As we wrap up a six-part Mom’s Corner series on how a wife biblically handles disagreements with her husband, I want to remind you that we are looking at 1 Peter 3:1-6: “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 Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
I encourage you to read the whole series since any one of the articles will not give a complete picture. With each of these articles, I have repeated that I am not writing to wives who are in abusive situations.
Here is a mom who has written to me with some specific questions. “Thanks for the Corner on obeying your husband. I can hardly wait to read the next one. I need more info in the future Corners on what a wife speaks up about, and what she should keep quiet about. Should I say something in private if his teasing hurts the kids’ feelings? How do I teach the kids to obey Scripture that goes against what their dad is doing? For example, if he complains and criticizes his boss vehemently, I feel like I need to explain that the kids can’t criticize their dad, and they can’t imitate him either. HELP! I love my husband and I want the kids to respect him, but the things he does are not respectful.” A Questioning Wife
I would suggest that this mom not speak to her husband, even privately, when he has hurt the children’s feelings by teasing—unless he has asked her to point such things out to him. The husband is probably already aware of the children’s reaction to his teasing. If he won’t stop his teasing when he observes his children’s hurt feelings, I would be surprised if he would respond well to his wife bringing it up. However, when he has a good conversation with them, the wife could praise and encourage him in what a great father he is and how he is building relationships with his children.
It is true that we want to teach a child not to criticize his father. If the child is being critical, we can help him to think about the positive aspects of his daddy and being grateful for those, even using Scripture. The wife wouldn’t bring up that the child’s father has a critical spirit toward others. When Dad is criticizing his boss, that is a time for Mom to be quiet. She might be able to help alleviate those critical feelings her husband is experiencing by telling him she wants to make him his favorite dessert because of what a hard day he has had or rubbing his neck while expressing her gratitude for his diligent work in a difficult situation. Those expressions of love and tenderness by the wife will be as strong an example to the children as the father’s negative example.
Here is one final question I would like to answer: “If a wife disagrees with a decision a husband has made or a direction he is taking the family, can we express our concerns, one time only (with a correct tone of voice, attitude, etc.), or are we just to pray and never say anything?”
Obviously, in normal conversation between a husband and wife there will be differences of opinion expressed. I think that whether a wife specifically brings up a concern would depend partly on her husband. Does he want her to share? Is he open to her opinion? Has he asked her to let him know whenever she has concerns about what is going on?
My thinking is that for those men who are closed to their wives’ thoughts and opinions, it probably will only put more distance between them if she were to bring up her disagreement, and probably it wouldn’t make any difference to him. However, for the man who wants his wife’s counsel, he will likely receive it from her and consider it in his decision making.
Even though Steve is one of those husbands who would welcome and listen to my concerns and disagreements, I find it is very easy for me to fall into a pattern of sharing any and all of them that I have. That leads me to a critical, controlling spirit rather than being the helpmeet that I want to be. I personally prefer to choose to pray—because of 1 Peter 3—unless Steve asks me for my opinion or thoughts. To be sure, I am still growing in this area and sometimes say something when I would rather have just prayed about it. However, I also have the sweet victory of being much quieter than I was early in our marriage when it comes to disagreements. The direction Steve takes when it isn’t the way I would choose is, more often than not, just fine. If it isn’t, it is a lesson from the Holy Spirit, which is so much better than from a controlling wife.
There are numberless questions that could be asked on this topic. I would never be able answer them all, nor would it be my place. Each wife must study Scripture, pray, and apply what she is learning in her spiritual walk in a practical sense when those disagreements with her husband arise. I can only share what I have learned and practiced in my own life.
Here are three audio resources that might be helpful to wives that deal with the topic of a wife who disagrees with her husband, which I recommend and which we carry at Titus2.com:
The Attitude No Lady Should Have, by Dr. S.M. Davis
How a Wife Can Use Reverence to Build or Save Her Marriage, by Dr. S.M. Davis
Loving Your Husband, by Teri Maxwell
I would like to conclude this Mom’s Corner series with another testimony to encourage wives to win their husbands without a word by their meek and quiet spirit while trusting in God.
“I am a homeschooling mom to 4 that has been blessed tremendously through the years by your monthly columns. This month’s message about honoring our husbands truly resonated with me. I have been married almost 22 years and it has been very difficult because I have not been obedient to Scripture, and I am so glad that you are teaching on these passages.
“I married my husband during a rebellious period of my life when I had turned my back on the Lord. I was a believer, and he was not. When I was expecting our first child, I was overwhelmed with conviction about how wrong I was living my life, and I gave myself back over to the Lord.
“My husband was confused and aggravated over my zeal to re-embrace my faith, and difficult times began. I thought it was my job to bring him kicking and screaming into the kingdom of God. I wanted him to have an earth-shattering conversion experience and become the perfect Christian husband. I thought God needed my help, and I did everything wrong and in my own strength. I know the Lord knew my motives were right but my actions were wrong. I was ignorant of what 1 Peter 3 taught, but eventually I began to realize how blessed I was that my unbelieving husband was content to dwell with me. However, there were still many problems. I began to make an idol out of my husband becoming a believer, and it began to consume my thoughts and my life, and I was sorely discontent and began a mindset of negativity and anger.
“It took a lot of time, but with biblical counsel from a dear pastor at my church, I began to realize that I was the problem. I needed to get on my knees and beg God to change my heart and forgive all the sin in my life because of my wrong thinking of this situation. I began to realize that forgiveness and a desire to bless my husband was the right way to think. I began to see him as a gift from God for me to love in spite of his sin and wrong ways. I began to realize that God would work in my husband’s life in His own way and time. I could trust the Lord and wait.
“My husband is now a believer. After 21 years of marriage I finally have a whole family in church together in the Lord.” A Victorious and Blessed Wife
This series has taken six months to complete, and we have covered only one passage in the New Testament instructing wives. Wives have great potential to influence the atmosphere of their homes in all areas, but particularly in the area of how to deal with times of disagreement with her husband. She can choose to be quiet, with a meek spirit—leading to a peaceful home and perhaps the winning of her husband to the biblical path. She can also choose to express her opposition, and no matter how nicely she manages to do this, it will create conflict. What choice will you make?