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
Our marriage book, How to Fight For Your Marriage Without Fighting With One Another, has been designed for individual study as well as a couples devotional. With thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter, couples find our book a helpful resource to encourage healthy, forward-thinking conversation. For ordering information, visit our online resource center.
Prefer listening rather than reading? Check out our audio book or listen to a live recording of one of our How to Fight for Your Marriage – Marriage Conferences. These are great options for the non-reader in your life.
Oops! Almost forgot. There is a that Amazon option also available to you.
As a wife you have hit the nail right on the head. I am going to try to buy this book if I can get some extra money. I read this article and Controlling Your Spouse Through Emotions and both of them were on point as far as what I am dealing with with my husband.
I’m having some difficulty coming to terms with some of these topics, this one in particular. Why does it read as if 1 or 2 is chosen, it’s the husbands fault for the failing marriage? The wife has an equal obligation. She must do her part to not bring weeds into the garden as to not give opportunity for them to spread uncontrollably. At some point, it’s a lost cause. The garden is overrun. Even if you got the weeds under control by way of accepting her past behaviour, the soil is no longer fertile. The weeds have sucked every remaining nutrient needed for a garden to flourish. And you’re telling me that if he chooses 1 or 2, that he’s at fault?
I do not think it is placing sole blame on the husband rather than being biblical in how a husband should be toward his spouse. We can’t change our spouse only ourselves, how we treat them, how we respond to them, how we make them feel and in turn hopes to cultivate a changed response in turn from them. I think it is better to say you did everything you possibly could to work on your marriage than just to say it’s too hard it’s hopeless and not try.
Takes two regardless. It’s great to think a husband would bring positivity, but that’s never been my experience. If he did-he’d have his choice of extracurriculars with me-and likely his wife too.
Because the husband is the head of the home. Period. Plain and simple. Leadership requires leading. Why do we look for resignations from the Top when things fall apart. Because ultimately the leadership is where the buck stops.
It sounds like you’re still playing a blame game instead of stepping up to lead.
Leaving because you are not “happy” or in “loVe” is not an option. loVe is an action, not feeling. You must continually loVe, even if he/she denies or throws the loVe away. loVe with vulnerability, never ceasing.
What I believe you are focussed on is “fault.” In a healthy marriage blame is a rare thing, because both husband and wife are looking inward instead of being right or pointing fingers. This is geared towards husband’s, and there are book and wrote ups that are geared towards wives. Subjects likely helping them to better serve, honor and respect their husband God has created woman to desire to do those things but sin and weakness or ignorance can distort how woman are to Love and esteem their husband. Men and women are created differently, by God’s design, to compliment strengths and make up for the others weakness. This happeneds in a healthy way when both parties choose the verb form of love and lay diwn their right to be “right.” This write up us geared towards men, giving them a practical way to view different paths in marriage and what,those choice will yeald.However, by creationss design women tend to respond to the leading of their husband.In other words, It first starts with the husband.So, When a woman feels safe and not criticized, and is wholly loved by their husband, many of the past hurts and fears can heal. Of course it takes two, and woman have a responsibility to choose love the verb.Neither one should rely on whatthe other is doing right or wrong. Loving their spouse in spite of where they are at is sacraficial love done unto God and trusting that he will bring the other person to healing and wholeness. Sacrificial love, from both husband and wife is the ultimate goal
Very well said!
Not entirely true. The Lord is head of the man and man is head of his wife. As a husband, our actions, behavior, ECT spreads to the wife and then to the children. Therefore, we do pave the way for the weaker vessels. This framework doesn’t only apply to the Christian man either, it is seen even in the non-christian setting. However, when the Lord finds us or man or woman gives his/her life to the Lord, new ways of life and living begin. But, because one changes for the Lord it is their responsibility to help the counterpart, and not by beating them in the head with scripture, but by faith and walking/talking in the spirit. It seems rare for man to follow actions of the wife, but the Lord says hearken to her. If the wife is following the Lord, then it would be wise to do the same as this alone would create an amazing marriage. Because of this framework, it is simple to understand that in the beginning God created all. Therefore, we all need Jesus Christ and this also goes to prove once again that the God of Israel is the only true God and we came from Him. Therefore, ask for forgiveness for our sins and believe and He will yes save us.
You need to go back and read the word again. A man sets the tone of his household his marriage hence which is why the man ask the woman to marry him. The Bible say Husbands love your wife as Jesus love the church. You see it is very simple God prepares the husband to take on a wife. What did God do when he created Adam he gave him a home which was the Garden of Eden and that job was to attend to it. And then he gave him a helpmate. It wasn’t the other way around. And God didn’t cast them out when Eve ate the apple but when Adam ate it. I hope this prospective helps. Be blessed
Yes so true said so well