Older women have been instructed by God to teach the younger women to love their husbands. In our society that's a puzzling concept. We think, "Didn't I love my husband when I married him; didn't I get that 'ooie, gooey' feeling every time I looked at him; and didn't I just know that if I could marry that man that we would float off on a pink, fluffy cloud and live happily ever after; didn't I; didn't you?"
If you will be absolutely honest with yourself, you probably realized after a very short time of colicky babies, meddling in-laws, mounting bills and the hundred other mundane problems, that the 'ooie gooey' feeling had been stuffed somewhere under a pile of dirty diapers and that pink, fluffy cloud had turned a dirty gray and felt pretty lumpy right now.
Romance is great! It's the thing novels are written about and it keeps Hollywood in business; but romance alone will not sustain a marriage for a lifetime. Look at the marriages in Hollywood. Look at the marriages in Arkansas, with about 50% ending in divorce. Didn't every one of those couples start out with that 'ooie gooey' feeling? Then, what is it that makes marriages last?
When Paul instructed Titus to teach the younger women to love their husbands, he was implying it was something to be taught. Can you teach that 'ooie, gooey' feeling? Probably not. Did your mother ever try to get you to have that 'ooie, gooey' feeling about some boy she felt was right for you?
Well, what kind of love can we teach? The Bible is full of it. It's called "agape." It's a way of action not a way of feeling. It's a love that must be learned because it's not natural. It must be taught.
God has placed in each of us certain needs which must be met in order to sustain a lasting relationship. The goal in a marriage is to fulfill your mate's needs - because that is what love does. If we are to fulfill those needs, we must understand what they are.
Do we understand the difference between needs and wants? A new sports car, a diamond ring, a boat - these are wants. We are not talking about these. Air, water, food, shelter - these are needs. Are we on the same track? Do we understand? Husbands have needs. Love fulfills needs.
By way of illustration, let's imagine marriage as a stagecoach trip. On the top seat is the driver and he has the reigns in his hands. It is his job to drive the stagecoach through dangerous territory. The enemy lurks nearby, so sitting next to him is a person carrying a shotgun. It is that person's responsibility to help the driver complete his trip safely.
Inside the stagecoach are the passengers. They depend on the driver and the shotgun rider to get them to their destination. On top of the stagecoach are the passengers' possessions. Both passengers and possessions are in great danger if the stagecoach is wrecked.
Let's imagine that the husband is the driver. God has placed the reigns in his hands. It's his job to lead his family through enemy territory. Sitting next to him is his wife. Her job is to help her husband go through enemy territory safely; because inside that stagecoach, the passengers are their children and the possessions on top represents their home and other possessions.
Satan, the enemy, is always out there; and as the enemy, he is trying to pick off the driver; because he understands if the driver is shot the stagecoach can be wrecked and he can pick up the booty.
By fulfilling your husbands needs you act as a good shotgun rider and can ward off Satan's advances against your family.
What Are Your Husband's Needs?
Top of the list of needs for men. Notice, I didn't say wants; I said needs. (Water, food, air, etc.) God made him with that need, and he equipped you to be a perfect help suitable for that need.
We've all heard about "convenient" headaches. Comedians love to spice up their acts with "convenient" headache jokes. Convenient headaches are those headaches that say, "I don't have that need now and you shouldn't either." In which case, whose highest good is being sought?
Let's go back to the story of the stagecoach. Satan would love to wreck your stagecoach and spoil all your goods. But you, on the shotgun, must be watching in order to protect the driver, who holds the reigns, as well as the precious cargo you both carry. How do you do it as far as sexual needs are concerned? Paul gives the answer in 1 Corinthians 7 when he says, "the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but his wife does. Do not deprive one another, except with consent for a time that you may give yourselves to prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
Satan always seems to know our weakest moments. Didn't he wait until Christ had been without food for forty days before he suggested bread for Him? Even so, with unmet sexual needs, Satan is aware and is ready and able to provide an unlawful fulfillment for those needs. If you would love your husband, seek to fulfill his needs. That's how love acts.
An Attractive Wife - Physically, Spiritually, Emotionally
- Physically - Stay the girl he married. Don't forget what attracted him to you. If physical beauty is an important part of being an attractive wife to him, then do your best. An attractive spouse is more important to men than to women. Possibly because men are visually stimulated.
- Spiritual and emotional beauty. (Most important.) - 1 Peter 3 describes the beauty that is of great value and it is the beauty found in a gentle and peaceful spirit. Peter explains that holy women of old adorned themselves, being submissive to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him "Lord." Being submissive implies that you understand that God placed the reigns in your husbands hands, not yours. It is realizing that by attempting to take the reigns by nagging, manipulation or fits of rage, you are denying the authority given by God to the husband. The Proverb writer said, "It is better to dwell in the corner of a house top than in a house shared with a contentious woman." Or, "It is better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman."
Remember, headship is one responsibility for which you will never have to account to God. Love your husband by making his responsibility easier. After all, whose good are you seeking when you insist on your way by trying to take the reigns?
Emotional blackmail in a marriage only reaps disaster and opens the way for Satan to pick off the driver. Remember, Satan always has his backup forces: some sweet little filly to remind the husband that the thoroughbred he thought he married was really just a nag.
Make him your best friend. Remember when you were dating and you did all sorts of things that you would never have chosen to do alone, just to be with him? God didn't make another man for Adam just so he could have companionship at a football game. He created woman as suited to be man's best friend. Don't ever forget it. If possible, find things you both can enjoy. If not, whose highest good does love seek? To be his friend is more important than a trip to the beach when he wants the mountains.
Make memories together. The more memories shared, the stronger the bond. Memories not shared with you are shared with someone else. Memories need not be pleasant ones. They may be memories of a prison in Laos or a hot, grueling trip to Guyana. But the memories are together.
A mistake that young parents make is forgetting each other's need for companionship when children come along. Children's wants and needs may begin to take precedence over our husbands' needs. While wanting our children to excel and be fulfilled and maybe even to fulfill some unmet need from our childhood, we leave our husbands alone with an unmet companionship need. At least for awhile...
Number 4 Need:
Admiration and Honor
Honor is due to the head simply because it is the head, if for no other reason. Remember, God placed the reigns in the husband's hands because of seniority of creation and the deception of the woman. To the woman He said, "Your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you."
Your responsibility is to make your desire be to your husband and to give him the honor due to a head. If we can accept that Christ is the head of the church and we are to honor Him and be subject to Him, then realize that Paul says in this same way husbands are due that same honor as our heads.
Honor demands respect. It is not belittling, criticizing, and complaining about what your husband doesn't do or what you want him to be. It's not making him over to suit your needs. It's accepting him the way he is, the way you married him.
The Amplified Bible in 1 Peter 3 gives a good description of the reverence a wife should feel for her husband. You will notice he's not writing just of Christian men, but even those who are not Christian. "You are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him, to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband."
No one has said love is easy. It's not. It goes against human nature which says, "me first." An 'ooie gooey' feeling depends on how he makes me feel. Love wants to know, "How can I make him feel?"
Jesus left us an example of self-sacrificing love. The glories of heaven were His, but He didn't consider it a thing to be held onto at all cost because He had a goal to accomplish - someone else's good. Therefore, He emptied Himself and came to a world in its death throes because of sin. He divested Himself of the majesty of dominion and wrapped Himself in frail flesh. The honor and respect of the creator of the universe He yielded to the curses of men. Then, because of someone else's sin, He willingly died. Now that's love.
Jesus endured because of the joys set before Him. He could see the end of the picture even from the beginning. Joys await the wife who learns to truly love her husband. The proverb writer says, "Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands."
Think of love as being bricks which we stack, one on top of the other, until a beautiful house is built in which her husband, children, and grandchildren can rest. A house in which all who come under the shelter of her roof find joy and peace.
Contrast that with the foolish woman who day by day with her unkind words, jealousy, nagging, fits of rage, and belittling her husband, takes one brick after the other down. Until one day she looks at her house and no longer sees a thing of beauty, but a pile of bricks.
The Lord showed us the way to true happiness. It's in making someone else happy. What greater joy could there be, when at the end of life you hear your husband say, "Her worth is far above rubies, and I have always trusted her completely. She has done me good and not evil all the days of her life. Our home has been one of beauty and our lives of comfort and joy. From her mouth always came words of kindness and wisdom."
What could be better than to have your children rise up and call you blessed, and your husband also and praise you, saying, "Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all. ... Now Lord, give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates."
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