Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

This is my little effort to help us all to love and treasure the gift God has given us in the form of our spouses. Now I do know that not all marriages are good marriages. It is difficult to treasure a spouse who is unfaithful to you, or who is physically abusive (you should treasure them from another location). But for most people this is not the case. Our marriages are simply less than they could be because we fail to take the initiative in studying our spouses and being willing to meet their real needs, not the needs we think they have. So here is my little effort at helping us all treasure our spouses more deeply and accurately this year.

How Men can Treasure their Wives
1. Tell her you love her a lot - they need to hear us say it, and we need to find ways of showing her that we love her. Tell her she's beautiful - most women still have a little girl inside looking up at you and wanting to know if you think she's pretty.
2. Listen to her - hear her out, and this is a big one, don't try to solve her problems, our wives are smarter than us they just need to vent, to get it all out, so we as men need to restrain our problem-solving selves and just listen and learn how to ask questions that help her get it all out.
- How not to listen - never ever tell her you think that she's over-reacting, never wonder aloud about the time of the month, and never ever tell her to calm down, unless you want to find out how to live without some of your body parts.
3. Help her around the house - this will tell her that home and family are important to you too, that you care about the burdens that she bears, and that you care about her so much that you want to make her life easier.
4. Try to be romantic - try to find out ways to make her feel that she has been romanced, that you are still in love with her, remember all the things you used to do when you were trying to get her to marry you, if you've stopped doing those things you may be in trouble. Take her out to dinner, buy her gifts for no reason, buy her favorite ice cream when she's had a bad day, never ever forget her birthday or your anniversary. Tell her what she means to you - now we are pretty clumsy about this but believe me they will appreciate an attempt - Women love to be surprised - good surprises mind you - try to surprise them, random gifts, random times to come home, just show up where she works to have lunch with her. Get a babysitter without telling her and take her to a movie or something. Study your wife and find out how you can best meet her needs.
5. Be a spiritual leader - make the attempt - lead the family in prayer, read the Bible together and to the kids.

How Women can Treasure their Husbands
1. Make sure he feels appreciated - thank him for what he does, tell him you're proud of him. Ladies you have an amazing power in this department. Everyone in the world can hate our guts but if we feel appreciated by our wives then we hold our heads high. You have an amazing influence on whether your husband is a confident man or not.
2. Make sure he feels desired - this probably means what you think it means but it could mean a lot of other things too. Find out what makes him feel desired because it is difficult for us to say this out loud but we need to feel desired, not just satisfied but really desired by our wives.
3. Try to get interested in his interests - watch football with him and ask questions - Edna has told me for years that she hates basketball - that it doesn't make sense to her, but this season she started watching games with me, and she has been asking questions - this is an awesome thing. Getting to share our loves with the one we love the most makes it more meaningful.
4. Let him be a leader - men are called by God to lead and when they are unable to do so, often resentment and bitterness creep in - but if you want a man to feel treasured let him lead, follow him whenever you can.

We often forget how important our marriages are in glorifying God. As we read in Eph 5:25 and 31
- Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, AND This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
- Treasuring our spouses is a living picture of how Jesus loved His bride the church. Marriage was created to reflect this love of Christ and when we have beautiful marriages it proclaims very loudly what it was meant to proclaim - that Jesus really loved His bride - the Church.

So take Valentine's Day in hand and use it to bless and treasure your spouse don't look at it as Extortion Day, but a day of proclaiming the Gospel in a really fun way.

PS - this post was wife approved.


Joshua Owen said...

Jamie, is there more to being a spiritual leader than leading in prayer and reading the Bible with the family? Does being a spiritual leader imply that the wife and children are being discipled by the man of the house? If so, what would this discipleship relationship look like particularly between husband and wife? For example, when listening to her problems and asking open-ended questions to help her get it all out, should one admonish with the word? To borrow some Piper-ish words, is loving our wives making much of them or helping them make much of Jesus Christ?

I'm not suggesting that what you've written is wrong. I guess I'm suggesting that it's incomplete for a truly Christian marriage. Besides, we haven't dialogued in a while, so I'm trying to get us engaged again.

Jamie Fugate said...

My point was based on the appearance that most Christian husbands make no efforts at being spiritual leaders. Most men seem to think that anything spiritual is inherently feminine. I was just trying to plant seeds in the minds of any of our readers (if there are any). These are simply a place to start for men who have never led in any way spiritually.

I do however believe that a man who is a real spiritual leader should be providing leadership and guidance, governing the home with the fullness of the Word.

Joshua Owen said...

Can you give some practical advice on, say, admonishment in the home? How do we create a culture in the home where sin can be confronted in a loving manner without driving each other away?