Apples of Gold
Radio Script for December 17, 2010
“The Termagant Wife”
Hello, I’m Doug Apple…with Apples of Gold.
Rip Van Winkle.
He’s the guy who fell asleep and didn’t wake up for 20 years.
He did nothing but sleep for 20 years, and to be honest, he didn’t do much before that.
Listen to this description of him, as told by the story’s author Washington Irving.
“Rip Van Winkle…was one of those happy mortals, of foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who take the world easy, eat white bread or brown, whichever can be got with least thought or trouble, and would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound. If left to himself, he would have whistled life away, in perfect contentment…”
Maybe you already knew that about Rip, but what do you know about his wife?
Listen to this great word that Irving used to describe Mrs. Van Winkle: termagant. (TER-muh-gunt) She was a termagant wife.
So, married ladies, are you termagant? Are you being the most termagant wife you can possibly be?
So there was Rip Van Winkle, ready to whistle his life away, and what did his termagant wife do? It says she “kept continually dinning in his ears about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing to his family.”
And there’s more. “Morning, noon, and night, her tongue was incessantly going, and everything he said or did was sure to produce a torrent of household eloquence.”
And how did he respond? It says, “He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing.” And this “always provoked a fresh volley from his wife…”
Finally, the author says, Rip would be forced to go outside of the house – the only side which belongs to a henpecked husband.
Here’s another great phrase Irving used about Dame Van Winkle. He wrote, “…what courage can withstand the ever-during and all-besetting terrors of a woman’s tongue?”
Irving continues, “Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle as years of matrimony rolled on: a tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows keener with constant use.”
Finally, to escape the clamor of his wife (and the work of the farm, by the way), Rip took his gun and wandered off into the woods, and fell asleep for 20 years.
Obviously Rip had a few glaring character flaws, but today let’s turn our attention to his wife, his termagant wife.
What does termagant mean, anyway? A termagant is a shrew, a scolding, nagging, bad-tempered woman.
Now ladies, you may not be as bad as Dame Van Winkle, but the question is, are you a nagging wife?
If so, I know you have your reasons, probably good reasons. Rip’s wife did, but what good did it do? It motivated no change, and only drove her husband away.
There’s a perfect picture of this “driving away” in Proverbs 21:9. It says, “Better to dwell on a corner of a housetop than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”
I like the way it’s worded in the Amplified Bible. It says, “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop (on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather) than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman.”
One guy was giving advice to another guy about his wife’s nagging. He said something like, “Dude, if she wants you to clean up your mess, clean it up. Three minutes of work will save you from three hours of mind-numbing, soul-crushing nagging.”
That’s good advice for the husband. If you are the victim of nagging, look for the cause. It’s probably something you repeatedly do or don’t do that triggers the nagging.
And wives, you need to know that nagging is not a good form of communication. It makes your husband want to pull away from you, not build the close relationship that should be the goal of marriage.
And think about this. You know it’s bad if even the Bible is making fun of it, saying it’s better to live on the roof than inside with that woman.
By the way, the narrator of this tale was wrong about one thing. Nagging can be cured, whether the husband changes or not. As you grow in Christ and bear more and more fruit of the Spirit, the worthless communication form of nagging will slide by the wayside.
So ladies, if you find yourself slipping into the bad habit of nagging, this is your wakeup call to slip on back out of it.
After all, you don’t want to become the termagant wife.
E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God bless you today! With Apples of Gold…I’m Doug Apple.
© 2010 The Arrow’s Tip
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(Proverbs 25:11 – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”)
Why “The Arrow’s Tip”? Each morning, after diligently seeking the Lord, I write Apples of Gold. Then before I release it to the public I pray one final prayer, “Lord, send forth your arrows.” I envision Apples of Gold as arrows, tips dipped in the river of the water of life that flows from the throne of God (Rev. 22:1), sailing toward the hearts and minds of men and women around the world.
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