Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
I love the Proverbs 31 passage about the virtuous wife. One of the most stirring parts of this chapter, in my mind is:
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
Let’s apply Ephesians 4:31-32 to my marriage. I am going to put my husband’s name in this verse – but you can please use your husband’s name. 🙂
I think it is important to focus on scripture that shows us how to live as disciples of Christ and apply it to our marriages just as much, if not more so, than to other relationships in our lives.
- Get rid of all bitterness against Greg – Am I holding bitterness against him at all? Even the tiniest bit? Jesus says that I must forgive men their sins against me so that God will forgive me of my sins against Him. I am such a huge sinner, that I seriously owe Jesus “billions of dollars of sin debt.” So, I cannot afford not to forgive my husband of $5 or $100 or even $50,000 of debt to me. The smallest little smidgeon of bitterness can grow like a toxic cancer and consume me. It can become my biggest priority, an idol, the driving force in my life – if I allow it to stay in my heart. I have done that in the past. I have cherished bitterness and nourished it – fed and watered it and encouraged it to grow, never realizing that it would destroy me and every relationship in my life and my fellowship with God. If there are things I have not forgiven my husband for – it is time to write it all down and ask God to empower me to forgive. I may have to start by saying, “I am not sure how to forgive, Lord. I want to forgive. I want to obey You. I need Your forgiveness. Please show me how to forgive my husband for X, Y and Z.” or “Help me want to want to forgive, Lord!”
- Get rid of all rage against Greg – Here is the KJV dictionary’s definition of “rage”
RAGE, n. Heb. to grind or gnash the teeth.
1. Violent anger accompanied with furious words, gestures or agitation; anger excited to fury. Passion sometimes rises to rage.
I am going to have to NOT use physical violence against my husband if I am to honor God and be the godly wife God desires me to be. That means – no throwing things, no hitting my husband or seeking to physically wound my husband. But I also let go of the desire to hurt him in any way. I want to seek his welfare, not his destruction.
- Get rid of all anger against Greg – Anger – and really all emotions – are gifts from God. Anger is meant to tell us when our boundaries are being violated or we are being sinned against or God is being sinned against. There is such a thing as righteous anger at sin and at ungodliness and at seeing people being oppressed or mistreated. Unfortunately, in our sinful, fallen state, we allow anger to consume us and we fall to the temptation to respond sinfully in our anger.
“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27
That does not necessarily mean that we have to talk to the point of reconciliation of the issue before bed. Sometimes our husbands need time to think and need to “sleep on” things. My husband often needs time to process things for a few days, sometimes weeks before he is ready to talk about them. But we can release our anger and commit to working through the argument, misunderstanding with God’s power and wisdom before we go to bed. We can say, “I know I don’t agree with you. I want to understand your point much better. I want you to have the time you need to think. I am on your team. I want to be sure we are ok before I try to sleep.”
Now, I seek to look at Greg as my friend and companion, not my enemy. I trust that we are in this together, even if we don’t agree on something. The relationship, the marriage, our covenant before God is MUCH more important than any particular decision or issue to me now.
- Get rid of all brawling against Greg – What does it mean to “brawl”? The KJV dictionary says:
BRAWL, v.i. L. proelior.
1. To quarrel noisily and indecently.
2. To speak loud and indecently.
So, God desires me to speak to Greg with civility, politely, calmly, without raising my voice to yell/cuss/scream and act like I am on Jerry Springer’s tv show. If you have ever seen Jerry Springer’s show – the way the people act on that show is exactly how we as godly wives are NOT to EVER act. If you have not seen it – please do not watch it! You will have to disinfect your brain afterwards if you do!
- Get rid of all slander against Greg – The definition of “slander” in the KJV bible dictionary:
1. A false tale or report maliciously uttered. and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens, by exposing min to impeachment and punishment, or by impairing his means of lining; defamation. Slander, that worst of poisons, ever finds an easy entrance to ignoble minds.
2 Disgrace; reproach; disreputation; ill name.
SLA’NDER, v.t. To defame; to injure by maliciously uttering a false report respecting one; to tarnish or impair the reputation of one by false tales, maliciously told or propagated.
So, it is God’s will for me NOT use my tongue, my words, or my social media accounts to attempt to verbally emasculate, berate and discredit my husband. I have MUCH power as a wife to affect the public perception of my husband in our circle of influence. I can either build him up and make him look better by talking about his strengths and the things I admire – or I can utterly crush and destroy him with my words – whether they are true or lies.
It is glorifying to God for me to respect Greg in public, to extended family, on Facebook – everywhere! God desires me to honor Greg.
- Get rid of every form of malice in my heart against Greg – What is “malice?” Here is google’s definition:
1. The intention or desire to do evil; ill will
2. Wrongful intention
So I must get rid of any desire to do wrong, to hurt or to destroy my husband.
I must be kind to Greg, compassionate to him, forgiving him just as in Christ God forgave me.
This is God’s will for me.
We often ask, “How do I know God’s will for me in my marriage?”
HERE IT IS! A big part of it, at least.
Give us Your power to see with Your holy and blazing light into the darkest corners of our souls. Let us allow You to remove the rot and decay and cancer. Let us repent of every sin. Show us all the layers of pride, self-righteousness, bitterness, unforgiveness, malice, slander, gossip, all of it… and cleanse us with the blood of Jesus. Make us spotless. Let our hearts be white as snow. Let us truly be a safe place for our husbands to share their hearts and share their souls. Let us be on our husbands’ team. Let us do good and not harm or evil to them every day of our lives. Empower us by Your Spirit to live as godly wives, shining brightly for Christ in our families, our marriages, our churches, our neighborhoods, our jobs and everywhere we go – for Your greatest glory alone!
In the Name and power of Christ,
RESPECT DARE 34:
“Be a safe place for your man to fall. When the entire world seems like it is out to get them, (he’ll) come running home to you!” – Nina Roesner
- When your husband shares his vulnerability with you – do you offer unsolicited advice, criticism, judgment, condemnation or are you able to listen supportively?
- If you are feeling brave, ask your husband if he feels safe sharing his emotions with you. (I have some posts about how VERY differently men process emotions at the bottom of this post! Please check them out!)
- What can you do to be a safe place for your husband to share his deepest thoughts, feelings and struggles?
Nina Roesner’s Dare today is difficult, possibly painful but SO WORTH IT!
Write down the things your husband does that upset you on the left side of a sheet of paper. Then write down your responses to those things he does that you don’t like on the right side.
Do that and then come back….
Cut or tear his column away and destroy it. Realize you have no control or responsibility over his behaviors.
Now, look at your side of the list and pray for God to show you what He wants you to change.
Bitterness (4 parts)