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Years ago, a counselor friend lamented about wives trying unsuccessfully for years to get their husbands’ attention about a problem that was destroying their marriage. He said, “The next thing I knew, the wife did something so outrageous, it would embarrass an alligator, and they were sitting in my office. Only then, the husband was crying while his wife sat stone-faced on her way out of the marriage. The husband had used up all his chances and the wife was emotionally worn out. Finally, she'd gotten his attention. But it was too late.”

An Alligator Learns to Make Tea Instead of Hollering

Shannon stared at the credit card statement. How could her husband, Grant, have charged $46,000 worth of merchandise?

“If you’d been a good wife and really supported me, I wouldn’t have done this,” Grant gritted his teeth. “It’s all your fault I needed this outlet.”

Grant had just given the typical response of an emotional abuser.

Read the story that started the Embarrass the Alligator concept:

Embarrass the Alligator's Mission

1. Provide encouragement and insight for sanctifying marriages before they become hopeless.
2. Recognize others must make their own choices, and we can only make our own.
3. Focus on God's solutions for a real world where sometimes marriages cannot be saved.

What does sanctify your marriage mean?

I Timothy 4:5 gives the key for wonderful marriages:

For it [marriage] is sanctified by means of [1] the word of God [learning the rules from God who designed marriage and lovemaking] and [2] prayer [working with God to change our hearts].

I Corinthians 7:12-16 highlights our choices for sanctifying our marriages: When we serve God in our marriages, it forces our spouses to make a choice, even if they are not Christians:

  1. Become sanctified by keeping their act clean to match ours by not lying or ridiculing and abusing us, watching porn, or ignoring our legitimate sexual needs.
  2. Refuse a better marriage by making our lives so miserable we compromise our faith by supporting their sin.
  3. Leave [same word for "put away" or divorce in Matthew 19:9]. Living as a Christian causes us to treat our mates better and demands that we stand strong against sin in the home.

Choosing sanctification #1 gives our marriages a happiness quota not commonly found in the world. But if our spouses choose #2 or #3, God does not trap his people in unloving marriages. God gives everyone choices. It is time to make ours.

Embarrass the Alligator newsletter features these columns to help sanctify your marriage

Patsy Rae Dawson’s readers describe her gutsy, bold, and the most outspoken Christian woman on sex, appreciating her frankness and not holding anything back. She draws on four decades of teaching and mentoring both husbands and wives about marriage and the Bible to answer your email questions about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Her expertise ranges from the uplifting sexual teaching of the Song of Solomon to dealing with the complex issues of difficult marriages.

Questions for Ask PatsyRae

Email and maybe your letter will be in the next Embarrass the Alligator newsletter. Your name and privacy are always protected. Some details may be changed to protect your identity.

Click here to read past issues.

Alligators like to swim unseen under water to surprise their prey. Shining the floodlight on alligator tricks helps us follow Paul’s command to expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness in Ephesians 5:11. Paul said to take care of the sin before practicing subjection and leadership. With our obsession on subjection, we get it exactly backwards.

Check out the tips for alligator wrestling.