written by
Jonah Jeremiah

Real Dangers of the Quarrelsome Wife

Your Marriage Story 12 min read
Photographer: Bogdan Kupriets | Source: Unsplash

This message is based on the following Scriptures:

“Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill tempered wife.” Proverbs 21:19
A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. Proverb 12:4
Wives, respect and obey your husbands in the same way. Then the husbands who do not obey the word of God will want to know God. They will want to know God because their wives live good lives, even though they say nothing about God. 1 Peter 3:1
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. Genesis 2:18
Blessed are you, Israel!
Who is like you,
a people saved by the Lord?
He is your shield and helper
and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you,
and you will tread on their heights.” Deuteronomy 33:29

Subscribe to the Podcast



Today, my topic is on real dangers of the quarrelsome wife, and I'm going to go through the following scriptures that you can reference.

The first is from Proverbs 20:19: “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.”

Proverbs 12:14: “wife of Noble character is her husband's Crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”

1Peter 3:1: “Wives respect and obey your husband in the same way. Then the husbands who do not obey the word of God will want to know God. They will want to know God because their wives live good lives, even though they say nothing about God.

Genesis 2:18: “And the Lord God says it is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a help meet for him.”

And then the last verse and we'll tie all these together is from Deuteronomy 33:29: “Blessed are you Israel, who is like you, a people saved by the Lord. He is your shield and helper - help meet - and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you and you will tread on their heights.”

So once we look upon this landscape of God's word to answer this question, “What is the danger in a quarrelsome wife?”

We're going to start with the first top. And many people maybe start from that. “Proverbs 20:19 about, oh, it's better to live in a desert. It's like dripping water. There's a bunch of things within Proverbs.”

I think often the first place we go is sort of a very superficial: “Yeah, of course. We don't want to have someone quarrelsome. Yeah, there's something not good about having quarrelsome. Yeah, that's just a given.”

But when we do that, it's sort of like acknowledging that it’s a convention, that is the way life is. It's perfectly acceptable. It's not ideal. It's sort of like a social faux pas.

You know, you're not supposed to ask certain inappropriate questions at a party, you know, you're not supposed to burp or make other bodily sounds.

And being quarrelsome is sort of seen in that vein.

But I will argue that Scripture has a far deeper intent and to ignore this is grave danger.

And this is important for men and women, for women, it's to discern within themselves, this quarrelsome nature. And we can get a little bit in that.

But for men is to have discernment and not to go into this situation in a relationship if you can, obviously, before you're married.

And if you are in the situation, it is worthy of deep discernment and discussion, because let's take a look. It's not an inconvenience.

It says the two opposites in Proverbs sets the two goals.

The goal is to be the Crown.

This is something very Noble, and it's very achievable in the sense that it's about someone's character.

It's not about a physical attribute. It's about the cultivation of one's character, but disgraceful, which is sort of behaving in ways that bring upon disgrace, and quarrelsomeness leads to that. It can be ridicule. It can be in the form of humiliation, disrespect, and that creates decay in his bones.

This is not a social faux pax.

We are seeing death within this, and I'll get to why I believe this and why it needs to deserve great focus. So the converse, the converse is from 1Peter and also the same as an Ephesians: “Wives, respect and obey your husband.”

Now the same way is talking about there's a mutuality in terms of obeying the word of Christ to bring the other one to Christ.

But it is important to note that if we had to pick what is the opposite, it will be respect.

It is not to be a doormat. It is not to accept all opinions, it is not to state your opinions. It is not meaning to have no opinions.

Respect is the opposite of being quarrelsome by its very nature.

When you are quarrelsome, you are not showing respect, but even further, if even deeper than this, the nature of the quarrelsome is opposition.

It's opposition.

When you're corrupt with someone you're not quarreling with the person you agree with. You quarrel to oppose and to bring down in a way that lacks respect and brings shame and humiliation.

That's a very different concept.

So let's take a look at Genesis 2:18.

And I think a lot of people are missing the essence of what this means, and they interpret I will make a help meet for him and then referring to him. And then people then take the colloquial term of help meet or helper and use that in the context of the modern age, a helper is like a maid or a servant, and that fails to look at its use and context of ezer kedengo.

And that term actually is used not just in reference to women.

It's actually used in other context, particularly as related to God as a helper. And so the same intent. The same word reference to being a helper or help meet is found in other places in the Bible.

And I'll use one example, which I think really illustrates it is in Deuteronomy 33:29 where He says He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword.

And in this context it is used for Israel to seek God's help against his enemies. There's a military context. There is a battle going on, and I believe when we it's not just one. There's multiple verses in which that context is there. And so if we understand that sort of as a uniformity sort of continuum where the notion of the ezer, the help meet, starts with women and men, but extends back to God.

And in Israelites there is something more significant around the notion of a help meet. It really is almost literally a military assistance. It's military support. It's sometimes used in the context of being a savior. So I would say the image has been misappropriate as that of a maid, and really let's think about it.

It's your shield, your helper and your sword.

So I would say a comparable image would be a shield and sword.

I would say that that is when you are really trying to support you cannot be in opposition and be the help meet. In this case, there's no concept of a sword and shield that is in opposition to the one wielding it.

So if that's the case, if by not being a help meat is the result of being quarrelsome, quarrelsome is then the same as depriving someone in battle of shield and sword. So I would say that that elevates and it is now consistent with the connotation that there is decay and there is something at stake.

Conversely, the positive version is something that brings respect is not subservient.

It is there to help and to bring out the best of the man.

Now you could say, “Well, the man respects the sword,” and that's probably true. But the sword and shield respect the man in the sense that it doesn't move unless the man moves. And that's a very powerful and differing image. And I would make the case then oftentimes the quarrelsomeness the reason why it's so destructive.

It is depriving man of a shield and sword in battle.

And that's the image that I would say is the one to take hold of. If there's a quarrelsome spirit, this is what is happening. It is someone in battle with no shield and no sword, and that should be taken with some seriousness and some honor as opposed to I don't want to do this the moment it's. Well, I don't want to do this. This is grave danger.

Imagine a shield and a sword in the middle of a battle: “I don't really feel like being kind of available as a sword. Maybe you go out on your own and good luck to you.”

Think through the implications of that. I would then say the converse can be true, one that is of great power.

Imagine a successful warrior who has a shield and sword that fits perfectly. That's been built for weight and size and physio-dynamics, and that really allows him to win.

Now, is it doing what it's saying?

Well, yeah, I would hope that the shield when the man says, hey, I need to block something. Let's go here, does it?

And that's a form of sort of respect. It's following the guidance and the leadership of the man. The quarrelsome version would say, “Yeah, I know you want me to block on your left, but why don't we just try on the right instead?”

Think through that concept. It doesn't really work.

I want to then introduce a modern comparison based on some studies that I think we'll shed some light to this. So it's not just one side. And that's about airline pilots.

You see, the marital union is the same as a pilot and the copilot. I think it starts to make sense. So let's say the quarrelsome is my will over yours. I'm opposing you. So imagine you're the passenger on a plane and you see the pilot and copilot fighting. The pilot saying, “Well, I think we should go up” and the co-pilot says, “I want to go down.”

The pilot says, “I think we need to slow down,” and the co-pilot says, “I think we need to go faster.”

You're sitting and watching this quarrelsome nature.

You see him pulling the stick one way and the co-pilot yanks it the other way.

You would not want to be on that flight. I mean, I wouldn't want to be on that flight. And if you were that pilot, you probably would not want to fly with that co-pilot again.

This seems fraught, completely fraught.

But would you say that they're completely equal, like they have an equal voice and they vote and they do it? There is a submission to this, but I don't think the copilot walks around feeling bad about himself saying, Boy, I got to submit to this pot when he says something, I got to do it, man, that really sucks. Maybe I'm just going to resist it. I'm just going to tell them my piece of my mind.

I don't think we would envision that.

I don't know if the pilot or copilot would ever see that that's acceptable. Yet modern secularism has sort of said that's what it should be, that there should be an opinion gets expressed and it has a complete equal ground, and you have to do battle with it. And maybe sometimes the copilot's decision, you have to run with it. There's something out of order with that.

But at no point would anybody on the plane say, oh, I don't really value that, Cobil it's better if they weren't there at all. They might as well just be sort of a limp somewhere. No one would do that either. That wouldn't exist either. And so I really think that there is a concept that is unlocked when you talk about pilots and copilots.

I think that is actually a very powerful concept between the two.

When we start moving from submit to being something from a maid or a bondage movie or some torture scene or something archaic and medieval, and we start seeing maybe as pilot-copilot that I believe starts to become a little bit better.

And then we start to shape, and then we can start to say, Well, why can't women be the pilot? Men be the co-pilot!

And I think that that's a separate conversation, one that we certainly could have, but hopefully at least at this grounding.

If we look at Scripture, it does appear to seem that Scripture does want the man to be the pilot and the woman, the co-pilot. Now there's a legitimate, perhaps argument that all Scripture is wrong, or I don't read scripture that way.

And that perhaps is a separate whole, separate dialogue to address that.

But for now, I believe that if we look at the dangers of a quarrelsome wife and liken it to two analogies, one of which is the man in battle with no shield and no sword, that's the result of a quarrelsome wife.

And the second comparison is the pilot and the copilot, and the copilot is completely being at odds with the pilot.

Let me know what you think in the comments anywhere for further clarity about what you think about this approach to the quarrelsome wife and the real dangers.

Thanks for listening.