A Contentious Woman

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” Proverbs 27:15

As in many of the Proverbs, there’s little explanation that follows except to say that containing this type of woman is like containing the wind or holding oil in your hand. Maybe one of Solomon’s wives was looking on and he didn’t want her to know whom he was writing about. Maybe his reference to the wind led her to believe it was the wife who talked too much. Or his allusion to oil was a nod to the woman who used more than her fair share of the perfume.  

What a shame that the wisest man to ever live had to do so with an argumentative woman/women. I can see him now, on his throne, head resting patiently, thoughtlessly on his fist with his wife, standing above him, her ever thrusting finger in rhythmic time with her verbal barrage. “Yes dear,” he would say hoping it would bring him a moment’s peace, no doubt remembering what he had previously written in chapter 21, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.” By chapter 27 he had probably worked up enough courage to say what he really meant, but made sure the words were hidden between the parts about blessing a friend with a loud voice and of iron sharpening iron.

Little is said of a contentious woman other than she will drive you stark raving mad. Rain doesn’t stop while it is rain. As the verse states, it continues dropping, dropping, and dropping with no thought of your feelings or the fact that you are wearing your suede jacket. “Maybe if I let the rain completely cover my shoes, it will be alright,” you think. “Darker suede, like a new pair.” But no, the rain ruins them all the same.

Similarly, a contentious woman cares little that her words tear up her husband’s manhood, and by doing so he is not becoming the man she thinks she wants him to be. Rather, she is beating him like a helpless puppy and probably becoming her mother at the same time. This is a thought that never occurs to her but that would do her irreparable damage were the observation to be made. Her family thinks, “we should tell her what she’s doing and how she acts.”

Would it be so bad to tell her? It’s likely that in some rickety gym bleachers during a high school pep rally she uttered the words to her BFF, “don’t ever let me become my mother.” Probably because of a fight they had over her short skirt, but telling her that her pseudo-prophecy is coming true would do no good. It would just be more ammunition to throw at her targets. As though she needs more. “You said I was just like my mother so I guess I need to live up to the expectation.” Visions of the Wicked Witch of the West come to mind as well as the large collection of wire hangers I have in my closet.

While the husband is often the hapless victim in circumstances like this, the children also get a good lesson in manipulation and family dysfunction. If you cause people enough guilt yet make them feel sorry for you at the same time, you are in charge and can get whatever you want. The daughter might view her parents’ relationship much like the relationship she has with her hamster, locked in his cage in her room. “I’ll play with it,” she pleaded at the pet store, so giddy and ready to raise a national champion hamster . . . if there is such a thing. Weeks have past and he sits in his cage until she finally takes him out to clean it. “You dirty rat. I can’t stand you,” she mutters as her once prized possession is now little more than an inconvenience. When she finishes with her task, her disposition is more solidified as she hears her mother yell, “Have you swept the floor yet you lazy man?”

The other lesson contentious women give here? “Men are scum, and if we don’t tear them down, they’ll be lazy, good-for-nothings and will probably cheat on us.” It’s true. For generations men have been scoundrels, competing masses of conquering adrenaline that are not fit to be in the presence of refined women who are about the only things we don’t hit over the head anymore. Most of us anyway. And this is for the better because we should be domesticated by now. If I lose at a card game, my instinct is to jump up, allow my chair to scrape against the wooden floor and then punch the guy. Next, if old western have taught us anything, the piano will strike up as we duke it out until being thrown into the horse trough outside. But society and my wife say that this is wrong. I should be a good sport and not a sore loser.

Men are domesticated thanks to women, but in our hearts most of us are still wild. The desire to conquer is strong in us. We still retreat to the woods, we still eat hoards of meat and the desire to drive recklessly is tempered only by the loving eyes of our family. To deal with this, women have two options. First, she can be the type of woman a man longs for, and if he’s smart, he will pursue her with all the gusto he can muster. This will result in a happy and productive marriage along with the occasional trip to the woods or river. We’re still wild, remember? The other option is to be a Trojan horse to him. Lure him in with her seductive ways and promise him happiness until she has him around the throat and his other sensitive parts. This places her in a prime position to get exactly what she wants from him, which may be a child, money or simply the satisfaction that she can rule his life because of her low opinion of men. These women are sick. Her husband bought a ring as a token showing he can care for her and she has slowly become something that he can’t do anything with. She sees no wrong in her selfish actions and everyone is left with an open heart where a loving mother should be.

Proverbs 31 speaks of the virtuous woman, lauding her business sense, piety, and care for her family. Women are one of God’s most precious gifts to us. They are gentle and loving, but when they do not take their place in this world seriously, or worse, use their talents for selfish reasons, everyone suffers.

Mama Ain’t Happy

We’ve all heard the expression, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” This is always good for a laugh and it makes for a funny sign to purchase at Cracker Barrel. Also, there is some truth to it. Mothers are often the driving force of morality and civility in a home. They are the embodiment of a home’s comfort and warmth. They are the central figure regarding love and compassion. Yes, if mama ain’t happy, something is terribly wrong and somebody else in the home is doing something wrong.
However, there is an ugly side to this aphorism. What if a mother (or father for that matter) is controlling? What if their wishes are the only one’s that matter? What if this person does not guide with a loving and pious hand but rather rules those beneath her with guilt and the threat of a difficult evening if things do not go exactly her way? Then, nobody’s happy because mama (or daddy) makes everyone miserable.
Maybe it is biology, or as we may say in the south, maybe he is just plain ornery. In any case, someone who is constantly in a bad mood (causing everyone else to be miserable) has some deep soul searching to do. Scripture encourages men to be leaders in their homes and it encourages women to be a source of wisdom and trust (Proverbs 31). If a story was written about you, what would it say? At your eulogy, will the preacher have a wealth of positive, or will he pronounce you deceased and a sigh of relief echoe over your family?
“Someday you’ll be nothing but a memory. Make sure it’s a good one.”

Why Your Wife (& Daughter) Love Edward, Jacob, and the Twilight Series

Millions of women and girls will be flocking to theaters this weekend to see the much-anticipated finale of Twilight; a love story between a mortal and a vampire. Sounds great doesn’t it? With all the glory this movie gets, it also receives its fair share of gaffs from people who scoff at the very idea. I don’t think it’s all that bad.
Regardless of which side you’re on, Team Edward, Team Jacob, or team “give me a break,” at the heart of Twilight is the ageless conflict surrounding two love-struck people. Shakespeare understood it when he wrote “Romeo and Juliet,” and if men today can understand it, they might become better husbands. Here’s why.
First, Edward fights for Bella. This is what your wife wants. Someone who will fight to show her that he is the one who can make her happy. If the man makes his wife happy, she will make him happy, so quit waiting on her to change. You must continue to pursue her the way you did in the beginning of your relationship. It was a beautiful dance then and can be today.
Second, Edwards wants to protect Bella. Throughout the story he lies, attempts suicide, and is generally tormented by the fact that by being with him, she is in danger somehow. Your wife’s well-being should be at the forefront of your thoughts too. This is what she wants. This is why she likes it so much when you think of her first; just because you love her.
Third, Jacob, the competing suitor, loves Bella too. For most of the series anyway Jacob works to win Bella’s heart away from Edward. Your wife loves this back and forth conflict. It shows that Bella is desirable and this is what your wife wants you to think of her. A man who works to show his wife that he chooses her everyday, will have a happy wife. Putting things before her 100% of the time when you could use some of your time to spend with her says you are not choosing her. 
Finally, Edward respects Bella. He was born over 100 years ago and thus has a different value system than young people today. So, he saves himself sexually for marriage. Coming from a guy, this type of chivalry will mean a lot to your daughter. Many girls work to win guys over with the promise (or at least the thought) of sexual activity. Well, many guys will respond and then leave the girl in his dust. This can have negative long-term emotional effects on your little girl. Help her see that a boy who loves her will not require that she give her body to him outside of marriage.
Women enjoy love stories because it is what they want in their own lives. Someone to fight for them, protect them, love them, and respect/understand them. Give her these things and you’ll have a happy marriage. Team Edward all the way.

Buy my Kindle book at Amazon and get out of the dog house tonight.

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Nagging: A Girl’s BFF?

Wives, I bet when you nag your husband he totally loves you more with every cutting remark. When you first see him after work I bet he would rather hear you talk about the smell of the dirty dog than get a hug. Am I right? No, of course not, but some wives totally act like my ridiculous examples.

A lot of voice is given to men and where we mess up. Anger, addictions, poor communication skills, but nagging is the area a woman can fail miserably. Are you pleasant to be with? Do you want to have a happy husband? Nagging won’t get you there.

We often don’t think of our behavior, and this is why I have a job as a counselor. People do things that aren’t good for them. Wives, I challenge you today to look at what you do to your husband when nagging and ask, “What’s it like to be married to me?” If the answer isn’t in your favor in regards to nagging, here are some other things to consider.

Why do women nag? Maybe it’s because that’s what they saw their mother’s do. It was the example they had and now they are, “becoming like their mothers.” As hard as some may fight it, ending up like our parents is inevitable unless we work diligently to maximize their positive traits and minimize their negative. If your mother was a real brow beater to your dad, chances are you may end up that way too.

Nagging is a form of complaining and this is somewhat human. If we see something we don’t like, what do we do? We talk about it, but this does not change it. In nagging to complain are you trying to get your husband to do something? Buy new cabinets? Fix the bathroom window? If you want something to be changed, talk to your husband about it. Don’t nag for two weeks and then get upset when you think he should have followed through with what your incessant nagging was trying to get across to him.

Do you nag at your husband in order to try and change him? Do you constantly bring up his shortcomings in public? In front of family and friends? There’s nothing more emasculating than this. Think he’s not much of a man, nag him, and he will become even less of one. If you are concerned about your husband, don’t tear him down. Talk to him about your worries, set some goals (weight, cholesterol levels, work ethic, etc) and encourage him. Berating him verbally may have been what his mother did to get him to clean his room during his teen years. “You are such a slob!” It wasn’t good parenting then and it’s not good spousal dialogue now.

Nagging builds resentment, not bridges or good communication. Proverbs 27:15 says, “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike . . . .” Imagine a person in the rain with no available shelter. What do they do? They continue whatever it is they’re doing. No shelter, just getting wet and miserable. Is your nagging like a continuous down pour? Your husband, if he’s committed, will put up with it but he won’t be happy. Eventually however he may leave because, “It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman.” (Proverbs 21:19) This is why men work late, watch a lot of TV, stay in their shop, and dread going home. It’s not a pleasant place.

Men, if you are concerned about your wife’s nagging, talk to her about it. She’s not happy about something. Help her find peace and happiness through your guidance and love.

28 Days to A Better Marriage: Advice on how to have the relationship with your spouse that you’ve always wanted.

In 28 Days to A Better Marriage, Dale handles a variety of topics in a direct way to expedite the healing and empowerment that so many marriages need. The twenty-eight chapters are brief, enabling the reader (husband or wife) to glean useful information in short steps, moving both spouses towards a better understanding of one another and of themselves.
Through Dale’s experience as a marriage counselor, he has learned that most couples in distress make the same mistakes. Twenty-Eight Daysholds within its pages the basic knowledge and tactics that marriages need to thrive. 

Is Your Wife Controlling You?

Men like to be in charge. Very few would want to admit that their wife wears the pants in the home. Women too like to believe they have a large say in what happens. Can’t it be both ways? I believe it can.
The peacock is an example of what young boys do when working to win a girl’s heart. His beautiful feathers serve no other purpose than to attract a mate. How did you win your wife over to thinking that you were THE man? The car you drove, the music you listened to, and the way you walked were all well calculated to show off much like the peacock does to the peahen. A girl noticed you and you began the ritualistic task of courting her. You learned what she liked and you worked to ensure she had those things whether it was flowers or other types of gifts. If you didn’t do it, someone else would.
It is during this time period that the woman effectively tames the man. When he was a “dude,” all he needed was a fishing pole and a truck. Fun was the name of the game. Not too many women swoon over sleeping in a truck so he must get a job and provide a place to live (typically this part involves her working too). This is how the human male species moves from being fun loving guys to responsible men/dads who take care of their families. He will do anything for her and she makes him happy with what she does. This slowly changes when a couple gets married. What happens?
In the dating process the man must choose between his fun-loving lifestyle and what it is going to take to win her affection. It’s an easy choice early in the relationship but it is this dynamic that starts conflict within marriages later. The woman wants the man to be a certain way, but he doesn’t want to be that way anymore. It was fine before, but something has changed and he believes she is controlling him.
One of two things is happening. First, maybe he’s not getting out enough. When a couple marries, the fun doesn’t have to stop. He can still do those things that he loves. By making sure he takes care of himself, he can take care of his family better. He needs to hunt, hike, fish, or play his drums. I tell my wife that I go on my hikes for me, but I come back for her.
The second thing that may be happening is that he has forgotten why he got married. Maybe it was lust at first, but there are more fulfilling things that come from a married relationship. The lust can continue, but that’s for another article. Without a home, a wife, or even kids to go home to, all a man has is going home and watching TV. This is fun for a time, but does not offer the long-lasting life that you got married for. Men have a desire to build and what better place to do this than in your own home? You must learn that it’s no longer about you being a “dude” but about you being a husband and a father.
Worried she’s in control? WELL, SHE IS!!! But it’s a good kind of control that you really want. The control that she has basically says, “If you are going to have a family with me, you must be responsible, caring, and trustworthy.” Don’t you want to give her that? If you do, she’ll be happy with your level of control wherein you win her heart again and again.

A Man, His Wife, and God

A woman’s heart should be so lost in God that a man must seek Him to find her. 

This has been attributed to a woman by the name of Elisabeth Elliot and I believe it sums up a great deal about marriage. If a man and woman are to have the ultimate joy in their life of being with one another, they must have a relationship with Christ.

Much about your relationship together is dictated by what you do apart from one another and with God. Paul says it well in I Corinthians 7:1-6 says, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.”

Why else should a man and woman seek to be close to God for each other?
  1. Only by experiencing the level of forgiveness God offers will you be able to extend any forgiveness in your own marriage. 
  2. Only by learning about the love that God has for you will you be able to extend that love to another person.
  3. Only if you are humbled as Jesus instructs will you look to meet the needs of your spouse before your own.

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Why Won’t My Husband Listen?

In their book, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, authors Maggie Jackson and Bill McKibben do a wonderful job of explaining how attention works. In marriages, there’s a continuing argument that men can only do one thing at a time and women are good multi-taskers. I have heard some women say, “I can watch TV, read a book, vacuum, and cook dinner at the same time all with a baby on my hip.” Well, I haven’t heard that exact thing but pretty close.

What would Jackson and McKibben say? It is impossible to do more than one thing at a time. Can we multi-task? Sure. Particularly if it’s a simple task, but splitting one’s focus between two things demotes both to half a priority each. If a task requires half of your brain and the second tasks requires the other half, then you can’t do a third effectively. You can’t optimally talk, steer your car, and watch for oncoming traffic at the same time. 

What do men like to do? We like to focus and this causes some marital problems. If he’s watching the game, get his attention first. Don’t expect that he will hear every word you say as soon as you begin to speak. He’ll hear something at the second word. He’ll realize it’s you by the sixth. Then, by the tenth word, he knows he can expect an earful about why he’s not listening. 

Biologists say that this is brought up from our hunting years when we had to kill our food. Lots of effort and focus required. So don’t blame men. Blame science.

Why Husbands Shouldn’t Get Angry

What causes an argument between a husband and a wife? Two people are mad at each other. What can stop an argument between a husband and a wife? Somebody not getting mad and thinking with a level head. The goal is to get both to do this, but one step at a time.
The wife becomes upset at something, addresses it with the husband in a very offensive manner. Does she need to temper this? Sure. But the husband can do his part early on by deciding to not get upset as well. Self-control is an admirable trait.
There are two reasons the husband (or wife if the circumstances are reversed) shouldn’t get mad. First, if he’s done something wrong, he can apologize and by admitting fault in a humble way, the wife will really appreciate him. At least she will when she’s calmed down. It takes a big man to admit his mistakes and then to learn from them. The second reason a husband shouldn’t get mad is because if he hasn’t done something wrong and the wife is ugly about it, her apology will be that much sweeter. Be sure not to rub it in her face, though.

We all want peace in our homes and both parties have to work for it. Here are some tips on how to do this. Sometimes you’re spouse 1 and sometimes you’re spouse 2. The balance below can almost guarantee peace in your home.

Spouse 1

  1. Don’t get mad at anything. This may seem impossible, but what good does it do? Getting mad won’t get the floor swept or materialize the forks that were forgotten on the picnic. Anger is typically a sign that effective communication isn’t occurring. We’re mad because we don’t believe we’re being heard. Talk about it. Don’t yell about it.  
  2. Don’t be accusatory. Is he really trying to make your life miserable or is he just forgetful. If you accuse him of something, he will get defensive.
Spouse 2
  1. Work to please your spouse. If you want to be happy, make someone else happy and he or she will do the same for you. Work to remember important dates and always meet his or her needs. Love in a home takes effort.
  2. Don’t get defensive. The issue isn’t about you. It’s about your family’s well being. If you’re constantly messing up, work to stop and become a better husband, wife, mother, or father. Then, your family will flourish.