This is one of the toughest areas for a wife to understand and even if we do, it doesn’t mean we’ll always work it out well because we are also dealing with another person. Some verses to think about:
It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman. (Pro 21:9)
It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman. (Pro 21:19)
It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman. (Pro 25:24)
Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. (Pro 26:21)
A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike… (Pro 27:15)
OUCH! This tells us a little bit about when to speak and when to be quiet. Contentious means to be argumentative, quarrelsome or bringing strife (discord, bitter argument or antagonism). So, do we tend to be nagging and antagonistic wives? Do we badger our husbands to try and get our own way? Do we wear them down with constant and continual pushing? Or do we manipulate to get what we want? None of these ways line up with the Excellent Wife we see in Proverbs 31, although it probably DOES fall under the wifely character we see in the Proverbs listed above!
So, speaking our thoughts over and over and over again is NOT what we should be doing. But are there ways that we CAN speak to our husbands and share our minds and thoughts without turning into a nagging and contentious wife? ABSOLUTELY! It is imperative that we share openly and honestly with our husbands. After all, God gave us to them for their #1 counsel! And He gives us insights and impressions and wisdom on things that He simply doesn’t give to our husbands. We need to be able (and willing) to share these insights in order for wise and Godly decisions to be make in our homes.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we should work to speak to our husbands during non-confrontational times. In the midst of a heated discussion, sometimes the best thing is to say, “Honey, this doesn’t seem to be a healthy discussion. Can we stop here and set a time maybe in 3-4 days to revisit this topic?” Then mark it down on a calendar to discuss this again. This can help to not say things you will regret later. Make sure you pray about your attitude in the meantime and suggest that your husband pray as well so that God, rather than your own flesh, is in the middle of the new discussion.
Another verse to consider:
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. (1Pe 3:1-2)
Now, I will discuss this verse under the next question, but the topic of communication needs to be addressed here. Sometimes we will find that we are married to an unbeliever or have husbands who are walking far from God. This is not a time for us to harp on the gospel (for the unbelieving spouse) or on God’s commands (for the back-slidden husband). This is a time for us to learn to become the wife God wants US to be and leave the spiritual state of our husbands in God’s very capable hands. It is never pleasant for a husband to be continually reproved by a wife (indeed, it is not pleasant for ANYONE to be continually reproved by someone). No matter how pure the motives, this comes across as self-righteous, holier-than-thou and arrogant.
These verses tell us that the way to win their hearts to Christ is by our silent yet chaste and respectful behavior. “How can I respect someone who is not walking with God?” you ask. You do it because God calls us to. He will give all the grace needed to carry out His will, it merely means laying down what we think to be best for our husbands and rest in God’s best and His timing; knowing that when we do things His way, fruit and life result. The fruit and life MAY develop in our husband’s lives, but it for sure will develop in ours!