Elisabeth Corcoran’s new book, Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage, released on Valentine’s Day.
Here is an excerpt:
Who Am I to Judge?
Question: How do you confront your husband when he’s in sin?
The same way you eat an elephant…one bite at a time and very, very carefully.
Somewhere along the way, I got the impression that it wasn’t my place to confront my husband. For two reasons. First, I had it in my head that a man should do it. I have literally no idea where I came up with that one. And secondly, I thought, “Who am I to judge him? I’m a total nutcase, a complete mess.” Another reason some might have that keeps them from speaking up is fear of what will happen if they do.
I no longer believe that only another man can speak into the life of a husband. I believe part of what God meant for us when he calls us the “helpmate” is to come alongside our partners and help them live holy lives.
Sara Groves expresses this beautifully in one of my favorite songs, Different Kinds of Happy:
It’s a sweet, sweet thing standing here with you and nothing to hide light shining down to our very insides sharing our secrets, baring our souls, helping each other come clean
In fact, I even played this song for my daughter and niece and told them to look for this quality when choosing their husbands. Being able to ask each other the hard questions is part and parcel with a healthy marriage. You are allowed to ask anything. If you’re not, that’s a red flag.
I totally get where I was coming from on the judging part though. None of us are sinless. But if we wait until we’re completely without sin to point out something to someone who is going down a dangerous path, no one would ever hold anyone accountable for anything. If you are doing your best to walk with God and if you are as current with him as you can be as far as your own faults go, you have the obligation to help a fellow believer see the error of his ways. If your spouse is hurting you, someone else or himself either physically, emotionally or spiritually, it needs to be called out. Just make sure you’re prayed up and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the right words and to give your husband a softened heart to accept your concerns.
If fear of fallout is what’s holding you back, that should tell you something. Though there are definitely topics of conversation that are harder to bring up than others, you should never be fearful of your spouse. If you are, that signals a bigger problem. If this is the case, then ask someone to have this difficult conversation with you, like a counselor, pastor or friend of your husband’s. It needs to be someone you can trust and someone who will make sure that what you have to say is heard.
Listen, going to someone to tell them that they’ve hurt you or are hurting themselves is never easy. But it’s part of what God wants for those of us living in community and trying to become more like Jesus. It’s a burden but it’s also a sweet, sweet thing.
Secrets and cyphers there’s no good way to hide there’s redemption in confession and freedom in the light I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid -Sara Groves
Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage and Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage, along with several other books. She speaks several times a month to women’s groups, and is a member of Redbud Writers’ Guild. She lives with her children in Illinois.
Visit her online at http://www.elisabethcorcoran.com/difficult-marriage-divorce/ or https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethKleinCorcoran. She is the moderator of two private Facebook groups: one for women in difficult Christian marriages, and one for Christian women who are separated or divorced. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in joining.