I have been going through Martha Peace’s The Excellent Wife with a friend and we recently came to the section on making a biblical appeal to your husband. Many years ago I learned this principle for dealing with a situation where you and another Christian are not in agreement on a decision or action to take.
Martha Peace’s book is strictly focused on the husband/wife relationship, but I think that what she has written is transferable to other relationships where you are in submission to an authority.
Martha states, “The appeal should be done for the purpose of achieving the husband’s objective or desire (as long as the end that the husband has in mind is not a violation of God’s Word).” When making an appeal, the goal of the person making the appeal needs to be in line with the stated goal of the one in authority, not your own. Too often, an appeal is made in order to get one’s own way in a situation. In other words, the appeal becomes a manipulation tool. If you are going to make an appeal, I believe you have to carefully examine your own motive for doing so. Are your goals his goals? If not, why not? If his goals are sinful then of course there is no question as to making an appeal, it is the only God-honoring thing to do. But if his goals are righteous you need to determine the reason you are opposed to those goals.
Martha also says the tone of the appeal is to be respectful and submissive to the one in authority. I don’t think all women hear the tone of voice they use with their husbands or those over them. An appeal is not to sound like or be a demand. “Appeal” carries the connotation of questioning (not an inquisition) the one in authority, or petitioning them to hear another idea or possibility for a given situation. An appeal is gentle, not angry, harsh or condescending.
Choose the right time to make your appeal. It is unwise to make a rushed appeal. You want to leave time for discussion and to make sure you both have an opportunity to speak what is on your minds. As much as you may think bedtime is a good time to make your appeal to your husband, I would discourage this. Being tired and ready for sleep makes a person less even tempered and you may find your appeal poorly received.
I would also discourage you from beginning your appeal when angry or upset. Obviously, if one of you is already emotionally wound up the probability of an argument is higher and you may not be thinking clearly as you would be other times. Unless there is no other option, set aside the topic for an hour or so until you both have a chance to settle down.
Make one appeal on a subject. As hard as it is to limit yourself on a topic that is very important to you, I strongly suggest you to do so. When a woman comes back again and again, thinking she is making her point and “helping him to understand” what he hears is “nag, nag, nag” and this is not good.
A biblical appeal is based on Scripture and whenever possible the Word of God is to be your foundation.
More on this important topic tomorrow!
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