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She sat crumpled in the middle of her bedroom floor, tears streaming down her face. Noticing his phone still in her hand, she suddenly hurled it across the room as if it were a venomous viper, ready to strike. The text messages revealed the ugly truth, and she searched her mind for a way to rectify her now confirmed suspicions.
We never think it will happen to us, believing the fairy tale mantra of “Happily ever after”. According to a 2014 CDC poll, the marriage growth rate is 6.9 per 1,000, and divorce rings in at 3.2 per thousand. Judging by these statistics, for every two marriages, one fails.
This wife desperately longed to save her marriage. After all, didn’t Jesus say to forgive seventy times seven? Didn’t he say divorce was wrong?
If you can relate to this scenario, it’s because you’re not alone.
I receive weekly reader emails across the US as well as foreign countries–in the past month, roughly thirty missives on the topic of struggling (or failing) marriages.
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When your marriage needs boundaries
Questions similar to these turn up again and again:
What am I supposed to do with a husband who blatantly sins?
Doesn’t the Bible say God hates divorce?
I don’t want my marriage to end, but how do I determine how much is enough? Where do I draw the line?”
Please pray–my husband doesn’t treat me well.
My husband is a believer but is living like the devil.
There’s another woman, but I believe divorce is wrong. What should I do?
God’s Word sets forth clear boundaries for certain instances, and the believer must look at Scripture as a whole when marriage needs boundaries. We see that He provides answers to our particular circumstances through His Word, prayer, and Biblical counsel.
Listed below are three specific instances where marriage needs boundaries. A couple may need to separate for a certain period of time in order to provide a safe environment for the family as well as give the erring partner time to mend his (or her) ways.
1.) Physical abuse
There is absolutely no good reason to support staying in an unsafe environment. If you wouldn’t let a stranger beat you or your children up, why would you let someone who is supposed to love you? Physical abuse is a huge warning flag and should not be ignored. If you, or someone you love, is being physically abused, get help, or call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
2.) Substance abuse
My brother-in-law, who is a police detective, encounters frequent substance abuse cases in our depressed West Virginia economy. His experience has been that those who suffer from drug addiction most certainly can never be successfully treated without professional help. He notes that after reentering society, if not held accountable, they return to their former state of addiction. Drugs and alcohol are dangerous substances and should never be allowed in your home, in order to protect yourself and your children.
The age of technology creates an easy market for extramarital affairs. Precautionary measures and accountability standards must be established between husband and wife. Even the most secure marriage can crumble due to carelessness. If you are a victim of an adulterous spouse who refuses to remain accountable, I urge you to seek help and draw boundaries. The book, Boundaries in Marriage, by Cloud and Townsend, is an excellent resource for answers for how to deal with certain types of mistreatment.
Your Marriage Needs Boundaries
Dear wife, these are only a few reasons to seek counsel and draw boundaries your marriage. But I’m going deeper in this post called, What Scripture says about boundaries and divorce in an unhealthy marriage, discussing popularly cited verses by wives desperately seeking to save their marriages. For access to your Marriage Boundaries Guideline Pack, click here.
Please know that I do not believe God wants your marriage to end. He very much wants every marriage to succeed and He hates divorce. But He also sets forth particular boundaries in His Word that you may not be aware of.
And for those of you who have emailed me with your desperate pleas for prayer, I’m covering you. Please know that I will continue to do so, and if you are reading this right now wishing for prayer or a word of encouragement, you may contact me here. God loves you, dear one! Never doubt that! He has answers if you seek Him.
When is “too much” enough?
When do you think too much is enough? Where do you draw the line in an unhealthy marriage?
For more in-depth help on the subject, this book, Boundaries in Marriage, takes a close look at how God views this particular subject.