I have a bad wife. At least that’s what some people would say. You see, my wife does something that most wives do not do, she speaks when I do not want her to speak. Sometimes she tears me down. She has even been known to talk about me behind my back. On the surface, all of this seems detrimental to our marriage.
However, the surface is not the whole story. The truth is that I don’t have a good wife, I have a great, godly wife. I have a wife who is willing to speak when I don’t want to hear her talk. She’s willing to speak words of encouragement and grace into my life when I’m discouraged and want to wallow in self-pity. She speaks to me about the need for God’s grace in my own life, and the victory of God’s grace in the lives of others even when I do not see it (or do not want to see it). She hears my whining and quotes Philippians 2:14 out loud.
I have a wife who tears me down, and that is a good thing. You see, like clay in the potter’s hands, I am only usable before my Heavenly Father when I’m pliable. Often, I need to be reminded who I am and whose I am. We drove home from church one Sunday morning and I griped. I griped about my sermon and about the church’s unwillingness to respond to my message. And then it happened, I asked her what she thought about the sermon—she destroyed it and me. “What are you doing?” she asked. “You are a preacher, you are called to preach God’s Word. You’re not a comedian and you are not an entertainer. I don’t know what you did today, but you did not preach.”
I was angry and hurt. Then, I was remorseful and repentant. Then, I was thankful. I was thankful (and continue to be so) that God has given me a wife who is willing to speak His words and his calling into my life when I lose my own way. What a blessing to have a wife who is willing to tear me down and then build me up. The conversation didn’t end with “you did not preach.” Angela went on to remind me that God had called me to preach and that I was able to preach, she urged me to live out my calling. What a woman.
She talks about me behind my back. Behind my back she praises me and that is awesome. Behind my back she will also pray for me and request prayers for me and that is fantastic. Behind my back, she is also willing to go to our friends and my accountability partners and get me help I need when I need it. I’m so glad she is willing to talk about me behind my back, because sometimes my pride does not allow her to speak of my needs to others in front of me.
Angela is the wife I want and the wife I need. I love her deeply and she loves me. Not too long ago, she took me by my hands and lovingly rebuked me. She showed me how I had been short with her and with others in my life. She told me she loved me and that she knew I was tired, and then she dropped the hammer, “but, you have been short with me, with the kids, and you were rude to others at church tonight. You need to apologize. There is no excuse for you treating others this way.”
Was I angry in that moment that my wife was not submitting to me? Did she sin? If you are asking those questions then you have a perverted understanding of marriage and Paul’s commands in Ephesians chapter 5. No, she is my wife. I’d fight for her and she is always fighting for me, even when it means opposing me to my face, tearing me down, and talking behind my back. May the church be filled with women who oppose their husbands, tear them down, and talk behind their backs for God’s glory and their good.