Family

Married to an Unbelieving AlcoholicPremium Content

Ask Angie: My husband is an alcoholic. Although I have committed to staying with him, I can't help but regard him with disgust even AFTER he's been drinking. Thanks to the biblical principles you teach, I'm learning how to detach when he's drinking, but in the days following a drinking binge I don't feel any affection for him. In the early days of our marriage (we've been married 20 years), I was able to warm up to him once the drinking passed. Now I am just filled with disgust. Please give me some advice. Thank you.

Marriage Guidance: We commend you for your commitment to your marriage. This shows your love for God and your willingness to please Him and do His will. You are an inspiration for others who are living with an alcoholic spouse.

Your feelings are understandable seeing that some alcoholics can be sloppy in behavior and unclean in appearance and habits. The behaviors and appearance of the alcoholic can cause much resentment build up, which is what’s happening with you. You are just now learning to detach and part of detachment is separating the alcoholic behaviors and sickness from the person you met, loved and married. When we allow the alcoholic behaviors to overtake our own thoughts we will become disgusted and resentful over the alcoholic, even during bouts of sobriety.

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Am I Codependent or being a Good Christian?Premium Content

On the surface, codependency messages sound like Christian teaching:

    "Codependents always put others first before taking care of themselves."
    (Aren't Christians to put others first?) .

    "Codependents give themselves away."
    (Shouldn't Christians do the same?).

"Codependents martyr themselves."
(Doesn't Christianity honor its martyrs?)

Those statements have a familiar ring, don't they? Then how can we distinguish between codependency, which is unhealthy to codependents and their dependents, and mature faith, which is healthy.

Codependency says:.

    I have little or no value.
    Other persons and situations have all the value.

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Am I Codependent?Premium Content

If you think or believe the following statements, it may be a sign that you are codependent:

    My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by you.

    My good feelings about who I am stem from receiving approval from you.

    Your struggles affect my serenity. My mental attention is focused on solving your problems or relieving your pain.

    My mental attention is focused on pleasing you.

    My mental attention is focused on protecting you.

    My mental attention is focused on manipulating you "to do it my way."

    My self ­esteem is bolstered by solving your problems.

    My self ­esteem is bolstered by relieving your pain.

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Do You Want to Be Righteous or Right?Premium Content

Do we want to be righteous... or do we want to be right? It seems, these days, that many people have difficulties taking constructive criticism. The fact is, our egos are so sensitive (so self-centered) that we want everyone to approve of us all the time, rather than accepting the kind of sacrificial love that comes from a friend who wants us to be right with God. And, oh my goodness, what turmoil wells up inside us when we are rebuked! We take it as a personal offense, rather than quietly wondering if perhaps it's really true and we should do something about it.

    A rebuke strikes deeper into a discerning person than a hundred blows into a fool.Proverbs 17:10 NRSV

Friends don't let friends sin. That's the simple fact about Christianity. If we are true to our faith, we understand that everything here is temporal and our focus should be on the eternal. And the eternal is concerned with pleasing God.

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Problems with Our ParentsPremium Content

Proverbs 17:6 NRSV
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their parents.

My grandmother became a Christian in her 60's. I still have the Bible my mom gave her, her cramped notes in the margins. I can remember her telling my mom her regret for waiting so long before she surrendered to the Lord.

It's never too late.

It seems that the number of people my age (and younger) who have "problems" with their parents has risen dramatically. Even before my grandmother was saved, my parents (both of them) had a wonderful relationship with her and a decent relationship with my grandfather (who probably was never saved). It wasn't an easy relationship, but both sides worked at it and made it work. Sometimes I think, particularly those of us who are believers, that we demand too much and forgive too little. And we are the losers because we need our families!

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When Loved Ones Resent Your RecoveryPremium Content

It is not uncommon for those who start a new life in recovery to encounter resentment from their spouses, loved ones and/or friends. If this is the case, you will be put to the test by those who care for you most. This can be confusing because those who should be encouraging you in recovery are actually making it more difficult.

Your spouse may become resentful because you are spending more time at recovery meetings and less time with them. Stand strong and lovingly explain to your spouse that you need to take time for yourself in order to get your life back on track. Suggest that they come with you to open meetings where the loved ones are welcome so they can better understand your recovery process.

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Endure, Remain, Continue

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 RSV
Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Paul tells us that three things abide (endure, remain, continue): faith, hope, and love. The thing is, the only one that will exist forever is love. We know that the need for faith will fade. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1 RSV). Now, we don't see God. We must have faith to believe: "whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (Hebrews 11:6 RSV). Once we see Him face to face, faith will be unnecessary.

More Than a Feeling

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient and kind;

Paul has just concluded the introduction to this section with the words "...have not love, I gain nothing." In fact, he uses Jewish parallelism to make his point:

    If I speak . . . but have not love, I am just a sound.
    If I have . . . but have not love, I am nothing.
    If I give . . . but have not love, I gain nothing.

I think (and this is simply my own thoughts, not the Word of God) that Paul is trying to say this: Without love, the Christian simply... isn't a Christian. There is no Christian without love.

Setting Aside Our Will

1 Corinthians 13:5a RSV
[Love] is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way...

  • Love is not arrogant or rude.
    • The KJV translates this phrase: "Charity (love) doth not behave itself unseemly." This certainly isn't a phrase that we use much anymore. In fact, to be honest, we're not very concerned at all about behaving in a courteous or seemly manner in our society. To behave "seemly" is to conform one's behavior to standards of conduct and good taste. As our moms used to say, it means simply to behave properly and according to good manners.

      So the scripture here is actually more than just not being arrogant or rude, though I truly believe that rudeness is motivated by arrogance, the idea that it's "my way or the highway." When we are arrogant, we do what we want and say what we want without regard to the effects that it might have on other people. In other words, we simply don't care about anyone else (at that moment), only about ourselves, our rights, our opinions, our own actions.

Reflecting Christ as Parents

1 Corinthians 4:15b-17 RSV
For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. Therefore I sent to you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.

I have a sign in my classroom: "Fewer people with kids; more parents." The crux of the sign is that simply having kids (begetting them, living with them in the same house, etc.) isn't the same as parenting. Parenting is a responsibility, probably beyond all others, that requires that a parent sacrifice for their child: sacrifice time, sacrifice resources, sacrifice priorities.

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