Jump directly to the Content

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 ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
God Wanted Me When the Foster-Care System Didn’t
God Wanted Me When the Foster-Care System Didn’t
I bounced from home to home before finding the Father my heart yearned for.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.