A Husband Has 1 Of 3 Choices


In chapter 8 of our marriage book, How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting with One Another, Dr. Raymond Force discusses the 3 choices that husbands have when faced with difficulties in a marriage. Here is a little food for thought from our marriage book.


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?

– Dr. Force


For Individual Study Or Use As A Couples Devotional


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Posted in Issues Relating to Husbands

275 comments on “A Husband Has 1 Of 3 Choices
  1. John says:

    My wife wants to define love for her ultimately as obedience to her, though she denies that wording. I love her but can’t agree to everything. How to die to self without compromising the gospel or abrogating to female headship.

    • John,

      You will not win this battle in the way you are fighting it. You may want to read our article about this subject. It is at: https://hittinghomeministry.com/fix-your-marriage/

      If you really want her to lay down her arms, you will only accomplish this through sacrificial service. Trying to get her to see this from an intellectual standpoint at this time is futile. If you don’t agree with this approach now, please shoot me an email after about 10 years of trying it your way to validate my point.

      I am not attempting to be argumentative, but I have had this conversation a gazillion times with men, and, there are times that I have to be very straightforward in order to save them a lifetime of frustration.

      You may be right in what you are perceiving, but you will have to be wise in how you move your marriage to the next level.

      Also, sometimes love does look like obedience to another person. In other words, if you read John 13 and Matthew 20:28, you will find that Christ took on the form of a servant, yet He was still the Sovereign Ruler of the universe. Sometimes, the way to gain respect is to earn it with humility.

      Thank you,

      Dr. Force

  2. John D. Black says:

    Is it possible for a husband to love his wife selflessly and sacrificially and yet his “garden” have weeds? What is the difference between a wife “feeling loved” and her being the head?

    • John,

      It is possible. Keep in mind that when trying to address the masses, there are exceptions that are sometimes difficult to address in every article.

      Even the Bible makes general statements without always addressing the exceptions. In Ephesians 5:28, the scriptures tell us that if a man loves wife, he loves himself. The idea is what he gives, he usually gets back, but, of course, there are situations where this does not occur. And, the scriptures do not go out of their way to address these potential exceptions.

      I am not so sure I understand your second question. Maybe you could clarify?


      Dr. Force

      • Frustrated and discouraged husband says:

        I agree with your response. My wife thinks “if I, the husband do right…then she the wife will do right” as if the outcome is guaranteed. The master husbandman never did wrong why did his bride turn away at the first garden then his nation [bride] keep going to adultery? I am trying as a husband but I truly find it discouraging when I my wife seems preoccupied with highlighting my faults. I am not a bible scholar but it seems to point us to humility and esteeming others more highly than ourselves. It seems to say that we cannot blame others for our actions and that we ought to do what is right even to the extent of loving our enemies. And I am no way saying to ignore the message to the husbands. That is a separate issue and there’s much to discuss there. What if God told her, He will stop showing her favor until she stops messing up. I thought it is loving kindness that leads us to change. Need encouragement! How about this little scripture: 1Pet 3-1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
        7You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

        8To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

    • libl says:

      Another exception would be a husband who doesn’t tend the garden but because he is married to a godly woman, she works very hard to keep those weeds which naturally grow down. Unfortunately, the effect this tends to have is that because he doesn’t experience the fullness of the negative consequences of his actions, he is enabled and gets away with being a jerk. I can’t tell you how many wives I know married to bad husbands who have been told it isn’t bad enough to leave and they should just change their attitudes, submission, expectations, etc.

      • BDR says:

        I would love to see the Dr’s reply to this. First, I have a good husband. I want to clarify that. I am loved and safe, secure and we get along fine. BUT… before our marriage he would attend Mass with me and agreed to find a home church once we married and I moved in with him. I made it very clear how important worship and fellowship of a church are to me and could swear he agreed. All it took was one time of saying, ‘Oh, you’re tired? Get some rest, I can go by myself.’ And he won’t go with me any more. He has to complete the annulment process before I can be in full communion with the church and fully participate in the Mass, he has drug the submission process out two years so far. He is not Catholic but agreed to this before we married. He is CRC and I have made it clear that my goal is to worship with him, at a church of his choosing if he’s uncomfortable with a Mass. No luck. I ask him about it around once a quarter, to check the progress and it usually ends in an argument. I refuse to be the angry one, bitter and disrespectful, but it is getting somewhat more difficult. I’m at a loss…

        • “He has to complete the annulment process before I can be in full communion with the church and fully participate in the Mass, he has drug the submission process out two years so far. ”

          Could you let me know what you mean by this?

          Thank you,

          Dr. Force

          • Shellie says:

            I do belive that in the Catholic Church, if you get married, especially if you’re spouse is not Catholic, they have to convert to Catholicism. And until that happens the other spouse is denied full participation in Mass and other church “rituals” (for lack of better terms). That is my understanding of it, from the way my parents have explained it to me. My Grandmother had to completely convert to Catholicism before she was even able to marry my Grandfather many moons ago.

          • Dan says:

            Shellie, it’s not true. You ask the Catholic priest.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have this problem and am ready to give up because he is becoming unbearable

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