Guest Post by Shannon Madden
Most of us get irritated when our husbands tell us what to do. Why do we do that? It goes back to the Garden of Eden and the curse of Eve. In Genesis 3, God says to Eve that her desire shall be for her husband and he would rule over her.
The patriarchal system was part of original creation, not a result of the fall. However, part of the curse of sin is the perversion of the system. Eve, and all of us after her, would desire to be in charge instead of our husbands. It is part of our fallen nature that our husband’s leadership rubs us the wrong way.
Is He Right?
How do we handle that feeling of irritation when our husband instructs, corrects, or rebukes us? First, step back and ask yourself if he is right. Did he tell you about a behavior or habit in your life that needs to change? None of us likes to be confronted. It’s no fun to look our sin in the face and have to kill it (Colossians 3:5). Killing sin is hard and admitting we were wrong in the first place is even harder. But the Bible tells us that those who truly love us are willing to confront our sin and help us become more like Christ. If your husband never confronts your sin, he loves himself and the comfort of avoiding confrontation more than he loves you.
Maybe he asked you to do something for him or to do something a different way. One time, my husband called me in the middle of the day to ask me to do something for him. I don’t even remember what the task was, but I remember my subsequent conversation with the Holy Spirit and the lesson He had for me that day.
As I was washing the lunch dishes, my husband called and needed me to do something for him. I said ok and that I’d get to it as soon as I could. On the inside, I was seething. Who does he think he is? Why does he think he can just call me up and interrupt my plan for the day, or the home making tasks that I have to get to? The Holy Spirit said to me, because he is your husband and you are the helper. I stopped mid-dish-scrub and said out loud, Oh yeah. I am the helper.
Head Knowledge Vs. Heart Knowledge
If you asked me prior to that about the biblical role of a wife, I could spout on and on about how God designed us as helpers fit for our husbands and it is a wonderful high calling. God honors us with this position and it is a beautiful way to reflect His image in the world. I had the head knowledge. In that moment, I learned, by the gracious whisper of the Holy Spirit, what it practically looks like to be a helper fit for him. It often looks like a random phone call with a task to fulfill. It looks like managing my home well so that there is less burden on his shoulders as our leader and provider. It looks like putting his needs and desires before mine and the kids because God calls me to make our home a delightful sanctuary for him when he comes home from work.
I remember as a kid, sometimes I’d complain about our mostly meat and potatoes type of dinners. I’d ask my mom why we had to have this. Her reply was simple, because dad liked it. She didn’t need to launch into a justification of her menu choices. I understood that what she meant was that my dad worked hard for what we had and a small thing that she could do in gratitude and honor was to make the food that he enjoyed eating.
Did He Sin?
What if your husband is right but he sinned in the way he confronted you or requested something? I can hear the rebuttals now that he may have been right in what he said, but he said it in the wrong way. Ok. I get it. He is a sinner too. So step two is to look at the whole situation and determine what is sin and what is simply irritating behavior.
I’ve had to do this on many occasions when I was particularly feeling like I was consistently failing at my role as a wife. Every slight critique felt like a gut punch. It’s not always easy to parse what is hurtful from what is sinful, especially if the situation devolved into an argument. Later, when I was thinking over our problem, I’d ask myself, what did he say that was true, regardless of how he said it? What do I need to confess to the Lord? What do I need to confess to him? Lastly, what do I need to confront him about in the situation? We need to deal with our own sin first. Remove the log from your eye so you can see clearly to point out the speck in someone else’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)
After going through those questions, I could deal with the problem rationally and with a clear conscience. This is all easier said than done. It has taken me years to work through my own idolatrous thoughts about what marriage should look like, how he should act, and how to respond to his rebukes and instructions.
Growing In Christ Through It All
The good news is that all this has brought me closer to the Lord. My confidence is in Him instead of in my own ability to be a good wife or my husband’s actions toward me. If my husband has a grouchy day, I can give that over to God and not let one-off comments or sinful rebukes destroy me emotionally. I (usually) can calmly confront the situation or simply let love cover the sin. I have grouchy days too.
When it comes to my husband leading in a righteous manner that still rubs me the wrong way, I can (usually) step back and assess my own heart motives. Why am I so annoyed that he asked me to do this or that? Oh, it’s the old sin curse again. Then I can thank the Holy Spirit for pointing that out to me, confess my crumby attitude, and move on in the joy of the Lord.
Think On It
When do you most struggle to accept instruction or rebuke from your husband?
Have you practiced repenting of your own sin first before confronting your husband?
Can you see how the curse of Eve is still active in you today?
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.