In part 1 of this topic I pointed out that women are known historically for being contentious. That means that some women tend to say things that make for argument and strife.
“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” Proverbs 21:9
“A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” Proverbs 19:13
I pointed out that the basis for such trouble-making words is “pride” and that it involves a desire to “rule” others and be their “judge”. Insecurity has a part to play in that as well.
I won’t repeat the background points made in part 1, but if you missed them I encourage you to go back and brush-up on the points made there.
The point of these articles is to teach women and all who need to know it, to stop contending and start sharing. Wise words do not lead to contention. Hasty, angry, thoughtless words will tend toward strife. So I want to give you some wise counsel about alternative ways to respond, rather than with contentious words and argument.
There are two issues that need to be addressed. One is your heart and intention. If you are given to strife, like the woman I mentioned in part 1, then you will step into strife all the time. That woman ended up in strife with another lady in her church, and she was known as a difficult person to befriend.
The second issue is the appropriate process to follow. Even with the right intentions we need people to give us guidance about the best way to do things.
Let me discuss these two issues with you, to point you in the right direction.
The Heart of the Matter
If you are contending with your husband, your children or others, there will be something going on in your heart that prompts you to do so. You may be wrestling with disappointment, that your family and marriage are not what you want them to be. You may be wrestling with unforgiveness for offences they have brought upon you. You may be frustrated because you have not been able to achieve some personal ambition, which may even go back to your childhood.
Whatever the issue that is gnawing at your heart, you need to resolve it and give it to God. You are to cast all of your cares upon Him because He cares for you.
“Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7
Stop looking to people to deliver you from your challenges. Trust those issues to God. Your husband, children, family, friends, career and social connections cannot do for you what God is meant to do. If you trust in people to be your saviour you bring a curse upon yourself.
“The LORD says; A curse on the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD. For he will be like the heath in the desert, and will not see when good comes; but will inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.” Jeremiah 17:5,6
Determine to trust God, and not to carry heart issues toward people who let you down. People are imperfect and only God can be your deliverer.
Control Your Speech
As you deal with your heart attitudes also take steps to control your speech. Hasty, impulsive, reactionary words will keep you in the unhappy cycle of contention. Stop contending and start sharing.
When your husband or child says something that you want to react to, stop yourself immediately. Don’t leap into the automatic response that you are urged to offer. Bite your tongue and hold yourself until you can find a wise and honouring response.
It is not easy to tame the tongue. The Apostle James warned us of that.
“But no man can tame the tongue; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8
We cannot do it in our own strength and so we need God’s grace and power to master our verbal responses. Start by trying to hold your tongue. And call out for God’s help at the same time.
Stop taking the position of ruler and judge and take on the role of wise counsellor to your husband and children. Stop violating their will, by being demanding, argumentative, emotionally charged and manipulative. You are not their king or judge, so drop that role. Take on the much more valuable role of being a godly counsellor to your family.
Compare the Roles
In one home the children are about to head off to school. As they do so the mother calls after them with a bunch of questions, like, “Did you remember your book?” “You’ll need something warmer than that!” “Don’t dawdle on the way home.” And so on.
The children are not really paying attention, because they know that if they have forgotten something their mum will take up the issue for them. They are just mindlessly running out the door as they always do.
In a nearby home the children have all gathered to their mum before heading off to school. She will pray with them, but not until they can account for all the things they need that day, to show they are properly prepared.
When she sees that one of them has forgotten something she wisely asks, “Now, isn’t there something else you said you had to take to school today?” Thus she prompts her children to remember. When they are all fully prepared she blesses them and sends them off with a hug.
The second mum is coaching and counselling her children as she shares her life with them. The first mum is acting like their ruler and judge, apart from their life, rather that sharing it with them.
In one home a husband announces that he thinks it’s time to buy a new car. His wife reacts with irritation and scolds him for thinking about a new car when they can’t be sure they have the money for other expenses. He defends by saying he was only thinking about it, but she launches in and gives him the history of all his unwise decisions. She further blasts him for never listening to her, always doing his own thing and making her feel so worthless.
The husband shrinks away, rattled and stung. He finds some excuse to be out of the home and away from the woman who is contending with him. It is better for him to be in the pub, or at work, or anywhere else, than with his wife when she is in that frame of mind.
In another home a husband announces that he thinks it’s time to buy a new car. The wife smiles and affirms her husband. “You do love cars, don’t you? What do you have in mind?” The husband begins to share his thoughts and the wife enjoys them with him.
After a time of happy discussion she asks him how he can possibly afford it at this time, and if there is anything she can do to help make it possible. Together they realise that it is really only a dream, until they can get on top of some other commitments. However they thoroughly enjoyed the dream and will both be delighted when it is realised.
In the second example the wife is sharing life with her husband. They are partners in the process, not adversaries contending over an issue.
Getting the Picture?
Can you see how dropping the role of ruler and judge takes the contention out of the discussion? Sharing life together is much more rewarding for you and your family, than becoming an adversary to your loved ones. I hope you are getting the picture that even disagreements can be worked through, rather than turned into a stand-up fight.
I want to give you more examples of “sharing” instead of contending. I want you to feel comfortable with changing the way you relate and speak to one another. I’ll give you those examples in part 3 of Women With Wise Words.
To go directly to Part 3 of this series click this link: