Lori Alexander warns wives in her excellent post Discontentment is a Marriage Killer:
Eve stopped being thankful for the position that God put her into in the garden and seeds of discontentment were placed in her mind that reaped tragic consequences. Satan beguiled her with the question: “Hath God said….?” His desire is to kill, steal, and destroy. He wants women asking, “Hath God really said that young women are to marry, bear children, and guide the home? Hath God said that women should be keepers at home and silent in the churches? Hath God said that wives are to be submissive to their husbands in everything?” Feminism is simply acting as Satan’s agent of destruction.
If a woman believes she is “dying inside” and blames it on her husband, she has made her husband an idol instead of finding her satisfaction and fulfillment in Christ. Women naturally rebel against their husbands (Genesis 3:16) so we must always be on guard against doing this. God wouldn’t have had to tell us so many times in His Word for us to submit to our husbands if it came naturally and easy for us.
Discontentment among women in marriage is a common malady today since 70 – 80% of divorces are initiated by women. We must constantly be aware of this in us, women. We must do everything we can to fight against Satan’s questions and doubts he tries to plant in our minds and put on the full armor of God every day.
Part of the problem is our whole culture has lined up to do Satan’s work here and whisper discontentment into women’s ears. It isn’t just secular culture either. Christian pastors, including conservative pastors, regularly encourage Christian wives to embrace discontentment.
In Where Men Blow It Pastor Raymond Force teaches wives that not only is it essential that they complain, he teaches that there is something wrong with a woman’s husband if he discourages her from complaining (emphasis mine):
What I love about scriptures as such is they teach us that it is okay to reverentially offer our concerns, fears, worries, and even complaints before the Lord. What I also feel is fascinating is that one never finds God taking these complaints as though they are an attack against his person, nor do they find God getting defensive or taking things personally.
A woman needs a place to express, complain, vent, et cetera without condemnation. But, if a man is too wrapped up in his own sensitivities, he will fail to provide that which Christ offers to him on a daily basis.
Force cites Numbers 11 as the primary supporting Scripture for this absurd claim. Yet Numbers 11 is all about God’s wrath at the Israelites for complaining. Numbers 11 opens with God burning Israelites alive because they complained (KJV):
11 And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.
As the chapter continues, the Israelites keep complaining. When they complain about not having meat to eat, God punishes them by making them eat meat until it comes out of their nostrils. The Israelites keep complaining, so God smites them with a great plague. When the complaining continues, God declares that he will wipe all of them out and make a new, better people for Moses to head!
I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.
–Numbers 14:12, KJV
Moses convinces God to show them mercy they don’t deserve, and God relents. But the message of Numbers 11-14 is clear; God despises discontentment and lack of thankfulness. Pastor Force wanted to encourage women to complain so much that he took this Scripture and used it to teach the opposite of what it plainly says. Force gambled that he would get away with this because other pastors regularly teach the same message.
For another example of this, in his sermon Women’s Hurdles Acts 29 president Pastor Matt Chandler explains that if a wife is susceptible to being tempted to feminist discontentment it is proof that her husband is oppressing her!
If the most secularized feminist in the world showed up in your home and began to kind of coach your wife toward freedom and liberation from your tyranny, our wives should be so well cared for, so nourished, so sowed into and loved, they would say, “What you’re describing is actually tyranny. I love where I am…
Men, here is a good opportunity. If you’re like, “Well, gosh, I don’t think she would say that at all,” then, men, I think on the way home, you should probably repent and confess before the Lord to your wife.
Likewise, Pastor Doug Wilson teaches in Reforming Marriage that the way to tell if a man is good is if his wife is happy. He explains that very often husbands seem to be doing everything right. The husband goes to marriage seminars, reads books on marriage, and does everything he is told to do to make his wife happy. But very often despite the husband doing everything right, his wife is still unhappy. Wilson tells us this is common, and the reason it happens is God isn’t happy with her husband. He tells us that her discontentment is actually God’s voice, pronouncing divine judgement upon her hypocrite husband (emphasis mine):
In other words, keeping God’s law with a whole heart (which is really what love is) is not only seen in overt acts of obedience. The collateral effect of obedience is the aroma of love. This aroma is out of reach for those who have a hypocritical desire to be known by others as a keeper of God’s law. Many can fake an attempt at keeping God’s standards in some external way. What we cannot fake is the resulting, distinctive aroma of pleasure to God.
…This is why I am afraid that this book will be of little use to those who simply want a “formula” to follow that will build them a happy marriage. When it comes to the externals, the mere copyist can always say of himself what the unregenerate Saul could say, “concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Phil. 3:6). However hard the externalist tries, he cannot produce the aroma of godliness. This is why so many people attend marriage seminars and read marriage books with so little result. The obedience of the Christian man is not limited to new actions—actions which, after all, can be copied mechanically. This does not appear to be a rare or unusual error; many people who are miserable in their marriages are also those who have read all the books on how not to be. Of course, certain actions—godly obedience in externals—must be present in all healthy marriages; but in order to produce this distinctive aroma, the externals must proceed from new hearts.
…the love of the Christian husband does not proceed from reading the “right books,” including this one, or going to the right seminars. God will not patch His grace onto some humanistic psychological nonsense—even if that nonsense is couched and buried in Christian terminology.
When a husband seeks to glorify God in his home, he will be equipped to love his wife as he is commanded. And if he loves his wife as commanded, the aroma of his home will be pleasant indeed.
*Edit: I originally wrote that God’s declaration in Numbers 14:12 was in response to Moses pleading to God. This was incorrect. God was directly responding to the complaining of the Israelites at that time.
See Also: Whose job is it to keep mama happy?