|A Chinese bride in traditional bridal gown.|
Abigail’s Advice to Wives
Read I Samuel 25. Please read it again. Then read the chapter commentary above, which explains the holy history.
I know you sometimes find yourself with an angry, bitter, disagreeable, harsh, or sinning husband. What can you do? You know the Bible tells you to submit; you know that submitting to a froward husband is pleasing to God. You know you should reverence him, in spite of his faults. Yet, you want to restore the marriage, correct his faults, or seek his needed approval for some matter. How do you balance and accomplish these contradictory goals? I truly do understand.
With God’s blessing, I once turned a very noble and powerful stranger, who was in a justifiable and passionate rage, into a courting benefactor in a few minutes! He fully accepted both my correction and me with my first attempt. He married me just a few days later! If I could do that, surely you can win your husband from some minor marital interruption. I will teach you my inspired and wise secrets, and I guarantee the results! Though I was attractive, intelligent, and rich, I did not use any of these advantages to impress and win him. I used simple Bible wisdom, which you can use just as well. If your soul, heart, and marriage are empty, here is the solution. May the Lord be with you.
The only things hindering any Christian woman from being the greatest wife on earth are pride, selfishness, and stubbornness. Success as a woman has nothing to do with looks, intelligence, or money. It has everything to do with your attitude and spirit, your willingness to forget all your ideas and those of this dysfunctional generation, and follow only the Bible. If you want to be great and have a great marriage, humble yourself and do these things. So sure am I of these rules, which can be done today by any committed woman, I guarantee your success with any ten of the twenty!
These rules apply anytime you sense your marriage is suffering. These restorative efforts could be used once a quarter just for good measure! Whether seeking to restore marital bliss, correcting a fault on his part, or needing to request something unusual, these rules work. Instead of wondering if Jacqueline Kennedy or Jane Fonda used them, both of whom were losers as wives, remember that I used them and was married to the greatest man on earth with only a few minutes effort! Sacrificed to a son of Belial at 14, I was King David’s best wife at 23! Now the LORD bless you!
1. Now is the time. If there is a problem, work on it immediately! Haste does not make waste in relationships! Bitterness can and will grow, if you let a matter fester (Heb 12:15). Sincerity is shown by speed. A day to think about apologizing proves insubordination and rebellion. I went after David as quickly as I could (25:18,23,42). I did not delay at all in an important relationship (Ps 119:60; Prov 6:1-6; Matt 5:23-26). I had to correct the situation before it got out of hand. You must do the same. Do not let the sun go down on a marital problem!
2. Prepare a gift. It worked for me (25:18-19,27,35). A gift can have a marvelous effect in preparing a man to listen to you (Pr 17:18; 18:16; 19:6; 21:14), so send it first, as Jacob did to prepare Esau’s heart (Gen 32:13-21). And do better than some practical or utilitarian gift. Get creative. Make or do something personal and affectionate for him. Let it be something he has not seen in a good while from you. Get him something you know he has wanted but would not buy. Fix the best meal of the year. Get his full attention before you even show up for the encounter!
3. Trust the LORD for the circumstances. No one can arrange perfect conditions; something will always go contrary to your expectations. Make reasonable efforts to be alone with him, when you will not be interrupted and his mind is not on other matters. Make sure he is not preoccupied with other matters, when you speak to him. But with your faith in the right place, you will not be moved if circumstances are not perfect; you will remember God is in control. When I set out to meet David, it was unlikely I would find him in time, but the LORD directed our paths (25:20)!
4. Get down physically. And do it quickly and boldly, with full sincerity. You would have done it when courting or dating (or you should have), so it should not be a problem now. Meet him in the driveway. Surprise him at his office. Be waiting in the parking lot for him. Most women would be amazed at the response of their husband, if they would get off their high horse and kneel beside his chair. He jumps up for his boss; soldiers leap to salute a superior officer; and Secret Service men will take a bullet for the President. There is no harm in showing some humility, reverence, and affection by your bodily actions. It was the first thing I did when I met David (25:23,41). By this stage you have already made a big impression. Believe it!
5. Call him lord. Can’t do it? Why not? Could you call your father, sir? Could you call your mother, mam? Could you call the head of our nation, Mr. President? What about the head of your life and home? Call him lord, or something similar. He is your lord! Our holy example, Sarah, even thought about her husband under the title of lord (Gen 18:12; I Pet 3:6)! What name do you use in your thoughts? I called David, lord, 14 times in three minutes! This is not a suggestion from the Kinsey Report; this is the Lord’s description and illustration of great women before you. If you can’t use lord or something similar, you will never realize full happiness in your marriage. It is that simple.
6. Take full responsibility yourself. It does not matter who is mostly at fault at this stage. Take the full guilt for the difficulties and problems between you. I had nothing to do with David’s great anger; it was all the fault of my foolish and wicked husband, Nabal. But I took full responsibility for it without any suggestion from him, and I could see it softened David’s heart immediately (25:24). Your husband will admit his own faults and justify you, if you are quick to take all the blame yourself. Be sincere about it, and your problems are over. Believe it!
7. Call your faults sin. Don’t try to whitewash anything. Ridicule your mistakes. Admit you are a witch and fool sometimes! Why pretend you are something special, when you are not? If you will do the name calling, he will be defending you shortly! Tell him you have sinned against God and him (25:24). He will like it. Hold back nothing. Be specific, and admit your guilt for all of it. List every fault and sin you can remember. Repeat yourself. Bury your reputation in faults. Cheat here, and you may lose the night!
8. Call yourself a servant. I used the term handmaid, a servant girl, even though I had many of them myself (25:24)! I used it six times in three minutes! If you think you are much more than that, you have not learned the secret of the right spirit and what you were created for (Gen 2:18; I Cor 11:9; Eph 5:33). Use any similar term; just get the right message across; you are nothing, and you know it! Your role is to help and please him, not teach him or extort him into helping you! Put yourself below him, where God put you. He will lift you up in due time. Believe it!
9. Beg, plead, and pray. He does not have an obligation to hear you. You do not have rights; you have responsibilities. You are not partners; you are his wife. Ask for permission to speak; beg him to listen to your sad story (25:24). Manifest your humility. Admit and exalt his superiority. Wait until you have his approval and permission to continue. Gentle and soft answers like this will break his bones (Pr 15:1; 18:23; 25:15; Eccl 10:4).
10. Confess your failures. Admit you are not a good wife. Admit there are many better women available, who would be happy married to him, who would treat him better. It’s very true! Your bitter and selfish perspective has poisoned and tainted your vision. Open up with your faults as submissively and clearly as you do when confessing them to the Lord. Hold nothing back. Show true humility. I began with assuming guilt for Nabal (25:24).
11. Do all in the name of the LORD! The most powerful leverage you have is his faith (25:26). A wise woman will never forget this. The greatest authority in his life is the Lord Jesus Christ. Remind him that your marriage, the problems, and this very encounter were arranged by a holy God, Who is watching the proceedings. Thank the Lord for this opportunity to correct your faults in his hearing. Thank the Lord for him, his position, and your conviction to serve him, in his hearing! Thank the Lord for letting you marry him. And remember, all these thanksgivings and references to the Lord are done before your husband. Let him hear you invoke his Captain’s name!
12. Thank him for mercy. After all, he could have, likely should have, divorced you. Tell me you deserve it, and thank him for being so merciful. Thank him for marrying you, when there were so many better women around and wanting a husband like him. Admit his right to be angry and hate you. Tell him that you would be disgusted, if the roles were reversed. Thank him for putting up with you for so long, for overlooking so much, for continuing to be a good husband in spite of such a horrible wife. Recognize and tell him that he could have treated you worse (25:26).
13. Speak of your gift. Tell him it was from you to him (25:27). Describe the pleasure you had preparing it for him. Help him fully believe you love serving him, and your purpose in life was fulfilled doing something for him. Confess your failure at not doing it more often. Tell him you should and will do much more of this for him in the future.
14. Ask for forgiveness. This is very important, as it shifts the outcome of the meeting from you to him. If you have done your part thus far, he will forgive you immediately, take the blame himself, confess his own faults, and ask for your forgiveness! This will not happen if you have withheld any specific faults, justified yourself, or were the least defensive, haughty, or critical. Do not end the session until you meekly, submissively, and pleadingly, say, “Will you please forgive me?” What could David do (25:28)?
15. Praise him. Every man has many features that can be praised. It is your job to identify them and praise him. Granted, my job at this point might have been easier than yours (25:28), but I could find good things about your husband in minutes, and so can other women. Why are you so critical, negative, and wrong? Flattery is okay in marriage. Read the Song of Solomon. Praise his manliness, hard work, intelligence, body, and lovemaking.
16. Elevate his duties. Tell your husband he has many more important matters than dealing with a childish and foolish wife (25:25). Admit and ridicule the pitiful fact that he must help the woman created for his help. Let him know that your folly should not ruin his life. Tell him he is the glory of God, and you are not. Tell him you are his glory, but you have failed to give him glory! Prophesy his success and blessing by God with, or without, you. Tell him he doesn’t need you to be great. Tell him he is great without you.
17. Apologize for tempting him. Confess your faults as worthy of his anger (25:24,28). Tell him that his temptations are because of your contention and strife in the home. Apologize for making him think about other women, due to your odious character and lack of constant romance. Admit that there are attractive and better women everywhere for him to consider. Repent for driving him to the wilderness or rooftop to escape your irritation. Admit that you have made his duties before God that much more difficult. Promise to do better in the future for his sake.
18. Promise him God’s blessing. Admit you can see God’s blessings on him, and beg for some of his own mercy to be on you. Admit God made the world for him, and he is the head and purpose of the home. Remind him God deals directly with him more than with you, as you are to learn from him. Ask him not to forget you, as God makes him greater and greater. These were my final words, and they were the straw that broke the David’s resistance (25:31)!
19. Obey any request immediately. Your character and sincerity are at stake (25:36,41). Were your words sincere and true? A wise man will test you. He will be watching your next few moves. Relish the opportunity! Exceed his expectations! Do not think! Act! Do it cheerfully, fully, and passionately, right now! And do it with style! And keep it up tomorrow, for he will be wondering how long the new you is going to last. Don’t disappoint him again.
20. Follow with extended lovemaking. If you do not know what this means, read the Song of Solomon. If you still are at a loss, read Proverbs 5:19; 7:10-18; I Corinthians 7:1-5; and Hebrews 13:4, in light of the Song of Solomon. This should not be a quickie, unless there are severe time restraints, or your encounter has worked better than you intended! My application of this rule was to marry him (25:41-42)! Now the blessing of our Lord be with you!