“I’m so thankful that my wife puts up with me.”
-Old-School Evangelical huband
This statement may be true. Plus, in some ways, it is a harmless statement of gratitude for a wife who is willing to accept her husband–minor flaws and all. That is good.
However, I have heard it stated by individuals that go on to make a causal relationship between husband’s performance (or lack thereof) and a marriage ending even via adultery. This is problematic.
Such is “The Shared Responsibility Lie” at work, again.
All sins in a marriage are not equal. Being inconsiderate and forgetful regarding putting the toilet seat down is not the same thing as deliberately lying for months–or even decades–while having sex with another woman.
The first is annoying and wrong. But I dearly hope no pastor would tell a couple to divorce over such an issue. They need to work on the area, but it is not like forgetting to put the toilet seat down is at the bedrock of a marriage.
Sexuality fidelity is a marriage breaker (e.g. Deut. 22:22 and Mt 19:9). So,I do hope a pastor would suggest divorce is an option for the later (i.e. the faithful spouse is free to do so.)
Another annoying thing about Christians saying such thing is how quick they are to put down a brother already on the ground. Instead of taking a place of humility–as such a saying suggests–they assume a place of judgment and condemnation looking down upon the faithful spouse as if they brought the end of their marriage upon themselves. They didn’t.
It is disgusting.
Such a stance reminds me of the parable spoken by Jesus to some arrogant Pharisees trusting–similarly–in their performance as assuring their acceptance in God’s eyes:
“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.'” – Luke 18:11, NIV
The parable did not end with Jesus extolling that Pharisee; let’s just say.
It is best not to follow the Pharisee’s path in judging a brother (or sister) dealing with his broken marriage after discovering adultery and/or being abandoned. Awareness of our own sin ought to bring humility and not arrogance.
This is the same sort of attitude that thanks God for wealth and provision while putting down the poor as deservedly so. A godly person recognizes that they could be in the same place as the poor someday and vice versa. They do not take the gifts of God’s grace as their due but rather recognize them–marriage included–as not earned but bestowed by God.
I do not have a problem with Christian evangelicals talking about how grateful they are for their wives “putting up with” them.
What I have a problem with is the arrogant stance that often follows where these same men assume and judge divorced or cuckold husbands as having done something to “make” their wives NOT “put up with” them.
That is arrogance.
And Jesus clearly is not a fan of that.