In an ideal world, a wife would never have to confront her husband about some kind of disrespectful, destructive, or just plain immoral behavior. However, we live in a fallen world, and both men and women can easily stray into sinful choices that hurt the people they love.
If you are a wife who is ready to confront your husband over some kind of wrong behavior, here’s what not to do! Don’t treat him like he’s the enemy. Don’t give him that look says “you disgust me”. Don’t scold him like he’s a 3 year-old child. Don’t roll your eyes.
Instead, as you’re bringing up the issue that is causing you distress, let your husband know that you are for him and your marriage. A man will shut down if he feels his wife is against him. A man will tune his wife out if she is disrespectful. The Bible says “the wife must respect her husband” in Ephesians 5:33, and this is critical when a wife addresses issues of concern with her husband. Let your man know that you love him and want to work with him as his partner to overcome the challenge. Speak gently and encourage him by reminding him of his good qualities. If he knows you are truly for him, he will be much more apt to listen to what you’re saying instead of shutting you out or flying into a rage.
Oh, and one more tip. To help make sure he doesn’t get super defensive, start out by asking this gentle question: “Help me understand why….” When you ask him that instead of starting out with strong accusations, he will be much more likely to talk calmly with you!
I have seen so many women wither and die emotionally in their marriages because their husband is engaged in disrespectful or sinful behavior and the wife gives up too easily in terms of confrontation. (I should know because I was one of those women in my first marriage!) So why would a wife give up? I believe it boils down to one main fear.
The wife fears that if she continues to confront the issue, or heaven forbid, draw a serious boundary, her husband may decide to leave her…and in her mind, she will lose what’s supposed to make her happy and secure. But this is faulty thinking! Your husband is not a reliable source of happiness. God is the only one we can depend on for unconditional love, compassion, and security. If your husband were to leave after you draw a line in the sand, I believe God is big enough to take care of you financially. I know He is. Do you trust Him? Do you believe what He says in Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”?
Trust in the One who will never leave your side. Trust in the One who can provide innovative ways to take care of your financial needs. Trust in the One who can bring supportive people into your life to stand by you as you draw boundaries. That One is Jesus.
Are you and your husband at odds? Are you discouraged in your marriage? Pray. Are you longing for more intimacy and love in your marriage? Pray. Are you concerned about the choices your husband or children are making? Pray. Prayer really can change everything! It can produce a miracle! James 5:16 says “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.”
I have witnessed God do absolutely amazing things when I have prayed with total faith in His mighty power. I have witnessed miraculous healings. I have seen God soften my husband’s heart in areas. I have witnessed loved ones turn to Christ for the very first time. I have witnessed God supernaturally supplying much needed financial help in the nick of time. I have even seen God “heal” completely broken computerized equipment in our sound studio!
Here’s the thing. I don’t have the power to do any of those miracles. I especially don’t have the power to change my husband’s heart or my children’s hearts….but God can and does change hearts! In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Awesome! So, seek God in prayer. Be persistent in your prayers for your husband and children. Your situation might seem impossible, but nothing is too hard for God. He can even change hearts.
We all go through challenging days in our marriages and in our lives in general. It’s at those times; we tend to feel so alone. We desperately need to know that God notices our distress. We need to know that He is with us and that He cares.
Well, despite what Satan is whispering in your ear…that nobody cares…that you’re all alone…that your broken heart will never get better…the Bible tells a different story! I find so much comfort in these verses:
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18)
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13)
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3)
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. Psalm 103:2-4
We often feel stuck in unhealthy patterns of behavior or unhealthy beliefs about ourselves, don’t we? Here’s a thought. Instead of staying stuck there, how about if we dig down to discover the root of the dysfunction so that we can dig it up and be free?! After all, God intends us to be free. John 8:36 says. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
I’ve found this simple exercise to be very helpful in finding freedom from unhealthy old thinking and old ways. Think of the main negative emotion you’re experiencing lately. It could be worry, fear, anger, sadness, insecurity, jealousy, loneliness, resentment, shame, etc. Now ask God to help you remember the very, very first time you ever remember experiencing the same emotion. Many women can trace that emotion back to their toddler years or grade school years! Now take a moment to consider the event that prompted that emotion. Did someone say something to you? Did a situation cause that feeling?
Once you’ve identified the event that prompted this feeling, ask God to reveal whether you began believing a lie about yourself or other people as a result of that event. Remember, Satan is described by Jesus in John 8:44 as “the father of lies“, and he likely whispered a lie in your ear about that event.
For me personally, I have wrestled all my life with the dysfunctional tendency to avoid conflict and ignore serious problems in relationships. So, I tried this exercise. I realized my main negative emotion is fear. As I pondered this with God, I realized I first started feeling that emotion as a toddler in a home where there was tons of yelling and verbal abuse. God helped me see that the lie I believed back then was that somehow I needed to find a way to make the yelling stop, and that keeping everyone “happy” was my responsibility so that things didn’t spiral way out of control. But that thinking was a lie! It wasn’t my responsibility then and it isn’t my responsibility now!
Have you been believing a lie all these years? Has it affected your decisions? Has it resulted in dysfunction in your life? Ask God to reveal the truth about who you are. Ask God to give you right beliefs to overcome the lies of the enemy!
I wonder what would happen if we asked God to transform our character into His character and then we actually began striving to display His character in our marriages? I bet you tons of marriages would begin to thrive!
God describes His own character in Psalm 103:8, where the Bible says “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Even just pressing into one of those 4 qualities could make a huge impact in your marriage. What if we started displaying grace toward our men? Grace simply means giving someone undeserved favor and loving kindness.
I’m not saying you should ignore destructive patterns of sin in your husband’s life. However, I am recommending that we work to extend kindness to our husbands even when they’ve annoyed us or disappointed us in small ways. In fact, what if you were to extend grace by choosing to believe that he didn’t mean to disappoint you? What if you were to give him the benefit of the doubt? Extending that kind of grace could change your whole attitude toward your husband…and could draw his heart toward you!
Perhaps, we could sum it up this way. The appreciated wife leaves a fragrance, not an odor!
True confession: I sometimes find myself wanting to jump in and “fix things” for my husband. Sometimes, I do this because I fear his mood will grow ugly if I don’t take steps to improve his circumstances. Sometimes, I do this because I fear that his ministry could stumble if he doesn’t do things the “correct” way. Sometimes, I do this because I fear he isn’t handling a relationship correctly and needs me to run interference for him. Sometimes, I do this because I fear…..
Hmmm. When it comes right down to it, fear is the common feeling behind all of the times I jump in to act as my husband’s savior or try to fix him. Unfortunately, fear usually causes us to act unwisely. Proverbs 29:25 says “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
You and I need to know that every time we jump in to “fix” things for our husbands, we actually prevent our men from turning to God for help. Every time we try to prevent our husbands from feeling any discomfort or pain, we might be preventing them from digging down deep roots into God’s nourishment for their souls. Resist the urge to be your husband’s savior. There is only one perfect savior anyway. His name is Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death”. Oh my. Consider how many words a woman usually speaks in just one day, and you can see the potential for disaster!
It took me a couple decades to really understand this fact. The words spoken by a wife to her husband can either build him up and give him confidence to step up and be an even better man…or her words can tear him down to the point that he emotionally withdraws from her and doesn’t try to accomplish much of anything because he believes he’s a failure.
What kind of words are you speaking to your husband? Are you his biggest cheerleader? Do you intentionally encourage him every single day, or do you give in to the temptation to point out his many flaws on a regular basis? He NEEDS you to believe in him and encourage him. By the way, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold him accountable or put boundaries in place if he is actively sinning against you. However, even then, you can address sinful behavior with an attitude that is loving and hopeful. You can still let your husband know that you see something good in him.
I was convicted the other day when I heard my husband tell some other men that he sometimes does things for me that he doesn’t feel like doing…just because he knows I will appreciate it. This was news to me! I hadn’t thought about it that way. I thought he WANTED to do those things! For instance, my husband gives my feet a little massage every night before I go to sleep. I thought he enjoyed doing that! He also runs a lot of the errands that need to be done for us. I thought he liked to run errands! He also makes sure there’s always a fresh toilet paper roll waiting for me in the bathroom just in case the current one runs out. Nice!
Here’s the thing. We often take for granted our husbands. Could it be that your husband is doing things he doesn’t really want to do just to please you? Could he be acting selflessly and you just didn’t realize it? Is he more noble than you thought? Hmmm. Could your husband be doing kind things for you that you didn’t even realize were a sacrifice for him? For instance….if he comes home from work exhausted and yet takes time to play with the kids or help you with some chores, that’s something to truly appreciate! Think about it and ask God to show you ways that your husband may be more noble than you thought.
Bottom line: Maybe your husband is really doing a pretty good job fulfilling God’s command to husbands in Ephesians 5:25 where he tells men to “love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. The question is: How are YOU doing in fulfilling God’s command to wives in Ephesians 5:33 where he tells women “the wife must respect her husband”?
Are you weary of trying to get your husband to do the things you want him to do? Are you tired of trying to handle everything? Are you getting discouraged that God doesn’t seem to be changing your husband or your kids as you have asked him to do?
Maybe it’s time to stop pushing your agenda! Perhaps it’s time to stop trying to control everything. 🙂 Maybe it’s time to trust God. This means, even the way we pray might need to change. Of course, we should always pray for our family members, but maybe it’s time to stop telling God what to do! Maybe God is asking you to give your concerns to him and to simply trust him to do what is best in the lives of your husband and children…and on his timeline. Instead of trying to control people and situations, what if you were to give your concerns to God in prayer, and then actually leave those concerns with him instead of snatching back those concerns and prayers when God doesn’t move as quickly as you want?!
Consider Isaiah 30:15….This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”
This week, would you consider simply lifting the names of your loved ones to our heavenly Father and then asking Him to work deeply in their lives in the way He knows is best? Then relax and choose to trust God. He is all powerful and all loving. He is able to do the heavy-lifting where you are unable! You can trust Him. Pray, and then relax, rest, and trust.