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Part-Member Marriage

Nov 22nd, 2008 by Dr. Elia | 0

Dear Dr. Elia,

My husband is not a member but supportive of my membership. I actually
purchased your CD at the bookstore to see what I can do to repair our
marriage. (This is my second marriage, the first lost when my x divorced
me because of his pornography addiction.)
I was very controlling for the first three years, and then I got baptized and the gift of the holy ghost let me know I needed to learn to respect his agency. This has made for a sudden and large shift,much positive, but some very painful.
I have spent much time crying alone. Not only does he not understand my
feelings, because of his beliefs he thinks there is little he can do,
that you just have to bear whatever sorrow comes and that his influence
to change it is limited.
Because our values are different, he does not understand why things that
he does are wrong and could hurt. I am blessed that he is respectful of
my hatred of pornography, he does not indulge in that , but sees nothing
wrong with it, and if he views it incidentally as he visits a web page
he will not leave the page, and he has asked me to “get on board with
that”. Magazines he brings into the home have mild pictures of women,
but many still push buttons of fear and revulsion for me.
He really wishes I would get over the reaction I feel. Maybe I am afraid
to, as if that will mean having to learn to accept those images in my home.
He doesn’t watch movies around me but was happy before to watch supposed
r-rated movies with intercourse and nudity depicted. I felt so demeaned.

My greatest fear,after losing my previous marriage to pornography
addiction, is to be left again, this time by a man who has shown me
great love and been very instrumental in healing my spirit from the past.

A few weeks ago he informed me that he would be leaving to Fiji for two
weeks to visit his brother (who I don’t get along with.)
I cried like a baby, not in manipulation, but sadness and fear.
He has never taken me on a tropical vacation. He went ahead with his
trip and is now gone. He has talked often of moving abroad and has the
means to do so, but because of my children I am tethered here. It is a
real possibility that he could leave me behind, though he has promised
otherwise he has broken promises before.

I am scared that the pattern will be set for him to take what he wants,
financially and otherwise and ignore my emotional needs. I don’t want my
children to lose a positive father figure. Similarly, I don’t want to be
manipulative or retaliative. I want desperately to follow Christ and be
an example of Him.
I want the blessings of comfort, not the false security of doing things
my own way.

I feel like I am surviving an earthquake every day, The ground beneath
me is shifting and there is nothing I can do to stop it.
I am doing my best to fill my heart with gratitude for my blessings, I
am distracted by feeling I am losing my marriage.
I need to learn how to talk to a man that fears communication
and I would like to set a boundary , I don’t want to be left in the
Canadian snow again while he goes vacation with his brother in warm
places. (This is the second brother trip, the first to California.)
Thank you for your time.
Sister Janet


Dear Janet,

It seems like the damage your first husband caused when he divorced you
has left some scars. You said that you are married to a good man now,
“…who has shown me great love and been very instrumental in healing my
spirit from the past.” In spite of acknowledging his good influence and
traits, you seem to feel quite insecure that he might leave you too!

It is very important not to bring the old baggage from your first
marriage to the second. The past does NOT equal the future. The choices
you make today will determine how happy or successful your future will
be in your relationship(s).

You chose to marry a non-member which is perfectly fine. There are some
inherent difficulties however, that arise when such a union is made. The
most significant one is the different standards and understanding of
those standards. Because he does not espouse your belief system, he
lives his life somewhat differently. This isn’t right or wrong, it’s
just a fact. He allows you to believe as you choose, but in all
fairness, you must allow him to do the same. After all, you knew that he
was not a member when you married him.

If you do not want to lose this good man, I would encourage you to
express your gratitude for him and for his love. When the time is right,
you might also want to communicate with him, how much you would enjoy
going on a tropical vacation with him. Ask him if that’s something you
can both plan together…

Look for the positive, express your love, remember that he’s not your
first husband, but that his standards are different than yours…and
that’s ok. Be grateful that the Lord has brought you a good man to help
you heal from the past. Like I say on my CD, “Ask not what this marriage
can do for me, but what I can do for this marriage!” It usually works
out just fine…

God bless,

Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.

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