Confessions of a Former Contentious Woman
It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman. Proverbs 21:19
What exactly is a contentious woman?
As a young Christian, when I came across that verse I had no idea what it meant to be a contentious woman. Angry? Yes. But contentious, well that was a big word to me.
So, I looked it up and much to my surprise it defined me.
Definition of contentious:
- tending to argument or strife; quarrelsome
- causing, involving, or characterized by argument or controversy
Wow, I had no idea. I just thought I was always contending with others because I had a strong personality. You know, like it was part of my DNA. Well, more like my sin DNA! (lol)
Then I came across these verses in the Bible:
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3,4 NKJV
Gentle and quiet spirit….I had no clue how that was going to happen within this fighter.
I was angry. I had a chip on my shoulder and I was ready for a throw down with anyone who wanted one. And I was convinced that I could ‘take em’. This attitude of mine started in my life when I was as young as 7 years old!
My upbringing shaped me and my contentious spirit only got worse as the years went by. All it really took was for my heart to get broken a few times and then live through some hardships, disappointments, and rejections for this heart to turn into stone.
Add to the mix a culture that screams for the woman to assert and prove herself to everyone around her and you’ll get a contentious woman.
From being a woman with a contentious spirit to one with a gentle and quiet spirit was what I wanted, but I didn’t know how to get there. I had no one showing me what steps to take. Perhaps this is you today? If so, I’ll share with you what I did to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit.
First, I recognized my sin. I owned it and took responsibility for my contentious behavior. I didn’t make excuses for it by justifying that it’s just my strong personality. That’s baloney. And a lie from Satan himself.
Second, I pursued God’s Word instead of Jolene’s word. More specifically, 1 Peter 3:4. Back in 1997, I typed up this verse and taped it to my car’s dashboard so I could memorize it and hide it in my heart.
Day in and day out, I would write in my prayer journal for the Lord to transform my heart. To make me more like Him. For Him to increase in my life and for me to decrease. And I’m here to tell you that He can turn a heart of stone into a tender heart.
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. Ezekiel 36:26 NLT
1.Admit your sin.
2.Submit to your Savior. If you’re not going to submit to Jesus, then He’s probably not your Savior. You’re your Savior. Yeah, I just challenged you! But don’t feel like you’re alone. When I don’t want to submit to God and His Word, this is what I tell myself. It’s a constant reminder for me to not worship me, whether it’s due to my fears or my pride.
3.Embrace God’s Word. 1 Peter 3:3,4 is not going to win over women in the world. But you, girlfriend, are a royal priesthood, a holy generation. A woman who is set apart for a purpose. What kind of woman do you want to be? A contentious one?
4.Apply God’s word to your life. The next time you’re wanting to contend with someone, instead seek and pray to have a gentle and quiet spirit. Yes, it’s a choice. An act of your will.
When you look at those 4 steps, they seem so simple. And really they are. The Gospel message is a simple message. What’s not simple is submitting our ways for God’s ways because sometimes we either don’t trust Him or we’re being deceived by the Enemy.
Looking back over the last 20 or so years, I’m so thankful I took those steps because….
- I was tired of having to prove myself to others.
- Tired of being angry.
- Tired of fighting.
And today I no longer bother. 9 times out of 10, it’s not a battle I’m willing to contend in. Although I generally have the thought in the back of my mind that I can take em’. 🙂 But at what cost?
At the cost of my witness?
The cost of a relationship?
Does this mean I never stand up for what is right and true? Of course not. It simply means I choose my battles. Some battles are worth lacing up the strings of my boxing gloves, and other battles–not so much.
I’ve learned over the years that the fighter-like spirit within me is one part personality and one part sin. What I had to figure out was, which one was which. Once I uncovered that mess, then I had to figure out how to use my personality for God’s glory rather than my own. Read this post to give you some insight.
I was a single woman when I initially made the choice to throw off my contentious spirit and replace it with a gentle and quiet one. About 6 months later I got married. If you’re a single woman reading this, I highly encourage you to start today to develop a gentle and quiet spirit. Your future husband and children will thank you for it!
Want to go deeper? Find out if you’re emasculating your husband here.
Live a poured out life for Christ,
Thank you Jolene for this post! I have this way of being contentious a lot and whenever I read Proverbs 31 it makes me sad because I know that in a lot of things I’m not like the woman Solomon describes in that chapter. Especially the part of being quiet and gentle. Way too quick there are bad words and not nice actions that come without even thinking. I regret it right after it’s said or done but it happens repeatedly.. and I really want to become a quiet and gentle woman. I don’t want my future husband or children having a hard time because of me.
Again I want to thank you for showing a way of getting out of this bad habit.
God bless you!
How else do you recommend becoming a non contentious woman ?
I dont’ have a reply. But I would like to ask a question. Do you have a Bible study on being a submissive wife? I am a Christian wife and my husband has backslid. He constantly takes the Lords name in vain, among many other distasteful words. He is always angry with me over the smallest things. I have found out that he has cheated on me. He uses marijuana and smokes cigarettes. He is verbally and physically abusesive. I keep praying for God to change his heart, and whatever fault I have in all of this mess, that is our marriage, that God will show me exactly and help me to change. He tells me that I am sinning against God because I am not submissive to him. That I am supposed to be submissive to him, no matter what. Submissive to him means waiting on him hand and foot, to the extreme…..about the only thing he does besides work, is wipe his on tush.. Oh and we have been together for 11 years. 5 of which we lived together as sinners. We rededicated our lives to God and got married. We have seperated one time. We have counciled with our pastor….(when my husband still attended church) but his council went in one ear and out the other for my husband. The first 7 years that we were together, he only worked occasionally sometimes not for months at a time and only making minimum wage. He was not so aggressive then and seemed to be walking close with the Lord. But about 2 years ago he was brought up in court to pay about $50,000 in back child support. He has a daughter from a previous relationship and a daughter that he has never seen from a previous marriage….so he finally got a good steady job. BTW I am disabled because of degenerative disc disease and ptssd, chronic depression. I receive a Social Security check. His ex forgave him of the back child support so he didn’t have to pay it. ( His ex and her husband are Christians) Putting all of this in words before me and rereading it makes me very sad. I don’t know anyone that would take all the mess from a man that I have endured from him. No one understands why I don’t just leave him. I’m not even sure if I still love him the way a wife is supposed to love her husband anymore because of how ugly, hurtful and abusive he has been to me. But I just don’t want to break the vow that I made before God. For better or worse, til death do us part. Even though, he has plainly forgotten those words and that it was a vow to God. I just want to know what a submissive wife really is. And am I supposed to stay with a man that treats me like dirt just to honor my vow to God?
Cathy, your husband sounds EXACTLY like my dad. By being abusive to you, he has ALREADY broken the vows and you DO NOT have to submit to that. Here are a couple things my mom saved on Facebook, from a page called I Will Stand:
Abuse breaks the promise before God to love, honor, and cherish. You DO NOT have to stay in an abusive relationship. God never intended you to be a martyr to marriage and he never intended for marriage to be corrupted by abuse. If you are being abused and your abuser to change or admit they are abusive, it is OK to leave.
And here’s the other one:
Abuse destroys the sanctity of marriage. Abuse breaks the sacred vows to love, honor and cherish one’s spouse. It is complete abandonment of God’s will for the union he created between two people and it is like a slap in the face of God, who intended marriage to be a place that mirrors his love for us, not a place of bondage and fear. Leaving an abusive marriage is not against God’s will. Abusing your spouse is.
Pardon me here, but based on your comment, it sounds like your husband isn’t saved and never was in the first place. I’m speaking from the experience of watching my mom and dad’s marriage of 28 years. I am going to recommend that if you are able to health-wise and financially, get a divorce. Once again, your husband has ALREADY broken his vows by being abusive, and you ARE NOT obligated to stay with him OR submit to him.
Just asked God to make a way for you to leave.
It breaks my heart that you feel that you are the one who should change. I’m sad for women who find themselves in abusive marriages. Not what God intended, and not what our Lord wants for us. We should feel healthy, joyful, connected, and should be able to thrive in our marriages as Christians.❤️
I love what you said about submitting to your Savior. It’s so true, if you aren’t willing to submit to Him then He’s NOT your Savior!!! Such a powerful thing to think about!
Thank u for these words. It spoke to me.
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