When my wife and I got married, I was determined that we would exercise. She was a three-letter athlete in high school, and well, I was not. I was the farthest thing from an athlete, spending my time with all of the geeky, nonathletic kids. After we got married and got settled in, I started us on a vigorous workout regimen—jogging, racquetball, exercise bike, and other activities.
After two months of marriage, Sarah approached me, and with a gracious tone she told me: “I’ve been praying for a few weeks, and I wanted to talk to you about something.” She paused. I didn’t know what was going to come next. “You haven’t yet led us in Bible study or in prayer. I had hoped this would be a part of our marriage.”
I was crushed because I was a seminary student. My goal was to be a pastor, but here I was, a new husband, and I wasn’t spiritually leading my wife. Her words struck me like a sledgehammer, and I started to tear up.
Note four things about what Sarah said. First, my wife prayed about my sin before she confronted me. How often, when we see someone else’s sin, are we tempted to rush in, point the finger at them, and charge them with wrongdoing? Yet, a godly disposition seeks wisdom from our heavenly Father first (James 1:5). I can imagine what her prayers sounded like: “Lord, should I say something to my husband? I want to be in the Word and pray together. It would be good for us as a couple. Help me to know what’s best to do.”
Second, she was willing to confront me. What a gift it is to have a wife who is willing to talk to her husband about his sin. Sin blinds us to our faults and foolishness. I need help to know where I am blind. A godly husband will love, care for, and disciple his wife (Eph. 5:25–32; 1 Peter 3:7). There are dozens of ways for a husband to spiritually lead his wife—take her to church, shepherd her through suffering, read good books with her, etc. Sarah’s request was for Bible study and prayer, but as a husband, I am called to much more. I failed to lead her. In my immaturity, I got caught up in exercising. What good would it be for us to be physically fit but spiritual weaklings?
Third, she was straightforward about my sin. I’d much rather she address the issue directly than address it vaguely or in a roundabout way. So long as she’s gracious in her disposition (Col. 4:6), I want her to be honest and forthright with me about my sin (Prov. 24:26).
Fourth, she set a precedent for our marriage. Her willingness to talk about my sin early in marriage set a healthy precedent for us. I’m confident that if I am in sin, she will be willing to speak up.
Wife, with Christ’s strength, graciously and lovingly address your husband regarding his significant sins, both for his good and for God’s glory.