Unbelieving Spouse

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Papou

Guest
#21
Is there anyone else that is married to an unbeliever? If so, how do you handle it?
I am married to an unbelieving spouse. We were both unsaved when we got married. We we both alcoholics, I was saved three years into the marriage and have been living for Christ since. Took all of the evil things out of my life and have never looked back. Have also been teaching our children the ways of God.
Since the change, our relationship has gone from great to bad to worse. Our Father asked me to walk away from the marriage last year. We separated, then my husband came back with a renewed interest in fixing everything. Did very well for a few months, but is now back to square one.
I was a drinker and smoker. Gave them both up within 6 months of each other by the grace of God. I don't even have the urge to do anything even though my husband still drinks and smokes. Thank you Jesus! But the quantity of my husband drinking/smoking has increased over the years. If I speak up about it, I am nagging him about it or making him out to be a bad guy. If I say nothing, he takes my silence as a sign to continue and that I am ok with it. It is a bad example for the children and my oldest, by his own volition, has taken to saying so to his dad. I'm to blame for it even though I never told the children to say anything. The only thing I did was I told the children not to give him beers and not to touch his cigarettes.
It causes a lot of stress between us and I am now a religious nut in my husband's eyes. He says he wants to be with me, so I honor our commitment, but he is slowly pulling away from us. He sits outside most days and he has been going out of town for work more and more frequently. I see the signs of alcoholism taking the toll on his health and I am worried about him. It is hard and I feel that some days are difficult to get through with him, but I still love him and fear for his soul.
I am curious how others who have an unbelieving spouse cope with it. Sorry this is so long.
It is always sad to see people being alcoholics and even worse not knowing it. Sometimes I buy them alcohol out of love but always worries about their future. Hoping that they will never become violent with their spouse or children.

Put yourselves in your husband shoes: Hey hubby, I saw the light and now you must become holy and stop drinking. This will not work, never… This is not the way you would change people behaviour! In fact, the Lord regularly eat and drink with sinners and over time many were transformed.
 
Sep 13, 2018
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#22
Pastoral counseling he won't do. No counseling. I've been to a few counselors by myself and have gotten mixed advice. This is why I trust in what our Father said, I just don't know anyone who can relate.
My husband is neither violent nor aggressive with us. Dismissive and quiet sometimes but not violent. He is just never wrong if you know what I mean. When we were younger, he was a happy drunk. Now he is just going through the motions to get the same feeling he once had. He is not dangerous in any way, very cautious, does not leave the house once he starts drinking and keeps to himself. He's never gotten in any trouble, he never drives drunk, just lately seems very depressed but won't talk about it.
 

blue_ladybug

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2014
70,665
9,378
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#23
So basically, he doesn't want to help himself. Nor does he want anyone else's help, including God. God will not and cannot change him unless he WANTS to change. And since he's refusing counseling of any kind, he most likely will fall more and more into alcoholism.
 

Hazelelponi

Active member
Jul 8, 2019
190
181
43
USA
#24
Pastoral counseling he won't do. No counseling. I've been to a few counselors by myself and have gotten mixed advice. This is why I trust in what our Father said, I just don't know anyone who can relate.
My husband is neither violent nor aggressive with us. Dismissive and quiet sometimes but not violent. He is just never wrong if you know what I mean. When we were younger, he was a happy drunk. Now he is just going through the motions to get the same feeling he once had. He is not dangerous in any way, very cautious, does not leave the house once he starts drinking and keeps to himself. He's never gotten in any trouble, he never drives drunk, just lately seems very depressed but won't talk about it.
I think the suggestion of Pastoral counselling is specifically for you alone..

Your Pastor knows you and your situation better than anyone, and can give you the best advice when your completely open and honest with him about your situation including your fears and concerns..

and of course, al-anon family is for you too..

Your husband doesn't have to go to counselling, but you should.
 

Dan58

Senior Member
Nov 13, 2013
1,987
320
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#25
Your husband hasn't changed, you have. He's still the same man you married.. Alcohol is a barbiturate, which is a depressant and not a stimulant, that's probably why the longer term effects of drinking has turned your husband from a happy drunk into a depressed one. Its a crutch that helps him cope with life, and he's obviously not ready to surrender to something he's come to rely on. It sounds like he drinks responsibly and is not abusive, so I'd just say to encourage him to try and stop, but don't force the issue. Real change must emanate from within a person, while the result of nagging is usually just met with resistance. The bigger problem is that he's a nonbeliever, so he doesn't have the same motivating factor (spirit) that inspired a change in yourself... jmo
 

Mii

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2019
1,702
1,139
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#26
Some pastors don't have addiction experience. So while they may be able to point you in the right direction you may need to do an interview with a Christian rehab and share your story a little bit to gain auxiliary advice.

I do pray you gain the direction that you need @SaltoftheEarth


Al-anon is worth a look, preferably one sponsored by the church.



It may take physical degradation before he is willing to make changes. Have you considered focusing on just the health aspects of alcohol?

Alcohol Neuropathy is a thing.

As well as "WKS alcohol" (it's basically permanent brain damage).


GERD can be seriously exacerbated if he develops it.


There are some excellent videos about the physical/mental effects of even 1-2 drinks/day so obviously getting drunk (which would be like 1-2/hr progressing over a span of hours) or the worst binge drinking until blackout (4-5/hr) would be worse.

So if even 1-2 is bad in the long term...


It could be that the physical approach will be helpful. Doesn't work too well with smokers but then guess what? Most people just know the basics. When you get deeper into symptoms of potentially serious problems they pay more attention.

Definitely this will be helpful if/when he shows a desire to quit or dial back considerably. It's like having your ducks in a row I suppose.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
12,601
4,510
113
#27
I know a church lady who has a similar situation.
She got saved and he didnt...and he drank for many years but then by the grace of God he did stop. However cant say now hes a believer but what you would call a dry drunk. She lives with him and looks after him now as his caregiver, hes getting alzheimers..she has her art to get on with. She paints watercolours.

For you theres groups like al-anon for spouses of alcoholics. And the big thing with these groups is practicing detachment, and leaving it to God. Detachment dosnt mean leaving but it means not enabling either. In a christian context it would mean you fast and pray for your husband.

Its the same thing for anyone who lives with an unbelieving family. Yes you will suffer because they dont understand your belief, but God doesnt mean for you to leave because Hes still got to work on you and through you in that situation.

I would only recommend womens shelters if the husband has hit you or smashed up anything...or threatened your life or hurt your children. This doesnt sound like the case. What about his parents are they in the picture and his family are they drinkers too? Often alcoholism is a sign that theres something in the past a person wants to forget. What ever it is, in your prayers pray for healing.
 
Sep 13, 2018
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#28
Parents are not in the picture on either side. We both came from alcohol and drug addiction families. We have gone NC with many of the family members due to ongoing addiction and trust issues. I understand that the past is the trigger, I believe he truly needs to hit rock bottom for any changes to happen. I'm going to try another local anon group for myself. I have written a letter to my husband about the boundaries and am just looking for moral support and non judgment from others. Most of the advice I have gotten is non biblical and the attitude that I should leave. My goal is to stay and continue to be there for him, but I make sure that I am emotionally ok as well.
 

blue_ladybug

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2014
70,665
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#29
What about your kids? What about THEIR emotional well-being? It can't possibly be good for them to see him drunk and depressed all the time. No offense, but when and if he hits rock bottom, he will be dead. :( He doesn't want to change, and he's not going to without some serious help, which he refuses at every turn. And as for boundaries, he's probably broken any that you had for him.
 

blue_ladybug

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2014
70,665
9,378
113
#30
I suggest you talk to Calibob and Magenta. They give pretty good advice on this subject, because they're both recovering addicts of alcohol and/or drugs..
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
12,601
4,510
113
#31
Parents are not in the picture on either side. We both came from alcohol and drug addiction families. We have gone NC with many of the family members due to ongoing addiction and trust issues. I understand that the past is the trigger, I believe he truly needs to hit rock bottom for any changes to happen. I'm going to try another local anon group for myself. I have written a letter to my husband about the boundaries and am just looking for moral support and non judgment from others. Most of the advice I have gotten is non biblical and the attitude that I should leave. My goal is to stay and continue to be there for him, but I make sure that I am emotionally ok as well.
Personally I think rather than go to anon groups were everyone else is complaining about their drinking spouses you go do something that is healthy for YOU whether its gardening or making mosaics or learning a new language.

The whole rock bottom thing seems to work only in certain situations with addicts ie. they are threatened with going to jail if they dont comply. Going no contact is fine for some but in a marriage thats not really possible. Unless you BOTH agree to separate for a time and that time be used to pray. Theres always retreats you can go to but you might need to pay for those and if your husband can cope without you that might give him some time to think about stuff. Often it will be when its time for him to go to hospital when peoples faith really gets tested.

Dont underestimate prayer just keep praying ask the church to pray too.
 

PERFECTION

Active member
Aug 14, 2019
222
63
28
#32
Is there anyone else that is married to an unbeliever? If so, how do you handle it?
I am married to an unbelieving spouse. We were both unsaved when we got married. We we both alcoholics, I was saved three years into the marriage and have been living for Christ since. Took all of the evil things out of my life and have never looked back. Have also been teaching our children the ways of God.
Since the change, our relationship has gone from great to bad to worse. Our Father asked me to walk away from the marriage last year. We separated, then my husband came back with a renewed interest in fixing everything. Did very well for a few months, but is now back to square one.
I was a drinker and smoker. Gave them both up within 6 months of each other by the grace of God. I don't even have the urge to do anything even though my husband still drinks and smokes. Thank you Jesus! But the quantity of my husband drinking/smoking has increased over the years. If I speak up about it, I am nagging him about it or making him out to be a bad guy. If I say nothing, he takes my silence as a sign to continue and that I am ok with it. It is a bad example for the children and my oldest, by his own volition, has taken to saying so to his dad. I'm to blame for it even though I never told the children to say anything. The only thing I did was I told the children not to give him beers and not to touch his cigarettes.
It causes a lot of stress between us and I am now a religious nut in my husband's eyes. He says he wants to be with me, so I honor our commitment, but he is slowly pulling away from us. He sits outside most days and he has been going out of town for work more and more frequently. I see the signs of alcoholism taking the toll on his health and I am worried about him. It is hard and I feel that some days are difficult to get through with him, but I still love him and fear for his soul.
I am curious how others who have an unbelieving spouse cope with it. Sorry this is so long.
Dear saltoftheearth:

I was 21 years old when my wife was born again she was 18. It was a back and forth relationship for the next 10 years. She had her moments and I had mine. Both of us were members of a church all along the way . I was even a deacon as well. After ten years things started going down hill in a hurry. I was convinced that she had no interest in saving our marriage. She was busy educating two girls and keeping our home together. When the problem came to a head she blamed me and of course I blamed her. Then something strange happened. She started coming at me with this Jesus stuff. At first she hammered on me pretty hard.Then one day something strange happened she quit hammering. Now I was afraid for the first time that our marriage was over. However now she was bending over backwards to make me happy. What could she be up to? I new that eventually she would grow tired of this trickery and give it up. Instead she just seemed to grow stronger. I would wake in the morning to my breakfast, my cloths clean and pressed, and an I love you when I walked out the door. I finally decided it was time to get underhanded with this game. One day when she was out I took her bible and all these notes she writing to try and determine who else was involved in this equation . To my surprise she only wrote about this Holy Spirit she was talking to everyday. I felt like I had been betrayed by a force I could not understand . She had been going to home bible study for a few weeks and so it was clear to me she was going just to see some other guy. My plan: I am going to set her up. I am going to take her to bible study myself and wait for the last minute to tell her this way no warning could be given(no cell phones in this time). To my surprise she seemed happy about this set up.

Fast forward about 35 years. Im at work ,its lunch time, I'm setting with all the the conversation turned to the wives. I listened while each one explained why their wife always in some way had let them down. Finally one on these husbands look at me saying aren't you getting in on this conversation? In reply I told them I was not qualified. Why is that? By this time they were all laughing at my reply. Its simple I said my wife is perfect. Yes she gets angry but not often, sometimes she became overwhelmed but not for long.Every day, every day, she would make a point of looking me straight in the eyes and telling me she loved me.

I encourage you to be strong.Always seek a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit. Its there for the asking. With this kind of relationship you will ALWAYS have peace.

My wife is gone now she died of cancer one month after our 50th wedding anniversary and the same month I retired. The same Spirit that made us one is now asking me "am I not enough" yes Lord you are more than enough.
 

PERFECTION

Active member
Aug 14, 2019
222
63
28
#33
Personally I think rather than go to anon groups were everyone else is complaining about their drinking spouses you go do something that is healthy for YOU whether its gardening or making mosaics or learning a new language.

The whole rock bottom thing seems to work only in certain situations with addicts ie. they are threatened with going to jail if they dont comply. Going no contact is fine for some but in a marriage thats not really possible. Unless you BOTH agree to separate for a time and that time be used to pray. Theres always retreats you can go to but you might need to pay for those and if your husband can cope without you that might give him some time to think about stuff. Often it will be when its time for him to go to hospital when peoples faith really gets tested.

Dont underestimate prayer just keep praying ask the church to pray too.
Amen !!
 

TheLearner

Well-known member
Jan 14, 2019
3,598
622
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#34
What about your kids? What about THEIR emotional well-being? It can't possibly be good for them to see him drunk and depressed all the time. No offense, but when and if he hits rock bottom, he will be dead. :( He doesn't want to change, and he's not going to without some serious help, which he refuses at every turn. And as for boundaries, he's probably broken any that you had for him.

My real Father taught me to observe the behaviors and decisions of those that hung around my Step Father and learn from them to keep from making the same mistakes. As the result, I don't smoke or drink. And, I avoid those who do. I have a happier life as the result.

He also taught me to examine possible wife's teeth as that is a give away for marital problems down the road.

He also, said to observe her family and that She will likely be in the shape of her Mother when she gets older.

Boy was he right.
 

TheLearner

Well-known member
Jan 14, 2019
3,598
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#35
Thanks...I was pretty sure it was only adultery or death, but I recalled something else about being unequally yoked. Appreciate it.

To second this, my Grandmother and Grandfather have a similar story. When he really came to know the Lord he was delivered of drinking. Smoking remained until he got emphysema and quit for good.

It was very trying for my mother and she still has issues with verbal abuses during that time period. Something like scars...not wounds.

But it's easy to say from the outside in as well.

Have you ever considered fasting? Sometimes taking our flesh out of the equation can bring about some unique changes of perspective.
from my Jewish and fundamentalist Mormon backgrounds I fast daily, weekly, monthly and at special festivals like those of Jesus's day.
 

TheLearner

Well-known member
Jan 14, 2019
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#36
Oh my, where to start...


Woman's Shelter?

I was under the impression that's women's shelter's for abused women were intended for women who were actually abused.

I don't think "being unhappy because my husband isn't a christian, and he drinks too much" qualifies as abuse.

It's certainly unpleasant, and we can sympathize, but HARDSHIP doesn't necessarily equal ABUSE.
Not unless...
unless...
unless...
unless you buy into the extremely leftist Neo Marxists view on power dynamics derived from critical theory, which essentially ascribes VICTIMHOOD TO ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

If you happen to be a modern Neo Marxist who believes every unhappy person is simply, by definition, a victim of someone other person's oppression... mmmm... ok... knock yourself out.

If however you're still in the land of the reasonable... then we should deal with reason.


Standard Biblical Advice

The standard, biblical, ministerial advice in this kind of situation is to begin with pastoral counseling.
That's where you start.
None of us really know the woman, her husband, her family, her circumstances, or the veracity of her story and her views.
We simply don't know her.
We don't genuinely know her or her situation.
Someone who DOES know her, and who can deal with things in person, is in a far better position to assess her problems and offer counsel.

This is at least where we want to start.


Who We Know:

1. To assume you know someone you don't know (like the OP) is usually an error.
That's why I recommend she talk to her pastor - not me, and not you.

2. To assume she is best understood and known by someone else who ALSO doesn't know her (an outside counselor) is also usually an error.
It's silly for her to go look for an outside counselor who doesn't know her, when she has a pastor to talk to, who already knows her, and has at least some degree of training and experience in family counseling which is BIBLICALLY BASED.

* Most pastors are at least familiar with basic family counseling, as the scripture is abounding with this information, and it's the kind of counseling most pastors address EVERY DAY.

* If the pastor is too ignorant of scripture to give simple, basic, rudimentary family counseling from scripture... then I think he's too ignorant of scripture to be a pastor, and she needs to leave the entire church. If he can't give basic, simple, relationship counseling... then how can be be a "shepherd" of a "flock" that has nothing but constant relationship problems every day?

(Maybe he isn't the best, and maybe he recommends someone better... but if he can't at least give basic relationship counseling, then I don't think he genuinely meets the biblical qualifications for a pastor)

3. To advise someone to begin their journey for help by seeking pastoral counseling, with a pastor who already knows them, and may already know their situation, is generally the best first step.

There may be other steps.
But this is generally considered the appropriate first step.



Conclusion:

Although I'm glad the OP came here, and I hope she makes some friends and finds comfort.... there is just no place in scripture we're told to go seek advice from total strangers somewhere... like on the internet.

So the appropriate thing is to DIRECT HER BACK TO HER PASTOR.
..


..
Most Pastors are not trained for dealing with the situation. Those at Shelter's have the experience and resources to send one in the right directions. Concerning the Shelters you my friend have no idea what you are talking about.

In the hundreds Women I have counselled where drunkenness was involved there was always physical abuse.

"Research shows that the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians who attend church sporadically*. Church leaders in Australia say they abhor abuse of any kind. But advocates say the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it. " https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-18/domestic-violence-church-submit-to-husbands/8652028

Proverbs 28:26 It is foolish to be too confident. Those who ask for advice are wise and will escape disaster.

The wise in this case are those running the shelters.

"I have been the victim of physical abuse. I know what it is to have someone you love use size and strength to hurt you repeatedly. I know what it is to run through snow in bare feet to flee violence. I have heard the sound of gunshots from my mother’s gun, which were intended for me. It is a terrorizing feeling to return home from school day, after day, after day, and not know whether your mom is drunk and you’re in trouble, or whether she is gone and you’re fine—for a few hours. I would never want anyone to spend two seconds in the kind of fearful hell that I dwelt in for a decade. " https://biblicalcounseling.com/abuse/
 

TheLearner

Well-known member
Jan 14, 2019
3,598
622
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#37
Isaiah 5:11 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning
in pursuit of beer,
who linger into the evening,
inflamed by wine.

86 percent of homicides will be committed by individuals
under the influence.
40 percent of child abuse incidents will be connected to alcohol use or abuse, and 70 percent of these abusive individuals (parents or guardians) will suffer from a substance use disorder.
37 percent of rapes and sexual assaults will involve offenders under the influence, and that number jumps to 90 percent when the abuses occur on college campuses.
15 percent of robberies, 27 percent of aggravated assaults and 25 percent of simple assaults will be carried out by individuals who’ve been drinking and are likely under the influence. This amounts to more than 2.5 million incidents of alcohol-related violence.
65 percent of intimate partner violence incidents will be carried out by perpetrators who’ve been drinking. This equates to more than 450,000 such incidents annually.
20 percent of intimate partner violence incidents involving alcohol will include the use of a gun, knife, or other potentially lethal weapons.
95 percent of violent crimes committed on college campuses will involve alcohol, and the total number of such assaults will be greater than 600,000.
118,000 incidents of family violence (spouses and partners excluded) will be linked to excessive drinking, as will 744,000 incidents of violence that involve acquaintances.
Nearly 60 percent of violent crime victims will end up with injuries, with men being twice as likely to sustain major injuries as women.
Overall, about 40 percent of all violent crimes will be alcohol-related.
https://addictionresource.com/alcohol/effects/alcohol-related-crimes/
 

TheLearner

Well-known member
Jan 14, 2019
3,598
622
113
#38
Alcohol-related crime statistics state that in the United States, around 500,000 cases of alcohol violence are reported every year. And then there’s the addition of the crimes that aren’t reported.

A staggering 86% of homicides and 60% of sexual abuse or rape cases were under the influence of the drug.

https://alcorehab.org/the-effects-of-alcohol/alcohol-related-crimes/

https://www.google.com/search?sourc....2j1..gws-wiz.......0i20i263j0i10.-AG38-rguwU

https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/alcohol/crimes/

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa38.htm
 
P

Papou

Guest
#39
Alcohol-related crime statistics state that in the United States, around 500,000 cases of alcohol violence are reported every year. And then there’s the addition of the crimes that aren’t reported.

A staggering 86% of homicides and 60% of sexual abuse or rape cases were under the influence of the drug.

https://alcorehab.org/the-effects-of-alcohol/alcohol-related-crimes/

https://www.google.com/search?sourc....2j1..gws-wiz.......0i20i263j0i10.-AG38-rguwU

https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/alcohol/crimes/

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa38.htm
You can't judge people based on biased statistics. It is not because you are an alcoholic that you are a criminal ! I know many alcoholic people who drink heavily and still are good persons. Similarly, the OP made it clear that her husband is not a violent person or something bad. He is not perfect and some issues have to be address but this is life ...
 
Sep 13, 2018
11
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#40
Thank you for all of your advice. I choose to do what our Father has asked me. If anyone is/has gone through this situation or a similar one, I would be interested in speaking with you. Thank you all, may God bless you and keep you.