We’re talking about learning to know and understand your spouse. “Proverbs 23:7 says, ‘As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.’ To me this says that whatever you put in your heart will sooner or later show up as the real you. You become what you think about all day. Your thoughts about your wife will sooner or later become evident to her.
“The secret to becoming a full-potential husband lies in what you feed your mind about your wife. I stress that last statement: The most important fact you have to learn is to repeatedly feed the right thoughts about your wife into your mind.” (Dr. Richard Furman, from the book, The Intimate Husband)
Understand Your Spouse
Last week my wife, Cindy, shared three thoughts to help our wives have a better understanding of us husbands. And now it’s my (Steve’s) turn to help husbands have a better understanding of what our wives need from us. And it’s not that I have a problem with writing this message. My problem was deciding which three things do I choose to share? So, for this message I’d like to help us learn to feed the right thoughts about our wives into our minds.
I don’t think I’d get any argument when I say that women are far more complex than we men. Research has shown that women use both sides of their brain at the same time when they’re talking. But men typically can only use one side of their brain at a time. Now that may sound like we (husbands) can use that as an excuse for not being able to understand our wives. Sorry, we don’t get off that easy!
The Bible says in James 3:13, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”
So I want to provide a refresher course for us husbands as to God’s purpose for giving us our wives. That is because when we understand His purpose it helps us have a better understanding of them. I want to help you to see and understand your wife’s purpose in your life. First I’ll share a few principles from Ken Nair’s book, Discovering The Mind Of A Woman and then I’ll add some of my personal observations in [brackets].
A wife is to help us to “reestablish spiritual sensitivity.”
Ken states in his book:
“God, being able to see into the future, knew that after the Fall, He and Adam would be separated. Adam would then be alone, separated from God. In anticipation of that event, God invented a helper [our wife]. She is one who could serve to accomplish God’s purpose of reestablishing spiritual sensitivity.
“Because our separation from God was so extensive, we weren’t left with a clue about what godliness is. Even as Christians, we still need help. Basically, God is saying, ‘After the Fall, I know you [husbands] won’t have a clue about what godliness is. So I’m providing you with a helper. This helper will provide you with a means of measuring whether or not you are becoming more and more like what I want you to be, spiritually alive and functional. Christ is your example and the way.
“Then as you become more Christlike, you will also be furnishing your wife with leadership that provides an example worth following. Together you can reestablish the spirit-to-spirit relationship with God that was lost.’”
[I learned a long time ago that if my goal in life was to truly become a Christ-like leader, then I had to be in tune with Cindy’s feelings and emotions. God has given her a sensitivity and intuition which helps me to live my life the way God wants me to. Now, I won’t say this has been an easy thing to accept. I can still be stubborn and resistant to her “help.” But because I’ve been feeding my sensitivity to God’s Spirit over the years, it doesn’t take long for me to recognize the “truth” of what Cindy has to say to me.
Men, if you have resisted letting your wife be your “helper” in keeping you in tune with God’s Spirit, I can’t urge you strongly enough to allow her to be the helper God made her to be in your life. You’ll both be richer for it! Read Philippians 2:3-11.]
Our wives need us to learn to listen.
Why? Here’s what Ken says:
“Just put yourself in your wife’s shoes. Doesn’t she have a vested interest in the success and reputation of you as her husband? Is she not building a life around you? After all she has invested some heavy-duty emotional energy in making the partnership work for as many years as you have been married. Aside from you, she has the most to gain or lose if you make it or end up a failure.
“So, if you haven’t made it a part of your marriage relationship to listen to your wife in as many situations as possible, you’re setting yourself up for real difficulty in the long term. A wife will go to incredible lengths to keep a marriage alive. But there comes a breaking point if a husband does not undertake corrective measures.”
[Ken also equates listening to our wives to us being willing to lay down our lives. That’s a powerful illustration, to which I can relate. There have been plenty of times when I didn’t want to make the effort to listen to what Cindy had to say to me. And yet I knew God was whispering in my ear, “Listen, son. This is important and you need to not only hear it, but also understand what and why she is telling you this.”
Our wives need to know it’s safe for them to open their hearts. That means we have to convey such a strong desire to understand what she’s saying that she’ll trust us enough to share her heart with us. She needs to see that we want to learn to care for her even more than we care about ourselves. See Ephesians 5:25-33.]
Let me share one last thought from Ken Nair:
“Our wives need to know that we are committed to the marriage for the ‘long-haul.’
“She needs to know that we’re willing to live our lives in partnership with them as a marital team to the glory of God.”
[You’ve probably heard it said that marriage is a 50/50 proposition. Your wife is responsible for 50 per cent of the success (or failure) and so are you. I’d like to challenge you to think of it as a 100/100 proposition. But even more importantly I want you to be 100 per cent committed to the marriage. Do this even if your wife is only 10 per cent (or less) committed to it. I believe when we start treating our wives in ways that show we’re 100 per cent committed to loving them (no matter how they act or respond) you will become more like Christ than at any other time in your life. Just read Ephesians, chapter 5 again to see what I mean.]
Well, I hope this helps you understand your wife… and what she needs from us a little better. And I hope that this week you will take inspiration from the Marriage Message and work on feeding the right thoughts about your wife into your mind. As Dr. Furman says, “Whatever you put in your heart [mind] sooner or later will show up as the real you.”
You’ll find all that you truly need to feed your heart and your attitude within the Bible. Read it with a mind set on learning all God wants to teach you about being the Godly husband, He wants you to be.
May God enrich our lives as we (husbands AND wives) seek to “reveal and reflect the Heart of Christ within marriage.”
Steve and Cindy Wright
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