How (and When) to Stop Being a Doormat

stop being a doormat

Sometimes we get in a rut in marriage where we actually hurt our spouses because we enable sin. Sometimes we need to learn how to stop being a doormat. Let me begin with a story.

I know of a woman whose husband had been involved with porn heavily for years. They had gone to counselors and he had said he would stop but he hadn’t. They had talked about it for years but nothing changed.

Finally, she decided to stop being a doormat and told a few select people in her small group and the elders at her church, and the elders confronted her husband about this and told him that they were supporting the separation. The small group helped the wife to pack her things and helped her to get into another place to live. They are not divorced; they are separated. But she has tried everything else and it hasn’t worked, and now her church is backing her as she puts her husband in a situation where he has to choose: will I do the right thing and follow God? Or will I turn away?

This, I believe, is the biblical model. I have had other women on this site comment, saying something like:

My husband uses porn but he says there’s nothing wrong with it. I want to speak to someone at church, but I don’t know who to go to, and my husband says that he is the head of the house and I must submit. I’m lost.

That is not headship! That is a cop out.

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Headship should never be used as an excuse to continue in sin, or to give you a cover so that you can lead a “second life.”

There are times, I believe, when a spouse is so endangering his or her relationship with the family and with God that something must be done. And if nothing is done, then that spouse is giving cover to the sin. In my book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage I talked about this at length. God wants marriages where both spouses chase after Him, not marriages where one spouse uses the relationship as a cover for sin. And sometimes we need some intervention, it’s part of what it means to stop being a doormat.