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Husbands, Love Your Wives (Here’s How)

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
February 17, 2022 9:00 pm

Husbands, Love Your Wives (Here’s How)

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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February 17, 2022 9:00 pm

Husbands, wondering how to really love your wives? On FamilyLife Today, hosts Dave and Ann Wilson share what women need and how to go to the next level!

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So today is Man's Day on Family Life Today.

What does that mean? Well, I mean, it's not really Man's Day. It's for men, but it's really for women because it's like, let's talk about how to really, really love our wives well. Oh, it is Women's Day today.

It is. I mean, in some sense, if men do this, women benefit. The wife benefits.

Your whole life will benefit men. 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. I've been told many times by Ann, I don't do this well. So Ann's going to tell you how to love your wife.

That's terrible. Well, I mean, we said earlier, you honestly said that. I did not do a good job of loving you well, cherishing you. We talked yesterday about cherish. I didn't feel loved. I think you tried.

Well, that means I didn't do a good job. You tried your best, but I didn't feel loved because I felt like a lot of other things were your priority before our relationship. Yeah, we talked yesterday about Ephesians 5, saying husbands love your wives.

This Christ loved the church. And we even tried to say, you know, love has lost its meaning. So we said, let's use the word cherish because men know how to cherish stuff.

Here's the definition again. To cherish something is to care for it deeply, to treasure it, to hold dear. And you basically were saying, I held dear. I treasured my job more than you. And when we would have these discussions, I would tell you that and you would get so angry. And you would say to me, that is not true. My job is not the priority.

You are the priority. And then we just go around in circles. And this was our continual battle.

I would say this is what I'm feeling. And you would say, you're wrong. That was always a good discussion. I mean, and I think as I think back to it, and I'm not saying we never had this conversation anymore. It's still a struggle in every marriage, in our marriage in current days. But this was 30 years ago.

And then 20 years ago, and then 10 years ago. I mean, let me ask you, is it better? It's way better. Again, I don't know exactly what's going through my mind when I would get defensive, but I think I got defensive because I was hurt. I thought I was doing a good job. I was making an effort.

I would have told my buddies. Yeah, and man, she feels loved by me because I'm doing a good job of loving her. And then I come home, you say you don't love me. We were in the crazy cycle, as Emerson Edgridge calls it, because I felt like you weren't loving to me. And so then I would get hurt. And then I would disrespect you. And when you felt disrespect, you were less loving.

And so we were in that continual cycle, and we didn't know how to get out. Yeah, and all I know is it took years for me to receive your truth, which was you didn't feel loved. How did you stop getting defensive? I think God softened my heart. I mean, we go back to what we said yesterday about Ephesians 5, husbands love your wives comes out of the context of this is only possible if you're filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit of God.

I think the Holy Spirit does work and says, soften your heart. Listen. I remember the first time I had said like, man, I feel like we're not connecting. I'm feeling like other things are more important. And I'll never forget the time you said, tell me more. What do you mean by that? And I was shocked because if I would have said that in the past, we would have just gone through our cycle again.

But this time, just by you asking me that question, I felt incredibly loved. Yeah, and I think defensiveness in a marriage is one of the worst things that can happen. I mean, here's the thing. We both do it. We all have blind spots. We all have things we can't see. And in some ways, God gives us a spouse as eyes to see things that we can't see in ourselves. And we hate it when our spouse points that out.

But think about this. If one of the purposes of life is to become like Christ, which is honestly true from the Bible, we are called to become like Christ, but we won't be exactly like Christ until we're in glory. Tim Keller calls it in the meaning of marriage when we are in our glory selves.

So every day as we move toward the end of our life is a chance to be sharpened and molded and shaped into being like Christ. And guess who God gives us to help us do that? Our spouse.

And it's sometimes really hard, but it's a gift. When your spouse can look at you and speak truth, and hopefully that's said gently and lovingly, but truthfully, this is what's going on in our marriage. So I would say to the guys, man, yesterday your homework was ask your wife, does she feel loved?

And she said, no, I hope you didn't get defensive like I always did. That is a chance for you to go, really help me understand why not and how do I make you feel loved? And today we're going to tell you, let's do it. Let's get into how to make you feel loved. I mean, we said in our vertical marriage, small group and book, we said, you know, here's four ways to love your wife. Give her time. We talked about that yesterday.

Talk with three A's in the middle because they want to have conversation. We said touch and many guys like, oh, finally, we're going to talk about touch while we're talking about non sexual touch. And then finally, the last one was truth. In other words, she is longing for a spiritual partner in the marriage. And even in Ephesians five that we read yesterday, it's something I never understood. In verse 26, he says, husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. That's 25 of 26 is 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 may be holy and without blemish. I never really understood that. Yeah.

What does that mean? I think, again, there's a lot of interpretations on that, but I think there's a part of a husband is called by God to help lead his wife spiritually, to bring a spiritual dynamic to the relationship, to bring her life through Christ, that she would be holy and without blemish. She would be her best version of herself because of the man she married and that he's bringing Christ continually in a beautiful, humble, serving way that is so Christlike. It draws us as women to our husbands when they live like that, as the servant leaders. And you've already said that makes you feel loved. Yes.

When I do that. And secure, like, man, my man is walking with God. I can trust him. I respect him. I want to walk with him.

And I know that he's serving Jesus and his life matches his words. Yeah. And it's really interesting. What we're trying to do today, and I don't know if we'll have time to do it, is talk about three ways that you can love your wife. And again, you have to ask her if these are true for her. But we read a book years ago called His Needs, Her Needs, subtitle, How to Affair Proof Your Marriage by Willard Harley. When I read that, I thought, oh, if I do all these things right, it will guarantee that my spouse will never cheat. And we're not saying that you can do all things right.

It may not be about you, but we can do our best. Yeah. And so what he did in there is he just listed what he said as a counselor after 3000 couples. Top five needs of a woman, top five needs of a man.

There's a chapter on each one. Long story short, before I'd even read the book and we said this in vertical marriage, but before I even read the book, I was like looking at what's he say the top five are for a man? First one was he didn't say respect. He said sex, you know, intimacy for a man. And I'm like, I like this guy.

I can relate to this guy. But then I looked at the top five for women and sex wasn't even mentioned. So remember, I brought the book to you. Physical intimacy wasn't even the top five for a woman.

Yeah. And I was like, how can I not be in the top five? I show it to you again. We hadn't read it yet. And you looked at it just the chapter title. You said, oh, the first three are intimacy to a woman.

And I was like, what in the world is that? OK, guys, write these down or log them away in your mind and then go to your wife and say, is this true for you? Because here's what Harley said the top three are and we're going to talk about this. He said number one, affection. Number two, conversation. Number three, honesty and openness. And let me tell you, you don't need to know what four and five are, because if you get the first three right, it doesn't matter what four and five are.

But as I read that, I'm like, OK, help me. And you get to do this for the guys today. Help us understand what affection is, if that's number one. And by the way, do you think it's number one? I think it's different for every woman. And I think I'm sorry, guys, but it's also different in every phase of our lives.

In some ways, it can feel different, like my needs when I have little kids might be different for the now as an empty nester. But the number one is affection. And I would say that is true for me. And the way I would word this is keep pursuing us. That pursuit makes us feel like, oh, we still matter.

We're still important. And when you put affection with that, it just means you're pursuing us in a loving way. It's going out of your way to show her that you love her by calling her, texting her, holding her hand, opening the door if she likes that. So you're saying affection is bigger than touch, because when I hear affection, I think, oh, touch her, hold her hand, kiss her, put your arm around her. To me, it's all about pursuit and like noticing. If you sit across from me from a table and you look me in the eyes and you'll just be like, hey, how are you doing?

I'm like, oh, my goodness, this man like loves me. You're acting like I never do that. The way you said that is like, oh, my goodness, like it's once in a year or month. I'm just saying that that affection to a woman and I would say that it is non-sexual touch. And I think when I told you that, you were very confused by the word. Like, what does that mean? But I mean, it is good for a man to understand and even for me to understand affection is bigger than non-sexual touch or just affection isn't just physical touch.

Yeah. You've said to me many times when we're on a date or we're even in the kitchen anywhere, just put the phone away. Pursue me.

Look at me. Just take it off your knee. Don't look at the phone.

Turn it off. I would have never said that's affection. It feels like you're continually pursuing and that affection is just a part of it. I remember being married for a few years thinking, wow, we hardly ever hold hands anymore. We hardly ever kiss affectionately anymore unless we're in the bedroom for a purpose. And I remember thinking, I really, really miss that because it's wooing you.

You know, it's wooing me. And I don't know what percentage would be, but I would guess a good percentage of marriages don't have a lot of affection anymore. And it's understandable why we don't. We're busy. We have kids. We have stressful jobs. We're struggling with our parents that are aging. There's so many dynamics going on that are pulling us away from one another. So we have to purposely pursue one another and God.

Yeah. And I think it's really helpful for a guy to understand that affection is a lot more than the bedroom. And often, you know, we had to struggle in our marriage for years that I was frustrated with our perspectives that were different about the intimacy in the bedroom. That I didn't think you were as interested as I was. It took me years to learn that you were just as interested.

There was no affection and affection outside the bedroom. Like you said, pursuing you, talking to you, even touching you and kissing you with no agenda, except I love you. And I want to touch your shoulder. I want to hug you.

Said to you, you feel cherished. Yeah. And we would get in fights because of probably my own baggage of sexual abuse. So if you would come in the kitchen and just grab body parts, I should say, I felt like, really? Really? You know, can you just not touch me in a way that's loving apart from any sort of pursuit in the bedroom?

Yeah. And I didn't understand that. And I always used to think it was your problem.

And I realized it was my problem. I would just say, guys, if this is your marriage, which it was my marriage, it's on us to love our wives as Christ loved the church. Which means I'm going to put aside my needs and even my wants and desires and say, what would it look like for her to feel loved by me? And if it means hugging her, holding her hand. I'm just thinking like, guys, if you put it in your phone, like put it as a reminder, come in the door, hug my wife, say thanks for all you're doing for me.

I mean, that gets into the next one. But just to hug her, to look at her and say, man, I appreciate you so much. Thanks for all you do for us. And I know. She melts on the floor, guys. I'm just telling you like, oh, thank you.

Here's what I want to ask though. Like when you have little kids crawling around the kitchen and grabbing your legs and it's chaos. I mean, we were over at our son's house and there's toys everywhere.

There's not an inch you can walk through the living room. And we've been there, you know, when we had little kids. It's hard to be affectionate.

Oh, absolutely. And I was bad where I'm like, don't hug me. Let's just get some stuff done with the kids. And that was bad on my part too, because for our kids to see, just for a time a night for us to hug each other and say, man, you really matter. Like our marriage matters. Kids, this matters. This is important.

Your mom is really important and she's amazing. That would do amazing things for your kids as well. So you're saying you can even do it in the midst of all the chaos. Yes.

It's like hit the pause button and stop for a minute. But I think we have to be really purposeful. Put it in your phone. Don't forget, hug my wife tonight and tell her she's amazing at some point. And go out on a date night. All right. Second one. First one is affection. Second one is conversation. How does that make a woman feel loved and cherished?

I'm different from a lot of women. I feel like you're more detailed and that you'll tell me all about your day. You'll tell me conversations. But I want to know, how are we doing? What's happening in our relationship? And as soon as I say that, like, how do you think we're doing? You have no words left. You might say, I don't know, or I can just tell you look like a deer in the headlights because you don't want to talk about it.

Why is that? Again, it goes back to I'm going to get defensive because I'm going to guess that you're not thinking we're doing as good as I think we're doing. And in some ways we aren't doing as good as I think we're doing because I want to live in a pretend world.

I just don't want to deal with the truth. But that's a good point for us as women. I was bad at this. I would only talk about how we're doing when we weren't doing well. And so I should have said, man, I think we're doing great. That would have really bolstered you.

You do it now. You say it a lot now. Like, we're doing well. You're doing a great job.

I feel loved. That affirming a man brings life to a man and we do better. If we think we're doing good, we're going to do even better. If we think we're going to do bad, we either get mad and angry or we withdraw away and we pull away and do less.

So I had to learn. I mean, affection is a biggie. But conversation goes with the third one with this honesty and openness. It's like you're saying when we do talk, let's get real a little bit.

I want and here's what I think Harley was getting into as a wife feels love when her husband is honest and open only with her. Yes, that's important. Which means I'm sharing my struggles, my fears.

I'm just being at the weekend. Remember, we call it level five communication where it's not superficial. Level one, level five is I'm sharing my heart with you and nobody, no other woman gets that.

That's off limits, off bounds for another woman to get my heart. I feel like it's really easy, especially with young kids and busy jobs, that you don't go to this level five communication where you're sharing your fears, your insecurities. Now, why does that make a wife feel loved? Because we feel connected to you. It feels like you trust us, that you're being vulnerable. And when someone is vulnerable, that's like the most precious. It's intimacy. It's true intimacy. It's like a spiritual intimacy to me even.

I remember when we were probably married, I don't know, 15 years. And you were doing all these big pro challenge. We called it with the athletes. You take Detroit Lions to schools, you do assemblies in these high schools, and then you would share a great message about Jesus.

If you could in the school, it's public schools or about drug abuse. And so I remember this one time you came home from those and you were usually really pumped up. But I could tell there was just something off.

And as most women can tell, we can tell when our guys are just a little off. And so I kept saying, like, what happened today? Did something happen?

You don't seem like yourself. Yeah, it was that day where I had to be one of the athletes because one of the players couldn't go. And so I had to put on this pro challenge tank top. And I'm standing beside Chris Spielman, who is a linebacker. And, you know, Chris Spielman in a tank top is a sight to be seen.

He has muscles and he's a weight room guy. I mean, you're young. You looked great, too. Me in a tank top beside Chris Spielman was not that big a deal. I mean, it was pretty embarrassing. So I'm standing there and one of these teachers who doesn't think I can hear them. I mean, there's a gymnasium full of 1500 kids and all these teachers are standing beside us. We were under the basketball hoop because they're going to introduce us to run out to center court. And I hear this teacher maybe 10 feet away, turn to another teacher and say, hey, who's that little guy down there?

Because they knew all the players. They didn't know why I was standing there. And of course, Spielman hears it and goes, hey, dude, you hear that?

They think you're a little guy. And I just acted like I didn't hear it. And then I hear the other teacher go, oh, he must be a kicker or something. And Spielman just laughed, you know.

Why did he laugh? Oh, he's just like, because he knew I used to be a quarterback and, you know, it probably was a blow to my ego. And it was because, again, nothing against kickers. They're awesome.

They're incredible. Some of my best friends are kickers with the Lions. But to think that I went from being a quarterback who, you know, was all conference to now I'm a kicker type body. So when I came home that night, it was one of those moments. Again, it wasn't like the end of the world, but it was just like, wow, that's who I am now.

I'm just this little scrawny, skinny guy that has no muscles and people look at me. So when you said, how'd the day go? I was like, oh, it was great. And then you kept probing. Well, yeah, your demeanor was downcast. Yeah.

Tell them what happened because I told you, well, you know, this teacher said this. Yeah, you ended up telling me all of it. And you were super vulnerable. I was honest and open.

Yes. And you basically said, I'm not that guy anymore. I feel like, who am I?

I don't even have anything to offer. And these guys are amazing. And I'm just this old chaplain. And you said? I said, Dave Wilson, you look at me. I remember I was strong. And I said, let me tell you who you are.

You are a man of God. Hey, I got to stop you because I remember better than you. The first thing you said is you have a great body. I didn't think because I really believe that.

I think sometimes you can lie in your marriage. But I remember you saying that first thing. Did I? And I smiled. And then you said, don't you forget the most important thing about a man is who he is, not how he looks. And you said, you are a man of God who loves Jesus, who loves me, who's leading our boys to Christ.

That's what matters. And you are a good, good man. All I remember is sitting there thinking, wow, I thought I was sort of giving you a gift because I was being honest and open and sharing sort of a weakness or a fear I had or an insecurity. And I got the gift. You know, I remember that night better than you do, probably because like, wow, you spoke life into me. You loved me and you felt loved.

And you gave me an incredible gift by being vulnerable, by saying, I don't know if I have what it takes. For those women listeners, when our men are vulnerable and when they can share a weakness or what they really feel, it's like we've been handed this precious gift and we need to be careful how we handle it. Like we don't squash it. We don't make fun of it.

We don't ridicule it. We don't agree with the lies that they're believing. But we speak the truth. As you said earlier from Ephesians, when we're filled with God's Spirit, we would say the things that Jesus would say back to our men and he would speak life to them. And we have that opportunity to do that to each other.

Yeah. So here's what I would say to the guys. Guys, you have a chance to love your wife as Christ loved the church.

In fact, he's commanded us to do that. Now, you know what it looks like. And again, you have to ask your wife, does it look like affection, conversation, honesty and openness, or does it look a little bit different? Yeah, does it look like get the vacuum cleaner out and help me clean the house?

Yeah, that could be it too. But I mean, again, we said it yesterday, but I'd say go out on a date. If it's not tonight, schedule it in the next seven days. Or maybe take her away from home and sit down somewhere to have conversation and show some affection as well. And by the way, this doesn't happen just one hour a week.

This is your life now. And then be honest and open and say, OK, how do we get to the next level in our marriage? And how can I love you better? And then listen and take steps to do it. I was going to say, Dave, maybe it'd be great to listen to this podcast together. Like send it if you're a wife and you don't want to do this in a nagging way or manipulative way. But say, hey, I listen to this today and I'd love to talk about it.

Not saying that you're in trouble. I want to say that. But I think that this would be a great conversation. And so go out and be careful with how you word this. And I would say that same thing to the men. I think it'd be great to have this conversation. We have a link on our website at family life today dot com. If you would like to send this program to a husband or a wife so that you can begin the process that Ann Wilson was just talking about, you can prime the pump for a healthy conversation about how both of you can do a better job of loving one another.

So this does go both ways. And in fact, in their book Vertical Marriage, Dave and Ann Wilson talk about not just what a wife longs for, but what a husband longs for in marriage. In fact, I was thinking about couples reading through the book Vertical Marriage together.

What a great assignment. What a way to strengthen your marriage. We're making the book available to you this week. If you can help with a donation to help advance the ministry of family life today, every dollar you donate to this ministry helps us reach more people more often with practical biblical help and hope for marriages, for families. We invest the money you send in the production and syndication costs for this program, getting it out in as many platforms, as many ways as possible on local radio stations, through our app, as a podcast. You can even tell Alexa to play family life today.

And today's episode is available there. Again, you make all of this possible when you donate to support this ministry. And we would love to say thank you for your donation today by sending you the book Vertical Marriage.

If you already have the book, make a donation and pass a new copy on to one of your kids or to a neighbor, maybe somebody at church, somebody you know who would benefit from reading this book, and maybe it will open the door for a spiritual conversation with that person. Donate online at or call 1-800-FL-TODAY, and we do look forward to hearing from you. Now, you've heard me mentioning the small group resources that we have available here at Family Life and the fact that we've got a special offer for Family Life Today listeners going on. Today's the last day that special offer is going to be available to you. So if you've been looking for great resources for your small group on marriage or parenting, you'd like to save 25% off, you can use the promo code NewYear2022 and take advantage of the savings. But again, today's the last day that that code is going to be available.

So check it out. Go to for more information. And we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend. And we hope you can join us on Monday when we're going to talk about what it is parents are doing to raise joy-filled kids. Marcus Warner and Chris Corsi will be here. We hope you can be back for that as well. 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 / 2023-06-03 11:37:31 / 2023-06-03 11:49:06 / 12

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