Question:

Hi,

I am a member of the Lord's church, as well as my husband. We have been married for about five years with a couple of kids. When we first move to where we currently live, we both attended church; fast forward a year later, he started hanging out with friends who drank, and slowly he started back into drinking. Fast forward a few more years and fresh from an overseas tour, he drinks, and when I complain about it he gets mad, like people normally do when they're told the truth. Sometimes he doesn't attend church and when he does it is not like he goes upfront to confess his sins as drinking would be considered a public sin.

Another bothersome thing is that he drives when he intoxicated. I keep stressing to him that he doesn't need to drive, but of course he insists that he's OK to drive.

When he was overseas he claims he started drinking, clubbing more to pass time, etc. Now that he's here he doesn't drink every day, but more so on weekends when he goes to hang out.

When we first met we both were out in the world, but when we first starting living here as a married couple, he wasn't drinking, and we both got back in the church. So now when we argue, he states the fact that when I met him he was drinking, which is true, but this was over five years ago, and who doesn't look forward to growth in a marriage and not to continue at a stand still? Why would you plan to do the same thing you were doing in your early 20's? I figured we all should grow spiritually as well.

So how do we live as a married couple? The good thing is that my faith has grown a lot within the last year. I'm trying to make sure I stay on the right path. I am not interested in drinking or partying; that lifestyle doesn't attract me. I'm grateful that God's grace has me where I am today as I could've died lost in my sins when I was out in the world. So how should I respond when he decides to bring alcohol in the home? I know a couple times before I would just throw it straight in the garbage. He will state that it's his home too, and if he wants to drink, then he will do so. I was just hoping for some insight. I let him know how I feel when he drinks, but, of course, he's not going to listen even when he know he's in the wrong. I know there are members who spouses are not even in the church. Yet he is. He just straddling the fence.


Answer:

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10).

The problem is that your husband is an alcoholic, but he is denying that he has a problem. I assume there are times that he comes home drunk. But since he manages to hide the worse of his drinking, he assumes it is not a problem.

The first thing to do is let the elders at your church know that you have a problem at home. Ask if you may call them to come over to see for themselves. Wait until your husband arrives home drunk and then call and ask the elders to visit. The reason for this is that it no longer becomes your word against his. The elders will see the evidence and lend their voice to yours. If that doesn't convince him to stop, then the church will need to withdraw from him (Matthew 18:15-17). This is important because your husband needs to know that other people see that he has a problem -- not just you. It is also important that he stops pretending that he is an acceptable Christian.

You can't stop him from drinking, just as you can't stop anyone from sinning. You can only encourage a person to make the right choices. If your husband is drinking and wants to drive, the simple answer is that you and the kids don't go with him. Drive a separate car, or call someone to get you. This has to be done consistently. You don't argue about it. You just shrug your shoulders and say "You've been drinking. The children and I don't ride in vehicles driven by people who are not sober. I'll see you later when we get home." He won't like it. He's likely going to try to pick a fight, but don't rise to the bait. Arrange in advance that you have people to call on when this type of situation comes up.

Basically you draw a line between his drinking and your participation. When he's sober, tell him how much better you like him sober. If he brings alcohol home, continue to toss it. The argument that it is his home too cuts both ways. That means it is your home as well, and you don't have to put up with drinking in your home.

As hard as it is, I want you to avoid arguing or nagging him. He knows he is wrong, so reminders are not needed. I want you to set limits where you have control, but understand you can't control him, even if life would be so much better if you could.