This post is inspired by a real estate commercial that shows a wife attempting to pressure and force her husband into a quick decision about a house that the couple may not be able to responsibly afford.
Some things to observe in this brief conversation:
- the wife’s facial expressions
- her tone of voice
- the husband’s body language and facial expressions
- how the wife responds to her husband’s legitimate concerns
- the level of verbal and non-verbal pressure she uses
- the way the wife is having this conversation “in front of the real estate agent” and the husband may feel “ganged up on”
This is listed on Youtube as “The Nastiest Wife on Television” – I do not agree that she is the nastiest wife on TV. There are plenty of things that are more blatantly disrespectful, in my view. But this IS a great example of disrespect and control. What this wife is doing is what MANY wives do and it is easy for us not to realize how disrespectful and controlling we are being. I think if we had to see ourselves on camera, we might much more readily recognize our behavior as being destructive.
Here is the 31 second commercial if you haven’t seen it:
HOW COULD A WIFE HANDLE THIS KIND OF SITUATION IN A MORE GODLY WAY?
(I only write for women, so I am not going to talk about ways the husband could have handled things better here.)
Here are some suggestions to prayerfully consider – these would apply to MANY situations, not just buying an expensive, fancy house:
- I believe a wife can and should share her feelings, desires and ideas with her husband. It is entirely possible to do this in a respectful way without trying to force our husbands to “submit to us.” A wife can casually say IN PRIVATE to her husband in a pleasant tone of voice with a smile on her face, “Honey, I LOVE that house we saw yesterday. I can’t stop thinking about it! It is my dream house. And the schools in that area are the best. I’d love for our children to go to those schools.”
- Then – change the topic or even go to another room to do some chores or check on the kids. The key is – don’t sit there tapping your fingers expecting him to give you his final answer in 10 seconds.
- Most husbands will need TIME (days or weeks) to think, analyze, weigh options and come to peace with what they believe is best in a major decision after they examine ALL of the variables. That is a GOOD THING that many husbands don’t want to rush hastily into a huge commitment of finances and into a massive debt.
- If a wife can share her desires in a non-pressuring kind of way, and then release her husband to think – I believe the couple will be able to make INFINITELY better decisions than if she demands an immediate answer.
- Big decisions need to be made by the husband and wife together without anyone else being present, in my view. And then I love the idea of the HUSBAND telling the realtor or salesperson what the final decision is and allowing him to negotiate the financial arrangements whenever possible.
- Keep in mind that ultimately God has given your husband the leadership role in the marriage (I Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:2-5, Genesis 2 and 3.) So HE will be the one who will stand accountable to God one day when this life is over for every decision he made. That is a heavy weight on his shoulders. It is freedom for you – that you don’t have to bear that responsibility. But since he will be the one who must face God about every aspect of his stewardship and leadership – he deserves to be able to have the time he needs to make the best decision possible from his perspective based on what He believes is right (as long as he is not clearly asking the wife to sin or condone sin).
WHAT IF HE SAYS, “NO”?
The thing about a wife submitting biblically to her husband is that he will say no to her desires, requests and ideas at times. That is inevitable!
I believe most wives who honor their husbands’ leadership and respect them will eventually find that their husbands truly do want to see their wives happy. So when a husband who feels very admired and respected (and has felt that way for a significant period of time) says, “I don’t think this is a good idea for us right now” – he is usually seeking the ultimate best interests of the whole family.
But even if he is making a mistake (as long as he is not asking her to clearly sin) – God is able to use the husband’s leadership to lead the family and to accomplish His will. Sometimes husbands will make mistakes. That is a great chance for us to show grace, faith, support and teamwork so that our husbands can learn to be better leaders. Sometimes one mistake can teach a man what nothing else can.
It is also possible that the husband isn’t making a mistake and that the wife will see the wisdom of his decision in the future looking back in hindsight that she may not see in the moment. That has happened with me MANY TIMES. Then I THANK GOD and my husband for my husband’s “no.” In hindsight, I am able to see that was God speaking to my husband – even though I couldn’t see it at the time.
It is important that a wife allow her husband to be able to say, “No.” Sometimes leaders have to make tough and unpopular decisions.
A godly wife can understand that God is leading her through her husband (if her husband is not asking her to clearly sin) and that she can trust God’s sovereignty in this situation and that God has some other plan in mind that must be better in some way in His wisdom. That is how we can rest in God’s peace and continue on with joy and be gracious in accepting our husband’s “no” or “wait” answers when we don’t get what we think we want at the time.
My husband’s feelings, opinions, concerns and ideas are equally as important as mine.
If there is something I believe I MUST HAVE in order to be happy and fulfilled in life – and that thing is not Jesus Christ – I may well be dealing with an idol in my heart.
God is MUCH more concerned with our attitudes and the condition of our souls than He is about us having a big, fancy house.
We can make idols out of almost anything!
How I can tell if I may have an idol or I may be cherishing sin in my heart:
- I am willing to do ANYTHING to have my way and to have what I want
- I am willing to sin to achieve my goal
- I don’t have God’s peace and joy in my heart daily
- I am full of anxiety, fear and worry trying to FORCE things to happen “the right way” and I think it will be a “disaster” if I don’t get what I want
- I am not content in Christ alone
- I am not filled up with His Spirit’s power
- I am being greedy/selfish
- I am looking at what I want – not at what God’s will may be
- I am unwilling to accept any possibility except for the one I desire
- I am willing to try to take control from my husband to make him do what I want
- I am willing to steamroll other people to try to have my idol
- I am willing to make any sacrifice of time, money, relationships and effort to have my idol
HERE IS SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT IDOLATRY
- It is breaking the greatest commandment God gives us to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength.
- It will never satisfy. God will NEVER allow us to find contentment in other things/people apart from Christ alone.
MOTIVES THAT PLEASE GOD
I must be willing to
- die to self
- seek God’s will far above my own will
- accept the Lordship of Christ and accept His leadership through His Word and through those in places of God-given authority in my life
- cooperate with my husband/my boss/my church leaders/the government/the police/etc… unless they are clearly asking me to sin. God can and will use those in authority over me to reveal His will and plan for me in my life.
- recognize that if I am fighting my husband or another God-given authority (who is not asking me to CLEARLY sin) – I may well be fighting God Himself.
- seek only to please Christ
- seek to bless others with God’s love
- give up my dreams and my will and lay them on the altar before Jesus – accepting His will instead
- understand that God’s wisdom is infinitely higher than my own and He is already in the future and knows what is truly best for me and our whole family
“NO” IS OFTEN A HUGE BLESSING AND GIFT. PRAISE GOD FOR HIS “NO” ANSWERS!
God knows what we need much better than we do. How do I know if God might be sparing us from something awful by directing my husband away from a particular decision? I don’t!
- Maybe taking on too much debt to buy a huge, fancy, expensive house is going to force us into bankruptcy or foreclosure in the future due to a job loss or hours being cut in the future that we don’t know about.
- Maybe that house will still be available later and if it is God’s will, my husband will have peace about it, too and it is just something we need to wait on for awhile.
- Maybe if we buy a very expensive house, we won’t have as much money for medical expenses in the future that we are going to need to pay for.
- Maybe buying an expensive house will keep us from giving generously to those in great need – which would grieve the heart of God.
- Maybe the financial strain and stress of a huge mortgage and debt will destroy our marriage over time.
- Maybe we are going to have a baby in the future and I am going to want to be home all the time or most of the time and we won’t have the income we have right now and it would be very unwise to plan on our income staying the same.
- Maybe we can live BELOW our means for a few years and save up and have a big down payment ready so that we can move to that school district when our children are ready to start school and maybe God has a house in mind for us that will not leave us financially strapped.
- Maybe the schools in our district where we live now aren’t really a problem.
- Maybe I will want to home school in the future and it is unnecessary to even consider what the schools are like in a certain area and we can have an equally nice house somewhere that is less expensive and has lower taxes.
- Maybe there is something else in the future that God knows about that I don’t know about and God is leading my husband a particular way for His reasons.
Life for me as a believer in Christ is not ultimately about what I want. It is ultimately about bringing glory and honor to Christ and about His will. My husband has important concerns, ideas and feelings, too. God can and will use my husband to lead me and our family in His will when I am walking in the power of His Spirit and walking in obedience to Him.
The key is to hold onto everything but Jesus LOOSELY and to be content in Christ alone no matter what my circumstances may be.
If you have a story about how your husband’s “no” or God’s “no” was a blessing to you – I’d love to hear it!
If this is an area of struggle for you – let’s talk about it together. 🙂