When your spouse needs deliverance, what do you do? My wife and I married in our early twenties. We wanted to serve the Lord in ministry, but we were also very young and naive. I was dealing with a lot of brokenness from my childhood which manifested in foolish, sinful choices. These choices affected our young family in major ways. Very early on our marriage was troubled, and my wife found herself living a story that was nothing like the fairytale she had imagined. Where do you turn when the person you married is nothing like you thought they were?
When your spouse needs deliverance, realize you are not God.
The most important thing to remember as you seek deliverance for your spouse is this: you are not God. If you think you are going to be the savior of your spouse, they are never going to receive deliverance. This is a job you cannot do. Let Jesus do the deliverance! However, there are things you can do to create an atmosphere for Him to move in your marriage. Here are some steps you can take.
Go back to your origin story.
When I met my wife Julie, I knew right away that I wanted to be with her. She, however, didn’t feel the same and held me at arms-length for a very long time before she eventually fell madly in love with me. Every couple has an origin story of how they first met one another. Sometimes it’s love at first sight. Sometimes (like our story), one person isn’t interested at all in a relationship and takes a little warming up. Regardless of how your story as a couple began, you eventually find yourself in love, starry-eyed, and looking towards the future. Go back to your origin story. There was something that caused you to fall in love. Something drew you to one another. Refresh your memory of why you fell in love in the first place. Remember what your story was like before all of the hurt and unforgiveness came into play.
Be the redeemer.
Stop complaining that your spouse won’t change, and you do the changing. In every broken relationship, someone has to be the redeemer. That’s what Jesus did with us. He was blameless, sinless, and loved us first. Our relationship with God was broken due to OUR sin, not His. And yet Jesus laid his life down for us. He was our Redeemer. Redemption is giving someone something they don’t deserve. That is the heart of Jesus.
Maybe your spouse rightfully deserves the scowl or the silent treatment. Perhaps every word they say when they open their mouth starts fights and bickering. Maybe they are lucky you still even live in the same house. And maybe you feel like you could serve God better without them in your life. But that train of thought is not of God. (Note: situations that include addiction and abuse are extremely complicated and I can’t begin to address all the layers in this brief blog, so please seek godly counsel on how to proceed).
But if you really want to be like Jesus in your relationship, then you have to be the redeemer. Pastor Jimmy Evans says, “Somebody’s gotta do the right thing first.” God wasn’t waiting for us to clean up our act before He sent Jesus. Jesus gave forgiveness even though we didn’t deserve it, He gives us love even though we don’t deserve it, He gives us His Holy Spirit even though we don’t deserve Him. This is the heart of God, to give what we don’t deserve. Be that person to your spouse. Give what you want in return. Do the right thing first, and see God move in your marriage.
Build a culture of forgiveness.
There are two ways you can tell someone that they messed up: you can either call them out, or you can call them up. Call-outs are usually rooted in an angry or vindictive spirit. Calling them up signals to them to come up higher in their behavior. Calling them up is rooted in a spirit of forgiveness. In the middle of our marriage crisis, there were times when my wife came to me and said, “I chose to forgive you for____.” I didn’t even know I had hurt her! But she had intentionally decided that our home was going to be one where forgiveness was the culture.
Anger produces more anger. Violence produces more violence. You can’t fight a spirit with the same spirit. It is fought with the opposite spirit. You can only break a cycle by applying an opposite spirit. If you want a home that is peaceful and life-giving, you have to build a culture where the opposite spirit is in effect.
If you apply the same bad spirit that your spouse is using, you’ll continue living the same issues over and over again. Apple seeds make apple trees. You will reap what you sow in your marriage. Anger, bitterness, hatred, harsh words all produce that same fruit. Forgiveness produces forgiveness.
I hope this blog gave you some applicable strategies for dealing with a spouse who needs deliverance. Remember – you can’t save them, only Jesus can. Remember why you fell in love and how you started out together. Be the redeemer and offer your spouse the thing that you need, even if they don’t deserve it. And build a culture of forgiveness in your home.
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