Here’s the situation:
Joe thinks he should be something he is not. He wants to be the best at everything, but he never measures up by his standards. Some would label him insecure because he has quit trying. He quit trying not because he doesn’t think highly of himself, he quit trying because he thinks TOO highly of himself, and can’t stand the reality. Anyway… Joe has become a lame husband. Because he is afraid of failure, he doesn’t work. Because he wants others to agree with his high opinion of himself, he says he doesn’t feel affirmed or respected by his wife. He claims to believe Jesus is Lord, but he shows no fruit because those attributes are not what he considers his personal best. He gives in to porn often. He has a quick temper. There are holes all over his bedroom walls to prove it. He seems satisfied with computer games, tv and beer, and his wife bringing home the bacon. As long as his wife talks quietly, doesn’t cause conflict and leaves his porn alone, he doesn’t make waves. Oh, and she can’t give him THAT look either. That will send him tantruming and squealing off for the affirming ear at a friend’s house. Both Joe and his wife are miserable.
Okay, there’s the picture of the lame husband. Now. I’ll ask you a question.
Who do you start with to change this marriage?
Many articles and books and sermons I’ve heard begin with the wife. Things are said like…
- Wife, ask your husband how you can biblically affirm and encourage him?
- Wife, repent of your bitterness toward your husband.
- Wife, cut out the nagging.
- Wife, you need to learn that he acting out of his manliness! Now, you need the change to accommodate that. More sex! Loose weight! Speak sweetly!
Honestly? Isn’t this rather backward according to male headship principles? Why must change start with the wife becoming more submissive, more respectful and more lovely? I’m sure the wife has her own issues that need to be addressed, but why start in on her? Why not with the man?
He’s a man…can’t he take it?
Submit or Avoid?
What about all the verses that can be applied to Joe’s wife outside of having a more submissive and respectful attitude? The verses that deal with not enabling, or avoiding, or resisting evil? Behavior and actions that are the opposite to submitting or giving in? Aren’t these just as applicable?
- God resists the proud. (Js 4:6) How can the wife resist Joe’s pride to mirror God’s resistance?
- Depart from the tents of the wicked. (Num 16:26)
- Don’t eat with a Christian who fornicates, covets, is a drunk, who reviles good. (1 Cor 5:11)
- Withdraw from the disorderly. Shame them. (2 Thes 3:14)
- Do not associate with an angry man. (Prov 22:24-25)
- Withdraw from the proud arguer. (1 Tim 6:4-5)
- Can two walk together unless they agree? (Amos 3:3)
- Keep away from those who cause divisions. (Rom 16:17)
- A lazy man will have money, food, knowledge and pleasures taken away. (Prov 10:4, 13:4, 20:4; Mat 13:12; 25:29)
- Doesn’t work? Doesn’t eat. (Prov 19:15; 2 Thes 3:10)
Who is responsible for Joe’s lameness?
In most cases with a lame husband, it is the wife who is seeking help. She is at her wits end with this asshole. So, the wife is the only one who will do any changing. Usually, a wife in this situation struggles with self-righteousness and that is HARD to conquer. Usually, she could be kinder with her words and more respectful; more loving. These are all good things for her to work on changing. But remember… she is not the cause of her husband’s lameness regardless of her behavior. HE IS.
And that is my point.
Instead of crucifying the wives of lame husbands; instead heaping the responsibility on them… lets go after the lame man himself.