What's really interesting about this question is that the wife who's asking it is not saying, we fight all the time. We fight about everything. We fight about little things, we fight about big things. It's not actually what she's asking. She's saying we fight about one thing and that one thing keeps coming up. And when I hear her question, I think I imagine that same thing that she and her husband are fighting over is rather significant. It's actually worth fighting over, but either A, he's really sincerely trying to make changes in this area of his life, but he's genuinely ensnared. It's been a longstanding difficult problem that really has a grip on him. Or I can imagine that he really, it is a significant issue, but he just doesn't have the motivation or the ability to make even small steps towards change, towards radically turning around and moving in a different direction in his life in this area.

And he needs help. So either he's genuinely trying and he's made progress over the years, but there's still work to be done or he's just not quite there with taking the initial steps towards change. And when I think of what that could be, the changes that need to be made, and it's something that this husband and wife are repeatedly, regularly arguing over and a husband is promising that he'll make changes, but isn't, I'm thinking it could be things like his relationship with other women. Maybe he's flirtatious or maybe there's excessive drinking or using recreational drugs. Maybe he's unwilling to work and provide for his family or working too much or spending money that they don't have. Maybe it's viewing pornography. You can see the things, habits, activities that he's engaged in that are really quite serious and maybe even dangerous, but destructive to his relationship, destructive to himself and to his family.

And I'm thinking, wow, you've talked to your husband, you've had many conversations. They turn into conflicts and yet he's been unable or unwilling to make really important changes in this area. And I'm thinking the first place that I'm going in my mind as a spouse is to Galatians 6:1. Let's read just a few verses together. And the problem is, in marriage when our spouse is really struggling and it's coming up again and again, our temptation is to go to exasperation. Our temptation is to get beyond frustrated and even to a despairing, hopeless anger. And we think, well, if I just ramp it up, if I get louder, if I start doing things that make his life miserable, if I just really turn up the volume and the heat on my communication, maybe he'll see that I'm serious and I'm not messing around and this can't continue.

But listen to what Paul says in Galatians 1. He says, "Brothers and sisters, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself lest you too be tempted." I love that corrective. What Paul is saying is look at when your brother or sister is struggling and they're caught, caught in the sense of caught in a trap, caught in a net. And it is not just a one-time mistake that a person can get out of pretty easily. It's something that they're actually caught up in. And Paul says, restore this person. Speak to this person. Draw near to this person in a spirit of gentleness and be careful because you're going to be tempted and knowing what your temptations are, whether that is a towards stonewalling or yelling or punishing, whatever the temptation would be.

Paul says, be careful because when you're trying to come near to your husband, there's going to be temptations and he's caught. And a spirit of gentleness is the approach. Now, another verse that I go to is in Matthew in Matthew 18, and listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 18. Verse 15 says, "If your brother or sister sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you've gained your brother." Okay? There's the goal. So you're going with a spirit of gentleness and your goal is to win your brother. You're not gossiping, you're not trashing him with friends, you're not doing things passively aggressive. You're going directly to your husband and you're saying, I'm really concerned this is something that is wrong, and let's talk about it. And Jesus says, just between the two of you.

And the goal is that you would gain your brother. The goal is that he would actually take to heart what you're saying and take steps forward. Now, you may be thinking, well, yeah, I've done that many times and it ends the same within a few days. Within a few weeks, we're back to the same situation. Well, Jesus is very realistic. In verse 16, he says, "But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses." Now, you may be at a situation where you're saying, look, I've already gone and approached my husband. And yeah, it's not been perfect, but it has been sincere. And he knows that this is an area that change is needed in, and he hasn't listened at this point. It's time to bring someone else in.

Someone who loves your husband, maybe ideally someone who your husband trusts and someone who he'll listen to. Maybe you can go and talk to that person and not in a gossipy way, but come in and say, look, we are having a struggle. Will you come with me to talk to my husband together? There's been something that we've been unable to really work through and it's serious. Well, verse 17: "If he refuses to listen even to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a gentile and a tax collector." In other words, God gives us this process of love where we're not just—if our brother or sister is caught in serious sin, we go first alone. And that may be a process of weeks or months. It's not just I go once and then no, I'm going to bring somebody else into the conversation.

No, we give this time. And then if that's not helpful, if your husband is not listening, not hearing, not able, his ears aren't open to you, then we bring another person in that hopefully your husband respects that can speak into his life as well and express concern and the urgency of the changes that need to be made. And even if that isn't fruitful, then Jesus says, bring someone from church, bring a pastor, bring an elder, a deacon, and he gives us a way forward that's very practical and very pastoral. Now, the last thing I like to say is that spirit of gentleness that Paul speaks of, James says it very in a different way, in a way that's corrective to you as a wife who's going to speak to her husband in an area that's really challenging, that probably affects you deeply, that probably makes your life uncomfortable or painful or scary in significant ways. And listen to what James says. This is James 1 in verse 20, starting in verse 20.

James says, "For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." Here's where I can get tripped up. As we were talking about just a few moments ago, when it's something that we're starting to get exasperated over and it's something very significant, we can believe the lie and can get hooked into thinking, if I just get louder, if I just get angrier, it'll have more of an effect. And James says, don't deceive yourself. Your anger will not bring about what God desires. If you truly want change for your husband and you're in line with what the Lord desires, your anger is not going to do what you want it to do. In fact, it'll get in the way. God promises that and says, No. Go with a gentle spirit, a spirit of gentleness. Go with someone else if your husband's not listening, and know that the Lord is with you, where two or three are there he is with you, and he will give you strength in these really hard things.