Question: (paraphrased) My daughter became a Christian after marriage, but her husband is unsaved, and an alcoholic. They have been married for several years and have a teenage son. She has stayed with him to be obedient to God. Her husband works, stops to drink, then comes home and eats dinner and passes out. He is not a husband to his wife or a father to his son.
She has been in this situation so long it is keeping her from getting closer to God. Her husband doesn’t acknowledge her and only loves her for the things she does for him. She has been unable to get good advice, only that she should “kill him with kindness” or that she should accept the blame or change her attitude. It makes me furious with God that she has put all of her effort into this marriage and nothing has changed.
Answer: I am not sure we got your entire story, but we have enough to get the sense of what you are experiencing. My heart goes out to you and your daughter and her son. I am sure Christians will start praying for you as a result of your story. Let me assure you on the authority of God’s word He is far more concerned than you can even imagine. He knows every detail of our lives; He created us and cares about every single thing that happens to us!
I believe there are answers if you will put your total trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to solve the problems you expressed so vividly. Also, I know you are probably thinking, “He will say something about my anger with God.” God knows you have anger, but sometimes our anger is misdirected. Our anger should be aimed at Satan for causing such trouble in people’s lives. When Jesus was confronted with something even more serious than what you are experiencing, He wept. I believe He wept because of the results and devastation sin has caused in the world.
“And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, ‘The Teacher has come and is calling for you.’ As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, ‘She is going to the tomb to weep there.’ Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’
Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him!’ And some of them said, ‘Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?’ Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’
Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him ‘Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’ Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.’ Now when He had said these thing, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.'” (John 11:28-44)
Some say if He had not said “Lazarus” all the dead would have come forth! You say what does this passage of scripture have to do with my situation? It has everything to do with it, when we are at our wits end, we know there is nowhere to turn but to Him. As strange as it may sound that is exactly where He wants us to be, now He has the answers, the question is do we trust Him?! Jesus wants me to tell you that He feels the same way about your situation and your daughter’s situation as He felt when He stood at the tomb of Lazarus. He loves you just the same as he loved Mary and Martha in their distress! He still hates what Satan is doing to lives today, and He has the answers, but we have to continue to trust Him, and to continue to pray. One day all sin will be done away with!
First, remember it is not God who caused the problems; there are consequences from our choices, and the choices of others. On the other hand, people need to start where they are at now. Your daughter does not have to divorce her husband, nor does she have to stay with him. Another option is separation. There are other kinds of abuse besides the physical. It sounds like there is emotional and possibly mental abuse going on, God wants to be first in the life, and if this is not happening, separation is a possibility.
Alcohol and drugs do terrible things to lives and families, and that is one reason we have articles about this very subject. Here is a testimony to what really happens when drink is involved. Women have stayed with someone like this and ended up dead when their spouse became violent after drinking. In your case it seems there are other abuses besides the physical, but you need to understand that the psychological or soul is just as important if not more important then the physical body! She cannot stay in a situation where she is dying inside, and her son is being neglected. I would venture to say this man does not fully realize how he has hurt his wife and his family by his drinking and actions. Nor will he see it as serious until she lets him know that she will have to leave if he is going to continue this life style.
This does not mean when a person leaves a husband that they have to get a divorce. You can continue to pray that God does a miracle in his life, and that he is gloriously saved and changed, but short of this, she would not need to return to him. Our study on 1 Corinthians would be helpful in this area. The section you want to look at is Part Two chapter 7. I don’t have all the answers, but God does! I will say, now that others are praying for you, you will see some changes taking place! You have to remember, though, that sometimes when we pray it looks like things are getting worse at first, that is because Satan doesn’t like what’s going on. Just remember he is a defeated foe, we have read the last chapter of the Bible that says this is so!!!
I could not tell for sure if your daughter, her son and you are attending a good Bible believing church or not, but if you aren’t you need to find one right away! Pray for the right one, and God will lead you there by His Holy Spirit. There the pastor can counsel you on what the Bible teaches. You need to read the Bible and meditate on it each day, we have a two year Bible reading chart that you can use to get into the word. Then pray and have others praying for your daughter and her son. By the way, mom, it is good you are concerned about her, and well you should be, but you can only advise her in love, she has to do the rest.
We will be praying, and remember Jesus is still the same person that He was when He raised Lazarus from the dead! There is nothing too hard for Him!
Yours in Christ,
Gary T. Panell
For more information email me at [email protected]
Thank you for this article. I will never forget the day when I told my emotionally abusive ,alcoholic husband of 15 years and his mother, who was visiting, that I could no longer stay in this marriage the way it was because the way I had been treated for so long had caused me ” to die inside.” The first I had ever seen it written down by anyone. Of course, I had a very religious upbringing and every time I tried to get away, I would persecute myself, tell myself I needed to do what God would do in this situation and that I should forgive and lead him to righteousness. Saw, said, save. I am still working on this at this time. My husband is attending church and has stopped drinking as much as he used to. I am not sure at this point if he actually believes in christ, also cannot say any of the changes he has made, although positive, have repaired the broken connection between us. I honestly do not feel any love for him that is my own. I keep Jesus with me all the time and these works are his, and his alone.
Gary Panell says
Thank you Crystal for your kind comments. God is answering prayers in His perfect will and His perfect timing. I don’t know what that answer is, but He does and He will never leave us or forsake us. God bless you, Brother Gary
I seriously can relate.God help us!
Gary Panell says
Gloria, hi, pray for them and for yourself. Brother Gary
I need prayer in this area myself.. I pray for those who need help with alcoholic spouces.. I have been dealing with this for over 25 years .. Stopping at bars everyday than dealing with mental and emotional abuse we have 4 boys who are now all grown they went through neglect from a father who was never home.. I recently found God again cause I had lost faith I pray everyday for God to change him.. I don’t know what to do i want to leave but our kids still live with us and I feel guilty.. Please pray for us.
Gary Panell says
Hi Elizabeth, You know thru years I have had more letters than I could ever count that sound very much like yours. Most often, these men, will justify their drinking by saying, Jesus drank or Paul said, but they do not want to listen to Scripture that makes it very clear about alcohol. For example Proverbs 23:31,32 “Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.” Don’t give up on him, you have been together too long to go anywhere probably. Unless you know someone who could keep you for awhile, maybe then he would realize what he has lost when you are gone. This is when you need a good church with friends who can help you. Praying for you. Brother Gary
Sacred woman says
I’m glad to know my father helped your situation….I just don’t love my husband anymore his drinking has led me to I don’t like him and to give up on him I keep praying hoping God will make him see his selfish unhealthy ways but not yet so do I stay and wait on the Lord or do I move forward with myself by myself and wait on the Lord ……
Debbie W says
I can relate to this. My husband had been sober since 1993 We’ve been together since 1998, and all of a sudden, about 3 years ago he started drinking again. He’s not abusive, per se. He does get very argumentative when he drinks though, and I hate it. We got saved in 2000 and know what God says about a drunkard. I’m falling out of love for him. It’s like that saying, every time I forgive him he loves me more, but I love him less. I’m ready to leave, but just need clear direction from God. I know God hates divorce, but I’m done. I can’t handle this. It’s making me despise him. I need good, wise counsel.
Gary Panell says
Hi Debbie, Thanks for your letter. You don’t have to divorce him, but neither do you have to stay with him. Find a good church fellowship and tell him to stop the drinking or else one of you will have to leave. Brother Gary
Change is coming says
I understand this story all to well. I’ve stayed with my alcoholic husband for 15 years. I’ve stayed out of fear its sad to say but thats the reason. I dread coming home most days. I try to forgive him but the cycle has been going on so long I’ve gotten use to making myself content by myself. He uses me for what he needs then throws me away. I finally stood up for myself and I keep on standing. But I’m tired I asked God every day to rescue me and the kids. He did hear me and did as we speak my husband is locked up. But he is probably coming home soon and I don’t want him to. Just thinking about rasining 5 sons by myself in a town with no family is hard. I don’t know what to do. But I know our lives are peaceful when he not here and we don’t have to live in fear everyday not know what will happen. I often help people cope with life challenges but can’t find an anwser to my own.
Gary Panell says
Hi —– You need to find a good Bible believing church where you can get the friendship and fellowship you need. Keep praying and reading your Bible too. God cares for you and loves you very much. He will help you to raise the boys to be godly young men. Keep praying for salvation for your husband. Brother Gary
I lay here in bed next to my very drunk husband. Who tells me if I love him I will take him to get more beer. I am a little tired. I was stern about the drinking because I am in recovery and want to maintain my sobriety. He has left me twice for other females who support his vice. I love him so much I don’t want that to happen again so 1 day a week I get my strength and let him drink. He always says just 1 and I’m done. The one turns into 5 etc. He always feels remorse the next day and says that’s the last time no more. Yet there is always a next. I have prayed to God, “Lord with what purpose did u allow this man into my life. I let him go and he always comes back saying I’m the best thing in his life. Why God?”
My spirit feels I should pray for him and God will help him. I am the only family he has. Without me he is alone and ends up in the streets sorry, hungry and lost. Just keep me in prayer please. I love him so much. I told him tonight that there may come a day where I will love me more. I will always hurt for my love dor him but I have to live and love me. I am not there yet but one day of God does not do the miracle of liberating him from his vices. I will have to stand firm on my faith and belief that I am a princess in God’s kingdom and I deserve better.
Your sister in Christ
Gary Panell says
Hi Jane, Your husband is not saved and so cannot withstand the power of Satan over his life when he is tempted. Let’s pray for his salvation. You may need to separate, but you need to pray about it. Even if you do separate for a time, don’t give up on him getting saved. When he is saved he will have the spiritual power to overcome temptation. We will be praying for you guys. Brother Gary and Sister Marlene
Sacred woman says
My sister in Christ
Today I’m in the same way as you NO I don’t drink and have no desire to because I see after 30 years what it does to my husband I don’t Kno what is worst taking them to go get it or them taking themselves so sad either way . I will not buy it nor take him I will not be a part of his selfishness….I jus pray that God makes him stop before it’s to late and I’m so angry and on the verge of hating this male that I’m supposed to love NOPE I can’t I feel mad at myself for sticking around I’m angry with me ..I’m a good person I have so much love to give and I’m allowing this drunk to take my love for free and for granted
I can almost play the outcome in my head as to his last days on Earth such a waste I pray to God for help for myself discernment to figure all this out with his strength ..now this person I’m married to has Alot of medical issues and I told him it’s all because of alcohol..he claims drinking beer is nothing like drinking vodka or hard liquor ..SMH it’s all the same thing well gotta go talk to God again again and again..I’mma keep praying till something happens….good bad or indifferent I need some help for me ..I want out QUICK
Lisa Hill says
Hey I’m Lisa Hill and my husband bobby hill have a drinking problem, he call me all kinds of bad word. I told him if he have a problem me and him can go get help he said no, i ask him can we go talk. To the pastor he said no, he keep me up all night I’m tried.
Gary Panell says
Hi Lisa, here is what the Bible says about drinking: Wine in the Bible
by Gary T. Panell
A lot of people think that the Bible condones drinking of alcohol because it talks about wine. They say, “Didn’t Jesus make wine for a wedding?”
What many people don’t know is that the word “wine” in the Bible is a generic term. The context (words before and after the word wine) in each case indicates whether it was fermented or not.
In Isaiah 16: 10b, grape juice is called “wine” (yayin) when it is still in the press, saying, “No treaders will tread out wine in the presses” where it clearly cannot be fermented yet.
Now, “Did Jesus make alcohol for the wedding in Cana? We find the story in John 2:1-11, in the New Testament.
The person in charge of the wedding, after he had tasted the wine Jesus had just made, commented, “…you have kept the good wine until now.” Good wine was fresh grape juice, the fermented grape juice was considered inferior.
Another way we know that this was not an alcoholic drink is because Jesus always obeyed the father. In Proverbs 23:31 and 32 it commands, “Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around
smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper.” No, Jesus did NOT make a fermented wine at this wedding, but rather He gave a wedding gift of at least 120 gallons of fresh unfermented grape juice.
In another place in the Bible, Deuteronomy 32:33, it says fermented wine is poison. Alcohol is a toxic mind-altering drug. Alcohol causes ill effects on the digestive, muscular, skeletal, nervous and circulatory systems. It causes cirrhosis of the liver, jaundice, pancreatitis, and blackouts along with many other sicknesses.
The Bible says wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses fights, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise! Proverbs 20:1
We need to trust God’s Word, God does not lie. The misunderstanding is with us; because in our culture all wine is fermented, but not in the Bible.
Some people also think the Bible encourages drinking of a little alcohol because Paul told Timothy, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your often infirmities.” Paul was telling Timothy to drink grape juice for medicinal purposes. Remember the Bible does not use the word “grape juice,” but always the word “wine” which can be either fermented or unfermented depending on the context.
Getting drunk should not be taken lightly because the Bible says: “Don’t you know
that those who live immoral lives, who are idol worshipers, adulterers or homosexuals-will have no share in His Kingdom. Neither thieves or greedy people, ‘drunkards’, slanderers, or robbers.” 1 Corinthians 6:10.
Many young people today drink to get drunk. God’s Word has something to say about this also: “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on their nakedness!” Habakkuk 2:15.
In other references such as 1 Timothy 3: 2, 3 and Titus 1:7, we have the phrase, “not given to wine” this is taken by some to mean, “not to be addicted” to alcohol. But in reality the Greek word used here is, “mee-paroinon,” literally, not at, by near, or with wine (alcohol). According to Paul, total abstinence is an indispensable qualification for a pastor. (See Bible Wines, William Patton)
Other references that have caused confusion to some are the ones like 1 Timothy 3:8 and Titus 2:3, “not given to much wine.” In order to understand these verses, we will need to understand a popular vice of that time. That was to drink a lot of unfermented wine. They used various methods to promote thirst. These drinkers might continue drinking all night at their feasts.
Excessive drinking, even of non-alcoholic drinks corresponded to gluttony-the excessive use of food. Paul is simply
guarding the deacons and deaconesses against a vice of the day. It would be similar in our day to “bulimia” (eating or drinking to the point of being gorged and then vomiting). This is unbecoming behavior for a Christian in any age!
In Revelation 1:6, we are called kings and priests, according to Scripture kings or princes were not to drink fermented wine or intoxicating drink, Proverbs 31: 4, 5. We are also told that priests were not to drink any wine or intoxicating drink when they went into the tabernacle (or temple), Leviticus 10:9 and 10. Then 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
Maybe as you have read this pamphlet, you have realized that you are not right with God. You know that if you were to die, you would not go to heaven. You can be saved today by turning from sin and obeying, John 3:16, where it says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Going to heaven
is as simple as A B C !
Admit that we have sinned.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of
the glory of God… (Romans 3:23)
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and
you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
Confess with our mouth.
“…that if you confess with your mouth
the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart
that God has raised Him from the dead,
you will be saved. For with the heart
one believes unto righteousness, and
with the mouth confession is made unto
salvation.” (Romans 10: 9-10)
Pray this prayer: God, I admit I have sinned. I believe Jesus your Son loves me and
died on the cross for my sins. I am sorry
for my sins, and turn from them right now.
I receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, Amen.
For more information: bible-christian.org
Sacred woman says
Amen amen Lisa I stopped asking that male I married to get help I’m now seeking help for me ..me .me me ..Im at the point I really don’t care anymore I must look out for me so many times we drain our energy tryin to help them and we don’t think about the help we need for us by the time we want help for us we are drained out…well I’m 55 yes old and me Smith has been drinking since 1984 when I met him you do the math..3 kids and 7 grandkids later yep still at it.. I’m done ….help someone help me …are you there God this is me I need you …..
I have been reading all of the previous posts looking for advice. Today my husband and I celebrate 20 years of marriage. All by the grace of God. We met in high school, 25 years ago. We both had similar backgrounds, alcoholic parents who were physically and emotionally abusive, 2 siblings and we were the eldest. Expected to care for our younger siblings. We both agreed that we would never become like our parents because we didn’t want our children to have to go through what we did. My husband and I were married for 1yr when we were invited to church, 2 services later, felt God leading us to the altar not knowing why until kneeling and God saved us…the same exact day!! We couldn’t believe how blessed we were to share our Christian birthday.
Years go by and we are diligently serving our Lord, regularly attening church, going on mission trips etc. My husband feels the call on his life to preach. W
He prays and accepts the call and prayerfully decides to go to seminary school. We moved as a family he goes and graduates with an Associate’s Degree in Pastoral Ministries. During this time I’m a stay at home mom, homeschooling and finances are tough. Always had been but we continue to pray and trust God who always provides. Years go by and the recession hit, no work, we stay with friends who are also on hard times. We get new jobs after 6months and get our own home again. Now I’m working full time, 1st time in years. 2nd shift…my husband begins to secretly drink alcohol. He has a car wreck with him and my son, thecar flipped multiple times…it was Gods grace the spared them…car was all smahed up. Husband tell me about the drinking because he was caught and vows to quit…..8yrs later…we’ve boughtour 1st home, we both work full time jobs…he’s a functioning alcoholic. He drinks to excess everyday. Even though I cry and ask him to stop. He gets angry and I get afraid even though he’s never physically harmed me or my children. I don’t know what else to do. I wonder if it’s my fault. In the midst of everything we no longer go to church. Is this my fault? Am I being punished? How can I help him?
My heart hurts so much.. I love him with all my heart but I’m starting to resent him and think horrible things about him.
Any advice appreciated!!
Gary Panell says
Hi Christy, Thank you for sharing your testimony. You are not alone, because pastor as a whole will not take a stand on alcohol and drinking. They have much to answer to God for in this area. Have you read the tracts we have on alcohol on Bible-Christian.org Please go to the search and put in Beer and other alcoholic beverages in the Bible. Write when you can, we will be praying that God convicts you husband of the sin of drinking. Brother Gary
Hi Sacred Woman, My name is KJ and I teach on Reaping and Sowing to the flesh and what the fruit looks like and how to get out of it. I read your story and a few things stick out to me.
1) You both made vows to NEVER be like your parents. This set up a reaping of the same judgement that would fall back onto you both. Break the vow that you made by praying this….Father forgive me for judging my parents for being alcoholics we realize that we dishonored them by judging them instead of praying for them. We realize that now we are reaping that judgement back onto ourselves…we take these judgements to the cross, reckon them as dead cover them with the blood and fill them with the Holy Spirit, we pray for life and life abundantly …in Jesus name. Alot of your problems are rooted in Judgements against others and this has made an open door for the enemy to bring these judgements back onto you…
Hello, I am asking for prayers for my husband. I recently rededicated myself to the Lord and surrendered everything to Him. I truly believe God has been working on my marriage but because my husband has not been saved the enemy is using him as a target to me. He is an alcoholic who tried to quit drinking on his own but I realized he is being controlled by Satan. I am asking for prayers for him, because we have 2 teenagers who are watching him. I keep praying for change in order for him to be a good example to my children but I know it’s in Gods time. I pray for him to surrender himself and stop allowing the enemy to continue to control him.
Gary Panell says
Hi Brandy, We are praying for you and your husband. Brother Gary
Hi Gary and all – I highly recommend Alanon and/or a church-based recovery group for us who have a loved one who drinks too much. It has helped me immensely to control my own behavior and reactions and focus on letting God work and my own health. The serenity prayer is all I can manage some days but I don’t feel hopeless. Just discouraged because it is still a problem. My sponsor tells me I have to decide how much I’ll take. I don’t know if it’s the lying or drinking that bothers me most. There are happy times and some sober days or weeks but the binging puts a pall on things and costs us money, jobs, and our home. But I learned to not isolate and put all my hopes on my husband for my own happiness. Now I have friends and go to a church that doesn’t judge me if my husband isn’t always there. I have more tools to live my life as God would have me live whether or not my husband chooses to change or not. One day at a time, I can choose to make good choices for my life.
Gary Panell says
Hi Laura, I hope you are reading some, if not all the articles we have on alcohol and the Bible, wine and the bible, etc. Also, we have many letters from women like you that would help, I believe, if you would read those too. Look on Bible-Christian.org I hope this helps, Gary
I have attended Biblical Counseling for a while about this, and my counselor finally told me that God may take my husband home because of his besetting sin. I do feel like I am mentally abused. When drunk, my husband will say things like “you’re not nearly as good as you think you are”, or “all you do is make my life miserable”. 10 minutes later, he’ll walk in the room like he didn’t say anything. It’s an emotional ping-pong game. He starts drinking at 5 am until he passes out. (He works from home – we actually work together – lucky me!) I’m either the apple of his eye or the worst person in the world that he wants to divorce.
I will be reading the literature you suggested to Laura. At this point, all I know to do is put headphones on to block him out, turn up the Christian music, and just try to live peacefully in the same house. I can’t even sleep in the same bed anymore because the sour vodka smell just overtakes the whole room.
Gary Panell says
Hi Jacquelyn, My advice to you, is to keep praying until God brings a break thru for you. Praying, Gary