best friend noticed what I was going through and he offered to carry my burdens for one day so I could take a break. I laughed when he first mentioned it, but he was being serious. He said not only would he carry my burden for that day but he would pray for all that was weighing me down. I agreed to this and the next day, first thing in the morning we sat down together and I told him in detail every single issue there was, and after I was done he said, "OK, now they are mine. You are not allowed to worry or think about them at all today." The weird thing was I really did feel lighter and he really did feel the weight of the burden. By that night, he was very happy not to be carrying it around with him anymore. God taught me something very important through my friend. He taught me that if my friend was able to handle it for one day how much more could God the creator of the entire universe be able to carry my burdens for me if I let him.
Insight: Fear is something we all have had. There are two kinds of fear. There is a good kind of fear that keeps you from talking to strangers and a bad kind of fear that keeps you from falling asleep (if you are scared of nightmares). To deal with the bad kind of fear, try spending more time with people who make you feel safe, like your mom or dad. You could also study about what you are afraid of and see if there is a real reason to be afraid. For example, if you were afraid of lightning, you could study lightning and see how many times it strikes and how often is has hit a person. Also find out how to keep yourself safe when there is a lightning storm.
Another thing you can do is pray, God can calm us down and take our fear away. God says in the Bible that he will protect us. I know when I am afraid, and I ask God to help me, He does.
Issue: My wife is not submissive to me. I really can't tolerate it anymore. I feel like we are getting farther and farther away from each other. I've prayed about it and still nothing has changed. If things don't change we may need to divorce.
Insight: When you married your wife you made a vow to her to be with her through good times and bad times. Clearly, this is a bad time for you. Jesus said there was only one reason to divorce and that is infidelity.
Matthew 19:3-9 says, 'Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" "Haven’t you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”'
Love is a choice. Every day we choose either to love or not to love. My challenge to you is to love her through all of this. 1 Corinthians 13 explains what true love is all about. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a) If you love your wife with this kind of love, I am sure things will start to change.
The only person you can change is yourself. The only person we have complete control over is ourselves, therefore the only one we can change is ourselves. In life I have found that it is easier to see the faults in others than recognize my own short comings. Matthew 7:3-5 says, '“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." Jesus wants us to focus on ourselves and making sure our lives are right and to stop focusing on others. Instead of focusing on how she is failing you, focus on loving her the way we are called to love. This love will draw you closer together whether she becomes submissive or not. This love will also enable you to forgive her for her past mistakes and be able to move forward from this.
Lastly, I wanted to ensure you had a clear picture of what that submission you expect from your wife is supposed to look like. Ephesians 5:22-33 says, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church — for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Submit equals respect according to this scripture. In that context we as the church submit to God by respecting God and his authority. Submission does not mean obedience; this is the expectation in a child - parent relationship, not a wife - husband relationship. The wife is to submit as the husband is to love. Therefore, if your love your wife the way God loves the church, then submission should come naturally. I believe there is a natural balance between the two. If a husband is not loving towards his wife, it is much harder for her to submit.
I want to make it clear that I am not judging you, I am just trying to give you some tools to enable you to save your marriage.
I strive to help others by being a safe place for others to ask questions and pose issues they face.