It was a hard lesson to learn as a young man, but once my wife’s spirit was wounded, all the words and logic in the world would fail in making things better in the immediate. Only time, action, and a genuine change in my attitude would prove to help.
It seems that one of the most important lessons I teach men is that there is often a price to pay for losing their cool, being loose with their words, being overly sensitive, or acting in an uncaring way. However, few seem to be willing to accept this fact in a patient manner. Instead, they pout, accuse, point fingers, and whine as if they are expecting age-old principles and marital norms to take a back seat to their specific situation.
Though there is no cookie cutter typecast for every single human being, generally speaking, women feel deeper than men. Consequently, it is this part of my wife that I have had to learn to protect. That is, I have had to learn that if I offend her emotionally, my logic and words will fail at pulling her out of what I call an emotional bomb shelter, especially in the moment.
Of course, none of this means that a woman is not responsible for her behavior. I deal with this in my marriage book, especially in chapter 9. However, it does mean that there are natural repercussions to a man’s negativity that must be accepted in a patient manner. If a man fails to relate the effect with the cause, he will find himself continually frustrated in his marriage, and he will come across like a big baby.
The Exception to This Rule
There are a number of verbal women that are married to those quiet or more passive types. As stated in our marriage book in chapter 4, these men will find that their wives actually appreciate conversation in the moment. However, I find that most men will fail if they think their words are an end-all cure-all in the moment. Most wives want action mixed with genuine change over a long period of time.
How this Plays Out
Success is failure turned inside out. That is, those that succeed are not those that have never failed. They are those that learn from their mishaps.
Proverbs 1:5 teaches:
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:”
Proverbs 9:9 says:
“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
What I love about these verses is that they teach us that wise men are still learning. These verses do not say that a wise man knows everything as much as that he has a teachable spirit.
Early in marriage, I started to see that once I offended my wife, she was going to retreat into a place of safety for a few hours or even days. Once again, I am not prescribing this behavior, only describing it. However, the facts were the facts. Once I acted out like a little kid, I would struggle because I then felt an emotional distance between my wife and I. Simply put, I did not like the effect that my negative behavior had caused.
Embrace the Consequence
It took me a few years into marriage to start allowing these negative situations to be one of my teachers. That is, instead of continually becoming upset that I felt disconnected from my wife after an altercation, I started to take on a different approach and learn from my mistakes.
I cannot over-emphasize the value of this principle. Honestly, it greatly propelled me to success as before I would wallow in pity over feeling disconnected with Melody. However, once I learned to start embracing the opportunity to learn from my mistakes, I stopped groveling in self-pity and determined to avoid the negative behavior that was causing scenarios as such.
Proverbs 20:30 states:
“The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.”
Simply put, when you touch a hot stove, you should quickly learn not to ever do that again. In the same way, I found it better to embrace the negative consequences of my behavior by learning from them. I found this a much better approach than to whine, complain, or hurl accusations once I offended my wife.
These principles are covered in detail in chapter four of our marriage book, How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting With One Another.
– Dr. Force
Spousal love is overshadowed by the acceptance of each others defects. We need God’s help to forgive.
Much of what is out of order in my life is because of the unhealthy habits and inabilities to be a good husband and father that I brought into the marriage and the dreadful consequences that followed. People, marriage institution, the family, and how we relate to others socially, emotionally, and spiritually is divinely designed by God to operate and flow a certain way with specific inputs and outputs. God ordains us through his natural order of things to be the middle man for facilitating those inputs and outputs. If we are damaged, lacking knowledge and good mentorship, not vigilant, lazy and spiritually complacent, then the design of that which we are responsible for nurturing can corrupt itself and begin to wither like a tomato plant that has been malnourished. But it can always be revived with Gods help. Such has been the story of my marriage. I am at a point in my life of addressing unrepentant sin against my wife and against heaven. I have been asking God to bless my marriage this whole time and thus asking him to bless my sin. It’s a no wonder so much in my life has gone crooked for so long. I could not have a good career blessed of God till I repented of the sin concerning my career. I also could not find a wife till I repented of the sins I committed when I was searching for a wife before I met my wife. I have learned the hard way that repentance and asking for forgiveness must precede Gods blessing in whatever we are asking for. Hopefully this all makes sense. The other thing I will say is that there are drastic consequences for breaking the rules and and cheating in life. My moral failures in sexual purity before I was married and my student loan debt are prime examples of this of which I have been living out the harsh consequences for 10 years.
The other thing that I will say is the principle of time and relationships. Time is the lurbication of all relationships. Without the investment of time, all relationships will die. A man must invest time with his wife to have a good marriage. A parent must invest time with their children to have a good relationship. A person must invest time with God to have a personal relationship with the Lord. These are the three most important relationships that must have time budgeted for daily. This culture is hellbent on stealing time through the business of life. Our government is determined to separate the children from parents through the education system and by fostering a middle class of dual income families where both parents work. The fact is no amount of education will replace a good parent. 100 years ago, a child got everything he needed in life from his parents – life skills, a lively hood, the example of a good marriage, the example of good parenting, and possibly a wife and he or she knew exactely how to love their mate. Today, the average child gets none of those from there parents. Marriages are hurting so much today for this reason. Broken people being produced that then try to go have successful lives and then fail and their children fail and their children then fail and the cycle continues. A broken person cannot give love correctly if they never had love to begin with. A great example of this is the story of a preacher back in the early to mid 1900s that traveled and preached but then got a call one day from his wife who then began to explain how their son was beginning to act out in school and get detention and was ultimately on his way to becoming the average American troubled teen. The preacher had a choice to make. He went home to put his house in order and invested time in his son instead of the ministry. His son then became Dr. James Dobson. Another example is Jesus and his Heavenly Father. While on Earth, he got everything he needed from the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit. He did only what the father told him and he was blessed and successful. This dynamic of father and son was modeled perfectly in scripture between Jesus and the father but is completely absent from parenting today. So many wives are hurting today because men were never shown or told how to love correctly by their fathers. Consequently, Jesus is now working overtime in our culture to perform miracles in hearts and relationships because people are failing immensely from a lack of knowledge and discipline.
Today woman do not know how to love their men and men do not know how to hold their tongue and turn to the Lord when they don’t get the love they need from their wife. I would also venture to say that almost all Old Testament scripture can not be applied today because the culture and context is vastly different than it was in ancient Israel. The man provided what the woman could not – provision and protection. The woman provided help and support to her man, physically, emotionally, and sexually and he was held in the highest place of honor because of her. Today, woman do not need their men for provision and protection. They can go out and have careers and get their own provision and they have the government for their protection. It is a very sad thing to see in our culture today, that at the very core of who a man is, he is no longer needed or valued by the opposite sex for putting his hand to the plow everyday to provide and protect. The truth is we have one less rib, we are incomplete without our wives, and we need her love and support very much. It is a real need that we have. If you look around and pay attention to all the sexual sin in the world and how much the Bible addresses sexual sin, it it is clearly evident how much sexual fulfillment is a need for a man and why God gives so many commands and guidelines for this. It is a need and because it’s such a great need, it must be met the right way or there will be serious consequences. Most women today will refute this and not accept it but it is written in scripture over and over again. Perhaps I am completely wrong in all this but 10 years of very hard marriage experience has taught me a lot about who I am as a man, what I need from my wife as a man, and how to love my wife as a man as Jesus did the church (always giving and receiving very little in return).