Question:

My husband and I had a lot of issues to deal with prior to our marriage. He grew up in the church but had fallen away for years after he left our country. He returned after many years and I met him in a Bible school. I thought that he was trying really hard to reconcile with God. However, issues concerning his past kept coming up. My family had problems with me seeing him. He was found using marijuana, even though he was preaching occasionally. I broke up with him but married him two months later.

Since then we have had a number of problems, the main one being intimacy. We have not been having sex regularly, and he blames me for it. Occasionally he says that he does not want me to get pregnant as a reason for us not having sex, but I do not believe him.

Recently he told me that he was unfaithful to me with another sister and that he also slept with a prostitute. He promised that he would get and HIV test, but he has not done it until today, three months after he told me. He tells me he wants the marriage to work, but when I suggest that we see a counselor, he opposes it and says we can sort our own problems. I tried to kiss him once, he was uncomfortable doing that. So, I am wondering if he is still in an adulterous relationship. Also, he as been spending nights out saying he is working, but I find it hard to believe him. He has also stopped worshiping since he committed adultery two years ago.

I am much younger than him, and I still in college. It has been difficult studying and having to deal with all of this. Nevertheless, I am striving to better myself. He is the first man I have slept with, but I have never experienced what it is like to have sex because I have never been satisfied. I am so frustrated and confused. I am wondering if his unfaithfulness is my fault, and why he does not want to have sex with me. I am seriously thinking about leaving the relationship, since he does not want help, but I do not believe in divorcing. I am scared that I would commit a sin if I lived on my own. I would like to work it out with him, but I think that in this situation I would be affecting my self-image as well as my mental health.

What do you think is the biblical thing to do? I am looking forward to your answer. I really need your help.


Answer:

Though it won't change matters, let's look at how you got to your current situation. You commit your life to a man whom you didn't trust. You saw multiple signs that he would not be a good husband. You had people who loved you warn you that he wasn't good. You even broke up with him. But you married him anyway. Tell me, if your best friend did this, would you think she was being reasonable?

I suspect that your husband is being driven by guilt. He stopped going to church when he started committing adultery. That hints to me that he understands he is sinning and that he doesn't want to be a hypocrite. Sadly, he chose sin over righteousness. His sorrow was only a worldly one instead of a godly one.

There are two possible reasons that he doesn't have sex that much with you. I suspect that he continues to use drugs and, depending on the type he is using, several would interfere with his ability to have sex. I also suspect that he is continuing to commit adultery. That would reduce any need to have sex on his part. Perhaps, too, he fears giving you a disease.

It isn't just HIV that you should be concerned about. There are hundreds of sexually transmitted diseases which can cause harm. I suspect that a part of his reluctance to get tested is that he doesn't want his sinful behavior confirmed on paper. It is easier to pretend if you can tell yourself that you aren't going to do it again and when you do give in that no one will find out anyway.

The right and proper thing to do is to work this problem out. You freely made a covenant with a man who is having a great deal of problems. A part of a covenant is helping your partner fulfill his part in the covenant. However, this doesn't mean accepting his sins or putting yourself in harm. Lay out very clearly that you married a man, not a roommate. Insist that he gets himself checked for STDs. Tell him the nights out end. If he has been doing drugs, he needs to go through rehab. If these are not acceptable to him, then he can leave. If he wants to stay, after doing those things, you and he are going to counseling

The lack of intimacy is actually a side issue in this case. There are far more serious things going on, which need to be fixed. If what is suspected is true, the reason he isn't able to give you satisfaction is because he's never learned. Visits to prostitutes are short. The women get the men to finish quickly so they can move on to more customers. Men used to prostitutes are focused on their satisfaction and don't really know how to truly satisfy a woman.

I suspect that he will choose to leave than to change. If so, you would be in your rights to divorce him because of his fornication (Matthew 19:9) and have the right to remarry later. However, I strongly recommend waiting a while and not repeating your mistakes. If possible, wait a bit to see if your husband does decide to clean up his life. Perhaps the realization that he is losing you will be the motivation to change.

Thank you for your quick response to my question. I agree with everything that you said and am willing to sort out things with my husband. I know that I could have avoided being in this situation by not marrying him; nevertheless, I need to fulfill my role as a wife and hopefully with prayer, he would recommit his life.

I would just like to ask you one thing again: How would you suggest I go about having him to agree to get counseling? There are a few brethren in the church who are willing to help, but he makes himself unavailable. To me this is one of the only ways forward because when I try to speak with him, he always manages to highlight my flaws. I would like someone who is objective to listen and help us. So I would just like to get your advice on how I should go about doing this. Once again, thank you for your help and keep up the good work that you're doing. God bless you!

You need to think in terms of motivation. At the moment, he has no particular reason to seek counseling because he has no particular reason to change. Perhaps the thought of losing you permanently might get him moving, but I don't know him to be able to say it will work. The only thing I know that generally works is when those around him stop supporting his addictive behavior and insist that only when he cleans up his act can he come back. Sadly, that is hard for friends and family to do because love for the person gets in the way of doing what is best for the person (Hebrews 12:5-14).