Pray Away His ‘Bad’ Friends?

Pray Away His ‘Bad’ Friends? August 15, 2019
Statute of a man and his friends playing the marimbas.

Today we’re taking a look at  a post from April Cassidy – The Peaceful Wife about what to do when your husband has friends you disagree with. Normally I find April to be not so toxic in her words and advice, but when she gets something wrong, it’s very wrong. This is one of those times when apparently you are only allowed to deal with a husband’s friends one way, pray away his bad friends.

This is one of the most unfun aspects of marriage, when your partner has a relationship with someone you don’t approve of. You can see clearly how negatively this is impacting your marriage, or your husband, but he cannot see it. Or it’s someone taking advantage of his good nature, or financial advantage, causing him to behave in ways contrary to who he is.

To some extent everyone deals with this. One hopes that your marriage is the type where you can tell your husband in an unemotional way that you think their friendship with the other person isn’t a good thing, and he’ll heed that. But frequently that’s not the case. So what do you do?

Simply talk to the other person would be my answer. It’s April’s answer too, but dressed up with talk about ‘authority.’

It’s a good thing for us to share our hearts and minds with our husbands in healthy ways. Ideally, a wife would be a trusted advisor to her husband.

Even our children can and should share concerns if they don’t feel safe or comfortable around someone, or they don’t feel comfortable with us being around a certain person.

Everyone deserves to have a voice to say if something is upsetting or toxic to them or to someone they love.

This doesn’t necessarily mean things will definitely change. But people in positions of God-given leadership should be very willing to hear the concerns of those in their care whether it is at home, at work, at church, at school, or anywhere else. And if the concern is legitimate, the leader will agree to take some appropriate course of action.

Simplest solution. But then she takes it to a stupid place. Keep in mind that this breaking friendship we’re talking about could be over something as life changing as alcohol or gambling, and here are the ways that she thinks are sin.

Cry, beg and plead with your husband to cut them off.

Make angry and insistent demands that he cuts off the relationship.

Give your husband an ultimatum.

Lecture your husband about his choices and how they affect you and your children.

Complain about your husband’s friends to anyone who would listen.

Criticize your husband’s friends behind their backs.

Insult your husband’s friends to their faces.

Go directly to his friends and tell them to stay away from him.

Rant about your husband’s poor decisions on social media.

Go directly to your husband’s relatives or your pastor to complain about your husband’s choices.

Try to force your husband to be friends with men you think he should be friends with.

While none of those would be my first choice for dealing with a destructive friendship if there were the serious things involved that April states later in the piece it might be time. Someone prompting your husband to gamble away the family finances? You’ve gently asked him to stop doing this multiple times? Perhaps the time for a little anger, crying, begging, pleading and going to relatives or the pastor has happened. This is now way more than your husband having friends you do not like, and veered straight into abusive behavior that harms everyone. Serious problems sometimes require serious solutions. Your job as his wife is not to smilingly rubber stamp as ‘a-okay’ all of his actions! There are times when for the good of the family you must do more than simply pray away the problems.

When I first started reading this piece it seemed that April was speaking of friends you don’t like for small, petty reasons, or just they give you a creepy feeling. But by the end when she starts talking of guys going gambling or heavy drinking that leads to DUIs, it’s obvious this is something else entirely. Letting someone else put themselves and the family in jeopardy because of personal behavior egged on by others is unacceptable, and whatever you must say or do to get through to the other partner is pretty much fair game!

All I have to do is present my concern briefly and calmly. Usually just once. Then I can generally simply wait and pray.

No, nope, not when there are children involved and your husband is doing something that harms the entire family. Your first primary responsibility is to those kids. If he is out running up DUIs there must be protection for the kids and real consequences for him. Sometimes that takes leaving him to show him how you will not put up with the abuse any longer.

April goes on to talk of bad situations and calling the police or other authorities. I’m still completely dismayed we went from ‘I don’t like his friends.’ to ‘He’s out drinking and gambling with his friends.’ suddenly without warning.

This is the damage that Quiverfull does, cloak serious problems in the garb of minor, yet take away any and all tools a woman might use to resolve the real problem.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.
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  • Nea

    But people in positions of God-given leadership should be very willing to hear the concerns … And if the concern is legitimate

    Sooooo, men (because we’re talking solely about men) ought to be willing to listen but are also expected to ignore whatever because it’s not a “legitimate” concern? (And the men are, of course, sole arbitrator of what is or is not legitimate, despite that man also being the original source of said concern)

    I’ve seen logic. This is not logic.

    Nor is “All I have to do is say it once to him and then a whole lotta times to God” because by her own definition she has to do more than one thing and she still has the problem.

  • Saraquill

    Pearl, Wilson and company must love this policy of “don’t confront the husband.”

  • Saraquill

    I can’t help but think of women like Andrea Yates and Anna Duggar.

  • Nea

    The most revolting thing about the Yates case is that Rusty has never taken an ounce of personal responsibility for what he did to her that made her do it to the kids.

    As for Anna… she’s probably too deep into the culture to pull a Lorena Bobbit, but if ever there was a guy who deserved it aside from the original, it’s Josh.

  • Tawreos

    Wow. For all of their talk about god’s beautiful gift of marriage they sure do seem to treat it like a prison sentence. I am terrible at relationships, but I get the feeling that if I ever decide to go back to religion I could make a fortune as a marriage counselor. All I need is to find a few bible verses to back actual good advice and I am in the money.

  • Friend

    In the original, several wives claim that their husbands changed as a result of respectful confrontation followed by prayer. Know what? That process looks a lot like healthy detachment.

    Maybe God did help. But a calm description of the problem (“Tom, this is the third time your brother has borrowed money and never paid it back”), followed by a tactful withdrawal, can work wonders with people. They can’t blame a ranting wife if she is not ranting. So they listen to their own consciences and take more adult responsibility.

    Tales of ranting wives on fundagelical blogs are aimed at discrediting women. Sometimes, though, they suggest codependency, an unhealthy immersion in another person’s problems. Taken as a whole, that list suggests someone who has never been allowed to learn healthy ways to talk to another adult.

  • Polytropos

    The whole fundie marriage model is structured to make healthy dispute resolution impossible. The hierarchical structure where there should be a team effort, the pressure to marry too young without even getting a chance to build a proper relationship first, the minimization of serious problems, the emphasis on magical thinking – sorry, prayer. It’s all guaranteed to lead to unhappy marriages.

  • AFo

    This nonsense about how men are in charge and never to be questioned leads to these situations. In an equal relationship, the wife would have hopefully noticed and intervened before things got to the point April is talking about, and would definitely do more than hope and pray once it did. I can’t imagine watching someone you love self-destruct like that, but not speaking up because you’re a woman and he’s the “authority” of the house.

  • Or… you could grow up, realize your spouse doesn’t need your approval for his friendships, and deal with it.

  • Jennifer

    Excellent points.

  • Jim Jones

    When men tell you what god wants, it’s always what they want. Is it different for women?

  • Iain Lovejoy

    That’s a heck of transition between “I think John’s a bit dodgy” to “you’re gambling away the mortgage money and drinking yourself to death”.
    I don’t think this has anything to do with “friends” at all. In medieval times when subjects revolted or protested against a king they would often do so with expressions of undying loyalty to and affection for the monarch, saying rather they were trying to free him from the influence of “evil advisors” who were prompting him to do all these terrible things. This is exactly the same thing.
    This is the same “complimentarian” rubbish that no matter what one’s husband does the most you can do is humbly and cautiously suggest it might in some lights be seen as possibly a bad idea, and if he ignores you slap on a fake smile, put up with it, enable whatever he is doing and never speak of it again.

  • Friend

    I agree but also think the complementarian marriage model robs people of perspective. Husbands are supposed to detect and discipline every infraction. Wives are supposed to submit and wait for signs of godliness in the husbands. The fundie subculture also teaches that thoughts are more sinful than deeds. All together, these things can cause people to fly into a panic.

  • SAO

    The striking thing to me is that, as in many CPM posts, the same solution is suggested for something minor (hubby occasionally has a few too many beers with his jerk1 of a friend) and for a serious, chronic problem (hubby is an alcoholic whose ‘friend’ is leeching on him to the point of harming the family finances)

    It’s like saying because a bandaid is the right remedy for a paper cut, one never needs to go to the ER for stitches, no matter how bad the wound is.