Giving Friends Godly Relationship Advice

Posted on December 27, 2013 by


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ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:
I am taking an email vacation through January 6th.  I hope to continue to post and you are welcome to comment here.  But I would greatly appreciate if you could hold emails until January 7th.  Thanks so much for your patience and understanding!

As believers in Christ – I believe it is our responsibility and duty to point others to Christ and His Word and truth – in a LOVING way – when they are hurting, troubled, scared, upset, being sinned against, sinning against someone else – and in all circumstances.

Unfortunately, many women today – even women who claim Christ – get together with girl friends and bash their men or husbands together.  One will complain about something her man did or did not do, and others will say things like:

  • “You shouldn’t have to take that!”
  • “You deserve better.”
  • “How dare he do X!”
  • “You should just leave him. I would. That’s exactly what I would do if I were you.”
  • “He’s worthless.”
  • “Don’t listen to him!”
  • “That was SO stupid!  Why would your husband do that?”
  • “Men are idiots!”
  • “Who cares what he thinks about this issue – you’re right and you should do what you want to.”

(Remember that I am always assuming that you are only dating a strong Christian man who serves God with all of his heart and has the fruit of His Spirit in his life on a daily basis – Galatians 5:22-23 – not that he is perfect, but that he desires Christ above all else –  and I am assuming that you also serve God with all of your heart and that you put Christ before everything, that He is your Lord and that you are seeking to be filled with His Spirit on a daily basis, too!)

WHAT TOXIC POISON WE DISPENSE TO OUR FRIENDS WHEN WE SAY THINGS LIKE THIS –  ESPECIALLY TO FRIENDS WHO ARE MARRIED

Really, it is toxic poison for us to even allow ourselves to listen to things like this.  It’s just wrong – especially if women are saying these things to a married woman.  To even listen and not confront such statements is to dishonor God and our men, in my view.

How I pray that we might be careful to respect and honor our friends’ husbands as the head of their marriages and if we cannot show respect for our friends’ husbands- we ought not be listening to their marriage issues, but refer them to seek godly counseling!  (The same will generally hold true with our friends’ dating relationships)

  • If a woman is DATING or COURTING a man who is  ungodly – then it may be very important to point out the sin and dangers you see – so that she can decide if she needs to break up with him.  If he is pushing her to sin, he is clearly an unbeliever, not living for God, has major sin addictions going on – it can be important to gently, respectfully, humbly share your concerns.
  • If a woman is MARRIED to a man who is ungodly – divorce is not God’s command for her.  I Peter 3:1-6 is God’s assignment for her.  If there are serious issues with abuse – please encourage her to seek godly, wise, experienced counsel, if she is not safe!  (The Bible and Divorce)

Our friends do not have a covenant with US.

They have a covenant with their husbands (if they are married) and with God (if they are believers in Christ).

If our friends are NOT disciples of Christ, then Jesus is their greatest need!

GIVING MARRIAGE ADVICE TO MEN

If a guy is coming to you for marriage advice – please understand that this is often not a good situation for you or for him.  Please seek to get him connected with a godly man who can mentor him.  There can be WAY too much temptation if a man is coming to you to complain about his wife and he sees that you respect and admire him  and care about his concerns.  Please use extreme caution in a situation like this!  It is probably not generally wise to do much private messaging/emailing/meeting with a man to talk about his relationship issues/marriage problems.  This is how a LOT of affairs begin.

A married man with problems needs advice from a godly man primarily – not from a woman.

GIVING MARRIAGE ADVICE TO WOMEN

It is a SIN for me to attempt to separate what God has put together.

2Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

3“What did Moses command you?” he replied.

4They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

5“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’a 7‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,b 8and the two will become one flesh.’c So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”  Mark 10

I need to point my friends to God’s commands for us as believers and as wives in Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 11:3, I Corinthians 13:4-8…

I need to gently. lovingly, humbly but firmly rebuke sin (of course, I need to have all the sin out of my own  “eye” first – Matt 7:1-5):

  • lust (emotional, romantic or physical)
  • resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred
  • idolatry – of self, romance, feeling happy, her husband, her children, beauty, thinness, power, control, wealth… anything!
  • control (trusting self instead of God’s sovereignty)
  • disrespect
  • living in fear/worry/anxiety instead of faith in Christ
  • assuming evil motives
  • rebellion against God’s Word
  • an unrepentant heart
  • gossip
  • etc

I CAN AND SHOULD

  • PRAY with her – for God’s will, His glory, her obedience, for her to be convicted of any sin and to live in the power of God’s Spirit
  • listen to her concerns but keep directing her back to scripture, faith in God, trust in God’s sovereignty, obedience to God’s Word
  • not minimize her feelings – listen and be understanding of her emotions – but realize that emotions are not always a source of truth
  • help her to examine her true motives
  • uphold her husband’s authority as leader in the marriage
  • uphold her husband’s authority as a father
  • tell her the things she is doing RIGHT!  Affirm her and encourage her!
  • don’t disrespect your own man or share things that he meant only for you
  • be available to her if her husband is supportive of your friendship with her
  • help her in practical ways if she is exhausted and needs help with some chores or childcare, etc…
  • direct her to godly, wise counsel if she is actually in serious danger
  • uphold  and honor her marriage vows and covenant
  • remind her of the good things her husband has done for her throughout their marriage and also recently
  • help her to see things about her husband to respect
  • help her to see other ways of looking at the situation, maybe to help encourage empathy for her husband’s masculine perspective
  • help her to think about ways that her husband may be good willed towards her instead of assuming the worst about him automatically
  • share stories of God’s ability to heal and bless and restore marriages
  • encourage her to focus on her own relationship with Christ and her obedience to God and her sin
  • ask her how her time with God has been going
  • help her to take responsibility for her own sin and her own obedience to Christ and not make excuses for herself
  • encourage her to repent to God and to her husband if she is guilty of any sin – without justifying her sin
  • ask her if she has been eating well, sleeping enough, if she is hormonal right now, if she is sick – these things make everything look SO MUCH WORSE than they really are!
  • help her to dissect the lies her feelings may be telling her from truth and reality if applicable
  • direct her to godly books, blogs, resources that support scripture and godly marriage
  • encourage her to focus on the good things in her husband
  • encourage her not to argue or complain (Phil. 2:14-16)
  • encourage her to develop a thankful heart and focus on Philippians 4:4-8 and 12-13
  • encourage her to never repay evil for evil but to repay evil with good (Romans 12:9-21)
  • encourage her to think through how she can love with God’s kind of love in this situation (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • let your friend’s marriage be much more important to her and a bigger priority to her than your friendship.  Don’t push her to do what you want her to do if her husband is not on board with it.
  • respect any limits/boundaries your friend’s husband may have requested her to have
  • help her to understand masculinity better so she can understand where her husband is coming from instead of assuming he thinks just like she does (For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn)

I also pray that we will seek to help our friends find things to respect and point them to God’s Word and to obedience to Christ.

Many marriages could be saved, I believe, if we as godly women will point our friends to Christ and God’s Word instead of to disrespect and divorce!

**  Some of these suggestions may also apply to our girlfriends’ romantic relationships if they are dating a man who is sincere disciple of Christ who seeks to obey God and honor Him with his life.  But a dating couple does not have a covenant like a married couple would – so not all will apply to the same degree.

RELATED:

The Bible and Divorce

Some of the Bible Verses I Use As the Basis for My Suggestions

Do Not Expect Outside Support – but WE ought to be giving other wives and women godly support!

 

When My Man Hurts Me, What Does God Want Me to Do?

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