In a marriage it is the responsibility of each spouse to protect the other. I know the greater responsibility is for the husband to protect the wife and children. However there are times the wife must protect the husband from himself.
There is a great story about this in 1 Samuel 25.
David was on the run from King Saul and had camped out near the homestead of a man named Nabal. David sent some of his guys to tell Nabal that they had protected some of his flock and servants while camping nearby and it would be nice if they could join in the celebration at sheep-shearing time.
This type of hospitality wasn’t uncommon at the time and was even expected.
Nabal turned him down flat and added insult to injury! So severe was the insult that David gathered some men to kill Nabal.
But his wife, Abigail, was a sensible and beautiful woman. 1 Sam 25:3
It was reported to Abigail what had happened – all that her husband had done.
She sprang into action gathering food and drink for David and his men; then she went out to meet him and try to make amends for her husband’s insulting behavior.
She fell at his feet and said, “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say.” 1 Sam 25:24
What an outstanding wife she is! She is willing to be blamed for everything even though she isn’t responsible. Even though her husband acted foolish – she defends and intercedes for him.
Now, my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, since the Lord has kept you from murdering and taking vengeance into your own hands, let all your enemies and those who try to harm you be as cursed as Nabal is. 1 Sam 25:26
She has not only protected her husband from being killed by David, but she turns it around and has kept David from becoming a murderer.
As a wife she has placed herself between the perpetrator and victim.
Abigail continued, “Don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the Lord has done these great things for you, please remember me, your servant!” 1 Sam 25:31
She sought to protect this future king of Israel and to have her house blessed (please remember me, your servant)
Now Nabal is fully responsible for his own bad behavior being a descendant of Caleb, was crude and mean in all his dealings. 1 Sam 25:3
Perhaps he was crude and mean to his wife, Abigail. Perhaps he was verbally or physically abusive.
I would not want any woman to live in an abusive situation. However, Abigail did not take any action against Nabal, other than interceding and protecting him.
This is what happened next.
When she gets back home she finds him drunk – not a good sign. She waited until he sobered up the next day she told him what she had done.
As a result he had a stroke, and he lay paralyzed on his bed like a stone. About ten days later, the Lord struck him, and he died. 1 Sam 25:37-38
Though he was a harsh and crude man, Abigail never raised her hand or voice against him. She may have called him a fool but this is what his name “Nabal” actually meant. (1 Sam 25:25 –he is a fool, just as his name suggests.)
Abigail did what a wife should and stood by her husband even during difficult times – for better, for worse.
She was rewarded.
I know there are abusive spouses. I know it is hard to live in such a situation. This is why I tell young women not to jump into bed with any guy that she thinks she is in love with; but to get to know him over time – a long time! If you are truly in love today, then you will be truly in love two or three years from now. What is the hurry in getting married or into a physical relationship with someone.
I tell both young men and women that if there is a quality they don’t like in someone they are in a relationship with, to not think that person will change for them. If they won’t change for themselves – they won’t change for someone else.
Jesus is the only one that can really change him/her.
Finally, don’t just settle for someone you can live with – find someone you can’t live without!