My wife’s pastor controls our home

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One day she came back home and told me her pastor had invited me to church to pray for us as a couple

My wife recently started going to a certain church and it is causing problems in our marriage. One day she came back home and told me her pastor had invited me to church to pray for us as a couple. I agreed to this but when I got there, the pastor started drawing a timetable for when my wife and I should be intimate since apparently, we need days for fasting and praying. My wife follows what this pastor says without any questions to the extent that she now takes all her salary to ‘church’ since the pastor told her this is what God wants. I have tried to talk to her but whenever I do, she faults me for not respecting her beliefs and not being a believer. If it goes on like this, I see us separating soon. Please help.

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

This is quite a stressful situation in your marriage. It is true that marriage is spiritual, social, and economic. Depending on the couple’s belief system, the spiritual parts seem to outweigh others since this in a way influences attitude and behaviour and generally gives a structure to the marriage.

Marriage is also a decision between two consenting adults whose ceremony might be officiated by a religious leader or a government official, if it is civil marriage and thereafter, the two are left to bond and run their marriage in a way that is favourable to both.

 Studies show that religion adds to satisfaction in marriage and even better if a couple follows the same faith. However, this may not mean that the officiator takes over the young couple’s home and family matters but only act as a guide or role model.

 I would have liked to know how long you have lived together and how you interacted with your religious leaders before these changes. According to what you shared above, it seems this is new, the reason it is bringing a lot of stress to your marriage.

Your wife’s sudden religious fanaticism seems to be a communication of an underlying stressor and this could be her coping strategy.

 Human beings usually channel their negative energy in some form, sometimes in a positive way but in most cases, negatively. The mere fact that some pastors use a lot of authority in their messages leaves some of their followers with a dependent attitude. In your wife’s case, it could be the same issue.

 Take your wife out to a place she likes and can relax and tell her how you feel about her new behaviour. Choose a time when you are calm such that you are able to speak without the influence of anger.

This will create an avenue for you to speak about what you wish to see and also agree on how far a pastor should influence your home.

 It is also healthy to suggest marriage counselling to your wife where you can both attend and be given a safe space to talk about what is hurting your relationship.

Most marriage issues need more communication, understanding your spouse from their perspective, and seeking help from a professional or someone who is more experienced to support you go through a difficult stage in your marriage.

Reader advice

A man protects his family

Martin Ssebyala. I do not think separation is the answer. From your narration, it is evident that your wife got involved with a cult and because of this, she needs your help more than before. Running away means you are not a man because a man protects his family at all cost. These are spiritual battles and to win, you need to fight back spiritually. Find a true man of God and pray for God to open her eyes.

Love and pray for her

Alpha Lulu. Separation will only make it easier for the pastor to continue brain washing your wife. Remember that she is your wife and friend. Do whatever you can to help her see that she is being manipulated. However, avoid arguing with her because this will make it look like you are against her beliefs. Pray for her, for she will eventually see the pastor for the fraud he is. You can only win this through love, patience and lots of prayer and fasting.

Talk to your wife

Cathy Asekenye. If you value your marriage, then do whatever it takes to stop your wife from going to that church. Sit your wife down and in a loving, gentle way try to show her that she is being led astray. You also have to be patient with her since she believes that what the pastor is doing is right. Fight for your marriage.

Take control

Betty Nankya. If I may ask, who did you marry? Your pastor or wife? The pastor should come in to guide, but to a certain extent. Take control of your home and have a fighting spirit. Just giving up and leaving means you never loved your wife in the first place.

Ask for time apart

Jason Elas. Ask your wife to start going to another church and if she refuses, ask her for a separation. Tell her to use this time apart to choose between your marriage and the pastor.  She cannot respect the pastor more than her own husband.

What does the law say?

Ivan Kayongo. That pastor needs to be arrested.  How can a pastor decide when a husband and wife should be intimate? Where is it written in the Bible? Seek guidance from a lawyer who will guide you on how to deal with this ‘man of God’ legally.

Tell her about tithing

Richard Mayane. If she is really a believer, tell her to read the word of God and learn what the Bible says. God requires us to pay tithe which is a 10 percent of what we earn and not 100 percent.  If you have children, teach her the importance of saving for their future. Basically, show her that this money can be used to start projects that will benefit your family.

Involve family members

Phiona Nyeitera. Separation is not a solution. Think of other means to make her see that what she is doing is not right. If this fails, involve family members she respects and will listen to.

Evelyn Kharono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation


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