Whether you believe your husband is watching “too much TV,” shouldn’t look at certain things, is working more than you think he should, is not “involved enough” with the children, is not “making you a priority” the way you want him to, or whatever the issue is – if you respond to him by yelling at him and demanding that he do what you want him to do, that is going to be a destructive approach every time. Not to mention – if we are yelling and screaming at our husbands – we are sinning against God and against our husbands ourselves. That is NOT ok! If God’s Spirit is in control of our lives, we will have His self-control and gentleness.
Here is one Christian brother’s perspective on this issue (he was responding to a particular wife’s situation – but I believe his counsel applies in many situations) that may help us to understand a lot better why approaching our husbands with demands and disrespect won’t work and is damaging to the marriage and to our husbands:
THE BLESSING OF A HUSBAND REFUSING TO RESPOND TO OUR YELLING AND SCREAMING AT THEM TO CHANGE
You should realize there is a silver lining in this for you, that you have not quite noticed yet. And that is the fact that your husband is not submitting to you, especially given the nature of how you are addressing him. If he was falling all over himself to please and supplicate to you, you would end up despising him.
So for now, he is keeping the peace by not directly challenging you, but he not bowing to your demands.
- For a woman to use insistence and demands to get her man in line is really no different than a man using similar tactics to get her to be intimate. Would you want to be bullied into sex? I think not.
Now, about his actions, if what you say is true (and it might be, perhaps he needs to stop looking at those women on the TV.
But God is not a God of shortcuts, and God will not give you means to bypass his means and methods, and simply order your husband around like a child. If you want what you want, you are going to have to get it the “hard way.” God’s way. And done in Christian LOVE, but love for both of you.
- What you might not be seeing is the kind of emotional violence you may be doing to your husband. You may feel completely justified in what you want, but bludgeoning him with scolding and shaming is neither loving nor respectful.
Let’s also realize an uncomfortable but truthful reality. Your husband is probably bigger and stronger than you. Do you notice that he does not use that physical superiority to control you? Some men do. Most women have zero chance in a physical altercation with a man. But on the flipside, women have the power to bludgeon with words in a way that many men do not.
So, in some households, the women are swinging away with their verbal and emotional fists, while their husband locks himself up, suffering the evil of being abused, and having no way to respond without being called an abuser himself.
SUBMITTING UNDER PROTEST
And as I have said before, it is perfectly acceptable for a wife to submit “under protest”.
- Submission does not mean agreement, it does not mean you like what is happening, it does not mean that he is right and you are wrong.
Like love, it is a decision, not a feeling. An act of one’s will.
In fact, submitting while respectfully protesting is better than just shutting up, since if you stifle your feelings, he may never pick up on the fact that there are things making you sad or hurt.
I’ll never forget what that pastor’s wife said (when he disagreed with her about something important):
- “I am going to be a blessing to you no matter what you do”.
He said is was like a punch to the gut. I’m sure David felt the same way when he got called out for killing Uriah.
I don’t want the following to seem like I am comparing women to children, because that is not the intent.
Many parents, especially mothers, have had their kids try the “I hate you, I hate you, I wish I had a different mom”, or some other tactic when they don’t get their way on something.
At first glance, some people might think that the pain a mom feels when she hears this is because her child is claiming to hate her. But this misses the reality of the situation. She knows her child, in fact, does not hate her.
The pain comes from realizing that someone you love would so frivolously use such painful words against you. The child, in this situation, knows they don’t hate their mother. But they want their way so intensely, that they are willing to use a tactic like this.
The child does not really consider the parent’s feelings, because mom (or dad) is so big, so tough, and the kid thinks “I can say this and it won’t matter.” So, the kid is venting their anger, or trying to manipulate, but is blind to the pain they cause, and the costs that are being incurred.
Similarly, some women tend to think of men as tough, unemotional, unreachable, etc. So such a “nuclear” tactic seems harmless to them. Similarly, some women tend to think of men as tough, unemotional, unreachable, etc. So such a “nuclear” tactic seems harmless to them.
Just as God gave men physical strength to use to bless their families through protection and provision, he gave women emotional skills to build up their husbands and children. A man should never use his God-given strength as a weapon against his wife, and a woman should never use her emotional skills as a weapon against her husband.
A wife can and should share her ideas, her concerns, her feelings, and her perspective with her husband about things that are important to her and the family. If her husband hears her thoughts and feelings but decides not to do what she believes should be done, a wife can say something like:
- “Thank you for listening to me. I really appreciate you taking my feelings and thoughts into account. I will cooperate with your decision even though I do not agree with you.”
- “Honey, I respect that you are the head of our home. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for listening to my concerns. I will submit – but I am submitting under protest.”
When a husband knows his wife is willing to follow his leadership even though she disagrees, it will likely give him pause. Most husbands who are feeling respected and honored care very much about their wives’ happiness. Most husbands trust and respect their wives and don’t want to make a bad decision for the family or do anything to jeopardize their wives’ trust and faith. Husbands do have a duty and responsibility to God for the decisions they make, they will stand accountable to Him. But a wife can make her position clear in a humble, gentle, respectful, cooperative way without arguing.