Attitude,  Biblical Womanhood,  Communication,  Conflict,  Honoring Our Husbands,  Parenting,  Respect

I Can’t Believe My Husband Felt Dishonored

I Can't Believe My Husband Felt Dishonored

Our son Andrew was tired, really disappointed by a friend, qnd he had homework he didn’t want to do. Angry tears dripped down his cheeks while he worked on his assignments, revealing there was something more bubbling under the surface.

My husband sat across the room watching football, occasionally glancing over at us. I didn’t know if JJ realized what was going on but I kept hoping he would recognize Andrew was upset and “engage” with him.

But, that wasn’t happening. So I “invited” JJ into the situation by suggesting he turn off the TV and come talk with Andrew.

At this point, I was not thinking very honoring thoughts towards my husband and I’m sure my tone expressed my sentiments. Things got messy. JJ felt insulted. I was frustrated. And then he finally just  blurted out:  “Tell me what you want me to do!”

So I did. I suggested he offer to take Andrew to do something fun once he got his homework done. Andrew’s eyes lit up, he smiled really big and within 15 minutes his homework was done. His tears were gone and so was my husband.

JJ was aggravated but it wasn’t because he had to miss the football game. It wasn’t even what I said. It was how I said it.

My husband felt dishonored by the timing and the tone of my words.

But, I couldn’t believe he felt dishonored! Shouldn’t I be the one who felt misunderstood?

Eventually I calmed down and thought more about what happened. I remembered  JJ telling me many times before that he prefers I call him into another room away from our kids when I don’t agree with him. He’d also asked me to share my thoughts in a non-critical tone.

It was hard to admit but I knew God wanted me to honor my husband’s perspective and his preferences.

Just a few weeks earlier, I had read the story of Esther and noticed some specific details about the the king’s first wife being dethroned: Esther was chosen by the king to be his second wife because his first wife dishonored him.

The king’s advisors insisted the king remove Queen Vashti from her throne because they were afraid her decision to dishonor the king would influence other wives to dishonor their husbands.

“For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’ This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.” Esther 1:17-18, NIV

I admit I’m tempted to defend Vashti and give those men some good reasons why she may have chosen to ignore her husband’s requests. I don’t know all of the details of her “why,” but I do know there are situations of abuse and sin that fall under a different category, and are for another discussion.

But for the sake of where I was in my marriage, and what God was revealing to my heart, this passage reminded me: My decisions to honor my husband are far-reaching.

My words, actions and attitudes towards my husband influence many. I influence my husband’s confidence in the role God’s called him to in our family. I hinder his ability to lead our children when I undermine his relational instincts that aren’t always as intuitive as mine.

My words, actions and attitudes towards my husband  influence the kind of women my sons will marry and the kind of words and tone my daughter will use when speaking to the man she weds. I  also influence how friends might treat their husbands after hearing how I talk to mine. In a really good or not-so-good way.

Although I couldn’t change what I’d done that night,  I could change how it was impacting my little kingdom. With God’s help I told my husband, “I’m sorry for dishonoring you,” in front of our son.

My pride was hard to swallow but it went down easier knowing that honoring my husband honors God, and  influences my sons who I hope will one day seek Godly wives who will honor them, too.

Lord, help me be a woman who honors my husband even when it’s hard; even when it means giving up my desire to be right. Remind me that when I honor him, I also honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

~Renee Swope, author of A Confident Heart

Swope_ConfHeartDevo_3DsmCheck out Renee’s new 60-Day Confident Heart Devotional book! It’s perfect for summer devotions.

 

 

 

 

 

21 Comments

  • Dara Harvey

    I think this is a situation many, if not most wives have found themselves in. I especially appreciate the statement, “I hinder his ability to lead our children when I undermine his relational instincts that aren’t always as intuitive as mine.” I’ve definitely been there before. It helps to remember our influence on others when we choose how to respond. Thank you!

  • Laura

    I needed to read this today. We just had an incident similar to this where I was baffled that my husband got so upset. In this case I wasn’t even frustrated with him. He must have inferred a tone. Maybe something else had already been bothering him, but I was just teasing and then everything blew up. I stayed up all night trying to understand. I still don’t but I am trying to think more carefully about how and when I tease my husband. Perhaps it was about something that he really doesn’t like about himself. I don’t know yet but I appreciate this post.

  • Éowyn

    So you are okay with your drunken husband demanding that you dance naked in front of his drunken friends. Wow. That is not what God wants in a marriage and Queen Vashti was right to say NO! King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) was wrong, all his “friends” were wrong. The king dishonored his wife, the queen and he listened to the council of his drunken nobles. But God did have other plans and used that situation to honor him and get Esther in as queen so that his people would be saved. King Xerxes was an evil tyrant who had two godly wives, and still did great evil and ended up destroying his own empire with his anger and evil.
    While I agree with the idea of your article and that we do need to watch how we say things and when we say them, the example of queen Vashti does not work, at least for me.

    • Darlene Schacht

      Your comment isn’t scriptural at all. It’s simply based on assumption–an assumption that isn’t backed by scripture. It’s merely a theory or a wild guess, not fact. Please show us where Vashti was demanded to dance naked. Studying the book in depth along with several commentaries on the subject, I have yet to see that as fact.

  • Danielle

    Thank you for this post Renee! I recently had something similar happen just yesterday and at first my pride was saying “That’s exactly why I left the room, so I wouldn’t undermine your authority!” But my tone of voice and body language spoke differently to him than I thought and I had to swallow my pride, repent to my loving God who is always ready to forgive me, and apologize to my husband for disrespecting him. As a new wife, I’m astonished at how easy it is for my flesh to automatically disrespect my husband because I want my way, but I’m learning that when I submit myself to Christ first, He always aids me in submitting to my husband. “I can do all things THROUGH Christ”. Thank you again for your post!

  • Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post! I think we all struggle with the idea of who dishonored who FIRST. For me, when I feel hurt by my husband, for whatever reason, I think that it is okay for me to react because it is justified. It is a challenge to show him honor when I feel dishonored first. You are right, however, that the key is to realize that when we dishonor our husbands, we dishonor God. Keeping that thought at the forefront of my mind helps me control my tongue. And for the times that I don’t control my tongue, remembering to humble myself and apologize because Christ forgave me, is key. It’s not an easy thing to do, but if our desire is to honor God, we must honor our husbands. Thank you for the honest and beautiful reminder.

  • Tona Cornelius

    Good post by Renee and timely. I feel that the draw in from Esther is good but a bit sticky.

    Darlene – I’d re-read Chapter 1 through Chapter 2:1. If you change the characters to godly rather than ungodly folks, we’d have a huge problem – namely a man putting away his wife or any cause (except sexual immorality/adultery) -and I don’t think we need to go there because the command of the Lord Jesus is the opposite. Something neat – think on Esther 2:1 for a spell. You will be blessed!

    This has been a good reminder that the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20). This is true for both the women (who will demonstrate anger through disrespect) and the men (through annoyance, stonewalling, put downs and other unloving behavior).

    Grace and Blessings.
    Tona

    • Darlene Schacht

      Tona, to me it typifies the Jews and the Gentiles in many ways. Although it’s a true story it also mirrors God’s plan to bring the Gentiles into His plan of Salvation. There were many laws and customs of the old Testament which were there for a purpose and perhaps don’t make sense to us now–other than the obvious fact that they were there to point us to the coming of Christ. There are very clear laws about divorce in the New Testament, that I agree with. But some things in the Old Testament don’t always fit, such as Abraham having a concubine and casting her out or the fact that polygamy was rampant.

      In the Old Testament, under the law of Moses, divorce was permitted, which is why in Matthew chapter 19, Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees. They knew he was against it and tried to corner Him. “They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”

      In addition to that however, King Ahaseuras (I probably spelled that wrong) wasn’t an Israelite and wasn’t under Jewish law or Christian law. He was the law.

      I’ve written a free eBook on Esther if you’re ever interested in reading my thoughts. It’s available to subscribers.

      With that said, thank you for your words. They are much appreciated and I’ll definitely consider them deeply. I have much to learn. Please be patient as I’m growing in grace.

  • serq

    I’m sorry I have to disagree. Honour and respect is earned. And watching tv leaving your wife to deal with your children’s problems is not very mature.all she has achieved is undermine her own authority over her children who wil have no respect for their mother. The example quoted is also a bad choice. While it’s true that queen vashti was not ordered to dance naked in front of anyone I.believe that was just an exaggeration. The essence of it is that the king made a bad choice asking her to appear in the court which dishonoured her and that he compounded his mistake by listening to the advice of his equally drunk advisors. While I am a devout Christian I have my issues with such examples that treat women as mere possessions. Abraham became rich by effectively pimping out his wife. lot offered his virgin daughters to the townspeople to rape to save the angels from being attacked by them.
    I digress but essentially all I mean is that women are entitled to respect and honour. And forgive me.madam but your husband seems to be an irresponsible egotistical individual.

    • Sally Webster

      I had much the same thoughts when I was reading this! Yes, we wives need to work on ourselves, but it seems to me a classic case of HIM doing the wrong thing by choosing to watch football and ignore his son in distress…and then lashing out at his wife when he got called on it. He was in the wrong and was clearly too prideful to admit it so you are the one who ends up having to “swallow your pride” and grovel.

      A man cannot be the godly leader of his home if he is ignoring the problems therein and watching football instead. He should be thanking you for encouraging him in that leadership role! His children won’t have respect for him if he is just watching tv all the time instead of engaging with his family!

      And the saddest thing about this is that you come away from it feeling like you are the one that was in the wrong instead of him.

  • katherine

    This is a bit off topic but I just wanted to put in my 2 cents worth. To you women who had a problem with this post, may I ask: Do you still want/need/expect to be loved by your husband even when your behavior is not terribly lovable? Yes? Of course you most probably do. Then why do you choose to bash a man for wishing to be respected even when he is not being terribly respect-able in your eyes? Why the double standard ladies?

    And btw…..respect is often EARNED by the mere fact of holding a position. If the leader of your country dropped by your house and wanted to come in for a bit, I seriously doubt you would be disrespectful to him/her just because you perhaps disagreed with his/her politics. The leader of your country has EARNED your respect by the mere fact that he/she IS the leader of your country. Your husband has EARNED your respect simply because he IS your husband.

    (standard disclaimers for these comments not applying to truly abusive situations.)

    • Sally Webster

      You clearly haven’t been watching as Christians all over the US constantly bash their leader just because they don’t agree with his politics. There is no respect at all from most.

      I see what you’re saying and I agree to an extent. Yes, women are called to submit to and honor their husbands, but there is a huge call for men too and they need to step it up. I know this blog is not about that, I just hate to see women thinking everything is their fault and being the one to apologize when their husbands are being a jerk. Maybe if he had apologized for his actions as well I could find more inspiration in the story, but instead there is a women who got frustrated at her husband’s lack of engagement and was rebuked for it and came back groveling with no mention of him ever apologizing or even acknowledging that he did anything wrong.

      I come from an abusive situation, so I’m sure that colors my thinking, but men need to learn to own their actions instead of lashing out at their women and making them feel like everything is their fault. And it’s frustrating to see that condoned.

  • Renee Swope

    Hi ladies. Thank you for your thoughts, interactions, concerns, questions and encouragement. There’s quite a mix in the comments of this post. 🙂

    First of all. I hear your hearts and appreciate you!! We all have a different things we bring to this conversation and I value what you bring. I hope you’ll trust me and value my perspective, too, even if ours differs at times.

    Also, I want you to know that if you met my husband, JJ, Im pretty sure you’d think he’s a great guy. Not a bit lazy or male chauvenistic. He’s the most servant-hearted leader, dad, and husband I know who spends hours each week with each of our three kids, on homework, fixing my daughter’s hair, helping my son find a job, training one in basketball, and so much more. Im sorry if I painted a picture that he was just being lazy watching tv.

    Honestly, JJ didn’t know what was going on over at the table with my son and the homework situation. But at the time, I didn’t know if he was aware and I assumed he was, which frustrated me! Hence, my tone and my corrective suggestion sparked a heated discussion.

    Sometimes our husbands don’t have a clue what is going on. They really can be focused on one thing at a time. And yes, they do sometimes shut things out. Honestly, after a long hard day, I can too.

    Im sure JJ apologized that evening as well. And I agree there should be mutual respect that goes both ways in a marriage. I felt like what God wanted me to write about in this blog post was on the topic of us honoring our husbands, how that can be hard and how we sometimes dishonor them with the tone and timing of our words.

    And then, my final point, was more far-reaching impact our actions and words have on those around us when we honor or dishonor our husbands…. that is what God was convicting me of in this situation. That is all I can own in this.

    What He speaks to your heart may be completely different. But I’m grateful and honored to be invited by Darlene to share my words and the lessons Im learning through my marriage with you each month. Praying that together we are growing closer to Jesus and learning how to love our husbands the way Christ loves us! ~Renee

  • Melissa

    I am curious to know what your husband would have seen as acceptable behaviour from you. We have had similar situations in our marriage, and sometimes I just don’t know how to make it different. Was it just your tone that your husband was upset with?

  • clarissa

    I think that men are much less secure than we think. I am often baffled by my husbands seemingly out of character angry responses to things that he feels are undermining his authority. We married later and have two beautiful and respectful daughters, but sometimes I fail to understand what he is feeling until it “hits the fan” . He fluctuates between not leading and giving me ALL of the responsibilities or trying to lead, but demanding perfection. I try really hard to encourage him and leave him encouraging notes and say positive things to and about him. My girls adore him. I think he has very low self esteem which is hard for me, b/c I never really feel like he can accept my love or really return it. It can be very hard . I rely on God’s love for me to keep my ” love tank” full and try to have a positive attitude. Do you have any advice on how to build your husband’s self esteem? He is a believer and reads the Word every day , but he is very protective and doesn’t let anyone get very close.

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