Edition 11 – How Should a Man Really Love His Wife
HOW SHOULD A MAN REALLY LOVE HIS WIFE?!
I was driving down the road many years ago and had the radio playing. Suddenly this song came on the radio, it was new and I had not heard it before. It was called “To All The Girls I Loved Before”, by Julio Iglesias. I had not heard of this singer or the song. Admittedly it seemed like a very romantic song, delivered in a beautiful, soothing voice. Truthfully, the more I listened to the song lyrics, the angrier I became. I was stunned by what was actually being conveyed in this song. It is amazing the songs people will listen to and yet never fully grasp what is really being said or promoted. And so, the subtle, seductive, deceptive conditioning of our minds, values, and expectations continues.
You may look the lyrics up yourself, I won’t put them here, but if you do, you will see the true meaning of the song. This man was equating love to “all the girls who came through my door, that I caressed, that filled my nights with ecstasy”. These are actual lines from the song. This man was basically saying, “I am glad you came along and had sex with me, all you different girls.” “Now you are someone else’s wife.” That too is a line from the song!
Men, over and over and over again, we have been lied to, deceived, mislead, programmed, and conditioned by our culture, it’s music, tv shows, movies, and literature, to equate love with sex. We have become such a twisted and immoral culture of either divorce, or not marrying, and simply living together. I have worked with young men for decades now and I have witnessed first hand that so many men today are totally unprepared for marriage and have no idea what it means to really love a woman.
Most of the men I have known did not grow up seeing their fathers love for their mom, grow richer, deeper, and more passionately devoted to her as time passed. What most young men experienced first hand was a slow death of love between their dad and mom. Eventually, they either divorced, or their parents were living separate lives, or simply bored with each other and had become roommates. Many even experienced and felt first hand the downright disdain, disrespect, and dislike that their dad and mom had for each other. Most men watched the love of their dad for their mom grow cold, indifferent, and lifeless over time.
You wonder if this is true? Ask yourself this question: How many of you when you were 14, 15, 18, etc., thought to yourself, “Wow, someday when I grow up, I want to be in love just like my mom and dad are? I want to have a marriage just like theirs when I grow up?” I have rarely found anyone who thought that. I know, because I have asked hundreds of times.
I was speaking at a conference about 20 years ago. I was one of several speakers there. My family was also with me. During one afternoon there was a breakout session for the teenagers at the conference. I was not at that particular session. However, my two oldest teens were there. Later that day, the speaker at that session found me in the hall. She said, “Mark, I have been looking for you. I have to tell you something. I was doing the talk today with about 300 teenagers. The topic of love and marriage and dating came up. I asked the room full of teenagers, “How many of you in this room, when you grow up, want your parent’s marriage and want the love that you see between them?” She asked for a show of hands. She then said, “Mark, the only two hands that went up were your son and daughter.”
I was deeply flattered, but I was also stunned. I thought, really? Really? Could it be that many there, didn’t understand the question? Lord you know I am a flawed man, I am not perfect at all. Somehow, my kids saw something in me towards their mom that deeply imprinted them.
I would like to share the secret with you, here it is:
A man’s love for his wife was meant to be a living demonstration of the passion of Christ. A living demonstration of the Gospel itself!
The Bible says so in Ephesians 5:25. Our kids should be able to taste, touch, see and smell the Gospel being lived out every day, in the way their dad loves their mom. How did Christ love His bride, you and me?! With everything He had. He gave Himself up for her. He laid down His rights, He put her needs and interest first, He willingly forgave us all the wrongs we have done to Him. He became our servant in all things. He loves us, day in, and day out, whether we have a good day or a bad day. His love is constant, unconditional, and full of passionate fervency. He is devoted to your good.
Men, this has been transformative in my life. We are all so driven by our self-interest. Christ was not. He put our interests first. He gave, and gave, and gave, and gave. He forgave, and forgave, and forgave all the wrongs we did against Him, that I did against Him. He never once held a thing against me or threw it up in my face. This picture of Christ’s love for me, demonstrated through the Gospel, demonstrated by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s very life and body, has powerfully impacted my mind, soul, values, perspectives, and behavior. It has shaped my love for Kathy, and how I show that love, and the habits I have developed in my life towards her.
I learned to forgive before she even asks, and even if she never asks. I learned to put her needs and interests before my needs. I learned to overlook her offenses towards me and to treat her as though that wrong had never happened. I learned not to keep a record of her wrongs towards me because God keeps no record of my wrongs and mistakes. I learned how to turn the other emotional cheek. I practiced serving her in big and small ways. l learned to be compassionate, understanding, and empathetic to her weaknesses, and her poor health, and her female nature. I learned how to love through her PMS, and not let the swing of hormones, or mood changes, or human frailty, diminish or mar my love for her. I learned to be tender, thoughtful, and considerate. I learned to watch my words and the tone of my voice.
Husbands, let me encourage you in this. No matter how far you feel you need to go, no matter how much you feel like you don’t know, no matter how much of a failure you may feel, or how dysfunctional the home you grew up in was, know this: if God can change me, in all of my weaknesses, flaws, selfishness and bad habits, there is wonderful hope for you. What God has done to change me over the last 43 years still astounds me today. God will help you. We must be willing to throw out our old definitions of love, cut ourselves off from the destructive things in this culture that lies to us and reprogram our minds and hearts. A man’s love for his wife was meant to be a living demonstration…day after day, of the Gospel itself. A reenactment of the passion of Christ!
I close with this: every child when they get to be about approx. 13, starts to think some about love and the opposite sex. As they get a little older it is on their minds a lot. If your child does not think to themselves, “When I grow up, and fall in love, and get married, I want what mom and dad have”, then you are in trouble. I have found that kids who don’t want your marriage or your love, most often don’t want the God you tell them gave you that love. Men is your love for your wife powerful and attractive to your kids?!