May 25, 2016

How Wives Can Get Their Husbands to Resent Them

by Eric Davis
PIC BY JENNIFER LOCKRIDGE / CATERS NEWS - A father and daughter playfight looks a lot different when dad is a 400lb killing machine - but luckily for this little lion cub his cheeky nib at fathers tail didnt end in tears. In this hilarious picture little lion cub Lusaka ferociously grabs dads between her teeth - an action which sees her tiny paws lift off the ground. Sadly for Lusaka rather than dad Luke howling in pain like a wounded wildebeest, the king of the jungle seems to pretending not to notice. Despite the pestering Luke eventually gives in and like all good dads decides to join in the mock life-and-death struggle. Like a feline WWF wrestler he pins his mini assassin off-spring to the ground in mock anger. The remarkable record of life with the family of lions was recorded by amateur photographer Jennifer Lockridge, at the National Zoo, in Washington DC. SEE CATERS COPY. Jennifer Lockridge

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.
  • 3744

    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:

  1. She doesn’t care about tempting him to resent her.
  2. She will not put effort into her personal character and christlikeness.
  3. She refuses to plug into a church with him.
  4. She refuses to support him in his church ministry.
  5. She fails to pray for him.
  6. She fails to pray for him in the areas he struggles, especially those areas which she has pointed out to him.
  7. 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.
  8. mancorner

    She fails to confess her sin to him.

  9. She fails to ask forgiveness from him.
  10. She is generally a discourager rather than an encourager (e.g. about his job, the church, the house).
  11. She does not encourage him about things in his life.
  12. She fails to thank her husband for working hard at his job (assuming he does so).
  13. She dumps all of her struggles on him in frustration, especially at burdensome times.
  14. She does not strive to see herself as his helper.
  15. She resists biblical submission to him.
  16. When he returns from work, she expects him to free her up from doing chores because she has had a difficult day.
  17. Complaining about him in front of the kids.
  18. Complaining about him in front of other people.
  19. She yells at, and sins against, the kids.
  20. She airs his faults to others.
  21. She is quick to say what she doesn’t like about what he says.
  22. When he suggests something, she quickly knocks it down rather than humbly asking him questions to understand him.
  23. She vents his failures to him in a disparaging way.
  24. She non-verbally expresses her irritation and exasperation about him.
  25. She directly goes against his expressed requests.
  26. She will not cease to do things that are annoying to him.
  27. She does the opposite of what he asks.
  28. She fails to prioritize in her tasks his non-sinful requests.
  29. She makes his requests the lowest priority in her to-do list.
  30. She puts no effort into accommodating her husband’s preferences (e.g. sleep, work, parenting, ministry, recreation).
  31. She fails to ask him questions about, and order her life around, his non-sinful requests.
  32. She corrects his parenting in front of the kids.
  33. She will express affection to her kids, but not her husband.
  34. She often second-guesses her husband’s decisions regarding the kids.
  35. When her husband is not around, she says things like, “We’re doing this because your dad said we have to.”
  36. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, she builds factions between him and the kids.
  37. She regularly allows the kids to interrupt when interacting with him.
  38. She fails to serve him in food and cooking.
  39. She fails to put effort into prioritizing a date night with him.
  40. She generally prefers her children over her husband.
  41. She often criticizes his spending, while having a double-standard in her spending.
  42. She harps on him when he eats out, but she goes to Starbucks whenever she feels like it.
  43. She does not strive to stay within the household budget.
  44. Annex - Shearer, Norma (Women, The)_01

    She is dishonest and/or withholds the truth about her spending.

  45. She often complains about the lack of money.
  46. She goes to her (or his) mom to vent about him.
  47. She goes to her girlfriends to vent about him.
  48. She goes to her friends more for venting and flattering, and less for growing in godliness.
  49. She regularly prioritizes her friendships over her family.
  50. She is often itching to get away from her family.
  51. She demeans his non-sinful hobbies.
  52. She is not supportive of his non-sinful opportunities to rest and rejuvenate.
  53. She dresses up/nice around her girlfriends and when going out of the home, but not around him.
  54. She withholds sexual intimacy.
  55. She responds to his intimacy initiations with aversion.
  56. She withholds sexual intimacy as revenge.
  57. 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).

Eric Davis

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Eric is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Jackson Hole, WY. He and his team planted the church in 2008. Leslie is his wife of 14 years and mother of their 3 children.
  • Joy

    Ouch! Now you’re getting personal! Seriously though, thank you for this post. The ones having to do with children are especially relevant right now. Being at home with two little ones is exhausting, and I know that my husband has been put at the end of the priority list. It’s not that I don’t want to be his helper, it’s that I honestly just forget that’s my role at times! The kids are so helpless so at times it feels like “every man for himself”. But I know even in this season, the Lord can give me strength and opportunity to help and take care of my husband as well. Thanks for this (somewhat painful) reminder!

    • Eric Davis

      Joy, thanks for your humility. Your exalted calling from the Lord as a wife and mom w/ 2 little ones certainly is exhausting. It can be a battle, no doubt. God is so gracious w/ us, as well. Rom. 5:20

  • Jane Hildebrand

    Thanks Eric and Leslie for writing this!

    Eric, I couldn’t help but notice how much gentler you approached this topic than the one directed at the men. I think that says a lot in and of itself with relation to Christ and His bride. Unfortunately, I am now convicted to be more supportive of my husband in being a Viking fan by wearing more purple and not being annoyed when he yells “Aaaooooo” at every touchdown. Sigh.

    • Jason

      Hey now, as someone from Wisconsin I have to say that I wouldn’t take it THAT far!

      • Jane Hildebrand

        Jason, we live near Green Bay. He’s a Viking fan. Basically, our lives are in constant danger. 😉

        • Jason

          We’re *much* closer to Minneapolis than Green Bay (Eau Claire area), but the state lines seem more important than proximity for most people. My wife was a Vikings fan until they picked up Favre. 😛

      • Eric Davis

        Haha. We have a similar dilemma in the Davis house. My wife is a native Minnesot’an (w/ the accent!).

        • Jane Hildebrand

          Midwesterner’s don’t have accents! Everyone else does. #it’spronouncedWisCONsin

  • Jason

    I am very blessed to have the wife I do. She is extremely supportive and puts up with a *lot* from our kids (who are both bouncing off the walls [sometimes literally] constantly). This was a great reminder for me to tell her this again today!

    • Eric Davis

      Thanks Jason. Right there with you, brother. Praise God for our wives. Prov. 18:22

  • MrsB

    I found this list to be fair, accurate & convicting. I might also point out that this list occurs because of something the husband is failing to do more often than not. I imagine it was addressed in the other article i haven’t read yet.

    • Eric Davis

      I think you bring up a great point, Mrs. B. Often our deficient servant-leadership as husbands will have consequences as it relates to our wives. Thanks

  • Karl Heitman

    Thank you for this follow up, Mr. & Mrs. Davis! There are all very helpful and we could discuss each one in depth.

    One that jumped out at me is “She demeans his non-sinful hobbies.” This one can get sticky because often it leads to “She demands or asks, directly or indirectly, him to cease his non-sinful hobby altogether.” In the spirit of Phil. 2:3, when should the husband (or wife) sacrifice his (or her) freedom for the sake of her (or his) conscience and/or peace of mind? For e.g., take my hobby: since I was a child, I have been into motorcycles. I rode on the gas tank of my dad’s Kaw 650 when I was a toddler—with NO helmet—and got my first bike when I was 15. When I got married almost 10 years ago, in my unconverted state, I told my wife something to the affect of “Don’t ever ask me to give that up.” Obviously, that was a wrong way to go about it, yet I still would not want to give it up, but at the same time, I wouldn’t want her to resent me for it either. Time and time again, I run into men whose wives forbid them to get a motorcycle (or do X, Y, or Z) only because they fear the worst. So, I guess what I wrestling with is this: should the husband or wife sacrifice his/her non-sinful hobby if it is a source of contention?
    (By the way, thankfully, my beautiful bride LOVES riding my motorcycle now and she even lets me take my kids for rides. I’ve trained her.;))

    • Eric Davis

      Ah, toddlers riding helmetless on 650’s…those were the days!

      Good question, Karl. IMO, the hobby thing is mostly a conscience issue for the couple. The maturity of the couple will come into play, as far as if one spouse can engage in it without forsaking responsibility to care for/serve his/her spouse and children (if they have them). My wife and I had to wrestle with that early in our marriage. My hobby was both dangerous and an idol. I wanted it too much. My wife experienced neglect from me, consequently. So, it was necessary to remove it for a time. Since then, I have been able to re-pick up the hobby in a more responsible way. I still struggle at times, with wanting it too much. I have to pull back the reigns now and then. You get it.

      Overall, couples should seek to serve each other. If possible, enjoy things together. But primary things – the relationship – should not go unnurtured, of course.

  • Emma Noble

    Thank you so much for these helpful, challenging words…. and for the additional remarks on the *interesting* Facebook post =)

  • 4Commencefiring4

    Good heavens above. I never realized marriage was such a minefield and so difficult a terrain to negotiate. My wife and I get along fine, have been married for decades, and I’m looking at this list and wondering who does all this–or even most of it?

    Why would anyone be so ugly with their spouse as some of this is? That’s just plain rude and inconsiderate. My parents–neither of whom lived as committed believers–were married over 40 years, and my mother always claimed they never had a cross word with each other. The Golden Rule works, whether you’re a christian or not. We don’t need to overthink this.

    So fellas, if you’re married to a Jezebel who goes out of her way to make your life so difficult on so many levels (and this isn’t an arranged marriage), you should have dropped back five yards and punted while you had the chance.

    • Karl Heitman

      Well, first of all, never getting divorced doesn’t equal a healthy marriage. Second, resentment can easily be concealed for a very loooooong time.

      • 4Commencefiring4

        I don’t know whose marriage you’re referring to in either instance. But my parents’ marriage ended upon his death, and she spoke lovingly of him until her own passing 30+ years later. Divorce and/or resentment was never so much as spoken.

        And my wife even wants me to get my dream car. That’s a keeper!

        • Jane Hildebrand

          Well then you had good role models in your parents. Many do not. And given that much of what we perceive marriage should look like comes from our parents, some need to do a 180 in their own marriage, which is not always easy.

    • Emma Noble

      I’m going to assume that you’re not saying that you have a perfect, sinless marriage here, even though that’s what it sounds like. So I won’t jump all over that. I will say that I would love to have a great Titus 2 mentor and that it sounds like your wife has this wife-thing down pat to not be guilty of the things on this list… does she have a blog I can follow? Or an email address? I’d love to know how she does it =)

      Why would any woman be so ugly to sin against her husband? Because she’s a sinner who has not yet been perfected/glorified.

      I find it helpful, in times when my marriage isn’t “fine,” to do some self-examination… to “overthink” things… to think and pray about everything I’m doing that could possibly be causing my husband’s distress. For example, if my husband is feeling a bit distressed when he gets home from work, and is talking about how he feels like his day wasn’t as productive as he’d hoped, and seems to be less “warm” to me because of this, I’ve found that it’s super helpful for me to look back on my day and evaluate… did I text him way too much about that person who cut me off in traffic, thus disrupting his work day? (#13) Did I not pray for him while he was at work even though I know that jobs can be crazy and can be stumbling blocks contributing to bad attitudes? (#6) If so, I need to recognize those things and repent of them immediately.

      So I am always… most of the time… grateful when these things are pointed out to me–through prayer, through reading the Word, or through articles such as this wonderful one. If that makes me a “Jezebel,” so be it. I meant my vows, and I will fight to the death to keep those vows, even it means admitting that I am really ugly to my husband at times and repenting of those things.

      • 4Commencefiring4

        No one’s perfect (in practice) and no marriage “sinless.” But if that’s your goal, give up now. We all live within ranges we call acceptable. And if you’re happy, too, bonus.

        Now, if you’re convicted about not praying for your husband while he’s at work, then by all means begin doing so. I didn’t expect my wife to pray for me while I was at work, and I can’t ever recall asking her to do so, even when–years ago–I had to defy my coworkers daily for a couple weeks straight (three times over the years) when they went out on strike and I had to cross their picket lines to go to my job. As Simon and Garfunkle sang, “I hear words I never heard in the Bible.” I didn’t think she was sinning if she didn’t pray for me. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to even think so. That’s not the wavelength I operate on.

        I’m no psychologist, and I certainly don’t know your husband, but you may be guilt-tripping yourself a bit too much. Just treat him well and don’t twist yourself into knots wondering if you’re wondering too much.

        • Emma Noble

          You and I obviously differ on numerous points, some of them doctrinal, others strictly practical. I would love to talk about all of these, but (1) I don’t want to totally derail the conversation in the comments here, (2) I have other things I need to tend to today. So I’ll just comment on the issue of prayer in marriage.

          I do think that if a wife isn’t praying for her husband throughout the day that she’s in sin, regardless of whether her husband has asked her explicitly to pray for him. I pray for my husband (almost) every morning while he’s getting ready for work and then while he drives to work. And I strive to pray for him every hour, roughly on the hour, until he walks through the door again. But sometimes I fail at this. I get busy with good things and lose track of time; or I’m thinking about things I shouldn’t be thinking about and letting those things consume my meditations rather than Word of God and fellowship with Him; or I just have a really bad attitude that day and simply don’t feel like praying.

          But those days are NOT good days. It does make a difference in my husband’s day and in our evenings/weekends if I haven’t been diligent with prayer for my husband throughout the day. Out of respect for my husband, I won’t go into details about how all this plays out… but please understand that MUCH good fruit comes forth on days when I have been on my knees for my husband–fruit that benefits him. So when I withhold my prayers, I also withhold all of that good fruit from him.

          Thus, I would assert further that a marriage not characterized by MUCH prayer is not fine. Prayer is so essential to life that if that element is not there IN SPADES, there is a problem. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, so we SHOULD feel guilt if our days our not filled with prayer… productive guilt: sorrow leading to repentance.

          I don’t tie myself up into knots about it and let it further disturb a sweet, romantic evening with my husband. I repent quickly, providing a verbal apology when appropriate, and then maybe jotting down a quick reminder to myself… such as a sticky note here and there that says, “PRAY!” And then we move on, happily! =)

          • 4Commencefiring4

            “I do think that if a wife isn’t praying for her husband throughout the day that she’s in sin.”

            And you pray for him hourly, too? While he’s even dressing and traveling to work? Does he pray for you as you’re dressing? How about when you go to the store? I’m not being facetious; you said when he’s driving, so he should do so for you, too, lest he fall into sin. Does he know this?

            I gotta tell you, this is a first for me. But if that’s what you feel you should do, knock yourself out. Don’t listen to me. I’m a heathen, I suppose. I don’t understand “Pray without ceasing” the same as you, but that’s just me.

            But I would venture to guess that very few wives–or husbands–can say that, and even fewer actually do it. If I could drop in on the average christian home–randomly and unannounced–during a typical weekday, I seriously doubt I’d encounter a lot of people in hourly prayer, study, or devotion. Most of us probably are just going about our day as anyone else would, whatever that involves.

            But fine. As long as you feel you are doing what God wants, who am I?

          • Emma Noble

            “Does he pray for you as you’re dressing? How about when you go to the store? I’m not being facetious; you said when he’s driving, so he should do so for you, too, lest he fall into sin. Does he know this?”

            This is not the appropriate place to pontificate on such personal details, so please excuse me for not responding. (Eph. 4:29)

            “Don’t listen to me. I’m a heathen, I suppose.”

            I did not say that or intend to imply that. If you’re genuinely concerned, I would advise you to examine yourself to see whether you’re in the faith. (2 Cor. 13:5)

            “Most of us probably are just going about our day as anyone else would, whatever that involves.”

            Maybo so. But God called has called His elect to be separate from the world. And even if you find yourself standing alone in that, you still have to stand. Christians should order their lives around the Word, and women must order their agendas in submission to their husbands (unless of course the man is asking her to sin). We should not be able to make statements such as yours about how Christians conduct their days. (Rom. 12)

          • 4Commencefiring4

            I’m just going off what you said yourself: that you pray for him as he’s dressing. That’s your own “personal detail” you offered, unsolicited, in this forum; so my question would seem completely appropriate.

            The only thing I’m “concerned” about is that you are evidently of the view that wives who don’t pray for their husbands with the frequency you do (and you’re to be commended, don’t get me wrong) are “in sin.” If that’s so, then I would submit that many–if not most–wives on this forum are in sin. That might come as some surprise to them.

            We could ask for a show of hands, but that might be hard to see. I surmised as to what I believe the “normal” or typical christian’s day might be like, and if I’m wrong–and christian women are spending this much time in prayer each day for their husbands while they’re working–then I’ll stand corrected. I’ve been wrong before…or so my wife tells me.


          • Jane Hildebrand

            Sorry 4CF4, but I too pray throughout my day for my husband. I pray when he travels, I pray he finds favor with those he works with and for, I pray for his peace and his wisdom and even for his forgiveness. These are not all “on my knees quiet time” prayers, but a continual conversation I have with God. I can’t imagine not praying for the one God gave me to love and I am amazed at how faithful God has been in answering my prayers through the years.

            With regards to not praying being a sin, perhaps we get that notion from Samuel’s words to Saul when he said, “Far be it from me to sin against God by failing to pray for you.” (1 Samuel 12:23)

          • Emma Noble

            Thank you, Jane. It encourages me to know that I’m not alone in this.

          • Eric Davis

            You’re certainly not alone in this, Emma. Keep praying.

          • Emma Noble


          • Emma Noble

            Yes, I do think that many of the wives (and husbands) in this forum, and Christians in general, are probably guilty of not praying enough. According to the Bible, this is sin and does need to be repented of. And I, too, am in that camp of people who need to repent, often, of failure to pray as much as I should.

            One of the reasons I established a schedule for myself is that I found that I wasn’t praying enough and that when I just told myself to do better without actually planning out how to do that, that I continued in failure. Proverbs 14:22 really convicted me regarding my lack of purposefulness in prayer. The verse refers to PLANNING what is good, rather than just vaguely setting out to avoid evil.

            I also found Matthew 18:8-9 to be helpful. Those verses convicted me that I needed to do what I could to avoid sin in the area of prayer, even if it seemed silly or unnecessary to others. Since I was struggling with the continual aspect of prayer, I needed to form a habit. A formal schedule is a method to do that. Other women may not need to use that method, and that’s okay. I am NOT saying that a wife is in sin if she doesn’t have the exact same prayer schedule as I do, to clarify.

            Additionally, I’ve heard A LOT of Christian mothers say that once babies come along, they don’t have the chance to pray or read their Bibles for several years. While I can’t claim to fully understand that season of life since the Lord has not yet opened my womb, I do think I understand that it’s apparently difficult to not allow the children to take over the agenda of the home. Guarding against that begins now. Again, having a prayer schedule is a method of doing this… a method that I intend to continue once babies come along. I will have even more people to pray for then, so will need to dedicate myself even more to prayer as well as teach my little ones about prayer. I hope that my future children will learn from observing me what it means to be in constant prayer and to be diligent in prayer for one’s spouse. I don’t want them to have to go buy a book or ask somebody else because I haven’t done my job as their mother. And if that means that we stop playing with Barbies for a few minutes while my child observes me praying out loud for her father, then that’s what I’m going to do, even if my little darling is pitching a fit about it.

            This is much too important to follow the crowd on. I’m sure that you can find a whole bunch of ladies who will say that they don’t pray throughout the day for their husbands, and who will even justify that–possibly even with Bible verses! But I stand on the Word of God, not on popular opinion.

          • 4Commencefiring4

            I’m sure there are many reading this who will conclude their prayer life is wanting. It’s a common self-criticism. The christian life is not lived the same way by all, as Paul points out, so for some prayer is their Achilles Heel, for others it’s something else. I’m glad a solution to what you struggled with was found.

            And the fact that you are still young and without children partially answers my curiosity as to what your days look like. I do hope, should children eventually come, you will be able to maintain your present habit.

            Blessings to you in any event. Thanks for the exchange.

          • Emma Noble

            Blessings to you, too =)

          • Evie

            Hmm.. I’m a lady and I don’t pray throughout the day for my husband. It is maybe a few times a week? On a good week? Should there be a set number of times per day? All day long? Aside from “pray without ceasing”… which I believe refers to the posture of constant awareness of the Lord and desiring his input & wisdom. Anyway I would have to say I agree with 4commencefiring4’s analysis that maybe not all wives pray constantly all day for their husbands. Is this sin if it’s not all day long like Emma? But now that I’m reading the other comments I’m feeling pretty lousy about it. I think it is more of a personal preference, since we can’t all quantify or count how many times we pray or say “x amount of times is the proper amount.” Some people do pray more than others. (I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’m just saying that I’m one of the wives who actually is failing to pray “all day long” for her husband) :-/

          • Evie

            Hmm… I don’t pray throughout the day for my husband. I am actually quite astonished by the other comments, which I suppose says a lot about me. So yes, I need to work on #5 on this list. Although it is sort of off topic to the article — along the lines of what 4Commencefiring4 is saying — it disturbs me a bit when Emma said “I do think that if a wife isn’t praying for her husband throughout the day that she’s in sin”. I’m not trying to be rude or combative (it’s hard to convey tone online)… but at what point is it a sin? Should there be a set number of times per day? I just don’t know how that can be quantified. (Neither do I think it should be quantified… lest we pat ourselves on the back for praying “enough”). What if I didn’t pray for a few hours for him, or maybe not at all one day? (again, not trying to be rude, I’m really wondering because now I don’t know what is considered “normal”.) :-/ For me, a few times a week would be a good week regarding prayer specifically for my husband. I know I need to mature in this area. But I’m not entirely sure we can say “you are in sin if you don’t pray for your spouse all day”. Should I apply that to prayers for my children, my neighbor, my pastor throughout the day as well? (Not that it would be a bad thing). I would say, if you never pray for your husband, then that’s a sign of a deeper problem, …perhaps you can start small by praying a short prayer for him in the morning, and then perhaps as God sanctifies you, you will find yourself thinking to pray for him more and about more detailed things. Amount/fervency of prayer may have to do with maturity, or the level of sanctification in a particular wife. Of course I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to pray a lot, I’m just saying that I’m one of the wives who actually is failing to pray “all day long” for her husband as the other women in this thread have stated is the norm. :-/ I would be extremely hesitant to call that SPECIFIC “failure” a sin, since praying frequently (however that is defined) may look different from Christian to Christian, and from day to day, week to week.

          • Emma Noble

            Hi, Evie. Please rest assured that you didn’t come across as rude and combative (to me anyway). I think your comment shows that you’re conscientious and care about having a correct understanding of things. That’s wonderful! I also think that praying for your husband a few times a week is wonderful. I’ve known many wives who don’t pray for their husbands anywhere near as often as you do, and, furthermore, don’t appear to have any desire to grow in that. In fact, at one church I was at, a woman told me that she never prayed or read her Bible because she felt that was her husband’s job as the leader… she worried it would not be submissive to try to take over what she perceived his role to be! And there was nothing anyone could say to talk her out of that. I’ve also heard people say that in regards to taking over their pastor’s role. Yikes!

            Since you referenced my comment, I am glad to elucidate my previous remarks… and hopefully provide some encouragement in doing so. But, please keep in mind that I have been married for a short time, and it’s a first marriage for both us, so I still have MUCH to learn. I also have more discretionary time than the average American woman, so I have the freedom to structure my time differently than many women do.

            I think you’re right that prayer can’t be quantified. In fact, I think the fact that it’s supposed to be constant indicates that it should be so woven into and integrated into our days, thoughts, and murmurings that we wouldn’t be able to quantify it. It should be so ongoing, so habitual, so natural that if someone were to ask us, “How many hours did you pray today?” we’d have a difficult time providing a definitive answer.

            So the schedule that I have for myself is a “not there yet” schedule. It’s simply a method to help myself remember to pray throughout the day (to form a better prayer habit) as I believe Scripture does teach that we are to do (about many things, not just our husbands). So, to clarify, I do NOT believe that a woman is in sin if she doesn’t adhere to an hourly prayer schedule like I do. But I do believe that if someone is only praying once a day (or less) that Scripture is not being adhered to as completely as it could be. And I think this applies to ALL of us at times. I doubt anyone has grounds to boast about having a perfect prayer life every single day. I think that everyone, including myself, has room to grow in the area of prayer.

            I think if we consider the following:

            We’re supposed to pray constantly/continually.

            We’re supposed to bear one another’s burdens.

            We’re supposed to encourage one another.

            We’re supposed to spur one another on.

            We’re supposed to comfort one another.

            If we consider all of those things—and much more—and then ask ourselves how we can actually accomplish all of that, 24/7, as it relates to our husbands, in a loving way that respects, honors, and submits, we are reminded of our desperate neediness and find ourselves looking at James 1:5+ and seeing that we need to go to the Lord for help and wisdom on behalf of ourselves and our husbands. I am not convinced that we can be obedient to all of the one-anothers, as they relate to our husbands, without praying for our husbands—and for ourselves, and for whatever trials are in our lives and marriages at the moment—throughout the day, as needs arise.

            If I was sitting together having coffee with a good friend and she was to say something like, “I’m not sure my prayer life is going as well as it could be. Can you help me figure out if I’m going about prayer properly?” I would say something like, “I know that my prayer life isn’t as good as it could be. I could really use some encouragement to grow and to persevere in this, too. Do you want to spend some time studying prayer together and helping each other understand how we can do better and encourage each other in that?” And then I would do a topical study with her, either using a concordance, or just going to and typing things like “pray,” “prayer,” and “ask God” into the search box.

            While I could certainly provide tons of anecdotal evidence for why frequent prayer for one’s husband should not be ignored, ultimately, we need to pray our way through our Bibles, asking God to search our hearts and humbly submitting our lives to His words, because our habits can become legalistic and insincere quickly if we pattern our lives after other people’s rather than on the Word of God itself. So I would want her—us—to be convicted about praying rightly, not just “praying more” in a keeping-up-with-the-Jones’s sort of way. I would trust that God’s Word would penetrate our hearts in our study together and that we would mutually edify one another and spur one another on toward a better prayer habit… which may look very different for each of us, depending on what God is doing in our hearts at that time.

            Lord willing, it would not become a “I prayed TWENTY times for my husband today, how about you?… Oh my, only ten times? Well, you better do better tomorrow. You need to pray more than that!” sort of thing. That is NOT biblical and definitely NOT edifying or helpful. And it’s certainly not what I was attempting to convey or want to convey about how women should approach praying for their husbands.

            I hope that helps, Evie… and anyone else who I discouraged or confused from my previous comments. I’m sorry that I wasn’t as gentle and clear as I could have been with those comments!

  • vascularity

    Finally an honest, balanced essay. I am so tired of reading and hearing that men, fathers and husbands are always at fault for everything that goes wrong. Wives are treated as if they are demi-gods that can do no wrong; also as if human females have nor moral agency as if every sin a female commits is actually the fault of a man somehow.

    Thank you for this real, honest post.

    • 4Commencefiring4

      Or, as Kathy Bates hollered in the film “Misery” after abusing James Caan’s hog-tied character, “See what you made me do??”

      There’s no winning, my friend. Just accept your fate and carry on.

      That is all.

  • Evie

    Good list of examples to think about as I go throughout my day and interact with my husband. Some of these I feel like you must be a fly on the wall inside my mind! Crazy! I guess I’m not alone. At times these responses feel like they’ve become habit, or almost subconscious (just so used to the attitude/response that I don’t realize I’m doing it anymore).. so having a list here to read in black & white really makes it difficult to keep ignoring.

  • Evie

    Good examples to think about as I go throughout my day and interact with my husband. Some of these I feel like you must be a fly on the wall inside my mind! Crazy! I guess I’m not alone. At times these responses feel like they’ve become habit, or almost subconscious (so used to the attitude/response that I don’t realize I’m doing it anymore).. and having a list here to read in black & white really makes it difficult to keep ignoring. My husband isn’t resentful at all, though. He’s “easy to please” and although nothing I do really irks him (I’ve asked!!!!) this does not exempt me from repenting of sinful or selfish attitudes.

    • Eric Davis

      Evie, your striving for biblical humility is honoring to the Lord and, I’m sure, a blessing to your husband. Thanks for the comment

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  • Sarita

    This is very helpful. I found just as many things on the list for husbands also apply to me as a wife. I highly recommend looking at both lists with a view to examining oneself.