Are We Tearing Apart Our Homes with Our Own Hands?

“And if you’d listened to me, we wouldn’t be in this mess,” the woman muttered to her husband. “I told you we should have taken care of this a month ago. I don’t know why I let you handle things. I should just do it myself.” The disgust and contempt dripped from her lips like arsenic.

Looking their way, I glanced up at the man standing with her. His shoulders slumped, and a flush crept across his face. The light in his eyes dimmed. 

I turned away, feigning interest in the cans of Chef Boyardee on the shelf in front of me, but her words lingered in my mind long after she’d shoved her cart down another aisle.

I encountered another disrespectful wife recently, this one on the pages of Scripture.

Second Samuel 6 describes a grand and glorious day for Israel. After 20 years, the ark of God, the symbol of God’s favor and blessing, was finally returning to Jerusalem. David’s first attempt to bring back the holy symbol ended in disaster, but this time the priests carefully followed God’s instructions. When they’d taken six steps and no lightning bolts fell from the sky, they knew God’s blessing rested upon them.

David’s heart swelled with joy. Casting kingly dignity and his royal robes aside, he danced before the Lord with all his might. “He and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets,” (2 Sam. 6:14-15). The Israelites celebrated with songs of praise and a time of feasting. Happy and content, David returned to the royal palace basking in the joy of the celebration.

Until Michal, his wife, met him at the door. Sarcasm oozed from her words like slime from a slug. "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today,” she spat, “disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” (2 Sam. 6:20).

Talk about sucking the joy out of the atmosphere. Way to end one of the happiest days of David’s life. Instead of rejoicing with her husband and entering into his celebratory abandon, she demeaned and shamed him. Michal not only got an A for spoiling the party, she earned extra credit for wifely disrespect.

Like I did for the poor man in the grocery store, I cringed for David. But my heart hurt even more for Michal. Like the foolish woman in Proverbs 14:1, she was tearing down her house with her own hands – or mouth – in this case.

Second Samuel 6:2 records God’s judgment on her: “And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.”

It’s easy to look down our self-righteous noses at Michal, but one long look in the mirror reminds us we have little to brag about. How often have we talked down to our husbands, belittled or disregarded their ideas, or treated them like children? If someone were to record some of our conversations, would they always hear the same respectful tone we use with our bosses, patients, and friends or something less? 

Do we honor them as the leaders in our homes or undermine their leadership by manipulating them or going behind their back? Do we ever trash talk them to our friends, family, or children?

Since the dawn of time, women have struggled to respect their husbands. Sadly, many men don’t act in ways that deserve respect. But God doesn’t put conditions on his command for us to respect our husbands. He just tells us to do it.

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Eph. 5:33).

As we respect our men out of reverence and obedience to the Lord, God will honor this. Ephesians 6:8 promises: “You know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do.”

If you, like most of us, don't always respect your husband, may I suggest a resource? Dr. Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs’ book, Love and Respect offers a hopeful challenge and practical help toward building a marriage that honors God and each other. I highly recommend it.

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