Fallen husband wants to be head of family

Straight Talk

The Question:

My husband has repeatedly fallen into sexual impurity and is wrestling with an addiction to pornography. He says he’s been free of it for a period of four months now, but how do I move out into trust again? He wants full authority over the house, the kids, the finances, and me but he has left us uncovered so often. I’m looking for wisdom. I want to be a godly wife.

– P. From Ontario Canada

The Answer
Part 1: A rock and a hard place

A rock and a hard place (Part 1)

Whew! To me you are between a rock and a hard place. I wouldn’t personally trust someone who had only been free of the issues you mentioned for a mere four months. Additionally, he seems to lack wisdom more than you. He expects you to consent to trust him once more – just because he says so, not because he has earned your trust. He has failed miserably at his role of head of the family but he still wants the position.

From his angle he is probably feeling very insecure and scared and doesn’t know what else to do but try to resume leadership of his family. Since he feels (hopes) the issues are resolved he wants to move forward, put the past behind and act as if nothing ever happened. But probably deep in his heart he feels guilty and shameful and if that is the case, the devil will use it as an opening to try to pull him back into sin again.

A question to ask yourself as you decide how to proceed is this: HOW did he get free of these sins? Was it through counseling? Did he have a breakthrough at church down at the altar? Did he simply use force of will? Is he truly free in Christ now or is he disciplining himself not to participate? How much do you trust that he is free? From your question, I deduce that you have your doubts.

You are required to love your husband but you are not required to trust him. Those two things are not the same. Love is a decision but trust is earned and the deeper the betrayal the longer it takes to rebuild. That’s actually a good thing—a built in protection system so you don’t expose yourself or your children to further harm or danger. If your husband has repeatedly fallen expect an even longer rebuilding.

I believe you are using wisdom to proceed cautiously. Tell your husband that you have already gone the extra mile in trust by sticking with him. Now it is his turn to cut you some slack and work his way slowly back into a role of headship. Pray for him that he will have the wisdom to grow up and deserve your trust once more. In fact, you’re going to need to pray for wisdom every single day. Answers will come. “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)