Contend Earnestly: Hey Husbands...Grow Some

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hey Husbands...Grow Some

It is interesting when speaking to some about anger within the household and how it affects marriage. It is funny when someone jokingly asks, "So, after almost 10 years of marriage, how many times have you slept on the couch?" I quickly become as serious as an IFB preacher does when he hears rock music. I respond, "I never have, nor will I ever." This isn't because I am the man and believe it is my bed and my wife needs to deal with me. Not at all. I actually have a different outlook that some do when speaking of being angry with my spouse. But, I do believe it is the husband's job to resolve any conflict that is happening within the household.

The reason I tell husbands to "grow some" is because some men become so skittish around an angry wife they throw out all theological conviction for the cause of not having to confront an angry wife. This isn't godly in any way.

Scriptures tell us this:

Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Ephesians 4:26-27

This is definitely not only speaking of marriage, but of a holy life in general. We can apply this verse in numerous ways, but in this post, I want to make a charge to the husbands.

Lead Your Wife

The one rule I started out with when Stacy and I were married is the rule that we wouldn't lay our head on our pillows angry at each other. Has this caused some crazy conflicts at 1am? Yep. Has this made our marriage better? Yes. Is there something more at stake here than a happy marriage? Of course.

I told my wife that I honestly wanted to work out conflict before we went to sleep, if there was any. I did not want to take our anger to the next day. Stacy didn't always enjoy this, but she knows that if we have conflict, it will be dealt with swiftly. But, husbands need to take charge in this to lead the wife in this area. It isn't that the wives aren't capable, but we are charged as husbands to lead our wives in this and show them the gospel in it. Ephesians 5 tells us that Christ is the head, both spiritually and physically, of the church and the husbands are to be such for their wives. Showing the wife the gospel by reconciliation each night is a great way to keep the cross and resurrection of Christ in front of the eyes for both partners.

Sometimes this takes great humility from the husband to apologize to the wife and tell her that you were wrong. Sometimes it takes you growing some and telling the wife that she was in sin how she reacted and responded in her time of anger. Our wives are not immune from Scripture when it tells us:

We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-15

The wives are included in this context. Now, just as you wouldn't tease a UFC fighter for being overweight, you don't want to come at your wife in an attitude of pride. Come to her in humility, first apologizing if you responded or acted in any way that was unbecoming of a loving husband, but grow some and tell her if she was wrong. Believe me, sometimes this isn't fun, but I have noticed that for the most part, if I come to my wife in the right way, she responds in humility and loving repentance. She also knows it is coming before night's end as well, since we have the rule that we will never go to sleep angry.

Opportunity for Gospel Presence Not Satan's

Notice the second part of the verse here. It states,

and do not give the devil an opportunity

If you allow anger to ferment, the devil will win out and the gospel loses its opportunity. What this verse is really stating is that something will have an opportunity, it will either be the gospel or it will be the devil. If we deal with our anger with our spouse, we give opportunity for the gospel to show itself and clean our hearts. Think of this. If you deal with anger with your spouse, you and her have the chance to speak of repentance, forgiveness, the cross, the resurrection and the hope of heaven ruled by God where no sin and no (unrighteous) anger will exist. When you deal with sin together as a married couple you get a chance to see the gospel with your eyes, you and your spouse have the chance to see Christ face to face.

If you do not deal with your anger quickly, you instead give the devil opportunity. Every chance the devil gets, he will quickly rush in and squander gospel opportunity. He will give the one angered pride, he will give them questions on the love of the spouse, questions on motives of the spouse, questions on the spouse's commitment, etc. Remember he is prowling around like a lion looking for someone to devour. Being angry with your spouse is like unlocking the gate and throwing your spouse in the lion's cage. Just as Paul states elsewhere that if either spouse deprives the other of sexual intimacy, it gives Satan an opportunity, so does anger.

I have heard it stated that the passage in 1 Corinthians 7 is showing that if you deprive your spouse, it allows Satan in your marriage bed. I do not know any husband that wouldn't freak out like a Jerry Springer guest if they saw another in their marriage bed, why would we allow Satan? Husbands must take this head on and not give the devil the opportunity to move in and stir up trouble.

The husband must grow some and take anger head on. I must say that if the husband ever allows his wife or himself to sleep on the couch because of anger he is no man and he is not leading his wife and he needs to grow some and start leading his wife instead of wearing a skirt and being a pansy. When we as husbands do not lead our wives in the area of anger we give the devil an opportunity to squash the gospel. When we as husbands decide that our pride is more important than our wives and ultimately the gospel, we might as well call ourselves "daughters of the devil" because we don't even deserve to be called "sons of the devil."

Husbands, grow some. Lovingly lead your wife so that both of you can continually see the gospel and Christ face to face.


Michael said...

Well said bro! Please keep this stuff coming! Thank you for your transparency!It's time men step up and be men!

Arthur Sido said...

We abdicate far too much out of cowardice and fear, both in the home and in the gathering of the church.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7

K.Lopez said...

reading this was like taking a breath of fresh air.

THEOparadox said...

Reading this post was like a smack across the head with a 4 X 4 post! Thanks, I needed that. I've spent a few nights on the couch in my 13+ years of marriage, but the Gospel is at work and we are changing (because God is changing ME).


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