“All the books I read about ‘How To Win Your Husband To Christ’ were written by ‘godly’, ‘spiritual’ women, who were happily married to CHRISTIAN husbands. And people like me who had deliberately chosen to marry outside of the will of God, were regarded and treated as ‘carnal’, ‘worldly’, second-class Christians. No matter how true that was where I was concerned, I cannot remember ONE speaker or writer offering a word of comfort. I was seen as being totally to blame. Even now my stomach turns at the thought of the sweet smiling faces on the back covers. These people didn’t have a clue what my life was like – how could they? “
Hi! I’m Ruth Doormat. No, of course that’s not my real name. I’ve changed names in this webpage so I can give you the plain unvarnished truth, without exaggeration and without concealing my failings. This is because I long to spare other Christian women the sadness and distress, the disillusionment and depression that I went through for almost 40 years, because I made the wrong choice.
Are you a Christian woman thinking about marrying someone you are not sure belongs to the Lord Jesus? Then this webpage is for you.
Somehow have you ended up in that most difficult of relationships; marriage to a non-Christian; someone who has no time for God. My heart goes out to you. I survived but I hope you manage better than I did. I found my marriage to be a disaster – instead of a delight.
In my webpage, Looking For Love, at http://net-burst.net/ruth/mismatched.htm I listed many of the difficulties that occurred in my life during almost 40 years of marriage to a man who ignored God, as well as a few more that could well have happened. If you have only been married a few years, there might be some hazards further down the road that you have not yet considered.
I was going to say that the way this situation came about doesn’t really matter. What does matter is how you deal with it.
But that isn’t true. If both you and your husband were non-Christians at the time of your marriage, and you have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior since then, you have done nothing wrong.
But I had no such excuse. I married young and I married quickly, because I was afraid of being left alone. (I’ve explained why my self-esteem was so crushed, in My Stormy Relationship with God.) at http://net-burst.net/ruth/stormy.htm , I had no idea that it is so possible to be lonely within marriage. And so I married a man who was indifferent to God.
The first thing I had to do was admit to God that I had sinned in marrying Bob. (To understand why it is a sin for a Christian to choose to marry someone she knows is not born again, see Choosing a Partner.) at http://net-burst.net/singles/dating.htm. This was such a hard thing to deal with. I struggled with it. “What am I supposed to do now Lord? I’ve sinned, I’ve disobeyed you in marrying Bob. But how can I put it right?”
Then I remembered about Joshua in the Bible. God had warned him NOT to make a peace treaty with the men from Gibeon. But Joshua, and the men of Israel, were tricked into doing that very thing, because they forgot to check it out properly with the Lord first. Joshua made a peace treaty with them to let them live, and the leaders of the people ratified it by oath. When they found out that they had actually DISOBEYED God, they were in a quandary. What could they do now? All the people grumbled against the leaders. Joshua 9:19
but all the leaders replied, ‘We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now.’
So because of their oath, they had to let the treaty stand, instead of destroying the Gibeonites, which was what God had originally ordered them to do.
And I was in the same boat. At my wedding, I had promised, in front of God, to love, honor and obey Bob, and to stay married to him until one of us died. So I realized that God expected me to stay married.
“Now that I’ve repented, and got this sorted out with God,” I thought, “surely things will improve? Surely God will be on my side at last?”
It just didn’t happen like that. Over and over again I had to go to Psalm 62:8
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
One school principal, when I used to take a problem to him, would say, “Leave it with me – I’ll attend to it.” So I did, because I knew from past experience that he would. And somehow I felt that God would act the same way when I left a problem with him. But why was He taking so long to come to my rescue? I was learning, by bitter experience, that just as in my marriage there was no automatically living “happily ever after”, so my relationship with God was also having its ups and downs. My relationship with my husband had to be worked on continually; and so did my relationship with my God. And both were very hard work!
And so the days of disharmony and distress dragged on. But I made sure I avoided “mind games” with Bob. I flatly refused to say things like “I wish you’d never been born!”, “I wish I’d never married you!”, “I wish you were dead!” I knew that God was aware of my every thought, word, action – so many times I restrained myself. Bob, it seemed, had no such restraints. He said or did whatever he wanted to, whenever he wanted to, however he wanted to.
I thought I knew what loneliness was. I had been lonely as a young child because we had had to move from place to place during the war, so I didn’t have the opportunity to make friends.
I was lonely during my teenage years. I hadn’t learned how to mix with others and I couldn’t invite other kids home to my place because I never knew when Pop was going to get drunk and violent.
So I had no friends of my own age.
Of course, when I married I thought that I would never be lonely again. A man on a desert island can expect to feel lonely, because he is deprived of human companionship. But loneliness within marriage – impossible!
How wrong I was – how very wrong! For years I suffered loneliness of heart and soul and mind that went so deep that it would be more accurate to describe it as a desolation of spirit.
At a personal level I meant nothing to the one I was now united to for life! I was only a possession – required to be at his beck and call.
The car and I had a lot in common. The only time either of us got any attention from Bob was when we weren’t “performing” properly.
And this desolation of soul became a fertile breeding ground for bitterness. And bitterness became more and more a characteristic of my disposition – no wonder I wasn’t making much progress at winning Bob to the Lord!
I knew this was wrong – but I was light years away from being the kind of Christian described in Eph 4:31-32a
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger,… Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other.”
Why should I be kind and compassionate towards him? How could I – since I was seething in rage the whole time? These kinds of verses only fueled my anger, so I conveniently ignored the other part of verse 32: “just as in Christ God forgave you.”
I was bitter because:
Bob never expressed any affection for me. “Well, I married you didn’t I?” hardly counts. So the more unloved I felt, the more unlovable I became – not that I was aware of it of course. Naturally it was all my husband’s fault – he was the one making me miserable, wasn’t he?
I was bitter because:
Everyone outside the family home saw only the kind, gentle, easy-going, family-loving man. “Where on earth did you find him? Hang on to him. He’s a real gem.” I wanted to scream.
A close friend once said “I’ve noticed how protective he is towards you.” Funny – I hadn’t.
An elder said to me once. “Your husband’s a very placid fellow isn’t he?”
“Yes!” I snapped back, “Providing he is getting his own way!”
And because of my desperate situation, I was vulnerable to any man who treated me with kindness and warmth, compassion and understanding.
Grantley Morris, in his webpage Christian Carer’s Guide, How to Comfort Hurting People, at http://net-burst.net/help/comfort.htm warns: “There is probably nothing on earth more powerful in bonding one person to another than the sharing of a dark, long-kept secret. The effect is greatest with the very first person to both hear the secret and remain warmly accepting after the revelation.”
How very true these words are! To be treated as a worthwhile person, as a person worth bothering with, is like someone being given chocolates and roses, who has only dry crusts to eat and weeds to smell. I was, and still am, the living embodiment of someone who is susceptible to this kind of bonding. Very filling stuff – for a while.
No, I was never physically unfaithful to Bob, but that doesn’t mean that the longing wasn’t there. And Christ said in Matthew 5:28
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
and in Mark 7:21
“For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,”
So in God’s eyes I was just as guilty as if I had gone “all the way”. That was, of course, until I repented of my wrong thoughts and sought His forgiveness.
I was bitter because:
Every Mothers’ Day (or so it seemed to me) at Church, the message was based on Proverbs 31 – “The Ideal Wife and Mother.” I came to hate this Scripture because it was a constant reminder to me of what a failure I was as a wife and mother.
I was bitter because:
All the books I read about “How To Win Your Husband To Christ” were written by “godly”, “spiritual” women, who were happily married to CHRISTIAN husbands. And people like me who had deliberately chosen to marry outside of the will of God, were regarded and treated as “carnal”, “worldly”, second-class Christians. No matter how true that was where I was concerned, I cannot remember ONE speaker or writer offering a word of comfort. I was seen as being totally to blame. Even now my stomach turns at the thought of the sweet smiling faces on the back covers. These people didn’t have a clue what my life was like – how could they?
But they were, at least, more realistic than a certain well-known, widely-published Christian author who wrote about how to be a good Christian. He dealt with the topic of unequal marriages by just stating that it should never happen. Not one word of comfort or counsel was offered to those who had already taken this wrong step. So obviously people like me didn’t exist.
I was bitter because:
Our life behind the bedroom door was a constant source of contention. If I was in the bedroom – but I wasn’t asleep – well, the bedroom has only two purposes – doesn’t it? Not that being asleep made any difference. If he had the “urge” he had the “urge”, and – as he also frequently reminded me – I was his legal wife. I think this meant that he viewed me the same way as he viewed the car; as his possession to be available 24 hours a day. And if you think I’m being blunt you are mistaken. This is mild compared to what I’d like to say!
His idea of what was “fun” was very different from mine. It would have helped me if I could have read Grantley Morris’ webpage “When Marital Relations Become a Moral Dilemma” at http://net-burst.net/help/pervert.htm But there was no information of that quality around.
And naturally Bob didn’t understand my wanting to be in the bedroom – ON MY OWN – to have my Quiet Time with God.
Later on, I discovered I loved computers – and that became a real problem. Because I chose to stay up late playing computer games; so that hopefully he would soon fall asleep, and we could thus avoid our usual confrontation about the other purpose for the bedroom.
Because I was a Christian I always said “yes” when he got one of his urges – but so often the “yes” came through gritted teeth. You see, there was no such thing as “love-making”; it was straight out “having sex”. He had been brought up on a farm, his only knowledge came from watching the animals. Therefore sex to him was simply having a biological need, in the same way as one needs food or drink. To describe our marriage as “dysfunctional” is a bit like saying that Bill Gates have a few dollars! So – since we were constantly pulling in opposite directions – we were DEFINITELY unequally yoked together!
I was bitter because:
He used manipulation and emotional blackmail. If I didn’t say “yes”; then whatever treat he had promised our KIDS for the next day was cancelled. And it was behind the bedroom door where the plant of bitterness sent down its strongest roots and really flourished.
Bitterness towards my husband? Yes – but only partly. The major thrust of my bitterness was towards God Himself. You see, because I was married in the mid 1950s, I had promised to “love, honor and obey”. As the emotional gap between us grew wider and wider, I shook my fist at God because so many times I only conformed to my husband’s unjust demands on me because I had promised, before God, to obey him. So every time I was angry with my husband, I was also angry with God. And every time I had to apologize to my husband, I had to apologize to God too. Bob never saw himself at being in the wrong, so naturally he felt that there was nothing to say sorry for! The way I saw it was that God was on Bob’s side, since I was the one who always had to do the obeying, and the apologizing. So I was in a no-win situation. Talk about a double whammy! I share more about this in my webpage My Stormy Relationship With God. At http://net-burst.net/ruth/stormy.htm
I was bitter because:
One of my elders was also a family doctor, so I went to his surgery, turning to him for comfort, encouragement and support. What a waste of time! What an embarrassment, after telling him about the events in the “bedroom”. For “bedroom” read any time, anywhere, any place, anyhow.
o Any time – Like five minutes before we are to leave for our daughter’s Prize Giving. “Come on, Mum, we’re waiting for you and Dad!”
o Anywhere: – Like in the compartment of a train – with all the kids. “But we’ve got a rug.”
o Any place: – Like in my nephew’s bedroom when we were visiting. “But someone might come in!”
o Anyhow: – Like when I was eight months pregnant, and fearful for my unborn baby. Bob was a heavily-built man.
Not that the process took long! How long does it take to gulp down a drink of water if you’re thirsty?
Continue to Part 2
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