Now for the second round of reactions.
It is quite possible that I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I doubt it. Here’s why. I have done what researchers call a “double blind” test. I have tried it both ways. I lived the first decade of my marriage as a contentious woman. I pouted. I nagged. I saw myself as the unappreciated, overbur- dened, wife of a grumpy, difficult, selfish beast of a man.
I have, at one point, been on the brink of losing my marriage. But two things saved me: God’s mercy and grace and my own decision to look for the good in my marriage instead of the bad. I asked God to save my marriage. I asked Him for protection for my home. I literally, one dark, cold night…..went from room to room and anointed the doorways with olive oil and asked the Lord God to protect my home and to change my heart.
And, praise HIS HOLY NAME, HE did. He did this because He loves me with a jealous, protective, fatherly love. And He honored my request.
Ephesians 6:11 tells us: “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
It is Satan’s desire to destroy homes, especially Christian homes. In that way, believers stumble into sin……adultery, intimate relationships outside of marriage, violence, anger, and abuse.
Children are displaced and not brought up according to scripture. They too fall into sin. Research tells us that over 80% of decisions for Christ are made before the age of 14 years.
Think about it, if you are tied up in a divorce, dating, remarriage, custody and support battles…..is it likely that either parent is concerned with a child’s salvation? Probably not.
For years, we just struggle to survive. In much the same way, when you are struggling against your husband…living as a contentious woman, you are so busy nursing your wounds, planning your revenge, evening the score…..you are not focusing on your children nor on your own relationship with God.
In the second decade of my marriage, and I’m nearing the twenty year mark now…….things are different. I see my husband in a totally different light.
Yes, he has changed but it wasn’t my doing. He responded to a gradual, God-granted shift in my behavior. I’ll share a story from another culture here, because it fits so beautifully.
In the true story , Confessions of a Mail Order Bride, Wanwadee Larsen, a 21 year old Thai left her homeland to marry an American professor whom she had never met. It is a fascinating story about love, patience, and acceptance. But in the beginning, the author shares insights into how her mother taught her to make marriages strong and content, without sacrificing one’s own plans and dreams.
This is the proverb…in Thai:
Nam ron plah pen nam yen plah tai
Fish will survive if the water changes slowly
I love that Thai proverb. Men, our men, for better or for worse, can change and respond and grow more sensitive and loving…if the water changes slowly. The “water” of the relationship must be calm, balmy, and Biblically sound.
We must first decide that God knows what He is talking about here.
Check out Proverbs 20:3: He who provokes anger forfeits his own life. Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man. But any fool will quarrel.
Let’s read that again, with a few judicious word substitutions: She who provokes anger forfeits her own marriage.
Keeping away from strife is an honor and a challenge for a wife. But any foolish woman will seek a quarrel with her husband.
I’m here, at the other side of my accidental experiment in marriage to tell you that it is foolish to fight against God’s word. It is so powerful, His au- thority is so awesome that it crosses language and cultural barriers and can be found in a belief system that isn’t even Christian.
Moreover, I’ll share something else fascinating about this woman’s marriage. She recognized that the problems plaguing their marriage, and their were some real troubles…..required prayers. She prayed daily, to Buddha, mind you, but she prayed for her husband’s spiritual redemption, by the Christian Farther whom he had rejected.
Instead of demanding, nagging, threatening, or manipulating, this wise woman chose to pray for her husband. I won’t spoil the story for you, but let’s just say that God was honored by this woman’s request, and her attitude made all the difference in the outcome of the story. How about you?
Finally, many of you are still smarting from unhappy childhoods, broken homes, or even annoyed by my theories, entrenched in your belief that it is your personality, your way to be contentious. That may be valid.
In his book, Positive Personality Profiles, Dr. Robert Rohm, a Christian psychologist, yes….there are a few of them around……outlines four distinct personality profiles and attaches at Biblical character to each one. Here they are….briefly.
- Type S….the sweet, shy submissive The unassuming, Apostle John is the prototype
- Type …the impulsive, inquisitive, involved person. The chameleon like Apostle Peter is the prototype.
- Type ….the careful, calculating cautious person. The doubter, Thomas is the prototype
- Type D…..the decisive, demanding Like Paul……the prototype, you want things done your way….right away.
Dr. Rohm does a marvelous job of helping us identify our personality types, recognizing the positive and negative aspects of each type, but he goes a step further. He insists that any of the types can be in for troubles if the Holy Spirit is not in control of that life.
The apostle Paul was a demanding, aggressive man prior to his salvation on the Damascus Road…..and he was the same man afterward. Only then, God was controlling his behavior and actions.
Just because you have a particular personality type, or you suffered in a difficult childhood does not mean that you must become or remain a Contentious Woman. God almighty gives you freedom from all of that and more., Romans 6: 14 makes it abundantly clear… ” For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace.”
Perhaps, at this point in the story, you may need or want to stop for prayer. You may want to pray for release from anger, bitterness, or a desire for revenge.