When I first wrote Her Emotions, I was writing from the context of understanding the roles and responsibilities of the husband in terms of the emotional state of the wife.
Here are the main points of that article:
Any words or actions that a husband takes in regard to his wife are not to be about making her happy but rather to draw her closer to Christ.
However, husbands must understand that the Scriptures don’t state you have to make her feel differently, but as the head it is commanded to facilitate her on the right path which is toward God. It’s her decision on what to do with her feelings, though your words and actions can facilitate her away from her feelings in many cases.
Men and husbands — don’t try to take responsibility for a woman’s emotions. Take responsibility instead as the head to facilitate her lovingly towards God.
If she chooses to rebel against the headship in marriage because of her emotions, it is not your responsibility to clean up any of her mess. Her rebellion means the consequences fall on her. God does not take responsibility for rebellion and sins that Christians commit, and neither should husbands take responsibility for rebellion and sin that wives commit.
The main reason why I am inclined to write this article is that I didn’t explain some of the nuances of taking this Scriptural point of view.
Although the husband is supposed to take a “God’s way or the highway” point of view, there are two diametrically opposed attitudes that this falls under. The dictatorial “God’s way or the highway” is opposed to the loving “God’s way or the highway.”
For example, let’s take a look at one of the examples I’ve used extensively before. A Christian can go up to a non-Christian and tell them “you’re a sinner and if you don’t repent and change your ways you’re going to hell.” While this is all indeed true from a Scriptural standpoint, it is not exactly kind or loving. For the majority of non-Christians who hear this from a Christian it will only harden their hearts. Rather, the way that works best for witnessing to non-Christians is to either show them by example through your own life what the love of God can do, or it is to explain and help them understand the love of God and why He sent Jesus to die for our sins.
Now, what does this have to do with emotions?
The very fact that there is a disagreement in the first place is essentially the same as witnessing. You have fundamental difference in beliefs about a particular thing, and emotions may already be running high.
If a husband goes with dictator “God’s way or the highway approach” yes it will cause some wives to turn back onto the righteous path, but in many cases it may actually cause more dissension and strife in the relationship because we often go with how we feel rather than what God wants. Even if the husband is taking the correct stand, he may be taking an incorrect approach. It is important to understand the fragility of human emotions from either sides of the male-female relationship. Specifically, a dictatorial approach does not consider the “embittered” nature (Col 3) and living in the knowledge (understanding/consideration) as the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3).
Instead, I think Jesus’ approach tends to be best in these types of situations in which He states what God says, and then he follows it up with a parable or analogy. Parables and analogies are excellent because they make both men and women step outside their own shoes and experiences force them to think about things from a different point of view.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that Jesus used parables often among His greatest opponents the Pharisees and Saducees. While a husband and wife are not supposed to be greatest opponents, it may sometimes feel that way when they disagree. Therefore, it would make sense use the methods which Jesus used to convey His thoughts to those He disagreed with.
My explanation in the previous post was incomplete. While the husband’s primary goal is to direct her to Christ, he is also to direct her to be one with him. He is also supposed to be facilitating unity in decision making. Thus, it is important facilitate the encounter in such a way that brings about both unity with God and himself. While her emotions are indeed for her to deal with, a husband needs to understand and consider where she is coming from in order that he may facilitate that goal.
This is a more nuanced position than the position of the previous article, but I believe it to be more clearly aligned with the Scriptures.