She Despised Him

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture: (2 Sam 6:16 NKJV)  Now as the ark of the LORD came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.

Observation: With dancing and rejoicing David celebrated the return of the ark of God to Jerusalem.  From a distance, his wife Michal watching and thought it disgraceful that the king would act that way instead of being more dignified.  She criticized him, David became defensive, and to the end of their life did not enjoy a good marital relationship.

Application: In the relationship between David and Michal we can see some of the dynamics that bring about the destruction of a Marriage.  Willard Harley, author of such books as Love Busters and His Needs, Her Needs, says that there are three states of Mind in Marriage.  Michal and David exemplify the three states.

State # 1. INTIMACY
(1 Sam 18:20 NKJV)  Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.

David must have had feelings toward her, enough to go to war for her (1 Sam 18:27-28).  Michael loved David enough to lie to protect him, even from her own father (1 Sam 19:11-18).  Maybe the beginning of their downfall took place when Saul, her father, gave her in marriage to Paltiel, and maybe she learned to love her new husband (1 Sam 25:44).


John Gottman’s research suggests there are four ways of interacting that sabotage your attempts to communicate with your partner.  One of what he calls The Four Horsemen of Marriages in Trouble is Criticism (illustrated in our text for today).  Criticism involves attacking someone’s personality or character – rather than a specific behavior – usually with blame.  Gottman also identified a second damaging way or horsemen which is Contempt (also used by Michal in our text).  Ellen White adds an interesting insight: “In the bitterness of her passion she could not await David’s return to the palace, but went out to meet him, and to his kindly greeting poured forth a torrent of bitter words. Keen and cutting was the irony of her speech” {Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 708}.  Michael couldn’t wait to pour cold water on David’s joy and enthusiasm and didn’t just criticized him for his actions but showed contempt for not behaving in a regal manner.
     Gottman states that “what separates contempt from criticism is the intention to insult and psychologically abuse your partner.  With your words and body language, you’re lobbing insults right into the heart of your partner’s sense of self.  Fueling these contemptuous actions are negative thoughts about the partner – he or she is stupid, disgusting, incompetent, a fool.”  You can almost hear Michal’s  mocking tone and her twisted smile and the rolling of her eyes as she said to David, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” (2 Samuel 6:20 NKJV)

     David, on the other hand, used the third of Gottman’s horsemen, Defensiveness.  His anger and dismay at the “welcome” he received from his wife turned into anger and a defensive attack: (2 Sam 6:21-22 NKJV)  So David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the LORD. {22} “And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.”

     While it is not directly stated, the last words of this story tells us their marriage fell apart.  It is possible that David used the fourth of Gottman’s horsemen, Stonewalling, and simply tuned her out completely.  Regardless, they reached the third state of marriage as described by Harley, the state of Withdrawal and their marriage simply continued as existing together, but there was no love between them: “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death” (2 Sam. 6:23).

     How different their life might have been!  Maybe it all began with a poor relationship with his father-in-law.  Maybe it was another relationship, Michal’s marriage to Paltiel, that damaged her love for her hsuband David.  Maybe it was David’s marriages to Abigail and others that interfered with his love for Michal.  Maybe it was not caring for their relationship and sabotaging it so that they moved down the slide from Intimacy through conflict to withdrawal.  I guess the question is, do you see yourself somewhere along that continuum?  Do you see yourself sabotaging your relationship by using any or several or all of the “horsemen”?  Learning and understanding about your situation is one important step on the way to healing, but the next steps you take will determine whether your marriage declines and dies or survives and thrives.  Seek help, ask for help, pray for help, call for help; not taking a positive action will mean letting your marriage drown in the sea of divorce.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, may what happened to David and Michal never happen to us in our marriage.  Help us to take any and all the steps necessary to see that our marriage not only survives but thrives.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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