LOVE IS MORE THAN A FEELING
“Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Eph. 5:25
Surveys show that Christian men identify help with their marriage as their number one spiritual need. Perhaps that is because our Lord set the bar so high. We are to love our brides the way he loves his!
There are many Greek words for love. Romantic love is “eros.” Friendship love is “phileo.” Familial love is “storgee.” The command for husbands to love their wives uses none of these. Rather, the word used is “agape.” Agape love is giving what is most dear to you in order to meet another's needs. God so agaped the world that he gave what was most dear to him—his only begotten son—so that whoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life—our need was for a savior. Jesus so agaped us that he gave what was most dear to him—his very life—to meet our need—forgiveness from sin. Agape love sacrifices what is most dear to us to meet our loved one's need.
But what does a wife NEED from her husband? One thing is certain; a wife's needs are far different from the needs of husbands. Any married man knows that!! For over thirty years I have been trying to develop and stay focussed on a clear picture of what my wife's needs are. I have read innumerable books, and failed countless times—but I have been keeping notes! As an ordained pastor, I've also been providing marriage counseling for many years.
In my opinion the four most important, foundational needs of a wife's heart are these:
- Emotional intimacy with you—the yearning for a soul mate who knows and understands what is going on in her heart.
- Being partners with you—feeling that she has a companion beside her, meeting life's responsibilities TOGETHER
- Spiritual intimacy with you, her spiritual leader—her husband carrying the weight of spiritual leadership so she can flourish in her role as assistant.
- Words of affirmation from you—hearing often that she is highly valued by you and has the ideal combination of beauty and feminine virtues that you need.
A clear picture of these vital needs of a wife's heart and specifically how to meet them are provided in the booklet: Loving Our Wives Well: Four Needs of a Wife That Only Her Husband Can Meet. Click here to find it in our store. Click here for a free download of the first chapter.
Another very popular resource that helps a couple understand the differences in their intimacy needs is the booklet my wife and I wrote together, Intimacy: God's Design For Marriage—Three Conversational Dates to Rediscover Intimacy In Your Marriage. As we worked through some difficult struggles that were rooted in our misunderstanding of each other's intimacy needs, we made an astounding discovery: 83% of wives say their husbands don't understand their need for emotional intimacy and the identical percentage of husbands say their wives don't understand their need for sexual intimacy. The Intimacy book is designed for married couples to go through together. One Christian counselor bought 50 copies to use in his practice . Another Christian counselor thought the book was so profound that she bought three copies to give to her kids when they got married. The kids weren't even 10 years old yet! Another Christain leader who oversees 25 couples leading campuse ministries ordered 25 copies—one for each couple to go through. Click here for this book in our store.
Clearly understanding what our wife needs from us is only the first step though. The second step is sacrificing what is dear to us to make sure her needs are met. This commitment requires taking charge of your scedule so that you set aside time to think about her needs and your spiritual leadership of your home. That discipline may be one of the highest prices to pay. Meeting her needs requires spending your time and emotional energy. It means giving up what is most dear to all of us men—OURSELVES. We need to deny ourselves and put our wives first in order to follow Jesus!.
For inspiration in the battle to overcome our selfish nature and focus MORE on what your wife needs, you may appreciate this free download.
To find out how you can have Gary to your church to inspire your men to better love their wives click here.