The other day a local radio station went to social media with the “top complaints from unhappy wives” and proceeded to issue a top-3 kind of list. They then turned it around to the readers and asked what their top complaints were about their husbands. This made me sick to my stomach. Why would someone want to inspire disrespecting your husband?
It’s a sick and twisted game we play; we spend our entire youth seeking out that one perfect man who will love us forever and then we spend the rest of our lives telling everybody how much we hate him. If you play this game, I have two words for you: Grow. Up. All through Ephesians 4, Paul is pressing us to continue growing in spiritual maturity and closes with an admonition to, “get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.”
Not to mention that humiliating and degrading someone, especially the one you vowed to love, honor and cherish, is the worst way to foster positive growth. Imagine putting yourself in your husband’s shoes. Why would he want to treat you like a queen if you treat him like a jester? It defies logic.
But it is so easy to get sucked in when we treat husband-bashing like an Olympic sport. We compete over who has the laziest / stupidest / most selfish husband as if it is something to brag about.
We cannot continue to use our tongue as a weapon because it’s not only hypocritical, but it can cause lasting damage. “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:9-10) Let’s think about who is listening to such hypocrisy: your parents, your siblings, your children? I know a woman who spent so much time complaining about her husband that her entire family ended up hating him. Then she decided to forgive him and couldn’t understand why her family was overtly hostile toward him. Once you poison the well, how do you undo the damage?
Since relationships are not one-sided, no matter how much the finger gets pointed at your spouse, the words always point back to you: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” (Matthew 12:34-35) What is festering inside of you that causes such bitterness and spite to spew forth? Are you harboring unforgiveness? Do you have unrealistic expectations for your husband?
Do you nag him and pick fights with him in addition to complaining liberally to others? Proverbs 19:13 tells us that, “a quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping.” In other words, you grate his nerves. The Bible goes on to say in Proverbs 21:9 that, “it’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.” Ouch.
I was a “quarrelsome wife” myself. I nagged and whined to my husband all the time. I often lead the husband-bashing competitions with my family, friends and coworkers. But the reality is that my cattiness was driving a huge wedge between me and my husband. The more I was disrespectful to him, the less he cared about how his actions impacted me, which meant I became more disrespectful to get even.
It’s a vicious cycle, so I am challenging each of you to go first in breaking it. I had to go first. I had to see how my sarcastic, biting comments were ripping apart the one relationship that I made a promise before God that I would maintain. I am responsible for me. Not him. Just me. It takes some serious maturity to hold your tongue, but it is doable, even when your flesh is screaming for retaliation. Even when all the other ladies are carrying on about how awful their man is.
Will you join me in prayerfully repenting for the relentless husband belittling that is so common these days? Come back on Thursday and we will look at some ways to start turning that relationship around. For now, just stop doing more damage. I am praying for you.
Abide in His Grace,