I’m getting sick and tired of hearing references to Ephesians 5:25. It seems every time I turn around, some other person, be it a man or a woman, is quoting it. In case you don’t know it off the top of your head. Here’s the verse:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her – Ephesians 5:25
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a great verse, just like all the other verses in the Bible. I have nothing against it. What I have an issue with is the cherry picking of this verse in complete absence of the rest of the Bible. Many men have been hit over the head with the “self-sacrifice” idea so hard that they’re basically useless as men. They don’t know how to do anything except lie down and die any more. They couldn’t lead their families if their life depended on it. After all, the only value their life has is to die for their wife.
So, should we ignore this verse? Of course not. Like I said, it’s a great verse, but let’s not teach it to the exception of all the others.
1. Men have a purpose other than to die
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it – Genesis 2:15
We were created for a purpose: To protect the Earth. I’ve been told that the Hebrew word used for “tend and keep” comes with the imagery of a fence around something valuable. We weren’t created as gardeners, but as guardians.
Now, granted, Adam failed, but truth be told, many of us are continuing to fail at this in our marriages, in our workplaces and in our churches. Yes, Eve was deceived and ate the apple, but Adam knew better. He wasn’t deceived. He made a choice of “happy wife, happy life”. Instead of rebuking Eve, going to God, accepting responsibility (as she was his responsibility) and asking for forgiveness, instead he decide to accept the leadership of his wife into ruin, then hide.
How many men are doing this in their families today?
It was, and continues to be, our job to guard God’s creation. Be that the Earth, the people, or God’s Truths as absolute principles. And frankly, we, almost as an entire gender, myself included, have dropped that calling. Why? Because we aren’t being taught to guard His work or His truth. We aren’t even taught how to really love people. Instead, we’re being taught to lie down and die. Not for any cause, just because.
The truth is, there are two reasons people want us not to live up to this calling:
- It’s uncomfortable for the one being rebuked – Of course women don’t want their husbands to hold them accountable. That’s human nature. Just like my kids tell me I’m mean when I set rules and hold them to it. We don’t want our sins being exposed, and we certainly don’t want to change until we’ve fully enjoyed our sin. It’s not just women though. Men are supposed to hold each other accountable, and we don’t want our brothers in Christ doing that to us either. Instead, let’s just teach them to be meek. To lie down and die “like Christ”.
- It’s uncomfortable for the one rebuking – Anyone actually like disciplining your children? Not if you have the right heart. It sucks. It not fun because you know it’s the best thing for them, and you know they’re not going to understand. Have you ever had to dis-fellowship someone from church? Same sort of thing. It’s brutal. These are your friends, your church family, and you are telling them they are so wrong that they are not welcome in the fellowship of believers because of the damage they are doing to themselves and to others. No one wants that job. So, when people suggest men should just lay down and die “like Christ”, that can look like a pretty good option. Better than everyone thinking you’re a jerk.
In short, we teach Ephesians 5:25 in a vacuum because we’re cowards and because we’re lazy. We don’t want people holding us accountable, and we don’t want to hold other people accountable.
2. Christ did more than “just die”
He spent a lot of time teaching, preaching, holding people accountable, changing the world and standing up for injustice. We tend to think of Jesus only as His 3+ year stint as an itinerant preacher who ended his career on a cross, but Jesus was working in the world well before that.
Jesus was there are creation, implementing God the Father’s orders. Jesus was the pillar cloud and fire leading the Israelites, separating them from the Egyptians and ultimately destroying those that tried to kill them at the Red Sea.
And we know that when Jesus returns, yes, He will be the slaughtered lamb, but He will also come to ask difficult questions, hold people accountable, judge and ultimately destroy those who don’t worship the Creator and His commandments.
Yes, Jesus died, but it was for a purpose. He died because we had, and continue, to destroy the world and ourselves. He died to show us what we were doing. He didn’t just die because it was the easy thing to do. He died to open our eyes to the fact that we needed grace.
Now, what husbands these days are self-sacrificing in order to show their family just how much they need grace? You see, we tend to read Ephesians 5:25 and forget about the rest of the sentence. That verse is only the first part of it.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. – Ephesians 5:25-27
So, if your sacrifice doesn’t ultimately lead to them being made holy, cleansing them by holding them accountable to the word so that you can present them as blameless, well then I’d argue you aren’t “giving yourself up like Christ did”. In fact, you’re taking the cowards way out by just lying down and dying. Because it’s easier than actually holding up a mirror to your spouse and saying “do you realize what you are doing to yourself” and then saying “I will take the punishment for this because I love you, but make no mistake, you sowed this destruction that I am paying for. Now go and sin no more.”
Where’s is the sermon to teach men how to do that? Where are the classes to tell women what they’re asking when they want their husbands to be self-sacrificing?
What this “self-sacrificing” has wrought
And then we wonder why men have no confidence. Why they have no power in their homes or in the world. Why marriages are falling apart, why wives have no respect for their husbands, and why husbands live in fear of their wives, and why everyone is miserable with the entire state of affairs. It’s because we’re telling men that their job, and the best they can do is just to die. Not for any reason, purpose or outcome. Just because it’s the “Christ-like thing to do”. Well, I call that into question. That’s not the Christ I read about. He was driven, He had a purpose, and it didn’t just roll over and die like a coward. He did it to show the world just how bad it was and just how good He was.
Not in a “look at me, I’m self-sacrificing” sort of way either, which is what a lot of Christian men end up doing. They’re not self-sacrificing because it’s the loving thing to do, they’re doing it so they can play the martyr card, so they can look good in the church, or so they don’t have to fight real problems in their life. In reality we have a generation of “good Christian men” who are not really good and barely Christian. They spend each and every day wondering if they’re really a man, trying to prove to themselves they are, and worrying that everyone else will figure out they’re not. They hide everything about them behind a facade of Christian niceness that is neither nice, nor loving, but based on fear. In short, we have men who have sacrificed themselves for nothing, but we asked them to, and there’s nothing left for them to give, because they didn’t die for a purpose. They just died because it was expected of them.
So, stop telling men to be self-sacrificing. Unless you’re willing to actually teach them what that means. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what it means, but I feel like I have an idea and something to build on. If your a man and want to join me and try to figure it out together, I started a closed Facebook group that you’re welcome to join. Sorry, women, this needs to be a space for us. Because I think men need to figure out how to be men together. There’s been enough of women trying to tell men how to be men for my liking.
* End of rant *
40 thoughts on “Stop telling men to be self-sacrificing”
Excellent “rant” I would add that self-sacrificing is hard wired into men (similar to befriend and tend is a hard wiring of women) … they don’t need to “be told” to do it. The interpretation of males “dying to self for their wives” is warped because of women. Give your wife her own way all the time and keep her happy is the female interpretation of husbands laying down their lives.
(I think I’m saying the same thing you just did, but maybe in a different way)
Verses 25-26-27 are a complete thought and a how to guide for husbands, it is verses 26 and 27 that tell men why and how to fulfill verse 25:
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 THAT He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 THAT He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Husband’s have been given the same responsibility Christ has: remove her spots and wrinkles so that she’ll be clean. It’s relationally risky and husband’s are supposed to take the risk — *that* is what the self-sacrificing of husbands is.
As usual, females get it wrong. The instruction is actually saying the opposite of what most of us want to believe.
Awesome rant! 🙂
We have an insurmountable foe in the media these days. Every commercial, or sitcom, or what have you, attacks the role of the male as head of the family; reducing us to neutered pets that should not talk unless spoken to. They show us as disorganized, belching, cave men that can’t complete a sentence, while mom shakes her head and comes to the rescue. This has created a phenomenon where i really feel like men behave that way because that’s what they see in the world around them. Woman had 2 curses bestowed on her in the garden of Eden. 1. pain in child birth, and 2. (this is the one everyone forgets) woman will always want to rule over man. It’s no wonder we can’t identify our enemy when we have been programmed to believe we are not to lead at all. God tells us in his word that woman will always want to rule over us, and we are blinded by the god of this world. The evil one has mounted an attack through the media, social and civil movements in the 1900’s (or probably since the fall) that we have been losing. How do we reverse the roles back to the way God intended? If you ask me, I have been successful in my household by not exhibiting the behaviors we see in the media or current culture. I stopped playing video games or watching endless hours of tv shows that we are constantly pulled into. I started having a devotion with her, i spent 3 years renovating our house, i ask her how her day is, i spend time with the kids, i grew a beard……and then before you know it….i have grown into the role of head of our household. We as men have to put down the video games and childish behaviors and grow a pair…….(a beard helps as well) -end of rant-
I disagree with #2. The verse isn’t about women wanting to rule over men. The curse is men will pull their power plays over women. I have never wanted to rule over my husband. But, I have been abused. The more submissive, prayerful, meek, and obedient I became, the more abuse I endured. And I am not the only one. It is an epidemic. I know far too many women, christian women, who have been hit, raped, hurt, abused, neglected, cheated on, and even killed by their boyfriends, husbands, fathers, uncles, grandfathers, or just some guy. The statistics of these instances FAR outweighs a “jezebel spirit” within the average Christian marriage.
I don’t interpret that God cursed humans, only Satan and the ground. God was merely telling Adam and Eve what they had done to themselves through their actions … what they were going to reap. It’s what any good parent does with their children. We don’t “curse” them … we merely explain to them what they’ve done to themselves; the consequences they will now have to live with.
We have to leave our personal emotions and biases out of biblical interpretation, even if we think we’ve been a victim. And, especially when we don’t like what it says. It still means whatever God intends, regardless of how we *feel.*
By what I understand Christopher is right, Eve did reap in two different ways, the first being the pain and stress of childbearing (which isn’t just about the process of physically giving birth, but the whole idea of being the primary caregiver, there are lots of GREAT milestones in mothering; but also some difficult ones too). The second part of it is that she’ll move into the persona (which she brought on herself) of trying to lead Adam: tÄ•shuwqah … our English word is, Desire.
In the style that is only God, the ONLY other two times He uses this word defines for us exactly what He means:
The desire to conquer over: (1) Genesis 4:7 – If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire [tÄ•shuwqah] is for you, but you should rule over it.”
The desire to conquer sexually: (2) Song of Songs 7:10 – I am my beloved’s, And his desire [tÄ•shuwqah] is toward me.
In the first example, God adds the phrase … but you SHALL rule over it [sin]. However, back in Gen 3:16, Eve was specifically told … you WILL NOT rule over him.
… logic says to me, if the verse isn’t about Eve wanting to control Adam, God would not have joined the two phrases: …AND he [your husband] shall rule over you [wife]. (capitalized for emphasis)
Agreed, natural consequences. Too long of a discussion to have on a phone keyboard 🙂
Yes. Thank you for the correction. Punishment is the correct word. I am simply trying to make the case for men to change their way of thinking. We are sitting on the bench and not engaging. We should lead in the way God intended us to; as the spiritual leader of the household; with respect and kindness. It is amazing what changes I have seen just leading a devotion with my wife.
That is true, there. I know many good, Christian women…women who,seek and desire to serve the Lord and be obedient to His word. The ones whose husbands follow the Lord according to His word, who lead, pray, do devotions, and do not seek their own, their wives thrive. I mean really blossom and thrive. The ones whose husbands have backslidden, who were never truly saved to begin with, or don’t lead, who ride her coattails to church, who don’t pray, font crack open a Bible, a seek their own way, well, it is etched into the faces of their wives. It is a hardship, and she struggles against withering and fading.
Yes, there are women who dig their own graves spiritually speaking, but I suggest that if you see a couple in church and the wife doesn’t appear to be thriving, especially despite her devotion and obedience to the Lord, you’d better start getting under the husband’s collar!!
My husband doesn’t do any of the “churchie” things you are speaking of; neither before being born-again or after. Christopher figured out how to love his own wife. (or he’s being emotionally coerced … which is a completely different discussion)
My husband is growing closer to God at his own rate, as the man God designed him to be. In every definition of an abusive and “bad” man … that was my man, which is *exactly* how my husband became saved AND is changing: by my hands off of his spirit.
… not by a female’s definition of what a “good” man is.
The part of the extrapolation of this post is exactly the opposite of what you are harping on: stop telling men to be better, more self-sacrificing, more loving. Really, it was the whole point of JD’s post.
I challenged you on your comment: “I disagree with #2. The verse isn’t about women wanting to rule over men. The curse is men will pull their power plays over women.”
Let me ask you, are you still of the opinion that the verse isn’t about women wanting to rule?
Also Libl: according to your comment: “The ones whose husbands follow the Lord according to His word, ”
How does a husband do this, where does he go to learn the, “according to His word,?” *who* is the person that defines, in practical actions, *what* it looks like?
Please remember, I’m not asking *you* what those actions are and what they look like … how YOU interpret them. I’m asking, *WHO* defines what headship and leadership looks like for a husband?
I think men need to learn to be men from other godly men. Failing that, the from their heavenly Father directly, though that seems more difficult. Especially when we’re not really keen on listening.
I think we’ve had too many generations now of women raising men. Women can raise girls, boys and women. If the men don’t take over raising up the boys at a certain age, they either never grow into men, or they grow up into a twisted sort or male woman, which is largely what populates our churches.
Getting a “man boy” to grow up is difficult enough. Teaching a “male woman” to change is a daunting task. Even when he wants to change.
P.S. This is not a discussion of transgender. Just struggling to find the right words.
I agree JD.
I struggle with the perspective that most christian wives believe they are the “be-all and end-all” of their husband’s virtue, spiritual growth and DOs and DON’Ts. It cripples masculinity for a wife to presume she can spiritually educate her husband on his behaviours.
God has given me a revelation as a result of my reading the post and subsequent comments. As a husband and father, the command of loving my wife like Jesus loved the church, with the purpose of WHY was really eye opening. I must do better at keeping the WHY as my motivation. How my wife reacts should be irrelevant (see 1 Corinthians 13 v4-8). We, as men hear “happy wife, happy life”, and get sucked in to believing that we can be that source of happiness, when it only can come from Christ. I cannot make my wife happy, I can only love her the way Christ has commanded and demonstrated. If I do that with a pure heart, she will surely feel very cherished if she is also following Christ’s commands and example. Husbands and wives are meant to work together. We work at building the marriage toward the example of Christ and the church, and we work together as a team to carry out God’s command of spreading the Gospel.
As I read the comments, I see some different views on the topic of Husband and Wife, male and female roles. The revelation that God has given me is this- I need to consider the questions I will be asked by my Father, about my motivation and execution, of the responsibilities He has given me. I want to be able to answer that much better than I am able to now.
“I need to consider the questions I will be asked by my Father, about my motivation and execution, of the responsibilities He has given me. ”
It does me good to consider my motives towards my husband — how I will answer to God about the execution of my role as a wife and the treatment of one of His sons.
I think there would be a lot more light and salt in marriage, for the world to see, if the lot of us would stop thinking about how to please ourselves and get our own way.
Wow. That is awesome insight! Jay dee, yes, men have to learn from other Godly men. I am yearning for that now in the church we are in. I am also learning discernment and filtering through the knowledge I am receiving. I can feel the Holy Spirit working through my wife and I as we grow together. A husband and wife really do complete the image of God; with each being equal, only with different roles. The evil one has upset this balance of the nuclear family leading to a high divorce rate and the ultimate downfall of our society. We have to lead again, get our families back and be effective in our communities. It starts small, but with the faith of a mustard seed, we can accomplish anything.
It is amazing how such things correspond with life events, this verse was thrown at me just a couple of weeks ago, but only the isolated verses (25-26) and then it was completely taken out of context. Its one of those moments when you stop and do a double take and do your research. I have never been one to lay down and take things especially if they are unjust or wrong to my way of thinking, but in my marriage I have done just that, i have striven to be the perfect husband (according to the world) just to be constantly rejected no matter what i have done to improve my wife’s life and meet her needs and wants and to make her happy, always seeming to fail. My abdication of authority for the ease of getting along and fear of rejection have crippled me as a Christ following Husband, Father and Man, and probably hurt my marriage and its growth to the point of complete failure.
After nearly 2 decades I’ve realized i can only work on my marriage with God and believe my wife with much prayer and example(by leading my household as instructed by God especially when its uncomfortable or difficult) will hopefully come along side me. But the “Happy wife” comment keeps being used with the Eph 5: 25 but its completely out of context both with the word “happy” and how its presented to be in Eph 5: 25-27 . As some have mentioned it never says anything about “happy wife” but does say to “love, make spotless, pure and sanctified” that means leading your wife in Christ especially when it goes against the world. If you go to the Greek and the interlinear translation the word for “Happy” is not used at all, in fact if i did my searches correctly the word “Happy” or the concept of are not even used in the New Testament (Joy in Christ is but it has a very different connotation).
It seems we Christ following men have laid down our authority to lead for the easy road, and I tread lightly on the abuse comments because it seems the definition of abuse in today’s society goes to the point of hurting feelings when someone is corrected not to say we as humans don’t abuse each other. Yet as Jay Dee suggest we discipline our children if we truly believe in raising them correctly in Christ and we also need to correct and discipline each other in Christ (this means we hold all believers accountable in love), i think our searching for happiness is a goal from the deceiver and we have all fallen for it… I have often pondered the challenges God has set before us as Christ followers male and female it seems the roles HE has set for us are the hardest to walk and against our fallen nature. I often hear women claiming they don’t want control or power, yet in their actions that is all it seems they seek, and men only a rare few want or feel compelled enough to stand up and lead. We would just as easily step back and abdicate our God assigned role because its much easier, yet that is not what we are called to do.
The world certainly is messed up thats for sure! I am glad that men of God are asking these kinds of questions 🙂
While i am not a man, i can only share my experience. My husband and i spent the last 7 years in a church whose heart was to see men and women walk in freedom and community. I saw the men walk together. Encourage one another. Be mentored. Confess to each other (this needs to be done with a safe person) We call this walking in the light. Nothing hidden. it was a very special church to us. God has since moved us away.
I watched my husband change. Become the man that God was calling him to be. He took the very verse you are talking about and instead of seeing it as a lay down and die be told what to do verse, he started really living it. He has loved me well and i am so grateful to the Lord and that my husband chose to do that. He became a leader in ourhome and has done such an excellent job of this.I am so blessed and proud of him. He now walks with other men helping them do the same.
What i think is so important as a wife is that i need to be an example of Jesus too. i need to be on my husbands team. We are a team, but God had to work on my heart too. I used to be very much a person that would run him over, until God convicted me. I had to repent and be obedient to what God asked me to do and that was do life differently then what has been modelled by the world.
anyhow, just some of my own experience.
You are truly blessed! I’m happy for you. Would you mind elaborating in a practical way what has changed? For instance, when you say, “I watched my husband change,” -what did he start doing or stop doing that was significant for you? and what do you mean by, “… he started really living it.” – how was he not living it before. And what kinds of things does he do that make you feel, “He has loved me well.” And, what’s he doing as a leader that he wasn’t doing before?
I would really appreciate the insights!
Thank you Robyn!
i agree. i am truly a blessed woman. i dont think i will say anything different then what others have already said, but this is what it looked like for me.
When we first got married, i thought my husband would be more engaged and lead me. Like in bible study and praying together. I actually nagged him a lot about what he wasnt doing. This unrealistic expectation (because it wasnt modelled for either of us by our fathers) and my nagging made him burry his head in the sand real quick. Even when i didnt mean to criticize, i was. I was judging and he was hiding, but my heart always wanted him to lead effectively. note to wives: that will never happen if you are trying to “help” him lead. Also, when the process started i was told to basically back off by his mentor and let him handle it.
Fast forward many years and and 2 kids later. Loads of medical issues (cystic fibrosis diagnosis in child then later miracle of a reversal that no doctor can explain and cancer for me among the 2 biggest) and a move halfway across the country back to his own home town. We started attending his church he grew up in. Thankfully there were other men there who had struggles just like him and had walked with other more mature men of God.
God started moving in his heart. He decided to be held accountable and walking with a mentor. This mentor did not go easy on him. He called out every part that needed to be uprooted. If he complained about me, he was asked “how are you husbanding?” or complaining about the kids “how are you fathering?” and lastly “if a group of men were being led by you would you want them to be living like you do?” These three questions led him to a lot of change.
He wondered what loving his wife as Christ loves the church looked like.
He started being more engaging and compassionate toward me. He chose to love me even if i was acting unlovable. He never ever complained or pointed out my failures. Even though i certainly deserved it.He trained his eyes to not roam (not that i ever saw him do that) but i see him actively look away from things or people he shouldn’t be looking at. He thought about what being a man of intregity looks like in every area of his life. Husband, father, employee, finances, extra curricular activities.
As a mom, i was fried and overwhelmed and instead of hiding when conflicts arose, he started standing up for me with our kids and helping me to parent them. Instead of leaving the room or ignoring the situation. This part really made me feel really loved.
More then that verse, what concerns me personally is Eph 5:22 (wives submit to your own husbands as you do to the Lord). am i doing that? i feel widely unpopular for living this verse, but as hubby was choosing to love as Christ loves the church, it became much easier for me to submit to my husband. just saying. Now all those years ago how i thought life should look is happening but on a way better scale because God worked in both of our hearts.
one last comment, when God decided to move us across cou try again, my husbands mentor said to him “you came here a boy, but you are leaving a man” That is what happened. it was incredible and i saw many other men do the same.
God is so awesome
Oh yes, it’s much easier to respect and submit when husbands are following God’s way.
I thank God for this post, as it spoke to me personally; as if I was written for me. I think I have sought to find a man who will edify what “Godly” men look like, and I agree with an earlier comment how the world warps that very image. This is not a post to bash men who live “alternative” lifestyles, but you have many of them who claim Christ, but do not uphold this very virtue on a basic level of being a man.
I too have been caught up in the concept of laying down for my wife; giving her what she wants, even if I truly don’t agree with it. I am thankful that I have not given in fully to her requests (just imagine), and I have recognized within my own self that I often question my role as the man in my home. Yes, I work, I handle responsibilities, but am I being the God head in my home as this verse denotes I am supposed to be? How can I lead my wife closer to Christ if I myself am bowing at the knees in fear of her?
These things have hovered over my heart as of recent and I have prayed on this matter. I have made more effort to bestow my desires and demonstrated such desires to draw nigh onto Jesus. More scripture reading, more prayer as a family, praying incessantly” telling my wife that I am praying for us; praying for her, listening to gospel music and “clean” versions; stopped listening to music I used to consider my favorite (glory be to God).
I feel like I am rambling but through prayer and supplication shall these things be added unto us. I thank God he hasn’t given up on me; I feel him working on me daily- and with that, so isn’t the enemy! It is important to “check” one another when we are falling short. When we cannot see an example in “real life” we must lean on His word in the scriptures, as he is the most perfect example.
Iron sharpens iron indeed, but just like how if a man wants something, he goes out and gets it, especially if it will bring a blessing to not only himself, but unto his family, glorifying our Holy father in heaven.
OMG!!! THANK YOU!!! For years I have hated the phrase, “Happy wife, happy life!” I knew it was contradiction to what God has ordered. My happiness or peace should not be determined by how happy I make my wife through self sacrifice!!! My wife believes this phrase is appropriate in marriage and has debated me on it. Needless to say that with her being more verbally astute, those debates never ended well for me. This one phrase has watered the roots of selfishness that I believe my wife exhibits! There are things that are undermining my marriage. I believe her holding on to this phrase is one. Again, thank you for verbalizing what I could not!!!
@ Xavier Hale,
Thank YOU so much for being an encouragement to me. It makes me cringe to see so many brothers blinded by Satan through pandering to contentious and self-serving women as they use scripture to do it. By what I hear from women, you’re right, it has watered [abundantly] selfishness in most wives.
I am struggling with a lot of issues about holding my wife accountable for her attitude. She can be unbelievably disrespectful. One of the ways is that, when she needs help, she doesn’t ask. She says, “You are going to have to…” When she disagrees with something I did or is second-guessing, she says “I wish you had just listened to me and…” The “you never listen to me” canard means “You often disagree with me and act accordingly instead of doing exactly what I say.” If the traffic is really bad, she’ll say “You should have taken the other freeway.”
After the fact, if I do confront her, she’ll just say, “You know how I get when I am under stress.” No apologies. No recognition that I may have been right.
Recently, after years of staying silent, I finally confronted her about a time when she threatened me with divorce over an issue that was completely bogus. It was many years ago and it was the last time of many times she threatened me with divorce. I told her it was one of the main reasons I don’t confront her about things. The other main reason is that she considers any confrontation from me to be “mean” and “hateful.” A lot of our differences is that her parents never argued but pouted and she was an only child. No one ever modeled arguing with a purpose using rules of “fighting fair.”
So any time I want to “fight fair” she considers it horribly rude and locks herself in the bedroom. At this point, the self sacrifice issue comes into my head. How do I hold her accountable in a way that is actually fulfilling my God-given role as head of the household without succumbing to self-centered defensiveness and storing up grievances? This is no small feat. My own sin is ever present in my mind, but the pattern has hardened in our marriage to the point where I have almost given up hoping we can genuinely work through conflict in a healthy way. I know God wants this, because it is vital for effective marital communication. But I shut down the minute I am accused of being argumentative.
So what is the truly self-sacrificial action? Happy wife, happy life? Unhappy wife, miserable life? If the unhappiness were a short term phase on the way to a healthy breakthrough in communication, I might have the courage to risk it. But if it devolves into a never-ending shouting match, then what good is that?
These are not simple issues.
Your wife seems unbelievably entitled. If she treated her boss that way, she would be written up and fired.
Immature children must be treated as such until they accept being an adult. It doesn’t matter how long you might have to sit in the “unhappy wife, miserable life” phase, it’s still the right thing to do. Being a good husband isn’t about ‘making her happy’ but about pleasing God.
Robyn it is one thing to have the Word minister in situation but we must remember that this is a man of God who is in need of instruction. Insulting his wife is not the way to go. At the end of the day, insulting her will not make for a better situation. This is how division is increases in marriages (a woman says something about how a man’s wife is feeling, buys into it… hook, line, sinker)! Next thing you know, an affair is happening.
I advise not only prayer but fervent prayer; you cannot do readily listen to advice in your marriage. Granted, there are 3 sides to a story: your version, her version, and the truth!
Ricky, I just listened to a sermon about “sacrifice” in regards to what some people want versus what they are willing to sacrifice to get it. God gave the ultimate sacrifice when he gave us his only begotten son. That sacrifice gives us grace. That sacrifice was given out of love.
What are you willing to sacrifice out of love for your wife? What is she willing to sacrifice? What have you or her sacrificed?
@ Mr. Smith
“Insulting his wife is not the way to go. At the end of the day, insulting her will not make for a better situation.”
It wasn’t an insult, you are projecting. I validated exactly what he [Ricky] described, only did it from a female perspective. Advising ‘fervent’ prayer is insulting; I would assume that he’s already engaged with his Lord at that level.
If you’ll re-read the title and the post, “Stop telling men to be self-sacrificing …”
Your advice sounds a lot like you’re telling him to be “more self-sacrificing” … the purpose of the article is the opposite of what you are saying.
I’m guessing the reason that Ricky commented in the first place is because the article resonated with him.
I too can relate. Suggesting that ferverent prayer is an insult makes no sense; after all, we serve a living and loving God who is able to provide exceedingly and abundantly over anything we can ask or believe if we have faith. These are not my words.
That is all… God bless!
Robyn….Are you actually telling this man to treat his wife as an “immature child until….”? I agree, and I think this man is saying, that he and his wife have some serious issues, but treating her as an immature child just is not the way to go. And if my boss treated me that way (reference your first sentence), I’d walk out the door.
I’m saying she’s behaving like a spoilt petulant child who won’t engage in an adult dialogue or any kind of conflict resolution unless it: 1) goes her way or 2) allows her man to be emasculated.
Any time a man allows his wife to diss his God-given authority, he is GUILTY of cow-towing to insubordinate behaviour; exactly what Adam did when Eve pushed against his authority with the fruit. It was Adam’s responsibility to push back against her insubordination instead of yielding to it.
Clearly, this woman believes herself to be in the role of the man … the husband; just like Eve believed the lie that she was in charge of Adam. This wife wants to be in charge and is doing it the only way she knows how when she can’t get her own way, she, “… calls her man horribly rude and locks herself in the bedroom.” I have two daughters and this behaviour is what we see before they’ve grown up into women … it is behaviour that we don’t allow.
“running to the bedroom and hiding …” Good grief, she IS acting like a little 8 year old girl, that is trying to use the only “might” she knows to make the circumstances “right” for herself.
In the reality of Ricky’s life, he has only two choices when his wife won’t yield to his authority through discussion. 1) he becomes Adam and allows himself to be emasculated by submitting to his wife … does whatever she wants, whenever she wants, however she wants it done … with ZERO resistance to keep her “happy” so as to avoid her wrath; or 2) he responds to her at the level of behaviour and maturity that she is living at. He holds his ground and “sacrifices his self comfort” in his own home until God grows up his immature wife.
So yes, treat her like the child she is. If she chooses to walk out the door because she can’t get her own way; which i might add is what spoilt little girls do “run away from home,” then, that would be completely her own choice. She is free to obey her covenant with the LORD God, or to diss Him along with her brother in Christ. A covenant relationship is not an ’employee/boss’ relationship. I would think that if a boss had an employee like this she would be fired before she had the chance to walk out the door.
PLEASE stop giving “advice” because your “advice” has no relevance to couples who actually want to stay married. Treat his wife like a child? Is that how your husband treats you, so that’s why you’re okay with It? Or perhaps you see disdain women so much that’s how you see women, like children? Counseling is the best rout to take with this marriage, not “I’m a big macho man because God gave me a penis and I can do whatever I want because of my penis *whips penis out and flashes it all around for the world to see his God given authority*”. If the wife refuses any type of counseling, the husband should go. If someone decides to walk away, because if anyone is going to try to treat me like a child (which is exactly what your sexist religion teaches), like heck am I going to sit though that. Comparing her boss to her husband? Do you even know how to compare something remotely similar because the last time I checked a boss having sex with an employee can result in both being fired. Or perhaps like other ‘bad husbands’ in your other comment, the husband should just focus on being a better husband and pray for God to change his wife. *eyeroll*
I guess I’ve never heard the first half of the verse separated from its counterpart. I’ve always heard it mean that the kind of sacrifice required is whatever it takes to make your bride (and family) move toward holiness.
But I wonder if it is perhaps a case of the pendulum swinging what feels like as too far depending on the religious circles you run in? I am in a denomination still rife with toxic versions patriarchy, where men are merely required to bring home the bacon and it’s the good submissive wife’s job to rub hubby’s feet, put out, and raise the kids. So in my denomination, these calls for self-sacrifice are still deeply needed. We have a lot of powerful, narcissistic men that are very abusive toward their wives because they seem to focus only on the wife’s duties in Ephesians, completely overlooking that the bulk of the passage is written to husbands. I’ve always felt that (at least in this conservative circle) it would be the men who felt they were getting the rawer end of the deal if they actually took the Ephesians 5 passage to heart, because God is calling men to something SO MUCH BIGGER than what our denomination is.
(I want out of this denomination, but hubby was born and raised here and his dad is currently our pastor, so it’s complicated. My husband is an incredibly good man, however, so I thank God that I can’t speak from personal experience in my marriage. But I have two close girl friends whose husbands are quite high up in ministry and I am appalled by how they treat their wives. It’s abusive. Plain and simple. So at least in my corner of the world we still need even more of the call for men to pour out their lives for their families. But yes, the “for what” matters. Not for nothing. For HOLINESS.)
I’m confident in God’s ability to know what’s going on and how to fix allegedly abusive men; He is God after all — all knowing, all powerful. And we have to be careful to not look at the wrong examples of leadership and make the claim that serving your husband, from a pure surrendered heart, is wrong. Third, just because a husband is a crappy husband with zero skills in what it takes to lead a family or to move in his GOD-GIVEN authority … it doesn’t make him an **abusive** husband — just a bad one. Fourth and finally, these women chose their own husbands, in a group of witnesses in a church, they said “I do,” no one forced them.
Instead of gossiping, about how **abusive** their husbands are, they would do well to learn what it means to be better wives. God fixes husbands Himself or through other men, not bitter, malicious, gossiping wives.
Oh I certainly don’t mean to say that serving your husband is wrong at all! We are absolutely called to do that! But in the two instances I am referring to these men are genuinely abusive and that’s not just me or their wives saying that. Both of these couples were sent to my church in particular to received counsel from my father-in-law (the pastor) and the elders as well (of which my husband is one). My hubby wouldn’t share specific details but after one such meeting with one of the couples he came home downright angry (and he is not at all an angry guy) because he has never before seen a man so callous and abusive to his wife… shamelessly, in front of others. So please know that I’m not throwing the words abusive around lightly. Even though this husband was attending seminary when he came to us, the elders were about ready to pursue church discipline against him but they moved out of state. These women only opened up to me after a great deal of time because I am an elder’s wife, not as gossips. No one else in the church had any idea their marriages were in tatters.
I’m just observing that I see a lot of really messed up marriages in the denominations I grew up in–where women are not highly regarded at all–and I wonder if that is where the message that Jay keeps hearing is stemming from. That it stemmed from a legitimate need for this message in circles like mine, but it unfortunately got a twisted along the way and even misapplied, especially in circles where men were ready “to die for nothing” instead of accepting God’s call to pour themselves out in the pursuit of holiness in their marriage and family.
Hopefully that makes more sense what I’m trying to get at? I think the need for the message for men to be self-sacrificing is very needed, but there is a danger there that Jay is describing when you separate the pieces of a passage that is meant to be taken as a whole–for both husbands and wives.
Your information is 2nd and 3rd party and therefore gossipy and slanderous. It’s not helpful to brothers and sisters in Christ.
It is if it might help someone leave an abusive person.
So yes, women DO need to be held acountable for every word of”submitting to their husbands as unto the lord” but men do not need to follow their part AND they get to decide for themselves what that means? Double standard much?
I don’t recall saying men don’t need to do their part… just that their part consists of more than just dying on a whim.
I talk more about his responsibility here if you’re curious: What does household leadership mean for the husband?