My dear brothers, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19
In the Respect Dare, Nina Roesner shares a story on Dare #5 about how a wife applies this verse and avoids a serious argument with her husband. The awesome thing is, he soon came to see his wife’s point of view and agree with her without her forcing the issue or having an argument about it. Sometimes we as women figure things out before our husbands do. But, there are times when wise wives will wait and allow God to reveal things to their husbands instead of trying to tell their husbands what to do or taking over.
QUICK TO ANGER, QUICK TO SPEAK
In the first 14.5 years of our marriage, before I really understood respect and biblical submission, I would often ask Greg a question – And then Greg didn’t answer immediately – I would get UPSET.
I expected him to know his mind on any issue right away- just like me. I expected him to answer within 10-20 seconds. I would wait – and sigh and watch the clock and count the minutes ticking by as he seemingly “ignored” me and “refused” to answer my question.
Then by about 15-25 minutes – when I had waited impatiently and pressured him to give me an answer, I would explode in anger and storm off – incredulous that Greg “wouldn’t” answer a simple question.
I was most certainly NOT quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Now, when I ask him a question, I give him time to think because I know that is how he works. He is not being hateful or unloving. He just needs to think quietly on his own for awhile. Now that I understand this about him, I am able to offer him time, grace and plenty of patience. God has changed my heart and opened my mind to see things from his perspective.
When we first moved into this 1960s era brick house in 2007, my husband said that the renovations that needed to be done would take 6 months. Sometimes, Greg would stop working on the house and go tear vines off of the back fence. I wanted that house DONE in 1 year or less – which seemed pretty generous and patient on my part, considering he had estimated 6 months.
(When I say renovations – I mean: making a new kitchen out of an old office, making a new master suite out of the original living room and den, taking down walls, tearing out most rooms all the way down to the studs and starting from scratch. And this is a big house. He worked on the house 5-6 days per week until midnight after his full time job for a year and a half. My husband wanted to be careful, methodical, spend money wisely and do things perfectly. My goal was SPEED. We had very different priorities.)
So when I saw Greg outside pulling vines, I stomped out to the back yard and said, “Why on earth are you pulling vines back here? The fence is NOT a priority right now! You said the house would be done in 6 months. It’s been 5 months already and you have barely gotten anything done yet. I want the house done as soon as possible!!” (at that point, he had closed in the carport and made it a garage. And we spent about 3 months just deciding where the master suite would be, where the kitchen would be, if we would have a dining room or not, what walls would stay and what walls would go… you know, normal stuff.)
I didn’t even ask Greg questions. I didn’t try to understand his perspective. I wanted the house done and I wanted it done ASAP. I NEEDED HELP!!!!!! I was beyond nervous breakdown mode by the second summer we were here because I had been EXTREMELY sleep deprived for a year and a half nursing our baby around the clock almost every night (Usually I only slept 4-5 hours/night of sleep in 30 minute intervals). She was often sick. I was often sick. I was also working 20+ hours/week, caring for our 5 year old and handling all the housework, shopping, cooking. I was beyond being totally overwhelmed.
A year or two after I learned about respect and biblical submission, Greg shared with me that when he was frustrated with a renovation project that was not going well – he would go outside and pull vines and try to clear his head and think through the problems he was having so he could work out a solution.
Imagine if I had been more interested in listening to my husband instead of demanding my way. What if I had not been quick to fire my anger at him? Maybe there wouldn’t have been any tension at all because maybe he would have shared with me that he used that time to think through possible solutions. If I had known that, I feel sure I would have been a lot more understanding – even if I was very sleep deprived.
I see now that he was fixing up that house as a HUGE gift of love for ME. He wanted to give me my dream home. He wanted me to appreciate his hard work and the beautiful rooms he made. What an amazing, talented, loving, generous man I have – to devote himself to such a massive project just to make me happy. Wow!
I understand how my husband thinks a WHOLE lot better which has made a huge difference. I have let go of many unrealistic expectations.
I know that he:
- does not think or feel or process emotions like me at all.
- often thinks without words and uses formulas or imagines a scale as he is making decisions. So it is difficult for him to verbalize things for awhile until he arrives at a decision.
- feels disrespected when I pressure him to come to a decision too quickly.
So, now (by God’s power working in me) I:
- am patient and ask a question casually and leave a lot of time for him to think without any pressure.
- LISTEN when he does speak and pay careful attention to his unique masculine perspective and wisdom and I know that many times God is leading me through his words.
- patiently wait and don’t try to force my way or force a quick solution.
- share my feelings and desires and perspective calmly, in a pleasant tone of voice with a friendly expression on my face.
- ask questions respectfully and softly if I don’t understand. But I try not to ask “why.” That question is disrespectful to many men.
- am gracious if we don’t do what I had suggested or what I wanted to do. My goal is to seek God’s will first, not my own. I trust God’s sovereignty to lead me through my husband if my husband doesn’t agree with me.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER AND PRAY ABOUT:
1. What were some of the disagreements/arguments my husband and I have had lately?
2. Why did I feel it was necessary to argue?
3. How could I have applied this verse (James 1:19) and handled things without an argument?
4. How can I apply this verse on a daily basis when I start to feel angry?
5. Is it possible that I might be making small issues more important than our marriage or my obedience to Christ?
6. Do I believe that my sinful behavior (disrespect, yelling, cussing, throwing things, becoming violent, attacking my husband verbally) is justifiable because I believe I am “right” about the small issue and I believe he is “wrong”? Is God more concerned with the little issue or with my sinful attitude?
7. Is it possible that my husband’s idea might just be different, not “wrong”? What if he has valuable wisdom to share with me that I am missing when I get angry quickly and don’t listen? What might I be missing that God wants me to hear?
8. Is it possible that I am exhausted, hormonal, hungry, in pain or have some other major physical issue that makes things seem a whole lot worse than they really are right now? If so, I need to take care of that first before I unwisely get into any kind of argument!
YOU ARE WELCOME TO SHARE YOUR ANSWERS AND YOUR STORIES! 🙂
A Real Life Example of Respect and Biblical Submission
Why Men Need Space Sometimes – Youtube Video (5 minutes)
God May Be Leading Your Husband’s Decision – Youtube Video (under 3 minutes)
Responding to Our Husband’s Constructive Criticism – Youtube Video (5 minutes)