When we hear Colossians 3:18-25, I think that we often get stick on verse 18, “wives submit to your husbands.” that is hard to hear in a culture that does not value much other than one’s own self. The problem is that we get so hung up on this verse that we miss the rest of them.
Verses 19 – 21, however are just as important as 18 and 22, and I think that verse 19 is just as counter-cultural as the rest. For me, as a husband who does not have children or people working under me, verse 19 is the most relevant.
This verse calls me to love my wife and not be bitter toward her. Simple enough. But do I live by that? Not as well as I would like.
In the Christian community, we tend to understand love. We know God loves us. We know we are supposed to love others, especially our wives. We know that love sometimes means sacrifice. We know a lot about love.
Further, loving your wife is going to look drastically different then me loving mine. They are different woman with different needs and desires that process love in different ways. We got it.
What we struggle with more is the second part: not being bitter. We may not hold a long-lasting grudge, but boy do we get bitter.
Because Amanda is a pretty busy woman with school and work, I often will be left doing chores around the house in the evenings or in the morning.
Sometimes, I find myself doing dishes while Amanda plays Fallout Shelter on her phone. In that moment it is really easy to be bitter. For many people, they would think it would be abnormal if I wasn’t bitter. But God is calling me as a husband not to be bitter toward my wife because of it, he is calling me not to resent the way that I am sacrificially loving her.
How are you bitter? Is this verse as counter-cultural as I say it is?
A note on love:while it is true that God calls us not to be bitter, he also calls us to love our wives. If your wife is sinning against God, it is loving to talk to her about it in an open discourse. In fact, it an be unloving if we do not talk to her about it.
Even still, we are called not to be bitter. A good check before approaching your wife about something that is frustrating you is to ask yourself these questions:
- What is the real reason that I am frustrated?
- Can I approach her with a level-head?
- What is the good in talking to her? Who will benefit, really? Is it for my sake or hers?