So here's the deal. Love is an action verb. It's not a feeling. He's not saying feel this amount of love. There's, I got to be honest, there are many days I don't feel love for Ann. She's never felt that for me.
She's always in love with me. But I've, no, we both don't always feel it. It's not about a feeling. You don't fall in love.
You go back to verse one where you started this series in chapter five. It says walk in love. It doesn't say fall in love. It says walk in love. So love is not a feeling.
It's an action. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson.
And you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. This is going to be a great day. Do you know why? I know why, but I don't know if that's... Because Dave Wilson's in the house preaching.
This is going to be fun. Dave, you gave a message at Discovery Church. Oh, did I? I gave a message in Orlando on marriage on Ephesians five. Yeah, I got to be honest. It was one of the first times in years I've given a message without you about marriage. You're very sad.
I wish you had been with me, but I tried to do the best I could. But yeah, it was a joy to just walk through the passage, one of the greatest passage in the New Testament about marriage, Ephesians five. And by the way, these are the kind of messages that are given at the Weekend to Remember, the Family Life Marriage Conference all around the country. And actually, pretty exciting news. You can go to the Weekend to Remember half off. What? Yes. I mean, that's a great deal.
In any city that you want, just go to familylifetoday.com, sign up, and you'll hear messages like this and a lot more than this that will literally change your marriage. And now we're going to get to your message. Should I score you since you weren't with me? Go ahead. Give me a score.
Let's see how it goes. You're my favorite preacher, so it's an A already. I just want to make sure you don't think that I'm up here talking about marriage because I'm some marriage expert or that I have the greatest, most perfect marriage in the room, which I probably do. But here's the truth.
I don't. And if you've read our book, Vertical Marriage, you know, or if you've ever listened to us as a podcast or radio, you know that we are very raw and very real. And I'll tell you something.
Marriage is the hardest thing you'll ever do in your life. Am I right? Now, here's the thing. You can't go, yeah, because she's sitting right there.
He's sitting right there. They'll be hitting you like, what are you saying right now? But it is. It's really hard. And when Ann and I got married 41 years ago, tomorrow, we got married 41 years ago. And yeah, it was amazing. I would have told you on our wedding day, this is going to be awesome. It's going to be great. In fact, we went to the Weekend to Remember marriage conference with Family Life Puts On that now we speak for. We went to it as an engaged couple two weeks before our wedding, and we literally sat there and thought, it can't be that hard.
Why are people taking notes? You know, I'm not kidding. We just thought we love each other more in love than anybody else that's ever lived. We love Jesus. We're going into ministry.
It won't be hard. Six months later, we're driving to our first job as the chaplain of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. We were driving from Finley, Ohio, where we grew up, to Lincoln, Nebraska. We are halfway there and we are fighting and screaming in the car. Anybody ever been there? Maybe you were there an hour ago on the way to church, right? No, I mean, we are yelling and we've been yelling for months.
It is not going well. And she says to me, I'll never forget, I'm driving. And by the way, I had hair back then. I had a bang, you know, I used to, you don't believe it, but I did. And I'm driving and she's over here and she gets to this point. She says this at the top of her lungs. She says, marrying you, Dave Wilson, was the worst mistake of my life. That's what she says. And I'm over here, the spiritual leader of this, you know, this incredible godly family.
And I said, you're exactly right. What were we thinking? Can we get an annulment? It was like six months. That's where we were. We get to our job at Nebraska.
One of the first things that the players, we were working with the football team. There were several married couples and they said, hey, will you lead a marriage Bible study? We're like, you want somebody else that's got a good marriage? But we did. And by the way, this isn't the point of the day, but when you lead others out of brokenness, your brokenness starts to get healed.
It's a whole nother thing. But we had the worst marriage in the room and we're the only people that learned anything. You know what I'm saying? But we were there and I'll never forget one night, and again, it was so bad. I got out of bed at two in the morning. We're not sleeping anyway.
We're just in a fight. And I go down and I literally opened the Bible. Because if you want help, here it is. Right? And I'm in Philippians 1 where Paul says, to live is Christ, to die is gain.
Right? And I prayed and Ann walks in the room and she goes, hey, what are you doing? And she's all excited I'm reading the Bible because she's like, this man needs help. And he's looking at the Bible. And here's what I say to her.
I'm not kidding. Word for word, I look at her and I said, well, I just read Paul's words and I just prayed. She goes, what did you pray? I said, well, literally word for word, I said, God, I'd rather be dead than married to you.
That's what I said. And she was like, and I got to tell you, we had a mentor before we got married that said, share every little detail you ever think. Just share it in your marriage. That's bad advice. Okay?
Don't do that. That's why I said it to her. It's like, well, I'm supposed to share everything.
So I said, I'd rather die than be married to you. And here's the thing, you're laughing, right? It's funny. If we had gotten divorced, it wouldn't have been funny. You're only smiling now because wow, they made it 41 years. But that's where I was.
And it wasn't a joke at the moment. I was so at no peace, no hope. We don't know what we're doing. We shouldn't have done this. And here's what I'm going to tell you.
Tomorrow as we celebrate 41 years and I'll be here and then flying back and we'll get to go out to dinner tomorrow night. I'm going to tell you something. I am more in love with that woman at year 41 than I was the day we got married. And I would have said that is impossible. I would have said that can't be true. And I'm telling you, here's why. The truth in this book, we're going to look at Ephesians five verse 25 through 33. The truth of this word will literally change your life.
Now here's what I'm saying. I'm not saying copy the biblical marriages in this book. If you looked at the marriages in this book, they're pretty dysfunctional.
Don't do what they did. But you go to the New Testament, you look at what Paul wrote today about marriage. I'm telling you, it is powerful truth that if you apply it, because it's not one thing to hear the word, it's to do the word. You go home and apply it, I'm telling you, you'll have a different marriage in a week.
An incredible marriage in a year or two. And again, it's on us not hearing the word, but doing the word. So I'm not going to read the whole passage, but I am going to jump down to verse 25. If you've been around church world very long, many husbands have heard this and many wives love this verse because it's spoken right to the husband. It says this, husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. I may have heard that before. Yeah, probably a lot of you. Here's the thing. What does it mean? That's what we're going to talk about.
It's like, okay, how do I go home and actually live this out? I got to be honest. Part of this message today, a big part of it is going to be to the men.
You know why? Because when you read Ephesians 5, which by the way, is the longest discourse on marriage in the New Testament. We're looking at Ephesians 5.
It's the longest passage where God through Paul says, here's what godly Christian marriage should look like. Most of it is written not to the wife, but to the men. And most men stop at verse 22. Notice I didn't put verse 22 in there where it says wives be submissive to your husbands. Most men I know, it's the only Bible verse they know. Yeah, I know what the Bible says. It says women submit. That's what it says.
It doesn't even know what the rest says. And I know you talked about that a little bit last week, so I'm not going to get into that. Thank God I don't have to get into that. But anyway, I'm going to get into verse 25 and beyond where he says, husbands love your wives. So here's the deal. Love is an action verb. It's not a feeling. He's not saying feel this amount of love.
I've got to be honest. There are many days I don't feel love for Anne. She's never felt that for me. She's always in love with me.
But I've, no. We both don't always feel it. It's not about a feeling. You don't fall in love.
You go back to verse one where you started this series in chapter five. It says walk in love. It doesn't say fall in love. It says walk in love. So love is not a feeling. It's an action verb. So here's what I'm going to do.
I know you have notes and fill out little blanks in there, so I'm going to give you what these are. I'd say husbands equals men. Now, specifically, Paul is writing to husbands, okay?
This isn't to all men. So I'm taking a little liberty with the text, but I'm saying, okay, if husbands love their wives, we're going to look at what that means in a second. Like Christ loved the church, let me tell you, every wife in here would be lit up because her man is loving her like Christ loved the church. But let me say this. If men in the church appreciated and supported and loved the women in the church, every woman in every church would be brought to life.
You understand what I'm saying? I mean, if the men of discovery treated the women of discovery like they were special, if they affirmed them and empowered them and protected them and came alongside them and celebrated them as incredible women, what do you think would happen to this church? Women from all over would be running to this church, like I want to go to that church, because in that church, women are valued, and that's the way it should be at this church and any church, am I right? Paul is saying, husbands love your wives, and that is definitely what we're talking about, but he's also saying, men love the women in your church. I don't mean in an inappropriate way, I mean protect them, cherish them. In fact, I wrote in your notes the next blank is love equals cherish, and down in verse 29 and 30, he actually says the husbands cherish and nourish her.
They're very descriptive terms. Here's the thing. I think we as men know what cherish means. We don't always understand what love means, because love is this general term we use for all kinds of things. I heard you're a church that loves the Minnesota Vikings. I don't know why. Why would you love the Minnesota Vikings? But we say, I love the Minnesota Vikings, I love ice cream, I love Jesus. Seriously, what's that mean?
We don't know. But cherish? In fact, if you look up the definition of cherish, it says to cherish something is to care for it deeply, to treasure it, to hold dear.
And it even says this, the verb cherish is related to the words that mean costly and beloved. So here's the thing. We cherish things that are costly, things that cost a lot of money, we sort of protect, and we become experts of. Golf clubs, cars, motorcycles. I've got four or five guitars back home. I'm a guitar guy, and I've got a midifier in that room.
They're all humidified. I mean, I take care of them. If you want to play one of my guitars, no, I'm not going to touch it. That's my baby, right? And some of you know, you got a plasma TV or whatever. It's like, that's my baby. We cherish it. What if your wife felt like she was your baby, like she was protected and you studied her and you humidified her?
You know what I'm saying? Whatever her needs are, you are like, she is the most important. You talk about costly, she's the most costly thing in the world. I don't mean she costs a lot of money.
I mean she's precious. And a lot of wives do not feel that from their husbands. A lot of women in the church do not feel that from the men in the church. So I think when Paul says husbands love your wives, he's saying cherish them, and then he says as Christ loved the church. How did Christ love the church? I love what Paul does here. He doesn't say, hey, love your wives and just leaves it.
He goes, let me give you a specific example. And you know this, what did Christ do for the church? He died for her. He gave his life.
And I put, that you can write down your notes, her needs over your needs. Why did Christ die for the church? Because our need was repentance. Our need was forgiveness of sin. We are sinners. The only way that we could be forgiven is for a sinless person to die. And Jesus died.
Let me tell you something. Do you think he felt love at that moment? I don't know, but when he's hanging there in agony, I don't think it's about feeling. I think it's about their needs are more important than my needs. And so I will put my needs aside to meet the needs of the world. And he died for our sins. And so when Paul says husbands love your wives like that, he is saying her needs over your needs.
Now here's what's really interesting. If you think about marriage, think about needs. Okay, guys, I told you, this is about the women today. So we're gonna talk about women's needs, not your needs. Your needs, forget them. Okay, so it's your women's needs, right? So do you know what the top needs of your wife are? Do you know what they are?
Have you ever asked her? Here's the thing. There was a book that came out, I don't know, 20, 30 years ago, I got it. It was called His Needs, Her Needs, How to Affair Proof Your Marriage by Willard F. Harley. He was a counselor in Minnesota. Here's what he said.
He said, I've counseled 3,000 couples. I've decided these are the five top needs of a man, five top needs of a woman. There's 10 chapters in the book, one on each one. So I pick up this book.
I hadn't even read it yet. And I'm looking at the table of contents and I'm looking at it quickly. First I'm like, okay, what's the number one need of a man? You know what Harley said? Anybody wanna take a guess, number one need of a man? Sex?
Anything else? Respect. I heard respect and sex, same thing. So anyway, here we go. Anyway, here's what Harley said.
I'm kidding, but not really. So Harley said the number one need of a man is sex. And so I don't know this guy, I don't know this book, but I'm like, I agree with this guy.
I like this author. So, but then I like, okay, I wanna see what the top five needs of a woman are. And I look at the top five and sex isn't mentioned.
So I'll never forget, I went over to Ann with the book and I go, hey, this is interesting. Number one need of a man is sex. Sex isn't in your top five.
Do you agree with that? She looks down and she goes, oh, sex is the top three. I'm like, what do you mean? She goes, the top three there, that's sex for a woman. Here's the thing, I memorized those top three.
Not just cause I wanted to get lucky. I memorized those top three and guys, I'm gonna give it to you right now, all right? And you need to write these down or put these away in your brain.
And then on your drive home today, you need to turn to your wife and say, honey, are these your top three? Cause they may be totally different. Cause the thing about women, you know this guys, right?
They change every hour or five minutes. You never really know it was this and that, but I'm just kidding. But here's the deal. When I looked at that, these were Ann's top three.
Here's what Harley said. Number one for a woman is affection. Now I remember saying, Ann, like what is affection? She goes, oh, it's non-sexual touch. And I'm like, there's touch that's not sexual. What is non-sexual touch? And she's like a hug or a holding my hand or kissing me. She once said to me, I love it when we're at church and I'm usually going up to speak, but before she said beside me, she goes, I love when your hand's just there on my thigh and it doesn't move.
It just sits right there on my thigh. That's affection. And here's the thing I've found about a lot of marriages. They don't kiss anymore. There's a little peck here, peck there. The only time they kiss is in the bedroom. That is not what a woman longs for. Am I right ladies?
Don't say anything, okay? But it's like they long for affection. That's number one. Number two is conversation. They want their man to talk with them. And we say in our vertical marriage book, women don't wanna talk. They wanna talk about the relationship.
It's like three A's in there, right? Cause they love to communicate. And so it's like conversation means talk with me. And then number three is when we talk, they want honesty and openness.
I should've put these on the slide cause I see some of you writing on them. Honesty and openness. In other words, they want us to open up our heart to them, share with them our fears and our weaknesses, the things we're struggling with.
Man, when we go there, we call it level five communication, not level one, this is superficial, but level five. When we really share our heart with our woman, am I right ladies? You feel loved.
It's an amazing, amazing truth. And by the way, just a little footnote, guys, you never share your heart with another woman. I can't tell you the number of times women at Kensington have said to somebody besides me, Dave Wilson's a little aloof when he comes off the stage with me. I'm like, yeah, I don't want any woman to get my heart.
Only Ann Wilson gets my heart and only your wife gets your heart, but that makes her feel loved. I'm hoping this story will stick in your brain and then when you're driving home, you can say, okay, let's talk about the parking spot. Here's the parking spot.
The story happened in our life 20 some years ago. I was teaching on a Sunday morning at one of our campuses and I came out after the second service. We had three services that morning. And I'm saying hi to people as they're pulling in.
It's like a minute before or two minutes before the service. And I see my wife whip in, late, whip in in our car. And there's a parking spot right by the front door. And she zips into that thing, jumps out of the car with two of our three sons, Austin, our middle son was like 16 and Cody, our youngest, 13. They come walking up and she's all smiling because she said, God gave me that parking spot right by the front door. And as she said that, I said to her, I go, move the car.
And I say it under my breath because I'm saying hi to people. You know, I'm like, hey, move the car. She goes, I'm not moving the car. I'm like, no, no, move the car. She goes, God gave me that spot.
I said, God didn't give you that spot. Move the car. And I'm grabbing the keys and she's pushed me away. So here it is, the pastor and his wife were like in this conflict and be, hey, welcome to Kensington.
God is good. You got to move the car. And I go, I got to go preach, move the car. And I go in.
Now, I know you don't know why we're having this conflict. I'll tell you in a second, but I go in and preach and I'll never forget, I'm up on her stage and I'm like preaching. I see her and I just, and I keep going. She told me later, she goes, I was sitting in the back with my arms folded and I was like, I don't even like the pastor of this church, right? So I get home and you know, sometimes you have conflicts that are still going. Some of you are one right now, right?
They're still going. I walk in, as soon as I see her, I just start yelling. And we don't yell much in our marriage anymore when we fight, but I was upset. I'm like, I cannot believe you parked in that parking spot. You know you shouldn't park in that parking spot.
I can't be parking in there. Here's the thing. When we, when we usually teach, we do it together. And she's not with me today. So I'm trying to be Ann, okay?
She doesn't talk like that, but I'm trying to make a female voice. But she's like, I get to park in that parking spot. And I'm yelling back and I'll never forget.
Cody's like 13. He's sitting at the kitchen table. He puts his hand up and I look over and I'm like, what? You know, I'm just so mad.
He goes, hey, don't you and mom like travel around the country and teach couples how to resolve conflict? Yeah. Well, can you do it? I'm like, yeah, just watch. So we go ahead.
It gets so bad. She goes upstairs. And I think when she went upstairs, I said something like, yeah, you know, you're wrong. You should go up.
She goes up. Now, here's the thing. You don't know why we're fighting. Here's, I'll tell you why we're fighting.
All right. You know, when you are one of the founders of a church, you get to create the values of that church. One of our values, one of our values of our church, I'm not saying it should be any other church. It was just for true for our church.
We're trying to reach people far from God. So we always said the best parking spots by the front door are given to our guests, not our members, not our staff. Our staff parks across the street.
I used to play guitar, carry my amp from across the street. It's like we don't take those parking spots. We leave those for people who are going to hell if you take them. Right? You understand what I'm saying here? So when I see my wife come in and violate a core Kensington principle from God, you know, is like, what are you doing?
I was like, you can't do this. Right? And she knows better. Jesus gave me that spot. No, he didn't.
Jesus was saving that spot for somebody going to hell. So anyway, she took it. So that's why I'm so mad.
Right? So we're having this fight. And again, I'm not saying I'm right.
I'm just saying that's the way it was. So she goes upstairs and I'm sitting there alone with Cody. She comes down like 10 minutes later. And again, I can't do it like she does it.
I wish she could be here and you could hear how she does this because at conferences it's classic, but I'll do it. She says, so she came walking in the kitchen. Again, I'm sitting at the table at one end, Cody is at the other.
I'll never forget. She walks into the kitchen and she goes, okay, this is how it is here. And Cody and I are looking over like, okay. She goes, I do everything around here. I do everything. You're over there at church. I'm taking care of the house. I'm taking care of the boys. I'm making the meals. I'm doing the laundry. I mow the yard. I clean the cars. I go wakeboarding just to be with the guys. I go snowboarding just to be with the guys. I do everything around here.
And if I get to church and there's a spot by the front door, I can be able to take it. That's what she yells. And we're just sitting there. And by the way, when she does that at conferences, women stand up and cheer. They're like, yeah! And every once in a while a guy will stand up and I'm like, get down, dude.
You can't cheer that. But it was funny, when she was doing that, Cody literally looked at me. No words were spoken.
Thirteen-year-old son, he just looks at me like, Dad, you're toast. It was so obvious, right? And so she does this little thing for like three or four minutes.
And I'm not kidding. She was intense. And so I look at her and I said this. I go, let me ask you a question.
Do you feel like Kensington, that's the name of our church, do you feel like Kensington is more important to me than you are? And she didn't say anything. She just went.
And right then and there, I was like, oh, my goodness. This fight was never about a parking spot. You probably knew that before I did. It was never about a parking spot. What was it about? Every woman knows. She wasn't feeling loved. She wasn't feeling cherished. You know what she said with this? She was saying, the church is cherished.
Your job is costly to you. I'm just your partner that does everything so that you can do what you cherish. But I'm not cherished. And in that moment, I remember thinking, oh, my goodness.
Because here's the thing. I'm the guy that stands on the stage and says, husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church. And my wife just looked at me and very sort of strongly said, you're not doing it, dude. And if there's anything we hate, it's preachers who preach one thing and you find out they're living a different. And my wife was saying, yeah, we speak at marriage conferences and I'm not feeling loved. And guess what?
It doesn't matter what I say on this stage. If it's not happening in my home, it carries no weight. Am I right?
And if it's not happening in your home, I'm just saying to the men and the husbands, go home, cherish your wife. She should be the highest priority in your life, second to Christ. Your kids aren't. They're important. They're not number one.
She is. You hear me, guys? And I know it's a strong word to hear. We just released our second book just last month, No Perfect Parents, because we're not. But one of the things we said in the book is like kids are important. They are not more important than your marriage. And one of the last chapters I wrote my top five parenting mistakes and one of them was I didn't prioritize my marriage.
So I'm here standing with you men saying I'm a fellow sufferer because I missed this. And I knew from that moment on I needed to do whatever it took to make sure my wife felt loved and still feels loved in year 41. Actually more in love in 41 than before because I can make her a priority. And I'm not saying more important than everything. She's not more important than Jesus.
Jesus is number one, but she's right underneath that. And whatever that looks like, if it's affection, conversation, honesty and openness or whatever it is, I need to figure out a way to lay down my agenda, lay down my needs, lay down my life to serve her so that she feels love. We've been listening to a message from the host of Family Life Today, Dave Wilson, talking from Ephesians Chapter five today about the priority that the marriage relationship should be in our lives. If we're married, our relationship with one another is a significant priority. And many of us just move it off to the side and hope it will thrive on its own. It takes work. It takes commitment.
It takes prioritization, as Dave has been telling us today. Dave and Anne, of course, have written a book on marriage called Vertical Marriage, where they address a number of these subjects. And as Dave just mentioned, they've recently come out with a book called No Perfect Parents.
That's all about parenting principles. Again, both of these books are available from us on our website at familylifetoday.com. You can also call 1-800-FL-TODAY to order the books by phone. The website again, familylifetoday.com, or call 1-800-358-6329.
1-800-F as in Family, L as in Life, and then the word TODAY to get copies of the books by Dave and Anne Wilson. And you know what the Bible has to say about the marriage relationship is right at the heart of what we talk about at our Family Life Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaways. We're hosting about 30 of these getaways in cities all across the country this fall. And the getaway is a great two and a half day escape for couples, where you can relax and refresh and learn more about God's design for marriage. This week, we are making available to Family Life Today listeners a special offer on the fall getaways. You can register this week for an upcoming getaway, and you'll save 50% off the regular registration fee.
Now, this is for a limited time. It's available to Family Life Today listeners. You need to register today to take advantage of this. The offer expires on September 13th, so go to the website familylifetoday.com. Find out when and where a getaway is happening near where you live, and then register so you can save 50% off the registration fee.
You can do that online, or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to register. And plan to spend a weekend with us at an upcoming Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaway. It's a great getaway for couples. Now, tomorrow we'll hear part two of Dave Wilson's message from Ephesians Chapter 5. Hope you can join us for that. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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