Hey, Nabal, Got a Minute?

June 30, 2010

in the generous life

A few gals emailed me with questions and comments about last night’s tip.  Some were afraid that speaking the truth would hurt their husband’s feelings.  Others felt that their husband was not open to the truth and the truth would just cause a lot of friction (sort of a “it won’t do any good and will only stir up bad feelings” kind of thing).  In response, I’d like to share a story.

In the Old Testament there was a woman named Abigail.  She was married to Nabal who was “harsh and evil in his doings.”  I’m guessing he didn’t listen to her much or treat her kindly.  At one point he treated David (the future King of Israel) very rudely and Abigail stepped in to fix this wrong (and saved everyone’s life).  This is how she handled dealing with the truth about what she had done.

Now Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was, holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king.  And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; therefore she told him nothing, little or much, until morning light.  So it was, in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife had told him these things … 1 Samuel 25: 36-37a  NKJV

I think we can learn from her.  She was called a woman of “good understanding.”  She spoke the truth (she could have lied and covered for the missing goods during the feast time).  She told him what she did and didn’t “spin” the truth (she could have made a big deal about saving their family), though I’m going to guess that her words were respectful (because that’s just the kind of gal she was – do read the whole story in 1 Samuel 25). She did consider the “when” of sharing.  Talking to her husband when he was drunk would have been a bad idea in general and would cloud his ability to hear her (another kind of dishonesty).  She waited until he was sober so that he could understand what she had done.

I often wonder how she felt as she began to speak.  She had to expect that he would fuss at her, perhaps even punish her.   She made the best choices she could and then spoke the truth.

I cannot answer the question for y’all of whether to speak or not.  I can caution, however, that the truth is best.  Hiding the truth is much like a lie and will generally jump up and bite you (and usually at the worst possible time).  It is far wiser and easier to deal with difficult truths when you are prepared by prayer and the wisdom of a graceful approach.  Regardless of the results you have been honest and your husband has was he needs to know to address problems (something he won’t have if you don’t share). (Disclaimer: if you are in an abusive marriage relationship, please seek safety first.  Address all problems from a place of safety where others are involved. The National Domestic Violence Hotline)

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.  George Orwell

Be generous!  Lori <><

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

David Patrick June 30, 2010 at 3:13 am

I wrote the original article “The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth” on Happily Married After and thought perhaps I should add some balance to what was a really short post.

To answer some of the questions that came up let me add this about being truthful with your spouse.

When being truthful with your spouse understand that truth NEVER rides alone. It is always accompanied by love. “Speaking the truth in love…” If you have a habit of being nagging and negative to your spouse and the history of you being “truthful” is an automatic opening for drama, then you may need to evaluate the “how” and like Lori says, the “when”.

Understand that truth must be “processed” before it’s released. If you’re not careful you’ll deal in facts but not in truth. “Processed Honesty” is examined and evaluated before it’s released. It has context and perspective. It doesn’t just look at isolated things. You can do more damage to relationships by dealing in out of context facts than with in context truth. (For example: “You’re always” or “You never” So what happens is that you deal in frustration and bring to your spouse what you consider to be a factual assessment but it’s really distorted.

I wrote about how to have these tough conversation here –> http://happilymarriedafter.org/2010/05/25/toolkit-communication-tips/

Besides, if you feel like you can’t be totally honest with your spouse I would question the intimacy in your marriage. Real intimacy allows that… even at the expense of a fight. Sometimes it takes the rough conversations to draw a marriage closer.

Thanks for posting Lori
.-= David Patrick´s last blog ..How To Apologize =-.

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