The Emotionally Destructive Marriage book cover

Your Role In Your Child’s Struggling Marriage

In the past year or so, I’ve had two sets of middle-age adult parents reach out to me about their adult child’s abusive marriage. What should we do? Do we have a responsibility to intervene? Do we have the right to insist on being involved? What does the Bible say about this? Here are a few of the recommendations I offered them:

Pray diligently for your child and their spouse

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Jamess 5:15 NIV

Suggest or provide trustworthy learning materials

“So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.”

Proverbs 24:6 NLT

Let go of what you can’t (and shouldn’t try to) control

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

Support them through their situation rather than telling them how to fix it

“Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”

Proverbs 11:25 NIV

Remind your child that they cannot change their spouse

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9 NIV

Be consistent in your presence, your love, and the messages you communicate

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV

Affirm your child as they prioritize their emotional safety, their voice, their boundaries, and recaiming their identity

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.”

Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

Ask if you can share your concerns before you offer any advice

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

James 1:5 ESV

Surround yourself with supportive, godly friends

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm”.

Proverbs 13:20 NIV

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