It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
This exact same wording is found in 21:9—and I would encourage you to see Rev. Clark’s comments there. Is there more to extract from this proverb? Of course! Rev. Clark rightly focused upon a wife’s negative (quarrelsome) interaction with a husband (and did so without using the word “nagging”!). He encouraged the employment of some wisdom and understanding on her part so as to nurture and enhance the unique position of a supporting, loving spouse. He ends (quite rightly) with the model interaction of Bridegroom and Bride—Christ and his Church.
Building off this covenantal relationship, let’s consider the role a husband fills as the spiritual leader within his marriage and home. Christ is our example of sacrifice and love. The lengths he went to love his Bride are amazing—humbling himself to take our form as human beings, willing to be wrongfully (and shamefully) treated while innocent of all charges, and finally put to death after being abandoned by his disciples…the very ones within his Bride for whom he made these sacrifices. What love!
So how does this work out in "regular" life for us who are not so divine? Men, we need to walk more closely with our Lord Jesus so as to learn from him. If you have had an accountability partner to walk with you and ask the hard questions about how well you are living your life in Christ, you will appreciate this question: "If Christ called you today to give account of how well you have sacrificed and loved your wife, what 'proof' could you give him of how well you have treated his daughter?" Did you consider her schedule for the day and pray about the pressures and joys which will draw her closer to her Lord? As you faced certain situations, did you give thanks to the Lord for her love which provides stability and support within your day? And have you studied your wife so well you can communicate this love and joy to her in a way she will understand (1 Peter 3:7)? (And can you do this while listening to her at the same time?) Keep these questions in mind throughout your week. and see how they affect your relationship.
The sad element in this proverb is the seeming permanency of the situation. "Better to live"—this is not a dog-house situation where the spouse might re-emerge in the morning—but something a bit more serious where any desire to change the equation has evaporated. As Kidner comments, "the choice [is] between ignominious solitude and intolerable society" (Tyndale OT, p. 134). Men, let’s not allow this type of situation to fester in our marriages. Let's love our wives well, so no one has to consider the roof…or garage…or doghouse for any length of time except to consider how we might love our wives better in Christ’s name.
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