The pastor of our church started a three part series on marriage this weekend. It was a good service, but I left feeling frustrated, as I often do, when the topic is marriage.
Don’t get me wrong, what the pastor had to say was good, however, the message was for the general populace. He didn’t talk about those who are married to repeat adulterers, or addicts or alcoholics, or even to the wife who is married to a man who struggles with mental health issues.
To the pastor’s credit, he DID address the issue of abuse, and encouraged women who are being abused emotionally and verbally, to leave.
He spoke strong words to women who are being physically abused and told them to leave in order to keep themselves and their children safe. He assured them the abuse wasn’t their fault, and they couldn’t fix their husbands. He offered the help of our church if these women were too afraid to speak out about the hidden lives their were enduring. Well said.
My fear and frustration comes from a feeling that there is danger in this kind of message. My concern is that these women who live in exceptional circumstances like that of repeated adultery, alcoholism, and drug and porn addiction, may hear his words and think they just need to have more compassion, and be more loving and forgiving.
The pastor gave a fitting illustration, at one point in the message, that the woman needs to give the husband a drink of water when he is in need of one, and to stop making excuses. Then he made the statement (that he accredited to his wife) that the man is drinking from her glass and if her glass is empty, she can’t give him a drink. It’s the husband’s job to pour into her glass. Always~
Here’s the thing though, in my opinion, it’s not just about the glass being empty or full. In truth, in those situations, it’s about the well and it’s source.
Sometimes the well is in dire need of repair.
There is no water in the glass, but way worse than that is the fact that the well is dry.
There is no water to give. None for the glass, and none in the well.
Even if, by some fluke water somehow finds its way into the well, there are too many cracks and holes for the well to contain the water. In fact, the water will simply run right through the well and seep out all those cracks and holes.
Adultery, porn addiction and drug and alcohol abuse eat away at the very interior of the well so much so that the well has to be repaired because there is so much damage.
And sometimes, repairing the well isn’t even possible. Sometimes what really needs to take place is digging a whole new well. Painstakingly and intentionally digging a well because the old one is beyond repair.
In the meantime, the woman may need to take refuge in a safe environment where the water runs pure and clean, because it’s not her job to dig the new well. It’s her job to care for the full glass and give water willingly and lovingly to her husband as the need arises.
I’m not saying that the woman should go and find a new man who has a decent well. She needs to find trusted friends and family who will let her drink from their well as she recovers. She needs to watch and prayerfully wait to see what her husband will do, because maintaining the well is HIS job.
You get that this is a metaphor, right? Ladies, don’t do your husband’s job for him by taking charge of the well. That’s called enabling. Instead, get out of the way. The state of the well is between God and your husband. You can’t fix the well and you didn’t destroy the well.
You can pray.
And you can allow God to work in your heart those things He wants to do…while you watch and wait to see what He desires to do in your marriage, if your husband is willing to take his responsibility to heart and dig a new well.
The man is the head of the home, which means that ultimately he will give an account for the well and how it was (or wasn’t) cared for.
You will answer to God too, on how you tended the glass full of water.
If you are a woman experiencing any of these scenarios, please reach out to someone who will walk with you. I am a certified life coach who help wives of addicts, sex addicts and alcoholics. If you would like me to pray with or for you, leave a comment or send me an email.