Have you ever found yourself arguing with your husband about something, and you feel like you are just going around in circles? Or, perhaps, you feel like your opinions and feelings on the subject are being sucked to the bottom like a whirlpool in the ocean? Have you spent years battling over the same subject, that now you don’t even bother to bring it up? You may have even moved into the position of: “It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.”
I totally get it. I really, truthfully do. On certain subjects my husband and I could not have opinions that are further apart. In fact, depending on the actual subject at hand, either one of us can be a dominating force. It has taken us YEARS to find that place of compromise, or at least to feel as if we are both being heard.
I am also the type of person who will want to continue to hash out the discussion until I totally understand his decision. If it doesn’t make sense to me, a simple “I said no” isn’t going to fly. It’s not even that I am challenging his decision, but more that I want to understand the WHY behind it. In some instances I am also looking to grasp the permanence of his decision. It this a “no, forever” or a “no, not right now” response?
Recently, in a discussion group, a woman posed the question:
“How do I honor my husband when I don’t agree with him?”
You can honor your husband, and still disagree with him. The honor lies in HOW you disagree with him. Just as you can dishonor your husband when you agree with his decision, because HOW you are in agreement make a difference.
- Don’t mumble under your breath, that’s dishonorable.
- Ask if there is any room for compromise, that’s honorable.
- Don’t give him the silent treatment, that’s dishonorable.
- Ask if you can revisit the topic in a few months, that’s honorable.
- Don’t withhold affection from him, that’s dishonorable.
- Try to see his perspective and understand his reasoning, that’s honorable.
- Don’t assume you know what he is thinking, that’s dishonorable.
- Ask for an explanation, and have a willingness to accept it, that’s honorable.
When we can be honorable toward our husband, even when we disagree, we are keeping the lines of communication open.
You want to buy a new potting bench for the patio, so you ask your husband. He says no. You ask why, and he responds that there isn’t room in the budget which is already being stretched tight. Instead of pouting, you can ask questions like…
Can we afford a used one? If so, what is my maximum budget? — Could we build one for less? Would you help me? — If I sold off a few of my own things, would you be ok with me spending that money to buy it? — Can we discuss it again after we get our tax return?
By asking these questions you are actually honoring your husband, despite disagreeing or being unhappy with his decision. You are attempting to understand the situation a bit more, looking for compromise, and with a better attitude.
However, if you walk away from the discussion angry… pouting around the house, giving him the silent treatment for days or weeks, withholding affection until you get your way, calling up a friend or family member and berating your spouse, disrespecting him in front of the kids by blaming him for why they can’t have/do something, etc… you are not honoring your husband in the least.
This is not to say that we can’t be disappointed, not at all. It’s ok to be disappointed or sad about his decision; it is not ok to punish him for it or to carry anger and bitterness towards him over it. It’s not ok to manipulate him into getting your own way, or call others onto your team to pressure him to fold.
We also need to be aware of the bigger picture, to have a full understanding of his decisions or opinions. He may have information you don’t, the timing of the conversation may be wrong, he could have simply had a bad day, or any number of other factors.
Look for solutions, look for compromise, or look to God to help you be content with the decision you don’t agree with.
Honorable Disagreement. Dishonorable Agreement.
It’s your decision, your choice on how you respond.
On the big things… the life impacting decisions… I hold firm that if God wants us to move in that direction both spouses will share that same conviction, calling, or direction. If there is disagreement, it is because the “call” is something one of you is feeling in the flesh, or it just isn’t time to take that step yet.
If you are having a hard time being honorable in disagreement, start in prayer. Take a step back, and pray over it. When you have tempered yourself, have a discussion to understand his perspective. Then, before you respond, take some time to think his response through. Do some research, come up with an alternative solution, develop a plan of action, and then make some time to talk about it again.