FIRST – I want to share a wife’s comment I received this past weekend:
Very briefly I wanted to thank Peacefulwife. I discovered your blog on September 5, 2013. I applied everything I learned and am so grateful.
My dear husband passed away on November 10, 2013. Although my heart aches I can honestly say I have NO REGRETS. My husband left this world knowing his wife loved and RESPECTED him! There was nothing left unsaid. He was only 53 and had an unexpected hemorrhagic stroke.
Dear wives no matter how hard and frustrating it may be to follow this Godly counsel, do it NOW!
We aren’t promised tomorrow.
Such a sobering thing to think about. How I praise God that they had two months to get things right with each other and with God. What an incredible blessing to be able to say, “I have no regrets” even in the face of the grief of losing her husband. Whew!
I pray that each of us might live in obedience to God and in right relationship with Him and with our husbands and other people in our lives, that we might be able to say we have no regrets in the face of tragedy.
Whether you believe your husband is watching “too much TV,” shouldn’t look at certain things, is working more than you think he should, is not “involved enough” with the children, is not “making you a priority” the way you want him to, or whatever the issue is – if you respond to him by yelling at him and demanding that he do what you want him to do, that is going to be a destructive approach every time. Not to mention – if we are yelling and screaming at our husbands – we are sinning against God and against our husbands ourselves. That is NOT ok! If God’s Spirit is in control of our lives, we will have His self-control and gentleness.
Here is one Christian brother’s perspective on this issue (he was responding to a particular wife’s situation – but I believe his counsel applies in many situations) that may help us to understand a lot better why approaching our husbands with demands and disrespect won’t work and is damaging to the marriage and to our husbands:
THE BLESSING OF A HUSBAND REFUSING TO RESPOND TO OUR YELLING AND SCREAMING AT THEM TO CHANGE
You should realize there is a silver lining in this for you, that you have not quite noticed yet. And that is the fact that your husband is not submitting to you, especially given the nature of how you are addressing him. If he was falling all over himself to please and supplicate to you, you would end up despising him.
One thing about women, they will forgive men for being bad, but they cannot stand a weak man. So for now, he is keeping the peace by not directly challenging you, but he not bowing to your demands. Good for him.
Personally, if my wife tried to get me to stop doing something by issuing a command, I would tell her:
“You’ve forced my hand. I am going to have to continue doing this thing, because I will not have you thinking that I am here to submit to your orders.”
- For a woman to use insistence and demands to get her man in line is really no different than a man using similar tactics to get her to be intimate. Would you want to be bullied into sex? I think not.
Now, about his actions, if what you say is true (and it might be) , perhaps he needs to stop looking at those women on the TV.
But God is not a God of shortcuts, and God will not give you means to bypass his means and methods, and simply order your husband around like a child. If you want what you want, you are going to have to get it the “hard way”. God’s way. And done in Christian LOVE, but love for both of you.
- What you are not seeing is the kind of emotional violence you may be doing to your husband. You may feel completely justified in what you want, but bludgeoning him with scolding and shaming is neither loving nor respectful.
Let’s also realize an uncomfortable but truthful reality. Your husband is probably bigger and stronger than you. Do you notice that he does not use that physical superiority to control you? Some men do. Most women have zero chance in a physical altercation with a man. But on the flipside, women have the power to bludgeon with words in a way that many men do not.
So, in some households, the women are swinging away with their verbal and emotional fists, while their husband locks himself up, suffering the evil of being abused, and having no way to respond without being called an abuser himself. This one-sided dynamic pervades our society, where a screaming, yelling woman is perceived to be venting a legitimate grievance, but the same behavior from a man is “abuse”.
SUBMITTING UNDER PROTEST
And as I have said before, it is perfectly acceptable for a wife to submit “under protest”.
- Submission does not mean agreement, it does not mean you like what is happening, it does not mean that he is right and you are wrong.
Like love, it is a decision, not a feeling. An act of one’s will.
In fact, submitting while respectfully protesting is better than just shutting up, since if you stifle your feelings, he may never pick up on the fact that there are things making you sad or hurt.
I’ll never forget what that pastor’s wife said:
- “I am going to be a blessing to you no matter what you do”.
He said is was like a punch to the gut. I’m sure David felt the same way when he got called out for killing Uriah.
I don’t want the following to seem like I am comparing women to children, because that is not the intent.
Many parents, especially mothers, have had their kids try the “I hate you, I hate you, I wish I had a different mom”, or some other tactic when they don’t get their way on something.
At first glance, some people might think that the pain a mom feels when she hears this is because her child is claiming to hate her. But this misses the reality of the situation. She knows her child, in fact, does not hate her.
The pain comes from realizing that someone you love would so frivolously use such painful words against you. The child, in this situation, knows they don’t hate their mother. But they want their way so intensely, that they are willing to use a tactic like this.
The child does not really consider the parent’s feelings, because mom (or dad) is so big, so tough, and the kid thinks “I can say this and it won’t matter.” So, the kid is venting their anger, or trying to manipulate, but is blind to the pain they cause, and the costs that are being incurred.
Similarly, some women tend to think of men as tough, unemotional, unreachable, etc. So such a “nuclear” tactic seems harmless to them. Similarly, some women tend to think of men as tough, unemotional, unreachable, etc. So such a “nuclear” tactic seems harmless to them.
Just as God gave men physical strength to use to bless their families through protection and provision, he gave women emotional skills to build up their husbands and children. A man should never use his God-given strength as a weapon against his wife, and a woman should never use her emotional skills as a weapon against her husband.
If a husband allowed his wife to get what she wanted by pitching a fit, screaming, yelling, insulting him, calling him names, etc… he is “teaching her” that this is how to treat him and this is how to get her way. That is not a gift to anyone! In fact, it would reward her sin and teach their children to use this behavior as well.
GREG WOULDN’T SUBMIT TO ME – PRAISE GOD!
I am BEYOND THANKFUL now that Greg would not do what I demanded he do all those many 14+ years earlier in our marriage. If I was able to force him to do my will by using my words and volume and anger – it would mean he had no convictions or backbone at all. In fact, it would mean he was a huge wimp.
- How could I respect a man who allowed me to manipulate him into doing whatever I wanted with my poor behavior?
Now I realize that Greg stuck to his convictions and that he was showing leadership skills by refusing to allow my emotions and verbal intensity and even verbal attacks to move him. And I also realize that if he had caved in to me, it would have created an even more destructive scenario in our marriage.
Now, I am thankful that I can respectfully share my feelings with Greg, but that he will do what he truly believes is best, even if he goes against my feelings and desires on a given decision. WHAT A HUGE RELIEF that is! My feelings won’t dictate our decisions. My feelings can be kind of unpredictable and unstable. I don’t want my feelings to be the ultimate litmus test and for me to have the final veto based on my feelings. I want to have input and to feel heard, but I don’t want Greg to be a slave to my emotions. I don’t want to be a slave to my own emotions!
MEN HAVE FEELINGS
Let’s keep in mind – that men DO have emotions and feelings. I became convinced early in our marriage that Greg didn’t have feelings because he didn’t express them verbally and because he didn’t look upset when I would get upset. He seemed totally unaffected by me or my feelings. He never shared any feelings. So I figured eventually that I could say anything and it wouldn’t phase him.
I was SO WRONG.
Men DO have feelings and we are able to deeply wound them with our words. They don’t emote and respond the same way we do externally. But they have tender hearts.
They can hear us just fine if we express ourselves respectfully. We are much more likely to see them grant us the desires of our hearts when we approach them with civility, politeness, respect and a calm, pleasant friendly tone of voice. They may need more time to think about things than we would. That is ok!
The only power we have when we scream or attack verbally is the power to sever our husbands from us emotionally and spiritually – maybe even sexually if it gets bad enough. Verbal attacks are very damaging to our husbands and our marriages.
- There is really never a valid reason to scream and yell or berate our husbands or to attempt to belittle or humiliate them in order to try to get our way. There is never a godly reason that gives me justification for attempting to force or control my husband into doing what I want to. God allows us all the freedom to have free will. He doesn’t force us into anything. Am I above God that I should have the power to force my husband to do my will? Nope! Definitely not!
When God’s Spirit rules in our hearts – He empowers us to have gentleness and self-control.
If we don’t have gentleness and self-control – we probably have a lot of sin on our hands to repent of and need to get back in right relationship with Christ!