Marriage Missions International

Living With Your Wife In an Understanding Way

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It’s a very high calling —to become more like Christ in your marriage. How are you going to achieve this? How will you become more fully alive and mature as a Christian man, and attain the rightful place of spiritual leadership in your home?

The Apostle Peter wrote: You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” 

And a familiar verse that could go along with that one is in Ephesians 5: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.

Some of us have heard these verses so many times they don’t really register much any more. But what does it mean to live with your wife in an understanding way? What does it mean to love her as Christ loved the church? If you aspire to be the spiritual leader in your home, are you really caring for your wife’s spirit as if Jesus was in your home ministering to her spirit? The implications of these verses are staggering to me.

A few years ago I had an opportunity to interview Coach Bill McCartney, the founder of Promise Keepers, the Christian men’s movement. He was formerly the head football coach at the University of Colorado, and led his team to the national championship in 1990.

I asked him about his transition from coaching to leading Promise Keepers. He said, “My last year as a coach was in 1994. My team was undefeated and was ranked third in the nation —we had a great team. The pastor in our church said, ‘We’re going to have a visiting preacher next week. And he’s coming with the single-most important thing he’s learned in 41 years of preaching.’ And I wondered, what could be the single-most important thing?”

“So here’s what this preacher said: ‘Do you want to know whether a man has character or not? All you have to do is look at his wife’s countenance, and everything that he’s invested or withheld will be in her face.'”

“I turned and looked at my wife, Lindi,” McCartney said. “I didn’t see splendor. I saw torment. I didn’t see contentment —I saw anguish. And I tried to defend myself to myself but I couldn’t. That’s really the reason I stepped out of coaching. I realized that before God I was a man without character.”

I have to admit my wife Sally has a very expressive face. So I usually know if there is something wrong in our relationship right away. And there have been times in our marriage when her countenance spoke volumes about my care for her as a husband. My wife and I have a pretty good marriage. In spite of my selfish qualities, Sally is very encouraging and supportive of me, and I think she would say we have a good marriage. Looking from the outside, some might think we have a picture-perfect marriage, but I’ve come to believe we’re falling short of what God is really intending for us.

I want to be able to look at my wife and see what McCartney did not see —a radiant countenance —because I’ve really cared deeply for her spirit and nurtured her just as if Jesus was in our home ministering to her spirit. In Ephesians 5 Paul says that Jesus laid down his life for the church to present the church holy, so a husband should lay down his life to present his wife holy. That’s the ultimate goal.

But laying down your life doesn’t necessarily mean falling on a grenade for her. It means putting her first in the marriage, trying to meet her needs even before your own needs, and giving her opinions value and priority over your own.

Ken Nair’s book, “Discovering the Mind of a Woman,” deals with many of these issues in a straightforward, biblical fashion. Nair, the founder of Life Partners Lifepartners.org in Phoenix, Arizona, has discipled more than 500 men about how to be Christ-like husbands. In his book, he identifies what he calls four male prejudices: First, women are difficult if not impossible for men to understand. Second, women are the real problem in the marriage relationship. Third, men are supposed to be “The Boss.” And lastly, as a ‘helpmate,’ women are inferior to men.

Let’s consider the role of your wife as a helpmate. “As men, we readily classify women as helpmates,” Nair writes in his book. “It allows us, even biblically, to have an on-site mate whose job is to grab the other end of the two-by-four for us.” As it applies to marriage, I always thought it meant someone whose job it is to raise the children, to do the cooking and housework, like laundry and ironing and dishes and cleaning floors and windows. With two teenage boys in our house, you can’t imagine the piles of laundry my wife Sally ends up doing.

Nair maintains that the word helpmate has been misunderstood and misinterpreted by many Bible teachers, and he asks men at his conferences to follow this line of reasoning. He says, “Let’s go back to the beginning of time. God has just created Eve and named her ‘helper.’ Were there any children for Eve to raise? The guys say, ‘No.'” “Were there any houses? Again, “No.” “Were there any clothes to launder?” “No.” “Any dishes to do?” “No.”

Well then what did God have in mind? In Dr. Frank Seekin’s book, “Hebrew Word Pictures,” he studied the most ancient form of the Hebrew language. The Old Testament, of course, is written in Hebrew, but the most ancient Hebrew form doesn’t look like the modern letters, it more closely resembles Egyptian hieroglyphics, where little pictures are used to describe a word.

For example, the word for shepherd shows three pictures: a head, an eye, and a window. Together they reveal the shepherd as a person who is looking out the window or one who watches intently over his flock.

The Hebrew word used in Genesis 2:18 for helpmate is ‘ezer,’ composed of two word pictures: an eye, and a picture of someone with a hatchet representing ‘the enemy.’ A literal interpretation means ‘one who sees the enemy.’ In Hebrew there are two words used for helper. One of the words, ‘eved,’ does mean servant, but that’s not what God used in Genesis 2:18. He used a word that has a more powerful meaning. That word reveals the wife is not a servant, but an ally with a special role in the battles her husband will face in life. She is literally one who sees the enemy her husband can’t see.

God has given your wife an intuition you don’t have. She is like a second set of eyes that can see danger, can add depth perception. She can warn you about dangers outside the camp, or dangers right inside their own home. She can warn you about dangers within yourself.

Because of my pride, stubbornness and selfishness, I’m often blind to these dangers. I usually sleep pretty soundly at night. But my wife Sally is often awake, processing in her mind all these potential dangers, problem areas lurking within and without, inside the home and outside the home. And my tendency as a man is to downplay some of her warnings, to think she’s getting carried away with things.

The hardest thing for my ego to accept is when her finger is pointing at me —when I have to recognize the problem is within me. Then I have to swallow hard. I have to get past my tendency to see her intuition, which leads to constructive criticisms of me —as nagging.

As hard as it is for me to accept, I’ve got to accept that this is an important part of her role as a helpmate. Ultimately she is a big part of the sanctification process for me —to help me die to my old self, and become more and more like Christ in our home, a major point reinforced in Nair’s book. The same Hebrew word translated helpmate is used in Psalm 133:20: Our soul waits for the Lord: He is our help (helpmate) and our shield.

It’s pretty clear God is not our servant, but he is our ally in a powerful way. He is mighty in battle, and he designed a woman to be at your side to help you in the battles of life.

What about the idea that the man should be the leader of the home? I, for one, fully accept this ideal for Christian marriage. But what does it really mean to be the spiritual leader of my home?

In his book, Ken Nair makes the point that Philippians 2 is not usually cited in connection with a husband’s role in marriage, but it should be taken seriously in the context of marriage:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

This is the model of Christian leadership —servant leadership empowered by the sacrificial love of Jesus. There is a mutual submission to the Lord and to one another. While there’s a part of me that kind of relishes the idea of being an autocratic ruler, I’ve been forced to accept a different conclusion.

“My experience has been that when a man makes a commitment to step down from his ego-controlled throne, and yield his throne to Christ, there is a remarkable change in the dynamics of his home,” Nair writes. If I’m willing to die to my old self with its selfish attitudes, critical attitudes, and controlling attitudes—to purge myself of these un-Christlike attitudes and behavior —then I’ll be ready to assume real spiritual leadership in my home.

God cares a lot more about me becoming Christlike than whether I’m ruling over my household as king. Proverbs 20:28 says,Mercy and truth preserve the king, and by lovingkindness he upholds his throne.I need mercy, truth, and loving kindness to be the leader he’s called me to be.

In Nair’s book he tells the story of a wife who was suffering severe fainting spells. To keep her from getting hurt, someone had to be with her constantly to catch her. She couldn’t drive her own car, go grocery shopping, and prepare dinner, or almost anything by herself. When she and her husband came into Nair’s office for counseling the wife was a nervous wreck. It soon became obvious she could do nothing to satisfy her husband’s controlling personality and his demands for perfection. He questioned the wisdom of her purchases at the grocery store. He criticized her choices for meals and even how she set the table. He constantly reacted negatively to her decisions.

She felt she couldn’t do anything right. Nair concluded that she was so uptight about being a failure in his eyes, that rather than face his emotional rejection from another wrong decision, her body would compensate by fainting.

He profiles another case of a medical doctor’s wife who was suffering unexplained hair loss. They had two children, and he was so busy with his medical practice, that he seldom was around to help with the children. She was expecting their third child, which was an unplanned pregnancy. She was struggling emotionally with her attitudes toward the third pregnancy and anger toward her husband, because he always seemed to be too busy for her or the children, which made her feel isolated, unimportant, and lonely. It seems that her emotional struggles were causing her to lose her hair.

He profiles another woman he labels the “dying inside wife,” who was taking medication for depression. Her husband maintained a consistent pattern of indifference toward her, which felt like personal rejection and led to a wounding of her spirit.

She too began to experience physical symptoms from her emotional wounding. Both the husband and her friends began to be concerned about her emotional stability, and wonder how the husband could be so patient and tolerant living with such a troubled person.

While the husband was seen as stable, she was seen as unstable. This rejection by her friends only increased her guilt and sense of despair.

Now I’ve just cited a couple of somewhat extreme examples, and I know that many women are suffering silently with symptoms that are not as obvious. What is the answer for these three women? Is it Zoloft, Paxil, or extensive Christian counseling?

In one or more of the cases cited in Nair’s book, the husband has the disease, but the wife is taking the medication. “The wounded spirit is the cause of the physical symptoms, and you can not medicate the spirit of a person,” Nair writes. The drugs will not work if one is dealing with spiritual woundedness.

In each case it’s the husband who needs to learn what it really means to live with his wife in an understanding way, how to minister to his wife’s spirit as if Jesus was living in the home, how to love his wife in the same way Christ loved the church. If you really want to be the spiritual leader of your home, these are the things you need to do —these verses in 1 Peter and Ephesians 5 are not just suggestions for husbands to follow.

Nair has counseled more than 500 couples and his conclusion is that in most cases where the wife suffers emotional problems or depression, the husband is the root of the problem. And he is astounded at how many men don’t have a clue that they’ve created many of their marriage problems.

Many men react to Nair’s counseling advice with denial, saying: “I’m not going to take the blame for what’s wrong with our marriage. If you knew my wife, you would see she had these problems long before I met her.”

“Granted. But let me ask you how long have you been married?” Nair replies. “When I ask that, husbands may say, ‘Ten years,’ with a puzzled look on their faces, wondering why I asked the question. ‘Okay, you’ve been married ten years. Has your wife gotten better or worse since you married her?'” Nair asks. “Without fail, the husbands reply, “Worse.’ If you are the spiritual leader in your home, and the job of a spiritual leader is to bring the one you are responsible for to spiritual maturity, then why has your wife gotten worse instead of better?'”

Remember one of the prejudices of most men is they think it’s impossible to understand women. Then how can I live with my wife in an understanding way? How can I relate to her emotional world when I can barely identify my own emotions?

It’s said that researchers have identified some 2,000 emotions, but most men can only identify three. The three most commonly identified by men are indifference, anger, and humor. And yet God’s picture in the scripture of what a real man looks like is King David. He was a man’s man.

In addition to being a warrior who was mighty in battle, he was also a singer, a poet, and a musician. You see the depths of his emotional world revealed in the psalms. He felt a lot more than three emotions. He was not cold and indifferent about the human experience. He was passionate about God. He was passionate about life.

I’ve written previously about the dangers of pornography, and one of the things I’ve cited is that men who are exposed to this material at an early age, as I was at age 10, become stunted emotionally to some extent. Most men have difficulty relating to their emotions. For men exposed to pornography, it’s an even greater challenge.

I talked with the director of “Be Broken Ministries,” Jonathan Daugherty, who deals with sexual addiction and he told me he sees many middle-aged men who are teenagers emotionally. “They can be 40-years-old, but they’re 13-years-old emotionally. Their wives are dying inside because their husbands can’t connect with them,” he says.

In my accountability group for men one of our exercises is to identify an emotion we’re feeling —and I have to admit this is work for me. But this is the only the beginning. If I can’t identify my own emotions, how can I identify with my wife’s emotional world and make a connection with her?

One of the starting points for living with your wife in an understanding way and connecting with her emotional world is to become a better listener to her. Loving your wife as Christ loved the church often begins with something as simple with just listening to her. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve failed my wife Sally in this area.

When I get home from the office she may begin to unload all the various problems she’s encountered during the day. If I happen to be distracted or half-listening, Sally can usually tell immediately, and she will begin to protest, saying “You’re not listening to me,” and she starts to shut down emotionally.

“Wives have a God-designed sense about whether we are listening or not in order to help us learn how to relate to them from our hearts,” Nair writes in his book. “They are the training ground to learn to listen from our hearts so we can also listen to God from our hearts.”

Nair says there is a difference between listening with the physical ears and listening with the heart. When my mind drifts to a project I need to take care of while I’m listening to her I’m not really emotionally connecting with her world and she can tell.

I have recently learned that there is a fine art to listening with empathy. It happens when I begin to identify with what she is telling me. And if I am really listening genuinely that will show up in my facial expressions, my body language, and my attitude. And this will minister to my wife’s spirit, according to Nair. When we first got married Sally was convinced I had a hearing problem and she insisted I go and get tested. But after the test they told me my hearing was so good they could calibrate the testing equipment from my ears. The problem wasn’t hearing —it was selective retention.

Wives have a God-given sense about whether we are listening to them or not —remember that intuition I spoke about earlier. This is designed by God to help husbands learn to relate to them from our hearts.

Remember the example in Nair’s book of the busy doctor who had the wife losing her hair? He decided to make his wife a priority in his life and set aside time for her, caring for her as Jesus would. Instead of sitting down and watching TV after he got home, he spent time with his wife and children, and offered his wife some relief.

Within six months his wife was emotionally stabilized and she stopped losing her hair. This medical doctor had more healing power at his disposal than he ever imagined —by taking seriously the high calling to be Jesus in that household, and to minister to his wife and children.

Remember the wife with fainting spells? After the husband was taught to not be so critical and negative all the time, after he began to see his wife as Jesus would see her, and he began to praise her for things she was doing, offer her encouraging words —it’s amazing —the fainting spells started to go away.

One of these wives said “I would never have believed it possible that feeling a greater closeness with my husband than I have ever felt with anyone else in my life could also make me feel a greater closeness with God. And yet, I know in my heart that is exactly what is happening within me.”

A few months ago I was with a pastor and his wife I hold in high esteem —they’ve accomplished wonderful things for God. But at one point when I was talking with this pastor’s wife she broke down in tears, saying she felt emotionally starved in the relationship, that her husband never confided his plans for the future, that he was aloof and indifferent to her needs.

I contrast that with a retired pastor and his wife —Ray and Anne Ortlund —who are both around 80, and you can tell when you’re around them that they’re deeply in love with each other. They’re still like honeymooners. At 80, he still calls her “gorgeous.”

That’s what I want for my marriage. I know I have a long way to go. But there’s a huge payoff for living with our wives in an understanding way. We not only can find the joy that comes from a great marriage, but 1 Peter 3:7 tells us if we live with them in an understanding way, then our prayers will not be hindered. What a great promise from God —more answers to prayer!

So begin to see your wife as a powerful ally in the battles of life, one who can spot the dangers outside your home, and the dangers within your own heart, so you can become more like Jesus in your home.

The above article, “Living With Your Wife in an Understanding Way” is written by Mark Ellis. Mark Ellis is a Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service. He is also an assistant pastor in Laguna Beach, CA. Contact Ellis at marsalis@fea.net. ASSIST News Service is brought to you in part by Open Doors USA, a ministry that has served the Suffering Church around the world for nearly 50 years. You can get more information by logging onto their website at Opendoorsusa.org

— ALSO —

If you perceive that your wife is trying to control you, the link below will take you to an article written by Paul Byerly (posted on The-generous-husband.com web site) that you might find helpful to read so you can live with your wife “in an understanding way.” Paul gives you insights into the reasoning some wives try to control and gives you verbiage that might help you, so as you take this approach she might better understand your point.

TAMING HER DESIRE TO CONTROL

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Comments

41 Responses to “Living With Your Wife In an Understanding Way”
  1. noslzzp says:

    If this article was really meant for men to read and understand, it would have been at maximum 3 paragraphs with some bullet points summarizing what we are supposed to do. Now I am more confused than ever.

  2. Eric says:

    (SINGAPORE)  Very insightful. Being a good husband takes a lot of patience and sacrifice. Sometimes, it probably feels like we’re doing our part and our wives are not; but i believe it takes a lot of perseverence and time for our wives to "heal" and then respond to our tender-loving-care. We can’t expect instant responses. Our wives probably need to sense our sincerity and consistency.

  3. Jean says:

    (UNITED STATES)  Noslzzp, I don’t think you want to show the patience and sacrifice needed to show you understand as Eric in Singapore stated.

  4. Tony says:

    (USA)  I take great exception at Ken Nair’s quasi Biblical notion that if a woman is depressed, etc, that it’s her husband’s fault. A man is to be the spiritual leader, he gets that much right. But he apparently makes no allowance for someone who fails to follow spiritually. After all, had my ex-wife been following spiritually, she wouldn’t have chosen an affair. Nothing I did encouraged her to choose an affair In fact, had she been following spiritually, an affair would have been the last thing she chose, not to mention the divorce she chose.

    I don’t know what to say to Eric’s response. I think it’s as naive as Ken Nair’s responses. The existence of women who don’t believe in Christ is proof that spiritual leadership is not sufficient in a number of cases. If spiritual leadership were sufficient, then there would be none who reject Christ.

    If there are those who can reject Christ, then how can Dr Nair pin the blame on husbands? We know ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God Romans 3:23.

    But if one were to take what Dr Nair writes as gospel, his re-write is “only husbands have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” If the wife is not better off after 10 years, the fault belongs to the husband.

    Would the “good” Dr make the same assertion if someone was under the teaching of Christ Himself for 10 years and failed to accept that Christ was the Son of God and the only means of salvation, would he say it was the fault of Christ? After all, this person is not spiritually better after spending 10 years with Christ.

    Yet we know there are millions of folks who spend and entire life rejecting the truth of the gospel, rejecting the Holy Spirit. Using Dr Nair’s logic, the problem is not with the one who rejects this teaching and fails to grow spiritually, but with Christ, the Holy Spirit and probably the inadequacy of scripture. Even Christ said that if a village reject the gospel, to shake the dust off their sandals and leave. How many husbands have done just that with an ungrateful, unfaithful, unrepentant wife?

    Am I saying there are no bad husbands? Of course not. In fact, I clearly quoted and do believe that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So living with my wife in an understanding way includes understanding that we are BOTH in the SAME condition, sinners, saved only by grace. Our souls do not have gender.

    Galatians 3:26-28 tells us: You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    That’s pretty clear that spiritually there is no gender. We have roles assigned by God, but those are roles for our mortal body, not our immortal soul.

    I am certain that Dr Nair means well. However, I believe this sort of teaching leads to an entitlement mentality by some women. (They are not alone, there are men who take the same approach to the headship passages.) But teaching such as “Nair has counseled more than 500 couples and his conclusion is that in most cases where the wife suffers emotional problems or depression, the husband is the root of the problem. And he is astounded at how many men don’t have a clue that they’ve created many of their marriage problems.” is down right counter to what scripture says.

    It’s no wonder men are confused. A man who was versed in scripture would know this is not a biblical teaching, but the opinion of one man. I’m all for waiting for a hurting wife to heal. However, how does one support that idea when she’s sleeping with other men, choosing divorce, abandoning her vows and likely causing far more damage to her family than what she’s complained about with respect to her husband?

    If she will not return to her church, if she will not end her affair, if she will not end the divorce that has no biblical grounds, (and 2/3rds to 3/4s of all divorces are filed by women and as Dr Willard Harley has stated, the majority of women who leave husbands are NOT leaving unfaithful or abusive husbands In fact, he is unable to convince women who are abused or betrayed to leave, which means the ones leaving are by an large not abused, nor betrayed by their husbands.)

    Anyway, I think Dr Nair is missing the big picture. It’s women by a margin of 2:1 to 3:1 compared to men, who are breaking up their families. And I think one thing that is giving them the “empowerment” to do so is the dangerous writings such as those we see here blaming men for the failure of the family.

    Blame the breakup of the family on the party who chooses to end the marriage. If there is no abuse, nor adultery, yet one spouse wants to end the marriage, let the blame fall squarely on her shoulders.

    I for one am tired of reading the same old tired lie about how the root of the majority of family problems are men. Men are not forcing these women to divorce their faithful husbands. Men are not forcing these women to divorce their non-abusive husbands. Men are not forcing these women to have affairs. Men are not forcing these women to reject the spiritual leadership of their husband. Men are not forcing these women to walk out. They are choosing to do so in spite of men who are faithful to their vows.

    So please, stop with the men are bad, women are victims lie, it just gives Satan more ammo to destroy even more families. There are TWO sinners in every marriage, including those with no children. That means each spouse is a sinner, period. Each sinner is responsible for his/her sin, period. If a wife will not end her sinful affair, or drop her sinful divorce, it’s not because the husband failed to be a spiritual leader. It’s because she’s choosing sin.

    • Martin says:

      (USA)  Tony, McNair is spot on in his assessment. It takes a lot of self reflection and prayer to recognize this and this is not easy. You, having the experience of your wife having an affair and filing for divorce, are clouding your judgement and ability to accept responsibility for any part of your relationship failing. I had the same thing happen; my wife had an affair and I was thunderstruck. I felt I had no hand in her having an affair and taking off with another man.

      Well, it took years for me to realize it, but I did have a part in it. I had a big part in it. I was not taking care of her at home. And not in a sexual way, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually –all the things she had expressed repeatedly but I didn’t get it or chose to ignore it as unimportant because they didn’t seem important to me. I was foolish. I lost the one thing in the world I loved the most because my selfish pride got in the way.

      I really suggest you read the book by Gary Smalley, “If He Only Knew”. I have read this book several times now, along with McNair’s. Neither of them are easy reads by any means. Smalley’s book is older and perhaps may seem more outdated, but the principles are not. You WON’T like what he has to say, if you don’t like McNair, but it is true, and you just have to read on and pray.

      I tossed the book at the wall several times because I did not want to have to face the man in the mirror, that the book was having me look at. It wasn’t pleasant. However, it has helped me immensely mature as a man in my relationships with all women in general and specifically with my current wife. I never knew a marriage could be so rewarding. If I HAD only KNOWN! Get the book! Martin

      • Tony says:

        (USA)  You make the logical fallacy of assuming that just because I don’t think Nair (not McNair) is on shaky ground scripturally that I did not own my behavior.

        If you read other places here, it’s patently clear that I did own my behavior. After all, I went to Dr Harley, spent thousands with him to address my apparent failure to meet my ex-wife’s deepest emotional needs. I didn’t say the heck with it, she’s having an affair, so it’s done.

        I contacted the Smalley institute, or whatever it was called back in 2003 about their intensives, but it was in some sort of transition. They kept saying they would offer intensives to those who had a reluctant spouse, but then said they were not going to do that, nor did they offer any assistance in enticing a reluctant spouse to some sort of program.

        What you’ve missed in making your assumptions is that I asked my ex-wife for a list of things that she found lacking in me. You know what? She refused to say. She just continued the affair and got the divorce she wanted.

        If I recall correctly, and it’s been 8 years now, I even tried to read Ken Nair for his assistance, and again, no response. Even my pastor, when informed of my at the time wife’s affair asked me what I did to cause the affair? So instead of assuming and blaming as you have, why not ask a clarifying question? Why not ask what a brother has done?

        I’m sure Ken’s advice is good in SOME cases. However, the blanket assumption that if the marriage is bad, it’s 99.44% the husbands fault is patently false. Every marriage has TWO sinners. So while I agree, men should own their parts, their part is smaller than 99.44% of the problem.

        You had no part in your former wife choosing an affair. If I understand what you are saying, that’s the case. Now you may have been selfish, or a poor husband, and you would own that, just as I owned that in my own case. However, we are told in scripture never to repay sin with sin, and that’s what your wife chose to do.

        That sin is not on you. You are not responsible for her choice to sin. So own what is appropriate, I totally agree. However, it’s no more your responsibility to own the sinful choices of your spouse than it would be for a betrayed wife to own the responsibility for her wayward husband to choose to have an affair. We are responsible only for our own sin, never the sin of others.

        I don’t dislike Nair because the message is difficult. I disagree with the message because it’s mostly wrong. If you are not adulterous or abusive and your wife divorces you, or has an affair, or both, it’s because she sinning, period.

        As I said, even Christ dealt with folks in an understanding way, and they still rejected him. Unless you are going to say Christ is guilty of them not choosing him, then you cannot logically say that any man or woman is responsible for the in of another.

      • Magnolia says:

        (USA) Bingo, sir. You have nailed it. As I read through some of Tony’s comments, my heart thundered. My soon to be ex-husband (the unbeliever who left me) is also named Tony, and is an engineer.

        I see in his answers the same blindspot that I often saw in my own husband. A sincerely held belief that his logic explained everything. Therefore, anything illogical (i.e., anything that did not follow HIS logic) was the problem. Not him.

        I am not here to accuse Tony (or my ex-husband) of being at the root of all problems in marriages or as always to be the blame when women fail.

        However, women leave marriages over and over and over again for reasons that Tony just cannot see. He is right, and that is that.

        • Tony says:

          (USA) And how do you see it if the person who chooses her affair over keeping her vows will not be open and honest about what she’s feeling or what she’s thinking? You know, just a little honestly such as, “I’m not happy.” Such honesty goes quite far at solving marital problems.

          However, saying everything is fine, and ultimately denying your affair when asked if you are having an affair doesn’t really help build a Godly marriage.

          You are right, I couldn’t see it. But it wasn’t because I wasn’t looking, it was because there was a smoke screen obscuring the truth.

          I don’t blame all women. But I reject those who, like Dr Nair, suggest that 99% of the marital problems are due to a failure on the part of the husband.

          It’s extremely difficult to own ANY of your issues if your wife is not honest with you about how she feels and what she is thinking. That makes it impossible to live in an understanding fashion. What you are being told, what you are trying to understand is simply a lie. Partial understanding of the truth is infinitely better than complete understanding of a lie.

        • Magnolia says:

          (USA) I’ll tell you how I see it, Tony. At the end of the day, we are all responsible for the choices we make. Agreed.

          But, from where I sit, I hear and see a man who doesn’t want to take any responsibility for anything in his marriage. Your entire assessment of everything is built around your logic and rationale. Your wife is not here to give her side of the story either.

          I have been married to a logical, highly intelligent, rational, retired military officer who is also a trained engineer for 15 years.

          I quit talking to him years ago because every conversation we ever had began and ended with his logical assessment of everything I did and didn’t do. And I ALWAYS came out on the losing end of the argument.

          After awhile, when it is apparent that someone is really not going to listen and hear you, you just stop talking.

          We are now finalizing the divorce papers. –Magnolia

        • Tony says:

          (USA) To be clear, which man are you talking about? Because my story is when my ex-wife said she was leaving, I said it was ALL my fault. I said I didn’t understand, but have always wanted to.

          You are right, she is not here to tell her part of the story. It’s my opinion that it wouldn’t make any difference. After all, I was in that marriage, and she didn’t even tell me what was going on in her head. She said she thought she was just supposed to suck it up, or however she put it, because that’s what folks who are in love do.

          That’s not the case. Folks who love their spouse are willing to tell their spouse the difficult things to say. There is no guarantee they will listen, or respond the way you want them to respond, but to keep quiet, or to not be honest and say things are ok when they are not is far from a loving, caring act. It’s quite selfish and ultimately leads to resentment and perhaps a feeling of entitlement.

    • Kevin says:

      (CANADA) Tony, While I think that there was something to gain for introspection from Mark’s article and some from Nair’s observations, I’d have to admit that you are speaking the truth dead on. Right now there are many women ending marriages for selfish reasons, betraying good husbands and children in order to serve themselves first -usually without even achieving any satisfaction I might add, yet somehow they feel empowered, entitled, and although they are the only ones doing the damage they end up feeling victimized and looking for sympathy. It’s really a ridiculous but spiritually devastating situation culturally. I am at a loss to explain how so many good women can do such evil things to the people who love them the most.

      I believe in your supposition that what we need to do is hold women accountable for what they do, just as a man is to be held accountable for what he does. It’s a simple as that. If a wife leaves a marriage without physical abuse or adultry involved, she’s the one doing the destruction, she should feel accountable for that. The husband should not have to feel at fault for the wife’s actions, even though he may not be perfect.

      Sure, the majority of men in North America and perhaps the world could likely learn to appreciate their wives more, and the majority of wives could learn to appreciate their husbands more. Just like in business, people over-estimate their own contributions and intelligence, and under-estimate everyone else. When wives hit that vulnerable time in their lives when they feel underachieving and under-appreciated, if they’re encouraged to feel superior, and entitled to priviledge they do not receive, or if they’re encouraged to feel their husbands are not worthy of them, they might in their time of weakness be more likely to choose a dark path of self gratification at the expense of the very people who love them the most -at the expense of the people who are the greatest gift to them they’ll ever have.

      If we care about women, we’d find a way to help them cherish their most precious gifts, their children and their husbands. Through cherishing and giving, without counting up cost or benefit, we find greater happiness than is possible in any worldly ‘transaction’ because since we always see ourselves as better than others we could never be satisfied with the transaction. Happiness, peace and satisfaction in life are all about joy from having the opportunity to love and cherish another person, and that requires closeness, committment, caring, sharing, acceptance and love in order to be close enough to someone to have the opportunity to be able to do all that giving.

      Women are being sold a lie -they are not wet pieces of paper towel that fall apart at the first tug. They are resilient passionate people, same as men, until they are destroyed. Giving love makes women and men stronger. Women are being told that giving love is naive and a waste of life’s opportunities, that giving to husband and spouse is a mental or spiritual weakness -exactly the opposite of the truth. I believe that not giving love is the only waste of life and opportunity that is worth avoiding. I believe women are being sold a lie in vast numbers, and there are many zombie women walking around North America now living as shells of what they could be, experiencing a darkness and emptiness that only comes from trying to ingratiate yourself at the expense of others, especially others who love you deeply. It’s a disgusting reality today.

      I am so sorry for your loss and experience, and I will pray for you today, and for your wife, that the joy and happiness in your lives will be restored through Christ. Please let go of any anger, and just try to focus your life on doing good things, and on being a good person. The world can use more good people, and the people around you can use more good people. Of course you will at times continue to mourn and feel the loss of your wife (unless somehow you reconcile) -just go in faith that good things will still happen for you, as long as you leave room in your life for those good things to happen, and space in your heart to be filled with the joy and peace from Christ. Have faith in Christ that He has not abondoned you.

      Thanks for your insightful message, Tony.

    • Matt says:

      (USA) God bless you Tony. I see where you’re coming from. I’ve read lots of what you wrote and you’re reasonable and patient. I agree that to a degree the Church has been influenced by popular culture to tend to always blame men. You’re right on when you say that there are two sinners in every marriage. Man has the God-given role of leading his wife, but that doesn’t mean that the wife will respond appropriately.

      I do believe that we husbands must do everything we can to represent Jesus in our families and be the leaders in that regard. And in every conflict we’re to lay down our wants/needs and honestly observe our own motives and sinful thoughts and behaviors. Even if we do all of that perfectly there are some women that will choose to sin anyway.

      • Jean says:

        (USA) I still do not believe men get this article.

        • Will says:

          (USA) I can assure you some men do get it. We don’t want to get it because it is a painful and humiliating truth; but we can learn.

          It is a dual truth. Yes, I am held accountable for only my relationship with God and not for the sins of others. However, through the mystery of a one flesh marriage joined in union by God I am not called to see my wife *as if* she were my own body, I am called to see her *as* my own body. Also, being called to be the spiritual leader in the home I will be held accountable for her spiritual condition. I will not be held accountable for any willing rejection of my leadership, but I certainly will be held accountable to the level of and effectiveness of leadership.

          If I am selfish, refuse to lead, or lead ineffectively then it stands to reason that if my wife falls into sin because of temptation caused by my actions that I will be held accountable. Yes, she would have chosen the sinful path over the Godly path and yes, there is no guarantee that if I had acted perfectly according to God’s plan that she would not have chosen the sinful path anyway. But given that I did fall short of my calling (as none of us can ever perfectly fulfill the commands of God), I must still acknowledge that even though she is accountable for her own actions and choices I am accountable for the role I played in bringing her to the point of those choices which includes the actions that led to that temptation or situation arising in the first place.

          On the lighter side if we truly believe a marriage is a one flesh relationship then it also stands to reason that if our wife sins then we have sinned through her. Have we directly committed that sin or chosen it? Absolutely not. But in the same way that if she skinned her knee, our knee would be skinned if we shared the same physical body; both husbands and wives cannot escape the sins of each other as they have been joined in spirit as well.

          I’m coming to understand that when we said I do, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health; we assumed and hoped for mostly in health and for better. We never imagined that we would experience days where we were left wondering that despite our best efforts whether or not would we ever see better days. It’s just another reminder to me that much as we cannot earn our salvation through works, we also cannot earn our wife’s love through works (although we should do our best to pursue her heart on an ongoing basis). It is a very difficult point to come to but I think it is clearly the will of God that we pursue our wive’s hearts and love her eternally and unconditionally even if we never in return feel love or obtain a response.

          I know I don’t have the strength for that but I know that God does. It is a very fearful endeavor to commit to loving your wife in such a manner truly expecting nothing in return. Do I wish for things to improve? Absolutely, this has been my daily cry to God. Do I expect them to? No, I no longer have any expectations of things changing. It would be great if they did and God certainly works in mysterious ways, but even if not I am increasingly convinced that selfless love is well worth the effort with the hope and expectation of receiving God’s approval of our commitment to Him in the face of adversity once our race is complete.

          While I have never cheated on my wife or done anything as a man I or society would consider negative in the relationship (in fact people outside looking in often comment to her how lucky she is to have such a husband), I have learned that I neglected her emotional and spiritual security through my ignorance of her needs. I am fully responsible for the attitudes and heart of my wife and the condition of our relationship as it is today through my ignorance of her needs and negligence and selfishness in satisfying them in the early years of our marriage. I will work the rest of my life to correct that mistake but also have to painfully admit that I have damaged her spirit and there is no guarantee that time will ever undo damage. All I can do is try, rely on God’s grace, and hope for her grace and forgiveness.

  5. Nelson says:

    (NIGERIA)  Waoooo, tis I just what I have waiting to see; I am encouraged.

  6. Cynthia says:

    (USA)  I wish I would have read this 20 years ago before I married, it would have saved myself and the people I love a lot of suffering. Rise up godly men and take your position. A godly man is a joy to follow….

  7. Gen says:

    (CANADA)  I think this is a great article. I’ve been married for almost nine years and we have three small children and my husband is a great guy. Saying that, I’m a wife that still feels the disconnect in our marital relationship and my heart not heard at times. We women are wired differently and NEED this connection, to be heard with our husbands heart, to live with us an understanding way.

    When I read Tony’s reply, I sense a great tone of bitterness from him even though he is well spoken and versed and may be a man after God’s heart, he seems to be missing the point of the article. It’s not just for husbands to be the spiritual leaders of the home and blaming husbands for everything but to put their wives first in their family lives, to invest into them more and not just to into their jobs, kids, and personal desires and hobbies. After all, the family started with the husband and wife.

    Think about when you were first married and the time you spent with your wife and listening to each other! I know as time passes there are more responsibilities and such that take our time but we all need to balance our lives and regain our what is priority. It should be our relationship with Christ Jesus first and then if you are married the next would be your spouse and if you have children it would be them next and then other family members and friends and your coworkers and so on.

    Yes we all fall short of the glory of God and have sinned and individually have to take responsibility for our own actions. What the article is essentially about is living with your wife in an understanding way and what blessings could come from that. I pray for all husbands to have this heart connection with their wives and those that are already succeeding, keep up the good work!

    • Tony says:

      (USA)  When you re-read my writings above, instead of bitterness, see the righteous anger, similar to Jesus turning over the tables of the moneychangers outside the temple.

      I simply refuse to accept the lie that if a family is in crisis or a divorce happens it’s the mostly the man’s fault. As I think we all agree, we must ALWAYS take ownership of our OWN actions. That also means we NEVER own the actions of another.

      If you see bitterness, then you miss what is truly in my heart. See, a righteous anger about a lie that continues to spread will do far more damage to families and the cause of Christ than has already been done.

      • Will says:

        (USA) I agree that not all situations are the same and that sometimes no matter what you try it doesn’t change the situation. That being said I do believe that men are at least indirectly to blame. We all share responsibility in a relationship and our actions both directly and indirectly impact our partner. Sometimes we neglect the needs of our partner simply out of ignorance of what they need. Even if that happens for only a short period of time and it takes years for the damage to be manifested in negativity within the relationship, that doesn’t diminish our participation in causing certain situations.

        The way I imagine this playing out is similar to a scenario if you a husband was at the bus stop arguing with his wife and continually berating her and speaking hateful and insensitive words. If she becomes upset and chooses to leave the conversation and without looking walks into oncoming traffic and gets hurt, you could certainly argue the husband is not responsible for her hurt because it was her choice that led to her being hurt. But you could also see how he played a large part in the scenario that led her to make that choice. And it matters not if he “only” berated her for 3 minutes and then spent 15 minutes trying to woo her and beg forgiveness. That is one of the things that is vastly different about women and frustrating to men, is it not? How we can spend what seems like an eternity building them up and then accidentally or unwittingly say something that hurts them and it seems to undo all of the building up we did and we have to start over from square one.

        Again I am not trying to diminish your point and agree that there are definitely some situations where absolutely nothing we do can change the heart of somebody else or change their desires or choices. However, I also believe that we sometimes believe that is the case because we fail to see how unresolved hurt we have caused in the past has contributed to the situation in which we find ourselves. It is unfortunate but sometimes our actions can harm somebody so deeply that no matter how hard we try to rectify the situation, she simply cannot move past it. You are right, it is her choice at that point as to whether to remain in the relationship and work on it or not but I still am compelled to admit it was my actions that ultimately affected her in such a way as to bring her to this point of decision.

        • Tony from United States says:

          How many times does it go the other way? The man is trying to lead his wife in a Godly way. Instead of being interested in the things of God, she is all about Pinterest and Facebook and her gang of gals who go out for a bottle or three of wine?

          You paint the picture as if it’s an out of control angry man and the woman is a victim. As if that’s the only picture. If you cherry pick your examples, you can make it seem as if men are villains and women are victims.

          I’ve seen numbers that indicate that anywhere from 3 to 30% of children born to a married couple are not the husbands! If I were to cite that and only that scenario, one would start to think that women were evil and these men were victims. No, I’ve said time and time again what scripture has told us, we are ALL sinners.

          I fail to see how agreeing with that biblical truth that someone could arrive at the conclusion that I was unwilling to own my part after all, I’d have to somehow suggest that I was not part of that “all” mentioned in the scripture.

          Perhaps in your case, you were the cause. In my case, I believe I offered my ex-wife a way out of an ugly wife and an ugly circumstance. Instead of taking the opportunity, as imperfect as my efforts might have been, she chose to find fault with it, preferring a temporary affair with a man who would betray his own wife and a string of live in boyfriends, to exploring God’s design for marriage.

          Remember, not all accept Christ. Since even the perfect Christ is rejected, it makes no sense to blame a rejected husband in 100% of cases for the failure of a wife to respond. If women fail to respond to Christ, the perfect one, what chance does a imperfect husband have with that same woman? None!

  8. CHARLES says:

    (KENYA)  This is a great article. I am also glad to see the excitement it has caused in the discussions herewith. First, I must admit that being a man is not easy, leave alone being a husband plus children to add to that. But then, I am reminded that as a man and a husband also, my most secure place is that of total surrender to Christ then have him minister to my family.

    I believe that in agreement with Nair that if I do my best with love, then my family will have an easy time especially with pursuing Christ. But if they choose to follow otherwise, I still believe that it will not be long because there is nothing better than Christ in this life as a matter of reality.

    Good job and may God grace all men to love Christ and show Him to the people closest to them.

  9. Paul says:

    (USA)  Tony, I’ve been married for almost 31 years… we’ve lived through some significant pain. But now, and I emphasize this… by the GRACE of God, I’ve stumbled into caring for my wife’s heart. With the help of Nair’s, Smalley’s, John and Staci Eldredge’s Love and War and other books, I finally got a clue… it was just a half a clue at first… but a start.

    It’s not about who’s right or wrong… we both, husband and wife, blow it all of the time. The concept that nailed me was that I, as the head of my home, was RESPONSIBLE for the OUTCOME of our relationship. You see, a relationship can only go where it’s leads… if it’s lead by default… it will go into default.

    Tony, my heart truly goes out to you… and your wife… and all of those that have gone through the train wreck of divorce. The question is this… “why does a wife’s affection go elsewhere”? This is the hardest part for a man… brutal doesn’t even come close.

    I just want to reiterate 1st Peter 3:7… I think this scripture sums it up… the inference in this scripture is profound… to the degree that I care for my wife’s heart (create a safe place) is in direct relationship to the degree that the Lord answers my prayers. Sounds like he’s got us by the short hairs boys… He does and I thank God for it.

    The question that stopped me in my tracks and jolted me into taking responsibility for the emotional and spiritual condition of my wife and my household was this… “How many women ever ran from Jesus”? So why are all of these Christian women running from their Christian husbands?

    The answer is obvious but heart wrenching… We as husbands are not “Like Christ”…

    The Lord has been gracious over the last few years… I’ve begun to receive His affection for me as a Son… not a servant or a slave… but a son…to just be in His presence and allow His love to pour all over me… washing me from sin and shame. He is certainly good at it.

    This is what I tell my wife and all of my kids over the last few years. “My love for you (wife) has transitioned from words to weeping”…

    Tony, may the Lord rock your world with His love today… to show you that we can, as Paul said, “glory in our weakness”…it’s only there that we’re strong. Much love, Paul

    • Tony says:

      (USA)  Lots of women run from Jesus. They run from him all the time. In fact, I think scripture tells us that MOST will run from Jesus. Most will not understand the gospel. So to suggest that if a woman is running from her husband the problem is with him is to totally discount the sinful nature of the wife running.

      Of course we as husbands are not like Christ. Just as our wives (or ex-wives) are not like Christ or the Holy Spirit or the Bride of Christ. The failures of a husband never justify the sinful behavior of a wife. After all, if a wife were withholding sex from her husband and he had an affair, we would not blame her for his sin.

      In the same fashion, if a wife leaves her husband, or betrays him, the only one responsible for that behavior is her, period.

      I have a clue. I got it when I followed the teaching of those you mentioned and the affair continued, the church refused to act and she got the divorce she wanted.

      God is gracious. But people are not. All the love I had for my ex-wife did nothing to soften her heart. The love I had for my ex-wife did nothing to convince her to end the affair or to even enter into a program where Christian mentors would address her legitimate complaints about the marriage.

      So remember, people run from Jesus all the time. When presented with the choice of freeing Jesus or freeing Barabus, the people overwhelmingly wanted Barabus freed and Jesus crucified. I suspect that crowd was both men and women. So to suggest that the love of God is irresistible is plain fallacy. Folks are given the free will to choose or reject Christ.

      Both men and women reject Christ on a daily basis. To suggest that a woman leaves her husband because he is not Christ-like enough is placing a burden on the husband he is not meant to bear. It demonstrates a failure to recognize that both men and women are sinners, equally capable of hurting their spouse with their sinful choices.

      I’m all for offering grace and forgiveness. But let’s be clear who needs it. Both husbands and wives need it. You are not offering grace to betrayed husbands when you heap unwarranted guilt on them for their unfaithful wives choices. In fact, you are offering grace to neither. It’s cruel to the betrayed husband and it’s unloving to the unfaithful wife when you don’t give her the opportunity to own her (and only her) sin with respect to abandoning her husband.

      I believe Ken Nair is failing women by providing such non-Biblical excuses for the sinful behavior of these women who abandon their husbands and betray them. If you want to show love to these women, point out their sin. Not as one who is superior, because as you’ve said, the men are sinning too. But rather show them that when they walk away, they prove they are no more worthy than they believe their husband to be.

      They may have legitimate complaints about their husbands. But just as a man is never justified in his choice to have an affair, neither is the woman justified in choosing her affair. Just as a wife is never responsible for her husbands choice to cheat, likewise the husband is never responsible for his wife’s choice to abandon her vows and betray her husband.

    • Tony says:

      (USA)  OK, I’m stuck on this because while I agree with the scripture, I totally disagree with your application. So understand, I’m 100% pro Bible, pro God’s word.

      A relationship will go where it’s led ONLY when the husband follows God AND the wife follows the husband following God. There are two points where failure can occur. The husband can fail to follow God is the first. The second is the wife can fail to follow the husband. They are both exclusive, so the husband can or cannot follow God and that has no bearing on the wife’s choice. She can choose to follow or not follow the husband.

      So the only way a husband can be blamed for a divorce is if he lead to the divorce. Specifically if he chooses the divorce, engages in a sin such as infidelity, or he convinced his wife that she should file for divorce.

      If those are not present, then he did not lead them into a divorce. Now you may argue he didn’t lead them away from one, and I’d likely agree. Subtle, but I don’t know of many men who were served with divorce papers who knowingly lead their wives to choose an affair and/or divorce.

      This is not about blame. You seem focused on the blame aspect. It’s not about blame, it’s about solving the problem. The problem is 66-75% of divorces in America are filed by women. Working on the men, heaping blame on the men is about as useful as re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

      Working on men is not going to change the hearts of most of those choosing divorce. I know, I lived it. It made no difference. I did all the exercises, I prayed the prayers, I asked God to show me what I was doing wrong, I asked God how to love her in a fashion where should would be compelled to choose me over an affair with a married man and ultimate divorce by her choice. It didn’t happen.

      If after all that prayer, faith, self-examination, seeking a mentor, you name it, if it was good, I probably did it. If it was bad, I probably didn’t do it, or stopped as soon as I realized it.

      So you have your data point. Your changes made your marriage better. Mine did nothing at all. Just as I cannot extrapolate that it’s hopeless, you cannot extrapolate that it’s because of what you did that your marriage got better. You lead, she followed.

      I lead, my ex-wife didn’t follow. Since I can’t, nor shouldn’t control another person, the outcome is what it is.

      Sometimes Christ’s love wins them back. Other times, they reject Christ. So I agree, we are to love in the manner you say. I disagree that the man is responsible for the outcome. The one making the choice is responsible for the outcome. If someone cheats his/her spouse, they are responsible for that behavior. If someone leaves his/her spouse when that spouse is not unfaithful, the outcome cannot be the responsibility of the betrayed spouse.

      As a husband, I can only pray over my spouse. Unlike Christ, I don’t have the power to wash away sin. In fact, I didn’t even have the power to convince a man and a woman involved in an affair with one another that what they were doing was hurtful, let alone sinful. So if I can’t even do that, how on Earth or in Heaven could I be responsible for the outcome of their decisions?

      I’m glad God was gracious to you. I simply and respectfully ask that you don’t paint with a broad brush and assume that if the outcome was negative, the outcome is the sole or even primary responsibility of the husband.

      Just as God cannot make you sin, neither can your spouse. Unless you are willing to blame God for sin and hold Him responsible, you cannot hold husbands responsible for the sinful choices their ex-wifes make when they choose to end marriages and/or betray God, their family and their husbands.

      • Stratis from United States says:

        My wife is choosing to follow everyone except her husband and God’s word. The harder I try to be close, the further she pushes away. She gave me a list and said if I truly loved her I would do all of these. Most I would do but I will not willfully break the commandments of my God. I agree Tony. If I am following YHWH and my wife follows everyone except me, and all I want is a respectful loving wife, and she refuses on all levels, how am I to blame?

        I once heard Doug Cherry, creator of POTTS, say homosexuals that say they are born that way are really saying they want to follow their flesh, and the fact is it is a sin, just like wanting an affair. What the lie that is being perpetuated is, IF the wife FEELS the husband is wrong she doesn’t have to follow anything he does. My wife was extremely rebellious to her father when I met her. Now it is me she rebels against, always. Each time it’s something else new I’ve done, she says. She SAYS she is 50% of the problem, but when I ask what does she does wrong, she can’t answer, blames me and proceeds to punish me by not being intimate, physical and emotional.

        I could be blamed for not leading, but I am not allowed to be the head of my wife or home (today’s new interpretation of the Bible).

  10. Jupo says:

    (US)  In my response to Tony, You know what I believe when we fall into temptaions such as affairs in our marriages? It can be two to three things: As someone said, the husband is not loving the wife as Christ loves the church. Two, we are trying to lead through logic and of the flesh, or three, we have married our assignment and not our purpose. The Bible clearly states the we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers and that could mean family, friends, co-workers even spouses.

    Not to say she was an unbeliever, but do you truly believe that you were leading the one GOD sent to you? We try to think like GOD and it’s truly impossible with our finite minds. GOD may have hardended her heart because it may have not been the one HE wanted for you. Think about that for a minute.

    As followers of Christ we think GOD is supposed to bless everything we do and that’s simply untrue. If it was HIS will for you and your wife it would have worked.

    • Jupo says:

      (US)  Also let me ask you this, It says “when a man finds a wife he finds a good thing”….was your wife ever good for you? Did you see things about her that you thought you could change? Or did you just have a physical attraction?

      According to scripture I can see where more of the blame can go to the man. Just my two cents ;-)

      • Tony says:

        (USA)  Yeah, she was good to me when we first met. Then she just shut down. I would come home from work and couldn’t get her to pause her TV show. Or I’d sit next to her on the couch and she’d get up and move. So I asked her what wrong, and she gave the typical answer, “nothing.” You can’t fix what you don’t understand and you can’t understand if someone will not be clear and honest with you.

        After about seven years of marriage, she approaches me on a Saturday afternoon and says she’s moving out. Two or three months later, it’s clear she’s having an affair. She didn’t want to find herself. She wanted privacy so she could have her affair. Living in our home was too inconvenient for her to carry on the affair.

        She refused my request to work through marriage counseling before she moved out. She refused my request to end the affair and return home, she refused my request to tell me what I had done so wrong that she felt an affair was a better solution for her and our child than working on the very real problems in the marriage.

        It didn’t matter that I took all the blame (before I knew about the affair) she moved out anyway. She lead me down the path thinking it was me, when all the time she was lying about her affair. I asked her if there was someone else and she said no.

        How do you treat someone in an understanding way you will lie to you such as saying there is nothing wrong when there was obviously something wrong from her perspective? How do you live with someone in an understanding fashion if the lie to you about their affair? You can’t.

        I don’t disagree that we are to live with our wives in an understanding fashion. However, it will not work if the wife is dishonest and guarded. There is no amount of understanding that will correct a lie. God’s word is solid because it’s true. Marriage works when both husband and wife are true to one another and honest with one another. One person cannot make another person stop sinning, nor can they make them stop lying. No amount of living with someone in an understanding fashion will resolve that.

        I can see where blame for choosing poorly would go to the man who chooses poorly. But again, he is NEVER responsible for her behavior. Again, unless you are willing to blame Christ for the sins of people, you cannot blame a husband for the sins of his wife. You can blame him for choosing poorly, or being unwilling to lead. But you can never blame him for his wife’s unwillingness to follow. Never!

        Otherwise, you have to blame Christ when someone rejects Christ. Since I doubt you would do that, you cannot blame the betrayed husband either.

      • Tony says:

        (USA)  My comments really are not about my ex-wife. They are about the lie that if a man does the right things his wife WILL respond. Also, it has a partner lie which is if she didn’t respond, then he didn’t do the right things.

        The truth is she MAY respond if he does the right things. She MAY NOT respond. He is responsible for HIS actions ONLY. One human being is never responsible for the actions of another ADULT, regardless of gender.

        As I’ve said before, if a wife withholds sex and the husband has an affair, the ones responsible for the affair are the husband AND the affair partner. Since the husband knows who his wife is, and the affair partner, even if she doesn’t know he’s married, she knows that he’s not HER husband. Therefore, both share the responsibility for the affair, not just the spouse who took the vow. Also the partner who goes against God’s plan by having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

        I would say the same if it were a married woman and an unmarried man. Since he knows she’s not his wife, he shares in the responsibility for the affair.

        So let’s be clear. We are to live with our wives in an understanding way. However, that is no guarantee that your wife will not betray you, or will not withhold sex, or simply will not follow. You may be the most understanding man alive, you may be as close to Christ as any one man will be, and yet you, like Christ may still be rejected and betrayed. That’s the human condition. No matter how much grace you show someone, the rejection of Christ, the ultimate display of grace proves that grace and understanding are not enough to win some.

        That is and always has been my point. It’s not about those who will not respond. It’s about how I believe Dr Ken Nair has it wrong when he says the problem is a man problem most of the time. That’s simply not true. The problem is a sin problem, and men and women are certainly equal when it comes to sin.

        • Jupo says:

          (US)  You have to understand that this article is from a Chrisitian perspective to couples who actually follow Christ and not to those who pretend to. You have said multiple times about a wife not following. That is not entirely true. You have to take the worldly perspective out of this. Look at the reponses in these articles. You and you can tell by the fruit of their posts who’s actually following and who isn’t or who’s pretending to. The ones who say “I’m not doing that” or who is saying, “I’m not trying it anymore.” What true follower says no, and completely quits?

          One thing we should know is that every good thing is from GOD. Marriage is considered holy and good. Because it is marriage that closely resembles the image of Christ and His love for the church, we have to make sure we consistently consecrate ourselves for the sake of the marriage. I have a hard time believing that if both partners are truly of Christ and following HIM daily and not just on Sundays, that the marriage won’t last. You keep saying it isn’t the man’s fault, but Nair never mentioned infidelity in the article. Check out this scripture, Ephesians 5:25-27 says,

          “(25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, (26) so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (27) that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”

          We have to do more than bring home the “bacon” and put it down in bed. What happens when that runs out??? In marriage it is supposed to be three indivuals made into one, GOD, HUSBAND, WIFE. GOD will not give you a woman who isn’t willing to follow.

          Are we truly washing them or are we merely taking a quick rinse? Just a little food for thought.

        • Tony says:

          (USA)  The article doesn’t say only Christian wives. What I’ve read is if the wife is misbehaving, it’s the husband, period. There is NO stated caveat that this only applies if both the husband and the wife are sold out to Christ Christians.

          Let’s assume what you say is true. In fact, I agree that it may explain SOME situations. How does the potential husband tell if his soon to be bride is really following Christ, or just putting on a charade in hopes of catching a good man? You look for Fruit of the Spirit, right? So what if it appears to be there, then what?

          It’s also possible for someone who is following Christ to backslide, to fall away. Otherwise, we would not have the parable of the prodigal son.

          That’s more the situation I’m discussing here. One cannot distiguish between those who pretend to follow Christ and those who followed at one time and then gave up. In fact, none of us possesses the spiritual insight to say with 100% certainty that they are or are not truly believers. Even the passages regarding Church Discipline in Matthew 18 only tells us to treat the sinning believer, unwilling to end the sin as if they were an unbeliever. It doesn’t say they are or are not really believers.

          Nair never comes out and says if a woman is sinning, she is responsible for her sin. He says she shouldn’t be sinning. But he keeps up with this responder notion, that the woman responds to the man. Which means if only the man would get his act together, she would respond properly.

          I agree with the notions that the man SHOULD seek to be a spiritual leader, understand his wife. I simply disagree with the ideas that she will respond.

          Remember, I own his book. I was willing to hear what she would say, to correct what needed correcting. I got no response from Ken Nair when I tried to engage him, and when I asked my ex-wife to tell me what I had been doing wrong all those years she said she wouldn’t respond because she feared it would hurt her in the divorce she wanted.

          Using your logic, God would never give a woman a man who was not willing to lead in a Godly fashion, would He? Since there are such men, it stands to reason that it’s just as likely that we have women who are unwilling to follow.

          Please, don’t mis-understand. I don’t disagree with what Ken Nair says men are to do. I simply disagree that if men would do that, they will not suffer at the hands of an unfaithful wife.

          Consider that God suffers an unfaithful Israel, and yet He performs his role perfectly. If Israel can betray God, it’s not unreasonable to expect that Godly husbands will be betrayed by their wives.

    • Tony says:

      (USA)  Jupo, I don’t really know if she was the one or not. But you make a good point. If you are not with the one God wants you with, will being Christ-like really win them back?

      I do know that we are to let the unbeliever go if she wants to go. 1 Corinthians 7, IIRC. So if someone is an unbeliever, and I believe that extends to someone who claimed to be a believer but is now both acting in a manner inconsistent with being a follower of Christ and unwilling to come under church discipline as described in Matthew 18.

      We all sin, so it’s not just being a sinner. It’s that we are unwilling to come under correction.

      We are not called to divorce them. In fact, we are called to remain with the unbeliever if it pleases the unbeliever. But if they want to go, we are not to stop them. We are to let them go.

      I really don’t know if God has “the one” for someone or everyone. But I do know that doing your part, seeking to live with her in an understanding way is no guarantee you will not experience what I did. There is no amount of understanding that will address the beliefs and behaviors of one who feels the best solution to marital problems is an affair and a divorce. That person has to come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and if they will not, then no amount of seeking to live with them in an understanding way will resolve the crisis in a Godly fashion.

  11. Paul says:

    (USA)  Tony and All, I’d like to encourage you to get a book… this is the most important book I’ve ever read (other than Scripture)… and I’m an avid reader.

    It’s opened my heart up to new insights… It’s written by Derek M. Watson, Daniel L. Tocchini, Larry Pinci…the book is called Killing the Victim Before the Victim Kills You: Building Relationships Through Keeping Promises.

    I’ve spent several hours with Derek… He’s the real deal and has some significant insight into relationship dynamics. Trust me… you’ll thank me you got this book :-) Be blessed, Paul

  12. Nic says:

    (USA)  One of my lasting questions about marriage counseling to men is this, “Where in Scriptures is it said that man is (supposed to be) the ‘spiritual leader’ or ‘high priest of the home’?” We are called a royal priesthood, a holy nation without regard to marital status. My wife and I cannot blame the other for failing spirituality. One other question is, “What does it entail to be the “head of the home”? I have read the books, gone to the seminars, completed the weekend getaways, listened to multiple couples’ teaching and have not yet gotten a concise answer to these two questions.

    Believe me, I am a Christian. I am not trying to be contentious. I want a great marriage. I do not want to shirk responsibility …but I have been put under pressure and blamed because I am considered to not being “head of the home” and “not giving spiritual leadership” by my wife, pastor, counselors.

  13. Ron says:

    (UNITED STATES)  Tony, I read your story with heart felt sorrow for you. I truly empathize with what you are saying. One thing I would clarification on -how long were you married before you found out about your wife’s affair? I may be wrong but from reading your story it sounds like seven years. Do you accept total responsibility for “hardening” your wife’s heart against you for those seven years?

    You say that everything was good in the beginning. Did you “deceive” your wife when then two of you were dating into thinking you were interested in what she says, made her believe that you would always treat her like a queen, put no one or nothing above her? Then in just a short time after marrying, you ranked “things” like your job, TV, sports etc above her? Perhaps this is where her spirit was broken and she harden her heart against you.

    How long did you try to win her back. Did you invest an equal amount of time (seven years) in trying to lead her back to Christ? Or did she not believe you would ever change? Did you truly forgive her for the affair and “cover” it or did you keep making little jibs at her over it?

    If you truly committed yourself to being Christ like and truly forgave her and she still would NOT come back, then, yes, I agree with you. Let her go. Satan has a hold on her so deep that you as a mortal man cannot break. You may have broken her spirit, but she is keeping it broken. God does not give us any burden we cannot bare. I feel for you brother and I pray this will not turn you bitter. Love God, He will not forsake you.

    • Tony says:

      (USA) Ron, I would say no, I didn’t deceive her. I was clear that I was an engineer and that I was very good at following instructions. So if there was something she wanted, all she had to do was to give clear, unambiguous instructions and I would follow them. If she wanted romance, then to give examples, I.E. I like it when you do this, I find such and so romantic, etc. She was number one.

      What did happen is after about five years of trying to get a straight, honest answer to what’s wrong, or how are things and getting back “fine” I simply accepted that she knew better than I did how she was and if she says she’s fine, then I should just accept that she’s fine and stop badgering her about it.

      I changed jobs to be home more and things got worse, not better.

      How long did I try to win her back? Probably just under two years, the time it took for the divorce to be final. She promised that she would give me a written list of her complaints, why she was leaving, etc. When that never came, after all that time of prayer and looking for what I did wrong, I simply concluded that since she has never displayed the ability to be open and honest, it was unlikely that she was going to change.

      So far, after having been divorced from her for more years than we were married, that has still proven to be true. She now has a man living with her, a man with no car, very underemployed, just mooching off her.

      It is easy to say let her go, but what of my child? Since the state has this notion that character doesn’t matter, that moms are more important than dads to their children, and mom’s affairs don’t matter in a custody decision, they’ve chosen to award her primary custody.

      So it’s easy to say let her go. But then you don’t have a child living with such a woman, do you? When will God protect my child from this influence? Does he love HER enough to protect my child from my ex-wife’s sinful influence?

  14. Chris says:

    (UK) I have been married to my wife for under 2 years. We are both in our early 50s and she is going through the change. We had a really good relationship, which appears to be dying. Apparently I snore very loudly and kick out during the night. We got single beds just a couple of weeks ago. She now suggests single rooms.

    I don’t believe this is good for a marriage but should I make the sacrifice and bow to her demands? I have been praying & praying for our marriage to be restored and am trying to be patient but this is hurting! Although she was “confirmed” many years ago, I don’t think she is a believer!

  15. Ibrahim says:

    (USA) Honestly when of the most troubling thing I found in this culture (I mean both in Christian and non-Christian circles) is this: When men cheat they are slime, pigs and all other negative attributes one can think of. However when a women cheats it’s also the man’s fault because they did not “pay them attention”. Do women ever ask themselves “have I payed enough attention to my husband?”

    I truly believe the American culture in particular, has this notion that women should act like men and men act like women (if you know what I mean). Unless you are a yes man in your own house then you are a bad husband and we wonder why marriages break downs. After all, 70% of divorce nowadays are initiated by women. Western culture is the only culture I know where people chose “loneliness and call it freedom.” We wanted it all in life. The enemy of love is not hate as most of us will be quick to conclude. It’s rather the self centered nature within us all.

    • Chris says:

      (UK) From what I have been reading lately, we as husbands, should be Christlike and act in love. What would Jesus have done in this situation? It’s hard to get my head around this!

  16. Umoh says:

    (NIGERIA) Tony, I understand you thoroughly. Some people are uneasonable. Nothing you do can help them, not even God. It explains why many are on their way to hell right now. Yet Jesus already died for them. God’s love and faithfulness didn’t make Israel faithful. Yet He’s the greatest lover. People are not going to respond to your love just because you show it.

  17. Joi says:

    (US) Thank you for sharing from your spirit. Very insightful, powerful and true.

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