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Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. – 1 Peter 3:7

I recently read a story that reminded me of how dumb men can be. It went something like this.

A couple was in a busy shopping center. The wife suddenly noticed that her husband was missing and as they had a lot to do, she called him on the mobile.

The wife said, “Where are you? You know we have lots to do.”

He said, “You remember the jewelry store we went into about 10 years ago, and you fell in love with that diamond necklace? I could not afford it at the time and I said that one day I would get it for you?”

Little tears started to flow down her cheek and she got all choked up…. “Yes, I do remember that shop,” she replied.

“Well, I am in the gun shop next door to that.”

Most of us have been there and done that. Thick. Thick. Thick.

I admit to being a list-maker. Most of my lists came from men and women who taught me at various stages of my life. God’s Word has a large number of “lists,” but the Bible is so much more than a compilation of lists. I see the Old Testament and the New Testament lists like guardrails on a dangerous highway. God is not trying to hem us in and make our lives miserable, but He is seeking to help us on our journey of life to have great successes. Joshua said, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

So, I offer to the men of our church at every life stage four lists, with 10 suggestions in each group, for enriching our lives with God and our wives.

 

10 Spiritual Suggestions

“…being heirs together of the grace of life…”

  1. Be the spiritual leader in your home. If you are not the spiritual leader for your wife, someone else will take that role. This is more important than just going to church or being active at church. Your wife’s security lies in your spiritual growth as the leader. No growth, no influence. No influence means no respect and no ministry. Eventually, it could mean no home.
  2. Be the first one your wife comes to for counseling.
  3. Family ministry and church ministry are not the same ministry.
  4. Spend time every day with God in personal devotions. Pray together; there is a special intimacy when we pray. There are five levels of communication: Clichés, Facts, Ideas & Judgments, Feelings, and Intimacy (no matter what you say or do, I will still love you). Share your prayer requests. Tell what God is doing in your life right now. Simply ask: Are you struggling in your life right now?
  5. Be willing to work on deepening your relationship by going to couples’ retreats and reading books on marriage. If you do not grow your relationship, it will die. Real spiritual growth requires accountability and repetition.
  6. Be transparent and honest. Most unfaithfulness occurs when there is a lack of honesty and accountability. No hidden secrets; no hidden bank accounts. If you make a promise, keep it. “I will be faithful to church services,” means no backing up.
  7. Loving each other is a conscious choice you make every day. Tell her every day.
  8. Every time you destroy trust, you chip away at respect and love. Every healthy relationship has three elements to it: love, respect, and trust.
  9. Your identity is not found in your work or your ministry, but in your relationship to God and to each other. I am not the same person without my wife; she is not the same person without me. It is who we are in marriage. It is being “one flesh” in unity.
  10. Be 100% committed to her. Take on the motto, “Press on; never quit.” Look for thoughtful ways to strengthen the security of your relationship to God and to your home.

 

10 Emotional Suggestions

“…dwell with them according to knowledge….”

  1. Be kind. Give “happy hellos” and “loving goodbyes.” The first compliment our mate should hear each day should be from us. Men who lead in kindness set the atmosphere for the home.
  2. Don’t compare. Never compare your wife to another woman (esp. your mother). Guard against having your wife becoming your “mother-figure.” (Ernest T. Bass) For example, don’t call her “mother.” She is not your mother, is she? Never esteem another woman higher than your wife.
  3. Look for ways to spend more time together. Time is a gift from God and how you spent it shows what you love. Spend at least 30 minutes a day with God and much more with your wife. Do projects together: yard work, games, cooking (if you’re into that), letters to widows, cleaning, etc.
  4. Learn to make your wife laugh and do it every day. I have too many stories I could tell to make this point. Learn to make communication enjoyable most of the time.
  5. Give your wife time to pamper herself.
  6. Make a conscious effort to be unselfish. We might as well admit what everyone knows: most men are selfish. It may kill you, but learn to say it: “I was wrong.” If you choke on that one, then say, “You were right.” If you are comfortable in your manhood, then say both statements: “You were right and I was wrong.” Do not be threatened by your wife’s successes. When she succeeds, the family succeeds. Marriage is not a competition and if you make it so, there will be friction and hurt feelings.
  7. Consciously work to make your wife feel secure. Never use the words “separation” or “divorce” when you disagree or argue.
  8. Invest money wisely in expressing love to your wife. Do not take some kind of pride in being known as a tightwad. It is not a compliment. If a man is stingy in giving money, it is likely he is stingy in giving love.
  9. Keep in mind that if it took romance to get her; it will take romance to keep her. Date nights are great for both of you.
  10. Be a good listener and think about what she says. Value what she says. Ask her for her opinion before you make a decision, whether it is a big decision or a little one. As “one flesh,” make decisions together and realize that God often speaks to us through our wives.

 

10 Physical Suggestions

“…as unto the weaker vessel….”

  1. Help out more (especially if she works outside the home). Do the chores around the house that need doing. Help with the children. One can do homework while one cooks. Spending time with your children is not the same thing as spending time with your wife.
  2. Be creative in your giving. (time, talents, & treasure) Make a card instead of buying one. Do something that takes considerable time to do. Make a personalized list of “100 Reasons I Love You.” Give a gift that you personally picked out, just for her.
  3. Work on learning and re-learning that intimacy is more than physical, but includes mind-to-mind and heart-to-heart. A wife desires to know her husband and to be known by him. Intimacy is two people opening their inner selves to each other and feeling completely loved, accepted, and respected. At times, communicate your dreams and goals.
  4. Resolve conflicts within 24 hours. Get over it and make peace.
  5. Determine that when you talk about finances, you do so calmly.
  6. Avoid making comparisons that divide you from each other. Do not say, “I do more around the house than you do” or “You are just like your mother.”
  7. Reject and avoid all forms of pornography. This includes videos, internet, TV, and printed materials. Pornography divides couples and leads to lust, coveting, and idolatry. This is the “secret sin” in homes and the church.
  8. Realize that being a workaholic is not an admirable trait. Be married to your wife, but not to your career or job. Be there for her. Stay-at-home moms especially need a night out with just their husbands.
  9. Be thoughtful and buy her a gift once in a while. Gifts are the love language of some wives. It is not the cost, but the thought that went into it. Sacrifice is a part of giving, however. Constantly remind her that she is a special lady to you. Praise the gifts that the Spirit has equipped her to have: hospitality, organizing, giving, encouraging, teaching, etc.
  10. Stay involved in your children’s lives regarding their schoolwork and activities. Go to PTF meetings, orientation meetings, assemblies, ballgames, etc. Help them with school projects, i.e. science fair.

 

10 Social Suggestions

“…giving honour unto the wife….”

  1. Be your wife’s best friend. Best friends do not get tired of each other. Best friends do not take each other for granted. Best friends make each other smile … a lot. Best friends are the best listeners. Do not let anyone else become her very best friend.
  2. Beware of close friendships with members of the opposite sex. Watch out for being close friends with unsaved couples. Never discuss your relationship problems with someone of the opposite sex unless your wife is there to speak as well. If you must meet with a lady in your office, leave the door open. Do not have lunch with another woman unless you are with a group and always let your wife know.
  3. Never talk about your wife in a negative manner to anyone. Your relationship is built upon being loyal to each other.
  4. Do not flirt with other women. Guard your language and your eyes.
  5. Do not ignore special days: birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day.
  6. Find ways to do more things together as a couple. Spend a good amount of your time doing things that she wants to do in your free time. After you have put your time in at work, come straight home. Be thoughtful and give her a call that you are on your way home. Don’t go on separate vacations. Go together as a family—“Play together, stay together.”
  7. Avoid all forms of social drinking. It never helps your marriage and it always opens a door that you do not want to walk through.
  8. Learn to discuss things without allowing the conversation to turn into a fight or argument. If it turns into an argument, there are basic good rules to follow.
  9. Seek to on purpose understand your wife better. This is a life-long goal for every Christian husband. Even when you don’t understand her, make it clear that you are trying to understand. Acknowledge that the two of you are different, but one is not better than the other. Do not let your wife’s differences become a source of irritation because that will drive a wedge between you.
  10. Never make fun of your wife’s feelings or emotions. Work especially not to let her feel rejected or disrespected.

No one is going to agree with all 40 of these principles and that goes for both husbands and wives. That’s okay. It is important, however, that you discuss these things with your wife and see what she thinks before you assume that you know what she thinks.

I assure you that this list will generate meaningful conversation. It will open more doors than “Hi. Did you have a good day?”

A happy home takes diligent work and you must never settle in and get satisfied that there is nothing left to do to add more love to your relationship with your wife.