I need to share something with you that I have seen over and over, in so many married women. I need to share it with you, NOT because I see it in you, but because it is something that is SO easy to do and so many do it.
And because it is exactly what you have asked me about.
The thing I want to share with you is:
The “Poor Wives Club”
The Poor Wives Club is an unofficial, and quietly hidden sisterhood of women whose husbands probably are not saved, often are alcoholics, and usually do not attend church like their wives do, like their wives wish they would. And all of that to their enormous dissatisfaction.
Women in this club hang together, support each other, and depend upon each other.
It would seem there would be nothing wrong with that, right? But there is something definitely wrong.
What’s wrong is the dependence. And what they depend upon each other for.
- These women do not think they sin. Or they think their sin is not as bad as their husband’s sin. Or they think no one knows they sin. Or they think husband does not know they sin. They depend upon each other to hide that fact.
- They depend upon each other for petting instead of Godly counsel. They crave petting. Many people even at church will pet them, pity them, croon over them, will sing them lullabies as they fall asleep, and would never think of waking them.
- They depend upon each other for acceptance. They know they do not fit in with those less-than-happy wives who nevertheless believe in building husband up. They know they do not fit in with those wives who believe in submission. They know they do not fit in with those who have no complaint, or do not voice their complaints.
Usually there is one woman, holier and more vocal, who is the leader of such a group, the President of the Poor Wives Club. It’s easy to find Such a woman to join, since usually you can find at least one member in almost every church. Look for frowns. Look for signs of lack of self-control. These poor women are obvious, wearing their badges of discontent so proudly, many women can see through it, and stay away.
Which is a good thing. These women who step back are wiser, in that although they might feel tempted to be a “Poor Wife”, they do not want to find themselves irretrievably locked into such a life.
Occasionally, a husband of one of these wives somehow, miraculously finds God. His walk improves. His health may even improve. He begins laying down his addictions and becomes a pretty good husband, really.
This pulls the rug right out from under the Poor Wife.
She loses her identity.
With a saved husband who is improving weekly, she has no real reason to continue in the Poor Wives Club, yet feels insecure and aimless without it, because it has been her whole life.
She finds she has lost her entire reason for living.
To fill her life that is empty without offenses happening to her, she resorts to finding small things he has done wrong and blowing them out of proportion, to her fellow club members, and any who will listen. As her husband’s life continues its upward mobility, she finds fewer and fewer willing to listen.
This woman has two choices:
- She can finally leave her self-life behind, with its murmurings and willfulness and hate; can repent over all the horrible ways she stood between her husband and God, and maybe even between others and God.
- She can become more and more bitter and sour and unlovely and become an even huger albatross to her husband, like a ball and chain around his ankle, which she always was, but suddenly becomes visibly so, even to herself, at times. Because she finally can see she never hoped he could find true life in Christ. She suddenly realizes something, although she does not dare admit it even to herself:
She always hoped he’d stay as he was and she always stayed married to him, to give her an excuse for sin.
I’d been thinking of this woman a lot today, and I am so glad you’ve already seen her and decided not to join her. What a relief that is for me!