In chapter 8 of our marriage book, How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting with One Another, I discuss the 3 choices that husbands have when faced with difficulties in a marriage. Here’s a little food for thought from Dr. Raymond Force, Christian marriage speaker and coach.
A Husband is a Gardener
A husband is a gardener and his wife is a garden. If he fails to take care of his garden, weeds of sarcasm, anger, bitterness, boredom, and resentment will start to grow. It is at that point that every man has one of three choices:
The husband can choose to change gardens by way of leaving his spouse.
Although it is an unscriptural choice, if a man wants to, he can choose to leave his wife. It is not what he signed up for, nor would this choice correlate with the covenant of marriage. But, if providence chooses to leave him to his own devices, he can walk away from his marriage.
The husband can keep his garden, yet grow bitter about the weeds.
I feel that most men in a less than perfect marriage, fall underneath this present category. Instead of making the appropriate changes in their lives, they will stay in the marriage, yet get bitter about the negativite aspects of their wife and the relationship in general. Once this occurs, the man has started down the path of becoming a grumpy, negative husband.
Colossians 3:19 says:
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”
The Lord gives this command because he is more than aware that a man’s temptation is to live selfishly, yet complain about the biproduct of living in such a manner. His primary weakness is to become disgusted with the very weeds that his lack of love has helped to grow. In my view, this is why many a husband grows into a negative husband.
The husband can start doing what it takes to prevent the weeds from growing in his garden.
Option number three is not only best, but scriptural, and it involves the husband serving his wife as he would his own interests and desires (Ephesians 5:28). Of course, as mentioned in the last point, he can choose to complain about the weeds, but that will do little to further the cause of happiness in his marriage. He will do more to endear success by taking sole responsibility for the state of his garden and serve his wife as he agreed to do when he made a covenant before God and others.
I find that many men are short sighted in that they fail to see that their actions have exposed their wives to their emotional vulnerabilities. When they should have been focusing on the cause, they seem to become embittered about the effect. A failure to reverse this order will be the source of little or no progress in a man’s marriage. It will only serve as an impetus for a lukewarm relationship at best, and it will lead to the man coming across as simply a negative husband.
I have also seen that men will do more to fast-forward the problem solving process if they will ask themselves questions as such: If I had been sacrificially loving my wife from day one of our marriage, would she have ever felt so tempted to act in a negative manner to my behavior? Or, if I had been properly taking care of my garden in the first place, would these weeds of anger, sarcasm, unforgiveness, and resentment even be growing?