As believers in Christ – we can point others to Jesus.
Unfortunately, many women today – even women who claim Christ – get together with girl friends and bash their husbands together. One will complain about something her husband did or did not do, and others will insult, belittle, or say negative things about that woman’s husband.
Really – it is toxic poison for us to “vent” about our husbands or to listen to another woman “venting” about her husband – or other people. As one of my readers says, “Venting is not benign.”
How I pray that we might be careful to respect and honor our friends’ husbands as the head of their marriages and if we cannot show respect for our friends’ husbands- maybe we ought not be listening to their marriage issues, but refer them to seek godly counseling!
My friend does not have a covenant with ME.
She has a covenant with her husband and God.
It is wrong for me to attempt to separate what God has put together.
2Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
3“What did Moses command you?” he replied.
4They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
5“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’a 7‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,b 8and the two will become one flesh.’c So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
10When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” Mark 10
I may point my friends to God’s commands for us as wives in Ephesians 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 11:3, I Corinthians 13:4-8
I may, as I hear God’s Spirit, gently, lovingly, humbly but firmly rebuke sin (of course, I need to have all the sin out of my own “eye” first – Matt 7:1-5):
- lust (emotional or physical)
- resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred
- idolatry – of self, romance, feeling happy, her husband, her children, beauty, thinness, power, control, wealth… anything!
- assuming evil motives
- rebellion against God’s Word
- an unrepentant heart
I MAY PRAYERFULLY (as God’s Spirit clearly leads me) CONSIDER WHETHER TO
- PRAY with her – for God’s will, His glory, her obedience, for her to be convicted of any sin and to live in the power of God’s Spirit
- listen to her concerns but keep directing her back to scripture, faith in God, trust in God’s sovereignty, obedience to God’s Word
- not minimize her feelings – be understanding of her emotions – but realize that emotions are not always a source of truth
- help her to examine her true motives
- respect my own man, and not disrespect him by sharing confidences he has shared with me that he wouldn’t want others to know
- uphold her husband’s authority as leader in the marriage
- uphold her husband’s authority as a father
- be available to her if her husband is supportive of my friendship with her
- help her in practical ways if she is exhausted and needs help with some chores or childcare, etc…
- direct her to godly, wise counsel if she is actually in serious danger
- uphold and honor her marriage vows and covenant
- remind her of the good things her husband has done for her throughout their marriage and also recently
- help her to see things about her husband to respect
- tell her the things she is doing right! Affirm her and encourage her!
- help her to see other ways of looking at the situation, maybe to help encourage empathy for her husband’s masculine perspective
- help her to think about ways that her husband may be good willed towards her instead of assuming the worst about him automatically
- share stories of God’s ability to heal and bless and restore marriages
- encourage her to focus on her own relationship with Christ and her obedience to God and her sin
- ask her how her time with God has been going
- help her to take responsibility for her own sin and her own obedience to Christ and not make excuses for herself
- encourage her to repent to God and to her husband if she is guilty of any sin – without justifying her sin
- ask her if she has been eating well, sleeping enough, if she is hormonal right now, if she is sick – these things make everything look SO MUCH WORSE than they really are!
- help her to dissect the lies her feelings may be telling her from truth and reality if applicable
- direct her to godly books, blogs, resources that support scripture and godly marriage
- encourage her to focus on the good things in her husband
- encourage her not to argue or complain (Phil. 2:14-16)
- encourage her to develop a thankful heart and focus on Philippians 4:4-8 and 12-13
- encourage her to never repay evil for evil but to repay evil with good (Romans 12:9-21)
- encourage her to think through how she can love with God’s kind of love in this situation (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
- let my friend’s marriage be much more important to her and a bigger priority to her than my friendship with her. I won’t push her to do what I want her to do if her husband is not on board with it.
- respect any limits/boundaries my friend’s husband may have requested her to have
- help her to understand masculinity better so she can understand where her husband is coming from instead of assuming he thinks just like she does (For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn)
I also pray that we will seek to help our friends find things to respect and point them to God’s Word and to obedience to Christ.
Many marriages could be saved, I believe, if we as godly women will point our friends to obedience to Christ and God’s Word instead of to disrespect, control, rebellion against God and divorce!
IF THERE IS ABUSE GOING ON – please refer your friend to godly, experienced, appropriate counsel and resources. That is not okay!
Do Not Expect Outside Support – but WE ought to be giving other wives and women godly support!