When a Wife Disagrees with Her Husband – Part 4

While I don’t track the frequency of questions I receive via e-mail, the topic of what a wife is to do when she doesn’t agree with her husband has to be one of the top runners. If the areas of disagreement are major and ongoing, these women feel very alone in the problems with which they are dealing every day. They want to follow Scripture, but they don’t know what they are to do or where they should turn for guidance and encouragement.

This series of articles is looking at 1 Peter 3:1-6 and evaluating its practical application for wives when they disagree with their husbands—either in trivial matters or on a major issue. I encourage you to read the other parts of this series if you have not done so to understand what has already been said. These articles are not dealing with the subject of a wife who is in an abusive situation.

Once again, here are the applicable verses: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement” (1 Peter 3:1-6).

Even though a wife may not agree with her husband’s decisions and way of life, she is to be in subjection to her husband with a trust in Jesus. That trust doesn’t mean that everything will turn out the way she wants it to, but it does mean that her heart is looking to her Savior and choosing obedience to His will for her life. Remember Paul. From outward appearances everything was wrong—beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, hunger, and hardship—but he was content, grateful, and joyful, not in his circumstances but in Jesus and in obedience to his Lord.

A vicious cycle is set in motion when a wife disagrees with her husband. Usually she isn’t quiet, and discussion comes up on multiple topics of dissension. He reacts to her criticism or negative words about his decisions. If he tries to change, he finds that one area isn’t enough because she continues to bring up her concerns about how he is leading his family. Eventually he may give up and resign himself to not being able to please her no matter how much he tries. If he chooses not to change to her way of thinking on the problem areas, he still knows she doesn’t agree with him and feels that lack of respect on her part. Bitterness creeps into his heart toward her. Bitterness creeps into her heart toward him. The wedge is in place and growing.

A wife can begin the process of removing the wedge. To illustrate how this would work, let me again tell you the story of our neighbor’s dog named Pepper. She is the most excitedly affectionate dog you could imagine. She expresses her joy in the presence of any passerby by wagging her tail, jumping up and down, and yipping happily while racing up and down the fence line. She has so won the hearts of those who walk by her yard on a regular basis that her owners had to put a note on the fence saying that Pepper had developed some health problems and could no longer be fed the treats the neighbors were offering her.

It is hard to resist someone whose face lights up when they see us, who expresses love for us, who is grateful to us, who praises us, and who follows us in our decisions. That would be how a husband feels as well. When a wife can let go of her fear, anxiety, critical spirit, negative words, and bitterness, she can chart a course for that meek and quiet spirit toward her husband. She can smile at her husband, tell him she loves him, be grateful to him, praise him, and follow his decisions—without any kind of negative reaction.

Many wives feel weary when these struggles of disagreement with a husband go on for years without any visible change, and understandably so. However, Galatians 6:9 and 2 Thessalonians 3:13 tell us not to grow weary in doing what we should be doing. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). Obviously, since this is a command, then it is a choice on a wife’s part as to whether she will give in to being weary or not. She will compound her weariness when she continually thinks about her struggles and disappointments. She will find rest and joy for her spirit when she keeps her mind steadfastly first on Jesus and then on the blessings He has given her. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). This has to be her hope.

As I conclude this Mom’s Corner, I want to share with you another personal testimony to encourage you in choosing obedience to the Lord even when it goes against what you want to do.

“Our family has been there, and I can testify that keeping my mouth shut was the best thing I could have done! It was completely unnatural and I did it by faith, choosing to believe that my husband could be ‘won’ without my input. It was very difficult, truly a ‘spiritual discipline,’ but the Holy Spirit was faithful to help me. In fact I remember praying and telling the Lord I would never bring the subject up, and I wouldn’t even mention anything to do with it unless my husband did first. Several months later, he started bringing it up, and it took several tries for him to get me to say anything! Now that was something different! But God was faithful and worked everything together for good. I am thankful for that brief passage in 1 Peter because it truly gave me something solid to hang on to when I wanted to do things the way that seemed ‘logical’ to me.” A Hopeful Wife

Protecting Against Deception – Part 4

We are in the middle of a series addressing the topic of protecting against deception. I encourage you to read the three previous articles to see where we are picking up. As fathers and husbands, God has given us the huge responsibility of guarding our own hearts from deception and also those of our families. This will only happen as we make definitive choices to walk in the truth of God’s Word—the Bible.

Continuing with the account of the fall in Genesis, let’s investigate another aspect that applies to deception. “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:12). Amazingly, instead of owning the responsibility for his sin, Adam blames both God and Eve for his disobedience. So it goes today; there is nothing new under the sun. We continue to blame God and others for our personal sin and for any deception embraced by those in our family. The cry is, “It wasn’t my fault.” Adam was there when Eve sinned. He shouldn’t have listened to her, but instead he should have protected her and stopped her. He wasn’t willing to own personal responsibility for not helping Eve to avoid being deceived.

So often today dads are engrossed in work or play while their families are in deep spiritual trouble. Dads are the ones held responsible before the Lord for not protecting their families from this deception, but they are often apathetic and complacent regarding their responsibility—blaming others. Adam was simply the first of many. If each dad fully owned his responsibility before the Lord, I believe, we would not have a professing church that is living in deception, little different from the world, nor would we be living in a pagan nation that allows the daily slaughter of innocent babies. It is convenient to blame pastors and teachers for what is taught, or not taught, to our families and then embraced by them when it really is our responsibility to protect them from following the deception.

Adam was likely aware that Eve was speaking with the serpent and what was being said. He should have intervened. Since most dads are away from their families eight or more hours a day, how can they protect their wives and families from deception? Communication is critical to guarding our families. We need to be listening to our wives carefully and asking questions. As we listen to them, we must wonder: are there others who are tempting her or the children down a deceptive road that runs counter to God’s Word?

Also, a wife can be very spiritually sensitive, and if asked, she might have cautions about the direction her husband is walking. Does she see some inconsistency in his life, or is there sin that she desires to warn him about? A wife is can be like a modern radar array antenna, and we would do well to seek frequent feedback from her. Adam’s problem was in obeying Eve; his problem was not in listening to her. He just should have responded sooner to have prevented tragedy. Based on our e-mails, this is frequently the case in many homes today. Dads, if we want to avoid deception, may we ask our wives for their thoughts on the direction of the family and the dangers they see ahead.

In 1 Kings 13, God sent a prophet to prophesy against Jeroboam. God told the prophet to “Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest” (1 Kings 13:9). After speaking with Jeroboam, the prophet obediently returns via a different route. However, an old prophet who lived in that area went after the prophet and said to him, “I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him” (1 Kings 13:18). Here we have an account of how a man began by being obedient to God, but another convinced him to disobey. What was the outcome?

“And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers” (1 Kings 13:20-22). We are told in the following verses how, after eating and drinking at the old prophet’s house, he left, God delivered him to a lion, and he was killed.

The prophet was deceived, and it cost him his life. God had spoken to him personally, but he chose to ignore those words and heed another’s deception. We must obediently cling to the Word of God to avoid the consequences of being deceived.

Today obedience seems to be underemphasized. Yes, we are saved and sanctified by grace through Jesus Christ alone, but He calls us to a life of obedience. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). Obedience is powerful in our lives. It draws us into greater fellowship with the Lord, and it confirms in our hearts God’s truth, keeping us from deception. It gives our hearts confidence and assurance that the path we are walking is truth, and that we are not being deceived. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).

I know in our family there have been times when the children have said, “You never told us not to do that.” That may have been true, but they had been told clearly what they should do. If we are obedient with what we should be doing, we aren’t in danger with what we shouldn’t be doing. God’s commands highlight our personal responsibility to obey. The more we are in the Word and reminding ourselves of His commands to us, the more we will feel that responsibility to obey. Obedience to the Word protects from deception.

Today God is still the same, and He holds us accountable to follow His Word. To do that we must be in His Word daily and study to show ourselves approved. If we are sitting under a pastor who is leading families astray, God is holding the fathers responsible for following deceptive teaching, and there may be consequences. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6). God has given us His Word. We are to be in it, and then obey it.

Let’s summarize how to protect our families from deception. First, we will acknowledge before God that we own full responsibility for protecting our families from deception. We can’t blame anyone else, and we must take this matter seriously. As we own the responsibility that God has placed on us dads, we will have a keen interest in studying His Word individually and with our families. There are no other options; we must be in the Word daily. We must continually talk with our wives and children, asking them questions. How are they being tempted, and what do they see in us that causes them concern? Finally, we must be committed to obeying the truth that God gives us. Through our obedience, His presence is revealed in our lives (John 14:21), and He confirms His truth. Dads, as we seek the Lord Jesus through His Word and obedience, we will be drawn out of a “going-through-the-motions,” stale religion into a dynamic, Spirit-filled walk with Jesus.