“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
Unfortunately, this proverb has a lot of truth to it. If you have ever seen a woman wronged by a man, a woman who decides to indulge her anger, who gives full vent to the desire for revenge, a woman with no verbal or emotional self-control… it isn’t pretty.
When people are hurt, as marriage inevitably does to all of us, a unique tension arises. We are entitled to express how we feel. We should communicate clearly what is going on inside of us. It is ok to get angry and tell your spouse how their actions have impacted you. Healthy marriage requires honest communication, even when the emotions you need to express are passionate, painful or very vulnerable ones. It is the only way to work things through with a hope of repairing them.
There comes a point when in our hurt and woundedness, we cross over from constructive emotional venting, to something else. Something destructive. Our actions are not helpful in any sense of the word, but are aimed at hurting and destroying the other person. We begin sabotaging our spouse. We give them no chance at succeeding in the marriage.
The problem with this however is that you are married to that person. It is sort of like being on a transatlantic flight and getting so angry with your seat mate that you open the window. The breeze may feel good for moment, but it isn’t going to end well.
Here is a powerful truth about marriage – it is in my best interest for my spouse to succeed. At everything he does. I especially want him to succeed at our marriage. Because when he fails, the results land in my lap.
Here are some questions that demands an answer for those who want their marriage to not only survive, but deepen and strengthen through the years : “How can I help my husband become the godly man both Jesus and I want him to become?” “How can I encourage his success at whatever he is called to do?” “How can I be the type of wife he wants to turn to and not away from when things get difficult?” “How can I be a source of strength for him, someone he is always grateful for and not something he has to overcome as he walks the path God has called him to?”
Or how about these questions…”What is it like to be married to me?” Or, “Am I easy to lead and love, or a pain in the rear?” “Am I part of the solution or part of the problem?” “Am I asking Him to do things in our marriage that I’m not willing to do myself?” Maybe these questions deserve their own blog post.
A careful reading of the book of Job has some powerful words for the Christian wife. In the first two chapters, Satan is given permission to take away everything of value in Job’s life, to make him suffer as much as possible so that he might turn on God. And Satan is ruthless. He takes Job’s things, his family, his standing in the community and eventually his health.
But there is an interesting verse that pops up in the midst of all this suffering. In Job 2:10 we read, “His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
And I wonder…what is his wife still doing there? Satan, in seeking the deepest way to wound Job, chooses to leave his wife, knowing that she would be much more harm to him alive than dead. Ouch.
One of my prayers for myself is that I never be like Job’s wife. Oh how I hope my presence wouldn’t be a curse to my husband!
Proverbs 31:12 has a good word for wives, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”
I don’t and have never claimed to be a marriage expert – I am just a married person. I don’t know all the different ways a spouse can screw up and hurt his/her mate, deeply, permanently. I don’t know how long it is ok to be angry for whatever it is they have done, or where the boundaries are of healthy vs. destructive emoting. But I do know that at the end of the day, I am not responsible for my husband’s actions. I responsible for mine. I am responsible for my choices and my responses and my actions leading to the success or failure of my marriage. I am responsible for grading the approach my husband makes on his way to our marriage – I make it uphill or downhill for him.
I want my marriage to succeed, I want my husband to succeed. It is worth some time to think about what this idea looks like in reality.