By Vasthi Reyes Acosta
I was in the car with my husband driving to meet our family for lunch. My husband chose a route to the restaurant that, in my opinion, took more time. I knew we had time constraints because we had to meet friends after lunch. I sat in the car fuming. After driving in this area for over twenty years, why does he still take the longest route? Do I have to do all the thinking in this family? Before long, I had whipped myself into a quarrelsome attitude because of something as inane as the driving route to a restaurant. In the meantime, my husband and children knew that Mom was in one of her “moods.” They didn’t know if they had caused it; they just knew to be very cautious. I had just become a “constant dripping,” and my family was living on the corner of the roof.
“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife” (Prov. 21:9).
“Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and illtempered wife” (Prov. 21:19).
“A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping” (Prov. 19:13).
It was a clear picture of who I was. I stared at those verses and remembered scenes at work or home where someone around me whispered, “She’s in one of those moods,” and I could sense they’d rather be anyplace else but near me. My family and friends were often walking on eggshells, afraid to say or do anything.
The verdict was in: Guilty. I was a quarrelsome, ill-tempered woman. Even I hated being around me. I cried out, “Lord, why am I like this? Help me. Change me.”
God showed me the three culprits at work in my life: pride, discontent, and pleasure-seeking.
Proverbs 21:4 says, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin!” Pride was footloose and free in my heart. I wanted control. I thought I was better at deciding the route we should take. And my desire for control mushroomed into believing that I always knew better than my husband. This is a common disease among wives, even when our husbands have proven themselves to be responsible, thoughtful, and intelligent men. Why else would we have married them? Still we want to believe that we know everything.
Discontent is a sneaky one. It creeps into our thoughts without much warning. I was discontent with the route taken to a restaurant. How silly is that? Yet, it was powerful enough to ruin my family’s lunch date.
A quarrelsome woman that harbors discontent is never satisfied. She wants her husband to bring her flowers. One day he does. Oh, but they weren’t red roses. She is never satisfied. She is always craving more.
Yet the truth is that “…all day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing” (Prov. 21:26). Why not stop thinking of what we can get and think of what we can give?
Proverbs 21:17 says, “He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.” I love pleasure. Who doesn’t? Is that your goal in life? Are you constantly planning and thinking about your next vacation? Is pleasure your focus? And if you don’t get what your heart is set on, Watch Out World!
You didn’t get to see your favorite TV show or you didn’t get to go to the gym or have lunch. Instantly you put on your quarrelsome face and no one can stand being near you. The world owes you.
This seeking of pleasure can lead to becoming what the Bible labels a sluggard. “The sluggard’s craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work” (Prov. 21:25). We become lazy. We don’t feel like cleaning, cooking, teaching, studying, or going to church. We crave only pleasure and become sluggards at our responsibilities. We all have duties to perform, given to us by God in His ultimate wisdom. We are to do the work every day that He places in our hands with an open and grateful heart.
What must I do to leave this quarrelsome woman behind?
Once I recognized I was a quarrelsome woman and these three culprits were wreaking havoc in my life, I determined to change and become a woman who is pleasing in God’s sight. The Holy Spirit helped me focus on humility, contentment, and trust.
“Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor,” says Proverbs 18:12. “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life” (Prov. 22:4).
It’s hard for me to be humble. It’s so easy to think more of ourselves than is true. How can we stay humble? I found it helpful to make a list of the things God had given me. When I consider the magnitude of God’s gifts in my life, I feel humbled. This same list can be written about the key people in your life. When I look at the blessings these people bring to my life, I have a quick attitude change.
I think of contentment as coming to terms with what God has given to us. “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” (Prov. 24:24). If you believe His Word, then why do you fuss? It’s time to put God’s Word to the test. Stop fussing and craving for more, and begin to look at what you do have.
Be still and know that your life is in His hands and rejoice. Rejoice in what He has given you. Rejoice in where He has you. Rejoice if you have a job. Rejoice that you have a family who loves you – even when you have them living on the corner of the roof. Rejoice that you have life. Rejoice in the awesome God you serve. Rejoice in the work He has given you to do – it is a privilege.
Are You A Quarrelsome Woman?
- Are you content or complaining?
- Are you rejoicing or miserable?
- Are you trusting or maneuvering?
- Are you giving or craving more?
- Are you busy doing God’s work or seeking your own pleasure?
Decide today what kind of woman God wants you to be. Then take the necessary steps to become a woman that is pleasing in God’s sight. Meditate and think about these verses:
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life…She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue” (Prov. 31:10-12, 25-26).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Place all your trust in God, not your own thinking. Look where my thoughts got me. Don’t trust your feelings, opinions, or rights. Trust in God and His Word. God has ordained even this hardship in your life. Accept it and move forward in His strength. “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30).
How reassuring is that? What a solid foundation to stand on! Trusting in God will lead you to obey His Word. Obedience to His Word will help you be humble and find contentment. The quarrelsome woman will be banished.
The next time my husband took the long way to a destination, I took a deep breath, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the way – scenery I had never noticed before! I chose not to be in control of every little thing and accepted the freedom of not making every little decision. What a difference it made!