Women are complex emotional creatures. Your wife doesn’t need you to completely understand her or figure out all her ins and outs and ups and downs. She may not even understand these things about herself. But to seek to love her, no matter what, is a goal worth pursuing.
Cindy of Princeville gave great wisdom in her survey response. She said, “If I’m crying, hug me. If I’m laughing, hug me. When I’m doing the dishes, hug me. If I turn away from your hug, especially then, hug me!”
When a wife is hardest to love, chances are this is when she needs it the most. When I was trying to explain this to Art, I knew I needed a word picture to help him understand. As I thought about what example I could use to help him get what I was saying, I decided to compare my emotional needs to his sexual needs.
Sex —now this is something most husbands understand. At least they understand their need for sexual intimacy on a consistent basis. I know that if I am not meeting Art’s intimate needs, he’s more likely to be tempted in this area. If Art is not meeting my emotional needs, then I am more likely to be tempted in the emotional area. I am likely to struggle with insecurity and doubt in the authenticity of his love, if he is not making an effort to fill me emotionally. Granted, my ultimate significance comes in my relationship with the Lord, but as Art needs me sexually, I need him emotionally.
This is where the dilemma often occurs. By the time I am emotionally needy, I am usually hard to love. I need Art to fill me emotionally like my physical body needs to be filled with food. If I feed my body on a consistent basis, then I have energy and I feel able to function. If, however, I starve my physical body, then I feel cranky, lethargic, and unable to exert energy.
Think about how you feel when it has been too long since you and your wife connected sexually. This is how she feels when it has been too long since the two of you have connected emotionally. She will be starving emotionally and likely exhibit the same symptoms I described when a body is starved for food. She’ll be cranky and a little hard to love. But this is when she needs your love the most.
Even So, Love Your Wife
Ephesians 5:25-27 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
Just before these verses Paul (author of this book of the Bible) tells wives to obey their husbands (verse 22). The NIV Life Application Study Bible says this in the commentary on these verses:
How to Show Love
Paul devotes twice as many words to telling husbands to love their wives as to telling wives to submit to their husbands. How should a man love his wife? (1) He should be willing to sacrifice everything for her. (2) He should make her well-being of primary importance. (3) He should care for her as he cares for his own body. No wife needs to fear submitting to a man who treats her in this way.
Christ loves the church with “agape” love. This is pure, unconditional love. It is a love based on the decision that no matter what, be she sweet or be she cranky, you choose to love her. This love pursues its bride. This love actively seeks to know how to love her. It is a love that gives and does even when it’s tired and doesn’t feel like giving or doing. This is the love that drove Christ to do what He did for the church, even unto death. This is how God calls a husband to love his wife.
Love As Jesus
Kay Arthur, in her book A Marriage Without Regrets, writes:
And how did Jesus love the church? He humbled Himself, girded on a towel and washed filthy feet, that she might be “cleansed by the washing of water with the word.” He offered His flesh to be torn by evil men that she might be without “spot or wrinkle or any such thing.” He died on a cruel cross that she might be made holy and blameless.
O, beloved, our Lord loves us warts and all! Unconditionally, sacrificially, patiently, enduringly, and endearingly. God forgives and does not forsake. Read the gospels and see Him in action; read the epistles and see Him explained. Then you will know how a husband is to love his wife. …Can you imagine what would happen throughout the homes of [the world] if husbands would begin to love their wives in this agape way? Can you picture what would happen to the divorce rate? It would plummet like the stock market did in the Great Depression —only instead of depression the great boom this [world] has ever known would arise.
Easy? Not at all. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely. There will be days when loving her takes every ounce of courage and strength.
Let me leave you with the words the Lord gave to Joshua as he was about to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. He too was overwhelmed. He too felt inadequate —maybe just like you. But he was successful because he kept these words of his God close to his warrior heart:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified: do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: I can do everything through Him who gives me strenth (Philippians 4:13).
This article comes from the book, Capture Her Heart: Becoming the Godly Husband Your Wife Desires. The book is written by Lysa TerKeurst, published by Moody Press. It is endorsed by the ministry of Focus on the Family and is subtitled, “Becoming the Godly Husband Your Wife Desires.” This book is actually more compact than most, which might appeal to many who don’t want to pick up a book to read, which is large and complicated.
— ALSO —
The following is a link to The-generous-husband.com article Paul Byerly wrote, that you may find helpful when you need to talk to your wife concerning a difficult issue. While we’re not sure the title of the article is the best, the content is really good. We encourage you to read:
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