There is nothing quite as sad and tragic as a timid, spineless, wimpy man. Think of Popeye without his spinach! For those of you too young to remember Popeye, find the cartoon online and watch a couple of episodes!
If I have seen it once, I have seen it a hundred times, the man whose wife walks all over him and dominates her husband. The man who does not know how to properly assert himself and step into the shoes God has called him to wear in his family, in his daily life, and his marriage. I have witnessed many a neutered man whom his wife has effectively demasculinized. It is never a pretty sight, and in fact, is rather pathetic. However, it is the modern male. By in large, most women seem very happy with it. God, however, is not. Truth be told, most women, deep down, are not happy with it either, but many prefer it to being submissive to their husbands.
David was not a timid man. He boldly asserted to Saul, “I will go kill that giant. He has defied God, and I will go kill him!” David was an assertive man. David, however, failed to assert himself with his son and it destroyed his son’s life.
Adam was not assertive and it killed all of us, including his wife!
Job was assertive when his wife told him to curse God and die! (Now that’s an encouraging woman). Job was assertive when he said, “You are talking like a godless woman. Should we accept only good things from the Lord and never anything bad?”
Moses was a timid man who learned to assert himself so much so, that he walked up to the most powerful man in the world and confidently said, “The Lord God of the Hebrews says, ‘Let my people go!’” Of course, he had to go back time and again and assert himself to Pharaoh, which I am sure seemed to be a daunting task. Time and again he had to assert himself with the children of Israel in the desert. Moses became an assertive man.
Jonathan was an assertive man when he told his armor-bearer, “God can win the battle whether he has many warriors or few. Let’s go up just the two of us and attack this whole enemy troop.” His assertiveness won the battle that day.
Elijah was an assertive man when he challenged all the prophets of Baal and gathered all of Israel on the mountain to witness the truths and the challenge he asserted.
Paul was an assertive man when he wrote to the Galatians and stated to them, “I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you by the grace of Christ to another gospel.” Had Paul not asserted himself with the Galatian church and written to them as he did, the whole church may have been lost and ceased to exist.
John the Baptist was an assertive man when he told Herod, “It is wrong and illegal for you to marry your brother’s wife.”
Jesus, the Son of God, was an assertive man when He said, “Follow me” to His disciples. When he made a whip with His own two hands and walked into the temple courts and began to overturn the money changers tables and beat the sellers out of the temple, he asserted, “My Father’s house is a place of prayer, and you have turned it into a den of thieves! Get out!” Jesus asserted Himself when He said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan, for you are setting your mind on man’s interest, not on God’s.” Jesus was an assertive man who rebuked the Pharisees’ time and time again.
All of us, as men, need to learn what it means to assert ourselves in our marriage and our children’s lives. We need to learn to do so in an effective, and wise way.
Here is something important to keep in mind. For wives who may be reading this or husbands who have thought this, it is easy to think that if you assert yourself in a godly way, filled with the Spirit, our wives or children will just eagerly follow every time. Sometimes that may be true, but certainly not always. Ponder this: Jesus said and did everything filled with the Spirit, and even then, when He asserted himself, often the disciples balked or did not immediately follow or comply. Jesus did everything perfectly, but it did not always yield perfect results. He was ignored by thousands. He still asserted himself as it was the right thing, the God-honoring thing to do.
One of the main reasons more men do not assert themselves in marriage is because they know it could create tension, strife, backlash, or trouble. They are afraid, it makes them timid. Let me be very clear. I believe in being a peacemaker. I believe in harmony and getting along, and in cooperation and kindness. I don’t believe in creating strife just for the sake of creating strife. I do not believe in being a bully, or in being a dictator, or in being abusive. This is not what God has called us to any more than God has called us to be timid, wimpy, go along to get along, kind of men.
One of my all-time favorite movies is Open Range with Kevin Costner, Robert Duval, and Annette Benning. You gotta see it! At the very end of the movie, Kevin Costner who plays Charlie Waite proposes to Sue, who is played by Annette Benning, and she says yes! She is the local doctor’s sister. She is riding beside Charlie as he heads out of town to finish the cattle drive with Boss Spearman, played by Robert Duval. As they ride a way out of town together, Charlie looks at Sue and says, “Sue, you better go back now.” She just sits there on her horse staring at him. He says again, “Sue, I mean it, really, you got to go back now. I don’t want you to lose sight of the town.” Again, she just sits on her horse staring at him.
Then Charlie states these famous, penetrating, assertive words, “Sue, how is this going to work if you don’t do what I say?” Can I get an Amen!!
Of course, the feminists hate this movie and they immediately rush to condemn it as patriarchal and abusive. When examined carefully and honestly, we see Charlie is saying this out of his love and care for Sue. He doesn’t want her to get so far out of town that she loses her sense of direction and can’t find her way back. (Especially because he knows she doesn’t have her smartphone GPS!)
What we see in Charlie is his desire to assert his love and the responsibility he feels for her as a man. For me, this part of the movie made total and complete sense. It is what I have lived with Kathy and my kids. I commend the directors for having the courage to put that line in the movie. It is not the politically correct thing to say, do, or believe.
I live in a state that gets brutally cold and extremely snowy with dangerous driving conditions. Most people, including women, feel extremely confident in their driving skills, in the capability of their front-wheel-drive vehicle, or 4WD SUV. I know how quickly things can get crazy on the road, how easy it is to slip on ice, or for some other fool to misjudge their speed or braking distance and slam right into my wife. I have, on more than one occasion, asserted myself to Kathy and said, “Honey, I know you have this appointment today, or you were planning to go over to so and so’s today. I want you to stay home, and not go out and drive in these conditions today. It is just too risky.” Does she always agree I am right? No, but she complies and most of the time realizes that with her neck and back issues, one small accident or large one would set her back years and that I made this decision because I love her.
Every day I assert myself and come into the house from my office and say to Kathy, “Honey, let’s go pray now.” She complies and comes to pray with me. I am not afraid to assert myself and step up to my God-given responsibility to be the head of our home, to be looking out for what I believe is my wife’s best interest or our family’s best interest. This may mean I had to assert myself with our finances and say no to certain things. I always tried to do this by explaining my reasoning, and not just issuing some military command. That, however, did not mean it was easy to do, or easy for my wife to accept. I commend my wife greatly for she has allowed me to grow into the man God wants me to be whether I did it perfectly or not. She has supported me many, many times as I asserted myself and directed her and our family to the things I believe God wanted for us.
I was walking through a store recently and on the shelf was a large framed quote to hang on your wall that said “Happy wife, happy life!” This quote plays right into feminist indoctrination. They try to pound it into your head that if you want your life at home to be happy, then please your wife, do what she wants, and by all means, don’t assert yourself and do not displease your wife! If the plaque were biblical, it would read “Happy God, Happy life!” In other words, live to please the Lord, that is the life that God honors, that is what brings true joy and fulfillment for a husband and a wife!
In closing, I would like to share the basis and motivation for a Christian man’s assertiveness. They would include these truths and principles as well as several other important considerations in each situation.
1. Eph. 5:22-33. The husband is told by God to be the head of his wife as Christ is the head of His body the church. We are also commanded to be considerate for and care for our wife, just as we love and care for our own body!
2. What is God leading me to do with regards to my family and my wife?
3. Why do I believe God is leading me to assert this particular thing?
4. What are the principles, biblical truths or commands that I am applying in this situation?
5. Is this decision in my precious wife’s best interest, or the best interest of my children?
6. My goal is never to ram something down my wife’s throat, or force her to comply with something she genuinely feels would be wrong for her to do, or would compromise her conscience before God. My goal and desire are for her greater good, her health, and well being and the good of my children.
7. In our assertiveness, there must also be the patience that love requires. Somethings will take time for a wife to process and understand, before proceeding full steam ahead. God was extremely patient with Gideon. When He came to Gideon and told him His grand plans for Gideon’s life, He allowed Gideon to express his doubts, questions, fears, and concerns, so much so, that he granted Gideon’s request to show him several signs that are commonly referred to as the fleece, to bolster his confidence.
8. Always weigh out the possible impacts of your potential decision or things you feel you should assert. Always consider the possible unintended consequences.
Example: 2018 was a devastating year for me and my family. I seriously weighed out in my mind selling our home, cashing out, and moving out of state. That idea felt good to me. However, I realized that it would take Kathy and me away from our children and grandchildren. They needed our support and fellowship, we needed them and their fellowship. We would have found ourselves greatly missing them and unable to offer any real physical assistance in their lives. I also knew starting over somewhere else would take tremendous amounts of emotional energy that we simply did not have and involve many other complexities and loss.
Men, let me give you a Bible verse to memorize and always remember.
2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
This series will be a great help to you and your spouse. It is entitled “The Truth About Men and Women.”