Today, I want to talk about loving our husbands when we don't see eye-to-eye. Marriage is a one-flesh relationship that should be characterized by unity, but for various reasons, including the facts that men and women look at things differently, opposites often attract, and we all have sin natures, it is a given that there will be times when you and your husband disagree over issues that are very important to both of you. I'm not talking about trivial things, such as where you're going to dinner. I'm talking about the big issues and major life decisions that have a huge impact on the direction the family takes. How do you love your husband when you strongly disagree about important issues??
1.Treat him with Respect
It is so important to always treat your husband with respect, whether you are seeing eye-to-eye or not. There are ways of disagreeing with respect. Yelling, name-calling, hitting, slamming things, and other violent behaviors are not among them.
Always remember that a soft answer turns away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1) Be gentle, kind and respectful even when sharing opposing views. If you find you can't disagree respectfully, call a truce, and bring up the subject again another day.
2. Ditch the Pride
Pride is the primary cause of contention. (Proverbs 13:10) So many disagreements can be diffused with a spirit of humility rather than pride.
If you have to always be right and always "win" any argument, then you can be confident that you are dealing with the sin of pride. God says he resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Not only that, but Proverbs 15:25 says the Lord will destroy the house of the proud!! Your husband will also resist and react to your prideful spirit, making it virtually impossible to reach a point of peace and unity.
3. Remember Who the Enemy Is
It is helpful to remind yourself that you and your husband are on the same team! Your husband is not your enemy -- Satan is. He seeks to kill, steal and destroy. He wants to kill your love, steal your joy and your unity, and destroy your marriage. Don't let him!
4. Make a Wise Appeal
When you are seriously burdened about the direction your husband is leading the family, a decision he is making, or an issue in his life, you should consider making a wise appeal. Carefully prepare your appeal based on facts rather than emotions or feelings. Then consider how important right timing, an appropriate setting, and an humble spirit are in presenting your case to your husband. Much wisdom about making a wise appeal to our husbands can be gleaned from the book of Esther.
5. Pray for God to change his heart.
Sometimes our carefully researched and appropriately presented appeal will still fall on "deaf" ears. At such times, we have to be willing to "tape our mouths shut" and just pray about the issue. Proverbs 21:1 says that, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will." God is in the business of changing hearts, and he can and will change our husbands' hearts when we get out of the way!
An Illustration from my Life:
In our first decade of marriage, my husband and I reached an impasse several times, when we both held strong and opposing views on key issues that would drastically alter the course of our lives. These were major, life-changing issues, such as whether I would continue my career or stay home to raise our children, whether we would homeschool or send our children to the government schools, and whether we would use birth control or allow God to control our family size.
I will share about one of the most contentious issues we tackled -- how our children would be educated.
I first learned about homeschooling when our oldest daughter was about four. I was very impressed with the first homeschooling family that I met, and became very curious to learn more about this "strange option" called homeschooling. As I read and researched and prayed about it, I began to feel very strongly that this was the right educational path for our family. I feared that our oldest daughter, who was very smart, sensitive and imaginative, would not do well in a public school classroom, and I desired to impart our biblical values and godly character to her. However, the more I became convinced in my heart that we should give homeschooling a try, the more my husband dug in his heels and refused to even consider such a "fanatical" idea! At one point he boldly stated, "Over my dead body will we ever homeschool!" ;) Of course, he laughs about that rash statement now!
Finally, I realized that all of our attempts to discuss this issue ended in arguments, anger, hurt feelings, and tears. However, as her kindergarten year approached, it was an issue that had to be faced and a decision made. Since my husband refused to read any of the persuasive books on homeschooling that I had been reading and carefully planting where he would see them, ;) and because I was an English major and former technical writer, I decided to write a "treatise on homeschooling" and present it to him. This allowed me to eloquently present my side in a factual, persuasive manner, with works cited to back up my points! :) It also enabled me to share everything that was in my heart without getting emotional or angry.
However, after reading my carefully written appeal, my husband was still not persuaded. :( I knew that I had done my best to present my side, and I felt very strongly that homeschooling was what God was calling us to and that it would be the best thing for our family, but I knew I couldn't talk my husband into it. I had already tried that! ;) God directed my attention to 1 Peter 3:1 --
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,
I knew that I must shut my mouth, stop my arguments and appeals, submit to my husband, and just pray that God would change his heart. It was through much prayer and my commitment to have a meek and quiet spirit and to submit my will to my husbands, that the Lord eventually changed my husband's heart!! How exciting and faith-building it was for me when my husband announced that he had changed his mind and was agreeing to a "trial period" for homeschooling! We took it a year at a time for the first couple years, but that "trial period" eventually extended to 23 years and counting of home education for our family! :) Praise God!
Your Turn to Share:
How do you respond when you and your husband don't see eye to eye? Are you able to disagree with humility, love, and respect? Do you have a testimony that you can share of how God changed your husband's heart as the result of a wise appeal and/or prayer?? I'd love to hear your story! Please share so we might all be encouraged!
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