Broken Promises

I saw an article the other day about the characteristics that make a man a man instead of a boy. The quote that struck me most was this

A man has integrity. He means what he says, and says what he means. He has follow through and actions his promises. And if he can’t he has the guts to tell you why. A boy makes promises but doesn’t follow through.”

(You can see the entire article here:

Someone had commented “I wish I had been given this information when I was younger.”

Um, yeah. Me too.

The problem was, my husband didn’t always break promises. Not as much as he does now. It’s hard when dating because everyone is on their best behavior. Over time though, we slide and allow things to slip and I wish I had been raised with enough respect for myself to see it earlier. Like before I said “I do.”

Because failure to hold to promises also goes to vows.

And that whole love and cherishing business.

Marriage is a contract between you and another person and God. But if that person can’t honor God and you by keeping those promises, then covenant has been broken.

When a man won’t repent, or even admit he’s at fault it goes beyond a broken promise. It destroys any hope of relationship.

In my home I can’t even remind my husband of things he’s promised to do. Forget the fact that he can’t remember them sometimes, he calls it nagging. So I have to simmer and suffer and reconcile myself to the fact that his words are worthless when they are spoken to me. Maybe he holds to his word with others? I’m not sure. But for me and my children we are more often disappointed to the degree that we don’t expect much anymore.

He wants to do things together as a family and wonders why I’m not enthusiastic about his attempts. Well, because he’s broken too many promises. He has grand dreams and schemes and blames everyone else for his failures to bring his promises to fruition. My children are learning first hand to keep their expectations of their father low. Even today as I type this, it is noon and he has not yet gone to work.

He can’t work for someone else because he can’t keep promises to a boss either: to be on time, to do what’s assigned, etc.

He lives in a world unto himself. Some would say he’s narcissistic and the more I read about that the more I believe it to be true. He just doesn’t care that he has disappointed his family. Alienated and wounded his wife.

How do I live in that reality?

I have to stand on the fact that God loves me and He is faithful to keep His promises to me even if my husband doesn’t. God doesn’t make promises He is unable to keep. He just doesn’t always tell me the timing of his provision and deliverance.

So then it’s up to me to bet he faithful one. The one whose words are trustworthy. So my kids will know the difference and not accept their father’s behavior as the norm.

I want them to respect their father, but when he is disrespectful it’s hard. He is a human and for that he needs respect. He is in a role that deserves respect. Behavior can be confronted but sometimes it doesn’t feel worth it because there’s never any admission of wrong or acceptance the he is flawed and could quite possibly have erred. How do you save someone from sins they deny committing? As someone once said “It must be hard to be god.” It’s hard to live with him too.

The Lord God in heaven will have to deal with him and I need to leave that in His capable hands. God’s word says He vindicates his saints. As long as I walk with Him I can trust that in time my faithfulness will be vindicated. My integrity will stand. And maybe, if it is  God’s plan, my husband can learn to keep a promise.

In the meantime I’ll cling to the One who cannot lie and who will never break a promise to me: Jesus Christ.

How about you? Is this anything you struggle with in your marriage?

Lilly Grace


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kim
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 10:00:54

    Lilly Grace, he has broken the vows and left the marriage. Why do you stay as a victim and martyr? Why do you put up with continued abuse? Neither he nor the kids will respect you for that. Staying in this situation isn’t good for the kids. I know because I grew up in a home like this. It damaged me and my siblings, which carried long into our adult lives. We all wished for years, and still do, that our mother had divorced. Our father had long since checked out of the marriage, and we knew it. The marriage was dead. Staying with him slowly destroyed her over the years, eventually taking her physical health as well, and of course he never changed. Why would he? He knew she would simply stay and put up with it, and he no longer respected her. He lacked any motivation to change. My advice is for you and the kids to remove yourself from him (mostly likely he would be the one to leave the home), until if and when he seeks help and is willing to to work towards recovery and healing for himself and for the marriage.


    • lillygracebrown
      Aug 04, 2013 @ 06:32:34

      Kim, thanks for commenting here and visiting my blog. You ask a difficult question: Why do I stay? I’ve touched on that in some of my other posts but here it is in a nutshell: Obedience to God. I’m not staying to be a victim but am trying to learn to thrive in a difficult marriage and encourage other women who are also committed to staying. Is there some negative stuff for my children? Absolutely. However, knowing my kids the way I do, the damage would be far worse should I leave. Will they hate me? I don’t think so, because I am honest about what is healthy and what is not in behaviors for them, for me and for their father. A difficult tightrope to walk as I want them to love him anyway. He is their dad. I am in therapy. I have a great support system. But the fact remains, whether a woman stays or goes from a difficult marriage, the road is hard. I think the danger is in expecting every woman to make the choice we would make. I have several friends who have chosen separation and divorce and their paths have been painful. I do not judge or condemn them for their choice because God leads us all as individuals – not with a preordained script that everyone has to follow. Yes, it is painful to stay and in some of my posts here I’m trying to give voice to some of that pain so other women out there suffering in silence won’t feel so alone or even feel bad for choosing to stay. It is a choice. God doesn’t always call us to an easy path but there is growth to be had and valuable lessons learned as we walk it holding His hand. I’m not ruling out the possibility of separation at some point if God would bring me to that. My husband may have broken the marriage covenant but I have chosen not to, just as God has chosen to be faithful to me even when I’ve not always been faithful to Him. God can still be glorified in my difficult circumstances as I seek to walk this path in His strength.


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