Biblical Perspectives on the Spouses’ Relationship (1 Cor. 7:13-14)

What should you do if you are married to a drug addict? Can you simply walk away and be absolved of all marital responsibility because of the danger such a relationship may pose to you and your children?

A woman who attends church actually shared such an experience with us. This is a very sad and grave situation with very serious implications for her and for her children. Most critical in addressing these kinds of experiences is to make sure that the children and the sober spouse are in a safe place, either with relatives or transitionally in a shelter that handles these kinds of matters. Such programs are usually able to help a person get the professional support that they and their children need, as well as a referral for the husband to also get the help his condition requires.

While marriage is God’s idea, the situation we describe here is far from the ideal He envisioned when He performed the first marriage in Eden.

What a dramatic account of the very first wedding is described in Genesis 2:18, 21-24! After a long list of things God made during creation week and called good or very good, God finds something in the middle of His creation and identifies it as not good; the reality of man—humans—being alone.

Jesus quotes this text of Genesis in Mark 10:7-9, and further accentuates the permanence of marriage by stating: “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Then, the apostle Paul further illustrates the seriousness of marriage when he states in 1 Corinthians 7:13-14: “And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.”

Finally, in Matthew 5:32, to clarify when divorce may be possible, Jesus declares: “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except for sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.”

The truth is, everything God asks us to do, is either to help save us, or to help save someone else. And, although the situation described above is far from what God intended, He has promised to supply all our needs (Phil. 4:19) if we trust Him.

In this situation we would counsel this woman to encourage her husband to get into a detox program. It would also be important for her to give him her emotional support and pray for God to perform a miracle in his life. In this case the church family should also offer their support to this dear sister through their prayers, emotional presence, and be willing to assist her through this difficult journey.

And, for anyone faced with this reality, they should always remember, with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).