Part 4 of Contentious Wife Equals Terrible Life

A pro-active man, makes sure that his wife has proper spiritual food on a very consistent basis.  You see this guy isn’t just cowering and ducking around and trying to avoid what hits the fan.  No, he confidently stands on the strong foundation of the Word of God and his eyes are fixed on His Savior Jesus.  The key thing that he knows is that if he is to have any hope of doing right by his wife, then Jesus has to have priority over her.  Is that true in your life?  Can you honestly say, “Jesus has priority over ____” (insert wife’s name here).  If you are not willing to go there – well then you go into the category of no one can do much for you until you repent and turn to Jesus.  (Please don’t try being proactive without having Jesus as your priority – because you will mess it up and give the rest of us a bad name.)

Okay, now that we have the key element known and solid, here is a list of the proactive things these guys are going to do:

1.  He loves his wife as Christ loves the church.
Basically this means that he is sacrificial and works hard to take care of his wife.  It does not mean that he just says yes to whatever – though Jesus is sacrificial for His church (to death) does not mean that he just says, “yeah sure whatever you want” in His relationship with her.  No Jesus’ goal for His church is for us to be pure and whole.  We should have this same desire for our wives – that they would in every way reflect the character of Jesus Himself.  In short, a godly wife is a lot like Jesus…loving, tender, compassionate, truthful, bold and sacrificial.  Let me tell you that it’s great to be married to a woman who’s life doesn’t revolve around herself or just the things in her immediate world!

2.  He is watching and observing to see that his wife is eating good spiritual food on a consistent basis.
He refuses to sit back and watch her starve herself.   Along these lines he does the following:

  • asks what she is reading in the Bible and praying about

He knows that his wife needs to eat daily of the Word of God and to spend time with her God and Savior.  He knows that if her fellowship with God is on point then the time they share together will be more fruitful and less contentious.  When my wife is regularly reading her Bible and praying then we are having some good times.  If either of us are slack, then we are headed for trouble.

  • is faithful to take her and be with her at the primary meetings of the church (Heb. 10:24-25)

Men, please listen to this one.  Your wives are generally more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and Word of God than we men are.  So there are opportunities each week for your wife to be challenged and encouraged in her walk with the Lord.  Especially if you are working to get rid of your pansiness then you can at least stand up and make the right sort of priorities so she doesn’t miss the meetings….of course this means you will need to be there too.  If one of you has to travel frequently on business then you need to arrange things to make sure you are both still getting good inputs.
I can guarantee that if you are both faithful in regular attendance (as in 6 out of 8 meetings of the church a month Sunday/mid-week…75% (this level of attendance would get you fired from your job in a hurry) at a Bible teaching and practicing church and are at all open to the work of the Lord in your hearts, then you will grow in your walk with Jesus.  If you think that you can step away from Christian fellowship and teaching for weeks or months at a time and continue to grow then you are absolutely kidding yourself.  You will stagnate and then digress…it is just a fact jack…and no you are not the super spiritual exception that doesn’t have to follow the clear principle of you get out what you put in.  (Note: there are dozens of other reasons you should be meeting for worship, Bible study and prayer – but I’ll keep this post to IT WILL HELP YOUR MARRIAGE!)

  • encourages her to have friendships with godly women.

Now when I say this I don’t just mean friendship with women who are “christians” and “go to church”.  How do you know your wife is spending time and being influenced by the right women?  The proof is in the results.  After spending time with “x” woman(en) is your wife more prone to gossip or pray, spend or give, watch some junk show on TV or read her Bible?  I’m not saying that all of the women in your wife’s life have to be off the charts godly women – hopefully your wife has women who don’t know Jesus in her life that she is witnessing to.  What I am saying is to encourage your wife to examine the type of influences in her life from other women and to make sure she is getting a heavy dose of the healthy influence.  Even as adults our choice of friendships have a great affect on us.  So gentleman, you also need to examine this in your own life.  How about make a list of the 5 friends you hang out with the most and then make an honest evaluation of their influence on your walk with the Lord.  You might find that exercise to reveal that you need some new friends or you need to reorder the time so that you don’t sabotage your own life.

Bottom Line: If our homes, churches, and communities are to have any hope of being all that they can be for God’s glory, it will be because men who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus are standing up and answering the high call of our God and Savior.  It will be because we refuse to be lukewarm, pathetic boys and grow up by the Holy Spirit to be passionate men for our King Jesus!

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Part 1

“And the LORD God said, “It is not good that a man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him…Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:18,24).

My wife and I recently celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary – this in combination with the constant stream of bad news in the realm of marriage and the general pandemic state of the home have given me a desire to write the following posts.  Let me state up front that my primary intended audience for this one are the males readers – but ladies – please feel free to pass this one along to hubby, dad, brother, future hubby or friend.  So men whether you are single, happily married, in a distressed marriage, or in a marriage that isn’t your first, it’s time to strap on the helmet and get ready for some big hits!

Proverbs 21:19, states that it is better to sleep alone on the roof than in a house with a contentious woman.  It was true when it was written thousands of years ago and it is true today.  No one wants to live with a woman like that.  So men, what actions are you taking to help lessen the possibility that you will wake up one morning and realize that your wife is miserable, that you are miserable and that your marriage is a marriage on paper and that’s about it?

The reason I say this is because when things don’t work out and the woman appears to be contentious either one of two things happened.  Either the guy didn’t do his job or he picked poorly.  And even if he does pick poorly if he does the right things in the Lord’s strength then the marriage still has a chance to turn out well.  Of course what I am writing is much like the wisdom literature in the Bible – it tells you what is generally true – though there are exceptions and therefore the truth here is not a 100% guarantee but it has you fighting the battle for your marriage from a position of victory instead of defeat.  Obviously we have great sympathy for those who have really sought help from the Lord and generally have done the right things yet would legitimately be better off sleeping on the roof.  Remember that the Lord Jesus is gracious and compassionate whenever being gracious and compassionate is called for, and we should seek to be like Him.

In the next couple of posts I will talk about several basic categories of men and what godly men do to give their marriages the best chance to be long and joyful.

What does it say about our society when the news of Jon and Kate divorcing is the 2nd most read article on CNN.com (#1 for a good portion of the day)?

Does it reflect that people care more about the “news” surrounding the Gosselins then they do about the news of political turmoil in Iran?  Or perhaps is it that more people can relate to the Gosselins as almost everyone in our country has been affected in a close personal way by divorce?  Perhaps it’s the novelty of their situation with 8 kids (6 of which came at one time) and a tv show?  In any case their personal life and failures have become the news of today.  It is indeed sad news.

After reading the article and then getting a feel for America’s response via the comments I was surprised how many people ran over Kate and gave Jon a pass.  It is obvious her priorities got out of whack and that she tended to be bossy, but I’ve got a different take on the situation.  Put simply Jon has failed to lead his wife, his children and his home and now EVERYONE in their family is paying a steep price.  It all comes back to him – he could have lovingly told her “no” a long time ago to a myriad of things – he could have said “no” to the tv show at any point during the past few years, he could have said “no” to her speaking engagements, he could have said “no” to her book promotions.  He could have said “no” to their combined selfishness.  He could have said “no” to “hanging out” with women not named “Kate Gosselin”.  More importantly he could have said “yes” to leading his wife and kids.  He could have said “yes” to marriage counseling.  He could have said “yes” to the biblical charge he was given.  He could have said “yes” to his commitments.

Instead he just went down the road of the average “husband/man” (Christian or not) and lived in Pansyville for years until he finally got tired of living in Pansyville and realized he could “be liberated”.  The following comment by Jon proves my assessment to be accurate.  “I just let her rule the roost and do whatever she wanted,” Jon said. “Now I finally stood up on my own two feet and I’m proud of myself.”  Notice even here the deceitfulness of sin.  He doesn’t just say that he has sinned and failed and that he is sorry, no he is “proud” of himself.  I can tell you after being alive for almost 34 years and having read the Bible that there are only two responses people have when they are confronted with their sin – one is “godly sorrow that leads to repentance” and the other is “I’ve made the right decision, and I am proud of myself.”  Most people go with the latter time and time again.

Men, the bottom line is that we have stop hiding behind the excuses of her inadequacies and do better.  During the past few weeks, I’ve been working on an article entitled “Contentious wife equals terrible life” with the focus being on practical things we husbands need to do in order to avoid the situation where you would rather sleep on the roof (or with another woman) than with your wife.  I’ll have it posted by Thursday.

Final thought on the Gosselins, If you have access to God through praying in the name of Jesus, then say a prayer that they would turn to Jesus and have reconciliation.  If you took the time to read the news or to read this post then you can take a minute and do that.

I have been intrigued by this subject for a while because it is a major social trend.  Many people view cohabitation as a trial run for marriage to see if they are compatible. About 10% of couples in the USA claim to fall into the cohabitation category (a higher number have attempted cohabitation with marriage being a future option) but in many European countries the percentage of those currently cohabiting much higher – in the 15% to 30% range.  The USA is currently headed in a clear direction toward more people cohabiting as a precursor to marriage or an alternative to marriage.

Cohabitation is another issue that can be difficult to write about because many people have done this or are doing this. One of my primary reasons for writing this is to help people avoid pain.  I have approached the subject from both a Biblical and statistical perspective.  Obviously the Bible is quite clear on the issue (see Hebrews 13:4 and II Timothy 2:22 below), but I was shocked at the degree to which the statistical data backs up what the Bible teaches.

If you take 100 couples who are practicing cohabitation, 5 to 10 of them will cohabitate for longer than 10 without breaking up and without marrying, 45 of them will have a “premarital divorce” – meaning that their relationship will not make it to the marriage ceremony.  Of the 45 who do marry, 33 of them will get a divorce (almost 75%)!  This leaves 12 couples out of 100 that have survived cohabitation and will still be married after 10 years.  If you include the higher estimate of 10 for couples that maintain cohabitation for longer than 10 years without marrying, then you have 22 out of 100 couples that are still together 10 years later.*

Based on those numbers, I think all would agree that the odds do not favor cohabitation.  We can also clearly state that 40 to 50 % of all marriages end in divorce.  So just getting married is not the solution. According to Michael McManus who wrote a book on the subject, premarital sex is also a huge factor. They took 233 couples who agreed to stop having sex until their honeymoon and went through premarital counseling.  A decade later only 7 of those couples were divorced or separated.  Overall the Church has been very slack in this area and the statistics prove the consequences with the divorce rate of church service attenders being about the same as the general population.  Church leaders need to set people up to win by speaking the truth in love and setting clear expectations.

Problems with cohabitation:

1.  It does not work because you cannot practice permanence.

2.  “Pre-marital divorce” is often as painful as regular divorce.

How to put yourself in a position to win:

1.  Do not have premarital sex, or if you are sexually active then stop having premarital sex.

2.  Do not cohabitate, or if you are cohabitating then move out.

3.  Get premarital counseling that is not “fluff”.  You need to do this with someone or a couple who will tell you if they think it is a bad idea for the two of you to get married.  The counseling should be very practical and talk openly about subjects that you will face in your marriage: sex, money, communication, future plans, thoughts on kids etc…

4.  Included in the counseling have a marriage inventory taken so you can see compatibility or the lack thereof.

5.  Be involved in a Bible teaching church and in that church have REAL relationships where you have honest and serious communication.**

What if we were cohabiters and/or had pre-marital sex?  Does that mean our marriage is doomed?

Absolutely not!  The grace of God is sufficient and available.  In every marriage the couple should keep an eye on their relationship.  If your marriage is becoming frayed then asking a married couple you respect to be a mentor couple can be a great idea.  Marriage counseling may be necessary for some.  It is better to admit weakness now then to go through divorce later.  

* Michael McManus “Living Together: Myths, Risks, and Answers”

** In many churches these types of topics are very difficult to approach because the church is either legalistic making it almost impossible for people to be honest about their struggles.  Or the church is carnal and has no standards and expectation for behavior; therefore, sin is overlooked or even promoted. In both cases gossip often ruins the day.  Church leaders must insist on a loving, gracious, honest, and confidential environment if we are to make real progress in these areas where losing has become the norm.

Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure…”

II Timothy 2:22, “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

God is not being mean when He gives us these imperatives.  He really does know what is best for us!