Husbands, Remember to Love Your Wives

Husbands are forgetful. I know this for three reasons: 1.) I’m a husband…, 2.) I’m forgetful…, and 3.) Every other husband I know is forgetful. 

I just left my doctor’s office and the lady who checked me out at the counter asked if I knew my kids’ birthdays. “Yes, I have three…” And before I could go any further she said, in disgust, “Apparently my husband can’t remember such things…” I’m glad I missed the phone conversation she’d had with him just before I walked up, and I felt relieved to be leaving before she resumed it. 

Here’s the problem I fall into, and into which I see so many other men fall. We forget to remember things. Like birthdays. And anniversaries. And which night next week is our kid’s school program, and that school pictures are on Tuesday, and that our wife likes to receive random good gifts and periodic signs of our affection.

We get into the routine of surviving, of protecting and providing for our families because we love and cherish them. But we forget to show them how much they are loved and cherished by remembering the little, not-so-important-but-actually-quite-important little things.

Still with me?

Paul wrote this timeless piece of instruction for husbands, “Husbands… love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word” (Ephesians 5:25-26 NLT). 

Really Paul? We need a reminder to love our wives? Doesn’t this come with the territory? Isn’t it automatic and assumed? Of course I love her, or I wouldn’t have married her. Or I might not stay married to her. 

But we are guys. We are men. So yes, we need this basic, simple reminder: love your wives

Love them by remembering what is important to them. By remembering what blesses them, what encourages them, what builds them up in their faith. Remember what makes them feel more confident about themselves, more cherished, more valuable to us and to the world around them. Remember how precious she is to God and how sweet a gift she is to us from him. 

Remembering these things is essential because, as men, we only act on things we’re currently, actively thinking about. Remembering to love our wives is the essential pre-requisite to showing love to our wives. 

My wife is precious. She’s sweet. She’s an awesome wife who encourages an undeserving me, cares well for our children even when they don’t have the maturity or capacity to appreciate her tireless work, and who leads and encourages others in our circles of friends. She’s a giver of good things, of wisdom, of compassion, and of love. And because she’s a gift to me from God, and because she gives such amazing gifts to me from her heart, I’m motivated to want to remember to show her love.

I want to remember to show her love so that she’ll always know, and never forget, and never have to question that she means the world to me. So how do I do this?

Every month I remind myself to pay the mortgage and the taxes. How much more important to remind myself to set aside time each and every day to dwell on her beauty and her worth and to think about what I’m going to do today, tonight, tomorrow, and a few months from now to convince her that she has a husband who really, really loves her.

Husbands, don’t forget to love your wives. She’s a gift from God, and is therefore of immense value to you and worthy of your intentional efforts and affection. I think a good goal in remembering to love her is to endeavor that she never has the chance to forget, herself, how much she is loved by her hustand, or by her Savior, King Jesus.

Husbands, Treat Your Wife Like the Treasure She Is

RingsMy wife is a treasure! She’s precious. In addition to all of the many personal qualities about Angie that make her awesome – such as her tender, sweet heart, charming smile and her beauty – there’s this, and it’s from the Bible…

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.

– Proverbs 18:22 NLT

Here’s a blunt truth… when all a guy can talk or think about is how much of a nag or a burden his wife is, it tells us way more about him and his attitude than about her.

Let me open that up just a bit. Man, you have a choice to make about your own attitude. If you appreciate your wife, care for her, honor her, and choose thoughts about her that are good and positive, you’re going to enjoy God’s favor and marriage will be a rich and satisfying experience for you. But if you stay focused on yourself and your own wants, you’ll create a standard she can never meet.

Dude, if you’re married, she’s a gift. God has been good to you – far better than you deserve, in fact. Therefore…

  • Cherish and value her, like a found treasure.
  • Honor and respect her as a gift from God.
  • Show her off by speaking well of her and refusing to talk about her faults to others.
  • Protect her and provide for her.
  • Desire her, pursue her, and be the first to show your affection for her.
  • Listen to her heart. Then listen some more, before responding.
  • Lead her, not because you get to be the boss, but because she needs and wants you to be in front spiritually.
  • Stare at her and remind yourself how good God has been!

Here’s a tip (from a guy who is still figuring all this out myself): Make your phone’s lock screen a picture of her pretty face smiling back at you.  

All couples go through tough times, and there are times when we need to honestly confront the faults in our spouse, but our view ought to always ultimately be for her good, not for our own.

Remember, you’re responsible to God as a steward over every relationship in your life. And if you’re married, no other relationship is as important as your marriage. Someday, you’ll stand before the Creator God of the entire universe, whose name is Holy, and answer this question: How’d you treat the treasure – my daughter – that I gave you? 

Photo by Alexis Arnold.

Time: Every Marriage’s Friend and Foe

TimeEver heard of Daniel Frederick and Susan Bateman? No? That’s okay. They aren’t movie stars or government leaders or megachurch founders. Their lives are significant, however. They were married on August 29, 1772, till death did they part, 91 years and 12 days later. Daniel and Susan represent history’s longest recorded marriage (since Methuselah and the gang at least). *

Now you have something to shoot for, if you want to shoot for it, that is. For some marriages, 91 years would be a gift – a gracious extension to a blessed union. For others, it may be like the curse of immortality for the suffering.

Time can be a marriage’s worst enemy. How so?

  • When there is little love, and no romance.
  • When a marriage goes months or even years without sexual intimacy.
  • When husbands and wives choose to hold onto resentment.
  • When we keep secrets and protect turf.
  • When we never say, “I love you,” or “I’m sorry,” or “I appreciate you.”

Time has a means of sealing in our bitterness like moss in the crack of a sidewalk. Hearts that have hardened only get harder with time.

On the other hand, time can also be a marriage’s best friend, if we choose to allow it.

God isn’t subject to time. He invented it. He started the clock and He’ll stop it someday. And He exists completely independently of the onward march of history. But He is directly involved in it. He’s chosen to use time as a tool for the unfolding of His redemptive plan for a lost planet. And He wants to use time as a tool in your life and in your marriage too.

Pastor Rick Warren often says that you can grow a mushroom overnight, but an oak tree takes decades, and God is interested in growing us like oak trees. Most newlyweds need to hear this truth. Young love is great! I still remember with great clarity the sight of my bride rounding the corner and stepping through the open doors with her hand in her father’s on the way to the altar to say a sweet “I will” to me. It was a beautiful day with a beautiful woman, but God knew that He would be growing us over the next sixteen years (and counting) into something we weren’t yet then.

The road of marriage has plenty of bumps and bruises. We let each other down. We hold each other up. We rest in times of peace and we weather storms together. And through thick and thin, sickness and health, better and worse, God molds us like a patient potter into a portrait of His grace, of the gospel, for all the world to behold. Or as Gungor says,

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Is time a friend or foe to your marriage today? It depends on how you answer two other vital questions. First, are you cultivating a great marriage? In other words, are you remaining repentant, depending on the Holy Spirit, exploring the adventure of life, dying to self, and growing in your love for each other?

The second question is equally as important – are you willing to stick it out? Will you stay? Will you forgive? Will you show grace and mercy and forgiveness? Will you demonstrate love and show respect? Will you commit to stay together through the storms? If so, time can become your very best friend.

photo credit: ?ethan

Why Honoring My Wife Matters So Much

Honor Your WifeIf I’m not honoring my wife, I cannot possibly claim to be growing spiritually. Neither can you. I’m planting and pastoring a church. I write articles for Christian blogs and websites. I’m Editor of one of the world’s leading websites for Pastors. I also consult with ministries on social media and communication strategies. I’ve spoken in a conference or two. But if I don’t honor my precious wife, I could count all of that other stuff pretty much worthless.

Here’s how the apostle Peter put it:

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

1 Peter 3:7 NLT

Notice the last line, where Peter lays down the gauntlet. If you don’t honor your wife, your conversation with God will be hindered. Your spiritual growth will be stunted. Success in the secular world often demands an inflated ego and self-confidence. Success in marriage, which is prerequisite to successful spiritual growth and therefore ministry growth requires death to self and a self-sacrificing servant’s heart.

Honoring your wife means assigning value to her. The word “honor” is used elsewhere to describe how we worship God. No, we shouldn’t worship our wives the way we worship God, but there is a similarity in which we lay down our wills, our agendas, and our egos at the feet of those who deserve our sacrifice. She is God’s gift in this new life we share in Christ.

I’m going out on a limb here. I’m going to offer advice in the form of ways to honor our wives that I have personally struggled with. My wife graciously loves me, and she means more to me than anyone else on the planet, but I have a lot of growing room as a husband. These are areas I’m determined to address in my life and my marriage, and you may struggle with these as well. So consider this a list of gentle reminders to me and to you.

Be Honest

I struggle with this along with many other men in the sense that I often hold back my feelings and failures for fear of being criticized by the one person whose opinion I value most. But here’s the brutal truth – nothing destroys intimacy more than deceit and dishonesty. Honesty is the only path to trust and closeness. You can’t stay connected to your wife if you’re aren’t open, honest, and transparent.

Be Thoughtful

I’m addicted to a solid daily routine. I like to wake up early, have my coffee, do some studying and writing, have some interaction with the world, get my work done, hang out with the family, lock all the doors and go to bed. That’s a safe routine. The problem with safe routines, however, is that they require little thought. I’m sometimes ashamed that I try to be so creative in my approach to ministry leadership, but I fail to apply my creative abilities in the realm of how I show love to my wife.

Be Attentive

My wife wonders sometimes if she should be worried about my health because I forget so much. I can remember stupid and pointless details (did you know that wasp stings contain pheromones that signal other wasps to sting?), but I sometimes forget whole conversations that I’ve had with my wife. What stinks is that a fellow Pastor can suggest an idea and I excitedly tell my wife who reminds me that she shared the same idea a week before while I was staring into outer space or at a computer screen. If this doesn’t seem like a big deal, think of it this way – failing to tune into what our wives are saying is essentially declaring their words of little or no value. To “honor” is to convey value. So listen up!

Be Gentle

My wife and I have had arguments. In fourteen years of marriage, sometimes we’ve said things that cut fairly deep, and when things get intense and my blood pressure goes up, I struggle with the tendency to blow up. No, I’ve never been physically abusive, but I have made the terrible mistake of thinking that if I yell loudly enough, I’ll win! Wrong. Every time I’ve ever yelled, I’ve lost. Why? Because even if I proved a point (which is rare), I’ve stripped away my wife’s sense of being cherished and protected. If another man yelled at my wife, I’d spring into action to defend her, but I don’t always stop myself from hurting her in this way. To honor her as the weaker vessel (Peter’s words, not mine), I need to lead with gentleness.

Be Affectionate

I’m not a hugger. I don’t mind hugs, but it’s not my natural way of relating to people. But I read a statistic today (wish I had the source) that said the average married couple kisses for five seconds per week! In King James language, brethren, these things ought not to be so. There is something electric about human touch. Babies need to be touched to develop socially and emotionally, and grown-ups are just the same. Hug her. Kiss her. And hug and kiss her for far more than five seconds per week.

Be Her Biggest Fan

My wife followed my to college (okay, I pretty much followed her on that one). She has followed me from one ministry to the next. She followed me to southern California and back. She has changed careers and resigned positions to follow me. Why? She loves me and she’s my biggest fan. But I don’t have half the giftedness of my wife when it comes to things she’s good at. She’s been a social worker, therapist, teacher, and women’s ministry leader. And as God opens doors for her to serve, lead, and excel, I’m going to be cheering her on. I’m her biggest fan. Her identity isn’t wrapped up in me or “my ministry.” She’s awesome on her own accord.

Be Her Lover

I know what you’re thinking – he finally mentioned sex! Nope. I don’t think you’ll be hurting for sex if you truly honor your wife in the ways I’ve mentioned. Instead, I’m talking about understanding how she receives love. I have a tendency to say nice things about my wife. While she appreciates this, words aren’t really the way she receives love. Instead, she responds when I show my love for her in unexpected ways and spend time with her. It’s not enough to love her in the way that comes easiest for me. To honor her, I need to value the way God wired her to receive love.

Be Her Leader

I believe that God wired women to respond to the servant-hearted leadership of their husbands. And God wired husbands to lead at home. Because of depravity, some women don’t want to be led. And because of depravity, some men are either wimps or overlords, neither of which was God’s intention. But when we find our biblical roles and really lead well spiritually, financially, and socially, we create an awesome climate for connection. So lead, just the way God intended!

Honoring our wives means more than saying the right words. It requires that we be willing to stretch beyond our comfort zones, to think, to be intentional, to be a bit radical, to be honest and transparent, and to step up to the plate to lead! When we honor our wives the way God intended, our spiritual roots can grow down deeper than we ever imagined.

This Mess Called Marriage

SchützenfestAre you happily married? If you’re smart (and you’ve been married more than two years), you’ll realize that’s a question that depends on how things are going in the moment. Am I happily married? I am today – not sure about tomorrow. But I am securely and joyfully married.

Continue reading This Mess Called Marriage

If Your Spouse Doesn’t Love You

I said a couple of days ago, and in our midweek Bible study, that one of the hardest things I deal with is not being able to help or repair broken situations. It’s not in me, but it is in the power of God to do so. Nonetheless, there are times I face a question I just can’t answer for one who is suffering, and this one is common, “My spouse doesn’t love me.”

What’s tough is that we can’t make someone love us. That’s something even God won’t do. Love is a choice, and we can’t make choices for anyone else. Today I saw this video by John Piper answering this very question. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s the only answer that is appropriate sometimes…

In summary, and from my own heart… don’t ask how you can change your spouse’s heart, you can only change yourself. What is it about you that can change, realizing that there may not be anything about you that needs to change. So lean on prayer the way I mention in this posted message. And don’t hesitate to email me asking for prayer – it’s one of the reasons I’m on this earth and you are never a bother!