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