Recently, I shared a post on how I choose to submit to my husband. My article prompted one reader to ask me to write on how to honor our husband’s, even when they ask us to sin. That’s quite the challenging maze to successfully navigate through to the other side!
But it’s so very important to approach this topic, since this conflict arises in marriage more often than we might ever imagine! Especially in an unequally yoked marriage between a believer and an unbeliever or marginal believer.
First off, honoring our mates—in particular, husbands—comes in two different forms …
1. Obvious honoring gestures that typically make our mates feel warm and fuzzy.
2. The sometimes prickly acts of honor—calling our mates to a godly and high standard of conduct.
Both are necessary in marriage.
We must boldly go toward the second whenever certain criteria are established. Always doing so with care and love for God and for our mates.
With that in mind, use these 3 questions to evaluate your situation …
1. Is my mate’s desire/action truly sinful or just offensive to me?
If it is, then these questions might also need to be considered …
2. How long has it been going on and/or how prevalent is it?
3. Is it my responsibility or my spouse’s to address and/or change it?
When considering if it is truly sinful, do your homework here!
Scour the Bible for what God teaches and commands on your particular issue. Still not sure? Then ask for guidance on the issue from your pastor or a godly counselor/mentor before confronting your mate.
For context, let’s consider three potential scenarios …
Scenario #1: Your husband wants you to engage in oral sex with him.
Based on question number 1 above, this might feel offensive to your sensibilities and desires. But there is nothing in Scripture that prohibits sexual activities like these within the bounds of marriage.
On the other hand, consider the following verse if he forces you to do what you are uncomfortable with …
“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive.” —1 Cor. 10:23 (NIV)
Your spouse might have the right to do this—ask for oral sex …
But if it violates your conscience, then forcing you to do it, is not constructive. Or might I add, not loving (Eph. 5:25)!
[bctt tweet=”If your mate forces you to do something that violates your conscience and not their own, then find out what that means at messymarriage.com” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
It becomes sinful on his part when he coerces you into the act. In my view, anytime your husband forces you to do something, he violates God’s command to love his wife.
In an effort to honor him in this matter, you could offer to do some other sexual activity with him that is acceptable to you. This might serve as a helpful and necessary stretch out of your comfort zone. And seeing you do this will bless and remind him of your love for him. #winwin
Scenario # 2: Your husband asks you to lie to your relatives about his bad attitude toward his mom.
Let’s say that he complains and disparages her to you nearly every day. Based on question number one, angry complaining would be considered sinful.
It also violates question #2, since it is prevalent.
In that case, gently encourage him to change his ways. It would also be wise to urge him to respectfully talk to his mother about how he feels—aiming for a gracious resolution with her.
Gently encouraging him to resolve this conflict can be a great way to honor your guy. However, don’t let this turn into an argument, nor should you force him to do it your way, or you will be the one sinning.
If, on the other hand, your husband only complains occasionally about his mother, then honor him by extending grace. It’s not your job to report every cross word he says about her to her.
Just keep these angry ramblings confidential—being sure to pray for his heart to soften toward her each time he complains.
Privately praying for your husband’s faults, flaws and sins is another great way to honor him. God will reward you openly for blessing your guy privately. In a sense, you are “giving to the needy” whenever you give prayers to God on your husband’s behalf (Mt. 6:3-4).
Scenario #3: Your husband asks you to join him in tax fraud.
This one is obviously sinful, since we are commanded to obey the leaders of our land (1 Peter 2:13-14).
The issue of how long it’s been going on or how prevalent it is doesn’t really matter. That’s because even a one-time infraction here is sinful.
The third question about whether it’s your responsibility or your husband’s is immaterial as well. That’s because you both are guilty of tax fraud when you jointly file fraudulent tax records.
It’s time to resist at the highest level possible—seeking godly and wise people to support you in this effort.
Though it might not feel like it for you or your spouse, confronting and resisting this sin is honoring to you both. It could save you and your spouse from imprisonment and certainly from disgrace.
[bctt tweet=”That’s what an honoring spouse does—seeks to protect her husband’s heart from the corruption of sin. #bebraveinmarriage, #honoryourmate, #protectheart” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Every one of these potential scenarios and more involve three important things: God’s word, prayer and respectful conversations with our mates about our concerns.
The more confusing and challenging part in honoring our mates no matter what is to find ways to communicate our concerns respectfully.
A good Scripture to keep in mind is …
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” —James 1:19-20 (NIV)
And a good guide and protocol for how to handle challenging conversations and confrontations is found in Matthew 18:15-17.
Be advised: using these biblical steps could potentially involve the pastors of your church. If your spouse is resistant to your confrontation, as well as to your church leaders, consider enlisting the help of a good, godly counselor instead.
Bottom line: It is better and more honoring to address these sticky issues, than to let them fester and divide you in marriage. If you don’t, you might just find yourself in a legal counselor’s office as an unwilling party in a divorce. No one experiences honor in that sad situation.
“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” —Song of Solomon 2:15 (NIV)
[bctt tweet=”It is better and more honoring to address these sticky issues, than to let them fester and divide you in marriage. #avoiddivision, #preventdivorce” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Immediately below is the post that inspired this current one …
For other posts related to this topic click the following …
Next week, I hope you’ll join me for a roundup of gift ideas for your mate, as well as inspiring holiday posts I’ve discovered around the web!
What other advice would you give to a spouse being pressured to join his/her spouse in sin?
What is a way that you’ve honored your mate recently, or want to honor him/her in the future?
Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Encouraging Word Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Grace Moments Linkup, Imparting Grace, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Moments of Hope, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Blogger Voices Network, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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