Today’s Quote: “Is anybody else yearning for some of the good old days?”- Reid Baer
Today’s Song: “Hold me”- Jamie Grace
I feel obligated to give you one more quick disclaimer before you read on:
The advice that I’m going to give you today might sound very old fashioned, or even regressive to some of you.
But I have to be honest to tell you that some of the best marriage advice I have ever received is the kind that sounds like it came from my grandmother.
Maybe because the deepest desires of a man’s (and a woman’s) heart, don’t really change all that much over time.
Or because men are pretty simple.
Not in a bad or degrading way- actually in quite a refreshing way!
Most men are not nearly as intense and complicated as we are, and a lot of times we make the mistake of treating them that way. With men, you really don’t have to try so hard to read between the lines or figure them out.
They pretty much just are what they are. (At least the humble, Jesus-loving one’s are).
The first thing that we have to keep in mind when talking about a Godly marriage, is that it’s very make-up is different from the way that the world views marriage.
In God’s eyes, marriage means that the two become one.
They are literally two halves that make up a whole.
They complete one another.
“..and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one.”- Mark 10:8
The two compliment and balance each other out.
That is why He made men and woman so different, and will often pair you with someone who is the total opposite of you in so many ways.
Different is good.
God delights in taking two, very different, individuals and uniting them in matrimony to be a greater, stronger, more-well-balanced, more effective ONE. Each have different strengths that help fill out the whole.
Now what we are going to look at today are some of the most rudimentary things that a man desires from a woman.
That a husband desires from his wife.
Healthy desires. Ways that he yearns to be balanced out and fulfilled by you- just as there are ways that you will desire that from him.
Now the funny thing about this list is that most men normally wouldn’t even mention or maybe even really think about these things. This is not usually the list that will come out of a man’s mouth when asked what he’s looking for in a life partner.
Perhaps because he is afraid of sounding shovanistic, but also because I think that these things lie deeper beneath that surface.
They are just things that make his life run better and more smoothly. Simple underlying ways that allow him to feel secure and committed in his relationship, and as funny as it sounds, just grown up.
Men are big on feeling like men,
and these are things that you can do to help put him in an optimal position to be a good man.
To think clearly and hear from God.
They are also ways in which you, as a woman, can bring clarity and order to your household.
Time Out: Again, I realize that I’m making some pretty old fashioned and bold statements- But I honestly think that it is the neglect of some of these basic old-fashioned principals that has left many modern day relationships a mess. They are the things that most people can’t (or won’t dare) quite put their finger on when trying to figure out why a relationship has gone sour. But any wise woman knows that there is a whole untold world between a man and a woman. A deeper dichotomy and things that she can do to help his feelings and desires toward her take on a whole new depth- and help them to function more smoothly as one.
Are you ready to hear this list? I think you will be surprised.
Respect is everything to a man.
I had no idea about this until I picked up Emmerson Eggrichs’ book ‘Love and Respect’. (which I would highly recommend to any woman).
In this book Eggeriches talks about how just like a woman’s primary need in a relationship is to feel loved, a man’s primary need in a relationship is to feel respected.
And how we assume that men crave love because that’s what we crave, but what they actually want even more than love is respect.
Is that weird or what?
And it even lines up with scripture!
“So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” –Ephesians 5:33
Nowhere does scripture tell wives to love their husbands, and do you know why?
Because it comes naturally to us! We are lovers!!!
Respect, on the other hand, we struggle with.
We tend to show men unconditional love, but very conditional respect.
And we tend to make the mistake of showering them with love, but completely ignoring their enormous need to feel esteemed, respected and admired.
But if we would listen to the deepest cry of a man’s heart, we would see that it’s not the same as ours. What men are usually crying out for is respect.
And again, while we women love very naturally, learning to show respect is something that takes work for us.
This first step to Godly respect is to pray that God would help you to use this knowledge in a way that is sincere and good.
That we wouldn’t employ false flattery or use respect in a way that is manipulative, or at all against God’s will for our lives.
The point is to acquire an awareness and appreciation for a very primitive desire that God has placed inside of your future husband.
So what are some ways that we can show our men respect?
Learning this thing is a process.
But one that’s worth pursuing.
and ask God to help reveal to you these deeper desires of a man’s heart.
And in the meantime, I will give you a few simple ideas on how to show respect to a man:
Be his biggest fan.
In Eggrich’s book he talks about how a husband wants his wife to be like his cheerleader, like when she was first getting to know him.
Noticing when he does something worthy of praise, listening with admiration to his dreams, and just reassuring him of her approval.
Men feed off of positive affirmation and we need to put time and effort into doing this!
Letting a man know he is admired.
That is everything to him girls!
Time Out: Again be responsible with that knowledge. Many dangerous women have used the knowledge that men love to be praised, in ways that are shallow and threatening to other women’s relationships. Be responsible and be Godly, if you want to be blessed.
Another way to show respect to your (future) husband is to resolve to not say anything really negative or bashing about him or his family, to anyone else, even your family.
Mercy, girls! We need to get wise here.
We need to get wise to the fact that what we say has very real consequences; and a lot of times those consequences are your friends and family members harboring strong feelings toward a person you’ve repeatedly badmouthed to them.
In marriage, this one is so important.
Learning to go to Godly people, for Godly advice when you have issues is crucial.
Otherwise, you end up with compounded emotions and problems all because you wanted an ear to complain to.
Nothing kills respect quicker than talking about someone behind their back.
Talk that man up! With guys, what you focus on will flourish.
Lastly about respect, I want to say this: Let the man struggle.
Whoever you are going to marry will be an imperfect human being, just like you and me, and there are going to be issues that that guy will struggle with. Lust is probably one of them. Men are up against a huge battle on that front, and if you’re man is sincerely seeking the Lord, he is probably going to battle. Let him.
I’m not saying don’t elbow-jab him in the rib if he blatantly stares at a scantily dressed girl walking by, by all means girl do your thing.
I’m talking about all of that poking and prodding and assuming that we do as women.
That trying to get him to confess type stuff. The ugly stuff.
A lot of women make the mistake of using disrespect to try to open their man up to them. But disrespect makes a man shrink away and close up toward you. It sends the message that you’re not on his team. That he is bad and you are good.
Be on his team!
Encourage him, and you will help him want to be a better man.
I didn’t wise up to this until a couple years into my marriage- at which point my husband was already fearful to be open with me about his issues with lust.
After a lot of prayer, I finally had to humble myself to ask him to give me a chance at handling honesty in this area. I wasn’t sure that I would do it well, but I wanted a chance.
Not for him to share every personal struggle, or detail about his battles with lust with me, but rather to be able to see me as someone who was on his team, and not against him.
We are both still working at opening ourselves up to each other in this way. And it’s not easy due to our long history of strongholds, denial, and games. But God’s doing it!
So I want to encourage you to learn from us, and try to cultivate something healthy right from the start in your relationship.
It’s not easy. We all have issues here. But ask God to open your eyes early on to how you can show respect, rather than contempt, for your husband’s issues and struggles.
Just as hasty disrespect makes a man close up, wise and well-intentioned respect helps a man to open up.
That’s what your husband will want. So give it to him!
“When a wife respects her husband she does not become a doormat, in fact, he starts rolling out the red carpet for her.”- Emmerson Eggriches
It is so true!
2. Cook, clean, look nice and be sweet.
Oh mercy, I said it.
And I will keep this one brief.
Keeping your home orderly and your family well fed is such a huge part of what keeps you and your spouses’ lives running smoothly.
Very old fashioned I know, but it’s the truth.
Men like a clean house, a good meal, and a well put together and happy wife.
Not that all of that responsibility should be on your shoulders, especially in an age where most women have a career of their own, and maybe don’t have the time or energy to do all of those things. That’s well understood.
But I would encourage you, especially as you get closer to marriage, to pray about making your household a high priority, especially after you (if you do) have children.
Pray for God to renew your mind on your ideas about these things.
It is a good thing to be the keeper of your home, and it makes for a well-balanced relationship and a healthy family.
At our wedding, as part of my vows to my husband, I said:
“I promise to do my best to create an atmosphere in our home where you are well loved, well fed, and respected.”
To this day I have no idea who it was, but I remember hearing a male voice among our guest cheer, “YEAH!” -like he just couldn't help himself!
Now I can’t say that I have lived perfectly up to these vows, but when I am well aware to do these things, I have never seen my husband so happy, energized and loving!
And I suspected that it’s the same way for most men.
This is pretty much a no-brainer.
Men like sex, and inside of marriage, sex is just like it’s suppose to be- a free and uninhibited expression of love and passion, no guilt attached.
He’ll want to do it, a lot.
Embrace that and don’t shut him down.
Think of sex for him as your equivalent of having a good talk- he needs to do it on a regular basis, and he’ll appreciate you initiating it every so often too.
It’s good, it’s healthy, and it’s amazing when you do it how God created you to do it. So enjoy!
4. Pray for and forgive that man daily
There is nothing better you could do for your marriage than to pray for it.
We are God’s children and he delights in answering our prayers.(see Luke 11:5-13)
So ask God for what you want!
“Let me encourage you today…don’t stop praying for your husband and your marriage. Your job is not to change your husband. That’s God’s role. Your job is to love him and pray for him and leave the transforming power to God.”
Praying for your husband is not only for the sake that your prayers would be answered, it is also a way of continually putting him back into God’s hands, and reliving yourself of the responsibility of trying to change him, which can come so naturally to us.
Also praying for forgiveness and grace toward your husband, is a way to bring your feelings back to where they should be for Him.
Because he’s going to tick you off a lot!
But you can’t keep score in a marriage, or it will never work.
Even when spouses don’t mean to be hurtful, they often are.
That is why it’s so important that we continually let God renew and restore us, so that rather than being women who walk around with scowling faces and chips on our shoulder, we can be the kind that walk around with big beautiful smiles and hearts full of love.
Now, I realize that you don’t yet have a husband to pray for.
But it’s never too early to begin praying for your future husband.
Pray that God would be growing your husband to be a strong, Godly man of bravery and honor. Pray for his mind, body and spirit.
Pray for your future marriage and watch as God brings life to it!
God’s ways are so much different than our ways.
But what blooms out of God’s soil is always so much more beautiful than when we try doing things our own way. Oh, what He can make us into that we could never do ourselves. Real women! Real, soft, beautiful, loving women.
Thank you Lord for all you have in mind for us.
Today’s Dare: Along with continuing to pray for your future husband, and continuing to be loving and kind toward your practice husband, I want you to start preparing in any other ways that God shows you for your future marriage.
Maybe it’s time to start learning how to cook, or to start keeping your place a little cleaner. Or maybe you could start a marriage journal, where you write down advice and biblical marriage principals.
Something that I remember doing at one point was going through my closet and picking out some of the sexier items, and putting them in a box under my bed, not to be used until I was strutting around my house with my husband. I even put away a brand new little white bikini that I had never worn, and I wore it on my honeymoon.
I also occasionally bought lingerie that I liked to save for when I was married, just because that was exciting to me! And by the time I got married, I had accumulated quite a nice collection!
Let yourself get a little bit giddy and dorky and excited about this stuff! If you are letting God change and prepare you then IT IS EXCITING!
The Don't Love Dare will resume on Monday.
The Don't Love Dare will resume on Monday.