Does your mouth often cause trouble between you and your husband (or between you and other people)? If you’re one of many women who end up “venting” on their husband or saying harsh words you later regret, God’s Word gives us 3 clues on how we can respond appropriately when we start to feel our anger rising.
1) Pause. Just stop. Leave the room for a moment if you need to. Don’t react in the moment because your gut-level reaction will almost always cause trouble! James 1:19 puts it this way, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” So pause before you react verbally.
2) During the pause, consult the Holy Spirit and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand how to love and respect your husband with your response. Would your husband be positively impacted by a gentle and encouraging word from you? Would your husband be more willing to make changes that you’re requesting if you showed him respect by asking him to help you understand his perspective? Philippians 2:4 says “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.”
3) When you’re ready to address the issue with your husband, say a silent prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to be the one speaking to your husband by using your mouth. Trust me. The Holy Spirit will come up with much better words than you ever could, and will utter those words in a much more respectful way! When speaking to his disciples, Jesus said in Matthew 10:19-20, “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
Conflict and disagreement is inevitable in marriage. However, conflict need not lead to the formation of two enemy camps! Here’s something that can greatly change the dynamics during conflict and actually move you closer to resolution. Pause and ask God to help you see the situation through your husband’s eyes. Ask the Lord to show you what is truly prompting your husband to say what he’s saying or do what he’s doing. Is he stressed? Is he discouraged? Is he still affected by emotional wounds from his childhood? Does he simply have a different idea on how something should be done, and could his idea actually make sense?
When we intentionally pause and try to consider the vantage point of our husbands, we begin to have compassion, or at least an understanding of why he is thinking or acting the way he is. Instead of only focusing on our desires, Philippians 2:4 instructs us, “Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” When you truly stop and try to look at the situation from his perspective, you may see some actual merit to your husband’s point of view! You might also start to realize how your husband’s past hurts in life (or current fears) are playing a role in his actions or reactions.
When we ask Jesus to help us see the situation through our husband’s eyes, we start to soften and feel compassion. As we have compassion and understanding, it will be much easier to compromise or find resolution. Try it!
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!
It’s vital for you and your spouse to come into agreement on the major issues within your marriage, such as finances, parenting, time spent on recreation, frequency of sex, etc. You must come into agreement because division in a marriage often leads to the eventual collapse of that marriage. God’s word even states this. In Matthew 12:25, Jesus says “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”
So, what should you do if you and your spouse are consistently divided in a specific area? Don’t just throw your hands up in the air and give up! Decide to respectfully, but thoroughly, discuss the issue with your husband. Ask God for the right timing and ask God to prepare your heart and your husband’s heart for the conversation ahead. The goal is to reach a compromise that you can both support. And, if you can’t reach such a compromise on your own, then seek help from a pastor, counselor, or mentor couple. Do whatever you need to do to come into agreement with your husband on this issue. It will bring peace to you, your marriage, and your household!
P.S. If the disagreement stems from your husband wanting to do something immoral, then compromise isn’t the right option! In that case, you will likely want to see help from a counselor or pastor, and you may have to establish boundaries in the relationship.
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.
— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE
Do you lack confidence in handling disrespectful or sinful behavior by your husband (or boyfriend)? If so, there are some common reasons. Perhaps you avoid conflict because you grew up in a home filled with rage and verbal abuse. Maybe you’re so insecure about your own worth that you can’t stand up for yourself if your husband is treating your poorly. However, you need to recognize this truth. If you remain insecure and scared of confrontation, it’s likely nothing will ever change in your marriage. You’ll keep getting what you’re getting right now.
There is a solution. First, ask God to give you courage to confront any sinful behavior in your marriage. He will be glad to answer that prayer! Throughout the Bible, God continually tells his people to be strong and courageous. In fact in Joshua 1:9, God says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Helpful hint: When I need courage, I ask God’s Holy Spirit to be the one who actually does the confrontation. I ask Him to simply use me as his mouthpiece.
If insecurity is the issue for you, then ask God to reveal your true worth and identity in His eyes. Meditating on what God says in Zephaniah 3:17 is a good place to start. He says, “The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” In addition, take a moment to close your eyes and ask God to speak one word into your mind about how He views you. You will likely be amazed at the loving, encouraging word He has for you. You may hear the word “beautiful” or “chosen” or “adorable” or “strong”….
I’m an expert conflict avoider. How about you? I grew up in a household where there was a lot of yelling and rage and verbal abuse. As a result, everything within me tries desperately to avoid anything in my marriage that could result in tension, raised voices, or anything remotely resembling conflict.
However, avoiding conflict is a recipe for disaster in a marriage. I learned that the hard way in my first marriage, which failed. Here’s the thing. If you don’t address the things that are really bothering you about your husband or your marriage, a seed of bitterness is planted in your heart. That seed slowly takes root and grows, and after months and years go by, you will most likely grow to despise your husband and want a divorce! Not good.
So, let’s commit to respectfully, lovingly, and diligently address the things that are bothering us within our marriages. Hebrews 12:15 warns us not to let “any bitter root grow up among you to cause trouble…” So, ask God to give you the courage to gently and respectfully discuss your concerns with your husband. Ask God to give you the courage to express your needs and desires to your husband. Do not become invisible. When you start stuffing your feelings and immediately cave in during disagreements, toxic resentment will start to grow inside you. Don’t let that happen!
The other day, a relative said some things about a person I love that I really found hurtful. My first instinct was to emotionally withdraw from that person…but that’s a dysfunctional behavior I’m trying to end. So, I started to tell that person what I really thought about his comments! Thank God, the Holy Spirit gently stopped me.
You see, sometimes God wants us to confront someone who is sinning against us or doing something wrong. But other times, God wants us to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the convicting in that other person’s heart, especially if that person is a believer. In John 16:7-8, Jesus tells his disciples, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, and he explained that one of the Spirit’s jobs is to convict people of sin.
What I’m learning is that I need to pause and consult God when someone is doing something that wounds me or bothers me. I need to ask God for direction. Does God want me to respectfully and lovingly confront that person, or does God want me to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the confronting.
Back to my story. When God stopped me from laying into my relative the other day and I decided to leave the “confrontation” up to the Holy Spirit…that relative actually came to me and apologized within a few hours. Today’s question for you: Do you pause long enough to get guidance from God before reacting?
There’s a golden phrase I’ve discovered. It prevents my husband from getting defensive when I’m upset or concerned about something he has said or done. Instead of accusing him of doing something wrong, I have learned to kindly and sincerely ask this question: “Help me understand why…”
This simple question prevents the monster of defensiveness from raising its ugly head. By asking my husband to help me understand, I’m communicating two things to my husband. 1) I really do care about his perspective and feelings, and 2) I’m acknowledging there may actually be a legitimate reason for why he did or said whatever. At least, I’m giving him a chance to explain himself before I start arguing with him or condemning him!!
By asking my husband to help me understand his perspective, I’m avoiding a foolish argument. Proverbs 18:2 says “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” By asking my husband to help me understand his perspective, I’m pleasing both God and my husband by living out the instructions in Philippians 2:4 “Each of you should consider not only your own interests, but also the interests of others.”
Try this phrase when you sense a potential ugly argument is headed your way. You can not only use this phrase with your husband, but with your children, your in-laws, your co-workers, your boss, and more. Again, the phrase (actually a question) is….”Help me understand why…”
Our romanticized culture has led many Christian women to believe that they need to find their one true “soul mate” who will make them happy for the rest of their life, with little hard work on their part. Not true!
I don’t see this concept anywhere in the Bible. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we are supposed to be more concerned with loving others than finding someone who makes us happy. Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.”
Sorry to burst your bubble, but I believe it’s important for you to realize the following ideas about marriage are actually myths:
- Your husband is supposed to be your source of happiness. (Actually, God is the only one who can provide perfect love, security and comfort)
- Happy couples never have conflict. (If you never disagree on anything, one or both of you is likely burying the issue and allowing resentment to grow)
- If you find the “right” guy, a wonderful marriage will just happen. (Actually, a good marriage takes planning, intentionality and effort)