Are You the Man She Married?
Are you the man your wife married however many years ago? Are you now the new and improved version of that man or have you flat lined for years or worse yet have you digressed and are now just an empty shell of the man she thought she married? If I took an informal survey what do you think she would say? I suspect we would all like to confidently say we are the new improved version on an upward trajectory becoming better each and every day. In no way do I mean for these questions to condemn you but I do mean for them to challenge you to be the leader of your household the way God intended.
For far too long men have sat on the sidelines watching their wives take charge in the spiritual arenas of our households. For too long they have been the ones who have led the charge to get the kids up on Sundays, get them dressed and take them to church while the men of the households go off to get their selfish needs met. Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating that men now need to put on an artificial spiritual face, and become a spiritual hypocrite just to check a box to make their wives happy. That is not what wives are looking for from their husbands. They want you to be true to the man God created you to be but that does not mean you don't need to change or set aside selfish habits that only meet your needs and demonstrate to those closest to you that your needs are what matter most. I know that is a little in your face and I intended it to be.
Relationships are 2 way streets and they take work, communication and maintenance. All relationships take work and commitment. I am challenging you as men to step up and take the lead and do your share of the heavy lifting in your family with regards to relationship building and spiritual leadership. Again, I am not suggesting you become someone God did not design you to be but "man up" in your relationship with your wife and family and break away from old patterns that are self-serving and destructive. Watch what happens when you take the lead to demonstrate to your wife and family that you truly do care, you are listening to their needs and have their backs. I am certain, if you make a sincere effort to change and demonstrate to her that you have her back she will notice and become your greatest ally.
Submit to one another [husbands and wives] out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Eph. 5:21-25
As I prepared for this topic I researched numerous articles and studies performed around the topic of what christian wives want from their husbands. Nowhere did I find any references of wives wanting their husbands to become artificial, or unauthentic to who God intended them to be. Our wives long for us to be leaders of our households. Effective leaders are not dictators, bullies, or self-serving. Effective leaders lead by example. Effective leaders are humble and encouraging and lead by their actions more than their words. Effective leaders are also strong and willing to stand with those who follow their lead when faced with challenges.
The following article written by Dr. David Hawkins of The Marriage Recovery Center best summarized what christian wives desire from their husbands.
First, you must submit to her need. Submitting to her need means men must understand what she needs, accepting them as legitimate needs to be respected. You stop resisting them, rebelling against them, and pushing through her boundaries about them. You become a “secondary protector” of her needs.
Second, you must create a safe place for her. Women need safety. They are desperate to have their physical, spiritual and emotional needs protected. They cannot grow, feel healthy and alive, unless they feel safe. They need to be safe from chaos, safe from criticism, and safe from emotional abuse.
Third, you must protect her from harm. Women need to be assured that all harm has stopped. They need to know their thoughts, feelings and values will be protected from any harm. They need to know their mate has their back and will speak life into them. They need to know they will never be spoken about negatively to others.
Fourth, you must guard your expectations. Women need their mate to guard their expectations. If you don’t guard your expectations, you won’t be able to manage your frustration. You will be manipulative, expecting a payoff for positive actions. If they sense they must act a certain way, they will walk on pins and needles around you.
Finally, love her. It has been said that love means extending yourself for the welfare of another. Certainly, 1 Corinthians 13 has much to say about how love is to be played out in marriage—where you are to not be self-seeking, but rather seeking to meet her needs. If you meet her needs, she will ultimately, in time, likely follow your lead.
Three words best summarize the above article. Our wives want to be respected, protected and loved. Can we do this? Yes. Will it take effort and require us to change? Probably. Will our wives notice and respond favorably? Absolutely. I encourage all of you to be bold in your walk with Christ as it relates to your wife and family. It is okay if you make mistakes along the way because if you are authentic those closest to you will know you are trying and be their to support you. Last week my wife sent me the following quote from the book "Born to Battle" written by Arthur Matthews. It states "The vocabulary of attack is not popular today. Many of the Lord's eagles have been influenced by the mood of the world and assumed the character of doves." Our wives married us not because they saw us as doves but because they saw us as eagles and that is the way God intended us to be.
In closing, I leave you with a brief video clip called "Balance Beam" by Pastor Francis Chan. I find it to be a great analogy of not allowing ourselves to become complacent with our christian walks. God never designed us to just hold on, He intended for us to live life and live it to the full. Start living it, your wives will notice and follow your lead.