The Huffington Post ran an article on December 29, 2014 by Sloane Bradshaw entitled, “4 Huge Mistakes I Made as a Wife (I’m The Ex-Wife Now).” Here is her list…
1. I put my children first.
She wrote, “Whenever my marriage started to feel like work, I would check-out and head to Build-A-Bear Workshop or the science museum with the kids in tow… we were hardly alone together and never had kid-free date nights. Well, maybe once a year on our anniversary.”
It seems significant that, in the Bible, time and again the husband-wife relationship is mentioned before the parent-child relationship. “Wives, submit to your own husbands… Husbands love your wives… children, obey your parents… fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath” (Ephesians 5:22-6:4). “Wives, submit to your own husbands… husbands, love your wives… children obey your parents… Fathers, do not provoke your children” (Colossians 3:18-21). “Admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children” (Titus 2:4). If such is not clear enough, let us return to creation. “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). God’s design is for the husband-wife relationship to surpass even the parent-child relationship.
2. I didn’t set (or enforce) boundaries with my parents.
She wrote, “They were at our house frequently, sometimes arriving unannounced and walking right in. They’d ‘help out’ around the house doing things we never asked them to…we’d vacation with them. They’d correct our children in front of us. My own fears of upsetting my parents kept me from drawing a line in the sand and asking them not to cross it.”
While it is true that there is to be a care and concern for parents even when the child enters adulthood (1 Timothy 5:4, 8, 16; Mark 7:6-13; Proverbs 23:22), there is also to be a leaving of parents and a joining to one’s spouse (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5-6). That is – the home is to be a discrete, autonomous unit.
What is the role of the in-laws? Bill Flat suggested, “In-laws should make themselves available for help when needed without trying to control the young couple” (editors Garland Elkins and Thomas Warren, The Home As God Would Have It, p. 113).
3. I emasculated him.
She wrote, “Instead of building up his ego, I trampled all over it. I belittled him often, saying his job was unimportant and dismissing his friends as ‘hangers-on.’ I berated him for doing things wrong when, in all honesty, he wasn’t doing them my way. At times, I spoke to him like a child… I found myself constantly looking for faults and mistakes so that I could justify my superiority. By the end I had zero respect for him and I made sure he knew it and felt it every day.”
How should we use our tongues? “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 5:32). The Golden Rule should guide our speech (Matthew 7:12). We are told of the virtuous woman, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). Her husband also shows kindness with his words, notice: “Her husband… he praises her; ‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all’” (Proverbs 31:28-29).
4. I didn’t bother to learn to fight the right way.
She wrote, “I tended to keep the peace in our house by keeping my mouth shut when things were really bothering me. As you can imagine, all of the small things that drove me crazy grew into a giant suppressed ball of anger that would erupt occasionally in a huge, really frightening hulk-like rage, I mean rage in the clinical, mental-health definition kind of way.”
When there is a real or imagined wrong, communication is needed. The Bible says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone…” (Matthew 18:15). Silence does not help. Silence may communicate that there exists some problem. However, it does not clearly communicate what the problem is; nor, does it help resolve the situation.
When there exists a strong disagreement, or anger, we need to especially be careful with our words, so that we do not needlessly escalate the matter. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Our words are to be with grace, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6).
When an issue is being discussed, we should stay on topic. We should not bring up side issues which are not the real issue. We certainly should not bring up past issues which have been supposedly forgiven. “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends” (Proverbs 17:9). Love “bears all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). The word translated “bear” means, “To cover, to keep confidential…” (Arndt-Gingrich); “To cover, to protect by covering…” (Thayer); “Primarily, to protect or preserve by covering” (Vine’s). Adam Clark commented, “Love conceals everything which should be concealed.”
We should be forgiving. “If your brother sins against you, rebuke him: and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day and seven times in a day returns to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4). It is a sin to be implacable (Romans 1:31).
The wise do not send the majority of their time rehashing the problem. They spend their time looking for solutions. There are three appropriate questions we should ask ourselves: (1) Are we willing to do what is right? (2) Are we willing to do what is right, right now? (3) Are we willing to let the Bible determine what is right?