Marriage Mythbuster: When a GREAT Truth is Used to Abuse a Wife into Silence

husband and wife mindsets mythbusters Feb 10, 2023

Marriage Myths are sticking their heads back up!

A marriage myth is an idea that has been presented as a marriage "truth" for the last 50 years but has instead magnified problems in Christian marriages.

We have been teaching how to have an outrageously happy marriage since 2004. We were making progress but lately, there seems to be a resurgence of failed marriage paradigms from the past.

"Wife only" submits.
Husband "loves" - wife "respects."
Husband is the "leader" (often presented as "servant leader) - wife is the "follower."

Plus many more. 

Recently we attended a meeting where a couple was presenting a wonderful message from the Word of God. During that excellent message, they suddenly pivoted to marriage. Crash and burn! 

How does this happen?  An otherwise excellent minister will be sharing. Suddenly, a "thought" about marriage will enter their mind. Before you know it, out of their mouth it comes!

We don't recommend this.

Marriage is a "lane."  It is a topic that deserves full focus, accuracy, diligence, and attention. 

Today's marriage myth is when an awesome truth from the Word of God is used to guilt a wife into being quiet. Here it is: 

“A wife should not talk to the Lord, to others, to herself and especially not to her husband about what her husband is doing wrong.”

First, we will validate the positive, encouraging message that was being spoken communicated before the “marriage myth bomb” was casually dropped in: 

They were talking about Joshua 1:8 and our words causing us to have success. 

This is an important subject every believer needs to understand. 

  *The Power of life and death is in the tongue.

  *The tongue is the rudder that controls the direction of our life.

  *When we mediate on the Word of God, and observe to do what is taught, then we make our way prosperous and successful." (Meditating on the Word is "muttering" it to ourselves.)

That was all good, enjoyable, life giving. 

But then it took a wrong turn. The wonderful, anointed wife in the ministry pivoted over to marriage. She described how she had caught herself saying under her breath and to the Lord about her husband, “He is really being a JERK right now.”

She related that God corrected her to quit calling him a jerk because she was creating that circumstance by the words of her mouth.

Well, that sounds well and good. Sounds scriptural. Sounds right.

The problem is that it is not. 

A wife is to HELP her husband. She helps him to become Christlike. She helps him to become a great husband, a great father, a great person! 

When she does not speak up, then she is not helping her husband change into that GREAT MAN, that GREAT HUSBAND she KNOWS he can be!  

Being quiet does NOT help her marriage improve. She is not helping herself or her husband! 

Taking responsibility for problems she does not cause.

When a wife takes responsibility for problems she does not cause, then she is being gaslighted - by herself. In this case, the wife believed that GOD was gaslighting her. 

Here is a thought for today: God is not a gas lighter! 

Her husband was NOT BEING a jerk because SHE SAID he was being a jerk. She was SAYING that he was being a jerk BECAUSE he was ALREADY ACTING like a jerk!

To make matters worse, her husband sat there and listened in agreement.

He did not necessarily say “amen” and shake his head up and down with an emphatic “yes!” Lol... But he also did not say anything to fix what she was saying.

 What should the husband have said?

He should have offered something to the effect of,

  1. “I should not have been a jerk. “
  2. “I should have been listening to her.”
  3. “I am sorry if you were afraid to tell me that I was being a jerk. I promise you a safe place in the future. If you tell me that I am being a jerk, I will thank you and listen to you! 
  4. “Honey, I had no idea that you were feeling that way. Please help me, the next time that you feel like I am being a jerk by telling me so that I can change. I don’t ever want you to be frustrated like that in our relationship.”

Instead, (as always in the wrong paradigms of marriage), the responsibility was left on the wife to not speak the truth about her husband.

 The marriage myth was left hanging in the air and not corrected, the message was loud and clear: wife should not speak up to her husband to tell him what he is doing wrong.

Staying on the positive side, yes, it is true. It does NO GOOD for a wife to just walk around saying to herself and to the Lord, “My husband is being a jerk.” 

The SOLUTION though is not for her to be quiet. The SOLUTION is for her to TELL HER HUSBAND,

“You are really being a jerk right now!”

 We like to joke that a wife cannot send “thought bubbles” into the atmosphere, hoping that her husband will perceive them. 

“I hope that my husband will ask me out for a date this weekend.”

“I hope that my husband will call me today and tell me that he loves me.”

“I hope that my husband will initiate making love tonight.”

Your husband is just not that perceptive. He does not get “hints.”  

He does not perceive “thought bubbles.” 

Even if he does have a slight inkling, that is all that it is. A small inkling. He is normally not impacted by it like you are. His brain functions differently. He feels things differently. He perceives different.

If you DO NOT TELL HIM what you are hoping, thinking, wanting, feeling, then he WILL NOT KNOW.

The marriage myth, that a wife should just be quiet and “pray for her husband” is sabotaging the possibility of a fully happy marriage. (Yes, Peter talks about a wife winning an unbelieving husband to the Lord "without a word."  That's a diferent topic. We are talking about marriages of two people who both proclaim to be Christians.)

Wives, please understand. You are a human being, 100% equal to your husband.

You are not relegated to being the quiet, submissive wife who just prays for her husband.

If you take that approach to a happy marriage, you are going to be waiting many years... more than likely, you will never have that happy marriage. 

More likely, you will wait long enough for you to break (in a bad way.) 

A broken wife might find herself getting bitter, wanting nothing to do with her husband. She might get a boyfriend, become depressed or start getting diseases.

You get the picture? She gets one of more of a host of negative reactions.

At that point, because you are FINALLY reacting to your husband, you might find him begging you for a chance to become a great husband.

The problem is that now you don’t want him. You waited too long.  You are bitter, or you want your adultery partner, or you are just too far gone, living your life that you have been imagining (without him.)

How do you FIX this? By SPEAKING UP! Speak up early. Speak up regularly. 

Like a great coach. Speak up when he is doing bad, speak up and cheer him on when he is doing great! Coach him! 

Your husband MUST have the OPPORTUNITY to STOP BEING A JERK!

If you don’t TELL HIM, then don't BLAME HIM!  You know the truth now. You are NOT supposed to "sit back, be quiet, submit to him, love him, respect him and pray for him!"

Yes, he is responsible for his actions.

Yes, he “should” be convicted by the Holy Spirit.

Yes, he “should” know that he is hurting you.

Yes, he should KNOW that he is being a jerk!

Yes, all of the above are true; and these “truths” plus $5 will buy you a good cup of coffee.

 But they will not buy you a happy marriage. 

 As someone in New York might say, “Fuhgedaboudit.”

 Don’t count on your husband to do the right thing.

 TELL HIM what the right things are.

Don’t count on your husband to NOT do the wrong things.

 TELL HIM what the wrong things are.

 So yes, in AGREEMENT with what this ministry wife said, you should NOT just be walking around speaking negative about your husband into the atmosphere. 

 The SOLUTION though is that you SHOULD be talking to HIM, TELLING him what he is doing to be a jerk!

 This marriage myth is a HUGE stumbling block to happy marriages. It has taken many forms over the years.

 Years ago, it was “Wives, don’t speak up to your husband. Just pray for him. Love him. Submit to him. Respect him. Find something that he is doing good and tell him about that instead of telling him what he is doing wrong.”

 In the Word of Faith, it took the form of “Wives, don’t speak negative words about your husband because the power of life and death is in your tongue.”  (I abused Kathy with this during the first 10 years of our marriage.)  Kathy would say,

“Joel, are you attracted to that woman?” I would answer angrily, “Is that what you WANT to have happen? The power of life and death is in your tongue. If you keep saying things like that, you are going to create it.”

I could give many more examples.

Kathy would try.. she wanted a happy marriage.. but every time she would point things out to me, things that I was already doing or that she perceived about my attitude, I would answer the same, abusive way.

We are NOT throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

 If you are a gossip, just talking about your husband to others INSTEAD of talking to HIM, then STOP IT.

If you are just “praying for my husband” speaking the negative to the Lord in prayer, then STOP IT.

 If you are just speaking negative out of your mouth, under your breath, in frustration with your husband, then STOP IT.

 What is the solution? The Solution is to DO THE RIGHT THING! .. TELL HIM ABOUT IT!

 TELL HIM ABOUT IT.. and yes, tell others about it who can help to hold him accountable.

 Having done this, then yes, do pray for him. Why? Because he is your husband and a marriage couple wants to be praying for one another anyway.  

 But your “praying for him” without coaching him up to stop being a jerk is a waste of prayer time. You might as well watch the Beverly Hillbillies. At least you will get a laugh for your investment of time.

The Marriage Myth is that a wife should just be quiet and not speak  up when her husband frustrates her; and she should not speak up to inform others who can help.

From a man’s perspective, I (Joel) can assure you that a GOOD MAN will be happy for you to tell him about it.

A GOOD MAN wants to do right, and we CAN do right,

if our wife simply lets us know what to do and not do.

 This marriage myth goes back to the early 60’s. “Wives, just be quiet and pray for your husband. Don’t speak negatively about him to yourself, to your friends and ESPECIALLY not to HIM. That will only make him angry and frustrate him. Above all things, don’t tell anyone at church. He will lose respect. You are supposed to ‘cover’ his sin with love.”

Wrong answer.

Back to the POSITIVE: Wives, be SUPER POSITIVE and SUPER HAPPY when your husband is being a GREAT husband! 

When your husband is treating you great and eliminating his negatives, then TREAT HIM GREAT!

Women are multipliers.  If he gives you groceries, and if you like him because he treats you great, then you naturally multiply that and give him a meal. Why? Because you are created to multiply whatever you are given.

If he gives you a house, and if you like him because he treats you great, then you naturally begin creating a home. Why? Because you are created to multiply whatever you are given.

He gives you sperm and you give him a baby. Why? Because you are created to multiply whatever you are given.

 SO. If your husband is treating you GREAT, all day every day, then TREAT HIM GREAT!

Here is a little nugget: If it has been a real good day, if he has been treating you great and you have been treating him great, then say “Today has been a really good day.”  

 Just end the day with that acknowledgment.  

 You can let him in on the nugget later so that he can initiate the comment.

 That is something that Kathy and I do regularly.

 Why? Because of many reasons.. but for one, “the power of life and death are in our tongue.” 

 When life is good, when I am treating Kathy great and she is treating me great, we speak life, we speak joy, we share scriptures with one another.  We don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

 It is SO TRUE: the words that we speak are HUGE. Our tongue IS THE RUDDER that determines the course of our life. (At least that is what James said,)

That's it for today. 

These are enough things to consider.


Watch your words. The Power of Life and Death is in your tongue.

Wives, that does not mean to stay quiet when hubby is being a jerk. Tell him that he is being a jerk. Be very clear with him.  Tell him exactly what he is doing/not doing that is making him a jerk.

Husbands, listen to your wife! Hear what she says. Make changes accordingly. Win her heart. 

She gave her heart to you. She WANTS YOU to KEEP her heart! 

Wives, if your husband listens and adjusts his actions, then you are on your way! 

If he does not listen, then you are not dealing with a man. You are dealing with a child.

 That is when you need a lot more from our ministry and that is why we are here.  

 Contact us and let’s get things rolling in the right direction. We have lots of resources plus marriage coaching calls 4 nights each week.

 Let’s chop the head off these giants!

 In the meantime, remember, you CAN have an OUTRAGEOUSLY HAPPY MARRIAGE!


 The destination? Enjoying a taste of Heaven on Earth.. all day, every day!

 That can be YOUR marriage! 

 If Joel and Kathy can do it, SO CAN YOU!

Blessings to you,

Joel and Kathy