4 Steps to Dealing with a Lazy and Fraudulent Husband

 

“My husband was involved in porn soon after our marriage and refused to have any kind of intimacy, not even holding hands. I suspect that he does not even love me and is continuing the marriage only for the comfort of financial stability it offers him. He lost his job 2 years after we were married. Then we relocated and he has not found a job until now. It has been 17 years of unemployment.” This is part of a very sad story I received from a frustrated Christian wife who calls herself Hope.

In my last post we discussed how a husband could Biblically deal with a lazy wife and in this post we will use Hope’s story to help her and other women learn how to Biblically deal with a lazy and fraudulent husband.

Here is Hope’s full story and then I will give my response.

Hope’s Story

“I have just started reading your posts and enjoyed several of them. I have a query. Both my husband and I are Christians and have been married for 20 years. We have 2 kids who are still young. My husband was involved in porn soon after our marriage and refused to have any kind of intimacy, not even holding hands. I suspect that he does not even love me and is continuing the marriage only for the comfort of financial stability it offers him.

He lost his job 2 years after we were married. Then we relocated and he has not found a job until now. It has been 17 years of unemployment. If I raise this issue it makes him angry and frustrated. I think he wants to start a business but lacks capital. I have a good job but I have to pay the mortgage, cars, family’s expenses and any holidays we have. Basically I cover everything. I have a cleaner who cleans the house. My husband takes care of the children, send them to school and helps with their homework. Any extra income I save for my children’s future education and our retirement. There is not much extra to contribute towards his “dream business”. Maybe I am scared, in case he uses up the money for business and the business fails. I cannot earn back this kind of money now as I am much older now and coming to retirement age. He pays for all the expenses from my bank account. I never question him regarding how he spends the money or how much he spends. I use my money mainly to purchase items for our home. He is free to buy anything for himself. i don’t ask to account for each purchase.

He has mentioned having a joint account. I have trust issues; my marriage is not even normal. I have dealt with wives whose husbands left the marriage and the kids with all the family money in a joint account. Letting a husband have access to the wife’s account may be ideal in a good marriage but not otherwise.

His family has also been hinting that my inheritance monies from my dad’s estate should be shared equally with him. I am frankly disgusted with this as he has been so fussy looking for jobs and has left me to struggle with the family’s finances for years, despite my deteriorating health. I want to share what I have with him and the children but he wants to control what happens to the money. Legally he is not even entitled to this money. If I have to hand over to my husband what my father struggled to earn during his lifetime in the name of submission, I have decided either to pass on everything to the kids by a will or to forego my entitlement and give away everything to charity. Less fight this way.

I would appreciate your views.

Concerned”

My Response to Hope and other Christian women who find themselves in a similar situation

Hope – let me be clear to you and any woman who finds herself in this kind of situation. Your husband is a deadbeat. He is a leach. It would be one thing if you had just been married and he just lost his job then you would need to have grace about these kinds of things. But after 17 years he has proven the kind of man that he is.

God hates divorce and does not easily allow it

First you need to understand something about how important marriage is to God.  In Malachi 2:16 God says “he hateth putting away”. “Putting away” is a euphemism in the Bible for divorce.

Just because your husband is not romantic or perhaps is too tight with the money or you feel he is unfair to you in other ways does not give you the right to divorce him. For a man, just because his wife is lazy, un-submissive or does not perform well in bed does not give him the right to divorce her.

Also contrary to what many Christian websites teach addictions in and of themselves are not cause for Biblical divorce. Addictions are only a cause for divorce if they result in things that God says he allows divorce for.

For instance if your husband has a porn addiction which leads him to sexually defraud you then you can divorce him for sexual defraudment. If your husband had a gambling addiction that lead him to consistently spend all your family’s money and you and your children were going without food, clothing and shelter as a result you could divorce him for failure to provide.  If your husband had an alcohol addiction but his alcohol addiction did not affect him providing for you, having sex with you and he does not physically abuse you as result you have no Biblical right to divorce him.

If your husband’s addiction does not result in a sin for which God allows divorce then you must practice God’s command to women with disobedient husbands:

“1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” – I Peter 3:1-2 (NASB)

But the Bible does allow for divorce in certain situations where God sees some particular sins as grave enough to break the marriage the covenant. Some of God’s reasons for divorce are gender specific. See my post “For what reasons does God allow divorce” for a more complete discussion on all the reasons that God allows divorce.

God allows women to divorce their husbands for failure to provide and sexual defraudment

In your situation Hope, your husband has committed two grave sins against your marriage covenant either of which would be grounds for Biblical divorce. These sins are failure to provide and sexual defraudment.

In my posts “4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal” and “Does God allow a woman to divorce her husband for failure to provide?” I point to a key passage of Scripture that is not taught in the vast majority of Christian churches today and has been all but forgotten or dismissed because it was given by Moses to the nation of Israel:

“If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

God requires every husband to provide his wife with three things – food, clothing (and by extension shelter) and sex. God was clear that “if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free”.  This is part of the lasting moral law of God rather than the temporary parts of God’s law to Israel including sacrificial laws, cleanliness laws, civil laws and laws regarding the priesthood.

In the New Testament these three principles are reinforced in these passages:

“28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” – Ephesians 5:28-29 (KJV)

In the same we as husbands provide for the physical needs of our own bodies by providing ourselves with food, clothing and shelter so too men are required by God to provide these things to their wives.

“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” – I Corinthians 7:3-5 (KJV)

A husband and wife have both a responsibility to “render” (give) their bodies to their spouse and they have the “power” to take or make use of their spouse’s body for the purpose of sex. If one spouse denies the other this is an act of fraud similar to if an employer had made a contract to pay an employee wages and he fails to pay those wages that are owed he will be guilty of fraud.

Make sure he really is being lazy and sexually defrauding you before you take action

Obviously the first thing to consider would be if your husband is temporarily or permanently disabled from working.  In this case a wife does not have cause to divorce her husband.

Ladies if your husband works a full time job and then comes home and chills on the couch this not the kind of laziness we are talking about. If you are a full time stay at home mom there is no reason why your husband should feel bad about chilling after a hard days work. Even if you both work because he has asked you to work – yes he should help but again this is not the kind of serious laziness that can be cause for divorce.

Also just because your husband is not making as much money as you would like him to make does not mean he is failing to provide.  If he is working hard and doing his best to provide this is what counts before God. Even if he is unemployed for short periods of time like months you have no right as a wife to take action against him.  Rather you should support your husband during this difficult time and encourage him as he seeks work.

Also if your husband is having health problems or perhaps he is not completely satisfying you in bed the way you would like that is not sexual defraudment. As long as he is not completely denying you and is making himself available this is what counts before God.  This does not mean there may not be room for improvement – but it is NOT cause to take the actions we will talk about next.

See my posts “4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal” and “Does God allow a woman to divorce her husband for failure to provide?” for more complete discussions on these two very important topics.

But if you are like Hope and have experienced years of laziness and sexual defraudment (as opposed to months) this is not something God calls you to live with.  God does NOT expect you to remain in bondage to such a man.

4 Steps to Dealing with a Lazy Husband

Step 1 – Exercise your right to bring your grievances to your husband

“13 If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me;

14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?

15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?” – Job 31:13-15 (KJV)

Even though your husband is your authority – that does not give him the right to not to hear your grievances.  But make sure you talk to him in a gentle and respectful manner.

Step 2 – You need to seek out a marriage counselor as a witness to your husband’s sin

“Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.” – Malachi 2:14 (KJV)

If your husband will not hear your grievances or refuses to change his ways then you will have to move to this next step.

In my post “When should a Christian couple seek a marriage counselor?” I discussed reasons for marriage counseling from a Christian perspective. I talked about how marriage counseling is often used for the wrong reasons.

Marriage counseling should not be a way for a husband to abdicate his duty to discipline his wife.  Many men take their wives to counselors because they are afraid or unwilling to discipline their wives but this is not a reason for marriage counseling. In the same way marriage counseling is often used by wives as a way to “tell on their husbands” for sins that they should be practicing the I Peter 3:1-2 principle towards as we discussed earlier.

But there are some instances where marriage counseling can be used in a Biblical way and in your situation this would be one of those times. You need to understand that you are not going to a marriage counselor to go around your husband’s authority but rather you are going to the counselor to use them as a witness to the grave sin your husband has committed against you and your marriage covenant.

Hope in your case your husband has committed two sins that can break you marriage covenant – failure to provide and sexual defraudment.

After you have testified against your husband you will need to decide if you want to give him another chance if he truly repents and says he will change his ways. However in this particular case Hope – with your husband being in this evil pattern for 17 years and the fact that he seems to be using you I am not sure how much you can trust anything he says.

You need to pray and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance as to if your husband’s repentance is genuine or not.

Step 3 – Bring him before your church authority

15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” – Matthew 18:15-17 (KJV)

If he will not listen to counselors or refuses to go to counseling then bring him to your Pastor and his wife. If he will not listen even to them then he has chosen to act like an unbeliever, and now he will be treated as such.

Step 4 – Divorce your husband for failure to provide and sexual defraudment

“If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

After you have sought out a counselor and then your church authorities and if you husband fails to repent then you may divorce him.

Can you remarry after this?

There are many Christian websites and pastors (and even regular commenters on this blog) that will tell you that you may divorce your husband in this instance but that you must remain unmarried until he dies.  This is not supported by the Scriptures.  I have written extensively on this subject that once a wife has been freed from her husband in marriage she is free to remarry except in the case that the reason for him divorcing her was because of an adulterous affair on her part.

See my post “Is there such a thing as an “adulterous” marriage?” for more on this subject of divorce and remarriage.

A final word to Hope

Hope – I realize your husband may truly love your children and perhaps he treats them kindly and they love him too.  But he is showing an utterly terrible example to them by his lifestyle. It sounds to me like your husband married you for your money.  He also seems to be one of those men with dreams of grandeur and does not have his feet planted in reality.

There is nothing wrong with a man having dreams of starting his own business.  But a man must support his family and perhaps takes jobs that he does not like while he is pursuing how he will start his own business.  He can’t sit home for 17 years planning to start a business.

He has no right and no excuse whether he is addicted to porn or not to sexually defraud you.  I pray that God will guide you in the difficult choices you need to make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Reasons Christian couples should NOT see marriage counselors

Reasons not to see a marriage counselor? I know it sounds crazy by our modern understanding of marriage. If marriage is a partnership of equals and in any partnership there will be disagreements why would counseling ever not be a good idea?

In an article from GotQuestions.com (http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-marriage-counseling.html) they list these 10 reasons that Christian couples should seek marriage counseling:

1. Inability to resolve conflict in a healthy way.
2. One partner dominating the relationship so that the needs of the other are not met.
3. Inability to compromise.
4. Either partner stepping outside the marriage to “fix” the problems.
5. Breakdown in communication.
6. Confusion about the roles of each spouse in the marriage.
7. Pornography.
8. Deceit.
9. Disagreement about parenting styles.
10. Addictions.

These are actually NOT reasons for a Christian couple to seek marriage counseling. But to understand why these are not reasons to seek couples counseling we first need to understand four principles regarding Biblical marriage.

Four Biblical principles that should be considered before marriage counseling is pursued

The first principle of Biblical Marriage

The wife is to submit to her husband as her head in everything(Ephesians 5:23-24)

The second principle of Biblical Marriage

The wife is to reverence her husband as her master (Ephesians 5:33 & I Peter 3:5-6)

The third principle of Biblical Marriage

A husband is to love his wife as Christ loves his Church and as he loves his own body (Ephesians 5:25-31 & 33)

The fourth principle of Biblical Marriage

A husband is to know and honor his wife (I Peter 3:7)

So as we can clearly see from the Scriptures – marriage as God designed it is not a partnership of equals but it is instead a patriarchy (male lead hierarchy).

Some people might ask – why are the first two principles referring to women submitting to and reverencing their husbands?

I address a woman’s obligation to submit to and reverence her husband first because in the Bible God always addresses those under authority to obey and respect their authority first. Then God addresses those in authority and their treatment of those under their authority. So these principles are actually in the Biblical order that God addresses husbands and wives.

Biblical Principles regarding counseling

In my guide “When should a Christian couple seek a marriage counselor?” I discuss from a Biblical perspective the pros and cons of modern marriage counseling.

In that guide I discuss that while the Bible exhorts us to seek wise counsel, it also tells us that it unwise to allow ourselves to either hear counsel that undermines God’s law and his design of marriage or even if that counsel is wise if it is given in the wrong venue then it can still be wrong.

We need make sure that both WHAT counsel we receive and HOW we receive are right.

For instance there are things that a man needs to learn from another man in private about how to properly treat his wife and children. But it would be inappropriate in most cases for a man to be being corrected by another man in front of his wife and children. It undermines his Biblical authority over them, even if the advice is Biblically based. One of the few cases where it would be ok for a man to be corrected and stopped in front his wife and children is if he were physically abusing them.

See my post “When should a Christian couple seek a marriage counselor?” for more guidelines on when Christian couples should actually seek counseling and how they should seek it in various scenarios.

Now we will apply these Biblical principles about marriage and counsel to GotQuestions.com’s list.

Application of Biblical principles regarding marriage and counseling to GotQuestions.com’s 10 reasons for marriage counseling

“1. Inability to resolve conflict in a healthy way.”

Ok if this has to do with physical abuse by either spouse then I would agree the counseling needs to be sought and in some cases the civil authorities may need to be involved.   But often this issue of resolving conflict in a “healthy way” refers to couples yelling at one another.

A husband should not be yelling at his wife all the time, while there may be some cause for husband to raise his voice to his wife if she acting in a rebellious way. But even if a husband does yell at his wife more than he should – this is not something for a marriage counselor to solve. This is not something where a wife gets to run to a counselor and say “he yells at me too much”. He is her authority, she is to reverence him, obey him and serve him as his wife despite his flaws. This does not mean she cannot bring her concerns to him gently – but there is no cause for a third party in the form of a marriage counselor to come in and undermine his spiritual authority.

“2. One partner dominating the relationship so that the needs of the other are not met.”

Ok let’s be honest – they are prettying much targeting men with this “dominating the relationship” comment.

But first what does “dominate” mean?

These are some definitions of “dominate” as given by Webster’s online dictionary:

“rule or control”

“to exert the supreme determining or guiding influence on”

“to have or exert mastery, control, or preeminence”

“to occupy a more elevated or superior position”

Did we not just see in the Scriptures that the husband is the wife’s head and she is to regard him as her master in all things? Is the husband not to occupy the superior position in marriage if he is to follow God’s design and model for marriage?

So a man “dominating” this marriage in this regard is not only not wrong, but it commanded by God.

But if by dominating that means he is selfish and cares nothing about meeting his wife’s needs that God has commanded him to do then this is indeed a problem.

God defines what a wife’s needs are and how a husband must meet them. He must provide food, clothing, shelter and sex to his wife. He must know her (talk to her and spend time with her) and honor her position as his wife. But how he goes about these tasks is at HIS discretion. It is not the place of the wife to seek out a marriage counselor for her husband’s failures in these types of things.

“3. Inability to compromise.”

What compromise? The husband is to be the decider and the wife is to be the follower. A husband is to hear his wife’s concerns about various issues but ultimately the decisions are his to make whether it be in what church they attend, financial areas, what they teach their children regarding morality and the disciplining of the children and other areas of their marriage.

“4. Either partner stepping outside the marriage to “fix” the problems.”

If this is referring to a wife bad mouthing her husband or husband bad mouthing his wife to others then yes this is wrong – but again this is something that can and should be handled by the couple themselves.

“5. Breakdown in communication.”

Yes couples need to talk (I Peter 3:7 husbands need to know their wives, and Titus 2:4 wives are to show affection for their husbands).

Let’s first tackle the silent husband. If the husband is not talking to his wife this usually is for one of two reasons. The first has to do with her behavior regarding issues such as sexual neglect, neglect of her home, neglect of her children or disrespectful speech or behavior. The second reasons husbands may be silent is simply a selfish neglect toward their wife.

In either case a husband does not have the right to give his wife the silent treatment but neither does his wife have the right to seek out a marriage counselor in order to “tell on him” for his neglect. She needs to work within the marriage to find ways to encourage him to talk to her and to continue loving him, respecting him and submitting to him despite his neglect in this area.

But what about the silent wife? A wife giving her husband the silent treatment is more than just neglect to her duty to be affectionate toward him. It is an act of rebellion. It does not call for marriage counseling. It calls for Biblical discipline by her husband.

“6. Confusion about the roles of each spouse in the marriage.”

What confusion? The Bible is clear – the husband is the head of the wife and the wife is to submit to her husband in everything. The husband is to lead, provide and protect and the wife is to be the keeper of his home and bear and care for his children. No confusion, no counseling needed. Only an acceptance of the four Biblical principles of marriage that I outlined is required.

“7. Pornography.”

Again let’s not kid ourselves – this targeted at men. Your husband looking at a picture of a naked woman may be offensive to you but again what Biblical right do you have to go and “tell” on your husband to a counselor (or anybody else for that matter)? Is he accountable to you or is he accountable to God?

“8. Deceit.”

If a wife hides things from her husband say in regard to spending or is secretly undermining his directions for the children this is a sin against his authority as she is accountable to him. But he should not take her to marriage counselor over this, but rather he should exercise Biblical discipline toward her (e.g. cut up her credit cards).

If a husband hides things from his wife we must really look at what he is hiding. If he is hiding an affair or the fact that he is a drug dealer then these extreme situations would warrant a wife seeking outside help from his authorities in the church or civil government depending on what it was. But other than these big ticket items if he is hiding spending or hiding other things from her – HE is not accountable to her. He is her authority, she is not his.

“9. Disagreement about parenting styles.”

Yes husband and wives are going to disagree about parenting styles. The husband should hear his wife and truly consider her position. But at the end of the discussion it is ultimately his decision as to what parenting style will be applied. The Bible does not allow for a wife to drag her husband to a marriage counselor to convince him that her style is the better one to use.

“10. Addictions.”

A drug addiction or alcohol addiction may be a reason for a wife to seek help from her husband’s authorities as these can directly affect the safety of her and her children. A gambling addiction may be a reason to seek outside help IF this addiction is causing the family not to have food or shelter which a husband is required to provide.

But other than these types of addictions if a husband is say “addicted” his job, to watching sports, watching regular movies, watching porn on his computer or playing video games it is not the place of a wife to seek outside help for these things for her husband. Remember she is not responsible for him and his behavior. Only those things which can cause a real danger to the family or are cause for Biblical divorce would allow a wife to seek outside help.

Conclusion

As we can see in most cases except for extreme conditions none of these 10 reasons for seeking couples counseling would be Biblically valid when we apply the four principles of Biblical marriage to these situations.