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Reaching an Unwilling Family Member

I have on my table a violin string. It is free. I twist one end of it and it responds. It is free. But it is not free to do what a violin string is supposed to do — to produce music. So I take it, fix it in my violin and tighten it until it is taut. Only then is it free to be a violin string.
Sir Rabindranath Tagore

I'm a Christian. My husband is not, and he's making life miserable for me. He doesn't want to make our marriage any better. Would you change him?"

It's one of the most frequent, and most difficult, situations for a pastor — dealing with the unwilling family member. At times, this truly is the situation — the husband is simply unwilling to expend any energy to love his wife.

Other times, however, it's hard to get the actual facts of the case. Maybe the husband's unwillingness is only part of the problem. Perhaps the wife needs to make changes that will create the change in her husband.

"It happens all the time," says one pastor in the Northwest. "Our staff jokes about it. If someone ...

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