Stop Talking (Part 2) OK, I’m quiet, now what do I do?

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If you missed the first part – Stop Talking (Part 1): Thank you I don’t need your help, you can find it here.  In the first part I laid a foundation for why God asks us wives to be quiet from time to time.

~~~

I want to start Part 2 off with a visual exercise.  Let’s say your son brings home his future bride.  You’ve got super high-powered discernment and are able to clearly see the person of the hidden heart.  Which hidden person would you hope to see?

quiet - which one

 She’s one who’s going to emerge when the pressures on from daily living.

Now what?

Sister warriors, the part from 1 Peter 3:1‘not by discussion’ – isn’t about becoming the mute-in-the-marriage, as some would have you believe.  It’s about training to learn how to talk to your own husband, so that you’ll learn to speak the opposite of how the world has taught you to speak — so that your husband will WANT to listen to you.

The language God has chosen for us wives is the diametric opposite of the voice the world uses – we can see the difference by examining the contrast of:

  • Listening to His instruction only.
  • Observing other couples.  That’s right.  Observe the way other wives are speaking at their husbands.  Then observe the behaviour and countenance and demeanor of the husband.  Really examine the fruit.

When you stop talking, what happens?  You are able to discern.  Sights and sounds resonate with clarity.  Being quiet is about observing what is going on around you – in this case, in the relationship of marriage.  It’s not judging the people involved, just witnessing the interactions.

I briefly worked at The Home Depot, which gave me some up-close and personal observation opportunities.  It was telling (and sad) to see so many women rip their husbands a new one, tearing down their lack of ability and knowledge of the family finances… out in public, in front of the eyes and ears of others.  These wives lacked discretion, and it echoed through their voices.

While you are quiet and observant so that God can deal with your husband, He will also be teaching you something: discretion.  But not just any discretion – discretion as it relates to your own husband, who you believe is presently not obeying God’s Word.

We need to be effective tools in God’s hands for Him to use us to shape our husbands.  If you lack “the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information,”* your husband won’t listen to you, let alone seek your opinion.  He cannot trust you.

Also, it’s important that we don’t look like spiteful and ignorant women.  “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful face on an empty head.” –Proverbs 11:22

By stepping back, you can see a clear, thorough image of yourself.  You can ask God: “What kind of wife am I? What do I look like … to You? God, let me see myself.”

What do I see?

In Proverbs, God says it’s the midyan wife that’s a problem; she is the one to whom He’s saying this.  Our English translations have used a number of different words that can capture her quality(s):

  • Contentious: She’s given to starting arguments – with her husband.
  • Brawling: She’s rough or noisy in fights – with her husband.
  • Nagging: She’s constantly harassing out of fear – her husband.
  • Scolding: She angrily rebukes and reprimands – her husband.
  • Discord: She causes disharmony – with her husband.
  • Disagreeable: She is unfriendly and bad tempered – with her husband.
  • Strife: She’s bitter in disagreement over fundamental issues – with her husband.
  • Quarrelsome: Her temperament is characterized by quarreling – with her husband.

ewww, and unfortunately, there’s more … some wives can get even worse.

In Proverbs 21, we have the wife that takes the cake.  She gets the word midyan and the word ka’as, which means: She’s angry, grief causing, and full of indignation, provocation, spite, wrath and vexation.

Of course husbands could have these traits too, but God’s not speaking about them, is He?  All of these character traits have to do with talking, and it’s women who love to talk… A LOT.  But if you are a midyan wife, God is saying that your husband is better off in the heat of a desert, possibly dying of thirst or starvation … alone.  It is better to dwell in a desert land than with a midyan and ka’as woman. –Proverbs 21:19

Wow, that’s pretty bad. I was pretty bad.  But I couldn’t get it until God got a hold of me and I shut my mouth long enough to see it.

 Talk, talk, talk – STOP!! … just for now

We women burst at the seams to talk.  We always have something to say about everything — especially the behaviours of our husbands.  And because we are such powerful creatures, our talk is amplified.

“New research indicates there’s a biological reason why women talk so much more than men: 20,000 words a day spoken by the average woman, according to one study, versus about 7,000 words a day for the average man.”**

Now take a ton of words, lots of emotion and power, and throw in a pinch of the all-knowing deified-diva, and we’re off to the races, driving our husbands off the couch and out to the garage, or even further way … out to the desert land.

What’s a girl to do?

It’s not that God wants our ‘gift of gab’ to be lost.  He wouldn’t purposely design us this way and then tell us, “Don’t talk.”  He simply wants to renew our minds so that we can talk correctly – His way.  Once we get a good look at ourselves, we can quickly unlearn the wrong way, but it can’t happen if we don’t step out in courage and ask God to show us what we really look like.

No one knows the heart of your husband like God does, right?  God knows what your husband’s doing, how he’s doing it, and why he does it.  As you stand down, your focus will shift from your husband’s behavior back to God’s grace, and he will feel the pressure release as he’s taken out from beneath your magnifying glass.  This is when he hears from God: as he relaxes.

I remember thinking that if I didn’t keep telling my husband, he would think that I agreed with and condoned what he was doing.  The funny thing is, though, that God never says anything like that.  He simply says that He doesn’t need my will or my intervention.  God said, “You don’t have to agree with Darrell, just stop reminding him that you don’t.  He already knows it.”

Step back to go forward

You can’t demand that your husband listen to you.  You don’t power your way into his face and space so that he’s forced to hear to you, because he’s not going to.  Men don’t respond to verbal force by listening and obeying – they respond to force with force.  They tighten up, circle the wagons, hunker down, and dig in.  God KNOWS this is how a husband will respond, because He’s the One that wired him to do exactly that – with all the testosterone!  And that’s why He tells wives, not by discussion.

What God is really asking wives to do is disengage from this particular battle, so that He can step in.  With me constantly engaging my husband in a battle of wills over one particular issue, Darrell was so busy fighting against me that God couldn’t get his attention – I was in the way.

Can God force His way between you and your husband?  Yes, but He won’t, not when He’s already invited you to step back and work co-operatively with Him.

The midyan wife will always have zero influence in her husband’s life.  But a wife who knows when and how to talk, will have a powerful influence on her husband’s life.

 

 

 

 

 

*discretion:  wordhippo.com

**Today Health.com

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16 comments

  1. I have a term that I have yet to share with my wife. It applies to her returning to something she has already made her point known on but keeps incrementally adding more commentary to her remark. “Layering.”

    We need to be leaving in 10 minutes…Later… I’m almost ready…Later… Are you just about ready yet…7 minutes have passed…I’ll go pull the car out…Sits in car with engine running until I come down. I can tell time. I already know she will be running ahead of the time she said as always. 10 minutes is 10 minutes. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

    I need you to do X…Let me know when you’re done doing X…I’ll wait until you do X before I do Y. If you go ahead and do X, I can start or finish Y…and so it goes, layer after (no make that UPON instead of after; a subtle but very real difference in perception) layer.

    My being a procrastinator no doubt has fueled this pattern, but as Doctor pontificating Phil would ask, “How’s that working for you.” If we can’t change one another, perhaps we need to focus on changing ourselves. Husband or wife.

    1. I have seen this dynamic between me and my husband. One thing we’ve learned is that when he verbally acknowledges me when I say something the first time, it is less likely that I will feel the “need” to remind him. He’s learning to acknowledge and I’m learning to let go of the outcome.

      I also do this when discussing my feelings or thoughts. In the past, he often would be deeply thinking about what I’ve said, but didn’t acknowledge that he’d heard, understood or was thinking about it more. He’s made great improvement in this area. When things have gotten tense, he has stopped and said. “I forgot to validate what you were saying. I heard you and I understand” This really helps a lot.

      I’m guessing you will tell me you already do this, but maybe it would help some couples. 🙂

      1. “I’m guessing you will tell me you already do this, but maybe it would help some couples. :)”

        How sweet of you to phrase it that way when I suspect you are thinking just the opposite. HA. No. I don’t always think to do this and have failed to notice the difference when I have done it. Also, being an intorvert and a James 1:19 kind of guy, I do tend to think before responding and don’t always acknowlege I have heard and am evaluating. I mean, after all, she can read my mind, can’t she? Thank you, Trixie. Excellent observation and assesment of the dynamic at play. I’ll be working on that. It’s still al her fault though. 😛

      2. @Trixie
        Addendum: I am just the opposite with the people I work with. My job requires planning on the fly so open and timely communication is a must. Go figure. Thanks again. This will make a big difference.

        1. BD, isn’t it interesting that you can that at work but it slips at home. I only point it out because I’ve heard this from other wives and experienced it our marriage.

        2. Fortunately most men, especially us self-employeds, realize what behaviors are necessary to stay employed. Things may get tense at home when we poorly communicate, but we aren’t likely to get fired of laid off. Of course, we also aren’t likely to get laid in any way, shape or form for that matter. HA

        3. We’re kind of snowed and iced in here today. Church was canceled last night for today. Seems like a good day for an oxytocin oversaturation. I’ll start working on that.

    2. “Layering” what a nice way to say it BD 🙂

      And I like the distinction you’ve made with the word “UPON” rather than “and so it goes.” I do think there is a weight that you husbands would feel with this type of talk from a wife. Perhaps that’s part of what drives husbands away ‘out to the desert land’ – to stop having the weight put on top of them.

      That sounds like a Part 3 post!

  2. @Userdan, I really did think you’d tell me you do that. I will thank my husband for you, as I believe he figured this out first. I’m just the courier in this case. Be blessed, Trixie

  3. I was that midyan wife… I did everything on that list. It is good to see where the Spirit has lead me, and it is almost parallel to your account here. You just do a wonderful job of putting it into words so that I can have a fuller understanding of what went on with me. It’s like an “ah-ha” moment, and “That’s it! She just described the exact thing I went through!”

    1. janna, it’s great to see how far we’ve come isn’t it?! Lots of women tell me the pattern is exactly the same! (You’d almost think there was something ‘other worldly’ at play against us women.) I’m glad it was encouraging for you.

  4. I haven’t had the opportunity to field test what Trixie’s husband tried, but I have a feeling that’s a big part of the problem. I would also surmise that restating the request, to some degree anyway, is much better than “yeah” or “okay”, especially if you have a history of forgetting or only partially finishing things. I would guess most men who agree (acknowledge) to a remark, may do so to quiet the noise (off into the desert) and then delay implementing the task. We also may agree to all things spoken, but plan on blowing off some elements. Easier to “forget” than get into an uncomfortable discussion (argument) as to why you don’t intend to do parts D thru G at this very moment of even ever. More fodder for Part 3.

    But do keep in mind that men who procrastinate and/or do not verbally respond to a request or suggestion are setting themselves up for layering. This does not mean this is how the wife has to or should handle it, only that it is a response that is reasonable under the circumstances. It is what any parent would do with a rebellious child. “I didn’t hear your answer. What did you say?” OUCH! As to Post three, is this a significant part of the mix: The immature child side of the husband is rebelling instead of accessing his mature adult and discussing what he feels is a lack of respect from his wife. Can anyone say passive/aggressive? I knew you could.

    Don’t let wifely submission and biblical patriarchal husband authority cloud the crux of this issue if you consider it for Part three. Immature passive/aggressive behavior isn’t biblical or Christlike.

    1. Too true BD. Immaturity isn’t an excuse for more immaturity. Or, as mom used to say, “2 wrongs don’t make 1 right.” If a wife has a husband that is immature (unloving, not responding, grunting a response, or giving a responding with as few words as possible etc) it is up to her to lean on Christ in her maturity.

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