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.
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…”
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 – 27, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Well….I almost gave the devil just such a foothold in my marriage the other day. My husband had acted in a way that really bothered me. I was steaming for hours and couldn’t even bring myself to talk to him about it because I feared we’d get embroiled in a huge conflict. So, I went to bed early, by myself.
I am so thankful the Holy Spirit prompted me to get out of bed and go speak with my husband. I sensed that I was giving the devil a “foothold” in my marriage through me stuffing the issue and letting resentment grow. So, I went and found my husband in the living room, knelt by his side as he was sitting on the couch and told him that I truly do see so many good qualities in him. I also told him why his behavior had bothered me.
I know you’re thinking he agreed with my assessment, but he didn’t! But you know what? We calmly acknowledged our difference of opinion and I was able to go to sleep in peace. There was no wedge between me and my husband. Don’t allow the enemy to gain a foothold in your marriage. Resist the temptation to go to sleep with simmering anger and resentment.
It’s natural during disagreement with our husbands to believe you’re right, he’s wrong, and you must convince him of that! However, if we stay stuck in that mindset, the battle only heats up. He gets defensive. You get defensive. Usually, the situation either evolves into yelling and ugly accusations or a silent, but deadly cold war. There is a better way and it begins with rethinking your end goal.
What if your goal was not to “win” the argument or change his mind? What if the goal was to reach a compromise or solution that addresses the biggest concerns of you both? Seriously. Think about it. Now you both win and there are no losers. This means that you both agree to consider the other person’s perspective, fears, values, and concerns. From there, you begin to present ideas that might address both of your main concerns. Philippians 2:4 reminds us “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
So, the next time you and your husband start to have a significant disagreement, suggest that you would like to sit down together and better understand his perspective and concerns. Then gently share your concerns, and ask him to join you in brainstorming a solution or compromise that would be the best fit for both of you.
I hear quite a few stories of women, both married and unmarried, who tell me how arguments get heated in their relationships. Their husband says something critical, and they dish it right back at him. Their boyfriend says something unkind, and they lash right back at him. In both cases, arguments quickly evolve into a really ugly war because neither one paused before responding. Pausing is one of the most important moments in any relationship! It is the KEY moment!
The Bible says in Proverbs 12:18 “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” It is SO important to pause instead of reacting with reckless words! So the next time you feel your temper about to erupt, pause for 5 or 10 seconds. Ask God to show you in that moment how He wants you to respond. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what will likely happen if you say what you feel like saying in this tense moment! (Usually, the Holy Spirit will show me that those words I was about to say will cause some serious damage in the relationship!) You may even need to leave the room during this pause.
By the way, if you’re texting back and forth with your guy, you may need to put down your cell phone and pray before you text back!! Remember, once those words have been voiced in person or typed in on your text, you can’t take them back. “Pausing” is one of your best friends in any relationship!