When someone is in the throws of addiction there is one thing you can count on. The roller-coaster. Envision a roller-coaster ride. Climbing up, up, up and then a steep and scary drop, then a curve and a twist and an unexpected rise up out of your seat. It is constant chaos. There may be moments of what seems like a bearable ride but then BOOM another twist, turn, jump or drop and you are screaming to be let off the ride!
I know for me, I wanted to give grace, forgiveness and mercy but at times I felt like doing so was only enabling my husband or making it comfortable for him to continue in his lifestyle. Then because of the confusion and what felt like the lack of control I had over my own life when he was constant in his sin, I became angry, combative, verbally abusive–just plain bitter.
I wanted balance but not like that. What I didn’t understand were the true meanings of “enabling” and “encouraging”. My good friend Shellie Warren (who writes for women here in the blog section) once wrote an article entitled “Encourager’s vs. Enablers” which helped me to understand better the meanings. This is what she shared:
Encourager: To inspire with courage, spirit or confidence; to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc. ; to promote, advance or foster.
Enabler: to make able; give power, means, competence, or ability to; authorize; to make possible or easy to supply with the means, knowledge, or opportunity; make able; one that enables another to achieve an end; especially: one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior by providing excuses or by helping that individual avoid the consequences of such behavior.
Now I know a lot of women who will try to enforce their own consequences but not the right ones. And I was one of them who would punish my husband in ways like not speaking to him, not washing his laundry and telling him that if he needed another woman to fulfil his fantasy he should dream her up to do his laundry then too. 😉 I would tell him to sleep in another room of our house etc. The problem with this is that even though no one would blame us for behaving this way— these are not consequences designed by GOD to lead one to repentance. Remember this? –> “it is the KINDNESS of the Lord that leads to repentance.” Let’s look at that Scripture:
Or are you [so blind as
to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the
wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are
you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is
intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? -Romans 2:4
How does GOD display his kindness? Through people, through circumstances etc. So could it be possible that GOD would use a man’s helpmate to help lead him to repentance? Perhaps. But what is kindness? Is it just making someone feel warm fuzzies? My definition of kindness is to be concerned with the well being of the other person and to care for accordingly in that moment. Being mean as payback is not for the highest good of the other person or yourself. Patting them on the back and saying it is “ok” is not for their highest good either.
We must believe GOD’s word. We must believe what he says about sin and what he says about relationships. It has taken me a long time to find balance. I have learned that I can put my foot down when I know what I am putting it down on is right. I can do it and exemplify kindness and mercy at the same time. I can stand in that place knowing that it is GOD’s best for my spouse and for me even if it doesn’t “feel warm and fuzzy”. Getting to this place is not easy and for me right now who is legally separated over this sin gives me an advantage that it is not in my face every day like it used to be for years- but that does not mean that I am not challenged- that I do not grow weak or weary but it also doesn’t mean that GOD has given up on my spouse or on my marriage because I made this decision based on years of decisions my husband made. As a matter of fact it is probably harder in many ways because I remain a married woman with no advantages of being married. I wake up without my mate, I eat every meal without my mate, I make decisions about my daily life without my mate, I travel without my mate, I am in social circles without my mate and go to sleep every night without my mate- yet I remain faithful to my covenant with GOD. Whether you are in the same home with your spouse or you are separated…. you can still show the kindness and mercy of the Lord and you can find total peace in that place. You can still remain faithful to your covenant with God whether your husband does or not.
There is balance in GOD and it does not include riding the roller-coaster or being a part of the juggling act. God’s word is solid and you can stand firmly sure-footed on it!
*note to my readers*
I realize that some of you have divorced or are in the process of divorce. I am not in anyway negating what you’ve been through to come to this place for yourself. I am not in anyway saying that you are wrong for doing this. There are times when yes- divorce is allowed by GOD and sometimes even necessary. I believe there are times when GOD will use a divorce to wake up a spouse who is in grave trouble— but we should never enter into divorce lightly or with this as our motive. God’s ways are not our ways. As long as whatever we do is in faith and with HIM… we have no one else to answer to. It is a humble heart surrendered to GOD that leads us into His will.