In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey recommends the following mental exercise: Imagine that you’ve died and that four people representing different aspects of your life speak at your funeral: a relative, a fellow church member, a business colleague and someone else from your community.
Change the list to your wife and your children; and ask yourself – What would each one honestly say about your life?
While it might not be fun, this exercise does provide some much needed perspective. There’s nothing like the end of a life to get others to consider the course of their days. Take a few minutes to seriously think about what these individuals might say about you to a gathered crowd.
Crank it up a little – take a few moments to imagine what Jesus would say about your Christian life to this point. What does he think about your faith? What does he think about your accomplishments for his kingdom? Would he describe you as someone growing closer to him each day?
Jesus told a story about three servants in order to illustrate that God expects each of us to be faithful with what he has given us. Of course, any number of fears might hinder us from using the gifts God gives us: fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of God’s disapproval. Failure to invest represents the most serious potential shortfall of all. Only when we use our faith does it stand a chance of growing. If we don’t exercise it, it becomes stagnant and lifeless. How will that impact your marriage? Your children?
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them.” – Ecclesiastes 12:1
There are days—sometimes many of them—when it is hard to remember what it was about your wife that you once found so lovable. Most of us expect a few waves on the voyage to marital bliss. We might even find humor in our wife’s foibles and failings. But what happens when those waves swell into crushing tsunamis? What do we do when our wife falls into a depression, when infertility becomes the only topic of conversation, or when one of us loses a job? When respecting you as God commands becomes non-existent?
What do you do? You must make yourself less and make your wife greater. Yes – depending on the situation – it will be easier said than done. Look carefully at Ecclesiastes 12:1. It doesn’t say, “Remember your Creator just in case the days of trouble come.” It says trouble will come. It comes to everyone sooner or later. That’s not a reason to despair but a reason to shore up our reserves. It is not a reason to quit. It is a reason to work harder.
Open your heart to God’s desire your relationship with your wife. In the midst of all of the troubled times, consider all the things you love about your wife: her heart for broken people, her devotion to God, her tenderness. It is easy for us to miss the good through the bad. Search your heart and rely on God’s strength to help you lead your family.
To Be Pursued and Set Apart by Her Man
“A wife wants a husband who will swoop her off her feet, carry her away to the castle, and say, “Let’s spend time together.” Focused attention is like precious gold in a relationship. One time Barbara and I had a little unresolved argument over a weekend. A couple of days later we went on our customary weekly date. We finally had the time and environment to fully discuss and resolve our differences. It was just several hours away from phones, papers and bills, and the needs of our children. Your wife craves this focused attention from you.”
Guys – what did you do to win her heart in the first place?
What is stopping you from pursuing her in those ways today?
Go for it!
Be Strong. Act Like Men.
To receive a Tender Touch and Hear Gentle Words
“Before marriage, two people in love can hardly keep their hands off each other because they find the touch of their beloved thrilling. What happens after the wedding? Some couples married for a while would find a firm handshake a wildly intimate encounter. This should not be the case in a marriage. There is great power in tender touch, even if it’s just a long, full-body hug or a lingering kiss. Or the touch may be a gentle caress of her face that has no motive to make sexual demands but communicates, “I love you, Sweetheart, and I care for you tenderly.”
Gentle words have similar power. I have made a partial list of some things that I think any husband could use in complimenting and praising his wife: charm; femininity; faithfulness to God, you, your children; hard work; beauty; personality; her love, including her receptivity and responsiveness to you as a man; her advice and counsel; character; desirability; friendship and — that’s just a start. What wife won’t respond to a husband who praises her regularly with gentle words for all these qualities?”
We are all imperfect people. Men – we know that more than anyone. So – when is a great time to deliver that tender touch? Reach over to hold her hand or give her a hug after she hasn’t been her best. Don’t say a word – just reach for her. It will show gentleness, humility and forgiveness.
Be Strong. Act Like Men.
To Share Intimate Conversation
“The typical couple spends only four minutes a day in meaningful conversation with each other. A lot of us husbands don’t realize that for our wives to consider us romantic, we first of all have to be a great friend and a conversationalist.
Grunts and one-word answers to questions just don’t cut it! Too many women don’t feel that their husbands really need them, and bare-bones conversation confirms their sense of low personal value. Many men who were accomplished at romantic, deep conversation during courtship seem to lose this talent later. You can rediscover the groove! Make a commitment to learn to make intimate conversation a priority with your wife. You need to talk and fill her in on the details of your life — not just facts, but feelings.
When a husband sincerely shows his desire for conversation and a deepening relationship — emotional intimacy — he will find that his wife is much more interested in sexual intimacy. Her dreams, hopes, desires, and disappointments then are not divorced from the marriage bed but are a part of it.”
Is life leading your marriage? Seriously – four minutes a day in a meaningful conversation with each other. How can we possibly create intimacy in our marriages with such a limited about of connection time? And then – what do we do with those four minutes?
Guys – we can do better! Listen. Share. Listen more. Show your wife that she is the most important part of your day by taking time to connect with who she is every day.
Be Strong. Act Like Men
To Feel Safe and Secure with Her Husband
“A woman needs to feel her husband’s covenantal commitment to stay married and to love her and accept her. Then she feels safe to give him the gift of who she is in the marriage relationship. The Shulammite woman, who was the object of Solomon’s passion, said, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song 6:3). She obviously had a strong sense of contentment and security.
A wife needs to know that romantic intimacy is just between her and her husband, that he will not share any personal details with his friends. She should not feel pressured or fearful, experiencing the love that casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).”
These five words will mean the world to her: I will never leave you.
It means that I will always stay married to you. It means that I will not allow my work to be greater than you. It means that my heart, my body and my mind will only be for you. It means that I will not violate the bond of trust that has built between us. It means that I will admit my wrongs, ask for forgiveness and repent.
Be Strong. Act Like Men.
We briefly shared what Dennis Rainey considers the Five Romantic Needs of a Woman in our previous posts. Today – let’s start with the first point:
“To be spiritually ministered to by her man”
He writes: “A woman wants a man eager to be her protector, someone who cares not just about her security and physical needs but also (and even more importantly) about her spirituality, the well-being of her very soul.
A husband can be a spiritual protector and advocate for his wife by praying with and for her daily, putting his arms around her, and saying, “I want to ask God to bless you. I want to take any needs you have in your life right now to the Lord. And I’m going to pray for you throughout this day.” A wise husband takes the lead in sharing Scripture and eagerly initiating conversation on spiritual issues.
A husband can contribute to his wife’s spiritual well-being by giving her some time to pursue her spiritual growth. For example, he might watch their child while she attends an evening Bible study.”
Be a student of your wife. Pray about her fears, worries and desires. Ask her – what you can pray about for her today. Don’t overlook the importance of building your own relationship with God. It is crucial that you take the initiative to study God’s word and understand His expectations of your role as a husband.
Don’t know what to pray for or even how to start. I would encourage you to check out “Power of a Praying Husband” by Stormie Omartian. It is a great book. It will give you insight how to start.
Guys – however you decide to start – make sure you start. It will change your marriage.
Be Strong. Act Like Men.