How to Know if Your Husband has Really Changed

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"How will I know if my husband has really changed?" is a common question from wives. We talk to Kathy Gallagher for the answer.

Kathy Gallagher has joined me in the studio. Kathy is the Co-Founder and Senior Administrator here at Pure Life Ministries. Kathy, it's good to see you again.

Thanks, Mike. It's good to be here.

Kathy, as we look at letters to hurting wives today, one of the questions I know you sometimes get from wives of husbands who have gone through our Residential Program or our Overcomers-at-Home Program is "How do I know if my husband has really changed?" What a great question. How does a wife really know if a change has occurred in her husband's life?

Yeah. When a man repents, it takes time for the old habits to change. There may be a genuine repentance but the old man is still hanging on and the old habits are still entrenched. It's going to take time for those things to be eradicated completely. The confusion probably is for the wife as she is seeing a little bit of the old man, but she is also seeing a little bit of the new man. I want to encourage those wives: if you feel like your husband has repented, give it time, it will manifest itself. True repentance has fruit. There's definite fruit in real repentance and it will show up in time.

Is there anything Kathy that you would encourage the wife specifically not to do?

The wife has to be careful that she doesn't make herself, her feelings, and her marriage the center of the universe. It's very hard to do because women that have been affected by their husband's sexual sin live in fear. You have to really battle to keep yourself out of the middle of it, in the sense that if you see little pieces of the old man you will panic and feel like he hasn't changed, but that's not true. It's better to be on the side of believing the best than not. There's nothing worse for a man trying to come out of sexual sin than to have his wife - his helper - standing in the background accusing him. Even if she doesn't do it verbally, her actions and her manners may be saying to him "I don't trust you and I don't believe you." It's a tightrope for the man and the woman because she's been hurt. I believe in my heart for the most part most women want to believe the best, but when you've been hurt you're a little tentative to put your heart out there on the line. Yet on the man's side I believe that a lot of guys really do want to be free. They want to be normal and live a normal godly life with their family. So it's two people working together and not making each other the center of the universe. It's Jesus Christ who has to be made center and He will balance everything else out.

What are some of the practical things that a wife can be looking for that might be evidence of true repentance?

I think one of the most important things is that his overall attitude will be different towards her and the family. There will be a softness that probably hasn't been there in the past. More evidence would be his daily walk with the Lord, which to me is the biggie. The most important thing is what he is doing with God every day. Is it consistent? Does he desire fellowship with other believers? The Word of God is so important to this process. If a man is in the Word of God all the wife has to do is wait for the Word of God to take its effect. Those are some of the things I look for. When Steve repented those were the things that were pronounced in his life and I didn't know any of this stuff. I didn't have a Pure Life Ministries. The things that stood out the most to me and were so precious to me was that he wanted to be in the Word of God Every. Every spare moment he had he was reading the Bible and he was praying. I saw him repent and it wasn't because he got caught or because I was worried about something. He was having a relationship with Christ separate from me and it encouraged me very much, so that to me is real fruit of repentance.

It sounds like you're saying rather than being the hawk that is always looking for her husband doing something wrong, instead begin to look for her husband doing things right, and perhaps encourage him in those things...

Yeah, there was nothing more sweet to me than when my husband told me that my support and my belief in him did so much to help him get free. I really want to encourage wives to be on that side. It's better. Even if he fails, it's better to be on the side of support than no support.

Then you know in the end that you have done the right thing and have done what you could do. You will have been more Christ-like towards your husband.

And it's exactly what Jesus has been to us knowing full well we would fail Him, but He is always right there with us.

Amen. Well I'm sure that will be an encouragement to wives. Kathy Gallagher, thanks so much.

Thank you, Mike.


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