My wife and I were driving from visiting a home in the evening when I turned on the car radio and tuned to a local radio station. There was a preacher speaking on a live radio programme. He was evidently campaigning for an overnight prayer meeting that was scheduled to take place at his church the next day.
What I found absurd was that his panacea for everyone who called in was, “Come to the overnight prayer meeting tomorrow and receive your deliverance.” However, as absurd as this was, it was not the most shocking. It was when he began to tell all the women who were calling in to share their marital problems that they had spiritual husbands who were behind their domestic woes. I had never heard of this and thought the guy was just crazy.
Well, I am the one who was in for a shock. The following day, while talking to some theological students from our densely populated townships in Lusaka, they were surprised that I had never heard about this phenomenon. It was common talk where they lived and ministered. So, they took time to explain it to me.
The belief is that when your marriage is breaking up due to a husband who seems to have lost interest in you, or you have serious gynaecological problems, or you are having miscarriages, then it is because you have a spirit called a spiritual husband causing all this in the spiritual realm. It is also the case if you are getting on in years and no man is seriously approaching you for marriage. It means you have a spiritual husband blocking other men. You need deliverance in order to have a wholesome marriage or for your body to function normally.
Usually, the diagnosis involves being asked about your dreams. If you have either seen yourself swimming (for the most stubborn ones are marine spirits), or missing your menstrual period, or becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding, or vomiting, or going shopping or having sex with a man who is not your husband, or having a miscarriage, or getting married, or about to get killed in a dream, then this is sure evidence that a spiritual husband has entered into your life. You need deliverance. If the “man of God” tells you that you are having dreams in which you are having sex with someone and you deny it, he then tells you that your spiritual husband wipes it off your memory through demonic manipulation.
As usual, there are many benighted souls who are ready to testify that they went for such deliverance meetings where the “man of God” prayed for them to be delivered from their spiritual husbands and since then their dreams have returned to normal and their marriages are supposedly back on track. For those who were not being proposed, after the deliverance sessions they have found spouses and are now married and are living happily ever after! Sadly, there are many, many more whose marriages would have been salvaged if they had gone through proper Christian marriage counselling. These are the ones who suffer quietly and are told that they lacked faith or they did not have a breakthrough.
Of course, this teaching is gender neutral. Men having marital problems are also being taught about spiritual wives who are affecting their marriages. The only difference is that often it is women who fall prey to such nonsense—as was the case that evening when so many of them called during that live radio programme that my wife and I listened to as we drove home.
What shall I call this teaching about spiritual husbands (and wives), which is in vogue today here in Africa? It is nonsense! Here are at least four reasons why:
1. All this is not in the Bible. We have gone right back to the dark ages where we believe everything that “priests” say without checking it with what the Bible says. As in the dark ages, stories doing their rounds are becoming larger than life. Spiritual husbands are changing shape and showing up in all kinds of places at night. Even when these false teachers use the Bible, they wrest it out of its context. One such teacher used Matthew 13:25, which says, “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away,” to teach that spiritual husbands come at night to sleep with women!
2. There is a superstitious view of dreams that is totally unhealthy. If I am lusting after someone I am likely to dream romantically about him or her. If I am having problems to conceive, I am likely to dream that one day I am pregnant. If I am longing for a job, I am likely to dream that one day I land myself the job of my dreams. If I have longed to meet President Obama, I am likely to dream that I am having a meal with him and his wife, Michelle, at the White House. It is sheer common sense. Dreams simply live out the wishes and fears of our lives.
3. There is a failure to handle moral issues the way the Bible handles them. Those involved in sexual sin are being told that the blame is on spiritual husbands or wives and all they need is deliverance. Responsibility is shifted from them to some powerful forces. The Bible calls people guilty of sin to repentance, urging them to find forgiveness from God through faith in Christ. Many of these women (and the men!) being counselled to be delivered from spiritual husbands (and wives) are unregenerate. They need to be saved by the power of the gospel. Yet, there is no effort to show them that it is sin in their lives that is destroying their marriages. If the Lord were to save them, he would give them a new power to enable them to joyfully live in honour of their marriage vows and obligations.
4. There is a failure to counsel people with biblical principles of marriage. Women who were calling in to that radio programme, talking about constant fights with their husbands, were not being asked whether they were observing the biblical blueprint for healthy marriage relationships. Husbands ought to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Wives ought to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ. No, the “man of God” would go straight into telling the women that they had spiritual husbands and needed deliverance.
Let me say it again, this teaching about spiritual husbands and wives is sheer nonsense! It is yet another lie of the devil that is being peddled by deluded souls masquerading as spiritual teachers and preachers. They are blind and they are leading others who are blind into spiritual and moral ditches. Any teaching that is not based squarely on the Bible is not worth listening to. It is nonsense!