Getting Your Spouse to do Things Your Way

“Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

 I don’t know about you, but my husband, Ed, doesn’t always see things the same way I do. Sometimes when we discuss important issues (and sometimes not-so-important topics), we just don’t see eye-to-eye. When a decision needs to be made or a direction taken, I know the Bible tells me, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). So out of obedience to God, I lovingly submit.

Sometimes, however, I just know, in my wisdom, that Ed is making the wrong decision. I may initially submit, but after a period of time I revisit the topic. I begin subtly nagging, suggesting, making new points, and nagging some more. Over the years, God has taught me that nagging never gets me the desired result. Ed might be worn down and give in. I might get my way, but I have actually lost. Our relationship has become strained, I’ve disrespected Ed, and I was disobedient to God.God has specific roles for husbands and wives in the marital relationship. Wives are to respect and submit to their husband’s leadership. Husbands are to love their wives sacrificially: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Wives glorify God by obeying their husbands; husbands honor God by being obedient to God’s will.

Just as wives don’t always submit and respect their husbands, husbands don’t always make decisions that conform to God’s will. Does this give a wife permission to disregard her husband’s authority or to nag her husband?

1 Peter 3:1 says, “[W]ives, 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.” This is a difficult passage to digest. It is not suggesting that a wife be complicit in sin. A wife’s highest obedience is to God, and then to her husband. If a wife sees her husband making a sinful decision, she should lovingly point out the error of her husband’s decision, using the Bible as the authority. She should speak in love, as Ephesians 4:29 says: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Then she should turn the situation over to God in prayer.

Prayer is the most powerful tool we can use in our marriage. From the beginning, God intended for couples to be united together as one. This means He wants couples to be unified in their decisions and actions. When you are at odds with a decision, begin praying for God to either change your heart, or to change your husband’s mind. You will be amazed at how God responds to your prayer.

You know, in the end, I have never ever really won through nagging Ed. And when I have prayed with the right heart, I have never been disappointed in the result.

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May God bless and keep you in His loving care!

Ed and Angie Wright

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