We are a men's discipleship ministry, so over the years many women who are in toxic marriages have contacted us for direction. It’s always hard to give advice without knowing the whole story, but here are a few observations and a suggested course of action.
- There’s hope. You can get through this. Christ is a healer and redeemer.
- You both need Christian counseling, individually and as a couple. No lay person will be able to deal with the issues you face, in my opinion.
About men in general:
- When women have problems they generally move toward relationships. When men have problems they generally move toward isolation. (We use generalizations because they’re generally true). Your husband has isolated himself, and nothing will change until this changes.
- Isolation makes men vulnerable to the world, the flesh, and the devil. Every predator knows the strategic value of isolation. The devil is a predator whose purpose is “to steal and to kill and to destroy” (John 10:10).
- No man fails on purpose. If your husband is failing, it’s because the love of Jesus has not yet become the abiding reality of his life.
Educated guesses about your husband in particular:
- Your husband will not get better as long as he thinks he can “manage” things on his own.
- Your husband will not likely get better without learning how to surrender and abide in Christ and God’s Word for himself.
- Your husband will not likely get better without some other men who know what’s really going on who love him anyway, disciple him, and hold him accountable.
Suggested course of action:
- Confide in a close friend or two.
- Get a close group of friends to start praying for you, him, and your marriage.
- Read Broken Heart On Hold: Surviving Separation by Linda Rooks to get in touch with yourself.
- Ask him if he’s willing to go together with you to professional Christian counseling. As long as his flesh and pride deceive him into thinking he can manage you and the situation, things won’t likely change. An effective counselor can help him get to the bottom of his destructive behaviors.
- If he doesn’t respond, then I suggest you do an intervention with some people who love him, including two or three men who will walk with him through his recovery, if he responds with humility and repentance. Include a professional Christian counselor. Don’t do the intervention without this next step in place before the meeting. Ask your pastor for help. Ask godly men in your church who are making disciples of other men to help.
I know it’s a short answer. I don’t mean to reduce complex problems and try to offer oversimplified solutions. But I believe this is the right course of action. No matter how you got to this point, the only solution is for your husband to get the help he needs. Doing nothing is not an option.
Warmly in Christ,