Our Ugly Night

We had an ugly night. A really ugly night, as in ending with the police in our living room at 2AM. A night driven by betrayal and pride, but ultimately redeemed by God.

“To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pain in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'”

My husband and I started arguing at bed time and the time grew later and later as both of us grew more irritated. So much had happened that day out of our control and completely unrelated to our marriage however in my experience the marriage ALWAYS takes a hit for whatever mess is going on in other parts of our lives. Unable to win the argument or convince my husband to see his sin (likely the plank in my own eye prevented me from helping him with the speck in his), I decided to express my displeasure by heading out-to the car or wherever-where I could have my way without him being around to ruin it for me by proving me wrong, or not listening or whatever immature thing I thought was so important at the time. Well, by that time my normally patient husband had had it. He boldly blocked my way to the door and physically prevented me from going out. Knowing I couldn’t win a physical fight to access the door I began to use insults and anything I could to have my way and get him to move. He refused because he knew he was right and to him that meant he should refuse to back down. “This is my job as your husband,” he barked back at me. “You can’t stop me from doing something I want to do. If I want to sin then it is my fault not yours so move!” “No,” he barked back, “you’ll have to call the police for all I care if you want to make me!” I begged him not to make me do that but he refused to move. In anger, I made the dreaded call, not wanting to be run over and wanting my husband to get to see once and for all how he was wrong and I was right and I had a right to wander off at an ungodly hour if I wanted to.

I want to be in charge. I dislike it when I am not in charge. However I all out hate it when on top of that reality, my husband has authority over me.

Submit to his cruelly posed, but legitimate, request? Certainly not! He wanted to have a ‘who is right’ competition and I was determined to win. “Two officers will be there shortly, mam,” the lady who answered my call reassured me. As soon as I made the call, me husband immediately relented and told me in a much more appealing way that he cares about me and would hate to have me outside now but I can do what I want, of course, and he has no right to stop me. But it was too late because I had already called. Now we were going to be forced to sort through things with two armed guests to our apartment during the middle of the night. What a mess! My husband was sorry and I could see how his concern was legitimate, but a part of me still wanted him to get told since he is “always right” in our home and I couldn’t have that. Not this time. And besides he was the one who told me to call the police so I was technically following his leadership in the moment, though I secretly enjoyed the prospect of him trying to defend himself and his actions in a much more hostile setting than when he and I are alone and his pride goes unchecked without any man in his life to hold him accountable for it-namely because they are too busy feeding their own inner pride monsters.

Things ended quite well as the LORD our God is amazing and never fails. Our young marriage on a day to day basis lacks the support of men of integrity and assertiveness (not cowering behind their desire to not confront other guys for fear they themselves will be confronted) who can confront and challenge my husband to greater sacrifice as a man of God in our marriage and to not use his authority in a way that provokes but in a way that shows off the worthiness and attractiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I lack the emotional support of someone who can listen and just understand that what I am experiencing is hard without blowing it off or trying to point me to some other blessings that are beside the point. That type of listening does not allow me to express the pain part of my human experience in a healthy way. Most importantly, my husband and I get carried away captive by our sin natures. That is what God used that dreadful night to rescue us from-our sin that comes up on a daily basis in ways that are not obvious but just as ugly to God as this night was to us. God didn’t shield us from the humiliation we felt of needing authorities to mediate and help us out of a situation we just were not able to handle on our own. Rather God worked through sin and humiliation to bring about a good result for our purity before Him and for our marriage.

This is what I failed to see at the time of our conflict: the reason my flesh so hated the idea of my husband being right or getting to have his way is because in truth, I really don’t like submission or intend to practice it. If I can’t be in charge, I am willing to settle for NEITHER of us being in charge, not my husband getting to be the final call on important decisions. God warned in Genesis that this would happen.

If Christ being God himself has the humility to submit then I should have absolutely no qualms about it in my own life!

Genesis 3 16 To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pain in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’

I want to be in charge. I dislike it when I am not in charge, However, I all out hate it when on top of that reality, my husband has authority over me. To me my husband being appointed to be the leader means that he is more liked by God. I know this is not true but I am tempted to feel this way and to usurp my husband’s authority to my shame. God is glorified when, like Christ, I submit when I do not want to.

Matthew 26 36 then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ 39 Going a little further, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’

If Christ being God himself has the humility to submit then I should have absolutely no qualms about it in my own life!

Honestly, though, I just cannot make this happen on my own. My prayer now is that God would make me. Whatever it means, I pray that God would make me do His will in His Word even if I fuss and throw a fit and that He would never let me persist in getting my own way because I need Him to do it for me. I am simply too weak.

My husband is super quiet and super passive so he never dreamed that he exerts control…

Another thing that came out, which was super edifying, was my husband’s struggle with being a control freak, and namely, trying to control me. My husband is super quiet and super passive so he never dreamed that he exerts control as opposed to godly authority over me and our lives but the reality God has shown us is that that is exactly what takes place. Control is often a passive aggressive means by which a man does not overtly verbalize what result he wants but he uses silence or showing his displeasure, for instance, to bring about the result he ultimately wants. Look for control issues particularly among passive, gentle, seemingly harmless men. God created men to have preferences. Just because a man may not speak about his preferences doesn’t mean that he is not relentlessly pursuing them. A woman, as a creature created to be led, is super susceptible to men’s attempts to make happen what they want at the expense of what their wives’ preferences are. A man doing things like using silence as a response and showing anger or irritation without admitting it are things men may do that successfully control women. If you tell your husband you want something or want to do a certain thing and his immediate response is, “no you don’t want that” or “I don’t know why someone would want to do a thing like that” then he is doing emotionally controlling behavior whether he intends to or not. An example of an emotionally supportive response would be making a kind remark about the wife’s comment first and then giving an opinion that a husband is authorized to give based on the Bible i.e. “that’s an interesting idea. would you like to share with me what made you think of this/how you intend to do it?” After asking this question a Biblical husband then will evaluate his wife’s reasoning according to the standard of scripture, identify if the reasoning or intended action is Biblical, and then he will share what he thinks IN TERMS OF WHETHER THE IDEA IS BIBLICAL OR NOT, NOT WHETHER HE WANTS HIS WIFE TO DO IT. By doing this the husband will be leading his wife in love. As the wife feels honored she may begin to ask the husband things like, “do you have any preferences on how I wear my hair?” After the husband answers honestly, revealing to his wife himself and his preference, the wife may then CHOOSE to do the preference of the husband out of adoration for his loving leadership over her, as we do with Christ.

Colossians 3 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

In the aftermath of everything, the Lord confronted me with the following questions: Are you willing to follow Christ even if your husband does not go with you? Meaning, are you willing to take the high road and not accuse your husband with as many accusations as you could though he may not be holding back on your faults? Are you, professing Christian wife, really willing to ‘let yourself be wronged’ not meaning staying in an abusive or unsafe situation but when it is purely a question of wrong and right are you, so-called Christian wife, willing to let yourself be considered the one who was in the wrong and your husband be considered in the right even if you think that is an unjust result. As the LORD Jesus reminded me, THE LORD DID NOT CALL FOR JUSTICE WHEN HE CHOSE YOU TO BE SAVED SO LET US NOT IN OUR HASTE AND SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS CALL FOR JUSTICE IN OUR CONFLICTS WITH OUR HUSBANDS. Let God alone be glorified and let God alone (this is so hard for me to hear right now!) decide when it is time for justice. Otherwise, you may be surprised to find yourself on the punishment end of things. Amen?