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What “Love” Means…to Your Wife

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
February 16, 2022 9:00 pm

What “Love” Means…to Your Wife

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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February 16, 2022 9:00 pm

What does love mean to your wife? On FamilyLife Today, hosts Dave and Ann Wilson share simple questions for husbands to ask their wives and why it matters to hear what they have to say.

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I bet you I can tell you something that's in the Bible that you didn't even know was there.

Oh, it's Stump and Day. I mean, you're missed go through the Bible 16 times in 16 years? Yeah. So you know the word. You've read this many times. Yes. I didn't know this.

I mean, I knew it was in there, but I didn't know how it said this. But God actually says, I'm not interested in your prayers. Hmm.

Don't waste your time praying to me about this. Okay. In a certain situation, you know what I'm thinking of?

Yes. What? This is my husband's fault. 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 or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today.

What is this? It's in 1 Peter 3. And I know some husbands have heard this. I had heard this, but I'd never read the last part where Peter's writing and he says, Likewise, husbands live with your wives in an understanding way, by the way, that's where we're going today, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life. And here it is. So that your prayers may not be hindered.

1 Peter 3. That's what happened all those years that our prayers weren't answered. Oh, I thought you were going to say when I was praying for the lions.

Maybe that's why the lions never won. No, but what's really interesting, I mean, he doesn't say don't bring your prayers to me. I'm not interested. But it does say to husbands to live with our wives, to love our wives in an understanding way. And if we don't, it affects our prayer life.

Isn't that fascinating? I was really only just teasing about our prayers not being answered. But when I've read this before, I thought, man, that is a lot of pressure for a husband.

Oh, yeah. And what hit me just the other day, we're going to talk about today is husbands live with your wives in an understanding way. In the NLT, the New Living Translation is treat your wife with understanding.

Treat her as you should. So your prayers will not be hindered. And I thought, OK, here's my question. Do you feel like I have loved you and treated you with understanding? The answer is yes. You got to say yes. Sometimes, but no.

That was not what I was going for. No, but I think in our early years, yes, you have loved me well. But I think every single person that gets married is at some point disappointed and their expectations aren't met. Yeah. And I think we as husbands don't know how to love our wives.

I think in many ways. Oh, this is going to be a good session today. So today is about, you know, this is for the husbands. Ann's going to help husbands learn how to love their wives. Right. And again, if you're a wife listening today and your husband's not listening, you've got to figure out some creative way to get him to listen to this broadcast. Without nagging or manipulating? Yeah, just put it by the toilet.

He'll be there a long time. So today is for us women. Woo. Women, did you hear this? This is fun.

Yeah. So here's where I thought we'd start because a lot of us who have grown up around the church or become a follower of Christ as a husband know that the Bible says we should love our wives. A lot of men don't even know where this is, but it's in Ephesians five. It's the longest sort of passage on marriage in the New Testament.

And it's beautiful. And it's actually revolutionary at the time because women were not considered what Peter said right there in chapter three, co-heirs. They were equal. They were valued. But in that culture, they were not valued. So when Paul says, love your wives as Christ loved the church, he was elevating something that wasn't done in that culture. And he's saying, if you're a follower of Christ in the church, it looks different.

Women are special and precious and valued. So men, you're supposed to love them as Christ loved the church. But before we get there, I got to get into the context because I never want to take a passage out of the context of what he's saying. And really to understand it, you got to go all the way back to the first verse in chapter five, which is 24 verses earlier. Paul starts Ephesians chapter five this way. He says, therefore, be imitators of God as beloved children.

We could do the whole broadcast on that one verse. Be imitators of God. It's a command to Christ followers. Imitate in the Greek means to mimic, mimic God, copy God as beloved children. And again, he sort of reminds us of our identity.

We are beloved and loved by God as his child, as his son, as his daughter. And because of that, he says, mimic him, copy him. In other words, the world should be able to look at a Christ follower and know what God's like.

It's so interesting as you say that because to know what Jesus looks like, what he did, what he said, how he lived, you have to know your Bible. You have to read it to understand, oh, this is what it looks like to copy Christ. Yeah, so how could you copy someone you don't know? Right.

So obviously you start there. I mean, the command is sort of scary because if we're honest, I think we'd say, I can't do that. Copy, imitate, mimic. Like my life, my words, my actions, every minute of every single day are going to reveal to people the attributes and the character of God. That's like impossible. And that's exactly what he wants us to think.

You can't do that. So you go down 16 verses later. Again, context, later in the chapter, we read this verse in verse 18 of Ephesians 5. He says, do not get drunk with wine for that's debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. So in a sense, he's saying, okay, I told you your command is to mimic or copy or imitate God.

Here's how you do it. He says, don't get drunk with wine for that's debauchery. And people get lost in that verse. They think it's about drinking and it isn't.

I mean, it's just so beautiful how the word of God is. He's like, when a person is drunk with wine, they're controlled by the alcohol. It'll cause you to do things and say things that you would never do as a sober person, but you do as a drunk person. Paul says that's a waste of time. That's debauchery. But using that analogy says, instead of doing that, be filled with the Spirit.

And in a sense, again, it's so beautiful how powerful and specific and unique the word of God is. He's saying, don't get drunk or be controlled by wine or alcohol because it's a waste of time. Yeah, I was going to say that word debauchery means foolishness or a waste of time. Yeah, we all know drunk people do really stupid things. And they do things they would never do sober. And he's saying, be drunk, controlled by the Holy Spirit of God.

In other words, you know what he's saying, which is beautiful? You'll do things you would never do if you're not controlled by the Holy Spirit. In other words, you can mimic, imitate, copy Jesus in the power and control of the Holy Spirit. You could never do that as a sober Christian. And I don't mean sober in terms of alcohol. I mean without the Holy Spirit in your life. So the only way you're going to be able to do it is to be filled with the Spirit.

And it's really interesting. That phrase, be filled, is a present tense verb. Continually be being filled is literally the literal translation keep be being filled, which means, and every drunk person knows this, if you've ever gotten drunk, hopefully that's never happened in your life. But if a person wants to stay drunk with alcohol, they have to keep drinking. And same thing with the Holy Spirit of God.

It isn't a one-time thing. It's like I continue to allow God to be in control of my life and keep being filled with his Holy Spirit so that I can accomplish what he's called me to do, which is to imitate him. And then out of that context comes this passage that we've heard many times as husbands, and I don't think we understand what it means. In fact, today is the day where Anne gets to tell us, Anne gets to tell us men, what does this look like to a wife? And I know every wife's different, so it might be different for your wife, but generally it's pretty much the same thing. In verse 25, Paul goes on to say, Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish, in the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself, for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. Does that make you feel pressure as a man, as a husband?

That's a big command. Yeah, and I think it makes us feel pressure, but it also makes us go, I don't know how to do that. I don't know what that looks like, which is why we're talking today. It's like, okay, somebody help me understand what that looks like. And so often when I would just have a conference with men or do a message for men, I would talk about, okay, we want to be a vertical man, which means I want to find my life vertically in Christ. I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit every second as a husband, as a dad, as a man.

And what would that look like? And I talk about three characteristics of vertical men. All we're going to do today is talk about one of those, but I say this, a vertical man is sensitive. There's three S words.

The first one is a vertical man is sensitive. What? Sensitive to the needs of his wife, to the needs of his kids. I think when we find life in Christ, we are able to say, okay, I'm not married to get from my wife. I now am a giver because I'm filled with Christ. The Holy Spirit has filled me to overflow to a point where I can now give rather than take.

Marriage is all about what are you doing for me lately? It's like, no, no, no, once you're in Christ, and this obviously happened for the wife as well, but it's no longer about my wants and my needs and my happiness. I've found that in Christ, and I know often we say that and we don't really experience it, but it's real. A real dynamic walk with God fills you to the point where it's like now I take my eyes off myself and I look at my wife and say, okay, how do I love her? What does loving her as Christ loved the church? Now, as Christ loved the church, there's a great picture. It's like he laid down his life for the church, so obviously it wasn't about him. It was about us.

He gave his life to love the church, and so the same thing for her husband. It's like, it's not about me. It's not about my needs anymore. How do I lay down my life to love my wife?

And so it's interesting. We've always said, and we said this in vertical marriage and even in the vertical marriage small group, hopefully you've been through that. If you haven't, get it and go through it with some other couples, but we try to say love has sort of lost its meaning because we say, you know, I love my wife.

I love the Detroit Lions, or I love ice cream, right? It's like what does that even mean? So we said a better word, and he actually uses the word in verse 28, is cherish your wife because I think we know what cherish means, especially when it comes to things. Here's a definition of cherish. In Wikipedia it said to cherish something is to care for it deeply, to treasure it, to hold dear. They did words that mean costly and beloved.

Those are good. And so here's the thing. I know how, and I think a lot of guys might be wired like me, I know how to cherish stuff, things. Do you think most guys are like that? I think most people are like that, actually. I mean, women do the same thing.

It's like we protect, we cherish. I don't know what you would say, but it could be a car. For me it's guitars of a motorcycle. I mean, it's like if somebody comes into my house and wants to grab one of my guitars off the wall, I'd be like, stop.

I mean, I shouldn't be that way. If the grandkids are upstairs in your studio, and you're in the family room, and you can hear something going on, you run up the stairs, and you quickly take that, and you're really gracious about it. You'll hand them something different because you cherish those. Yeah, and it's the definition because it's costly, and I love it.

And I want to make sure they take care of this Gretsch guitar or this Rickenbacker bass. Those are precious things, and I talk about them. They're in a humidified room, so the wood doesn't warp.

I mean, it's just crazy things we do, and that's just me with guitars because there's people that love TVs or sound systems or cars or golf clubs. Okay, we're not going to get into it, but it's like what would my wife feel like? What would your wife feel like if she was humidified? In other words, if she was so costly to you, she was so valuable above a thing or above your job that she felt cherished, again, cared for, treasured, held dear. You have done that, and you are very particular, and it's great because you do take care of your things. I love that, but I do remember when I was pregnant with our first child, our car broke down, and I was driving it. Because when you asked at the beginning if you always felt loved by me, and so I was thinking about that.

That's what came to my mind. Because I'm pregnant, the car breaks down, you have to come and pick me up. There were no cell phones in the day.

No, I walked home, but it wasn't very far. And so I remember saying, hey. Just remember, this is a long time ago. I've matured. It's 36 years ago.

Do you know exactly how long ago it was? Yeah, I know how old that son is. And so I got home, and I said, we really need to get this fixed, because I'm pregnant. And I was only, I don't know, three months pregnant maybe. And so I come out in the garage, and you're super excited.

You go, I don't have to take it to the mechanic because I fixed it. And you were super proud of yourself. Like, what happened? How did you do this? I was pretty proud. It was a standard shift car, so it had a stick shift with a clutch.

And I've cherished money, and we didn't have a lot of money. So I'm like, this is going to cost several hundred dollars to get a new clutch or whatever. So I realized what happened as I crawled under there, the cable that connected to the clutch pedal had a knob that went through this little loop, and the knob broke off. So I was like, all I need to do is put a knob on the back of this pedal through that loop, and then it'll pull. So I mean, I'm embarrassed to say this now based on what ended up happening, but I put vice grips on there. And I clamped it down super tight, and it grabbed that cable and went through the loop. And so when you push the pedal, the bad thing is it sort of was clunky because you pushed the pedal and the vice grips would sort of... Yeah, they would clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk. Yeah, but the pedal went in, and it held on, and you could drive it. And that was my car.

And I'm thinking now, like, why didn't you drive that car just in case? All right, tell them what happened. Just tell them what happened. Get to it. So three months later, when now I'm... See, it worked for three months.

It's pretty good. But Dave's... We've shared this before, but Dave's off to this event, a big fundraiser, and I'm supposed to meet him there. And what ends up happening is I'm driving, it's late at night, it's dark, and it's winter, and that vice grip falls off. So the car breaks down on the side of the road. I'm all dressed up.

I'm already at the event. High heels on clothes. Actually, I'm there wondering where is my wife. And it's snowing, and there's snow on the ground. And so, again, there's no cell phone, so I stop at somebody's house, and I kind of show my belly, like, hey, my car broke down, and as you can see, I'm pregnant.

I'm wondering if I can use your phone. Show your belly? Yeah, I'm like, feel sorry for me. I mean, it sounds like you're opening your shirt.

No, I'm just showing them that, like, I have a little baby bump. And so they said, we're sorry, but we don't allow people into our home. And then I went to the next door.

They're gone. I end up walking miles home, and because it's so far, I start cutting. A little exaggeration. Cutting through.

No, it was. Not miles. Cutting through the yards, over fences in my high heels, and the whole time, I'm so mad at Dave, because I'm thinking, who wouldn't fix this car for his pregnant wife? And I finally get home. I change my clothes.

A neighbor takes me to the event. I walk in the door fuming. I'm so mad.

I'm feeling so unloved, so unprotected. And the first thing that happens is this woman comes up, and she goes, Well, the event's over. I mean, I'm standing there after talking to people like, you missed the whole event. And so when I see you walk in, I'm mad.

I'm like, where in the world have you been? And you know, steam is coming out of my ears. And this lady rushes up to me. She goes, are you Dave Wilson's wife? And I said, yes. And she said, oh, he just finished speaking.

He is really amazing. It must be something to be married to him. And I sat there.

You guys, I'm so angry. And I said, you know, that's a good way to put it. It is something, being married to him.

Okay. That was a really bad night in our marriage. And you know, now, 30-some years removed from that. I couldn't see it in the moment, because it wasn't just that night. That was a pattern in my life that I now see, I cherished other things over you.

Yeah, and I think what happens in marriage is, this is what it feels like for many of us as women. We are, in our engagement time, you guys are amazing. Like, you won me. You wooed me. You were so attentive.

You were pursuing me at all costs. And then we get married, and I'm feeling like, what in the world? Your guitars feel more important than me. And so your job felt more important. I think wives feel that. Like, man, his job is way more important.

His golfing schedule and his hunting schedule is way more important. And I'm at the bottom of that priority list, and it's really hard. Yeah, and it's crazy to think that in my life, I was even standing on a stage as a pastor or a marriage speaker saying, husbands love your wives, not realizing, I'm not doing this very well. And some of it was just reprioritizing my values, what matters. And I would say you were the most important thing in my life, and it was absolutely true, but I wasn't living like that.

I was loving, cherishing other things, my job, my schedule, Detroit Lions chaplain, traveling with the team. I was doing all that stuff. And I think with your attitude, it made me feel like you just thought I was needy. Why do you have to be so needy, you know? And I just wanted to be loved. Yeah, and I think whenever you brought it up, remember this?

Yeah. I got defensive. Very. And I would say, you know, I'm spending the time at the job because I love you, and I'm providing for you, and I'm providing for the boys and our family. I mean, this is my way of showing you I love you. Why didn't that say I love you?

Because it made me feel like, no, you love your job, and you're finding incredible pleasure through that. And I knew that you were providing, and I was thankful, but I think for women, we really long to have that relationship. Yeah, and I think every woman's different, obviously. In fact, every woman might be totally different than you. But I mean, it's like, and every man's different, but I think at the core, every woman longs to be loved.

I think every guy does, too, actually. Longs to be cherished. I think as husbands, we need to know specifically what love looks like to our wife.

What does my wife say love is? And, you know, we said in vertical marriage and even in the small group, we said, you know, one of the things that I think every wife would agree says I love you is spending time. I mean, time for this relationship, our marriage, is not on the calendar. Like, it wasn't for us.

We said it was, but I let other things push it out. Even if we had a date night and I got a speaking engagement that was going to pay me an honorarium, I was thinking that provides for the family. We can move the date night to the next night, and guess what happened?

I'd take the speaking engagement, so I'd be gone, you'd be home with the kids, and then we wouldn't go out the next night, and the next thing you know, it's a month before we are spending time together to say this relationship really matters. And things that matter get time on your calendar, right? Yes. No, I'm just saying that that, to every wife, says I love you, right?

Yeah, and I think what happens is we gradually drift, and that's what we say at the Weekend to Remember Getaways, that if you aren't pursuing and persistently going after your relationship in a positive way of pouring into it, you will naturally drift toward isolation. So here's the homework, because here's what we're going to do in the next broadcast. We're going to talk about three ways to really cherish and love your wife, but before we get there, here's your homework for tonight, guys. Ask her what says I love you.

I'm not kidding. Tonight, you don't even have to go on a date. If you can, go on a date with her, but if you can't, get the kids down or get whatever responsibilities you have put away, and sometime before you go to bed tonight, and I'm putting this on the guy, the husband, turn to your wife and say, what makes you feel loved, and take notes. And when she tells you, ask her follow-up questions like, what does that look like?

How do I do that? This could change your entire marriage. And by the way, this takes us all the way back to the beginning when Peter said, live with your wives in an understanding way.

I don't think we understand our wives. And it doesn't mean she's a weaker vessel. It doesn't mean she's weaker emotionally. It's talking about physically she might be weaker. She is probably stronger. I've noticed that with Anne, she's stronger than I am emotionally, but I don't know what it means to live with her in an understanding way.

How can I learn? I need to ask, and then I need to apply. Now let me just say here, lest you think that homework assignment is just for people who have been married for five years or less. The process of living with your wife in an understanding way is a lifetime assignment, and things change over the years. Mary Anne and I have talked about the fact that what speaks love to her today is different than it was 10 years ago. So for every husband to ask that question, what is it that makes you feel loved, and then as Dave Wilson said, take notes, probe a little deeper, tell me more.

That's a good homework assignment for any of us. You know, Dave and Anne have written about how we can love and serve one another better in their book, Vertical Marriage, which is a classic book. In fact, we're making the book available this week to those of you who are regular Family Life Today listeners who can help us with a donation. Family Life Today would not be here if it weren't for listeners like you calling or going online and saying, we believe in this ministry. It's helping us. We know it's helping others.

We want to see it grow and expand. We want to help provide the fuel that helps Family Life Today go farther. So if you can help with a little gas money, make a donation today online at or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Be sure to ask for your copy of the book Vertical Marriage. We'd love to send it to you as a way of saying thank you for your support. If you already have a copy of Vertical Marriage, make a donation today and pass a copy on to someone you know in your church, someone in your community, someone at work. It's a great way to maybe open a spiritual conversation with somebody who you've been praying for. Again, you can make your donation at or call to donate at 1-800-FL-TODAY. Now, I know that this is the time of year when a lot of church small groups are getting started up again.

Maybe you're in a small group where you guys are going through a book study or something. At Family Life, we've got a number of small group resources that couples have found very helpful. Recently, I did a series on my book Love Like You Mean It, a 10-part video series for couples to do in a small group setting. There are many of these small group studies available, and you can go to our website to find out more about them. Right now, between now and February 18th at, if you use the promo code NEWYEAR2022, you'll save 25% off any small group order. So go to our website If you're looking for something related to marriage or parenting for your small group, go to and check out what we've got available.

And again, use that promo code NEWYEAR2022 to save 25% off. Now, husbands, does your wife know where she is on your priority list? For that matter, do you know where your wife is on your priority list? And I don't mean do you know the right answer to that.

What's the real answer to that? How's that being lived out in your marriage? Dave and Ann Wilson talk more about that tomorrow. I hope you can tune in for that. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-04 02:08:08 / 2023-06-04 02:20:20 / 12

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