Today’s post was written, in part, by my wife, Leslie Davis. Due to the nature of the post, a wife’s take on the subject was necessary.
In last week’s parallel post, we looked at 50 ways that husbands might tempt their wives to resent them. Resentment is something that tempts all marriages at one point or another. It’s more common than we might think.
We had several requests (from ladies!) for an article from the other perspective. Today’s post is in response.
Before getting into the details, we would re-emphasize some of the qualifiers from last week:
- God commands husbands to love their wives at the highest standard of love fathomable: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). Notice, husbands, that the command does not say, “Husbands, if you’re tired or if you don’t feel like it or if she hasn’t treated you like you want, then go ahead and lower the bar of love for her.” Husbands are commanded by God to love their wives even if she is a tyrant. This isn’t about the wife’s loveliness, so much as it is about the standard of Christ’s love.
Husbands, in God’s sovereignty, some of you are in situations where your wife might unapologetically commit many things on the list below. If so, Christ, who suffered the greatest injustice ever, is your rest and comfort to persevere in your trial. He loves you. He notices. And he has entrusted you with this trial to glorify him.
- Husbands, we may not use this list as a weapon against our wives. By God’s grace, let us not stoop so low.
- Wives, many of you strive for godliness in these areas, and, yet, tragically, your husband refuses to turn to Christ and grow in godliness. Few stations of life are more difficult than this. Christ is your immediate tangible source of comfort and motivation to persevere in this unique form of suffering. Additionally, however, there is joy in knowing that God has sovereignly ordained this situation for you. So, you can embrace the struggle by being a quiet, but powerful, example of salt and light. As you strive to do so, your reward will be great in heaven. And, whether acknowledged or not, your following after Christ is not unnoticed.
- Resentment is sin against God and others. Husbands, resentment is never justified. And, in extreme sin, that can be very difficult. Even so, we look to the One who unhesitatingly lowered his shoulder and went to the cross to be sentenced for every single one of our sins (1 Pet. 2:24). Resentment would have kept him from going. But his love for you and the Father did not even permit a hint of resentment against us (Rom. 5:8).
With that, here are several ways (suggested from a wife of 14 years) that wives might tempt their husbands to resent them:
- She doesn’t care about tempting him to resent her.
- She will not put effort into her personal character and christlikeness.
- She refuses to plug into a church with him.
- She refuses to support him in his church ministry.
- She fails to pray for him.
- She fails to pray for him in the areas he struggles, especially those areas which she has pointed out to him.
- After having confronted a specific sin a few times, she continues to do so in a nagging way instead of trusting God with his salvation and/or sanctification.
She fails to confess her sin to him.
- She fails to ask forgiveness from him.
- She is generally a discourager rather than an encourager (e.g. about his job, the church, the house).
- She does not encourage him about things in his life.
- She fails to thank her husband for working hard at his job (assuming he does so).
- She dumps all of her struggles on him in frustration, especially at burdensome times.
- She does not strive to see herself as his helper.
- She resists biblical submission to him.
- When he returns from work, she expects him to free her up from doing chores because she has had a difficult day.
- Complaining about him in front of the kids.
- Complaining about him in front of other people.
- She yells at, and sins against, the kids.
- She airs his faults to others.
- She is quick to say what she doesn’t like about what he says.
- When he suggests something, she quickly knocks it down rather than humbly asking him questions to understand him.
- She vents his failures to him in a disparaging way.
- She non-verbally expresses her irritation and exasperation about him.
- She directly goes against his expressed requests.
- She will not cease to do things that are annoying to him.
- She does the opposite of what he asks.
- She fails to prioritize in her tasks his non-sinful requests.
- She makes his requests the lowest priority in her to-do list.
- She puts no effort into accommodating her husband’s preferences (e.g. sleep, work, parenting, ministry, recreation).
- She fails to ask him questions about, and order her life around, his non-sinful requests.
- She corrects his parenting in front of the kids.
- She will express affection to her kids, but not her husband.
- She often second-guesses her husband’s decisions regarding the kids.
- When her husband is not around, she says things like, “We’re doing this because your dad said we have to.”
- Whether intentionally or unintentionally, she builds factions between him and the kids.
- She regularly allows the kids to interrupt when interacting with him.
- She fails to serve him in food and cooking.
- She fails to put effort into prioritizing a date night with him.
- She generally prefers her children over her husband.
- She often criticizes his spending, while having a double-standard in her spending.
- She harps on him when he eats out, but she goes to Starbucks whenever she feels like it.
- She does not strive to stay within the household budget.
She is dishonest and/or withholds the truth about her spending.
- She often complains about the lack of money.
- She goes to her (or his) mom to vent about him.
- She goes to her girlfriends to vent about him.
- She goes to her friends more for venting and flattering, and less for growing in godliness.
- She regularly prioritizes her friendships over her family.
- She is often itching to get away from her family.
- She demeans his non-sinful hobbies.
- She is not supportive of his non-sinful opportunities to rest and rejuvenate.
- She dresses up/nice around her girlfriends and when going out of the home, but not around him.
- She withholds sexual intimacy.
- She responds to his intimacy initiations with aversion.
- She withholds sexual intimacy as revenge.
- She serves him sexually for manipulative reasons.
Wives, as we reflect on this list, we can praise God that he has sent both Christ to die for our sins and the Holy Spirit to convict and change us as we strive to honor God in these ways. And let’s be encouraged by God’s love, that, “where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Rom. 5:20).