~ James Robison from Living in Love
In the same way, you wives,
be submissive to your own husbands
so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word,
they may be won without a word
by the behavior of their wives,
as they observe your chaste
and respectful behavior.
1 Peter 3:1-2
This can be a hard one can't it...
This is one of those commands in Scripture where we have to prayerfully choose to take God at His word and walk by faith.
It is so often in our nature as women to be the "nag". And depending on our husbands the levels on which we reach Nagville can vary. For some husbands, just a mention makes you a nag, to others you have to have actually reached the point of following behind them with a wagging finger giving them your what-for. Regardless of where or when you reach this with your husband... it is not pleasing to God. We need to be sensitive to when God says... "Honey, you've hit Nagville, find a place to turn around and head the other direction immediately, there is no profit for anyone in Nagville... ever. All roads are a dead end. They will get you nowhere."
It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
It is better to live in a desert land
Than with a contentious and vexing woman.
It is better to live in a corner of the roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman
A constant dripping on a day of steady rain
And a contentious woman are alike;
Okay ladies... did you count those?
Four cross-references all concerning nagging women.
You know if God says something once it's pretty important. If He repeats Himself it's very, very important. He has repeated Himself four times within a seven chapter span on this issue... I believe that puts this in the "Girl you better pay attention or else" category.
Now the word contentious in these Scripture references is Madown. It means strife, contention, object of contention and it comes from the root word Diyn which means to judge, contend, plead, to act as judge, minister judgment, to plead a cause, to execute judgment, requite, vindicate, to govern, to contend, strive, to be at strife, quarrel.
Precious one, you are not, nor will you ever be your husbands Holy Spirit, you will not ever even be his conscience. He my dear is on his own. It's all between him and God. All you can ever do is muddy the waters and harden his heart. So dear sweet one who might use her tongue as a lashing tool...
The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.
When you choose to hold your tongue, then you are choosing to walk by faith and you show that you trust that God has got everything under control...
Personally I have never felt that I was much of a nagger, my husband just is not the kind of man that would take that too well... so I have never really felt like I was a contentious woman in the nag side (my husband might have a different opinion on that, lol).
However, I have to admit that I have at times passed judgment on my husband in my heart, refused him grace, refused him mercy, refused him forgiveness, and punished him with the silent treatment and by withholding my affection. I get hurt and I through up walls of self-protection and forget that I am already protected by my breastplate of righteousness, my helmet of salvation, my belt of truth, my shield of faith, and I am already within the walls of the strong tower of my King.
I would give the silent treatment (and yes there is a difference in simply being silent and giving the silent treatment) because the truth is I had/have a fear of confrontation with him. I know I can't out argue him, I am not quick witted at all. I know I cannot manipulate him. It's just not in my ability to "handle someone". I am the person who gets blindsided and stunned and then spends the next days and nights thinking of all the things I could have done or said at that moment instead of just standing there and taking it.
When we were first married and he would do something or say something that hurt my feelings and I hadn't the nerve to address it in an appropriate way and time, I would try to show him what the issue was by doing it back to him.
I do not recommend this.
It does not work... at all.
See that no one repays another with evil for evil,
but always seek after that which is good
for one another and for all people.
1 Thessalonians 5:15
So what do you do if you know something is off kilter with your spouse?
What do you do when you see them in destructive behaviour?
What do you do when that behaviour is toward you?
You address it kindly, when the time is appropriate.
You pray without ceasing about it.
And you leave it in the hands of a mighty God.
In marriage we get a first hand, front row seat, to every character flaw and deeds of flesh that our spouse has... but just because we see it and experience it doesn't mean we have the power to fix it, nor is it necessarily our job to point it out, especially repeatedly point it out over and over and over and over.
Your mate has the capacity to change, but he or she can't be beaten in to restoration.
However, it is without a doubt our job to lift our spouse up in prayer and listen closely to the leading of the Holy Spirit and only speak when He says speak and how He says speak and what He says speak.
It will never do any good to keep on addressing it.
It will however do good to keep on praying about it.
You can't change anyone's heart... but God most certainly can.
**** Disclosure: In cases of mental, emotional, or physical abuse seek wise counsel immediately. You are not alone and help is available and waiting.
Would you believe this word from Chuck Swindoll was in my morning email devotions... so I had to come back and add it to this post.
"Always guard your words when your husband is going through terribly hard times. I want to confess something about us men. Mainly, I want you to remember: going through sustained hard times weakens most men. For some reason, hardship seems to strengthen women; we admire you for that. But we men are weakened when times of affliction hit and stay. In our weakened condition we lose our objectivity, sometimes our stability. Our discernment is also skewed. Our determination lags. We become vulnerable, and most men don't know how to handle themselves in a vulnerable state of mind. So in light of all of this---hear me---we need your clear perspective, wisdom, and spiritual strength. Most of all, we need you to pray for us as you've never prayed. We need not only your prayers, we need your emotional support. We need you to take the initiative and step up. We need your words of confidence and encouragement."