We are fallen, forgiven, redeemed, undergoing sanctification, and awaiting glorification. So are our husbands. We live in a fallen world. Things happen. We sin against one another, sometimes grievously. Conflicts arise. Sometimes husbands lead badly, or make mistakes. Sometimes our husbands sin, sometimes they make foolish choices, sometimes they fail at loving us as they should. Sometimes we treat them poorly. Sometimes they make a reasonable decision but we just don't like it.
(Another side note: Does anyone else feel that modern women, maybe especially Christian women, are sometimes bad at resolving conflict? We are taught our whole lives to be "nice," as if that is the defining Christian virtue and trumps all others. So we try our hardest to avoid conflict, at almost any cost. When that's not enough, we just don't know what to do. We panic and get overly emotional, or ignore the problem and hope it goes away. Not very effective, is it? That's why this is maybe my favorite portion to teach. It's kinda fun.)
Here's where I get as practical and literal as possible. I'm going to outline eight "layers" of protection for the wife in the context of conflict and sin. Much of this is taken from Martha Peace's book The Excellent Wife.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
1 Peter 3:9-12 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For "Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
I think one unfortunate effect of feminism is that women sometimes hold themselves to a lower standard than men. Think about it. Do you ever feel like only Stepford wives are actually nice to their husbands? Do you appreciate your husband going out of his way to be helpful to you, but feel like a secretary on Mad Men when you do the same for him? Do you feel "modern and liberated" when you sarcastically insult your husband? Do you believe he has the "right" to treat you the same way? If you read this advice, about overlooking an offense, in a blog directed to male readers, would it seem different?
Don't you wish there were something in between? So often when we're angry, we don't want to overlook the matter completely, but aren't quite sure we're justified in a full confrontation. So we stay angry but pretend otherwise, or give a subtle attack that we can deny or deflect, or disguise our criticism as a joke. "What?! I didn't say anything." Or, "I was just teasing. Can't you take a joke?" But I really feel like that is the most destructive way to handle it. I think we have to choose a path and go with it. Say something, or don't.
Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
Proverbs 16:21 The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
1 Peter 3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.