Additional Proverbs Marriage Tips – MM #362

Proverbs marriage tips Scriptures conflict guidelines - Pixabay book-623163_1920Two weeks ago, we gave some tips from the Bible to help strengthen our marriages. As we said, “The tips for loving are the tips for living, which are contained within the Bible.” You can’t get a much better marriage manual than God’s Word! This week we’d like to expand upon this concept. So here are some additional Proverbs marriage tips (with added thoughts) that can help you in your marriage. Just make sure you apply what you read in the Bible.

Additional Proverbs Marriage Tips:

•  The first tip we’d like to give is to begin the marriage with God. Right from the start, the Bible says, In the beginning God… He is to be the strengthening force in the cord of three strands —which is talked about in Ecclesiastes 4. Seriously consider the promises you are making in the marriage covenant relationship you are entering into. Marriage is for grown ups. So don’t marry if you can’t approach marriage by giving it your all.

•  Be strong in your stand to be promise keepers, not promise breakers. Proverbs 20:25 says, It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows. As the commentary in the Life Application Study Bible says:

“To dedicate something meant that you intended to give it as an offering to God. Dedicated means set apart for religious use. This proverb points out the evil of making a vow rashly and then reconsidering it. God takes vows seriously and requires that they be carried out.” (See: Deuteronomy 23:21-23)

Steve and I found ourselves feeling trapped earlier in our marriage. We THOUGHT we were marrying for the right reasons —because we loved each other. But we later found out that our ideas of love were shaky. We should have researched more about what marriage was REALLY about before our wedding. And then we would have been more prepared after the wedding. Our idealistic “love” fell short when troubles started to pile up and began to separate us from truly loving each other.

Thankfully, we eventually looked towards the Lord to help us. And He helped us to turn toward each other and learn what we needed to rebuild a GREAT marriage.

More Marriage Tips:

•  If you are considering marrying, make sure that you both have the moral character, dedication, and a persevering attitude to do what it takes to make your marriage healthy. Don’t marry if you aren’t BOTH willing to go the way the Lord would show you. Married life has a way of bringing out the worst in each of us at times. But the Lord, whose very name means LOVE, can show us how to love each other as we should. He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. (Proverbs 21:21)

•  Proverbs 30:21-23 tells us, Under three things the earth trembles and one of them is an unloved woman who is married. Men: don’t marry unless you intend to continue showing your future wife the love she needs (not the love YOU need). And if you’re married and you’ve stopped showing love —BEGIN AGAIN! Today can be a new beginning!

•  Infuse humor into your marriage. Life is serious. But sometimes we take it more seriously than we should. Proverbs 17:22 says, A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Make sure that you aren’t crushing the spirit of your spouse and family.

•  Also, don’t be so easily offended that you can’t see the humor in life. De-fuse that, which really won’t matter 100 years from now. Sometimes when life is painful, Steve and I look long and hard to find to laugh about. But when we finally find it, it’s worth its relationship strength in gold. A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. (Proverbs 15:30)

Pay Attention and Fool God’s Word!

•  Listen, listen, listen. God gave you two ears and one mouth. Use it accordingly. A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2) He who answers before listening —that is folly and his shame. (Proverbs 18:13) Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. (Proverbs 2:11)

•  Watch the friendships you keep. Someone may have been a good friend to you before marriage. But that doesn’t mean that they’re a good friend to your marriage afterward. Some friendships can grow to be toxic. When you marry, you are to give up your “single-minded” lifestyle to join in marriage to your partnership. Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)

Also look at Proverbs 23:29-35. The combination of all of these verses tells us to choose our friends, and our recreation wisely. It could hurt you and your marriage. 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 says,Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning. For there are some who are ignorant of God —I say this to your shame.

You can read an article on this subject with links to many additional articles in the “Assorted Marriage Issues” topic of this web site. The article is titled, Friendships and How They Influence a Marriage.

Your Attitude and Words Matter!

•  Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. (Proverbs 26:4) Just because your spouse spouts off, it doesn’t mean that you have to participate. As the old saying goes, “two wrongs don’t make it right.” In Noah’s day, everyone else was doing a lot of things, but everyone else was wrong. The flood proved that. And the one who did right in God’s eyes (Noah) was eventually rewarded for not giving in to the pressure surrounding him.

It’s the same in marriage. Sometimes our spouse does or says something they shouldn’t. They direct it at you, when really, they’re releasing pressure built up from other circumstances. It’s more about them than it is about you. As John Maxwell said,

“Look beyond the person for the problem. Always remember that hurting people overreact, over-exaggerate, and overprotect themselves. When a person’s reaction is out of line or larger than the issue at hand, the response is almost always about something else.”

Try to “rise above the emotional turmoil” your spouse is creating. And don’t join in by spouting off back at them. You’re just adding to the problem. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

Be Partners, Not Adversaries

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) In marriage, keep in mind that all arguing isn’t problematic. It can sometimes help you to work through differences that are dividing your relationship. The commentary in the Life Application Study Bible says:

“A meeting of minds can help people see their ideas with new clarity, refine them, and shape them into brilliant insights. This requires discussion partners who can challenge one another and stimulate thought —people who focus on the idea without involving their egos in the discussion; people who know how to attack the thought and not the thinker. Two friends who bring their ideas together can help each other become sharper.”

If you don’t have a marriage partner that will be this kind of friend to you, keep praying and trying. Persevere in the way God would have you. And if, for this season of your marriage, your partner remains distant, ask the Lord to be the “friend” you need it. He can lead you to healthy ways to relieve the pressure you’re experiencing. Just make sure you pay attention and follow His lead.

Cindy and Steve Wright

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22 responses to “Additional Proverbs Marriage Tips – MM #362

  1. (USA)  What does this mean exactly – the verse quoted below? If someone feels they are a woman that fits that category, does that mean they are a danger in some way? I don’t understand the meaning and since Proverbs is sort of a disjointed type of chapter (very broken up into little points) there’s no way to gain any real context from the verses surrounding it.

    Proverbs 30:21-23 tells us that “Under three things the earth trembles” and one of them is “an unloved woman who is married.”

    If anyone can explain that, I’d be most appreciative! Thanks!

    1. (USA)  Seems that was taken out of context. If The Message is a accurate translation of the idea behind the scripture above, then the passage means: “Proverbs 30:21-23 (The Message)

      Four Intolerables
      21-23 Three things are too much for even the earth to bear,
      yes, four things shake its foundations—
      when the janitor becomes the boss,
      when a fool gets rich,
      when a whore is voted “woman of the year,”
      when a “girlfriend” replaces a faithful wife.”

      If this is the case, it means that what shakes the earth is to treat something as it’s not. I.E. you “destroy” the earth if you the janitor is the boss, when the foolish are wealthy, when we treat a loose woman as if she’s the woman of the year, or when the girlfriend is held in the same regard as the faithful wife.

      This is consistent with the NIV. “Proverbs 30:21-23 (New International Version, ©2010)

      21 “Under three things the earth trembles,
      under four it cannot bear up:
      22 a servant who becomes king,
      a godless fool who gets plenty to eat,
      23 a contemptible woman who gets married,
      and a servant who displaces her mistress. ”

      So I don’t think the verse is a call to better love your wife or she’ll make things miserable. Instead it’s about if we celebrate that sort of woman, we as a society will make this world a miserable place. Given that we’ve done just that and things are getting worse, not better, I tend to agree with that take on the passage.

  2. (USA) Hi LT, I’m not exactly sure what this verse means. I looked it up in a few commentaries and they didn’t clear it up for me either. But what I BELIEVE it means (and Steve thinks it means the same thing) is that it is a warning to every married man to be careful to live with his wife “in an understanding way” — to continually show his love to his wife because of the devastating consequences that can occur when a married woman who feels unloved. She marries, believing she has found love and when the husband withholds it from her, the effects are such that it can cause a disturbance within the lives of everyone around her.

    It’s kind of like the old saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” That verse doesn’t give the wife a license to make everyone around her unhappy, but it’s a warning of what very well may happen. It goes along with the scriptures: A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand (Proverbs 27:15-16). Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife (Proverbs 21:19). Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife (Proverbs 25:24).

    All of those verses explain the situation of how a miserable wife can effect the household. I’m not sure why there aren’t equal verses to explain how a quarrelsome husband can shake up the world as well, but I don’t see them. There ARE verses about a quarrelsome “man” but it doesn’t refer to a husband in particular, from what I see.

    What comes to mind is the verse that says: The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down (Proverbs 14:1). I’ve felt unloved by my husband in the past, and I honestly confess that there have been times when the earth could have trembled over the way I foolishly treated the situation. I, along with my husband, contributed to tearing down the “atmosphere” of our home (which our sons witnessed), for which I’m sorry. My discontent didn’t justify my own wrong actions. God didn’t create me to act that way, no matter how my husband acted. Each one of us stands alone in our accountability. I pray that if I ever feel that in the future, I will be wiser in how I handle it.

    That doesn’t mean that a wife who is unloved shouldn’t respectfully give voice to her situation to her husband, because I believe she should. But like it is with any situation, it should be done in a manner that God leads. There is a right way to approach a situation and a husband, and a wrong way. The Bible is clear about that.

    When a wife is quarrelsome and contentious, it negatively involves others around her, including her husband. I have to admit that a wife who feels unloved could definitely make the earth tremble in fear of the wrath that she can cause! (A husband’s unloving ways can also be devastating for those around him, but that is a situation that the husband is accountable for –not the wife, IF she handles it right.) Married men need to beware of the consequences of their selfism! That is not how God called them to treat their marriage partner.

    I don’t know if my explanation of how I interpret this verse is exactly right, but that is what I believe. Other explanations are sure welcome!

  3. (USA)  Thanks Cindy. Actually – KJV and New KJV use the word "hateful" woman. It puts a slightly different light on the verse when reading it that way but obviously no one would want to be married to a hateful person, man or woman – that would make life miserable.

    I think it’s interesting to embrace both the new and old versions (and wording) because it creates a broader meaning. Someone who doesn’t feel loved (and possibly never did) might certainly be a hateful type of person. You can certainly deduce that a hateful woman probably does feel unloved and since the spouse is the biggest source of love, if it’s not a loving environment, she probably would feel hated and possibly become hateful herself.

    Thanks!!

  4. (PHILIPPINES)  Dear Cindy, I understand what you are going through. I have a quarrelsome wife myself, but that’s a totally different story. I’m sharing this with you because I know how it is to be dreadfully disrespected. True, that the Bible never said anything about a husband being quarrelsome. You know why? Because he is accountable to God as the leader of the home. In Ephesians and Colossians, God said through Paul that wives should submit to their husbands, as the church submits to Christ.

    Yes, you are entitled to feel as so because you are wronged, but it doesn’t mean that you have to fight back and get justice. Unless your life is on the line, you have to maintain a degree of respect because if you rebel against him, it’s not short of rebelling against God. Remember, he designed it that way. My point is, free yourself from bitterness and let God work on him. Be the prudent wife. Be the better person. By this, you are setting the example of obedience and I’m sure one way or another, you will be rewarded. Your prayers will be answered. I don’t have the luxury of saying all the things I want to say, nevertheless, I hope I have enlightened you with this. God bless.

  5. (CANADA)  Hi :) Your discussion about the verse about the unloved woman is interesting and I’d like to comment. My own thoughts on this psalm are that if it was written by King David after he married Michal, Saul’s daughter, it would make even more sense than might be apparent at first. I believe it is talking about a woman who is coming into marriage carrying a huge love deficit. In such a situation, it would be pretty near impossible for a man to love her enough because of the “hole in her soul”. Being denied love is like being denied the tools to grow up, flourish and bloom. Women especially soon wither and die without love and nurture from somewhere. I’m sure each of us can think of a bitter, angry woman who is that way because she has faced abandonment, neglect, been defrauded in marriage by a selfish husband, etc. The psalmist’s comment about the earth trembling sounds similar to “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, lol”.

    If you consider King Saul, her father, this was a man who was vain and self centered, giving to selling out for the sake of his image and the approval of man, jealous and competitive. In other words, insecure. People with such character and development issues tend to be unable to love and affirm others because it is too much about them. Imagine then the kind of father he would have been to Michal and how that might have affected her abilty to relate to a husband in a healthy way. Notice the comment Michal directed to her husband, laced with contempt ” How the king of Israel distinguished himself, disrobing before all Israel as one of the vulgar fellows would”. Here is David, celebrating freely, while bitter Michal has no such freedom, only resentment.

    I believe this is a very apt and accurate commentary on how a deficit of love can warp a person’s soul to the point where even when they are given love, it is never enough to fill the deep well of need and bitter pain and also on how the person on the other end will never be able to do enough to make it better. They are trying to fill the grand canyon with a thimble.

  6. (USA)  I would like to show you a scripture in the KJV, King James Version, the NKJV New King James Version, the amplified and the message Bible which states in the book of Proverbs 26:21. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife.

    I looked up the word contentious in the dictionary and the definition states this… Contentious, Creating disagreement, Causing or likely to cause disagreement and disputes between people with differing views. It should have been possible to word the statement in a less contentious way. Argumentative, frequently engaging in and seeming to enjoy arguments and disputes.

  7. (USA)  1.Ephesians 5:25, Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Ephesians 5:24-26 (in Context) Ephesians 5 (Whole Chapter) 2. Colossians 3:19, Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

    Colossians 3:18-20, What should a leader of God’s church be like? It’s in the Bible, I Timothy 3:1-7, NIV. “Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to much wine, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

    Effective leaders delegate and show appreciation for the work of others. It’s in the Bible, Exodus 39:43, NIV. “Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them.”

    Effective leaders recognize their limitations. It’s in the Bible, Deuteronomy 1:9, TLB. “At that time I told the people, ‘I need help! You are a great burden for me to carry all by myself.”

    True leaders are servants. It’s in the Bible, Luke 22:25, NIV. “Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.'”

    Leaders should be an example of hard work. It’s in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 9:10, NIV. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Proverbs 26:10 As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious MAN to kindle strife.

    Dictionary definition of MAN. Please refer to #10 for the sake of this blog: man [man]
    n (plural men [men]) 1. adult male human: an adult male human being 2. particular type of man: an adult male human being with a particular occupation, responsibility, background, or nationality (usually used in combination)
    the TV repairman 3. person: a person, regardless of sex or age (often offensive) a six-man crew 4. human race: the human race in general (often offensive) 5. modern or earlier human being: a member of the group that comprises modern humans and their ancestors. Genus: Homo (sometimes considered offensive)

    6. employee or worker: an employee or worker of either gender (often offensive) 7. male member of armed forces: a male member of the armed forces, especially one who is not an officer (usually used in the plural) 8. servant: a man who is a servant (dated) 9. virile person: the personification of qualities traditionally associated with the male sex, including courage, strength, and aggression, or somebody with such qualities 10. husband or male companion: a husband, or a man who is another person’s companion or lover (slang) 11. term of address: a term of address to a person of either sex (slang) (sometimes considered offensive) Cool it, man!

    12. Manauthority figure: somebody in a position of authority, or a group that is seen as having an unfair advantage or undue power over others (dated slang) (sometimes considered offensive) in trouble with the Man 13. piece used in board games: a piece used in playing board games such as checkers 14. medieval vassal: in feudal societies of the early Middle Ages, an adult male human who swore allegiance to a lord in return for help and protection 15. ship: a ship, especially one of a particular kind (used in combination) man-of-war

    vt (past and past participle manned, present participle man·ning, 3rd person present singular mans) (often offensive) 1. supply something with workers: to provide something with workers, operators, or military personnel 2. be ready to use something: to be ready to operate or defend something

    interj used for emphasis: used to add emphasis (slang) Man, that was exciting!

    [Old English man(n) < Indo-European, “person, man”]

    -man·like, , adj a poor man’s… a cheaper or inferior version of something, especially one that is more widely available than the original as one man unanimously or without exception (often offensive if used of women) be your own man to have the resources or confidence to be responsible for yourself or your actions (often offensive if used of women)
    to a man everyone, without any exceptions (often offensive if used of women) See person.

    The etymologically primary sense of man is “human being, person,” and that is what it generally meant in Old English: the sexes were usually distinguished by wer “man” (which survives probably in werewolf) and wīf (source of modern English wife) or cwene “woman.” But during the Middle English and early modern English periods “male person” gradually became the primary meaning, and today man, meaning “person,” is decidedly on the decline (helped on its way by those who feel that the usage discriminates against women).
    Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

  8. (USA)  Husbands (Leaders) There is help for the leader who feels inadequate. It’s in the Bible, James 1:5, NIV. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

  9. (USA)  Thank you all for your comments. I found this site searching help for myself to know how to love an unloving husband. I come with a background of a mean father, and I married a man that now acts like my father. I cry so much, but God told me that He will bless me. He did not tell me to leave my marriage. In the past I imagine how wonderful it would be to be without my husband. So now I am hanging on the hope and trust and promise from my Father in Heaven. But it is horrible and I wish I had more strength.

    I worry that I am not obedient to God because I get so angry at my husband for being so mean, not wanting to understand what I am trying to tell him. And I lose my patience and just tell him how horrible he makes me feel. He replies saying that he is sorry that I don’t feel loved because he says that he does love me.

    I cry out to God so many times, and when in my tears I beg Him to tell me what to do. He tells me to wait. This goes on every day. We will have been married 8 years this March. I never know if my husband will even remember our anniversary – usually it has been that we are not speaking to each other. Thank you for your comments, they have been helpful. God bless you all.

    1. (USA)  Lena, It is almost a year ago that you wrote your comment but I wanted to reply as someone who has been married for almost a quarter of a century to an unloving man who was emotionally/verbally abusive (both of us believers, in an intercultural marriage and still married). There can be healing and improvement. I am still working on and praying for complete healing but I would like to recommend that you start by reading the book Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend.

      You need a male, Biblical psychologically sound perspective on your situation. After that you can also read Boundaries in Marriage. Those books will help you protect yourself from the skewed understanding of scripture one can get when in a hostile situation with a spouse. You will not get the respect or love from your spouse and your spouse will not get the help and the truth he needs until you can lovingly lay down the boundaries that Gods word provides for you both.

      In my case, God did not deliver me from my unloving spouse. I believe he gave me to my husband in order to heal him from his own hurts. After all man was not created for woman but it was the other way around. We women were created as a helper for man. I pray in Jesus’ name for you Lena, and any woman who reads this who is in a similar situation, that you would, in a spirit of power and of love and not of fear, speak and act the truth in love placing appropriate boundaries in all your relationships, especially with your husband. And I pray that you will bless him and not harm all the days of his life and that you will receive the love that God has instructed your husband to give you as a pressed down and overflowing blessing.

      1. (USA) OMG Lena and Diane- It is October 2012- I just found this website and it is an answer from God. I have been married 2.5 years to someone that is an unloving husband. We have been through counseling with Christian pastors, etc (we’re both believers and leaders in our church). At church he is great- but at home he is distant- verbally and at times emotionally abusive. I feel shut down and crushed. I am all time praying for help and trying to do what the Lord lays on my heart. It’s extremely difficult and hard to handle. Reading your stories has helped me tremendously. Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. (SOUTH AFRICA) Diana, Thank you for the advice you gave to Lena… it gives me hope that I too can endure my marriage. We have one child and another on the way.

    My husband can be a very kind and affectionate person but he has caused me so much hurt thus far in our short marriage. Just sticking to recent occurrences, 2 months ago while he was in an argument with his sister -both are explosive personalities and she said some nasty and hurtful things to my husband. In a telephone call to her husband the next morning my husband was illustrating how hurtful his sisters words could be by recounting an incident that happened 6 months before that -my baby was 10 days old and the sister came to visit and the visit ended in her yelling at me, accusing me of not being a woman -as I apparently dared to let my husband to assist with household chores, which he willingly did anyway!

    Anyway, he told her husband that his sister had told him that he has settled for me. After his conversation, he came into the bedroom. I told him that during the incident 6 months ago, his sister had not said that he has settled for me. My husband was furious that I was contradicting him and instead of discussing it with me, he immediately picked up the phone to his brother-in-law again, and told him that I was the cause of all the problems in their family; that he was struggling to keep our marriage together just because of our baby and that he needed to decide if his marriage was right for him.

    The next day, he retracted all the comments -to me but not the his brother in law, and he explained that his sister had made the comment about settling but not in the example he was telling his brother about. This doesn’t help with how he de-famed me thought :-(

    Then 2 weeks ago, we were happily watching a movie and after that he asked me a question arising from the movie -‘if I killed someone, would you call the police on me?’ I answereed by saying that I wouldn’t stop trying to make him do the right thing -that is to give himself up -and would stay with him throughout the whole thing. He became upset at me telling me that his father has a gem in his mother because she had lied for him on numerous occassions. I tried explaining to him that I was trying to do the right/righteous thing, not the good thing and that lying for him would be putting him before God. He then told me that if he had known I was that righteous a person, he never would have married me and that from now on he would do everything in his power to hurt and destroy me. He mentioned that he would have affairs without my knowing about them. He accused me of being a contentious woman and asked for a divorce (which he asks for on a bi-monthly basis!).

    2 weeks have gone by and he seems to have completely forgotten the harsh words uttered and the divorce he asked for. I am not that fortunate. I feel that any chance for us having a trusting relationship and intimacy has been completely destroyed. How do you trust and allow yourself to get close to someone who has vowed to destroy you? :-(

    I have no intention of walking out on my marriage, I intend to be faithful to the vows I made and to my family, but forever is a long time to be living in such a precarious position when you know your husband is out having affairs and you just have to endure it! And worse still, is that he’s doing it to intentionally cause you pain. :-(

    I will read the books you suggested Diana, and pray that I will find some advise in there and for grace to endure as you have. God Bless you and your family.

  11. (SOUTH AFRICA) My wife for 15 years and mother of three children, said to me “I married you for money. I was so desperate and I thought money is the way it was, not because I loved you. I am sorry to say this; I should have told long back. I don’t have feelings for you at all. My parents were separated as you know, and I had no one to support my needs financially. That’s why I came into your life.”

    She packed my clothes in front of the police last week so I moved out. But I had no place to go so I had to come back. That’s when she told me this. Now I dont know whether she meant it. Please assist me. I don’t know what to do. She always regrets it that she dropped her boyfriend for me. I am so desperate to get a straight answer from anyone who can assist in this issue.

  12. Proverbs have some great generic truths. But they can be hard to contextualize. Your article helps.

    In a 28-year marriage. My wife converted to Christianity when we started dating but one day after our marriage changed completely. From extrovert to introvert; fun-loving and adventuresome to serious and a “librarian”. She stopped reading her Bible and journaling. Started to berate me publicly and privately (almost daily). She has no friends and berates mine. I’m sympathetic to your advice above but were way past tips.

    Think more in line of being a Christian in Syria right now and you will get the feel of what it is like to be married to my contentious woman. Sometimes all God can do with an unrepentant spouse is turn them into a pillar of salt.

    1. This I have discovered: the abusiveness that a man can be subject to is minimized and overlooked, especially in Christian circles. God Himself brought Israelites out of oppression and abuse yet millions of men are oppressed and abused on EVERY level by wives around the globe and NO ONE is willing to call women on the carpet. I love my wife and SHOW it; and for 11 years she has been hateful.

      Not one day has gone by without me being cursed out or name called by my wife. She intentionally does VERY mean spirited things toward me. As a wife all of this would say to me that you can say and do what you want even hatefully and you will receive love for it. I intentionally now avoid marriage seminars books, etc., because NOBODY in Christian circles tells women to look at God’s Word on how to treat people and STOP being hateful and mean to husbands. Surely God cares, right? Surely there has to be a consequence for outright acting hatefully, right? Otherwise that looks like an abuse of grace. I’ve lived HELL here on earth. Kathy Bates in Misery is saintly to what I’ve endured.

      1. There is no viable reply. This is the truth. And to me its earthshaking. To live a prisonlike existence and to be locked in because there is no answer except for a wife to cut the act. They know full well what they are doing and sadistically continue. I have to say this is the only prayer area God has not answered. If the hearts of kings are in His hands surely my wifes is, so why doesn’t God do something to get her attention and make her stop?

        When I found out that marriage is a one way deal: husband has to love, but the wife doesn’t have to I thought: this is a bum deal. If I were a wife I’d see a clear pathway to abuse, disregard, disrespect and even destroy my husband with no fear of consequences because there are NONE.

        1. Dear Farrell, I hear in your posts your anger and frustration – at your wife, at God and at the Christian community, and it would seem quite justified. But how is it really possible in the circumstances to really be loving with all this anger and distrust? If the situation as black and white as you describe, with your behaviour as only loving and her behaviour only hateful, then it doesn’t leave much hope actually. “I love my wife and SHOW it” is the summary of your behaviour, while your wife “for 11 years has been hateful” and “intentionally does very mean-spirited things” towards you.

          It is totally understandable that this situation would have you burnt out and cynical, and starting to doubt God: (“Surely God cares, right?”) which is a problem only if it separates you from Him, without giving Him an opportunity to win back that trust. Possible solutions you have mentioned are for marriage seminars is to tell “women to look at God’s Word on how to treat people and STOP being hateful and mean to husbands”; and for God to “do something to get her attention and make her stop?”

          You express frustration that there are no consequences to the abuse: What would you wish those to be? I am not saying there is anything wrong with feeling anger about your situation, but since none of these solutions is one you have direct control over, would it be worth trying a solution that you can have an active role in? One-on-one counseling may be in order at this point so that you can be heard and get trusted feedback. For example, if it is that anger is the expression of an unmet need, have you ever reframed your frustration as a need and expressed this need to your wife? For example your own need for consideration/understanding, regard and respect from her, and words that build you up (vs “disrespect”, “disregard” and “destroy”?) and help you to thrive and get the energy you need to love her as you want to.

          Have you ever been curious about what her unmet needs might be, and what she might be angry or frustrated about? Would you be willing to try meet this need if she were willing to share it with you, and if so would you let her know that, and would you follow through? What if there were something she would need to forgive you for – Would you be willing to acknowledge it and ask her for that forgiveness? This approach requires a lot of courage and humility, and a willingness to be vulnerable, which is difficult or impossible in one’s own strength. Can you find it to trust God to help you to forgive your wife and to risk yourself emotionally to save your relationship? I am not saying I know the solution, just posing the question: Could a change in approach or perspective shift your interactions and relationship from a downward spiral to an upward spiral?

          One advantage of being in a Christian home is the opportunity to pray together (however reluctantly). If it is awkward to bring it up with her directly, could you express these needs, desires and promises to God in prayer with your spouse? Just a thought.

  13. My husband constantly argues with me about everything. He has not been working and has to constantly be right. Even when we’re just having a conversation he’ll argue about my opinion. It usually is not even about anything I care about one way or the other, so I have decide to just not talk to him. I agree with him and go along with whatever I think will please him. Stopping the quarreling is my goal. I would like to just talk and discuss things like grown ups but I’ve come to believe this is not possible.

    Our 2 sons are even having a hard time with any conversation with him. They have also shut down and are not interacting with us as a family and avoiding the conflicts. What should I do? Scripture? That will help, but all I see is about a quarreling wife!!!

    1. Dana, part of this may be going on because secretly inside, he doesn’t feel very good about himself (with not working) and feels that perhaps he can be in control on at least THIS aspect of your lives together. I’m not sure. I don’t know if it would help if you look for things he does that are helpful and good –that you try to build him up by noticing and saying nice things to him about those things or not. But it’s sure worth a try. It might help him to be less defensive.

      You don’t say why your husband isn’t working. I’m hoping he’s actively looking for a job and will eventually find something (even if it’s not the job of his dream… anything might be an improvement over nothing). You also ask for scriptures, but don’t say whether or not he’s a Christian (because if he isn’t, he may not pay attention to them and would be upset if you brought them up). But here are just a few: http://marriagemissions.com/scripture-verses-on-communication/. Keep in mind that just because it doesn’t specifically say “husbands” or “wives” it doesn’t mean that they don’t apply, quite the opposite. The principles for loving each other as husband and wife are the principles for living, as outlined in the Bible. If you want to get your relationship to a loving place, the Bible is the first place to look as the Holy Spirit guides you.

      The best thing to do is to approach matters that are volatile at times when it isn’t a H.A.L.T. time. The following article will explain a bit about this (there are others posted in the “Communication and Conflict” topic that you may want to read through, as well): http://marriagemissions.com/h-a-l-t-and-the-pencil-method/. If nothing else, you have two sons who are witnessing how you are interacting with each other. “Right fighting” (as mentioned in the article I just recommended you read, and elsewhere on the web site, which you can see further discussions on, if you put that term into our search feature), just builds more walls, rather than communication bridges, which it’s important to do. Do some praying about it, be wise (as Queen Esther was about her approach to her husband who wasn’t keen on listening to his wife), and see what you and the Lord can come up with that might help you both to interact together better than you are. You both can get to a better place in being happier in your marriage, as well as being good witnesses and examples to your sons who need good role models to look up to, concerning marriage. I hope this helps.