marriage


Ephesians 5:29 says, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.”

  • How does Christ nourish and cherish his church?
  • How should we then nourish and cherish our wives?

I tried to answer those questions here … knowing I have a long way to go in loving my wife this way.

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away.  Most of us have heard of the Love Dare made popular by the movie, Fireproof.  But here’s a different kind of dare from the mouth of C.J. Mahaney:

Gentlemen, here is a gift you can give to your wife this week. Set aside a few hours of uninterrupted time, and ask her to honestly evaluate your personal example of godliness and your leadership in the home.

I dare you to ask her this question:

  • Where do I need to grow in serving and leading you?

For bonus points, ask this question:

  • Where do I need to grow in serving and leading the children? 

This one conversation could initiate dramatic changes in your life.

After you’ve talked to your wife, I would encourage you to relate the details to a fellow elder, pastor or friend. Invite their questions and observations and make yourself accountable to them for application. This step will weaken pride and cultivate humility. Because God gives grace to the humble, this is a very smart thing to do. In fact, it would be stupid not to, since God opposes the proud.

I double dare you to ask your wife that question.

Have you ever marveled at the fact that your wife can do so many things at once?  Like make dinner, talk on the phone, help with homework, and feed your little one … all at the same time!  Hopefully you don’t marvel at this too long before getting in there and helping her!  But, isn’t it amazing to stop and think about how God has made our wives with brains that can deal with multiple thoughts and emotions at the same time? 

Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn, in their book, For Men Only, liken this to “having multiple windows open and running on your computer desktop …with some of the open files being weeks old … and annoying little pop-ups keep coming back … and all you can do is to minimize them so you can focus in on the other half-dozen tasks you’r actively juggling.”  They compare this to a man’s brain that most often processes thoughts and emotions sequentially, focusing on one thing at a time.

Here’s one practical example of how this works itself out in real life.  I know there’s been times when Jaime and I have gotten into an argument and then we talked about it and apologized to one another and it was out of my mind.  I could go to work and put the argument out of my mind, but she couldn’t.  She needed more time to talk about it.  And in most cases, I was quick to move on to something else without really getting at the heart of the issue (my pride!).  So that “window,” if you will, couldn’t close in her mind until I took the time to really engage and listen (and confess my pride!).   

I’m not sure if any of us will ever figure out the fabulous female brain, but one thing I can do is to stop and really listen to my wife.  One thing I can do is stop and seek to understand her instead of assuming I know what she’s thinking.  And most importantly, one thing I can do is stop each day and be amazed at the woman God gave to me.

In keeping with the recent theme of leading and loving our wives (go here, and here), I found this list helpful.

(HT: Z)

So often I come home from the office ready to relax instead of serve my wife and family.  I found C.J. Mahaney’s thoughts on “seizing your commute” to very helpful:

I saw that my commute could best be utilized as a time of transition, so that I might be prepared to finish the day by loving and serving my family well.  So I made it a practice of pulling the car over a few blocks from home so I could take a couple of minutes to make an effective transition in my soul.  There on the side of the road, I meditated on Epheisans 5 as well as some other passages.  I confessed to God my sinful tendency to be selfish and sought to prepare my heart to serve my wife and children when I arrived home.  (Sex, Romance and the Glory of God, p. 49)

When was the last time you intentionally thought about how you could make your wife happy?  How you could please her… and cherish her … and make her feel like a queen?  I’ll be the first to admit I don’t think about this nearly enough.  My mind often dwells more on my ministry than my marriage.  But the Bible assumes that a married man will be concerned about pleasing his wife.  In fact, the Scriptures say that this pursuit of pleasing your wife and pleasing the Lord will divide your time.  1 Cor. 7:33-34 says,

But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided.

It almost seems as if Paul is saying that pleasing your wife is a worldly thing and will cause great anxiety!  But we know from the context that Paul is affirming both singleness and marriage as a calling from God.  It’s good to be a married man!  However, there’s no escaping the fact that our time will be divided. 

So how can we intentionally please our wives, and in so doing, please the Lord?  That’s the question I would like to meditate on with you in the coming days.  Knowing that my wife will probably be reading these posts, I have a built-in accountability!  So with that in mind, I hope to take small steps here, realizing I have a ton of room to grow.  And because I’ve only been married 10 years, I’ll be quoting other men who I have learned (and still are learning) from. 

So, here we go.  Lou Priolo, in his book, The Complete Husband, gives us a good first step.  He simply tells us to take a sheet of paper and at the top of the paper write, “Things That Are Important to My Wife.”  On the sheet he recommends recording things that your wife values–specifically things she values more than you do.  Take some time to think about this and keep this list in your journal, Bible, etc., and add to it as needed.  This is the beginning step in taking action to please and cherish your wife.  So, what are you waiting for … make the list!

Jonathan Dodson has some wise counsel in approaching this issue as it relates to the recent cover/article in Newsweek.

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