How To Give Yourself
To Your Wife
A Message To Men From Jesus
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church...” —Ephesians 5:25-29 (KJV)
By Philip & Segatha Matthews
© 2006 Philip & Segatha Matthews
From The Christian Family From A Holiness Perspective
[Author's note: This article is available as a separate booklet and can be ordered from the contact information provided on this website.]
When it comes to wives and families, you get what you pay for. If you don’t pay much, you don’t get much. What you sow is what you reap. “He that sows sparingly reaps sparingly” (2 Corinthians 9:6). What you put in is what you get out. This is the Law of the Universe. You pay a cheap price, you end up with a cheap family. Your family is a direct reflection of the price you have paid. Never, never, never let yourself forget that.
Take Me, Jesus Christ, your Lord and Master and the ultimate Heavenly Husband and “Bridegroom,” as the perfect role model for all of you human husbands. You are going to have to treat your wife and family like I treated Mine. I wanted a great wife, indeed, the best wife—the Church. My Apostle Paul describes it well when he writes that I wanted a priceless, spotless, pure, perfect wife. So how did I get her? I bought her! And I paid top dollar for her. “With His own blood He bought her,” you sing. “…The Church of God…He has purchased with His own blood,” Paul tells you (Acts 20:28).
Brother, I gave My life for her. I made her know that she was the most valuable thing in the world. When you choose to die for a woman, it removes all doubt that you really love her and that you firmly believe she is the ultimate, most valuable treasure in the world.
Furthermore, note that when I realized that I would have to buy My Bride, the church, I knew that I could not just use whatever kind of “money” I wanted to use as her purchase price. I had to use the medium of exchange she needed. I had to use My own precious blood. You see, My wife had been sold into slavery—she belonged to the devil—so I had to redeem her. I had to buy her back. But I could not buy her with earthly riches, because she was in spiritual slavery. I could not buy her with great fame. I could not buy her with nice deeds or miracles. I could have easily paid with any of these earthly commodities, but the price required for My wife was something else—My life. I could not purchase or redeem her without using the medium of exchange required.
Therefore, when a man wants the best wife and the best family, he must pay top dollar for them. But he must also use the correct medium of exchange required to “buy” them. He cannot buy them on his own terms. He must buy them on their terms, according to what their needs are. Anything less and he is really not paying top dollar for them. He is getting them at some “bargain basement” rate created for his own advantage, not theirs. And believe me, a “bargain basement” wife and family is no fun.
Notice also that it says that I “loved the church [My wife] and gave [Myself] for her.” Now if I hadn’t given Myself for her, I wouldn’t have really loved her. It’s not enough for a man to be in love with a woman emotionally and physically only. If he really loves her, he must give himself in every way. Emotional love and physical love is really the man being in love with himself; he is in love with how good the woman makes him feel. But by giving himself he proves that he really loves her, not merely himself. This is an important point. If you don’t believe it, just ask your wife.
So how does a husband give himself to and for his wife, and what kind of “money” does he use to “buy” her? Since so many of you guys, even some of you Christian men, don’t seem to know, let Me give you twenty ways in plain, no uncertain terms:
1. Give your unconditional love to her and to your family.
This means to “give the gift of self for the benefit of others regardless of their performance” (From Dad, the Family Shepherd seminars). You must love them regardless of their talents and ability, their behavior, their appearance, their accomplishments, or their status in the family. They should not have to earn your love. Loving them unconditionally does two things:
(A) It provides security, stabilizing your family by allowing each family member to develop stable, positive self-esteem and confidence. Your unconditional love removes fear of rejection and failure because they don’t “measure up.” Your love establishes security in your wife and children. If your wife or your children have any kind of shortcomings, you must give up your privilege to ridicule them, to compare them, to pick out favorites, to protect yourself by embarrassing them, to detach yourself from them for your own self-protection, or the like. This is costly, man, but this is part of the price you must pay. This is how you give yourself.
(B) Your unconditional love provides significance to your wife and children. You are the dominant authority figure in your family. You are the one they will try to please and impress, and you are the one they will crave approval from. They will want to know what you think about them. Thus, as the dominant authority figure, you assign value to each family member. Your unconditional love recognizes and acknowledges their importance and worth.
If you accept them, approve of them, and love them unconditionally (without forcing them to “earn” your love), you generate feelings of value and importance within them. But if for some selfish reason you reject them, your wife and children feel worthless. If you refuse to approve of your wife or children, they get the feeling that they are not good enough. If you treat them like dirt, they will feel like dirt. And they will act like dirt.
But if you give them love and respect, they will feel valued and self-worthy. You are in a position of awesome and fearful power, and you wield it whether you want to or not. If you use it negatively, you crush and kill them. If you just sit around, detached, trying to be neutral, they still get the message that you don’t care. If you walk away and desert them, you trash them by sending the ultimate message of rejection. The only way out is for you to use your power positively to give them value and life.
Brother, whenever you see a family where the wife is struggling to find significance and the children are fighting among themselves, having emotional problems, or being self-destructive, remember that the man of the house has obviously not been giving them his unconditional love. He is either absent, or he has been withholding himself from them. If you want a special wife and family, you will have to pay the price here. If you try getting by cheap in this area of unconditional love, you are liable to lose your family AND send some of your family members straight to hell—after a life of misery. Take it from Me.
2. Be an example.
Actually, I should say, “Be a good example.” Because you are going to be an example whether you want to be or not. You are either going to be an example of what a man should be like, or you are going to be an example of what a man should not be like. You will have to give up your privilege to live your life just the way you want to, just to please yourself. If you have a wife, your life no longer belongs only to you; it belongs to her also. If you cannot pay this price, then you don’t need a wife. If you’ve already got one, then it’s too late: you must pay the price.
3. Actively lead the family—especially spiritually.
Don’t force her to have to be mother and father by your neglect to lead. Set a spiritual direction for your family, whether you have children or not. Your family is supposed to be productive for God and His kingdom. Lead your family into a life of productivity for God. Go to church regularly. Live a saved, holy life. Get involved. Your wife knows that you cannot possibly be the man you should be without God’s help. She knows that you cannot treat her like I treat My wife without the Holy Spirit ruling your life. (Of course, she cannot be the woman she should be without that same Holy Spirit ruling her life.) So read your Bible, pray, involve your family in the life of the church, and volunteer for some kind of service to God.
4. Pray with her.
This takes time. It might even take guts for some of you guys. But she loves to know that you are a god-fearing, spiritually-sensitive man of God. It makes her feel secure. She can relax when you two are on the same page spiritually. Plus, she wants to share in your burdens, so she can support you. But it makes her worry when you never seem to find time for God or cannot function as her spiritual partner. Praying together keeps you in tune together when you are in tune with God. That must be the main dynamic working in your family: Be in tune with God. This helps immensely in establishing and maintaining the purpose and direction of your family.
5. Do your best, while keeping your priorities straight, to make sure the family has enough money to live on.
Don’t starve her out, and don’t make her feel insecure about what she and her children are going to eat or wear, or where they are going to live. Make sure her needs and her family’s needs are completely taken care of before you start thinking of more creative ways to spend the family income. You may be the family breadwinner, but that does not give you the right to take half of the loaf for yourself! If, after everything else is taken care of, you manage to get a couple of slices of bread for yourself, great. If not, then that’s the price you must pay for having a wife and family. Be a man about this.
I mention this because too many of you family men continue to selfishly splurge with the family money: fishing boats, cars and car accessories, expensive hobbies, bad habits, loans to your relatives and friends, the latest computers and high-tech gadgets, incredible business deals that never pan out, even other women. Give up your unilateral right to waste money, and let her figure in on these decisions. That’s giving up your life for your wife.
6. Support her wherever she needs help, even if “it’s not your job.”
Even if it’s not your job, it’s still your family. It’s still your wife, and you don’t want her to be frustrated or overworked. So wherever your wife needs help, help her. “Men’s work” or “women’s work,” what does it matter? Only an idiot—strike that—an unthinking man cannot see that it is himself he is helping when he helps his wife.
For example, if she can’t cook, then help her cook—without putting her down or exposing her weaknesses. (You will have to be a real man to do this, but I thought that’s what you claimed to be.) Don’t just stand back and watch her fail and get frustrated, talking about it’s not your job. Now if you can’t cook either, then you are in trouble! So eat out a lot while you two experiment in learning how to cook together.
Whatever her weaknesses or inabilities are, never just sit around and let her look and feel stupid. She’s your wife—part of you (actually your better half)—and you help yourself when you support her.
If she’s overwhelmed with the kids—no matter how many you have, even if it’s just one—help her with the children. It’s not your job, you say, but it’s your family. If you do perfectly whatever you think your job is, but she cannot do whatever you think her job is, then the whole family still suffers. As the family leader, you are responsible before God and society. If the family as a whole fails, God will not accept from you some lame excuse like, “Well, I did what I was supposed to do.”
So what? Really, your job is to see to the finish the tasks of keeping your family together, happy and secure in this world and safely conducted into the next world. It is your job to do this whatever it takes. It will not be cheap, brother.
So if she says that she needs your help with the children, find out what she needs and help her. She may need physical help—feed them, diaper them, take them off her hands, give her a rest, do whatever is necessary. She may need emotional support—you are her man, placed there by God to help recharge her battery and make her feel secure. She may need help in disciplining or controlling them. Take your big authoritative voice, your strong touch—and a big stick if necessary—and restore and maintain order. Stand with her whenever the children, especially teenagers, are beating her down. Don’t you let those kids (your kids) drive your wife crazy. Support her.
Anyway, you’ve got Me a little concerned now. What’s all this I hear about “That’s not my job?” Exactly what is your job? Your job, as the husband and father, is to get “The Job” done—however you can. What is “The Job?” It is big, man: Keep your wife happy. Together raise godly offspring and get them all to heaven. Keep your children respectful and secure. Make your family productive for the Kingdom of God so that they don’t waste their lives with earthliness. Get “The Job” done and finished. That’s your job, man. How you do it, how you distribute the different little tasks and individual responsibilities—none of that is set in stone. Just get “The Job” done. So until it is done, don’t relax, and quit talking about “That’s not my job!”
7. Treat her children right.
She is a mother; one of her biggest concerns is her children. They are irrevocably set in her heart. So don’t mess with them; you are then messing with her. If you down them, she will defend and protect them—and dislike you. If you pick out a “favorite” child, she will be forced to oppose you to protect the “non-favorites.” If you neglect or abuse them, she will despise you. If you never take time with them, she will be the one to get resentful. Her children are an extension of her. Hurt them, and you hurt her. Scream at them, and you wound her feelings (or make her downright mad). Threaten them in any way, and she will shield them with herself. Don’t provide for them, and she will work herself to death trying to fill the gap you have created.
But love her children, and she smiles. Protect them, and it enhances her own security. Respect and give yourself for them—for the whole family—and she will fiercely love you, stand by you, and defend you with all her might and female creativity.
8. Listen to her.
Let her express herself about whatever she wants to talk about. Let her tell you what she thinks about you and your marriage, even if you don’t agree with what she says. Even if you can barely stand to hear her say it. Listen with an open mind and a calm manner while she explains what she needs from you. You are giving yourself to her, and this is part of the price. She doesn’t come cheap.
9. Take her suggestions.
Remember, she is your partner. You are in this together. She has been given special insight and a special perspective by God, and you need it. If men alone ruled the world we would have a mess on our hands—bigger than what we already have.
I once knew a man—called himself a servant of Mine—who had this wonderful little woman for a wife. He was quite a know-it-all, so he never listened to anything she ever said. He was facing a major business decision. A lot was at stake. He prayed quite a bit about it, which I admit was a very commendable thing to do.
Finally, I asked My Father to send him an answer. The tricky thing was, I asked My Father to give him the answer through his wife! She faithfully told her husband the answer from God. But he, forgetting that God had given him his wife to help him wherever he needed help, refused to accept what she said as possibly coming from God. He bullheadedly kept trying to “persevere in prayer,” until finally he just did what he thought should be done.
Unfortunately, it was the very opposite of what God had told him to do through his wife, and the family was ruined. It cost him quite a bit to learn the lesson that he must listen to his wife because God just might talk to him through her. I hated to do that to him, but it was good for him. He’s much more willing to pay the price now. God give you a wife? Then listen to her, and sometimes take her suggestions—often.
10. Let her influence you.
If she can’t, she feels like she means nothing to you. Look at it her way: She’s already coming from a somewhat weaker position in the relationship. She’s already kind of fighting for respect. The Bible has already told her to be submissive. So her main asset is her ability to influence you, the power that she holds over you through love. If she cannot influence you, then she really does feel used and abused. If you hold yourself back from allowing her a degree of power over you, trying to maintain your own ego and machoism, then you make her feel somewhat helpless. (This is one reason that so many women down there on earth talk so much about “empowerment.” It is a very popular word in your society.)
She needs to be able to sway you. She needs to be able to change your mind. She needs to be able to get you to promise that you will do “anything in the world for her.” When she knows she can influence you, she believes that you really love her, and she exults in this kind of power. (I remember this is exactly how Eve got Adam to eat the fruit, and Delilah got Samson to tell her his secret, so I guess I had better tell you to first of all make sure your wife is a godly woman. Then let her influence you.)
11. Go out of your way to make her happy.
Do this even if it means doing something “stupid,” inefficient, or otherwise not something that you (or any other man) would ever do. But what is more important: To be real efficient, to do it the “right” way, to save lots of money, to “kill five birds with one stone”—or to have a happy wife? Her happiness is invaluable and priceless, and therefore it is not cheap. Quit trying to buy her happiness at some bargain basement rate. Some men try this “bulldozing” approach—forcing their way over their wives whether she likes it or not—but this is the cheap way to go. They eventually find out that they get what they paid for. They do not get a happy wife.
“Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings” truth is often spoken, and this is what the little child said: “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Whatever you do, try to do what makes and keeps your wife happy. This is a very expensive proposition, but worth every dime (also known as “acts of self-denial”).
12. Make her feel good about herself.
Make her feel needed and appreciated. Tell her thanks for everything she does for you and the family, even if it may be her duty to do it. (Just because a person does a duty does not mean they are not due thanks. Faithfulness should never be taken for granted. Lots of people fail to do their duties every day.) Give compliments freely and praise often. Be polite, even to your wife. Especially to your wife. Honor her. Boost her up. Brag on her with pleasant words of affirmation. (It doesn't make you less of a man to tell your woman she's great!) Give her gifts—large and small. Be a gentleman; open doors for her. Protect her, even if it puts yourself at risk.
Do all these nice things, because she will notice every one of them. This is “marriage money.” Spend it freely, because nothing is free, certainly not your wife. Get a better idea of how to show her love by reading The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
You need to make her feel good about herself. There are few things more tragic than to see a fine wife and mother plagued by low self-esteem and feeling super insecure about herself. As her husband, you must prevent or remedy these feelings at any and all costs. You have got to make her feel powerful, not helpless. You have got to make her feel capable and competent, not self-doubting and unconfident. You have got to make her feel smart and valuable, not worthless and unneeded. No matter what her shortcomings may be, you have got to make her look good and respectable in the eyes of your children and to the rest of the world. You cannot afford to let her be victimized by embarrassment and shame. Never ridicule or despise her, and never let anybody else do so either.
Man, if your wife feels helpless, useless, incompetent, stupid, ashamed, incapable, unappreciated, unneeded, or the like, she is in deep trouble—and so are you. If she “feels fat or ugly,” thinks she can’t cope, thinks she can’t control the kids, believes she is stupid or ignorant, fears that she can’t do much of anything right, fears what her own kids might think of her, feels like she is the unpopular one in the family, etc., you have a serious problem on your hands. The very survival of your marriage and family is at stake here. She can be destroyed, and you and your children will go down with her.
So if you ever see any signs of such feelings, you must immediately go on “red alert” and do everything within your power to build her up, to reaffirm her, to reassure her of your unconditional love, and to help her feel your fierce willingness to protect her from all perceived threats—even if you or something you are doing is the perceived threat. Never ever leave her to wrestle with these feelings alone, or to face negative threats to her authority or ability from any source without your loving support.
What happens if you allow these negative feelings to persist in your wife? Nothing but a world of trouble. As I said above, the very survival of your family is at stake here. A woman with low self-esteem and lots of negative, helpless feelings is extremely vulnerable to dozens of powerful forces—spiritual, emotional, and social—that will end your relationship if allowed to go unchecked.
In the spiritual realm, Satan may tempt her to despair and throw in the towel on her desires to keep serving God, thus undermining the spiritual foundation of your marriage. Or Satan might tempt her to violate her marriage vows by seeking reaffirmation from some other man—or even another woman—who seems to provide her with some degree of appreciation or respect.
Or, in the emotional realm, your wife, suffering from low self-esteem, may find emotional solace and refuge in the refrigerator, eating herself into a form and figure that she herself despises and is ashamed of—but cannot change. Or she may fall victim to some other obsessive behavior or addiction to drown out and compensate for her emotional needs and fears. (Think shopping.)
Or socially, she may find refuge in the various social attitudes sweeping through society to “empower” women, to emasculate men (in this case, you, my friend), to devalue the importance of putting family first, to redefine gender roles, and to rearrange the god-ordained standards of normal human relationships.
Whatever the force may be, know for certain that no woman—indeed, no human being—can remain in the throes of low self-esteem and emotional despair without making some kind of desperate and rash attempt to gain respect and self-worth. You had better do something about this problem real quick—or be prepared to hear from a divorce lawyer.
If you need ideas on how to build your wife’s self-esteem, check out books like, Building Your Mate’s Self-esteem, by Dennis and Barbara Rainey, or Improving Your Self-Image by H. Norman Wright. And there are many others.
13. Talk to her.
Do not clam up. Do not decide, “Oh, never mind. Forget it. It’s not worth it.” It is worth it. But you have to pay a price. Let her in on your inner thoughts, dreams, ambitions, desires, plans, etc. Don’t keep lots of secrets from her. My Father created women to be great communicators. Scientists say that women communicate on five different levels; you men on only three. But do your best anyway.
14. Spend time with her.
Yes, your precious time. The most valuable commodity in the world. That thing that so many of you have so little of (although you all really have the same amount every day). Time is “marriage money.” If you don’t spend some of this on her, she will get the impression that she is not very valuable to you. She will even say, “You don’t love me.” And try as hard as you might to insist that you do love her, if you have not been spending much time with her, she will not be able to believe you. This is one of those situations where you must pay with the medium of exchange required. You can’t just pay it how you want to pay it.
For example, if she craves and needs your time, then not even a diamond ring or a new house in the suburbs will do. If she needs you at home, then she doesn’t care how much money you are making by working overtime on the job. You must pay with what she needs, on her terms. If you try substituting something else, you get off cheap, and she knows—and feels—it.
Next in importance, you need to spend time with your children. Time is what you give when you want someone to feel like you really value them. So if you don’t spend much time with your children, they invariably get the message that they don’t really matter to you. And, hey, man, don’t believe all that stuff people say about “quality time.” When it comes to children, it’s not about “quality time.” It’s about “quantity” of time. To a child, only five minutes with Dad is only five minutes, no matter what “quality” activity you do.
They say that you American dads average only a few seconds per day in direct interaction with each of your children! This is completely unacceptable. So spend lots of time with them. Play with them, read to them, eat with them, take them with you on your errands, take them out on dates, help them with their school work, attend all their activities, go to church with them, take them to work with you sometimes (if you have that kind of job), use all of your allotted family leave—let them know that they are really important. Do something daring: Take a day off from work, let the kids skip school for a day, and have a family outing. Truly be in their lives. Children feel that you love them more from the time you spend with them than from the time you spend working for them.
15. Give her some control.
If she is a homemaker, include her in the family business affairs. Let her spend money, even if she did not go out and earn it. Really that’s not true anyway: she did earn it. She’s taking care of you and your home life, a full-time job that is due emotional affirmation, financial rewards, and social status. (If you don’t believe it, try doing without her for a while!) Delegate and agree upon certain tasks and areas of responsibility for her, and let her take care of it without interference from you.
For example, if she takes on the responsibility of homemaking, then let her manage it and keep your nose out of it unless she asks for your help. (You’d be surprised if I told you how many men treat their wives like little children. Total "control freaks." They try to control everything so that it can be done “most efficiently.”) Support her decisions in those areas she is responsible for. If she ever asks for your help, give it to her in the way she wants it. Do not take over. She is grown and very capable, and if I called you home tonight, she would be sad, of course, but tomorrow she could carry on without you.
16. Give yourself to her emotionally.
Do not withhold your feelings from her. Be transparent and open, even if you risk looking less “manly.” Don’t try to be distant or non-committal to her. Neither should you try to be so “spiritual” that you’re not human. You must be human. Smile. Laugh. Resist being extremely sober and dull. Show disappointment. Be sentimental and romantic. She’s addicted to romance. So don’t hide all your feelings. Let go a little. I’ve seen wives who were almost obsessed with wanting to make their husbands cry, just to see them show a little humanity. Just so she could see that she meant that much to him. (Hey, man, even I cried when My good friend Lazarus died.)
Don’t let yourself be detached. Feel free to get all emotionally tangled up and hopelessly in love with her—a little out of control—and let her know it. Tell her you love her often, touch and hug her often, be as warm to her as possible. This is a small price to pay for the invaluable commodity of making her know you are hooked on her—even though, of course, so many of you try to pretend that this isn’t true.
And it should be obvious that if you have children, you must give yourself emotionally to them also. Laugh and play a lot with them. Tell them you love them often, but be sure you spend enough time with them to prove it. Do not be cold, formal, and distant with them. Instead, be warm and affectionate. Touch them, hug them, kiss them—girls and boys.
Forget about what you never got when you were a child, and you’re “just not used to doing these kinds of things.” Get used to it, real quick, before they grow up feeling unloved. You only have about twelve years before they start the process of becoming independent of you. Fill those years with love.
As much as possible, keep out all the common emotional negatives, things like despising your son because he seems intent on becoming a non-athletic “wimp,” despising your daughter because she’s a “tomboy,” ridiculing another child because he’s doing bad in school and “can’t seem to learn,” losing your temper, and other typical things lots of fathers do. Let them see your unconditional love.
Keep this in mind: If you withhold yourself from your wife and children emotionally, you will most certainly cause irreparable damage to them and quite possibly destroy them. It happens every day.
17. Never do anything to challenge her position as the one and only female in your life.
Don’t take your mother’s side against your wife. That’s basic, man. In fact, My Father’s Book said this way back on page two: “Therefore shall a man leave his…mother, and cleave to [be glued to]his wife…” (Genesis 2:24). Don’t side with your sisters, your other female kinfolks, or even your own daughters—against your wife.
But most of all, don’t let “strange” women challenge her position. Don’t get close and attached to any outside woman. Keep your eyes to yourself, not on the neighbor girls or the young things you see up and down the street. Don’t cultivate “harmless” platonic relationships with other women at work, at school, or even at church. Forget about all your old girlfriends, and don’t make any new ones.
Remember, your wife is a female, and she knows far better than you do that there really can be no such thing as an entirely platonic relationship between you and some other woman. With only a slight readjustment of circumstances, she knows that a cool, platonic relationship can ignite into a hot, full-fledged affair. Remove all threats of such from her life. Keep your business contacts completely business. Don’t talk too much with other women, try not to tease at all, and quit being so concerned about what the rest of the women in the world think about you. You belong to her alone now, and she hates sharing.
And don’t bring any make-believe women around to compete with her. What do I mean by that? I mean things like pornography, adult videos, adult phone line services, risqué literature and activities, and the like. And get rid of all your internet women: chat rooms and secret emails and all the rest of your “virtual” relationships. You might not know it, but your wife thinks that stuff is as bad as if you’re committing adultery.
Why, some of you church guys even indulge in this mess, excusing it by claiming that it’s not in the Bible. But you’re wrong. I took care of that in My “Sermon on the Mount.” First I repeated the Seventh Commandment of the Law that says, “You shall not commit adultery.” Then I expanded it by explaining that “every one who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
It doesn’t have to be a live woman. It could be a billboard, a photo, a movie, a magazine, a story—anything that men use to feed and fulfill lustful thoughts, fantasies, and desires. Anything sexual outside of marriage is morally wrong. Take Me as your standard of sexual purity. Can you imagine Me, Jesus Christ, thinking your thoughts or indulging your desires?
Be as faithful to your wife as I am to Mine. Is that too great a price to pay?
18. Give yourself to her sexually.
Since we are on this subject, let's say a little more about it. All I want to say about it right now is one of the most important things: Sex is not just for your pleasure, but for hers also. Men like having sex, but women like making love. There is a difference. So if you do not do whatever your wife needs to be sexually fulfilled, then you are just selfishly using her. It may appear that you are getting away with this kind of behavior, but appearances can be deceiving, you know. If she is not happy and fulfilled, then you are in deep trouble, even though it might take awhile before you find out.
Here’s one other thing to remember: Everything sexual is not sexual. In other words, non-sexual issues and concerns affect women sexually. Her sexuality is all tied up in her relationship, i.e., lots of non-sexual strings attached. She will not be too thrilled with you sexually if you have been fussing at her, downing her, or otherwise disrespecting and devaluing her in other areas of life. Or you might need to help her clean the house before you can unlock the door to her heart and her body. You will have to give yourself in every way—that is, deny yourself and treat her right—before she will really want to allow you the chance to give yourself sexually. And if you do not treat her right, she will get the feeling that she is merely being used. She might even tell you, “I’m not your slave.” If you ever hear that, remember that you must not be giving yourself enough in some other ways.
19. Let the public know how you feel about her as often as possible.
Compliment her in public. Hold her hand in the supermarket. Walk with her instead of in front of her. Let the public know that she is your choice and you are proud of it. That you don’t regret it in the least—even if she does have her weaknesses and idiosyncrasies—and a little more fat around her waist. (But then, so do you!) Pay the price of never letting her feel like you’re embarrassed about her. Think of how often she has had to provide the same service for you.
20. Never threaten her.
Never hit or physically abuse her. (You would think that I wouldn’t have to talk to Christian men like this, but unfortunately I must.) Never verbally abuse her. Never mentally abuse her. Or the children. Never make her scared of you. Just as you should love her, she should reverence you: “Let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). But she should never be afraid of you.
Never threaten to leave her. I promised My wife that “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Love yours like I love Mine. Never tune her out. Never withdraw from her emotionally, to freeze her out or “teach her a lesson.” Remember, she is you—symbolically “bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh” (Genesis 2:23)—and “no man ever yet hated his own flesh” (Ephesians 5:29).
Now as you can see, a wife can be an extremely expensive and time-consuming “possession.” You will have to pay dearly for her. But you will no doubt agree that she is priceless, worth every modicum of sacrifice and self-denial. Now if some of you guys still don’t want to pay some of this “marriage money”—if you still want to try and get by at a cheaper rate—you can do so, but just remember what I said at the beginning: “You get what you pay for.”
So when your wife never lets you out of the “doghouse,” remember that’s what you paid for. When she is permanently unhappy and depressed, disappointed with you, herself, her marriage, and her life in general—remember you paid for that. When she finally tunes out emotionally and quits trying to have a “real” marriage, remember you paid for that. When she packs her things and leaves, or when she tells you to pack your things and leave, remember that’s what you paid for.
If you are not ready to live with a bargain basement marriage and family, then you, my man, had better start coughing up more “marriage money” and being more willing to pay the price—whatever it is. You buy the best wife and the best children by paying the best price. You give nothing less than your very life for them. You will never regret it.
Hey, man, I just thought I would write you this little letter because, quite frankly, I’m really concerned about some of you fellas. Plus, I’ve been hearing some pretty desperate, “secret closet” prayers from some of the sisters, and, brother, I’m starting to feel sorry for them. Can you lighten up a little?
Brotherly love and affection always,
1. On a sheet of paper write down each of the twenty headings in this letter, leaving several blank lines between each heading. Honestly evaluate yourself on each section. Then write down several ways in which you can improve in that area, remembering to keep your responses in an action mode. For example, don't just write, "Spend more time with my wife." Be more specific, like: "Exercise with Susie before work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays" or "Spend Sundays with Susie and the kids."
2. Sit down with your wife and ask her about the behaviors, words, attitudes, actions, and reactions you currently do that cause her to feel concern, fear, anxiety, sadness, low self-esteem, disrespected, etc. Ask for specific examples if possible. Then ask her what you can do to improve. Always be as specific as possible. Ask for forgiveness where necessary. Pray about it together. This is the way to lead your family in humility and love.
3. Later, do Suggestion #2 with your whole family. Listen to your kids and their feelings. Ask for their forgiveness when necessary. Have a family prayer about whatever surfaces in the family meeting. Make specific plans, establish definite routines, and set up daily/weekly schedulesthat will bring about improvements in all areas of concern. Begin loving and hugging each other daily, preferably after your daily family prayer. If you aren’t having daily prayer, start immediately. "The family that prays together, stays together" is more than a cute little saying.
4. Take any other approach in which the Holy Spirit leads you. Don't let the past, personal inhibitions, fear or embarrassment, a perceived lack of time, or any other negatives keep you from doing what the Spirit tells you is right to do about your family.
And God bless you all.