I am going to assume you are dating a strong Christian man (or will be) for the premise of this post. If you are not dating a Christian who professes Jesus as Savior AND Lord (meaning, he has yielded his life in total submission to Christ and His Word)- your man’s biggest need is to have Jesus as his Savior and Lord – and he is living in the power of the sinful nature, not God’s Spirit. You can try confronting him about sin, but he doesn’t have God’s Spirit to help him become more godly. He is spiritually dead.
God’s Word commands us only to marry men who are “in The Lord.” If you realize that your guy is not living for Christ, please seek godly counsel. You may talk to a godly female mentor at your church whom you trust – or to your godly parents.
No matter whom you date/court/marry – you will be in a relationship with another sinful human. He WILL sin against you. He will hurt you very badly at times. You will also sin against him. And you will hurt him very badly at times. Thankfully, there is grace, mercy and forgiveness in Christ! WE ALL NEED THAT DESPERATELY!
This is a HUGE topic. There are MANY situations and issues that I cannot address in detail here. I cannot possibly fit all of what scripture says in one post like this. So this is a small taste on this topic, but it is not remotely exhaustive. Please be sure to seek godly counsel if you are having significant issues in your relationship.
DOES HAVING A QUIET SPIRIT OR SUBMISSION MEAN I HAVE TO ACCEPT SIN AND SAY NOTHING?
A “quiet” spirit means a stilled or calm spirit – it means trusting in God instead of freaking out or trying to make things work out myself.
Biblical submission does not mean a wife has to accept her husband’s sin and she can’t say anything about it. But if we do approach our husbands – it must be in a spirit of great humility, respect, prayer and the love of the Spirit of Christ.
IS IT REALLY SIN?
Let’s be sure that our man is actually sinning by God’s standard and definition before we confront him. A lot of things are “disputable matters” – that could have more than one way of looking at them. If it is not clearly a sin – it may not be wise to confront our men, but rather to pray. We can say what we want and need – but then we cannot force our will on others. What biblical references do you have to prove that this is actually a sin? If the issue is something like – your man believes God wants him to take a certain job, move to another town, handle the bills in a different way from yours or change churches… you may not want to do those things, but what he wants to do is not sinful.
It can be really easy for us as women sometimes to think our men are being sinful – when in reality, they just have different perspectives than we do. I must realize I am not always right. He is not always wrong. If he determines how to tithe differently, or if he doesn’t initiate prayer with you or he doesn’t lead a nightly devotion – be careful here. These things are great things, but if he is not doing these things you want him to do – is it actually sin? Not necessarily!
If your man is asking you to do something like:
– go to a strip club with him
– allow him to have an affair
– have sex before marriage
– have a threesome
– lie on the income tax
– steal from someone
– join a cult
– have an abortion
– be ok with a porn addiction
– accept his drug/alcohol addiction
– accept his gambling addiction
Then you have a problem that I believe must be addressed with God’s power and truth.
IS IT POSSIBLE SOMETHING ELSE IS GOING ON?
As women, if the issue is “a disputable matter” not a clear sin on our guy’s part, I think it is important for us to consider whether there may be other factors going on that make us feel upset with our men and could make us think we should confront them, but maybe our men aren’t the problem if we are:
– exhausted and sleep deprived (not a good time to make spiritual judgements or have extremely significant talks or confrontations about anything
– hormonal (going through PMS, pregnancy or menopause) – we may feel very strongly that our husbands are wrong about something, but if we are in a very hormonal state, we may not be in the best frame of mind to talk about something highly emotional or very important.
– hungry – low blood sugar can make us irrational and can make everything seem so much worse than it is.
– in pain/sick – any time we are hurting or feeling awful is not an ideal time to have a deep spiritual discussion. This would require great sensitivity to God’s Spirit
WHEN HE SINS AGAINST YOU
There are several passages of scripture that are very useful whenever ANYONE sins against us. (There are others, too – but I am trying to keep my post a decent length! )
1. Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Notice that Jesus doesn’t say NOT to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. But He does expect us to handle our own sin first before we address our brother’s sin. If there is idolatry (putting yourself and being in control above Jesus in your heart – or anything above Jesus in your heart), selfishness, pride (thinking you know best), disrespect, rebellion against God’s Word, contentiousness, contempt, unforgiveness, bitterness, rage, addiction to something, gossip, speaking against someone, disrespecting a God-given authority, complaining/grumbling, pouting, arguing/fighting, hatred (which is murder in our hearts), jealousy, lust, stealing (even if it is “just” time from your boss at work or a pirated movie) etc… We must repent humbly on our faces before our holy God for our own sin and repent to our men if we have sinned against them.
2. Matthew 18:15-17
“If your brother or sister[a] sins,[b] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[c] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Jesus instructs us to go directly to the person who has sinned against us privately first. If they won’t repent/apologize – then we are to take another godly person with us. If they still won’t repent or turn from their sin, we are supposed to take them before the church. Unfortunately, most churches don’t do this anymore – but that is what Jesus instructs us to do. I believe that if you are dating a man who remains unrepentant after you have respectfully confronted him alone and with one or two godly people and the church if applicable – it may be time to consider him as if he were an unbeliever – which means that he is not someone God would approve for us to marry. If you are in doubt, please seek godly counsel!
3. Luke 17:3-4
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.
- Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44
- Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:28
- Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31
- God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6
- Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Luke 6
- Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Luke 6
- Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6
- Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6
- Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! James 2:12-13
- We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. I John 3:14-15
- If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. I John 4:20-21
- Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. Romans 12:17
- If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
- Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. Romans 12:19
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
If you believe you must bring up your man’s sin
- speak softly and gently, maybe even whisper
- be very respectful and humble
- don’t pressure him for a response – he may need some time (hours or days) to think about what he wants to say
- pray for him
- do not get into an argument or fight.
- tell him your feelings without blaming him.
- be straightforward, honest and loving
- check your motives – be sure you are seeking God first and seeking spiritual healing for your man and that you want the best for him, not that you are seeking vengeance or to inflict pain.
- realize he is not your enemy – sin is
- be fairly brief and to the point
- be non-confrontational
- be ready to listen
- if he changes the topic to your faults – agree to talk about that after this conversation – preferably, you have already repented of your faults!
- when you do listen to him confront you about your sin – don’t be defensive, but listen and carefully consider and pray about what he says to see if God may be speaking to you about something important.
IF YOUR MAN IS DISOBEDIENT TO GOD’S WORD
I Peter 3:1-6 applies in marriage. I think there is wisdom here for dating relationships, too. A man who is far from God usually cannot hear his woman’s WORDS about spiritual things. Her respect and living out her faith will impact him much more than her words. If he is far from God, and you are not married – you are not obligated to stay with him. Seek godly counsel – you may need to break off the relationship until he shows signs of repentance and a significant new history of living for Christ before you trust yourself to him again.