“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.” –Acts 3:19–20
Harsh words. Icy cold glances. Disrespect. Lying. Adultery. Always hoping it will be the last time, somehow knowing it won’t be.
Sin against our husbands comes in various forms, each destructive in its own right.
Here’s the reality: If you are in Christ, you are free from sin. Jesus went to the cross to release you from slavery. And yet, until we meet him face to face, we will sin. Sin occurs anytime we forget who we are and what Christ has done. Hope for change meets despair over our wretchedness at the cross.
By his grace, the grasp of sin on our hearts can lessen. By his grace, we begin to look more like Jesus and less like ourselves. When we sin against our husbands, we must first face our God.
Sort Out the Mess in Prayer
Let’s be honest ladies, most of us spend a good portion of our lives living on a spiritual roller coaster. Whether you are a vocal, hands-up-in-the air drama queen or a silent stoic, we all experience great highs and lows. One moment, we have resisted temptation and conquered sin and the next moment, we’ve lashed out at our husbands in anger and contempt.
Over the years, I have been helped by stepping off the ride and sitting with God in prayer so he can search my heart.
The Holy Spirit gives wisdom and clarity when we ask. He will help you differentiate between sin, lie and hurt and lead you to respond to each appropriately.
First, we must address sin. Pray Psalm 139. Ask the Holy Spirit to lay conviction upon your heart. Define your sin biblically, and don’t be vague. Name your anger, your jealousy, your pride—there is freedom in declaring that your specific sin has been nailed to the cross.
Then, respond in repentance. True repentance is a remembrance of who you are in Christ and a turning from your sin to beholding the glory of God. Rejoicing and refreshment come from the presence of the Lord. Go to your husband with humility and a soft heart and ask for forgiveness. Talk to him about what God has shown you in your heart. Ask him to pray with you as you restore relationship that has been damaged by your sin. Intimacy is built with God and each other in times of heartfelt repentance.
Oftentimes, our sin is born out of a lie we believe about God and/or ourselves. We have an enemy who delights in lying to us and celebrates when we sin against our husbands. We cannot cop out with “the devil made me do it” sort of thinking.
We are not off the hook just by acknowledging that we are sinners. When we sin, we must repent.
When we identify lies, we must fight back with truth. Repent of the sin of unbelief and redress in the armor of God. Grow as a woman who is bold in her belief and knowledge of Scripture. We have been given power over Satan, so exercise that power in the name of Jesus Christ.
Ask your husband to join you in the fight against the enemy. Be honest about the temptation to believe certain lies. Name the lie, and much of its power over you will be broken. Your fight is against darkness and evil; don’t make it between you and your man.
Sometimes, we sin in response to a wounded heart. Wounded wives wound husbands. This is not to give license or leeway to sin. At the same time, in marriage, hurt happens. When you seek God in prayer, he will minister to your heart. He will give clarity to your pain and show you what is yours to own and what may be your husband’s to acknowledge. You are not enslaved to your hurt, but it does demand a biblical response.
The biblical response to hurt in a marriage is to grieve and forgive. God grieves when we hurt others, and God grieves when we are hurt. Godly grief acknowledges pain and leaves it in the hands of our just God to address. Grief acknowledges the grace needed to forgive and offers forgiveness out of the overflow of grace that Jesus has given.
Sin is messy. Marriage is messy when sin is involved.
Praise God for his infinite grace and mercy! He is patient with us as we seek him to address our sin, combat lies, and heal our hurt.
Jen Smidt is a deacon at the Ballard church, where her husband, Phil, is a marriage and family pastor.