What can I do if my husband is not repentant over moral failure?
Turning the Heart of Your “King”
When a husband is unrepentant over moral failure
There are many women out there who have husbands who have moral failure in there life and are not willing to deal with it. They are all at different points in the process, and some of them are frustrated because there is a problem in their marriage and their husband is failing morally, but he is not moved to brokenness and repentance over his sin. He is not willing to change, and his wife wonders what she can do.
I often direct these women to read the Book of Esther and to see her life as an example to follow in this situation. Queen Esther was married to a very ungodly man. He was willing to allow her whole family to be destroyed. This situation is really what most of the women who ask this question are facing. They’re married to men who are living ungodly lives and who are willing to allow their family to be destroyed while they sit back and do nothing.
What could Esther do in this situation? Was she hopeless? Did she just sit back and hope that somehow God would change her husband’s heart? No, she devised a Godly plan of action. This solution didn’t come from worry and fret; it came from days of fasting and seeking God’s help. Esther sought God with all her heart and with an attitude of total surrender to God’s will, whatever the outcome.
Now, do I think that Esther didn’t worry at all? I’m sure that as a human being and as a woman who cared for her family, she did struggle with these feelings and concerns—but they didn’t prevail in her heart. Faith prevailed—a faith strong enough to carry out the plan that God gave her.
There are a number of things that Esther and her cousin Mordecai did in response to the situation that God used to bring freedom to their people. These are concepts that a wife should consider when responding to a husband who does ungodly things and when facing the needs of a family about to be destroyed.
Fast and Seek the Lord
When faced with the plans for the destruction of her people, Esther began a fast herself and called for a fast among her people. This was no wimpy fast—it was a fast of three days. “pray ye for me. Neither eat nor drink for three days and three nights: and I with my handmaids will fast in like manner, and then I will go in to the king ” (Esther 4:16).
Esther did not ask the people to fast for her ungodly husband, and she did not fast for him. She called for a fast for herself. She needed a plan! She needed to hear God’s voice about what she needed to do.
Many times women will say they are fasting for God to change their husbands, and I am here to say that this focus is wrong. They need to be fasting for God to change them. We need to give up on trying to change anyone except ourselves. A key to your husband finding brokenness is you finding it in your own life. Taking your eyes off how you have been wronged, and realizing your own sin, will cast you on Jesus, your only hope.
When you do fast and pray like this, you may find bitterness being the first issue that really comes to the surface. As you fast, you realize the stronghold is much stronger than you would have ever imagine. You will fine that you are completely unable to help your husband remove sin from his life, because you have so much in your own.
(Matthew 7:3–5) : “And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother' s eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother' s eye.”As you begin to pray about the bitterness in your own life, your focus will come off of your husband and onto yourself and your sin. Fasting is the first step towards freedom for your husband and you. As you become free from bitterness, God is free to use you as a light in your husbands life to draw him to the truth. You have to get out of the way!
A lot of women say they’ve tried to fast but can’t do it.
When you get desperate,you can do a lot of things you think you can’t do, and fasting is one of them. Fasting is never easy because it’s brings death to the flesh, and the flesh never wants to die.“For the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would.” (Galatians 5:17).
Fasting puts down the flesh and strengthens the spirit so that you can hear what the Spirit of God wants to speak to you. It is saying to your body and your mind, “I don’t want you to be in control, I want Gods Spirit to be in control.” God instructs us to say, “walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16). According to Isaias (Isaiah) 58, fasting also frees us from bondage. “Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen? loose the bands of wickedness, undo the bundles that oppress, let them that are broken go free, and break asunder every burden.” (Isaias 58:6).
A woman once said, “There’s no way I can fast! I get so sick, I feel like I’m going to die. I can’t even go without one meal, so there’s no way I can fast three days.” After it was explained to her about the purposes for fasting, and was given encouragement to try just one meal a day for a few days. After skipping a few meals and surviving, she has now been fasting two days a week for over six months. She has seen God move in incredible ways in her life and in her husband and her children!
Your fast may be different from everyone elses. If you’re willing to follow God’s instruction, He will show you what type of fast you are to take and how long to keep it.
Spend Time in Prayer
We can picture the earnest prayers of Esther, her servants, Mordecai, and all the Jewish people who took part in the fast. So much depended on the outcome of Esther’s presentation to the king, and she needed divine strength to act against the laws of the land and go to the king without a formal summons to his presence.
Praying seems simple enough. We all know we need to pray, but I want to remind you that prayer is not just talking to God—prayer is also letting God talk to you. Supplication to the Lord is a part of prayer, but you also need to allow God to speak to you and reveal His requests for you. We are to pray without ceasing as we go throughout the day attending to children and caring for every day needs, but you still need a time of prayer, when you set aside all your duties and just seek the heart of God.
Have your Bible and your Rosary with you during these times of prayer so that you can allow God to speak to you through them. Often I have found that as I sit quietly before the Lord in the spirit of prayer, thoughts come to me that I have never thought before. Many times these thoughts provide the answer to a question I have been asking.
In my life, these prayer times usually occur between 2:00 and 4:00 in the morning. For many years, I woke up in the middle of the night and became frustrated because I could not go back to sleep. Finally I made a commitment that when this happened, I would get up and go to my “closet” literally my little corner or my altar in the home and spend time in prayer seeking God’s heart. Over the years these times have become very precious. God has given me insight and wisdom that I would not have had if I had not chosen to get up when He called me to spend time seeking Him.
Let me assure you, this is not my natural bent! I love to sleep, and I usually go back to bed after I have had this time with the Lord. I am no saint who prays for hours every night! I might need to, but the truth is that I struggle like most of you with living in my flesh instead of my spirit. However, I have sought to surrender this area of my life to the Lord.
Cry Out to the Lord for Help
When Mordecai heard of the decree against the Jewish people, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and cried out with a loud voice. “Now when Mardochai had heard these things, he rent his garments, and put on sackcloth, strewing ashes on his head: and he cried with a loud voice in the street in the midst of the city, shewing the anguish of his mind.”(Esther 4:1).
When your heart is desperate, it’s hard to simply pray a quick, soft prayer—you are more likely to cry out with emotion and passion! God promises to hear these cries for help, to work, and to receive glory for rescuing us in the midst of despair.“And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psalm 49:15).
There is a power when crying out to God. There is a difference between prayer (requests and supplication) and a cry to the Lord. It’s not the tone of the voice that makes the difference, it is the desperation of the heart. The example of a man who has fallen into a deep pit helped me understand this concept. This man doesn’t speak in a low voice and calmly ask for help. He desperately screams for help. There are times of desperate need in our lives when we call out to God in the same way.
The first time I remember crying out I was so desperate for God to move! I did not know how to fix my situation. I did not know why I was living like I was living, how I got where I was at. All I knew was that I was desperate for something to change.
While there is no one around, find you a place to get alone with God. Begin to call out at the top of your voice, and say in so many words... “Father, deliver my husband from my enemies! Set him free from what ever binds him!” Then begin to worship God by shouting to the heavens that He is your hope, your only hope in your day of trouble. It will turn into a wonderful worship service between you and God.
Crying out to the Lord should become something that you do as a family whenever your family is desperate for God to work.
Surrender to the Lord
Esther was surrendered to God’s will and purposes, and she knew that she might have to give up her life to see them fulfilled. She was willing to give her all to obey the Lord and to walk in His ways. I believe this was the most important step Esther took. She said and meant, I will... “expose myself to death and to danger.” (Esther 4:16). In otherwards she was saying, “If I perish, I perish.”
It is so important that you as a women come to this point of surrender. You have to be willing to “die” and give up your life to the Lord, as Esther was willing to die for her family. Every woman’s point of “death” will be different.
You have to come to the place where you say to the Lord and to your Husband that no matter what I will continue to love and serve him. Your choice to die in what ever area you need to will bring about the greatest blessings in your life. God called us to die so that in His time He could bring resurrection power to that which was dead. God can restore your marriage.
Ask God, and He will show you where you need to die. Your area of surrender may be different from mine or anyone else. One woman felt that she was to keep her mouth shut—that was her death. Another was to be sexually intimate with her husband when she hated it, another felt she was to stop interfering with her husband’s discipline of their children, and some women have to die by learning how to confront their husbands about their sin.
There is one woman who for 23 years had sat back and been quiet and never spoken up to her husband. This woman doesn’t like confrontation and will run from it and avoided it at all costs. As her spiritual director talked to her, it was explained to her that death for her is probably going to be facing her husband and confronting him over his sin.
As brothers and sisters in Christ we are called to reprove, rebuke, and expose sin in each other’s lives. (See II Timothy 4:2 and Hebrews 3:13.) Holding each other accountable is to be done without hypocrisy and in a spirit of genuine love, and this must come after prayer, fasting, and crying out to the Lord. It must come out of a spirit of love and concern for your family and not out of bitterness for how you have been mistreated.
Don’t say, “Well I can’t do it until I get my attitude right, so I guess I may never do it.” My dear friend, this doesn’t need to take days! Repent of your bitterness, ask God for grace to carry out the plan He is giving you, and move on. Don’t let the enemy of procrastination keep you from doing what you need to do. This really isn’t about you; its about your marriage relationship, it’s about your children, its about your family. Keep reminding yourself of that.
Serve and Appeal to Your Husband
Esther diligently sought the Lord, and He enabled her to effectively present her appeal. You must ask God for a plan on how you can serve your “king” in order to gain his heart and present your appeal.
“ If it please the king. I beseech thee to come to me this day, and Aman with thee to the banquet which I have prepared. ” (Esther 5:4). It was from the place of service that Esther was able to make her appeal. As she served the king, she gained his attention. He was now ready to listen to her heart. Ask the Lord what you can do to serve your husband as Esther did.
Appeal to Your Husband
Ladies: fast, pray, cry out to the Lord, surrender to Him, and serve your husband. Once you have done these things, God will give you a plan of appeal just like He gave to Esther. He granted her wisdom to know how to serve the king in order to capture his attention. She needed him to be willing to hear her appeal, to listen to her heart, and to respond in order to save her family from destruction.
What is your appeal? “Honey, we need help. Can we please seek help? I see these problems, and they are destroying our children and our marriage.”
Ask questions of your husband and his struggles, and make sure you are not hiding anything yourself. You need to tell your husband if you are seeking counsel and help, because it is wrong for you to hide anything. He needs to know that you are seeking help for your problems.
Do Not Grow Weary
There was a woman who was told all these things, and she responded by saying, “I’ve tried all this and nothing works.” The problem was not that she did not try every thing, but that she never for more than a few days tried it. After giving it a small chance, she would go back to her old ways of speaking to her husband with bitterness and dishonor in her voice.
Sometimes it takes time. Be willing to go through day after day and to trust God with the outcome. Ladies, God has to change us, just as He must change our husbands. You have to cry out for that change, you have to beg God to help you become a women of God like Esther. He is willing to change you and to equip you in the path that you are traveling. Will you accept His truth and His grace at work in you to transform your hearts?
“Be nothing solicitous [do not be concerned]; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6,7).