My late husband and I had some interesting conversations over the years about a man’s need for respect and honor. One of things he mentioned several times is how devastating it is for a man to hear his wife criticize him or make fun of him in front of other people. Even if she is trying to be funny, and even if he seems to be laughing along with everyone else, most men are quite offended by this and feel disrespected by the one person who is supposed to be for them…their wife!
So, this is just a brief reminder for all of us to be ever so careful with our men’s fragile hearts. Even though I thought my husband’s little quirks were funny, it was probably not a brilliant idea for me to share those quirks with other people! Even though I thought one of his blunders was hilarious, I realized he was going to feel disrespected if I shared that funny story with others. Let’s all be vigilant in protecting our men’s hearts. They so desire our respect, especially in public. Maybe we all need to quote Ephesians 5:33 every morning before we start our day. It very simply says, “The wife must respect her husband.”
Many of you are probably familiar with the 5 love languages as explained by Christian counselor and author Gary Chapman, but I’m pretty sure that many of us are making some mistakes when trying to use the “love languages”.
Before I go any further, let me explain the theory of the love languages and give a brief description of each one. The idea is that every person has one or two prominent ways that they receive the message they are loved by the other person in the relationship. Also, if the other person fails to communicate in your dominant “love language”, you may feel unloved. The 5 love languages are: word of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch, and gifts.
Here’s where a lot of us make a mistake. We tend to try to communicate love to the other person in the love language that we prefer….the particular way that makes us feel loved….even though that may not be the other person’s love language at all! It’s a natural tendency to want to give love in the way that seems meaningful to you. However, it may not mean much of anything to that other person if that’s not their primary love language! The Bible tells us in Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. But that doesn’t mean devote yourself to showing love in the way YOU want to receive it!
I had that light bolt realization the other day. I was feeling kind of frustrated because my attempts to show love seemed to fall flat, to go unnoticed, and to be totally unappreciated. What? Then I stepped back and realized I was trying to show love in my love language, not his! Duh! I also realized that I was expending a lot of energy trying to communicate love in a way that really wasn’t important to him. Have you been doing the same thing? Maybe it’s time to talk with the other person about which love language is most meaningful to him and then start actually speaking that particular love language instead of your own! It will save you time, energy, and frustration, and it will bring the message of love to him!
Revealing what a wife should expect of her husband is a tricky thing! Yes, we should expect our husbands to love us, and even to sacrifice their interests for ours. The Bible says so. It’s in Ephesians 5, in case you want to look it up for yourself 🙂 It says in verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her“
The tricky thing is that no husband can perfectly live up to that expectation. Therein lies the challenge. As wives, we yearn for a perfect husband who cherishes us, adores us, romances us, sacrifices himself for us, shares his feelings with us, courageously protects us, diligently provides for us, tenderly raises children with us, spiritually leads us, and on and on. Whew! That’s a long list! Frankly, only Jesus could hit the mark on all those expectations, and guess what? Your husband isn’t Jesus.
So, back to the original question. What should we expect of our husbands? I believe we should expect our husbands to strive to be the kind of husband described in Ephesians 5:25, while at the same time we need to realize that he will fall short of that mark because he’s human. That’s where we need to take on the character of Christ ourselves, striving to be “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8)
Did you know most men really like to be needed? I know. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to get them to follow through on a task you asked them to handle. But you know what? Sometimes we pick inopportune times to ask. Often we don’t have their full attention, or we mention the task along with five other things we discussed. Remember, men don’t think the same way women do! They usually focus on only one thing at a time.
Anyway, back to the “being needed” thing. 🙂 Surveys show most men really do want to be your hero. I believe it’s a way they feel respected, and we know that respect is so important for a man that God actually commands wives to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5:33!
This means our men want to lift a box that is kind of heavy for us. They want to fix the leaky faucet and impress you with their “fix-it” skills. They want to figure out a solution to your overloaded schedule problem. They want to be our heroes. The problem is this. We often try to tackle everything ourselves….or when we do ask them to help with something, we either ask at a bad time, or we throw in the request amid a whole bunch of other “talk”.
Let’s try this week to ask for our husband’s help with something…at a convenient time, very clearly, and simply. Then let’s show appreciation when he follows through. I bet he will love being your hero.
99.9 percent of my Bible-based insights are designed to help women personally and in their marriages. But I know that many husbands also read these messages, so I want to take a moment to give you an important insight about the woman in your life! Ladies, if you’re the one reading this, perhaps you can tell your husband that I’m asking him to read this as well. 😊
God tells husbands in Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” And later, in verses 28-29, God says “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church”.
So, God is calling you to love your wife in a self-sacrificing way…and to cherish her. Please allow me to explain 3 key things that virtually every wife needs from you to feel loved and cherished:
She longs to feel beautiful. That means she needs you to notice her hair, her make-up, her outfit and tell her how beautiful she is…that she looks amazing today. It also means that if she finds out you’ve been looking at pornography, she is deeply scarred. The unspoken message she receives is that she is NOT attractive enough, that she doesn’t measure up, that every time you want to make love, you’re envisioning being with another woman who you view as more beautiful than her. That’s why I’m begging you to get help if you’re addicted to pornography. Every time you look at porn, you’re slicing your wife’s heart.
Every woman craves security. We’re just wired that way. She longs to feel financially secure and relationally-secure. That’s why she gets freaked out when you talk about quitting your job or spending money on a new S-U-V. She desperately needs to feel secure.
She needs you to be loving and gentle and involved with her children (whether those kids are your bio kids or step kids). Nothing will break a wife’s heart quicker than to witness her husband being harsh or disrespectful or critical with her children. That doesn’t mean that you need to be a push-over who doesn’t discipline the children, but she needs you to do so with love. She needs to know that you deeply care about her children.
We all know that women are greatly concerned about their body image….maybe even obsessed about it! But did you know that men are also hyper-sensitive about one aspect of their body image? Almost every man really wants to be perceived as strong and muscular. This means your husband yearns for you to notice and appreciate his muscles! He’s not going to tell you that, but he really wants to be perceived as strong!
Perhaps this is why the bride in the Bible’s Song of Songs continues to tell her groom over and over again how she values his strength and muscular body. Here are some examples of what she tells him: Song of Songs 2:8-9 “Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.” Song of Songs 5:14-15 “His arms are rods of gold set with topaz. His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars.”
When’s the last time you verbally admired your husband’s strength? When is the last time you noticed his biceps and made a little comment about how impressive they are? Your husband craves those comments! As you vocalize your appreciation for his physical strength, he will be drawn to you!
Normally, pride isn’t a very good thing. In fact, God tells us over and over again throughout His Word that we need to get rid of pride. I think we’ve all heard the Bible verse “Pride goeth before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
But here’s the thing. I believe God is talking about getting rid of pride in ourselves. He doesn’t want us to be puffed up and arrogant. God wants us to attract people to Him through our humility. However, I don’t see any place in Scripture where God tells us to avoid telling our loved ones that we are proud of them. That kind of “pride” isn’t arrogant. It’s extremely encouraging to the recipient!
In fact, telling your husband “I’m proud of you” can move your husband out of paralyzing insecurity into confident, positive action. When you say, “You’re a good man”, or “you have a good heart”, or I’m so proud to be your wife”, you are speaking words of life to your husband. He longs to hear those words. It’s time we stopped focusing only on what’s wrong with our husbands, and looked for some things that we can honestly affirm. Our men need our encouragement!
This hit home for me a couple of years ago in my marriage to Raul. My husband took the time to tell me that he felt tremendously encouraged when I would occasionally pop into his home office and tell him I’m proud to be his wife. That tiny little statement built him up. It helped him press back into the challenges that awaited him. It helped him feel like he could slay dragons. His wife was proud of him. She believed in him. He had the courage and confidence to keep moving forward. Your words are powerful! Have you told your man that you’re proud of him lately? Are you speaking those essential words to your husband?
Consider Proverbs 14:1 A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands a foolish woman tears hers down. Are you building up your husband, and thereby, building up your marriage and family? Or are you tearing down your husband and demolishing your home? Something to ponder!
I’m learning lately that I can’t give away much of anything to anyone else, including my family, if I’m not filled up myself! So the question is: how do we get filled up? Well, certainly part of the answer is spending time reading God’s Word and asking Him to help us truly know His love for us. You might want to meditate on Ephesians 3:17-19 which says, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
However, I believe we also need to take time to fill up our senses with all that God has created for us to enjoy! I’ve noticed that when I literally take a few minutes to sit in the sun and gaze at the beauty of God’s creation, I get filled up. I’ve noticed that when I snuggle my granddaughter in my arms and read her a favorite story, I get filled up. I’ve noticed that when I sit in front of a crackling fire with a cup of coffee, I get filled up, in a good way.
We all need to take time to enjoy what God has created. It’s not a guilty pleasure if it’s done in moderation, and as long as it’s not a sinful action according to the Bible. These things fill us up, and when we are filled up, we actually have energy and joy that we can give away to others. So, what fills you up? What brings you joy and a sigh of contentment?
Many Christian wives have asked me what they should expect from their husbands. In other words, what is godly behavior for a husband? Well, let’s look at what the Bible indicates about this.
Ephesians 5 includes one of the most comprehensive sets of instructions for husbands. It says in verses 25 through 31… “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Wow! That’s a pretty high standard! Yet God expects husbands to strive to imitate Christ’s selfless love for his bride, the church. My husband Raul was pretty amazing but he still had some flaws, and I bet your husband isn’t perfect either. However, the Christian husband should be seeking to become more like Jesus every day. This means a husband should look out for the best interest of his wife and act in ways that indicates he cherishes her!
That being said, NO Christian husband is as perfect as Jesus! Don’t expect your husband to model Christ’s behavior every single minute of every single day. Your husband is human, and he WILL make mistakes. He will stumble in his attempt to display godly behavior each day. So be thankful if you see him at least trying to follow and obey the Lord, even though he will fall short at times. As believers, we should ALL be seeking to honor and obey the Lord each day.
You’ve probably heard of the “Five Love Languages”. It’s something Christian author and psychologist Gary Chapman figured out about how people are wired in terms of receiving love. The love languages are: words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and gifts. Well, here’s something I’ve learned after talking with many wives whose husbands have completed the love language assessment. Almost all men have “physical touch” as one of their top 2 love languages.
Ladies, this means your husband craves not just sex, but little signs of physical affection throughout the day. When you do these small things, he feels loved by you. So, why wouldn’t you give him the physical affection that you know would bless him? By purposely withholding what he needs to feel loved, could it be that we’re actually sinning? Listen to what God says in James 4:17: “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” Oh my.
Here are several ideas on how you can communicate love through physical touch. Reach out to hold his hand as you walk through the store. Give him a 20 second neck and shoulder rub as you’re walking by. Pinch his tush as he walks through the kitchen. Lean over his shoulder while he’s on the computer and give him a kiss. Rest your hand on his leg while you’re sitting together on the couch watching TV. Run your fingers through his hair. These small acts of physical touch are totally easy and yet they mean so much to most husbands. Try it!