Showing Wives Grace When They Sin Against Husbands

“Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and he receives favor with the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

I’d be the first to follow up this quote with a note about the “contentious woman” myself (a marriage with whom is worse than no wife at all), but before we pour ice water on the fire, let’s set aside a woman’s behavior for a moment and consider the Lord’s sentiment. He has sent men a helper who could not have been better made.

“Woman is the glory of man.” (1 Corinthians 11:7) She has come from us and for us. (1 Corinthians 11:8-9) They aren’t angels any more than we are, and require grace just like we do, and God’s power to do good, just like us.

She is dependent on us, on so many levels, just as we are for God. They look to us to form their sense of purpose, and are built to be adaptable for how we need them to help. They require our energy to be energized.

Like with men, it’s not ever guaranteed that we take out what we put in. Sometimes we aren’t appreciated by our employers or the people around us despite our best efforts. Even slaves are commanded to serve harsh masters as the Lord (1 Peter 2:18), not because we’ll be credited as we are due on Earth, but because God is watching (Ephesians 6:6). Our Earthly authorities can be unloving and downright cruel to us! (James 5:4, Matthew 20:25) That’s why men, who are indeed an authority over women, need to make the effort not to pass on what we so often receive from Earthly authority, but rather pass on the example of the loving authority of Christ. (Ephesians 5:25) Likewise, wives can utterly sin against their husbands and fail to return what a man gives them to work with, disobeying God’s commands to women, betraying the fact that God gave man a good gift and a suitable helper as someone to love as much as she loves herself. (Genesis 2:18)

But gentlemen: “whoever loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:28)  A wife is flesh of her husband’s flesh. (Genesis 2:23)It is wrong for a man to be harmed, including by his wife–this is part of understanding our love for ourselves.

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:19

I want men to love themselves, and therefore be persistent in love of their wives. The problem that many men tend to observe is that so little attention is paid to the harm women can cause a man in the modern world, and part of that may be because people fear men may somehow feel justified in harming their wives.

Nonsense! Affording someone the notion that someone who harms him (including to men from women) is wrong is a basic sentiment of love and no one should be deprived of that, and that is the foundation of extending grace. And, persistently loving one’s wife is still part of the same principle.

*Let’s acknowledge the need to love ourselves, including the understanding that women’s sin against us is wrong.

*Let’s therefore be PERSISTENT in loving ourselves by extending grace to her no matter what, because she is “flesh of our flesh,” and whoever loves his wife loves himself!

And I pray for the sake of both husband and wife that, by some means, the gift that God made of woman for man will emerge from every woman. Today’s is a complicated situation, in which most of us were raised on lies. In the post-feminist world, women are practically commended for challenging and even doing harm to men (and certainly paying no regard for a man’s authority). Femininity is treated like an inferior and even useless trait, like something a woman ought to escape rather than embrace, and take to competing with men.

As mentioned, most people tend to recognize the need to help an abused party (someone who is sinned against) heal, support, encourage, and restore. The very least that needs to be done is help an abused person understand that what he or she experienced was completely wrong and not something he or she deserved, which is a major issue if the sin continues unquestioned for a very long time. Yet the calls in Christian culture to return to biblical gender roles–hasty to impose notions of masculine duties on men–all but completely ignores the need to make a priority of this for a man in most observable ministry.

Somehow or another, then, many men are figuring out that not only have they been sinned against a great deal by women (in marriage or in society/culture), not only are those sins usually unchallenged and even commended, but even the schools of thought that implicitly renounce certain behavior in women (complimentarianism) have the gall to rush to demand masculine duties out of men before making much of any noticeable effort to help, heal, restore, and protect them.

As men, we have a lot of forgiving to do. We are right to be angry about this–because God is, as well. In fact, there is nothing we could ever, ever do to punish our debtors (including wives who are unrepentant in hurting their husbands) with the thoroughness that God can. (Romans 12:19, Matthew 10:28) He loves each of us–men and women–and did not make us to be sinned against. Wives were not sent to harm their husbands: “She does him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:12)

After we understand what we are owed, we are called to forgive others as God forgave us. (Mark 11:25) Many women are also struggling to learn and understand, and–again, like each of us–we’re called to show grace for every step, passing on the Lord’s grace. (Romans 2:4)

Normally I don’t write about marriage; I put an emphasis on the spiritual protection of men without treating men like their usefulness is the only dimension of their worth. That takes a lot of doing in itself, and next, a husband’s act of loving his wife, not being harsh with her, forgiving – not excusing! – her sin against him, is encompassed in the act of loving himself.

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