Recently I preached a messaged titled "Refueling My Marriage." That sermon has generated comments and discussions that have been encouraging to me and I pray encouraging to other couples as well. I wanted to write a blog, actually two blogs (the second will be forthcoming), to help provide some practical applications to the sermon.
One of the points from my sermon was that God has called husbands to love their wives (Eph. 5:25–26). Paul describes this love as both sacrificial and sanctifying. One of the questions raised is how do I love my wife well? How do I express my love toward my wife? There are lots of excellent resources available on this topic. I want to share what I believe are 3 ways a husband can love his wife well. Yes, I know there's more, but I know we husbands can't absorb a lot at one time!
1. Listen more, talk less!
I know this can be hard for guys! When our wives come to us with problems, pains, or concerns they are not always looking for an answer or for guidance, although we are always ready to give it! Guys, sometimes they just want us to listen! I remember early in our marriage Lindsey coming to me with something that was happening on her job. As a pastor, and a seminary graduate with a degree in biblical counseling, I was ready to help her and give her my suggestion on how to handle the situation. She finally looked at me and politely, yet directly, said, "Kelly, I don't need a sermon right now, I just need you to listen!" I'll never forget those words. I quickly learned that my wife just wanted me to listen. I sincerely thought she wanted an answer, a solution, a fix. No, that's what guys want, but that's not always what our wives want. So, how do we know when it's okay to offer our advice? Here's what I did--I asked Lindsey to tell me when she wanted my opinion. I would also begin asking her, "Honey, are you wanting me to just listen or do you want my help on working toward a resolution?" This approach has been so beneficial to our relationship. So, listen more, guys, and talk less!
2. Speak your wife's love language!
One of the best selling marriage books has been Gary Chapman, "The 5 Live Languages." This book has sold millions of copies, been translated into many languages, and helped thousands of marriages! In his book, Chapman explains that every person has a love language. Our job as husbands and wives is to speak the language of our spouse. The 5 love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Chapman does well to explain each of these languages, giving examples of how these play our in our lives and marriages. However, here's the bottom line, problems can come into a marriage we we aren't speaking our spouses love language. Guys, if you think that giving gifts is your wives love language, and she isn't responding to all of the gifts that you lavish upon her, chances are you're speaking the wrong language. Her love language might be acts of service. What might be more expressive of love toward your spouse is to wash the dishes or fold the laundry, instead of buying her roses or a manicure gift certificate. Guys (and gals), you'll do your marriages a favor to read this book!I know guys don't like to read, so purchase an audio book and listen to it! No excuses!
3. Offer words of affirmation!
We've established the fact that we need to listen more and talk less. But when we do speak, be wise with what we say! Guys, our wives are constantly comparing themselves to each other and to women they don't even know. The media, and Hollywood, paints an image of the "perfect" woman. But our wives forget that those "perfect" women have had countless plastic surgeries and are covered in 10 lbs of makeup! Guys, we need to help our wives understand that we love them just the way they are! Our words should be affirmative and encouraging.
My wife and I were recently at an event with several other couples. I could not help but to keep staring at my wife--she looked so beautiful. I can still see her that day... she had on white capris and a yellow, sleeveless blouse. She wore a modest neckless and silver earrings. I can even smell her perfume! She looked perfect! When we left, I simply made the statement to her, "Babe, you were the pretties woman out there today! You looked so nice and just stood out above everyone else!" She really did! Later that night after we put our son to bed, Lindsey walked up to me and said, "Hey! You don't know how much it meant to me today when you told me how nice I looked! It was random and unexpected, but it meant the world to me!"
There are other ways that husbands can express their love toward their wives, but I hope this is a helpful start.