FROM A HUSBAND (his response to a question for husbands earlier last week):
As to respecting me in “small things”, I have to assume you mean things that aren’t all that important.
My first thought is, that if it isn’t all that important, why not?
I don’t always know why I prefer one thing, over another. In asking me to justify my choice, it does show lack of trust, but more importantly, it makes me feel defensive.
Can’t I just have a preference? Do I really need a reason?
As to choosing where we sit anytime we’re out, my wife always asks, where I would like to sit, and I always take into consideration her needs, that particular day, convenience, in some situations I suppose security, does come into play, but this is something we are both extremely flexible on.
Something that is an extremely big deal to me, that seems to be a small thing to my wife, is our sex life.
This is an issue we still struggle with. It’s not so much a matter of frequency, or quality, but the fact that it IS a small thing to her.
Her desire for intimacy, to me at least, is a barometer of her level of respect for me.
(From Peacefulwife – I don’t know that all husbands feel this way. For those wives whose husbands are less interested in sex than their wives, this may be different. It would be interesting to know how husbands with lower drive feel about this issue.)
When my wife argues with me about small things, it makes it much harder for me to be loving towards her. It’s true that I ought to be considerate of her, and I’m commanded to love her. That does not mean I should cater to her every whim. In fact, it may be more loving, to not allow her to have her way (at times.) When a wife insists on her own way in things that aren’t that big of a deal, she is, in fact, being childish.
Not cooperating in “small things” is the equivalent of the dripping water talked about in Proverbs. It just wears you down over time, and feels like that is why they do it. To wear you down, to the point where, you don’t want to make a decision about anything, big or small. So then, they HAVE to take control.
Hope my answers were helpful.
I think that there are some really important points to talk about here.
1. What may seem like a small thing to a wife may be a big thing to her husband.
This is one reason why I believe God commands us as wives to respect our husbands and submit to them in everything as unto the Lord.
(If they are asking us to clearly sin or they are seriously trying to harm us, then we should not cooperate, we will have to respectfully refuse. If there are very serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced help ASAP! I am not ever condoning that a wife stay and be hurt physically or stay when there is real danger. I am not writing for those with serious issues like active addictions, infidelity, uncontrolled mental health issues or actual abuse.)
Sometimes it is easy to assume that my husband’s priorities must be the same as mine. But reality is that his priorities are probably not the same as mine! We are different people. We are also different genders. We will have different ways of thinking and approaching things. That is a good thing! What I may think is something small may actually be huge to my husband, and vice versa. I would appreciate it if he desired me to be happy in things that are important to me. He would also appreciate the same courtesy.
If it is within my power to bless my husband, why would I not choose to bless him, even in “little” things?
2. What if honoring our husbands in small things isn’t oppression for us?
What if it is a way to greatly increase unity, intimacy and oneness with our husbands? What if it is a way to show we are on their team and that they are important to us, more important than anyone else in the world?
We are sending critical messages to our husbands by how cooperative or antagonistic we are. I don’t mean we have to agree or never share our opinions. Our ideas, desires, feelings, opinions and perspectives are invaluable sources of information to our husbands. We can be wise advisors and compassionate friends to our husbands. God never asks us to lay our brains, abilities, talents, personalities, ideas, needs, desires, emotions and wisdom at the door of marriage. That is not biblical submission!
We bring ALL of ourselves to marriage and we put all of our strengths, abilities and resources behind our husband in support.
My husband doesn’t “make me” do anything. I don’t “have” to do what he wants all the time.
I GET to honor him.
I GET to bless him.
I GET to do things he enjoys just because I can.
It is a blessing and a joy to me to serve this man God has given to me. It is my greatest delight to do things that make his job as the leader, provider and protector easier and more enjoyable. What if I am free to share my heart and desires with my husband – and he is also free to share his heart and desires? Then the Spirit of God in me gives me a desire to be selfless, generous, giving, kind, thoughtful, loving and respectful. If I know Greg likes a certain soft drink or a certain snack or has a favorite meal – what an incredibly wonderful opportunity for me to do something to bless my him by keeping those things on hand for him or making him his favorite meal fairly often!
Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. His Spirit is in me if I belong to Him. I am free to serve, not out of duty or drudgery, but out of the power, love, joy, peace and abundant life of God flowing mightily through my soul. I am not talking about pretending to be happy but inwardly seething with resentment or bitterness. I am talking about allowing God to radically change me and give me a new heart with new desires. I can receive that. God has a new heart and new Spirit and new life for all who trust fully in Christ.
I can say what I want, what I would like, what I believe would be best for us to do, what I don’t want, what my concerns are – but I don’t have to get hung up on the outcome of things. I can trust God in His great sovereignty to lead me through my husband, even when I don’t agree with him, even in the little things. I can hold everything loosely in my life except for Jesus. I can be sure that I don’t let a little issue (which most things really are) to become more important in my mind and heart than my obedience to Christ and the unity and intimacy of my marriage. I can ask myself, “Is this issue worth fracturing the unity in our marriage about?” before I launch into a lecture or argument with my husband.
I can remember the command of God for all believers:
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:12-15
I can remember that arguing or complaining is not befitting of me as a child of God. If I am tempted to argue or complain, I know it is time to check my motives.
- Why do I want what I want?
- Am I being selfish?
- Am I putting something above Christ in my heart?
- Is this issue truly important in light of eternity?
- Am I right with God?
- Am I being materialistic or greedy?
- Am I being prideful or self-righteous? Is there any sin in my heart?
- Am I considering my husband’s needs and preferences and being thoughtful toward him?
- Am I doing this because of my love for Christ and for my husband? Will they be blessed by what I want to do here?
- Am I walking in the flesh or in the Spirit of God?
- Am I being motivated by the love of God or by fear?
- Am I concerned most with pleasing God and having His approval, or having other people’s approval?
- Am I walking in obedience to God’s Word?
I have died to this world and the things of this world according to Romans 6. That is historical fact. God put me in Christ and I died with Him on the cross in God’s sight. I am now dead to sin and this world and I am alive to God in Christ. This world means nothing to me now. What do I care what color something is or what restaurant we go to? This life is no longer mine to live. My old sinful self is dead in Christ. Dead people don’t care about earthly matters much. Now what matters are only the things that matter to Jesus. I am no longer friends with this world. I no longer care about the carnal things of this world and the material details of life. I am fully submitted to Christ and all I care about is pleasing and honoring Him, abiding in Him, being filled with His Spirit, doing the work of His kingdom… my eyes are on eternal things.