Tag Archives: When a Wife Disagrees with Her Husband

When a Wife Disagrees with Her Husband – Part 6

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?

When a Wife Disagrees with Her Husband – Part 5

For several months now, we have been delving into a situation that every wife will find herself facing—disagreements with her husband. Even in the best of relationships, husband and wife will not see eye to eye on everything. When the husband isn’t saved or isn’t following the Lord, the disagreements are frequent and burdensome. How a wife is biblically to respond to these problems is the theme of the Mom’s Corners since January. I will reiterate that these articles are not addressing a wife who is a victim of an abusive husband.

A practical aspect of this spiritual walk of obedience in submission to a husband would be the continual giving of a wife to prayer for herself, her husband, and her children. If a husband is to be won without a spoken word and the wife then chooses not to speak up against him, she can pray—for her husband, for his decisions, for herself, for her responses to him, and for her children. This is one way to combat the fear that wants to creep into a wife’s heart. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” That phrase “be careful for nothing” means “don’t be anxious or worried.”

Sometimes a wife is upset or unhappy about circumstances with her husband, but she allows her mind to stew about the problems rather than giving her thoughts to praying for herself and her husband. The more a wife dwells on the problems, the more likely it is that she will find herself falling into self-pity and bitterness. Each difficulty that arises with a husband is an opportunity for the wife to follow Jesus when He said, “. . . If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). This is not an easy thing to do. It comes through yielding to the Spirit. However, the path of submission, prayer, and blessing of a husband will bring the fruit of the Spirit to a wife’s life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). I think you will be quite amazed at the changes you will find in your heart if you choose to yield to the righteousness of responding to a husband with a meek and quiet spirit.

I believe women who are married to unbelievers can be greatly encouraged by this verse: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy” (1 Corinthians 7:14). God has a purpose in this relationship—for the wife, for the husband, and for the children. Obviously, this sanctification and holiness does not refer to an unbelieving husband being saved simply because he is married to a believing wife since each person must come to salvation on his own. However, there is something spiritual—the Greek word for sanctification means set apart from evil— that is happening when a believer chooses to remain obedient to the Lord in the marriage relationship. The believer’s walk with the Lord is to have an influence on both her husband and her children.

It is important that the children see their mom’s love for Jesus Christ, the peace He gives her, and His joy in her life. They should be drawn to the Lord from what they observe in their mother’s life. However, if Mom is speaking negatively about her husband, his decisions, and his way of life, the children will react against her controlling, critical words. They will also most likely struggle with a bitter spirit toward their father if they perceive a “poor me” attitude in Mom—the kind of attitude that is portrayed through an observable martyr syndrome where Dad always has his way but Mom never does. That may be the reality of a submissive wife’s obedient walk with the Lord when her husband isn’t following the Lord as he should be. However, if her submission is done with peace and joy rather than resignation, grudging, or self-pity, the children will be shown the power of Jesus Christ in a life.

Let’s look at a specific question that I have been asked to see how we can practically apply 1 Peter 3:1-6. A mom says, “I need to know if I am undermining my husband’s authority when I take the kids out of the room when he is watching TV that I find inappropriate.” Ephesians 6:4 tells us, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Scripture places the responsibility for the children being raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord on the father. There may be consequences in the children’s lives for the father’s poor decisions, but the father is the one who bears the responsibility. A simple understanding of that biblical concept can relieve a wife of much worry concerning her husband’s decisions and lifestyle and how it impacts her children. Her responsibility is to follow her husband.

If a wife knows her husband wants the children to watch TV with him, then she would be undermining his leadership by taking them out of the room. However, if he is simply involved in his own entertainment and doesn’t care what the children are doing, then the mom could easily have an evening routine set in place for the children to help her with kitchen cleanup after dinner, maybe play a couple of games, take baths, brush teeth, read together, and then go to bed. That wouldn’t be undermining the husband’s authority because he doesn’t have any direction for the children for that time.

Next month I want to conclude this series. In the meantime, if you face an area of disagreement with your husband, why don’t you try being quiet about it. Pray for your heart that it will be filled with a desire to bless and encourage your husband despite any lack of unity. Pray for your husband to be following the Lord’s direction, and be careful that you don’t assume that your way is the right way. May we be wives who bring honor to Jesus Christ in our relationships with our husbands.

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

When a Wife Disagrees with Her Husband – Part 3

In this Mom’s Corner series, we are considering the common problem a wife will face when she disagrees with her husband. Every wife will experience this difficulty in her marriage to some degree, but some will have great struggles because the disagreements are so frequent or of such mammoth proportions. The difference of heart may be as simple as how an evening of time is spent or as big as how the children are educated. No matter what proportion it is, a wife wants to look to Scripture to determine the path the Lord Jesus would have for her when these situations surface. I would encourage you to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series for the background from which we are continuing on this topic. This series of articles is not written for wives who are in abusive marriages.

Let’s review our key 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).

1 Peter 3 is written specifically to wives and gives detailed, clear instruction as to what they should do if they have husbands who don’t obey the word. Even though this husband isn’t following the Lord, the wife is still told to be in subjection to her husband so that her husband can be won without her saying anything, but rather by her meek and quiet spirit. The teaching is definitive. However, the daily living out of 1 Peter 3 becomes the challenge. It will be an ongoing battle with the flesh that wants to keep verbally pushing a husband for change and is fearful of the consequences of no change.

The example given to us of women who had meek and quiet spirits rather than words of disagreement are holy women of old, specifically Sarah. We are told that Sarah obeyed Abraham, even calling him lord. Yet, consider the husband she was obeying. In order to protect himself, Abraham told Sarah to say she was his sister—and she was his half-sister—if they were ever approached by the men of the countries through which they were traveling. This actually happened twice. Because of Sarah’s beauty and obedience to her husband, she was taken two times into another man’s harem. Sarah chose to be subject to her husband rather than give in to her fear. To save his own skin, Abraham let his wife down, but God didn’t. You can read these two accounts in Genesis 12:11-20 and Genesis 20.

1 Peter 3:6 tells us, “. . . whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” I think Sarah would have had good reason to be fearful, but she is set up as an example to us. We are encouraged not to be fearful. Why does a wife speak up to her husband when she disagrees with him? Often her motivation is fear. What will happen to our finances if he makes these decisions? What will happen to our children if he makes these decisions? What will happen to me if he makes these decisions? What will happen to our future if he makes these decisions?

Verse 2 of 1 Peter 3 says that our pure behavior is to be aligned with fear, while verse 6 instructs us not to be afraid. The fear in verse two would have to do with our fear of God and the desire He has for a wife’s submission to God as her Lord and to her husband. Verse 6 is referring to not being afraid of the outcome of choosing to be in subjection to a husband, to win him without a word, and to have a meek and quiet spirit.

A wife’s hope and expectation has to be in her Lord Jesus Christ, not in what her husband does or does not do. It is a spiritual path of growing in faith for a wife. Whether or not a husband is walking in obedience to the Lord does not affect a wife’s obedience to Jesus’ instruction in 1 Peter 3, where she is admonished to win her husband without a word, by her meek and quiet spirit, and not to give in to fear.

Let me share with you a testimony from a wife who has been reading this series and writes about her personal experiences:

“Thank you so much for addressing the issue of disagreements between spouses. My husband has been backslidden from the Lord for a few years now. I often hear these 1 Peter 3 verses, but it can be hard to actually apply them to daily living. I know how hard it is to be quiet, when all you want to do is shake his eyes open to the Word of God! It becomes even harder to obey the Scripture as the years go by without becoming bitter and resentful if no change takes place.

“So I hope you will also encourage ladies who have been there a while not to let their obedience falter. God told Joshua to ‘. . . be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law. . .’ (Joshua 1:7). As we submit to our husbands, our behavior must still be that which is godly. We must be patient, and have faith that God’s way is the only way which will prove victorious. I consider Moses, Abraham, David, and others—how long they had to wait to receive God’s promises. ‘Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass’ (Psalms 37:5).

“My husband’s heart has not turned back to the Lord yet, but he does allow me to faithfully attend church, homeschool our two children, and use Scriptures to guide them. I know that God would not be able to bless in these areas if I took the situation into my own hands.” An Obedient Wife

As I read this testimony, I sensed the pain this wife feels over a husband who is not spiritually leading his family, her overwhelming desire to be obedient to her Lord Jesus Christ in her own life, and the choice she is making to dwell on the blessings she has rather than what she wishes were different. What a difference it will make in a woman’s life if she will practice “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Practically speaking, that would mean doing what “An Obedient Wife” has done by being thankful for what she has and is able to do rather than being unhappy about what isn’t happening. “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). The Lord Jesus would have her be in subjection to her husband, despite his failures, rather than growing a critical spirit in her heart toward him.

May every wife study 1 Peter 3 and learn its application to her life. May we find the joy of obedience to the Lord Jesus in fulfilling our calling as wives—the easy aspects and the challenging ones as well. I still have more to share on this subject, so the series will continue.

When a Wife Disagrees with Her Husband – Part 2

In this series of articles, we are looking at the difficult topic of how a Christian wife is to respond to a husband with whom she disagrees. The disagreement may be over small issues that come up from time to time, or it could point to major problems that are global and continuous. I would encourage you to read the first article to get the background and learn where we are picking up in this article. Please bear in mind that I am not a counselor, simply a sister in Christ. What I share in these articles is not addressing a wife in an abusive situation.

1 Peter 3:1-6 provides clear direction for wives when their husbands are not obediently following the Lord Jesus. These are the verses we are evaluating for help in how a wife deals with a husband whom she believes is making poor spiritual choices. “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.”

While verse one tells a wife what she shouldn’t do to win the husband—use her words—verses two through four explain what she is to do. The first verse surprises me because it is so terribly hard for a wife to be quiet about what she perceives to be wrong decisions her husband is making. It can seem that if a wife doesn’t speak up, nothing will change. Verses two through four are more understandable to me. They go along with the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” Most wives have already tried using their words to persuade their husbands to a different course of action simply because that is a wife’s natural bent. They also have most likely discovered the ineffectiveness of doing this and perhaps have seen that it drives a wedge in their relationships with their husbands, developing a spirit of bitterness in each of their hearts.

Here is a short testimony from a wife who was encouraged by the first Mom’s Corner in this series and has experienced the ineffectiveness of using her words to try to change her husband:

“I’ve been praying for a while on how to handle things in a right spirit when my husband is wrong. Many times, biblically, I know I’m right and he’s wrong; however, because I keep trying to tell him, even nicely and sweetly, it just makes him not want to do it more. In addition, I’m just as wrong for not being quiet. I want to learn to pray instead of forcing him to understand the way it should be.” A wife learning to be obedient to 1 Peter 3

A wife can’t be responsible for her husband and his choices. However, she is responsible for herself and what she is doing. Here in 1 Peter, we see that she is to use her behavior—her purity and her meek and quiet spirit. Remember from the last Mom’s Corner that the word “conversation” used in this verse actually means “behavior.” A meek and quiet spirit is not only a vehicle to win her husband, but it also is of great price in the sight of God. I write much that relates to having a meek and quiet spirit, such asHomeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spiritand many of the Mom’s Corners. I don’t want to repeat what is there, so I suggest if you want more information on a meek and quiet spirit, you read some of those materials.

As a sister in the Lord, I want to exhort and encourage a wife to look closely at what is going on in her life, making that her main and only focus, rather than her husband’s behavior and decisions. It is natural for a woman to be consumed with the problems she is facing, and then when her husband doesn’t change, she becomes bitter. This then causes her to have negative, controlling, condescending, disappointed attitudes and responses that are evident to her husband and to her children even if they aren’t to her. She doesn’t see that her disobedience to the Lord’s direction for her in 1 Peter 3 is no different from the disobedience her husband is exhibiting in other areas of life.

I would like to share with you a specific testimony about this from a mom who read the first article in this series. Here is what she writes:

“My husband is not saved, and I have one six-year-old child. It grieves my heart to let my husband allow my son to be disobedient. However, I know how it grieves the Holy Spirit and our Father when He sees me, His child, being disobedient. It is so hard to be quiet.

“Before reading your article, I had just had a disagreement with my husband over a child training issue. I called him back and apologized for being contentious. He said thank you, and I heard a sense of relief in his voice. Women do not really know how their words affect men. The Lord shows me how real He is through the life-giving words of Scripture. I’m encouraged by the fact that the more our society departs from His word, the more we will be able to see the beauty of His way.” Another wife learning to be obedient to 1 Peter 3

The spiritual walk of a wife who does not agree with her husband, whether it is in small areas or huge ones, is a walk of faith and spiritual growth. The ability to win a husband without a word but by her behavior—pure, meek, and quiet—will not be achieved in her own strength. It will be a work of the Lord Jesus in her life as she submits herself first and foremost to the grace and direction of God. Scripture gives us the hope of victory. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

Some wives might say, “But I have tried so many times, and I am just too weak. I end up saying something even when I know I should be quiet.” Here is encouragement for them. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

My desire is to help wives look to Scripture for their guidance in how to respond to their husbands in areas of disagreement, whether they are minor or major. May I challenge you to purpose to be quiet at those times of conflict. Pray for your husband, pray for the Lord’s strength in living out that desire of your heart, and repent if you fail. Focus on your own obedience to the Lord by being quiet and developing a meek and quiet spirit rather than dwelling on your husband’s disobedience. In the next portions of this series, I plan to finish looking at 1 Peter 1:1-6, answer some specific questions that were asked from the last article, and share more testimonies as encouragement for those who are feeling very alone in this struggle.

When a Wife Disagrees with Her Husband – Part 1

Steve and I often receive e-mails from wives asking questions about how to respond to a husband with whom they disagree in some way. This is obviously a situation that every wife will have to deal with in her marriage; for many it will be on a regular basis. Some who write to us give an example of one particular issue of disagreement, such as her desire to have more children while he says “no” or activities he allows for the children from which she thinks they should be sheltered. Here is an example from a Mom’s Corner request e-mail:

We’ve managed to keep most of our children’s hearts, but two of them just seem determined to test us and stray. My husband isn’t sure that we are losing their hearts. He thinks that their behavior is ‘normal’ for children their age. One is eleven, the other seven. As a mom, I fear being too harsh and severing that connection completely, but I also fear being too soft and watching them slip further away. My husband sees no problem at all with their conniving, lying, and trickery to get out of chores, but I think that’s because he’s gone all day and can’t deal with things immediately. So is there a problem? Is it me? Do I leave it until it becomes a problem for my husband? I would appreciate a Corner in response to this. A questioning wife

Other wives are crying out for answers to the questions and problems raised from living with a husband who either isn’t saved or is not following the Lord. The anguish in her heart not only for herself but also for the consequences in the children’s lives is evident. These e-mails relate stories of husbands who don’t lead their families spiritually, bring negative influences into the home, allow the children do be involved in things that are spiritually harmful to them, don’t spend time with their families, leave decision making to their wives, and more. If the man attends church, he may appear to be like the other men, but his wife knows a different story at home. These wives are caught in a terrible emotional dilemma: how to submit to and honor a man who isn’t being what God wants him to be and is leading the children down the same path. Here is an example of this kind of situation, also from a Mom’s Corner request e-mail:

I am married to an unbeliever who says he is a Christian. How do I keep him from cussing around our son and treating him with contempt? He also watches things on TV that are inappropriate. He then tells our son he is an adult and will watch what he wants! He is very controlling and rude. He goes to church with us about 60 percent of the time. Please address this issue. Thank you!!! Another questioning wife

I am not a counselor, but I can share some thoughts as a sister in Christ that I believe relate Scripturally to the wives who have a particular area of disagreement with their husbands and also to those whose husbands are not leading their families spiritually at all. I give these ideas based on knowing myself and from interacting with other wives who have written about similar situations. What I am writing is not addressed to wives who are victims of abuse.

While you may not find yourself facing these same scenarios, every wife has a husband who will sin at least from time to time. She needs to know how the Lord wants her to respond to her husband at these moments, and what she is to do with her thoughts. I think the verses we will be looking at in these Mom’s Corners could apply to wives who have a godly, Christian marriage.

“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).

The first part of 1 Peter 3 is written specifically for a wife with a husband who is not obeying the word—either he is not saved, he is not following the Lord Jesus with his life, or he is not obeying in a specific area. This section of Scripture sets a clear path for a wife if she disagrees with her husband when he is not following the Lord and what it is that will bring about change in him, if it is to happen.

Often Scripture is silent in areas about which we would like exact direction, but here we find six verses that deal with a problem that wives face and for which they want biblical answers. Sometimes, I have read others who suggest a wife respond to a sinful husband in ways outlined in other sections of Scripture discussing how one believer relates to another. However, 1 Peter 3:1-6 would seem to supersede those verses since these are talking specifically to a wife.

The keys in this portion of Scripture I believe are:
“without a word”
“meek and quiet spirit”
“calling him lord”
“not afraid with any amazement”

“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” (1 Peter 3:1). I find this verse to be most amazing. A wife is to be in subjection to her husband—even the husband who is not obeying the word. That kind of husband would be the most difficult husband to follow.

When a wife disagrees with her husband, either she is right or he is right. Let’s first assume that she is discerning Scripture correctly, and her husband it the one not obeying the Word. Then I believe 1 Peter 3:1 would apply. The verse says she is not to say a word.

Often it is a wife’s words that get her into trouble. She sees something she thinks isn’t right. She expresses her concern, unhappiness, or dissatisfaction. Nothing changes. She brings it up again, in another way. Nothing changes. Over the course of the years, this becomes a continual pattern for her. She has tried repeatedly with her words to win her husband to her way of thinking. Rather than being successful, she has grown the wedge between them. Perhaps the reason she hasn’t been successful has to do with the teaching in these verses.

While I believe strongly in the truth 1 Peter 3:1 teaches for a wife in how to handle a disagreement with her husband, I am not saying it is easy. I have been trying to learn to be obedient to this verse for over thirty years (in the Loving Your Husband session, I share practical examples). There has certainly been improvement in my life, but I have further to go. However, it is my heart’s desire to keep praying and asking the Lord for His grace in this area. I also ask Steve’s forgiveness when I fail, and I try to choose the path of obedience when a conflict rages in my heart over wanting to say something versus being quiet.

The second possibility is that the husband is right, and the wife is wrong. In this case it is obviously best that the wife is quiet and doesn’t persuade her husband to her position. Therefore, it appears to me that whether a wife is right or wrong, her best direction when there is disagreement between her husband and her is to be quiet.

The word “conversation” in verses one and two does not refer to spoken words between people. It is the same Greek word (anastrepho) in both verse one and two. According to Strong’s Greek and Hebrew dictionary, it means “behavior.” A husband is not won by the words of his wife but rather by her behavior.

There is much more I want to share in relation to this passage of Scripture and our roles as Christian wives. I am going to make this into a Mom’s Corner series. For now, I want to challenge you to consider how these verses relate to you personally, particularly the section about winning a husband without words.